Was deeply moved by this picture of Erwin Schimitzek, a homosexual young man who was just 24 years of age when he died in Auschwitz concentration camp. What I found most moving is not that he was a victim of human scum but that better than his oppressors he stands with dignity, pride and his spirit undefeated.
Was happy this morning hearing the Northern Territory first minister acknowledge the harm caused by the territory’s ‘buggery laws’ which were in place as late as 1983.
‘Whosoever shall be convicted of the abominable crime of buggery, committed either with mankind or any animal, shall be liable to be imprisoned for life with hard labour.’
In his speech the NT first minister said,
“The brutality of that language. More so, the brutality of the message: You are not worthy. You are not welcome. You are an abomination.”
As an older same-gender-attracted person I can say that is precisely what young gays had to endure but worse still was the resultant choice gay youth were forced to make – that been that to be accepted and loved by family, friends and community a same-gender-attracted young person had no choice other than to self-hate. The results were often disastrous and long-lasting because a person long socialised into self-loathing will make choices that are self-loathing, including trying to be like everyone else and going out with and even marrying a person of the opposite gender. This can lead to dangerous situations where the denied self will seek expression in any way available and possible as I think is the reason the Catholic church has experienced high levels of sex abuse problems. A Polish priest who a few years ago ‘came out’ and introduced his Spanish manfriend said that in his opinion about half of all priests are gay. I think it correct law is upheld but also that greater compassion should be shown to people who themselves are the victims of their wrong belief they could live a life that is against nature. Unfortunately we still live in a cruel self-righteous world and even if this initiative of the NT government is welcome it remains there is still a long way to go and there is a danger we are not becoming a freer more accepting society but rather one where the LGBTQI community has simply been admitted into the ranks of mainstream oppressors and so neutered as a movement that could challenge limitations on freedom of expression for example. As the saying goes – there is no free lunch and gay males may find one day that same-gender marriage was an overpriced hamburger from Greasy Jill’s takeaway.
Below is a link to a video of Harry Hay (founder of the first American gay rights movement) speaking on the subject of gay youth and self-hate.
There has been much reporting of British cartoon character Peppa Pig upsetting the Chinese government and at face value the push to ban the cute little piggy created for the amusement of toddlers would appear over the top until we put hilarity aside and think about what could be the problem the Chinese government has identified and that could be so serious they would risk appearing ridiculous rather than letting the problem grow any further.
The Chinese state media has described Peppa Pig as ‘subversive’ and that Peppa “had become an unexpected cultural icon” for a “subculture” of idle youth, “people who run counter to the mainstream value and are usually poorly educated with no stable job, unruly slackers roaming around, and the antithesis of the young generation the Party tries to cultivate.” (People’s Daily as reported by Japantimes.)
The important bit in the above statement is ‘young generation the Party tries to cultivate’ and you have to put that in the context of China’s president Xi Jingping’s recently making himself president for life. The political status quo the Chinese government thought was established based on the brutally enforced (remember Tiananmen Square) belief society as organized and controlled by a centralized government is as perfect as a human community can be is showing cracks caused by the mistaken belief people can be kept like pigs in a pen with no desire beyond material security. They fail to recognize that the natural state of any sentient being is freedom, even pigs with their snouts in the troth will run away if you leave the gate open, and any attempt to keep people in servitude to those in power will and always has, failed.
The Chinese government has recognized that any meaning can be attributed to any symbol and that meaning is transferred to whoever acquires that symbol. Dissent will always find a way and the attack on Peppa Pig is as such an act of desperation and an acknowledgement the people and especially the younger generation have withdrawn consent and will use any means possible to achieve freedom and that status of ‘world citizen’ youth in liberal democracies now claim as theirs.
Talking about big government, we here in Australia are far from perfect with the government recently floating a trial balloon to access public reaction to the possibility the Defense Signals Directorate (DSD) be given the right to intercept domestic communications. The DSD’s role is to intercept communications outside of Australia and this proposed expansion of their (legal) ability of surveillance was sort of ‘leaked’ to the media. Oopsie – now lets see what happens. Clearly there is a push towards total surveillance and one that must be resisted if we don’t want the Chinese model to become world standard and that can be by challenging the government’s most often used excuses for the ever expanding laws limiting freedom of speech and communications. Where is the evidence that throwing away rights will result in a safer society? History tells us the exact opposite will more than likely be the outcome.
OK and further to my previous post about homo-erotic subtext in comic strips such as ‘Alix’ and ‘Tintin’ I’ll chuck in this page from a Tintin rip-off – ‘Tintin in Thailand’.
Remember how in ‘Tintin in Tibet’, Tintin finds his friend Chang and rescues him from the Yeti (abominable snow monkey) who was keeping Chang prisoner in a cave for some unknown reason. The Yeti could have had him for breakfast. An explanation was needed and was provided by whoever penned this rather clumsy rip-off in which Tintin travels to Thailand and finds Chang working in a brothel…
Is Berlin’s ‘Little Lucy’ graffiti just a derivative of Denis Kitchen’s ‘Little Ingrid’ cartoon that featured in seventies magazine ‘Smile”? Maybe Lucy is Ingrid’s granddaughter.
