Sunday, February 5, 2017

Is That All There Is...to a Holocaust?

Another International Holocaust Memorial Day has come and gone, with a new "leader of the Western world" and his partners in denial choosing to “de-judify” it altogether. While it’s factual that many others perished in the Holocaust, you'd be right in thinking it's incumbent on those who publicly mark the day to actually acknowledge by name all groups who were persecuted to death. Is the Holocaust on its way to becoming something else…like just another aspect of war?

Holocausts and stuff…I’m reminded of delivering one of my best friends’ eulogy when he succumbed to AIDS. Steve loved the very best of everything – especially literature. For him alone, I drew on Hemingway’s “A Farewell To Arms”, and how Papa H. likened the dead soldiers to becoming nothing more than concrete numbers and dates on roads and regiments. And how honor and courage seemed like obscene abstractions. (I lost my audience in that little chapel early on: neither an ashamed mother nor a motley collection of homosexualists drew comfort from my words. But the non-denominational celebrant at least claimed to get it.)

Come as you are. Or are not.

 The fact that the modern skinhead haircut was pioneered by queer AIDS activists as a Holocaust reminder is something apparently forgotten by gays and fashionistas alike. Analogies don’t always work because nothing is quite the same as anything else. But Shoah teaching principles aren’t as exclusively Judeocentric as one might think, and homosexualists can draw much from them. As we note that effects ripple from cause, we also note that ACT-UP was as much about honour and courage as it was about anger.

Perhaps all we take away from that Holocaust is that we’ll never meet the grandsons. Those nice Jewish and Gypsy and Black and Slavic boys we should be meeting. And that’s okay, because at least we’re relating the “then” to the “now”. We can, and should, remember “our own kind” as well. And also ask ourselves what legacy of theirs we’ve been deprived of. (Notably, our own kind weren’t liberated from concentration camps when the good guys showed up: they were transferred to other prisons to complete their sentences…‘cos, well, the law (for fags) is the law.)

Broadway initially felt a direct effect of AIDS because it hit their bottom line hard: a multi-million dollar business built on the back of homosexual creativity. The shows had much difficulty going on. But that particular loss was in and of itself. Schlagers, tits and feathers aside, it doesn’t address legacy or community: the cumulative knowledge and extraordinary talents of an era’s gay men weren’t handed on to homo replacements on Broadway or anywhere else. Our rate of replication couldn’t quickly assure that clever hands and astute minds would be replaced in a generation. Gay men worldwide lost our best and brightest across the boards, and as a generation or two of men on the planet we’re diminished for it.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Prison Walls & Eros - Part 2: The Ridiculous


The male heterosexual imperative isn’t as persuasive a force as we’re led to believe: we depend on media saturation and extensive social engineering to prevent men from naturally slipping into varying degrees of homosexual experience. The truths and mythologies of male-to-male relationships within the most overtly segregated male institutions – school, the military and prisons – are rarely ever taken seriously beyond the assumption that no good will come of men being deprived of pussy. That assumption of course is entirely point-of-view dependent.

 Prior to punk rock and the 1970s reframing of the politicization of sex – and prison sex specifically – the “punk” was a behind-bars fixture: usually young, he dressed up and made up to advertise his sexual availability. At a price, he was as much predator as victim since he was often of quite ruthless character. Not “queen” or “fag”, it’s highly debatable as to whether or not his place in the prison hierarchy was most subordinate. To arbitrarily define and dismiss him as someone who “assumes a submissive female role at the bottom of the inmate gender hierarchy” isn’t necessarily as informative as it purports to be. While acknowledging the system in which he functions, he isn’t necessarily the poster boy of a feminist degradation narrative. He may very well as a man experience his role as intensely physically satisfying…for starters.

 
The archetype of the prison “punk” is mid-50s Elvis Presley: an obviously made-up and flamboyantly dressed longhair with wide-ish hips that moved slightly forward just like a lurid stripper. He didn’t disturb males of decent society for no good reason: if you hadn’t spent time in the slammer yourself and simply knew what Elvis Presley was, then word-of-mouth would quickly bring you up to speed. He wasn’t a non-threatening joke-queer like Liberace who laughed at himself: he was something else again…something dangerous, with heavy makeup and hair dye and silks and satins in defiance of repressed and suited conformity.

