And now, a few Words from a Sponsor
I don’t know a whole lot about the Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm
Reich. I do know he wrote a funny, tweaking little book called Listen,
Little Man and a rather more serious one called The Mass Psychology of
Fascism. He turned a good phrase and had a love for humans, not to mention
humanity. As a disciple of Freud, he of course privileged the role of
sexuality and the unconscious in interpreting human behavior, but at
least he wasn’t a dogmatist about it.
Reich was born in Dobryzcynica, then part of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire (present day Galicia, Poland) in 1897. Reich would go on to
World War I on the Italian front (opposite Hemingway), eventually settling
in Vienna where he spent much of his life researching and practicing.
After moving to Germany, he shortly thereafter emigrated to Norway
upon Hitler’s ascension in 1933. He continued his research there
until moving to the United States in 1939. After teaching at the New
for Social Research in New York City, his disciples set up the today
still extant Wilhelm Reich Foundation in Rangeley, Maine in 1949. After
publishing more books, most notably The Murder of Christ in 1953, Reich
was imprisoned for his controversial work on human sexuality in the
neo-Puritanical mid-1950s. Burn the witch, in other words. He died
in prison of a heart
attack at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania in 1957.
Some of what the reader will find in this stew of pungent quotations
will come off as rather imperious. Imperial times deserve imperious contempt.
But mistaking insolence for freedom has always been the hallmark of the
slave… And now you feel free…free from cooperation and
responsibility. That, little man, is why you and the world are where
“You’ll wake up from your nightmare, little man, and find
yourself lying helpless on the ground, because you steal from the giver
and give to the thief. You have mistaken the right of free speech and
criticism for the right to shoot off your mouth and crack stupid jokes.
You want to criticize but not to be criticized, and as a result you get
torn to pieces and shot. You want to attack without exposing yourself
to attack. That’s why you always shoot from ambush.”
“Because you have no memory for things that happened twenty years
ago, you’re still mouthing the same nonsense as two thousand years
ago. Worse, you cling with might and main to such absurdities as ‘race,’ ‘class’ and ‘nation,’ and
the obligation to observe a religion and repress your love. You’re
afraid to acknowledge the depth of your wretchedness. From time to time
you lift your head out of the muck and shout Hurrah!”
How then,’ I hear you ask, ‘shall I attain my end, whether
it be Christian love, socialism, or American democracy?’ Your
Christian love and your socialism and your American democracy are what
you do each
day, your manner of thinking each hour, of embracing your life companion
and loving your child; they are your attitude of social responsibility
toward your work, and your determination not to become like the crushers
of life you so hate. But you, little man, abuse the freedom conferred
on you by democratic institutions; you do your best to destroy those
institutions instead of giving them a firm root in your daily life.”
“You’ll have a good secure life when being alive means more
to you than security, love more than money, your freedom more than public
or partisan opinion; when the mood of Beethoven’s or Bach’s
music becomes the mood of your whole life—you have it in you, little
man, somewhere deep down in a corner of your being; when your thinking
is in harmony, and no longer in conflict with your feelings; when you’ve
learned to recognize two things in their season; your gifts and the onset
of old age; when you let yourself be guided by the thoughts of great
sages and no longer by the crimes of great warriors; when you cease to
set more store by a marriage certificate than by love between a man and
a woman; when you learn to recognize your errors promptly and not too
late, as you do today; when you pay the men and women who educate your
children better than politicians; when truths inspire you and empty formulas
repel you; when you freely communicate with your fellow workers in foreign
countries directly, and no longer through diplomats…”
[But, and there’s always a but]
“You don’t want to be an eagle, little man, and that’s
why the vultures devour you. You’re afraid of eagles; that why
you live in herds and are devoured in herds. Because some of your hens
have hatched out vulture eggs. And the vultures have become your leaders
in your fight against the eagles, who wanted to lead you to faraway,
better worlds. The vultures taught you to eat carrion, to content yourselves
with a few crumbs of grain, and to shout, ‘Heil, great vulture!’”
