Sunday, October 16, 2005

Power & Pinter

Been feeling kind of gnawed since the post below on Harold Pinter. I am loving Roy's post on him - a nice assessment of his theatricality and skill, and the delight in the wingnuts' fury over the Prize. My own ambivalence comes from Pinter's concentration on the cut and thrust of gaining the upper (or lower, ball-squeezing) hand in every relationship. I don't dispute David E's analysis, it's just that I am drawn temperamentally to people like Henry James, or Pynchon, or Bellow, who are acute observers of the power games and know the score, but who renounce it, expose its ugliness, or stand aside, perhaps amused and not a little appalled, and still stay out of the game. Or make their own, in Bellow's case.

Maybe it takes something infantile (and not a little feral) to pursue grown-up goals in business or politics - or the bedroom - that will annihilate your opposition, put your partner into abject submission. I just wonder whether the thrill of the conquest is worth the taste for destruction, the pleasure of hearing the vertebrae crack and the fluids ooze. As we know from Buffy and Angel, soullessness has its drawbacks. How does Karl Rove sleep these nights, the prospect of his canines being removed hovering over him? Doesn't a Power World posit only winners and losers? Deify the Players? Seems to me there are alternatives - and not wussy ones - to being a sucker in a stacked game.

More to say on this - it's late here.

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