But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore – Isaiah
For long ago I broke your yoke
and burst your bonds;
but you said, ‘I will not serve.’
yes, on every high hill
and under every green tree
you bowed down like a whore.
Yet I planted you a choice vine,
wholly of pure seed.
How then have you turned degenerate
and become a wild vine? – Jeremiah
A plea for whores
The poetic revolution, in contrast to the political one, sinks to the very bottom of language, its lowest level, where the neurons are barely firing in the sludge, where it is perpetually 3 am in the stall in the bar’s bathroom, down, down to the era that invented agriculture, the just out of Eden moment when insults were designed, to render its essential act. The derangement of all the senses, the transvaluation of values, has to begin somewhere. I begin at the word “whore”.
Interesting, that word. It has been adopted enthusiastically, I’ve noted, by bloggers on both the left and the right. The media are whores. The lawyers are whores.
Myself, I think the media, the lawyers, the celebrities, the politicians, the all in all, wander around with the same zombified relation to sex, the same splitting headach fear of orgasm, that makes the system work. I would not call them whores, although I might call them johns.
The word whore comes out of the King James Version of the bible. Now, 17th century England was not quite the same as 4th century B.C. Judea – 17th century whores were caught up in a system of exchange that was, in many ways, significantly different. But across the two thousand years there were still enough similarities that tyou could still put your fingers on the word and feel the vibe, the fear of Babylon, in it. For Isaiah or Hosea, for the prophets, the whore spoke in the tongues of pussyland of different Gods, the gods of other people, and that was the burden and the curse that went into the whore, that made her particularly unclean. Yahweh didn’t disbelieve in those other gods, but he certainly didn’t want them poaching among his people. His were a people who obscured, by a system of taboos, the secretions and glimpses of the flesh, and had built a story about those taboos that sited them at the center of the cosmic order, the dawning moment when Adam and Eve discovered that they were naked. A story, admittedly, handed down from other sources in Egypt and Mesopotamia, but a story that loaned its emblematic force to their prohibitions and insults.
Some of that mana has survived through the millennia. The whore is not yet totally exchangeable with the prostitute. The whore’s power is also to give sex – a power that implies a system of giftgiving that has been officially buried beneath capitalism, except at Christmastime, where the dread has been drained, with a marketer's precision, from the gift. Psychologically, the dread is, of course, very much alive, a Caspar the Ghost who is not at all friendly and stinks like a corpse, which is why Christmas is the true holiday of depression. In the universe of the blues, Baby Jesus is really baby Melancholia, world without end.
The whore’s power, of course, systematically enrages the outliers, whose very existence is on the border between the supposed givens of the official ideology and the givens of our experience of the system itself. The outliers can’t manage that much schizophrenia, but they function to guard the borders for us. Thus, the whore becomes the perpetual target of the serial killer and the cop.
Myself, I am for the whore. I am for the party that uttered the Non serviam: Henry Miller’s party, Rimbaud’s, Joyce’s, the devil’s.