“…You [meaning Reich, according to the little man] said
to them ‘go forth and fuck.’ Your mind perverts every idea.
In your life my loving embrace becomes an act of pornography. You don’t
know what I’m talking about, little man. That’s why you keep
sinking back into the swamp.”
You can only take, you can’t give. That’s why it’s
no more conceivable to you that a man might find his greatest joy in
giving than it might be possible to spend three minutes with a member
of the opposite sex without starting to fuck.”
“Happiness wants to be worked for and earned. But you just want
to consume happiness. It runs away from you because it doesn’t
want to be consumed by you.”
We're S-C-R-E-W-I-N-G, We're Screwing*
Aside from the ritual of shopping, the real, visceral contemporary “American
pastime” is leveraged fucking—call it “erosnoxious,” out
of politesse hereafter—the cynical sex act.
True enough, there are other pretenders to the throne. The excessive
ingestion of state-sanctioned and state-forbidden drugs comes to mind.
But no, it is false consciousness sex that is far more central to advertising
and our most basic drives.
And so it was, when the absurd sexual strictures of fundamentalist
Christianity were tossed off, shortly thereafter came the dawn of branded “have
it all” capitalism. Kinda makes you think.
Now, we can of course allow that when one is young and dumb, These
Things Happen. However, one might have imagined that with the ripening
when one recognizes the potential psychological costs more clearly,
erosnoxious would begin to subside. And yet it doesn’t particularly,
Erosnoxious is part and parcel of what passes these days for our uncherished “freedom.” The
freedom, that is, to get over on people in most every sphere of life
including the bedroom.
[For the same reason that this country got up into Iraq: because it
In the end, erosnoxious ends up affecting pretty much anyone or everyone.
It afflicts the “educated” and “sophisticated” city
dweller every bit as easily as the restless suburbanite or the bored
townie. It turns out there is something humble “flyover country” folk
and the cosmopolitan crowd can get together on: a shared default placebo
for the rottenness of contemporary life.
Boring disclaimer: this is not to contend that erosnoxious is “immoral” per
se—people make mistakes and all of the rest of it—as the
fundamentalist Sky Ghost enthusiasts maintain.
[These sad saps tremble, with a straight face, at their Imaginary
nether twin inflicting retaliatory torture for doing it without Caesar
signing off on it. Go figure.]
Needless to say, we’re not particularly addressing ourselves
to that lost sort here.
No, this goes out to the post-Enlightenment crew. You know, the ones
who spend a lot of time preening for being secular and open-minded and
sexually liberal and maybe even a little leftish and stuff. It also includes
those who worship commodities and brands rather than God. The funny thing
is how these smug vanguards of modernity and consumerism comport themselves
once they assert their “freedom to choose.” Turns out more
than a few of them act like solipsistic cowards.
Returning the Screw
Without being too longwinded about it, the societal changes that started
in the late 1960s were broadly good and highly necessary. That’s
obvious. The excessive drug use was, in the end, kinda reactionary as
it just represented the extreme opposite of the oppressive stereotype
of the "Leave it to Beaver" decade. Blowing things up and overthrowing
the state in the democratic West seems similarly spurious in retrospect.
But then, those were very rough times, and anyway, we’re headed
that way again. Well see if our generation is any smarter soon enough.
Sexual liberation, like the drug abuse, was an understandable and
necessary phase, but ended up also being reactionary, then obligatory
and now nearly
mandatory. Then “if it feels good, do it” was the slogan.
Today it’s been shortened to “just do it.”
