Empty Days

Saturday, March 06, 2004



Pharma Inc insanity

Jesus. And they call *that* science? Sounds like greed-cum-stupidity to me:
After eight years of tests involving 3000 women, Pfizer, the company behind Viagra, the little blue pill that has transformed some men's sex lives, has abandoned efforts to prove that the drug works for females, too.
...
Pfizer has not given up all hope of finding an alternative to Viagra for women. Boolel has instructed his research team to concentrate on finding drugs that affect a woman's brain chemistry.
How about a glass of really cheap red wine? Tested and proven.

***

Also this whole article is really pretty ignorant, like most of such articles usually are ("science" nosing up the wrong area again). Besides the fact that women do not respond to the mere sight of a naked male, there's also such a thing as chemistry. That's a mysterious little bastard, this chemistry thing, since it's absolutely not based on physical beauty or any other definable characteristics, or moods. There is mutual attraction and there is mutual attraction. Whoever has experienced that chemistry kick-in knows that all attraction is not equal - by far.

So let's say it's terrifically misleading to tell men and women that there is a certain state of things that can be measured and played by. Because there isn't. And fuck Anne Atkins and Kama-Sutra. Most of the time we, poor shnocks, have to do without that elusive "chemistry". Many never even discover that it exists. Just like with ghosts - it's no use disputing or believing, if you've never seen one.

(via Dean's World)




Contextual slip-of-tongue as neologism:

NASA announced today that they have enough evidence to conclude that water was once abundant at the Opportunity landing site. While this was a big and important announcement, it is hardly a sunrise. This is exactly what scientists have long suspected, and what the rovers were sent to confirm.

It is hardly a sunrise, indeed :)

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I agree that the 90s and 00s (what do we call this decade, anyway?), have seen some sanity come back in relation to this subject...

That's a very good question here - it was bad alright, but 00's is really too much.




Did you know that:
The most-read webloggers aren't necessarily the ones with the most original ideas, say researchers at Hewlett-Packard Labs.

Using newly developed techniques for graphing the flow of information between blogs, the researchers have discovered that authors of popular blog sites regularly borrow topics from lesser-known bloggers -- and they often do so without attribution.
What a riot :-0




Something I stole from another blog - check the image address for reference.

Some things are just too good to pass up.





Linguistic quirks ::

Whenever I see the subword w00t - I flee and never come back.

When I see fuck - I come back a lot.




Hostile trackback

It just occurred to me how this whole trackback thing can be used to advantage. No, it's not just for nice remote commentary to nice friendly blogs. That's not really necessary.

The biggest argument for trackback (and the pain-in-the-ass pinging procedure) is the realization that it's one damn invasive feature. In fact, it's a ballistic-class missile that you can launch across the blogosphere to land in the backyard of somebody you've just teared to pieces on your own blog. To make him aware he's not alone just yet.

Isn't that just great? :)

At the very same time I realized this, I also discovered that there's absolutely no need to bother with Haloscan login for manual pinging. There's a public web-based form for that - here and here (this last doesn't work for Haloscan TB id's). So in theory you don't even need any trackback url yourself (and thus can ditch Haloscan), unless of course you want somebody to nuke you once in a while too.

I am finally starting to get the basics of blogging.

***

Addenda: Reversed Trackback engineering.

Another interesting discovery is that public tb-pinger forms can be used with dishonest yet reasonable intent - basically, you can ping yourself from a similar post on another blog. This obviously requires posing as that other blogger to create the ping. Oh my god.




The most concise statement-of-purpose for marriage I've ever come across :) And it's just a Google Ad.

Save your relationship even if your partner is unwilling. Guaranteed.




I can't help noticing the predominance of erotic content in my latest posts. This is not really intentional - it's spring, you know :)

Another thing that spring does to me (or at least used to do before I fell and broke my head) is to provoke a violent thirst for distant travels. And I mean - wildly distant. I want to collect all my unused credit cards and run into huge debts that I know I'll never be able to pay off - just so I may fly away and never return.

At the same time I have no specific destinations in mind. I used to dream of various places, I created whole clusters of desire on the basis of bad information and too much world literature. Nowdays I am rather low on such dreams. In fact, any dump would do - as long as I may feel free in there.

This is probably why I finally developed a previously unheard-of attraction for ghost towns - abandoned places far from functioning civilization. This uncanny interest was fabricated out of yet another unheard-of propensity that somehow loomed in my mind at some point: motorcycles. This is all just fantasy stuff, I don't even have a driving license, and there's about zero chance I could ever get myself a bike. Not in the present circumstances at least. But it's as good of a mental world as another, and I am not trying too hard to turn it into a major obsession.

In this context, that Chernobyl link down the page proved a real treat.

In the past I did yield to that travel-bug every time - just hopped on the bus and went to some place. Not too far, and without much cash either. But I do not want to go to cities anymore. I am fed up with urban landscapes. I don't want cafes and I don't want entertainment and quirky types and architecture and all that shit. Most of all though - I don't want people. Cities are overflowing with people. If I had any equipment or hiking skills I'd probably get lost in the woods at some point.

Ah well. It's all empty chatter anyway. Talking doesn't much good when it comes to action, so let's just say I didn't say anything. Spring, that's all.




This is the sort of beauty I tend to fall for. Unfortunately Bridget Fonda is a celebrity. I prefer commoners. Girls I see in the street, a glance or two. If I had a spy-camera in my eye, I'd take snapshots and paste them into a fire-proof album. But it's not really a priority.

May the phoenix always rise (reference to Fellini's Casanova:).





