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The Cozy Spot



16 posts categorized "Religion"

September 12, 2008

Sex, Religion and Superstition

I tend to believe that if you have to pay for enlightenment, then you're being sold lemons to begin with. Enlightenment doesn't usually come with a price tag. Insights are gained each day, through ordinary experiences. You don't have to pay a specific fee for it, which is why this recent Sydney case of sexual assault linked with religion or superstition had me going, and it had me going because the two perverted men belong to the Greek and Coptic Orthodox churches. The elder, or the mastermind behind sexual, Tony Golossian is of Coptic Orthodox faith, and his younger 'protégée' is Arthur Psichogios, of Greek Orthodox faith.

These two men have been charged with 220 sex offences and, in what will have the churches reeling, have used their faiths (Orthodox Christianity is one and the same, originates from one source) to sexually assault two women who believed they were cursed, who then consulted these two men to have curses 'lifted' - the men are not part of the clergy, they're not priests. Now, I realize that sexual assault is bad. I know that it isn't a woman's fault when she is plunged in a situation with horrible men, but for the life of me, I can't understand how women within certain cultures still believe 'curses' or the village folklores and superstitions, but they do. I know of many Greek people who still believe in the evil eye, and some of them are younger than I am.

One of the men's victims thought she (and her family) was cursed by a member of the Greek community who practiced black magic, and by some weird stroke of fate, she was referred to these sexual predators who practiced 'prayer' and 'sex'. But this isn't only about the sex, it's also about money. The woman apparently paid these two men for each prayer service, the amount nearing seventy thousand dollars over a few years. The Fairfield acting police commander said that he's never seen anything so bizarre before, and I guess he hasn't. Sometimes you have to be within a culture to see the bizarre beliefs some people have. I had a male relative who believed that he could get his former girlfriend to return to him via a magic spell. My foster mother would visit a minimum of five clairvoyants a year and at one point, she thought the house was cursed, so she paid this Egyptian 'shaman-like' dude to lift the curse, and she still didn't see his predatory ways: he asked her out on a date shortly after (trying to get into her pants) and kept on at her, and she didn't go out with him because she didn't find him attractive, but he kept on calling the house, just so he could 'keep in touch,' and tried talking to us (then teenage) girls, and we'd hang up the phone. It's bizarre and callous, and most of the time the motivation is centred on greed and sexual cravings.

The question that has me is why people still believe in superstition? Is it because traditional faith doesn't satisfy them? I know that it's considered taboo (in the Eastern Orthodox faith) to believe in superstition. It's still considered heretical, and I guess in these cases, the churches make a valid point (where things like black magic and curses are concerned), because these areas are filled with greedy bastards and predators that take advantage of people. When you enter a church, and I'm not talking about the bullshit evangelical TV shows that request funds, you're not forced to donate money. It's up to the individual. You don't see Catholic or Orthodox priests on television, like Peter Popoff, selling bullshit 'mana' bread or asking for money. But these two men, like telephone psychics, saw an opportunity to make money and obtain 'free' sex (free for them, because they didn't have to invest anything – financial, emotional or otherwise- in the encounter).

But to think that there are people living in the dark ages within one community is not a surprise, not for me anyway. I've known people in my culture to consult astrologers, clairvoyants, visit their Aunt 'Agatha' for coffee readings or go on and on about the Evil Eye – in the 21st Century. Sometimes you can take the Greek out of the village, but you can't take the village out of the Greek, and it may seem cruel for me to say that, but it's true in many circumstances (I know of people who have paid women to cast spells to get their 'lovers' to return) and it seems like the Eastern Orthodox Church has done little to resolve the issues surrounding superstition. I guess religion does little full stop. Even within countries with other Christian denominations, you still see the prevalence of 'new age' charlatans. In the United States, psychics have more media attention or given more respect. People like John Edward are viewed as spiritual authorities, and there never is any scientific proof to validate the John Edwards' of this world. That's the thing. They play their game well and people are still suckered, and the psychics become millionaires, selling one bullshit book after another, playing on our vulnerability, pain (from losing loved ones), and really, these people should be given a kick in the ass. John Edward may try to look intellectual with his new spectacles, but he doesn't fool me.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that one of these perverted men lives in my suburb. Too many freaks, not enough circuses - or islands (to put them on). But even so, to think that there are woman who believe in superstitious bullshit, that inadvertently opens the door to assault or negative experiences, is beyond my comprehension - in this day and age? Isn't 'black magic' something that belongs in the Middle Ages or horror fiction novels?

