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Sun, Apr. 15th, 2007, 06:10 pm

My Jargon

I seem to have ended up developing a specialized vocabulary for some of the ideas I keep referring back to. This is a little glossary of the terms I've been using repeatedly:

Muffins (original use)
A routine porn movie or a conventional-looking porn performer. The range of dirty movies I can rent at my local video shop is about as broad, compared to the range of possible sexually-explicit entertainment, as the range of muffins is compared to the range of all possible food. The world contains a huge range of sexy sorts of people and sexy sorts of sex, and yet the representation in porn has gone from painfully narrow to even narrower.

One of the reasons I find the muffin analogy useful is that it's a way of talking about the depressing narrowness of the genre as it currently exists without necessarily condemning the material itself or the people who enjoy it. You can like muffins just fine without wanting to subsist on a diet of nothing else for the rest of your life.

Procrusteanism (original use)
Procrustes, in Greek mythology, was a bandit who stretched his victims or cut off their feet so they would exactly fit his bed. There are two kinds of sexual Procrusteans. One finds that his sexuality is not in tune with his ideology, and tries, through force of will and self-reproach, to reshape himself to fit. The other kind devises an ideology that proves that his own peculiar sexuality is actually the correct one that everyone else should adopt as well.

The Archipelago of Desire (original use)
The notion that anyone has one sexual type, one ideal lover, does not match my experience of reality. The Archipelago is a name for the complex set of nodes of attraction that I think each of us has in our libidos. Labels, particularly for sexually orientation, can provide the illusion of order and obscure the complex outlines of these shapes, blurring out the fractally complex boundaries of what we actually find attractive.

Gravity Wells (original use)
Discussions of many topics, particularly on the net, can be drawn towards well-worn paths of rote agreement or reflexive opposition. This tendency often obscures fresher or more subtle approaches to the the subject, or consideration of related but distinct subjects. I call these more comfortable and familiar arguments gravity wells.

Mon, Apr. 16th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
sushis

I like these words.

I appreciate the coining of "Procrusteanism" in particular, as it's so horribly prevalent in discussions of sexuality, and particularly of fantasy and writing concerning sexuality. I find it odd how, so often, not sharing in a particular sexual preference (I generally mean something more specific than preferences like "gay" or "bisexual" but, it applies to those, too!) correlates for many people with being disgusted by it. And, visceral disgust isn't enough, there also has to be moral outrage for many people. I don't understand why a person can't just say "Yeah, that seems odd to me, but, no one is making *me* participate, so maybe it's just not my cup of tea and, if I'm not interested in learning about it from the point of view of the people who *do* like it, maybe I should move on.".

Tue, Apr. 17th, 2007 02:14 am (UTC)
vinnie_tesla

My friend Nick Urfe wrote a great essay a few years ago about...well..a whole bunch of stuff, Nick being Nick. The big take-away for me, though, was this notion that the concept of 'squick' added a valuable ability to talk about personal aversions in a non-(or at least less-)judgemental way, which English was hitherto lacking.

Tue, Apr. 17th, 2007 02:49 am (UTC)
sushis

I didn't read the essay yet ( promise I will later!) but, I've been distressed to frequently see "squick" used in a patently *judgemental* way. Sometimes someone will start by saying "These are just my personal squicks" but soon others will chime in with "OMG! No. Just, no. Slash (or non-con fiction, or S & M, or RPS, or porn, or whatever...) IS EVIL."

It upsets me, since I agree with you that personal aversions are interesting, important, and worth discussing, but must be kept seperate from the concept of morality. Not that morality and squick cannot combine (for instance, most decent people are, justly, both morally AND viscerally repelled by actual rape) but that no one should think that a visceral antipathy to something is sufficient to prove it immoral (and, for that matter, no one should think that just because they're attracted to something, it must be ok...Perhaps fantasy is where a decent person can put their interest in things that they know to be morally wrong in RL...Just a random thought.)