Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Raped Bitch Wife is not a well written or very interesting book. This one basically moves from one sex scene to another, with very little in the way of character development or plot. Both husband and wife are cheating, but it's the wife, Claudine, that we follow - from an afternoon quickie with two teenage paperboys to an evening with a married couple. And the sex is basically the same in each encounter, with nothing out of the ordinary.
Then halfway through the book, she and another woman are raped. But, because of the type of book it is, Claudine enjoys it. And the rape changes nothing. Claudine goes right on with her promiscuous lifestyle, even having sex with her father-in-law.
Raped Bitch Wife contains words you won't find in other types of books. Words like "cuntflaps" and "cockbush" and "prickroot" and "cockknob." And the book raises the important question, "Do you know what it's like to be married to a man twice your age whose only interest is cutting into a diseased appendix?" (p. 69).
The best thing about this book is the ridiculous claim put forth by the publisher in the foreword, that Raped Bitch Wife is "a novel about one of the problems facing modern society and a reflection of our times." The publisher also states that the book is the story "of a woman struggling desperately for happiness, for some way to save her marriage and self-respect." Sure, sure. The best way to save your marriage is to have sex with your spouse's father.
Raped Bitch Wife was published in 1983.
This book tells the erotic tale of a young teacher who finds herself attracted to her students.
Teacher's Eager Beavers tells the simple tale of a teacher with a preternatural yearning for her male students. There is abuse in her past at the hands of her stepfather, but it seems that her sexual predilection predated that trauma. The abuse did not reach full force until she was an adult.
Laura Brevitz Is A Teacher With Dangerous Desires
Laura Brevitz is a beautiful, twenty-seven year old school teacher. Only three years earlier, her virginity was taken by her stepfather while she watched a teenage neighbor through her window. But now she has decided to take her sexual life into her own hands, regardless of the possible professional and legal consequences.
She has chosen fifteen-year-old Bobby. And perhaps this is a result of her abuse, because the book makes a point of telling the reader that she is the one taking control, whereas before she had no control. And maybe that is one of the reasons she chooses not only a young man, but one who is her student, and thus one with whom she already has a authoritarian relationship.
Bobby is, as the title tells the reader, eager to please his teacher. He's too young to realize he's being taken advantage of, and is only too happy to be getting some sexual experience. And clearly Bobby is not the brightest student, for on page 28 the author writes, "If ever he had received an honor in school, this was it." The author also hints at fear in Bobby, using words and phrases like "afraid," "paralyzed" and "stricken with a kind of freeze" to describe him in the moments leading to their affair.
And Bobby is only the first. For Bobby's friends, the author chooses symbolic names like Johnny (an innocent variation on a name for a prostitute's client) Jack and Randy (a British slang term for "horny").
Boys' Summer Camp Job
Jack Stevens, the school's basketball coach, offers Laura Brevitz a job at a boys' summer camp, teaching drama and coaching the camp's talent show. Knowing that Bobby (and ninety-nine other boys) will be there, she accepts the job. She doesn't even try to fight her less-than-honorable urges. This is one of the book's failings. It dodges a chance to really investigate and probe Laura's mental state and any conflict she might feel over her actions. Also, any worries. She seems to have no fear of losing her job or going to jail.
And of course at the camp Bobby only whets her appetite. She tells him plainly that she wants all the boys in his cabin. For is part, Bobby does not react with jealousy, but with enthusiasm. Randy, his friend, is the next to join Laura in her cabin. She tells Randy that she prefers him to Bobby, and admonishes him not to relate that information to his friend.
Randy tells her, "I love you." Because of course someone his age would confuse this physical act for love. Laura coldly does not respond to him, but to tell him to leave. For she has several more appointments to keep that evening.
Her lust of course is completely out of her control, which is interesting, because she seems to have begun this endeavor from a necessity to be in control. And so of course she becomes careless, and another camp counselor discovers what she is doing. She is immediately fired from the camp, but not arrested. While this might seem unrealistic, often camps do try to protect their own interests by covering certain things up. She is also forced to resign her teaching position and move to another town.
Character Doesn't Learn, Doesn't Evolve
While one might see this as a chance for her salvation, it isn't long before Laura Brevitz is up to her old tricks again. Clearly, she has not learned from the consequences, or perhaps it is because the consequences were not harsh enough. Or perhaps the author is opening a debate over how much control one has over his or her own sexual inclinations and drives. While it is generally acknowledged that homosexuality (for example) is a genetic trait and not a choice, perhaps the author is saying that all of our sexual interests and leanings are part of our genetic makeup.
