Thursday, August 2, 2007

Why Bob Jensen is a big damn lie -- The "Delusional" edition

Having been one who has crossed swords on more than one occasion with Robert Jensen and his band of "male feminist" guilt trippers, I can attest quite well to his ability to think outside of the box...that is, that box strategically located between his buttcheeks...when it comes to porn and its supposedly abrasive effects on men and women.

Well...I happen to have proof of how so far off he really is when it comes to analyzing porn.

In the essay that Ren fisked so well this last post ago, Jensen refers to 15 porn films that he claimed to study and analyze for their abrasive and injurous content. One of those films happened to be Delusional, a Vivid "feature" produced in 2000 for the "couples" market.

For those who missed it, here's Jensen's brief take on that video, as adapted from that essay:

This is what quality erotic film entertainment for the couples
market looks like“


Delusional,” a Vivid release in 2000, is another of the 15 tapes I viewed.
In its final sex scene, the lead male character (Randy) professes his love for
the female lead (Lindsay). After discovering that her husband had been cheating
on her, Lindsay had been slow to get into another relationship, waiting for the
right man -- a sensitive man -- to come along. It looked as if Randy was the
man. “I’ll always be here for you no matter what,” Randy tells her. “I just want
to look out for you.” Lindsay lets down her defenses, and they embrace.

After about three minutes of kissing and removing their clothes, Lindsay
begins oral sex on Randy while on her knees on the couch, and he then performs
oral sex on her while she lies on the couch. They then have intercourse, with
Lindsay saying, “Fuck me, fuck me, please” and “I have two fingers in my ass --
do you like that?” This leads to the usual progression of positions: She is on
top of him while he sits on the couch, and then he enters her vaginally from
behind before he asks, “Do you want me to fuck you in the ass?” She answers in
the affirmative; “Stick it in my ass,” she says. After two minutes of anal
intercourse, the scene ends with him masturbating and ejaculating on her
breasts.

Which is the most accurate description of what contemporary men in the
United States want sexually, Armageddon or Vivid? The question assumes a
significant difference between the two; the answer is that both express the same
sexual norm. “Blow Bang #4” begins and ends with the assumption that women live
for male pleasure and want men to ejaculate on them. “Delusional” begins with
the idea that women want something more caring in a man, but ends with her
begging for anal penetration and ejaculation. One is cruder, the other slicker.
Both represent a single pornographic mindset, in which male pleasure defines sex
and female pleasure is a derivate of male pleasure. In pornography, women just happen to love exactly what men love to do to them, and what men love to do in pornography is to control and use, which allows the men who watch pornography to control and use as well.



[Final sentence emphasis added by me.]

Now, that certainly sounds like the ultimate in woman-hating, right??

Not. So. Fast.

Enter my friend and colleague Sheldon Ranz, who happens to be a serious porn auteur, serious enough to have been a paid in full reviewer for Adult Video News (AVN) magazine during the 1980s and 1990s, and who was fortunate and seredipitous enough to have interviewed Nina Hartley for a leftist Jewish magazine called Shmate way back in 1989. (He is still friends with Nina to this day; she was the first maid at his wedding.) [Not the other way around; thanks to Sheldon for the correction.]

Anyways....as part of a previous thread over at Nina's forum touching on Robert Jensen's myopia regarding porn, Sheldon decided to take on his own review of Delusional based on his having viewed the film more than a couple of times. Here's the results of his studies, which paints a, shall we say, slightly different tale than that of Mr. Jensen, to say the least:

[Posted by Sheldon Ranz to Nina Hartley's forum originally on 9-22-04;
reprinted tonight by request from moi and posted here with permission]

OK, sorry for the delay. I hope y’all think what follows below was worth
the wait.

Oddly enough, no review of Delusional appears on AVN’s website, so I’ve
compensated by writing my own review in AVN mode, as I did for real from 1990
–1997:


DELUSIONAL(2000). Vivid Film. Director: Robby D. Script: Robby D. &
Tiffany Enright. Starring Cheyenne Silver, with Ryan Conner, Kiri, Dale DaBone,
Joey Ray and Bobby Vitale. 69 Min.

