Friday, August 28, 2009

What Does Woman Want?

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New World Notes News
Volume 2, Number 35 -- September 1, 2009

This week in New World Notes, radio program #79, September 1 & 3:

Some more color in her life?

What Does
Woman Want?

from the blog, Traumdeutung*, by (apparently) Amy H. Konig:

Thursday, June 05, 2008

What I would like to know is: what do people mean when they ask, What does Hillary want? . . . Obviously, they want her to go away, and they want her to name her price. Whether you agree or disagree with this sentiment, though, it is clear that there are a vast number of ways to express it that do not involve quoting one of the most famous misogynist phrases in history.

Late in life, Sigmund Freud reportedly uttered the question “What does woman want?” (“Was will das Weib?”) to Marie Bonaparte. This phrase, which does not appear in the Standard Edition, has nevertheless become one of the founder of modern psychology's most famous quotations. When Freud asked this question, he meant to convey that the question itself is unanswerable: that women are simply one of the great unsolved mysteries (and problems) in life.

Along with his characterization of the female psyche as a “dark continent,” and his description of female desire as “veiled in obscurity,” this quotation is regularly invoked as evidence of Freud’s misogyny. It is perhaps one the most contentious phrases in all of psychoanalysis, and it has had a profound effect on Freud’s legacy. (Emphasis added.)

To marry a nice Jewish doctor?

On New World Notes I have courageously risen to defend people nearly universally regarded as scum. I have said that Iran PM Mosadeq may not have been the Communist slavemaster the Shah and the U.S. and Iranian media (with a little help from the CIA) painted him to be 1953.

I have said that Lynndie England and Charles Grainer indeed may have done nothing to restore the honor of the Hillbilly community . . . but should not have been jailed for single-handedly introducing sexually perverted torture to Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, the CIA's "black sites" in Eastern Europe, and the Maryland State Training School for Boys.

Viagra for Her? The title of the photo is "Female Viagra."
I say it's Pepto-Bismol, and I say the hell with it.

And I say yet again--I believe for the fourth time, in print--that in the waning years of the (William) Clinton administration, the only public figure to display any class was the unjustly maligned intern, Monica Lewinski. And let her who has never granted a favor to a man who proved undeserving of her kindness cast the first stone.

Yes, Underdogs 'R' Us here at New World Notes.

A boyfriend who's not afraid to take charge?

Yet even I hesitate to defend a scoundrel, fool, and blackguard as notorious as Sigmund Freud. The man who invented--and ruthlessly enforced--patriarchal oppression of women, female genital mutilation, menstrual cramps, pain in childbirth, hysteria, cellulite, and the fin-de-siecle bourgeois Weltanschauung of Mitteleuropa.

Yes, that last crime is so great that it takes at least three languages (counting the "of") even to name it!

Thus, with trepidation do I question whether speaking "Was will das Weib?" indicates misogyny or rather . . . deep wisdom.

"Zipless f*cks," anyone?

With trepidation do I ask whether discourse that Amy Konig alleges to be "one of the most famous misogynist phrases in history" . . . in fact be "misogynist" or instead a stunning personal and philosophical epiphany--the moment a man, celebrated for his insight into the psyche, has a revelation akin to Saul's on the road to Tarsus and at last is struck by the profundity of Socrates' wisest statement (IMHO), "All I know is that I know nothing."

That the Times do a better job of news reporting? Here, in 2009,
they discover & report the female orgasm--36 years after
Bodies, Ourselves discovered it first. What next--"Ho Chi Minh
seen as likely winner of Viet Nam national election in '54"?

I assume that the blur by the model's mouth is her soul escaping
her body--only temporarily, one hopes. Yep: the literal meaning
"ecstasy"! Bad Taste is Timeless. Note to Photo Editor: I don't
claim to understand
Woman any better than Freud did; however,
to me, that cover photo does not capture "Desire." Two seconds
ealier, you woulda nailed it. Next time, pick a photographer with
quicker reflexes. On the difference between "desire" and "glorious,
wide-screen, Technicolor orgasm," please see
Fear of Flying.