The Frankfurt School and Heidelberg rebels had a similarly silly saying. “Der
der nur mit einem pennt, gehoert noch zum Establishment.” (He who
is monogamous still belongs to the establishment) Today one can still
find the pathetic, if pithy, anarchist slogan “they say don’t
fuck, we say fuck you.” “They” are the straw man fundamentalists
or “50’s People” that we already know to dismiss. (At
least back in the 1960s, those people still had cultural hegemony; at
least the ‘69ers were putatively rebelling against something instead
of reinforcing the dominant user culture) “We” are the alienated
sexual cynics out for a good time just like Dino was in Vegas every night.
So, please, please save the promiscuity as radical political statement
trip—it’s been death warmed over for quite a while now. The
right name for such feminist ass-kickers, cult stud deep-thinkers and
left wing name-takers: embarrassing dinosaurs. Maybe embarrassing American
dinosaurs would be more accurate. In a society where three quarters of
the population are being fucked, it’s no surprise that they impotently
fuck back where they can—at each other.
When Americans talk about a “relationship,” it generally
means little more than a monogamous sexual arrangement prior to marriage.
(Among devout religious people a relationship is even higher stakes,
as it concerns something personal with God.) In the U.S. the preferred,
broad categories are “friends,” “lovers” and “wives
or husbands.” In Europe one will find a clear distinction between
acquaintances and friends. In the U.S. every Tom, Dick and Harry is a “friend.” In
Europe one can and often does have platonic “relationships” with
a small and select group of friends of the opposite sex.
[One piquant anecdote should suffice here. After spending a year teaching
English in Leipzig, I attended the German version of the prom at the
end of the year. Students and teachers alike got trashed and down on
the dance floor. I recall being whisked on a bicycle to the nearby
Olympic-sized pool, where my students and I broke into the complex
to go skinny dipping.
It was simply considered hijinks and fun—and it was just that
and nothing more. Until the night watchman showed up that is.]
In the United States, it is broadly considered ill-advised to allow
the categories “friends” and “lovers” to blur.
In practice, this naturally happens with some degree of frequency, and
yet, like with most things involving naked bodies here, there is always
a whiff of concealment and misgiving attached to it. In reality, liking
another person first and foremost for qualities beyond their physical
appearance is generally not an entrée into sexual intimacy. Here,
generally speaking, it’s surface. [Is this self-evident?] The necessity
of intimacy, which in the U.S. is essentially reducible to sex, is not
generally discussed and probably not even considered by most people in
a platonic context. That’s one of the reasons we live in a society
of strangers. The Germans again have a useful term; they call it Gefühlstau,
a feeling bottleneck. They’d know too; but then, at least they’ve
thought about it some.
It is considered cachet-ridden and “in the moment” to bed
strangers—from now twelve year olds right through “adults.” That
this is also a matter of responsible judgment and impulse control does
not often come into play in the immediate gratification / winner-take-all
society. Sadly, it seems too often let up to the fundamentalists to cry
foul—people who can’t have the answers because they don’t
even know the questions. This course of events must be part of the famous
American Romance about which such luminary-retards as Britney Spears
and Ricki Lake have had so much to say. Just smile and swallow, ladies
In response to the marketing carpet-bombing demands of erosnoxious—another
way of saying be self-absorbed, concern yourself solely with Your Own
Pleasure—we may well have to listen long and hard for a clever
cultural lefty-lib retort. (The Confident Consumer doesn’t always
think twice) They end up getting around to the “why, we aren’t
prudish, we don’t censor anybody’s impulses” blahdy
blah. It's boring. And so, a loophole opens through which hypocritical
right-wingers, recycling liberals, cultural “radicals” and “bourgeois
bohemians” can march through, arm in arm. It's the "Method
of Modern Love."
To the extent that I’m familiar with it, the “counterculture” is
fairly monoculture when it comes to sexual politics. As always, “people
are people” and they’re scarcely less hypocritical here than
elsewhere—something which once a disappointment was. Their one,
perhaps crowning, achievement was political correctness. If we just use
certain words instead of others, the massive underlying human problems
which we face will somehow or other be mitigated.