Titled for the three delusions running rampant in this feature, the film
opens with office colleagues Cheyenne and Dale bemoaning their nowhere social
lives. Dale offhandedly wonders if he’s gay since he hasn’t dated in six months
and urges Cheyenne not to give up on men after she caught her husband (Joey Ray)
boffing a hooker (Kiri) in their own home. Now living alone, Cheyenne has a
on-line chat partner named “Alex” who strikes her as her dream man – kind,
gentle and loyal. After one nightly chat, she tabs over to her Enter button and
her joy bell rings. Later, she has a nightmare involving her getting laid by her
now ex-husband in some noisy dive.

The next day, she meets “Alex”, who turns out not to be a man (Delusion #1)
but a babe with a flamboyantly blonde hairdo, Ryan Conner. Both taken aback and
curious, and wishing to avoid her nightmare scenario, Cheyenne gives Sapphic sex
a shot. After auditing Ryan’s initiating cooz course, her lips smooch and smack
before saving Ryan’s privates for last. Cheyenne wakes up the next morning
alone, Ryan having left her a note with a flower. Later, she tells Ryan at a
restaurant that she’s uncomfortable having a relationship with a woman because
of what others might say. Ryan yells at her, but abruptly smiles and lures her
into the back for a torrid threesome with Bobby Vitale. Cheyenne conspicuously
keeps her high heels on, as if to say, “I want to be bad!” Ryan yells at Bobby
for spurting on them (which she spurred him on to do) and Cheyenne is put off by
Ryan’s increasingly hostile possessiveness.

Having said that he’s been saving himself for her, Dale finally gets his
chance to be with Cheyenne when she takes him home with her. Wearing earrings
and modest tattoos, he looks like a pirate out of a Harlequin Romance novel.
Their foreplay is sweet, despite Cheyenne’s dreadful acting here and throughout
this feature. After a brief but intense exchange of oral sex, she says, “I want
to feel you inside me” and intercourse ensues (as they say on "Law and Order:
SVU"). Equal time is given to missionary and cowgirl, with Cheyenne fingering
her pooper chute throughout. Finally getting the hint, he asks, “Do you want me
to stick it in your ass?” Relieved, she replies, “Yes, I want you to stick it in
my ass!” Shakespeare would be proud.

Watching this from outside, Ryan is fed up. Armed with a liquor bottle and
a gun, she storms in, claiming Cheyenne as her lover (Delusion #2) and
threatening to ventilate Dale. Cheyenne knocks her out with the bottle, but she
escapes while the couple call the cops. Cut to “6 Months Later…”, when someone
knocks on Cheyenne and Dale’s door, leaving behind Ryan’s telltale flower. [The
feature then fades out with 'scary' music.]

Delusion #3 is our heroine’s pop-culture cluelessness. As Michael Douglas
learned in "Fatal Attraction", any assertive blonde named Alex with a fancy
hairdo is asylum bait. I guess Cheyenne didn’t see that movie, since she came
Glenn Close to buying the farm. The feature includes outtakes and bloopers.
Market to those who like their sex scenes safe, short and to the point; and away
from those offended by the blatant homophobia of lesbian psycho
characters.

************************************************** ******************

Comparing the actual contents of the film with Robert Jensen’s own
commentary, what do we find?

Jensen Delusion #1: as a self-proclaimed politically aware gay man, why
does he NEVER mention the "lesbian Fatal Attraction" subplot? This would be an
easy way to bash a mainstream, couples-oriented porn studio.

Jensen Delusion #2: it used to be that women would talk about "saving
themselves" for the right man - now it is a male protagonist (Dale Dabone) who
talks that way. Why does Jensen not see this reversal of stereotypes and how it
undercuts his notion of the man "using and controlling" women?

Jensen Delusion #3: Dale is comfortable enough with his masculinity that he
has no problem speculating in front of Cheyenne that he might be gay - also
overlooked by Jensen.

Jensen Delusion #4: the, ahem, climactic sex scene between Cheyenee and
Dale is totally directed by Cheyenne. Basically, he's a puppy who does whatever
she tells him to do. Not only is she NOT begging, but he's just grateful to be a
satellite orbiting her sun. Who's "using" and "controlling" here? And, as I said
previously, asking permission is contrary to the assumption of entitlement
underlying Jensen's notions of "control" and "using".