Being amazingly empty-headed these days. In fact, if it weren't for blogging I'd probably spend my waking hours curled up in bed imagining worlds that don't and shouldn't exist. Fiction is a great relief to the mind - producing your own fiction that is, where you transform a whole host of unspeakable (or let it be unspoken) sentiments into some sort of unfilmed film. It's not creativity - it's just unloading. Freedom of runaway imagination is obviously far more important than the very artistic pains of translating all this into "art form". Who the fuck needs this form? I don't, for one.

Or call it escapism, day-dreaming. Either way it's a necessary outlet. If you can't make it in life, at least you have the very human opportunity of making up for it in your wanky brain. For me it's the only way to relax as a matter of fact. It's always been this way - I guess it's in-built.

Besides I know full well what it is I am "escaping" from. Gotta be myself. Because in all my many imaginings I am just not home - not there, inexistant. What a bloody relief.




Helene Grimaud, the musician wolf-girl.

She has a vast fandom which focuses as much on her beauty as on her piano playing. I, for one, am smitten with the character and could care less about those performance points. Glad it gets her enough money to keep all those wolves.



Friday, March 05, 2004



A bike enthusiast in Moscow - on Movable Type, btw :-0

From there, a Live Journal user - Diogenes Laertius.

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FameTracker has interesting design and mindless commentary with wit.




Wrong tune ::

Shared context - that's some phrase from Joi Ito's post on echo-chamber (and screw the concept btw). I lack this fucking "shared context". No, I am not talking about blogosphere but real-life.

One hilarious example of this damnable lacuna is my total indifference to rock-n-roll. I came of age in the 80's, in some insulated corner of North America, and, believe it or not, I care nothing for "tunes". All my life I've been out of tune with my own generation - I don't look down on it, I just lack the context, pure and simple. This is actually interesting: it just shows how spending one's youth in the wrong circles never lets off for the rest of your life. The basis is absent - forever.

Actually, this is only one small example of how absense of common basis is revealed in such mundane things. This is what "shared context" is - it's full of insignificant details that somehow add up to an overwhelming sense of exclusion. God am I tired of this. You know - I am one of those people who can never meet a "fellow countryman" anywhere on the face of the earth. The country is adopted, nationality is adopted, language(s) is adopted, everything is adopted - or rather, let us say "assumed". To some extent and in small measure. Not a novel concept, by far, but it tends to wear you down after a while.

In the end, I am basically a secret agent and I live a double life.

Sure enough this never had to be this way. A lot of people actually adapt pretty easily - it's mostly just a matter of changing along with the flow, imbibing whatever stuff comes your way, becoming something/somebody else entirely. For some reason I am especially lousy at this. I'd rather die a thousand deaths before I accept some stuff just because it's necessary for survival amongst "the people of the land". I need better reasons - and most of the time there just aren't any such reasons. I guess I am just bad for "embracing all things new" etc.

Curiously enough, I have a much better time communicating with people who've lost enough in life not to care about all that endless mundane stuff. It doesn't turn them off that I don't speak their language, culturally speaking - and vice-versa, I should say. The reason is pretty obvious - they're past the superficials. What remains is the sense of the basics of life, and those basics are fairly universal. But do I need to mention that such people are rare, odd, and strange? That's the thing - once you're past the superficials, it's usually because you're seriously fucked-up. No one in their right mind would want to abandon such vast treasures of identity and walk away from the "shared context". You must have fallen out of the window - you never jumped.

Those people are loners, and so am I - not by choice. Perhaps it's the fucked-up part that really counts and all this out-of-land rhetoric is simpy a cover for that fact. Perhaps I am a triple secret agent after all - that third life being lead beyond my own understanding.

And where does this rant come from? It's a cloud from Chernobyl - I do feel I should move there and embrace the silence.




Chernobyl on motorcycle. Perfectly mesmerizing. Ghost towns, bikes, girls. Salvation is near.

(via Blogdex but actually via Metafilter)

[Update: there is a mirror site too. via drgn.net ]




Thus in Japan the applicant must wait outside the gates of the monastery a day or so. It is done rather symbolically now - once it was very real & the applicant was repulsed, treated roughly, told to go away & the gate slammed in his face. [+]




AIDS

Mapplethorpe, 1988







This is really a Michelangelo woman.
By Mapplethorpe
A Michelangelo woman is really a man.




From The Test, a parable by Franz Kafka:
"Why do you want to run away? Sit down and have a drink! I'll pay." So I sat down. He asked me several things, but I couldn't answer, indeed I didn't even understand his questions. So I said: "Perhaps you are sorry now that you invited me, so I'd better go," and I was about to get up. But he stretched his hand out over the table and pressed me down. "Stay," he said, "that was only a test. He who does not answer the questions has passed the test."





I wonder - does hope mean "expecting too much"?

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Accountant blog, super-zen: unspoken.




My biggest problem is myself. That's all there is to it. I've always had a dreadful time finding my way toward people. That's because in the presence of the other I am made to be myself. And I have a big problem with that. I have a problem being.

It's all in the head. There is some holy scripture in there written in stone that for some reason says that I can't be. That being is a no-no. I don't need no glory, no success, no nothing. All I need is some freedom from this unholy sacred law. A revolution - without all the flags.

I fool myself by thinking that I am afraid of people. While in fact it is myself I am in dread of. No wonder I am such a sucker for self-annihilation. Isn't it always simpler to just clear the table.

34 years of civil war - all the reds are dead.




No backpack

I know what it is I need desperately - to walk away. I need to walk away from everything, and walk, and walk, without looking back. My house should burn down and wipe out every single bit of my past. I gotta stop playing the museum keeper aka the mummy.