While much has been made of the fact that he further popularized "race music", the gender nuances of the young and raw Elvis Presley have become obscured by time and revisionist history. His self-invention as a punk for the masses can probably be attributed to the exhibitionist naiveté of a mama’s boy following intuitive gender callings. He hadn’t had the experience of incarceration, but was hypnotically attracted to the flashy drag and not-quite-male sexuality he promoted.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Culture of Suicide: Enough Already.



It’s no secret that men’s mental health in Australia is worsening at an alarming rate, and suicide statistics confirm it. If eight lives a day were being lost to terrorism the whole damned country would be on red alert, with a national hysteria of unprecedented proportions. Suicide in itself isn’t necessarily a desire to kill oneself as much as it’s a desperate attempt to make overwhelming distress and emotional pain stop.

We’ll never know how many of those men were actually troubled by their homosexual thoughts – when researching the subject some time ago I turned up anecdotal evidence of “suicide-instead-of-coming-out” notes secretly destroyed by shameful families, and a Sydney imam as a matter of course advising a young man that suicide was the only honorable option for a Muslim man with homosexual desires. By default, the Australian culture is apparently unable to effectively respond to male suicide - past and present. The above anecdotal snapshots are indicative of the pernicious and diverse co-factors which need to be addressed, and it's doubtful they're included in the key LGBTI stats:

• LGBT people aged 16 and over scored an average K10 score of 19.6, indicating moderate psychological distress
 • 15.15% of LGBTI people aged 16 and over report current thoughts of suicide in the past 2 weeks
 • 37.2% LGBT people aged 16 and over reported being diagnosed or treated for any mental disorder in the past three years
 • 35% of Transgender people aged 18 and over have attempted suicide in their lifetime
 • 60% of people with an intersex variation aged 16 and over had thought about suicide on the basis of issues related to having congenital sex variation
• 20.3% LGBTI people aged 16 and over reported that they had been diagnosed with anxiety in their lifetime
 • 30.5% of LGBT people aged 16 and over have been diagnosed or treated for depression in the last three years
• 16% of LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 reported that they had attempted suicide

 Queers now have an opportunity to positively shape the future of mental health in Australia for LGBTI people of all ages, and men in general. With a bit of effort we can step up and proactively be the guys who make a difference.

 The recently-released Fifth National Mental Health Plan will seek to establish a national approach for collaborative government effort over the next five years, with a focus on achieving a better integrated service system for consumers and carers. LGBTI inclusion must be approached as a priority rather than a sidebar. The National LGBTI Health Alliance encourages members, project partners and networks to actively participate in these consultations to support adequate inclusion of LGBTI people and communities. Consultation dates and times across the country are underway, and listed on the above Plan link rollover.

Please contact MindOUT / National LGBTI Health Alliance in your capital city if you are attending a consultation / workshop and wish to discuss LGBTI inclusion in the Fifth National Mental Health Plan.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Milo Yiannopoulos: Truth-Teller? Iconoclast? Fucked-up Queen?

 

The phenomenon of a gay man shilling for the far right in socio-religious politics is nothing new: as such, Milo Yiannopoulos isn’t an original. The timing of the Alt-Right “movement” however has provided Yiannopoulos with a visibility and a platform which annoying gays with Histrionic Personality Disorder can only dream of, and he’s riding the donkey for all it’s worth.

But is he just another aberrant homosexualist who simply tells the truth, and damn the torpedoes? Is he a legitimate alternate gay male voice who sticks it to the sacred cows of LGBT political correctness as one should? Clearly he’s not an intellectual heavyweight: his consumerist queeniness with fashionista pretensions (in the worst sense of the words) underscores shorthand nihilistic opinions. It’s all marketed as take-no-prisoners edginess, via Breitbart. It’s hard to take his journalism seriously when decorated with glamour pix which appear to refute his fading once-Mediterranean looks.

