Said I put up some more so below are a few dozen.
Been in the Sydney burbs house sitting and with added cat and fish feeding duties which is not all that exciting and so last Sunday I made an effort and went into the city hoping to get some good pictures at a ‘Vote Yes’ march. That been of course the same-gender marriage thing again. I took a few hundred pictures most of which are useless as I anticipated they would be given the location (between very boring high rise buildings) and time of day (excessive contrast between sunlit and shaded areas) but was hoping the LGBTQI event might create opportunities for some good human interest pictures. That didn’t work out all that well either because for the greater part the marchers were all white middle class young adults with a few bringing along the kids. Not sure the march would have convinced a single ‘No’ voter to vote ‘Yes’ if that was the intention because where it failed was in not putting forward a reason why a person who believes marriage is between a man and a woman should change their voting intentions. Stamping your foot and screaming ‘Not Fair!’ is not a valid argument as many children find out when they try it on their parents.
I’ve been over this same-gender marriage thing more than enough already and will maybe just post some pictures when I get around to sorting and processing what is worth salvaging but there is one I think speaks in support of Ginsberg’s piece I published here recently in which he argues amongst other things for the need to deal with the sexual rights of teenagers. Something the mainstream LGBTQI have run away from out of fear of rejection by the conservative hetero majority. I took the picture below in a railway station as I waited for the train back to the suburbs. I had to be quick because the kid frequently repositioned the sign between bouts of whatever he was doing on his phone and therefore the less than perfect quality of the snap shot.
We understand from what he has written on his placard that he is thirteen and wishes to marry a male — and edit, my flatmate set me straight on who this Chris is, an actor apparently, but the point remains — end of edit. Anyway, there you have it, out in the open that young teenagers make choices, identify as gay and fall in love. None of this can be swept back under the carpet which means that limitations on what can be said in debate, written or represented in the visual arts is useless and this all encompassing taboo is even dangerous given that youth have discovered – and I have this from sources and NOT from my own research – other platforms where their expressions of sexual desire are, let’s say, welcomed and eagerly encouraged.
Of course legislation is needed but by itself it will not resolve this issue. We also need intelligent and informed discussion and up-to-date sex education. I hear already those who would say that a strict environment in which kids are ‘kept innocent’ is the way to deal with what they would describe as sexual promiscuity in children and to them I would reply that research carried out by a NYT journalist some years ago found that half of all boys working as under-age male prostitutes in New York are from fundamentalist Christian families. Makes sense – in a conservative religious family a same-gender-attracted child quickly learns that receiving love from those he or she loves depends on he or she accepting to self-hate in silence and isolation. They will seek out their kind but are likely to do so in a self-destructive way because that is how they have learned to express and interact with their sexuality. I can remember myself growing up under those circumstances and thinking back it’s a miracle I survived to adulthood. I used to fantasize about been able to bring a boyfriend home and receive the same approving reception as I did if I came home with a girl. I liked girls but most often the relationship failed because of my lack of physical interest. I could manage a half-decent performance – I think – but only when drunk and at a time when I was still young enough to be less fussy about what was in the bed.
OK – blabbered on a bit more than planned but there is just one final thing I want to add and it’s the reason why I will vote ‘Yes’ in this postal plebiscite despite as all who come here know, having reservations based on the possibility of a backlash caused by a lack of clarity on issues such as the rights of the child in same-gender families and lack of discussion about how all this will change the institution of marriage. A major concern of those intending to vote ‘No’.
With regard to the institution, same-gender marriage will – possibly – reshape marriage into an institution based on the celebration of love between two equals and not on child raising and property. Same-gender marriage presents an opportunity for heteros to also rethink their marriages, most of which fail, and therefore same-gender marriage could benefit all of society.
The second reason for my ‘Yes’ vote is that as same-gender-attracted people we have fought and won many battles and now that we have started this one, we can’t afford for the sake of younger gays like the boy in the picture, to lose it. Even if I still think it is strategically risky and it might have been a better idea to win this debate in factory lunchrooms and by the water bubbler of city offices before asking the public for a decision. The fact of homosexuals having to ask the heteros for their approval also doesn’t sit comfortably with me. Anyway – blessings to all and vote with your heart.
