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Jealousy: The Other Life of Catherine M.

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Posted on June 12 2010 1:00 pm
Ben-Peter Terpstra is an Australian satirist and polemicist. His works have been posted on numerous sites from The Daily Caller (Washington D.C.) to Quadrant Online (Sydney, Australia). He blogs at Positively Churchillian.
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Love is never without jealousy – 17th century.

In some cultures, Catherine Millet is a whore. In another she is a darling libertine. Welcome to liberal France! So when Catherine Millet wrote The Sexual Life of Catherine M. the chattering classes embraced her various positions (and whips, my guess). Hers was a sexual life without boundaries and without a safety net. Playboy and Newsweek endorsed her “non-judgmental” open relationship, and the establishment classes schizophrenically judged people for judging her. She was their poster girl – to be left alone, or praised, but never to be questioned. Promiscuity brought her groovy friends.  But then reality came knocking on the door.

Jealousy: The Other Life of Catherine M. exposes us to a world of consequences. Catherine Millet admits (p.17):

Although of course I never actually expressed it to myself like this, I must have credited my body with a kind of omnipotence, and been afflicted with a kind of megalomania which exclusively affected the way I thought about my body.

Or to put it ever so gently, Catherine Millet is not a god (something I could have told her for free). Libertarians (or at least adult-only libertarians) have suspicious minds, and their free-looking lives are often imprisoned by their community’s cultic pressures. Even Millet admits, albeit in teaspoonfuls that (p.29):

I did not expect to satisfy them all with a single partner, I did not attempt to, or even imagine I might. Since, in that libertarian era, there were no secrets, it would sometimes happen – though rarely, it must be said –that people close to me would question my arrangements, or rather would express surprise that all my partners accepted them, in particular Claude, with whom I was living, and Jacques, who was single himself.

Moreover, her supposedly non-judgmental libertine friends were using her in other ways, and she in turn used them.

Love, some argue, is never without jealousy, but if we accept this argument, then wouldn’t having multiple partners make one extremely jealous to the point of madness?  I’m no Freudian, but Millet’s inability to deal with the violence of her adulterous mother’s suicide and her younger brother’s violent death raises even more to-discuss questions like, Was she trying to punish herself?

I also wondered when reading Jealousy whether a fair and balanced media could have prevented Millet from shedding a great many (useless) tears? The answer, it seems to me, is a resounding “yes,” because when anti-conservative values are, in all their arrogance, routinely praised by the media, it’s easier to fall into life’s “I-am-god” traps.

The sad truth of the matter is that Millet was no liberated woman. No, she was a chained soul, both physically and mentally. She was preaching freedom from a well, and campaigning journalists were too busy praising her to see.

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Ben-Peter Terpstra is an Australian satirist and cartoon lover. His works have been posted on numerous sites from American Thinker (California) to Quadrant Online (Sydney, Australia). For more information see, Pizza Trays and Beer Bottles.

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