inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #51 of 80: . (wickett) Tue 7 Jun 11 16:15
    

While waiting for a medical appointment yesterday, my husband and I managed
to leaf through two hundred pages of _Vogue_.  There was *one* advert of a 
woman jumping with a ball; her dress was quite pretty, too, and she did 
*not* look as if in mid-orgasm.  Everything else was appalling--glorifying 
trophy wives, sluts, waste, appearance, shopping as a life goal, male 
dominance, and passive female receptivity.  We were exhausted and deeply 
discouraged after our foray.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #52 of 80: . (wickett) Tue 7 Jun 11 16:15
    

slip
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #53 of 80: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Tue 7 Jun 11 16:30
    
(jfinch) and (wickett) slipped...

Oh, what a wonderful book! I ducked in on Sunday to see your reply
about how much you thought about your beginnings and endings.  (The
bubble at the end, mmmm!)  What came to mind was Paul McCartney's
concert closer when he came to the Greek Theatre.  I think he does it
frequently, but to me I'll always hear echoing off the Berkeley hills, 

"And in the end...
the love you take...
is equal to...
the love...
you make..."

Went back to reading. You were in the midst of the IS expulsion. Gawd!
Isn't it amazing.  "Fewer than 300 people could afford to split in
half? Here we go! We'd moved so many mountains; now we would divide a
grain of sand. Ronald Reagan had won."

And then you talk to your dad, "I told him I was about to get the boot
from the IS and didn't know what to do next. 'You can come home you
know,' he said.

I love your dad!  And later when you ask him what's wrong with the
amendment to the gay group platform and he moves two commas inside the
quotation marks.

Can you tell us more about him?

I had McCartney's echos in my head the rest of the book, and, being
another deadhead in the room, also "without love in the dream it will
never come true..." (Help on the Way)

I know it's not as simple as that, but through your whole book there
are two kinds of broken people - the ones who open to their own hearts
and empathy, and the ones who stay stubbornly in their minds and
abstractions.  And late in the book you realize to your surprise that
your drive is, among everything else you always thought it was, also a
maternal drive.

Do you want to talk more about that?  What now, does love mean to you?
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #54 of 80: David Gans (tnf) Tue 7 Jun 11 17:01
    

> there are two kinds of broken people - the ones who open to their own
> hearts and empathy, and the ones who stay stubbornly in their minds and
> abstractions.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #55 of 80: Jenny Finch (jfinch) Tue 7 Jun 11 19:19
    
I forgot to also say that I love the Yeats poem in the beginning. 
"Tread softly because you tread on my dreams" reminds me to thank you
for offering us this piece of you.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #56 of 80: Velma J. Bowen (wren) Tue 7 Jun 11 19:25
    
Arriving very late (and somewhat plaster-covered, from reinstalling
molding in my room)...

I will run upstairs and get the book in a moment, but I was struck by
the absolute truth of this paragraph of yours in the topic, Susie:

> It's not a kiss, fuck, and tell, certainly. Sex is part
> of the narrative's turning points. I would say it has
> as much sex as you'd see in any random Updike novel, to
> choose a well-known example. When men write sex in
> literary fiction, it's just called novel, a memoir,
> perhaps it's "frank" or "disturbing" or "realism." Most
> likely, "BRILLIANT!" With women, one's sexual story is
> diminutized or tarted up.

When I was selling erotica, I *knew* that somewhere in every
discussion of my writing, the question of "How much of this is based on
your sex life?" (with the occasional leer or knowing look) would come
up. I wonder if that will ever change.

(And now, up to get the book.)
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #57 of 80: Velma J. Bowen (wren) Tue 7 Jun 11 19:33
    
The chapters on ON OUR BACKS were particularly fascinating to me,
because I remember the difficulty I had in finding it in stores in NYC
in the 1980s, and the looks that one got from some of the staff in the
one women's bookstore where I could get it regularly. Has anyone ever
apologized to you for their treatment back then?
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #58 of 80: Searchlight Casting (jstrahl) Tue 7 Jun 11 21:13
    
>Regarding backlash/rollback: I believe it's economically driven by
the
American class war we see unfolding, the Great Disappearance of the
Middle Class, the end of thriving free press, the fetishization and
narrowing of democracy at ever turn. Women's roles are constricted,
it's back to double standard nightmares, the invisibility of
nonconformists, the disenfranchisement of many to bolster the fortunes
and voices of a very few. That's why this Trophy Wife shit is so out
of
control. BE a trophy wife or a porn star.