Unfortunately, it is left to the reader to interpret or guess at any theory the author might have, for he does not delve into this topic, but keeps everything basically on the surface.
Teacher's Eager Beavers was published in 1973. It's A Manchester Publication, put out by the Chelsea Library Press.
At the time of this book's publication, the idea of a female teacher engaging in sexual activity with her students most likely seemed the stuff of pure fantasy. But in the intervening years, there have been many documented and highly publicized cases. For example, Felecia Killings actually was an attractive twenty-seven year old teacher who very recently was arrested for sleeping with a sixteen-year-old student.
Probably the most famous case in recent years is that of Mary Kay Letourneau, who went to jail for sleeping with her twelve-year-old student. And then after seven years in prison, Letourneau and her former student actually got married. One could call it a strange happy ending.
This book tells the erotic tale of a young woman who runs away from home, only to find herself exploited and enslaved in a strange motel.
The Sheriff's Delight tells the story of Judy Hallesham, a seventeen-year-old girl who has run away from a strict and religious father only to end up as a slave to a greedy and sadistic motel manager.
Judy has been on the road for a while, and is hungy, and soaked from the rain, and so seeks refuge in the Seaview Motel, hoping to get work there in exchange for a room and some food. Harry Dorne, the motel's manager, offers her a job, a room and food - but in addition to a maid's work, Judy must also provide sexual favors. Reluctant to engage in such activity, but more reluctant to go back into the rain, Judy accepts.
From Runaway To Slave
In the morning she finds that all her personal belongings are gone, including her wallet. In place of her own clothes is a uniform - a dark blue dress with a white collar. Nothing else, not even underwear. That's when she truly realizes the danger she is in. So she tries to escape, but the police of this town are corrupt and in on the action. They catch her and bring her back to the motel.
The sheriff then has his way with Judy, after Moira - another employee/slave girl - warms her up. Judy feels a strange pleasure at Moira's touch. After the sheriff is done, the girls have to get back to work. Moira asks Judy, "Would you like to go to bed with me tonight?" (p. 57), and Judy, shocked, replies, "I'm not that kind." "You will be," Moira tells her.
Judy is later raped on the beach by Carl, a member of the kitchen staff. But during this episode, she finds her body excited. She is mentally revulsed by her body's excitement. The author describes her internal conflict by writing that Carl had "somehow stimulated evil, wanton, bestial urges within her. She couldn't that such depravity was a part of her being" (pp. 72-73).
Judy's actions and decisions seem at least partly informed by her strict father, and her mental attempts to rid herself of his control, his specter. And she does find momentary solace in the embrace of Moira, enjoying the contrast of her soft caresses to the brutal handling by the men. But she learns she can't trust her either, that she is alone.
Harry introduces Judy to Mrs. Randolph, the actual owner of the motel. Mrs. Randolph has her own peculiar desires, which seem to include her brother Jackie and controlling young women (though she vehemently denies being a lesbian). And so Judy is thrust into an even stranger world, where there seems to be little hope of escape.
John Pendleton Creates Interesting Characters And Situations
For this type of book, it's actually not bad. John Pendleton possesses a decent vocabulary, and that certainly helps. And he is creative in his descriptions, not relying on the normal, tired expressions. For example, on page 89, he writes, "She wore a network of burning threads, like metallic nylon from head to toe to fingertip - an electric grid, searing her entire form. She was moving all over, trembling and shivering, quaking, writhing, tossing about, every nerve torn and screaming as she flung into orgasm. She was cumming with a violence so terrible that her mind departed the agonizing struggle." Unfortunately, there is still that common misspelling of the word "come."
And the characters are actually compelling and somewhat believable. After all, Judy does try to escape - she doesn't immediately submit to whatever Harry has devised for her. The author takes the time and trouble to create an atmosphere where it becomes believable that she can't easily escape.
The title of this book is a bit misleading. After all, the Sheriff only uses Judy one, near the beginning (though there is always the fear of the sheriff - one of the things that prevents Judy from running away). Though it is true that the sheriff did take delight in her.
One other interesting note is that at the beginning of the book there is an introduction by the publisher, in which there is an attempt to place the story in a sociological context, and to make it seem like an important study that serves some function other than simply exciting the reader. This introduction ends with the line, "Her story will stand as a warning to all, to those of her age and to their parents."
