An Invitation to Lewd and Lascivious Behavior

My post about the local writers’ event at which I will read tomorrow got me thinking, which is not always a good thing.

I will admit to a bit of indignation at something that probably doesn’t deserve a moment of my time. But, dammit, I believe in freedom of expression.  So, curtailment of that freedom annoys me. Even when the restriction probably has no impact other than to piss me off, it is an unacceptable constraint.  Let me explain.

A club to which I belong, a writers’ group, has twice (at least) conducted writing contests that included prohibitions against erotica.  It’s unlikely I would write erotica to submit to this or any other organization, but being told that is impermissible rubs me the wrong way. Writers should (in my admittedly biased estimation) be free to write whatever they wish. Legitimate contest rules might include type face restrictions, parameters of length, style of submission, etc.; but prohibitions against erotica?  For the love of God, we are—ostensibly—adults. Do we have to be told submission of erotica will be grounds for disqualification from a contest? Judges should simply decide whether the writing in any erotica submitted is sufficiently good to warrant acclaim; if not, no harm, except to the sensitivities of judges who, if such stuff offends them, probably should not be judges. And, in the unlikely event of a winning erotic entry, listeners could be forewarned of its nature before any reading thereof, thus enabling them to avoid damage to their sensitive ears.

Such rules are the sort of things that tend to push me toward bad behavior.  Instead of avoiding erotica in my submissions to such contests, I imagine myself including lengthy expositions of the development and demonstration of primal lust; if I could, I’d include pictures.  Better yet, videos!  In this (local) environment, uncensored, hard-core videos of elderly couples engaging in steamy illicit sex in nursing home hallways should do the trick.

Okay. I won’t do any such thing. But I’ll occasionally rant about what I view as the absurdity of the disqualification of erotica in writing contests sponsored by groups of writers.

My arguments against (and my distaste for) such restrictions must be (I assume) in sharp contrast to the arguments for them, which I only suppose are supported by religious and/or moral sensitivities. My minor issue is simply smoldering wet embers in comparison to the conflagration of other matters involving freedom of expression, such as the arguments for and against visual depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. On the one hand is freedom of expression and on the other is perceived insult.

And so there you are; my rant for the day is done.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Just Thinking, Philosophy, Rant, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to An Invitation to Lewd and Lascivious Behavior

  1. Holly Forrest says:

    I DO love that line from the proposed screenplay: “I have a bone to pick with this club.” That’s going in the trailer for sure. After it’s uttered, you have two of the most conservative group members gasp, then one turns to the other and says “DID HE SAY BONE?”

    Oy. This erotica prohibition/censorship situation is enough to drive one to drink, except I’m in a state that still has dry counties.

  2. I love the idea for a screenplay, Juan! I may change the name, though, to protect the guilty party! I’m too staid and conservative (actually, just too much of a coward) to do as the film character does, but writing about it, now that’s a whole different kettle of fish! I remember The Sound of Music and my adoration, or whatever it was, for Julie Andrews’ character!

  3. jserolf says:

    “Rant”? My son asked me the meaning of that word the other day. I told him it’s “like pitching anger or dissatisfaction, putting up your fist and telling everyone why you are so mad!”

    “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more!”

    Of course, depending on your needs you might simply ignore it … You might pass it off as just another absurd item of community, or you could stand at the next meeting and point your index finger in the air and say, “a-hem…a-hem. I have a bone to pick with this club.”

    Your line of “offense” based on the circuitous actions of Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music,” when she asks Mother Abess about her [sexual] feelings for Van Trap. Already Maria was caught singing in the garden. When Maria chooses Monastic vows over her amore for Van Trap, Abess tells her to “climb every mountain.” Is that sexual? As a small altar boy watching this, I was a- gap at the sexuality implied in that film, John.

    Wait a minute?!…..Just wait one minute here! Continue with your stay with the club because you will actually be doing research.

    I see a script for the next hit film….Call it Swinburn’s Rant! As the story goes, Swinburn is a crusty but intellectual retiree in a small Arkansas community….Mmmm…better make it in Mississippi. By the climax of the story, Swinburn is preparing to do a reading for the community; rather, however, he pulls a switch and reads something amazingly pornographic!

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