That Which We Fear Must Be Made Metaphorical

February 15th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We often think that people are afraid to write about sex because it is, at its essence, so primal. Murder, for example, almost always has a reason, a motive. People rarely go off randomly killing. It is rare that violence is committed for the sheer joy of getting off, so to speak.

But sex? It not only captures the full range of human emotions and behaviors, but it’s also something we do just for the hell of it. No ulterior scheme. No twisted meaning. No secret desire. It’s just sex. And we have been thoroughly brainwashed to believe that that much fun cannot be good for the species.

So writing about sex becomes as awkward as the act. It must be bigger or smaller than it really is. Sometimes to the point of, well, unintentionally hilarious. And, perhaps, unintentionally dull.

The anthology did succeed in displaying a modern attitude toward sex in its tales of lust by the light of CNN. But in doing so, it reaffirmed the long-standing observation that our national literature is entirely devoid of erotic sensibilities. In the tales of Carnal Nation – as in the narratives of most CanLit – sex is rarely a pleasurable event. Instead, it is often used as a metaphor for politics, identity, globalization, consumerism – almost everything but sex itself.

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