Let me ‘splain to you… no, it is too much. Let me sum up:
I spent a good portion of the day at my parents’ house, doing odd things, like running antenna cable through my father’s car (he’s installing a two way radio… we’re all ham radio operators, you see). Before that, however, I was on the Penny Arcade forums, where there was a poll going on as to whether or not the art forum should try to find non-nude anatomy references to post for exercises. I think the notion is absurd (and upon checking the poll again now that it is completed, apparently the rest of the forumers agree). I recall reading in (I believe) one of A.D. Coleman’s essays a recounting of a story about Toulouse Lautrec at a gallery opening. A dame came up to him outraged at a painting of a woman undressing with a man looking on. She called it pornography and filth. He turned to her and said “The woman is not undressing, she is dressing, and that man is her husband, and I’d appreciate it if you would stop looking at my painting.”
Alas, the entire story is paraphrased horribly, as I have not been able to locate it again. I’ll go back and edit it if I discover the actual story again.
The point I’m trying to make with that story is that it is a matter of perspective of the viewer as to whether or not something is pornographic and lewd, or innocent and tasteful. Personally, I like both — beauty in any form, and that includes in a sexual form — but it still comes down to the subjective (and fickle) nature of the viewer. Something as valuable as anatomy studies to advance one’s artistic ability should not be constrained by the over-sensitized views of a few vocal naysayers.
I’m debating whether or not to write an essay about this. It is a very important issue to me, and I’d love to discuss it further. It is hard to get motivated about it though, because Coleman has already put my thoughts to paper so well. I really shouldn’t take that attitude, but it is SUCH a simple and adequate rationalization for laziness. The counterpoint is that everything has “been done,” so why do anything? (The answer? To add your own voice to the subject, to hopefully continue to elaborate and expand on these established and well-trodden paths.)
I guess we’ll see.
I would like to comment that I’d HIGHLY recommend reading A.D. Coleman’s essays (I’m fond of both collections I have, namely Critical Focus and Depth of Field). The content on his site is well written (as are most things he does), but the design is pretty ugly, so please bear with it. Trust me, the reward is well worth it.
On to other things: Mickey’s Muppet Show collection just arrived (no, it isn’t the full set… Time Life has a collection of 45 out of the 120 episodes available on dvd… my darling wife ordered them a week or two ago), and I must say it is GOOD to see the episodes again. There is a certain absurdism to it that I find entertaining and delightful in a way that more modern shows simply cannot touch. (There have been a few strong contenders and peers, though… Animaniacs, for instance, and Dexter’s Laboratory can be hit or miss.)
In other, OTHER news, I got an email today giving final approval on my EXCEL essay. To briefly explain: I am writing an essay for college credit about my experiences as a participant and as an administrator in online communities. I’ve been involved in various communities for around 8 years, which have helped define me as an individual both in real life and online. I’ve given it a lot of thought over the years, and have identified several community archetypes, as well as the development cycle of online persona, and how it affects the real world persona.
I’m really looking forward to writing this essay, though the 50 page estimated length is a little daunting (I have roughly a month to get a draft done, and a month after that to polish it… of course, those are also the months that I’m packing and moving across the country. Fun!) I am a little concerned about being able to both write that amount of quality content in that amount of time along with my other duties (such as packing), and yet still retain a critical distance from the work, in order to adequately edit it, separating the wheat from the chaff.
Eli has dashed off and will in theory be back later. Mickey is sitting beside me, reading Depth of Field and being thoroughly amused by the wealth of excellent quotes that Coleman scatters throughout his essays. (For instance, “One of Man’s greatest obligations is anger.” Nikos Kazantzakis)
Okay, I’ll leave it here, for now.