Jensen Delusion #5: since Jensen bashes "Delusional" precisely where it is
progressive, and ignores it, in part, where it is reactionary, you have to
wonder what sort of journalism he is passing on to his students. Is this what is
meant by, "Those who can't...teach"?

Now...the first reader here that is willing to skim through Robert Jensen's archives and find ONE essay on the original Fatal Attraction movie -- you know, the one where Glenn Close melts down and almost whacks Michael Douglas, perfect prep for his balling Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, I'd say) -- gets a free pack of Oreo cookies and a gallon of milk for dunking. Would Jensen say that Douglas' character in FA was doing the dominating as much as he preposes that the guys in Delusional were??? Or, perhaps it's only in his mind that since real women don't ever ask for anal sex or ask for spooge in the face, those who do in porn are only either "degrading themselves" for the assumed male audience (must mean gay males, I guess, since by his rules, women are too pure to watch such contemptuous sex) or are mere slaves of the evol trenchcoat-bearing dungeon masters who trap them in such scenes.

You will also notice that Delusional is actually one of the darker "couples" films out there...a bit categorically different from the more conventional style of couples features which usually feature vanilla couples engaging in happy, joyous, mutually pleasurable sex for fun....without the head games and mindfucks. Perhaps it's dark themes were what probably attracted Jensen to review it in lieu of other videos out there??

But then again, it's not like Bob Jensen to extrapolate his own myopia about what men expect from sex and what he thinks women expect from men who view porn onto others....and call it "radical feminism", riiiiiiiight???

Delusional, indeed.

31 comments:

  1. "Enter my friend and colleague Sheldon Ranz,...who was fortunate and seredipitous enough to have interviewed Nina Hartley for a leftist Jewish magazine called Shmate way back in 1989."

    That was a good interview. I still remember it from back when it first came out and really feeling like it added some concrete evidence to my pro-porn arguments. After all, here's an intelligent, self-aware woman who clearly could be doing something else if she wants to, yet she's doing porn because she likes it.

    Anthony has it posted here.

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  2. I gotta say, actually I found the official copy more offputting than Jensen's, mostly because, unlike Jensen apparently, I don't find any of those acts shocking, shocking.

    I do however wince upon reading

    "initiating cooz course,"

    "saving Ryan’s privates"

    and God help me "pooper chute."

    Seriously, I would love to go on a crusade to -stop with the fucking cutesy junior high copy.- I mean, is anyone out there actually turned on by this? I suppose there might be *someone*, but mostly I think: Or is it more, more often, we're deliberately making it -less- erotic so people won't feel quite as uncomfortable? Because I definitely get that from people who use this sort of language. -snigger- -point-

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  3. that said: yeah, the plot sounds...eccchhh.

    Seriously, I -wish- people would critique the pr0n industry/films/etc. in the same way they do the regular media: Stop getting so hung up on ohmygod BODY FLUIDS AND ASS SEX!!ELEVEN and look at the context. Look at plain ol' garden variety sexism and homophobia within the -content.-

    Of course, in order to do that, to really focus on the misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, lookism, industry exploitation, etc. (not to mention aesthetic critiques of godawful dialogue, acting, etc, etc.), one would have to finally fully commit to oh, actually, it's -not- the sex that's the problem, after all.

    On the other hand, if one believes that actually, certain sex acts are degrading and icky and misogynist -all by themselves, no matter what,- then well yeah, Houston, we've got a problem.

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  4. Belle....that wasn't an official review; just Sheldon riffing freehand at Nina's forum. His sense of humor is...shall we say, eccentric.

    As far as I know, not even AVN has an official review of "Delusional"...and I know that they wouldn't use such terms. At least, not in a public review.


