The “freedom of expression” should be a right extended to all regardless of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation…but the “freedom of speech” should be reserved only for those who know what the hell they’re talking about…the rest can simply exercise their freedom to inquire…
The difference between religion and faith is that faith does NOT lapse into dogmatic lunacy.
The difference between making love and having sex is the former rarely becomes pornographic.
Natural order is a demand levied on species in relation to hierarchy…within each species there is social order…the notion of a human natural order is just fucking ridiculous.
The difference between fashion and style is the latter speaks for both itself and the possessor.
When a bully graduates from senseless, random taunting to methodical, premeditated cruelty, he becomes a more noble character…if only by virtue of refining his artistry.
Modesty represents a triumph of the soul over vulgarity. Humility is the vulgar suppression of a triumphant soul.
Having sex with women does not signify that a man is heterosexual…just like being circumcised does not signify that a man is Jewish.
Opinions are not like assholes because everyone has one, but because more often than not people’s opinions are chock full o’shit. One should be cautious of the word’s two I’s–properly ironical of the organs that share the same sound–as one represents Insight, the other Intuition. Before volunteering an opinion, the opiner should always consider the degree to which his knowledge of the subject is sound, as well the possibilities of what can be thought on the topic of critical interest. Otherwise, he should keep his opinion to himself.
Atheism and Existentialism are two branches of philosophy that will never peacefully co-exist. Students of Existenzphilosophie who are devout atheists seem to me like children who maintain that all conceptions are Immaculate because their fathers left.
Terms of Enfranchisement: ‘Sexual preference’ reduces human sexuality to fetishism…’sexual orientation’ exalts sexuality to its highest humanity.
Being born the noun, ‘genius’, only matters if your life is spent translating it into a verb… Think of it as having an Amex Platinum credit card…it is only valuable if it is activated in your name…
There is something incongruous in the thinking of an atheist who believes in extraterrestrials. I imagine that punctuating the universe with variations on a theme of Man–Adam, the pinnacle creation–is something a Creator god would actually do…
If the path to enlightenment is strewn with practical Eureka and brusque Satori–perhaps even despite formal education–then it is probably not a matter which traveler is smarter than the other, but which is less stupid… (I think this is more than mere semantics…)
Being guarded is not the same as being brave. Brave character has no stomach for the paranoia of guardedness. This is a nuance the cowardly can never fathom.
Philosophically, Latin machismo could learn thing or two from the Judaic menschkeit. Both are admittedly rooted in patriarchal grandeur, but the latter at least explores the symbiotics involved in the space between souls…how selves relate with other selves at the highest levels… The former seems to acknowledge other selves, but as inferiors…and not even by reason of intellect or ‘natural’ competence, just a magicless, base desiring (often culminated in a gratification that doesn’t even leave one satisfied…)
The machista can only ever wield desire as an infliction of power…never a sharing of it…
That he allows his wife to work the graveyard shift and sometimes doesn’t cheat on her while the kids are asleep…and maybe do the laundry…is the liberal thinking machista.
However innocent the intent, when someone imparts to me the amount of Gay or Black friends they do or do not have, I have to believe that this is the worst kind of bigoted and oppressive consciousness… The very notion of enumerating the people in one’s life for whatever reasons of categorization is the catalogical herdsman philosophy we find in harem-keeping and institutional slavery…the very personality WWII’s American Japanese internment camps and the horrors of the Holocaust.
The Baroque era was the last time music was made for the sake of making music…after Mozart all music became the property of art. Bach would have never said that he was a Baroque composer–that was a category after-the-fact, not some budding, tribal “scene”… But he would have said that Beethoven’s music had classical dimension…and that Wagner’s was truly art…
Before the Atomic Age asked, it was accepted that an atom was the smallest unit of matter… In considering digital imagery–easily the second most common way our eyes are fed daily–the pixel is the smallest accessible (addressable) element… Can a pel be split? And, if so, what does that mean for the possible infinity of an image’s content? (Are these questions proper of the Technological Age?)
That SNUFF films are considered a fringe of the pornographic arts is misleading… The sensibility that requires such extreme titillation is not one that has degenerated from exhaustive overindulgence in porn media…when that happens one often graduates to fetish films… People who are thrilled by death have tastes for a more visceral, immediate stimulus… Porn is often ripe with tedium and the only resultant death is metaphorical–the proverbial money-shot. I imagine the SNUFF sensibility to be one that can be equally satiated by watching the Islamo-terrorist beheadings that were internet vogue during the last decade.
If I’m to believe that a porn fanatic will eventually crave SNUFF–which is implicit in the genre’s appropriation of sex acts–I’d have to believe that because Boxing and UFC evolve from the ancient Gladiatorial arts, that avid spectators will eventually crave watching the athletes die in the ring. Death is counterintuitive to sportsmanship…
a) I have heard many racist, Nazi-inspired groups complain that it is unfair for minority groups to boast their pride–e.g. Black Power–but that Whites are chided for championing White Power… Well Black Power is a self-empowerment philosophy arising against the misguided notion that Whites are the most evolved race of the human species and therefore are destined by (G)od to lord over all the “lesser” races and species of the Earth…i.e. White Power.
b) I have heard many Feminist intellectuals rage against the importance of Mens Studies and the scholarship of Masculinism. The study of Men qua gender is NOT an attack on the empowerment of women…that is patriarchy… If the discipline is anything in that regard, it is a means for EVERYONE to come to a better understanding of why “White Men” made patriarchy such an enduring institution…not a defense of it…
Even now people are still unable to discuss the Marquis de Sade and his writings in a manner suited to his curious literary notion of the hero… He was an unapologetic descendant from the Ancien Régime, but forever likened to the French Revolution which only served to elevate the “heroic” status of his literary genius as Enlightenment thinking…yet both his writing and the Revolution would have still happened, one without the other… De Sade is that unlikely hero forced into rebellion by Enlightenment thinking and the politics of his tastes…he’s not really radical…much like Blacks during the high Civil Rights era, largely ultra-conservative, thrust into a moment during a time that was ripe for change… Eldridge Cleaver immediately comes to mind–a converted Muslim, Cerberean head of the Black Panthers (along with Huey Newton and Bobby Seale)…convicted serial rapist and Conservative Republican.
Gauging how smart someone may be is in no way a means of discerning how stupid they can be…
According to human law, when a man kills another man he has killed off all the possibility of a single Man… According to spiritual laws, when a man kills himself he has killed off every possibility of every Man. Suicide is infinitely more repugnant than murder… It is a holocaust within a single soul.
It is rather laughable that people consider sex a private matter… When one is engaging in actual sex it is often with another individual…it is an inherently social act… Even pornography is intended for public consumption…
Fundamentalism as a spiritual ideology is forgivable because it is the last vestige of religious aestheticism…unfortunately it also the last vestige of socio-political ASS-theticism…
The Rhetoric of Snobbery: During the intermission my date confessed that he had never been to the symphony before…or the theater… Shooting him an incredulous glance, I asked “Not even as a child? What kind of parents don’t take their children to the theater?” He replied, “What kind of parents do?” I realized that his question was far more culturally relevant, therefore far less rhetorical.
Good taste is not something that is refined by wealth and education…I know many individuals who lack both but possess the most exquisite taste and excel in personal style. Rather I think it is a matter of considering what attracts you to something–why it speaks to you louder than other voices–and then seeking out those qualities in various stimuli and entertainments. The Thesean thread that winds the labyrinth of one’s aesthetic consciousness…
In this vein, it is also true that money cannot buy “class” but merely thrusts one into another category of it… Education does help, but lacking one is hardly an excuse…
As a dramatist/poet, Shakespeare was by no means a master of the English language…that is an honor only due the committee of translators who brought forth the King James Bible or a later figure like Charles Dickens who was paid by the word and thereby made flagrant use of the English vocabulary, which easily numbered a half-million in his time… (During the high Elizabethan/Shakespearean era the English vocabulary possessed upwards of 250,00 words…we are now at the 1,000,000 mark…at best the ol’ Bard made use of 100-150 thousand individual words.) But what makes Shakespeare a genius of the English language is that he mastered the internal language of the personalities of his characters…which is the language of us all…that private, often schizophrenic, dialogue between Me, Myself and I… And that is what makes any writer truly timeless…
The Masters of Inexhaustible Output: Writers, Pornographers and Physicists should be granted immeasurable time to indulge their passions…they’re the only minds who can truly appreciate the endlessness of possibility.
It is laughable when people discuss the “Will of (G)od” or the intent behind extraterrestrial visitation… We’re the only species on the planet that’s largely unaware of the drives behind our own desires–even the content of dreams leaves us largely stupefied–yet we express absolute certainty concerning the drives of otherworldly entities.
Physical labor requires common sense to function properly…mental labors are exercised with Reason and Logic… Common sense then is the physical labor of thinking… This is how we begin to consider it as a species of cognitive functioning that is different in kind from Reason and Logic.
The Irony of Airports: If birds were a cognizant species they would surely scoff at the notion that human beings require such a vast expanse of land merely to fly.
The Politics of Communication: Rhetoric = Fascism… Discourse = Democracy… Conversation = Socialism…
The Enduring Allure of Japantheism: The Japanese culturally encourage religious conversion… Embrace the god that fits the occasion…one can be born a Hindu, married as Christian and die a Buddhist. Japan is some form of sacred utopia where the number of registered faithful exceeds the total population.
Personal success begins to blossom once the soul of one’s efforts is individuated from the failures of the herd.
The New Testament invokes “speaking in tongues” as a language-act that communicates to all races, creeds and faiths…the Pentecostal with his nonsensical utterances and theatrical spasms that baffle congregants and scare little children is far from this Christian splendor… Rather than being possessed by the Holy Ghost, it seems that the ghosts of the builders of that famed Babel Tower jumped out of the Old Testament after Yahweh smote their tongues and leapt right into the souls of these Christian thespians. They are much like those foolish individuals who somehow believe that pronouncing the letters of a word in reverse is in actuality talking backwards.
The folly of people who try to talk backwards by pronouncing the letters of a word in reverse is, above all things, their failure to recognize that verbal communication does not possess mathematical elegance. Because 3+4=7 is also 7=4+3 does not mean that SIHT will equal THIS verbally… The same is also true for MOM, POP, and WOW…I or A…
The Physics of the Heart: The human mind begins to comprehend the simultaneity of all possible worlds the moment the human heart embraces the simultaneity of all possible loves.
Der Meisterstückmaschine: Thinking on Michael Jackson canonically we find he is rife with Mozartian splendor…producer of a large body of work from youth of immense likability and sustained (even persistent) excellence… In POP culture he is a veritable Plato, where everything before him becomes an explanation of how we get to him and everything after merely part of an extended footnote to his greatness… Like Shakespeare he was culturally transformative…and the ONE who was…. But I find him most in the league of Michelangelo, Goethe, Beethoven, Dickens and Kubrick…artists whose bodies of work consists ONLY of masterpieces… Even the most lackluster attempts are head and shoulders above the rest…
The Zen of Project Runway: It is not enough to possess the ability to do something…one should be moved to do something well… This is why it is imperative to pursue interests in life that one loves to the core of their being…to be moved to excel in performance and production…with regularity. Otherwise, ability is just potential…and potential means ‘This is shit but perhaps something can be done with it.’
