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Pornokitsch Explained

The $64,000 question, of course, is why we’d name our geek culture blog “Pornokitsch.”  Well, I’m an academic, and thus my favorite thing to do on rainy days and Mondays is pull things apart and talk about them.  So let’s talk about Pornokitsch.

Kitsch is fluff.  Kitsch is cultural clutter which requires not even the most superficial examination to appreciate.  Kitsch is unchallenging.  Kitsch’s role in society is to provide mental breathing-room; to allow people to enjoy without requiring more than a passing glance, a fleeting thought.  It doesn’t excite the imagination, stir the heart, puzzle the mind, awe the conscience.  Kitsch asks nothing of those who enjoy it beyond their transient enjoyment.  Kitsch is short-lived and ultimately forgettable.  Kitsch has no individuality; it’s indistinguishable from itself.  The moment an object of kitsch acquires an identity it ceases to be kitsch, because individuality is memorable.

Pornography is sexual kitsch.  The entire point of porn is that it requires no thought, only immediate, visceral reaction.  Pornography isn’t about looking for meaning, or searching for intellectual or emotional fulfillment; porn has nothing to say about man’s place in society.  Porn is about fucking.  And sex is the ultimate transient enjoyment, the ultimate short-lived and forgettable act of all.  The moment fucking acquires an identity it ceases to be porn, because identity individualizes acts, and individuality is memorable.

But pornography is also about obsession.  Porn is about doing the same thing, over and over again, in all its infinite variations, in search of that final moment, that flash of brilliance, that spark of life.

Here’s the thing:  not all kitsch was created as kitsch.  Someone, somewhere, at some time poured some tiny bit of his soul into that painting of a farmhouse at dawn.  Someone, somewhere, at some time sat down and banged out that forgettable150-page scifi paperweight on a typewriter, or scrawled it out by hand.

We here at Pornokitsch are dedicated to ferreting out the humanity, the individuality, the memorability of kitsch.  And we do it in an obsessive – dare I say, pornographic? – fashion.  We indulge our basic instincts for mindless entertainment and then mine it.  Often, the object can’t withstand our scrutiny.  But occasionally some gem reveals itself.  Some movie is worth rewatching, some book worth rereading.  And that’s what we’re here for.

Oh, and also: “pornokitsch” sounds cool.