rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,

Katherine Anne Will Be Spinning In Her Grave.

I had one of those distressing Internet experience last night. One would think that by now, when I've seen everything from sites promoting that bizarre Czarist humbug The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to Ouchy the S&M clown, there would be nothing left to surprise me, but it is not so.

A mention of Flannery O'Connor on my friends page put me in mind of another writer with wose work I became familiar in a college literature class, Katherine Anne Porter. She wrote one of my favorite short stories, The Jilting of Granny Weatherall. This particular tale impressed me in part because it closes with what I found to be the most startling image I had ever encountered in a work of literature. I've never forgotten the moment I read those words. The story is a gem; terse, vivid, and brutally honest. I recall being scandalized at the inability of the other students in the class to grasp the import of it. I kept wanting to shout "No, you tools, the missing bridegroom at the end of the story is not the same one who went missing earlier in the story, and it certainly isn't death who is missing!" Sheesh. Community college!

So I went hunting on the Internet to see if there was anything about the story there. I entered the keywords "jilting granny weatherall" into the Google search engine, and was rewarded with thousands of results. The first, from NYU, was actually about the story. As I continued down the page, my astonishment grew. Almost evey result was from one porn site or another, specializing in pictures of or stories about sex with elderly women. There were sites with such names as "insest- with-granny" and "spankmans-nude-older-women" and "momsbangvideo." Page after page of the search results was dominated by porn sites. There was a sprinkling of links to sites about the story, or sites selling the video of the version of the story that was made for a high-brow television series a few years ago, but the porn sites just went on and on. I was astonished.

Now, it is certain that I am not a prude where Internet porn is concerned. Indeed, I seek it out and download it all the time I have come to accept its regrettable presence. (Heh. I'm still not tired of that joke!) But the idea that the central character in Porter's sad, poignant and shocking (in the good way) story should have become a symbol of what I would consider one of the more bizarre manifestations of sexual dysfunction is truly shocking in the bad way. I'm actually not sure what amazes me more; that jilting Granny Weatherall is apparently now a code name for a very peculiar form of lust, or that the people who operate these web sites apparently are familiar with Porter's story. Literate porn peddlers! What the hell is the world coming to?

Well, at least I found that link (posted above) to the story itself (after wading through several pages of porn links.) Now, I don't have to go all the way across the room and take that heavy book from the shelf and crack it open. That ought to be worth the price of the images now stuck in my head of guys drooling over slash tales about old ladies. Shouldn't it?

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