I live in New York. I am a comedian, writer and actor. My day job is blogging for VH1.com. I write about the silly things celebrities and pop stars do, so you know...God's work.
You may have seen my writing on many other reputable websites (McSweeney's, The Huffington Post, Hello Giggles, xojane.com, The Hairpin, Splitsider, The FW, etc.). I also write crazy blogs about Game of Thrones, Magneto and Jeff Goldblum.
Life's weird, right?
So, the weirdest thing about Todd Akin’s comments for me hasn’t been that there are still politicians that believe in “legitimate rape”, because obviously there are. The weirdest thing is discovering that Todd Akin’s understanding of female biology comes from the Dune novels. Specifically the sequel novels to Dune. You know, House Atreides, House Harkonnen, House Corrino…those books. Everyone’s read those books, right? (“No, Meghan, we haven’t,” quoth her followers.)
In case you are unfamiliar with Frank Herbert’s universe, it takes place in the distant future and there are various political, economic and religious factions who are all vying for power, but who are all begrudgingly allied because they need this magical “spice” to function and the spice is only available on this desolate desert world called Arrakis, or Dune, and there’s turmoil because the spice must flow.
Also, walk without rhythm so you won’t attract the worm.
Being a young educated woman who was raised solely by other women, I was naturally captivated by the Bene Gesserits in this tale. They are this intense all-female political-religious cult that exists primarily because they want to control the bloodlines of the major houses and create—through centuries of careful breeding—the ultimate genetic victory: the Kwisatz Hadderach…or some shit. I’m not googling the spelling.
No one really trusts these women because everyone knows these women are creepy boss bitches who are up to something spooky, and still, they are an integral part of society because through their training programs they have mastered the abilities to tell when people are lying or not, to withstand insane amounts of pain, to see the future, to see the past and to partake in this crazy martial arts practice called “the wierding way”. They’re also insanely well-educated and charming, not to mention the fact that because they’re obsessed with this breeding project, they are expert seductresses and have pretty much controlled their own bloodlines to the point that most of them are pretty fucking gorgeous—unless there’s a need for them not to be. They’re essentially perfect priestesses, wifes, whores, mothers, daughters, spies and pythias. They’re the perfect women—and they have a plan, man. You can’t trust them with your life, but you kind of don’t want to live without them.
Which is interesting in terms of gender studies no matter what.
What’s additionally interesting because if you read the Dune prequels you learn one of their abilities is to control their bodies during sex to will the body to conceive or not—and to conceive a boy or girl if they so desire. If they’re raped, like the young Reverend Mother is by Baron Harokonen, they can actually release diseases into the rapists’ bodies that, like, make the rapist fat and ugly or something. This happens in one of the prequels. It’s insane. It’s also impossible in real life. It’s also dangerously close to what Todd Akin seems to think women’s bodies can actually do.
So, it’s interesting to think that real people might think real women are actually like Bene Gesserits—which is a fantasy religious cult that plays upon patriarchal mistrust and fear of the feminine. So, it’s just interesting.
Also fucked up. Incredibly fucked up.