Friday, August 18, 2017

"Californication"

2007-2014
-created by tom kapinos
This show, about "bad boy" novelist hank moody (david duchovny - KALIFORNIA, THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW) bursts out of the gate with hip, bawdy hilarity. By the fourth season, that thrust peters out...but they muddle on. The show's fatal flaw is that the lead character would never watch this crap, especially when all that's left is the realization that hank is in no way actually subversive. Instead of articulately defending his libertine ways, he embraces all the judeo-christian-muslim morality being dumped on him, and becomes that most loathsome creature of all - a hypocrite. A damn shame, too - the dialogue and acting in the racier parts are often delightful (the intimate scenes less well-written). It all makes you wish they'd had one more writer on staff, someone like...well, hank as he originally almost was. Watch the first few seasons, then get out before the Hallmark era descends.

Monday, August 14, 2017

free spirit seeks asian marriage for...

(the following is an ad i placed on Craigslist, with the above title)

...humanitarian reasons? Mutual enrichment? Friendship and love?
I've never been married, by choice. It's a barbaric institution, all about possessiveness, sexual jealousy, and hoarding resources in a world of poverty. Marriage was born in a time when men literally bought and sold women. I never want to be a part of that.
But i know that in this bizarre world, marriage can open doors. There might be someone reading this for whom marriage would be the key to a world of dreams that seems otherwise unreachable.
Why asian? Partly because of population demographics here in the San Francisco area, and partly because i've always been an asiophile. But your skin or culture matter not, if the message of this note touches some need in you, and your spirit touches me.
Why would i do this? Aside from lifting someone else's life, i could use a lift too. I'm a non-materialist, choosing to live without the security of excess money. Having someone to lighten life's burdens might be lovely. But as you've perhaps guessed, i don't have a specific idea in mind here. Just opening up a thought to the universe.

(My first foray into an online personal ad in years...well, i have returned to a large metropolitan center. Can a renaissance for my moribund southern bible belt love life be far behind? This ad is more playfully platonic than serious, but since i'll never marry for conventional reasons, the idea of "helping" a woman fulfill her dreams has always been bouncing around some corner of my mind. Especially if she's asian. What - i can dream, can't i?)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

"Speaking Freely"

(Unlearning the Lies of the Fathers' Tongue)
-by julia penelope
1990
As a student, penelope was expelled from two home-state colleges (FSU and UM) within one year, for suspected lesbianism and lesbianism...though curiously, not in that order (i'd make an accuse/suspect Clue joke, if it all weren't so vomitously shameful). She persevered and got a doctorate, but her teaching career was slow-tracked because of her "too narrow" focus on lesbian studies. "Speaking Freely", one of her twelve books, deconstructs all the grammatical tricks of the english language which demean, marginalize, or render women invisible, plus those structures which serve to conceal the male exploitations and brutalities perpetrated against them. Misdirecting modifiers, vague pronouns, euphemisms, agentless passives...for example, if a newscaster were to cite a rape statistic, he or she might say, "There were seventy-three cases of rape in Berks County today". But that construction completely conceals the rapists and victims. A more honest syntax might give us "Men raped seventy-three women in Berks County today". The first version doesn't hurt or bleed, and it makes the events feel like rain, something that just happened to happen. Or think about the assumptions and roles revealed in the difference between "to mother" and "to father" - always, men are active agents and women passive tools of male initiation. Or take the verb cuckold - there's no female equivalent. Eggs are therefore less important than sperm, no? Or why do we have "emasculate", but not "effeminate"? Because there is no quality or measure of womanhood that has relevance in languages constructed by men.
Julia owns up to the fact that by writing in english, she's committing many of the offenses she's trying to out. She talks about laadan, a woman's language constructed in the 70s, completely free of patriarchal assumptions and biases. She talks about the feministly-correct changes in our language since the 70s, some of which have merit, but none of which get near the core of the problem. Absent a total woman's revolution, she talks about attitudes and tactics that can better this world, for women and men - above all, the need to reshape language so that women are allowed to be active agents, free of the motherhood/sex object boundaries.
I wish i could tell you this amazing book has lost its relevance twenty-five years later. It's a challenging read. And worth it.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

