From Issue 3.5 - June 1997

Coming to Power: A Retrospective

By Holly Whipkey

Review of The Second Coming
"Regarding Wanda B." -- An excerpt from The Second Coming

Imagine. It's the early 1980s. Reagan is in office. Edwin "Commission on Pornography" Meese is the U.S. Attorney General. And Coming To Power, the volume to which The Second Coming is the sequel, has just been published.

Almost a generation has passed since that event. A generation of leatherdykes influenced by such pieces as "If I Ask You to Tie Me Up Will You Still Want to Love Me?" and "How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love my Dildo." A generation informed by "Handkerchief Code," "Being Weird Is Not Enough: How to Play Safe," and "Proper Orgy Behavior."

Coming to Power countered the frightened sex-negative philosophies of those such as Mary Daly and Andrea Dworkin. The book's stories, essays, and images gave us an enabling vocabulary to argue that our desires were OK. It had the lucidity, eloquence, heat, passion, and audacity to remind us of what we knew about ourselves -- that we were sick, twisted fucks.

And we liked it that way.

The publication of Coming to Power was more than gutsy. It was significant, courageous, important, and timely. Its influence cannot be underestimated. As many activists as perverts were birthed by that book. The argument that desire should not be policed by anyone, and then connecting the free play of desire to the politics of subversion, liberated many a voice, many a whip, and many dildos.

The 1980s -- those mind-numbing Reagan/Bush years -- were horrible enough. What are our possibilities as we head towards the millennium? "Coming to Power" is part of the history of perverts and kinksters in our culture. It is not passe' or unimportant. Read it again. Delight in it again. Remember that we have to have a history before we can have a future. This 15-year-old volume is a cornerstone of that history.

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Last updated: 6 July 1997