New month started and we have floods all over the place with much talk of ‘community spirit’ but not of the elephant in the room which is of course Climate Change. Here in Australia the talking point is still same-gender marriage so desperately wanted by the feminist movement and of course the shorty boy in North Korea whom we must assume is reacting to internal threats to his leadership. In fact – fairly sure the North Koreans would be happy to see him fed to the dogs.
Still waiting for a reply from the office of the prime minister, our local member of parliament – Labor federal MP Susan Templeman – and the Australian government’s security website about why Australian citizens are allowed to join the Israeli Defence Force and not Islamic State? Now over a week later I have still not received a response and so must assume that both sides of politics are closing a blind eye to what is a double standard and one that can only cause resentment in the Muslim community. As a nation we will pay a price for choosing to support the morally indefensible actions of a rogue nation (that being a nation that does not respect international law).
And otherwise – further progress on books, animation and a bit of photography is being made and also some Iiado katas and riding of the mountain bike every day to prepare for my next attempt at a long ride out west when the weather warms up a bit more.
Not much to say so will leave you with these words of Palestinian poet Mazen Maarouf,
I’ll tear off my lips
and eat them
I’ll rip out my chest
because I’m not an orphanage
for gathering angels.
I’ll remove the door
and stand in its stead
to stop myself from leaving
for the hole in the world.
and one by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish,
Here is your name
said the woman
and vanished in the corridor
A hand’s reach away I see heaven
a dove’s white wing transporting me to another childhood
and I don’t dream that I’m dreaming
Everything is real
I meet myself at my side
I will become what will be in the final circuit
Everything is white
The sea hanging above a roof of white clouds
in the sky of the absolute white nothingness
I was and was not
Here alone at the white frontier of eternity.
I came before my hour so no angel approaches to ask:
what did you do over there in the world?
I don’t hear the chorus of the righteous or wailing of
I’m alone in whiteness
At the gate of resurrection nothing hurts
neither time past nor any feeling
I don’t sense the lightness of things nor the weight of
There’s no one to ask:
where now is my where?
Where is the city of death
Where am I?
In this no-here…
no-time and nothingness
As if I had died already
I know this story
I know that I go towards what I don’t know
Perhaps I’m still alive somewhere
Aware of what I want…
One day I’ll become what I want
One day I will become a thought
that no sword or book can dispatch to the wasteland
A thought equal to rain on the mountain split open by a
blade of grass
where power will not triumph
and justice is not fugitive
One day I’ll become what I want
One day I’ll become a bird
that plucks my being from nothingness.
As my wings burn I approach the truth
and rise from the ashes
I am the dialogue of dreamers
I shunned body and self to complete the first journey
but it consumed me then vanished
I am that absence
The fugitive from heaven
One day I’ll become what I want
One day I’ll become a poet
Water obedient to my vision
My language a metaphor for metaphors
I don’t speak or indicate a place
Place is my sin and subterfuge
I am from there
My here leaps from my footstep to my imagination…
I am from what was or will be I was created and destroyed in the expanse of the endless
One day I’ll become what I want
One day I’ll become a vine
Let summer distill from me now
so passers-by beneath the chandeliers of this most sugared
may drink my wine!
I am the message and the messenger
The small addresses and the post
One day I’ll become what I want
Here is your name
said the woman
and vanished in the corridor of her whiteness
Here is your name, memorize it well!
Don’t quibble over a letter of the alphabet
Ignore the tribal banners
Be friendly to your name which doesn’t stand but lies
across the page
Test it out with the living and the dead
Train it in its proper pronunciation with strangers
Write it on a rock in the empty cave
O my name: you will grow as I do
You will carry me as I carry you
for strangers are brothers to strangers
We’ll entice the feminine with a vowel devoted to flutes
Oh my name: where are we now?