I am not a happy camper about it. Egalitarianism is on the defensive
right now.<

Excellent commentary!! Do you see circumstances which may reverse
this? I see global society increasingly being besieged in coming years
by economic crisis, resources shortages (especially fossil fuels) and
the consequences of ecocide, especially global climate destabilization.
This triple crisis will certainly shake up the status quo. The Chinese
word for crisis is a combo of two characters: the character for
danger, and the one for opportunity. The period which shaped our own
rebellion (i'm older than you by a few years, graduated high school in
'65, but didn't rebel till after college, in '70) was also a period of
crisis in US society, after all. History doesn't repeat, but it rhymes.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #59 of 80: Peter Meuleners (pjm) Wed 8 Jun 11 08:54
    
"the fetishization ... of democracy"

That is brilliant.  I will be reusing that a LOT.  Thanks!

Also, the story of the kid who feels included and the Mom sharing
about her "friend" was interesting.  Great discussion.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #60 of 80: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Wed 8 Jun 11 09:17
    
>"the fetishization ... of democracy"

Once the neighborhood group I was part of was in discussions with a
big grocery chain over their proposed remodel (um, teardown and
rebuild) of the local supermarket.  We looked at the plan, which
involved replacing two existing storefront small businesses with a
blank wall at the sidewalk, half a block long.  Chain representatives
were adamant that the businesses had to be torn down to get the size
building they needed for "modern efficiencies."

So we said, "well, at least let's have windows along that wall.  That
much disconnect from the life of the street is just too much for our
little business district."

"Oh, no problem, that we can do!" they said.

Next meeting they were back with a plan that included some rectangular
openings of a glass-like material...opening into walled decorative
spaces.  Not windows, but the "appearance" of windows.  They were
delighted with themselves.

"Those are not windows," we said.

"Oh, but our business model wouldn't support REAL windows," they said.
 Too distracting to the customer experience.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #61 of 80: Searchlight Casting (jstrahl) Wed 8 Jun 11 09:38
    
GREAT story, Keta!! Nowadays, they'd put up mega-screen TVs inside and
make it look they are windows.:-)
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #62 of 80: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 8 Jun 11 13:37
    
That sure is.   

By the way, <jstrahl>, appreciated your mentioning ecocide as part of
the ongoing context for all of this.  The mythical part of it is scary
as well as the realities..  that old "mother" of a planet that can be
murdered at will...  shudder.  

However, one of my annoying missions in life is to correct the old
"danger-opportunity" fallacy that was made-up or not understood
properly by some missionaries in China in the last century, and
eventually took on a life of its own.  So check this out, it's very
informative about the Chinese understanding of a crisis as the moment
of incipient danger:
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004343.html

Sorry for the drift.  It's a little obsession. Back to sex, 
capitalism and the life of Susie.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #63 of 80: Jeffrey G. Strahl (jstrahl) Wed 8 Jun 11 15:08
    
Thanks, <gail>. Funny enough, a co-worker of mine who's Chinese (about
15 years ago) actually drew the character, she affirmed the
"danger/opportunity," but her command of English wasn't super firm. So
things got lost in translation in the other direction, i guess.:-)
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #64 of 80: Amy Keyishian (superamyk) Thu 9 Jun 11 10:03
    
oh gail i love you for that. 
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #65 of 80: Gail Williams (gail) Thu 9 Jun 11 10:19
    
yer welcome, super amy.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #66 of 80: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Thu 9 Jun 11 11:05
    
The article by one of the linguists quoted is even more
interesting...and I doubt our guest with two linguist parents will see
it entirely as topic drift!  http://www.pinyin.info/chinese/crisis.html

I've been thinking about the questions Susie raises in the book, and
we've talked about some here, the WHY? of ferocious hostility,
especially from the "young acolytes" of public figures who oppose.  I
wonder if the need to belong, the passion to belong is stronger than
anything else for some.

I also heard somewhere once (I think it was attributed to Jung, but
not sure), that all humans are 90% similar and it's only 10% of your
personality, physiology, whatever that makes for the differences, the
individuality.  In a culture that so vglorifies individuality, I
suspect that's deeply terrifying.  Sex, sexual honesty, is one of the
places that lifts the veil, where the commonality is unmistakable, if
you dare/care to see it.  Or so I suspect.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #67 of 80: Susie Bright (sueb) Thu 9 Jun 11 12:17
    
I'm glad you're curious about my dad, or missing him, as I know many
of you were acquainted with him by his work, or in person!