Most people who believe they are 'magicians' or people who can 'shape' thought are deluded in some way or form. They feel like they need to have control over things because they feel like they don't have any control in anything else. The best example of magic/superstition leading to insanity is Aleister Crowley, who thought he could conjure the devil and was so deluded, he gave himself the nickname 'The Beast'. He was addicted to narcotics, had delusions of  (metaphysical) grandeur and thought himself an esoteric guru who held the key to all meaning, and if he did, he'd be immortal wouldn't he? But he's pushing up daisies like everyone else.

August 26, 2008

The suicide bomber as a depressed individual hiding using religion as justification to bypass taboo

Rania_suicide_bomber There is nothing that proves the patriarchal elements of some societies and cultures more so than the rise of the female suicide bomber. Many may go on about prostitution and sex work as the ultimate patriarchal ‘crime’ against women, but the extreme action of suicide bombers is often overlooked. The term 'patriarchy', in my opinion, is often loosely used, but what is defined as patriarchal in the western world will differ to that which is currently unfolding in The Middle East.

The first female suicide bombing occurred in 1985, in Lebanon. Sana’a Mehaidli detonated a vehicle that killed two Israeli soldiers. Sana’a was a member of the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party. Since 1985, more and more women have entered these organizations, organizations that are traditionally viewed as patriarchal domains. Many of these women are traditional. Their religious beliefs border on the fanatical, and no other documentary presents the mind of the female suicide bomber or terrorist, like Suicide Killers. Directed by Pierre Rehov, this documentary takes the viewer on a tour of the fundamentalist psyche, and when the chapter on women is shown, via interviews within Israeli jails, the viewer will undoubtedly experience mental nausea due to the sheer extremism within the women interviewed. It makes the Patti Hearst story resemble a fairy tale. Believe me, once you watch it, you cannot 'un-watch' it, and you can't ignore the similarities between what we call depression in our world and the suicide bomber's ideation.

Continue reading "The suicide bomber as a depressed individual hiding using religion as justification to bypass taboo" »

July 19, 2008

The Bernays Principle: From Religious Sexual Abuse to Feminism

It was the apology that Sydney (and its media) eagerly waited for, and the agitation increased as the days passed by during this week, or World Youth Day Week. Sexual abuse has made headlines around the world, and it seems that there are ways to go in regard to sorting the issues out but an apology is a small and essential step. An apology is an acknowledgment of fault. As for what happens in the future? Hopefully cases will be turned over to the police instead of being internal - but there is a long way to go yet. I don't think the financial 'out of court' settlements really do much justice, when the abusers don't see a day in jail.

How and why clerical abuses occur is a mystery. One would think that sexual self-love would be sufficient. The excuse of clerical celibacy (as a partial cause) doesn't really wash because many other non-clerical people are celibate, and they don't go about taking advantage of minors. The Catholic Church has a lot of things to work on, namely figuring out a way to screen potential pederasts beforehand: perhaps psychological evaluations over the course of a year? Then again, an attitude adjustment regarding sex is another issue; any sort of repression tends to create a bottleneck. It's one thing to be celibate without religious reason, and quite another to force oneself into the fold or compromise. Perhaps the Catholic Church should look at asexual men as better candidates. Yes, asexuality is real.

The definition of asexuality varies, but an asexual person is commonly defined as a person who doesn't experience sexual attraction. Asexual, on its own, is defined as 'without sexual desire or interest.' Is it possible for a person to be asexual? According to Asexuality.Org it is. Asexuality, according to asexuality.org, is an orientation, not a choice (like celibacy). What is the difference between sexual attraction and attraction? Sexual attraction motivates the individual to act on the urge. It all makes for interesting discussions. Sexuality has existed since day dot. After all society has relied on sex to have a steady increase in population. But does reproduction really require sexual paraphernalia for sexual intercourse to occur? I tend to doubt that it does. Many population spikes, or spikes in birth rates, occurred in the era before pornographic saturation. In other words, people don't need visible sexual stimuli in order to reproduce and people can have sex without experiencing the romantic 'swept away' moment. In fact, many people have supplied information to sex surveys of the past to state that they experienced minor thrills during sex. This is usually attributed to mediocre sexual technique, poor anatomical knowledge and sexual oppression.

