Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Can't Read Lady Chatterley's Lover

I can't do it. I tried. I watched part of a movie, and found it so bad that I turned it off and looked up the text online. The book seems even worse than the movie. The movie at least had an attractive actress to play Connie instead of leaving her up to my imagination. I generally prefer my imagination, but not for her. 1928 must've been a lame year for lust, love, marriage, and everything in between. People don't shut off passion in the face of electronics, the internet, or anything else for that matter. If anything, the sex drive is supercharged by the extreme volume of anonymous sexual information and activity available to anyone with a computer. Porn has never been bigger than it is now, and people can download large amounts of nudity and sexual information, and save it for later using the same bodily motions in the same place they do their accounting. If you want a peep show, you just go out to a porn site, find five minutes alone, do the deed, then you can then go back to paying bills online and watching bad network sitcoms on hulu. On the internet, there's no red light district with thieves and thugs, no magazines to buy and hide, no adult bookstores where you avoid eye contact with anyone, and most importantly, no neighbors, deacons, preachers, nor priests to catch people in the act. Sex won't set us free from the tyranny of science; sex is the tyranny of science! I'm sure people can buy prostitutes who will come to your door without fanfare or suspicion. The lame part of this book is not the sex acts nor the lovelessness of Connie's marriage, the lame part is that I believe D.H. Lawrence actually thought sex can save people from themselves and their unused passions. Sex is a commodity that costs money. I will always hold that Love is priceless, but love isn't the point of Lady Chatterley's Lover; sex reigns supreme. Bedmates might force themselves into Love because that's what society expects, but Mellors was ploughing Lady Chatterley before they knew anything about each other except they had attachable body parts. Besides, Connie is just a another hole in the mattress for another male writer to misrepresent females in the name of Love.

If Love is to be the subject of art, the artist must be willing to accept and embrace the asymmetry of his profession. By necessity, he has to spend a long, long time making the art, selling it, and hoping the critics like it, then he has to change his act for the next art project. No one will spend as much time writing, painting, sculpting or even dancing back at any artist. If you write a truly magnificent poem in praise of love, the love object cannot return love in an equal measure to the poet. It's impossible. People barely have enough time to read poetry as is, no one will ever write back or praise the work in larger quantities than the 140 allowed characters on any tweeter message. Even two married poets will never write equally to each other. Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath were both successful writers, but were never popular at the same time, and critics grew to rightly observe Sylvia Plath as the superior artist. However, we should never be allowed to forget that women swooned over Ted Hughes and his verses first. One of my favorite poets in the english language is John Keats. Fanny Brawne never wrote back anything so beautiful as a John Keats poem. My favorite poet in any language, Petrarch, was the king of asymmetrical feelings. Laura didn't even know the guy, but he wrote her the most beautiful sonnets from anywhere, any time.

I'm probably the world's biggest idiot on Love; I've said it before and I'll say it again. However, if Love is exactly as D.H. Lawrence describes it, count me out: I'll keep vainly writing my asymmetrically appreciated love poems for now. I saved bad poetry in the past for its foolish sentimental value, and I've burned plenty beautiful and precious poems, some of my finest in fact, simply because writing more of them together just felt like a lie to myself and everyone else. I could have finished, and it would have been beautiful, but some foolish asymmetry is just too extreme, even for me.


オテモヤン said...
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Thomas Jackson said...

That was a spam bot; I don't delete comments from people who read and respond.