Prudes, privacy and pompous pissants

A privy of prudes, years ago, decided that their task was to justify reading aloud sex scenes to each other in a closed off room (are alarm bells ringing yet) and then deciding which title didn’t help them get their rocks off. This decision resulted in the establishment of possibly the only literary award for poor writing – The Bad Sex Award.

I am highly amused by this year’s shortlisted author Christos Tsiolkas’s statement in The Guardian:

“I have no idea who is behind the Literary Review’s Bad Sex awards and I may be making an awful assumption but I think their sexual highlight was probably jerking each other off at Eton.”

Let’s not talk about sex – why passion is waning in British books

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/oct/16/sex-disappearing-from-novels

These literary critics are incapable of behaving like adults when they read a sex scene. They turn into sniggering little boys who blush and snigger when they hear the word “boobs” and have taken it upon themselves to hide the good sex books for their enjoyment and only highlight the crap. Frankly, if there is a short list for the Bad Sex Award – I want access to the titles that didn’t make the list. This says several things about the literary bougeois:

1. They consider themselves to be in a position of moral authority as to what is acceptable, what is modest and righteous and deserved of their qualified attention and that anyone who claims or aspires to be part of the literary community (as opposed to the hoi polloi of the writing world) will adhere to writing in a fashion that meets these Victorian standards – and by gosh, sexy naked scenes will not meet these standards. Who knows what would result in allowing sex to be celebrated. Romance writers (or even, heaven forbid, Mills & Boon authors) may end up contenders for a literary award.

2. They want to keep private that the author of a book wrote in a way that aroused them because, certainly, that is what a well written sex scene should do. To a degree, I can understand wanting to keep private whether a book got you hot and bothered but if that is the case do not set yourself up as a judge of literary merit. A judge is supposed to be impartial and objective and is expected to not bring personal feelings into account when making a decision.

To be honest, I quite enjoy reading about the Bad Sex Award. I believe that it forces literary authors to think more carefully about how they depict a sex scene and what emotion they are trying to arouse in their readers. For example, confusion is not something that a reader should be feeling when reading a seduction scene. My objection is not to the existence of the award but the lack of existence of a Good Sex Award from the same literary institution.

Make me happy – I’m a Libra and I need balance in my life and in literary awards.

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2 thoughts on “Prudes, privacy and pompous pissants

  1. They’re scaredy cats. It’s the association of sex, romance novels containing purple prose and,*gasp* being compared to a romance novel that strikes fear into the hearts literary types.

  2. A Good Sex Award! I reckon we could probably do this on a blog. 🙂
    I may have agreed with you regarding the Bad Sex Award, but I’ve read some of the nominations over the years and there really are some godawful metaphors and descriptions in there — yes, to rival some of the worst sex scenes in genre fiction (and I’ve read some terrible ones there, too).

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