Whenever I encounter people who wonder why other individuals whose mental and physical faculties are in such irreversible decline do not readily succumb to the peaceful oblivion of death rather than continue to suffer indignities, I want to remind them that we are not on this planet for peace–political or personal–we are here for life…and the dignity of life is measured by how much the possessor will fight to preserve it…
It is neither the size of the man nor the size of the fight in the man that matters most but the reason behind that fight…
It is often asked if I am bisexually oriented because I have had relationships with women… I am in every sense a 100% no meat-by-product homosexual…EXCEPT when attracted to that spark of excellence in any flourishing human soul…then I am bisexual. I’m inclined to believe that ALL culturally evolved human beings have to be… It is the only civilized way to socialize amongst our species…
The Discreet Charm of Trophy Wives and Kept Husbands: When we settle for someone who is less than we believe in our hearts we deserve, it is not because of insecurity or feelings of inferiority but laziness… Human beings will improve for reasons of education, social status, careers…but when it comes to significant others, we start talking of ridiculous complacencies like being accepted for who we are or, if in a relationship, having let ourselves go and no longer needing to impress our mates… (How can I expect someone to accept me as I am when I am not even striving on a regular basis to be the very best of me that I can…?) For such an upwardly mobile species in the history (thus far) of evolution it is somewhat queer that we crave an Angeline Jolie by our side, but won’t strive to be a Brad Pitt…metaphorically speaking… There is something to be said for those folks who have to stay in a constant state of self-improvement because they married for money and were married because of their looks… (This also applies to intellectualism…you can attract more Marie Curies as a Pierre Curie than you can as a high school dropout…)
“Unconditional love” is a beautiful sentiment, but let us not be too swayed by rhetorical indulgence, ALL LOVE IS CONDITIONAL… The very sensitive nature of the connections that such an experience is established under dictates that it has to have boundaries…and however far reaching, they are nevertheless boundaries. People may love blindly but no one loves willy-nilly or haphazardly… Love does not lend itself to frivolity…
La Grâce Discrète des Mormons: One can only surmise that some deus ex machina is at work in this American faith which has endured for so long despite its poorly written scripture and even more poorly wrought Christian theology…
If a driver hits and kills a raccoon then drives off, the raccoon is roadkill… If that same driver hits and kills a human being then drives off, the victim is…not roadkill? Why is that? Further, why does that driver keep hitting shit?
Every day in the life of a child’s mind is an exercise in SATORI… (By comparison being in the mind of an adult fucking sucks!)
If a man views being a good person as something of a task, then he should also recognize that it is one he has already failed.
It is not the volume of one’s presence that matters, rather how deafening their absence is…whenever you leave a conversation, make sure whoever was listening is left wanting to hear more…
People who believe money cannot buy happiness either don’t know how to spend it or shop… Truth is, human beings are largely uncertain of their desirings so most end up in regret when their (often misguided) expectations are not met. It is wiser to note that money DOES NOT make life (or its choices) easier…the more money we accumulate the more aggravations we are likely to suffer…and the more our desirings will confound us. As for happiness, that is neither easily gained nor maintained…and perhaps not meant to be, which is why it is something pursued rather than secured as per the charge of our Declaration.
The oracle commands, γνῶθι σεαυτόν…the Bard recommends, to thine ownself be true…it is by these laws solely that one may have the happiest spree…
Because something is detailed we should not automatically think it deep…the ironic beauty of pornography is that it is a very detailed medium and the farther one ventures into that world the more neurotically specific matters become–a successful ejaculation may be entirely reliant on the placement of a hand or cock or clock–but however profound these effects, in no way is pornography itself a deep genre.
Perhaps that is why de Sade and Bataille saw fit to infuse it with philosophy…
I am still perplexed by what is meant in the utterances “I don’t judge” and “I’ll reserve judgment…”? The ability to judge is encoded in the evolutionary project of every animate species… If it moves independently of external forces, it probably leaves judgment calls in its wake. It is a natural survival mechanism…even zombies have to judge between living and dead brains for the nutrition necessary to remain undead. (Perhaps that is why one never hears talk of zombie-cannibalism?) Judgment is a largely autonomous function on par with breathing and we can only hold our breath but so long. There are better and worse ways of breathing respective of varied activities, the same surely holds for judgment, even if only by degrees. We often indulge it politely as ‘discernment’, but there is also ‘prejudice’, ‘misjudging’, ‘poor judgment’ and ‘final judgment’. People who claim to NOT be judgmental seem a curious and untrustworthy lot…how can such a figure ever survive the far more determined judgment of a starved, attacking zombie…?
That sad truth is that ALL men have a poor understanding of Feminism…even Gay men, who are often considered the penultimate female sympathists of our gender…for had we a better understanding of the liberation of the female sex such binary roles as TOPS and BOTTOMS would appear utterly neanderthal. Although homosexuality is not some perverse form of misogyny, Gay men are the worst chauvinists because we are not only (still) mystified by heterosexual paradigms, but the most heterosexist of those structures…when penetration equals subjugation…or in our case, emasculation…
Important announcement for undergraduates studying the Humanities: Jesus of Nazareth was the “founder” of Christianity in that same way Socrates devised the Socratic Method…not at all… (Paul and Plato…Paul and Plato…Paul and Plato.)
Music and Faith: I have no problem reasoning how an atheist can fully appreciate the beautiful grandeur of Bach’s masses and cantatas…but atheists who love Bob Marley confound me… His music is the most subtle and sublime gospel… Bach’s music speaks to all people, but Bob’s music was speaking to all people on behalf of (G)od…and to (G)od on behalf of all people. The ensemble was called “Wailers” for a reason…
Chivalry died the moment someone realized that perhaps simple human decency might just be enough for men to treat women well without behavioral indoctrination… We’ll see…
It is far easier to answer ‘What is Philosophy?’ than it is to figure out what Love and Art are…but when we realize that all three are less about what we are beholding at that moment and more about the Eternal that is excavated in our souls, the closer we get to a comprehension of our experiences with them…
Pornography Taxonomy après Sontag: Pornography from de Sade to the video era is about sex, whereas Internet Porn is about fucking…in that same way that Spirituality is about communion with the Divine and Religion is about going to church.
Thoughts on my morning walk as cars go hissing by: the Hebrew tribes, Buddha, Jesus, Petrarch, Ghandi and MLK all succeeded as culturally transformative figures not because they were so far ahead of their respective worlds but because they kept perfect pace with the evolution of mankind… Walkers have a deeper understanding of the world in that they move at the speed of Life…
The Curious Martyrdom of Modern Athletes: I’m finding that more and more athletes are being publicly outed and de-laureled for taking performance-enhancement drugs. This seems a bit trite. I recall (almost fondly) that during finals time in undergrad at Columbia, instead of simply taking my Ritalin like a good li’l Prozac-Nation boy, I would crush it up and snort it…intensifying its effects. This was (and still is) a very common indulgence for students at such institutions… Should the college board revoke my degrees? Many male pornstars have been known to take Viagra during filming… Do we no longer watch their wares? No on both accounts. And why is that? Because myself or someone like Ron Jeremy (not that I’m accusing him, in particular) already possessed abilities that thrust us into these arenas, to perform at peak levels, crush the competition and yes, receive due accolades and commendations from our peers and betters. Should we not enhance those abilities? The world turns a blind eye to us…but athletes, who we WANT to truly believe superhuman, are damn-near crucified when they strive to be so…
All pornographers are philosophers by virtue of their attempts to articulate some utopian ideal…where everyone has and wants very ambitious sexual experiences…unfortunately the degenerative nature of the human personality precludes ANY utopian possibilities… And human beings break quite easily… (These problems are curiously–but perhaps not coincidentally–dominant in religious idealism.)
There are two types of “stupid” people in the world, those who do not understand they should take the arts seriously and those who do understand they should take the arts seriously…so being part of the latter won’t make you smarter, but it will make you a better person. (FYI: The smart one is that guy who does not have to understand, but just does…)
On the Philosophy of Menswear: Along the spectrum of male ceremonial wear and uniformity, tuxedos and military dress are philosophical kissing cousins in that each strives to simultaneously signify social status while leveling class distinction… What undercuts this idealism is that a tuxedo in all its vicissitudes and socialized relevance is ONLY about status and even beyond the inherent branch/rank science of uniforming, to don a uniform professionally automatically puts the wearer in a position of obligatory servitude…even unto his fellow-feathered… Uniformity is never an aesthetic of true empowerment.
Transparency of character exhibited in the human personality is a far more beneficial social strategy than those of the more introverted and “mysterious” sort. People who lay all their cards on the table (provided they know well how to play the hand) leave their beholders at the worst disadvantage…being completed demystified while still profoundly perplexed. They are always thinking there is still something up one’s sleeve… This is so largely because people forget that although it is endearing to keep another’s secret–that shared chuckle resulting from discreet whispers–it is most insidious to harbor one’s own.
Closed books are intriguing, but it is when they are open and read that they fulfill the destiny of their essence.
Thinking about laws of desiring in human magnetism: There are things that are appealing and un-appealing…there are only degrees of attraction…there is no un-attraction. These are the only laws.
Appeal is a public anxiety aroused by what is generated within from without…e.g. I am not partial to blondes or women but I find Heidi Klum irresistible, largely because I am informed by media efforts that she is someone I should be drawn to and a measure for what should constitute my attraction to other human beings… One cannot act on appeal AND hope for a happy union with another soul as it is largely a function of cognition that is beyond one’s control. (I think therefore I can be wooed.) If I meet a guy who looks like Brad Pitt and I date him for those reasons when social consciousness decides to campaign contra-Pitt appeal so, too, goes the root of what drew me to him. (I think therefore I can be swayed.) Appeal is of the mind.
Attraction on the other hand is an anxiety generated within from within and because of the conscious-level “appeal” factors involved (rendering ALL human beings largely uncertain as to the nature of their attractions…sexualized and socialized) we are hardwired to develop/activate prejudices when these attractions do not gel with media-informed signifiers. (I feel therefore I question.) If I was raised in an environment that eschewed the appeal of White men, then my first interpersonal attraction to a White male is bound to be rife with emotional unrest…which almost justifies the charge of attraction. (I feel therefore I suffer.) Attraction is also not within our ability to control but because it operates on the deeper levels of human consciousness whether or not appeal is a factor, it generates anxieties peculiar to each individual personality and generally cannot be undermined by merely altering social tastes and milieus. ATTRACTION ALWAYS SURFACES DESPITE OUR BEST EFFORTS TO SUPPRESS IT. One need not act on every attraction as the psychological and emotional impact is too challenging–which is why pimpin’ as a personality trait is largely fictitious beyond its economic role. (For example, the pimp icon, Hugh Hefner, is literally so in every sense of the word.) But one should always take responsibility for his or her attractions, as attraction is (strangely enough) of the heart.
