Torture porn attempts “change in perception.” So that’s what the kids today are calling it?

(UPDATED: Not that this is a hugely serious issue, but I thought more about what it is that bothers me, and I don’t think I expressed it well before. I don’t have a problem with tastelessness, extremism, or outright shock, for that matter. But if that’s what you’re going for, own it. Go all the way, don’t try to put lipstick on the pig and infuse it with some higher intent about the deep social comment you’re making, especially when it’s a porn film. That, and the condescension shown for the people who are upset, is what pisses me off about the creators’ take on this. )

I even have trouble keeping up with lesbian pop culture, so it’s not surprising that I’ve completely missed an apparent tempest over the gay porn flick Gaytanamo, chronicled here and here at Queerty.

Dark Alley Media’s head Owen Hawk defends the work:

Gaytanamo does not trivialize peoples suffering, but uses images and representations in order to attempt change in perception.

When we are put in front of the reality of our own violent desires, we are no doubt uncomfortable. But it is precisely because [we] are not put in front of these desires — and therefore never get to understand them — that policies born out of this repression, a la Guantanamo, are even possible.

Dude, it’s porn. You can call it a “change in perception” all you want but you’re using images and representations in order to make guys jerk off.

Creator Matthias von Fistenburg (ahem):

Von Fistenberg acknowledges that abduction scenes are nothing new in gay porn, but Gaytanamo aims a bit higher, moving past the canned kidnapping or trite torture and toward a more polished, political film. “We are used to porn pretending,” Von Fistenberg muses. “Everything is contrived and poorly executed. In our film there is a realism and that suddenly disturbs people.”

Far be it from me to take on someone named “von Fistenburg” on the issue of good taste, so I’ll just say this: he and I (and my dog) all know it’s not realism that is suddenly disturbing people about the film and its title.

I love the good men at Queerty, and obviously I concur with them about the relative obscenity and horror of the very real actions of the US administration vs. a work of fiction. That said, I still agree with this, from an “irate fan:”

But sensationalizing and sexing up what is happening in Guantanamo Bay is the like making a porno called “Gay-Auschwitz” – and you wouldn’t do that, would you?.

These are human beings who are being tortured, their lives destroyed. And you are dismissing them and capitalizing on their horror. If you have any sense of decency, you would withdraw this film and either scrap it or re-title it immediately.

The creators and defenders of the film make some valid points but they don’t address the fact that these don’t change the central issue. They can cram all the lofty ideals they want into their film AND still be guilty of capitalizing on, and exploiting, the horror of the administration’s real life “war on terror.”

Not that there’s any shortage of that in even the most mainstream entertainment.

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