The Soft Boner of Classic American Literature

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Behold the final paragraph of Katie Roiphe’s New York Times Sunday Book Review story on the lost art of freaky sex writing pioneered by the “Great Male Novelists” like Updike, Roth, and Mailer:

Why don’t we look at these older writers, who want to defeat death with sex, with the same fondness as we do the inventors of the first, failed airplanes, who stood on the tarmac with their unwieldy, impossible machines, and looked up at the sky?

In other words, why don’t we sit around praising the “unwieldy, impossible machines” (or: penises) of these white, heterosexual guys who are still writing masturbatory prose about lesbian threesomes involving strap-ons, after all these years? Is it because:

(a) The feminists! They have ruined everything!

(b) The porn on the Internets! It has made us more likely to watch a short video depicting lesbian threesomes involving strap-ons, instead of reading some white heterosexual dude attempt to describe it for us, in words!

(c) Those danged marginalized groups! People other than old, white, heterosexual men have taken a stab at the whole sex-writing thing, and it turns out they actually have some interesting shit to say about it!

(d) The impotence of old white dudes! Those old dudes can’t get erections anymore, I hear!

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