I'm really tired, so I'm not going to write anywhere near as much as I could. But I want to say simply that this NYT Books article absolutely disgusted me.
It disgusts me that Chabon, Eggers, and Wallace are supposed to be the "great male writers" of our time.
It disgusts me that Mailer, Roth, and Updike are supposed to be the "great male writers" of any time.
It disgusts me that anyone, woman or man, would be comfortable with this analysis of our current state of sexuality in america.
It disgusts me that anyone, woman or man, might possibly read an article like this an not get as disgusted and upset as I am right now.
There is an un-severable, bloody-uterine-appendage connection between sex and writing. It is thick, rigid, wet, tight, and secreting out of any literature. Not just the overtly sexual writing, and not just the graphic writing. If you read the sex of any of these listed authors, you are reading the most stilted, white, middle class, faux-intellectual, marginal american sex ever. This represents the worst that the american sex drive has to offer. Virginized christian america is more interesting, because it at least has a hang up, and teenage pregnancies. For goodness sake, if I wanted to re-read the tender violations of mainstream sexuality, I could read Cosmopolitan.
The problem with all of these authors, is that they set up a false dichotomy between the "mainstream facade" of american sex, and the "violation of the facade". All of them, in their own degree, are inflating a blow-up doll, and then knocking it down. I would hazard a guess that this represents 1% of americans view on life. They have a certain view of sex, and then worry themselves sick about the few contradictions of that view they are able to discover.
The rest of america, is fucking. Or they're watching porn, or watching VH1, or watching each other fuck on cell phone video, or hating sex, or killing people who have sex, or raping people (like, actually raping people, not just insulting them) or putting pictures of their penis on Craigslist. All of this is going on, 24 hours a day, and we're supposed to act like anything Dave Eggers says about sex is relevant?
Of course nobody is going to capture the complete package. But claiming that a high-brow novelist is even close to the truth is like a New Yorker treating their own sex life as anthropological archetype. Which they do, by the way. As do people from all over the country, all the time, 24 hours a day.
Everybody in this country thinks they know how to cure everyone else's sex life, while they can't see the problems with their own, while they watch other people have sex on TV, while they have sex themselves. This incredible non-stop orgy of the mind and body and everyone else's mind and body IS american sex. One of Burroughs' speed dreams about aliens and assholes is a lot closer to the truth than a novelist's Anytown, USA. The thing the NYT, and all of their canon miss, is the SPEED of sex. It is happening, all over the country, all the time, accelerating. Britney Spears' naked crotch is BREAKING NEWS in this dimension! What dimension is the NYT living in?
Alright, part of my anger is that I just wrote a novella outlining this basic concept, and to see wet blankets like the above names cited as "america's male authors" cuts into me like a 9" plastic stripper heel.
But apart from that, it really kills me that americans can continue to be so blind about their own sex lives. You can read all the literature you want, whether it be misogynist novelists or french feminists. But if you still cannot see the sex going on out the window in the middle of the street in the daytime, if you still cannot plug literature into your body as well as your mind, if you still cannot talk and read about sex while having actual sex, then how can we say we've progressed past or through anything? The key to sex in literature is not that literature IS sex, it is that we read with our eyes, think with our minds, speak with our mouths, and write with our hands, and then turn right around and use these VERY SAME body parts to pleasure ourselves and others. A metaphor is a working link, not a costume. Literature does not "take the place of", but "connects between". As it is for words, it is for body parts.
okay, well thanks for listening. I'm off to bed.
Predictions for 2012
5 years ago