Sunday, June 28, 2015

Safe for work

I regularly read the comic oglaf.  It provides many laughs and much amusement, though I am sure that a great portion of the population finds it terribly offensive.  It is extremely not safe for work as it contains lots of nudity and sex.  The writer provides links in my feed reader that make it clear if clicking through to the comic is work safe or not on any particular day.  

The thing that really ticks me off is comics like today's, which are safe for work despite depicting an arrow blasting through a person's head as well as a number of other unpleasant ways to die.  (Being eaten alive by a giant eagle can't be fun!)  In our culture grisly carnage and murder are considered fine things to have people see.  You won't offend anyone that way!  But breasts?  Shocking and inappropriate!  Penises or vaginas?  Right out!

I could understand the distinction if it was specifically rape or murder that were divided this way but it is true regardless of the context in which sex organs appear.  

There is a quote from George RR Martin that illustrates this same point:

“I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a penis entering a vagina, and I get letters about it and people swearing off. To my mind this is kind of frustrating, it’s madness. Ultimately, in the history of [the] world, penises entering vaginas have given a lot of people a lot of pleasure; axes entering skulls, well, not so much.”

Not that I think we should suddenly start banning all violent material - I just think we should stop leading with the assumption that depictions of the human body are inherently offensive, dangerous, or rude.  It bothers me to no end and causes plenty of trouble to boot.

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