When I was about 11 years old I went to visit my Aunt in Ohio for a month of the summer vacation. I met a girl my own age and we became inseparable for that month. I forget now what her name was, but she introduced me to the absurdity of the theatre. We watched Newsies, one of those Disney feel-good flicks, nearly everyday. I found myself thinking of how cool I would be if I could break into spontaneous song and dance.
The absurdity of musical theatre I found so intriguing at that age came back to me the other day after reading a rather racy article about a three-way sexual encounter of a girl and her lover. It was the same glorious juxtaposition of the absurd with the everyday. Not only did the article make the entire pornographic ordeal sound appeal, it made it seem normal. Now all of us living in the real world know that it is not customary you invite the pizza delivery person into your house and offer him a nude tour of the bedroom, just as it is not normal that you find yourself following a carefully choreographed dance to a tune that seems to flow so spontaneously from your mouth in perfect pitch (not to mention accompanied by some distant and mysterious band).
Who made this up? I am perplexed that the human brain can tolerate such madness, how do we not go crazy at the ridiculousness of musical theatre and pornographic movies? Now don’t get me wrong, I love musicals and porno as much as the next gal, but why? Have I myself, in all my fervor to maintain my subculture identity, fell victim to the ploy of gratuitous sex and spontaneous music? I suppose I have, because absurd as it may seem I find both porn and musicals to be somewhat endearing, art forms worthy of both praise and persecution. Curiosity at the fantastical and idealistic musings of both genres is a pitfall of the human race.
Porn and the musical as I see them are microcosms for the human desire for idealistic situations and entertainment that both stimulates and relaxes. Because humans by nature are attracted to the beauty and simplicity of music, Broadway has seen huge success in both plays that show the triumph of man over adversity and the heart-wrenching drama of a life gone awry (made more digestible through musical theory and brilliant lyrics). Porn exceeds every man’s greatest fantasy by making sex accessible and a part of everyday life that the characters seem to have no problem fathoming. While musical theatre offers a deeper and more intelligent form of entertainment, porn is a very successful industry because it serves a function in society, both to entertain (as in laugh at the fake orgasms and absurd acting) and satisfy (self explanatory).
So you may be asking, why are you dissecting porno and musical theatre? Are these basic forms of entertainment really that telling and philosophical, I mean what is the big deal? The big deal is, no one seems to care. I find it a wondrous thing that humans can accept both mediocrity (porn) and absurdity (musical theatre) no questions asked. Obviously we find so redeeming value in these amusements. But are they not merely the fringe of what is acceptable in the mainstream. What these two genres make clear is that we will accept anything if it entertains us, it explains reality TV, Ben and J.Lo. and the over dramatic media. It isn’t just musicals and porn’s that have the ability to shroud reality in the absurd; it is all of modern entertainment. These once off-beat categories have led the way for all of entertainment to march into the land of the surreal. Like a car accident, we can’t help but look on. I too am lured in, although I may draw the line a bit sooner than others, it is only human nature that I crave the ridiculous.