Deneuve makes one feel the confusion of a corrupted child: She is an arrested adolescent who, like an anorexic, cannot face her womanliness without visions of perverse opulence and violence. Carol is the personification of sexual mystery — she is what lurks beneath the orgasms of pleasure and pain. What Polanski finds intriguing and revolting is perceptively female, making Repulsion a woman’s picture more than women may want to know, or care to face.
She responded to the ensuing barrage on her own Sunset Gun by reprinting the article and some of the comments with her responses:
Well if I get a prize, I’ll hand a gold statue to The Post News blogger who wrote a bizarre, creepy take on my piece: “Kim Morgan claims she’s setting aside her arguments for the right to rape children, and instead does some film criticism of Repulsion in an effort to suggest that Polanski can’t be a rapist, because he understands women , and their dark desires — hint, hint, his 13-year-old victim was asking for it when she cried and said no and begged to go home. Polanski knows women better than they know themselves, she says. He knows, apparently, that 13-year-olds are dying to be raped, even if they continue to say no after the fact by pressing charges… Morgan’s insinuation that rape is some secret desire of women everywhere, and especially of junior high school girls.”
I’m not sure how to respond to this this Andrea Dworkin-style foaming of the mouth, other than, I’m happy that she actually dug into my piece this deeply and at least saw some of the dual desires of women. Or, rather, what she views what I see. Even if she erroneously believes I’m saying Polanski can’t be a rapist, because he understands women. And even if she thinks I’m a sick fuck.
All you have to do is go over to the Huffington Post link and see her L.A. cute blonde picture alongside the words “Film and culture writer” and you’ve already got a lot of different people angry, unless she’s writing sob sister “I’m just a girl” recycled PR-puffery, which she certainly isn’t and god bless her. This country is all about opposing fundamentalist Muslim-style restrictions on women, but if you’re blond and young and attractive, don’t you dare be smarter, gutsier and better informed than the patriarchal learning curve allows. Marilyn Monroe had to practically hide the fact she knew how to read.
Originally championed in the feminist scene by Camille Paglia, the chthonic could have and should have been the shit if academia wasn’t so anemic and afraid of genuinely progressive change. This sort of change can only occur on the personal level–through fearless self-examination, mortality-facing and maybe therapy, rather than through staid academic lip service by a bunch of people so desperate to cling to their titles and meager shred of power that they break into a sweat when a truly dangerous female arrives on the scene. Perhaps the clinging of the old guard has made it automatic to judge with suspicion anyone who doesn’t have black hair, wear glasses, smoke a pipe and/or wear tw
eed. The conspicuous “fun” of the blond is intimidating mainly because we feel so much pressure to be un-intimidated by it.
Kim’s crimes against the phallus are less forgivable to the public order, for example, than those of someone more androgynous, like Camille Paglia or older and off the hotness grid like, say, Jane Campion or Agnes Varda. Kim’s “crimes” of youth and beauty daring to overstep its proscribed bounds, are similar to those of Asia Argento, who’s recently won a kind of begrudging respect, but who originally got trashed by critics and the public for brave and crazy SCARLET DIVA and THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS. Nothing brings up a feeling of powerless faster than sexual desire which is kind of what all these media-initiated lynchings are all about — the repressed southern MANDINGO fantasy leading to lynchings in the south, the repressed infantile sexuality of America leading to our current round of Disney-packaged-princess-run-amok ACE IN THE HOLE cave-in survivors; Lindsay Lohan and the Olsen Twins slowly starving and dying in the public eye while we pruriently slaver over their latest naughtinesses.
Polanski and his victim have moved on, but America can’t let go; we’re greedy gluttons when it comes to clucking our tongues over other people’s morals. We can’t let go of anything, let alone a lurid sex scandal involving a minor. We’re stuck at the anal stage and have been for 100 years. The French are laughing at us. In America, you can’t be a great artist or writer and a freak at the same time, at least not if you get caught. Luckily, like Frankie Pentangeles in GODFATHER 2, there is an honorable out: die and all is forgiven. Those who were about to burn down Neverland turn around and start buying up collector’s plates and genuine imitation silver gloves dabbed in Jackson blood.