One person of interest, that is rarely the subject of much debate in the 21st century, is the person who is considered to be the father of 'spin' or PR, Edward Bernays. Edward was interested in his uncle's (Sigmund Freud) work on the unconscious, and was interested in manipulating public opinion by using the psychology of the subconscious. Perhaps one of the scariest quotes attributed to Bernays, is the following:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society…Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. . . . In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons . . . who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind."

Bernays developed marketing techniques that are still practiced during political campaigns. His work wasn't limited to politics; he drew upon Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic ideas to promote (by indirection) products such as cigarettes. In short, Edward Bernays was a propagandist. To this day, he is considered as the Father of PR.

Posterlightofthecross In fact, if the most recent Papal apology on sexual abuse is weighed against all the hoopla and PR of World Youth Day (events, masses and concerts featuring many 'Christian' Australian Idol finalists and winners), one can possibly see WYD for what it is – a massive gathering of people that represent a group mind. This group mind shares the same faith, and seeks like-minded individuals. One can almost taste the buzz in the polluted city air when standing among these people or pilgrims. They are affable, and not the hard boiled city person one would normally come across; many people interviewed for news programs have been quoted to say something along the lines of, 'it's nice to see people smiling in the city.' One cannot argue against the positive vibe. It's pleasant. I'm betting that the issue of clerical sexual abuse won't register strongly among the pilgrims. It will go in one ear and out the other; what they will take home from this trip is the new friendships, fun and the chance to see Pope Benedict XVI. World Youth Day is pure PR, and these sorts of endeavours aren't a surprise in an age filled with uncertainties (environmental and economic) that multiply by the day. One can go further to say that many youth need some form of spiritual sanctuary in order to feel like they matter because it's tremendously easy to feel like being a cog in a world filled with confusion, violence and elephantine sized shit. What or who is the best candidate? Youth. Religion isn't just about God, or whose God is 'best', it's also about maintaining an ordered society. By order, I mean the opposite of chaos.

The Bernay's system of PR –in today's terms- can't be considered 'genius' but it was considered genius for the 20th century. His principles tend to hinge on human vulnerability or human vulnerability is the springboard of every marketing campaign. It doesn't matter if it is religious, non-profit or commercial, the same principles are recycled and applied to just about anything; take the upcoming Sydney Sexpo as an example. The Sexpo isn't about education. There is nothing there to educate the masses about sex or sexual practice, but it is sold as a lifestyle event, but it's a commercial event. Upon entering the Sexpo, people will notice the décor; it is wall-to-wall sex toys, videos and other paraphernalia. There is no literature, other than copious adult magazines filled with women showing their 'pink'. The idea of being a sex dynamo or getting there is enough; it is every modern adult's dilemma – how great am I in bed? Can I be good in bed? Which product will help me be great in bed? Here's news: products aren't a panacea. Intimacy isn't about products.

Virginia_slims The world of feminism is interesting, and more so today. The feminist dinosaurs of the past have faded, some have found other causes, but the shadow of feminism lingers on. Like any ism – there tend to be more splits than the split ends on my scalp. There is pro-sex, there is radical, there is anti-porn, in fact there are many varieties of feminism out there; if feminism was a tobacco industry, I'm sure that women would be able to find their perfect blend of tobacco, which brings me to the next interesting morsel concerning the father of PR, Bernays, and his successful campaign to get more women to smoke in the United States, in the 20th Century.

The dilemma for the tobacco industry was as follows: How do you sell cigarettes to women when smoking is taboo for women? I think many would agree with me, even though I am a smoker, when I say that smoking would have to be a modern evil in the sense of profiteering and corporate greed, not to mention the preference of using crops for tobacco instead of food, in a world rife with hunger.

