What a Freak Show
Nov. 26th, 2005 @ 02:23 am
A friend of mine (my former boss) sent me a link recently to a list of the most dangerous books of the 19th and 20th century. And I had imagined a scholarly list examining books whose influence had caused the most social and political upheaval. But no, it was a list from an ultraconservative website that had books championing Intelligent Design and villifying anything Islamic. It was pretty scary to be directly confronted by something I had only vaguely encountered through the news, etc.
When I read Handmaid's Tale I didn't like it. I had to read it in highschool and that was probably part of the reason. I imagine I might find it way more satirical now. But I think the only reason that satire can be biting or effective is if enough people actually believe in what is being satirized. I mean, this guy is a sexual sadist, and there are quite a few people with similar, or complementary tendencies. Unfortunately it seems he's taken it way too seriously.
Which is too bad, because there are a lot of people out there with similar tendencies who can separate fantasy from reality, for whom the bedroom doesn't enter into politics. I ended up doing a lot of reading about this sort of thing, and boy do some people get screwed up when it comes to sex. It's one thing to have a fantasy of having a slave at your beck and call. It's another thing to want it to be reality... The unfortunate thing is that there are people confused on the other side too, who want someone to totally dominate and control pretty much every aspect of their lives, and these people also idealize the fantasy and wish it were real.
Well, dinners on the table so I gotta go!
That's interesting that you had to read The Handmaid's Tale
in the States. We had to read it as well because its Great Canadian Literature. When you think of CanLit, Atwood is the most famous name to hit the pike.
By saying that he doesn't want to lie, this guy is refusing to be embarassed by making his fantasies into some kind of legit political platform. Why not just admit that S and M turns you on, tell everyone you're not ashamed of it, and then distance yourself from it politically? I kind of don't see what one has to do with the other, really. I mean, Foucault was into S and M and dom/sub stuff and everyone still takes him pretty seriously.
Have you noticed that said guy ISN'T married? I can't imagine a more sexually frustrated person that someone who holds those types of views about reality in the western world in any case.
Yeah, back to my website..
He probably has some major guilt issues. I have a friend who's response to feeling guilt was to get angry and deny the vailidity of any guilt or shame that felt. Which, come to think of it, probably made him feel more guilt. But even imagining what might be the cause of his views doesn't help.
One of my favorite songs currently (that wasn't on my list) is by a Boston Band called Jim's Big Ego (their record label has a contract where they won't sue you for distributing their music if you are just sharing and not selling it). The song is called "Asshole" and it goes like this:
"I've been bashed and battered,
I've been bruised and beaten,
I've been abused, misused
and I've been mistreated
I've been up and down
and still I feel
your an asshole.
I looked at from your side
and I've looked at it from mine
and I know you had a hard time
when you were only nine,
but that was long ago
and now there's just no denying
that you're an asshole."
Heheh, it doesn't help knowing why someone is the way they are if they happen to be a jerk whose not going to change...
Instead of an AP program, my High School had the International Baccalaureate program. So my senior year we read a lot of contemporary international fiction. We also read Isabel Allende's House of the Spirits
, and the English course was a combination of a regular U.S. High School class (reading stuff like Jane Eyre, 1984, etc.) a modern world lit class, and an intro to philosophy class (which they called Theory of Knowledge, we read stuff like The Tao of Poo
I was lucky enough to have a really progressive primary and secondary education through our public school system at the time, which unfortunately was in decline. Due to restrictive ballot measures created by a conservative ass who redistributed money from the schools into tax breaks, Oregon public schools went from being #2
in the States to somewhere in the low 40s.
Well, Hegel's writing on Lordship and Bondage is pretty much the foundation of the S and M dynamic. And in it Hegel defines the submission given by the bondsman to the lord as the real power in the relationship. Hegel was writing about it in a philosophical context that described feudal structure, slavery and mastery, from the perspective that humans are inherently equal, and the uneven exchange of power is created through a partnership, a mutual understanding between Lord and Bondsman that is reinforced with every exchange, but is ultimately arbitrary.
