Ya see, as a boy, you're supposed to love sports. I didn't. Well, yer supposed to love cars, too. Um. No? Well, guns, at least. Every boy loves his gun - it's hard, you can oil it, it shoots stuff out the end - familiar territory, there. Sorry. The smell of overheated metal and burnt powder ain't one of my fetishes. So I suppose that a boyhood interest in sharp, pointy objects will have to suffice to prove my testicular adequacy. Hence the searching of libraries and used bookstores for anything involving a guy with a sword on an adventure. And so I stumbled on this book.
I read a chapter. I put it down. I found it disturbing, in a vague, too-young-to-grok-the-squik-factor sense. In 7th grade, I didn't have the words to even begin to understand what I found disturbing about it.
Much later, when I was in college, I befriended two gay men who worked at the bookstore at the mall (or perhaps they befriended me?). One day, they told me that they had a very practical use for the Gor novels: Reality Testers. You know those days where it feels like everything is Not Real, where it feels like you're moving through a dream? On those days, you can walk into any book store, pick any random Gor novel off the shelf, open it to any random page, and if there is NOT a B&D/S&M reference, you are dreaming.
matociquala was kind/cruel enough to post links to bellatrys's reading and summary of the first of the Gor novels, which she titles “Planet of the Complete Bloody Psychopaths,” and which explains so well why my tender 7th grade brain fled in horror.
Ms. Bear's post with all the linkses: http://matociquala.livejournal.com/1183116.html
First of the linkses on the planet of the complete bloody psychopaths: http://bellatrys.livejournal.com/330344.html
All of which led, somehow, to this site: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FauxActionGirl
And then, eventually to Gor fanfic: Gay, Bejeweled, Nazi Bikers of Gor
Which reminded me of Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, and therefore, of a paper I wrote on Nietzsche through the filter of Blicero, et. al., which then reminded me of a passage from Theodor Adorno's Minima Moralia (which, while still participating in the zeitgeist of its time (1951), at least exposes the structure and thinking of the dominant order, even as he himself falls prey to it).
Tough baby. - There is a certain gesture of virility, be it one's own or someone else's, that calls for suspicion. It expresses independence, sureness of the power to command, the tacit complicity of all males. Earlier, this was called with awed repect the whim of the master; today it has been democratized, and film heroes show the most insignificant bank clerk how it is done. Its archetype is the handsome dinner-jacketed figure returning late to his bachelor flat, switching on the indirect lighting and mixing himself a whisky and soda: the carefully recorded hissing of the mieral water says what the arrogant mouth keeps to itself: that he despises anything that does not smell of smoke, leather and shaving creame, particularly women, which is why they, precisely, find him irresistible. For him the ideal form of human relations is the club, that arena of a respect founded on scrupulous unscrupulousness. The pleasures of such men, or rather of their models, which are seldom equalled in reality, for people are even now better than their culture, all have about them a latent violence. This vilence seems a threat directed against others, of whom such a one, sprawling in his easy chair, has long ceased to have need. In fact it is past violence against himself. If all pleasure has, preserved within it, earlier pain, then here pain, as pride in bearing it, is raised directly, untransformed, as a sterotype, to pleasure: unlike whine, each glass of whisky, each inhalation of cigar smoke, still recalls the repugnance that it cost the organism to become attuned to such strong stimuli, and this alone is registered as pleasure. He-men are thus, in their own constitution, what film-plots usually present them to be, masochists. At the rood of their sadism is a lie, and only as liars do they truly become sadists, agents of repression. This lie, however, is nothing other than repressed homosexuality presenting itself as the only approved form of heterosexuality. In Oxford two sorts of student are distinguished, the tough guys and the intellectuals; the latter through this contrast alone, are almost automatically equated with the effeminate. There is much reason to believe that the ruling stratum, on its way to dictatorship, becomes polarized towards these two extremes. Such disintegration is the secret of its integration, the joy of being united in the lack of joy. In the end the tough guys are the truly effeminate ones, who need the weaklings as their victims in order not to admit that they are like them. Totalitarianism and homosexuality belong together. In its downfall the subject negates everything which is not of its own kind. The opposites of the strong man and the compliant youth merge in an order which asserts unalloyed the male principle of domination. In making all without exception, even supposed subjects, its objects, this principle becomes totally passive, virtually feminine.