Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Fox News Channel mentioned this story the other day (well, rehashed it, actually, since the original FNC story is from late January) and I thought it was kind of interesting:

Porn Industry May Decide DVD Format War

The story notes that the American adult film industry's revenues in 2006 were over $12 billion, while mainstream American film's revenues were only around $9 billion. This tells you how much clout the adult film industry will have in deciding the battle between the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD high definition DVD formats, just as it did in making VHS the videotape format winner over Betamax.

This shouldn't be any surprise to anyone with a little knowledge of history. For any new technology, if there is a possible application for erotic gratification, then that will be one of the first applications. Photography and motion pictures are a couple of good examples. As soon as people had the ability to take pictures, they were taking racy pictures, and not just the soft core kind. Another good example is the electric vibrator, which was on the market nine years before the electric vacuum cleaner and ten years before the electric iron, according to the linked article.

There's something fascinating in looking at vintage black-and-white erotica from the past century or so. You get the feeling that however different their clothing, hairstyles and cultures may have been from ours, their essential human nature was just the same. The fellow in the top hat frolicking with the gal in the corset is not so far removed from us as we might have thought.

A number of the pictures I've seen are of French women from the 1920s, with short flapper hairstyles and outrageous costumes. Many of the pictures have flowery backgrounds or classical Grecian urns and columns as props. Perhaps the most essentially French one is a nude woman with dark hair and smoldering eyes and a cupid-bow mouth, wearing only an oversized beret and a scarf around her neck, left hand on her hip, right foot up on the seat of a chair, right elbow resting on her knee and a smoking cigarette extended from her fingertips. Another common trope is the gypsy, with scarves and beads and bangles, and sometimes even a tambourine (probably NSFW!).

But for artistic effect, my favorite would be this one (probably NSFW!). Giant peacock plumes! C'est parfait.