Lipstick Traces: Greil Marcus Part VIII

September 1, 2007

A Review

Lipstick Traces: Greil Marcus

Escape From Reality

by R.E. Prindle


      One gathers the impression from Mr. Marcus’ work that all his characters are in an extreme flight from reality.  This would be equally true of the historical movements he describes of the Begins and Beguines and Free Spirit.  His conception of the Free Spirit is a downright denial of reality and a full scale unlimited retreat into fantasy.  Coinciding with this is an impossible demand for absolute freedom.  The freedom of the Free Spirits, the Dadaist/Lettrist/Situationists and indeed, the Jews in general, is a freedom that requires passive objects- in other words Masters and Slaves.  The freedom of the Free Spirits that on one level demanded unlimited sexual gratification for men at the same time required the abuse and degradation of women.  Indeed, the image of a woman having sex with ten different men in succession is sexual abuse of a major kind that must irreparably damage the psyche of the woman.

     I return again to the striking images of the insane asylum or Maison de Sante of Poe’s The System Of Dr. Tarr And Professor Fether.  There is a great similarity in that story between the inmates seizing control of the asylum and the present situation in which all the disaffected factions such as homosexuals, Jews, Blacks and whatever have turned society on its head suppressing the asylum attendants or establishing an order in their own favor.

     As I read Mr. Marcus’ remarkable book there is no one loonier than Guy Debord and the Lettrist/Situationist International.  Both he and Isou are busy inventing systems that have no relationship to a just or benevolent society.

     Their purpose while framed in grandiose proclamations of ‘changing society for a better world’ merely mask a desire of revolution for revolution’s sake as with the 1968 Paris disturbance that seems to have been meant only to ‘epater le bourgeoisie.’  To sow discord for the sole purpose of giving meaning to Debord’s life, to make him feel that indeed he was a Mastermind and powerful individual.

     How the Situationist International meshed with the Frankfurt School for the furtherance of the Jewish Revolution is predictably left unexamined by Mr. Marcus.  By the early fifties the Institute For Social Research was once again headquartered in Europe.  Herbert Marcuse had been left behind in the US where he took up residence at UC- San Diego translating the claptrap of Adorno and others into English.

     As a continuator of the Frankfurt School then Mr. Marcus provides a link between the Dadaists of 1916, The Frankfurt School of 1923 and the postwar Lettrist/Situationist International.

     Thus as Debord replaced Isou in ’57-’58 the path then led into the so-called Free Speech Movement at UC- Berkeley and spreading from there to US campuses during the decade of the sixties linking up with the Cultural Revolution of Mao that made 1968 such a significant year not only in Paris but worldwide.

     Mr. Marcus gives us a stirring account of his peripheral involvement in the Free Speech Movement of Berkeley  of which he seems to be very proud.  While he doesn’t inform us that he himself was a chief in any committees of public safety or actually involved in any sit-ins with consequent arrest he was present at several large rallies and assemblies in which as he tells us he cheered lustily.

     He seems to be convinced that the cause of ‘freedom’ was thereby greatly advanced.  If so, one asks, ‘freedom’ for whom?  As in Poe’s Maison De Sante for the inmates as opposed to the guards obviously.  The inmates won their freedom from the asylum administrators and guards by capturing and imprisoning them.  Thus as Paul Simon has been known to chant:  One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.  Oh, yes, indeed!

     Now, Mr. Marcus’ works are sprinkled with images and metaphors drawn from the act of fellatio.  While I have drawn my conclusions on the matter I leave it to the reader to draw theirs.  No matter what happens then the issue at hand is of a not so subconscious sexual nature.  Ultimately Mr. Marcus’ ‘total freedom’ gets down to the unlimited sexual gratification of an elite.

     In pre-Revolutionary France this elite was the hereditary aristocracy.  Their victims were drawn from the ‘lower orders’.  For a fair example of how that aristocracy conducted itself it is only necessary to turn the pages of the works of the Marquis de Sade which Mr. Marcus undoubtedly has.

     I hope I won’t offend if I say that what the Revolutionaries want is purely to displace the old elite and substitute themselves if for no other reason than to be able to gratify their sexual fantasies.

     There have been several sex havens in the twentieth century where Western men could go to gratify these illicit passions.  One need only mention Marrakesh, Tangiers, Thailand and locations where one can or could get all the dope one wanted, young girls and boys whose bodies could be violated at will for the appropriate price.  One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.  One’s sexual passions can only be gratified on someone else’s body.  That is what makes de Sade’s writings so terrifying.

     While these sexual retreats are balms for perverted souls it is damned inconvenient to have to go so far at such great expense for such transient pleasures that require constant renewal.  What to do?  Why create possibilities closer to home of course.

      Thus one has women lured from far away with false promises, to be installed in brothels in your home town.  Or local girls plied with drugs until they will do anything you want.  Better still are the hypnotic drugs, but I don’t have to go into detail on the date rape drugs.

     Or, better yet, train whole generations to perverted sexual practices in the public schools from kindergarten up.  Catch the little bastards at five and fill their brains with sexual filth in the name of mental health and sexual liberation. 

     This stuff isn’t new but what is new is its public nature and audacity.  There have been small scale attempts to train men and women to gratify an elite.  The Geishas of Japan are a famous example.  And then there were the Irish slave women and mulattoes of the West Indies brought up to gratify the sexual needs of the planter elite with no unpleasant frictions.

     One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.  Full freedom for the elite is complete slavery for the majority.  If Huxley’s gammas are needed they will be created, for elites need gammas.

     The elite has even cleverly arranged matters so that they can train five year old little boys and girls to be buggers and whores.  In control of the mainstream media they plump continuously for ‘freedom’ from ‘Puritanical strictures.’  They demand sex ‘education’ in the name of developing the full ‘human’ potential of the little buggers.

     The law is perverted for the purpose.  While the concept of the Law may be sacred, laws created by a minority for their convenience aren’t.  As in the sixties when civil disobedience was a sacred duty it is now no less a sacred duty to disobey these laws that benefit the few to the injury of all.  The principle of Law will not be violated anymore now than it was in the sixties.  That was when Greil Marcus was in the bleachers of Freedom howling his lungs out.

     Well, so Guy Debord somehow brought this civil disturbance in France in 1968 to fruition or so he claimed and believed.  As Mr. Marcus justly points out President De Gaulle lamented the fact that the entire disturbance was caused by a few malcontents.  The ‘freedom’ of Debord and the French Situationists meant the disruption if not the destruction of the lives and happiness of those who were trying to create a better civilization.  But, and this is a key point, in order to do so  they had to work.  Debord’s key slogan was ‘ne travaille jamais’.  Never work- suck off the productive.

     This is where I disagree with Mr. Marcus, I don’t find the attitude admirable.  One again asks the question who is the new elite that will replace the pre-Revolutionary elite?  One asks for whose benefit was the babel of languages introduced in that ancient never never land or multi-culturalism into today’s Europe and America?  There’s the real question Mr. Marcus isn’t critiquing.  When the old world is destroyed who will rule the new order?  Who will be masters and who will be the slaves?  Where will the new Law and laws come from?  Ah, Mr. Marcus, write a new book and tell us.

     I don’t think we’ll be hearing from Mr. Marcus on that issue soon even though I am eager.

     So, by 1968 the inmates were well on the way to being in charge of the asylum trying to get outside their clothes  rather than in them.  As I noted earlier Mr. Marcus begins his story at the end.  I will now continue, taking the head of the ouroboros and place its tail in its mouth.  We proceed to the first chapter of Mr. Marcus’ book, Lipstick Traces and the last part of my review.



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