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Monday, June 09, 2008

Misery Porn

Now then.
Please tell me that it's not just ME that finds this whole 'misery memoir' business quite sick? You know the kind of stuff: I was abused as a child, I adopted abused children who abused me/abused others, my husband was an abuser/paedophile, I was made to eat dog food, my dog was abused, my parents were evil, I was driven to drugs/booze/crime/sexual depravity by any and all of the above.
The kind of barely readable pap that can be niftily shorthanded as 'This is evil, this is dirty, look, look' literature.

It all started with Dave Pelzer, who has so far managed to make for himself a VERY lucrative career by writing increasingly (and increasingly suspiciously) lurid accounts of abuse at the hands of his mother, without once in several hundred pages of his first book 'A Boy Called It' even attempting to speculate as to what might have driven his mother to her actions. It's not the psychology of it the readers are interested in, you see, any more than the consumers of hardcore pornography are interested in the reasons WHY sexy young sluts love c**k (oh come on, don't act shocked, you get the same spam messages as me...).

Isn't the voracious reading of books with titles like "Please Daddy No" simply the barely-disguised ambulance-chasing 'acceptable' face of paedophilia?
If you get your jollies reading about children being abused in a book you bought from Amazon, is that REALLY psychologically all that much more depraved than getting your jollies from an account of child abuse you picked up, wrapped in brown paper, from a back street shop in Soho? (And, obviously, I do mean psychologically on the part of the consumer, I'm not suggesting that the sale of paedo porn is fine and dandy with me).

Do you really need to read about little girls being sold to dockers for sodomy purposes to know that child abuse is very unpleasant indeed?
Of course you don't.
So what are so many people (they're DISTRESSINGLY popular) reading these books for, if not vicarious enjoyment?

The perplexing thing is how upset people get when you suggest that their reading these books is a mild form of sadistic voyerism. Though that fact is plainly true, people see themselves as such sensitive bleeding hearts for reading this guff, that it never actually occurs to them that they're not sensitive wee flowers at all but that they're getting something out of it. Somehow, like other forms of pornography, the whole thing would be less offensive if people just admitted that they like it because it turns them on. Grubby beggars.


Or am I just too cynical for words?

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