andrea dworkin changed my life. i told her so- the one time i met her- and she seemed embarassed by my proclaimation. who knows what she thought- this was the mid 1980s and i was heavily into my david bowie club kid phase.i went to see her speak with the dragon lady- who i was living with at the time- a likely pair i am sure- the only trendy wendys, clothed in full club regalia, in an auditorium filled with crunchy granola lesbains and angry, worked up white men who seemed to think she'd come for their dicks.
she was an amazing writer and an acceptional speaker. she was angry for all the right reasons, articulate beyond belief and all the media could get out of her was that she was ' antisex' and hated men when nothing could have been further from the truth.
whoever speaks the truth shall die- if not literally through actual assassination than through complete character assassination.i can't imagine that anyone who has vented a dose of venom her way has ever read one of her books and if they did i am reminded that comprehension no longer seems part of the process of reading.the press, the media tells us 'things' i.e. ' reporting' as if they've amassed facts, instead of opinions and prejudices, and they foist them off on a public that seems only too happy to believe anything they're told not by 'big brother' but by the 4th estate.
"Lost in the simple-minded prosex chauvanism of Right and Left is the real meaning of affirmation,or any consciousness of the complexity- the emotional tangledness- of a human life. ' It is really quite impossible', writesJames Baldwin, 'to be affirmative about anything one refuses to question...' There is no imagination in fetishlike sexual conformity ; and no questions are being asked in political discourse on sex about hope and sorrow, intimacy and anguish, communion and loss. Imagination is both aggressive and delicate, a mode of cognition unmatched in its ability to reveal the hidden meanings in reality now and the likely shape of tomorrow. Imagination is not a synonym for sexual fantasy, which is only-pathetically-a programmed tape loop repeating repeating in in the narcoleptic mind. Imagination finds new meanings, new forms; complex and empathetic values and acts. The person of imagination is pushed forward by it into a world of possibility and risk, a distinct world of meaning and choice; not into a nearly bare junkyard of symbols manipulated to evoke rote responses. The paring down of the vocabulary of human affect to fuck-related expletives suggests that one destroys the complexity of human response by destroying the language that communicates its existence.' Sex negative' is the current secular reductio ad absurdum used to dismiss or discredit ideas, paticularly political critiques, that might lead to detumescence. Critiques of rape, pornography, and prostitution are 'sex-negative' without qualification or examination, perhaps because so many men use these ignoble routes of access and domination to get laid, and without them the number of fucks would so significantly decrease that men might nearly be chaste. There is an awful poverty here, in this time and place: of language, of words that express real states of being ; of search, of questions ; of meaning, of emotional empathy ; of imagination. And so, we are inarticulate about sex, even though we talk about it all the time to say how much we like it... Nothing is one's own, nothing, certainly not oneself, because the imagination is atrophied, like some limb, dead and hanging useless, and the dull repetition of programmed sexual fantasy has replaced it."
-andrea dworkin."Intercourse"pp 48-49
in order to survive in this world AS I AM, rather than as people would be more comfortable viewing me, it was particularly important to understand how being ambiguous in sexuality and in gender evokes astounding and completely unwarranted hatred from other people ,especially men. around the time i went to hear andrea speak , i had been severely beaten up on the streets of boston on at least 7 different occassions by groups of men- the usual' what are you a fag, fag?' frat boy no neck football stiff crap. i can think of no other writer or artist or individual human who contributed more to my understanding of the position in which the societal constructs of the world placed me. this understanding has allowed my to be safe and yet not yield to artificial pressures to give up my true being.
much later, when i drove a lover away because i refused to beat them (after foolishly gliding around the edges of giving them what they wanted because they claimed it would ultimately empower their' victim within'), i knew what i knew back then but had trouble bringing down out of the theoretical air into real,tangled up human life-giving vent to your inner and outer demons with indulgent, abandon upon and through other people doesn't free you from them but further enslaves you to them.
one day, i feel, i woke up to the world- to things i was infuriated about but could give no voice to- this is what a truly great writer can do to you. there have been so few truly great writers and we just lost on one them.
although some french asshole said it about the marquis de sade it can be more rightly said about andrea dworkin- there was never a greater lover of women.