Monday, May 28, 2018

Pornsophy: A Penetrating Analysis

The TLS  ran a review Germaine Greer wrote of Howard Jacobson’s No More Mr. Nice Guy back in l998 in their From the Archives section. “Like most of his male contemporaries, Jacobson’s hero, Frank Ritz, is obsessed by pornographic imagery" Greer remarked. "When the soft, wet, gabby real thing intervenes between him and his fantasy, he is appalled.” Earlier in the review Greer quoted Jacobson to the effect that “One way or another, penetration itself is usually a let down. The word flatters the deed. Either it is a bruising struggle to enter or you are swept away like a salmon awash in a waterfall.” Say no more than “his penis is on the fritz” nudge nudge—these are the kind of passages you either instantaneously get or not. Been there done that—as the popular homily goes. Anagnorisis is the Greek word for recognition like say Oedipus realizing who Jocasta was and that oy, yoy, yoy, he’d been shagging his ma (should there be a contemporary adaptation of the Sophocles play called The Mama Sutra?). In any case, Greer was hailing Jacobson for giving a male’s eye view of male sexuality instead of a male’s eye view of female, which she found to be "infinitely less offensive, say, than D.H. Lawrence’s writing Connie’s, Gudruns’s and Ursula’s orgasms, tastefully though he may be said to do it (not by me).” It’s a great thing when a writer is able to encapsulate experiences for words may have failed others. Bravo to Jacobson for writing his novel, to Greer for recognizing its fine points and the the TLS for reprinting the review. 

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