Sophocles long ago heard it on the Aegean, and it brought into his mind the turbid ebb and flow of two formerly exciting liberal publications clashing as on darkling plain about the dread meaning of the word/verb/gerund/whatever suck.
A while back at The New Republic's official blog, The Plank–the only 100 percent wooden blog on the World Wide Web–perpetually irony-challenged critic Lee Seigel inveighed in all caps AGAINST "SUCKS." Channeling National Review's John Derbyshire on the encroaching ubiquity of gays, Seigel asks,
Why do I read the word "sucks" everywhere I turn?
I see it used in online magazines with rising frequency. It's all over the Internet. It's the pejorative verb of the age. Let's be blunt about the word's origins: It's short for "sucks cock." (Forgive me. The situation requires it, and the context allows it.)…Considering how many times "sucks" is used in print, in conversation, and online now, the entire country is evoking the act of fellatio on a continuous basis….
Pardon the following intimacy, but performing oral sex has a lot to do with the unequal distribution of pleasure and power. It's more satisfying for the recipient than for the bestower. Without love or emotional connection, it usually makes the bestower an instrument of the recipient's will.
So saying someone or something "sucks" is not just an expression of contempt….When someone "sucks," they can't talk back. Isn't that the bully's and the tyrant's timeless dream, to move among people who can't talk back? It's certainly the dream of a child's fragile ego. It could be that we are surrounded by adults who have the fragile egos of children….
Whole thing here.
After he zips up, Seigel might want to ogle this recent bit by Village Voice "Lusty Lady" columnist (and erstwhile Reason pro-porn debating partner) Rachel Kramer Bussel:
I have a confession to make: I love sucking cock…. I recently spent a lazy Sunday morning going down on a new lover for over an hour. He enjoyed every minute, but couldn't come because of some medications he's taking. I was content to maximize my time figuring out what he liked, getting used to his unique shape and smell and taste. Even my sore jaw the next day was a mark of a job well done.
Granted, it's not that Seigel and Bussel don't have share any common ground:
The idea that a blowjob is a dirty, unsavory chore persists. For some women, they're used as an out when she doesn't want to have sex (or as household quid pro quo: "If you take out the garbage, I'll give you a bj")….
If I'm with a guy who really turns me on, the very thought of sucking his dick makes me wet. Doing it practically sends me into a tailspin, and I often touch myself while I'm going down. To me, there's something even more sensual and connected about swallowing someone's hard cock than fucking….
Trannyfag Kris McLowery also enjoys a full mouth. "When a lover asks, 'Wanna suck my cock?' I'm on my knees and touching myself," says thegenderqueer blogger, who's not submissive. "I love the control; I can make a lover plead, sing, giggle and twitch."…
Some people like to play up the power dynamics, getting off on kneeling before, worshipping, and servicing a guy's dick, while I just straight out go for it, no nudging needed. As embarrassing as that may be to admit (even for me), I'm glad I'm not alone.
Whole nine column inches here. As a disinterested–or is that uninterested?–observer, I hope that the apparently spent forces of liberalism, as represented by TNR and the Village Voice, attempt some sort of rapprochement in the near future.
Cathy Young peeked at "The Great Teen Fellatio Scare" in the May issue of Reason.
Full disclosure: Several members of Reason's staff–Tim Cavanaugh, Brian Doherty, and me–were affiliated with the late and lamented by some satiric Web site Suck, whose name remains something of a mystery to me.