dear pam 2

Dear pamela mammala,
Stop peering into the depths of my spirit.
I look back on a life of conspicuous gentleness and consideration, and know that i might have had forty or fifty lovers by now, had that not been so...in other words, had i been more "normal". The insanity of that sometimes pushes me to the edge. And then i meet a new woman, and i know if i let out the predator in me, i could have her. As the years of loneliness pile up, i feel less and less proud of having been able to conquer my predator so well.
I think about you, and the thought that i might bring you a kind of carnal healing you've never experienced. It wouldn't bother me, if i knew there were other men who could offer you the same. There probably are...but statistically, the odds of you meeting one of them are iffy at best.
In any kind of rational world, we'd already be lovers. And on some level, we are. But of course we'll think all these things through, and easily come up with practical reasons why not being lovers makes sense.
But at a certain point, i feel like the ultimate theme of my life will be "all this useless wisdom" (to appropriate an elvis costello title). We all should be able to just be alive and human in the moment, but it almost never happens.
And sure, we might not even have great sexual chemistry! But when i think about the confluences in our spirits, and striking similarities in our sexual tastes...
You asked whether i were ever tempted to fuck out of hopelessness. Stop being so perceptive! It gets harder and harder for me to keep those demons at bay. With us, it's not just that though. It's easy to imagine being your deep friend for the rest of my time on this planet. It's also easy to imagine spending thousands of hours in beautiful sexual communion.
But don't make too much of my ramblings. I know too well how out of balance i am. If you'd like a metaphor for where i am at this point in my life, imagine a bloody, pulpy body on the road. But one hand is lifting off the ground, and the whispered words emerge, "I will save this world, you hopeless fuckers..."
Are you done making babies, or can you imagine more?
------------------
About back-patting...i spent many years cultivating humility. When i thought i'd reached it, i dug for deeper levels on which i might be full of shit. Trying to never put myself above anyone. Trying to eliminate all thoughts of entitlement. Starting with the concept "Everything i know and believe is probably wrong". It was only after twenty or so years of doing that, that i'm finally acknowledging the notion of "false modesty". It can be a disservice to yourself and the world to pretend to be less than you are, so i'm starting to own the notion that maybe, just maybe, i have wisdom and understanding that stretches beyond the average person. Maybe even beyond the average intelligent person. Maybe even...
I try not to picture my life playing out. Part of my spiritual striving is to be fully present and alive in the moment. I have ideas which i pursue, but i try not to project my ego into the future. Put another way, we all spend our lives creating and maintaining our own personal mythologies...just as we may not really ever "know" another person (only our "idea" of them), you could argue that all we know about ourselves is our idea of who "we" are. And in this world of individualism gone steroidal, we all keep one eye on the "story" of our life, so we can impress others (and ourselves).
Besides, the more i can detach from my own ego, the more likely a candidate i might be for alien abduction (or rescue, hopefully).
Have you an answer to your own lifetime question? And have you ever fucked out of a sense of hopelessness? The way you asked, i suspect the answer is yes.
love,
wrob

Monday, July 31, 2017

her milkshake

AP News Flash
Los Angeles, January 3, 2018
-The national furor continues in day five of the kelis trial. The R&B diva has been caught up in the wave of "outsized celebrity ego" litigation sweeping the country. After numerous civil lawsuit triumphs against more prominent performers, politicians, and professional athletes, public advocacy groups have turned their attention to kelis, whose 2003 hit "Milkshake" catapulted her into the national consciousness. As usual, the charges initially focused on "self-glorification detrimental to minors and the public good", but as in earlier trials those allegations have been nigh-impossible to prove, so prosecutors have again turned to the "false advertising" tactic so damning in the suits against snoop dogg, eminem, and the sinatra estate. The question of whether kelis' milkshake brings "all the boys" to the yard has been the center of dispute thus far. There have been many witnesses eager to testify that they never once even considered going to the yard, including supreme court justice clarence thomas, all but one of the wayans brothers, and matt damon...but the prosecution has been stymied when asked to provide a single witness who could demonstrate "opportunity but clear refusal" to go. Yesterday's shift in tactic focused on questioning the veracity of kelis' claim that she would "teach you, but [she'd] have to charge". Prosecution alleges that her "need to charge" was a blatant, egregious deception. They've subpoenaed copies of the defendant's tax returns from 2000-2003, and a swift ruling against the singer is expected.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

$any?

I have no idea whether this housing ad is real, but i gave it my best pitch (see below). No word back yet...

$1 NO-vices naturist commune $any! (NO str8 guys)
naturist = 100% nudist = ALL ALWAYS NUDE, the obvious [NO] 'hit-on' reason for NO str8 guys. 
NO 'vices' means: no smoke/drug/drunk/NOISE/mess/disharmony/crime. (not 'morality'!)
Safe, comfortable peace&quiet. Communal: NO privacy (1 shared space)! ALL ages/genders.
Tech-positive. NON-sex env. but "open-minded" (not 'up-tight' sexually): a delicate balance!
LGBT-friendly. NON-judgemental, like HAI.org . Money NOT a main issue (alt. contribs cool).
VERY/UNlimited 'touch-positive'! Share ALL, openly. Can you 'grok' this? Explain in your reply.
Thanks & best wishes.