    Anthony

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  5. Yeah, fair enough, and I like Sheldon. Just, I see that kind of thing -all the time;- it's sort of the hallmark of really bad porn/erotic writing, or one of them.
    i mean, yeah, if his own goal was to poke fun, then sure, "saving Ryan's privates" (which i am sure as cheese as cheese is an actual porn title somewhere), that's cute.

    but still: "pooper chute? POOPER CHUTE?!" :headdesk:

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  6. anyway, yeah, it gets me how much of "soft porn" (which it sounds like this almost is, with the attempt at "classy," just y'know with the actual acts) is like this, with the craptastic "noir" shit to spice it up. You see those titles all over Blockbuster (of the no NC-17 policy) and late night Showtime and suchlike. Ironically it ends up being a lot more misogynistic than straight on no plot, just fucking hardcore shit, in my books at least. Ooo, dirty naughty, we can't show the really sexy bits so let's spice it up by adding a murder plot, and guess who likely gets it?

    gah.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ahhh, yes....now you're getting to one of my fundamental pet peeves about "feature" sex vids: overwrought, overacted bad plot stolen from mainstream box office hits as a means to sell the hardcore sex to "auteurs" and couples as somewhat "softer" than the usual "gonzo" sex vids.

    I mean, there are only so many ways that you can stretch "Fatal Attraction" scenarios...even if you include the naughty bits.

    And oh, Belle, your hammer-hits-nail-dead-solid-square instincts are right on as usual about those softcore "Skinimax" features; I guess that they feel that the only way to justify the (fake, simulated) sex is to wrap the plot in the usual "femme fatale gets killed for her lusts in the end" plots.

    Now, there are a few more sex-positive and lust-friendly themes in softcore these days than there were during the height of the "Blowtime"/"Skinemax" erotica phonenom during the late 90's and early 2000's....mostly because of more input from sex-pos women and the push from hardcore for more "realistic" approaches to softcore sex movies. The old habits, though, tend to die pretty hard.

    I'd rather see people happily fuck than get killed, myself. If I want to see human dwama, I'll watch the soaps.


    Anthony

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  8. OK..that should be "I'd rather seem people get fucked and loving it than to see them get killed, myself"...sorry for the lack of clarity there.


    Anthony

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  9. Yeah, Belle, "pooper chute" is pretty bad...but trust me, I've seen worse metaphors for the anal cavity...far worse.

    At the risk of getting banished: try this one that I've seen recently for size: "chocolate highway".

    The retch bucket is on standby.


    Anthony

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  10. Oh I've heard all of them.

    In junior high.

    'S my point.

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  11. I know this had a point, but my brain shut off at "pooper chute." :-P

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  12. And I vastly prefer the plotless porn as well.

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  13. And honestly, Jensen's description makes the movie seem FAR more appealing than Ranz's:

    Guy tells girl he loves her, seemingly asking for forgiveness for cheating. She's glad to hear it and wants him back. They have a lot of sex.

    Sounds fine to me. I can't see anything to complain about.

    Whereas reading Ranz' honest summary of the whole plot I see a lot more to complain about: Dykes are psycho.

    What exactly is Bobby boy hoping I'll get angry at?

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  14. "At the risk of getting banished: try this one that I've seen recently for size: "chocolate highway"."

    Yeah. Hershey Highway is just... ten kinds of gross. I think the people who come up with that shit (har har) are just part of an insidious plot to gross me out so bad I never top again.

    IT WON'T WORK.

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  15. What I find odd is that so many of the "teen dyke dwama" movies like "Lost and Delerious" and "My Summer of Love" have kind of gotten a free pass on the "psycho lesbian" thing, even though that's so central to the plotline of these movies. Perhaps because much of the audience for such movies are young women with a taste for high drama and "doomed love" themes.

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  16. Nice post, Anthony.

    You see those titles all over Blockbuster (of the no NC-17 policy) and late night Showtime and suchlike. Ironically it ends up being a lot more misogynistic than straight on no plot, just fucking hardcore shit, in my books at least.

    Yeah, I remember looking at some softcore porn (a bit more porny than the B movie stuff) and there tended to be more violence, misogyny, rape, etc. than hardcore. They have to "spice it up" to make up for what they left out.

    I guess that they feel that the only way to justify the (fake, simulated) sex is to wrap the plot in the usual "femme fatale gets killed for her lusts in the end" plots.

    I see this a lot. A common scenario is that someone, particularly female, has to be punished (often killed) for their sexuality in the end. That way the sex is "justified" by it being a morality tale. I think part of it is to get past the movie ratings censors. When I first saw _Body of Evidence_ (1993) what I told people is that "if they had cut the last 10 minutes of the film, it would have gotten an X rating". I have seen quite a few films that would have been better if you cut off the bad ending of an otherwise somewhat sympathetic portrayal.

