clap clap blog: we have moved

Friday, September 19, 2003
Charles Taylor helpfully quotes a particularly stupid passage of Lester Bangs:

"I think that if most guys in America," Lester Bangs wrote in 1980, "could somehow get their fave-rave poster girl in bed and have total license to do whatever they wanted with this legendary body for one afternoon, at least 75 percent of the guys in the country would elect to beat her up. She may be up there all high and mighty on TV, but everybody knows that underneath all that fashion plating she's just a piece of meat like all the rest of them." Even allowing for Bangs' consciously overstating the case, there's too much Susan Brownmiller hoo-ha in that passage for my taste.

Well, yeah. I don't know if it's more disturbing to regard this as a supposedly Klosterman-esque "everyone does this but me" bit of media criticism or as an honest bit of self-reflection, but regardless, this strikes me as a particularly bitter-nerdy vision of human sexuality. I've no doubt there are some men who would do this, but of the dominators, I suspect most would prefer more of a blowjob-facial-walking-out-the-door kind of scenario. And there are not a few men who regard the high and mighty girl as someone to dominate them. Humiliation or mistreatment is a common fantasy precisely because it's what we can fantasize about, what we don't want to do to the ones we love, and women do this just as much; sure, they probably crush out more, but once they reach a certain age there's an undeniable love-em-and-leave-em impulse, which is what causes some of that bitter nerdism in the first place. And sometimes the fantasy becomes a reality, and let's be honest: when both partners are out to degrade the other, that can be some great sex.

Of course, this all ties into the popporn meme, which I really want to comment on. Soon, I hope.

UPDATE: Taylor goes on to say the following: "In his book "An Erotic Beyond: Sade," Octavio Paz said that in vilifying the state and glorifying the murderer, Sade aimed to replace public crime with private crime. "Demonlover" is an essay on how public crime (actually crime committed in secret by public companies) makes private crime possible. Consumers here are not the innocent marks of money-mad conglomerates; they're accomplices."

I like this a lot; the public/private divide is a big interest of mine, and it's got a lot of echoes in Arendt's "Totalitarianism." (Private crime leads to the public crime of dictatorship.) So maybe more on this later, too.