Walker Percy Wednesday – 43


Sutter wrote:
A w.d. and n. white male, circa 49.
Eyes, ears, nose, mouth: neg. (upper dentures).
Skin: 12 cm. contusion rt. occipital region
Pleura: Neg.
Lungs: Neg.
Pericardium: 10 cc. pink frothy fluid
Heart: infarcted anterior wall right ventricle; coronary artery: moderate narrowing, occasional plaque; recent occlusion anterior descending branch, right c.a.
Abdomen: neg. except moderate cirrhosis of L. with texture fibrous to slice; central areas of lobules visible macroscopically.

Police report: subject found rolled in room above Mamie’s on 16th St. behind old L & N depot. Traced to Jeff Davis hotel. Here from Little Rock on opticians’ convention. Traced from hotel to men’s smoker in warehouse (girl performer plus film, neither on opticians’ schedule), thence to Mamie’s, thence to room upstairs, wherein slugged or rolled; but head injury not cause of death. Mamie off hook.

Lewdness = sole concrete metaphysic of layman in age of science = sacrament of the dispossessed. Things, persons, relations emptied out, not by theory but by lay reading of theory. There remains only relation of skin to skin and hand under dress. Thus layman now believes that entire spectrum of relations between persons (e.g., a man and woman who seem to be connected by old complexus of relations, fondness, fidelity, and the like, understanding, the comic, etc.) is based on “real” substratum of genital sex. The latter is “real,” the former is not. (Cf. Whitehead’s displacement of the Real)
Scientist not himself pornographer in the practice of his science, but the price of the beauty and the elegance of the method of science = the dispossession of layman. Lewdness = climate of the anteroom of science. Pornography stands in a mutual relation to science and Christianity and is reinforced by both.

Science, which (in layman’s view) dissolves concrete things and relations, leaves intact touch of skin to skin. Relation of genital sexuality reinforced twice: once because it is touch, therefore physical, therefore “real”; again because it corresponds with theoretical (i.e., sexual) substrata of all other relations. Therefore genital sexuality = twice “real.”

Christianity is still viable enough to underwrite the naughtiness which is essential to pornography (e.g., the pornography of the East is desultory and perfunctory).

The perfect pornographer = a man who lives both in anteroom of science (not in research laboratory) and who also lives in twilight of Christianity, e.g., a technician. The perfect pornographer = lapsed Christian Southerner (who as such retains the memory not merely of Christianity but of a region immersed in place and time) who presently lives in Berkeley or Ann Arbor, which are not true places but sites of abstract activity which could take place anywhere else, a map coordinate; who is perhaps employed as psychological tester or opinion sampler or computer programmer or other para-scientific pursuit. Midwestern housewives, look out! Hand-under-dress of a total stranger is in the service both of the theoretical “real” and the physical “real.”

I do not deny, Val, that a revival of your sacramental system is a kind of sacrament (devilish, if you like). The difference is that my sacrament is operational and yours is not.

The so-called sexual revolution is not, as advertised, a liberation of sexual behavior but rather its reversal. In former days, even under Victoria, sexual intercourse was the natural end and culmination of heterosexual relations. Now one begins with genital overtures instead of a handshake, then waits to see what will turn up (e.g., we might become friends later). Like dogs greeting each other nose to tail and tail to nose.

But I am not a pornographer, Val, like the optician, now a corpse, i.e., an ostensible liver of a “decent” life, a family man, who fancies conventions with smokers and call girls. I accept the current genital condition of all human relations and try to go beyond it. I may sniff like a dog but then I try to be human rather than masquerade as human and sniff like a dog. I am a sincere, humble, and even moral pornographer. I cultivate pornography in order to set it at naught.

Women, of course, are the natural pornographers today, because they are not only dispossessed by science of the complexus of human relations (all but the orgasm) but are also kept idle in their suburban houses with nothing to do but read pseudo-science articles in the Reader’s Digest and dirty novels (one being the natural preamble of the other). U.S. culture is the strangest in history, a society of decent generous sex-ridden men and women who leave each other to their lusts, the men off to the city and conventions, abandoning their wives to the suburbs, which are the very home and habitation of lewd dreams. A dirty deal for women, if you ask me.

Don’t be too hard on Rita. She is peeved, not perverted. (The major discovery of my practice: that there are probably no such entities as “schizophrenia” and “homosexuality,” conceived as Platonic categories, but only peevishness, revenge, spitefulness, dishonesty, fear, loneliness, lust, and despair—which is not to say we don’t need psychiatrists. You people don’t seem to be doing too well, you know.)

The only difference between me and you is that you think that purity and life can only come from eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ. I don’t know where it comes from.