Monday, July 03, 2006

I'm reading the most fabulous book, when I have time to read, which isn't often enough

I am devouring T.C. Boyle's novel Inner Circle, a fictionalized account of the life of Alfred Kinsey as seen through the eyes of a (so far) worshipful research assistant.

So far, I have felt myself swept along wherever Kinsey wants to take me, which is much the experience the research assistant is having. Knowing what I do about Kinsey's hobbies (And knowing from The Road to Wellville that Boyle doesn't shy in the least from writing about things like enemas,) I'm curious to see exactly when I start to find Kinsey's behavior truly objectionable. By rights it should have been at least sixty pages ago.

I could probably finish it tonight if I didn't have LSAT studying to do, but such is life.

Anyway, if you've never read T. C. Boyle, you probably should. If you like my snark about liberalism, start with The Tortilla Curtain.


1 comment:

Steve Caldwell said...

CC ... you may want to rent the following two movies:

Kinsey (feature film)

Kinsey (PBS American Experience Documentary)

The PBS documentary web site has a lot of background info on Kinsey and his work. Both films are available through Netflix.

The feature film about Kinsey does acknowledge the excesses in his work and his life. However, it also acknowledges the role of his work in making our sexual lives better.

Two examples of this are:

(1) The re-evaluation of homosexuality by the medical and scientific professions. After the work of Kinsey, homosexuality could now be seen as simply normal variation in a population and not a sexual defect. BGLT folks learned that they were not alone in this world and other folks were like them.

(2) The role of the clitoris in female pleasure and orgasm -- Before Kinsey's work, a woman who orgasmed through clitoral stimulation would have been seen as "frigid" or sexually disfunctional (based on Freud's theories). Kinsey's work was based on direct observation of people (which led to a host of human experimentation ethics issues) and also embyrological similarities between the clitoris and the penis.