Saturday, January 6, 2018

Daphne Merkin "Publicly, We Say #MeToo. Privately, We Have Misgivings."

You may know Daphne Merkin as author of "Unlikely Obsession" (New Yorker, 1996), her account of how being spanked was an essential ingredient in her enjoyment of sex. Though BDSM was hardly a secret — think, in brief, of Madonna and The Velvet Underground, old news already, Merkin's piece triggered a fair amount of controversy. Perhaps that was because she was a writer, a littérateur, not a pop star, and should have had better things to do than write about the necessities of being spanked.

You may know Merkin, too, as a widely published author of essays which err, too often, in my view, on the side of being both quite knowledgeable and too decorous, too well-behaved — too defensive and shallow.

Last year she published a very well received memoir: "This close to happy
: a reckoning with depression."

It should also be noted — she has written about it — that she hails from a wealthy New York Jewish family, which after falling prey to Bernie Madoff's pyramid scheme, is now, one gathers, significantly less prone to philanthropic largess than it had been.

I'm mentioning all this now only to call attention away from it, and toward her op-ed in today's NY Times: "Publicly, We Say #MeToo. Privately, We Have Misgivings."

I think it's the most sane, level-headed, both assertive and questioning piece of writing I've come across about the scandal of sexual abuse and how to address it.

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