Very nice post, Dr Creon (although I suspect that I'm not clever enough to fully appreciated your erudition).
My own reaction to porn is not that of -- ahem -- boredom. But rather a sense of worry about the actors -- hoping that they're not unhappy (a point, I guess, that you touch upon in your post). I worry about practically everything, so this is probably only to be expected in my case.
Did you discuss with Mr Profane the idea that porn could also be art? Does the definition of porn (which I guess hinges on the fact that it's designed to arouse sexual excitement) preclude it from being a success at an artistic level, i.e. with great lighting, cinematography, editing, etc. could you make a porn film which is also a genuine work of art?
I think the criteria for a cinematic work to qualify as art would preclude a film from working successfully on a pornographic level.
Either the art would detract from the effectiveness of the porn, or vice (pun intended) versa.
Yeah, David, you're soooo dumb. (Insert smiley face.)
Generally, the impression I got was that porn was something people chose to do and wanted to do, for a variety of reasons.
But at the same time there are some who enjoy it more than others and some who maybe don't really enjoy it too much and possibly regret their career choice. Um, much like you'd find with a bunch of doctors or teachers or journalists or whatever.
I don't think Benny described himself as an artist or his work as art. But (leaving aside the endless qualifications we could make on the subject) the way he thinks about his work struck me as pretty much how an artist thinks.
And, yes, Jeremy, your point is acknowledged here and was part of our conversation - Benny referred to how annoying it was that he'd be doing something cool and then have to interrupt it with a whole lot of sex. But in part that's the crux of his "artistic" challenge. He's attempting to incorporate the pornography (and the freedoms it allows, along with the restrictions it dicates) within a new kind of genre that is far more than simply porn. But which is also erotic etc and which is most definitely a celebration of the possibilities of sex as a public thing, if you know what I mean.
Another real issue for him in terms of market viability is that because he actually cares about how his stuff looks and sounds etc, it costs him a lot more to make than the average cut-price porn.
So that sounds like a kind of artistic sacrifice as well.
I could go on a bit, but I'll leave it for now.
If it's cynical Benny you're talking to, alt. porn simply means more of the same porn clichés but now incorporating tattoos, piercings, hair dye, better scripts and cooler music.
I had a look at Mr Profane's website as I was curious as to what alt.porn looked like. It was expecting to have the usual "Pft! Porn. Woteva!' feeling, but it was different. It was like I'd stumbled across some nudie sexy pics a friend had hidden on her website. I felt like I shouldn't be looking.
I guess it was how relatively ordinary the pornstars looked. In my social circle, I'm more likely to know slighty punky, pierced and tattooed types than people who look like mainstream pornstars.
In fact, does the stereotypical pornstar look (bleached-out blond hair, thin eyebrows, giant lips, tanned skin, talon-like finger nails, implanted boobs, invisible pubes) exist so we're not reminded of anyone we (well, most of us) know in everyday life?
So while the alt.porn stars do look like "real" people, is this, in the world of the porn viewer, a good thing? (Or, when it comes down to the world of the professional masturbator, does it not really matter?)
Well, it makes it a more interesting thing probably. So maybe people who like to think while they're masturbating enjoy it.
And there must be a fairly wide range of porn viewers out there. There's certainly a wide range of masturbators.
But something interesting Benny said was that, as he does the packaging and posting of his independent films, he knows that a very good proportion of his customers are women. I think he said about thirty percent, which he assured me is way higher than in the regular porn market.