Monday, August 07, 2017


Jeanne Moreau

In terms of demographics, there is one group I know better than others:  baby boomer males, the sons of the warriors of WWII.  As a teacher, they were my first students.  Later the sons were my colleagues and their fathers were my bosses.  (I married a WWII veteran.)  I know very little about my own age group, esp female.  And, in fact, I come to realize I know very little about anyone, even groups to which I’ve had much exposure and interaction.  (UU’s stand out as an example.)

Culture splits the males I’ve known best into rez guys and academics.  They interact with each other, the academics looking for some romantic dream and the rez guys hoping for a way out and up.  I watched, I tried to use what I knew, even hoped for a kind of mind meld.  The natural outcome would be writing a novel about them.  But why write anything when there are real people to consider?  The best understanding I have of novels is that they are an attempt to understand a cultural situation, usually one that affects upper-middle-class people since that’s who writes them, publishes them, and buys them.  They are a phenomenon of prosperity — either the aspiration to be wealthy or worry over having achieved that state at least to some minor degree.  And they are a closed loop.

By chance and by reading, there’s a third dimension, a kind of class or mob or tribe, that society-at-large has created out of the interaction of these two age groups: the fathers with PTSD who are invested in control versus the sons who see an explosively exciting world and want the freedom to be a piece of it.  Fathers who compete, who beat and rape their own sons, who try to force them into molds, and other fathers who work desperately to save those boys, confront those fathers.  It’s easy to see on the rez and in the small towns.  It seems inevitable, unstoppable.  Eternal.  Oedipal.

The best solutions come from the sons working together, if they will.  Females can do little but listen, locate resources, make connections.  It’s not “little” to do these things.  It works best if one can draw a circle around the emotional participation while preserving outside in the excluded edge the analyst, esp. one who can inhabit her own self.  It will be necessary to go back and forth between gut sonar and brain parsing.  No one can referee.

In terms of anthropological and sociological forces, what pushes boys even as early as latency or adolescence to form into something like a tribe or race?  They reject family, fly out the window of the nursery, and yet take Wendy along with them in case they need mothering.  The house they build for her — in England they call playhouses “Wendy houses” — is a tree house, which traditionally excludes girls.

The recent death of Jeanne Moreau has stirred one community (mostly old Freudian shrinks but also post-modern French females) to bits of analysis and old preoccupations.  The ideas are unlikely to be shared by contemporary American males but are intensely cherished by some men my age devoted to Truffaut (1932-1984).  I keep my link to Psyart  (  in sympathy with those men since I have fifty-year-old relationships with the cinephiles, never developed.  But also I play these concepts against cutting edge neural research about how brains are organized and operated, just to keep from going mechanistic.  It’s a “tension.”

Here’s an example post from Norm Rosenblood, a seasoned analyst in Canada.

Subject: Re: Jeanne Moreau, R. I. P.

Another interesting dynamic  in JULES ET JIM is the wish to die together. Ernest Jones has two fine papers dealing with it. One of them, during his stay in Toronto, was prompted by a Canadian newspaper article containing the description of a refusal to be rescued from drowning in the Niagara river.

One of the themes in the dynamic is the wish to merge with a maternal object. The Elizabethans described sexual intercourse as "dying". The concepts, Thanatos (destruction ) and Eros, have challenged psychoanalytic theorists for years.  The combination of both instincts might possibly be the driving force of Jules, Romeo and Juliette and Thelma and Louise. The theory might also account for post coital sadness--the quest for permanent oblivion (merger) fails and the ensuing guilt and rage remain as residues of the wish.  Too bad Don Juan didn't know what was ailing him.

"And I am desolate and sick of an old passion".-Ernest Dowson,

Norm Rosenblood

A dynamic I only have glimpsed is that of the sophisticated sexworking male who lives in a community of others with the same interests, both as a kind of family and as a kind of discussion group.  They’re not unlike the Psyart crowd but much younger and not Freudian.  The death that can preoccupy them is not their own individual bodily deaths, but rather the death of the world, both cultural and palpable.  They are a sort of conversation of courtesans, privileged access combined with guarded loyalty.  What if a play were written that depicted their talk in terms of the seminar (root: semen) groups in which Jesus participated and which developed into the Passover where wine and bread became blood and flesh?

The relative freedom to speak in sexual terms has led to some remarkable thinking, beyond the “death of God”.  Yesterday I read a piece about the origins of Christianity in a rape — Jehovah overpowers the young Mary (juvenile by some contemporary definitions) and forces his generative ability into her body so that she must carry it through pregnancy and birth.  Indeed, she attends the human intrusion to his end in death.  (This is also a theme in the Aliens movies where a totally Other being forces humans to gestate its babies.  Microbes do it all the time.)  This God-Other kills the object of many people’s love through a culture (Greco-Roman) that unrelentingly and arrogantly kills whole categories of people in genocide.  The people interpret their experience with myths, going to the abstract level, but selectively.

Now what if this supper/seminar were juxtaposed with a circle of old indigenous people passing around a tobacco pipe to center them while they think and speak together.  The smoke rises as a spirit.  Don’t call this a peace pipe — it might not be peaceful at all.  The old circle might be in Afghanistan.

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