The above notwithstanding, he’s currently enjoying a good run on that bandwagon much-loved by conservatives: free speech. Free speech is a very good thing, as self-censorship is to be reviled. We’re led to believe that the down-side of free speech is hate speech, with truth sometimes being collateral damage. Any smart manipulator can run with that obfuscation of the left, and parlay it into a case against everything from feminism to identity causes. Of critical importance however is exactly how much capital-T Truth is being unleashed when the gloves are off. And specifically, how much truth is Yiannopoulos telling as he proudly trolls for the sake of trolling…like Anonymous Meets Perez Hilton.

 Now permanently banned from Twitter (for inspiring a bullying campaign against actress Leslie Jones) it will be interesting to see how he fares post-POTUS election. He claims the ban has made him more famous. But considering that currently the entire Alt-Right movement is essentially a social media exercise, time will tell whether or not it’s actually a viable political force. Yiannopoulos himself isn’t: his hubris and wing-nut Western European politics haven’t seen him advance up the media food chain with any notability. Sexuality – especially his own self-hating variety – appears to dominate his interviews and fly in the face of the identity politics he claims to oppose.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Prison Walls & Eros - Part 1: The Sublime



We don’t often delve into our psychosexuality when responding to the homoeroticism of sex behind bars. It’s a staple of modern pornography. From a getting-off perspective it’s a no-brainer. One aspect of why prison sexuality continues to figure so strongly in both gay and non-gay male sexual fantasies is quite obvious: incarceration is a very good excuse to fully and without inhibition explore the male taboo of enjoyment of the homosexual experience. The fact that it’s best enjoyed with another man’s body isn’t helpful in honestly addressing what is usually felt as internalized homophobia but experienced as most pleasurable. In short, choice has nothing to do with men’s attachment to thoughts of prison sex, and that’s its attraction.

But pornography only addresses desire – that’s its band-aid purpose. It doesn’t address existential loneliness, or the pervasive longing which in many ways defines much of our culture and individual selves, regardless of what relationships we may experience (or, all too often, reject).

It’s tempting to imagine that bridging the gap between pornography and longing is a future topic to be addressed by gay men. However, some digging into our culture yields up Jean Genet’s silent film “Un Chant d’Amour”(“Song Of Love”) from 1950. Reviled as pornography from its onset, this short masterpiece of homoerotic existentialism is peculiarly more relevant than ever. It’s still deeply subversive inasmuch as there is no refuge within for the homophobe of any persuasion – the viewer is denied that dubious payoff.


Set in an oppressively gloomy prison, the familiar dance of The Boy’s capitulation to both The Man and homosexuality is perfunctory and speedy – the need for connection jolts him from his narcissistic auto-eroticism. The Man’s tears of nothingness give way to a bashful smile of being, when he's "accepted".  The film has been fairly critiqued as a damnation of the walls men build around themselves.

Juxtaposing the bleakness of the wall of separation, Genet offers a sweet counterpoint fantasy of bucolic contact, respect, sensuality and liberation. Much has been made of Genet’s insistence on aberrant homosexualism as a valid and menacing repudiation of “civilized society”, but “Un Chant d’Amour” is as decent as it gets for the thinking homosexualist: as it documents immuration, it also documents our lost history when homosexuals (and homosexuality) actually had the ability to transcend age, race gender and identity.


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Aberrance Is Its Own Reward: The Michael Lucas Edition



As a veteran of the Queer Wars of the 90s, I’m all ears when an activist with a dissenting voice is denounced as a revolting extremist, a moronic bigot, a Queer Supremacist, a hate spewer, a hypocrite and a whore. (It’s par for the course, and you’re probably not doing anything worthwhile if you haven’t been similarly denounced by “your own kind”). The reactionary loathing which Lucas’ brand of Zionism attracts from gay men isn’t substantiated by logic or reason, and we’re wise to ask why. While not wishing Israel well isn’t proof of anti-Semitism, it just happens to be one of the very best indicators currently at our disposal.


For close to a decade, Michael Lucas has been a very uppity Queer. He’s the aberrant homosexualist par excellence. Not happy to just live the shadowy dual persona of pornographer and pornographee, he regularly walks the burning coals between political left and political right and lives to yell about it.  An opinionated homosexual is nothing new, but one who can actually put up without drowning himself in Post Modernist rhetoric certainly is.

