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Today in Literature*

 

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely
The pangs of despised love…

 The book is called “50 Shades of Grey” written by TV executive E.L. James and it’s apparently leaving quite a dust in its wake. It’s being kicked about as the latest political football in the culture wars and has raised as many eyebrows for who’s reading it as for its content. A genre of erotic literature, it is attracting women of all sorts because it’s heroine, Anastasia Steel, is drawn sympethetically. A young women in search of love – and finding Christian Grey (I’m not making these names up!), a powerful young executive with a penchant for whips and chains.

First there were “mommy bloggers” and now, thanks to 50 Shades, there’s “mommy porn.” I pray that never the twain shall meet.

But the books – there’s a trilogy of them – while clearly meant to draw a new line in the sand for sexual politics are also a barometer of our culture’s loss of creature, of mystery and of manners.  This loss is nowhere clearer than in the cultural saturation of pornography. The more sexual “freedom” we gain the more we lose any sense of ritual’s place in relations between the sexes. The prevailing – and often conflicting – concerns for equality, individuality and pleasure not only prevent courtship from occurring and have bottomed out relations between the sexes to the lowest, rawest and most explicit denominators: flesh and fornitication. These same forces have rendered men as boys incapable of courting women and likewise leaves women lonely and desperate for some sort of courtship ritual. I am reminded of what Mary Eberstadt, quoting Roger Scruton, recently pointed out in her excellent work “Adam and Eve after the Pill” (a review of which will be arriving anon):

“…Roger Scruton has put the paradox about men and pornography memorably, ‘This, it seems to me, is the real risk attached to pornography. those who become addicted to this risk-free form of sex run a risk fo another and greater kind. They risk the loss of love, in a world whre only love brings happiness.” 

But reversing course on this matter is a bit like trying to stop an ocean liner on a dime.

Enter E.L. James, whose BDSM themes do nothing more than reinforce the fact that porn is here to stay – but with this difference, that unlike the conventional [sic] hard core pornography, BDSM requires that participants, as Wikipedia notes (I dare not look anywhere else for the info – and even Wiki’s got some rather disquieting images to accompany its text), take on “complementary, but unequal roles, thus the idea of consent of both the partners becomes essential.” Thus, the BDSM relationship serves as a bad imitation of the traditional courting ritual between the sexes.

 I haven’t read the trilogy and don’t intend to, but Carolyn Moynihan over at Crisis has stared into the abyss long enough for us (although it’s not clear whether she made it through the entire trilogy herself) and come back with much to tell about James’ literary efforts.    She complains, rightfully so, that the explicit nature of the material eclipses any literary effort invovled.

“The problem for those of us who wouldn’t touch this stuff with a barge-pole — let alone download it onto our iPad — is its popularity,” Moynihan writes. “It has been dubbed ‘mommy porn’ because it is allegedly being devoured by ‘mainstream’ and ‘suburban’ women over 30 and not just by young urbanites. It even has its academic apologists. Two of them writing on the CNN website invoke ‘the novel’s compelling relevance’ and suggest that its ‘abundant references to classic literature unlock a subtler commentary [than its fan-fiction origins suggest] on enduring obstacles to women’s individual freedom and rights.’ The classic references include Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Perhaps the popularity could also be a sign of the culture attempting to address the fact that because manchilds are not quite connecting with women, James’ readers see Ana Street as the spokeswoman for all those lonely women looking for a romantic connection at any cost. The disconnect between men and women, as Eberstadt points out in her book, is precisely due to the prevalence of porn – one of several rotten fruit, she says, of our sexual mores’ upset apple cart. “…[I]t is surely the sexual revolution that is the prime mover,” she writes, of sexual immaturity among men and a disparing attitude toward romance by women. “This seems so for two reasons,” Eberstadt continues. “First, it has led to an atrophying of the protective instinct in many men – because many have nothing to protect. The powerful majority desire for recreative rather than procreative  sex has led not only to a marriage dearth, but also to a birth dearth; as the old saying correctly goes, ‘Adults don’t make babies; babies make adults.'”

So what, then, is James trying to provide women in her stories? Again, Moynihan is helpful here in peering through the keyhole to the goings on in Christian Gray’s world. While Moynihan proposes that the popularity of the trilogy can be attributed to “the herd mentality among an entertainment and titillation focused public that sends people stampeding after the latest daring foray into forbidden subjects, whether blasphemy or bondage,” she dismisses the proposal that the work has a literary pedigree.