The Sheriff's Delight was published in 1978 by Publisher's Consultants and Briarcliff Books.
For those interested, I've also written a review of Teacher's Eager Beavers.
L. Ron Hubbard's book is a mix of pseudo-science and pseudo-religion, with a generous layer of 1950's atomic fear thrown on top.
Scientology: The Fundamentals Of Thought by L. Ron Hubbard is funny and yet frightening as well. Funny, because the whole thing is obviously ridiculous and a total con. Frightening, because a lot of people take it seriously. L. Ron Hubbard was a mediocre (at best) science fiction writer, who (as the story goes) made a bet with a much better science fiction writer (Robert Heinlein) that he could start a religion and make a lot of money. And good for L., he won the bet. (Bad for humanity, but who cares about such things?)
L. Ron Hubbard's science fiction-based pseudo-science, pseudo-religion has many followers, but this books offers no clue as to why. It's a hodge-podge collection of thoughts with some Oedipal and Freudian concerns, and is firmly based in the 1950s science fiction horror territory.
L. was clearly obsessed with atomic warfare, which makes sense, as this was written in the 1950s, the same time all those science-fiction monster movies were being conceived. But L. saw Scientology as the hero in the battle against atomic annihilation. In this book's epilogue, he wrote, "The only race that matters at this moment is the one being run between Scientology and the atomic bomb. The history of Man, as has been said by well-known authorities, may well depend upon which wins." It doesn't offer the specific names of these well known authorities, of course.
L. also claims that "Scientology is also used by business and government leaders to establish or improve organization." Who, for example? Again, the book doesn't say.
Easy To Read, Sort Of
Right off the bat, L. puts the blame on the reader for any confusion he or she may encounter while reading this tome. He writes that if the reader becomes confused, it's because he or she hasn't properly understood a word. And to aid the reader, a glossary is included in the back of the book. And throughout the book, terms are defined.
But do these definitions really help? The thirteenth chapter begins with this definition: "Self-Determinism is a condition of determining the actions of self." Imagine if Webster's were like this. No one would know anything.
Chapter Eleven begins with some other circular definitions: "By PROCESSING is meant the 'verbal exercising of a preclear in exact Scientology processes.' By PRECLEAR is meant 'a person who is receiving processing.'" So then "processing" means the verbal exercising of a person who is receiving processing in exact Scientology processes. Holy moly, did anyone edit this book? Or is this intentional, this leading the reader in circles?
There are some rudimentary drawings to help the reader, and also to pad this already-thin volume. Chapter One, for example, is less than a page long. And there are many pages of advertisements for other Scientology books and DVDs (including An Introduction To Scientology) at the end.
Facts And Truths
L. wrote in the first chapter that "Scientology is full of facts that work." He then suggests that people read the book in order to find one fact (yes, just one) with which he or she can agree. And then read it again, to find a second fact. Are these facts so difficult to find? The answer is yes. What a strange way to go about reading a book. Go ahead, try to find a fact. Good luck.
Are there any truths contained in the book? Of course. All religions and cults must have some nuggets of truth, onto which all of the nonsense can be attached. For example, in the sixth chapter, L. wrote, "Fixed on too many barriers, Man yearns to be free. But launched into total freedom, he is purposeless and miserable." That seems right.
Scientology of course has all sorts of made-up words, such as "thetan." What exactly is a thetan? L. offers this: "The Thetan (spirit) is described in Scientology as having no mass, no wavelength, no energy and no time or location in space, except by consideration or postulate" (p. 66). It's interesting to define something by what it isn't.
It has no mass, yet is supposed to reside in the skull or near it. It has no mass, yet with Scientology technology, they were able to separate this non-thing from the body. Very interesting. L. also claims that the thetan can deteriorate. But really, how would anyone know?
The Code Of A Scientologist
On page 116, there is "The Code Of A Scientologist." There are ten numbered points that all scientologists must live by. The first one, number one, says, "To hear or speak no word of disparagement to the press, public or preclears concerning any of my fellow Scientologists, our professional organization or those whose names are closely connected to this science."
Science? Well, whatever. The main point of that is that it just screams out "CULT." To hear no word of disparagement? Wow. That's like ordering them not to read or listen to a contrary opinion, to listen only to Scientologists on matters concerning Scientology. That's dangerous, and is absolutely the mark of a cult. Basically, if anyone tries to talk sense to these people, they're forbidden to even hear it. It's the first point of their code. (I guess they'll never read this review.)
