“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Thursday, July 13, 2006


LI was pleased to see that the Washington Post is doing something about an issue that effects us all – the erotic dreamlife of neo-cons. Rather than let daydreams of violence, torture, and death end up as the private incentives towards some covert ejaculation, the WAPO has manfully published Robert Kagan’s wet dream on its op ed page.

It begins with a “Let’s imagine,” and ends with “It’s just a theory,”- clueing us into the daydreaming nature of the column. In between there is a rich and colorful mix of those puzzling features that make up the neo-con underlife – the homo-erotic fascination with George Bush, of all people, as Superman; the ardent desire to burn brown skin, which one sees in old postcards of lynchings, and of which Kagan is the heavy breathing inheritor; and judgments about the Clinton administration that are so absurd as to be more than mildly deranged – they are definitely symptoms of the erotic role played by Clinton in the neo-con mind.

Erotic daydreaming is heavily ritualized. One returns again and again to a formula. Sade actually made the ritualization itself pornographic, in the 120 days of Sodom:

“Singulièrement mécontents de la maladresse de toutes ces petites filles dans l'art de la masturbation, impatientés de ce qu'on avait éprouvé sur cela la veille, Durcet proposa d'établir une heure dans la matinée où on leur donnerait des leçons sur cet objet, et que tour à tour un d'eux se lèverait une heure plus matin, ce moment d'exercice étant établi depuis neuf jusqu'à dix, se lèverait, dis-je, à neuf heures pour aller se prêter à cet exercice. On décida que celui qui remplirait cette fonction s'assiérait tranquillement au milieu du sérail, dans un fauteuil, et que chaque petite fille, conduite et guidée par la Duclos, la meilleure branleuse que le château renfermât, viendrait s'essayer sur lui, que la Duclos dirigerait leur main, leur mouvement, qu'elle leur apprendrait le plus ou le moins de vitesse qu'il fallait donner à leurs secousses en raison de l'état du patient, qu'elle prescrirait leurs attitudes, leurs postures pendant l'opération, et qu'on établirait des punitions réglées pour celle qui, au bout de la première quinzaine, ne réussirait point parfaitement dans cet art sans avoir plus besoin de leçons.”

Kagan, discontented by the supposed maladresse of a President who has refused to use even a petite tactical nuclear weapon on Iran, comforts himself first by recalling the dark days – yes, the Clinton days:

“Let's imagine, and this is purely hypothetical, that President Bush has already decided that he will not leave office in January 2009 without a satisfactory resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem. Let's imagine that he has already determined that if he cannot obtain Iran's agreement to dismantle its nuclear weapons program voluntarily and verifiably, then he will order some form of military action to destroy as much of that program as possible before he leaves. Let's imagine that he has resolved not to end his two terms in office the way Bill Clinton ended his, by leaving every major international crisis -- from Iraq to Iran to North Korea to al-Qaeda -- for his successor.”

The erotic lives of others are easy to laugh at. Of course, the idea that Bush, who has started an unwinnable war and has said, publicly, that he is leaving that war for his successor, won’t be like Clinton – who left Bush with a number of officials who explained Al Qaeda to him, even as Bush was eager to do some cedar choppin’ on his ranch – is obviously an erotic pretext. The famous remark about not being part of the reality based community was all about the mixture of sexual disposition and policy at the D.C. court. To succeed dans cet art, combining the right amount of friction and mental picturing, requires that one return again and again to some primal, vulnerable scene. This is the tableau of the baby and the mean mother.

Having set himself up in this way, Kagan can then imagine the seduction. The powerful, powerful rebel in chief, in this episode, is operating in a curiously non-muscular way. Is superman really a drag queen? Or is this, oh bliss, is this really superman in a new role – a man/woman, a seducer? Surely it is the latter! This is the cross dressing tableau.

“Bush would be sincere, and convincingly so. For his ideal outcome really would be a diplomatic solution in which Iran voluntarily and verifiably abandoned its program. He would know that such an outcome, in addition to benefiting the world, could completely reshape his image and ensure his legacy as a successful leader. He would also know that the military solution is fraught with danger and, indeed, could end badly. He would genuinely like to avoid it if at all possible. It really would be a last resort, to be used only when diplomacy failed. Therefore, Bush would send his diplomats out and want them to succeed. He would not be bothered by press reports that he had abandoned "cowboy diplomacy" and given in to the "realists" at the State Department.”