If ordinary Americans put perhaps a quarter of their time into political
action, which they otherwise spend chasing tail, watching sports or pursuing
their myopic sub-cultural interest, we’d might have been living
in a social democracy decades ago. But, they don’t. Not yet, anyway.
And that’s a small part of the reason why things suck now worse
than at any time in nearly four decades, if not seven.
In the microcosm of whatever social scene one might choose, status
is certainly as operative in seduction as it is in the cubicle. Many
and many work, in part or in whole, for status. They don’t always
say out loud, “yeah man, I nailed her,” but you know they’re
thinking it, followed by a hearty self-congratulatory guffaw. In the
parallel world, they say, “yeah, I’m gonna buy this or that
awesome new plasma screen TV.”
Ultimately, they fall, almost helpless, replicating in their personal
lives the same user relationship (that they may even know to deplore)
so operative in the workplace. A lurking rationalization somewhere
in all of this is the notion that they can’t do better than sexually
aggrandizing themselves with some incidental conduit. Most poignantly,
they attempt to fulfill their desperate need to escape this realization
in hopes of feeling wanted and connected, however fleetingly.
10:15, Every Saturday Night
You can go out in most any American town or city among the young,
or those tenaciously clinging to said, and see them. They may be well
and dashing or perfumed and quaffed. They may be appropriately tousled
and scruffy, decked out in clever thrift store duds. It doesn’t
matter, for it’s more or less the same game, only the disguises
One can whiff the ill-intent behind their loneliness. The not funny
thing is that they not only don’t want to see it, they very often
simply can’t see it. They’ve lost—if they ever had
it in the first place—the capacity to expect something more from
Whether they’re just breaking free of their parent’s attitudes,
haunted by them or reminiscing about them matters little. They come into
play as a guiding light or a flashpoint of rebellion. The disintegration
of the family has resulted, in part, in the disintegration of the capability
of young people to forge meaningful relationships, whether platonic or
sexual. Increasing numbers of now successive generations know exactly
what the electronic-hip hop performer Peaches means when she growls “fuck
the pain away.”
What most people who went to college are faced with for most of their
single lives is serial drifting through cutthroat social scenes. Most
people know this much: they’re off the leash for 48 hours and god
damn if they aren’t going to act out with some other superfluous
soul. Worst case scenario, some might contend. Maybe.
We do know how this story ends in too many instances. Most among them
eventually snap back into “conventional” 9 to 5 lives of
isolation, the obligatory embrace of a doomed marriage like their parents
did, or, increasingly, they imbibe fundamentalism. They want The Answer,
and there are plenty of hucksters out there ready and willing to sell
it to them. Where’s the surprise when “the scene” (whatever
it might be) is so frequently so lame—if the measuring rod is meaningful
This now ubiquitous erosnoxious, once called “having sex,” or,
more quaintly, “making love,” was at one time or another,
a “rite of passage” or a “coming of age experience,” to
say nothing of a great discovery, a sometimes embarrassing and mysterious
adventure of youth. It still is one or another of those things to an
ever-shrinking number of partisans.
The Nihilists@Glamour.com, Abercrombie & Fitch, & Guerilla Marketing
Online Bring You: A Civilization’s Decline (Thanks Again, Corporate
By way of anecdote, illustrating just how early this crass sexualization
is pushed, we see the clothier Abercrombie & Fitch marketing “thongs” to
ten-year-olds. And so, a May 23rd, 2003 San Francisco Chronicle piece
by Ray Delgado bears lengthy excerpting.
“For the second time in two months, retailer Abercrombie & Fitch
Inc. finds itself in trouble, this time for hawking sexually suggestive
thong underwear to young girls.
The thongs are adorned with the images of cherries and candy hearts
and also include the words ‘kiss me’ and ‘wink, wink.’ They
are appropriate for girls as young as 10 years old, according to a company
‘It's not appropriate for a 7-year-old, but it is appropriate
for a 10-year- old,’ said spokesman Hampton Carney. ‘Once
you get about 10, you start to care about your underwear, and you start
to care about your clothes.’