In S and M relationships the exchange of power is explicit, though. How did this guy manage to adopt a perspective, in this modern world, where he saw women as being sub-human?
Haha, I did AP in high school. I'm really jealous- I discovered Isabel Allende much later, and she's so amazing. We didn't read a lot of great writers like Maya Angelou, Arundhati Roy, or even Michael Ondaatje. I've read tons of English classics, though- both on my own and through school. I went to a very good and very thorough school, but it definitely wasn't progressive- nor did it particularly want to be. I'm glad I went, since there are really not that many viable options for kids today- public schools these days are fraught with trying to balance the needs of so many students so that the AP/ IB offering is really reduced, and bright students are often let down at the expense of the lowest common denominator. I guess the real positive is that North American universities are still largely excellent compared to those in other parts of the world.
I didn't know that about Hegel! I'm starting to learn more about Weber, and I know that he was influenced by Hegel, but in fourth year university I am finally understanding that I am not that educated, and there is a lot more that I could pick up if I was so inclined. But then again, I think that school is reaching a critical mass for me, and rightly so ;) I can't wait until I am done so that I can read for pleasure again, and gather together some interesting and entertaining ideas that absolutely everyone and their dog isn't already learning in the social sciences. I find that when you read outside the lines, your work becomes more original and inspired than when you are pursuing only the same set reading list popularity contest as every other graduate student. Not that the fundamentals aren't important, but most of the seminal theorists that you end up reading tend to be inclusive of neglected pieces of work that had been heretofore ignored.
I'm on such a tangent, though- not really addressing your point. All I can say is that this is a guy that probably doesn't have terrific people skills. He presents as if he has never succeeded in connecting with a woman at a level where she is a person that excites him intellectually.
Amazing that he chose to become a politician, really.
I hope you don't mind me responding to this after such an extended length of time.
I was really into philosophy for a while and read a ton of it in a very short ammount of time. I didn't really have time to read any while in college, I was much too busy doing visual research for my multimedia studies. I spend most of my time studying movies, animation, etc, and hardly read at all during my time at school, something I really regret. It may sound like it was just fun and games, but actually studying a lot of that stuff in terms of it's contextual meaning and structure was a lot of work. Of course, it actually was a lot of fun at the same time. I suppose I could have read in my free time, but I spent most of that hanging out with friends watching bad movies for fun.
It's kind of funny, when you study good movies to try and figure out what makes them good, watching bad movies is a great release, and a lot of fun as a social activity.
I recently started reading again now that I have time to, and my reading list has really grown in size and type. I'm reading a lot of journalistic war accounts (I recently finished reading Anthony Swofford's Jarhead
about being a marine sniper in the first Iraq conflict, and right now I'm reading Peter Maas' account of the Bosnian war Love Thy Neighbor
and it's absolutely heartbreaking). Up next I have </i>Don Quixote</i> and Black Hawk Down
on my reading list. But I still read a lot of fantasy/sci fi, and also have the steam punk novels, Perdido Street Station
and The Light Ages
waiting for me to begin them.
Although if I decide to go to apply for film schools, we'll see how much I read once I'm in...
1/ I read an excerpt of Jarhead recently and liked it.
2/ Lj notify is not working right, so I'm behind on a lot of comments :)
3/I just finished The Drug Trial: Nancy Olivieri and the Scandal that Rocked the Hospital for Sick Kids
. Its about Dr. Olivieri's fight as a whistleblower against the company Apotex. The author really trashed Olivieri, but I saw some good reasons for supporting her, and she still has my respect :)
Another book that I read recently is A House Divided: the true story of the McCain family
which is about the Canada based McCain food processing empire. It was extremely interesting- a good look at how traditional power and politics work in my country :)
oh yeah, and Love thy neighbour
sounds good.. I've been interested in that conflict ever since I saw the movie: Shot through the heart
which is a very emotional piece. I don't know about its worth as a technical film, but I remember thinking it was great when I saw it years ago.