There is, however, one aspect to Eszterhas' paean to the '60s -- an entire generation of Bill Clintons -- that leaves me confused. The single Clinton escapade that apparently troubles Eszterhas is the rape charge. Now admittedly, this is completely foreign territory for someone like me who does not see other humans as mere objects of my own pleasure, but trying to comprehend the sexual revolutionaries' world view, I don't follow the logic on their hang-up with rape.
On Eszterhas' own account, the sexual revolution apotheosized in Bill Clinton consisted of "no small talk, no courting, no foreplay, just 'Do you want to f---?'" Sex was, he writes (in one of the few passages I can quote), "about nothing really, but a little bit of exercise and lots of pleasure."
He names at least eight "young, nubile, attractive" women who worked at Rolling Stone in the early '70s and with whom he had frequent sex -- in the "office or parking lot or back seat or Van Ness Avenue motel." Only in the next paragraph does he remember that "during those years at Rolling Stone I was married ... and so were many of the other editors."
I report even this much of his eagerly recounted sexual exploits for anthropological reasons only. If the natives consider sex nothing more than a handshake, something you do repeatedly with your office mates and people you barely know, if it is the moral and psychic equivalent of having a cup of coffee with someone -- then shouldn't forcing someone to have sex be no more repellent than forcing someone to shake your hand or have a cup of coffee with you?
Eszterhas occasionally feigns consternation at the way his generation treated humans as objects. But he's a bit too vivid on the details for his regrets to be credible as anything more that hypocritical liberal self-righteousness. He's like the guy who goes to confession and begins giving the priest endless recitations of his sexual encounters. Finally the priest says, "Are you confessing or are you bragging?" I'll believe pornography or I'll believe a sermon, but not both in the same book.
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