    Market to those who like their sex scenes safe, short and to the point; and away
    from those offended by the blatant homophobia of lesbian psycho
    characters.


    I don't see the lesbian psycho characters as being blatent homophobia.
    I think they are ok in films such as Basic Instinct, which despite the protests I do not see as homophobic in intent. And I liked the female power in that one. Rather it is the pattern of having lots of those films and not enough positive roles for lesbians that is homophobic and the blame for that probably can be traced back to 1935 and the Catholic Decency League (?) that lead to film ratings/self censorship.
    Non-consensual violence is tolerated in films far more than consensual sex.

    Stop getting so hung up on ohmygod BODY FLUIDS AND ASS SEX!!ELEVEN and look at the context.

    The comment containing the excerpt was right on the money, Belledame.

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  17. No, the difference between "My Summer of Love" and "Basic Instinct" is that in the former, you have nuanced and complex characters and a female (lesbian, however identified) protagonist; "Basic Instinct" was yet another reactionary pile o'crap:

    1) Icepicky Sharon Stone might've been one thing all by herself, but the real psycho lesbian is construed as a stalkery stalkerton obsessed with Stone, who of course Michael Douglas (!!!) beats out for the prize of the fatale bi woman

    2) Stone is seen with another woman primarily as titillation for Douglas, in the nightclub

    3) All kinds of sexism and lame conservative hetboy fantasies of what kinky wild sex is like all over the fucking place (I have the original screenplay and will be happy to back that up)

    4) MICHAEL FUCKING DOUGLAS as an object of desire. To a bi woman. In preference to a woman who's no more unpleasant/insane than Douglas in personality, and does -not- look like a peeved hamster, and I rest my case.

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  18. oh and of course, the straight (and did i mention it's MICHAEL MOTHERFUCKING DOUGLAS PTUI PTUI) man is the protagonist.

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  19. 1)Correction:

    I was never at Nina's wedding. She was the Best Woman at mine, whose 11th anniversary is August 18.

    2)Notes on Style:

    We don't all have the same sense of humor. Junior high school or not, I have always dug comic Sarah Silverman's humor (as well as her physique).

    I also enjoy turning a clever pun, hence "saving Ryan's privates". I call them "groin groaners."

    If I don't enjoy something I'm reviewing, I have always felt an obligation to amuse my readership. If I do enjoy it, my obligation then is to enlighten them.

    3) More on Jensen: after writing my review of "Delusional", I noticed that Jensen made a point of ignoring the four scenes prior to the fifth one that he focused on. It's clear to me that he did so because acknowledging their content would undermine his preferred anti-porn talking points.

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  20. OK....I stand corrected on the errata on Sheldon attending Nina's wedding; forgot that it was the other way around.

    BTW..welcome in, Professor Ranz....I'm sure that your insights will be most welcome and useful here...as long as you watch yourself over the puns. ;-)


    Anthony

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  21. Just to clear up something referred to by Belledame: since I'm not a pornographer, I wasn't trying to turn people on by my review of "Delusional" or any review of mine published by Adult Video News. Hopefully, people laughed out loud or at least chuckled.

    And speaking of the type of humor employed, it may not be something I can control - can we say "incontinent"? For example, here are my 9-year-old twins' favorite jokes:

    "Did you hear about the movie 'Constipation'? It never came out!"

    "Did you hear about the movie 'Diarrhea'? It's alll over town!"

    Since I never told them these jokes, I believe it's part of my family's genetic heritage. It must be those 'anal' alleles in the chromosomes.

    Anthony: As far as suppressing the puns, well, it's an addiction. But out of respect for you, I'll try my breast.

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  22. "Since I never told them these jokes, I believe it's part of my family's genetic heritage. It must be those 'anal' alleles in the chromosomes."

    Yeah, but I'd much rather my sex not involve nine year olds' poop jokes, personally. If you get off on them, more power to you.

    Seriously I've no idea why you take it so personally that I'm not laughing. Go find some other dads of poop obsessed nine year olds and laugh at making sex a poop joke all you want, I don't care, I'm just not laughing along.

    Yeesh!

    *Strong Bad impression* I say there's PEEEEEEEEEEEPULA WITH TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS, I SAY THERE'S PEEEEEEEPUL WITH TOO MUCH A-TIME ON THEIR HANDS!

