Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Zack & Miri Make an Omission

I remember when they opened a Family Video in Fulton--this was back in the late 90's, when people still rented movies from video stores and VHS still mostly dominated the market (god, I suddenly feel very old).  Anyway, me and some other college buddies went to check it out and pick up a couple videos and as we were checking out, the guy behind the counter asked us "Have you been back there yet?" while nodding to one end of the store.

We turned and saw a walled off corner with a discreet door and a curved mirror over it.  It was the porno section.  And it occurred to me then and there that the name "Family Video" was totally apropos, because it had its dirty little secrets, it just had them skirted off to a corner so no one will notice.  But this is sort of the way of things, porn is a massive, massive industry that exists just outside the mainstream, but it never farther than an arm's reach away because we are collectively a little ashamed and/or embarrassed by it.

This became glaringly evident yesterday when Abby and I went to Target to pick up a copy of Zack & Miri Make a Porno, the latest Kevin Smith film, but instead we had to settle for some movie called Zack & Miri, which has the same plot, actors, even the same sounds and images, but only half the title.

So, are we such prudes now that even the word "porno" offends us?  Of course not.  If Sean Hannity put out a book called "Pornography Kills", you can bet that Target wouldn't make him take the word "Porno" out of the title (not just because "-graphy Kills" makes no sense).  So it's not that the word "porno" offends so much as its the idea of people making a porn film without their lives falling into ruin Requiem-for-a-Dream-style that makes us squeamish.  The idea that something "bad" might, in fact, be innocuous.

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