'When faced with the myth, the questions to ask are not about women’s faces and bodies but about the power relations of the situation. Who is this serving? Who says? Who profits? What is the context?
A woman’s appearance is more often called to her attention for a political reason than as a constituent of genuine attraction and desire. We can learn to get better at telling the difference - a liberating skill in itself. We need not condemn lust, seduction, or physical attraction—a much more democratic and subjective quality than the market would like us to discover—we need only to reject political manipulation.'
'The bigots, the hysterics, the destroyers of the self - these are the writers who bear witness to the fearful polite time in which we live... Ours is an age which obsessively pursues health, and yet only believes in the reality of sickness. The truths we respect are those born of affliction. We measure truth in terms of the cost to the writer in suffering - rather than by the standard of an objective truth to which a writer's words correspond. Each of our truths must have a martyr.'
'Spinoza thinks that, if you see your misfortunes as they are in reality, you will see that they are only misfortunes to you, not to the universe, to which they are merely passing discords heightening an ultimate harmony. I cannot accept this; I think that particular events are what they are, and do not become different by absorption into a whole. Each act of cruelty is eternally a part of the universe; nothing that happens later can make that act good rather than bad, or can confer perfection on the whole of which it is a part.'
'Sexual freedom, sexual liberation. A modern delusion. We are hierarchical animals. Sweep one hierarchy away, and another will take its place, perhaps less palatable than the first. There are hierarchies in nature and alternate hierarchies in society. In nature, brute force is the law, the survival of the fittest. In society, there are protections for the weak, society is our frail barrier against nature. When the prestige of the state and religion is low, men are free, but they find freedom intolerable, and seek new ways to enslave themselves... My theory is that whenever sexual freedom is sought or achieved, sadomasochism will not be far behind.'
lou reed | velvet underground | nico | camille paglia | sexual personae | sadomasochism
'In short, this power is exercised rather than posessed; it is not the 'privilege', acquired or preserved, of the dominant class, but the overall effect of its strategic positions - an effect that is manifested and sometimes extended by the position of those who are dominated. Furthermore, this power is not exercised simply as an obligation or a prohibition on those who 'do not have it'; it invests them, is transmitted by them and through them; it exerts pressure upon them, just as they themselves, in their struggle against it, resist the grip it has on them.'
'It is not untrue to say that chairs have seats and that rain falls downward. Many poets write truths of this sort. They are like a painter adorning the walls of a sinking ship with a still life... Those in power cannot corrupt them, but neither are they disturbed by the cries of the opressed.