March 30, 2011

Declaring Indeporndence

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The first time I actually saw an erect penis in all its overcompensatory glory, I burst out into hysterical laughter.Thankfully, said member of pants Parliament was not attached to anyone prone to manly tears. In fact, it wasn’t attached to anyone at all. The professor emeritus in charge of Biology 101, faced with a quivering mass of pre-meds more interested in obsessively self-Googling than in the endoplasmic reticulum, had apparently decided to give up the ghost of studying loon behavior in favor of something a bit more … engaging. I, who had been ogling the grad student at the back of the room, glanced up to see the ballooning gamete-spear and nearly bit off my tongue.“What?” asked my soon-to-be-BFF, looking unimpressed. “You — oh my god. You’ve never seen one of those before, have you.”“Yes I have,” I sputter-lied, proceeding to flee the scene.I knew I was in trouble. As I’ve mentioned several times before, going to an all-female high school may have meant a home run in the baby lesbian leagues, but this was a coed college and I was batting bisexual. Considering how thoroughly I’d been entrenched in gayrotica in my youth, one would have thought that I would not fear the bite of the trouser snake, but fear it I did, for what I lacked in imagination I made up for in sheer denial. I kind of always thought I’d be able to, y’know. Wing it.It was time, I resolved, to watch some honest-to-god porn. At seventeen years old, I supposed I was starting a little early, legally speaking, but I was sure the good folks at xtube.com would let it slide. I was, after all, seeking science.Four years later, I can say with confidence that porn, like all dopamine-releasing activities, is best consumed in moderation. It is not a great idea, for example, to request that your friends rent Pirates 2 to watch as a group for your birthday. Similarly, when “YouPorn: Dragon vs. Iron Maiden, Winner Fucks Loser” comes up before YouTube in your Firefox cache, things may be getting grim. Finally, and perhaps least subtly, when writing a column about porn distracts you in the tentaclier corners of the Internet for an hour and a half, it may be time to admit you have a problem. And as the handful of Two and a Half Men fans left on the planet can tell us, the fastest way to nix an addiction to something shitty is to recognize its flaws. Preferably in a public forum.Unlike many other self-identifying feminists, I don’t actually have an issue with porn generally oppressing women. Though I can certainly see the dangers of the porn industry for gender equality, both directly and indirectly, I also think that to write off all porn as being exclusively the pleasure-domain of men is to deprive women of having that pleasure. Even lady-centric “feminist porn,” as much as I genuinely appreciate its intensions, sometimes leaves me unrumpled. The day someone finds me a DVD of Violet Blue playing a pizza girl with extra sausage, I will eat these words. Until then, there’s only so much tender lesbian Janis Joplin rug-rutting I can take. Rather, what really annoys me about porn is that a lot of it is just goddamned bad. I’m not talking uncreative scenario bad — believe me, I’ve since reconciled myself to innumerable “Babysitter gets caught downloading Frightened Rabbit leaks on parents’ computer and must be punished” iterations. It’s just that people don’t even seem to take pride in their work. Must the disciplining teacher always be called Mr. Johnson? Why are there only three dudes watching this naked catfight in a giant stadium? Why, in god’s name, will no one pay for that poor actor’s dye job?Moreover, even when porn is good, it’s hard to find — particularly on a student budget (read: torrents). My platonic lifemate Morgan and I have a “porn thread” on G-mail, wherein we send particularly noteworthy clips back and forth, but Cornell delights in nothing more than marking it as spam and yanking it out of our grasp. To add insult to injury, I am also consistently thwarted by teaser trailers. It seems like as soon as I find a light bondage piece starring an Alexander Skarsgard lookalike and two tattooed twinks, it has been replaced with a giant, flashing, “WANT TO SEE MORE? FUCK YOU.” The sexisnottheeenemy tumblr is all well and good as far as attractive stills go (and oh boy, is it both well and good), but when all I want in the world is footage of Tom Hardy in heels tying Natalie Portman to a ballet bar, even Rule 34 seems to have found its loophole.At the end of the day, maybe that’s the worst part of porn for me: that no matter what, the stuff on Megavideo just isn’t as good as the pervy film reels playing behind my eyelids in any given FGSS class. I like to think of my fap-fests as a kind of night on the town, and porn tends to be only good as an appetizer. My very first masturbatory fantasy was a three-week foreplay affair starring the Greek gods; close-up grainy footage of a slicked-up dick pounding a faceless blonde just ain’t gonna keep me asking for seconds. Of course, if that is your thing, more power to you. Just be aware that fish-lipped, hairless Jenna Jamesons are probably about as easy to come by for you as Dionysus was for me.And you know what? As far as educational gateway drugs go, porn didn’t even do a great job. Despite the time I’ve wasted and fake breasts I can never unsee, I still freaked out and performed some sort of dick-high-five the first time I saw a dude naked.  But who knows? Maybe I saw that move on YouPorn.Kate C. is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at katec@cornellsun.com. Ball You Discreetly appears alternate Thursdays this semester.

Original Author: Kate C.