Compare the overwhelming political and character failings of America's current Commander in Chief and his minions with the allegedly immoral adulterous transgressions that led to the impeachment but not the removal of Clinton, and you'll understand how such deeply entrenched institutionalized sexism and megalomania has been normalized into American culture. David Shields 's new collection of essays, The Trouble with Men : Reflections on Sex, Love, Marriage, Porn, and Power , is a blistering and brilliant quintet of reportage and observations from the forefront of the five parts of our lives suggested by its subtitle.
It's not explicitly political in the sense that any leaders are mentioned. We know the names of leaders who have fallen on the sharp swords of temptations offered by sexual and political indiscretions, and the seduction of power to abuse it to one's own sexual gratification , and their narratives stay with us as we read these essays. Shields knows that his readers aren't looking for socio-political commentary so much as creative non-fiction essays that are distinctly in his voice.
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Call them "anti-essays". He curates quotes from others and weaves his own commentary through them. He stretches boundaries and de-constructs what we've known and generously allowed from leaders of this writing form. The confessional explosions that play themselves out in this book are equal parts terrifying, edifying, and beautifully troubling. Consider the title.
We understand the implications of the five categories, and perhaps we even visualize them as perhaps a Venn diagram. They're all inter-connected: sex, love, marriage, porn, power. The primary category that drives the typical reader is conditional and depends on many variables. They are concrete conditions that immediately become abstract as we personally experience them. It's the first half of the title that proves more intriguing. Is The Trouble with Men a hectoring broadside from a self-hating male writer, or is it more complex?
The focused reader should be able to quickly conclude that Shields is signaling that there are two issues to consider. First, there is the "trouble" however that's defined inherent within and in opposition to men by their very nature. It's a doomed trouble that cannot be avoided and starting with the presumption of trouble never builds to anything meaningful. The more likely conclusion is that Shields is examining how the typical nature of a man his perspective deals with successfully or not these five forces.
In "Let's Say I'm Writing a Love Letter to You", Shields submits a proposal for our consideration: "This book aims to be a short, intensive immersion into the perils, limits, and possibilities of human intimacy.
Richard Hell Wrote an Essay About Iceage
He writes of this book's purpose: "The only reason it's being written… is to talk, finally, to you. From the start we can see we're in for a battle, and we settle in for some commentary about author Nicholson Baker 's sex narratives: 's Vox , 's The Fermata , and 's House of Holes. Of Roth, Shields writes: "He rarely examines what his characters want from sex.
Shields seamlessly segues from brief commentary about their work to the very idea of writing about universal suffering and the suggestion that those having sex in their stories experience equal amounts of suffering and joy is effectively made. The narratives of suffering are rampant, but for Shields the problem is that they're being adjusted and perhaps heightened for the sake of marketability. Shields gets into the "obscene" with admirable clarity:. Shields is commenting problematic elements in his own writing and male writers in general.
He reflects on his own writing approach, that he's "…quoted and 'misquoted' hundreds of sentences, without 'proper' attribution… as a way to be 'bad' and get spanked…" Is he deliberately provoking hostility from other male writers? He's starting a dialogue. The reader feels prepared after this first essay because Shields is brilliantly setting the table. His writing is a construct. His perceptions are sharply observed yet always with conditional adjectives.
By the end of this essay he wants to know how he ended up in this place and in this shape.
He writes: "What wrong road took me here? Is the present gloomy and the future doomed? Can he get back to safety? The fact that he doesn't put quotes around the adjective in this sentence profoundly speaks to where Shields will be taking us in this book. He might be on a wrong road, but ending up there might not be because he followed bad directions. He writes of his mother's negative influence on his life and asks: "Do I ever want to excise that?
Shields jumps to reflections about his sister, the TV show Get Smart , how he doesn't like his ability to draw the deepest secrets from people. The title of this essay, from a notion proposed by Freud, compels Shields to ask:. Predictability is rarely a virtue in music — it usually points to a shortage of ideas. Now, though, I have cause to question whether they are really a band to be celebrated.
I am a proud feminist, and a sizeable proportion of my work as a journalist is about combating sexism. I try, where possible, to encourage my daughter to think about how women are represented in art, music, film and everyday life.
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We have had tentative conversations about sex, physical autonomy and body image. These matters came to a head when the band announced a new tour and my daughter asked if we could go to see them together. And then I started to panic. Not yet. These are things that can ruin a band for me. The big-breasted, thunder-thighed women and hopelessly horny boys that inhabit them bring to mind saucy seaside postcards and Carry On films.
We take the music far more seriously than we take the lyrics, which are just throwaway lines. Plenty, but not all. In late , Allin was arrested and charged with "assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder" of a female acquaintance in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In a psychological evaluation made as part of the trial, Allin was judged as having at least average intelligence, and was described as "courteous, cooperative and candid". The unnamed evaluator noted that Allin did not appear psychotic , and seemed comfortable with his unorthodox lifestyle.
However, the evaluator asserted Allin was dependent on alcohol and had a mixed personality disorder with narcissistic , borderline and masochistic features. Allin initially denied the charges, claiming that the woman was a willing participant in their sexual activities. Allin admitted to cutting her, burning her, and drinking her blood, but insisted that she did the same thing to him. Allin also claimed that inconsistencies in the woman's statements to authorities supported his assertions. The judge in the case agreed there were substantial inconsistencies in the woman's account.
Ultimately, however, Allin plea bargained to the reduced charge of felonious assault, and he was imprisoned from December 25, to March 26, It was during this time in prison that Allin began feeling re-energized about his life and "mission". After his release from prison, Allin skipped parole to go on another tour, footage of which was shot for Todd Phillips 's documentary Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies.
The film contained graphic scenes from a performance Allin gave at the rock club Space at Chase in Manhattan 's East Village. A heavily intoxicated Allin stripped naked, defecated on the floor, wiped his feces on himself and threw feces into the audience. He also threw beer bottles, breaking a woman's nose, and assaulted several other people in the crowd. Clips were included from other Allin appearances, as well as interviews with Allin, his band, and their fans.
The film was released in and later followed on DVD in This album contained 10 musical tracks and 10 spoken-word pieces. Other than Freaks, Faggots, Drunks and Junkies , Allin considered this album to be that which most accurately captured his persona and stated philosophy on life.
Rock 'N' Roll Is Dead. No, Really This Time.
This particular album consists of one minute track that is a collage of spoken-word pieces which Shrinkwrap put to music. At the time of his death, Allin was making plans for a spoken-word album. In the mids, Allin became involved with a teenage girl from Garland, Texas named Tracy Deneault. Mankowski was 17 when they met. They met when they appeared together alongside Mankowski's sister and father on The Jerry Springer Show. Allin was an extreme individualist and anti-authoritarian, promoting lawlessness and violence against police officers in many of his lyrics; his essay, The GG Allin Manifesto ,  was intended to summarize his personal philosophy.
He revealed on Geraldo that he believed his body to be a temple of rock and roll, and that his flesh, blood, and bodily fluids were a communion to the people. Another reason given for his onstage antics by Dino, the drummer of his band was that he wanted to draw a parallel between his actions and "a society that's going crazy with violence".
He has also said that if he was not a performer, he would probably be a serial killer or a mass murderer. Regarding Allin's views on death, he believed in some form of an afterlife. He planned to kill himself onstage on Halloween many times in the late s and early s, but was stopped due to prison sentences around every Halloween each year. He explained his views on death in the film Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies , stating: "It's like I've got this wild soul that just wants to get out of this life. It's too confined in this life. I think that to take yourself out at your peak During the second song, the venue cut the power, after which he trashed the club, walked across the street naked, and then continued on, now wearing shorts, but still covered in blood and feces, through the neighborhood, followed by a large group of fans.
After walking the streets for almost an hour, Allin eventually went to his friend Johnny Puke's apartment. There, he and others continued to party and use drugs. Sometime during the evening, Allin ingested large amounts of heroin, on which he accidentally overdosed and slipped into an unconscious state. Sometime in the early morning of June 28, Allin died from the effects of his heroin overdose.
Later that morning, someone noticed that Allin still lay motionless in the same place where they had left him and called for an ambulance. Allin was pronounced dead at the scene. He was two months short of his 37th birthday.
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