vices. “The Krell forgot one thing, monstersrnfrom the Id,” one of the fihn’s charactersrnexplains. It was not only their enlightenedrnintellects that wielded powerrnbut their unacknowledged self-will: Theyrncoidd not prevent themselves from unleashingrnthe destructive forces of their aggressionrnand lust.rnJones finds in this piece of popular entertainmentrnan allegory of the Enlightenmentrnand its aftermath. He argues that,rnsince the revolutionary movement of thern18th centur)’, the West has entered into arnFaustian bargain that has exacted an increasinglyrnterrible cost. In our rational,rnsecular hubris, we assumed we could dispensernwith traditional morality and freelyrnindulge our erotic fancies without untowardrnconsequences, especially since thernadvent of penicillin and scientifically improvedrncontraception. Instead of achievingrnthe peaceable kingdom of sexual liberation,rnhowever, we have erected arnculture closer to the Marquis de Sade’srntorture chamber. We have licensed brutalit}’rnin the cause of pleasure and self-fulfillment:rnInstead of creating genuine liberh’,rnwe have managed to foster a societyrnin which some — usually men—tramplernon the rights of others, usually womenrnand children. Pornography, venereal disease,rnsexual cruelty, abortion, and abandonmentrnare its hallmarks.rnJones begins with the Enlightenment’srnimpact on Mary Wollstonecraft and herrndaughter Mary. Inspired with revolutionaryrnfervor, both women wanted to believernthat the night of superstition had passedrnand that people would be able to live rationallyrnwithout outdated institutions,rnsuch as marriage. They discovered insteadrnthat, once women agree to forgo thernrestraints imposed by traditional moralit)’,rnthey all too easily become victims ofrnmale wantonness. Wollstonecraft foundrnherself and her first child abandoned inrnre’olutionary France by her lover,rnGilbert Imlay, and sought relief by attemptingrnsuicide. Twent’-two years later,rnher second daughter, Mary, fatheredrnby radical thinker William Godwin, ranrnaway with Percy Bysshe Shelley only tornfind herself pressed by the mercilesslyrnidealistic poet into an incestuous menagernwith her half-sister Claire. Wlien Shelley’srnabandoned wife Harriet committedrnsuicide, the 18-year-old pregnant Maryrnsuffered from nightmares, one of whichrnbecame the seed of her novel Frankenstein.rnThe monster is both the sign of herrnguilt for having absconded with Shelleyrnand the embodiment of her fears aboutrnbringing new life into a world of such domesticrndisorder. As Jones sees it, the forlornrnmonster symbolizes her remorse.rnBy complying with the revolutionaryrncall for sexual liberation, Jones argues,rnthese women and untold numbers sincernhave found themselves enslaved in arnSadean universe. Arguing from Enlightenmentrnprinciples, Sade had demonstratedrnthat, in a godless world, the humanrnbody can be considered nothing morernthan a machine. Like any other machine,rnits purpose is to serve its master.rnHe openly championed an ethos inrnwhich the body —the female body, inrnparticular—becomes an appliance at therndisposal of those in power, namely,rnupper-class men such as himself andrnShelley. While Sade remained largelyrnan underground figure in 18th-and 19thcenturyrnEurope, he had come into hisrnown by the 1960’s, when pornographyrnwas becoming all but respectable in thernWest. The watershed, as Jones sees it,rnwas 1973, when two pornographic films.rnDeep ‘Throat and The Devil and MissrnJones, ranked among the top ten grossingrnmovies of the year. Although pornographyrnhas always been with us, it had previouslyrnlurked in the darker corners of ourrnculture, acknowledged (if at all) withrnsigns of disgust or embarrassment. By thern1970’s, however, vice no longer paid liprnservice to virtue. When porn broke intornthe mainstream, our more advanced critics,rnpundits, and politicians found themselvesrnunable to stand up to it, or even tornevaluate it. As part of the liberal Enlightenmentrnthemselves, they, like my gradschoolrnfriends, were committed to the beliefrnthat sexual activity was value-free.rnOne might comment on it as a species ofrnsport, evaluating timing, technique, andrnstyle, but anything sounding like a moralrncritique was considered unfashionable.rnIn the New York Times, Vincent Ganbyrnblandly reported that a lot of organicrnplumbing was surfacing at local moviernhouses and then professed to be utterlyrnbored by its repetitive display. His responsernbecame the official line: Pornography’srnsin was not that it corrupted its audience,rnscandalized children, defiled andrnoften brutalized its participants, or linedrnthe pockets of its mob-connected entrepreneurs;rnits gravest offense was that itrnwas boring. This was a cunning dodge.rnAfter all, the last thing one wanted to appearrnwas shocked or outraged: It was justrnsex, after all. Or was it? Jones brings forthrnLinda Boreman, a.k.a Linda Lovelace, tornshow it was not so. Years after her momentrnof dubious fame as the star of DeeprnThroat, Boreman revealed that she hadrnbeen routinely beaten into submissionrnand forced to perform sexual acts. Few inrnthe mainstream media wanted to listen:rnHer revelations did not mesh with theirrnenlightened sexual principles.rnI ones adduces further evidence of ourrnJ cultural sickness in what he takes to bernthe revival of horror films during the latern1970’s. After Hollywood managed tornbreak the Production Code in the 1960’srnand began to grace its movies with nakedrnyoung women, he argues, a reaction setrnin. Suddenly, theaters were filled withrnhorror films as never before. Its commercialrnantennae ever aquiver, Hollywoodrnwas instinctively responding to its audience’srnuneasiness about graphic sexualityrnby giving it The Texas Chainsaw Massacrernand Alien, films that seemed tornserve retribution on such immorality.rnThere is some merit to this analysis, butrnnot as much as Jones thinks. For onernthing, I cannot detect that much variationrnin the flow of horror films from Hollywood:rnThey seem rather constant. Forrnanother, Jones’ interpretations of thosernmade since the 70’s are tendentious. Hernwants us to believe, among other things,rnthat Ridley Scott’s A//en is about the horrorrnof abortion, its biomechanical monsterrnstanding for the fetus that Ripley, thernastronaut heroine, tries desperately tornpurge from her space capsule at the endrnof the narrative. For Jones, the monsterrnis, like Shelley’s in Frankenstein, the returnrnof repressed guilt, not as denied impulsernbut as denied conscience. It embodiesrnRipley’s unacknowledged guilt asrnone who embraces feminism and itsrncommitment to absolute control of thernbody’s procreative functions. While thernmovie’s closing episode is an ugly andrnhorrific business, did the filmmakers intendrnit to carry the moral weight Jones detects?rnOr were they simply doing whatrnhas come naturally in every film sincernKing Kong: put a nearly naked gal in thernsame frame with a gargantuan display ofrntestosterone? (A/fen’s monster looks arngood deal more phallic than fetal.)rnCome to think of it, didn’t EdmundrnSpenser, in 1596, do something similar atrnthe end of Book I of the Faerie Queene byrnhaving Una tied to a tree as St. Georgernbeats back the dragon holding her captive?rnJones tries to sidestep such questionsrnof intentionality by arguing that creatorsrnare often unaware of the meaning ofrntheir works. I am willing to accept this uprnNOVEMBER 2000/27rnrnrn