One case in point is the subject of Israel. Lucas regularly picks at one of the sores of sloppy liberalism: concurrent promotion of gay rights as well as so-called Palestinian rights... a cause which bathes itself in claims of no anti-Antisemitism whatsoever. It’s indeed a rich mother lode to be mined by the skeptic: the narrative is always framed in terms of a juggernaut of Israeli violence committed against innocent victims, with the only historical reference being the Holocaust - as in “They’re doing exactly what Hitler did!” That the fallacy isn’t regularly repudiated by facts - or simply laughed off – is certainly indicative of a mindset which doesn’t accommodate at its core a Jew’s basic right to exist. By logical extension, you can be certain that a militarily-protected homosexual state would similarly unleash a hatred which is masked by sympathy for the “victims”, no matter how loathsome their beliefs or what ends they desire. Lucas was quick off the mark to point out a fundamental lie of the broadened “Islamophobia” meme: despising a murderous religious ideology can’t be seriously construed as racism unless you're a stupid dilettante or worse.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"The Way He Looks": Another Look


Whatever voyeuristic discomfort a grown man expects to experience with the subject of pubescent boys “coming of age” is quickly dissipated by this 2014 Brazilian charmer. Writer/director Daniel Ribeiro deftly delivers a big romance within a smallish movie, disarmingly free of any obvious agenda - we don't even get to find out whether or not first love lasts. Decidedly purged of Americanized LGBTism and its attendant pretense and posturing, “The Way He Looks” is thematically Old Hollywood: part “Enchanted Cottage”, part “Ugly Duckling”. 

You see, Leo (as unforgettably played by Guilherme Lobo), is blind. His disability is compounded by over-protective parents who curb his desires for independence at every turn. Physically awkward, he’s looked after by school gal-pal Giovana, who soon will be replaced by The New Boy In School, Gabriel. Just about the right amount of teen angst ensues, as clumsy non-starting heterosexuality is replaced by a surer homosexuality. Latin sensibility (and Latin sensuality) easily dispense with “the blindness problem”: Leo can’t look at his beloved, but he sure can similarly experience him by sense of smell. Free of sighted self-consciousness, Leo can treat Gabriel to an extended perusal of his rump in the shower to nobody’s embarrassment: the camera pointedly reminds the rest of us that he’s to be desired and not pitied. Perhaps he’s also admirably blessed: he knows as proven fact that looks have nothing to do with the homosexual matrix, or love for that matter.

As an unapologetic homage to the transformative power of love, “The Way He Looks” is on sure footing from beginning to end. Director Ribeiro refuses the viewer predictable distractions like the grubbiness of guilt and shame, gratuitous violence and messages about “real” homosexuality.  As a movie experience, it’s a deeply satisfying emotional manipulation. We just know these guys are going to be okay, and maybe our take-away is that we’re going to be okay too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Junk And Fig Leaves: The Curse of Genital Shaming



Western society has form when it comes to the image of the nude masculine beauty ideal: far from ars gratia artis, these images form useful symbolism for the promotion of nationalism. From Ancient Greece through J.J.Winckelmann’s 18th Century revivalism, to the Nazi purchase of The Discobolus and on to us via 1950’s American muscle culture, we observe a recurrent theme. The attractive representation reinforces a doctrine of male perfectibility through restraint and self-discipline, with “weakness” being kept in check. Penises are also notably kept in check: deliberately infantilized male genitalia represent status and control over moral turpitude in the Classical oeuvre, and the habit permeates modern maleness from the cradle to the grave. We are then left to question exactly what the perfect nude male and his genitalia subliminally represents to the homosexualist, and how it will impact on his sexual psyche and subsequent emotional wellbeing.

The most famous dick of all time is worn by Michelangelo’s shamelessly naked and sexually ambiguous David. It’s also the most ridiculed dick of all time – to the point that art and cartoon are now one, and nobody ever mentions his ass. It’s become the crude moustache painted on the Mona Lisa postcard. The public discourse has nothing to do with relaxed comfort around the male nude, just as it has nothing to do with appreciation of flawlessly executed sculpture. Scholars don’t help by assigning lofty messages of freedom and republicanism to the piece while overlooking the sexuality of both sculptor and subject.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Top 10 First Date Tips For Men & Boys





   In the good old summer times there was no such thing as gay dating. You simply hit the streets and got laid and if he stuck around he was your next loving assignment or whatever. The Zen of it all gave way to the prophylactic sensibility of a Connie Francis record, and we embraced "dating" so that we didn't appear to be what we were, while at the same time not getting what we want.