Conservative family groups are outraged. They have launched another
boycott against Abercrombie, an action that has been taken in the past
to protest the retailer's catalogs featuring nudity and sexual language.
The company stirred up controversy last month when it introduced a line
of T-shirts with stereotypical images of Asians, prompting protests and
boycotts from many Asian Americans.
The company immediately pulled the shirts from its store shelves, while
embarrassed officials said they thought Asians would like the T-shirts.
Company officials would not comment about the boycott and issued a
statement saying: ‘The underwear for young girls was created
with the intent to be lighthearted and cute. Any misrepresentation
of that is purely
in the eye of the beholder.’
Bill Johnson, president of the 2-year-old American Decency Association,
based in Michigan, called the thongs pornographic and said the company
had sunk to new lows.
‘The size of the under-apparel is really small enough for 7-year-olds
to easily wear,’ Johnson said. ‘What [Abercrombie is] doing
is sexualizing our youth and setting them up to view themselves as sexual
objects or sexual toys.’
Johnson said his organization had hoped that Abercrombie was moving
away from controversy by toning down its sexually suggestive catalogs.
But when he saw the images of the girls' thongs, he launched another
[Two things jump out here. One, wasn’t a feminist or consumer
advocate available for comment? Is it really just left to religious kooks
to denounce this garbage? Second, A & F recently had another campaign
geared towards teens promising their consumers “group sex."]
Then there’s Glamour.com and their tittering at Abercrombie & Fuck’s
(as a friend recently put it) malevolence. As of a month following Mr.
Delgado’s article, their website still had this pathetic poll question
“Is it a Do or Is It a Don't? This week: thong underwear for preteens.
Abercrombie & Fitch recently offered thong underwear for girls ages
10 to 16 decorated with slogans like 'Wink, Wink' and 'Kiss Me.' Is the
company irresponsibly sexualizing young girls? Or is it OK for 10-year-olds
to do something about their panty lines, just like their moms? Vote now!”
“Preteens.” Ok, that’s strike one. Strike two: I’ll
wager a good number of these Glamour web gals are “tolerant” and “open
minded” types. The terminal whiff comes with the brainteaser. Is
it cool for a magazine that claims to represent women (I’ll bet
they “empower” ‘em too) to trivialize the turning of
little girls into sex objects? The cheeky, hip and ironic false society
says a definitive yes.
The hands-down winner in this squalid sweepstakes is Guerrilla Marketing
Online for their article by Jay Conrad Levinson entitled "Guerrilla
Marketing as Sex". This article teaches you that you don't just “woo” your
prospective clients, you have to “transform cold prospects into
“‘When the courtship begins, guerrillas pay very close
attention and prove that they care.’
(And we thought they only cared about the size of your, um... wallet.)
‘Next comes necking and petting, connecting even closer with
prospects by becoming more intimate in marketing.’
(You have to kiss a lot of customers before you find your 'mark'...er,
‘The step in marketing that most relates to foreplay is when
marketers give to their partners the exact pleasure that they want...
making them feel special but proving their devotion.’
(Oh Baby, that's it... right there... mail me that offer I can't refuse.)
‘Guerrilla marketers and their prospects achieve consummation
by closing the sale with mutual consent.’
(‘yes... yes... Yes... YES... YES... YEEEESSSSS!!!!! I'LL BUY
(And I'll take whatever she's having.)
‘During the afterglow, the connection is solidified. This is
accomplished with assiduous follow-up -- proving in a way that the
respects the prospect in the morning.’
(But only as long as you still have cash... If not, they divorce you
and toss you to the curb.)
It’s all reminiscent of a dot-com era ad here in San Francisco
for E*Trade: “Imagine rolling over and saying, ‘that was
better than investing.’”
