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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Fearturing Bandwench's Frodo manip ~ "Frodo: Study in Blue" (Adult)....

Posted on 2006.06.25 at 12:41


mechtild at 2006-06-26 01:45 (UTC) (Link)
The blue manip is,to me, pure art.. at least, the cropped version. This is, of course, only my opinion. I suppose an argument can be made that a well drawn erection is art.. and well.. everybody has their own opinion of what art is anyway.

Oh, perhaps I shouldn't have said Frodo's Person is "partially aroused" (sounds like a beast under the Lonely Mountain), which seems somehow still to imply a full-blown erection. It's simply larger and more perky-looking than a flaccid penis would look. No one else is in the image, and Frodo in the image is not relating to anyone, nor is he touching himself. But, it remains that for the experienced viewer, this is not a "disinterested" bit of male gentialia.

Someone else might have said Frodo was merely very generously endowed in the "phallic department". But, since the manipper corroborates that the member in the image is "somewhat aroused," I feel I am being accurate in saying it is. But, "erection" gives the wrong idea altogether. Which sounds like flagpoles waving around.

Oh, well, I won't argure further. Sorry, Taerie. And I know your argument about the permission factor in using people's images for manips.

And it's not the same as when faces are used for satire. No one asked George Bush about sticking his head onto The Thinker, sitting on a toilet, spewing bombs over Iraq, with a thought bubble coming out of his head, saying, "Duh...", but I suppose they really ought to have. Yet no one but his most fevent supporters complains about this usage. The issue doesn't seem to be so much "using his image", as it is "what his image is used for." Which is a very legitimate point. To make fun of Bush mishandling a public policy, like the war in Iraq, is received much differently than making fun of Bush in his private life.

But, sticking a celebrity's head on a porn shot -- perhaps, especially because it is so convincingly done -- is another matter. Again, though, I think one should bear in mind the targeted audience of the manip. The manip made as political satire is made to be seen by the nation. The porn manip of a fan is made to be seen by a circle of fellow-fans.

It is a more complicated question than I first thought. Myself, I wouldn't make such manips. But, am I not doing something similar? -- using film-Frodo's face to make my own less highly-rated manips? And do I not use his image painted in words (as do hundreds of other fanfic writers), in my fanfic, in which the protagonists do far more, sexually, than what Frodo does in my manip (which is to just sit there, looking lusciously contemplative)?

If I make a manip using his face showing him riding in the cart to Hobbiton, or talking to Ted Sandyman in the Green Dragon, no one would complain. But if I made a manip using his face showing him in bed with another hobbit, there would be a lot of complaining -- about how I "used his image".

What about the gazillion fan artists who use film-Frodo's face for their illustrations? What is the travesty: that they use his face, or that they use his face to put in illustrations depicting sex scenes? So it's ok to use his face to show him being treated to mushrooms, or looking mournful in Ithilien, or being tortured in Cirith Ungol, but not making love?

I am not taking you to task, Tairie, but merely thinking out loud. Your point is extremely sound, or I wouldn't be thinking about it and talking about it. Obviously, I am still working this through, and (unfortunately) letting you be a sounding board without consulting you.

But, think about it: when I make ANY manip of Frodo (no matter what the rating) I am borrowing the face of the celebrity who played him. True, I only care about the role he played, but he did create it -- with HIS face and HIS body.

What gives me the right to do that, even if what I create is considered generally inoffensive?

