(I) “Until we make it normal that brothers and sisters can fuck…the only interesting aspect of sex will be incest,” says Oona Chaplin of the Chaplin dynasty. This is from an article in vanity fair titled “Why TV is obsessed with incest.”, which, as one could guess, concerns the rising popularity of incest. If I were the living caricature of an old, white, christian conservative, I’d be tempted to say something like, “World’s going to hell in a handbasket with all of this incest; this is Sodom and Gomorrah all over again.” Good thing is that I am not in fact that (probably). Anyway, when I read the article, my first reaction was “What the fuck? How does that make sense?,” which makes sense because I wasn’t meant to see it. But I did, and there’s no turning back, so let’s see why we’re all going to hell in a handbasket today.
(II) This article is important for a particular reason, and that reason is that it is in Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair, and publications like it (GQ, Pitchfork) set the standard for what is acceptable to discuss in popular culture. In this sense, it is much more helpful to see each article in said publications not as reports or opinion pieces or what have you, but as framing devices for conversation. This is true (and helpful) whether or not you read it. The problem with this becomes that we are no longer able to reject the premise entirely, and are stuck debating/discussing/arguing about its conclusions precisely because most likely everyone else is.
Oona Chaplin is then given the power to set the frame of the discussion surrounding incest in popular media, courtesy of Vanity Fair. I had no idea Oona Chaplin even existed, despite the “pedigree”, which should immediately throw up warning signals to you, cause I’m willing to bet you didn’t either. Her impressive lineage is only made note of so that you will take her seriously, despite the fact that she’s never been involved in anything noteworthy other than GoT and Quantum of Solace. The fact that you are being told to take her seriously signals that whatever is being said isn’t necessarily true, but what Vanity Fair wants to be true.
Vanity Fair’s target demo is women, which makes sense because eventually everyone’s target demo is women. which means this article is meant to be read by women. If we allow this to be true (which it is), you need to ask yourself, “Why does Vanity Fair want women to think it’s true that TV is obsessed with incest?” “Wait, men read vanity fair too.” Yeah, so what? That’s unintended consequences with bonus ROI, it doesn’t mean anything. Vanity Fair doesn’t need men to read it, it just needs men to invest in it so women can read it. Go ahead and cry sexism if you’d like. We’ll be moving on, so feel free to catch up when you’re done.
(III) If TV is obsessed with incest, then it is obsessed with a particular kind of incest. Observe that it was Oona Chaplin that was interviewed in an article about why it’s okay that TV is obsessed with incest and not Vera Farmiga or Holliday Grainger. The former’s portrayal of incest is nothing short of not okay and Holliday’s portrayal is of a completely sexually liberated women that can’t be shamed, ie a woman that can’t be exploited and we can’t have that. the incest that’s left is the one that occurs between Jamie and Cersei Lannister and Zilpha Geary and James Delaney.
Cersei and Zilpha are two entirely different characters with entirely different motivations, so it doesn’t help to analyze them. It does however help that we take a look and Jami and James since they’re pretty much the same person. They are both skilled, resourceful men possessed of incredible will and fortitude, each wrestling with their own inner demons while being madly in love with and loyal to their sisters. Note that Jamie reserves himself only for his sister and James does the same while both of their sisters have other partners, willingly or otherwise.
Incest is typically thought of as sexual, and sexuality is a core component of romantic relationships. Allow me the stretch to make the following equation. incest=sexuality/sexuality=relationship/therefore incest=relationship. You can double check my math on that one, pretty sure I’m right. So what we’re looking at here isn’t TV’s obsession with incest, but with something much older: Media’s obsession with forbidden relationships.
Awhile back, it was because you were from different family’s. Then it was because you were from different parts of town. then it was because she was a jock and you were nerd. then it was she tries too hard and you don’t. Apparently, we can’t get tired of seeing the same thing over and over if it has a new paint job.
I’m going to make a sexist, yet completely accurate statement. No male gives a shit about the incest in Game of Thrones or Taboo. Scratch that, if you were to replace every instance of incest and romance with murder, dudes would like it even more, and the shows demographic would completely tilt into Y chromosome territory. It’s not for them, which is why this article is in Vanity Fair and not GQ. “Wait, are you actually suggesting that women are the one’s obsessed with incest?” Sure, if you like your conclusions being drawn for you. Just because there’s a woman on it, near it, buying it, or selling it, doesn’t mean it’s solely about women. I’m not saying women are obsessed with incest (though forbidden relationships are right up their alley), I’m saying that men are complicit in the incest and romance subplots even though it’s not for them, which means it is, just not in the way it’s meant for women. “What?” As someone much wiser than I once told me. “If you’re watching it, it’s for you.”
(IV) “There’s a sexual libertarianism right now…Sex is very much a public display type of thing,” Says Oona-voiceofageneration-Chaplin. Fun fact about libertarianism is that everything is negotiable. Another fun fact is that it completely misunderstands the human condition. Since we’re on a roll, fun fact #3: You can only own your identity in private. Once you step outside, you have to negotiate it with everyone around you, and they with you. Now, sex and sexuality is the same way, entirely negotiable with the outside world. “Wait, wasn’t it always though?” A man finds himself downtown and swipes right enough times, he’s gonna get laid, how’s that for negotiation?