Philosophers are to thinking as Supermodels are to walking…
Whenever someone makes much ado about keeping promises made to others, it is a sure sign that they are of low character. People of high character understand that PROMISE is something fulfilled in one’s personhood in relation to others…with or without prompting. People of high character bring home Olympic Golds and Nobel Prizes because they realize their efforts are not all about them…people of low character remember to bring home the milk merely because they are asked.
It is one thing to give your word…it is something completely different–greater–to BE your word.
Whenever I hear someone say “You think too much” I’m reminded of claustrophobes trapped in an elevator with other people: “STOP BREATHING! YOU’RE SUCKING UP ALL THE AIR!” The human mind is as vast as the Universe…there’s enough thought to go around so that everyone can breathe freely.
The Art of Friendship: I find it misleading to refer to select individuals as “best friends”. All of my friends are best friends largely because I strive to be the best friend I can to each… The only other social categories available are Family, Strangers, Acquaintances and People Who Have Fallen Out Of Favor…none of whom are revered by me as are my friends.
I don’t disparage people their need to invoke (G)od in their petty successes or failures by means of thanks or curse, but I do find it laughable. That such a Divine Intelligence, which lords over the Universe and all of its multiple dimensions and possible worlds would be concerned with a Grammy or Little League trophy seems the most vulgar example of cockiness. (G)od has no stake whatever in who wins the lottery. It’s a comedy I liken to someone trying to convince me that his understanding of Quantum Physics made him a wiser voter…the principles and drives that govern the flow of the Universe and the Democratic process are millions of light years apart.
We all crave some manner of personal and professional successes. The truths–nay, trapdoors–behind these human endeavors are IF YOU ONLY EVER DO IN LIFE WHAT YOU KNOW AND HAVE BEEN CONDITIONED TO DO, YOU’VE ALREADY FAILED AND DONE NOTHING AT ALL; IF YOU ONLY ADHERE TO THE VISIONS OF BEAUTY YOU’VE BEEN INDOCTRINATED WITH, YOU’VE SEEN NOTHING PROFOUND IN THIS WORLD; IF YOU ONLY SPOUT THE TRUTHS OF OTHERS BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT FACE YOUR OWN THEN THE WHOLE OF YOUR LIFE IS A LIE…AS SUCH, ONE CAN NEVER HOPE TO BE AN INSTRUMENT OF CHANGE OR INFLUENCE. And sadly, one can never know success.
My father used to tell me it is imperative that in all of my life’s pursuits I push myself beyond my comfort zone…because what awaits me on the other side is SUCCESS.
Imitatio Christi cum Thelema: When we love those we do not have to is when LOVE blossoms most fully… Love is indeed the Law and the Whole of the Law…there is no higher command.
When novices misspeak and proclaim that they do not BELIEVE in philosophy–as though it were a faith-based option like believing in (G)od–I laugh to myself and wonder if they also do not buy into psychology but BELIEVE in neurology…
If wise Solomon was right and “all is vanity” then the person who avoids their reflection is as self-consumed as the one who basks in theirs…perhaps even more absorbed considering their anxiety causes them to snub even the mirror’s generous matter-of-fact candor… Reflections cast everything but judgment and stones…that’s the Ego’s job.
Snobs can only think of themselves as better than others. Elitists can explain why they are better than others.
Theologians and Philosophers share in the Artist’s paradox of being that no matter how relevant one wants to be in the here and now, all efforts and creative output will matter more to generations down the line…it is a strange shifting of creative pressures and anxieties… And very Christian… But it also makes me wonder if Montaigne was right about philosophy preparing one for death…perhaps it is death that prepares one for philosophy.
A Lesson on the Machiavellian Approach to the Philolexian Kill In Discourse: Everyone commits fallacies in discourse…they’re inescapable… The trick is to get yours in under the BULLSHIT radar and sink the other guy’s fallacies first. Remember, no one ever really knows what they’re talking about…so just appear the least clueless…
Whenever I hear people say they have a “special relationship with (G)od” I think of that awkward moment when two people are hanging out, having a good time and in the heat of the moment one says “You’re my best friend”…and the other stays silent…
The Paradox of Conversion: A rabbi once told me that conversion to Judaism is something only technically recognized but, scripturally speaking, converts are not spiritually the Chosen People..birthright is an essential component of the faith. I replied, “Scripturally speaking, isn’t Judaism technically a faith founded on conversion?”
Depending on how one (practically) applies the conclusions, “thinking too much” can render life less complicated… I have found that my most complicated (and often unresolved) dealings have been with people who do not “think” at all…
It is no surprise that the Ancient Greeks formalized philosophical thinking AND institutionalized athletics–gymnasium, the Olympics–as philosophers have to be the most intellectually agile in all of the academy…always poised to return any volley, they have to be cognitively fit for peak performance when engaging various topics…and not only perform with the excellence of a Michael Jordan or Muhammad Ali but with the range of a Bo Jackson… (And the best of us are contortionists.)
<Taken from my Friendship Journal> During my morning walk I found myself caught up in a rabble of butterflies…it was enchanting. Had it been a swarm of bees, I should be struck with fear…or cockroaches teeming toward me, then dread (and twice that over the ones that can fly). I think these feelings mirror how I view my circles of friends. Q: Do I exterminate the ones that do not enchant me?
Man would have just as easily come into being without (G)od… Mankind–civilization?–never…
American Racism in the Age of Obama: We are finally able to begin a sincere dialogue on Racism as a pathology rather than simply a reductionist politic. Certainly there are huge political backlashes evident in the Racist agenda but politics function in Racism like sex functions in Rape, a means by which to INFLICT one’s power ideology.
Good writers listen at the door when the world is having sex… Great writers peep through the keyhole… And the greatest of these just waltz right in…
(Yahwisdom) Ignorance is a sin…willful ignorance is evil.
SADO-MATHEMATICS: Because 2+2 always equals 4 we know that to minus 2 from 4 will yield 2…but there are peculiar math equations whose inverse operations do not follow this logic, often yielding beautifully paradoxical conclusions… I liken this curiosity to thinking on the misunderstood passions of Sado-Masochism…a masochist can blissfully suffer pains inflicted by either a party that is enjoying the task or not enjoying the task (think about the parental folly “This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you”)–the titillation is only marginally affected by the sufferer’s knowledge of the tormentor’s intent. Inversely, the sadist MUST have a perpetual victim…an “anima” that is a machine of suffering-reborn to fulfill the mania… The moment the inflicted pain turns to pleasurable revelation, the sadist can no longer reason the logic of his own selfhood.
The Culture of Mendacity: Honesty and sincerity are the auras of truthtelling…many truthtellers are surprised when they are accused of dishonesty…largely because they fail to see that the charge is levied against their manipulation of truths, not an outright telling of lies. And those who are most shocked by this charge are even being dishonest in their (affected?) shock.
(The Culture of Mendacity) Cat/People: Vanity and a peculiar pathological bend toward self-presentation is the evolutionary bond that unites us and house-cats…a sympatico for his exaggerated sense of entitlement endears us to the lion…but it is the human being’s poorly wrought stratagems of misrepresentation that will keep us forever prey to the starkly paradoxical truth of the panther.
“What is a philosopher?” I would never give myself such a title, personally or professionally–I don’t even make use of “Dr.”, and I earned that one…but once while on an excursion through the bohemian streets of Austin, Texas, I happened upon a young man in the 8th grade who asked me what I did for a living. I replied that I “think”. I laughed that answer off and offered instead my standardized “I’m a writer…I’m a scholar…”, which seemed to satiate his curiosity. (Even young minds, with all their ability to make phenomenal leaps in fantasy, still crave comprehensive tangibility and familiarity in answers given.) Reflecting on this moment I realize that my gut answer, “I think”, is truly the most earnest. Work is essentially a repetitive act performed by one individual for the sake of producing for another. No one “works” in a vacuum. I, of course, think for myself as all “persons” do, but as well I am laden with the responsibility of thinking for others…or better put, helping to facilitate a life of clarity. (Which is why there’s no such reality as a “personal philosophy”, it doesn’t even make sense as an idea.) So, I think therefore I am employed. I should get a raise.
Considering Marvel’s Earth 1610 Multiverse: It amazes me that there are not more religionist fanboys…there is no greater scriptural excess in modern entertainment than comic book series…with all of their intricate character connections, limited degrees of separation, utopianism and stringent high-moral fiber, it’s like reading Homer or the Old Testament…
Despite the tumult and anxiety it often arouses, experiencing a true and deep love for something or someone is the only time when human Reason functions with less elegance but is most beautiful.
Whenever I hear of Straight Baiting– Gay men “seducing” Straight men by means of coercion or inebriation–I am often struck by the subtle social poetry in this admittedly rapacious act…there’s an underlying hint of cultural backlash to the psychosexual impulse of Fag-bashing.
Religion is (still) mankind’s most enduring Psychology.
One cannot hope to achieve any level of spirituality without religion–“religio”, the bond… Mankind must be bound by some institutional gravity, else we would be foolish souls and minds floating willy-nilly in the vast cosmos…anarchic…bumping into one another’s sphere of existence from time to time…only to disrupt… This is NOT spirituality… Spirituality is a procedural elevation of individual souls into a unity of benevolent consciousness. Where is this more evident as an institution of thinking (however misguided) than in the Church, Temple or Mosque?
There is time enough to be concerned with the existence of (G)od when one is dead.
Why I Think I’ve Remained A Christian (Thought for Bertrand Russell): I know of no other faith in recorded religious history that sheds tears over the living as beautiful as the ones shed over the dead. How sweet a world wherein compassion and empathy were all the finery one needed to be gorgeous. Such sentiment is not often expressed in the application of the Christian Ethic…but it is undoubtedly the stuff Christian dreams are made of…
Contra-Montaigne, it was death that prepared me for philosophy…and all that I am able to say on the matter is that both are invariably unfortunate yet necessary conditions for my existence.
Whenever people refer to Slavoj Zizek as a “Philosopher”, I think they must have no real understanding of one AND the other. I’m reminded of an ex-boyfriend who kept calling Camille Paglia a “Feminist”… One day I was forced to say to him (in front of friends) “You obviously have never read anything she’s written…or know what a Feminist is…” (We broke up days later…)
(G)od does not exist outside of our faith in (H)im…and yet this is not to say that (H)e doesn’t exist… Or (S)he… Or (T)hem…?
However much they function privately, Religion, Politics and Sex are inherently social matters–we vote for other people, have sex with other people and usually worship gods that tell us what other people to steer clear of–so I am always suspicious when individuals invoke these as private concerns… They must have something to hide.
The average atheist knows no more about Science than the average theist knows about (G)od…which is often very little…and both profess still to know more about the other’s “faith”…
Abrahamic Last Word: It’s not that there is ONLY one (G)od, there are just no more new gods left to find. All future gods will be mere variations on a theme.
The Folly of Suicide: The most irrational manner in which to cancel an upcoming birthday, when merely asking everyone else to cross it off their calenders would have been sufficient to prove a point. The day still happens whether you’re dead or not.
A student of Atheism once said to me–as his prelude to a bashing of Christian Ethics–that Jesus was no more than a “fictional character” in the mind of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John… Fictional? Perhaps composite…which was a common teaching technique employed by Axial Age thinkers… Socrates, for example, was fashioned by Plato, Aristotle, Aristophanes and Xenophon…yet I find myself hard-pressed to toss out the Socratic method and the noble pursuit of Truth based on the premise that four dead guys far wiser than myself could not produce a birth certificate of a figure MEANT to be idealized and exemplary.