Speak out: what is now what is tomorrow?
What is time and place?
What’s old what’s new?
One day we’ll become what we want
The journey hasn’t begun and the path hasn’t ended
The wise haven’t reached their exile
nor the exiles their wisdom
The only flower we know is the red anemone
Come let’s go towards the highest mural:
The land of my poem is green and high
God’s words at dawn are the land of my poem
and I’m the faraway
In every breeze a woman mocks her poet:
Collect the woman you saw in me
who was shattered
and give me back my femininity
for I have nothing left to do but contemplate the lake’s
Get rid of my tomorrow
Return my yesterday
and leave us alone together
nothing leaves and nothing returns
Take back the poem if you want
for me there’s only you in it
Take back your “I”
The exile will be complete with what’s left of handwriting
written for the carrier pigeons
At the end which me am I in us?
Of the two of us
let me be the last
A star will fall between the written and the said
A memory will lay out its thoughts: we were born in the
time of the sword and the trumpet
between the fig and the cactus
Death was slower then more clear there was a truce across
the mouth of the river
Now the electronic button works alone
the killer doesn’t hear his victims
and the martyrs don’t read out a testament
What breeze brought you here?
Tell me the name of your wound and I’ll tell you the road
where we’ll lose ourselves twice!
Your heartbeats hurt me for they lead to the time of legends
My blood hurts me
Salt hurts me…
and my jugular vein
In the broken jug the women of the Syrian plains lament
the length of the journey
and are scorched by the August sun
I saw them on the road to the well before my birth
and I heard the water in the clay weeping for them:
Return to the clouds and bring the carefree days
Blessings to all.
Charlie Hebdo has upset the thought police again with squashed persons and the words ‘Islam Religion of Peace… Eternal!’ on the front cover of a recent edition. See below.
The problem with Charlie Hebdo in these times of mass and instant communications is that it is seen, probably rarely read, by people who for reasons of cultural difference simply don’t get the joke and even less the usefulness of how Charlie Hebdo deals with serious social problems. Charlie Hebdo states in plain written and visual text what many are thinking and in doing so they defuse the potential for violent retaliation that might be contained in those thoughts. It is not Islam that is ridiculed in the image but rather the twisted interpretation of Islam used by terrorists to justify their barbarity but, in doing so the Charlie Hebdo image also challenges mainstream Muslims to prove the terrorist interpretation of Islam is indeed twisted. Everyone says it is but no one has pointed to any specific passage of the Koran that forbids violence against non-Muslims.
I say well done Charlie Hebdo and pity such a magazine would be illegal – yes and absolutely – here in Australia where we only have as much freedom of speech as the politicians of the moment allow.
Apparently the United Nations has called upon the United States government to ‘unequivocally and unconditionally’ condemn racist speech and crimes and that US officials should ‘address the root causes of the proliferation of such racist manifestations, and thoroughly investigate the phenomenon of racial discrimination’.
In the same report I was reading, mention was also made of the resignation of Daniel Kammen who was the science envoy (whatever that is) for the US state department. In his letter of resignation he writes ‘Particularly troubling to me is how your (president Trump) response to Charlottesville is consistent with a broader pattern of behaviour that enables sexism and racism, and disregards the welfare of all Americans, the global community and the planet’.
Notice how ‘all Americans’ comes before and is separate to ‘the global community’ and that by ‘all Americans’ he probably means those who reside in the United States, the other Americas being lesser Americas, but we will excuse him for that little racist slip-up. I also note the linking of racism and sexism and suppose he believes only white men and their white female partners are racist and sexist but that false assumption is not what concerns me here. Rather, it’s the United Nation’s call for the US to ‘investigate the phenomenon of racial discrimination’. Concern because what drives 21st century white supremacists is fear and for some reason the left and institutions such as the United Nations are unable to acknowledge what is, or should be, blatantly obvious. Maybe they are indeed that stupid and have yet to understand Benjamin Franklin’s (?) words when he said, ‘A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still’. Addressing, and validating, in honest debate the reasons many people experience fear when trying to make sense of a rapidly changing world would go much further towards achieving peace than personal insults and ridicule. Problem is both sides would have to put hate aside and that appears to be ‘an issue’.
