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Kinsey (The End of Sex)

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In the car today, was treated to a fantastic interview of Bill Condon, director of the new film about Kinsey, on Terry Gross’s show on NPR. Sounds like a true fellow traveller, this Condon. Kept twisting the knife about Kinsey’s atheism, for instance…

(You can listen to it here: NPR : The Man Behind ‘Kinsey’: Filmmaker Bill Condon.)

But all this Kinsey stuff got me thinking: if Kinsey had gotten his way, liberated humankind from the shackles of religious superstition and cultural prohibition on sex, what would "sex" have been like? Can "sex," and the interest that it holds for us, be separated out from repression? Can good clean fun be fun?  (C.f. the end of the first volume and the start of the second of Foucault’s History of Sexuality, of course…)

(This is one of the central questions that I take on in my work on literature – except it doesn’t have to be sex… Is "interest" inextricably linked to inequality? What sort of art would we have in a perfected world? What sort of literary plots after the "end of history"? Might seem like questions of purely historical import at this point, after the failure of the modernist utopias, but I’m not so sure… Not so sure that we’re not, right here and right now, verging on some sort of bizarre and unexpected tipping point, saturation, terminal equilibrium of interest a la the "heat death" that kept the late Victorians up at night…)

Written by adswithoutproducts

December 1, 2004 at 12:49 am

Posted in Culture

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