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  23. Belledame:
    Thanks for sharing your views on the film. I added My Summer of Love to my queue but I don't think it is a tenuous comparison as it appears to be a different genre and a low budget film that will be invisible to most of the general public. I don't think the lesbian needs to be the protagonist, though I like it when that is the case.
    There are a number of more positive movies out there. It is also 12 years newer.

    But for me, the negative aspects of this movie don't outweight the positive.

    1) Icepicky Sharon Stone might've been one thing all by herself, but the real psycho lesbian is construed as a stalkery stalkerton obsessed with Stone, who of course Michael Douglas (!!!) beats out for the prize of the fatale bi woman


    Ms. Icepick I liked, in a sexy intelligent confident woman wielding power sort of way even if she abuses the power. Could have done without Roxy's stalker behavior, myself. Don't like that the other psychos in the movie (other than Douglas himself) were all lesbian/bi but Ms. Icepick attracted similar characters. Would have much preferred to see at least one really positive lesbian/bi character as counterbalance and fewer of the psycho characters being lesbian/bi or even women. And Douglas beats Roxy only after Roxy has rigor mortis. Roxy's purpose in the film seems to be largely to make Icepick look guilty of a crime then proved innocent. And even though he gets her, the ending suggests it is by a very thin margin and on her terms, or else.


    2) Stone is seen with another woman primarily as titillation for Douglas, in the nightclub


    Well, since Douglas is the protagonist it is easy to see it that way. Not so sure that isn't secondary in Icepick's motives and that the dynamic isn't more complicated, here. But there is too much lesbianism as titillation for men. It is ok if they find it that way but that shouldn't be what it is all about.

    3) All kinds of sexism and lame conservative hetboy fantasies of what kinky wild sex is like all over the fucking place (I have the original screenplay and will be happy to back that up)

    Don't actually remember much of the sex stuff. I like that Icepick has power and makes the sexist pigs look ridiculous. And some of the stuff you refer to I might see as developing the male characters prior to shooting them down. There are movies where one needs to distinguish content from intent, and sexist or heterosexist content is sometimes used in opposition to the attitudes expressed by the characters.


    4) MICHAEL FUCKING DOUGLAS as an object of desire. To a bi woman. In preference to a woman who's no more unpleasant/insane than Douglas in personality, and does -not- look like a peeved hamster, and I rest my case.


    Well, somewhat a matter of personal taste. I assume some women actually like him or he wouldn't be cast in so many movies. Personally, aside from how it reflects on Icepick's portrayal, I wouldn't have minded him getting the Icepick in the end, based on his character or his general Michael Douglas-ness.

    With censorship, there is a sort of progression:
    - Invisibility
    - victims
    - simple villain
    - non-sympathetic characters to laugh
    at
    - cryptolesbian, etc.
    - villains who turn out to be likeable, titilating, charming, etc.
    - villains who turn out not to be villans
    - more sympathetic characters to laugh at/with
    - portrayal as full characters

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.
    -- Mahatma Gandhi


    So, I see Basic Instinct as getting a toe in the door. While there have been some much more positive movies, basic instinct has actually reached a wider audience.

    Here are some of the lesbian or related movies I have seen, plus the one you mentioned with US box office takes (from IMDB):
    $117 million Basic Instinct (1992) ($335 million worldwide, $50 million rentals, unknown DVD sales)
    $1 million for My Summer of Love (2004)
    $2 for Better than Chocolate (1999)
    $1.6 million for Chasing Amy (also somewhat controversial for content)
    $2 million for The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love (1995),
    $3.8 million for Bound (1996)
    $98 million for The Color Purple (1985) (crytpolesbian in the film version)
    $23 million for Boys on the Side (1995)
    $12.5 million Boys Don't Cry (1999)
    n/a for Gia (1998) (TV)
    $11.5 for Henry & June (1990)
    n/a for If these Walls could Talk 2 (2000) (TV)
    $82 million for Brahm Stoker's Dracula (1992)
    $45 million for Thelma & Louise (1991) (female-bonding/cryptolesbian)
    $1.4 million for Gazon maudit (aka French Twist) (1995)
    $80 million for Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) (female-bonding/cryptolesbian)
    $0.5 million for Foxfire (1996) (female-bonding/cryptolesbian)
    $2 million for But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)
    n/a for The Sex Monster (1999)
    n/a for Tipping the Velvet (2002) (TV)