“Frankly, I think James has a cheek to even mention Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre and Tess in the context of an SM relationship, whose object is depraved sensual pleasure,” she writes. “Whatever male ‘power’ they contended with in their very different ways, they were women of moral sensitivity who aspired to married love and, to a woman, would have been revolted by the Shades of Grey conceit.”

True enough. But consider: Could it be that James’ work is attempting to flesh out (pun intended) the grammar of that “moral sensitivity” which Bennet, Eyre and Tess possessed and were guided in large part by? Fleshing out, in fact, in a way that your average Harlequin romance or other bodice rippers cannot?  As I’ll discuss in a bit, the BDSM comes with its own social norms and mores – and could it be that James – consciously or otherwise – has tapped into that deep well in women which desires to see that same sort of “moral sensitivity” – even if it’s not quite in keeping with the tastes of the Regency or Early or Late Victorian England.

But you can’t give what you don’t have – especially if you already gave away what you wish you had again. So there’s no question that we can see the BDSM culture as even a pale reflection of true society any more than a vampire can expect to see anything but the mirror when he looks into it.  Indeed, thanks to the Sexual Revolution, the social norms in 18th-19th century England were vastly different from what we have today. But if BDSM is not society then neither is much of what passes for culture today true culture, a point Eberstadt makes in her book:

“Ubiquitously, it seems, those who were once husbands and fathers and providers have traded in their ties and insurance cards for video games and baseball hats worn backwards. It is a message that the popular culture also broadcasts nonstop – from vehicles for women like Sex in the City and The View to those popular among men, including such commercially successful examples as the Jackass franchise, the Spike channel, and just about every comedy about idiot males to issue from Hollywood in recent memory.”

Which brings us back to the question of what makes Ana Steele such an atrractive heroine for women? To answer that, let us look at her motivations. Again, not having read the work, I can only speculate. But it seems that Eberstadt might have the answer in her analysis of the Sexual Revolution’s marvellous failure to produce anything but monsters such as Christian Gray. Moynihan states that if women are eating up the Gray trilogy, it is a sign that things have come to a bad pass indeed for women in America.  “The pornification of sex,” she points out, “if it has truly captured the imagination of wives and mothers, is a path to personal and social oblivion.”

And yet, as Eberstadt notes, the Sexual Revolution has rendered American society fertile ground for just such a view of sex. ‘Today’s revolution against traditional marriage amounts to two charges made repeatedly, almost always by women and with many echoes elsewhere in contemporary sources: first, that the combined pressures of motherhood and marriage and breadwinning are just too much to bear; and second, that many of today’s marriages – that is to say, marriages made among enlightened, older, educated, sophisticated popele – are sexual deserts” (Emphasis mine).

Doesn’t it seem that Christian Gray redresses both these charges in his “Red Room of Pain” – by enabling Ana to give her self exclusively to Gray with plenty of sex, even meaningful and playful sex  – in a context where roles and ends are clearly defined?

Furthermore, Eberstadt declares the war of the sexes over and the winner is – no one.

“There are no more sexes, only lists of chores that one gender unit mysteriously does better than the other” and in a more literal sense “because contemporary man, many comtemporary women charge, has lost interest in sex” (Emphasis mine).

Christian Gray takes the mystery out of the gender confusion by showing a fervid – some would say excessive – interest in sex. Perhaps I am saying nothing more than this – that it is easy to see why the female imagination might be ensnared by James’ work. But I would like to push it a step further and recall two other fictions, one classic (it is at least recognized as canonical) and one which is a modern cult-classic. I am speaking of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and Brett Easton-Ellis’ American Psycho. 

It is the central thesis of E. Michael Jones’ book  Monsters from the Id: The Rise of Horror in Fiction and Film that the cause for the rise in horror as a major genre of literature and film has been the undermining of natural law in the individual and in society. The book – perhaps the best written on the subject – is rife with examples. Does culture condone abortion and pornography? We have a film which helps us work through this horror: Alien. Has modern thought rationalized what is evil into what is good – such as adultery and incest? We have a story for that too: Frankenstein. Is society feeling a bit queasy about sexual libertinism? Let’s look at Dracula and make sense of it, shall we? In each case, the monster created is an avenger out to unmask, wittingly or not, the unnatural and depraved state of society while at the same time hinting at some sort of – dare I say it? – korrektiv.

