January 15, 2018

Fiction and nonfiction: "Cat Person" and Aziz Ansari.

Lately, I've been thinking about fiction and nonfiction. I've said a few times that I love the nonfiction essays of David Foster Wallace but I can't force myself into the fiction. Just last month, I got some insight from his interview with David Lipsky:
I can tell by the Lipsky interview that Wallace put much less effort into those essays than he put into his fictions, but the fiction doesn't work on me the way it's supposed to, which is — Wallace says this in the long interview — that it's supposed to be great fun....
Lipsky emailed me and challenged my resistance to reading Wallace's fiction. I've tried to get into "Infinite Jest," and I can see how much fun it's supposed to be, but it's just not fun for me.

I'm working my way to saying something about Aziz Ansari, so let me preview the nonfiction sex story about him that's in the news today. He's quoted as saying, during the incident, "Oh, of course, it’s only fun if we’re both having fun," and afterwards texting, "It was fun meeting you last night," to which the woman responded, "Last night might’ve been fun for you, but it wasn’t for me."

Anyway, Lipsky recommended 2 short stories that might awaken me to the joys of reading fiction from David Foster Wallace: "Good Old Neon" and "The Suffering Channel" (both in  the collection "Oblivion"). I've read them and I've been mulling over what to say to Lipsky, something about the difference between fiction and nonfiction. I was thinking the answer is something like: In Wallace's nonfiction, we see, through his eyes, people and situations that are really out there in the world. In his fiction, his mind has created a world, and everything in it he made for reasons that came out of his head, and that's just too intense, too nightmarish, too sad. In his nonfiction, he goes on a cruise ship or to a state fair or a lobster festival or to the porno film awards ceremony. He comes up with perceptions and ideas about those real things that other people created, that are not figments of his imagination. He didn't invent things for the purpose of making us feel awful about them (or good about laughing at them). That stuff really exists, and he's our fascinating companion, looking at it with us. We're not alone.

The work of fiction that's got so much attention these last 2 months is "Cat Person" by Kristen Roupenian, in The New Yorker. Many people who were talking about it didn't really seem to fully register that it was a work of fiction. As Laura Adamczyk wrote (in AV Club):
Debating over who’s the bigger jerk in this [story about a short male-female relationship], or any, work of fiction misses the point.... And yet because so many people came to the story through social media, as opposed to having the print issue delivered to their mail boxes, they clicked through and read without seeing its “fiction” designation. This no doubt encouraged some people to read the story not only as nonfiction but also as something that was up for debate, something they should or should not agree with....
And now we have the turnaround, a nonfiction account of a date with the charming young comedian Aziz Ansari that people are reading and comparing to "Cat Person." But Aziz Ansari is a real person, and the story told by the pseudonymous "Grace" is exposing him to devastating contempt. He's not a fictional character, like "Robert," the "cat person" Roupenian created for us to loathe. Grace's story is presented as true, which of course doesn't make it true, and for all we know, "Cat Person" squares up more accurately to something that happened in real life, but "Cat Person" is called fiction.

Here, I'm having the reverse feeling that I have with David Foster Wallace. I prefer the fiction. I prefer "Cat Person" to Grace's story, because "Cat Person" excludes the question of what should we do to this man who pushed his way through a sexual encounter without noticing how not-into-it the woman was. We can observe and analyze the details contemplatively because there are no real people, just stand-ins for people who might exist, and there's no issue of whether the author is being fair to anyone or whether "Robert" should be arrested or otherwise ruined. We watch and judge and learn. We — all of us — have the woman's vicarious experience. But the decision to tell the stark details of a bad sexual encounter with Aziz Ansari feels so dismal and sad. I'm not able to think about the story itself. I'm completely distracted by the exposure of the frailty of a particular individual, a real person.

A problem I've had with fiction is the sadism: The author creates characters who will be amusing to torment. But Grace's story entails finding a real person, someone we already like (or love), and telling a story about him that demands that we hate him.

102 comments:

tcrosse said...

Caitlin Flanagan holds forth on the Humiliation of Aziz Ansari at The Atlantic

Birches said...

This no doubt encouraged some people to read the story not only as nonfiction but also as something that was up for debate, something they should or should not agree with....

Uhhh, isn't this pretty much what literary analysis is?

David said...

Sometimes only the writer knows whether something is fiction or nonfiction. He or she may not actually see the distinction while writing it, and the line gets fuzzier with time or the need to justify, defend or explain.

Achilles said...

I read the story as much as I could. Saw no crimes committed. The guy seems to be socially inept. He apparently got the wrong idea from the flirting and her obvious overtures toward him. I would bet she is downplaying her interest in him.

"She says Ansari brushed her off at first, but after he realized they both brought the same kind of camera to the event, an old model from the 80s, he was impressed.

They flirted a little — he took two pictures of her, she snapped some of him — and then she and her date went back to the dance floor. “It was like, one of those things where you’re aware of the other person all night,” she said. “We would catch eyes every now and then.”"


This woman is an awful person. Whomever published this is getting their clicks. The #metoo movement just sucks in general.

Henry said...

A tangentially related remark:

I'm reading David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, about 40 years too late. But I'm old enough to get all the old references to old media sensations and old political controversies.

Wallace, I've noticed, enjoys the scatalogical description. A tennis player is described as having a "vaguely pubic goatee." In another essay, "There are towering plates of 'Curl Fries' which are public-hair-shaped and make people's fingers whine in the sun."

