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Humbert Hearts Lolita . . . Still—Can you really blame him?

Humbert Hearts Lolita . . . Still—Can you really blame him? MGM
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There’s a lot to appreciate about Lolita, even today. Most classic books have a good deal of social commentary, and this emotional, lyrical, mocking, ironic number does that in spades. Let’s take a look at Nabokov’s novel and see what matches up today.

  American Beauty

If this brief list isn’t enough to show how the eroticism of young people is completely taken for granted and that the fetishizing of young girls is nearly the norm (Rihanna or Hillary Duff anyone?), we have the Lolita Bar in New York, a low-key hangout with a pink neon sign out front. (Wonder what type of patrons are drinking “The Lolita”—which is basically a Sex on the Beach with raspberry vodka?) In Japanese culture, there’s the Lolita Fashion, which is primped-up young girls in sexualized clothes that often scream (in fashion-speak) “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.” And we’ve also got the new incarnation, the media Lolita, which has taken sexually precocious young women to a whole new level. Anna Kournikova (so often photographed without a tennis racket). The Spice Girls. Shannen Doughtery from 90210 (the original 1990s version). Jodie Foster as a young prostitute in Taxi Driver. Anna Paquin as a teen temptress in the play “Hurlyburly.” Elizabeth Taylor, age 12, in National Velvet. Katie Holmes in the film version of Michael Chabon’s novel Wonder Boys. Sarah Michelle Gellar’s queen bitch manipulator performance in Cruel Intentions. Britney Spears. Christina Aguilera. Ciara. Lil’ Kim. Hillary Duff.

Yes, Humbert, the middle-aged American everyman, still loves Lolita. In all of her shapes, sizes, and packagings. She’s his sexual taboo, which makes the quest all the more exciting—like trying to make Jell-O 100 proof with vodka.

Stay tuned for my next article, where we’ll discuss why Silas Marner’s two parallel narratives intersect three times throughout the mammoth novel as a way to suggest Silas’ changing status within the community. That, or maybe we’ll just interview the late Michael Jackson’s former best friend, Bubbles the Chimp. Or maybe we’ll share the never-before-released lyrics to the title song from Amy Winehouse’s new album, Single Popwreck Seeks Same.

Maybe Winehouse’s future beau’s name will be Humbert.

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