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Dear Sir,

Re: Caitlin Gladwell’s hateful, vilifying ‘review’ of my book, ‘The Hermeneutics of Vaginal Desire: Dancing with the Devil in Po-Mo Feminist Architecture' (March 12). Ms. Gladwell is, as Harold Bloom said of Foucault, ‘not aware of her own irony’. Does she not know that the word ‘hysteria’ comes from the Latin root ‘shyster’, and that Shyster was the basis for the mythical man-beast ‘Shylock’, one that through the ages evolved into a convenient Levi-Straussian sign for the Jewish scapegoat, played out in texts from Shakespeare all the way through today found in graffiti on town walls in little Italian villages outside of Naples?

Which brings us to Russia. My contention was, and is, specifically, that woman is not only the source of things, but a vast empty landscape – specifically the empty landscape of late capitalism in its nascent stages in the post-soviet collapse of those oil refineries in question. (Chapter 14, ‘A St. Petersburgian Nightmare: The Vaginal Embers of Trotskyite Pop-Culture - Signifiers and Signified? Oil, Politics and Feminism in Russia, or, ‘How Come I Never Climax, Pieter?’)Thus her pallid analysis is flawed from the gate. If only she had done her homework and read my book more closely, her comments might have then been informed a bit more, and a bit more in line with what one would expect from a review in The Economist.

Hurt? No. But something like contempt arises.

Furthermore: I still maintain that ‘…vaginal post-modern discourse exists in an open locus of endless penile play between the ghost-like embedded image of the woman’s anal desire and the more dominating symbol of the fractured flower-phallus…’ Ms. Gladwell comments ignorantly that I ‘…seem to have confused the Derridean terminology a bit…’ and that my ‘…derivative…logic of signifier and signified…collapses back onto itself in a hazy, jargon filled tract of misguided, collegiate babble, reminiscent of an undergraduate paper right out of the pimply, pussy-farting dormitories of…Vassar college…’ Perhaps she is reflecting on her own experiences in college.

Nonetheless, she does not address the central question, the animus of my book: Why do the penis glories of the dominating, institutionalized oil revenues play directly into the anal symbolism of fast food chains like Arby’s – specifically, fast-food chains that are, as it were, ‘B-List’? (The irony of my choosing to appropriate the very language of Hollywood pop culture, at the same time, stepping outside of that culture and critiquing it, is not lost on me. Not for a second. I am deconstructing a binary here.) Or, to put it more directly, more urgently: Why did those women in the control group that I surveyed, in the village of Stepplyanova, have such a taboo surrounding anal sex? And what does this say about our own perceptions of vaginal embers in a rich democracy – our own penile wishes, played out, as I put it, in the ‘dance…with the devil’ that is the ‘hegemonic, slate-roofed enigmatic presence of protracted…skidmarks on the underwear of 1990’s Beavis and Butthead fans, insulated…in a suburban, largely empty wasteland of Burrito farts…and chemical diarrhea sadness…’?


Sedaris Schama

Date Written: April 11, 2003
Author: Phony Millions
Average Vote: 5

04/10/2003 Ewan Snow (5): An instant classic. Five stars.
04/26/2004 John Slocum (5): Oh....my....god....
04/26/2004 John Slocum: How could this be lacking votes? I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy.
04/26/2004 scoop (5): I'm sure there's plenty of things I'm better at than Brad. There's gotta be something, right? Right?
04/27/2004 Ewan Snow: ‘B-List’ fast food chains...
04/27/2004 Ewan Snow: ...chemical diarrhea sadness…
02/16/2005 John Slocum: pimply, pussy-farting dormitories of…Vassar college
02/16/2005 TheBuyer (5): That Gladwell, man, she doesn't get shit.
02/16/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum:
02/16/2005 John Slocum: well played, Jimson.
02/16/2005 Jon Matza (5): I was skeptical when this was 1st published but have no idea why now. Dry-aged; flexi-straw; rawhide; Dig-dug.
02/16/2005 cuntry (5):
02/17/2005 Jimson S. Sorghum: oops.
02/18/2011 Marvin_Bernstein: YUP
02/19/2011 Marvin Bernstein (5): YUP. Thanks.