Then there's this amazing pair of sentences, featuring snot, shit, scabs, goo:

Seawater corrodes vessels with amazing speed -- rusts them, exfoliates paint, strips varnish, dulls shine, coats ships' hulls with barnacles and kelp-clumps and a vague ubiquitous nautical snot that seems like death incarnate. We some real horrors in port, local boats that looked dipped in a mixture of acid and shit, scabbed with rust and goo, ravaged by what they float in."

rcocean said...

Sorry to be so out of touch. But what is a "Aziz Ansari"?

Is that a new planet someone discovered?

And how do you pronounce Adamcykz or whatever?

Just askin.

Jessica said...

She may demand that we hate him, but I don't think her demands are being met by about half the people who read her account. She went on a drunk-date with Ansari , voluntarily gets naked with him, voluntarily allows him to perform oral sex on her, voluntarily gives him oral sex, and remains naked for most of their time together. If I'm remembering correctly, she made no move to get her clothes on, or leave the apartment, or say "no" or "stop" during any portion of what she now refers to as sexual assault.

I'll echo a great many conservative critics, and say that if women wish to be seen as fully equal to men (which they should), they must take responsibility for themselves as fully capable adults and moral agents. Voluntarily engaging in sexual activity and then accusing the man of sexually assaulting you for said activity is unacceptable.

Henry said...

20 years too late.

n.n said...

So, it's day after regrets. Or perhaps politically incongruent: rape, but not rape-rape.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

That Aziz guy is a real idiot. Some how he interpreted a naked woman in his apartment sucking his dick and letting him eat her as consenting to his request to screw her. She said no and he left it at that.

What an asshole.

WK said...

Ansari’s 2015 book was titled “Modern Romance” and focused on the impact of social media, dating sites, texting, etc on “Modern” relationships. Apparently, if your normal means of communicating is electronically - you can miss those subtle nonverbal cues when interacting with a real human.

YoungHegelian said...

Oh, of course, it’s only fun if we’re both having fun," and afterwards texting, "It was fun meeting you last night," to which the woman responded, "Last night might’ve been fun for you, but it wasn’t for me."

Okay, so it's about fun. Well, okay then. It's about fun.

What does fun have to do with an act being moral or not?

If I throw you a birthday party & you don't think it turned out to be fun, that isn't a moral failing on my part, It's socially unfortunate & unpleasant for all parties involved, but it isn't a moral failing.

My point in this is that, since the 1960s, our society has struggled to make sexual activities matters of private "fun", & not matters of moral import. The young woman who attempted to hook up with Mr. Ansari broke all sorts of moral concerns in her lusting after him (e.g. how do you think her date at the party in LA felt when she so publicly chased after Ansari? Notice how his feelings are of no matter at all). When one is involved in activities that have been declared non-moral, such activities do not suddenly become moral concerns because you ended the day not having "fun". And, if such matters are indeed moral, then they bind all participants in moral responsibilities & they do so from the get-go.

madAsHell said...

I attempted to read David Foster Wallace, and failed. It was like having a 14 year old girl constantly re-tuning the AM radio to find HER song.

Char Char Binks said...

I just want to know which rape culture to blame.

Lucien said...

What Bill said.

Aziz' crime is apparently that this woman wanted a witty, funny, enchanting, romantic date, maybe ending with some tender love-making after a long night of talking - while Aziz wanted to fuck. In terms of Scott Adams' "watching different movies in our heads", she was watching a romantic comedy and he was watching a porno.

While he acknowledged her refusal to participate in his porno, she'll still never forgive him for ruining her romantic comedy.

YoungHegelian said...

@Lucien,

Aziz' crime is apparently that this woman wanted a witty, funny, enchanting, romantic date, maybe ending with some tender love-making after a long night of talking -

And you know what? If she had said that she wanted exactly that sort of evening from the first moment she showed up, I'll bet you dollars to donuts Aziz would have been happy to give her that sort of an evening. Especially, if he knew up front he was going to get to score at the end of it after an evening of "romance".

But, Aziz fell into the worst sort of mortal sin in the World of Romance. He failed to read the woman's mind.

robother said...

Aziz doesn't seem to have bunny boiler radar. The Glenn Close character is not entirely fictional, as various men who have lived in NYC environs can attest.

wwww said...



The unreliable narrator issue starts with the wine. She wants red, instead of white wine. They are going to eat seafood. Pairing white with seafood seems reasonable to me. Anyways, according to the story, she does not ask for red wine, or in any way signal that she wants red wine. Aziz Ansari is not described as being pushy over the wine. But she's annoyed she does not get red wine.

Quote: "After arriving at his apartment in Manhattan on Monday evening, they exchanged small talk and drank wine. “It was white,” she said. “I didn’t get to choose and I prefer red, but it was white wine.”

The story expects him to know what she's feeling and what she wants.

"Ansari wanted to have sex. She said she remembers him asking again and again, “Where do you want me to fuck you?” while she was still seated on the countertop. She says she found the question tough to answer because she says she didn’t want to fuck him at all."

Why is this tough to answer? You tell him, in no uncertain terms, you are not doing that on the first date.

You don't do this:

"Ansari instructed her to turn around. “He sat back and pointed to his penis and motioned for me to go down on him. And I did. I think I just felt really pressured. It was literally the most unexpected thing I thought would happen at that moment because I told him I was uncomfortable.”

Story:
“I just remember looking in the mirror and seeing him behind me. He was very much caught up in the moment and I obviously very much wasn’t,” Grace said. “After he bent me over is when I stood up and said no, I don’t think I’m ready to do this, I really don’t think I’m going to do this. And he said, ‘How about we just chill, but this time with our clothes on?’”

