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August 14th, 2004

Somewhere Between "Elitist" and "Prurient"

So I got this pinup desk calendar, thinking it might give me some ideas for Tiff pics, but just a few short days into it I noticed that it quickly has a tendency to get really creepy. There are three basic types of pictures in it: a nude woman posing in a lovely artistic piece, a woman randomly doing some household chore (like installing new carpet) in her underwear ... or a fully-clothed woman out on the street whose underwear has just dropped around her ankles and who is now being leered at creepily by the bus driver (and the guy on the bench and the little Norman Rockwell boy with his glove and baseball bat).

The first type is very nice but not really useful for my purposes ... the second type is generally unremarkable except for its silliness ... and the third type makes my skin crawl. Yeesh.

Anyway, what got me to thinking about this was that this morning I got a wild tear to check out VCL (the "anything goes" furry art archive). And, well ... if you've ever been to VCL, you probably get that same skin-crawl reaction after a few minutes. I realize that many of the artists (and would-be artists) on VCL are hormonal teenagers ... but yeek.

The other end of the furry art spectrum, of course, is Yerf, which is sanitized for your protection. By eliminating the sex and violence, Yerf highlights the "everything else" that only about 5% of the drawings on VCL are. But by doing so, Yerf also prevents a lot of stuff that might actually be good art that happens to include sex or violence, or even just full nudity ... which does actually exist.

A furry equivalent to Michaelangelo's David couldn't be posted on Yerf, for instance -- he's got naughty bits. It could be posted on VCL, but nobody would notice it because his naughty bits aren't the size of a tackle box (and aren't in active use).

Is there a middle ground? The tendency seems to be that if you allow "adult" themes, suddenly that's all you get! The old cliché is that the corrollary of "sex sells" is "that which isn't sex, doesn't sell." But the fact that Yerf not only exists but is popular indicates that somebody must care about something beyond squishy noises. Why can't the one exist in harmony with the other? I would love to see something that was like a Yerf where Michaelangelo's David could be shown ... but I have no idea (short of some kind of review board for every friggin' piece to get posted) how something like that could be done.

-The Gneech

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