Monday, November 10, 2008

Caracals and Crushes


The social constraint/rationality & agency debate has been percolating in my mind for other reasons, as Kerry Howley has put forth a very reasonable defense of feminism's compatibility with libertarianism in her recent posts. One of the more trying aspects of being a libertarian is convincing people on both sides that some things should be bad without being illegal and others bad despite their legality. Sexism: Bad! But your experience in discrimination law illustrates the unworkability of banning all forms and manifestations thereof. Likewise, most clueless male libertarians are amenable to feminist ideas about changing social norms, even if they would find legal sanction unduly oppressive. You just can't call it feminism. It's annoying how the same people who still grumble that they should get to be called (classical) liberals get all snippy about the feminist label.

But enough grousing about my less enlightened fellow political travelers. Gender relations are where the traffic is at. I haven't seen His Girl Friday or Manhattan, although I might see the former on the force of your recommendation. Woody Allen is a no-go for me. Sometimes I get balky about certain cultural products, and the more people foist them on me the more stridently I refuse them. Woody Allen movies and Philip Roth novels seem duplicative enough of themselves that one only need to take in a single movie or book to get the gist, too, and I have so little free time to spend on the exploits of middle-aged roués. All my attention is required for my own dissipation. (A friend said some time ago that I could benefit from a certain degree of shamelessness. I am beginning to think that he was right.)

That brings us to cat-based names for independent women. Tigress? Caracal? Lynx? All solitary huntresses, all with the appearance of wearing eyeliner (to better demonstrate gender performativity!). The caracal can be trained to hunt for man, and I do make a fine cook when motivated by the prospect of watching a fellow eat, as do you. (Feed this to TD sometime.) I'm glad to hear that your dinner party went well, despite the divergent backgrounds of the guests. In my experience, the non-lawyer at a party full of lawyers is the most popular guest, simply by virtue of his having something new to share.

Sharing, performance, and the duplicative nature of certain authors, bring me to another topic that's been weighing on my mind of late: eroticism and text. I was reading elsewhere (no link at author's request; apologies in advance for the disjointed nature of the following) about this, and started wondering how it applies to blogs. People find the erotic in almost everything; they swoon from afar over people who blog about the most obscure things, people outside their typical gender preference, people they've never seen or will never meet. So, how much interaction between a blog crushee and crusher is in fact about the unacknowledged arousal from the text, versus the author? The distinction is especially apparent when the blog is written by a consciously created persona, character, or redacted self, but for those of us who strive for authenticity in blogging (as far as that goes), how much difference can there be?* At what point is someone attracted to the person and not the text, and vice versa? Can you write to someone and tell them that their blog arouses you without conveying attraction to the author as a person?** You were an English major: Bust out some theory on this.

* I am beginning to think that I am redundant. If you read my blog, do you need to talk to me? Everything I am makes it up here. All that's left is flesh. I like the flesh, and in fact have more confidence in its appeal than I do in my mind, but still, I'm excited at the prospect of uploads.

** Don't even start, people, I don't have a blog crush on anyone at the moment.
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