My comment:
Wait. You don't have any clothes on? What did you do with your clothes? Don't you think you're sending a strong non-verbal signal here?

Story:
“After he bent me over is when I stood up and said no, I don’t think I’m ready to do this, I really don’t think I’m going to do this. And he said, ‘How about we just chill, but this time with our clothes on?’”

My comment: OK, so He slows down the situation after she tells him clearly she doesn't want to go forward.

Story:
"They got dressed, sat side by side on the couch they’d already “chilled” on, and he turned on an episode of Seinfeld. She’d never seen it before. She said that’s when the reality of what was going on sank in. “It really hit me that I was violated. I felt really emotional all at once when we sat down there. That that whole experience was actually horrible.”

WHAT? This story does not depict an assault. He's the one who suggested they put their clothes back on.

YoungHegelian said...

When men are incompetent with women in intimate situations it's because they're clueless losers.

When women are incompetent with men in intimate situations it's because men are clueless exploitative losers.

William said...

Aziz might come out ahead. The public is looking for a celebrity who has been disproportionately shamed, and they might have finally found one. For obvious reasons, people can't unite behind Sen Franken, Pres. Bush, or that gropey guy in the wheelchair, but Aziz might be able to achieve true victim status. A Hollywood celebrity who has been wronged by an irate woman. Perhaps he should be honored at the next awards show. A chance for Meryl to show off her standing ovation skills.

Leora said...

I personally wouldn't read it unless the woman put herself out there by using her real name. It seems deeply unfair to expose one person and not the other.

Charlie Eklund said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Eklund said...

I always feel blessed by God as well as thoroughly happy and fulfilled in my marriage to my wonderful wife but even if that were not the case, you couldn't pay me to be single again and dating. There ain't enough money in the world.

Anonymous said...

Good grief, does this woman have any free will at all? Any agency? Any responsibility?

“He sat back and pointed to his penis and motioned for me to go down on him. And I did. I think I just felt really pressured."

nd the pettiness of some of her complaints:

"[T]hey exchanged small talk and drank wine. 'It was white,' she said. 'I didn’t get to choose and I prefer red, but it was white wine.'"

Once again, why can't she just open her trap and say she prefers red wine?

Curious George said...

The real question is are Aziz acts punishable? We won't know for sure until our resident dullard #IngaKnew chimes in.

rcocean said...

You want to have sex? Have sex.

Don't want to have sex? Don't.

Stop being a drama queen. If you're such a wimp you have bad sex because you're "pressured" - too bad, so sad.

Pioneer women used to fight off Indians, raise a family, and still have time of cook supper. And now we have snow flakes.

Leland said...

So would what they did count as sexual relations? I'm asking for a former President.

Auntie Trump said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Auntie Trump said...

“He sat back and pointed to his penis and motioned for me to go down on him. And I did.”

Some penises are magical like that.

MaxedOutMama said...

Sorry, I don't think the behavior described is anything other than that of a normal randy male and a total doofus of a woman who is not able to even properly express her boundaries to herself. I don't hate him. So he may not be the world's best seducer, but he's certainly not a sexual criminal.

It's obvious that anytime she really did call a halt he observed it. There was no force in any way. She's as much a jerk as he is, and more really, because wtf is she doing publicizing this?

What has happened to women, anyway? Are they too dumb to even say "No" these days? And if they are, is it the man's fault?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Virtual strangers with zero social skills have extraordinarily shitty sex. What a shocking surprise! Who could have predicted that?!

Going to go ahead and echo hardin on this one: this is a personal problem, not a social problem. And the woman is a piece of shit for humiliating this man to this extent when he did nothing wrong and she is 100% to blame for being a spineless, whiny little tramp.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

My favorite quote from the story:

Then he said, ‘Let’s just chill over here on the couch.’” ... When she sat down on the floor next to Ansari, who sat on the couch, she thought he might rub her back, or play with her hair — something to calm her down.

Both naked. He's sitting on the couch. She's sitting on the floor at his feet. The classic blowjob positioning. Of course he told her to suck it.



MaxedOutMama said...

Bill, Republic of Texas at 6:12 nails it. From her own account, the most we can say is that she was not turned on by the encounter.

This lady is a total jerk. TOTAL JERK. No sense of ethics, no sense of responsibility or civility. And that's how she comes off when she is telling the story.

I don't know why this was published. It is not newsworthy. I think he should sue. Not that he did anything wrong, but he should sue.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Anonymous piece of shit girl, here is some frank advice from someone who has a spectacular sex life. Keep your pants on for a while. Grow your ass up. Find a good man and date him for several months at a bare minimum before you get naked together. Talk about everything before you do it, and I mean everything. Picture what you would do if you get pregnant and discuss that with him. If you can't do that, don't have sex with him; go back to the grow your ass up step and start again. Spend a lot of time learning each other's bodies with a loving attitude and sense of humor; talk frankly about what you like and don't like and what you might like to try and what you don't care for. Spend a lot more time getting to know each other out of the bedroom. Make sure you can trust him completely. Give it time.

I don't care what bullshit you've picked up from watching Girls or reading Jezebel. You are not going to have good, pleasurable, fun, safe, trusting, quality sex with some dude you just met. You never ever will, and you will feel like garbage when you try. Just accept it and make a different choice. Then you're going to project your self-loathing onto your partners who have done nothing wrong other than get a cheap lay from an immature woman with no self-respect. Don't be that girl.

YoungHegelian said...

@Pants,

she is 100% to blame for being a spineless, whiny little tramp.

