Monday, April 25, 2011

Sex and Science Fiction

WARNING: Below is a bunch of pretty serious-sounding (aka boring) writing about the extremely broad topic of sex. The reason for it is the pay off at the end, an absolutely brilliant and hilarious song and video by comedian Rachel Bloom. I’m a life-long enthusiast of Novelty music and I’m passionately in awe of this piece. While literally making me laugh as hard as top-classics like “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead” and “Marty Feldman Eyes”, it also addresses an area of human sexuality that I’ve tried to champion in music that I myself have made, an area of sexuality that I feel while totally valid, is ignored or disregarded by both big media and small social circles alike; hence the essay.

Human beings are animals. Unique ones, but animals nonetheless. It goes hand in hand with our animal nature that sex, both directly and indirectly, is a big part of our lives and minds. It’s such a powerfully natural part of being human that even forced and unforced personal asexuality is glaringly indicative of sexual thought and behavior.

So much of the total crap we see on TV, online, and in print is trapped by the roles that nature mapped out for us. Men are dominant, strong and stupid (or if they’re smart they’re a witty, cynical asshole). They grab women, of only a couple body types, by the hips or hair and force them into literal and metaphorical submission. The women put up a front at first, but ultimately the strongest male is so powerful that they give in to what they “really want”, to be taken; like we’re cartoon cave-people or something. With homosexuality the representation isn’t that much different, arguably because according to the media the appeal of sex to an audience has to be black and white; one of two things with no room for unique voices and feelings.

I assume and hope that if you’re reading this blog, you think that these roles have little-to-no place in your life. But the thing that scares me is that so many people I know are so affected by this false representation of sexuality that they actually let it interfere with their own sexual comfort. It’s not easy, (and certainly one could argue that girls have much less of a chance to be unaffected by this than boys) but to me, that only means we should try harder to NEVER submit to these stupid templates drawn out by others. Personally, the more I’m disgusted by something or the more I disagree with it morally, the less I let it dictate my actions and beliefs – I disregard it; it’s without value to me. It’s not that the issues aren’t important, or worth fighting over – but personally, the way I feel about things inside is largely unaffected by the massive inaccuracies of both the media and the masses.

I often feel an inner urge to point out areas of things that I think are TRULY sexy, wonderfully sexy, and, absolutely – healthily sexy. Sexuality in American culture has become two very incorrect versions of its actual self – almost aping the Two Party political system we suffer under. On one hand there’s the who-cares-bravado of:

“Hey, none of this stuff is actually that sexist or dangerous, it’s all good, people fuckin’ is A-OK, dawg!”

And on the other side it sounds like:

“Things have gotten so bad with the portrayals of sex that we must even disregard the idea that people’s physical appearance or gender can have sexual connotation.”

And obviously I think neither extreme is true, and that both are potentially dangerous. It’s an endless topic to debate, and it should be debated. But the reason I’m bring it up here today is a somewhat personal one, as mentioned in the warning at the top. So many things that inspire lust in me are things that are part of a rapidly declining underworld, growing more and more “anti-social” in the public's eyes day by day. My mind works like this: I live in a world where READING is sexier than bikinis. I get more way turned on by looking at ladies in the Library than I do at a stupid strip club. For Pete’s sake, BEING YOURSELF is like dirty dancing to me! Are my feelings of sexuality invalid because they’re not represented in mass media or by my peers? Fuck no! And that’s why it feels SOOOO good to have someone be brave enough to just get out there and say something like “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury!".

The song/video "Fuck Me Ray Bradbury" is the work of stand-up comic Rachel Bloom, and is by no means a work of absurdist humor – it’s hilarious because of its heart-on-sleeve confession of the song’s protagonist’s very real sexual desire to commit acts of lust and passion with someone because of his incredible talent to use words for creating sublime and fantastical works of aesthetic beauty and moral truth. It’s not the rigid and unnatural decision of “I AM ONLY ATTRACTED TO PEOPLE FOR THEIR PERSONALITY”, it’s genuine, and that particularly individual view is one of many that’s totally shut out of widely seen visions of sexuality.