Here's his web site: http://www.ncidc.org/bright/

And, as he loved all these language legends, that you're discussing
with the Chinese "crisis" material, you might like to see his analysis
of the "squaw" debate

http://susiebright.blogs.com/susie_brights_journal_/2011/06/the-sociolinguisti
cs-of-the-s-word-squaw-in-american-placenames.html

His own web site is very academic, but if you want to hear our
rollicking interview on my AUdible show, it's so fun... he sang and
told the best stories:

http://susiebright.blogs.com/susie_brights_journal_/2006/10/ive_had_fascina.ht
ml
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #68 of 80: Susie Bright (sueb) Thu 9 Jun 11 12:24
    
"How do you see the current state of women's activism?"

Deplorable.

How's that for a cranky answer? I've said multiple times on this book
tour, if the elite of the women's movement hadn't kicked out and
slandered everyone who wasn't part of their inner circle for various
"sex crimes" and such, we would have a far different grass roots
movement who would be equipped to deal with the massive anti-abortion
backlash, a la South Dakota.

Instead, the "Ms. Magazine set" have no one to fall back on, to plead
with, except their tiny audience in the Democratic Party cocktail
circuit, and we all know how well that's worked out for the
disposssesed. Frankly, they don't care all that much, they made their
bed. Their legacy and money is secure. They threw everyone out who
didn't match their class, educational, nepotistic requirements, and
much of that was masked as the sex wars.

What we're looking at is the flotsam of a turf war, which is tragic.
Of course you have individual women and small groups doing inspiring
things. I'd include myself on that list. But in terms of our effect as
a mass movement, there's no there there. Virtually every 60s and 70s
civil rights movement is in similar straits. Did you see that obnoxious
press release from the bigtime gay lobby group that hailed the merger
of AT&T and something? Jesus Christ. What a fucking corpse.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #69 of 80: Susie Bright (sueb) Thu 9 Jun 11 12:28
    
"How has technology changed what you put out and how you work?   Have
you seen a change in readers?"

Of course, god, that's a book in itself. Creatively, it's been 100%
awesome, because of the control and access I have to my audience—
although I have to deal with anti-gay, anti-feminist crap like "NSFW"
and other unlegislated tropes of Internet censure. But, whatever!
That's not what I think about when I sit down to blog.

Financially, it's been the crisis you heard about. at first, I didn't
mind the Internet was "free" because my big publishers subsidized all
my counter-culture activities. But then the balance shifted, and it's
shifting again. I've lived thru the most bizarre time in publishing.

Most recently, I retained the e-rights to my memoir,and so I published
it, my own edition on Kindle and Book and epub, etc. I love that! Same
with my audio edition, it was a total delight to produce it, and such
a different experience that reading the printed word.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #70 of 80: Susie Bright (sueb) Thu 9 Jun 11 12:34
    
"Late in [your memoir] you realize to your surprise that your drive
is, among everything else you always thought it was, also a maternal
drive. Do you want to talk more about that? What now, does love mean to
you?"

I feel like I have to reply to that in song and lyric, not another
story! Hopefully, I conveyed in my memoir, on a poetic level, where I'm
at with love and endurance.

I still don't think of myself as obviously maternal— I don't
automatically or easily connect with babies and children; I'm picky. My
patience is thin, always bad for mommies. My daughter was always
having to explain to her friends that I was strict, regardless of
whatever they'd heard about my sexual politics. If Lucy Van Pelt was a
sex positive feminist, that might be me. The "Doctor" is In! But as far
as Peanuts analogies go, I am very much "Linus" in terms of carrying
around my blankie and wanting to see the best in the world come to
pass, sincerity and generousity mean everything to me.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #71 of 80: Susie Bright (sueb) Thu 9 Jun 11 12:38
    
"The chapters on ON OUR BACKS were particularly fascinating to me,
because I remember the difficulty I had in finding it in stores in NYC
in the 1980s, and the looks that one got from some of the staff in the
one women's bookstore where I could get it regularly. Has anyone ever
apologized to you for their treatment back then?"

Wow, you're tempting me to write my "scorched earth" sequel. I have
only rec'd one apology, from Neal Coonerty at Bookshop Santa Cruz, back
in the early nineties, and it brought tears to my eyes. Of course he
isn't a woman, or a lesbian who was in the fray of it all. 

