Monthly Archives: May 2018

Being a lad in the early fifties. Sex, violence and no poofters.

Looking through some pulp and comic strip publications of the late forties and early fifties I found the advertising gives us a good idea of the expectations placed on young males. Surprisingly huge body image pressure, ability to successfully mate and ability to earn as much money as is never enough. The other thing I found was how gullible and naive the target audience must have been and also going on advertising, that girls must have been regular readers of comic strips primarily targeted at a young male audience. The advertisers must have found that girls also loved war, crime, cowboys and as much sleaze as could make its way passed the censors. Below are a few examples taken as screen captures from my document reader and sorry for the bad quality.

First up this piece of utter garbage made up of a photograph of a boy with the totally anatomically incorrect chest I would say is a clumsy airbrush job. The little line-art frame with the two scantly dressed females whispering behind the skinny boy’s back they will ‘pass him by’ is a direct attempt to use sexual angst of the young teenage boy as the main selling point. I could not imagine such a thing today and especially if the gender roles were reversed.

Fifties ad for body building program with image of young male with grossly exaggerated chest and arm muscles.

Head is a photograph but body is a stuck on and rather poor quality airbrush job. No photoshop in those days.

 

Below is another example of the same thing and this time – hey, hey, hey – no less than Charles Atlas as your personal trainer. What sort of teenage boy would not want Charles Atlas taking personal care of his body? Especially a Charles Atlas dressed in those superman outside undies. Wow. Again the line-art little comic strip uses sexual angst but also this time the ability to belt the crap out of other boys. BTW – studies (today as in 21st century) show that teenage boys are the most frequent victims of violence. Notice also that in the strip section of the advertisement violence between males is rewarded with sexual advantage.

Phew – those superman inside-out undies!!!

Pimples – a curse on teenagers then and now and, here’s something I observed as a youth worker, I have never seen a happy teenager and that had bad acne.  Just an observation – I’m not claiming acne is always linked to poor mental health.

Nothing new about pimples either.

Here’s another interesting ad and that points to what was expected of young males back in dem good ol days. Prestige among peers for in this case being the proud owner of a tin coin box that – wow every child’s dream – lights one of six pictures every time you put a coin in the slot. Battery and light bulb included it says in the ad. The purpose here is a rather clumsy attempt to bring together parent approval and child want. Pretty sure the manufacturer would have gone broke. No child would waste precious paperboy money on the exhilarating experience of seeing the same boring six images magically light up over and over again. Unless s/he had been smoking fried banana peels as kids did in those days.

The speaker was quality painted on the tin coin box. Whoopee!

Speaking of novelties and life expectations check out the page of advertising below. Body image and masculinity once again (poor skinny teenage boy of the fifties), education, business and how to hypnotize! Now that’s a solution to all your access to the mysterious opposite gender problems – hypnotize the bitch and have your way with her you skinny boy wimp! And now that you are that evil hypnotizer of young and beautiful girls you must absolutely have the skull ring also advertised on this page and coincidentally just below the evil face of the evil hypnotizer! I wonder how many teenage girls pretended the hypnosis worked… Hmmmm…

 

Conning children into buying an ‘adult’ product. Notice top left , where you start reading a page, the boy in raptures with his new watch, mum and grandma behind him giving approval and the other background figures are adults who use that very same watch in their exciting everyday lives of action and adventure.

What the ‘F’ would you do with the ‘world’s smallest ball point pen”? Unless of course you have the ‘world’s smallest fingers”. Surprised they didn’t throw in ‘shaped just like space rockets’ and ‘writes in any language”. Love also to know in those times when internet was the stuff of science fiction, how the swing-out weather forecaster worked?

 

And not forgetting women who then as today are always after a quick fix to the problem of getting fat but this one must be by far better than anything Jenny Craig came up with. Basically just chew gum instead of eating and I wonder how many females reading this are right now googling “Kelpidine Chewing Gum”.

Free Sexy Outfit to any young woman who manages to chew gun for twenty five days instead of eating Mamma’s good tasty meals.