Forest Gump, sitting on the porch, day in day out; stands up and runs into infinity. No plan, no goal, no backpack. This is very easy to do - if only you could stop thinking.

Some guy told me of a 60-year old Brit he'd met in Europe - the Brit was on a three-speed bike cycling to the Alps starting right from somewhere inside the UK. No backpack. That's how you do it.

You do not *need* anything.




Richard Rose, the cantankerous mystic. Peace of mind despite success:
Now I started out when I was twenty-one years of age. I dedicated myself to the Truth. I didn't go join the church. I didn't announce my dedication to anybody but myself. I said, "I don't care too much for this life. So if I'm going to live and put up with this environment, I'm going to spend my time finding out who is here -- who I am."

The result was of course that by the time I was twenty-one, I knew the path that I had to follow. I realized that I would never learn anything. The only way that I would ever discover anything was to become. And this is the little blueprint I laid down for myself. And I searched out ways. Instead of going to the psychology books, I left the psychology books and went inside myself. And strangely enough, I was accidentally successful.
I tell you, this guy had major major guts. Few people do. Very few.




Some people are lucky in their very misfortune. Patricia Highsmith:
The strain of alienation took a toll, and Highsmith slipped in her later years into gnarled, bigoted misanthropy. A deeply unhappy person who had trouble feeling at home anywhere, she spent her lifetime turning her discomfort into art.
...
She had flirted with Communism in college and considered herself a political liberal, although she had trouble sympathizing with causes. "You name the group, she hated them," recalls a friend.
...
Pursuit is a persistent theme in her fiction, but her characters don't know where to run, because they don't know where the threat is coming from. The danger usually originates from within -- and it's inexorable, a guilt that erodes and dissolves the character's psychological mortar. The guilt creates the crime and the punishment in Highsmith's stories, rather than the other way around.
...
These times are the closest we've ever come to the '50s, when anxiety boiled beneath the surface of the prosperous facade of American living.
We've moved to the creepy neighborhood where Patricia Highsmith lived all her life.
Being lesbo did not help. Having some talent to fall back on did.

Thursday, March 04, 2004



Dreams as an open book ::

Some dreams have an almost rigid symbolism about them - and that, I think, is why there exists such a thing as the Dictionary of Dreams.

The other day I had just that type of overtly symbolic vision. Touching my hair and ending up pulling it out by the handful. I vividly recall seeing all those strands of hair on the floor and thinking: hmm, that was easy, why so easy?

Here's what the Dream Dictionary has to say about it:
Dreaming that you have long hair indicates that you are thinking long and carefully before making some decision. You are concentrating on some plan or situation [check]. Dreaming that you are losing your hair indicates that you are concerned with the notion that you are getting older and losing your sex appeal/virility. You are preoccupied with aging and your appearance [maybe]. Losing you hair also signify a lack of strength and that you do not possess the power to succeed in an undertaking. You may be feeling weak and vulnerable. [check]
In view of which, there is another observation I've long made - and it casts a rather dire light on the actual riggings of human life.

You know what they say: "you make your own luck". That's a cheery thought except that it's not true. Repeated attempts at doing something and finally succeeding - this is construed as "bringing about your own luck". But look closer and you will see that in practice, all those attempts were never a uniform series of identical assaults at an identical target. You only thought they were. In truth though, every attempt meant something different every time - the situation was different each time and the essence of your blind effort was guided by different circumstances. The fact that one of these unique situations resolved along the lines of your obliviously single-minded effort - that was luck. It didn't have to be.

The correlation between will, intent, action and result is circular - it may just be that the yet-unknown result triggered the will, pushing it through a series of misguidedly blind frustrated attempts, to finally culminate in itself: the proper situation. This is a bit taoistic but even if it is - what the fuck can one know about the Tao?

Will-power is a matter of inspiration.

There is also such a thing as "bad fate". Sure enough, this goes very much against the free-will personal-responsibility in-control-of-your-life sort of thinking. Admitting that your celebrated "free-will" might be something of a barely concealed sham would probably seem like a blasphemy to some people. May they rest in peace, with they ignorance intact - when you're determined not to see, you will sure avoid looking.

***

Another inexplicable observation along the same lines: how mood (or call it energy) seems to attract events.

This is baffling but the proof has been made with an almost scientific rigor - whenever I am in an especially negative, evil mood I invariably become a real magnet for equally negative, evil people and things. Without expressing my disposition in any way, without visible provocation on my part, just by being "that way" - things start happening that normally wouldn't.

The most glaring example of this can be observed in public places, as when taking the subway. Why does it always "happen" that in such moods I invariably end up surrounded and hassled by totally unbridled, violent people? I never "encounter" them otherwise. Where the fuck do they come from all of a sudden?

Specifying other instances of bad events attracted by negative disposition may seem specious. I am not trying to prove my case - I know there's something going on in the background of my so-called controlled existence, and I have no theories to offer - only observation.

***

Will is an inspiration. There's fate. It can be bad.




Mad mad world

Accidentally ran into some survey about "what constitutes sex" - for school and college students in the US. Well, I must be living on Mars, because this is just unbelievable:
And in an earlier survey of college freshmen and sophomores in the South, a quarter considered anal intercourse as abstinence, and more than a third thought the same of oral sex. Another study found that more than half of the college undergraduates surveyed did not consider oral sex to be sex, and that the proportions were even higher if the act had not resulted in orgasm.
I guess Clinton really meant it when he testified he didn't conceive of that cigar episode as "sex" :-0

***

On the same note, here is a rather entertaining display of how scientifically-minded sexologists try to "classify" sexual quirks of humans - which they term paraphilia. Ever heard of "apodysophilia"? Actually it's just your plain old exhibitionism. How disappointing :)

[ Btw, there are also some savant bits on prison-sex in that page - just a coincidence. ]




Merde alors...