Was in Sydney at the weekend hoping to get out and do some street photography but wasn’t feeling all that inspired so I wandered over to the Art Gallery of NSW and down into the contemporary art section. Noticed on the way that the ‘police wall of remembrance’, where they list officers killed in the line of duty and which I had never seen before, is located just next to the gallery. I found a bit discomforting the juxtaposition of a police monument and an art gallery that is supposed to house freedom of expression. Then maybe it doesn’t.
A function of art is to present to the public works that can be like a hypotheses, that go beyond the known and accepted and ask – what if? The public can respond, we can have a debate but that requires freedom of speech and expression. Below are a few pictures I took in the contemporary section.
Needless to say the walls themselves were bored and what might make a good work of contemporary art? An acquaintance who is lucky enough to reside in Berlin exhibited three stacks of a gay-boy magazine he published for a short while. The work challenged social conventions related to what can be considered ‘beautiful’ and I’m sure, sparked more than a few heated debates. Here nothing sets a foot outside of the strictly enforced boundaries of a nation in which the mere fact of being an artist means guilt is established.
LOL – the expected flood of hate mail resulting from my last post failed to eventuate. Not a single comment which means that either no one reads anything here, no one has ever found this blog or no one could give a rat’s ass. Maybe the site stats which indicate thousands of regular unique visitors are fake and the work of the spooks? Seriously, I was expecting at least a few little insults.
Anyway – gay marriage is the ad nauseum talking point on our public broadcasting service and I would imagine many are as sick of the topic as I am. The latest is that legislation that would have enabled a plebiscite, as is the policy of the conservatives currently in government, was again rejected by the senate. The Labour opposition and the Greens want a vote in parliament possibly because they have done the numbers and fear a resounding ‘No’ if the issue is put to the public.
As I’ve often said here and as a same-gender-attracted person myself, I have no problem with the concept of gay marriage and can think of a few guys I might have married last century when still young and beautiful, but I do feel we need to address the question of the rights of children with same-gender caregivers and also the rights of biological parents including grandparents, whether there is parenting equivalence and the question of commercial surrogacy which a few Asian nations have recently banned. I would not want to see future gay people being the victims of a backlash provoked by the fact the marriage thing was rammed down the throats of an unwilling public without addressing these and other issues and already I have from conversations with heterosexuals, found they are sick and tired of this gay marriage thing and some will therefore and out of exasperation, vote ‘No’ when the issue goes to a postal vote as appears to be the government’s strategy now that a parliamentary vote and a plebiscite is off the table. In a large part we can thank the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for pushing same-gender marriage so hard we are already beginning to see a backlash.
From those conversations with conservatives, I also found the concern they have with same-gender marriage and other recent attempts at making society more inclusive such as the ‘safe schools’ fiasco, is that marriage and safe-schools are less about inclusion of minorities into mainstream society than they are the thin edge of a broader agenda to completely re-engineer society. For example, same-gender marriage has implications for gender and it could be argued that ‘safe-schools’ was also less about bulling than it was to eliminate gender as early as the primary school playground. I wonder how this elimination of ‘gender’ could be a benefit to gay men whose sexuality is as gender based as that of heterosexuals? The question is who historically has had a problem with gender and sought its removal from all social institutions?
It might surprise some that not all gay men are comfortable with these current developments believing them to be of dubious benefit and potentially a ‘bridge too far’ that could result in a future loss of rights. “Not all gay men” for the most part are older men such as myself who remember that the gay liberation front of old (GLF) was a social movement that pushed for a sexual liberation, kicking the state out of the bedroom, and one from which all members of society stood to benefit – that being including heterosexuals. I think this distinction between past and present gay rights movements is something I should write about and so it will be the subject of a future post.