And they say prostitution is illegal in this country. (note: it should
How Faces can Help through Hurting
Readers of this page may have happened upon piece I wrote some time
ago about the late, visionary American filmmaker John Cassavetes. His
masterpiece, to my way of thinking, was entitled Faces. Among other things,
the film concerned itself with the viciousness with which men and women
treat each other in modern America and it dovetails perfectly with the
gist of the Guerilla Marketing Online swill. Although it was first screened
in 1968, it retains essentially all of its power.
Excerpted below is an early scene from the film which is fairly representative
of the erosnoxious phenomenon. It involves the characters Richard Forst,
(John Marley) Freddie Draper (acting under his own name) and Jeannie
Rapp (Gena Rowlands, Cassavetes’ wife). The former two characters
are big wigs in the film industry. They have picked up a woman at a bar
called the Loser’s Club (still extant in LA). Both middle aged
men are married and unhappy. Jeannie is unmarried and unhappy. Freddie
is an old hand at adultery; Richard is just getting his feet wet.
Freddie: [leeringly leaning in on her] We met at a bar, right Jeanie?
F: And it was love at first sight, right Jeannie?
F: We were thrown out by Morrie, but we had laughs, right?
F: [gesturing towards Richard] Shut up, who asked you? [moving in close
again] Listen, I think Forst is a holier than thou.
Richard: I am not.
F: Who asked you? Now cool it.
J: You go to a psychiatrist, don’t you Dickie?
R: No I don’t.
J: Well you look Freudian.
R: I never even met a psychiatrist.
F: He looks like Sigmund.
J: Yes he does. Listen, do you know that Freud said that if you go
to the bathroom it’s supposed to be sexy or something?
F: [performatively] Oh, oh, oh! Sex, sex, sex, sex!
R: [angrily] Come on now. Wait a minute. Wait a minute! What in the
hell are we talking about here?
F & J: Who cares!
J: So for a minute or two we act stupid and have a good time. Who
does it hurt? I mean, who makes up the rules anyway? I mean, always
cool; always put everybody down; standing in a corner looking out the
side of your eye to see if anyone is looking at you. Listen, hell fellas
I’m twenty-eigh…twenty-three years old [jeers from Freddie]
and it’s time to forget myself, right?
R: [looks at Jeannie with a mixture of pity and contempt. He then apprehends
the rules of the game and commences competing with Freddie]
[After performing for Jeannie for another ten minutes, she leaves
the room to change into “something more comfortable.” The
men are sitting exhaustedly on the floor.]
F: My heart is beating. I’m so excited. What are we doing on
[He then laughingly slaps Richard in the face in a not altogether friendly
way and begins dancing and humming a tune.]
F: What’s the matter with you… She’s gonna change!
Oh, Dickie, remember when we didn’t have to worry about our wives?
Oh God. [casting a voracious glance at Jeannie’s bedroom door.]
Yeah. Mmmm. Remember when we had our own apartment and all the girls
would come up to see us? They’d mix drinks for us, they’d
cook us anything we wanted and then they’d give us their money
and go to bed with us. Don’t you remember?
R: It never happened.
F: [exasperatedly] Oh, of course it did. Don’t you remember Connie
and Julie and what the hell’s her name, the one with the…
R: I don’t know.
F: Oh my God! Dickie, you’re getting old and gray and I’m
getting fat and gray… What the hell’s she doing in there? … [now
singing] I dream of Jeannie with the light brown hair…
[More drunken reverie ensues, with Jeannie clearly selecting the dapper
Richard over the sloppy and now enraged Freddie.]
F: By the way Jeannie, what do you charge?
J: [stops slow dancing with Richard and runs over to Freddie and hugs
him] Oh no, oh no Freddie, don’t spoil it. Freddie please.