Is it wrong to borrow a celebrity's face, as such -- or is only wrong to borrow the celebrity's face only when used for certain, unacceptable purposes - like putting it into erotic settings? It is quite a different issue, if so. People need to decide, then, what are and what are not acceptable purposes.
taerie at 2006-06-26 03:29 (UTC) (Link)
I agree with this.. and I have thought about it too.. (Obviously, since for the last several years in my imagination Frodo seems to have inherited a face similar to Mr.Wood. (Not exactly! But at one time, EW could be made up and magically BE Frodo for me by virtue of his talent.)
I guess the rule I use is 'Do unto others.' No way would I mind being made into art of any sort I consider art.. but also No way would I enjoy extreme liberties of the sort sometimes taken. It's just rude and to my mind, disrespectful to treat people that way.. both to that person and to yourself.
(Satire? That's different.. And my personal approval level of being mean to Bush is far different from my approval level of mean to EW LOL!)
Would I fight to the death for anybody's right to DO that on the net? Oh yes. Do I have to approve? Heck no.. and I vote with my feet.
(However, after what you said above I went and had a look at the pic. I'm glad I did.. It is utterly beautiful.. I wish it did not include the overly happy bit.. I would save it and enjoy it if it wasn't just a wee bit too in your face.
I actually have by happenstance, an experience that sort of gives me a perspective. When I was younger, I used to enter costume competitions at San Diego conventions.. (All my friends did so I got into it.) One year, I discovered to my surprise a bit of art someone had done from photo of me in a scanty costume I had done another year with a group portraying a character from a book, entered in the Art show. I was supposed to be that character. It had me far nakeder than I would ever have actually been in public.. but it was very nice and although it was weird to see myself like that in an art show, I thought it was nice, appropriate for the character, and I was flattered and enjoyed it. Another time someone else took a photo of me when I was unaware and I was bending over and it was obviously done to look down my shirt. It was far less revealing but it ticked me right off when I saw it.. and does to this day.
This is perhaps colouring my opinion of all this. (Ya think?):-)
mechtild at 2006-06-26 04:39 (UTC) (Link)
(A two-parter! Sorry!)

This is perhaps colouring my opinion of all this. (Ya think?):-)

Well, are we talking about using Frodo's image in art, now, or Elijah's (as Elijah)? If we are talking about Frodo's image, then we are talking about using the image of a fictional character (even though he was played by an actor, his image now has taken on a life of its own, separate from EW, just as images of the Cowardly Lion have a life of their own apart from Bert Lahr, who played him). I think that is comparable to your story of how your image, in costume as a character, was used by an artist, who then made a picture from your portrayal (which included making the costume scantier). Once you were "in character," it wasn't you being portrayed, but the character. You were just enacting, or modelling the character which the artist worked from.

When you were photographed surreptitiously but intentionally, with the camera looking down your dress, that was different. The photographer was taking advantage of you for a bit of voyeurism for his own benefit. But if he were taking group shots, and you just happened to lean over when he clicked the big group shot, that would not be his fault.

Last week a soccer player was on the field in Germany and his penis flipped out of his shorts. It was an accident, and the TV cameras never intended to record it as part of the game coverage. But, as you might imagine, that clip was all over the internet. (I got it in an email from a relative.) That "shorts malfunction" appeared everywhere, not just as the clip that appeared on TV, but in slo-mo and in screencaps, all to better examine it. Well, the player didn't seem upset, and a good laugh was had by all. But, if the player had been angry or mortified, it would have been very different. It would have seemed like taking gross advantage of him to show it all over the place -- even though it had happened right on TV, in a public venue.

When that photographer took your picture it was very different. You could say he "stole" the image from you, using it to give a false impression of you; like snipping off a lock of your hair and going around telling people you gave it to him. Perhaps you are seeing what happens to EW when people use his image for manips as that sort of thing: stealing his image and using it in ways that give a false impression of him, and mortifying or angering him.

But what if Elijah experiences the manip thing like that soccer player when he fell out of his shorts on camera? EW's penis isn't hanging out, true, but his face is, all the time, publicly available, which his fans think is as hawt as anything he's got in his jeans. What if, when people take that face -- which has all the power of a shorts malfunction to those who swoon for him -- and do what is the equivalent of the folks who took the clip of the unleashed soccer-guy's penis? Through hot fics and manips, they do something comparable to when folks took the clip of the soccer guy's exposed gentials and featured it in slo-mo, and screencaps, all to pore over it the better. Maybe when EW sees these stuff like these hot manips or stories (and, by now, he must know there's a ton of them), his attitude is more like that soccer player's. That is, he doesn't think it's that big a deal, and can wave it off. He's a public person; he's on view, and his popularity is great with women who respond heavily to his looks. Women who, if he can't manage to have a shorts malfunction (like the soccer player), will be happy to provide him with one.

mechtild at 2006-06-26 05:01 (UTC) (Link)

I sound like I'm being the champion of Filthy EW Manips, Taerie, and I really am not. I'm just saying that I don't see the use of EW's image in manips or fanfics -- even as Frodo -- as that black-and-white a thing.

As a film actor, a star to some degree, he's a public person who makes it on the devotion of his fans; in a sense, he belongs to them (in a way you NEVER belonged to that photographer, as a private person). I'm sure he knows fans are fooling around with his pictures and his persona, much in the same way naughty children might get out their dolls and let them stand in for their favourite actors or boys they like, then giggle and swoon while they have the dolls do interesting amorous activities together.