This pundity bit from the French "libertarian" bloggy reminded me of a vigorous piece of journalism by the late Fyodor Dostoevsky:
Accept them as they are (accept sharia law) or else French Muslims foresee a State within a State. The blackmail is working.
Uhu. Dostoevsky's bit of oratory was called Status in Statu - unfortunately the English online text is somewhat botched and comes from unsavory sources. Sure enough it dealt not with "those Muslims" but with "those Jews" - and it's really a very enlightnening read (highly recommended - it's always helpful to remember how universal this kind of rhetoric really is).

I guess those brave French "libertarians" are above such far-fetched generalisations. Plus they're fighting terrorism! - while old Dost was only fighting a few mal-assimilated dirties. Oh really.

***

Actually, this points to another subject I've long been wondering about: how come it's such an "obvious" fact in our heads that we are somehow supposed to "liberate" all those poor women from wearing the goddam burka; kidnap them from their idiotic traditionalist families so as to let them marry who they want instead of arranged marriages; prevent female circumcision everywhere; and am I forgetting anything here?

Oh yeah - how come we're not preventing those highly educated western Jews from circumcising all those poor helpless babies of theirs? This is a barbaric, archaic, unseemly custom - let us eradicate it!

Here's a typical argument from yet another "libertarian" French blog protesting the ban on veil:
This law will not protect young girls from forced marriage (numbers in France apparently vary between 30,000 to 700,000 over the last 10 years - not really a surprise considering the seal of secrecy and the social and familial pressure that enclose them) or against any kind of physical or emotional violence. It will certainly not protect them against the aforementioned social and familial pressure neither will it protect the society against the conquering advance of the veiling - and potentially raping - beards.
Now, this guy obviously considers himself well-informed. Yet all his infos come from the french mass-media - which effectively manufactured this whole anti-veil campaign. Yet he's opposing this rhetoric whilst using its most malformed elements.

This is a very telling contradiction - it simply means that at some level we're so brainwashed we can't look past the "veil" (not that one - the one that veils our thinking).

What is happening in France is happening in North America too - it's all the same ideology and it stiffles out the kind of common-sense that knows how to look past stereotypes. Political correctness is inhumanly superficial - watch out, you're full of it.




Nice Philippino blog - Das Blog des Baron von Munchhausen. I sort of hope that it will contribute to dispell my traumatic distaste for Philippinos. There is such a thing as circumstancial racism - and I am suffering from it.

***

I guess .ee stands for Estonia. Barba non facit philosophum is an estonian blog - I can't read it. But I like the look, both of blog and alphabet.

It also points to a picture of something I never could fathom was possible :-0




Jail etiquette

From yet another article on prison rape (via Heretical Ideas):
MANY PEOPLE ON THE OUTSIDE, including some within the criminal justice system, believe that prison rape is committed by "predatory homosexuals," a term used repeatedly in federal circuit court decisions. While inmate-on-inmate rape is in the most basic sense homosexual�both participants are male�researchers who have studied it have found that gay men are actually far more likely to be its victims than its perpetrators.

The feminist mantra that "rape isn't about sex, it's about power" may be even more applicable in the prison context, where it is common for men who would have never engaged in sexual contact with other men on the outside to become rapists when incarcerated. What's more, the relationship between rapist and victim in prison is often more than just a sexual one�it can devolve into out-and-out servitude. Victims are given women's names and made to perform household tasks such as cooking food, washing clothes, and cleaning the living space. Roderick Johnson cooked and cleaned for Andrew Hernandez. "It's slavery," he said. "It's being in a position where you have no choice but to do whatever it is you're being told to do. It's like you have no control over your position. You're totally powerless."

The traditional rationale for prison rape is the lack of women, but most psychologists consider this facile. They see prison rape mainly as a means by which people who have been stripped of control over the most basic aspects of their lives�when to eat a meal, take a shower, or watch TV�can reclaim some sense of power. As one Louisiana prisoner, Wilbert Rideau, wrote, "the psychological pain involved in such an existence creates an urgent and terrible need for reinforcement of [a prisoner's] sense of manhood and personal worth." Others believe that prisoners become rapists out of fear of becoming victims themselves; it's a choice between becoming predator or prey. The psychologist Daniel Lockwood, in his study Prison Sexual Violence, calls this strategy "pre-emptive self-defense."
Sounds a bit stuffed up to me. Is it really such a mystery that people tend to turn into animals: if you let them? Let alone if you make them.

I've spent a total of three full days confined in very restricted quaters with a bunch of total strangers and no way of getting them out my sight - lucky I knew I would be out soon. I don't know what would have happened if I had to stay in that zoo for months on end - and how it would affect those insignificant others.

I've seen a shot on tv (fortunately) of the common-space area in that infamous Cook Jail in Chicago. Sheesh. A hundred guys spending their days sitting on their ass in something that looked like a MacDonald's diner - pretty small for that particular crowd and nobody's going anywhere.

Imagine the tension.

It's a mystery of tribal societies that people don't just tear one another apart in such conditions. And how do you relieve that tension beside punching somebody's face? Play chess? Read Dostoevsky? Write your diary?? I don't think so. Fucking is the best method. Nothing to do with homosexuality.

I agree with that idea about "pre-emptive self-defense" - because your neighbours are there to eat you raw.




Shoot 'em now! ::

Today was my politico-blog round. Phew. As a result, I am definitively lost as to how left-wing, right-wing, libertarian, liberal and god knows what else are defined.

