It is important to realize that this Playboy Ideal is a sign of low, rather than high, sexual energy. It suggests that the sexual flame is so faint and wavering that a whole person would overwhelm and extinguish it. Only a vapid, compliant ninny-fantasy can keep it alive. It’s designed for men who don’t really like sex but need it desperately for tension-release – men whose libido is mainly wrapped up in achievement or dreams of glory.
If you belong to the academy, it is all you can do to “keep up” with your ever-narrower specialty. An obsession with method, mirroring the culture’s obsession with “information,” buries ideas. If you resist specialization, you are drawn toward the hall of mirrors called “theory” – it becomes a full-time occupation to find your way down the shimmering corridors. Odds are that you do not take pleasure from what you read, for social criticism today is professionalized, self-enclosed, and segregated, like the rest of our intellectual discourse. To write accessibly, on the other hand, is to take seriously the democratic faith.