So, to start with, I am almost totally alienated from pop culture. Ironically, I’m much more tapped in now (at 27) than I ever was as a teenager. Pop music, movies, what? I can name like three Madonna songs and that’s primarily because I went to Sarah Lawrence College (where the stereos flip wildly from “Vogue” to Wagner’s The Ring Cycle to Sondheim in Concert).
The one form of popular media that I do intake regularly (and much more than is good for me, no doubt) is television. For a while, I was puzzled by my obsession with shows like Dexter and Project Runway, until I finally figured out that I’ve become super-saturated with prose what with writing all day, and reading for the magazine I edit, and having recently acquired my fiction MFA. Television gives me a chance to salve my narrative addiction without tapping into job- and school-related stressors.
And via the miracle of television, I’ve become able to pretend I know things about movies, too. How? Because of wikipedia.
Oh, wikipedia. Your choice of subjects is sometimes amusing. You have articles on the careers of every minor character from Are You Being Served. I love you for that; I really do.
All this brings me ’round to the beginning of my story, which happens while I’m rewatching season two of 30 rock. Jack’s ex-wife, played by Isabella Rosselini, romps around acting beautiful and ridiculous. I pursue my stealth activity of looking her up on wiki so that I can pretend I have a clue about the movie industry — and lo and behold, wikipedia presents to me (via Isabella Rosselini and the Sundance Channel) the most wonderful of all possible gifts. Green porno.
I gape. Isabella Rosselini is vamping it up in a beige body suit with painted nipples, pretending to be a snail.
As a fly, wearing enormous compound-eye glasses, she scoffs at a falling newspaper and then mounts a cardboard model of another fly. “Flies have sex multiple times a day,” she says, flashing the camera an enormous grin as she continues her pelvic thrusts.
These videos, most of which last under two minutes, star Isabella Rosselini as a host of animals. She employs papier mache, cardboard, and puppetry, to explain the sex lives of these creatures. She strikes a brilliant balance between didacticism and actual pornography: these videos aren’t going to arouse most humans, but you can imagine them being titillating to anthropomorphic flies and snails.
It’s not a big surprise that undersea angler fish — who live in the depths of the ocean, fishing for their prey with a luminous lure — have bizarre sex lives. But while the story of their extreme sexual dimorphism is fascinating and even somewhat shocking, I think green porno is most interesting when it portrays animals that are closer to home. Earthworms live in everyone’s backyard; they are as ordinary as muck. But despite their at-hand mundanity, their sex lives are still alien.
The real lesson of green porno is: thank god you’re not an insect, especially if you’re male.
No, wait, the real lesson of green porno is: life is strange. And also, thank god you’re not an insect, especially if you’re male.
Green porno has been out for a while, but for some reason, it hasn’t seemed to catch fire in my part of the blogosphere. Consequently, I intend to plug them for all they’re worth until they become ubiquitous and everyone knows how spiders mate.
You can watch all of the green porno videos — including some that haven’t made it onto youtube — on the sundance channel’s website.