It seems to me that it's really a matter of perspective. Since when is Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine a lefty? In that case Atrios must be so far left he nearly falls off the palette. Or what to think of Merde in France? - which seems to believe it's imitating Instapundit (even in blog-design). Sounds downright fascist to me in some instances - I guess the tone is just too rabid.

What's the difference between strong ideas and fascist ideas?

Strong ideas can be pretty cutting, unpleasant, unnerving, narrow-minded, what have you. Fascist ideas are all that, plus a distinct willingness to clear the table (tabula rasa - uhu) by eliminating the objects of distaste, which are all piled up in one big basket - as "threats". And this simple-minded attitude is treated as "readiness for action" and "obvious conclusions".

So I guess attitude is the difference. Dissimilar people may hold similar ideas, but the actions and reactions resulting from these will be vastly different - depending on attitude, or call it philosophy.

Per which, maybe Buzzmachine is a lefty after all - as seen from some of those other, raunchy corners.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004



Butch Berlin

Being confused about my sexuality I once decided to pay attention and explore the island of Lesbos - and found it to be a rocky wasteland.

The bad thing about communities is that they're so damn stereotyped. Forgetting who you are seems to be the prime concern - living up to some totally hilarious image happens to be the goal. If you want to "integrate", that is.

I found that a lot of people do just that - conform and play the game, no matter how ridiculous. If this is called "finding yourself", I have to wonder what it is they were looking for in the first place.

***

I went to Berlin not knowing what to expect. Once there, I realized that this was probably the world capital of butch dykes. They were everywhere. Very conspicuous. Maybe I settled in the wrong area.

Berlin provided my first head-on encounter with the world of dykes - and it wasn't pretty. I saw gangs of aggressive fat teenagers roaming the streets - the butch dykes. I went to gay discos - and found the same crowd. I encountered a woman who used to be a mother and a wife but left everything to become a kid-like neurotic creature posing as an alpha male and acting like a sex-crazed baboon. Behind all the leather I could still perceive remnants of individuality, humanity - but only dimly.

In short, I was in the presence of a mass-produced stereotype and I found it extremely ugly. The ugliest aspect was not the glaring shortcomings of botched physical appearance - but an almost total lack of self-respect that shined through all this desperately aggressive assertiveness.

If self-mutilation, both psychological and physical, is the price of conformity - then screw it, ladies.

***

The sad thing about butch is that these girls are so notoriously afflicted with what is commonly termed as penis-envy. This envy is so great they wish they could grow one - while remaining at the forefront of feminism. "I want to be a man". Fine. Except that the best you can come up with, despite all the effort, is a paltry ressemblance to an under-developed teenager.

Was it worth it - painting on that moustache and stuffing that sock under the belt, in all earnestness? By comparison, what I rather admire about gay men who are compelled to imitate women is that they usually manage to retain some sense of humor. Because let's face it: it's a hilarious entreprise, despite all the drama.

Butch dykes have no idea what a sense of humour is there for. They don't have any. Perhaps they can't afford it - being busy with mustering all that macho attitude.

***

All in all, if you happen to be attracted to women - be you male or female - don't go to Berlin. Unless you really want to try yourself as a butch; or go to a lot of parties; or join the herd.

This also makes me wonder: what kind of identity can you develop if it's based exclusively on your sexuality? A bit shallow, isn't it. Really reductive. And oftentimes - downright pathetic.

***

Masculine, androgynous women can be smashingly beautiful - but this beauty is not achieved through imitation. It is a virtue that grows from inside and shines through no matter what you do or what you wear. Your personality forms your style - not the other way around.

Selling out to stereotypes is the stuff of butch. There is no beauty in this, and never will be. So much for radical ideologies - and their willing slaves.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004



Well, it's official - Andrew Sullivan is going to vote for Kerry - chatting ostensibly about finances while his real reason is of course that gay-marriage "problem" - boo, how typically unstraightforward.

I'm not a Democrat and don't think I ever could be.

***

Aw. If you want wit - here it comes :) >><< TBogg >><<




Truth be told ::

Here's a nice opportunity to put that spunky trackback feature to good use. Syndicated cathos are upset about the highly politicized onslaught on Mel Gibson's flick:
One point that the conversations about this film has exposed, once again, as if it needed even more exposure, is the brazen hypocrisy of cultural pundits. In short: every artist's right to produce what he or she wants to produce is sacrosanct - except, this week, Mel Gibson's.
Truth be told. It takes some discernment to realize that the overwhelmingly negative - *and* the overwhelmingly positive - reactions to this movie are entirely and openly meta-cinematic. It's all politics. Had it come out under Clinton's ministry, I don't think we'd hear nearly as much about this film. If you want to make any personal sense out of the movie itself - wait at least a year, for the hype to subside and let your poor cultural mind off the hook.

Schindler's List is a very so-so film - nothing to rave about, to put it flatly. I suspect Gibson's flick is not all that great, or all that bad, either.

As to politically motivated bigotry - well, it's an evenly distributed phenomenon. In the present climate, where the Ruler of a war-waging super-power endlessly reiterates the Gott mit uns motto for the whole world to listen and abide - Jesus, your name is used in vain.




Is that fucking naive or what :)

Can someone tell me why there is this unholy alliance between Rad Trads and anti-Semitism, ala Gibson's father? What is the connection between a fealty to the Latin Mass and denying the Holocaust? [puzzled catholic]

Well, the syllogism goes like this:

1. Latin in Church is archaic and ultra-traditional
2. Anti-Semitism in Church is even more archaic and even more traditional
3. Ultra Trad is both and happy.






Some low-down art from a Weston Riffle.




