Is It Abuse When There’s Consent?

David Deutsch emails:

Luke, I’m flattered by what you said about preferring to be abused by me than praised by a milquetoast, but really, I love you as much as ever.

The only truly objectionable passage was your reference to how his mistresses must have accepted his abuse because he was a great writer. I think it fair to say that the vast majority of women being abused don’t stay with their abusers because the latter are brilliant, or clever or artistic, and I presume most of them are not. That Naipaul was a great writer doesn’t mean that in the comfort and privacy of his own abusive relationships he was tossing off bon mots as opposed to simply telling his current masturbation tool that her breasts were getting saggy and that a great man such as himself deserved a perkier pair. I’d have a lot more to say about all of this, but the best part of the posting was:

"I often say outrageous things, but I do this to start conversations, not to end them. If I am talking to someone I don’t care for, I usually won’t go to the bother of saying something outrageous."

Thus, I’m going to presume I don’t actually have to rant about how screwed up abusers and abusees are, because you doubtlessly already know (and nobody is more adept at self-abuse in all its forms as Luke Ford), and that this, to borrow from Elvis, is the wonder, the wonder of you.

I liked the thing about Trinidadian trash talking–I think you need to reclaim your black heritage. The next time people object to something you say, just speak authoritatively about how "In Trinidad, that’s just the way people" and let them fill in the blanks.

But the highest praise I can offer is that I’ve reached the age of 39 without either reading or wanting to read Naipaul, and now I want to.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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