Ice Friday: Michel Foucault’s “The Use of Pleasure”

What one must aim for in the struggle to control the desires was the condition of “ethical virility” according to the model of “social virility”. In the use of male pleasures, one had to be virile with regard to oneself, just as one was masculine in one’s social role. In the full meaning of the world, moderation was a man’s virtue. To be immoderate was to be in a state of nonresistance with regard to the force of pleasures, and in a position of weakness and submission. In this sense, the man of pleasures and desires, the man of non-mastery (akrasia) or self-indulgence (akolasia) was a man who could be called feminine.*

*Taken with a grain or two of salt.

Henry Miller on Writing Sex

Sometimes in the recording of a bald sexual incident great significance adheres. Screenshot (171)Sometimes the sexual becomes a writhing. Screenshot (104)Sometimes it is a fresco hidden in a sacred cave where one may sit and contemplate on things of the spirit. Screenshot (140)There is nothing I can possible prohibit myself from doing in the realm of sex. It is a world unto itself and a morsel of it may be just as destructive as a ton of it. It is a cold fire which burns in us like the sun. Screenshot (138)It is never dead.*

(From Arthur Miller’s On Writing.)

Anori Outtake: Everyone’s a Pervert

“Everyone’s a goddamn pervert.” Dee traced her nail along her palm, following the lifeline up to the base of her index finger. “We repress that. We deny it, turn it into porn, the door locked, like it isn’t what we dream. But we all have these tiny demons. They’re our essential thing.” Screenshot (141)“What about her?” Val nodded toward a woman at the far side of the tavern, her hair pulled back, posture straight.

“Two masseurs, lots of oil.”

“And him?”

Dee considered the man leaving, his pink striped sleeve rolled up one arm. “Squeaky toys.”

“You’re projecting.”

Dee wiped her hand through the drink rings, pushing the thick puddles into small lines, making a long claw-like streak. “The thing about men is that they love to stare at their hard cocks, like a rare and marvelous wild thing.” 6a013487b4dff2970c013487b4eb27970c
“They’re like little boys, amazed by that thing between their legs. They can’t fathom anything so stupendous and god-like.”

“Wards off the fear of death.”

“For, like a minute, anyway.”

“And then…”

“Back to the perversions.”

Phallic Effigies

There was something marvelous about what she did. It was almost a breakthrough, how sexuality wasn’t such a thing, that an erect penis was just that, no more than an effective device in a situation comedy, like wide eyes or a gaping mouth. It was funny, the way he sat there with it sticking up. It was funnier how she grabbed it to let him know that he was accepted. But then it was something else when he did the same, the roommate, putting it in his mouth. I mean, I thought it was surprising but funny too. Most people did not. It was a scandal. Screenshot (46)There was screaming and yelling. People went into the street. I watched for a moment and then went alongside and then ahead of the crowd, only just. They were coming out of the side streets across the wide boulevards, all of them down to the old freeway. The concrete posts stood like an obliterated forest. That’s where they were, whatever those things were called, effigies, I guess, standing above us like Easter Island heads. 20150418_155046It really looked like they would talk. But there were just too many people, most of them still screaming, and I lost interest and went back to the hotel. It was better going the other way. And they were still there. His penis was the same.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master

Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film The Master is worth seeing. Like There will Be Blood, this film is not so much a narrative as a study in human nature. Utilizing the acting talents, to say nothing of the frightening expressiveness, of his actors Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anderson takes the viewer on a disquieting journey with commanding personalities through gorgeous images to…I’m not sure where. More than anything this film is a series of moments that will stay with you for days and days and possibly a lifetime.

Regarding the themes of the piece, there is of course the savage nature of Phoenix’s Freddie Quell and the brooding explosiveness of Seymour’s Lancaster Dodd, but it is the underlying repressed sexuality, the stark images of nakedness that haunt both of these men that seems to be a key to this film. These guys are not happy. Their sexuality seems to be tied very tight, in ruins, destroyed by some trickery of long lost love. This is not something these characters really want to address. They would rather stare you down – there is no doubt about that – or yell or punch you or make you a drink again and again.