I was at the one reading listening to a guy doing a piece on Allen Ginsberg.  Apparently, Ginsberg uses him influence and standing to gain favors from young guys.  He is, from some accounts, always on the prowl for younger guys.


And so I’m listening to this guy’s piece about the time Ginsberg hit on him.  And I keep listening to his tale as he goes on and on about Ginsberg hitting on him.  He was excited when Ginsberg took an interest in his work but was later dismayed and disillusioned upon learning that Ginsberg was interested in his body not his mind.


I think about that.  I suppose it is no different than a rock star dating decades younger women or Cher bagging a bagel boy.  People with power and influence often abuse their stature to gain favors.  That is something, we as a society, would need to do something about.


But as I was listening to the story, I started thinking to myself.  “Hey, wait a minute!  Ginsberg never hit on me.” I only ran into him a handful of times but I’m better looking than some of the guys I saw him with.  I start wondering why Ginsberg never hit on me.  It’s like like I want him to hit on me.  I just feel left out that never did.


My ego takes a severe blow.  You know things are getting bad when the 70 year old gay poet won’t even hit on you.  This speech did more to elicit self-pity than raise any sympathy for this young author whose confidence was shattered.  Hey, at least he did take an interest in you.  I didn’t get any attention at all.


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lyrycsyntyme's picture

I feel like there is (often,

I feel like there is (often, not always) an element to these stories which gets ignored: that people often want and seek this attention to reach higher places, and then, (now that it's trendy to do so,) come out and say "I was mistreated" after reaching a higher status. I'm not saying that this is specific to the person in your story, I have no idea, but it seems to be an undiscussed element in a lot of these type of stories. Meanwhile, the person who rejected such advances from the start and therefore didn't get that big career boost is not just a victim to the Ginberg's/Weinstein's of the world, but also to the men and women who played along with this sexual deviance just long enough to get famous, before crying out "I'm a victim!" To me, the people who had the moral character to say no from the start are the greatest victims by far, and therefore I cannot particularly sympathize with anyone who intentionally goes along with such abuses to gain status. It's not as if it was a matter between going along with the abuser of power or face starvation. "Cry me a river", unfortunately, comes to mind in said cases. Again, very possibly not particular to your mentioned poet, but it seems quite an appropriate discussion space within to bring up this related point.


As for you, maybe he respected your work too much to mess it up with advances. That's certainly one way to look at it. You get to make up your own reality in your mind, since you can't ask ; )  Also, is it really desirable or is it an insult to be desired by the undesirable, if you follow?


georgeschaefer's picture

There may be people that will

There may be people that will exploit their sexuality to gain favors but a lot of the problem is in the power structure that exists in the first place.  As for me, I only met Ginsberg on five different occasions and most of them didn't involve me reading or presenting work.  And one time I did read in front of him it was a dirty poem that was expicitely heterosexual.  thank you for reading and commenting and also providing thoughts on the issue.

lyrycsyntyme's picture

Oh, so you blew it with your

Oh, so you blew it with your hetero-poem ; )


Seriously, though, in the strange way that your mind and emotions seem offended, or perhaps more appropriately, brought to a place of insecurity, perhaps you've just explained a much more plausible explanation for "the slight." Which, of course, I cna assume you recognize was actually a blessing.


As for power structures - we do have a system that runs on promoting those who commit to certain negative behaviors against society. I think this is how civilization has always run, unfortunately, with few case exceptions - the U.S., in some regards, is particularly bad in this regard because of how much money flows through the veins of the wealthy. Ultimately, I guess my only point is that some of the people - more than a few, particularly, in the world of fame - who cry out as victims are also witting and willing participants to the bigger crime.


All the best to you.