Shady meanings

I am not a crazed fan of David Lynch but for some reason his movies are never a puzzle to me - perhaps there's a naturally shared sensibility here, and I normally don't waste time unraveling his plot-lines. Just like with Nabokov. There are two ways to read Nabokov - either you just ingest it and get a clue, or you want to be clever and figure out where and how he does it. Dante's Divine Comedy is also a very intricate work - but it's not the symbolically symmetrical structure that leaves you stunned and overwhelmed in the first place.

A beautifully intricate plot is not what makes great art - it's the other way around (most post-modernist writings can be safely trashed for that reason alone).

***

Mulholland Drive is a perfectly great piece of movie-making. It has genuine meaning. The sort of meaning that is really hard to come by these days, at least in films. I might compare it to Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter, a very different movie, yet somehow in the same league - or on the same plane.

***

Both these films deal with death. And this is a lot to say. "Death" is a word that has an infinity of meanings, for not-so-obvious reasons. When we speak of death we usually mean something far removed from what we actually "think" about it - perhaps because we can't really think it through and speaking implies communication, some form of understanding - so we scale down the meaning to the most common denominator and end up talking rubbish, as we all know yet never admit.

Death, as it is portrayed in the vast majority of movies or books, lacks substance. It is a bogey-word, a bogey-event from a child's nightmare. There are pre-packaged formulae reserved for this subject - sentimental, thuggish, heroic, poignant, pragmatic... Disarmingly superficial.

Breaking away from these pre-set molds is something of a feat. Lynch is clearly fascinated with the subject and so is Egoyan. Death as the shady side of life - rather than a tragic or convenient circumstance. A focal point.

***

First, the Sweet Hereafter.

A small canadian town lost in the snowy BC mountains. Community bus taking all the kids to school. One glorious morning the bus plunges down a ravine for no obvious reasons. The movie is about senseless devastation, both of a community and of private worlds within. And its central argument is the impossibility to deal with death through "cause-effect-retribution" scenario.

This scenario is represented by the city-lawyer who makes a pilgrimage to the afflicted town and promises peace-of-mind through a group law-suite that is supposed to find "those responsible", punish them, and thus bring about "closure". Instead he stirs resentment and conflict. His personal situation echoes that of the town - his daughter is a runaway heroine junkie and he is entirely helpless to stop her ruin. There are no "causes-and-effects" to blame - this private tragedy is entirely and utterly senseless. No one to rage against.

There are no why's. Death, life, fate. Bear it.

***

Mulholland Drive is about suicide.

Probably the best movie on the subject I've seen so far. Everything in this film comes from and leads to suicide. The amazing reality of the unreal - the underlining of life revealed as fate.

The problem of voluntary death is that it is fundamentally involuntary.

David Lynch understands this and knows how to show "facts" for what they are, which is - a terrifyingly nonsensical mystery happening under the mask of the mundane. The farcical treatment of the incomprehensible - a golden-age vacationing couple doubling as demons enablers of doom; characters changing into one another while playing out all the intricacies of love and hate; clairvoyant dreams bringing about real events; magicians, landlords, dwarfs and diner waitresses - all this is presented as utter reality, and then this very reality is spinned over and developed into yet another reality, and another one, and another... "If only things had not happened the way they did" - that's the synopsis for you.

Nominally, the plot centers around a girl who comes to Hollywood to become an actress. Her attempts are consistently unsuccessful. She falls in love with another woman, also an actress. Her love is sneeringly betrayed. Filled with rage and jealousy she hires a hit-man to kill her cruel lover. Then she shoots herself - and that's where the film begins: in her dying mind, as it struggles against overpowering fate to recreate her fading reality into another destiny, another life, another person. What could have been and never was.

Or is it the other way around? Doesn't really matter. What could have been, what was, what is - all this is incidental. Death, life, fate. There are no why's.

***

There is another thing about Lynch's movie that is worth noting - he shows the symbolism of homosexuality as an endless attempt to recover yourself in the other, the narcissistic forever-broken nature of this love.

While the whole of gay movement is fervently looking for a homosexual gene to found their longing and make it banal, here's something of a deeper look at the psycho-sexual intricacies of human nature. Plato meant it.




What media-hype does. After all I was forced to read about this film, I strongly doubt it's actually antisemitic. But now that the stamp is there, the nonsense is spreading wide and large:
French cinema chains are refusing to distribute or screen Mel Gibson's controversial film "The Passion of the Christ" because of fears it will spark a new outbreak of anti-Semitism.
...
Anger with Israel among France's large and growing Muslim population, combined with the strength of right-wing parties in some French districts, have contributed to an atmosphere that has alarmed political and Jewish leaders.
Poor France. It is becoming stupider by the year - the "growing Muslim population" will surely rush to the screenings. And there's no light at the end of the tunnel.

Will somebody shoot Chirac enfin!




Quit reading feeds after all. What happens is that it's just too bloody overwhelming. A news aggregator is a good thing if you're a "pundit" (or think of yourself as one: God, what a word:) - but what happens if you're just a poor Joe, with all those voices speaking at you pretty much at once? You drown. That's exactly the feeling I got after a while - flooded. So I'll leave it alone for a while and rather concentrate on my own head-in-the-ass, refreshingly suicidal musings.

I suppose if I had a better mental-digestive system, I'd be reading books right now. But I can't concentrate, and neither can I concentrate on all those other forms of reading. Even tv is too much to bear. Not a good time for exploring the wonders of RSS, I guess :-0

In the end, in-your-rythm visits to fave blogs is still the best method to go by. I am planning to explore the world of European blogs - but it's a time-consuming undertaking and I am postponing it indefinitely. Takes some exploring: too many languages I can't read, and I don't know where the other ones are "niched".