    So, Basic Instinct sold more tickets than most of the others (excluding cryptolesbian films) combined. It's popularity made it one of the first films to be released on DVD. A movie needs to combat the prejudices of the film ratings board, studio heads, financiers, theater owners, and the audiences, as well as the film makers assumptions about what they can get away with. So, good points and bad, it is probably one of the biggest lesbian/bi exposures in US film history and the portrayal is at least somewhat sympathetic (even if some of that comes from men thinking with their dicks). Say what you will about objectification, it is still midway between invisibility and humanization.

    Wikipedia says:
    .... Australian critic Shannon J. Harvey of the Sunday Times calling it one of the "1990s finest productions, doing more for female empowerment than any feminist rally. Stone - in her star-making performance - is as hot and sexy as she is ice-pick cold".
    Ok, maybe a bit exaggerated.

    Is it appropriate that Icepick is one of the most visable representations of lesbianism/female bisexuality? No. But at least she is highly visible, moved the Overton Window a bit, and probably made it easier for other films to be made both due to the movie's success and the controversy calling attention to the general portrayal.

    Gotta run.

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  24. "Better than Chocolate (1999)"

    God, that movie. A textbook case of somebody trying to do a movie with all the right politics and ending up with something totally lame.

    Part of the problem was that it tried to pack too many "issues" into one movie – coming out to your parents, lesbian transphobia, Canadian censorship, etc. Too much not to end up being treated very superficially.

    At least they got managed to squeeze some decent sex scenes into it – probably that films best redeeming quality.

    "Brahm Stoker's Dracula (1992)"

    I must have missed the lesbian angle in that one.

    Also, you left out Female Perversions (1996) (which is either a horribly didactic "think" film or a not-bad unintentional comedy depending on how you view it).

    ReplyDelete
  25. iamcuriousblue:
    I enjoyed Better than Chocolate as did the other people I have watched it with.

    Bram Stoker's Dracula, the book, had a lesbian coupling but the movie may have just hinted at it (haven't seen it since the theatrical release), so I should have tagged that one as crypto.

    Haven't seen Female Perversions and it is not shipping on DVD, isn't on netflix, and used DVD copies go for $50-$125 on amazon though VHS copies can be had for $5 or so.

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  26. yeah, i enjoyed Better Than Chocolate well enough, although I agree it could've been way, way better--it did feel like a thesis piece, a lot of the dialogue, acting, etc. was forced feeling. even so, I was glad for it.

    Female Perversions--OY, that was cringeworthy. how could anything with such a promising title be so spectacularly unfun?

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  27. "Haven't seen Female Perversions and it is not shipping on DVD, isn't on netflix, and used DVD copies go for $50-$125 on amazon though VHS copies can be had for $5 or so."

    I'm pretty sure any well-stocked brick-and-morter video store should have it, at least on VHS.

    Tilda Swinton is a great actress, but has been in more than her fair share of movies that were total wastes of her talent. ("The Deep End" and "Teknolust" being a couple of others that come to mind.)

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  28. oh god yes. even Orlando, which bored the crap out of me. altho' i might be biased in that my loath├ęd department head in grad school forced me/us to watch it. In his house. And then had us out the door before the thing had finished rewinding. anyway.

    then again, seeing her as a twelve-foot-tall dominatrix in Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe makes up for a lot.

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  29. "Jensen refers to 15 porn films that he claimed to study and analyze..."

    I

    Want

    Robert

    Jensen's

    Job

    NOW!!!

    He gets PAID to "study" 15 porno movies?

    And I have to pay HBO $ 29.95/month!

    Life is not fair!!!!

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  30. Coming back to this via my recent post...

    "Delusional" begins with
    the idea that women want something more caring in a man, but ends with her
    begging for anal penetration and ejaculation.


    What I do not understand is why the two have to be mutually exclusive!! That speaks volumes about Jensen. Why can't a woman want a caring partner, who fucks her in the ass and cums on her, if that is what she wants?? If you're into assplay, does that mean suddenly you're not a caring person??

    Wow, this is all SOOOO revolutionary, this either/or bullshit...

    ReplyDelete