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Erotic, Grotesque Nonsense Panel Feedback


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I was one of the panelists for the Erotic, Grotesque Nonsense panel Saturday night. We were all first-time panelists, so we definitely want to nip any and all problems in the bud for future cons. Have any feedback on the good, the bad, the ugly? We'd like to hear it, and honesty is appreciated. The biggest problem was definitely that panel ran a bit shorter than we had wanted, and that was mostly because a video portion we had made wound up not working. But the first thing we will do if we decide to give the panel again is to add on more content (although Legend of the Overfiend definitely fully deserves the amount of time we gave it). So if you could tell us what you'd like to see more of, that would be great.

Thanks!

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Thanks very much! Always glad to share the aborted fetus Jesus lovin'. (And I may have said so in the panel, but that was from Fetus Collection, one of Shintaro Kago's many incredible and hilarious manga oneshots, which is about a bunch of women having an abortion and fetus arrangement competition. It's A++ and highly recommended.)

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  • 2 weeks later...
Thanks very much! Always glad to share the aborted fetus Jesus lovin'. (And I may have said so in the panel, but that was from Fetus Collection, one of Shintaro Kago's many incredible and hilarious manga oneshots, which is about a bunch of women having an abortion and fetus arrangement competition. It's A++ and highly recommended.)
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Apologies in advance for my accursed longwindedness...

First of all, I really enjoyed this panel! In fact, it was one of the best events of the weekend for me. Given, as mentioned above, the fringe/niche-ness of the subject and the likelihood that interested people have already seen much of what you had to show, you all managed to make the panel really fun and interesting. The discussion of roots in ukiyo-e and other Japanese art, and the progression from (especially) Yoshitoshi's work through the modern era to contemporary stuff -- all set in a coherent historical narrative -- was pretty well done, esp. for first-timers! I also think that your light treatment, though edging toward silly at times, was crucial to its being a fun and informative panel.

I have two criticisms, one mild/surface-level and one more involved:

I was a bit disappointed that you decided (on the fly, it seemed) against having a discussion/Q&A period at the end. Come to think of it, maybe you did, but I didn't care to sit through the whole video segment to find out, and wanted to take off for various reasons anyway (FTR my stomach was pretty much fine!). I guess a discussion session could have gone either way, and I probably wouldn't have spoken up myself, but I was curious what people would have to say/ask, if anything.

The main thing that irked me was when you approached the question, "Why guro?" As I remember, one of you dismissed it w/ something like, "basically, we don't know." In an absolute, individual way, that may be true, but from anthropological, sociological, and psychological points of view, sooo much more could be said! Here's my take:

According to some, the whole function of human culture (of which art is a huge part) is to help us face and deal with basic fixations on liminal realities. Birth, death, coming of age, individuation, love/marriage, sexuality, sickness, and (most appropriate to this discussion!) embodiment all involve cultural norms and activities -- all different depending on the culture and individual being considered. Whatever ero-guro's function with respect to an individual artist or viewer, the fact that ero-guro is recognized as a loose category shows that it deals with some loosely related clump of bodily and psychological thresholds. Inside/outside, mine/yours, freedom/bondage, human/monster, sex/violence... these are all consistent and interrelated themes. And all of us who have bodies (raise your hands!) have had to consider our relations to them, at least on some some level. Ero-guro REALLY explores them, obviously to the point of taboo/discomfort/disgust.

Now, despite my wordiness, I'm not saying you should be delivering an anthropology/psychology lecture up there! And you did to a good job with the historical aspect of the same question. I was just, as I said, a bit disappointed with the dismissal, especially since the panel description suggested it would be part of the panel's focus. Again, I really enjoyed it, and totally think you should continue to pontificate on ero-guro-nonsensical mayhem in the future!

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The long-windedness is appreciated, believe me. Yeah, we did end up having a Q&A session at the end, but I apologize that it was put after the video segment instead of before it.

As for the question "Why guro?" your input is definitely very valid. We'll try to flesh out some form of an answer to that much more fully in the future. Basically, I felt a little presumptuous just making up a reason based on my own personal theories, but obviously failing to address that question is not a better approach. It's something I thought about a lot, but never managed to put together any clear, fully-formed ideas on, so that is something I will think through and cement more for myself. There is no real widely accepted explanation for sadomasochism, it just seems to be a sort of natural instinct that is more accentuated in some than others. I tried polling people informally on their guro fixation, and while childhood trauma seemed to sometimes be a cause, it was not the main cause. Your take on it is definitely a good start, and if we give the panel again I will definitely work on a more coherent (if still slightly vague) answer to that question.

Thanks to everyone who's replied :).

Edited by typewritermachinegun
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