Monday, March 01, 2004



Closeted homosexuals create "psychic repression" ? :-0

That's an interesting new concept, to say the least.




Um. Some more examples of *really odd* thinking from other quaters:
Anyone not living in a cave has noticed the intensifying attack on traditional marriage. In Vermont, Canada, and Massachusetts - and now California, with the signing of a de facto gay marriage bill - the war drums against traditional matrimony are beating with ever-growing intensity.

The onslaught will not be turned back unless the public is given better, more coherent arguments against same-sex spousal unions.
(Crisis Magazine, christian - read the rest because it's just *glaring*:)
Exactly. It turns out it's not so easy to come up with those. I have to wonder why :-0




And since I am on the subject, here's a rather interesting excerpt from another Sullivan's interview (FrontPage Mag):
Well, I am a loner. ... I was a conservative running a liberal magazine; and an English person in an American citadel. I've never really had a home I could call home, a place where someone didn't dispute my right to be there. I have learned to live with that. In the end you die alone. We all do. You have to place faith in friendship and love. I have a loving family, a wonderful boyfriend, a great dog, and several inspiring, funny, ornery friends. That's enough.

Maybe that's one reason I care about marriage rights so much. Most heterosexuals don't realize it but marriage is really a way to create a home. Under current law, gay men and women are forced into social and psychological homelessness. Yes, we've done amazing things creating homes for ourselves outside the law, 'in the shadows', so to speak. But cutting us off from other families, keeping our relationships legally sealed off from others', as if we might contaminate them, is very damaging to the psyche. Mine is permanently damaged. My struggle is to find a way to prevent that from happening to the next generation.
At the same time Sullivan leads a rather promiscuous lifestyle, is HIV-positive, and has advertised for no-condom sex with random men. Is that strange or what? Plus it's the first time I hear that "heterosexuals might not realize" that marriage is for homemaking. Man, that's *odd* thinking in that head there :-0

***

Beautiful, dead blog: Readme.txt. Also - Onesided Wonder with some laid-back smarts.




Real meat

I thought some more about Andrew Sullivan's review of The Passion of Christ ("man flayed alive", "s/m pornography") and it got me curious - as to Sullivan's grasp of S/M, and how this might have informed his perception of the movie. After some research on the web, I am satisfied to anounce that the grasp is deep and the overlap must have been overwhelming :-0

That's Sullivan here (from his macho macho man interview).


And here's a selection of some bloody shots from the movie trailer.

Am I to be surprised that the very same crowd who is so assiduous at "condemning violence" on tv and in films is suddenly all-for this particularly gory flick? I have the feeling I might enjoy this movie, for all the wrong reasons though - I am tremendously moved by heavy s/m, regardless of context.




And the Oscar goes to...

What an embarassement. I don't know how many films are produced each year but it gotta be more than *one*. You'd never know it from watching this pathetic event.

***

This crap also made me miss the beginning of something that turned out to be a totally mesmerizing movie on another channel. Just the sort of movie I needed - Mulholland Drive by David Lynch. It's dedicated to love, friendship and suicide. And to the mystery of fate.

Oscars be damned.

Sunday, February 29, 2004



Web-design blogs: simple-bits, what do i know




Heart of Ice ::

I am having heartbreaking dreams. Then I wake up crying, vaguely remember what the dream was about, and can't understand why it produced such emotion. It is strange that there should be such a discrepancy between my waking persona and what I find myself to be during sleep.

This time I was dreaming about somebody who died and the drama of the dream revolved around his body having to be washed before burial and how nobody wanted to do it because they thought it unimportant - just dump the guy. The effort it took to obtain this simple last ritual produced the heartbreak (if I remember correctly).

This has something to do with that "reasoned sensibility" I was talking about. It is also the kind of thinking I am pretty much enslaved to - yet, at the same time, I find it revolting. But the only place where I can actually break out of it is in sleep.

There is a folktale I read in childhood. I can't remember what it was. Something about dark german woods and the willful man with a heart of ice who lived there. Those germanic folktales are really quite violent. Come to think of it, everyday world is not so very different.




Taxes for the people

All of which reminds me of something else: all those "working people" bitching about the welfare folks. How they're so tired of paying taxes etc.

It's interesting: when I worked all those good-paying and bad-paying jobs it never occurred to me to bitch about taxes. Maybe because I was constantly surprised I was getting such a big check for such idiotic jobs. Do you really think a secretary or an IT support guy deserve all the money they're getting for the kind of mindless shit they're "occupied" with? That's a relative concept, of course. That kind of money is in itself something like welfare - half of it is at least. I'd rather sympathize with a pizza-delivery bum and his sorry tips.

And the taxes. Canada is much heavier on taxes than the States (where they bitch about it the most) but it's far lighter than some of those small-n-crazy European places. It's when you start getting a lot of cash that taxes start to feel like such a nuisance. The more you get the more you regret not getting *all* of it - brutto. The less you get the less you regret.

That's a psychological phenomenon, not a financial one.

Where is the mystery, I wonder. It's no secret that if you gonna be getting 50K, your taxes are gonna be such and such - as opposed to when you were getting 25K. So why the fuck do you drool over that brut amount when you know it's not the real cash in there - your real cash is the net figure down the page. Why don't you enjoy that figure instead? But no. That's not how it happens. Now that you're in the 50K+ category you want it all. You gonna buy that fast bright car and that big cardboard house in the suburbs. Your gonna get a dozen credit cards and loans in banks. You gonna go to Las Vegas. And so on and so forth. Finally, the big club. You're a member. You'll buy it all.