Okay, but I sense you're still blocking. Sit back & tell us how you really feel.

MaxedOutMama said...

Better yet, he should work up a comedy skit playing off this - "The Worst Date". He'd have about 3/4s of his audience rolling on the floor in laughter.

She deserves to be treated like the narcissistic jerk she is. Also she should be locked into a padded room for 48 hours, nude, and be forced to listen to Robert Palmer's "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On" on an endless loop. Maybe then she would catch a clue. Link for those who missed it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyNa-ReeZc8

Auntie Trump said...

Going to go ahead and echo hardin on this one:

It’s come to this.

themightypuck said...

DFW wrote a short story called The Depressed Person that he got in trouble for writing because it was mean to depressed people. On hindsight, his horrifying description of depression offered a bit of an explanation as to why he might have offed himself.

David Begley said...

DFW is deceased. Sorry to say.

Our greatest living American novelist is Tom Wolfe. He is up there in years with RBG.

Althouse just turned 67. She is a writer of extraordinary talent. Master of the Universe type talent. Player of the year talent.

The blog is 14 but each post has a life span of 24 hours.

It’s not about money grubbing like Michael Wolfe. It is about the art of fictionalizing and making sense of modern America via the Althouse novel.

The Althouse novel would memorialize - for eternity - life in 2018 and modern America. Who else could do it?

Suppose I am out of line here. Maybe the blog is the better art form for AA, but the novel has some staying power.

Jupiter said...

The giveaway is "She says Ansari brushed her off at first, but after he realized they both brought the same kind of camera to the event, an old model from the 80s, he was impressed."

Translation; she's not much to look at, but when he realized she was DTF, he thought, "Fuck it, why not?".

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Okay, but I sense you're still blocking. Sit back & tell us how you really feel.

*snort

Ok, that was a little harsh, admittedly, but as a woman who is mothering four (soon to be five) future women, I have a hard time adequately managing my frustration that this completely embarrassing unmitigated bullshit is the prevailing thought environment into which they will be launched.

YoungHegelian said...

@Pants,

but as a woman who is mothering four (soon to be five) future women,

Do you ever watch the shows for 'tweens on Disney channel & the like? OMG, the role models for girls are appalling!

My description for it is that girls & young women nowadays swim in a sea of "bitch".

Ignorance is Bliss said...

From the Ansari story I learn that sexual assault is so trivial that it's not worth the trouble to put your clothes on and walk out the door.

That is the lesson we were supposed to take from this, right?

Luke Lea said...

Reflecting on the Aziz Ansari story I am reminded of that Trump tape: "If you are a star they let you do it." And then I remember the groupies in one of my favorite movies, "Almost Famous." I think that celebrity — or, rather, some young women's almost tropic response to celebrity — is the missing element in this story. And I am afraid it may have something to do with human evolution that we would rather not think about, though rhhardin might be willing to go there.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

YoungHegelian said...

Do you ever watch the shows...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

...as a woman who is mothering... (soon to be five)...

Sounds like I Have Misplaced My Pants has been keeping a little too busy to be watching any shows...

Jupiter said...

Rereading her story, I can't figure out what she was expecting.

"Grace said it was surreal to be meeting up with Ansari, a successful comedian and major celebrity, and she was “excited” for their date."

So, she met him at his apartment. They went to dinner. Then they went *back* to his apartment. Did she think they would be playing chess?

Sydney said...

I felt more sympathetic to the male character in “Cat Person.” It seemed to me the female character just slept with him out of pity and convenience and led him on. I thought that’s why it was called “Cat Person.” She treated him like a cat treats people, with aloofness and disdain. She’s the cat person.

madAsHell said...

my frustration that this completely embarrassing unmitigated bullshit is the prevailing thought environment into which they will be launched.

In some sense, this is evolution in action. The future belongs to those that show up. You will be there. Good on you!!

Jupiter said...

Would she have *liked* to play some chess? Poor bastard needs a chess set. Work on his openings.

james james said...

“It was 30 minutes of me getting up and moving and him following and sticking his fingers down my throat again. It was really repetitive. It felt like a fucking game.”

Thirty minutes of it being "really repetitive".

Thirty minutes of her "getting up and moving" but never actually going to the door.

Thirty minutes of her not just simply leaving.

Of course it felt like a fucking game.

If you don't want to keep playing a game then quick picking up the fucking dice.

--jj

n.n said...

She expected him to behave within the parameters he purported to support. She thought she was getting equal and complementary, and was surprised when she got "=" and chauvinistic.

Luke Lea:

It's not just celebrity, but a physical and emotional appeal. Given a positive secular incentive (e.g. status), people are generally more tolerant of divergence. She was caught flatfooted when his behavior did not match her expectations, and the standards ostensibly promoted by his ideology. However, her first mistake was to forego courtship and embrace "friendship with benefits", a recurring #MeToo story with male and female chauvinistic authors.

Jupiter said...

"And yet because so many people came to the story through social media, as opposed to having the print issue delivered to their mail boxes, they clicked through and read without seeing its “fiction” designation."

I call bullshit. It was obvious that the story was intended as a work of fiction. And it was equally obvious that it was to some extent autobiographical.

I thought it was a very good, rather uncomfortable story, right up to the last few lines. And then she tossed it all away for some cheap-shot misandry.

Jupiter said...

n.n said...
"She expected him to behave within the parameters he purported to support."

Well, but, what does that mean? How exactly does a "woke, feminist guy" behave with the woman he just bought dinner, who has now accompanied him back to his apartment without even stopping somewhere for a drink? What *did* she expect? Red wine?