"When Freud asked this question [viz., What does Woman want?], he meant to convey that the question itself is unanswerable: that women are simply one of the great unsolved mysteries (and problems) in life. . . ."

Since "and problems" is in parentheses, I assume that Konig is reluctant to publicly attribute the notion to Freud. Strip away her parenthetical addition, and does anyone have any problems with the words that remain? Is it "misogynist" to have some sense of the universe's impenetrable (you should pardon the adjective) mysteries?

A little something from Tiffany's?**

"Along with [Freud's] characterization of the female psyche as a 'dark continent,' and his description of female desire as 'veiled in obscurity,' this quotation is regularly invoked as evidence of Freud’s misogyny."

Fantasizing about George Clooney and/or the young Sean Connery while making love to me, I can understand. But Jeremy Wallace?? If that fantasy isn't "veiled in obscurity," then will some kind person please explain the obvious to me?

An electric Dobro . . . and a man who really knows how
to use it?? (
Chacun a son gout--pardon my French!)

Okay, I'll knock it off. I named the installment "What Does Woman Want?" just to be cheeky. I don't know the answer. I don't know if the question even makes sense. I don't know if such a thing as "Woman" even exists. And I've been married to one woman or another--actually, only a couple of them--for 33 years. I don't even know what Man wants. Well, apart from that.

For this installment, I had planned to broadcast audio of two different groups of young American women: (1) women of color engaged with issues of reproductive health care and (2) Moslems engaged with issues of social and personal freedom. My ambitions were larger than my timeslot, so we must postpone hearing from the latter group.

We shall hear (if God permits) former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders--no longer young but still feisty, funny, and intelligent--addressing the women's healthcare-advocacy group SisterSong in Atlanta.

Top: Dr. Jocelyn Elders

Music of the week

You'd never forgive me if I didn't follow (my condensed version of) Elders' talk with The Foremen's song, "Firing the Surgeon General." And postponing the Moslem segment freed up a few additional minutes, into which I transplanted*** one of the better male imaginings of a woman's inner life since Hemingway wrote "Hills Like White Elephants" and Joyce created Molly Bloom.

Incidentally, it's worth giving $3 to the @#^%&{!s that own Blockbuster in order to rent Back To School, in order again to see and hear Sally Kellerman, looking ravishing in red, breathlessly read the end of Molly's soliloquy in Ulysses to her Freshman English class. How anybody could pick Jeremy Wallace over Professor Kellerman is beyond me! Even Dangerfield is on my side on this issue. Pretty funny when he emerges from his classroom daydream shouting, "Yes! . . . Yes! . . . Yes!"

OK, now that I've finished showing off my degrees in English, let me say that the song in which a man does a half-decent job of imagining a woman's inner life is James McMurtry's "Fireline Road"--not "Firing the Surgeon General"--and we play this (the former) too. James, of course, is the son of talented novelist Larry McMurtry, whose best-known novels depict in gritty realism the . . . oh, never mind!

Coming soon (dates of WWUH Tuesday broadcast shown):

  • September 8--Labor Day Musical Special -- featuring songs by Anne Feeney, The Foremen, Mad Agnes, John McCutcheon, Utah Phillips, and David Rovics
  • September 15--Can We Save the Environment?

Catch New World Notes (all times Eastern):

Men who listen? Top billing?


* I assume Traumdeutung means "interpretation of dreams." For a lady who doesn't much care for that Dead White Male-chauvinist-Schwein from Vienna, Konig seems to be quite the Freudienne.

** One is reminded of the beauty and insight of those elegiac verses in Second Corinthians:

  • Men grow cold as girls grow old,
    And we all lose our charms in the end;
    But square-cut or pear-shape,
    These rocks won't lose their shape:
    Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend!

*** Qui transtulit sustinet (Connecticut state motto).


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Kenneth Dowst said...

Um, . . . I think David is referring to some remarks Dr. Jocelyn Elders made in the "New World Notes" radio show.

Thanks for your comment, David.