January 9, 2019

"Nearly every story in You Know You Want This has someone getting stabbed, strangled, slashed, gouged, degloved, immolated, bludgeoned, bled out, brain-injured, or asswhupped."

"I suspect Roupenian knew 'Cat Person' would jaundice readers’ expectations one way or another, and she exploited this by opening the collection with 'Bad Boy,' a title that might suggest another misogynist miscreant. The couple who narrate the story torment their friend, a sad-sack guy fresh off a breakup who’s crashing on their couch. They tease him by having noisy sex in the next room; when they realize that degrading him turns them on, they coerce him into a ménage à trois full of 'pain and bruises, chains and toys,' escalating to a frenzy of deadly transgression... [The stories] all play off the same Nietzschean character archetypes: the weak dominated by the strong, victim versus victor. The victims are sensitive, passive introverts, forever in their own heads, wavering between reluctance and compliance. The victors, meanwhile, look just like you and me: Their innocent, kind, or seductive facades conceal a poisonous nature, like the appetizing rainbow slick of petroleum coating a dead ocean. The victim compounds their own suffering by over-empathizing with their tormentor, who is only emboldened by shows of vulnerability...."

From "Kristen Roupenian’s Power Dynamics/In her new book, the author of 'Cat Person' tells stories of sadism, narcissism, and gore" (The New Republic).

(I'm assuming you remember all the interest in the story "Cat Person." If you don't click on the tag.)

25 comments:

mccullough said...

People who don’t fear others have no desire to dominate people.

mccullough said...

A lot of people who go into politics have a strong desire to dominate others. So it’s interesting to watch the power politics among politicians. A guy like Romney has to pop off.

He wants to tell other people what to do. He’s a coward. Watching Mitt go grovel to Trump for the Secretary of State job was better than most stories about humiliation. The people who like to humiliate others are themselves willing to be humiliated.

EDH said...

Nearly every story in You Know You Want This has someone getting stabbed, strangled, slashed, gouged, degloved, immolated, bludgeoned, bled out, brain-injured, or asswhupped.

Sounds familiar. Been sick for the last week or so.

Watching the Game of Thrones and now Sopranos marathons running on HBO.

FIDO said...

I am not sure what the message here is.

Is it 'Althouse isn't really a prude?'

Is it 'see how degenerate the woman who wrote 'Cat Person' actually is'?

Is it 'Althouse is turned on by stories where men are degraded instead of women'?

Is it 'Althouse would rather saw off her left foot than talk much about Trump and the Wall so she is posting this to try to change the subject and she needed something extra saucy'?


I am open to all interpretations.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

The victors, meanwhile, look just like you and me: Their innocent, kind, or seductive facades conceal a poisonous nature, like the appetizing rainbow slick of petroleum coating a dead ocean

Speak for yourself, weirdo

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Speak for yourself, weirdo

I couldn't decide if the look just like you and me was intended to only apply to the facade, or also what was underneath. Did they look just like you and me, but underneath they weren't, or did they look just like you and me, and underneath they were also just like you and me?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Their innocent, kind, or seductive facades conceal a poisonous nature,...

...like Trump trying to wear a normal President mask.


The blog has a theme today...

mccullough said...

The Banality of Sadism

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I couldn't decide if the look just like you and me was intended to only apply to the facade, or also what was underneath. Did they look just like you and me, but underneath they weren't, or did they look just like you and me, and underneath they were also just like you and me?

I agree that the wording was awkward!

Nonapod said...

I didn't really follow the whole "Cat Person" phenomenon. Was it similar to the 50 Shades of Grey thing? By that I mean, was it something that was largely compelling to women but not so much for men? I know that when it comes to titillation, women like stories and men prefer images/videos.

Bay Area Guy said...

I thought "Cat Person" was the autobiography of Christy Blasey Ford.....

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

sorta like the relationship between western libs and muzzie extremists

Fernandistein said...

I don't get it. Is de Sade Extra-Lite "a thing"?

Phidippus said...

People read this sort of thing voluntarily? Not the way I'd choose to spend any of what's left of my life.

Interesting simile, though: "...the appetizing rainbow slick of petroleum coating a dead ocean." Actually, the oceans are full of bacteria that find petroleum very appetizing indeed. They've been eating it for billions of years longer than humans have been around to worry about it. Gaia wastes not.

I wonder if the writer knows that.

Sam L. said...

I don't remember, and ain't agonna look for it.

rehajm said...

I thought "Cat Person" was the autobiography of Christy Blasey Ford

Not to hijack the thread, but for such an important individual in American judicial/political history CBF sure did disappear in a hurry.

So did #MeToo.

n.n said...

Tales from the Clinic.

Sydney said...

My reaction when I read “Cat Person” was ,”When did the New Yorker start publishing porn?” Evidently, that’s all this writer does, and it has gone mainstream.

Terry Vance said...

“Nietzschean” as random adjective. May be stereotypes here but hardly from Nietzsche

traditionalguy said...

She has it just about right when describing "the victors" enjoying toying with the weak. And lawyers get to see it up close and personal. The victors use their money as power. And they hire lawyers to help them do it.

Freeman Hunt said...

Actually sounds like a good premise.

Sebastian said...

From the article:

"I wouldn’t be the first to argue that the herald of this current wave was Helen DeWitt’s 2011 satire Lightning Rods, a novel about a salesman who proposes a counterintuitive, depraved method to end workplace sexual harassment (which just so happens to align with his own sexual fantasies). Adelle Waldman’s The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.—about an emotionally dishonest young novelist and his failed relationships—in 2013 was another early entry, and Rebecca Solnit’s essay “Men Explain Things to Me” brought the concept of mansplaining to the mainstream. Now it’s 2019, and the biome is teeming: Alissa Nutting goes sci-fi in Made for Love, Kate Walbert’s His Favorites transposes sexual harassment to high school, and Claire Vaye Watkins’s “On Pandering” and Lili Loofbourow’s “The Male Glance” reassess the ways men read stories by women. More is on its way, judging by upcoming titles like Terrible Men and How to Date Men When You Hate Men. Even men have barged in, with Andrew Martin’s Early Work and Teddy Wayne’s Loner serving up variations on the fictional male mea culpa."

Someone should do a hot-crazy matrix on women novelists.

Sebastian said...

From the article:

"maybe we’ll act on the perverse desire to see the much-hyped book tank, flop, or disappoint the standards of literature or feminism, just to feed our sadistic inner critic its blood meal of schadenfreude. That would only redound to Roupenian’s success, because she knows we want this."

"we want this": it's so confusing: does #MeToo express women's sadistic desire for a blood meal, or is it saying that they don't get sufficiently sadistic treatment to satisfy their perversity?

Steven said...

“Nietzschean” as random adjective. May be stereotypes here but hardly from Nietzsche

Yeah. "Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks -- those who write new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the harvest."

William Chadwick said...

"A lot of people who go into politics have a strong desire to dominate others." Certainly statists do. Dominating others is pretty much the sine qua non of statism.