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Old 04-07-2008, 04:40 PM   #31
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I think you're missing the point entirely. I was trying to say that the Porn that's labelled as "Erotica" is trying to pass itself off as something it's not. It's porn.

I'm not saying that porn is ok, or it isn't ok. And it's probably not an argument that could be settled here anyway
Whether it's ok or not is a matter of opinion. I do think it needs to be kept in a way that children or anyone not interested won't be faced with it unexpectedly. That's just being respectful and responsible.

I totally agree that most "erotica" I've seen is really porn, that's why I call it porn. I've had people tell me porn is images so it's not porn. I also agree with some of the comments that some scenes can be erotic without being pornographic (explicit), but most times "erotica" is porn. In my opinion.
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:08 PM   #32
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cmbs & Halk, you remind me of the US Supreme Court Justice who said, "I may not be able to define pornography but I know it when I see it." Pornography, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. As you have said there is often "stuff" in books and in movies that is just there to "grab your interest". I, for one, would never read a book or go to a movie that didn't grab my interest. It would be very boring, like watching grass grow. No pornography there but very uninteresting. Also some people accept some things as normal whether it be their society, religion, customs, or whatever that would be highly offensive to others. The key in this, as in everything, is to enjoy the things you find enjoyable and to allow others to enjoy what they enjoy.

For example, Harry T seems to enjoy reading the "classics". I don't, but we both contribute to the Mobileread society in our own way. If you look closely enough, you will even find things in religious books, art museums or other socially accepted arenas that some could consider pornographic, violent, or otherwise extreme and that they are there "just to grab your attention".

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Old 04-07-2008, 05:19 PM   #33
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Well, the judge is right. It's not particularly easy to define - perhaps impossible. My point is those books listed as erotica aren't erotica though, they're just simply porn. I don't think anyone is going to read them for a purpose other than they'd watch a porn film. Which is a shame because it means any actual erotica is going to get lumped in along with them.

Wikipedia makes a reasonably good explanation.

Pornography's objective is the graphic depiction of sexually explicit scenes. Erotica, on the other hand, seeks to tell a story with sexual themes.
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:27 PM   #34
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cmbs & Halk, you remind me of the US Supreme Court Justice who said, "I may not be able to define pornography but I know it when I see it." Pornography, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. As you have said there is often "stuff" in books and in movies that is just there to "grab your interest". I, for one, would never read a book or go to a movie that didn't grab my interest. It would be very boring, like watching grass grow. No pornography there but very uninteresting. Also some people accept some things as normal whether it be their society, religion, customs, or whatever that would be highly offensive to others. The key in this, as in everything, is to enjoy the things you find enjoyable and to allow others to enjoy what they enjoy.

For example, Harry T seems to enjoy reading the "classics". I don't, but we both contribute to the Mobileread society in our own way. If you look closely enough, you will even find things in religious books, art museums or other socially accepted arenas that some could consider pornographic, violent, or otherwise extreme and that they are there "just to grab your attention".
I defined it - it's explicit. It's graphic details designed to grab your attention (and possibly distract you from the fact the story sucks) which don't move the story forward and are thus unnecessary.

If this type of attention grabbing amuses you, you are not alone. That's why they do it - people go for it.
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:35 PM   #35
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Well, the judge is right. It's not particularly easy to define - perhaps impossible. My point is those books listed as erotica aren't erotica though, they're just simply porn. I don't think anyone is going to read them for a purpose other than they'd watch a porn film. Which is a shame because it means any actual erotica is going to get lumped in along with them.

Wikipedia makes a reasonably good explanation.

Pornography's objective is the graphic depiction of sexually explicit scenes. Erotica, on the other hand, seeks to tell a story with sexual themes.
I agree except for the part about it being hard to define.

Erotica as a genre is code for porn, and it does mean that true erotica can't be easily distinguished by genre.

I have that problem with historical fiction. I like fiction written to bring to life the lives of real historical figures, fiction that tries to stay close to historical facts. Unfortunately for me, most "historical fiction" are romances set in the past (ie historical erotica). It's very hard to find books which I might be interested in reading within this genre because they're all lumped together.
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:39 PM   #36
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I agree except for the part about it being hard to define.
Well, again I'm perhaps not as clear as I'd like to be. It's possible to define. But the definition is subject to opinion. E.g. it's my opinion that this piece of media is purely for graphic depiction... or not.
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:26 PM   #37
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What, as a matter of interest, is the difference between an "erotic novel" and pornography? Serious question.
It's the difference between Arabian Nights, Golden Lotus/Chin P'ing Mei, Sade, P. Louys, A. Nin, G. Bataille for example, and the current porn magazines.