Jones does a good job especially of documenting Mary Shelly’s troubled relationship with her lust-crazed husband Percy Bythe Shelly (not to mention her batty mother, an Ur-Gloria Steinem who believed in polyandry inter alia). It’s too bad he had not taken up Easton-Elllis’ work in his book. Whereas Frankenstein channels the myth of Prometheus to reveal the depths of human depravity – science eaten by its own “quest for fire” – in Easton-Ellis’ 1991 novel (I never saw the film) the anti-hero and possible psychopath Patrick Bateman attempts to rip the mask off the excesses, as he saw it, of Yuppiedom in the 1980s through an overlay of Dante’s Hell. Although the correspondences are somewhat vague, and the ending anything but conclusive, it is clear that the rank abuse and objectification, whether real or imagined, is meant to touch the nerve that lies raw just below the consumer instinct and says, This stuff is just stuff. Is this all there is?

Here’s what the author had to say about his work: “[Bateman] was crazy the same way [I was]. He did not come out of me sitting down and wanting to write a grand sweeping indictment of yuppie culture. It initiated because my own isolation and alienation at a point in my life. I was living like Patrick Bateman. I was slipping into a consumerist kind of void that was supposed to give me confidence and make me feel good about myself but just made me feel worse and worse and worse about myself. That is where the tension of “American Psycho” came from.”

Bateman’s story is an attempt to get a handle on the male “consumer” – and the novel is flawed, I think, for trying too hard to convey this notion through the depravities that Bateman visits on his female victims. I imagine the same sort of excess destroys the literary pretensions of 50 Shades as well. Nonetheless all those men who have turned in their credentials to manhood and fatherhood for unlimited access to the Spike Channel and the Spice Channel are in some sense represented by Mr. Bateman (it’s even hiding there in his name – get it?).

Is it too much of a leap of logic to assume that Ana Steel could be the female response to the Patrick Bateman’s in the world? (Her first name, by the way, means “resurrection.”)

Moynihan in her essay on 50 Shades of Gray and Eberstadt in her chapter on porn in Adam and Eve both conclude on a hopeful note.

For Moynihan, it’s a matter of numbers.

“But, so what if a few million women read the sick fantasies of a television executive?” she asks. “There are roughly 3.5 billion women in the world, and when the erotica boom has finally spent itself there will be more than enough of them still with their wits and dignity to carry on the work of love and civilisation that women in particular are equipped to do.”

Likewise, Eberstadt also places hope in hope – although one that possesses a more theological framework.

“‘Where sin increased,’ as Paul’s Letter to the Romans has it, ‘grace aboundeth all the more’ (5:20),” she writes. “The record of what pornography has wrought shows that kind of abundance too, though it may not yet be an issue of academic study…Look at energy fuleing all those atttempts to repair the damage done – the turns to counseling, therapists, priests, pastors and other working in these awful trenches to help the addicted get their real lives back.”

It remains to be seen, however, whether this hope will translate into the sort of cultural crucible necessary to cure women of their loneliness and men of their immaturity. But in the meantime, we should understand that just as Patrick Bateman will be written into the contemporary literary canon as the Everyman of today, so too, Ana Steel will remain a barometer of exactly how lonely women are – and how the abuses of the Sexual Revolution have borne fruit.

In the book of Genesis, God made man and woman and saw that it was good. Adam and Eve, I’d like you to meet Patrick Bateman and Ana Steel. They’re pikers, of course, in the sin department, but since they’re your children and the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, I think they’re worth paying attention to – if only to learn how to work out own redemption – perhaps even with whips and chains.  

*I just can’t bring myself to steal Mr. Lickona’s excellent signature feature. But being a writer, I have no problem appropriating.

Comments

  1. Matthew Lickona says:

    Feh. Augustine’s Member references Dante as Francis gradually descends from the top level of a liquor store porn rack to the bottom, but you don’t see folks lining up to…oh, wait.

    Thanks for this, JOB. Though I fear we’re gonna lose some more Facebook friends…

  2. Jonathan Webb says:

    Lewis, Scruton, Himmelfarb…and then you ruin it with E. Michael Jones.

    Seriously, this is an excellent post. Again, where is the Catholic Church?

    Something tells me that God’s solution will involve men this time. It might look something like this:

  3. Good essay. My caveat–

    “Ana Steel will remain a barometer of exactly how lonely women are – and how the abuses of the Sexual Revolution have borne fruit.”

