Disgrace

by?J. M.?Coetzee

Reading around the blogs, its always interesting to see?what other people find outrageous or dysfunctional. I?don’t get?why?Professor David Lurie is?so shocking as a character. I need guidance from you good wholesome folk. I know I’m far too desensitized.

For five years I lived on the road with a?band?who had little respect for their wives and girlfriends… but enough ego to highly respect themselves every morning, afternoon and night. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone on the music scene was this way, but the numbers were high. It was fun as hell, wild, crazy, fast, loose and free. Rules need not apply.?And when I wasn’t chugging in the RV from Legends Lounge, Las Vegas to some joint in Pocatello, Idaho (Who Da Ho??I ain’t Da Ho.?You Da Ho.)?I was flying with some pretty twisted pilots and flight attendants leading double lives. Who?could trace what they did in different time zones? None of them made apologies for it. In fact, as retirees, they still long for those days. This is why I don’t find the good professor so intrigueing. I’ve known him personally on far too many levels.

So let’s get down to it. As for theoretical references,?this line?caught my eye.

His temperment is fixed, set. The skull, followed by the temperment: the two hardest parts of the body. (Coetzee 2)

This sentence is preceeded and followed by evaluative comments on temperment (appearing 5 times in?the lower?half of page 2). Lurie’s sense of being is fixed, set. Recall?Fanon. The mind, in conjunction with the body, is being. This is not to be mistaken with identity. Identity is imposed in relation to/supplement of “other.” Being is who you are before that happens.

Lurie holds?fast to?that sense of being, even under pressure from?the commitee. When the members try to impress upon him the importance of his remorse, he tries to impress upon them that he has none to offer. Who is worse here? Sure, this guy Lurie is a sexual deviant, but at least he’s honest. The Commitee, representative of a societal norm, is just as wrong in this case. They are willing to sell Lurie’s?remorse to the public, as long as Lurie makes it saleable, and shove Lurie’s predatroy behavior under the rug.

When we talk of power struggles,?consider this line about Melanie:

She?is too innocent for that, too ignorant of her power.

Um, of course he had been praying on her ignorance. At least here he comes straight out and recognizes it. If he doesn’t allude to her power, letting her in on the secret, he can continue to use her.

Twisted.

Comments

  1. I think I can elaborate on why it is that David is so odd and undigestable, at lease to me, anyway. I think we can all relate him to someone we know, he’s pretty much everywhere, but the thought that people like him exist, is what I struggle with. Your right, I think society as a whole, has become pretty desensitized about sex and its meaning and purpose. For instance, I live with my boyfriend and two other guys (no other women) so I see (or hear) unmeaningful sex just about every day at home. The problem is, and this is the conversation that I have had with my roomates, is that there IS a difference between having sex and making love. Unfortunately, many people have a problem distinguishing the two. David however, goes another step further. Not only does he have unmeaningful sex, but he interprets is as love and then has to force it on Melanie and JUSTIFIES IT! Here is where my main problem lies. I agree with you though, he’s not so much shocking as he is a pig.

  2. I have to say that I agree with you on the fact that David does not seem all that shocking. As someone who rarely watches television I have to say that everytime I turn it on I am bombarded with him. The overall culture we are told we should celebrate is who this man is in many ways. The whole “celebrity” gossip nonsense and all of that. Also I want to say that I enjoy your reading of the college board, I think they are as guilty as he. They to me represent just another aparatus as Fanon would have called it, they simply want to hide the truth from getting out and cover it up as quickly as possible so that everything can get back to “normal,” as it would be called. -Nick

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