CHICK LIT – DICK LIT
Seamus Muldoon, Himself
One of the delights of evolution is the way in which language changes to fit not only the technology, but also styles, tastes, attitudes, changes in values (or at least the way in which they are managed), and changes in the relative positions of groups in the social, political, economic human exchange. Communication is the most important element of progress. Proliferation of the substance of progress is impossible without facile linguistic adaptation. Dictionaries are obsolete vis-à-vis usage the very moment they appear on store shelves. They are snapshots of language, while language itself is a motion picture.
What we used to call a brainwashed Commie Son of a Bitch is now referred to, for example, as a mind fucked Trot. The reference is, of course to Leon Trotsky. There are still Trots out there trying to recruit $ 30 an hour unionized workers to become Communists and to labor for the dictatorship of the proletariat. Workers who are being paid anything close to a living wage – and indeed, those who work for any wage at all – would never ever think of becoming Trots, for then they would make no wages at all. If you are a Trot, you haven’t advanced to this level of socio-political arithmetic yet.
Anyone with any snap in this day and age understands that the greatest and most positive trend in human development is the process of unfucking minds, for through this process individuals are empowered and totalitarian constructs are toppled. Make no mistake – there are still folks out there seeking to reverse the process. They fear their inadequacy and know that they could only continue in whatever position they imagine themselves to occupy by keeping others from the free expression of their own potential.
A major dynamic in this process of unfucking minds is the realization that for generations people were kept “in their place” by authoritarian insistence that if you were a certain kind of person, a woman for example, you would be committing a sin against God if you sought to expand your horizons beyond marriage, child bearing and raising, and submission to the will of your husband. The good old boys who wrote the Bible falsely attributed to God an impossible decision by our Creator that the expulsion from Eden was woman’s fault, and for that “sin” woman was forever to submit to and be ruled by her husband. To be echoed, of course in Second Corinthians – an insulting reading of the riot act offensive to any woman as part of the wedding liturgy - the notion that even if she were much more capable and intelligent than her spouse, he should rule over her because he has a penis, and God wants people with penises to call the shots. According to this transparent bullshit, God does not punish Adam for eating the fucking apple that God told the idiot not to eat (another bullshit story), but for “harkening to the woman”. Disaster, so it says, flows directly from the mistake of allowing a woman to take the lead in anything. No one would worship a God that stupid. God didn’t say any such thing.
Other major dynamics include, for example, the expectations of the liberating crusaders of any cause that those for whom they made their contributions and sacrifices would validate their redemption by dedicating themselves to all that is right and good, high minded and worthy, fulfilling the cosmic purpose that was the vision of the crusaders.
Of course that never happens. The liberated always turn out to be just like the rest of us – normal. There would be no concept of leadership if leadership were the norm. Leadership is highly unusual. The minds of leaders are highly focused. The determination of leaders is intense. Those who are led are not like that. They/we are just folks. We end up being pretty much like the people from whom we were liberated – slothful, complacent, unimaginative – in short, die lumpen. And that, by God’s holy trousers, is our right – the right simply to be normal – all we ever wanted in the first place, but were ill equipped to obtain until our liberator(s) came along and whipped us into a “movement” that would last just barely enough time for what we wanted to be obtained, and then become moribund. All movements are like that. One day I must tell you all about movements. For now, let me just say that they all need a fierce enemy – where would the NAACP be without the KKK – where would Zionism be without Hitler and the Nazis? If there is no enemy, they need to go create one. If the enemy is not really awful, the movement doesn’t go far enough in its militancy and in garnering financial and other support to achieve great things. And, when the big fight is over or near over, in the sense that a big breakthrough victory is at hand, they revert to self preservation levels of fund raising and ineffective rhetoric – constantly yelling that the sky is falling in order to raise money. No one was raising money to combat birth defects until there was an effective vaccine against polio and the March of Dimes was without a disease. Can you just imagine the panic in that organization?
Here in Houston, Texas, we handle disease research Texas style. Accordingly, we have the world’s biggest medical center right here. If you suddenly come into big money (which happens to someone once a week here), and you want to “arrive” socially, the way to meet and be welcomed into the circles of the “best dressed” is to hire a “publicist”. The publicist will then use her connections to have everything you do reported in the newspaper. The Houston Chronicle has become so lacking in quality reportage since it became a monopoly newspaper that social reporting is close to their top priority. In addition to seeing to it that everyone knows what you had for lunch and where you ate it, you have to adopt a charity. Here in Houston, the only charity to adopt is raising funds for medical research and facilities. Accordingly, you host a “disease ball”, a grand social event to raise money for some disease. Texas is known for its hustler personality, and the medical profession here really knows how to use the nouveau riche to fund any project. Disgustingly ostentatious social behavior is used to fund the highest scientific purposes. You gotta love it!
For the most part, despite the absence of the Equal Rights Amendment that women sought many years ago and failed to obtain, women’s situation in the society and in the economy has improved markedly, the women’s movement still has much to do. Its achievements have been really substantial, and women now feel much freer, at least in the United States, to express themselves and to learn about topics that were functionally off limits to them twenty years ago. Gloria Steinem and her sister liberationist writers started the ball rolling, but the road has not been easy. Outside the United States, and especially in third world countries – including all Muslim countries – women have not benefited from the same degree of progress, and are in most of the world still treated as cattle, mere property of men.
