Indeed, frankly, I often find it embarrassing how frequently the topic is sex at hip New York media events — and I almost mean professionally embarrassing more than viscerally embarrassing, as in “I can’t believe we’re reduced to this as a topic again” (but none of the aforementioned women have sex as their sole or even primary professional focus, so I know they have range and trust they will do a good job).
•Likewise, I have long found it sad that independent and arty film, which constantly touts itself as more daring than Hollywood — since Hollywood is focused on sex and violence — tends to end up simply doing stories that involve slightly more disturbing sex and violence. Read the Wikipedia entry about Kids writer and Gummo writer/director Harmony Korine and tell me it doesn’t suggest to you a deliberate reaching of the bottom of the barrel (Kyle Smith recently blogged that he has no intention of seeing Korine’s upcoming film Trash-Humpers because “I am a professional film critic, not a masochist”).
•I worry a bit about the filter mechanisms at work that lead me to have at least five sex columnists on my official (somewhat dated, in more than one sense) list of Acquaintances, and I didn’t even know Rev. Jen was doing Nerve sex columns or a book on nerd sex when I compiled that list.
•I am very skeptical of anyone who picks feminism as a primary philosophical orientation, gender issues as a major, or sex as the theme for their museum, since (despite the fact that important things can be said on all these topics) doing so will always strike me as a bit reductive, sort of like looking around at the wide horizon and thinking, “What shall I explore? Science? The vast and tumultuous economy? History in all its complexity? No, wait! What’s this down here, away from the horizon? My own genitals! What could be more important? I’ve found my calling!”
(I feel a similar sadness — and it really is sadness rather than annoyance, anger, fear, or political animosity — when I hear that a smart black student has made it to college and decided to study being black. There’s just something unimaginative about it.)
•Similarly, I have never felt more sorry for bisexual women, I think, than when one expressed concern to me that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with her well without a grounding in queer theory. If people need a college course to communicate with you, something is wrong, and not necessarily with them.
One acquaintance who I didn’t think I knew well enough to put on the Acquaintances page, by the way, is Amy Sohn (a Brown alum and New York Press alum) who, as it happens, has moved on from writing mainly about sex to writing a new novel about the local culture in Park Slope, the area where tonight’s reading takes place. I’m sure her new book touches on sex (because it’s still Amy Sohn), but in some ways you couldn’t find a more fitting, unsexy locale for your transition to writing about less-sexual topics. Park Slope’s dominant constituencies seem to be lesbians, very p.c. liberals, and babies, and those are three groups that tend in practice not to create sexy vibes (much as we all love lesbians in theory, obviously). Let us just hope they don’t ruin things tonight. And maybe I’ll win the sexiest outfit prize. I’m overdue in that regard for some reason.