Other than that the printing business is stalled on a few technical issues that appeared in the first tests, difficult to crash teach yourself what is a trade, but which I will resolve and if not, then there will be printing gear for sale on ebay. Not too fussed about it as it is simply ‘something worth trying’ as part of resolving financial problems and I have other irons in the fire and plenty of things to keep me amused such as books, street photography and the animation project which is progressing.
Reading a collection of essays by the American poet Allen Ginsberg I was surprised to find a previously unpublished text in which he explains why he became a member of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA).
Now, NAMBLA has had very bad press and is generally perceived as a child abuse club but the truth is a little more complex. NAMBLA was formed in the aftermath of the Boston sex scandal of 1977 in which police investigations into allegations of abuse of minors turned into a full scale witch hunt that destroyed the lives and reputations of many innocent people including alleged victims who were subjected to ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques to force them to cough up names of men who allegedly had abused them. NAMBLA was formed as a mainstream gay rights movement but one that sought to include debates surrounding the relationships that can and do occur between men and teenagers. Having previously worked as a teacher in juvenile detention centres and having managed youth programs for homeless and at risk youth I can say that these intergenerational relationships occur by far more often than the public realise and are not always abusive.
Here’s what Ginsberg had to say,
Thoughts on NAMBLA.
I became a member of NAMBLA a decade ago as a matter of civil liberties. In the early 1980s, the FBI had conducted a campaign of entrapment and “dirty tricks” against NAMBLA members just as they had against black and anti-war leaders in previous decades. In the January 17, 1983, issue Time magazine, following the FBI disinformation campaign, attacked NAMBLA as a group involved in the “systematic exploitation of the weak and immature by the powerful and disturbed.” That struck me as a fitting description of Time magazine itself. NAMBLA’s a forum for reform of those laws on youthful sexuality which members deem oppressive, a discussion society not a sex club. I joined NAMBLA in defence of free speech.
Historically, societies have taken different views of this issue and the political heat that surrounds the subject is unnatural. Demagogic reaction to NAMBLA demeans the subject as a political football. At present European nations do not share current US public sexual hysteria. Various cultures and states offer widely varying definitions of age of consent – age 15 in Czechoslovakia and some US states, 14 in Hawaii. There’s no universal consensus on “consent”. It’s a fit subject for discussion, NAMBLA provides a forum.
Most people like myself do not make carnal love to hairless boys and girls. Yet such erotic inclinations or fantasies are average and are commonly sublimated into courtly sociability. An afternoon’s walk through the Vatican Museum will attest centuries of honorific appreciation of nude youths, an acceptable pleasure in the quasi erotic contemplation of the “naked human form divine”. From Rome’s Vatican to Florence’s Uffizi galleries to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, we see statues of prepubescent Eros, pubescent Bacchus, male ephebes (naked bodies 12 to 18), the adolescent goddess Kore, nymphs, naiads, young fauns and satyrs in abundance, Laocoon and his boys with pubes exposed, wrinkled old Neptune’s loins, old hags with undraped withers and dugs, Olympian Zeus and kid Ganymede. Western civilisation prides itself on its foundation on classical Greek culture, wherein intergenerational love was a social practice praised by philosophers.
A dash of humour, common sense humanity and historical perspective would help discussion of NAMBLA’s role. Further, libertarians or anarchists may remember Blake’s warning, “One law for the Lion and the Ox is oppression.”
These considerations shouldn’t be distorted to apologise for rape and mental or physical violation of children. I respect those who want to fix a general law to prevent abuse of minors. This is a real problem though less politically demagogic than advertised by some aggressive therapists, politically correct thought police, and the obsessive senator Jesse Helms. It is NAMBLA’s mission to raise the subject, explore it, and provide a platform for debate.