Ultimately as with all art my strong belief is that only time is the real quality judge, and those authors/novels mentioned above stood the test of time until now quite well.
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:21 PM   #38
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It's the difference between Arabian Nights, Golden Lotus/Chin P'ing Mei, Sade, P. Louys, A. Nin, G. Bataille for example, and the current porn magazines.

Ultimately as with all art my strong belief is that only time is the real quality judge, and those authors/novels mentioned above stood the test of time until now quite well.
Oh, I get it now. Old or ancient pornography is art where more recent pornography is "porn".
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:23 PM   #39
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I defined it - it's explicit. It's graphic details designed to grab your attention (and possibly distract you from the fact the story sucks) which don't move the story forward and are thus unnecessary.

If this type of attention grabbing amuses you, you are not alone. That's why they do it - people go for it.
By that difinition, a modern art composition of bright colors is porn since it has "graphic details designed to grab your attention."
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:42 PM   #40
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By that difinition, a modern art composition of bright colors is porn since it has "graphic details designed to grab your attention."
Discussions work better when people deliberately misstate others' opinions and the respond to those opinions in a non-constructive manner!

Seriously, though, I was going to post the "know it when we see it" thing as being pretty similar to how I define pornography. I won't say that pornography isn't art (it's surely a form of creative expression), but there's just something about focusing on sex so much that strikes me as kind of "lower-minded." That is to say, I think there's a pretty distinct division between an academic exploration of sexuality through art and what basically amounts to a chimpanzee sitting around playing with its genitals. Also, as has been stated, the main purpose (by far) of erotic literature is to induce sexual arousal, and presumably the author is trying to make that stimulation as powerful as they can for the reader. Trying to create an erotic reaction in the person experiencing a piece of creative expression is a well-recognized and valid part of some artistic statements, but when the entirety of a literary work is intended to create a strong erotic reaction in the reader/yourself, you're pretty clearly caught up in your dirty monkey brain and ignoring some shades of subtlety in the world around you in favor of focusing in on an aspect of human psychology whose biological purpose doesn't extend beyond a mechanism to encourage the passing on of genetic information. Immersing yourself in the stimulation you get from pandering to that drive has about as much artistic merit as smoking a joint.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:38 PM   #41
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I won't say that pornography isn't art (it's surely a form of creative expression), but there's just something about focusing on sex so much that strikes me as kind of "lower-minded." That is to say, I think there's a pretty distinct division between an academic exploration of sexuality through art and what basically amounts to a chimpanzee sitting around playing with its genitals.
Are you aware that this typically only occurs to chimps or monkeys in captivity? What conclusions can you draw from that?

We each read books that we find entertaining. Some like romance, some like westerns, some like SciFi, some like non-fiction, some like religious, etc. To each his own. Personally I like a variety but tend toward SciFi from back in the days when SciFi writers had to be good to survive - i.e. before the Star Trek & Star Wars phenomina. It was easier to find well written books more quickly in the SciFi section back then.

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Old 04-07-2008, 08:42 PM   #42
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Oh, I get it now. Old or ancient pornography is art where more recent pornography is "porn".
Surviving old erotica that people kept printing and reading over the ages is art because there is something at the core of it - which can be very dark as in Sade or Bataille, or exotic for us here in the West in Arabian Nights or Golden Lotus - that resonates.

Sadly these days the pendulum has swung too much towards cheapening sexuality with lots of unfortunate results too. Though at least people make their own misery rather than having it enforced by the powers to be...
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:59 PM   #43
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By that difinition, a modern art composition of bright colors is porn since it has "graphic details designed to grab your attention."
Ok. You are purposely twisting and misunderstanding what I've said quite clearly for the purposes of trying to fight. I'm not interested. Thanks. But you go ahead.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:01 PM   #44
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Off on another tangent . . .

de Sade wrote some of the least erotic porn I've ever read.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:07 PM   #45
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I agree except for the part about it being hard to define.

Erotica as a genre is code for porn, and it does mean that true erotica can't be easily distinguished by genre.

I have that problem with historical fiction. I like fiction written to bring to life the lives of real historical figures, fiction that tries to stay close to historical facts. Unfortunately for me, most "historical fiction" are romances set in the past (ie historical erotica). It's very hard to find books which I might be interested in reading within this genre because they're all lumped together.
You've put your finger on a major problem: reviews. How do you filter out the junk? Sooner or later there will be sites that specialize in reviews (maybe they exist already) in various genres. Any book reviewed would be presumed to be up to some standard established on the site. A short review would describe the content and slant of the book and add a brief reviewer's opinion. I would love this, as a writer and a reader. Maybe you could do this for historical fiction.
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