Thursday, January 03, 2008

Predatory Obscenities

"It is symptomatic of the underlying tenor of American life that vulgar terms for sexual intercourse also convey the sense of getting the better of someone, working him over, taking him in, imposing your will through guile, deception, or superior force. Verbs associated with sexual pleasure have acquired more than the usual overtones of violence and psychic exploitation. In the violent world of the ghetto, the language of which now pervades American society as a whole, the violence associated with sexual intercourse is directed with special intensity by men against women, specifically against their mothers. The language of ritualized aggression and abuse reminds those who use it that exploitation is the general rule and some form of dependence the common fate; that "the individual," in Lee Rainwater's words, "is not strong enough or adult enough to achieve his goal in a legitimate way, but is rather like a child, dependent on others who tolerate his childish maneuvers"; accordingly males, even adult males, often depend on women for support and nurture. Many of them have to pimp for a living, ingratiating themselves with a woman in order to pry money from her; sexual relations thus become manipulative and predatory. Satisfaction depends on taking what you want instead of waiting for what is rightfully yours to receive. All this enters everyday speech in language that connects sex with aggression and sexual aggression with highly ambivalent feelings about mothers."
-Christopher Lasch, Culture of Narcissism, p. 67 (1978)

I am no expert on the vulgarities of other languages and cannot judge the slang of American English to be uniquely forceful. Yet Lasch suggests an even darker side to our descent into widespread obscenity. The expletives undeleted from internet rants or the local movie theater reveal not only an incapacity for subtlety, but also an abusive conception of sex: "manipulative and predatory." Lasch's connection of sexual insults to adult male dependency should be kept in mind when reading the next story about trash-talking twenty-something men still trapped in immaturity.

4 comments:

love the girls said...

Predatory? A rather interesting term for the using of women not according to her own good, but according to the good of another.

The use of emotion laid term predatory, mistakes, and appeals to the lower appetites as if the lower appetite was the reason. Americans have a disordered habit of mistaking emotions, i.e. feelings, for rational thought, and the use of predatory simply further habituates in that same disordered politically correct direction where the proper relation of men and women has been subverted in American culture.

The disordering of American culture is the cause of men not seeing women according to women's proper dignity, a disordering which in turn leads to the disorder of men using women. And that same culture then in turn condemns its progeny, i.e. disordered men, as predatory when that same progeny of the American culture acts disordered according to the disordered nature of the American culture.

A condemning which in turn leads to further disordering by further disordering the proper relation between men and women.

As opposed to using predatory:

Why not simply say the Will choosing not the universal good which is its proper object, but the Will choosing the particular good of the concupiscible appetite?

The latter much more accurately describes what is occurring because it looks to the nature of the act

love the girls said...

As to sexual references, such as for instance capitalism screws the working man. Screws is a rather apt and accurate description because it teaches in language which is not only understandable but moves from that which is better known to that which is less known with the the using of worker not according to his own good, but according to the good of another understandable according to that which is more commonly known.

Kevin Jones said...

"And that same culture then in turn condemns its progeny, i.e. disordered men, as predatory when that same progeny of the American culture acts disordered according to the disordered nature of the American culture."

The man is actually lauded in some cases where he is the victim of such predation. The "teacher seduces male student" stories often garner admiring remarks in popular internet forums.

I think "predatory" better captures the influence of Darwinism or bestial Romanticism even among the uneducated. Much as one would like, writers can't trot out a technical scholastic definition in every discussion.

love the girls said...

Kevin Jones writes : "The man is actually lauded in some cases where he is the victim of such predation. The "teacher seduces male student" stories often garner admiring remarks in popular internet forums."

Of course it does. It's a fantasy become reality for many a boy. Btw and long long ago, a C.C. High School friend of mine spent his entire senior year getting one of his female teachers into the sack and did succeed at it. Who was seducing whom?

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Kevin Jones writes : "Much as one would like, writers can't trot out a technical scholastic definition in every discussion."

Or course not in Scholastic language, but the same can be put in language is perhaps more understandable and less incendiary than the term predatory brings.

Although, I have spent the day wondering if most Americans have virtually no understanding of universals or of truth. And thus how do you explain the moral law to them except as feelings? Americans still retain some capacity to recognize and distinguish between good and evil. But if if feels good, do it. And if the consequences get in the way of more feelings of good, dismember it at Planned Parenthood.