The Auditor's Code
As scary as that is, the book also includes "The Auditor's Code" (page 115). There are sixteen points to the auditor's code. Check out number nine: "Never permit the preclear to end the session on his own independent decision." I'm fairly certain that's considered kidnapping. Seriously, what if someone decides he or she has had enough and wishes to leave? What will the auditor do? Do the auditors resort to physical restraint?
In the chapter on auditing procedures, L. says, "This includes an ability to place one question, worded exactly the same way over and over again, to the preclear - no matter how many times the preclear has answered the question." Wow, that sounds incredibly annoying. And keep in mind number nine of the auditor's code, which keeps the preclear from being able to walk away. I wonder how many auditors have ended up being smacked by preclears. I hope all of them.
For those wondering how long these auditing sessions last, check out pages 150-151. These pages describe an exercise in which the preclear is ordered to push a small object around on a table, then stop, then change directions. L. writes, "Sometimes four or five hours spent in this exercise are very well spent on a very difficult preclear." And remember, it's the auditor who decides who is difficult, and who isn't.
A few pages later, L. writes that another "process can be continued for twenty-five hours (or even fifty or seventy-five hours) of auditing." Goodbye, life.
It seems that every time L. offers an example of a troubled person, it has something to do with his parents, and also with sex. Though Scientology considers itself the enemy of psychology, it clearly is taking a cue from Freud.
Here's a bit from the twelfth chapter: "Let us say he is obviously in father's valence (identity). He got into father's valence when he found he could get no attention from mother. Observing that father got some of her attention, he took father's identity. However, let us say he didn't like father."
As for sex, L. writes, "An anxiety about sex, however, occurs when an individual begins to believe that there will not be a body for him to have during the next lifetime." Really? Is that what Scientologists think about before sex?
Scientology: The Fundamentals Of Thought is just one of many books about Scientology, and is not intended to provide all the answers. After all, if one book contained the answers, cult members wouldn't shell out money for all the other tomes.
Scientology: The Fundamentals Of Thought was originally published in 1956. The current edition was published in 2007, by Bridge Publications, Inc., a company that is owned and run by Scientologists and only publishes Scientology books.
William Shakespeare's Measure For Measure, through the characters of the Duke and Angelo, deals with the theme of power.
Measure For Measure is one of the most intriguing of William Shakespeare's plays. Readers of the play are divided on how they see some of the major characters. Is Isabella an example of purity and chastity, or is she a cold and unfeeling person without charity? Cases can be made on either side.
While a lot of criticism regarding Measure For Measure deals with the theme of forgiveness, it seems that the play's other focus is on the corruptive nature of power. The Duke is one of the strangest, and in a way most despicable characters that Shakespeare ever created. Everything that happens in the play is a result of his actions or inaction - his inefficacy, his lies, his trickery.
At the beginning of the play, he steps aside as ruler, temporarily handing over power to Angelo, a man with an unblemished reputation. The Duke is an ineffectual leader. There have been years of lawlessness in the land as a result of his not wanting to enforce the laws. So rather than step up and begin to act like a leader, he gives his power to another person, Angelo, and bids him to enforce the laws.
Angelo, to his credit, at first doesn't want the position, doesn't want the power. He says, "Let there be some more test made of my mettle,/Before so noble and so great a figure/Be stamp'd upon it." (I. i. 51-53) (Note: all quotes from the play are from The Yale Shakespeare, edited by Davis Harding.)
But of course he can't refuse, for the Duke is his ruler. And the Duke is well aware of his character - Angelo is something of a puritan. Angelo immediately dusts off old laws, such as the one against fornication outside of marriage, and finds a criminal in Claudio. He must make an example so that the people will begin to follow the laws once again. Claudio has impregnated his girlfriend, Juliet, a woman he fully intends to marry. For this crime, Claudio is sentenced to die.
Isabella, A Novice, Petitions For Claudio's Life
Isabella, Claudio's sister, is a woman who has entered a nunnery but has yet to take the vows. Lucio, Claudio's friend, asks her to use her persuasive powers to petition Angelo for Claudio's life. Isabella at first does a poor job, and is ready to turn away from the task, but for Lucio's further urging. She then appeals to Angelo's charity, and Angelo begins to bend. Perhaps in his heart, he'd like to yield, but he's been charged with the task of enforcing these laws, and bringing order to the land.
