Monday, April 18, 2016

Human Orgasm vs. Human Love

Once is happenstance. That's what Goldfinger told James Bond back in the day.

So it must just be happenstance that I encountered on the same day two articles that spoke about the intersection of love and sex.

First, let's talk about the Death of Rock around 1960 when, Brent L. Smith tells us, the powers that be decided to kill the racial mix and orgiastic combination that was the rapidly metastasizing rock-and-roll scene. They did it with the payola scandal, that ruined the career of disk-jockey Alan Freed. He quotes Bob Dylan:
I was still an aspiring rock n roller. The descendant, if you will, of the first generation of guys who played rock ’n’ roll — who were thrown down. Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis. They played this type of music that was black and white. Extremely incendiary. Your clothes could catch fire. When I first heard Chuck Berry, I didn’t consider that he was black. I thought he was a hillbilly. Little did I know, he was a great poet, too. And there must have been some elitist power that had to get rid of all these guys, to strike down rock ’n’ roll for what it was and what it represented — not least of all being a black-and-white thing.
Then Smith goes on into Norman Mailer descanting about orgasms. So you can see the incendiary mix that rock represented circa 1960. Race and youth and sex. Any ruling class would probably want to put a damper on it. Because the whole point of human society is to control sex, Virginia, so that the men don't kill each other off in sexual competition.

Oh, and so that women can practice love. Because there is another side of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. Women get treated like sex objects.

And that is rather thoughtfully communicated in a piece  by M.D. Aeschliman about Mary Shelley, the creator of Frankenstein, born in 1797. Mary Shelley was the daughter of radical lefty William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft -- of A Vindication of the Rights of Women.
[Mary's] mother was the feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, like Godwin an opponent of marriage as “the grave of love,” but who had nevertheless persuaded him to marry her for the sake of their child[.]
In 1816 when Mary wrote Frankenstein she was the mistress of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in the radical circle that included Lord Byron, of whom it was said he was "mad, bad, and dangerous to know." Shelley married Mary in December of 1816 and she had four children by him, of whom one survived. Life was not easy for a woman in those free love circles. One of Mary's children at least died of neglect on Shelley's part as his radical clique bucketed across Europe. Then we have the testimony of Claire Clairmont, only discovered in 1998.
Mary’s stepsister Claire Clairmont, one of Byron’s many lovers and the mother of one of his illegitimate children, accompanied Mary and Shelley on their elopement to Switzerland and subsequently formed part of their household in England, Switzerland, and Italy. As Daisy Hay points out, Claire left an autobiographical manuscript about Byron and Shelley that was discovered only in 1998 in a collection of letters now owned by the New York Public Library. It vindicates Tom Stoppard’s clever but profound insight that “What free love / is free of / is love.” Claire, William Godwin’s stepdaughter, had been part of his London circle, and in her manuscript she looked back on her relations with Shelley, Byron, and their friends, wishing to demonstrate “from actual facts what evil passion free love” caused, “how it abused affections... into a destroying scourge,” and “what victims it immolated.” “The worshippers of free love,” she went on, “not only preyed upon one another, but preyed equally upon their own individual selves” and turned “their existence into a perfect hell.”
Now, I like to say that men are fighters and women are lovers. And my further insight is that the big problem for society is to promote the safe practice of woman's love.

The sexual revolution, which occurred for rich bitches, male and female, at the turn of the 19th century, was experienced by your F. Scott Fitzgeralds in the 1920s and by the ordinary American middle class in about 1960. That is what Brent L. Smith is writing about. Bliss was it in that morn to be alive / To be young was very heaven.

Yeah. Actually, it was great for young men, but not so great for young women, as Claire Clairmont reminds us.

Nor, I think we can say, is it so great for the special snowflakes in college in 2016. Because the rules of the sexual revolution are that sex is free and without consequence. But the rules of the female heart are that love is forever, and that is what the snowflakes are complaining about. They give their bodies to the local yokel in college and then get angry weeks or months later when they come to resent that their love has been tossed aside like a used condom.

Of course young women get. Mary Shelley or Claire Clairmont could have told them that two hundred years ago. But I suspect that the solution is not anything on offer from the left. And that is the real tragedy of the sexual revolution. Because the sexual revolution, especially for women, turns "existence into a perfect hell."

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