Child abuse laws have been abused, especially since the Reagan-Meese commission’s predictably incompetent linkage of pornography and violence. Subsequent formation of a Justice Department child porn bureaucracy sent federal squads roaming the states teaching local police to practice prurient snooping, invasion of privacy and lawless entrapment. Often police intrusion into consensual intergenerational affections and affairs results in abuse of both parties. Police authority also has made use of mind rape of the younger person, forcing unwilling youths to fink on close friends with threats of jail or beatings. One important function of NAMBLA is to keep track of bureaucratic manipulations of adolescents by police, FBI, media, and other agencies who handle such delicate issues with a meat ax. A Witch Hunt Foiled: The FBI vs. NAMBLA provides an impressive volume of information on these outrageous police practices.
Ginsberg, Allen (1994) Published in ‘Deliberate Prose’ Selected Essays 1952 -1995 pp 170.
What I feel is missing in Ginsberg argument is the role the ‘beautiful boy’ principal played in the development of western art and culture and not just that it was the most ubiquitous representation of the human form in western art. It was the aesthetic yard stick of most of the west’s greatest achievements and in all areas. What its removal could imply for future development we can only surmise but there are already indications of what lies ahead in the dumbing down and low quality of much of today’s cultural output. That ‘human form divine’ is now all but absent.
Imagine you are a business person looking into making a long term investment and you have to choose between investing in an industry you know is on its way out and another which you know will replace the previous one. Any sane person would choose to put money into the new rather than waste money propping up what is dead-industry-walking. But not the Australian government which is doing all it possibly can to delay making the transition from fossil fuel based industry to clean, high-tech industries of the future. Just a few days ago Scott Morrison MP and federal treasurer was on television going on like a smart ass school boy about the ‘disaster’ caused by South Australia’s efforts to switch to renewable energy, mocking the idea of power storage by installing the world’s biggest battery as being just like the big banana or big prawn installed by the side of highways by struggling outback towns in an effort to attract tourists.
The truth Scotty is ignoring is that other nations are powering ahead with the switch to clean energy and well done to the British government for following the French in looking to ban petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. Should be sooner but it’s a start and is that not sufficient writing on the wall that once again – Australia will be playing catch up?
We recently lost vehicle manufacturing in this country but still have the specialised labour force, the engineering knowhow and factories that could be retooled to produce electric vehicles. Given that in this case we know the future it would make sense to create public/private partnerships and position Australia as a supplier to the emerging clean economy rather than the consumer it will become if we continue down the walking backwards track. Would make sense but not to people like Scotty and others who are prepared to spend a billion dollars of taxpayer money to provide a railway link from a proposed coal mine (world’s biggest open cut they boast) in central Queensland to a loading port slap bang in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. All that to give a few thousand low skilled people short term jobs but at a huge and permanent cost to the environment whereas the same amount invested in new and high-tech industries including electric vehicles could provide long term employment to tens of thousands when you take into account satellite industries, logistics, etc. The automobile industry themselves know what is just around the corner but as one CEO I was listening to recently said, they need help to make the transition from petrol to electric. Climate change is a disaster just starting but it is equally an opportunity to reshuffle the economy to everyone’s benefit.
If we needed, as we often do here in Australia, to look over the Equator to see what others are doing the example of Volvo and Porsche are good examples; both manufacturers have declared that from 2019 onwards they will only make hybrid and all-electric cars. Porsche apparently will also withdraw from Endurance racing I’m told because, well, there’s no point in spending millions promoting vehicles that are already things that should be displayed in a museum to horrified school children.
The fact is that climate friendly race cars will be faster and more fun than the noisy, polluting and incredibly inefficient things of today.
Below are a few related links.
Think electric is boring? Below are two vids of the Lightning LS-218 electric superbike. (218 mph at Bonneville)
A picture is worth a thousand words? Check out this video from the al jazeera ‘Inside Story’ program and watch how a man on his knees and praying is just kicked aside by an Israeli soldier. In any civilized nation that level of disrespect and cowardice would cause outrage. The playback button below will bring up a link to the al jazeera youtube channel.
Also, it’s been three years since MH17 was shot down, we hope it was accidental, and investigative site Bellingcat has released a detailed summary of their findings. Either go to their site or if not accessible from where you are, just click on the link below to download a copy.