Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The North-South Position

Okay, let me see if I can squeeze this one in. (My computer is not yet out of the shop.)

The Onion A.V. Club kindly shared this brief video clip, which may or may not be NSFW:

Perfume Genius ad from nils bernstein on Vimeo.
The clip features Perfume Genius' singer Mike Hadreas and gay porn actor Arpad Mikos. Neither man is nude below the waist; both are shirtless. It seems that both Google and Youtube refused to allow the ad to be posted, because it violated their Adult Image / Video content policy,
which excludes "any ads that contain non-family safe material," adding that "the overall feeling of the video is one of a more adult nature, including promoting mature sexual themes and what appears to be nude content. As such, the video is non-family safe."
More information is available at the AV Club's source, this article at Pitchfork, including a link to the music video from which the images in the ad are drawn, which is on Youtube. The odd thing (coming from me) is that I'm inclined to agree that the clip is of a "more adult nature," including "mature sexual themes," even though in the very brief ad the two men do nothing more (or less) erotic than embrace while gazing intently into each other's eyes. That doesn't seem to me reason for Youtube to reject the ad, especially when the same material is available in the video for "Hood," because "mature sexual themes" are present in most popular entertainment, including the classic Code-era Hollywood films, and because children aren't harmed by them. You know the famous scene in From Here to Eternity, where Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr kiss in the sand as the surf flows over them? That shows as much skin as Hadreas and Miklos do, and more passion. It was controversial in its day (1953), but nowadays it's fodder for nostalgia.

Of course, it's different, because Lancaster and Kerr were playing heterosexuals. That is probably the reason Youtube and Google rejected the ad. As some commenters at the AV Club pointed out, if the two men were punching each other (or even simulating more extreme violence) there'd have been no problem. The subject of Ultimate Fighting Championship came up too: "It's hard to tell sometimes. The first time I ever saw UFC on TV, it was two guys that looked like they were 69ing each other, except they had pants on. The announcer said it was the 'North-South' position. Give me a fucking break. We all know what that is . . ."

It all reminds me of Michel Foucault's remark that bigots are less bothered by sodomy (though of course they are bothered by it) than by love and romance between men. I don't mean to overgeneralize, but there's something to what he said, and Youtube's reaction to the Perfume Genius ad supports it.