Nothing new either in contemporary debates about politically correct speech. Below is another Krupp publications / Smile cartoon that could well be contemporary.
And if you thought “Me Too’ is more wish than fact your thought is not new.
Art site back up and running and now nose to the grindstone working up more content rather than just recycling what was previously there. URL? I’ll post that when it’s worth visiting and those who have been following this blog for a while would know it already.
Picture of the day is a test picture made a while ago to evaluate/learn software, production methods and style. I rather like it so something maybe worth pursuing further and the news is that this is actually well – underway. Can we revive counter-culture?
The graffiti on the right is from the Berlin Wall of course and to the left it’s Allen Ginsberg with reference to his poem ‘Please Master’.
Seriously having the time of my life.
Everyone getting bored with this Cambridge Analytica bullshit? Our local ABC rebroadcast the BBC report with all the secret footage in which the CEO of Cambridge Analytica disclosed their outrageous methodology such as setting up a politician with a prostitute and disseminating fake news. What? I mean like that’s as worn out a strategy as the story Marcus Inventicus spread around the Forum that Caesar sucked Brutus’ dick. Accepting bribe money? Any politician silly enough to take a brown paper bag under a restaurant table deserves to be jailed. I mean like what is the world coming to? In the past the secret service would set up a whistleblower, honest politician, journalist with the murder of a housewife, have him commit suicide by shooting himself twice in the head and at the very least if sex it must be, make it an under-age boy. No don’t shake your head in disbelief, ‘they’ tried that on a well-known journalist right here in the land of a fair-go and meat pies.
Anyways, the good news is some are seeking in their small way to address the important issues facing life on Earth including the mother and two kids who turned up at the local supermarket on the rather extraordinary electric bicycle below. Not sure if a front-hub motor is a good choice in this case but design considerations aside – it’s top marks for doing something real for the kids’ future.
And photos in the alleyway. Not a new idea but first time I’ve seen this in Katoomba. Can’t attribute as the artist didn’t leave a business card on the wall.
Life goes on.
Set out yesterday to camp by the creek half way along the Andersons Fire Trail which is classified as ‘difficult’ by Parks and Wildlife and that for riders on proper bikes with a better than average level of fitness. I must be the only person to have ever attempted it pulling a trailer over-loaded with camera and camping gear and am happy to say that I made it to the end. Would not do it again.
The first half of the trail is fairly flat and pleasant before you get to the smoking-brakes downhill to the creek.
Had a pretty good night camped out by the creek and then this morning it was the climb out. Literally kilometers of steep uphill.
Made it up to Woodford where I stopped by Bruce’s cafe before heading for the station to catch a train back up to Katoomba. Had to wait over an hour and so had time to check out the more interesting posters on the station walls.
OK – innovative ways State Rail keep people amused whilst waiting for the oft late train.
Below are a few pics of Aboriginal rock carvings I took on my last ride down The Oaks trail (Woodford to Glenbrook). For those who ride the trail and haven’t seen them, they are at the top of the first big hill and on your right if heading in the Glenbrook direction. At the top of the hill you will see where Parks and Wildlife have placed rocks to stop people driving onto the flat rocks and the carvings are near the trail edge and not back in the bushes where I’ve often unsuccessfully looked for them.
Interesting this controversy surrounding the Simpson’s ‘Apu’ character who is now described as a nasty racial stereotype. Not sure about that claim given close to all the convenience stores and discount petrol stations I know are owned and operated by Indians with limited English and understanding of western culture. Apu is an exaggeration more than a stereotype. But who cares, soon all entertainment will feature lots of special effects and non-white males and females running around for no apparent reason (as in Fury Road) asserting their empowerment in combat against we-are-no- sure-what but looks like vicious white males in BDSM drag. The concept of narrative dead and buried forever. Talented scriptwriters may as well update their resumes and all that possibly because the intended audience has limited ability to follow a complex narrative from establishment to resolution and so there is no point in writing one. One situation of empowerment to the next and punctuated by a crash and explosion will suffice thank you very much.
Anyways… this situation may not be limited to cinema as I found looking over some old comic strips and how they have evolved over the past say fifty years. ‘Alix’ created by Belgian Jacques Martin in the late forties is a case in point. His stories set in antiquity, ‘Alix’ for those who are unfamiliar with Belgian/French comics, is a young blond blue eyed hero who native of Gaul and separated from his parents is sold into slavery and by some miracle becomes this teenage, highly idealistic, pure of mind and body, brave, heroic, Roman super-hero.
Like Tintin he is faultless, has limited needs and no wants, no quirky personal characteristics, no irrational likes or dislikes and as such is a flat character and the dehumanized impossible standard to which all boys of the time were expected to aspire. Aside from also been good providers for wife and family and good soldiers for the nation.
