To what extent, and in what circumstances, is it possible for a man to make use of the descending road as a way to spiritual self-transcendence? At first sight it would seem obvious that the way down is not and can never be the way up. But in the realm of existence matters are not quite so simple as they are in our beautifully tidy world of words. In actual life a downward movement may sometimes be made the beginning of an ascent. -- Aldous Huxely on Self-Transcendence.
So rape, a heinous crime, becomes in fiction a source of titillation, at least when it's being perpetrated by a handsome swain. In itself this is no different than a host of similar dynamizations which fictional narrative makes possible. But having said that, is titillation all there is to the matter?...
...the power to rape, if it does signify potency in these stories, also signifies that the rakish hero is worth the heroine's trouble. She would hardly want to bother "stooping to conquer" him otherwise-- me, FROM ROMANCE TO THE RITUAL OF RAPE.
This essay is a prelude to an essay-series responding in part to Curt Purcell's recent GROOVY AGE post, entitled "Superheroines Lose."
I have not yet decided how many essays will comprise the series. I've written more than a little here about the intertwined cultural subjects of sexuality and violence. Because I don't get a lot of commentary, I'm not certain to what extent I'm talking to myself. This in itself isn't necessarily a problem, as the blog was essentially conceived as a method of working out various aspects of my theories. However, lack of input makes it tougher to avoid duplicating points.
The bracketed quotes above have in common a disinclination to view even the most physical aspects of human culture as nothing more than physical "things" with no cultural "soul," especially in Huxley, who details an assortment of practices that he terms "downward transcendence." This may be harder to demonstrate, though, with the subject matter of Curt's essay than with, say, romance-novels.
Time will tell.