Once you, teenage girl of the nineteen fifties, got that sexy dress you’re next concern was how to score the hottest, highest-earning-potential, big ‘muscle’ boy? That need is addressed as well in your brother’s copy of ‘Man Comics’. “How to write thrilling love letters”. Now here’s a suggestion for the great-grandma’s who might still have a copy in the attic and who are living on the minuscule old-age pension. The grannies who picked the wrong boy at the school dance – the real prize was skinny boy, yep the one who bored everyone with his stories about future ‘micro-processors’ replacing then state-of-the-art tube valves.  Anyway, drag out your copy of ‘How to write thrilling love letters” change that to “How to write thrilling emails to your chosen life partner and with bonus section on sexting”. List on Amazon and Smashwords and your financial worries are over.

Not recommended for suspected gay boys whose bedroom is searched by parents on a regular basis.

And with near all men of the time been veterans of either WWI, WWII or even both, there were huge problems with what we now know to be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)  which could lead as we would understand today, to substance and alcohol abuse and psychotic and violent behaviors including domestic violence which very often was directed at boys as the image below correctly identifies as been the case. It takes according to research, three to four generations to completely breed out the emotional damage caused by war. The veteran father damages the son who then  becomes a dysfunctional father himself and that goes on until grandson or even great-grandson of the veteran. Unless of course there is another war which sets things back to square one.

The ‘true story’ correctly identifies a violent home as a major cause of juvenile crime.

Fresh water and life’s latest.

First up the latest post from professor Paul Beckwith from the University of Ottawa. His youtube channel and website are a good source of reliable climate information. The one below, his latest, is about fresh water.

 

My life latest is that I was supposed to have a stress test at the local hospital, check the old ticker is working properly, but when the cardiologist saw me walk in with a bike helmet and I told him I regularly do 70 plus kilometers of trail riding, he decided I didn’t need one. But, further into the discussion he wanted to slam me into a hospital bed telling me my efforts to beat diabetes by natural means have not been entirely successful. When I declined the offer of free meals and accommodation, he then listed all the shocking and horrible things I could look forward to and whilst he was reading out the shopping list, I was mentally ticking them off as already happening. Not good. So in a few months (yes – that’s a short wait for an appointment) I’ll be back in the endocrinologist’s office and with a little luck s/he will be able to give me the precise information I need to plan for the years ahead. Diabetes today is not as big a deal as it used to be, a death sentence, but from my perspective it could mean a major upset in the planning department. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep plodding on looking for an income and working on the comic strip. Who knows it might even be successful and if not, who cares – making it is fun enough to justify the time and effort.

Yep – it’s a comic strip.

Despite being superstitious about sharing details of a project I think it won’t draw evil upon my current project if i share a few screen shots and words about the why , what and how.

Basically as all reading this blog over the past few years would know, I tend to be like a kid in a toy store when it comes to projects and in particular anything related to the visual arts and story telling. I have a few roughed out books on my hard drive sitting beside a few short near-completed animations and plenty more of the same begging exit from the creative section of my brain. I’m one those people who dive into something and when the creative process is completed and it’s no longer fun and games, I get bored and look for something else to play with. Either that or I go into one of my recurring bouts of clinical depression and select all and delete. I’m sure many can relate to that and the bit where later you find yourself madly going through files on the external hard drive hoping there was a backed-up copy you had forgotten existed. To be fair to myself, some projects are beyond what a person can create by themselves.

Problem is I’m not getting any younger and would like to actually complete a major project and so and summing up what I know and my skill portfolio, I decided a comic strip would be the best option even if figure drawing, the most important skill in comic strip creation, is something I have not done for well over a decade. As my father used to say ‘there is no such thing as the perfect circumstances to start something’, and he was right, at some point if you burn to do or create something then just jump in and get started. Sort out the problems as you go along.

So with no small amount of self-doubt I dragged out from the dark corners of a back-up hard drive a script previously written for an animation based on actual life events experienced by street kids I worked with in the past and went about re-writing it as a story that could be told in drawn frames and speech bubbles. When that was done and there no excuse left, I fired up Krita, the open source paint application, and after a first test (previously posted on this blog) to get a feel for the software which I rarely used before, started roughing out page number One.

