Saturday, January 19, 2008
Selling Things with Sex
The way you sell cars is by draping a woman over the hoods. Some of the woman's sexiness rubs off on your car, and presto, everyone thinks that cars are sexy. The commodification of women is the same as commodifying anything. You can quantify the value of love now in courts of law and on television. Really, you can quantify and commodify any emotion. The art world has been doing it for years.
As a joke, one time, I asked, "what if we do something similar to poetry?"
If there were a way to make poetry a bit more in your face sexy, people would be drawn to it the way they are drawn to pop music. You wouldn't have to change the subjects of your poems, although most poets tend to write about sex now and then anyway. Automobile manufacturers change almost nothing about their cars from year to year. Pop music hardly changes either. Poetry doesn't change much; every movement is just another variation on a theme and a style. But somewhere around T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, poetry stopped being sexy and visceral and emotionally charged and dangerous and cool in the eyes of gen. pop., and started being something like homework. Homework is not sexy.
So I started thinking about selling poetry, and I couldn't help but think the idea extremely humorous. Poets don't sell out! The commodification of emotions is just down right wrong. It's degrading to women, and besides, how can you drape a woman over a poem?
When I looked at lingerie catalogues, I noticed that the models look sad and vapid, like their minds are anywhere but in the moment. They look lost. They've worked their bodies into a shape that fits the stereotypical ideal of beauty, and now they've dressed up, and now someone is yelling at them, taking their pictures. The whole idea of fashion models makes me very sad. But fashion shows are exciting, and I find lingerie very sexy. I wanted to see what would happen if I put pictures of women selling the things they're wearing on my poetry blog.
And that's the story behind why I put lingerie pictures on this blog. I think it fits in with the title, Trainwreck. I think it fits in with poetry. It bothers a lot of people, and a lot of people like it. Maybe people who aren't into poetry will buy a poetry calendar someday like they do with power tools calendars.
The picture above is my favorite of the ones I've posted.