Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jeanette Winterson v. Henry Miller (by Suzie)

You must read Jeanette Winterson reviewing a new biography of Henry Miller by Frederick Turner in the NYT.
Miller was obsessed with masculinity but felt no need to support himself or the women in his life. Turner sympathizes with the Miller who must sell his well-cut suits on the streets of Paris for a fraction of their worth, but is apparently indifferent to the fact that [his wife] June was selling her body on his ­behalf. ...

It never occurred to him that no matter how poor a man is, he can always buy a poorer woman for sex. It does not occur to Turner either, who calls Miller throughout a “sexual adventurer.” This sounds randy and swashbuckling and hides the economic reality of prostitution. Miller the renegade wanted his body slaves like any other capitalist — and as cheaply as possible. When he could not pay, Miller the man and Miller the fictional creation worked out how to cheat women with romance. What they could not buy they stole. No connection is made between woman as commodity and the ­“slaughterhouse” of capitalism that Mil­ler hates.
Winterson ends with this:
The question is not art versus pornography or sexuality versus censorship or any question about achievement. The question is: Why do men revel in the degradation of women?
Her biography, "Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?", comes out in March.