Monday, May 19, 2008

Those perverted vampires!!!

The first time I heard of Stephenie Meyer was way back when I first discovered blogs. She'd done an interview in which she explained that she wouldn't include premarital sex in her books because it was against her (LDS) principles. I followed up with an article in which I argued that (in my totally biased opinion) it is completely psycho to think you're taking the moral high road by refusing to include consensual sex while writing a book that eroticizes killing people.

An insightful Mormon reader commented that it makes sense because people might actually be aroused (hence tempted) by depictions of sexuality, whereas there's essentially zero chance of being tempted to take up sucking people's blood. (I'm paraphrasing -- the actual comment was on the original Utah Valley Monitor edition of the article, now lost to the ages...). I contend that it's still psycho, and if you'd like to see why, just have a look at my brand new post for The Visitor's Center called The Carnal Bite.

On the other hand, the Mormons aren't the only ones to use this sort of reasoning. Take the very popular Belgian/French comic book hero for kids: Lucky Luke. He's a wild west gunslinger always shooting it out with the bad guys. I'm not sure how often he actually kills anyone in the pages of his books, but as I recall, a recent album featured a noose on the cover (some sort of adventures in Wild West justice, I suppose...). A few decades ago, the writers were concerned about Lucky Luke's influence on the kiddies, so they decided they needed to make some changes. Can you guess what change they made?

They had him quit smoking.


Anonymous said...

A vampire can do anything she wants to with me. ISTTITNOJC, Amen.

MormonZero said...

This is interesting to me. Technically from the church's standpoint both violence and sexuality in movies, books, or what not should be avoided. What does not ring true here is that almost nobody wants to watch a movie or read a book that does not contain one or both of these aspects. Even cartoons can't even pull this off. Also, even Joseph Smith Jr. could not pull this off w/ the BOM.

I personally don't favor either sexuality or violence over the other. For me,it is all about the story and the context. If I understand the characters and what drives them to be in the situation they are in then for the most part I am fine w/ it. However, very graphic violence, especially w/o any sort of character driven morality, tends to be offensive to me personally. But to all his own I suppose.

A far as Mormons in general go, and maybe even ppl in general, the reason they might be more touchy w/ sexuality is because it is more real to them...they have experienced the devastation of inappropriate sexual relationships, either from just their own self-perceived bad judgment or from the religious ridicule they received from church or family.

A similar situation would be that of the 9/11 bombings...for a time movies were removing the WTC bldgs from their films (Spiderman) and during football games play by play announcers could not use terms like aerial attack, bomb, etc. because these terms and actions were all too real to the public at that time. But perhaps because ppl are not always directly affected by violence they are more tolerant of it, whereas expressions of human sexuality, especially from a religious person's pov, is all too common in the destruction of ppl's lives. Not sure, if this is the reason but it rings true in many instances to me.

Hopefully, that all made sense.

The Sinister Porpoise said...

I'm sure glad the comic book writers decided that the character should quit smoking.

beatdad said...

So, do you drink order a latte or just a regular cup of coffee?

beatdad said...

oooppss wrong post.

Anonymous said...

They had him quit smoking.

Well, you know. Line by line, precept by precept.

On the other hand, going around killing bad guys is always good for a gold star on the forehead. I just don't see the virtue in smoking, try as I might.


Anonymous said...


There's a post and exmo soc I'd like you to see. Let me know :)

Anonymous said...

So, if he quit smoking, what does he do after sex?

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Sterkworks!!!

But that would be very, very naughty... ;^)

Hey MormonZero!!!

I agree that entertainment seems to always have one or the other. However, I don't think the aversion to sex is because "they have experienced the devastation of inappropriate sexual relationships" unless by "inappropriate sexual relationships" you mean hating themselves and giving themselves a complex for being unable to stop thinking about sex entirely. Aversion to any kind of public expression of sexuality is a natural pert of our species -- it doesn't have to be learned through (bad) experiences. See this post.

Hey Sinister Porpoise and MoJo!!!

There actually is a certain logic to it. In the earlier books Luck Luke is either smoking or rolling a cigarette in practically every frame. If young people in France think he's cool, they can't very well get themselves a real gun, but they can probably find some cigarettes...

Hey Aphrael!!!

Please either post a link to the thread or email me chanson dot exmormon at gmail dot com.

Hey Crime Dog!!!

LOL, That is a very good question!!! I'll have to read the books more closely to find out.

MormonZero said...

Sorry, I was very unclear...I did not mean that it had to be a bad sexual experience but it just had to be an experience of some sort, perhaps even positive...I guess I was just attempting to say that more people have experiences w/ sexuality than w/ violence and w/ experience comes more powerful emotional responses.

For instance, I remember reading an article way back when Spielberg did a private screening of the film "Saving Private Ryan" to WWII veterans and it was described as a very impacting and almost "real" response by the veterans. Far more than I got out of the film I am sure.

American movie ratings seem to be very emotionally driven. It is all based on how a select committee responds to the film's vocabulary, themes, and behaviors of characters. At least from what I understand and have read on the process.

Most of the ppl who are reading these books and watching movies come from the middle-class and probably have very little real experience w/ violence. However, most have had sexual experiences; both positive and negative. Now, drug use is interesting because typically if a film shows ppl using drugs then it is rated R, however, I don't think most ppl are doing drugs...but we are engrained from a young age to "Just say No" and perhaps that lingers on to create a higher emotional impact and it is illegal and addictive but...IDK?

However, combine experience w/ a policy like the Law of Chastity and all of a sudden emotional responses could very well blow the roof w/ the recent FMH thread on pornography where we hear stories of divorces over porn. Thankfully the church has not made doctrine the Law of Anger Management. ;)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey MormonZero!!!

Right, so you're essentially agreeing with one of my points: some people are more worried about depicting sex because it might actually happen, whereas even if violence is worse, it's more removed from people's ordinary expectations.

Bull said...

I remember Mormons who would say that a R rated movie was ok to see because it was rated R because of the violence, not sex. In other words, graphic portrayals of violence were ok, but no graphic portrayals of sex.

Not all of them. I remember many Mormons who seemed genuinely appalled when I gave a sacrament meeting talk in which I talked about watching "Saving Private Ryan" the night before and what an inspirational movie it was for me.

Many Mormons never saw Schindler's List because it had a sex scene in it. I think Speilberg got some gried for that scene, but I thought it was important to show that Schindler did some great things despite other personal flaws. Isn't that a great lesson for all of us?

Bull said...

BTW, I love Anita Blake vampire novels by Laura K. Hamilton. Sex AND vampires. Yummy.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Bull!!!

It's true -- Mormons being okay with violence isn't universal.

Katy said...

Now, I may be missing the point, but for what it's worth, the vampires featured in Stephenie Meyer's books don't kill people. They are actively trying not to kill people. And the ones who do kill poeple are 'bad guys'. So I don't think that she has eroticized killing people.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Katy!!!

That's a good point, but doesn't she eroticize his desire to suck her blood out?

Anonymous said...

Katy, the point for me (YMMV) is that historically, the vampire (pick a vampire, any vampire) is a metaphor for sex.

Re: sex versus violence.

I like the violence just as much as I like sex. Would somebody please pass the handbasket?

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey MoJo!!!

LOL, you're making me more curious about your book(s)...