Night Owl said...

She may demand that we hate him, but I don't think her demands are being met by about half the people who read her account.

Indeed. I didn't feel any hate towards Aziz, but felt mixed emotions towards "Grace"-- a mixture of scorn and pity. In general I feel annoyance that we've created a culture wherein millennial women have been led to believe that if a man's level of arousal doesn't precisely match a woman's during a date or a consensual sex act, then that woman has been sexually abused.

The divisive concept of "toxic masculinity" along with the contradictions inherent in the "grrl power"/victim-mindset of the modern feminist movement has screwed-up many young women; hopefully the damage is not permanent. In the meantime, maybe the emotionally fragile millennial women need to have chaperones whenever they go out on dates.

james james said...

This started with her flirting with a guy and giving him her number while she is ostensibly out on a date with another guy.

I wonder if Date Number One feels that any Game was being played.

Hell, maybe he should write an article about HIS date with her.

"I Take A Girl Out to Dinner And She Tries To Hook Up With A Minor Celebrity."

--jj



Jupiter said...

Really, it seems to me that she led the poor guy on. He brushed her off, but she pursued him. Then she flirted with him for a week, accepted when he asked her out, went to dinner with him, and apparently agreed to go back to his apartment. Is she suggesting that she went to his apartment, but didn't intend to have sex? That she went to his apartment intending to have sex, but his approach to foreplay changed her mind? She abused this guy. She owes him an apology.

Fabi said...

Nice shoes -- wanna fuck?

Leigh said...

@William, I think you might be right. Vilifying this guy is over the top. Sorry it had to be at his expense, but hopefully this will put on the brakes.

Heather McDonald characterizes it as a problem of trying to police sex, which is well nigh impossible because decisions about sex are inherently complex and confusing. She also makes a fine point: if women are so lacking in strength and agency, how could we possibly allow them to enter into contracts, vote, much less make one the president? Margaret Atwood had similar remarks. @Tcross links to Caitlin Flanagan's piece, which is also worth a read. Someone over at Red State wrote that these #metoo victims are blaming the patriarchy. But blaming adverse outcomes on the complicated nature of sex itself, or the patriarchy is overthinking it.

Feminists told women they are exactly like men -- any difference between the sexes is merely a " social construct" -- and that women would find one-night-stands empowering and grand. When women finally realized this was an utter lie, it was too late. Having given away every ounce of leverage and power they had over men, courtships disappeared -- and as "Grace" herself proved to us, foreplay or seduction, like Aziz having an array of wines for her, giving her a back-rub or playing with her hair? Ain't happening. No need! Today there's virtually no incentive for a man to marry, unless he's affluent, or soon hopes to be. "Why buy the cow?" was every grandmother's favorite analogy in generations by-gone. No wonder women are angry now. They brought this on themselves when they bought the feminists' screed.

Jupiter said...

Blogger james james said...

Hell, maybe he should write an article about HIS date with her.

"I Take A Girl Out to Dinner And She Tries To Hook Up With A Minor Celebrity."

Yeah, and it could be anonymous, but illustrated with several pictures of her simpering like an idiot, wit her name plastered all over them.

Actually, I think that would be out of line.

Sebastian said...

But we are supposed to believe that women are autonomous, equal agents?

Mary said...

It's the way I love Woody Allen movies but don't like his real life. I guess opposite of what you're saying but similar in that, what does the real life fictional writer have to offer? Sometimes real life is better than fiction, then sometimes it's the other way around.

Mary said...

I've just gotten around to reading the Aziz Ansari story, and I feel like I shouldn't be reading this, it's personal! at this moment "Then he was undressing her, then he undressed himself. She remembers feeling uncomfortable at how quickly things escalated." She should have left, right at that moment. She wasn't held hostage and she had every opportunity to leave. She makes women look bad by not taking control of the situation. Are young women these days not learning the fact that you can leave!?

William Chadwick said...

I liked Ansari's book "Modern Romance." But clearly if it goes into another edition, it now needs an update addendum, "What I've Learned Since."

WK said...

Are young women these days not learning the fact that you can leave!?/

If you leave too soon you don’t get a #metoo story opportunity.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Seinfeld has got to hate being dragged into Grace’s story, but the question that needs to be answered so we can fully evaluate the situation is, which episode?

Darrell said...

Seinfeld has got to hate being dragged into Grace’s story, but the question that needs to be answered so we can fully evaluate the situation is, which episode?

The one where Jerry begs the Shiksa to try anal, and she tells him to stop after the third pump.

fivewheels said...

No one really deserves what happened and is happening to Ansari ... but if anyone does, it's a male feminist whose main shtick is preening and virtue signaling about how woke he is. That's the world you're working for, dude, right there.

Rob said...

Advice to "Grace": Next time, use your words.

Leora said...

I can't help feeling that Mary McCarthy pretty much covered this territory about 80 years ago.

Andrew Shimmin said...

I think it's at least partially a matter of geometry. The more directly DFW's sense of humor hits your own, the darker he can get without your losing the fun. For me, he was funny enough that I didn't need the real-world anchor.

The Ansari story reads more like John Irving, though. The blowjob that leads to the wrong kind of climax. And the darkly comedic callback--at the end of their encounter, Louis CK asked the squealy comediennes "Which one is Dana and which one is Julia?" Now we have Ansari, announcing the car he'd called was on it's way, instructing 'Grace' to "[J]ust tell them your name is Essence.” A car crash and a little incest and we're right there.

tds said...