Maybe now that, despite the tyranny of the religious right, people are free to communicate across gender lines about intimacy, how it works or could work if engaged in with a spirit of agape, the entire sexual relationship can become better than it ever was. A lot of how this transpires will be affected by the manner in which “sex ed” is taught, and possibly by who teaches it.
For centuries beyond any possibility of recollection, women have been socialized to accept the prospect that their initial experiences with sexual intimacy would be literally at the mercy of some man. Since the man in almost every instance, had been socialized to believe that there was entitlement to sexual intimacy and that his interests were to be served, the woman’s initial experience tended toward the traumatic. If she recovered and developed an appreciation of intimacy as something that was a positive experience from her perspective, all well and good. Much too often she did not recover or recovered only marginally, and intimacy remained something she did out of “duty”. Young English girls in certain circles, when approaching their wedding day, would be told about sexual intimacy for the first time by their mothers. Often the conversation was about what filthy, voracious beasts men truly are. And the final chapter of how to behave on one’s wedding night would be “Close your eyes and just think of England.” Most readers of this article will not remember the days when one’s first intimate experience was on one’s wedding night. Oh well! Probably the reason that was so at that time was that girls were deliberately kept ignorant, and told that the entire process was evil and a sin against God. What rubbish!
How parents manage to involve themselves in dialogue with their children on this subject can make the traumatic attributes of first intimacy literally go away. Males should be taught that they do not have a right to sex – there is no such thing as a right to sex, except with your hand. Males should be taught that if they want to have frequent enthusiastic sex, they simply have to make the occasion so delightful for their partner that she will want to be with them as much as possible. Only an idiot expects a person to be a willing participant in something unpleasant or worse. Males should be taught that life will be much better sexually if they can allow themselves to be taught by girls what it is that they would appreciate and how it should be done to optimize their enjoyment.
Girls need to be taught that it is important that they develop an awareness of their sexuality early on, and that they experiment with themselves to learn what it is about that sexuality that they appreciate most. They should believe that one does not simply tolerate assault from a man on the make and hope for the best. It is better for everyone if she has the confidence to insist that the experience be as much on her terms as his, so that there is mutuality, and so that impulse and response, stimulation and reaction patterns are established cooperatively. It will not take the “romance” out of the experience. Assault is not romance. There is no excuse in my mind for any girl to enter into sexual intimacy in a state of ignorance, and nothing could be more calculated to produce a negative result, except maybe forcible rape itself.
This is probably the most important first step to diminishing sexual trauma, and yet I know the ayatollahs of the far right will pronounce anything approaching effective education to be an abomination. What fools!
My survey of what has become known as Chick Lit, and the responsive movement in genre being read by men, Dick Lit, indicates to me that there is a hunger for this level of considerate passion, such that the mood today favors open discussion. YEA! That is the essence of victory, open discussion of something that is so very important for everyone’s emotional health, but that has been treated as taboo by the most ignorant leadership imaginable. Dick Lit still has quite a way to go. It is still about fast money and easy sex and masculine delusions about how that all works. But it is heading in the right direction – beyond football. It is also moving beyond the so-called men’s fashion magazine and the self-delusional “Playboy” presentation of sex as something that is reserved for the “cool” people – whoever they may think they are. Cool Dick Lit has always been a construct in which the progression is from men’s cologne to fantastic sex, without regard to trimming toenails, bathing, conversational competence or even the slightest interest in anything that does not pander to reassuring men that they are wonderful. Taken to its logical conclusion, one might surmise that men never leave mommy and must be constantly reassured that they are grand specimens. Falteringly, clumsily, it may move beyond “Love Monkey” and “Booty Nomad”.
There are now parallels in the genre. The women are joining the game. This is good. This is positive. This is constructive. It is also somewhat humorous. And its being humorous is even more positive. Normal people simply are not equipped to be always serious about serious issues and great philosophical depth. Normal people read “Bridget Jones’ Diary”, a frothy bodice ripper, and move on to “Dim Sum of All Things”, about sexuality issues of a young Chinese woman. Normal people want to know whether husband selection can be accomplished better by simply being promiscuous until you find the best sex partner, there being so little else to expectations of permanency in marriage these days, and find “The Wife of Reilly”. At least now, if you wear it out, you can go out and buy a new one. Digital Laser Vaginaplasty is now marketed as The Designer Vagina. Normal people know that watching “The Brady Bunch” will make you sexually dysfunctional. Even the vapid selections catalogued in this article represent a start in a direction that is different. If you really like vapid, check out “Diary of a Fat Bride”. Growth is represented by moving on to “Good In Bed” and “The Devil Wears Prada”.
Chick Lit is not new. It simply wasn’t recognized as Chick Lit. “Tom Jones”, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and “Lady Audley’s Secret” have been around a long time. Women used to have to hide when they read those books and masturbated. Men, of course, can masturbate whenever and wherever. After all, the world is our urinal, isn’t it?
We may now all engage openly in fantasy, and fantasy is the magic in our sexuality. Fantasy is the real love potion number nine. There is such a thing as constructive delusion. As Mike used to say, love is the delusion that one woman is different from all the rest. When you have become sufficiently delusional, you can see the object of your desire in everything that comes into your view. A British gynecologist recently pronounced that Stonehenge is not really just a giant early computer for predicting seasons and studying stars, or a docking pad for alien space ships. It is also a vagina, an ultimate fertility symbol – a vagina monolith. A critic of his analysis suggested that the minds of some men are so ordered that anything they look at for more than a moment starts to look like a vagina. Hmmmmm. I wonder.
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