Friday, February 16, 2007

And speaking of incest...

You know, it just occured to me that in the litany of incestuous acts in literature (going all the way back to the Old Testament and the plays of Ancient Greece) I can't think of a single one that involves two people of the same sex. Think about it. Father and daughter - check. Mother and son - check. Brother and sister - check. But brother and brother? Mother and daughter? Even Turgenev's promisingly titled Fathers and Sons turns out to be depressingly non-sexual.

Incest, it seems, is the last bastion of heterosexuality.

I could argue that this is a reflection of the superior moral fibre of gay people through time. They may play for the other side, but at least they follow the rules. But that's obviously ridiculous.

What we have here, I think, is a grave lacuna at the heart of the literature that deals in taboo sexual acts. Why should straight people have a monopoly on this stuff? What we need is an all male version of Mourning becomes Electra, or a version of Oedipus Rex where Oedipus, returning from a foreign land a stranger, accidentally kills his mother and takes her place in his father's bed. The day we give homosexuality its rightful place in the canon of lyric tragedy, is the day we move closer to a more egalitarian society.

Where's Sophocles when you need him?

P.S. If you're wondering what brought that on - it's probably a combination of all this talk about incestuous bloggers and this lovely piece in the New Yorker by David Sedaris.

11 comments:

Cheshire Cat said...

Edward St.Aubyn?

sa re ga ma said...

Excellent piece, indeed!!! Thanks!

Space Bar said...

same sex incest in literature i can't think of, but in tsai ming-liang's darkest (i think) film the river, there is inadvertent father-son incest in a public bath.

Anonymous said...

There are hints of sister-sister love in Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market". Well, more than hints...

She cried "Laura," up the garden,
"Did you miss me ?
Come and kiss me.
Never mind my bruises,
Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
Squeezed from goblin fruits for you,
Goblin pulp and goblin dew.
Eat me, drink me, love me;
Laura, make much of me:
For your sake I have braved the glen
And had to do with goblin merchant men."

Ludwig said...

perhaps you've heard of Raj Kamal Jha's "The Blue Bedspread"?

Gorilla Bananas said...

I once saw a female gorilla lick her sister's cha-cha, but this may have been a dietary supplement rather than incest.

Falstaff said...

cat: Ah, yes. Had forgotten about that.

sa re ga ma: You're welcome.

space bar: Haven't seen. Will look it up.

anonymous: Interesting. Christina Rossetti, the pathbreaking sexual poet of our age. Who knew?

ludwig: Blue Bedspread? Really? I actually started reading that once, but the prose was so god-awfully artificial that I gave up around page 25. Now you're telling me I should have persevered? Sigh.

gorilla bananas: Yes. Also, it's hardly literature, is it?

Actually, the whole homosexual bestiality thing could be interesting too. Think a version of King Kong where Kong grabs, say, Brad Pitt, and carries him to the top of the Empire State. I can just imagine the scene where Kong thumps his chest and says "What's Angelina Jolie got that I haven't?"

km said...

That is a very good question.

But aren't there many "parental-abuse survivor" stories out there? (of course, none of them come to mind just now..)

Though I can't imagine the horror The Doors would have unleashed in '67 had Morrison sung "Mother, yes, son, I want to kill you...."

Ludwig said...

Oh, far be it from me to recommend 'The Blue Bedspread' as a book, but if you're cataloguing same gender incest, put this one down in the father-son category. And the rape category. And the child abuse category. Obviously not the nicest thing to read, but perhaps that's precisely why one has to say that Jha probably succeded in getting his point across...

Cheshire Cat said...

& Goce Smilevski. Sister-sister: that seems new.

Cinamon said...

If you are a hindu, u may find this intersting:

"The Laws of Manu (8.369-370) provides penalties for women who take a girl's virginity, but describes no punishment for oral sex or vaginal sex between post-virginal women."

Well... with Kama Sutra favouring it, how could we not have a rule about it.