    Well…I’m really not all that lonely, although I apparently should be, being one of those feminists who sprang fully grown and breathing fire out of the head of Medea.

    I don’t think this book has all that much to do with the loss of traditional courtship mores in which women are expected to be passive and demure. You’ll notice that the reason this book has spread like wildfire because of its popularity among bourgeoisie mothers–women already living a fairly staid, conservative lifestyle. This tells me that the book is not so much about our longer for gender rituals as it is about sterile sex and the way it brutalizes us. Danger and ambiguity is essential to the erotic, and without children, we turn to much less productive ways of instilling it–brutality, pain, and yes, hyper-gendered sexual norms.

    • Zachary says:

      Interesting thesis. Sex without fecund “dangers” of child-birth and child-rearing necessitate leather and dramatic acts of submission. So, it’s like the Folsom Street Fair for tube-tied soccer moms? Humanae Vitae rears its relevant head.

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

      While I don’t agree with (or maybe just don’t understand) the statement that ‘danger and ambiguity is essential to the erotic’, I have to admit that imagining counterfactual worlds where sex is either always sterile, or always fertile, does have a sort of cold-shower effect.

    • Clare, I was thinking the same thing. Thanks for this post, JOB.

      On a somewhat related note, prostitute “reveals” shocking information: that her clients are “bad in bed.”

      Sad as it is, that comment actually made me burst out laughing. I’m too lazy to tease out the connections there, but I think they’re there.

    • The Duffer says:

      re: danger and ambiguity…

      I think we have a thesis on our hands. I’m inclined to agree.

      • I mean for most of human history sex was, for women, literally a life and death situation. Pregnancy was peril and there was a pretty good chance that you could die giving birth. It was inherently dramatic, the decision to “do it.” now it’s…safe. If only we could go back to the good old days!

        • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

          Russian Roulette is not the same without a gun.

        • The Duffer says:

          Sex is still sort of life and death for the Duffers. If death by childbirth is not a likely scenario, potential pregnancy does bring the challenge of redevising our lives every other year or so to accommodate new people. An old way of being dies, a new one begins.

          Not to mention that my life will not be my own for a minimum of two years. I hate the concept of pregnancy as parasite and host (because it ignores the salve of mother/child bonding), but truly, another individual takes up residence in my body. Then it eats me. There’s a kind of death in that too.

          I don’t take sex lightly–though I do think it’s funny sometimes. There’s always a week or two out of the month that are something like hovering over the edge of a precipice. Do you free-fall or do you hold? This is what I think Clare means by danger and ambiguity. It certainly negates the need in me to seek out more “exciting” expressions of my sexuality.

          Regarding traditional gender roles, I agree with Clare on this one too. It does not just come down to Mad men. Sterile couples do not require traditional gender roles. And if gender roles took on heightened proportions in the middle of the 20th century, I think a lot of that had to do with the mainstreaming of contraception and industrialization while women were not yet working outside the home.

          If you’re a woman and you’re wondering what to do with your life now that you’re not having a lot of babies, you might spend extra time on your appearance, you might plan cocktail parties, you might embrace a “manner” of femininity and delicacy in order to counteract the loss of your fertility, or at least to maintain the impression that your presence in the workforce is not required. I think of fifties femininity as sort of a false femininity. Being a woman was never so luxurious as that before.

          Gender roles enter the family by necessity when contraception is removed from the picture. I will breastfeed the baby, and do things in the house where the child is. Husband will take care of the dangerous things that require ladders and so forth. But as far as an innate longing for gender roles goes–I think not. Unless gender roles are necessitated by the demands of parenthood, they can come off as playacting–especially for a woman–who no longer “bears” the hallmark of her gender.

          • Matthew Lickona says:

            Amazing, as I’m reading this, Pandora has pulled up Frank Sinatra’s “Wives and Lovers,” recorded 1964:

            (B. Bacharach, H. David)
            [Recorded June 12, 1964, Los Angeles]

            Hey, little girl, comb your hair, fix your make-up, soon he will open the door,
            Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger, you needn’t try any more.
            For wives should always be lovers too,
            Run to his arms the moment that he comes home to you.
            I’m warning you,
            Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men,
            Don’t stand him up, with your hair still in curlers, you may not see him again.
            Wives should always be lovers too,
            Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you.
            He’s almost here, hey, little girl, better wear something pretty,
            Something you wear to go to the city,
            Dim all the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love.
            Time to get ready for love, yes it’s time to get ready for love,
            It’s time to get ready, kick your shoes off, baby….,

          • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

            Thoughtful, detailed, cogent, and convincing.

