“There are two kinds of sex, classical and baroque.
"Classical sex is romantic, profound, serious, emotional, moral, mysterious, spontaneous, abandoned, focused on a particular person, and stereotypically feminine.
"Baroque sex is pop, playful, funny, experimental, conscious, deliberate, amoral, anonymous, focused on sensation for sensation's sake, and stereotypically masculine.
"The classical mentality taken to an extreme is sentimental and finally puritanical; the baroque mentality taken to an extreme is pornographic and finally obscene. Ideally, a sexual relation ought to create a satisfying tension between the two modes (a baroque idea, particularly if the tension is ironic) or else blend them so well that the distinction disappears (a classical aspiration).”
In Bed with Susie Bright 270: Remembering Ellen Willis
Listen to a little bit...
Ellen Willis, one of my favorite writers/thinkers/hell-raisers, died earlier this November of lung cancer. Among her many incandescent appearances, Willis was the first pop-music critic for The New Yorker, a founding member of Redstockings, and a progenitor of sex-positive feminism— in fact, she created the term. They broke the mold after this lady, I'm tellin' ya!
In this week's podcast, I read from some of my favorite Ellen originals— from why "Women Against Pornography" had it all wrong, to the inanities of Bush Senior's original War on Drugs. Makes you want to piss on the floor just to hear it.
My one collaboration with Willis' work was in what you might call an "ovular" anthology called Caught Looking: Feminism, Pornography, and Censorship. About twenty women worked their butts off on this rarity. This book is out of print, and even a used copy of the 1988 edition is twenty bucks— but there has never been a more eloquent, hard-hitting, and visceral expression from the most radical of the feminist sexual liberationists.
I was just rereading Caught Looking the other night and realized that I don't know if there's anything I've worked on that said it better.
Finally... for the last part of my show, in my Try This at Home mailbag, I weigh in on the scandal of non-oxynol-9 and why it's far past time for danger-free spermicide option.
Don't forget, you can send your confidential questions, feedback about the show, and your requests for Susie's freebie Girly Cards, to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Episode 270, November 24, 2006)