But Angelo finds himself attracted to Isabella, perhaps seeing her as an equal to him. It seems that it's her goodness, her religious spirit that affects him, that attracts him. He asks her to love him, promising that he will spare Claudio's life if she will. He uses his new position of power in an attempt to bend this woman to his desires, just as she is asking him to bend to hers. But she refuses. And now Angelo, feeling exposed, becomes angry and lashes out, saying that if she doesn't yield to him, that not only will Claudio die, but that he'll be tortured first.
Isabella still refuses - her virginity is more important to her than her brother's life. She tells Angelo that she will reveal what he has said, but Angelo tells her:
"Who will believe thee, Isabel?
My unsoil'd name, th' austereness of my life,
My vouch against you, and my place i' th' state,
Will so your accusation overweigh.
That you shall stifle in your own report
And smell of calumny."
(II. iii. 164-169)
And he's right. And with his current position of power, he's able to use his prior goodness to ensure he will not be called to task for his current evil leanings.
The Duke Disguises Himself As A Friar
Meanwhile, the Duke has sent word that he's left for foreign territories, but this is not true. Instead, he disguises himself as a friar and spies on his people, to see the results of Angelo's rule. And of course things go horribly wrong. The Duke, through disguise and deceit, tries to make things right.
Through his impersonation of a friar, he hears confession, though he has no right to do so. He takes hope away from Claudio (twice) by telling him he must die (though he's planning on saving him). He tells Isabella Claudio is dead. He urges the provost to deceive Angelo by substituting another criminal's head for Claudio's. He urges Isabella to deceive Angelo - the very man he himself put in charge.
The Duke is aware that Angelo was once to marry a woman named Mariana, and he suggests that Isabella accept Angelo's offer, but then have Mariana be the one in the bed that Angelo goes to (a bed-trick similar to the one in All's Well That Ends Well).
Isabella readily agrees to this idea, and perhaps it's only because the idea came from what she believes to be a priest (that is, a person of power in her chosen field). After all, she's on the path to dedicating her life to religion, to God. Had the Duke been in some other disguise, would she have as readily accepted this plan? Perhaps not. But it is interesting how quickly she latches onto this plan. While feeling that giving up her own virginity to save her brother was vile and wrong, she seems to think it's completely fine to have another woman do so.
Then the Duke hurries to the jail to await the pardon he knows is coming from Angelo. He takes a childish joy in being there to see the results of his schemes. But rather than a pardon, Angelo sends word that Claudio is to die no matter what. Angelo believes that he's taken Isabella's virginity, but he reneges on his end of the bargain. The Duke is upset - not because Claudio is going to die, but seemingly because his scheme has not worked.
He seems to take great pleasure in controlling everyone's destiny, but also in doing so through deceit and disguise, rather than outright. At any time the Duke could simply announce himself and pardon Claudio. But he does not do this.
The Duke Takes What Angelo Wanted
And in the end, the Duke, after regaining his position of power, takes the very thing that Angelo wanted. That is, he takes Isabella, takes her virginity. He says to her, "Give me your hand and say you will be mine" (V. i. 539). Shakespeare gives Isabella no lines at the end of the play, so she accepts the proposal silently. Thus, she never does take her vows as a nun, which is what she had intended. And she is giving up her ideal of chastity. So are the Duke and Angelo really all that different?
Isabella accepts her fate to be married to the Duke. But really, the Duke has been less honest with her than Angelo was. After all, he presented himself as of the religious order. He lied to her about who he was. He lied to her in telling her that Claudio was dead. He urged her to lie to Angelo. Yet she seemingly willingly yields her virginity, her chastity - the thing she holds most dear - to him at the end, without even a word.
The Duke clearly feels that he is doing nothing wrong with all his deceit and treachery. He takes pleasure in it. And in the end, he has nothing to answer for. Because of his position of power, he is not called to task for anything he has said or done. In fact, he is able to mete out judgment to all the other characters. At one point (before his marriage proposal) he even calls to have Isabella arrested for slandering Angelo's good name. He obviously has no intention of following through, but Isabella doesn't know that - he's totally playing with her.
William Shakespeare As The Duke
It has been suggested that William Shakespeare himself portrayed the Duke on stage. Whether true or not, this idea is appealing because the Duke essentially takes on the role of a god, or of the writer of the action of the play. Also, twice the Duke is referred to as "ghostly father" (IV. iii. 44, and V. i. 147). If he did play the Duke, could this line be a reference to the believed fact that Shakespeare also portrayed the Danish prince's father in Hamlet?