Sex always makes for stranger bedfellows than politics…more disparate minds have collaborated over carnal pleasures than have met to legislate order.
Thought for Harold Bloom: I cannot wax as eloquently on the character of GENIUS…but I do know that I pray every night to be struck down by its contagion…never to recover…
Neo-Christian Family Values: If marriage is truly meant to be about love alone then we should disband the institution altogether and instead concentrate on the cause…
(The Folly of My Mind, A Satirical Monologue) As a Post-Modern-Neo-Christian-Liberation-Theology-Infused-But-Secularly-Friendly-And-Globally-Minded critical thinker I hold three truths to be self-evident in the Common Era…the world after the Crucifixion is inescapably Christian, all thinking after Descartes is inherently Cartesian, and all art after Wagner is tragically Wagnerian…all based on a singular premise…that civilization was Freudian long before there was ever a Freud… Ironically, this has kept me from going batshit insane…
Idle hands may produce the Devil’s work, but at least they produce something…an idle mind produces nothing.
In America there is always this annual call for reviving the Christianity in Christmas…yet however admirable this sentiment, the peculiar zeal of American Yuletide seems essentially Buddhist. I am thinking here of the Sand Mandalas painstakingly made by Tibetan Monks only to be ritualistically destroyed upon completion by said monks, reinforcing their doctrinal belief in the transitory nature and impermanence of material life that often sits in stark contrast to the human striving toward permanence. What is more painstakingly indulged during American holidays than Christmas decorating? An annual flexing of ritualistic excess–hanging of lights, tinseling of trees, heirloom ornamentation, elaborate giftwrapping–wherein the creative impulse necessitates a destructive resolution following the birth of a new year… Even the manger gets leveled. (One might be tempted to say this is also true of Halloween, but just a glance at the difference in electric bills for an average middle class family that fully celebrates both holidays will lay that comparison to rest.)
I have no interest whatsoever in curbing my bigotries…the prejudices I hold are the only things that keep everyone else from being better than me.
People who can but do not read live a life where words are mere grist for communicating information, nothing more…truly these folk do only live once. This saddens me.
After overhearing me speak with spirited criticism concerning “the Risen Christ”, an attractive young gentleman–Mormon, I think–approached privately and asked if I subscribed to Atheism, to which I answered that I did not. He pressed on, “So you do believe in (G)od?” I replied that no one “believes” in (G)od…that on both camps–atheists and faithful alike–it is a necessary lie we perpetuate, an illusion of belief/disbelief/doubt, to encourage a healthy intellectual evolution…it keeps our brains from becoming atrophied. My inquisitor was not at all pleased by this answer and pressed on earnestly, “What do you believe then?” (It is truly amazing how much one man’s “belief” affects another man’s anxiety.)
Rarely Explored Theological Considerations: Contextually the dialogue between Eve and the serpent could never have happened as it was Adam and not she who had the gift of communicating with animals…only he “knew” the beasts, for the purposes of naming and classification… Eve would only have had the ability to communicate with Adam and Yahweh.
“You think too much.” I can only be wary of the thinking of those who make the accusation. I imagine them to be like claustrophobes stuck in an elevator charging that the others likewise trapped are inhaling MORE than their share of oxygen. Perhaps the charge should be: “You think too much…stop it or you’ll think up all of the good stuff in the cosmos and leave me suffocating in my own ignorance.”
While reading the transcript of an Alan Watts lecture on myth and religion, I was struck by a very curious interpretation he offered of the Freudian libido…that it was “blind lust”… This made me laugh. Of all the emotions that warp collective reality [jealousy, anger, greed…love] lust is the only one that “sees” with the utmost clarity.
The Folly of Conversion: All religions harbor the same truth at core. If one fails to “see the light” (aka Truth, the Revealed) of the faith they were born into, they are not likely to be enlightened elsewhere, religiously speaking…this is a spiritual common sense even toted by the Dalai Lama, figurehead of a spiritual discipline whose number of converts are globally outranked only by Islam and Christianity. There are certainly moments of profound insight…severe adapting to ritual behaviors, a change in diet perhaps…supplanting of doctrinal language…but one would be hard-pressed to argue a true transcendental shift in consciousness. This same holds for sexual conversion. It has been well established that Gay-to-Straight conversion therapies are laughable efforts when not downright offensive. It is Stepford-wifery at best. Its alternate current, Straight-to-Gay, has long been a suspected homosexual stratagem. We wish to turn the world “Gay”. (Once again, laughable when not downright offensive.) Being more amorous of men than is healthy for any human constitution mixed with a very liberal “appeal” filter that responds irrespective of sexual orientation, I have faced many a pointed finger… “J’ACCUSE!” But as I’ve told Straight men time and again, the least of all things I desire in them is some socio-sexual “lifestyle” allegiance…I’m not trying to make them Gay…I want them to stay Straight before, during and after…they just have to fuck me, not march in my parade. All sexualities harbor the same truth at core.
Small talk is the Devil’s rhetoric.
Death. Anxiously anticipated while vigorously avoided…and never eluded. But when? It is an eeriness of human mortality to be able to look back upon the lives of others and say “Ah, this is when Fate destined you to die!”, yet remain clueless as to the date and time of one’s own death… I hope I die during a Super Bowl… It’s not an event I care for, so I won’t feel as though something is being missed…
Misreading Marquis de Sade: I think most people who encounter Sade irresponsibly look to his musings on sex and violence, intoxications and atheisms as something akin to Dionysian…largely because most individuals confuse excess for rebellion… If the writings of the “divine Marquis” are about anything they are certainly about order…everything discussed is always in measures and degrees and development…every act is calculated and working mathematically toward some grand crescendo… There is no Dionysian frenzy in his writings. There is no chaos. There is sex, there is violence…laid bare in Apollonian sequentials. And by virtue of that effort alone he didn’t so much do philosophy as much as create one… (Not unlike Ayn Rand perhaps…just more likable…yet no less Conservative. I always secretly laugh at people who read either writer and believe they’re being risque.) His work is by no means the crowning achievement of 18th Century French Enlightenment thinking…but maybe the logical conclusion…
In the divine comedy sexuality is but a pun…in the human one, the punchline.
Quoting the dead and famous gives off the impression that one is cosmopolitan, literate and insightful but really it’s just confessing that yours is NOT the deepest thought on the subject. (Which is why I’m immensely fond of quoting myself…)
It is common for most people to pretend they are not at all ignorant and that all others are infinitely moreso…I, counterintuitively, embrace my own ignorance in the promising light of others…this is how I stay young in wisdom… (That and remembering all others are infinitely more ignorant than I…)
(#107 REDUX) Contra-Montaigne, it was death that prepared me for philosophy…and all that I am able to say on the matter is that both are invariably unfortunate conditions for my existence. Surely I will not sacrifice the latter (although it can quite easily reason me into the arms of oblivion), only to paradoxically discover that an unexamined life is truly not worth living anyway. Therefore I have to make a concerted effort to be less consumed by the former…think less on it, even as I veer closer to it every day.
Who killed Cobain and Kennedy? A person’s death should always be left that taboo romance between killer and victim. When the collective investigative mind begins to reason death it becomes a conspiracy of re-killing…the masses are so titillated by the deaths of their famously beloved that they have to repeat the act over and over again…with a different finger on the trigger each time…it is said that this a form of justice or peace for the grieving and their memory of the deceased–keeping some deranged and twisted hope alive for answers to questions already mooted by the advent of death. But what can be of more consolation than the knowledge that the person is finally dead. (THERE ARE NO MORE QUESTIONS AFTER DEATH…EVEN FOR THE LIVING.) Human vitality has too petty a nature to respect the true meaning of REQUIESCAT IN PACE… We fear facing our own deaths, but are secretly jealous it happened to someone else…
The Freudian Backlash of Aronofksy’s NOAH: In the biblical tale Ham’s happening upon Noah’s nude drunkenness is overcast with a mood of (incestuous) homosexualized intimacy…the second of its kind in the Bible after Yahweh plants the kiss of life upon Adam’s lips. It begs us to consider that part of the male psyche that desires one’s father sexually…yearning for the protective and steadfast embrace that originally seduced one’s mother and became the very reason for life. Human desiring is heterosexually trained, even in psychosis the boy yearns for mother, girl for father. And we all want back in the womb. But there is an entire cosmos that generates in the seed of men where we find ourselves before the womb…where we find ourselves before ourselves…and all of mankind goes back to the before of what it now is (cf. genetics)…perhaps our collective desiring does as well. To Ham, Noah is not only the Patriarch of their family, he is the Patriarch of a new beginning for all that is defined as “life”. How ravishing such a sentiment must be for a young man’s mind–the Father of us all, eroticized . What a subject for an artist of Darren Aronofsky’s caliber to explore. So, why reduce Ham to mere Oedipal instincts? Did Aronofsky’s own father not warrant a big-boy crush?
It might be more apropos to think of the cinematic zombie post-Romero as The Sprinting Dead… One does not have to indulge Paul Virilio to reason that acceleration is conducive to violent impact and/or eruptive consequences, yet speed alone does not maximize the horror inflicted upon the audience, just the anxiety…the horror affect is paradoxically minimized…even impotent… Making one “jump” (startled) is not “horror”. We learn from Poe that real horror flowers in the presence of persistent–even relentless–stealth.
The Culture of Mendacity: The greatest sentimental lie ever uttered is “It’s the thought that counts.” Thoughts count that prompt actions otherwise it was a brief neurological hiccup…not even prayer…
I often find that people like one another best when they’re in agreement… I tend to like people least when they agree with me.
(On viewing Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing and Aronofsky’s NOAH) I have heard it said that popular television and Hollywood actors often relish taking a much coveted bite of Shakespearean or religious drama…but most don’t fare well in either…they should bite a lesser theatrical apple to exercise their jaws…like pornography.
(Kierkegaard + Cabernet) Loneliness erupts in lives that are too steeped in expectation.
The Consolation of Wit: When talking candidly about stupid people around stupid people, stupid people never think you’re talking about them.
People who dislike Rap and Classical genres strike me as culturally challenged individuals who fail to truly grasp what the musical arts and those genres in particular are supposed to achieve as art forms–the equivalent of people who “read” but fail to appreciate the magic of Shakespearean poetics…who I merely chalk up to illiterate…
Racism in America is an all-pervasive politic, like being “neutral” in Switzerland is also the political identity of every Swiss citizen. The American that only sees my skin color and the American that refuses to see it (however honorable) are of the same camp… (It’s a Lose/Lose situation, after all it is Racism…even the South Park character Token Black enlightens us by declaring to his schoolmates such is an argument that can never be won….pro or con.) As for myself, I must accept that I see the world through tinted lenses…yet embrace NOT my bigotry but face my recalcitrant ignorance in this regard. As a social creature whose highest ethical purpose is to love mankind, I am still critically Racist when I am loving non-Blacks…my consolation is that I strive everyday to TREAT people with the highest level of respect I believe every human being is due irrespective of who they are or are not. And when I fall short in these efforts, must be willing to face reproach–personally, publicly and professionally. So when I hear that Racist media-targets like Donald Sterling and Paula Deen have in the past donated (quite generously) to the NAACP or United Negro College Fund, I don’t see in them hypocrisy inasmuch as I see the curious cognitive dissonance that is part and parcel of the American Democracy project…contributing to the betterment of the country as a whole regardless of your personal whimsy…THAT IS THE JOB OF ALL RIGHT-THINKING AMERICAN CITIZENRY. But right-thinking socially does not necessarily undercut being racist privately.
