Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Shiny Bits

After discussing the writer as high priest of the Romantic god, Arthur (I don't know him well enough to call him by his short form) -in Negotiating with the Dead,
Atwood continued her writer's digest of motifs and makes this statement:"No body hates writers more than writers do."
Writers are sometimes haunted by an awareness of their own puerile inconsequence, she claims.
No, really.
And this state of mind is what results in the Descarte diminished - perhaps expanded - thesis, Cognito, my belly button, ergo sum and our supply of portraits with more self-mortifying fluff than a clothes dryer lint tray.
This state also supplies its opposite: what she describes as a"a Nietzschean ubermensch" ; balanced by its societal mitigator : Platonic exile, book and people burning, papal indexes and fatwas.
And critics, I might add.
One suspects both conditions can exist, duologue, in the same writer's gut.
Because, as she goes on, writers, bored with the ivory tower, perform such functions or assign themselves such roles as messenger, witness and conscience - with the usual opposites: voyeur, manipulator and fraud artist.
So it's no wonder, she says" that artists of every kind have been lined up in front of firing squads...especially prone to retaliation by those who have the power to denounce them, and to assassinate them on the street, and drop them out of helicopters, not only because they're so mouthy, but because - like it or not - language has a moral dimension built into it..."
But that's not really why we always see condoms mentioned in sex scenes these days, is it?


Tsavo Leone said...

But that's not really why we always see condoms mentioned in sex scenes these days, is it?

The author as social conscience? Hmmm... it'll never catch on : )

Personally speaking, the condom-in-a-sex-scene tells me more about the characters involved than the writer... or at least it should do, but now, dearest Bernita, you've sown the seeds of doubt in my mind. No longer will I view the hero of the piece as a caring and sensible individual for insisting on using a condom: I will merely view the author as pandering to the moral minority...

Actually, I use a condom as a plot device in my main WiP (seriously!), which may be a first.

Dennie McDonald said...

" that artists of every kind have been lined up in front of firing squads...

Uh yeah - as someone who just received a critque literaly as long as the chapter that sums up to say - you may actually learn to write someday - yeah - I can understand that completely

Bernita said...

I, for one, will be grateful when the comdon is considered so commonplace that it need not be archly mentioned.
Ack. Ack.
The awkward stuff I've read.
One can see clearly, not any sensuality, but the editor's note: "Please insert condom here."

Bernita said...

Oh, Dennie, oh, oh, oh.
Atwood mentions that "many times suffering is the result of writing rather than its cause...because there are a lot of people out there who'll be damned if they let you get away with it, you jumped-up smarmy-pants."
Seems to bring out the homocidal/fratricidal in people.

R.J. Baker said...

Ok, I drank my way through existentialism and phenomenology classes so you lost me with some of Descarte/Nietzche stuff but I do understand the prophylactic comment.

Maybe condom scenes are written so clumsily, by men at least, because of the innate clumsiness of the situation. It aint my highlight of erotica. Its embarassing and an interruption of the festivities.

Morality and the use of condoms. Hmmm? How about self-preservation and its social implications? Or do you think authors are making or trying to make a Darwinian comment about non-procreation?

As a plot devise I can see it to reveal something, I'm not sure what, about the characters in a scene. Of course as a mystery writer, I always go for the gun. Freudian?

Bernita said...

Oooh, lovely post,Rrrr.J!
I think they - or their editors - are being socially Korrect.
Freud...peud...I think it just means alpha male.
I'm all for alpha males.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Bernita...what is platonic exile?

T...using a condom in a sex scene indicated to me that their not married...the people that want to see that element are the politically correct. The moral minority doesn't want to see pre-marrital sex!

Hey Bernita, how about alpha females...LOL

Oh, the robbery....He (we're pretty sure we know who did it) broke in through a basement window b ehind the air conditioning unit where he couldn't be seen. Cut himself pretty bad, left blood all over the place. He kicked in the door to Pastor's office and stole his two guitars. One was a collector's item worth $1800. But the idiot, instead of bringing a flashlight, used book matches to see what he was doing, and left them all over Pastor's office as he gathered up the guitars and put them in their cases. He left behind five computers, $20,000 worth of sound equipment, four TV's and VCRs and all the money that was laying around.

He opened all the doors and windows to the church, probably hoping it would get ransacked and cover up his deed, but even though our church is in a rough neighborhood and the church stood open all one else bothered it! (The guy doesn't live in the neighborhoood, by the way) We're praying for the return of the guitars, God is faithful...

It just took a lot of time yesterday with the CSI unit and taking inventory.

There's no line to put in my name and password...what's up?

Bonnie Calhoun

Bernita said...

Plato wanted to kick out all the poets,as I understand it, Bonnie.
That's odd that your name didn't come up.
Thank you for the CSI, hope they nail him, the crud.

M. G. Tarquini said...

Condoms in sex scenes?

I'm so glad I don't write romance.

Bernita said...

Used on every conceivable occasion, M.G.

Gabriele C. said...

I don't have condoms in my sex scenes. They would look really out of place. :-)

Anonymous said...

Self-important writers....

*a bit nauseated at the thought. hang with me a moment*

Okay, better now.

Yeah, I hate that. If I EVER, sound self-important, please drop me a kindly STFU that very instant. Thank you.

Bernita said...

Momma will slam dunk you, Jason.
~alpha female, Bonnie~
I don't get the feeling anyone here suffers from that sort of pomposity though.

Tsavo Leone said...


Point well made re: condoms and the moral minority. I suppose I have a differing perspective on that one myself based on my own lifestyle choices (I've always viewed sex as being as much, if not more, recreational than pro-creational). And perhaps I shouldn't make such sweeping generalisations in future.


I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiment concerning condoms in stories (... so commonplace that it need not be archly mentioned)... well, I would if I knew what archly meant *grin*.

Bernita said...


Bonnie Calhoun said...

T...ROFLMAO....I could see me church, saying sex was recreational...Yikes! ROFLMAO!!!

Hey the name thingy is back!

Robyn said...

If I have to read about shiny foil packets one more time...

The characters are usually thirty-something, intelligent, successful adults. Can't I just assume they've taken the necessary precautions?

Bonnie Calhoun said...

LOL...hey robyn, if you want to see what assume doesn't look like when it comes to my post for today!

kathie said...

Condoms? Are we supposed to include condoms in sex scenes, now? Jesus, that memo must have gotten lost in the mail. YOur post made me think of movies, whether I've ever seen characters pause and put on a condom...that would be funny to see in my opinion. I'm not sure I have, but I don't get out much.

Bernita said...

Kathie, I do remember a certain scene in The Naked Gun...