I don't think EW probably hears about fans making him into Long Dong Silver (or a pharoah's concubine or a rent boy or the lover of half of Middle-earth), and thinks of it as willful malice, disregard or character assasination. He probably saves his anger and irritation for things like professional photographers who chase celebrities into toilets to catch them with their pants down, so they can sell the images to tabloids or embarrass them publicly on television reality shows. I think he probably thinks it's sort of silly, but that it is meant in a positive way towards him, however silly or even embarrassing.

Maybe I sound defensive because I, too, feel indicted, having used the image of film Frodo to make my manips and to write my own hot fanfic. If it hadn't been for film Frodo, I wouldn't be writing at all.

Isn't that using EW's image without his consent? Who's to say EW'd be happy with the way I have used his face?

And, if I feel a little bit indicted for using film-Frodo's image when I write or manip, since he functions as my Eros and Muse, I feel a lot more indicted for using Tolkien's Frodo for my purposes. EW might indulge my creative use of his face and performance, but I think Tolkien would be grieved to see what I have done. But that hasn't stopped me, has it? So, when I start talking about not respecting the images created by or belonging to others, I only have to look in my mirror.

Oh, it's late and I'm being boring. But thanks for listening, Taerie!
taerie at 2006-06-26 07:48 (UTC) (Link)
Heck no.. you aren't being boring! I like this kind of gentle debate. If anybody's bored they don't have to read it.
I told the story just to illustrate my own reaction to that sort of thing and to explain my probably extremist dislike of it. I agree that EW has WAY worse concerns and annoyances than the rudeness of people who treat him impolitely by using his image to make porno. That is probably not even a blip on his radar screen of annoying.
I think you might be right that he himself, if pinned down on his opinion of manufactured porno of his face, would probably laugh it off like the soccer player did the pic. One reason is that from the little I have been paying attention.. it seems to me that, being young and hungry for acceptance, he tries to be the good sport a bit too hard and puts up with stuff that he probably shouldn't.. and another is that like the soccer player.. a guy sort of has to act the stud and the good sport and laugh off nasty and embarrassing things. It's one of those cultural pressures that men get stuck with.. whereas I was, as a woman, actually expected to get angry over it. (Come to think of it.. I did not react at all, publicly.. I just shrugged even though I was angry. I instantly felt to do anything else would just give the perpetrator satisfaction.. And maybe there is some sort of 'pronking' instinctive response. An antelope running with a herd will do showy leaps (pronking) if a lion is looking.. so the lion will think he is strong and not bother with him.. and choose another victim.)
(The people doing close-ups of the players accidental exposure are more like hyenas than lions in my opinion but that is neither here nor there.)
I feel, Mechtild, that you would have to be overly introspective to feel indicted for using film-Frodo's image for what you do.. but I can't condemn you for that.. I do the same sort of soul searching, self questioning thing.. valid or not. What you say is very true about film actors knowingly lending their images for such things. I also know (having hung out in the past around celebrities) that they usually feel that there is no such thing as BAD attention.. They love all attention.. or they had better if they choose that profession.. (not that you could say that EW actually chose his more than it happened to him.) So you are probably also right about him even LIKING it as alien as that seems to my own mental thought processes.
To me it is still a black and white thing though.. cause apart from wether or not he likes it.. it's still rude.. still abusive. To me, common courtesy demands that I not make publicly even just POSSIBLY embarrassing images of a real person. (EW) At least till he SAYS it's okay.) Frodo.. even film Frodo is a far more grey area as is worrying about wether a dead author would fret over what you do with his character for fun. I care a lot about Frodo and his imaginary feelings so I wouldn't do it but I can't say it's wrong to do it.. and indeed I enjoy it sometimes when it is personally entertaining for other people to do it.. but there is always a little feeling of guilt that goes with it that is silly cause he isn't real.
(Okay.. so I'm weird.. we knew that already! ;-)
mechtild at 2006-06-26 14:20 (UTC) (Link)
Taerie, you've highlighted some great points, again, especially about matters of taste and consent, and about the pressure to act like a good sport, even when one doesn't feel like it.

I have to go do things, then go to work, but I have heard from the artist reports of actual remarks of EW's, stating clearly that he really doesn't mind his image being used by fans for their naughty fun. If I find a quote I'll post it.
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