            Many, many thanks, Duffer.

            • Matthew Lickona says:

              I guess I’m wondering what exactly is meant by “traditional gender roles” vis a vis the significance of Adam and Eve, complementarity, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, etc.

              • The Duffer says:

                There are gender roles–the roles dictated by biology, which are probably the closest thing to the garden of Eden–that a female bears children, breastfeeds until weaning, and sends them off into the world. The male protects and provides for the woman and the child through this transition–and in most cultural paradigms, he continues to protect and provide for his mate until death, while she also serves as helpmeet to him as concerns their mutual good and survival.

                Then there are “gender roles” like the ones in that Sinatra song–which is, frankly, rather appalling–and paves the way for a pornographic mindset. Man is promiscuous and must be “caught” and held onto by the weaker sex (“little girl”) whose only tool is her looks.

                I guess by “traditional gender roles,” I mean the opposite of “biological gender roles” which are necessitated by child-bearing. Traditional gender roles are artificial, and together with contraception, made feminism not only possible, but necessary.

                • Matthew Lickona says:

                  Um, yes, the Sinatra song is appalling That was the point.
                  But when you wrote “Husbands…should know how to lead a family with authority and respect” in your piece on the manosphere, it seemed to indicate your belief in a gender role that went beyond the biological. Or am I misreading you?

                  • The Duffer says:

                    Funny you mention the manosphere, because I was thinking about that too (both in relation to this post, and the one above on Today in Porn “Little Children” edition–but I didn’t want to summon the devil by calling out his name. Anyway–that whole business did open my eyes to a wealth of gender-related perversion–and if anything, helped me to realize that I am more of a feminist than I ever wanted to be.

                    Nevertheless, I stand by the statement that husbands should know how to lead a family with authority and respect. And actually, I think it converges nicely with biological gender roles insofar as a man is more attuned to the world and the economic and social needs of the family, while the woman is attuned to the needs of her young children. Look, Joseph led Mary to Bethlehem and not the other way around, because Mary was thinking about giving birth, not about the census.

                    And as far as “authority and respect” go, these are human virtues required of anyone who would lead. A wife must also know how to lead a family with authority and respect, because there will be times when the husband isn’t around. This is something I wish I’d known when I were a younger mother–that promoting a “daddy always knows best” mentality among my children undermines my own authority. Mommy also knows best; she’s just usually doing other things.

                    What I love about Catholicism, and it’s sexual teaching, is that by keeping our sexuality purified of artificial interference (like porn or contraception), we stay as close as we can be in this world to Eden. Complementarity is the result of purified sexuality–it’s not something we put on and practice like the “art of manliness” (which I appreciate for calling itself what it is–an artifice). If a woman likes frilly things, that’s a personal preference, not a requirement of her gender role.

                    It is for our benefit that women give birth and men provide, and that sex yields children. It used to be that only a rich man could afford a harem, but now anyone with a box of durex can. And that does not benefit anyone.

                    • The Duffer says:

                      Also, Adam and Eve were both naked in Eden. Stripped of civilization, its trappings, its expectations, their gender roles were purely biological. They wore them like a sign on their… uh… foreheads.

                    • The Duffer says:

                      I wouldn’t call what I’m doing “arguing family structure” based on the Holy Family’s experience. I’m stating the facts of scriptural cases and making obvious deductions. I think you could come to similar conclusions by studying the course of human history prior to the mainstreaming of contraception. That said, I’m an amateur sociologist, clearly, and I’m making this up as I go along.

                      What’s the difference between biological gender roles, and established order and difference? I’d say they’re the same thing. In any case, whether she was made for him, or him for her, it amounts to the same thing: biological gender difference.

                      When we talk about Ephesians 5 and wifely submission, we’re talking not about inherent gender difference, but about acquired virtue for Holy marriage–which is why it says “submit to your own husband” and not “submit to all men.”

                      Anyway–how would any of this work if a couple weren’t in the immediate act of having children? I think that for Christians, working within the Biblical framework of Holy Marriage, there’s even still, more freedom than we know.

                    • The Duffer says:

                      Blast. You took down your comment and made it look like I’m arguing with myself.

                    • Matthew Lickona says:

                      Oh, good heavens. I didn’t mean to do that. Shall I take yours down as well? I pulled mine because it struck me that this conversation might be better conducted in person and over cocktails. If only for my sake?

