And that's only one of the monuments of "sex pos" "feminism" I'm supposed to accept because, well, you see, a woman wrote it. One who slept around, sometimes with women. Or, rather, pasted it together, or something like that. Oh, and she uses The Scarlet Letter (perhaps one of the few real novels Acker ever opened?) and someone she calls Jean Genet, whose name is used to provide the required touches of the artsy.
And if I don't pretend that it's anything other than a piece of crap that, far from being an attack on patriarchy, is actually an exhibit in the terminal stupidity of the litterateurs and assistant professors who champion it, the very post-feminist feminism that built on that and similar piles and the brain-dead and even more seriously heart-dead left that phony feminism is a part of. If I don't pretend that it's crap produced for the stupid and decadent pseudo-liberals of the literary set to pretend to like, I'm a patriarchal oppressor and enabler of Sam Brownback.
Real liberalism, the kind that takes office and changes laws for the better is not a matter of toleration for ideas just because, well, they are ideas. It isn't anything goes, no, not even if the one going for it is a woman or a member of some other identity group. Real liberalism is based in a condemnation and struggle against exactly those things embraced by the bored, jaded, stupid and lazy sensation seekers of the pseudo-left, the ones who assert that anything that can be lazily and dishonestly defined as freedom of expression, allowable because anyone harmed or exploited by it or those encouraged by it are free to escape through the invocation of their agency. Real liberalism is unfashionable because its ideals have been deemed to be hokey, if there is any idea that was never and will never be compatible with the debasing and destructive force that fashion is, it is The Beloved Community as described by The Reverend Martin Luther King jr. It was not and will not be fashionable because it is radically egalitarian and fashion, literary and in popular culture, is all about inequality.
Thomas Frank asked a good question when he asked What's the Matter With Kansas. How did Kansas go from being progressive to paleo-conservative? But he might ask another question, what's the matter with the liberalism that lost Kansas? I'd say he should look to see how it changed from the absolute holding of moral positions to the ship wreck flotsam and jetsam of poses and the lazy, jaded libertarianism based on the vague toleration of things that destroy both the reality of the rightness of those positions and the possibility of putting them into effect. A liberalism that tolerates and attempts to include things like "sex pos", that champions "expression" that can successfully corrupt a society into a toleration of oppression and inequality merely because, well The First Amendment and Lady Chatterly's Lover, is dead liberalism. Kansans aren't stupid, no matter how much the fans of that book love to believe it, they are obviously smart enough to see that so many liberals, especially the ones who get media attention, have given up on liberalism. And it didn't give up at the point of a gun or by the failure of liberalism that was put into effect, but to follow fashion and a career in the media.
You're more likely to find real liberals working at the United Church of Christ or other church based food pantry or food kitchen than you will in the pages of any journal or any popular blog. You probably won't notice them because, to the lazy eye, they look so much like the people play-liberals love to look down on and despise for their unfashionable lives. You're more likely to find real liberals in the economic class whose children are at risk of being sucked into the life that the thrill seekers in high rise condos, gated communities and safe jobs so love to think about. Real liberals don't want anyone's children to be sucked into that for the entertainment of the pseudo-post-left.
* Perhaps that accounts for why so much that has been written about the book is stunningly stupid, even when it's published in some tony journal.
Janey’s age serves as an ironic device, especially when seen through the lens of Freudian interpretation. Susan E. Hawkins writes that
"Janey, as an incest victim, blames herself for her father’s indifference and thus can’t handle Johnny’s romantic interest in the starlet. Conversely, Johnny’s attachment to Janey and his need to free himself of it sound absurdly like the emotional struggles disenchanted spouses experience in their attempts to leave a marriage made unhappy through their own midlife crises (646). "
Johnny tells Janey that “You’ve completely dominated my life… for the last nine years and I no longer know who’s you and who’s me” (12). Johnny’s friend Bill (who also sexually abused Janey, “but his cock was too big” (10)) tells Janey that she has “dominated his life since your mother died and now he hates you. He has to hate you because he has to reject you. He has to find out who he is” (11). The irony of these statements, which Susan Hawkins alludes to, is centered on their Freudian implications. Karen Brennan writes that “Bill’s psychoanalysis
refigures the family roles by casting Janey as the overbearing mother and her father as the daughter/son on the threshold of the Oedipal stage. The father-daughter relationship, for Bill, is really a son-mother relationship” and turns the Freudian theory upside-down and inside-out (258). Brennan’s use of Freudian theory for analysis of the text is rendered more ironic by Janey’s age. The father resents his daughter, who is only a child, for holding him back and smothering his identity the way the son resents the mother for the same reasons. Fatherly responsibility, and Janey’s dependence, do not matter to this man, as is made clear by his resentment for an incestuous relationship that he started when his daughter was an infant. Later, Janey tells Johnny that “It was always me, my voice, I felt like a total nag; I want you to be the man” (12). Janey, a ten-year-old little girl, believes that she has usurped her father’s position as the one with power in the relationship, a sign of her father’s emotional manipulation. Adding to the irony of Bill’s psychoanalysis is his remark that “There’s always been a strong connection between the two of you. You’ve been together for years” (16). This bizarre connection is also
commented on by Janey, who tells Johnny, “When I first met you, it’s as if a light turned on for me. You’re the first joy I knew” (9). With this remark, Acker turns the natural infatuation a very young girl has for her father, as well as Freud’s Electra complex, inside out through sarcasm.
Such is the intellectual coherence of the "sex pos" and its allied intellectual fashions. I won't mention its grasp or morality because it would make me gag. Liberalism is all about moral positions and moral absolutes and one of those is definitely not tolerance for things that damage people.