Neal Cassady Collected Letters 1944-1967..the introduction

I started at Carolyn Cassady’s introduction and read:

He is known to have hit women, but I’m sure they asked for it, and that it was a sexual turn-on, as some have confessed to me.

Here I am, bubbling over with barely contained fury. Hitting someone is never a sexual turn on, come on guys and girls, a spanked bottom between consenting adults is not HITTING, and hitting isn’t sexy, hitting is abuse. How fucked up is the world that this can be said in defense of a man’s actions, and be printed and reprinted?

I dig Neal Cassady, but no excuses, no downplaying, and no suggesting that some women get turned on by being hurt. This world is so fucked up. To me Carolyn is a caricature on a page, a bit player in one of the greatest novels ever written, she has her place, but really, should this be left to stand as it is? It does Neal a disservice to not let him stand there in his glory and his shame, complex and multifaceted without defense, standing before the readers and the wannabes, myself included, and say “this was a human being.”

Today seems to have a theme developing. Things need to change. Cancel culture is brutal, but we move on, we develop, we evolve as a society and surely we can do better than this? So what do you think? Let it stand, or does Neal Cassady deserve a different introduction?



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