   But there's no need to wallow in the crushing disappointments of gay dating anymore! No point in trying to spiritually manifest Mr. Right! Ignore the horoscopes! Just follow these proven commonsense tips for shaking the bastards down!


1. How do I know if things are moving too fast?

He puts out on the first date.

2. How do I know if things aren’t moving fast enough?

He doesn’t put out on the first date.

3. How do I know if he’s too old for me?

“All my friends call me Lana Turner!” is a sure sign.

4. How do I know if he’s too young for me?

He won’t admit to being desperate.

5. How do I know if he’s emotionally available?

Tell him you’re desperate.

6. How do I know if he’s good in bed?

See above.
 
7. How do I not appear desperate?

LOL

8. How do I know if he’s too smart for me?

He steals your wallet on the way out.

9. How do I know if he’s too stupid for me?

He steals your doorknob on the way out.

10. How do I know if he’s a stalker?

If he tells you he likes you why not run with the idea anyhow?







What We Pick Up At The Movies




Cultural sustenance is much the same as diet: you’re never quite sure if you’ve got the balance right. The healthy and unhealthy content aren’t as obviously presented as you’d hope. Our psychology can only be appropriate to the culture and especially the times, but the ethical aspects of morality are far more deeply embedded in our psyche. It’s that go-to place in our minds where something just seems inherently right, and stories and legends take us there if our rational thoughts don’t. 

The theme of one of the most enduring and soulful legends is redemption through love. But, as filtered through the ages, it presents significant identification problems for the modern male homosexual. We had it better in the lore of antiquity: heroic male-male relationships produced overarching respect with values of integrity and equality. The many faces of true love were as inspiring as they were diverse. Gilgamesh, David, and Alexander the Great go the core of our homosexuality, and they do it with epic heart-stopping drama of the most profound kind. The “gay zeitgeist” we often acknowledge is more likely to have its origins in our far-distant collective past than in the golden age of Hollywood, and the drama we crave isn’t as cheap as the drama we may resort to.


Those guys, their beloveds and the very heart of their shared melodramas went away with the help of determined and thorough homophobic scholastic interventions, but we didn’t. The sagas of redemption through love in all its forms still unfold, but at the expense of the homosexualist by virtue of systematic exclusion. Culture continues to shut out gay men from the eternally powerful paradigm. Denied as stakeholders in what’s taken for granted by everybody else, we’re left with a void, and that void is often filled with movie actresses and more recently “divas”. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Butch Makeover Planned For Queer Jesus





It becomes clear when researching masculinities studies that the most famous (and arguably most influential) man in Western history is being essentially ignored, as study after study re-treads familiar ground while acknowledging other men of mythology. Further digging reveals that some American Christians are most concerned with his image. “Real men” apparently are staying away from churches in droves, and “queer Jesus” is stated as a significant reason. The sonofabitch just isn’t as brash, brave, bold and bullying as an attractive messiah should be, and recruiters are concerned.

While I’m certain their definition of Queer Jesus departs radically from mine by virtue of more than a captitalized "Q", the general idea has been kicking around for ages. Comedians remind us that a Leftie Jewish boy of 32 who’s still single and at home with his mother should ring some bells. A gay sensibility of course reads “disciples and Mary Magdalene” as “fuck-buddies and a hooker for a fag hag”...perspective being everything after all: as it is in Topeka, so it must have been in Israel.

Religious theorists-cum-academics have traditionally been most comfortable with a neutered Jesus. While superficially queer-positive, the idea is actually there to reinforce the sex-negative propaganda it promotes. It’s deservedly losing currency, as some female colleagues attempt to insert “recently discovered" and highly suspect "evidence” supportive of female inclusion in a new but nonetheless heterosexist scenario.  It may not be such a tough sell either, because in effect it’s fundamentally homophobic: a carnal Jesus who is most definitely not a queer Jesus is one recruitment strategy that might just fly.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Bruce Jenner Ain’t No Homo!




