Friday, July 15, 2011

Narrative Porn

Two days ago I got a request from a friend to read and "like" a book review submitted to a major site; the reviewer was a friend of hers. The book turned out to be the autobiographical report of Jaycee Dugard's abduction and slavery.   That same day, I was running an errand (I don't remember where) and a TV in the background showed a sympathetic host interviewing Ms. Dugard. (I don't blame Ms. Dugard for wanting to get her story out, and I actually hope she makes a lot of money with which to support the children she bore that sick man.)
Later, I was leafing through a few days' worth of the Chicago Tribune (part of my post-vacation catching up!) and saw a short notice about a forthcoming book that purports to go into the mind of the infamously innocent mother of a dead toddler.

Just because things happen to be true doesn't mean they can't also be a form of porn. You can see something of the same issue in sophisticated TV dramatic series that involve high tech analyses of corpses and torture. Just because science is invoked doesn't mean that prurient interests aren't being entertained.
I call it "narrative porn," as contrasted with the cruder, visual kind.
Paul tells us to "be transformed by the renewal of your mind"; that certain things ought not be even mentioned among believers. I don't think he meant that we should just watch them on TV or read about them privately. But, as I experienced this week, it can be pretty hard to avoid. We have to practice a kind of "custody of the mind" the way the old manuals encouraged "custody of the eyes"!

8 comments:

Alicia said...

Sister Anne, I totally agree with you! I try hard not to allow myself to become inthralled by "narrative porn". Another form is "reality" shows- this is where I have a problem! Thanks for posting this!

www.through-my-is.blogspot.com

Sr Anne said...

Thanks, Alicia. I had my doubts about expressing myself so explicitly. You really affirmed my decision to do so!

Fran said...

This is a great post and so true; we marinate in a pool of narrative porn and it is so upsetting. Whether turning away from our spiritual well-being and the well-being of all of God's creatures or turning away from the direction of things that matter to our lives, porn pulls us away.

Thank you.

co said...

So very well said, Sr. Anne. Thank you. We get so worn down by it all, and especially when no one speaks to it with just the right amount of truth.

Anonymous said...

These narrative pornographers are verbal exhibitionists! There really is such a thing as Too Much Information!

diddleymaz said...

You are so right about this and its this kind of voyeristic rubbish that papers like the now defunct News of the World revelled in, I gave up reading,watching this kind of thing because they make me feel dirty, and I try to encourage my family to do the same.
Its insidious though how even seemingly safe books and programmes etc can sink to it.

K T Cat said...

Wonderful post! There is so much of it out there and it's unnecessary.

richard said...

Very well expressed. It seems that the publishing industry latches on to these kinds of incidents because they sell.