Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Julian Assange: The Withdrawal Method or a season ticket?

LAST week, Louise Mensch, Tory MP, wrote in the Daily Telegraph challenging George Galloway for saying:   'Not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion'.  Mr. Galloway, the Bradford MP, had reasoned:  'Some people believe that when you go to bed with someone, take off your clothes, and have sex with them and then fall asleep, you're already in the sex game with them.'  Ms Mensch wrote:  'While we were mentally vomiting at the term "sex game" used by Mr. Galloway in any context, he made matters worse' for Madam Mensch, by saying 'It might be really bad manners not to have tapped her on the shoulder and said, "Do you mind if I do it again?' It might be really sordid and bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning.'

Louise Mensch then argues:  'Sexual consent is not football; you can't buy a season ticket.'   The participant inserter must clock-in, it seems, on each separate occasion.  And Ms. Mensch concludes her piece entitled 'Still Getting it Wrong on Rape' by arguing:  'This week shows us what so many male politicians really think about consent and sex, and the rights of a woman to withold it, or attach conditions to it (my bold italics)... There is still a long way to go.'

I recent read E.L James long popular porn book 'Fifty Shades of Grey' and was struck by the endless pages relating to negotiation of the sexual act and by the contractual nature of the content covering health and safety, butt plugs and nipple clamps etc.  At the same time I was reading Mary Midgley 'Evolution as a Religion' and came across this quote by Fredrich  Nietzsche:  'From a doctorate exam. - "What is the task of all higher education?" - To turn a man into a machine - "By what means?"  He has to learn how to feel bored.  "How is this achieved?" - Through the concept of duty....  "Who is the perfect man?"  The civil servant.'

This triumph of the civil servant in the post-post-modern society is indeed curious and perplexing.  I recently encountered a version of it while helping a member of my UNITE Branch - a binman - fight a claim that he was guilty under Bury MBC's 'Dignity at Work Policy', because he had raised his voice and engaged in an altercation; a charge which would have been laughable only ten years ago.  Now the bureaucracy has come of age in all its stupefying glory even in the bedroom as well as on the shopfloor.

In August 1936, George Orwell wrote a letter to Henry Miller telling him how he liked his book Tropic of Cancer'... first of all (I liked) a peculiar rhythmic quality in your English, secondly the fact that you dealt with facts well known to everybody but never mentioned in print (e.g. when the chap is supposed to be making love to the woman but is dying for a piss all the while),'.  Now Orwell raises the problem of withdrawal or when to clock-out of an encounter or close the contractual participation.  Decades ago, I'm sure that I used to clock-out far to early for the other party to the process, and what if the bloke is dying for a piss, does then have to ask for consent before disengaging?  How does Madam Mensch suggest we get our lady love to give us permission to leave the room in an emergency?

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