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to have been the crude urgency that

made his earlier projects so distinctive.


Not that there aren't film makers
around with an evident vision to im-
.!61'1EBIC.!6N SCENE
part-it's just that their insights lately
tend to be somewhat indigestible. In the
old days, directors didn't know they
I
were auteurs until they were informed of
the fact-usually as they were approach-
ing their dotage. Nowadays directors
Onsexand Whence this report.
The two young women who give the
show are altogether appealing, mainly
like Coppola and Fosse can hardly be • because of the obvious depth of their
blamed for confusing solipsism with
genius when so many civilians line up
sexism sense of hurt and subdued outrage.
They are convinced that they and their
eagerly to be clobbered with all that sisters are victims and that pornography
Complex Artistry. On the sociological is a way of legitimizing their victimiza-
front, it seems that there's only one con- tion. Their presentation comprises slides
temporary phenomenon that interests a of material purchased mainly in Times
large body of moviemakers right now, }OHNGORDON Square, alternating with pictures taken
and I don't (quite) mean disco. Is it from billboards, album covers, and
mere coincidence that suddenly the
homosexual has become the Jew Sussof
Hollywood, or has familiarity with the
W HEN WOMEN AGAINST
Pornography sent a pair of
representatives to Hamilton
popularly available magazines. The
slides are arranged according to two
principles. First, escalation: they keep
gay movement led to fear and loathing College, they had an audience that getting worse, and the last one is just
on the sound stages as well as the streets would have applauded them if they had horrible. Second, juxtaposition: a hard-
Gust as the rise offeminism seems unwit- played tunes on spoons. Hamilton had core picture is followed by a magazine
tingly to have temporarily banished the recently gone coed, and as one of the ad that is in some way similar, the idea
female half of the species from our movie many conciliatory gestures to its new being to make us see that one is a car-
screens during the early seventies)? female constituency had instituted an riage-trade version, or at best subtle evo-
Whatever the motive, the message at annual binge offunded dumbness called cation, of the other.
least four current movies impart is lurid- "Women's Energy Weekend." This is an The hard-core pictures are almost all
ly clear-gays are mean (American Gigolo, array of panels, consciousness-raisings, of the subgenre called "bondage and
Nijinsky), crazy (Windows), or both and outside speakers demanding to
(Cruising);the denouements of all of know why the English Department
these cater to what must be a rather offers no courses on Margaret Fuller,
pervasive wish-fulfillment fantasy; why the History Department spends so
A sound Icon
namely, that homosexuals inevitably much time on the history of men, and descrifJe only as
end up either dead before their time, or
else in straitjackets.
the by-now familiar blah-blah-blah. At
last year's Women's Energy Weekend,
o u,oU filled the
Two and a half years ago, when I for instance, my fellow professor of Eng- roorn, ending in
started covering film for INQUIRY, the
movies seemed irremediably mired in a
lish John O'Neill was typed as a fascist
by a prominent feminist writer and
one collective
retrospective mood; practically every founding mother of Women Against gasp at tlae final
significant or popular movie, from Close Pornography for arguing that women
are not necessarily more sensitive read-
s"laocking slide.
Encounters to The Goodbye Girl,for all their
.evident contemporary accoutrements, ers ofliterature than men .
appeared intent on harkening back to I always try to lie low during Wom-
some halcyon film era long gone by. At en's Energy Weekend, precisely because discipline." Tied-up women are shown
present this Hollywood-as-recycling- it is the sort of occasion on which one is being beaten or with clothespins at-
center phase seems to have waned, but liable to hear perfectly nice people called tached to their nipples, or in tableaus of
it's hard to figure out what if anything names by speakers who are not thereup- murder and mutilation. The final sli.de,
has succeeded it. on rebuked; who are, rather, applauded introduced as from a "snuff' movie,
No director lives in a social vacuum by large numbers; who are in fact paid shows a woman struggling to free herself
(occasional evidence to the contrary not- for their slanders and fatuities with while some instrument is applied to her
withstanding); nor is unfettered self- money indirectly filched from my breasts; there is blood everywhere, and
expression the sole force that motivates paycheck. Who needs more grief? But the speaker assures us that it's not fake,
the making of movies. Films have to John O'Neill himselfis tougher, and this that this woman is really being killed. A
reflect and amplify some aspect of the year he wanted to go see the kickoff few of the slides feature children.
