Tuesday, August 3, 2021

King Kong Theory

Virginie Despentes'
 Baise-Moi (Rape Me) is a l993 novel that the writer herself later made into a highly explicit and controversial movie. Having a film fall victim to censorship in Singapore may not be saying much but when it’s taken out of circulation in France,which it was--that says something. Despentes, a former prostitute is also the author of King Kong Theory, a collection of essays which deals with both her brand of feminism and her life. She comments thusly about her own career as a sex worker: "Prostitution was a crucial step in my reconstruction after I was raped. A compensation-settlement in thousand-franc installments for what had been brutally taken from me. What I could sell of myself to each client was a part of me that had remained intact." In America, Laura Kipnis is the spokesman for a brand of feminism that evinces similar unflinching candor to the extent it eschews the adjudication of the human imagination. Here's Kipnis, the author of Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, on legislating instinct: “There’s a built-in weirdness to possessing a sexuality, whatever your gender. It reminds us that we’re animals; it’s bendable into perverse configurations, which is maybe what we also like about it. We’re afflicted with bizarre, amoral dreams on a nightly basis. Our fantasy lives don’t always comport with our ideas about who we should be,” “Kick Against the Pricks,” The New York Review of Books, 12/21/17).  Camille Paglia Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson was one of the first “feminist” authors to resist the “Eunuch ideology” perpetrated by the current generation of thought police. In 2018 Catherine Deneuve was one of 99 prominent French women who famously signed a manifesto against the “witch hunting” and "puritanism" of the #MeToo movement. But even when you go back to the l933 film classic, it’s hard to figure out what the famed cinematic beast was actually doing. Was Mr. Kong hugging or crushing Fay Wray?

Read Francis Levy's "22 Minutes of Nine and a Half Weeks," The Screaming Pope



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