My idea of love comes from / A childhood glimpse of pornography
One song on The Holy Bible I didn't mention on Monday is She is Suffering. Not because it's a bad track by any means. Its lyrics are some of the deepest on the album, the images Edwards paints among his most powerful, with only Die in the Summertime and Small Black Flowers from Everything Must Go eclipsing them. It's that on this occasion Bradfield and Moore didn't quite capture the strength of the lyrics with their music. Apart from the solo, it's just a bit too dank, and an odd choice for what turned out to be the last single from the album, albeit apart from Faster/PCP and Revol there weren't many other natural choices. Ifwhiteamerica or Of Walking Abortion would probably have been better, but both are equally open to misinterpretation.
Which is also in part what's happened to She is Suffering. She isn't a person, rather the personification of desire. Edwards wrote "[I]n other Bibles and Holy Books no truth is possible until you empty yourself of desire. All commitment otherwise is fake/lies/economic convenience." Emptying yourself of desire is, of course, impossible, and it's that very impossibility Edwards is playing with, the suffering inevitably following the very attempt, as well as the pain that comes from desire. The linking of desire with sin goes all the way back to the Christian creation myth (much farther in truth, but let's not get too bogged down), of Eve being tempted by the serpent, committing the original sin, of both going against God and daring to want to have the same knowledge as He. Religions whether eastern or western have often insisted on the purity of those preaching, either through not taking wives or abstaining entirely, and the results have been all too predictable.
Edwards himself claimed to take little joy from sex, with the line "nature's lukewarm pleasure" thought to be his personal view. He could do without it, quite happy to take fans who idolised him back to his hotel room even if he had no apparent intention of having sex with them. For someone with such strong views on prostitution and the abuse of women, at least in song, he also visited a sex worker while in Thailand, although he "only" paid for a hand-job. Asked why, he said maybe he was making a point about his sexuality. "Perhaps, just that I don't regard paying for sex as being that different to sleeping with a groupie. It's all done on the same functional level."
Is this leading anywhere you're probably asking by this point, apart from Edwards being a terrible hypocrite and bit of a prick. Shaming as it is to admit, I've been rather sucked in by a certain image board since I went back there, purely for research purposes, natch. Despite it no longer being the modless place it once was, there's still something of the early internet about it, everyone anonymous, all of human life there in uncensored, disreputable glory. It's all but impossible to know whether a post which on the surface looks serious is serious, or indeed whether one intended to be will be replied to in the same spirit. One thread where the original poster asks for help from some of the least predictable individuals on the net might be met, no doubt to the incredulity of those whom regard the place as a cathedral of misogyny or worse, with tender, informed and compassionate responses, alongside the others telling the OP to kill himself at least, while another might just consist solely of the latter. Evident amid the gore, lolicon and general porn threads is a sense of community not many forums can now boast of. Even if that assessment ought to get me into Pseud's Corner.
It's led to me ruminating on what exactly desire now is when every perversion you can think of is but a click away. The answer is probably much the same as it ever was, albeit with technology having supercharged the ability to both focus on the individual and to seek out ever greater amounts of what it is you think you want. There are just as many threads on this image board devoted to Facebook friends and crushes as there are to people they don't personally know, social networking having made it so much easier to lust after and by the same measure, so much harder to forget about those we feel affection for. It's there as a constant temptation, knowing with a few taps of the keyboard we can either reward or punish ourselves with their latest updates.
The hacking of the iClouds of celebrities just underlined what's going on below the surface of everyday lives: the sharing of photographs taken as part of a relationship, sometimes not even by jilted lovers but to show their partner off to the world. A survey found 88% of young women had taken pictures of themselves naked, not always to share with anyone, but to simply record. Nice as it would be to think the rise of the "amateur" or the "real" is a response to the fictional world of porn, whether it be the glossy or the gonzo variety, it's as much due to the spread first of digital cameras then smartphones as it is distaste for what an industry dictates turns us on.
Beauty she is scarred into man's soul. I know all about the male gaze, how ludicrous it is that anyone could think of themselves as a victim purely down to how they can't turn away, as if the problem isn't theirs and theirs alone. When I give in though, as I always end up doing, the only thought which occurs is, despite everything, this, she, is beyond compare.
All is vanity.
Labels: Manic Street Preachers, non-politics, personal shit, pornography, Richey Edwards, sex