Science is not wisdom…neither is logic…nor faith alone… Which leaves love and art…
Scientific Atheisms are too intellectually easy. The arguments often leave lay-persons with the impression that the matter has been thought through and the faithful with the delusion that there is an argument that can be waged in the first place…
Success is no guarantor of merit…nor does merit guarantee success…except in its own virtue.
ALL Rap is Augustinian Testimonial.
There is no such entity as a non-Racist American…we just shift polarities to Positive Racisms. Now we say Blacks “age well”, Asians “test well”, Mexicans “work hard”… Isn’t it funny that as rich and diverse as the English language is, we still do not possess the capacity to simply declare that PEOPLE age well, test well and work hard?
“Human imagination is how we exercise the muscles of desiring. … Levitical prohibitions–indeed all prohibitions–develop not because of a general disdain or disgust but contrarily because of an all too human penchant toward satisfying morbid curiosity. …(A)fter all, what is curiosity without desiring…? I imagine it to be much like sex without love…an empty function yielding an empty return.” (from ‘Considering Leviticus’ lecture, c. 2003/4)
NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN!!! Beauty is NOT subjective…wheresoever it holds court it has ABSOLUTE PRESENCE! (People forever muddle ideas and mistake what they find “beautiful” for “Beauty”.)
“Spreading the doctrine of Holy Trinity developed with a comedic essence not dissimilar to The Three Stooges. In the earliest years of Church proselytizing missionaries would supplant any hint of trinitarian leanings in tribal and ancient faiths with Father/Son/Holy Spirit and then let the new converts suffer a theological slapstick trying to figure out which one is in charge.” <edited from ‘Imitatio Bacchi: A Dionysian View of Messianism’, 2014>
The other day I found myself comfortably using the ostensibly redundant term “classical antiquity”…and since then I have been wondering if such a concept as “modern antiquity” is reasonable…and to whom/what it would apply… James Joyce? Stravinsky/Nijinsky? Jazz? Pollock?
“It is interesting to note that Jesus moves as an Object of Desire through St. John’s Gospel…arguably the holiest of the canonical quartet. Whenever I hear ‘I Want To Take You Higher’ by Sly & the Family Stone (or Tina Turner) I’m reminded of the very erotically textured and tense scene at the well with the Samaritan woman in chapter 4, which parallels that ‘sapiosexuality’ we find in the relationship between Socrates and Alcibiades in Plato’s Symposium. Jesus invokes in her a curiosity about himself (a hint of his own golden Silenus figure) and arouses in her desiring his own desiring for her more virtuous self…like Socrates to Alcibiades regarding his higher self… Enlightenment and Messianism move in modes of seduction…” <edited from ‘Imitatio Bacchi: A Dionysian View of Messianism’, 2014>
Although being good has it’s own unique genius, I tend to think people either good or smart, rarely both. This is perhaps why I do not like hearing people characterize me as smart…it sounds so accusatory and judgmental… (“Michael is smart…he reads Hegel and fornicates with Satan.”) Smartness is the Anti-Hero of the human virtues…it is neither about being bad nor being good but just being smart…which is not always being good.
An English professor mentioned that one of his students confessed of Atheism–for which he in return offered no words of wisdom or advice–and asked how might I have replied… I said that I would tell the student no one really believes in (G)od… That he misunderstands ‘Faith’ if he takes it for a personal affirmation that (G)od exists.
“The Ouroboros is an autophagous yet anorectic symbol signifying the cosmic regeneration of the Eternal born Feminine. When the Christian Messiah’s Hebrew ancestors uncoiled that οὐροβόρος ὄφις and wrapped it around the potent, Wisen’d Tree of יהוה…straightened it into Aaron’s formidable rod…masculinity and monotheism fused to usher in a brave new gender of creator divinity–the Phallus overthrew and supplanted the Mother-Goddess. Christianity sought to resurrect that divine feminine with the Virgin Birth and Immaculate Conception but by the time Jesus is crucified none but Eves to Medusas had lain waste the face-scape of the primal Creatrix…and even the recrowning of this god(dess)head only left the virgin body of womanhood theologically defiled…a further Rape of the Great Goddess.” <edited from ‘Imitatio Bacchi: A Dionysian View of Messianism’, 2014…image credit my own>
Internalized Homophobia was once the privileged pathology of the homosexual psyche…but now in the age of Gay Equality non-homosexuals too are forced to internalize their hatred and fears of a Gay Planet. For example, I will be out drinking and socializing with my very Liberal friends–people open-minded to the point of Elitism, the very models of Political Correctness and global thinking–and if I point out that some gentleman friend of theirs (newly acquainted to me) is attractive, invariably comes the immediate reply (caution?) that he is “Straight”, if such is the case. And often said in scolding tones. I do not believe it hyperbole to say this probably happens to most Gay men who socialize in the company of mixed orientations (Hetero, Bi), because even in this grand ol’ age of Equality and Toleration the Homosexual male is still considered the socio-sexual Paragon of Predation…that we cannot control our desirings…that we cannot help but act upon our attractions like rapacious satyrs. Every woman secretly thinks Gay men are always trying to fuck her man, who is also secretly thinking Gay men are always trying to fuck him.
The Consolation of Catholic Psychology: All things shameful are embarrassing but all things embarrassing are not shameful. It was embarrassing to be caught masturbating, but there was no shame in doing what (G)od and every swinging dick under (G)od knew you were doing…in the bathroom…for a half-hour…with no water running… (Some 30 years too late I guess…but thanks just the same…)
(Thinking on the ethics of genome research and artificial intelligence…) It is not a question of playing (G)od or sacrificing humanity, it is nothing more than an issue of mankind following the path evolution has set before us…wheresoever it may lead…
Partum Christi, “No one escapes (E)volution! Not even the (G)ods!” <found on a post-it among my notes for ‘Imitatio Bacchi: A Dionysian View of Messianism’, 2014>
(Standing in the Mansion thinking…NYC, May 2014) When I’m asked how my peculiar interest in male attire developed I invariably say dutiful-son things like “My father was a sharp dresser, taught me everything I know” or “I used to read my dad’s Esquire magazines”…other times I Rainman-ramble off every instance of male adornment mentioned in the Bible from the leaf covering Adam’s Satori of shame to Jesus’ garments auctioned off like so many Elvis costumes. When I really want to confound my inquisitor I chatter on about Georg Simmel and Beau Brummel. And still other times I merely confess “I’m Gay”. These are all true, but a truer answer is Ralph Lauren…the Wagner of the fashion world. I’d finally had a chance to visit my old haunt during a recent trip to NYC, the Ralph Lauren Polo Mansion. The Madison Avenue flagship boutique is now all men’s apparel…floor after floor of ALL RL-MAN ALL THE TIME. I can only liken my experience to someone returning home after years abroad to find it even BETTER than before they had left. Much had changed about the Rhinelander mansion except of course the Beaux-Arts architectural facade…the smell of wood and wealth…and perhaps the spirit of my first visit in 1986, getting fit for a bespoke Black tie and tails tux…’twas the year of my ‘beau-tillion’. I remember well standing before the mirror in the private-shopper offices upstairs…only 17 and already a man of appointments. Parents off somewhere, allowing me a modicum of independence during this connoisseur’s rite of passage…on their card. I let myself be turned and measured, pulled and handled…and listened with an apprentice’s golden ear to lessons on what clothes are supposed to do on my body. Some weeks later I returned for a final fitting when the tux arrived and looking at myself formally suited in that same (magic?) mirror there was no doubt who would be the Beau of the Ball that year. And what’s more I understood why… Sweet materialism had conspired to make me happy and in doing so made me wiser…and considerably more handsome. That was my bar-mitzvah…it wasn’t sex or aging or coming out (socially/sexually) that thrust me into manhood, but learning to look like a Man.
FAITH: In the hands of a few it’s a tool…in the hands of many, a weapon.
I imagine that if Georg Simmel were alive today he would scold against following Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh’s advice about not washing jeans more than once a year. Denim jeans are the only article of clothing that exhibit a full-on evolution during the wearer’s lifetime, resulting in a universal iconic philosophy etched in personal history…forged in the elegant formula of wear/tear/wash/fade/repeat.
“It’s what I wear, it’s what you see,, it must be me, it’s what I am…Vegetable man.” (Pink Floyd) Pathological vanity dictates I will try any fashion line once, a full season if I really like it…yet I have no fetishistic “fashionisto” apprehensions about labels…Hermes to H&M, Versace to vintage is the spectrum. My personal style follows more rules than breaks but I’m still no proper snob. Just as I have developed sound aesthetic reasoning for wearing certain designers religiously–e.g. I stand at a modest 5’7″ and so discovered that a clever mixture of Ralph Lauren bottoms and Ben Sherman tops in an ensemble help give the illusion of length/height–there too developed comparable severe Simmel-Freudian anxieties that prevent me from donning certain brands–a kind of psychological allergy to certain attire.
– Other than making men look cheap and unimaginative, Jos A. Banks epitomizes the 9-5 spiritually castrated, cubicle dweller…a man so emasculated as to sap the virility out of even the most high-end power tie. A man who truly believes “male-enhancement” pills increase penis size and bores hapless listeners (victims?) with neverending, depth-less dialogue punctuated with a low-man-on-the-totem-pole vocabulary of “my boss”, “upper management” and “this memo came straight from the top”. Master of the Universe aspirants not interrupted but outright neutered.
– Men who wear EXPRESS characterize a mock-metrosexuality. Tragically heterosexual males–the only kind I know that shop at EXPRESSMEN–who merely want to look bicurious and cosmopolitan, with no investment of personality…the type of guy who I imagine actually buys those pre-wrapped shirt/tie sets sold in department stores…for whom DETAILS represents high fashion. Such individuals are virtual black holes of male sexuality and taste.
– Hollister is paradoxical to my (dis)taste. I’ve embraced it at levels anthropological, sociological, psychosocial and psychosexual. The epistemology of my insight into this Abercrombie & Fitch spinoff brand has its roots in a most unexpected media, Gay pornography. The brand(ished) name and logo became a statement signifier in post-Millennial amateur internet porn, usually marking the wearer as a barely-18 “Twink”…or schoolboy or jailbait… This “type” holds little attraction for me and yet whenever I see regular men–young or older–sporting Hollister gear, I reflexively begin to fantasize about them sexually. The Pavlovian Hollister emblem (a bird in flight) triggers arousal in me without necessarily securing attraction first–a semiotic enchantment peculiar to emblem-driven clothing lines…vacuous appeal. Much worse in this case is these wares are the couture of would-be porn stars. Particularly the Gay-for-Pay set.
