The Jaguar and the Anteater: Pornography Degree Zero

By Bernard Arcand ; Wayne Grady | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
THE JAGUAR AND THE ANTEATER (Or, Advice to Investors)

Man, as we know, leans toward the absolute. Toward plenitude. Toward truth, toward God, toward total maturity. . . . Grab everything, total fulfilment, that is his credo.

Now, in Pornography, it seems to me, there is another goal of Man, doubtless a more secret one, and in some ways an illegal one: his need for the unfinished . . . for the imperfect . . . for the inferior . . . for youth.

WITOLD GOMBROWICZ Pornography


The Choice

When a female member of the Sherente tribe of central Brazil gives birth, she very carefully preserves the umbilical cord to ensure that, four or five years later, the child itself will take the cord and place it on top of a termite nest. It is a small and very foreign ritual, private, even rather banal, but it comes very close to reaching the absolute zero of pornography. The link between an umbilical cord and a nest of termites may seem obscure to us, but the Sherente are in fact responding to several basic questions concerning the relationship between life and death, and their response corresponds to what is really at stake when we talk about pornography. To understand how this may be so, we need not review the

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