contemporary uitgeist if they're going to event of the weekend, a slide show and It is no fun, now, recalling these pic-
succeed in inducing all those potential discussion presented by Women Against tures, and the original experience is
diversion-seekers out there to buy tick- Pornography, "to hear what they had to worse. The audience is outraged. At
ets. If, for all their abundant craft and say." And he convinced me, against my least one woman cries throughout. As
energy, the current spate of films is better judgment, to come along. the speakers work up to the climax by
wanting in focus and impact, in the end showing slides from a magazine devoted
JOHN GORDON is theauthoroftheforthcomingjoyce's
this may be no less than we really want, · to the sexual humiliation of Oriental
Metamorphoses.
and no more than we deserve. · [JI females while reading an account of a 211

INQUIRY
Vietnamese girl being raped with a rifle frame and "cut in hair' by the seam said that, except that in doing so he
barrel and then murdered, a sound that down the backside, thus reducing her to would just have made himself one more
l can describe only as a wail grows, to a piece of meat. The equation is that lust instance of brutal macho male blah-
culminate in one collective gasp at the equals dehumanization equals brutali- blah-blah. I wish also that he or some-
final shocker. zation equals Nazis. There is no talk, body had been able to take five minutes
· .You cannot possibly see these images even, of gradations: One is the other, in to make some distinctions.
without wishing them out of existence more or less obvious form. For these
and the people responsible along with
them; without in fact feeling for a spell
like the New York taxi driver in Martin
angry women it is the familiar story of
the fatal glass ofbeer: naughty postcards
one minute, TexasChainsawMassacrethe
H E COULD HAVE BEGUN
by pointing out that the acts of
child abuse, torture, and mur-
Scorsese's film who drives through next. It was one of J. Edgar Hoover's der are already against the law; also so
far no genuine "snuff'' film has ever
been discovered, and if the speaker
knows of one she has a legal obligation to
TIie equation is that lust report it. He would go on to say that the
equals dehumani:ation equals slides that make up virtually all of this
hard-core sample are directed to a small
IJrutali:ation equa·ls Na:is. special interest group among pornogra-
phy consumers, that most pornography
consists of repetitive shots of manifestly
bored copulators and is intended to grat-
Times Square dreaming of blowing the favorite parables-the young innocent ify an audience not ofknife-wielding sav-
place up. If the import of these pictures inflamed by smut to do something das- ages but of poor horny sods. These men
wherl shown in a movie theater is vio- tardly. Now the late director's ghost have been cut off from a vital part of
lence to women, their import when rises: The recent FBI raid on Times human life because for reasons of self-
shown in a lecture hall is violence to Square pornographers was reportedly interest women long ago schooled them-
pornographers:Jail is too good for them. attributable in part to the influence of selves to punish with sexual rejection the

·B
'
Women Against Pornography and simi-
UT NOTHING CLOSE TO lar groups. The old outfit has had its
that is actually said during the feminist consciousness raised, right up
· presentation. The speakers, like to the level of about thirty years ago.
poor, the powerless, and the unchic. He
would point out that it is a very selective
charity which calls the women caught
up in this system victims but the men
some though not all of the other mem: Any argument designed to show that creeps, slime, and scum.