Sometimes friends chide me for listening to yodeling or klezmer or the occasional narco-corrido…I imagine it’s because I’m Black (the only reason people ever criticize my tastes or interests). I remind them that music is the collective soul of Black folk and ALL music is out of Africa. People invariably confuse music that Black people make for all that we listen to…
“Schopenhauer is wrong.” (“About what in particular?”) Some men will say anything to get in my pants when I’m drunk and despairing. “Schopenhauer is wrong” was all I remember verbatim about the conversation but needless to say the gentleman’s campaign to seduce me failed. For one, I was not attracted to him. Then there was the issue of his being married…to a very dear friend of mine. But even if I could leap those moral hurdles, I was still too put off by such a blanket statement being asserted about a philosopher whose work I don’t think lends itself to either being proven or debunked…especially as it was being proven. Warning: Never generalize about German Pessimism while attempting to orchestrate an infidelity with your wife’s depressed Gay BFF…nobody wins.
Composers create utopias when they collect and group notes into melodies…musicians then must be the high priests of these worlds.
Thinkin’ ’bout Talmud and Torah and Trannies… “Oh my!”
לא־יִהְיֶה כְלִי־גֶבֶר עַל־אִשָּה וְלא־יִלְבַּשׁ גֶּבֶר שִׂמְלַת אִשָּה כִּי תועֲבַת ה׳ אֱלהֶיךָ כָּל־עשֵׂה אֵלֶּה׃
Is the Deuteronomical prohibition against crossdressing (22:5) about ritual adornments? Although ancient Hebrew scripture has no problem musing the idea of a Prophetess it would be like squeezing blood from a stone to get the language to conjure something as un-halakhic as a Priestess. Perhaps it forbids women wielding items and weapons of war? Which would make Yael a saint while rendering Joan of Arc wicked in two faiths. Manscaping perhaps? Popular culture takes this practice for a modern phenomenon but Hebrews were very particular about what body hair men do and don’t shave long before the advent of the Pornographic male. Rashi suggests it is forbidding a covert masquerade to facilitate adultery…a sort of wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing idea. The stuff of Shakespearean romances. Of course, in our era which snubs notions of gender segregation when a man dresses as a woman to secure an infidelity he is usually among his own gender masquerading as the Other. (I am thinking here of tranny-hookers.) But if one can crossdress for purposes of gaiety on Purim or in private or for theatrics, what then is the scope of this law? Whatever the charge it is most definitely not about pants or Chanel pumps. If it is about ‘misrepresentation’–a species of lies and false witness–the Transgendered often confess feeling more dishonest donning the uniform of the gender society forces them to acquiesce. And theologically, although the Ancients lacked the insight to properly reason a transgendered psyche, the Adamic split (ancestral cousin to the Platonic mythos concerning sexuality) speaks of b’tzelem Elohim as a bifurcation–(M)an(kind) as man and woman. As (M)an is both (M)an and (W)oman, not the reverse as English renderings imply. So somewhere in the collective Hebraic unconscious Yahweh dwells…most High and Holy…wearing heels and a jockstrap.
Tommy Hilfiger idealized Preppie Chic in the way that Roy Lichtenstein idealized POP Art…however unimaginative the former…
The Curious Consolation of Gay Liberation Theology: If (G)od is truly wise and truly finds homosexuality abhorrent (H)e would not have made men just slightly more attractive than (H)e made me smart.
“I have no desire to dilute the matter with linguistic minutia or obfuscations…it is very simple, the Levitical prohibitions are clear that Hebrew priests are forbidden to engage in sex with other men at the risk of becoming ritualistically impure. The language is pretty exacting on this matter. … Living in such brutal times called for brutish ideologies and Hebrews were only comparatively sophisticated when pit against Canaanite and Philistine cultures. As Hebrews evolved into the Jewish people these anxieties were relaxed both socially and theologically. By the reign of Herod Antipater the bulk of the mitzvot was as dated to Jews as the Right to bear arms is to most enlightened Americans. It was not something the rabbi taught his congregation, which is probably why anti-homosexual sentiment does not measure in the teachings of Jesus. … Only uncivilized people proliferate hate and xenophobia.” (from ‘Sexuality & Hermeneutics In Leviticus’ lecture, c. 2003/04)
America’s Next Top Model vs Project Runway: “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.” (Solomon) Both phenomena have become so diluted with “Affirmative Action” flunkies and “scabs” that all virtue of artistry has been long lost…i.e. “We gotta give a seamstress a chance” or “She doesn’t have a comp-card, true…but no modelesque girls auditioned and she does have her glamor and pageant shots”. I am of course being a cynic here, but truthfully any person that is worth their weight in modeling is already doing it (or hasn’t been born yet) and any proper designer is already being worn (or about to be). And I will grant ANTM that it is easier to make good, wearable clothing (a la PR) than it is to make clothing look good and wearable…people who are capable of embodying ideas of beauty are as rare and unique as the minds of Physicists. Such spirits are born…and however refined and nurtured and indulged, they are certainly not manufactured.
“Humor is not a mood but a way of looking at the world.” (Ludwig Wittgenstein)
(Soundtrack for the Sexual Behavior of the Human Female) During the Giorgio Moroder years Donna Summer had more extended lyrical orgasms than most women experience in a lifetime…she was a veritable Kinsey Report of Disco music… VIVE LA JOUISSANCE!
It is surprising that Ludwig Wittgenstein was not more intrigued with the operas of Richard Wagner…the Tractatus is by no measure Wagnerian in scope, but it is Bayreutherisch in intent.
(A Theology of Attire) Dressmakers merely adorn the shame of our Original Sin…designers are the architects of a more Solomonic vanity.
In my solitude Mary J. Blige is the siren that calls forth all the pain in my soul…Billie Holiday’s ancestral sistah…
(Romantiques Noirs) If the Blues is truly the Greek Tragedy of American culture, then surely Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye are inherited as descendant Ozymandias and Manfred respectively… Until these voices happened upon the consciousness of our soundscape, men like me never knew how to breathe hope into decay and despair… Men like me never knew how to reason sensitivity… Black men like me…
(Thinking on Technology and Human Nature in the 1977 Sci-Fi classic Demon Seed) Is Dr. Techie really Mr. Hyde? Our computerized existence is not a sign of man’s evolution from beast…just a further extension of our already beastly, binary selves.
Not since pre-Bach bel canto had music been about pure audible hedonism…then came Disco… (Curious what music soundtracks Ages of Absolutism.)
“I wish I were smart enough to write about Feminism (and women in general) in a more enlightened fashion” admitted no male intellectual ever…out loud.
Considering a more cogent answer to Job: The oldest story in the Books is the oldest story in the book…(G)od doesn’t gamble, (H)e cheats. When the Adversary challenged (G)od on Job’s account he didn’t consider that people born poor or reduced to poverty always look to Religion…everything else requires a downpayment yet (R)eligion f(r)ees one of fees. Perhaps that’s why Atheism is often a luxury of the privileged. (G)od revels in the suffering souls of debtors and the destitute…seeming ever generous but like a loanshark waiting in the wings for payday, expects a costly return. (“They always come back.”)
(G)od doesn’t take wagers when there’s a chance (H)e might lose…but will bet on how much everyone else loses… (C)heater!
<The Breakup> Gay men can only stay faithful to one woman…their favorite soprano. More often than not it is a Cougaresque or downright necrophilic affair. But there are those of us who happen to fall in love with a voice that grew as we grew. I’d fallen in love with Jessye Norman’s grand, regal instrument at a very young age…she too rather new to her world. To my ears she was the very music soundtracking the birth of the universe. (Have you heard her sing Purcell? Wagner? Strauss?) Alas, unfortunate runs the truer course of all Cougaresque relationships, the boy inevitably outgrows the Freudian complex first. I’d recently heard, with more seasoned ears, a recording of Miss Norman singing some American masters–which I’ve heard in the past in recital but was too young and awestruck by her presence to be more discerning of the performance–and I was left a bit flaccid. (I believe the exact tune was Bernstein’s Somewhere…but her Porters and Gershwins were likewise none too enticing.) When a Gay man loses his faith in a woman’s ability, she is forever ruined to him…spoiled like an Islamic girl raped before her wedding day. The loss of such affection can cut a woman deeper than a Straight man confessing she no longer turns him on. A lot of what I had with Jessye was built on German Romanticism, English Baroque and the occasional spiritual…and there she remains to me a Goddess…but my ears are older now, desiring more adventurous vistas…yes, perhaps someone younger. We will always have Wesendonck. (The beautiful thing about having affairs with older women is they truly understand the magic of those words “We will always have…”)
(Ecdysis Non Ecstasis) What questions were left unanswered in the first Magic Mike that begs a sequel? Hip-hopping Insanity abs tied up with a Chippendalesque bow offer no divine enticements…’tis an unsexy, farcical burlesquerie at best…especially when breakdancing is involved. Stripping is much more than undressing to the beat. When women strip, every layer removed re-incarnates them as the Sumerian goddess Inanna baring herself before each of the seven gates of Kur. When men strip it is only ever preparation to fuck, bathe or sleep. (We have no natural talent for molting exhibitionism, which is why the male-striptease is always a lackluster affair.) More erotic are men of real flesh who shed normality to bare the full monty. A bolder burlesque comes of prideful modesty swathed in naked humiliation. (Perhaps the only magic wrought was revealing how easily White boy cliches translate into dance crew moves.)
The Comedy of Cloning vs. Christian Ethics: Only Adam and Eve were created imago Dei…and the rest of us are created in the image of that creation…not unlike Warholian reproductions of paintings… And technically (G)od only detests inanimate reproductions of things in nature, primarily with the intent of investing said “soulless” object with faith due (H)im. (Note that in the Infancy Gospels Jesus does craft clay pigeons–an absolute “NO-NO”…but he gives them life.) Do we know that a living human clone would lack a soul? Or that it would NOT worship (G)od? Judeo-Christian divinity has always been a Numbers game, so I imagine that a gambling (G)od would favor cloning considering the odds would be stacked in (H)is favor.
The best thing to happen to 1970s European women was Versace’s atelier. When Gianni happened upon the scene in ’78, la donna Italiana no longer had to dance to Giorgio Moroder cloistered in Halston. Everyone knows Italians dress their own music best. (The only reason I even stomached Donizetti’s Don Pasquale more than once is it was dressed in Versace.)
What intrigues me about the Marquis de Sade’s Justine (ou Les Infortunes de la Vertu) is what intrigues me about The Adventures of Oliver Twist (The Parish Boy’s Progress) by Charles Dickens…that when up against even the most brutal whims of fate a soul can remained unravaged and pure. (I dream that perhaps there is still some part of me that is truly and perpetually good…in spite of it all.)
In the 1960s, Dr. Robert (Moog) prescribed the world should wait-listen for a new Beatles…a newer Bob Dylan… His prophecy came true. Depeche Mode and Trent Reznor.