Hello.
If i told you twain, thoreau, lenny bruce, and elizabeth cady stanton had a love child, wouldn't you want it/him/her to write about you?
Your ad blew my mind a bit. I'll get my one contentious point out of the way - i'm not sure about your premise that straight men become mindless predators in the presence of naked women. In some ways, the opposite is probably true. Our cultural neuroses and sexual obsessions are a result of living in a repressed, touch-deprived society. If everybody were naked all the time, we would stop caring about nudity (and beyond that, if everybody had healthy levels of human touch and regular sex, we'd be far less insane...but i suspect i don't have to sell you on that one).
Writing about your community by becoming part of it, would probably be one of the highlights of my literary career. For years, i've intended to do an investigative piece on a nudist colony, and it sounds like yours may be the most spiritually advanced around.
As a writer, i've never made (or sought) a penny. Like picasso said, the meaning of life is to find your gift, and the purpose of life is to give it away.
If we were to look up your "no vice" ethos in a dictionary, there would be a picture of my face. No joke.
Ditto for "open-minded". Anything that makes consenting equals happy (and doesn't hurt anyone else), makes me happy.
Ditto for "non-judgmental". I had to look up HAI (well, i did just set foot in CA for the first time). Brilliant.
Double ding-dong ditto for "touch positive". The greatest book that's never been written is the one that deconstructs how important touch is to human health, and how far lost we are in this personal-space nightmare we call home.
I even grok grok. A fantastic book.
Am i interested in living with you, both as a writer and a human being? Yup.
If you want to crucify me because i'm a straight male, you're too late. I crucified myself years ago.
If you've read this far, i'd be happy to send you the investigative journalist piece i wrote about the sex trade in NYC. I tried to experience as much of it as i could firsthand, without actually having sex with a (probably-exploited) stranger.

yours humbly,
wrob

Sunday, July 23, 2017

"RICH PEOPLE THINGS"

(REAL LIFE SECRETS OF THE PREDATOR CLASS)
Updated Edition
-by chris lehmann
2011
If you'd like to understand on an intellectual basis just how broken this country is, how cripplingly unbalanced we are in terms of "fair play", and how embroiled we are in undeclared class war, this is the place to start. Lehmann makes no emotional appeals, no revolutionary clarion calls. He simply deconstructs the current brand of american capitalism, and exposes a class war coming not from the underprivileged, but from the rich who have taken an already criminally-stacked deck and pocketed three of the five cards the non-rich thought they had.
Lehmann has an 800-verbal SAT mind, and if you're not on at least a 600-level yourself, the richness of his prose will boggle and batter you into submission. In deference to that, i think it only fair to offer you some of his unfiltered words, rather than the reflections of a relative plodder like myself. Here's a lift from his chapter on reality TV:
"By staging competitions for scarce resources, as in the breakout network franchise SURVIVOR, we're testing the core postulates about human behavior in the state of nature. By pitting aspiring singers against each other in AMERICAN IDOL - and putting them to a public vote - we're plumbing the wellsprings of the longing for success and recognition, while also (for good measure) shoring up the hoary talent-will-out shibboleths of the national gospel of success. By marching contestants through the Trump boardroom in THE APPRENTICE, we're sizing up the proper quotients of ruthlessness, ego inflation, and sycophancy that form the forever-unstable compound of corporate achievement.
But it's never the case that reality TV is "real" in any meaningful sense. This isn't just because the producers insist that at least one camera crew is on the scene to record the raw drama of interpersonal confrontation, replete with off-camera lighting and audio set-ups. No, more fundamentally, the sagas of the upward-striving reality format are unreal because they envision perhaps our culture's purest form of class contempt. Lavishly appointed depictions of overclass leisure, such as those in Bravo TV's REAL HOUSEWIVES franchise...provide a study in disaccumulative wealth and entitlement every bit as stark and provoking as the taxpayer-funded executive bonuses at AIG and Goldman Sachs. The surpassingly odd thing about these shows, though, is that they do profess to be natural reflections of our unquestioned social hierarchies; their pecuniary displays are evaluated on the spectrum of taste, not on any moral calculus."
He also exposes the failings and hypocrisies in the U.S. constitution, the New York Times, meritocracy, populism, the Democratic party, the prosperity gospel, ayn rand, lobbyists, libertarians, and the social media. Not all of the twenty-nine essays are equally salient, but they're all pretty stunningly clear-thinking.
I'll end by making the only realistic conclusion that a reading of this book can offer. The only two cards the non-rich have left? Suffer and die, or fight back.