Saturday, September 01, 2012

Heroes of Sex

It has been a busy time lately, as the Egg's editorial staff has shuttled hither and yon.  What with exploring the Umbrian hill country, paddling in the Adirondacks and saying a fond farewell to our former offices on the Transylvanian plateau, we haven't had much time to actually, y'know, write anything.

So we've passed up any number of opportunities to snark, comment and snark again.  Among these, the most egregious is no doubt the matter of legitimate rape.  Apparently, new research -- not the kind conducted by scientists, so much as the kind invented by politicians -- reveals that a woman can't get pregnant if her rape was legit, thus mooting the question of abortion (while raising any number of others, such as "what does 'legitimate' mean," and "do these idiots ever hope to win another election"?).

In related news:  the GOP seeks Todd Akin's head on a platter. (No:  literally.)

We've also missed the entire Republican convention, because we don't own a television and our Wifi is spotty.  We will take your word for it that many people said foolish things.  Apparently Clint Eastwood spoke longingly to a chair, a fact which is not nearly as surprising to us as his adoption of the Doc Brown hairstyle.  Is this how Hollywood affects gravitas now, by copying imaginary mad scientists?

But, even if we have no time to do them justice, we do feel compelled to note the passing of two women who have made noteworthy contributions to the world of sex:

1.  Helen Gurley Brown, she of the ironic maiden name.  Despite our many years of reading Cosmopolitan, we're still not sure how we feel about its guiding spirit.  On one hand, she taught repressed Eisenhower-era women that it's okay to embrace their sexuality; on the other she seems sometimes to have hinted that sleeping your way to the top is a legitimate business strategy somehow distinct from the world's oldest profession. Also:  if you put 15 Secrets to a Sizzling Sex Life on every cover, don't you run out of secrets pretty fast?  Or is it just the same fifteen every month? Still, without Helen Gurley Brown, there could be no Joan Holloway -- and that alone makes her a Hero of Sex.

2.  At the other end of the spectrum lies Shulamith Firestone.  As a small boy, we used to hang with our hoodlum friends in the back room of the Hippie Dippie Health Food Store, sucking on dried papaya and breathing in the sweet, sweet aroma of spelt.  There was a small rack of books there, containing any number of mysterious and exotic volumes.  We remember the exciting colors of the various Prabhupada commentaries, surpassed only by the thudding dullness of the contents; the story of a German family that resolved to survive solely on grass from their lawn; and guides to constructing your new home out of mud and empty soda bottles.  But the book that consistently drew our eyes came in a plain white cover; and yet the title was irresistible:  The Dialectic of Sex!  In those tender years, we had no idea what dialectic was; heck, we had barely any idea what sex was.  But the title tantalized us, with its combination of chilly intellectualism and hot-blooded eroticism.  (Not to mention the coolest author's name ever, one so cool that, until reading the obit, we naturally took it for a revolutionary's nom de guerre.)

Indeed, given a well-documented weakness, in our teens and twenties, for women of the schizophrenic, Jewish and intellectual persuasions (not to mention a sturdy tolerance for leftist discourse when we thought it might help us get some action), it seems likely that the very presence of this book on the shelf helped shape our nascent manhood.  This is ironic, since (a) Firestone helped set the tone for the Andrea Dworkin school of man-hating feminism; and (b) we never actually read the thing.  (Here's why.  Try it and see.)

Farewell, ladies.  May flights of really hot-looking (or Marxist) angels sing thee to thy rest.

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