                    • The Duffer says:

                      No, leave it, I may refer back.

                      I’m done talking anyway.

                      Though cocktails, yes–still trying to talk Darwins and Expat into WI in July.

                    • Matthew Lickona says:

                      Yay! But you should feel encouraged to come even if they can’t (although I hope they can). If only to meet JOB & Co., and to see D again. (But I’m hoping that the group will be larger than that!)

      • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

        TAGGED WITH: CUPID AND PSYCHE?

    • Clare,

      Nor do you read 50 Shades, I will presume.

      No, if you’re showing up at korrektiv, you’re probably not lonely…

      JOB

  4. As usual, I did not proofread my comment. Apologies to all and sundry.

  5. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

    The glen-plaid tie is pretty sharp.

    • Angelico, I totally picture you as a snappy dresser! Maybe it’s your snappy sense of humor that makes me think that. But I do. Also, I’m already missing your posts.

      • Matthew Lickona says:

        Ellen, I hate to break it to you, but the last time he visited Casa Godsbody, it was clear that his shoes and belt had not been fashioned from the same hide.

        • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

          True. I spent the first 22 years of my life in Arkansas, so wearing shoes at all is still a novelty. (It took me the longest time to appreciate why people noted whether a given religious community was discalced.)

      • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

        Any lily, it must be admitted,
        Outdoes Solomon dolled up and kitted
        So our dress should be simple —
        Yet flesh is God’s temple
        And with artistry should be outfitted.

        TAGGED WITH: TALKING ABOUT A LOT MORE THAN JUST DETACHABLE COLLARS

      • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

        And many thanks for the kind comments, Ellen — especially given the snap of your own sense of humor.

  6. notrelatedtoted says:

    Somehow, it all comes back to Mad Men.

    One article I read opined that the reason for Mad Men’s popularity was that we’re simply too PC – we don’t drink, we don’t smoke, we’re respectful to women and pay lip service to fidelity and monogamy. Despite all of our social conditioning, what we really want is to have a cocktail, light up a cigarette and leer at our secretary. And, shockingly, that is what women want – they want conquerors who take and do what they please, provide for their families and look good in a suit. Mad Men, and it’s largely female fan base, is a way for us to exorcise those demons.

    That’s how the article goes. Far be it from me to opine as to what women really want.

    But I think there is some truth there – as I’ve commented before, the problem with modern man and womankind is our self-consciousness. Having thrown away all of the molds, we’re trying to figure out how to act, particularly when it comes to relationships between the sexes. Could it be that a BDSM relationship re-instills some sort of husband-wife/male-female dynamic, even if they get it backwards? Sexual libertines can dismiss it by saying it’s consensual, but it seems completely contrary to the equality that is preached by the current sexual demagogues. Add in the fact that it is the opposite of an act of love, and there’s your sexual frankenstein (new blog handle!): an imitation of what is natural, stripped of it’s basic purpose.

    Basically, all of this is our culture’s way of trying to regain what we threw away. Maybe there is some hope in that.

    • Matthew Lickona says:

      Your Sexual Frankenstein says: SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS BAD! But BDSM okay in paradoxical way.

      • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

        He’s the one they call ‘Dr Feelgood’.

      • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

        Maybe your brother could make a cartoon about Frankenstein’s Monster getting the brain of Alfred Kinsey. Working title: Frankinsey.

  7. Jonathan Webb says:

    It’s amusing how everything is always transposed to sex. Someone could write a book about how the phenomenology of sacrifice becomes S&M for example.

    Also, why aren’t there any straight S&M bars? I answer that, the reason is that everyone wants to be beaten and nobody wants do the beating. We’re all bad and deserve to be punished.

    Sex 24/7 here at The Korrektiv.

  8. Sex 24/7 here at The Korrektiv.

    Hmmm. And I spend large amount of time hanging around here for a week or two, and then find myself not coming by for the rest of the month. What’s up with that…

    • Matthew Lickona says:

      Remember Kevin Nealon, porn film critic for SNL? “First I was interested. Then very interested. Then VERY interested. Then I lost interest.”

  9. Wow. I head north for the day job for a day (interviewing an ice cream maker and a pregnancy crisis center and all sex breaks lose.

    Sorry I wasn’t here to make point by point arguments.

    Notrelated hits more concisely on what I was trying to approach.

    JOB

  10. notrelatedtoted says:

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