F: Spoil what? Honey, I’m game for anything. I just what to know
how much you charge. It’s legitimate, isn’t it? [Now raising
his voice] I know I have to pay. I’m not too schooled in these
things, but I know somewhere along the line your little hand’s
going to find its way into my pocket… You’re shocked aren’t
you old Dickie, old pal? [now screaming] What, do you think she’s
some clean towel that’s never been used? So, you think you don’t
pay? How often does Maria [Richard’s wife] ask you for money? Money’s
a necessity and don’t you think you don’t work for it and
pay for it… [downcast expressions from both Richard and Jeannie]
My God, what is this? He thinks I’m insulting you, I’m offering
you. Hell, look, what’s the matter? [Walking now with his arm around
Jeannie] If I went to one of those fancy restaurants, I’d probably
tip the head waiter, the waiter, the bus boy and a hundred bucks goes
flying down the drain. And I couldn’t have more fun than I could
R: [muttering and pushing Freddie] I think you better go right now.
J: [intervening] Dickie, wait, wait please. Don’t be shocked.
It’s like this. Fred is a very sad man.
F: Now you…
J: No, you let me finish because you’re a man who doesn’t
say what you mean very well. What you meant was that this was a wonderful
evening and you enjoy my house and you like me. But like you said, you’re
F: [irritated] I’m sooorrry. Honey, I was only trying to be
J: I thought you said you were trying to be funny.
R: [grabbing Freddie’s arm] Come on, go.
F: You go! You go, if you’re in such a goddamn hurry. My reputation’s
at stake here!
[Silence and stony stares]
F: [now finally resigned] Ahh, good night. Good night, Jeannie. I’m
sorry. [Freddie leaves]
R: I don’t know how you do it.
J: I just close my eyes and see how much liquor I can swallow. [crying
now] I pray that I’ll die and be martyred by the church for my
service to humanity.
R: You’re a lovely girl.
J: I’m too old to be lovely. And I haven’t got a heart of
gold. The night’s so long and Little Orphan Annie of Hardknocksville
gets tough, you know?
R: I think I better go.
J: [runs across the room to block the door] Go ahead, get the hell out,
beat it! Right?
R: Right. You’re on your own again. [They kiss and Richard leaves]
Later in the film, Richard exhibits greater cruelty (post-coital)
than Freddie did. The point being, this film depicts the common cruelty
the sexes in such a harrowing way as to give pause to those who have
seen it—one might dare to hope—in their own lives.
An Unexpected Suggestion? The Golden Rule
We are living in debauched times, so all this comes as little surprise
perhaps. This confluence between selfishness and greed in the economic
and political sphere couldn’t help but bleed into the private realm.
Or was it vice versa? Think of (particularly meat market) bars as the
private equivalent of the public corporate “networking” mixer.
One can go further with the comparison, given the parallels. We have
deception (convincing one of anonymous sex as an interpersonal form of
PR, say). We see the user ethic in lovers and employees both being disposable;
workers and lovers are tools for self-aggrandizement of the “boss,” whether
male or female. And we find the insecurity and fear device—do you
measure up in terms of sexual desirability / performance or workplace
So, here’s the upshot. Interpersonal relations are broken in this
country to an extent that they wouldn’t have to if we just looked
after one another a bit better. Apart from war torn and God-forsaken
corners of the globe, they’re about as bad here as anywhere. So,
if you’ve just got to indulge the erosnoxious urge, at least be
honest and consensual about it. And if you can’t conjure conscience
with respect to the other, at least consider using a selfish, if utilitarian
rationale. Someday, even you will have to deal with somebody’s wreckage.
I think it’s pretty obvious what happens to a society when on
an interpersonal level it becomes increasingly the norm to treat one
another as a means to an end. Society corrodes, and then it implodes.
Aww hell, who knows, maybe it’s all egghead nonsense. Maybe it
would help to just nail some chick and hurt her feelings so that I can
feel better about myself. What’s up, bro?
*Thanks to the Pet Shop Boys for their song "Shopping"