“There just isn’t anything magical about it,” A piece in Washington Post says about why the young’uns aint bangin. While everyone’s scrambling for answers, trying to present their theories and data about how and why sex has lost its magic, the answer is right under their nose, being frantically ignored. Sex isn’t magical anymore because sex itself is now a product, and products are only magical when you’re a kid. “Sex is not something people are going to be asking you for on your resume,” say Noah Patterson, an 18 year old virgin. Wait a fucking second. Is this YouTube/Pornhub watching kid trying to tell me that sex isn’t important because you can’t put it on a resume. WP didn’t see a fundamental disconnect in that sentiment? “This is a highly motivated, ambitious generation,” Noone helpful at the Washington Post said. This isn’t some kid “abstaining” from success because he thinks it gets in the way of whatever he thinks success is, he doesn’t care about it (read:he totally does) because it can’t be flaunted.
Sex can’t be flaunted for a specific reason: You have to be good at it. “Wait, you can’t flaunt things you’re good at?” Story time. We were once told to free hand for an hour. At that moment, one of our members proceeded to break out some watercolors and do an acrylic piece. Read that again. Her skill was so overwhelming, she not only had no need to flaunt it, but she was too busy concentrating to do so. You can’t flaunt paideia. If you are, then you’re not actually doing anything. Flaunting is a negotiation tactic. I say I am X, you believe it so you can tell me you are Y and I believe it. Can’t do that with your skill in the sack. “I’ll rock your world,” you over confidently say on your third whiskey sour. “Guess we’re about to find out,” she responds, calling your bluff and downing the rest of her cosmo. Sex demands authenticity, which is why Noah avoids it in favor of making more money, which can be flaunted. The only way to actually negotiate for sex is by actually being good at it, which also means you have to be a decent human being at one point. Inevitably, women get tired of being lied to, someones rebound, being told whatever they want to hear, not being good at it/not finding anyone good at it, so they just gave up. If women exit the market, then men must follow.
(V) Average guy getting laid logic: Say the right things + do the right things + flaunt the right things = sex. What hopelessly ass backwards logic. A generation of fatherless children though, and that’s the equation we’re left with. What all men understand is that a man with conviction and drive will always say the right thing to the right girl, which is exactly why assholes get so many “chicks.” Call him a douche, seethe quietly while has sex with your crush in chem class. Whatever you got to do to sleep. Don’t you forget though, he “has” her because he made his intentions known and you, being a “nice guy,” didn’t. “No he didn’t! He just wanted sex! he’s just acting all macho to fuck her!” What, you don’t just want sex either? How noble. Besides, you really think she didn’t know that? While men spend their time judging women by whatever metric suits their fancy, women are experts at appraising men. You can’t say what he can or do what he does (even though you want to) because you know it’s an act and you know she knows it’s an act, which is precisely why you don’t do it. At the end of the day, which would you rather go home with, a fake asshole, or a real one? Now you’re giving her those options? How noble.
It is impossible for a man to convince a woman of who he is, after all, she will either choose you or not. She knows you better than you do and you know this is true, which is also why only a woman can annihilate a man by exposing his vulnerabilities, not another man. Man calls out man, anger, fighting, and introspection occur. Woman calls out man, he’s playing russian roulette. Whether it stops on the round in the chamber or not, you’re going to have to reevaluate your life decisions afterwards. “You just got done telling me about how women are all oppressed, and now you’re saying they have some insane power over men? Whose side are you even on?” 1) don’t they though? and 2) you’re missing the point. Contemplate some ancient wisdom while you’re finding that point. Suffering is the birthplace of real power.
Being raised in a world of push up bras, make up, and “smile, you’re too pretty to be sad,” women are well acquainted with an uncomfortable truth: almost everything can be faked. Girls are told to flaunt everything and anything they can, while also being told to desire authenticity over anything else. They are told be authentic and then are shamed for their lack of authenticity, which then makes them desire it more. In the advertising industry, they call this “a gold mine” which makes sense because why else would Vanity Fair say it’s okay to be obsessed with incest?
(VI) Jamie Lannister and James Delaney are representative of the kind of authenticity women desire in men. If this is true (which it is), then it also means women are made to feel ashamed of wanting that particular kind of man, hence the incest. Men are okay with this. take note, both GoT and Taboo are period pieces. Women are relegated to a fantasy where resourceful, strong, driven men not only exist in a world full of corruption and deceit (ie now) but there also exists a man who has those qualities and is devoted and loyal to his woman, regardless of who they are. Observe that Cersei Lannister and Zilpha Geary are completely different as characters while Jamie and James are basically the same. Why are men okay with this? Once again, observe that both shows are period pieces. Men like that could only ever exist in the past, not today. Not with all these skanky bitches running around anyway. Gotta get mine before someone fucks me over. “Why the fuck would I be okay with this? I don’t want woman feeling ashamed of wanting a real man. I am a real man, they just won’t talk to me, then I could show them how awesome/cool/whatever I am!” Is that so?