Julius Caesar Evola and Tom Wolfe, MY NAME IS CHARLOTTE SIMMONS



Christopher Jones writes:I am happy that Miles Seeley had a few laughs, but rightly or wrongly, Julius Evola's essay contained far more serious comments.  I too was intrigued by il Barone's assault on American sexuality in 1945.  Although Evola can be properly accused of mysogeny coupled with virulent antisemitism (he thought Jews were an effeminate people obsessed with lies), I found his comments on American sexuality strangely parelleled in the attached article about that icon of modern US literature and "New Journalism," Tom Wolfe. 
 
This paragraph stands out in Ed Vulliamy's Guardian article: "Four years ago, Wolfe wrote an essay to mark the millennium called Hooking Up, about what he called "feverish emphasis on sex and sexiness". In a way, his new novel, My Name is Charlotte Simmons, is a literary fruition of the essay. The excess and decadence at Dupont College are seen through the eyes of his heroine, Charlotte Simmons, who arrives a diligent virgin from the hills of North Carolina, on a full scholarship. She is initially intimidated and appalled, but eventually conquers her fear to partake, indeed to star, in the jock beanfeast . . .

"I personally would be shocked out of my pants if I was at college now," confides Wolfe, who spent four years trawling the campuses for raw material. The book, he says, is "about sex as it interacts with social status. And I have tried to make the sex un-erotic. I will have failed if anyone gets the least bit excited. So much of modern sex is un-erotic, if erotic means flight of fancy or romantic build-up. Sex now is so easy to consummate - it is a pressure that affects everybody, girls more than boys, I think.

"As he notes, the America which votes tomorrow is a country driven over morality like never before. On the flip side of the culture of ubiquitous sex is that of puritan Christianity, as harnessed in no small part by Bush. "Yes, there is this puritanism," says Wolfe, "and I suppose we are talking here about what you might call the religious right. But I don't think these people are left or right, they are just religious, and if you are religious, you observe certain strictures on sexual activity - you are against the mainstream, morally speaking. And I do have sympathy with them, yes, though I am not religious. I am simply in awe of it all; the openness of sex. In the 60s they talked about a sexual revolution, but it has become a sexual carnival."

Frankly Evola's diagnosis of the problems of American society stands up today, even if it appears a little worn at the edges.  Guns, drugs, wild sex, AIDS, pseudo religions, Mexicans, Blacks, civil rights, computer driven random killings, the working poor -- is it any wonder George Bush was re-elected?  Nobody has the time to get concerned with issues (what are they?)

(All while America is currently engaged in "defending freedom" in Fallujah.  We are choaking on it.)
 
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5052158-103680,00.html
 


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Ronald Hilton 2004

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last updated: December 5, 2004