“Fuck Me Ray Bradbury” actually sexualizes reading (heck, it goes even further, it sexualizes reading physical BOOKS, no kindles or ipads are present here). And it’s not that we laugh AT her for it, because she’s different. On the contrary – the whole song is a wild celebration of this sexuality; so much of the song’s strength comes from the individualism of her view. The protagonist simply doesn’t see sex any other way, this is how she really feels and the idea that she’s “weird” or “wrong” never crosses her lips. In fact, just the opposite – those who walk the line of the "normal" dating world are ridiculed here!

The parodying of pop and media sensibilities to put forth this kind of vision has seldom been this spot-on – it’s as if there’s a little hope left in this world …

And as far as funny/sexy videos on the internet go, this thing is a fucking light at the end of the tunnel that’s as bright as Golden Apples of the Sun. It’s a Medicine for Melancholy stronger than any I’ve seen since the birth of the ‘net. So please … enjoy!!!

I’m a total novice on this subject, but I am fascinated by it. I urge all of you to check out this brilliant blog sometime (a big influence on this piece): .

And as a sort of addendum, I wanted to include a couple short pieces I wrote several years back. They're nowhere online any longer, but I was always happy with these two. The first is a piece on Bradbury's inspirational individualism, and the second is a passage by Theodore Sturgeon, (who's capabilities as writer are arguably equal to that of Mr. Bradbury) in which I attempt to indicate just how damn sexy science fiction writing can be.

Majority's Rules Dept.

When Ray Bradbury was a kid he loved Buck Rogers comic strips. He loved them so much in fact that he began to collect them; with the intention of having all of them and keeping them in order. He took them to school one day and found out very quickly that the other boys shared none of his interest in comics and in fact they berated him for it. The pressure and name-calling from his peers caused Bradbury to do something awful. In a fit of anger and a longing for acceptence he tore up all of his collected Buck Rogers comics, vowing that he wouldn't have anything to do with such childish things as comics again.

Two days later Bradbury found himself crying uncontrollably. He felt enormous anxiety and was so emotionally distraught that he did not at first know what exactly the problem was. He soon realized the terrible mistake he had made. The Buck Rogers comic strips had meant more to him than he had known; they filled a void in him that when left empty would take great feats of ignorance to live with. He knew he needed to cure himself and he knew how to do it. He went out and collected every single strip that he had torn up and replaced it; and he collected every strip that came after those as well.

There was an even larger part to this cure that he also realized he had to follow if he wanted to forever escape the feeling the emptiness of that void: he never listened to ANYONE else ever again. What he liked was his business, and things he thought were valid or beautiful were just that; no questions asked, no seal of approval needed but his own. The world is so much like this in so many ways. Where Ray Bradbury saw beauty and excitement and an influence for pure creativity the world saw a bunch of silly drawings, and those from that world felt threatened enough by this that they tried to scare him into lying to himself. He wouldn't do it. Most people do though, and perhaps the majority rules? Young Mr. Bradbury, don't write The Martian Chronicles. Don't write the Illustrated Man or Something Wicked This Way Comes or be one of the most successful American fiction writers in history. Instead why don't you go play football with the rest of the boys? Don't you want lots of friends? At least that way no one will think you're weird. And after all, that really is the most important thing, isn't it? ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­


Oh Theodore ... Dept.

The quoted text below is from Theodore Sturgeon's sexually potent masterpiece "The Sex Opposite", one of the author's finest short stories:

"Muhlenberg met the girl's eyes, and whether she nodded ever so slightly or whether she did it with a single movement of her eyelids, he did not know, but it meant "yes." He slid into the booth opposite her.

Music came. Only some of it was from the records. He sat and listened to it all. Rudy came with a second drink before he said anything, and only then did he realize how much time had passed while he rested there, taking in her face as if it were quite a new painting by a favorite artist. She did nothing to draw his attention or reject it. She did not stare rapturously into his eyes or avoid them. She did not even appear to be waiting, or expecting anything of him. She was neither remote nor intimate. She was close, and it was good.

He thought, in your most secret dreams you cut a niche in yourself, and it is finished early, and then you wait for someone to come along to fill it - but to fill it exactly, every cut, every curve, hollow and plane of it. And people do come along, and one covers up the niche, and another rattles around inside it, and another is so surrounded by fog that for the longest time you don't know if she fits or not; but each of them hits you with tremendous impact. And then one comes along and slips in so quietly that you don't know when it happened, and fits so well you almost can't feel anything at all. And that is it."