The best part is she watched 'Master of None' and didn't expect sex with Aziz to be weird

Virgil Hilts said...

So many great comments here. I thought the Atlantic story about Grace was spot on (I would not have read the account had I not read that first). Both Aziz and Frace come off looking pretty flaky. But don't defend Aziz as just randy. The two fingers stuff (yech, and on a first date) made it sound like he felt he had found a doormat and dammit he was going to treat her like a doormat.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Plus he is anti-Trump so let me look for some sympathy under my pinky fingernail... Oops, just clipped my nails.

And yes, seriously, what's with the fingers down the throat? You're right, that has no place in my sexual encyclopedia. But you modern girls may dig that, what do I know?

Interesting that such a parfit gentil knight went down first/so quickly; maybe he wanted to get it out of the way. Guess he regarded it as the toll to cross the bridge.

"Essence," a fake name for the cabbie, classy touch. Not his first rodeo maybe.

Hmm, yeah, I think I'm good with him being ruined (as if). No downside, as I don't watch whatever his show is. Moar cannibalism, lefties!

Owen said...

We assume that Grace's account is correct: why? Because Mr. Ansari has not said, "this is a false account intended to defame me and I am consulting legal counsel to determine how best to punish the publisher and expose the author currently hiding behind a pseudonym"? I would if I were he. There seems to be no reason not to (I assume he can afford it). If people want to take innocent facts --he broke no laws-- and turn them into nasty tell-alls whose obvious intent is to demean and degrade the other party to a private matter, then they had better get every detail exactly right. When Mr. Ansari's lawyers undertake discovery of "Grace," they may find she was stalking him as a way to gain notoriety, using him far more than he could use her.

I think #Metoo has completely jumped the shark, but it exposes some terrible pathology in the wider culture.

MayBee said...

The worst part of this story is in the Twitter comments and the comments about stories covering it--- how many women (and some men say) this was assault because she had to give in! Otherwise women get beaten for saying no!

Women/girls: You do not have to participate in the hookup culture. You do not have to have sex with men after dates, or go back to their homes. If you feel that men are so dangerous that you must either have sex with them or they will beat you, do not allow yourself to be alone with them.
Now, men are not that dangerous. But if you think they are, you must not be alone with men you don't know well.
Keep yourself safe.

And millennial women, again, you do not have to participate in casual sex. You don't have to! Just because there is much about our culture right now that says it's fun, if it isn't fun for you do not do it. Do not mistake casual sex for a relationship. Do not do it thinking it will be the beginning of a relationship. You can say no. You can just not go back to his place. You can go back to his place and say you don't want to have sex. Any of these things. But do not participate in the hookup culture if it makes you feel violated to have empty sex.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I think #Metoo has completely jumped the shark, but it exposes some terrible pathology in the wider culture.

Kids are learning about sex from watching porn on the Internet. I'm old enough to remember when oral sex was a BIG DEAL. And sex was something you had after a going out with a woman a minimum of three times, with each date being successful in that the woman found your company to be pleasant and you to be appealing.

Now apparently people go down on relative strangers with abandon with a minimum amount of small talk beforehand.

A response to this story from some feminist or another is telling. It starts out stating that men mind find this to be a normal sexual encounter. I guess I am old, old, old but no, I don't. Young women are pissed off because they have been told by society at large to act like what was once known as sluts, that such behavior will make them happy and that anyone that tells them that being a slut won't make them happy is just trying to oppress them. But, that is a lie. Women want to be treated like princesses. They want the guy to act like Cary Grant. Offer her a choice of wines, actually take time to get to know her by taking her out on a few dates before propositioning her. The problem is that they are no longer in a position to get that treatment unless they're drop dead gorgeous. This Aziz guy didn't do anything wrong according to current societal mores, but current societal mores are screwed up. As someone else said linking to the Atlantic piece on this, the sexual revolution is over. Actually, I think the sexual counter-revolution has begun.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

And millennial women, again, you do not have to participate in casual sex. You don't have to!

They are constantly told that they do. That casual sex with virtual strangers is something they should want to do. That it will make them happy and not participating in it is something that weird religious freaks try to force on their kids, which leads to the kids becoming serial killers or something because sex is natural.

Xmas said...

Also unknown, what was going on in their text messages the week leading up to the date. Seriously, Ansari saw her on a date with another guy, she approached him, gave him her number and started pursuing him.

Now, I'd suspect the text "flirting" the week before to be more fuck plans than dinner plans, because dinner plans would include wine preferences.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Critics of the Title IX kangaroo court proceedings on campus have been saying: unwanted is not the same as non-consensual. Only the latter is even potentially criminal, and there should be some threshold of evidence, etc. Unwanted may be part of adulthood: one partner wants sex more than the other; the latter goes along, thinking another day it will be his/her turn. And this doesn't just apply to sex: doing the dishes, spending an afternoon with the kids, entertaining one of the mothers-in-law. Unwanted doesn't mean the opposite of consensual; what is consensual includes the unwanted more than one might like--a rich subject for jokes, if anyone can remember jokes. Yes, I know some commenters on this blog certainly can. Are the Me Too folks going to say that unwanted is always non-consensual? Or only on a first date, or one of the early dates, when a man really hasn't spent enough time looking into her eyes and soul, and asking her what she really feels or thinks about things? I would add that the workplace is different: it is just gross to use the workplace, with its power relations, to get sex, or do much more than arrange for a date away from work.

James Graham said...

What I got out of reading "Cat Person" was this: avoid American women.

For too many of them the most important persons in their lives are their girlfriends.

