I finished reading Samuel Delaney’s delightful Phallos this morning. Erudite and sexy in an overtly intellectual manner, the book recursively iterates the story of a story, delving into philosophical and political torrents worthy of the most recondite symbologist.
“Power itself is fundamentally phallic, in that it is a consensus-illusion that stands in for a material strength most of the time not there.”
Replete with a panoply of Delaney’s usual colorful nail-biters and other perverts, the false modesty of the narrator renders the sexual descriptions all the more enticing.
Finally, some good advice from the High Priestess of the unnamed god after she avoids the planned theft of the phallos by the main character Neoptolomus and the straight men with whom he plots, then finishes impaling Neoptolomus’ rear with what may or may not be the infamous phallos and offering it to him as a souvenir:
“Please, from now on, my friend, forget the lusts of these men and follow your own desires — as much as desire can be said to be ‘owned’ by anyone, or that anyone can own what chains us all, one to another. Do not try to take upon yourself the wishes of men like these, who slumber around you when you yourself are awake. For you to try to mimic their lusts is as pointless as it would be for them to try to mimic yours. Love and cherish whom you would, man or woman, when you would. For lust is never fixed. Its variety is as glorious as its superfluity. But do not treat it as a scarcity, fixing it within the straits of convention and law. Believe me, you’ll be happier. Let this petty and pretty token you take with you tonight forever remind you at least of that.”