Posted on October 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm in Art | RSS feed
Here is my response: http://wp.me/p2IaNZ-hY
The (faux-moralistic) notion that any artistic engagement with the myth of Leda should be censored or banned outright simply reinforces the myth’s deep, strange powers.
I didn’t know that. At Denison University in my freshman year the English final was an essay analyzing that poem. Yikes. Censoring it!
And Ewwwwww. . . . .
Gorgeous. I always think of Yeats’s poem.
I don’t think this should be censored, but I think it way past the time of accepting something by simply saying it has strange deep powers, especially concerning rape. That is not a good enough reason to create new art around it, and I think it deserves a rethinking of the way we see the old art portraying the story – that is not moralizing, that is the reality of modern life.
This PC feminist rape thing has gone way out of control. If we seriously think about it, there is no one now alive that is not here because of multiple rapes of ancestors. Probably millions. Would you honestly say now that you would rather not have been born? I can’t say that, yet I know the truth about my existence. That is NOT to condone it in any way now or ever, but it is a fact of life. The prevalence of available porn has not lessened it. I just think women should be very careful. We cannot depend on the law walking on a dark street where it would be a good idea to avoid. And the law is not going to help us when we are with someone who decides that is what he is going to do. Calling Daddy is not a good option. I think women should learn what they can do themselves in a situation like this and plan and think about it from that point of view, not trying to restrain men from doing it, although that is part of it of course, but it is not going to help us in our time of need. And it will happen if you are a woman at least once in your life and often when you least expect it.
Besides the CLASSICAL definition of rape was “to force a woman to enjoy” and NOT to assert power and dominance and violence over her. We have Ayn Rand having to defend her sex scenes and we are now faced with 50 Shades as the hugest best seller of all time, and most of the buyers were women. What does that tell you.
You write a poem asking that no one after you engage with Leda and the Swan:
Create no more
Images, write no
More references into
Movies, plays or poetry?
Let this be th [sic] last and
Let swans be swans
And let Leda rest in peace.
I cannot even begin to suss out the irony here: You situate your own artistic impulse as the necessary and final word on the myth, an impulse that will simultaneously place previous takes on the myth (including Sappho, Yeats, Twombly, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Cezanne, Marianne Moore, HD, etc.) in a kind of suspension; simultaneously, your poem wishes to place all future artistic engagements with the myth under erasure. That is what the censor wishes to do: To be the decider, to cut off, to place under erasure, to have the last word.
These images are highly erotic. If you do not allow yourself to feel that that you are repressing your feelings. I found that scene in The Handmaid’s Tale erotic as well to my own horror. I found 50 Shades erotic along with millions of others, but I also learned something from it:that our bodies do not belong to us as women, that 50 Shades is a sex manual for creating a sex addiction in a woman and I am sure that there are sex slavers who are using it that way. If we cannot talk and write about it, understand it, then it will be our own loss.
The only thing I repress is disgust everytime I see a picture of a swan raping a woman. This is not PC or Feminist. I don’t know any feminist, nor did I take any feminist (woman’s studies) courses in college. This is my own feelings that maybe there is a different point of view than to accept art for the sake of art, but start a new conversation and be critical of the message it sends instead of fetishizing it. The conversation must be deeper than PC/feminist or strange deep power of myth. That is not a good enough reason to just simply accept this piece as something that adds value to our current culture. I argue that it does not, just as there are parts of the Bible that has strange deep power that add nothing to our current culture and so the majority of our culture reject them. They may be beautifully written, but the message is abhorrent. As for all of us being children of rape, are you betraying your right to life beliefs? They share your beliefs that the children of rape are special and deserve life. I don’t think you really want to drag that into an a discussion about art. As for my poetry, you can take any meaning you want out it – I wrote it as an idealization not an absolute. You and I both know that no poet speaks or demands for every single person. I can write demands in poetry all day long, as other poets have but have no expectation that anyone would take them seriously. They make a point, and my ego isn’t bruised if they only spur discussion.
You seem to be responding to two commenters at the same time—your comment addresses an ambiguous “you.”
I want to point out a few things before I close this discussion, which I’m not interested in having with you:
1) You came here. You came here to promote your poem.
2) I let the link to your poem hang out here, even though I think your conclusions basically amount to a call for censorship.
3) A true poem demands. Is your poem not true? Do you not wish your poem to be taken seriously? (Rhetorical questions—not interested in your answer). Your poem is not true.
4) Again: You came here: You came here to express disgust. You came here to tell others that your aesthetic viewpoint was the Right One. Why hedge on that? (This is a rhetorical question—I am not interested in your answer).
5). I detest arguing via internet comments. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.
Because of that, I don’t do it. Or I try to never do it.
And I have no interest in doing it here anymore, especially with such a fatuous position.
6) Again—you came here. You came here to post a link to your own blog to a poem that essentially said: “I don’t like this theme and I think we should all abandon it.” And yet your poem is an engagement of it!
7) I am now going to close the discussion on this blog. I want to be open about doing this. I’m doing it because I have already wasted more time and energy replying to you than I would have liked to. I don’t mean this in a dismissive way, although I know the tone of my comments belies that notion. I simply don’t care—I think your position is on this issue is a kind of naive moralizing that leads to censorship, and I see no reason to quibble with you about it anymore.
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