hers of Women Against Pornography, everything you see is a version of every- He would add that sadistic pornogra-
favor boycotts instead of censorship, and thing else obviously has no patience with phy isjust one branch of media violence,
i:n general a heightened awareness of distinctions. An offensive picture from that the victims of this violence are
what the p'resence of pornography W>gue is accounted for by the fact that the usually male, that both today and in the
shows about the culture that produces it. editor in chief is a man; no matter that public executions and dismemberments
All very reasonable, except that what the readership is overwhelmingly fe- of the past their agony has been dis-
~he pictures are saying is, Lock them up male. When someone objects that ritual played for the delectation of both men
or string them up. The emotions the mutilation offemales has long existed in and women. To the speaker's assertion
slides generate are not likely to be cultures where pornography is virtually that one never sees pictures of brutalized
appeased by refusing to buy magazines nonexistent, the answer is that the con- men he would answer, Oh balderdash-
that one would never have bought in the nection between the two is broader than read the news, tum on a television set,
first place. Accompanied as they are cause and effect-they "go together." go into a church and look at the image
with accounts of actual rapes and muti- When it comes to logic, finding holes above the altar. He would suggest that
lations of women in this country and in the case would be like shooting fish in the people who enjoy these pictures have
around the world, intercut with pro- a barrel, were it not that logic is of course
vocative pictures from W>gue, the New overwhelmed by the pictures' call of
lvrk Times,and so forth, the pictures are blood for blood; logic is, in truth, the
saying that pornography is the prop- enemy. When much-triedjohn O'Neill
aganda of a universal campaign against points out a flagrant contradiction, the
184 N. Sunnyvale Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94086
women analogous to that of the Nazis answer is, "We respect your opinion," ... has a large CATALOG of books by
against the Jews, carried on by men and the audience bursts into applause, UIERTARIANS,FRH MARKET
whose fellow travelers and dupes are all as if they'd witnessed Disraeli adding ECONOMISTS,TAX REBELS,
around us. the finishing flourish to some masterly PHILOSOPHERS,HISTORIANS,ANTI-
POUTICIANS,CONSPIRATISTS,
I am not making this up: We are parliamentary riposte. Afterwards,John CONSTITUTIONAUSTS,NUTRITIONISTS,
shown some rather nice pictures of O'Neill concludes that he was wasting ICONOCI.AST5,HERETICS,
AND MORE!
naked bodies in Playboy followed by his time by reasoning: "It was stupid Nearly 1,000 rir/es!
D send c~log free by snail. mail
some stomach-twisting pictures from trying to make sense out of it. What I D I enclose $1.1111.Please send the catalog first
Hustler and reminded that Auschwitz wish I had said is, 'When you compared class mail with a coupon good for $2.00 on any
order over $10.00.
was full of naked bodies; we are shown, the torture and murder of that Vietna-
in between hard-core images of mutila- mese girl to some model posing for
tion, an ad for Gloria Vanderbilt design- money, you were trivializing her death,
---·----------
-------•Acll.No.,:::;:::;:::::;::::;:::=;
30
er jeans where the model's body is "cut and that is as disgusting as anything
off'' at the knees by the photograph's you've shown us.'" I too wish he had
c..y ______ z_J_l_l_l_l~I
MAY 5, 1980
probably been damaged at some fun- der they can make no distinction be- discussions and government grants, to
damental level, and that trying to deal tween the Disneylandish Playboyand the reason the libido into something more
with them by confiscating magazines is reptilian Hustler. decorous. Swift!Thou shouldst be living
like trying to cure cancer with zoning Now this is the way it is, and remem- at this hour!
laws. He might add that these people ber you read it here first. Men who want To anyone who likes to hope, with the
may well be attracted to representations to see naked women, as a rule, want to feminists, that people are free to escape
of violence as children are attracted to see naked women. They are motivated their societally imposed roles, it is ter-
horror movies, not as a vision of what not by blood-lust, but just by plain old ribly depressing to see women protesting
they desire but as an exorcism of what lust. And lust is great, absolutely top- female stereotyping and in the process
they fear; that they may have deeper notch. With love or without it, with revealing themselves as hysterical, nag-
causes for such fears because as men friends or with strangers, there are few ging, scatterbrained old shrews. It is as if
they have been more brutalized by
grossly sexist institutions, such as the
all-male draft, which most women have
until recently supported. Feu., tlaings in life are so nree
He would ask why the slide show jux-
taposes women in chains with shots
as a couple of people making
from Playboyinstead of, for instance, a sex olJjects of each other.
