Monday, October 27, 2014

From Desire to Drunk

In lecture last Tuesday, I did a close reading of the encounter between Philip Marlowe and Eileen Wade (pp 212-13).  The slide that summarized the buried, sub-logical sequence looked like this.

In our section after lecture, Olga summarized Marlowe's behavior like this (my paraphrase): he wanted her, and he pushed too hard, and felt badly about how he'd acted and so got drunk to forget.

That's quite a reasonable summary.  

The slide above has a somewhat different reading, which involves Marlowe have issues around rejection and loss that Eileen Wade triggers.   

So there are at least two readings here. There's a quiz tomorrow. One of the questions will be about this passage and how to read it.

Our section also had quite an interesting discussion about whether this scene has elements of sexual assault as we now understand it.  California has changed requirements for all colleges and universities, public and private, that receive state funding including financial aid. Dubbed the "Yes Means Yes" law, you can read the text here. A central paragraph reads like this:
An affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by both parties to sexual activity. “Affirmative consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.
This is not what is happening in the Marlowe-Eileen Wade encounter.  We talked what following this law would mean in practice, both what it would do to safety and to the sex itself.

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