DISCUSSING the merits of erotic literature we had recently read my lady friend expressed her opinion with admirable candour.
The story had provided a detailed account of a lustful encounter that was perfectly human, legal and there were no victims.
She wrote: ‘My feelings whilst reading was an absolute mixture of almost unacceptable excitement, shame, pleasure, fear and pleasure again. All were running simultaneously through the corridors of my mind with a silent question; is the forbidden fruit always the sweetest.’
She went on to write: ‘What should be the most natural thing in literature is forbidden or classified whilst pure violence is allowed and advertised all the time. All together watching ‘Die Hard’ and screaming for more and more blood but love/erotic is for watching alone behind locked doors.’
The lady, a perfectly respectable woman in a conventional lifestyle echoed my own thoughts.
What is it with human beings that we are drawn to violence and the gorier it is the better we like it? Movie and television producers continually push the boundaries of good taste.
As soon as the foulest of murders are committed publishers rush into print to satisfy the public appetite for violent human distress and death.
The book’s buyers will excitedly discuss its content; the book may be passed from one set of eager hands to another. Images are portrayed on screen that battlefield soldiers are often spared; many of them are frankly nightmarish and sick.
It is not entertainment; it is sadistic violent voyeurism pandering to the lowest instincts of man and woman. If there were a public hanging tomorrow you couldn’t get near it for crowds; governments routinely torture captives yet there is little public disquiet; many approve. Media print enthusiastic movie reviews of the most horrific acts of violence.
The most notorious are films like Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist, The Shining, Psycho, and Hannibal (Lecter).
There are many more like them and each reviewed, discussed and their most gruesome detail becomes table talk. When the romantically erotic is worded in graphic detail its purchase is discreet and brown envelope wrapped; certainly never discussed in polite society.
Remember the sanctimonious posturing over the publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover whilst cinema goers were queuing to see Count Dracula sink his blood-soaked teeth into the throats of schoolgirls. Any implement sinking into human flesh is acceptable except the taboo which produces sniggers.
Perhaps it is victims we need? I dare not imagine the expression on the faces of table companions if anyone was crass enough to discuss in similar detail the amorous encounters they found riveting in their latest book purchase.
Victimless lust is a four letter word except perhaps in barrack room language; the subject is off the menu at the dinner party.
The strange thing is that we all lust but few of us murder.
Are we embarrassed by the lustful sins of the flesh but comfortable with the ripping of it?