At a time when "sexy" can be an adjective for anything, when sexual awareness is declared to be advancing faster in months than in the past half century, and when pundits warn of sexual overload, the actual representation of sex is still deemed confrontational, aggressive, "in your face." While critics accuse the academy of an obsession with sexuality, they also complain that nothing that appears to refer to sex really does.
In readings ranging across film, drama, opera, fine art, and critical theory, Mandy Merck considers these phenomena as well as the role of the dog in anti-porn propaganda, the unacknowledged significance of the lesbian hand, and the early retirement of the phallus. Other topics include the relationship of women's tennis and prostitution, the gendering of the wild and the tame in the age of AIDS, and the sexlessness of postmodern criticism. In Your Face ends with the face and its alleged desecration by fellatio. Germaine Greer's condemnation of Bill Clinton for "fucking the faces of little girls" is examined in the light of one of Monica Lewinsky's endearments for the President--"fuckface."
In a country whose last great Presidential scandal revolved around a key witness known only as "Deep Throat" and whose current Chief Executive works in the "Oral Office," giving head is going down in history. Analyzing the strange relationship of Linda Lovelace, Camille Paglia, and Paul de Man, In Your Face concludes by considering desire and disgust in high and low places.
"In Your Face is an acrobat of a book—agile, supple, daring, showy, and brave. . . . a strikingly imaginative text. . . that rarest of things, an academic text that can be read for pleasure as well as illumination.”-New Formations
"Merck launches into a complex analysis of the displacement of sex[uality] into representations of the face in a range of texts...a dazzling kaleidoscopic display."-Journal of American Studies