They are the heterosexual counterparts of "frat boys" persons whose real life revolves around same-sex friends with members of the opposite sex acting as "things" worthy of discussion but nothing more.

Try imagining a French woman as the protagonist in "Cat Person." Impossible!

(signed) Mature, heterosexual American male.

Auntie Trump said...

Kissed another frog, no prince. Oh well.

SDaly said...

The Caitlin Flanagan piece ended on such an off note -- that the Aziz story is particularly bad because it takes down an appealing Muslim public figure rather than another college-educated white man -- that it destroyed the entire article for me.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@SDaly

Well Muslims rank higher (lower?) on the victimhood hierarchy than women. So criticizing them in any way is just not done and that has to be explained so that it will stop.

MayBee said...

Ron Winkleheimer said...
And millennial women, again, you do not have to participate in casual sex. You don't have to!

They are constantly told that they do. That casual sex with virtual strangers is something they should want to do. That it will make them happy and not participating in it is something that weird religious freaks try to force on their kids, which leads to the kids becoming serial killers or something because sex is natural.


Exactly!!

There's a line in "Crazy Stupid Love" where the Ryan Gosling character says the sexual revolution is over and men won"the second women started doing pole dancing for exercise."

It's so so very true. Why don't women look at the signals Hollywood is giving off as sexually freeing- skimpy clothes, promiscuity, single motherhood- and note that it is coming from a culture that has been caught sexually abusing women and children? Why believe what they say? They do not have your best interest at heart, women!!

Big Mike said...

Regarding Aziz Ansari, over at RedState Sarah Rumpf sums it up nicely:

“Is it really reasonable for Grace to expect Ansari to pick up on her ‘non-verbal cues’ that she was feeling uncomfortable when what he saw was a naked woman giving him a blow job?”

dbp said...

I think that both Mr. Ansari as well as the woman knew fairly early-on that they were not going to get what they wanted, but decided to press-on anyway.

Ansari, clearly wanted to have a date which included sex. In fairness to him, an adorable and charming famous guy, there are likely to be thousands of women, just in Manhattan, who would happily enjoy a one night stand with him. The woman wanted a romantic and funny date, with no sex.



Dust Bunny Queen said...

what should we do to this man who pushed his way through a sexual encounter without noticing how not-into-it the woman was.

Well...what should we do about this WOMAN (actually a girl) who allowed herself to go along with a sexual encounter without either saying NO or making it very evident that she wasn't into it.

"NO" is a complete sentence. If your non verbal clues aren't enough ladies....use your fucking words. Men and other women too are not mind readers. If you aren't into "it" just say so. You can do it in a nice way. If the guy doesn't want to hear the word no, then use your feet and get away.

This last part about trying to make things happen with just your non verbal communication used to drive me literally mad, as in insane, when I had to work in an office full of women. Gaaah!!! Just say what you want. Don't expect me to guess because I don't have the time or desire to figure out what you are trying to say. GET TO THE FUCKING POINT. I have to play guessing games with my clients, I don't have the time for you.

Then when you can't play the game and guess what thoughts are running through their pointy heads, the females would get all emotionally hurt, pout, and then you have to spend time trying to fix something that you STILL have no idea what the problem is.

Give me an office full of men or let me hang out with the guys anytime!!!!

I have lost all patience (can you tell) with these whiney "METOO! helpless females.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"The woman wanted a romantic and funny date, with no sex."

Whenever I wanted a romantic and funny date, with no sex, I went to the man's apartment and removed my clothes.

'Cause that really gets the message across.

No, wait, actually I had him take me home, thanked him for a wonderful evening, kissed him good night and did not invite him in. I didn't have sex with someone because I couldn't figure how to say no or didn't want to hurt his feelings.

Saint Croix said...

It's remarkable the ugliness of what these women are doing. Do they even realize how ugly they are? They want to expose the ugliness of man. I start to read this account and I don't think rape.

I think gossip.

And what's strange is that they are participants in the gossip. It's almost like in our culture now we're not allowed to criticize a woman for her sexual choices or behaviors. So she's gossping about herself, and unaware of how bad her own gossip makes her seem. Or maybe she has some dim awareness, which is why she wants to be anonymous. Famous and anonymous. "I destroyed Aziz Ansari!" That's her pleasure, that's what she wants.

He has all my sympathy.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

If your non verbal clues aren't enough ladies....use your fucking words.

I was discussing this with my wife this morning and she said pretty much the same thing.

I remember a couple of months or so ago that Teen Vogue published a guide to safe anal sex. What kind of signals is that sending?

Another thought, at the end of La La Land the two main characters, who are in love, have to separate for, at most, a few months. She is going to Paris to film a movie and he is staying in LA to work on his music. So, do they agree to stop seeing other people and reconnect when she returns? Remember, the whole premise is that they are very much in love. Nope. Apparently that is physically impossible, so they break up.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

And another thing. I see explanations of this sort of passive behavior by women that state that girls are taught to smile and be agreeable. Just who the hell is teaching girls that? That's not what I see taught in popular culture. Whatever happened to grrrll power?

exiledonmainstreet said...

Bad Lieutenant said:

"And yes, seriously, what's with the fingers down the throat?"

That baffled me too. Was he checking out how strong her gag reflex was? Trying to make her puke?

Yuck!

Big Mike said...

@Ron, I have a vague recollection of dating in my twenties — a mere half century ago! — and when I was pushing my date a bit faster than she wanted to go, women had all sorts of strategies for telling me to slow down, they’re not ready for this. Most of these strategies involved verbalizing some variant of the word “No.”

