Kate Millett, feminist author of Sexual Politics, died last week. This was an important work in Women Studies and it was the death blow to Henry Miller’s hope of ever becoming a respectable author in this country. She crucified him but made the ultimate mistake of confusing a character/a persona with the person who wrote the book. While Millett destroyed Miller, Henry praised Kate after reading Sexual Politics:
The funny thing is, I began to believe while reading it that what she was saying had an element of truth in it– about me being the prime example of the male chauvinist pig.
When I reread passages from those books I’m most noted for even I am shocked by my use of language. Especially in regards to women and sex. I can well understand the rage women must feel having themselves talked about in such a crude manner. One would think I despise women which couldn’t be further from the truth.
You see, I created a monstrous character in my book and I gave him my name, Henry Miller. He’s a demon, a rogue, a scoundrel. […] That character was me and wasn’t me. […] I was a much angrier man when I wrote those first books than I am today.
Whatever. The damage was done. Henry was never seen in any other way after Millett’s book.
And yet the patriarchy continues. But the demons are not American writers– the demons are those who are in power.
Since we’re on the topic of sexual politics, I happened to see my OBGYN this week for my favorite doctor’s appointment, the pap smear– possibly the worst phrase in the English language. Smears are for bagels, not vaginas.
Anyway, since I’m full blown menopausal and sex ain’t what it used to be, we started on the subject of the great drying out. This was after the speculum business and she and I bonding over the fact that we both have daughters who are into comedy and improv. Yes the shit you talk about to get away from the notion that this new OBGYN and total stranger is all over your private parts after a 5-minute introduction…
She offered prescription meds ALL of which, she warned, are not covered by most insurances. I get it. First world problems.
Just out of curiosity, I asked whether Viagra was covered. Not that I need it.
“Oh, yes!” She exclaimed.
“Medicare, for example,” she said, “fully covers Viagra, but none of the meds postmenopausal women might need to deal with 4-hour-erections.”
She didn’t mention actual 4-hour-erections demented men don’t know what to do with. What she did say, or imply, was that this is why older men switch to younger, naturally lubricated vaginas.
Yes. First world problems, for sure. Nonetheless, if I get born again, I want to have a dick because to screw is still better than being screwed…