Fisting Betty Grable

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I think most people who see The Vagina Monologues have a similar experience to mine: an initial smirk and eye-roll at seeing women on stage in crude vagina costumes, followed by a fascinated absorption in the persuasive rendering of American vaginas' inner lives. For those who haven't seen the play, The Vagina Monologues presents the monologues of four vaginas: a huge, gun-toting vagina from Texas, a surfboard-riding vagina from California (the monologue's conceit being that it is being delivered while the vagina is riding "the perfect wave" -- tragically, the monologue ends with the vagina drowning), a lifelong Democrat vagina from New Jersey, and a gangster vagina from Chicago. When each vagina has had its say, we find that we've been treated to a rich, moving portrait of American life. Perhaps the best of these monologues is that of the New Jersey vagina, which I suppose is fitting, considering that the vagina is New Jersey's official state body part. Hearing this monologue is like putting your ear to a vagina and hearing the roar of the E Street Band:

"Being a vagina in New Jersey, you sometimes feel like you're getting lost in the crowd. I guess that's because this state is so damn densely populated. Sometimes it just makes you want to shout up to God, 'God, why did you make New Jersey so darn densely populated!? Do you call this intelligent design!? I've got your intelligent design right here!'"

Make no mistake about it, this is controversial stuff. In fact, when The Vagina Monologues was first performed, then-Governor Christine Todd Whitman publicly denounced its writer, Eve Ensler, and established by decree the now-infamous state law against attacking New Jersey identity. Fear is at the root of such reactions: fear that if vaginas had a chance to speak (a fear that, in these days of genetic experimentation, suddenly seems completely justified), they might not say such pleasant things about the state you live in -- or, for that matter, govern over.

If you're ready to listen to what vaginas have to say -- strong, American vaginas -- then The Vagina Monologues has something important to tell you.


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