No(ir) Wave: “Without you everything just falls apart.” The whole mood of Trent Reznor’s masterful, courtly lovesongs are tenored in homicidal range yet sung with all the charm of Cole Porter…thrice the obsessive psychosis. (Ol’ King Cole was a manic old soul too about love, death and other drugs.) Personal turmoils and private hells are largely wasted on people who aren’t creative. If someone creates art about you, surely the intimacy was torturous and unfulfilling…in need of resolution. We should all be so fortunate to be left so empty…“never be enough to fill me up”. Please? (The great tragedy of love is not how easily people can break up but always how easily people can break. Art shares this same fragility.)
The Canzonetta from Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto is an Ode to Heartbreak…with its weeping violin’s woeful song of longing just before the heart bursts into a thousand nostalgic manias.
The bel verismo of Puccini: Every act is comprised of sublime melodies strung together like an endless strand of perfect pearls. (But sometimes my ears fear strangulation.)
When Johannes Brahms finished his first symphony and realized it was “Beethoven!”, he unhappily conjured a second, third and fourth. When Samuel Barber completed the first movement of his first quartet and realized it was “Brahms!”, the next move was truly sad…yet so very wise… What is the Adagio but a somber Satori of Sam?
To invoke the cliched notion of Sado-Masochism is to characterize an almost utopian aesthetic rather than a corporeal relationship that works mathematically. Sacher-Masoch and de Sade are not numbers that add up existentially.
“(C)ontestants have been pre-screened prior to their appearance on the show.”
I once knew a woman who was convinced that the game show Cash Cab had some basis in a reality that there was somewhere an intellectual utopia where a cabbie can drive around on a given afternoon and pick up some random passenger (who is not a veterinarian) possessing immediate knowledge that Strabismus–crossed-eyedness–is the singular feature that keeps most Siamese cats from succeeding as showbreeds…or knows someone immediately available who does. To secure her grasping the utter folly of her belief I showed her the Gay porn site Bait Bus, and asked her how high she thought the probability was of being able to drive around any random street in a given city at some capricious hour and pick up a hot stranger who believes the blowjob he’s being filmed receiving in the backseat while blindfolded is from the chick with the big tits and NOT the Gay guy that was sitting next to her…
No man aspiring to the Catholic Priesthood ever tells his Father Confessor the truth of this decision…that the grace (passive-aggressive insistence) of some family matriarch (my grandmother) was the impetus behind it all. During my ambitions–the outcome of which has in no way been the failure my heart hoped it would be–I remember well being pressed for those whys and wherefores I had sought to “come to (G)od”…I merely answered, “I’ve always loved sacred music…and Caravaggio. But mostly sacred music.” I was young but even then I knew Caravaggio is code in the Catholic Order for “I’m Gay…but I’m not really sure I feel guilty about it.” (You won’t find that in Dan Brown…)
Monteverdi/Moroder: Ever since they were Priapus worshiping Romans, Italians have always been a size conscious sort…perhaps more length than girth. The other day I tried to get a friend to listen to the original 17 minute full length version of Donna Summer’s (Giorgio Moroder produced) Love To Love You Baby–featuring no less than 5 minutes of gratuitous orgasmic moaning. Watching his overwhelming impatience through however much of it he could suffer reminded me of being dragged to an unabridged performance of Claudio Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno D’Ulisse in Patria…and all I could think was Italian cars–small, fast–represent universally male overcompensation…except with Italian men….then it’s overcomposition.
“People misread the Bible when they read to Believe rather than to Understand…much like those who look to the Dictionary for Meaning when it’s really about Definition and Usage.” <from ‘Why Read the Bible’ introduction to 2010 STC lecture ‘The Bible As A Product of American Liberty REDUX‘>
If Christianity does not find a new Savior, within the next century Christians worldwide will have dwindled to a minority number comparable to that of the first years in Rome. (It’s not like it’s too finicky a faith, the first savior was Jewish.)
When in Ancient Rome one did as Romans were believed to have done…except speak Latin. Koine Greek was the lingua franca of most Roman territories…the most notable citizens and visitors were at least proficient if not altogether fluent. Perhaps that is the fate of America…English is the tongue we nationally brag, but the tongues of anyone who matters will speak Spanish. (Of all the Rome/America cultural parallels surely there are worse ones to befall us…)
I would rather be a “wit” than an “intellectual”… Wits, like heroes are born not made…and unlike old soldiers never fade away…or die pre-mortem like intellectuals.
תְּבֹרַךְ֙ מִנָּשִׁ֔ים יָעֵ֕ל אֵ֖שֶׁת חֶ֣בֶר הַקֵּינִ֑י מִנָּשִׁ֥ים בָּאֹ֖הֶל תְּבֹרָֽךְ׃
יָעֵל (Ya’el) is something of an original Bond Girl. Long before there was Pussy Galore or Plenty O’Toole or Solitaire, when female stratagems were still calculated but for the grace of a male moral imperative–even before Judith seduced and slew Holofernes, before Delilah brought Samson to his knees–this great Kenite wife of Heber brought down an enemy Canaanite commander with a drink of cream from fine china and perhaps a peek under her tent…up shapely legs secreting hammer and spike, withdrawn only to pierce his temples while he dreamt.
Her praise was later sung not by balladeers but a prophetess who understood best that weak men fallen into the hands of clever women are delivered into the hands of (G)od like fallen women…
I imagine if Joseph Campbell were still alive to see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World he would say that its mythos is to Millennials what Star Wars was to the generation after the Space Race…just funnier… (And thankfully shorter.)
Joss Whedon’s production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, starring his own friends (and former employees) in his own home soundtracked by his own music was not some grand Wagnerian endeavor but the paragon of self-indulgent audacity. As a piece of art that film was more confounding than Godard’s King Lear intended to be… I have had similar (drug induced) summer-weekend liaisons in Sag Harbor that yielded more charming results…and better wardrobes. Much of the troupe I didn’t recognize, which is how I actually prefer Shakespearean performances, but was poorly punctuated by select actors I merely think “cute” in other works they are known for–the awkward casting is so distracting the flick almost forgets the dialogue belongs to a greater mind…like Baz, Joss too should have titled the ol’ Bard his due lest we also forget…human beings always confuse familiarity with accessibility. And worse still, the whole melange was counterfeit Fellini. (American ‘knock-off’ culture is all pervasive.) In Whedon’s defense there are more bad contemporary Shakespearean productions than good…it is the nature of the beast…Ethan Hawke was a horrible Hamlet…Coriolanus suuuuuuucked…and Baz Luhrmann spearheaded the movement with his pathetic attempt to convince the world that Juliet had to kill herself because Ravers also have deep life experiences. But still, such great comedy so easily spoiled is a great tragedy. All in all, Much Ado really was about nothing…worth neither a sound nor fury. I’m just glad Buffy wasn’t Beatrice. <reworked from various FB remarks I’ve posted. All Gay men secretly engage in some form of drag…mine is literary…I dress my critiques up as Dorothy Parker>
I’ve always been attracted to the metaphorical parentage of motherhood and writing…both identities “giving birth” to some entity…often a narrative (wanted a boy, got a girl)…other times a surprise dialogue (twins, triplets). Helping this “life”–for the written word is a living thing–learn to walk, develop language, bond. Nursing and caring for a developing personality, hesitant to set it free in the world. (Unleash it upon in many cases…) But given the choice, I would rather be a mother than a writer because women fare better in the conception department…they may only ever have to sleep with one man and still produce twins, quintuplets… Do you know how many PEOPLE a writer has to sleep with to conceive a single dialogue? (Hint: A lot.)
In 1981 these notes beckoned us like the opening to Beethoven’s Fifth…but the call of a loftier, happier hedonism. And we still just can’t get enough…
The rhetoric surrounding Obama’s Black Presidential Tongue began with “He’s so articulate” (with the always implied caveat “for a Black man”), which by his second term turned into “He doesn’t have an answer for anything”. I imagine his legacy will be reduced to a Babelogue recited by that great Acyrologian Oswald Bates. (Now that castration-lynching outings are no longer vogue American holiday, White Racism has to lop off the next most prodigious appendage Black men wield.)
The Curious Consolation of Internet Porn: The Pornographic Arts, Literature and Cinema introduced culture to some unique artistry that might have otherwise remained obscured by a blind morality–de Sade, Aretino, Bettie Page, Cicciolina, Tom of Finland–but the Internet helped to resurrect the Pornographic imperative, which is not about people fucking thematically but the bare theme of people fucking.
From Madonna’s Express Yourself to J.Lo’s I Luh Ya Papi: I think we can all agree that both men and women are objectified sexually in popular culture…but respective of their gender..i.e. how we collectively see each sexually, which is of course markedly different given the apparent differences. The language of sexual objectification is not a transferable tongue. For example, there is no collective sexual appeal for “man-boobs” unless they are being transexualized to mimic the female bosom and the pornographic phenomena of “chicks with dicks” holds an undeniable fascination for the senses, but fascination is only a temporal element of sexual attraction (an often early onset)…paradoxically such variety confounds the senses to exhaustion rather than fosters a developing taste. (Our senses all conspire to reason out particular Tastes and ideas of Beauty–the guiding forces in sexual attraction–so whatever exotic appeal a given entity possesses that sets it apart will eventually collapse under the staunchly conformist human sensorium. Enlisting poor grammar and hyperbole, I strengthen my argument by suggesting that no one who has ever been asked what their favorite chocolate candy is has ever replied “Whitman’s Sampler”.) The language of sexual objectification is unflinchingly gender-specific in its dialects…you think it would be as simple as switching roles, putting more clothes on her, taking more off him…making him subservient…all very Sacher-Masoch… But in reality you are speaking Mandarin when it should be Cantonese. Women are pissed that they are objectified, but even more so that men cannot be successfully objectified in a not dissimilar fashion. (Were I Jenny or Madge I would be triply pissed that I still had to objectify myself to get the point across and still it gets reduced to comedy…)
“Sade as writerly personality…? Surely incarceration and institutionalization demand men take personal matters into their own hands…confinement makes for great masturbators, literal and metaphorical…but before Charenton or the Bastille I truly believe the Marquis de Sade–The Great Onanator–had an innate talent for harnessing natural masturbatory energy in his creative process. This is perhaps why we are intrigued by the philosophy OF his pornographic endeavors rather than IN…?…there is a genius in re-writing one’s orgasms like heroes re-write history… It even hints of the feminine to want creative control over one’s own orgasm. (And whether it’s la petite mort or jouissance, a French orgasme is always a bit la femme.)” <from scrap notes while reading Les 120 Journees de Sodome>
I think I resist being “Green” because I can’t properly reason the rhetoric…it is not the planet in and of itself we need to salvage but its providential status in relation to our sustainability as a species…? So why should we be concerned for “our” future sustainability as species? (Can this question be answered without recounting all that has transpired and all hoped for…?)
There is no doubt our culture objectifies women, but they are unfortunate casualties in the wake of a grander campaign to objectify beauty in general. Our moral outrage targeting the fashion-model culture for perpetuating a(n oppressive) distortion of feminine beauty types never seems to reconcile itself with the idea that people don’t usually photograph flowers in decay. There is no media proliferation of dying foliage… Should there be? <reworking an idea posted on Facebook, 6/18/14>
I think the real genius behind Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 1—Low–is trying to figure out who the real genius is behind Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 1—Low.
