“Translation is like a woman. If it is beautiful, it is not faithful. If it is faithful, it is most certainly not beautiful.”
(Carl Bertrand, preface to Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, 1887-1894)
I do not limit myself to being unfaithful in translation, but I apply my professional deviation also to my private sphere, boasting to be an adorable cheater. On paper and on the mattress. Bipolar and bisexual, I embrace Woody Allen’s wit who argues that “Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.”. Allergic to any coercion and imposition – with the exception of dissolute practices like shibari , the Japanese erotic discipline with ropes, or BDSM, the domination and submission roleplay – I shun open wide and free from amorous monotony in an erratic and feverish search for sexcapades, adventures and misadventures. Venus In Fur (1870) represents the pagan bible of sadomasochism, Austrian writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s masterpiece, my fetish book that I wield as an intellectual whip. The books narrates the confrontational encounter between the young aristocrat Severin and the beautiful rich noblewoman Wanda Dunajew. Their philosophical and personal dissertations lead them to sign a contract: he, as Gregor, will become her slave and she his goddess with power of life and death over him as long as, inspired by Titian’s Venus with a Mirror, she wears a fur coat.
In our modern times the original text has been adapted to stage play by David Ives, co-writer of the eponymous film directed by the controversial genius director Roman Polanski starring the provocative director’s wife, Emmanuelle Seigner. I remember I went to see the movie in a deserted arthouse cinema, dressed in an all-black ensemble with leggings, boots and Cuissardes boots and the inevitable fur accompanied by a lover who did not even have the audacity to molest me in the darkness of the cinema! Needless to say, being a merciless dominatrix, I indignantly dumped him on the sidewalk once the movie was over and it did not take me long to find another victim to subdue to my perverse commands.
We live in complicated dull times in terms of personal relationships, all zombie-like driven to search sex and love online, unable to truly live and relate in person, so fucking intimidated by political correctness and #MeToo, that has morphed into an extremist and pervasive movement, reminiscent of the 50’s McCarthyism in Hollywood when anyone even suspected of being a communist ended on a black list of personae non gratae in the hypocritical, vicious golden world of show-business. The witch-hunt is back with alleged predators put to shame through the pitchforks of social media, especially in the US, home to the “fuck by contract” where are thriving apps with evocative names such as Consent Amour, Legal Fling, and YesMeansYes designed to give sexual consent prior to amuse oneself.
In my EroticMind column on Maxim magazine, I have defined sexual McCarthyism the relentless drift of the #MeToo movement, of which I am reading the genesis in the book She Said written by Jodi Kantor and Meghan Twohey, the two New York Times journalists – the first newspaper to unravel the history of abuse of producer Harvey Weinstein – whose investigation won them the Pulitzer Prize. As a woman, although I would prefer to say as a human being, I am absolutely opposed to any form of abuse, in the private as well as in the professional field. Another thing, though, is to condemn the works of artists with a perverse and controversial private life.
At the last Venice Film Festival, Lucretia Martel, Argentine director and president of the 76th edition’s jury, said she would not attend the gala dinner in honor of Roman Polanski because shed did not want to stand up to applaud a convicted sexual abuser. Polanski’s case is very well known: in the transgressive Seventies, the director took advantage of a thirteen year old girl, Samantha Geimer – who over the years has forgiven Polanski, even writing a book on the abuse – in the house of his buddy Jack Nicholson, where Quaaludes (nicknamed Disco Biscuits in those years), alcohol and drugs flowed freely. Why no one wondered then how come the parents of a minor had agreed to let her go to the home of Hollywood renowned whoremongers and bad boys? At the time all the celebrities railed in defense of Polanski, among which the fiercest was a certain Mia Farrow, who belatedly, to be precise 41 years later, would apologize for her defense with a tweet. Today the ax of political correctness can, and does, destroy careers and artistic heritage, developing into a preventive censorship. I seriously doubt that today, the great Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov could find a publisher brave enough to publish Lolita, his scandalous book and his masterpiece
I hate the idea of living in a society that monitors what I can see, read, hear. I differentiate the work from the artist. And maybe behaving too well it only leads to hollow and futile handbooks “written” by Instagram starlets with their perennial pout, Botox lips and plastic buttocks.
Another striking and alarming example of censorship is that of filmmaker Woody Allen who was forced to sue Amazon, producer of his latest work A Rainy Day in New York because it refused to distribute the movie. The giant of online commerce has morphed from an “amazon” to “bug” and decided to yield to political correctness so in vogue today and not distribute the movie that it produced after the umpteenth accusation by Dylan Farrow, the director’s adopted daughter, who in the Nineties accused her father of sexual harassment, specifically instructed by her mother Mia, seduced and abandoned for Soon-Yi, another adopted daughter of Farrow (but not Allen) and current wife of the director, with whom he has been married for over 20 years and conceived two children. Allen was subjected to two processes almost thirty years ago and he was declared innocent because the accusations of alleged harassment were deemed orchestrated. Mia Farrow, with that naïf and fairy air, had as many as 14 children, including 10 adopted and four biological ones. Of these, three are dead, one by suicide, one due to apparent heart failure, although it appears it was an overdose and another from complications due to AIDS. Another unknown news of super mom Mia is the detention in prison of her brother John Villers-Farrow, who was sentenced in 2013 to ten years in prison for molesting two underage boys.
I mean, who is without sin cast the first stone so we will end stoned to death. I much prefer to be a “rolling stone”, develop my critical thinking without any censorship and distinguish between rape, harassment and advances.
PS If this article were to be fluctuating, lysergic and weird, it’s because I boast of being a devout follower of “gonzo journalism,” the journalistic style inaugurated by the late Hunter S. Thompson in 1970, praising an eclectic, controversial, bizarre and surreal writing.