marriage service, in which people "tie
the knot" by entering into "wedlock"
with the exchange of"bands." He would
then sarcastically inquire whether the things in life so nice as a-couple of people Martin Luther King Jr. on that day at
speaker knew the meaning of the ·word getting together and making sex objects the reflecting pool in Washington had
"metaphor." He would inform the audi- of each other. Despite all of WAP's for- intoned, "Ah has a dream"; all the
ence that given time and a few slides, he midable anaphrodisia conditioning, I wrong people are poised to say they told
would demonstrate to their entire satis- for instance will continue to like seeing you so. But depressing or not, men can-
faction that religion goes with mass mur- attractive women, not because of some not long be expected to participate in a
der and suicide (slide of Communion vast international macho conspiracy dialogue on the question of whether they
chalice; cut to slide of Jonestown tub of that years ago brainwashed me into a are unredeemable degenerates or just
cyanide, bodies in background), that morbid fascination with the sexually dis- redeemable degenerates. If the w AP
either abortionists (slide of mangled fe- tinguishing features of the female body, strain of feminism prevails and estab-
tus) or antiabortionists (slide of woman but because I just like looking at said lishes that the big enemy is not discrimi-
bleeding on backroom kitchen table) are attractive women and perchance con- nation or oppression so much as lust,
butchers. He would add that almost all templating said distinguishing features. then feminists are going to lose their
of this century's hundred million or so Any woman who considers this some struggle to make us all more free, sure as
atrocities have been performed not by sort of symbolic exploitation is invited to anything. That would be a pity. !JI
freelancers but by people in uniform sort of symbolically exploit me right
fired with the kind of righteous zeal that back.
Women Against Pornography is seeking
Hoving?
to kindle.
He would wonder aloud why people
concerned about the possible confusion
W ELL, THERE IT IS.
But what sort of intellectual
climate is it where these Please allow us
in some minds between fantasy and life things need saying? A climate created by
should particularly protest the most ab-
stracted and ritualized forms of fantasy,
people whose standard of scholarly
achievement is represented by Sexual 6 weeks' notice
forms about as far removed from reality Politicsand AgainrtOur Will, whose latest
as the Noh drama. He would point out manifesto is a best-selling novel the New address:
that their attack is wildly discrimina- thesis of which, and I am not exaggerat-
tory, since it condemns any image of the ing, is that all men deep down are Nazi :,.;amr (plrasr print)
female body suspected of arousing men rapists. In the case ofw AP, it is primarily
to anything other than admiration but the innocent outrage of people realizing Address
gives free play to homosexual and for the first time that any human passion
women-directed material. can become monstrous-discovering Zip
As I said, shooting fish in a barrel. All man and woman's inhumanity to man Mail to:
these distinctions need to be made be- and woman, in short, and breathlessly
cause of one fundamental confusion that sharing the news. The result has been a INQUIRY
threatens to tum what should be the campaign that would be merely silly Subscription Department
major liberating movement of our age were it not able to draw strength from
into a gaggle of prigs. It is that sex is the traditional, ingrained female atti- P.O. Box 2500
sexism. These women evidently actually tudes personified in Mrs. Grundy and Menlo Park, CA 94025.
believe that for men anyway the desire to Carrie Nation, which feminists have sup- Please send an address label from a
possess is the desire to oppress or worse, posedly shed. And it's getting worse, as recent issue along with your new
that a man who wants to see a woman the emergence of WAP shows: The pros- address to help us speed up the
naked in reality wants to see her as pect for the future seems to be for a change.
"meat," trussed and packaged. No won-. generation of savants trying, with panel ••
INQUIRY