Thursday, May 08, 2008

Professing Desire, Part Two

Betty was at a party last night, and jumped into a conversation with a friend who is taking a class intriguingly titled "Sex and the City," which is not about the show (or the movie)! He is writing his final paper for the class on common sexual fantasies that involve role-playing parts that correspond to hierarchical relationships from in the "real" world, for example nurse/patient, master/slave, and teacher/student.

This got Betty to thinking about her college thesis on sex, death, and the institutional intellect in the work of Philip Roth. Well, she wasn't really thinking about her thesis, but rather why passions between teachers and students open up such rich terrain for looking at concepts of acceptable culture and scandal and social norms and power dynamics and all that stuff.

Sometimes when she's in class, Betty thinks how weird it must be to be a professor, constantly surrounded/tempted(?) by youthful charms, bodies, and minds that look to you for guidance. This is a dilemma Roth's professor-narrators agonized over in books like "The Breast," "The Professor of Desire," "The Human Stain," and (Betty's personal favorite) "The Dying Animal". Has anybody read "Exit, Ghost"? See also: Woody Allen's mature work.

Have you ever had a crush on (or a date with) your teacher or your student? What do you think was going on there?


Anonymous said...

does moo really have to answer your query?

LadyElaineFairchild said...

I haven't experienced it personally, but I though the film "Away from Her" addressed it from the best possible perspective: At a great distance, through the eyes of the not-so-jilted wife who didn't know how to remember it until she had Alzheimers. Gorgeous and tragic.

Every time I hear Lulu sing "To Sir With Love" I think about mary magdelene singing "I don't know how to love him" in Jesus Christ Superstar.

I think Betty should take Boyers class...