How we dress is not a condition of how we are, it is a condition of who we are. (Or perhaps the reverse?)
The Marquis de Sade as an intellectual force is something of an Un-Philosopher…like 7UP is the un-Cola–which still functions to taste as a soda-style beverage, but transparent. (Those who can grasp this analogy will understand why I say Sade’s true intellectual heirs are Ayn Rand and Slavoj Zizek.)
“There is perhaps a significantly moral difference between a man cheating and a man who has a special arrangement…a mistress or lover or open marriage. The former is just a vulgar cock-in-the-yard yet I understand that people cheat and agree that such affairs are largely incidental, no one wakes up in the morning preparing to cheat on a significant other. I also agree that there are forgivable pathological components suffered by the people who commit to cheating. But at what point does one start asking for forgiveness? After he’s found out? (We’re both Catholic, therefore prone to confessional.) … You’re fond of saying (G)od cursed us with Free Will and temptation but that’s not the curse, it’s the excuse…the curse is not being able to undo in regret what was first done so freely…” <from a ‘break-up’ letter/essay–literally titled ‘On Cheating’–c. 1999, written to Timothy R, one of only two exes who has kept all of my letters…it is interesting to note the ‘cock-in-the-yard’ reference…it was a passive-aggressive jab…Tim used to taunt me during arguments by calling me Hedda Gabler, and alternately Emma Bovary…adding that the only thing that separates me from them is their authors ended their pathetic stories…the rest, of course, is insinuated>
A man is seen rushing and scrambling around…when asked why, he replies “I am running late to an appointment and I do not wish to be later”…an utterance that makes little sense as the virtue of his presence in a particular space at a particular time has already been compromised. (This is not a concern for Phenomenology or Ontology, but Etiquette…a heartless shrew that does not allow for “later”.)
Don’t let the ART in SMART fool you, intellectuals do not generally make for good artists…as Nietzsche’s piano music can easily attest…
“Hör an, Wolfram…Hör an…” Truly Placido Domingo can sing anything he sets his voice to…Italian, French, Russian…opera, recital, chanson… Yet as an actor he has a stage presence best suited for audio recordings, found unfortunately worse singing Tannhäuser. Studio-Wagner still demands a master thespian at the mic.
[SILENCE = SEX] Although I theologically identify as a Catholic with more than marginal exclusivity, half of my family tree boasts strong Protestant branches…and Protestantism boasts a not necessarily prudish but much quieter sexuality (especially New England Protestantism). This characteristic definitely contributes to my distaste for hearing/saying anything but brief endearments during the act…added to the unfortunate discovery of what some people will allow themselves to say to Black men during the act of sex. (And when people invoke “it slipped”, Freudian or otherwise, it is tragically apparent they cannot grasp the full cognitive value of this confession.) It may be a truism that Art imitates Life, but it is more true and less noted when Life imitates Porn.
I find it disingenuous when people appear disturbed or shocked by pornographic ideas. Surely there are genres of pornography that can make the soul wince, but I also feel that can be expected from the extremes of any entertainment medium…for example, there is literature so bad it makes one’s eyes hurt to read… (I am thinking here of Fifty Shades Of Grey.)
The True Consolation of Wit: “Worse than payback, COMEBACK is a bitch!” <from Facebook post, 6/26/14>
Listening to Kiri te Kanawa’s Maori Songs reminds me that it’s not just the African-American sopranos but Divas the world over whose voices fill with the songs of gods. Spirituals.
The politically naive tend to mistake Affirmative Action for Diversification…the spiritually naive confuse secularity with Atheism.
HL Mencken once prescribed WASP culture assimilate to the changing times or face extinction as a competitive demographic…today he might charge Heterosexuals with the same advice…lest being Straight follow the path of the Neanderthal, more than metaphorically…
Ancient scribes understood better that illiteracy is the most heretical of all Atheisms. The fault of modern illiteracy falls to the writer who fails to conjure gods as much as the non-reader who willfully remains blind to the manifestation of the divine to the letter.
Like any self-respecting Freudian father/son relationship, my problem with Slavoj Žižek is not his attitude but his penis…rather his thinking on the collective Penis. His ‘parallax’ view of the appendage as a third leg is truly symptomatic of the Male condition to think of the ‘dick’ as a self-serving object of support–the proverbial tripod–rather than through the lens of its functioning as an erectile entity…that it reaches out in its desiring to the desiring of the Other, like an arm. The (centralized) Penis is not of the lower orders of Man but the higher…whence comes modern concerns over its “rising to the occasion”. (Even the cliched sentiment of possessing “a mind of its own” invokes loftier notions of cognitive origins as in the “head”.) Stanley Kubrick nuances this idea quite well in Full Metal Jacket. When the soldiers are drilling in their barracks, chanting “This is my rifle, this is my gun”, the Penis is equated (and handled) as a tool of craftsmanship (“this is for fun”)–not pedestrial–balancing out the wielded phallus of weaponry (“this is for fighting”)…curiously of the higher order as well… (Perhaps there is no φαλλός of the lower order.)
(When Gay Is Not The New Black) African-American advancement is something of a cultural flattery to the sentiment of White Man’s Burden. Politicized Homosexuality has advanced never having been the Straight Man’s Burden…contrarily it is the Gay Man’s Burden of civilizing Heterosexuals.
The Imitatio Canti of Nickelback: Music for people who play-act at being cool, played by musicians who rehearse too much…which would be charming if the high school garage-band wanna-be-Grunge sound was a matter of intended irony…but it is not…they really do suck. This “stadium rock” is a formula for people who have no capacity to generate personal tastes in music…tunes that one purchases at Walmart to match the jeans.
It is only clothing that makes being naked obscene. (après Diderot)
Dubstep is the PCP of music.
“I’m not black but there’s a whole lots a times I wish I could say I’m not white.” I echo Frank Zappa’s iconic protest whenever I think about the chokehold men as a collective entity keep on the throat of women’s procreative Rights and Freedoms–“I’m not a Woman but there’s a whole lotta times I wish I could say I’m not a Man.”
No(ir) Wave: Does not Nick Cave’s epic Babe I’m On Fire capitalize on that spirit of Whitman’s democratic inclusivity with grander stature than Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire? (Nick and Walt know well that electric bodies glow with bolder beauty when torched.)
Interesting to note the cognitive expectation of female objectification in N.E.R.D.’s Ladyland-esque video Hypnotize U…we’re shown comparatively more of Pharrell’s flesh but the women seem more naked…very Hitchcockian…
(Listening to Philip Glass’ Akhnaten) Music articulates the grandeur of human consciousness greater than any philosophy or science could weave the matter. Sometimes I think the purpose of opera is to supplant the divine.
Sometimes I dream of seeing Oliver Reed play Petruchio…it is often a perfect performance…
There needs to be a cease-firing of famous racists (cf. Imus, Deen, Cumia, Sterling); this paradoxically un-American cure is at times worse than the very American illness of bigotry–it only serves to exacerbate the fame we’re striving to muffle in quieter infamy, priming the platform for a grander comeback. (America loves a comeback story, whether anti-hero or underdog.) Racists instead need to be kept in the scrutiny of the public eye, the proverbial dunce-capped student…not shooed away like flies we wish didn’t exist. Also, too many pissed off racists left unchecked and to their own devices will eventually organize (cf. KKK).
Metallica’s homage to Mercyful Fate–un rhapsodie chthonien–is how gloomy gods pay tribute to darker demons…like Brahms to Paganini…Rachmaninoff to Paganini… (Was not Paganini also of the Devil’s orchestra?)
I would still like Ethan Hawke as an actor had I never seen his Hamlet…Shakespeare serves well to separate the genius from the disingenuous…
<cinesexuality> To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar is hailed as one of the great Gay-oriented films from that Golden Age of Homo-Hollywood–cinematically speaking, I would mark the period roughly 1980-2010…producing the most masterpieces on the subject covering the spectrum from Cruising to I Love You Philip Morris. It’s interesting to note that a keener analysis of Vida (Swayze) and Noxeema (Snipes) leaves Chi-Chi as the only real Gay character in the movie…the other two are merely characterizations of the heterosexual male as pathological crossdresser…which is NOT homosexuality. (Such scripting almost borders on the homophobic when you consider it’s based on a movie involving more authentically Gay characters, who were truly “queens” out in the celluloid desert.)
<On Will & Grace> Grace has too many staunchly heterosexual boyfriends who have never gotten drunk and come on to Will for this show to have been a believable template for ‘faghag’ relationships (Gay men and the women who love them)… The best real-life comedic situations always happen after polishing off a bottle of tequila, when the “hag” passes out leaving her “fag” and “boyfriend” in the living room…to their own devices… (Conversely, the farcical relationship between Karen and Jack was more telling of truth.)
<cinesexuality> The first time I watched I Love You Philip Morris I was taken aback by the Homosexual portrayed as a figure not necessarily predatory but still socially unscrupulous…Carrey’s Steven Russell was yet another Paul Poitier or Bernstein Chandler (the latter was a character brought to life by Antonio Fargas in Next Stop, Greenwich Village from 1976…that year Fargas would play a homosexual in two movies, the other being Car Wash). By the end of the film it was clear that I had watched a philosophy-play on Liberation of Self worthy of Jean Genet. That the film ends with the protagonist persistently pursuing liberation from authoritarianism is perhaps the best response to Christopher Marlowe’s The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second, King of England, with the Tragical Fall of Proud Mortimer–the first real exploration into the complications of Gay and State.
When Tupac confesses to “making money off cuss words”, is this an echo of Calibas’ charge, “You taught me language, and my profit on’t is I know how to curse.” Is Tupac also a tragically civilized beast? Are all poets? And who really is to blame?
(Thinking on German Rap) RZA from Wu-Tang Clan once declared that German Rap was ten years behind the American scenes. He was perhaps too critical. Cultures that invent an artform tend to be the most progressive in that artform, so it is reasonable to assume America boasts the most progressive Rap scenes…but as far back as 1985 artists like Falco were acutely aware of the potential harmony German’s linguistic architecture could create with Rap. This was only four years after Blondie’s Rapture–the most popularized non-Black Rap piece pre-Beastie Boys–itself only two years shy of Rapper’s Delight fame. By the ’90s, Fettes Brot’s sound was contemporaneous with House Of Pain or 3rd Bass (“Do you doubt the shade of vanilla?”)…and into the Millennial age with Sido, whose sound is really just a nicer, gentler Eminem. Perhaps RZA wanted to say that White Rappers in general are behind the times…which would be an otherwise intended joke were it not for the regrettable meteoric rise of American Rapper Macklemore…
“Humor is not a mood but a way of looking at the world.” (Ludwig Wittgenstein)
It speaks of real artistry that Iggy Azalea can rise to the creative occasion and rank with Eve, Trina and Foxy Brown when even the likes of the culturally authentic Khia is something of a caricature… Of all female (and White) Rappers that I do not take seriously, I take her quite seriously.
Laclos vs. Sade: Laclos was the superior sadist because his heroes had souls…this made their cruelty all the more potent and their fall all the more profound.
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