Add to Technorati Favorites

Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

When clicking on an Alter Egos in the sidebar, please look above this title for video content.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Supressing the Belch and the Charm of Women - Stephen Dobyns

"So Dead Beat you answered this time..."(see Thunder and Lightning)..."

"Was thinking of changing to a newer and better credit card."

"Haw, haw. Here's a thing:

Let's say you are a man (some of you are) and susceptible to the charms of women (some of you must be) and you are sitting on a park bench. (It is a sunny afternoon in early May and the peonies are in flower.) A beautiful woman approaches. (Clearly, we each have his or her own idea of beauty but let's say she is beautiful to all.)

She smiles, then removes her halter top, baring her breasts which you find yourself comparing to ripe fruit. (Let's say you are an admirer of bare breasts.) Gently she presses her breasts against your eyes and forehead, moving them across your face. You can't get over your good fortune. Eagerly, you embrace her but then you learn the horror because while her front is young and vital, her back is rotting flesh which breaks away in your fingers with a smell of decay. Here we pause and invite in a trio of experts.

The first says, This is clearly a projection of the author's sexual anxieties. The second says, Such fantasies derive from the empowerment of women and the author's fear of emasculation. The third says, The author is manipulating sexual stereotypes to achieve imaginative dominance over the reader--basically, he must be a bully.

The author sits in front of the trio of experts. He leans forward with his elbows on his knees. He scratches his neck and looks at the floor where a fat ant is dragging a crumb. He begins to step on the ant but then he thinks: Better not. The cool stares of the experts make him uneasy and he would like to be elsewhere, perhaps home with a book or taking a walk.

My idea, he says, concerned the seductive qualities of my country, how it encourages us to engage in all fantasies, how it lets us imagine we are lucky to be here, how it creates the illusion of an eternal present. But don't we become blind to the world around us? Isn't what we see as progress just a delusion? Isn't our country death and what it touches death? The trio of experts begin to clear their throats. They recross their legs and their chairs creak. The author feels the weight of their disapproval.

But never mind, he says, Perhaps I'm mistaken; let's forget I spoke. The author lowers his head. He scratches under his arm and suppresses a belch. He considers the difficulties of communication and the ruthless necessities of art. Once again he looks for the ant but it's gone. Lucky ant. Next time he wouldn't let it escape so easily."

"Dobyns, you are my best friend. We suppress belches together

No comments: