Saturday, March 05, 2011

Noted: Andrea Dworkin

From "Pornography, prostitution, and a beautiful and tragic recent history", collected in Not For Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography (2005), an anthology of essays by various authors, edited by Rebecca Wisnant and Christine Stark:
One needs a political movement because something has to change and what has to change is not individual. It's not something an individual can change without holding hands with someone else and then another person after that. And in the collectivity of person-to-person, each person cannot do everything, but every person can do something. That is why one has a political movement: because a political movement makes it possible for people to do the thing they can do in a context that gives the doing meaning; because people then can give as much as they can give of what they know, of what they think; because people can give materially. No one has to—or can—do everything. It is appalling that in the United States people believe that an individual must do everything—that if one cannot do everything one need not do anything.

[...]

One of the worst parts of being an Amerikan is that if something does not happen fast, it does not happen at all; if one cannot make an issue, an atrocity, a tragedy palpable to people in five minutes, or in a sixty-second sound byte, one cannot communicate with other people. Amerikans don't have, or refuse to have, a sense of history, which is necessary in having a sense of endurance, duration—a sense of how hard it is to make change, how long it takes, how incredible it is that one moved forward an eighth of an inch, because then one gets the boot and one is kicked way back to the place where one started, but not quite, because one knows something that one did not know before. Political activism brings knowledge.

Labels: , ,

7 Comments:

Blogger Joe Miller said...

How on earth can you afford all these books, and how do you find the time to peruse them? Your work ethic and powers of discernment astonish me.

March 08, 2011 2:42 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Ha, I thank you for the compliment.

As for how I can afford the books? I don't buy clothes? Seriously (though it is true that I don't buy clothes), I receive books as gifts, I use the library, borrow from friends, and look for used books for purchase whenever possible. On top of having bought too many in the past.

I read primarily on my 2-hr per day commute.

March 09, 2011 3:53 PM  
Blogger J.R. Boyd said...

I was thinking about Dworkin earlier today, and thought it might be time to get reacquainted with her perspective. Much appreciated.

March 10, 2011 9:01 PM  
Blogger The Promiscuous Reader said...

"One of the worst parts of being an Amerikan is that if something does not happen fast, it does not happen at all; if one cannot make an issue, an atrocity, a tragedy palpable to people in five minutes, or in a sixty-second sound byte, one cannot communicate with other people."

And so, the remedy is to yell "Prostitution! Human trafficking! Pornography pornography pornography!"? And then to demand that the patriarchal state protect women from ... itself? But then, Dworkin and her allies were/are Amerikans themselves.

I read a lot of Dworkin, from Woman Hating through Intercourse plus her fiction. Also Take Back the Night and a fair amount of other cultural-feminist antipornography discourse, plus a lot of the feminist responses to all this. I don't think Dworkin was a particularly important thinker.

March 11, 2011 11:37 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Well, I haven't read much of her as yet. I will be soon.

Nevertheless, I've already decided that the arguments she and others make against pornography and prostitution and human trafficking are so obviously correct as to be embarrassing.

I hate the state more than the next person, but we live in states, and so appealing to them to change the laws and enforcement practices while they still exist is a perfectly valid move. The state ain't evaporating tomorrow.

March 11, 2011 11:48 AM  
Blogger Joe Miller said...

"I receive books as gifts, I use the library, borrow from friends, and look for used books for purchase whenever possible."

Well that's no fun; you can't make annotations in borrowed copies.

The reason I asked was because as an unemployed twenty-one year old college student, I have trouble fathoming the mere possibility of being able to afford purchasing seventy books in a year, let alone having time to read all of them.

Your difficulties are also further compounded by the fact that you have a child to raise; how do you muster the energy? Are you really human, or are you some sort of reptilian android ninja hybrid?!? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU?!?!?!?

April 02, 2011 3:19 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

"Well that's no fun; you can't make annotations in borrowed copies."

I have to admit that I am not a good annotator of books, or note-taker in general.

"The reason I asked was because as an unemployed twenty-one year old college student, I have trouble fathoming the mere possibility of being able to afford purchasing seventy books in a year, let alone having time to read all of them."

Well, I'm 41. I have been fortunate to have a decent-paying job, while for a long time having no one but myself to dispose income on, and thus accumulated many more books than I could read. When I say I receive books as gifts, I mean I receive a lot of books as gifts. My wife already had numerous books of interest to me before we met. I don't know.

How do I muster the energy? I often don't.

April 02, 2011 6:04 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home