Monday, March 06, 2006

In Bed with WHO?

Although it's going to take me forever to get through the academic prose of James F. English's The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards and the Circulation of Cultural Value (Harvard, 2006), it has some heady arguments that I'm enjoying engagement with. One of English's key points, for example, is that "modern cultural prizes cannot fulfill their social obligations unless authoritative people--people whose cultural authority is secured in part through these very prizes--are thundering against them." A delicious paradox that both makes me feel a lot better for disliking Harry Potter, and consoles me for last night's loss for "Goodnight and Good Luck," I mean, "Brokeback Mountain."

But. But. Listen to English on the Adult Video News Awards, an award program for porn, with such categories as "Best Anal Sex Scene." In considering the financial impact of the AVNs and other porn awards, English writes, "purchasers of porn videos tend to be drawn with particular force toward award-winning titles. There are few fields of cultural consumption (children's literature is one) in which prizes have a more direct and powerful effect on sales." Mercy!

6 comments:

Andy Laties said...

Weren't some of great children's book artists also pornographers? Crockett Johnson? (Watch out for that PURPLE CRAYON). Tomi Ungerer? And, what did William Steig reveal, all those years on the couch in Wilhelm Reich's office? Perhaps infantile sexuality and adult sexuality are--cum Freud (passe Freud?)--intimately conjoined? Winning a prize as orgasmic? (SHEEP KEEP OFF THIS BLOG!)

ann said...

And then there's Shel SIlverstein...

Andy Laties said...

Yes: surprising that titles like Shel's "Difference Dances" haven't inspired any small-screen adaptations. Now -- Norton Juster told me last year that he'd once suggested to Eric Carle that Eric's next title should be "The Very Horny Bunny Rabbit". In reference to Roger's referenced reference, I'd say that if the librarians didn't give such a "Very" title a coveted award -- triggering an orgy of literary consumption that surely the AVN people would step in and give THEIR award to the film version, thereby triggering SOME sort of orgy.

Andy Laties said...

For that matter, Roger, you might be able to boost magazine revenue by further catering to awards-fanatics, launching The Boston Globe/Horny Book Awards.

rindambyers said...

Thanks, much, for the book recommendation, although I suspect, from your description of it, I may find much that has been said before and more poetically in Hans Christian Anderson's "The Emperor's New Clothes........" I wish I could read Danish.

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