I can confirm from that initial experience that drawing people is difficult if there was any lingering doubt in anyone’s mind but as I progress through this work a new problem is becoming apparent and it is that like the proverbial ability to ride a bicycle, long lost figure drawing skills are beginning to return which means I will be going back over the already sketched out pages. My work method is from the written story I sketch out a rough and entirely hand drawn version of each page and then work up a version that is still a pencil sketch but closer to what will later be inked, painted with speech bubbles and text added in the end.  What I’m finding is that the second pencil sketch done using for example Blender 3D to assist with tricky perspective is not as alive as the entirely hand-drawn rough. Below is an example where this difference is apparent. The second version is more detailed and has some obvious background changes but clearly relying less on intuition and spontaneity is I think not as good as the original could be when my confidence returns and I can work with at most a perspective grid.

screen shot of the intial pencil sketch.

Initial sketch that to me communicates the character’s emotional state better than the second sketch of this page (below) which made greater use of software in the drawing process.

Changes to background with computer assistance in drawing the main character.

 

Letter to the Americans from Michael Curry. (bishop)

Loved the sermon of bishop Michael Curry at the marriage of Harry and Meghan for a few reasons.

One that he spoke at length about Love and what Teilhard de Chardin had to say about it – chapter five (from memory) of de Chardin’s book “The Human Phenomena”. (Le Phénomène humain).

Second were the reactions in the attendance such as Elton John looking as though he had just had a spoonful of cod liver oil poured down his throat.

Third and best of all was the reaction of my house mate who is a refugee and hero of the Uruguayan communist resistance. No – her name is not Michele. I said Uruguayan and not French. A communist, words such as Christ, Jesus, religion, faith, etc have a weird effect on her atheist gland and minutes into the bishop’s sermon she was wailing in agony, pleading for the torture to stop and when it didn’t, she resorted to burying her face in the sofa and pulling a cushion tightly over her head and ears, she vocalized loud and repeated La – La – La – La – La – La – La’s to drown out that which a communist cannot stand to hear. The spectacle reminded me of a film about a little girl whose head had this tendency to spin around.

Anyway, things returned to normal after the sermon but if anyone had any doubt it is past time Australia became a republic then one look at the people sitting in that church should suffice to change their minds. No offense intended to the young couple as it’s not Harry’s fault he was raised by a family of inbreeds living in public housing.

Curry’s sermon was I think in no small measure intended for his home audience with yet another school shooting and those ongoing problems of race and migration. A good start for fixing the shooting epidemic would be changing the culture of fear and resorting to violence as a first response to any problem that may arise. Check out any so-called action movie, the hero is a typical patriotic United States citizen, a nice person minding their own business and enjoying a happy and loving environment and then something bad happens. What does this person do? Break open the box where all the weapons are stashed and after a sufficient body count has been reached our hero rejoins his or her loved ones and with greatly enhanced hero status. Should we be surprised that monkey do as monkey see?

There’s of course the problem of the news media who just love scaring their audiences into madly emailing politicians demanding tougher laws, penalties and more cruelty in the way the monster-under-the-bed is put to death. Again reinforcing the culture of violence as first and often only response.

Not that we are immune to fear and cowardice here in the great southern land with just days ago police given the power to stop and demand identification from anyone who doesn’t take their fancy. Asked by journalists why we need yet another loss of civil rights here in the land of the fair go and mateship our prime minister simply and flatly said “We live in dangerous times”. A Syrian, Yemeni or citizen of the Democratic Republic of Congo would laugh but the best bit in all this is that carrying identification is not compulsory in Australia. That’s probably next on the governments ‘to do’ list.

Blessings.

Erwin Schimitzek murdered.

Mug shot of gay man in Auschwitz concntration camp.

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.

The ‘abominable crime of buggery’.

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.

Free Peppa Pig!

 

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.)

Peppa Pig

A danger to State power?

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.

Man blocking Chinese tanks Tiananmen Square 1989

Home of the brave – Tiananmen Square 1989.

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…

Tintin finds Chang in the Sexy Boy brothel.

Some truth in that the ‘victim’ status of sex workers does not always stand up to close scrutiny.

 

Seriously…?