In The Desert Of Seth

By G. B. Marian

Tag Archives: Art

Sex and Violence

One thing that’s always bothered me about Western culture is the fact that we are much more lenient toward violence in our art than we are toward sex. It’s okay to show some action hero running around, blowing holes through people’s bodies with a sawed-off double barrel shotgun; hell, you can even get away with showing full-on autopsies, complete with people’s lungs and intestines getting shoved into the camera. But heavens forbid if you want to show people playing with each other’s pubic or anal regions; that stuff is just “unacceptable.” This has always seemed ass-backwards to me; isn’t sex better and less revolting than violence? Isn’t it better to make love, not war? And if sex is really so “shameful,” why do advertising agencies keep using it to make us buy their products all the time? (For Duat’s sake, even soap commercials do it!)

 

Mind you, I have no ethical concerns with onscreen violence in and of itself. I prefer that it be both tasteful in its execution and necessary to the plot, and I consider it a bonus when it’s shown to have serious consequences. But I’m not above enjoying the more cartoonish forms of violence that are out there, either; if I see anything that offends me, I’ll just stop watching it. Here’s what really bothers me, though: we can discuss ultraviolent movies like Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) at my family’s Christmas parties, and no one will care. There’ll be little children present, and yet none of the adults will see anything wrong with discussing a movie where people get shredded into flesh confetti. But try to imagine what might happen if I were to bring up something like Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (2013) in the same situation. (Nymphomaniac is all about sex, and the sex scenes are unsimulated, though they are digitally enhanced with body doubles.) I’ll tell you what would happen: my in-laws would be morally outraged, that’s what!

Just to be clear, I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss sex or violence around little children. My personal rule is that I won’t watch or even discuss R-rated stuff in the presence of anyone who isn’t at least 11 years of age. However, I honestly think I’d have an easier time explaining sex to a kid than violence. At least the human reproductive process makes perfect sense in the grand scheme of things; but no matter how much I read about it, the Holocaust never will. If it weren’t for sex, none of us would be here; if it weren’t for violence, many of us still would be. So as far as I’m concerned, violence should always trump sex in the hierarchy of taboos.

 

The Mighty Hot Dog of Set

This is an image I created way back in 2008, when LV-426 was still just me, the Tonester and Seth. Back in those days, we hadn’t quite landed on “LV-426 Tradition” as the official public name for our faith, and we were still humorously calling ourselves “the Zombies of Set.” (This was due to us both having trouble going to bed at decent hours and staying up until 5:00, 6:00, or sometimes even 7:00 AM every day. As a result, we acted like zombies during the daytime because we were so goddamn sleep deprived, we were probably legally dead. Or at least that’s what I remember, anyway.)

2008 was the first year of my decade in Texas that I would describe as anything better than “bad.” (Funny that it would also be my last full year in that place.) I was still living in a questionable situation, but at least I was alive again in Seth-Typhon, and some pretty big changes were right around the corner. But just before that all started, Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf of Mexico during the week of Sunday, August 31. At the place where I was living, we opened our home to a bunch of people from New Orleans who had evacuated the city just before Gustav hit. The memory of Hurricane Katrina was still fresh on everyone’s minds, so when Gustav became a Category 4 that summer, it was a no brainer; everyone had to get the hell out of New Orleans (and Galveston, Texas for that matter), and anyone who had room in their home needed to let someone else use it for a week. It was actually a pretty awesome experience to bond with these complete strangers in the midst of such a terrible force of nature, and it made me feel pretty tight with Big Red; maybe someday I’ll write some more about that week.

I also discovered Alice Cooper’s Easy Action (1970), his second studio album (and the last album he ever allowed Frank Zappa to produce). I became insanely obsessed with this humble little opus during that time, and I spent many an afternoon sitting in a tree out in the front yard with my boom box, blastin’ the Coop for everyone in the neighborhood to hear. Hey, it was hurricane season and everybody was just glad to be alive, you know what I mean? I didn’t give two shits about any “noise ordinance.”

That’s me sitting in a tree in ’08, blastin’ the Coop.

Speaking of “shits”…At some point that week, I ate a real bad hot dog; I mean, this sucker was mean. I’m not going to tell you what happened after I ate it, but I’ll say this much: people became concerned. And that’s what inspired this humorous little diddy.

Remember: “You Are What You Eat!”