News for penises and their simulacra

(Racy content — consider the title — so not suitable for everyone.)

Two new annoyances with the Penis Ban on WordPress, Facebook, and Google+. In two recent postings on AZBlogX: “Bear poets in 1963” on the 20th, with a Richard Avedon photo of poets (and lovers) Peter Orlovsky and Allen Ginsberg, in which Orlovsky’s (flaccid) penis is not at all the focus of the piece, but is important to its interpretation; and “Voluntary cuckoldry” on the 21st, with a striking graphic illustrating the roles of the three characters in such a relationship, a graphic with two stylized penises in it, one flaccid and one erect. (I will soon get around to posting on voluntary cuckoldry on this blog, but without the graphic.)

In both cases, the penises are central to the composition, and not as objects of veneration or erotic triggers; my fondness for cocks in these functions is well-known, and though in principle I think that that more open carnal sexuality would be a good thing, I’m willing to keep such images in a protected place. But in these two cases, I bridle at the Penis Ban.

Nevertheless, this blog is extremely important to me, so I don’t want to do anything that would threaten it. But I can still complain.

In contrast to the two problematic images I just described, consider another image, from an article in Le Soir on the 20th, “D’immenses graffitis de sexe choquent à Bruxelles” [‘Huge sex graffiti shock in Brussels’], an image that was quickly posted on Facebook:

Les habitants et les passants de l’avenue du Parc, à la Barrière de Saint-Gilles, ont été sacrément surpris, voire choqués. Un graffiti d’un gigantesque pénis a été dessiné sur la façade d’un bâtiment. À la croisée de la descente vers le Parvis et la montée vers l’Hôtel de ville, il est difficile de le rater.

A gigantic penis is indeed hard to miss, and shocking to some. But it’s not a real penis, just a graffiti penis, and a literally disembodied one at that. Simulacra of penises, even fully erect ones, escape the Penis Ban if they aren’t presented as parts of a real human body. So photographs of giant models of phalluses in fertility festivals and the like, though shocking to some, are unproblematic. But the penises in the cuckoldry graphic, though highly stylized, are presented as parts of bodies, one straightforwardly human, the other the body of a man-bull — so they’re a problem.

Even disembodied penis-simulacra could be questionable, if they are sufficiently realistic. As I reported back in August (in “The forest of dildos”), faced with a Channel 1 Releasing ad for pornstar dildos, I decided that they were so realistic that I couldn’t risk posting the ad on my regular blog.

But now to the visual arts, film, and photography, where there is considerable aversion to the public display of penises, especially erect ones. Two postings on the topic: one on AZBlogX (on 1/20/13, “Dick aversion”), one on this blog (on 8/22/16, “The Fine Art Exemption”).

The first of these postings starts with protests against phallic public art, in an exhibition on the male nude: a Pierre et Gilles poster for the exhibition, with three full-frontal footballers on it; a huge Ilse Haider sculpture of a reclining male nude, outside the exhibition hall. Note that the protests were over items that were in-public public, not within the protective walls of the exhibition, in a place where passers-by couldn’t miss them (visitors to an exhibition on the male nude know what’s likely to be in store for them).

As I observed in that posting, phallic public art almost never shows an erect penis, presumably because a hard cock is taken to be always erotically charged, hence an image of it is not pure art.

Note also that I posted the images on my X blog, not on this one. Even with warnings about content (which I regularly issue here), there is no mechanism on WordPress (or Facebook or Google+) for keeping images from the eyes of minors.

Finally, the Fine Art Exemption. From my posting here:

There is a customary Fine Art Exemption to the general ban on penises (or accurate representations of them)  in “family publications” (where the sensitive might come across them). This clause exempts penises in fine art, especially of high reputation and considerable age

… Trying to apply the FAE is a constant headache for me, since I deal with all sorts of material with images of penises in it. As a rule of thumb, I assume that photography never ever counts as Fine Art for the purposes of WordPress, Facebook, and Google+; and that work by living, or recently living, artists doesn’t count as Fine Art for these purposes either. Beyond that, there are any number of gray areas, having to do with less than realistic representations, with scientific illustrations, with savage, satirical, homoerotically tinged, grotesque, or deliberately provocative material, with phallic objects that present the organ in realistic detail, with rape images (even by Great Artists), and so on. [Michelangelo’s] David gets a nod, and so do cherubs, but beyond that I just don’t know. I post a lot of really racy images on this blog, but not if they have actual cocks in them, or very realistic simulacra; such images must go on AZBlogX, where viewers under 18 are (in principle) banned (can any rational person imagine that these bans work, or in fact that they make any sense?). Ah well, one soldiers on, metaphorical penis in hand.

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