The only problem being today with Alix and some suspect with Tintin as well, is a homosexual subtext which may tell us more about the authors than their characters. Tintin and the Chinese orphan boy Chang and Alix’s sidekick Enak who is a younger, pretty and coincidently orphaned Egyptian prince. Whether these two inclusions are hinting at an inner and undisclosed aspect of their creators’ self will be debated forever and a day and would not be a problem in these times of gay marriage and gender uncertainty were it not for the fact that well – Enak, as he originally appears, is not in the currently approved age range for a sexual partner of a person of Alix’s apparent age.
jacques Martin himself emphatically denied there was anything other than pure, innocent and idealistic friendship between Alix and Enak and the only reason Alix has a male and not a female sidekick is that law regulating children’s books in the late forties forbade him from depicting Alix with what could be construed as a girlfriend. It follows then that what could be construed as a boyfriend was perfectly OK.
Still the aura of homosexuality, as in sexual attraction, remains but it is not necessarily homosexuality as defined by today’s LGBTQI persons but rather is closer to what Plato had in mind when writing his Socratic dialogues and Phaedrus in particular. I know people believe Platonic love is love with no sex but that was not exactly what he meant and in Republic (from memory and I could be confusing his books) he suggests the way to make soldiers (adult males) fight harder in battle is to reward the bravest with first choice of the boys and for sure the idea was not that brave soldier and boy would sit under a shady tree and discuss rhetoric. I think the relationship between Alix and Enak Martin was trying to describe was closer to what the Greeks called ‘arete’, meaning excellence in all things, body and mind, and that male-on-male attraction was an expression of excellence. The Japanese samurai had a similar cult of male excellence and one which also crossed the boarder into areas that today are problematic. Actually I read somewhere that bonking boys was considered by the samurai as a ‘virtue’ a bit like in Sufi Islam the contemplation of a beautiful boy was as a ‘prayer to God’. Some – LOL – must have been extremely pious.
I think in these times when the simple idea of male excellence is verboten and relationships between races and genders have to always be equal and unambiguous, the writers and artists who took over the ‘Alix’ franchise were handed a problem difficult to fix. One solution they adopted if we look at the picture below was to make Enak bigger and stronger and Alix weaker and more submissive. Clearly Enak in this picture is giving thought to whatever it is Alix is putting to him but is not convinced.
Maybe all this correction didn’t work because the latest variation on the Alix and Enak theme is a gray-haired Alix and as for Enak? Well – he is dead. Problem solved and everyone happy .
OK – finally and as if all this was not sufficiently confused already, a page we are unlikely to ever see again in any comic strip book that can be brought at the local store.
Really nothing much worth mentioning in my miserable existence but around the world there’s plenty worth mentioning but for sure everyone is sick and tired of hearing bad news. Especially when its human caused and so entirely avoidable. Syria, more killing of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli Defense Force, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo and all the other disasters happening around the world. Oh yes – and the latest on climate change? It was April Fools day yesterday and so caution needs to be exercised but reportedly there is a plan to spray a sun-filtering film over threatened areas of the Great Barrier Reef to reduce coral beaching. If a joke it is a bad one. Good news is that a three-year-old boy who disappeared from a camp site near the rural town of Mudgee (West side of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales) was found yesterday safe and sound despite 18 hours alone, lost and terrified in the woods. The heart-melt part of the story is that the little boy said to police he asked a Kangaroo to take him home. In the end it was a police helicopter ride rather than a ride in a roo’s pouch which for sure he enjoyed just as much.
Had another attack on the art website which I will rebuild one day, too busy with that project I won’t mention for the moment, and the primitive nature of these attacks – brute force attacks – would indicate they are the work of criminals who attack all and any site in the hope that people are stupid enough to have ‘admin’ as user name and ‘password’ or ‘qwerty’ or ‘123456’ as password. Yes folks, there are people so stupid they would indeed make things that easy for hackers. BTW I did manage to log with the cyber crime people the previous attack and the security people I use have advised there has been a spate of hack attempts on WordPress sites.
Otherwise, been out on the mountain bike and did the usual 20 kilometers of highway followed by 30 of dirt trail on Friday. Saturday i did another 40 or so kilometer combination of road and track. I’m trying to build up endurance which is the main issue for older and very young riders especially when the weather is abnormally hot for the time of year – 35 degrees Celsius at the bottom of Friday’s ride down to Glenbrook. On the way I found an English family stopped mid uphill on the Oaks trail and who were obviously not well prepared. Dad was pushing the kid’s bikes to the top, Mum was sheltering with two boys in the shade of trees and the daughter I found crouching under a rock shelf a bit further up. Chatting with the mother and making sure they were OK and didn’t also need the services of a rescue helicopter, she told me it was their first visit to Australia and that they had no idea of the difficulty and length of the trail. Her face dropped when I told her they had roughly another 15 kilometers to go and a few more big hills but on the balance of down and up hill and at the point they were, they were better off continuing down than trying to go back up. Later and taking a break with feet in the cool water of Glenbrook creek a few other riders who arrived at the end of the trail said the Poms were all alive and progressing slowly. Moral of the story is do your research before taking small children on a happy bike ride in the woods even if it’s just on the outskirts of Sydney.
Below are a few pics I took the next day at Hanging Rock.
Blessings to all.