So perhaps it's just natural that people are greedy. But in that case it's just as natural that people are lazy. Some want to get to the top, others are parasites. And in case you haven't thought of it, there are sacrifices involved in both cases - the go-getters give up some taxes, the lazy fucks give up some life.

***

Saw some documentary on tv about small american towns losing their factories to the third-world. Hopla. The whole town goes on welfare. And then you hear all those hard-working good-thinking no-evil folks walking about "realizing" that, yes, there are situations when such nice upright folks may suddenly end up in that ditch. Aw. How could this have happened to *me*?! with all those no-good junkies??

Existential crisis :-0




Lent reversed

Now this is delightfully true to life :) From a music student toughing it out in Danemark:
I want to give up poverty for Lent

While the season of lent is upon us, I have decided that it would be unwise for me to give up eating meat this year since I am getting unhealthily thin anyway and feel like I am pretty much on a year long fast anyway...

I understand that lent is a symbolic gesture of renouncing your riches for a period so that you can understand poverty and make you a better person... but what happens if you are already poor, and don't really eat too well anyway? I shall return to observing this custom when I feel I am sufficiently endowed with money, as a reminder of the days that were.
Yes, that's something I sympathize with deeply (except the last part - as it's never going happen in my case:). I eat meat (or let's make it chicken) all the time - because it's the only food that is rich enough, easy to cook, can be kept for long periods of time, and is well within budget. Nevertheless I am constantly falling below my normal weight - smoking instead of eating, having a big problem with cooking, forgetting when I last ate, what day of the week it is, etc etc.

I can't remember when I did the dishes the last time - must be 3-4 months ago. The pile in the sink is probably rotting away by now, I don't care to check. Hardcore slob.

And instead of buying a new pair of jeans as I was meaning to I just patched this one up (well, one back pocket is obviously missing now). Those jeans are a rarity, 14 years behind the belt, ever seen that? :) Bought in Paris in 1990 for cheap - the strongest denim I've seen in my life.

Denim does not need to be stylish, it needs to last. I have the feeling that the secret of the trade has been lost in Amerika. Some of the relics are being preserved in Paris. What a joke.




On packs and wolves

Cluster of blogs (catho, I think): Fishbucket, Abbreviated Abstractions

***

Something I realized the other day. Compared to the bulk of Russian Orthodox types chiming in on the web, cyber Cathos are actually quite a bit less stuffed up - despite the necessary theocentrism and all the tralala.

I can't stand the sweetly "brothers and sisters" talk of the Orthodox. God these guys are bad! In their "love" of each other they hate pretty much all the rest of the world, which would be 99.9% of everything that exists on this earth. Including cats and dogs - who are not children of god, of course.

Rather reminds me of the sickening "comrade, where's your badge" attitude.

***

Likewise I keep away from anarchists (who are, in my opinion, about as stuffed up on their garbage-dump ideology - complete with piercing and rag tights - as any Nazi-scout in the flowering days of the Hitler's Youths). I am myself quite enough of an anarchist - except that, unlike those other guys, I don't believe this involves emulating the narrow-mindedness of an oyster. Hell. Bring on the garbage, folks.

And that's also why Atrios gets on my nerves - or rather the groupie spirit around his blog. Or maybe I am confusing him with A.Sullivan? Sorry, I forget - cliques all of them, no matter the colors.

***

The problem with truth is that it tends to get obscured by bias. Not that I am entirely untouched. Of course I am - very biased, left and right. Another problem with truth is that it tends to be skewed by cowardice (euphemistically known as "peer-pressure"). Not that I am untouched here either. But fuck - I am trying my best.

George Orwell (who, despite appearances, was really not the brightest guy out there) remains a shining example of how to stay true while remaining malinformed and unwilling to think things through before speaking. He hopped from one political party to another like a green lean grasshopper. That's what you do - because you're mostly wrong anyhow. Today you're right, tomorrow you're wrong and so is everybody else.

The idea is not to be afraid - to admit that you were/are/will be wrong. Every time it's something of a "coming out", in today's parlance. It's unpleasant - especially if you're popular, with a sack of groupies/friends-n-family hanging from you know where. Very few people have the necessary guts to change course under these circumstances. Which is roughly equivalent to not getting stuck in an ideology - just because an ideology has the virtue of explaining the world in a 100 simple theses, or less.

***

My hatred of cliques is ancient. I am not a very sociable type. Nevertheless there was a time in my stupid youth where I did get sucked in into one - so I certainly do know what I am talking about here.

I did enjoy the ride, you bet. All the support and all the echoing and all those ego-boosts and all the network. It was wonderful. In return I had to act like a terminal snob - and I did of course. This was probably the best experience: being a haughty merciless snob. And I was naturally good at that.

But there were things I did not like then and do not like now. Putting someone down in perfect unanimity. Gossip. Group-think. Minuscule witch-hunts. I was too much of a youngster then to resist the older crowd's drive, but the fact that I did not like it stuck. One fine day I quit. And never looked back.

I wonder to what extent my current outkastness is due to that first impression of a tight-knit human society. I am a sick wolf, really. Should have stayed with the pack :)




Do you remember the first Superman movie? Caught a glimpse the other day on tv. There is a suspense scene there featuring a woman hanging out of a helicopter precariously perched at the brink of a sky-scraper. The horror-moment is when she looks down at the street far below her.

I wonder how many of those who had to jump off the 100th+ floor of the WTC towers remembered that scene - from the film of their childhood.




Swedes are bizarre, I always knew that:

Yesterday's reading of Norman Cantor's book didn't go very well either. I had some really interesting dreams about men in armor and bishops, but I don't seem to be able to make conscious any part of the book, no matter how I try.





Check out more great photos by a Peter Laban.





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