Superman is like that, sometimes. His member, as iron strong as always, is disguised – and not just disguised but mocked! But it is a mistake to take this as a moment of erotic depression. Rather, in the routine, this is as highly charged a moment as any other. Here one is the victim, one is beaten, one experiences the peculiar delight of a masochism that will end in mastery. As Sade knew, seduction is in and of itself a reason for discharge:

"Il y avait eu quelques changements dans la maison de Mme Guérin, [the keeper of a brothel] ... Deux très jolies filles venaient de trouver des dupes qui les entretinrent et qu'elles trompèrent comme nous faisons toutes. Pour remplacer cette perte, notre chère maman avait jeté les yeux sur la fille d'un cabaretier de la rue Saint-Denis, âgée de treize ans et l'une des plus jolies créatures qu'il fût possible de voir. Mais la petite personne, aussi sage que pieuse, résistait à toutes ses séductions, lorsque la Guérin, après s'être servie d'un moyen très adroit pour l'attirer un jour chez elle, la mit aussitôt entre les mains du personnage singulier dont je vais vous décrire la manie. C'était un ecclésiastique de cinquante-cinq à cinquante-six ans, mais frais et vigoureux et auquel on n'en aurait pas donné quarante. Aucun être dans 1e monde n'avait un talent plus singulier que cet homme pour entraîner des jeunes filles dans le vice, et comme c'était son art le plus sublime, il en fait aussi son seul et son unique plaisir. Toute sa volupté consistait à déraciner les préjugés de l'enfance, à faire mépriser la vertu et à parer le vice des plus belles couleurs. Rien n'y était négligé: tableaux séduisants, promesses f1atteuses, exemples délicieux, tout était mis en oeuvre, tout était adroitement ménagé, tout artistement proportionné à l'âge, à l'espèce d'esprit de l'enfant, et jamais il ne manquait son coup. En deux seules heures de conversation, il était sûr de faire une putain de la petite fille la plus sage et la plus raisonnable, et depuis trente ans qu'il exerçait ce métier-là dans Paris, il avait avoué à Mme Guérin, l'une de ses meilleures amies, qu'il avait sur son catalogue plus de dix mille jeunes filles séduites et jetées par lui dans le libertinage.”

The power to seduce is the power to debase. The powerful, in Kagan’s mind, are in fact defined by the debasement that they can effect. Thus the cowboy Bush is being maligned, pushed around by the press, told that his vit is no longer gonflé. He’s a girl, he’s a girlie-man. The persecutors must be punished for this. And what better punishment than to deposit just the most precious little Bush turd on the constitution! Yes, let the president defy law itself – let him use his strong, strong penis to press the buttons and make his supermen squad of bombers discharge on Iran, burning, beautifully burning into a nice crisp those frightening brown skins, and at the same time wipe his ass with the constitution, thus fulfilling the Sadean trajectory that goes from seduction to blasphemy. And in this way we get to the high point of Kagan’s dream. It is, actually, as a high point, rather pedestrian – the usual Clancy fantasy of bombs killing and killing and killing, ripping off the skins of brown men, making sure they suffer. Brown women too, of course. The absence of napalm in the current war is obviously a deep wound to the erotic charge it could have for the neo-cons. Torture has made up for it, in the various prisons, but still, bombing Iran – that would be special, that would make up for everything.

As I said, this is garden variety porn. What is special is that WAPO is where neo-con porno seems to find its natural venue.

“The likely failure of diplomacy would not deter Bush from pursuing it, however. If and when it failed, he would be able to choose the military course, and no fair person could accuse him of not having tried to bring the world along to do what had to be done. At least he would know in his own mind that he had sincerely given diplomacy a chance. And when he ordered the strike on Iran, he would know that, whatever else could be said about him, he would not go down in history as the man who let the mullahs have the bomb.

It's just a theory.”


Brian Miller said...

Wow, roger. A terrifying vision. I wonder if the true neo-cons in power are this...sexualized, though. I've always just thought them to be greedy, greedy, small-0minded men. Now, the right wing media (especially the blogosphere)-I can just imagine the ejaculation over The Rebel in Chief.

(I wish my French was a little better than fifteen year old college undergraduate level)

roger said...

Usually I translate french, but this was dirty enough stuff that I felt the better part of valor was to not encourage certain searches to hit on my site.

roger said...

PS -- for instance: I got a hit today for the phrase, my sister tied weights to my testicles.

The sade quotes would make that worse!

new york pervert said...

roger--that's quite true, there are the rhythms of Sade in Kagan's style, such as it is. It also reminds me of Joyce Kilmer, which I am finding has been happening a bit too much for my taste recently. There's an architect on the ballet board I frequent who is 'in love with his naivete' about ballet, and writes the purplest prose you ever saw to describe his new-found wonderment. When one said 'you write beautifully' to him, I finally threw in a quick, but sly crowbar.

So, do you still think that there will be no Iran nuking. I still think that we don't know, because things are developing much faster than they can be kept up with now.

Amerigo Sciurofascista said...

Brian, evangelical authoritarians tend to be gruesomely sentimental romantics. It's their substitute for passion.

roger said...

Mr. NYP -- ah, the feeling of throwing in the sly crowbar.... But, I must defend Joyce K. There are poems that are important in themselves, and then there are poems that are important as a source of parody. I have read many a good parody of the trees poem, and I'm not sure that Rilke's first Sonnet to Orpheus (Da stieg ein Baum) wasn't an indirect tribute to the master himself. Not, it is true, the orthodox view, but the critics haven't yet admitted the obvious influence of Eugene Field's immortal "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night/ Sailed off in a wooden shoe" on the Duino Elegies, so what are ya gonna do?

It baffles me, honestly, that someone like Kagan, urging the most stupendously stupid wars -- wars that, besides being immoral, will pretty much gain the country as a whole nothing -- aren't universally laughed at. But I went and looked through conservative blogs that mentioned Kagan, and the dreamvision of Bush just biding his time until He Erects The Rod to which ALL MUST BOW is disturbingly prevalent in the peckerwood hinterlands.

You can never tell when a system is going to make that one final overstretching move - but I don't really see that the U.S. has any choice on Iran except to huff and puff. Bombing wouldn't stop the Iranians. It would isolate the U.S. And it would, I think, make the next phase of the vanity project in Iraq much more bloody, in terms of American lives.

There is one thing that I sort of count on, thinking about what is ahead politically. I honestly do think our politics is going to be very shaped by weather events in the next couple of years, or the next decade or two. The coasts are as vulnerable as ever, there are more people there than ever, the Guard is far away, and FEMA is a wreck. If, in August or September, we get the kind of storms the power companies are predicting, Bush is going to be under the whammy of his peculiar inadequacy in the face of crisis once again.

We will see. I don't know if you saw this, but a significant portion of the Eiger glacier in Switzerland just collapsed. Things are not going to be normal.

new york pervert said...

roger--thanks, I hadn't heard and just looked it up--melting.

I agree 'Trees' has had marvelous uses. A reviewer in 1982 wrote of 'Lana: The Lady, The Legend, and the Truth' that 'this horribly written book' concludes with two pages of Lana's favourite things and reads like 'Trees.' (She wrote things like 'how I'd love to go to Ciro's or the Montecito with a dark, handsome man! Back then the town was exciting...and fun!' and 'oh, I think, give me Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, anything romantic!' (she had a Muzak system in her home with Rachmaninoff and Scriabin on it). My favourite was earlier on, when she said that it was her 6th husband who finally made her understand the joy of sex, which she prefaced with 'No, I'm not frigid.' So witty, our beloved nymphomaniacs, especially the ones that make their daughters take the fall when a murder rap wouldn't do wonders for their careers.)

Back slightly more on topic: I hope you're right, and if the pressure to pull out the fervid and miniscule POTUS does prove to be not enuf, it will be an important redirection, but will be said not to be one. I appreciate your bringing up Kagan, as he is not the kind of thing I know how to find my way to alone, and it's some of the most embarassing writing I've seen in a long time.

Brian Miller said...

Since our entire systemn is now based on debt (primarily to Asia, but also the Europeans) I wonder if someone in Beijing is not going to simply say to more rational elements of the U.S. Government "Reign the nutcases in, or else we start dumping all the paper at fire sale prices."

My God. If my personal finances were not in microcosm a perfect sample of the irrational Federal Government, I'd be bailing out for Australia about now. Six magic Lotto numbers. Six magic Lotto numbers.

Amerigo Sciurofascista said...

Roger has a better understanding, Brian, but I think any fire sale would be disastrous for China. The government there is very ambitious and the economic hit they'd have to take would come hard at this point. The nomenklatura there hates and fears internal threats. People would lose career over it as big projects were shut down or put on hold.

Brian Miller said...

It IS indeed easy to overemphasize the power of China-or the flexibility the CCP has in making radical policy changes. Still, absent the ecological collapse Roger (perhaps rightly) foresees, we know which way the power is really flowing in the world these days, slowly but surely.

On an off-topic, but slightly related note, the recent (last month?) Harper's Magazine article on Wal Mart monopoly power (a big part of China's growth) was quite interesting. I'm curious if you or roger have seen the article. It basically rejects the big argument one hears: that the purported benefits to the poor from Wal Mart's "Always Low Prices" are far outweighed by the negative overall impacts of a monopoly-ification of the American economy.