So why couldn’t the women of that time teach the same to daughters and granddaughters?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

So why couldn’t the women of that time teach the same to daughters and granddaughters?

They are afraid to say no because they fear rejection, not because they have been socialized to accommodate men's needs, an excuse for female passivity I saw presented on another forum. Women used to have the upper hand in the dating scene. Men had to jump through any number of hoops before they had any chance of getting sex. Apparently all a decent looking guy has to do today to get sex is to install an app on his phone and select a young woman. If she is agreeable they meet and hookup. If a particular woman does not want to participate in the hookup culture she doesn't have to, but societal cues are that not doing so is odd. She doesn't want to be odd, but the truth is that she doesn't really like the hookup scene either. Young women want to regain the power in the dating scene, to have young men romance them, to woo them as it was once called. But, they want this to happen within a framework of sexual mores where that is impossible.

It is routine now to see young girls out in public wearing the outfit of their favorite Disney Princess. The education establishment is totally orientated towards girls needs, any young boy unable to adapt is drugged. Popular entertainment shows slight young women besting groups of men twice their size in unarmed combat, and young women really believe that that is possible. Every organ of the government and society assures women that they are extraordinary individuals deserving of praise and worship just for being who they are. But you know what, chances are pretty good they aren't. And that pisses a lot of them off.

Angel-Dyne said...

Ron W: She doesn't want to be odd, but the truth is that she doesn't really like the hookup scene either. Young women want to regain the power in the dating scene, to have young men romance them, to woo them as it was once called. But, they want this to happen within a framework of sexual mores where that is impossible.

Precisely. "I want two things that cannot be true at the same time or exist at the same time, in the same universe."

"But all the adults (well, people older than I) when I was growing up told me that they could, so which way can I go? Angry? Crazy? Angrily crazy or crazily angry?"

The older generations seem to have done a pretty good job of suppressing or deflecting in the younger what would understandably be a state of murderous rage against them. If you're going to fail miserably at passing on the ancestral mores and wisdom to the young (because you were having to much fun with believing your own progressive bullshit and didn't want to grow up yourself), keeping 'em uneducated and all hepped up about Emmanuel Goldstein (aka "the patriarchy", "white privilege", "microaggressions") is probably a smart move.

Gahrie said...

It's almost like in our culture now we're not allowed to criticize a woman for her sexual choices or behaviors

Women must never be made to feel bad about, or responsible for, anything, ever.

mikesixes said...

I don't like Aziz Ansari-most of the quotes I've read from him convince me that he's a preening SJW bigot. But in this instance I don't see where he did anything wrong. I've seen some criticism of the editors of the babe story for including the remark about the woman's disappointment at being served white wine when she'd have preferred red, but I think that's a detail that well represents the woman's grievance with the whole encounter.

Bad Lieutenant said...


exiledonmainstreet said...
Bad Lieutenant said:

"And yes, seriously, what's with the fingers down the throat?"

That baffled me too. Was he checking out how strong her gag reflex was? Trying to make her puke?

Yuck!

1/16/18, 9:38 AM

1. Yes, or to proof test her capacity and willingness for rough oral sex.
2. To gather esophageal mucus for sexual lubrication, especially anal, or otherwise in absence of natural vaginal secretions.
3. To gauge just how much abuse she will tolerate.

This is from a genre known as gonzo porn, also more specifically to "ragdoll" her... I must be old, because while I have catholic tastes in sexual activity, some of the stuff that's popular in adult entertainment today really does shock and disgust me. Both for filth (hygiene) and for violence.

But this is "the new normal" apparently. They see it, and they do it, and they believe it is accepted and to refuse is unhip or something.

It's remarkable how smug and in their own way moralistic the young can be while tolerating and admiring practices that would make Caligula blush, or at least take notes.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Mikesixes, she is not purely innocent, but she more than met her match. This is no nice guy. His best excuse would be that he was raised by wolves and didn't know any better. I won't even touch the Muslim thing.

If he had had the chance to run his full routine on her (and it sounds like he had a routine), and if it was your daughter, and you learned about it, you'd be at his door with a gasoline can. Think of a movie with Belladonna, or one of those poor Russian girls with that pig with the sideburns.

It's one thing for sexual athletes, seemingly made of rubber, who know what they're in for and have the motivation (and have probably taken muscle relaxants, enemas, etc., to prepare). It's another for a star-struck chickie who thinks he likes her camera! What he liked is that she profiled as a girl who would do anything for him, and that's what he wanted to do to her-anything.

The girl is lucky, the guy is dirty, and unless he's been very clever, cautious and/or ruthless IRL, more will come out. "The claw" is a definite pro move. He's done this before.

Good. Let him burn. He's a shark.

Good girl, Grace. You were silly and naive and ill-judging and more, but you didn't deserve to be turned out like a burned-out roadwhore for it, and you may have saved others. I hope you'll be okay. Learn from this including your own failures.

kentuckyliz said...

Her: disappointed hypergamy.

Him: sneaky fucker.

BTW don't google sneaky fucker. I was trying to find a particular article Instapundit linked recently...and whoa Nelly. Another instance of realizing what a sheltered life I've led.

kentuckyliz said...

In a comment at the Atlantic, Grace has been outed. Real name is Abby.

I had a lot more sense at 23.

kentuckyliz said...

Abby Nierman has a pierced nose with a nose ring) - which to me says masochism, willing to be led around by a nose ring. The Claw wasn't a big leap for AA to do.

She wears rings on her index fingers, which is a sign of sexual aggressiveness.