Jack Saturday

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Anti-Job, Pro-Freedom Quote Of The Week 21

Q: Much of your writing has had to do with the role of pleasure in people's lives -- often embodied by rock, drugs, sex. American culture has always been conflicted about pleasure -- glorifying it while preaching and passing laws against it. This has been one of the main undercurrents in the so-called culture wars. After a decade of denial, where do you see the "problem" of pleasure today?

A: Americans take for granted a level of sexual freedom, and a degree of choice in personal style and conduct and expression, that didn't exist before the '60s. The variety of food, fashion, pop-music genres, cable TV programs, the mixing and matching of cultures -- all of this is a gain in pleasure. Yet there is a strong strain of joylessness and anti-eroticism in the culture, of continual exhortation to duty, sacrifice, corporate efficiency, order, control, and putting one's nose to the grindstone. Today it does seem that our pleasures are embedded in a framework of repression. I've always thought that a taste of pleasure, however compromised, leads to the desire for more and rebellion against the obstacles to having it; but I don't see that happening right now.
Ellen Willis


Post a Comment

<< Home