Continuing... (page 3)

I saw that someone in Indonesia is joining us in this reading. I have
visited your country, and think Foucault is correct to use Marxist terms
like "bourgeois", because I have seen increased homogenization over the
world: the disappearance of indigenous cultures, the fascination with what
I would call a Pax Americana as free trade breaks down old barriers. People
seem more interested in watching American soap operas, for example, than in
Wayung Kulit or Gamelon.

However, it was indigenous Indonesian "custom",I believe, not just imported
from The West, that also had this desire for sex to be compartmentalized,
"utilitarian and fertile".

If we look pr-17th century, in the West, for example, we do not see
sexuality unconfined, but sexuality untalked about. This is a great deal of
what Foucault will be discussing: why do we TALK so much about it now? Case
in point: Bill Clinton's alleged affairs with various women. What DOES that
have to do with presidential duties such as dealing with Iraq, balancing
our budget, helping out the International Monetary Fund so that Southeast
Asia does not collapse, financially, etc.? Clinton's approval ratings,
after his State of the Union address, for example, make it seem like
people, despite the media and this Kenneth Starr special prosecutor's
attention, do NOT care whether he has blow-jobs with whomever and whether
Hillary is a lesbian.

Moving on to page four, however, I have some notes where I think Foucault
is saying good things: compartmentalizing "non-sanctioned" sex. Yes. And
then on page five, a word which will appear over and over again:
"repression" as a "fundamental link between power, knowledge, and sexuality
since the classical age"...

In general, interesting thoughts to ponder. Certainly people like William
Blake were the exception to the rule when he would say "The nakedness of
woman is..." beautiful. ("Marriage of Heaven and Hell", 1790). Blake was
called a heretic, "insane", and at one point, for unclear reasons, dropped
that particular illuminated poem from his repertoire, although I think it
is perhaps his best.

But to contrast the safe, compartmentalized, "legitimate" sex with the
merely OTHER private, hedonistic or "libertine", in Foucault's words, view
of someone like Sade, is simplistic.

When, on page 7, he proclaims that:

"Today it is sex that serves as a support for the ancient form-- so
familiar and important in the West-- of preaching."

I think of something like D.H. Lawrence's _Lady Chatterley's Lover_, which
tried to raise sex to a sacred art. But certainly it has been sacred before
"today". And certainly I do not subscribe to the view that "God is dead" or
that "man is dead", because either Nietzsche or anyone else proclaims it.
The fact is that the vast majority of United States citizen believe in God,
of some sort of another. It is this "other" Victorian, perhaps, that does

By page 9, Foucault is asking an intriguing question:

"By what spiral did we come to affirm that sex is negated?"

Again, is it? We now live in a post-1960s, AIDS-infected (and there has
always been veneral disease, as people like Van Gogh and Nietzsche sadly
knew) age. Is it negated, or is it warned to be dangerous? Is it vapid,
abusive, or mutually fulfilling? Foucault talks about it in terms of power.
But, as Lawrence and others tried to show, it is also a form of *communion*
between people.

More, later, as I get feedback from these initial pages-----

I'm happy to just stay on these or go forward-----

Wherever anyone wants to go.

---Randall Albright

Partial thread listing: