December 30, 2015

"[A]s long as there have been humans making beautiful things, there have been other humans who wish to subsume or harness that energy via sexual congress."

"Sex is a method (and an effective one) for achieving a kind of transcendental closeness to another person and, by inevitable extension, to the work that they make."

From a New Yorker review by Amanda Petrusich of a book that's "an unapologetic celebration of how a coterie of self-liberated women ultimately chose to explore that complex, ancient idea—to see what happens when a person comes at beauty with beauty, when she gives herself over, entirely, to an abstraction."

The book is "Groupies and Other Electric Ladies: The Original 1969 Rolling Stone Photographs by Baron Wolman."

35 comments:

sean said...

As long as there have been high status males, there have been stupid young women eager to service them sexually.

damikesc said...

Yeah, I don't get the attempt to romanticize being a sperm receptacle for a rock star. I'm not going to judge, but let's not pretend she was more to them than she was.

Shouting Thomas said...

"Self-liberated" is a signal that the same old feminist bullshit of the last 60 years is being flogged again.

Liberated from what is never explained. Probably from the boredom of shopping at high end stores on the Upper East Side.

I'm not so much against whoring as I'm uninterested in another dull upper middle class woman dressing up her whoring as a political statement. Who's trying to stop her from whoring? Answer... Nobody.

A must to not read.

madAsHell said...

"an unapologetic celebration of how a coterie of self-liberated women ultimately chose to explore that complex, ancient idea—to see what happens when a person comes at beauty with beauty, when she gives herself over, entirely, to an abstraction."

W. T. F. is this noise. I'm not sure how someone can write such nonsense. This is material for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.
This is how we glorify women with low self-esteem, and daddy issues.

Greg Hlatky said...

A whore is a whore is a whore.

David said...

"Sex is a method (and an effective one) for achieving a kind of transcendental closeness to another person and, by inevitable extension, to the work that they make."

I get the transcendental closeness part. It does happen in sex. But with casual sex the transcendental is usually transient, and the closeness turns out to be an illusion. Especially if you know that there is another one just outside the door.

Quayle said...

"Sex is a method (and an effective one) for achieving a kind of transcendental closeness to another person"

I'll stipulate this as written, but only with the qualification that when done with no other commitment and void of concomitantly developed emotional bond, (a) it is extremely temporary and often transitory, (b) is requires one to learn to separate their spirituality and emotions from their body, (c) over time its ability to produce the (admitted) desired positive effect decreases proportionally to frequency of times attempted, which means that it therefore produces what could be called a numbness or hardness, and (d) it therefore ultimately results in both physical and emotional isolation from others - the inability to truly be close.

So, celebrating the ability to feel while losing the ability to feel.

A legitimate trade, if you want to make it, as some do.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'll stipulate this as written, but only with the qualification that when done with no other commitment and void of concomitantly developed emotional bond, (a) it is extremely temporary and often transitory, (b) is requires one to learn to separate their spirituality and emotions from their body, (c) over time its ability to produce the (admitted) desired positive effect decreases proportionally to frequency of times attempted, which means that it therefore produces what could be called a numbness or hardness, and (d) it therefore ultimately results in both physical and emotional isolation from others - the inability to truly be close."

The author seems to be trying to say that the transcendent, enduring bond is to the art itself. It's hard to believe anyone actually achieves this lofty state, but the literary straining to make it so is at least funny, at best, like religion.

SOJO said...

Those early groupies weren't exactly beautiful. At most they were stylish, and some were quite ugly, therefore, they did not fulfill the 'beauty meets beauty' ideal of which she speaks. The question is what were their choices realistically? What was the opportunity cost? Were they giving up the stable pleasures of love and family, storied careers of their own, or mundane lives during which they wanted to kill themselves most days out of pure boredom?

Titus said...

What happened to these women?

"(a) it is extremely temporary and often transitory, (b) is requires one to learn to separate their spirituality and emotions from their body, (c) over time its ability to produce the (admitted) desired positive effect decreases proportionally to frequency of times attempted,"

I agree with A and B but disagree with C.

Guildofcannonballs said...

As long as humans have existed, other humans have wanted to congress them up sexually for reasons sundry.

Women don't care if a person creates beauty or steals it, or whether beauty is defined as nothing more than "makes money" or "daddy hates it"--which isn't beauty in a divine context, beauty's natural home, but instead in a capitalist power-mad-boy-crazy-loins sense that can get real ugly, real fast.

The feeling of besting the rampant competition to shag a rock star is probably the impetus for the feelings of beauty declaimed. Hearing the lamentations of the women passed around by the roadies, those who didn't have the wow/it factor to service the star, is the cherry on top.

Paco Wové said...

"the transcendent, enduring bond is to the art itself."

Through repeated sexual intercourse I have become one with his twenty-bar drum solo

Quayle said...

"It's hard to believe anyone actually achieves this lofty state, but the literary straining to make it so is at least funny, at best, like religion."

Yes, like religion, but certainly a given that it would be.

I'm no expert, but I'm happy to amateurishly posit that the most frequent rites throughout all time was either sacrificing children or sacrificing virgins.

The educated, liberated women of our modern era have the first sacrifice type so perfected into efficiency that they don't have to even wait for the baby to be born.

As there are so few virgins among the class in question, the second type of sacrifice becomes more problematic.

Fortunately, our sights have been lowered and we're happy to make Mick Jagger into our god. And Mick isn't so discriminating regarding virgins (kind of a second-rate god, apparently) - so the virgin requirement around the rite is loosened.

But, man, what a religious tradition-story to pass on to your posterity, if you ever have any posterity. (Again, the second rate label comes to mind. The most creative act a human can do is create another human, but some feel that unworthy of their genius and instead want to be a very tenuous part of creating a 4 minute pop song that Cousin Brucie can spin.)

"My grandchildren, I was that gin-soaked bar room queen."

SGT Ted said...

Women who want to have sex with the rich alpha male riding in limousines and throwing money around. Status fucking. As if no women have ever done that.

That's just the unrestrained hypergamy within the rebellious kid culture of the 60s. There is no art or liberation to it at all.

SGT Ted said...

As a demonstration of raw female mating instinct, unrestrained by any sense of propriety, it is instructive. But, despite the rationalizations, it isn't any sort of artistic or political statement whatsoever.

Char Char Binks said...

"humans making beautiful things" does not include anything mentioned in that book review. It's all about money, fame, status, and power.

traditionalguy said...

Adam was doing his part tending The Garden, naming the animals and fellowshipping with God...and yet he was not satisfied.

And then God created Woman! And Adam's guys has been seeking to subsume that creativity ever since. Just another proof of Intelligent Design.

Xmas said...

Weren't some of the girls in that photo essay underaged? I thought I remember one of the "queens" of the groupies being 16 years old and her friends being 14 or something. (Yep, Babe Buell was only 16)

tim in vermont said...

I ventured a hypergamy argument in a family discussion, guess what? We are all in denial about it now. The women were trying to figure out why Gavin Rossdale would bang the nanny when he was married to such a strong successful woman, Gwen Steffani. I suggested that strong and successful are qualities that women seek in men, and that men don't seek these same qualities in women, and would rather have sex with a woman that is actually around, even if not as "attractive" as the alternative.

Hint, don't try this at your home.

Freeman Hunt said...

This seems like an attempt to put a nice shine on, "Sure, I'll shag you, but you're not girlfriend material," type relationships.

Mr Wibble said...


Yes, like religion, but certainly a given that it would be.

I'm no expert, but I'm happy to amateurishly posit that the most frequent rites throughout all time was either sacrificing children or sacrificing virgins.

The educated, liberated women of our modern era have the first sacrifice type so perfected into efficiency that they don't have to even wait for the baby to be born.

As there are so few virgins among the class in question, the second type of sacrifice becomes more problematic.

Fortunately, our sights have been lowered and we're happy to make Mick Jagger into our god. And Mick isn't so discriminating regarding virgins (kind of a second-rate god, apparently) - so the virgin requirement around the rite is loosened.

But, man, what a religious tradition-story to pass on to your posterity, if you ever have any posterity. (Again, the second rate label comes to mind. The most creative act a human can do is create another human, but some feel that unworthy of their genius and instead want to be a very tenuous part of creating a 4 minute pop song that Cousin Brucie can spin.)


It's just another example of how Chesterton was correct. Get rid of God and you accept anything. In this case, they devolved back to the most basic pagan religious ideas.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

When women want to use their sexuality for some purpose then their sexuality is sacred and mystical and their use of it is part of the essential feminine.

When women don't want to use their sexuality for some purpose then any mention of it by others is not only wrong but akin to violence and evidence of rape culture, etc--seeing sexuality in that context is objectifying and wrong.

Women get to determine which of those two paradigms apply to any situation at any time, and aren't required to be even internally consistent (they can switch btw views in a given situation, or argue both, somehow).

Perfectly clear.

Sebastian said...

"an unapologetic celebration of how a coterie of self-liberated women ultimately chose to explore that complex, ancient idea—to see what happens when a person comes at beauty with beauty, when she gives herself over, entirely, to an abstraction." Or really, an unwitting manifestation of how a group of groupies deluded themselves, or at least women writing about them, to ignore that simple, ancient idea - to see what happens when a willing female body comes at lust with lust, when she gives herself over, entirely if briefly, to male desire and outscrewing the other chicks. Mick Jagger as "abstraction" and "art": apparently, old feminists do have a sense of humor after all.

William said...

I read that the recently deceased Lemmy denied having sex with two thousand women. He said he true number was only about one thousand. It was one thousand different women, but pretty much the same experience each time. I'm no expert in these matters, but I would guess that there aren't many variations or epiphanies in the basic rock god/groupie coupling. A guy who endures the thousand lunar phases of a single woman might have a richer experience of life. Or maybe not........If I had my druthers, I'd go for the Charley Sheen experience. Porn stars offer a far more varied and intense sensual experience than groupies, especially if you give them a ten grand tip. What with AIDS and all that green slime in your urinary tract, there are definite downsides to the Charley Sheen experience, but if you want transcendental sex, porn stars in luxury hotels are the way to go.

Michael K said...

Bill Cosby had no comment on advice of his attorney.

cubanbob said...

The author seems to be trying to say that the transcendent, enduring bond is to the art itself. It's hard to believe anyone actually achieves this lofty state, but the literary straining to make it so is at least funny, at best, like religion.
12/30/15, 8:05 AM

Just a fancy way to justify getting laid when for whatever reason the person has a need for justification.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

to see what happens when a person comes at beauty with beauty

I don't know what this means. Does this mean anything?

when she gives herself over, entirely, to an abstraction

Wanting to have sex with a highly-desired high status member of a social group isn't an abstraction, and neither is acting on that desire. That the high status person was an artist doesn't change anything, really--why doesn't this framework apply equally well to, say, Monica Lewinski?

I have a funny feeling this writer doesn't have much of a point/much interesting to say, knows it, and is trying hard to pretend otherwise. Courtiers at least had complex lives/social roles, but it doesn't seem like the same is true of groupies. I mean, I get that women = important, but the writer doesn't make a very compelling case.

tim in vermont said...

Perfectly clear HoodlumDoodlum

Obviously you suffer from a low tolerance for ambiguity.

tim in vermont said...

I think we used to call something like this a literary conceit. I don't remember anybody thinking that a literary conceit was real in this world the way the writer pretends to.

damikesc said...

This seems like an attempt to put a nice shine on, "Sure, I'll shag you, but you're not girlfriend material," type relationships.

I wouldn't even give it THAT much credit. These aren't women that these dudes pursued. These women threw themselves at them. I half-suspect that if the men slept naked in a bed, these women would try to ride them in their sleep.

Nobody respects a doormat. And these women were nothing more than doormats.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

We're told that women are just as sexual as men, have the same types of sexual desire (in qualitative and quantitative terms) and that believing anything else is sexist and probably "sex shaming." The meteoric recent career gain of someone like Amy Schumer is premised on this concept.

We're also now told that women's sexual actions, desires, and sexuality generally are mysterious and important, have deep meaning and should be taken seriously as a topic of thought and inquiry. The divine feminine and all that Vagina Monologues jazz, you know.

These two ideas are contradictory. If women are just out to "get their rocks off" like we think of men as being, then them having sex with famous people isn't meaningful or interesting--just another bang, as it were. If women are special and different, on the other hand, it makes sense to think of (and possibly even treat) them as different, and therefore not sexist to do so.

Anyway, that's me mansplaining logic, I guess, and Lord knows I'm not a respected writer or academic...so I guess never mind.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Girls Like Status - The Hold Steady

This one was on the Aqua Teen movie soundtrack. "Guys go for looks, girls go for status."

mikee said...

A woman engaging in sex acts with a man does not create a meaningful relationship between them, except sometimes inside the woman's head. See the book by Monica Lewinsky for a truly iconic example of this.


SOJO said...

@Xmas Yeah, they were underaged. One of those to which you are likely referring came from the neighborhood I grew up in. I dunno, 10-15 years older than I was, but still a "neighborhood kid." She came from the rich area and did not meet the best end.

The abstraction stuff is pure leftover hippie bullshit (that Pamela des Barres pushes) and those girls were post-60s, Madonna era. Mean and harsh, despite their background, probably hurting underneath with daddy and drug issues.

Paco Wové said...

"mansplaining logic"

Department of Redundancy Department