I have heard many vague "regrets" and "explanations" and people sort
of shuffling their feet and looking at the ground. And gossip about
how, "you know that bookstore manager who declared an anti-porn,
antikink jihad on you guys? She ended up running a dungeon and being a
total bottom in downtown Oakland, blah blah blah"

Other people who used to run women's bookstores explain that their
whole store came to pieces over this issue, the split. And because they
weren't selling the new things their audience might want (because it
was BAD!) their sales went to shit as well.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #72 of 80: Susie Bright (sueb) Thu 9 Jun 11 12:43
    
"the WHY? of ferocious hostility, especially from the "young acolytes"
of public figures who opposed you....I wonder if the need to belong,
the passion to belong is stronger than anything else for some."

I return again and again to a book-turned-film called "The Prime of
Miss Jean Brodie," by Muriel Sparks. you can see great clips of it on
YOuTube, but the whole thing is worth it. Whenever I see Maggie Smith
in that role, it's like I'm seeing Katherine MacKinnon on stage.

It's abotu this unorthodox, highly charismatic teacher, during WWII in
an elite girls school. She froths up her gullible students to go
support Mussolini, because of her deranged ideas about art and
beauty,with tragic results. It's all a load of crap that even she
doesn't truly believe, it's just her schtick, her stage act. She's as
sexual and vulnerable as anyone, and her cognitive dissonance is
impermeable, until a very angry little girl, who's quite clever,
figures out how to undo her.  I would have given anything to interview
Muriel about that story, about the "sisterly cannibalization," and ask
her why she wrote it. Do any of you have any insights?
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #73 of 80: Susie Bright (sueb) Thu 9 Jun 11 12:45
    
">Egalitarianism is on the defensive right now."<   -- Excellent
commentary!! Do you see circumstances which may reverse this?"

I'm a great believe in catastrophes, revolutions, and unexpected
grace. I certainly don't think the status quo yields anything.
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #74 of 80: Searchlight Casting (jstrahl) Thu 9 Jun 11 12:46
    
>"How do you see the current state of women's activism?"

Deplorable.

How's that for a cranky answer? I've said multiple times on this book
tour, if the elite of the women's movement hadn't kicked out and
slandered everyone who wasn't part of their inner circle for various
"sex crimes" and such, we would have a far different grass roots
movement who would be equipped to deal with the massive anti-abortion
backlash, a la South Dakota.

Instead, the "Ms. Magazine set" have no one to fall back on, to plead
with, except their tiny audience in the Democratic Party cocktail
circuit, and we all know how well that's worked out for the
disposssesed. Frankly, they don't care all that much, they made their
bed. Their legacy and money is secure. They threw everyone out who
didn't match their class, educational, nepotistic requirements, and
much of that was masked as the sex wars.

What we're looking at is the flotsam of a turf war, which is tragic.
Of course you have individual women and small groups doing inspiring
things. I'd include myself on that list. But in terms of our effect as
a mass movement, there's no there there. Virtually every 60s and 70s
civil rights movement is in similar straits. Did you see that
obnoxious
press release from the bigtime gay lobby group that hailed the merger
of AT&T and something? Jesus Christ. What a fucking corpse.<

Wow, that made me happy! I know, it's terrible stuff, that which you
write about, but i'm glad someone considered a "luminary" of the
women's movement isn't shy about calling it the way it is!!
  
inkwell.vue.409 : Susie Bright, "Big Sex, Little Death"
permalink #75 of 80: Searchlight Casting (jstrahl) Thu 9 Jun 11 12:54
    
.
">Egalitarianism is on the defensive right now."<   -- Excellent
commentary!! Do you see circumstances which may reverse this?"

I'm a great believe in catastrophes, revolutions, and unexpected
grace. I certainly don't think the status quo yields anything.,
YEAH!!!  This is indeed as i said how "we" (the Sixties movement)
emerged. 

>I would have given anything to interview
Muriel about that story, about the "sisterly cannibalization," and ask
her why she wrote it. Do any of you have any insights?<
I'm of course guessing, but perhaps this is a commentary about artists
who mistake the world for their private canvass, oblivious to
real-world consequences. Sort of reminds me of an art-inclined woman
acquaintance (housemate of a friend) who while sitting next to me at a
Dead show, as i was visiting with the "fun guys," told me how she was
about the only person in the Haight back in the day who was pro Vietnam
war, because she was all into reincarnation, and viewed war as a great
way to release lots of souls into the cycle. 
  

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