 Now officially name-changed to “Caitlyn”, the former Olympian is currently teasing us with his/her “dating secrets”. Since we’re probably bored shitless with gender and sex debates as they relate to men who are transitioning, it’s always refreshing when the topic of actual sexuality comes up. Desires and dicks (and where they get put) is a neglected part of the public discourse in terms of both ideology and P.R. Radical feminists only touch upon it, while the most media-hungry transitionees stay remarkably coy on the subject. One man's "courageous authenticity" is another man's commitment to  deeply-held conservative religious values: god forbid ladylike normalcy should become tainted by the odor of sodomy and other deviant sexual practices.

 To the great disappointment of chicks-with-dicks aficionados, Jenner won’t be having sex with a man until the transitioning is complete i.e. installation of something approximating a vagina. For now, it’s just coffee…not unlike an online 30ish-claiming gay who’s just got serious about husband-hunting whilst convinced he’s sitting on a still-desirable commodity. However, unlike many “real women” – or real gays for that matter - Jenner won’t be taking it up the ass anytime soon. Not even a girly nibble on a knob in the front seat to say “Thanks for coffee and dropping me home.” It’s 1960 all over again.

 Presumably market research for a first-time sex tape hasn’t turned up the kind of dollars Jenner Inc could jump-start negotiations with. Anyhow they’re probably holding out for the big (and respectably ladylike) bucks that  “Cait's Surgery Journey” will attract.  

 And hopefully at that point Germaine Greer will again weigh in with advice as to whether or not it’s worth getting ovaries and a womb at 66...for the sake of completeness over cosmetics, if nothing else.

Suggested Further Viewing and Reading


Delusionary Transgenderism was cleverly and appropriately barbecued by David Walliams and Matt Lukas in the “We’re Two Ladies” sketches from BBC’s “Little Britain” 2003-2006 series. The Victorian-styled Ladies attracted the analytical eye-for-detail attention of  A Queer Theorist who unfortunately wasn't thinking critically enough to work within a framework of truth vs. delusion. A very good read nontheless.

Sounding Gay: Not As Lite As You May Think



The GLBT documentary genre isn’t really compelling viewing unless your tastes are drawn to a predictable tableau of ideology within a freak show: a GLAAD-ly blessed pity-fest of dubious intent and questionable pedigree. Usually short on challenging points-of-view but long on the assumption that there's a generic LGBT person, you're left wondering just how many more “journeys” are there to be undertaken across a well-trod landscape.

With “Do I Sound Gay?” David Thorpe takes on the cringe-worthy topic with all the panache of an excellent journalist: here the tabloidish “both sides of the story” is eschewed in favor of pursuing the more truthful “all sides of the story”. And that’s exactly why the documentary is so thought-provoking, and just so damned good.  It’s to our great benefit that Thorpe as protagonist doesn’t egotistically presume to know himself very well: quite clearly he doesn’t, nor does he let personal vanity get in the way of letting others who clearly love him rat him out.  (Subsequent to the film’s release, his more stridently bitchy gay critics have helped him out with a “diagnosis” of self-loathing - that reliable old form of personal attack which often screams more about the user’s under-threat malice than anything else.)

“Do I Sound Gay?” works well because of its subversive elements, and they are many. Ultimately of course it’s not about David Thorpe at all, or whether or not he’s lovable as he presents himself. Undue weight isn’t given to gender issues, but you must have slept through the show if you didn’t leave asking yourself about the very broad implications of sounding gay in a world of entrenched sexual and gender binaries. Closer to the bone, the viewer may very well wonder how and what gay men communicate with each other (and to the world at large) beyond “Yes I have Histrionic Personality Disorder but it’s you who’ll suffer from it”.

 “Just be who you are!” may be a likely or satisfactory response to an apparently silly question (no spoilers!), but Thorpe isn’t asking a silly question. Unless you live by slogans alone you’ll be asking a lot more questions than the documentarian presumes to answer…this time around, at least.