The Bernays approach or solution to overturning the female taboo on smoking is interesting because it simply shows how feminism isn't exclusive to women. Men have used feminism or feminist ideas to push products, and women fall – and continue to fall – for it. These days, however, women are told to buy something (that is associated to grooming or image) because, after all 'they work hard' and 'they can afford it.' Independence, as a concept, is still used to manipulate women.

In the Twenties, The American Tobacco Company used PR to promote cigarettes to women. A.D. Laskers adverts featured opera singers promoting Lucky Strike cigarettes. Lucky Strike was further promoted as the healthier cigarette (like a 'healthier A-Bomb?'). Then cigarettes were linked to weight control with captions such as, 'Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.' And the idea of thinness continues, with the word permeating certain brands like Virginia Slims (remember? The one with the 'feminist' – 'you've come a long way baby' caption?)

When Edward Bernays comes along, the picture changes. It isn't about healthier cigarettes; the campaign took a different direction: sell women cigarettes as a symbol of freedom or liberation. See, men like Bernays didn't have to wait for the feminist Sixties to arrive. It's pure social/group psychology. Even latter feminists have taken advantage of group dynamics to get their points across. The idea of cigarettes as a symbol of independence wasn't Bernays' sole idea; he arrived to that idea by way of consulting a psychiatrist who advised him. Bernays prepared for the PR campaign of THE century. It's a PR 'thang' that is still being taught, and similar marketing methods are used all the time - example: product sample bags.

Bernays hired fashion models to march in New York's Easter parade. Each model held a lit cigarette and wore a banner stating, "torch of liberty " and further on, the photographs from the parade were sent (and published) aroundBlow the world. From that point on, as soon as cigarettes became trendy, female independence and submission walked hand in hand (refer to the vintage advert on the right) Similar marketing methods are used today. I don't even want to entertain how many freebies tobacco companies give to celebrities, but even the paparazzi enters – albeit indirectly/unintentionally – the scene each time a picture of a smoking Britney Spears is captured, sold and published en masse. So much for the torch of liberty when there is clear and obvious manipulation of just about everything and it does raise questions: how liberated are women? How liberated are men? Are you as liberated as you think you are or are you as liberated as marketing companies say you are? Dita Von Teese’s smoking video, depicting her seductively sucking on a long cigarette, didn’t really wash with me; it was like stepping back into a bygone era - going backwards instead of forwards, but when I posted that video on my blog months ago (accompanying a post about the folly of tobacco marketing), some commenters swooned over Dita smoking. Go figure.

It's fair to say that marketing and advertising are needed, but I'd go further and ask myself whether a product does truly alter a person's life for the better. It may be individual. It may depend on the product. I think promoting something like a religion may be positive for some, but it still doesn't actively deal with the issues facing the world. Sexpo may be fun, but it certainly isn't educational for some, and it's more a business venture. These days cigarettes are evil, and aren't the symbol of independence for women (their addictive factor isn't a symbol of independence for any one for that matter), but sex is interesting. Now sex, there's something there. It is the new thing. It's better than cigarettes. Addiction? There is sexual addiction, but it's never really taken seriously. It's not like sexual addiction will increase one's chances of developing emphysema or lung cancer, and if you whack a condom on, the chance of contracting a disease is diminished. But is sex an adequate symbol of independence?

Are we truly independent as individuals?

June 13, 2008

The Catholic Church on French Kissing

World Youth Day 2008 is to be hosted in Sydney, and I've made it my mission to stay away from the religious throngs in the city and Randwick. The outlay to host this event is staggering, considering our train system is a shambles and our hospitals are suffering, with extended waiting lists for consultations and treatments.

Anyway, to prepare for World Youth Day, a web site has been set up. It's a Catholic social networking site, and yeah, why not? Everyone is developing social networking sites. They're a social innovation (?).

The thing that made me laugh, probably because I thought it absurd, is the following Q and A, taken from a media website. The issue? French kissing, and the church's stance on the practice of French kissing before marriage:

Lorna Corcoran
wrote at 11:43am on May 1st 2008

Ok this is a question that has bothered me for a good while and I have seen it asked and debated about on the former xt3 and never really got a successful answer.
Is French Kissing before Marriage sinful?


Father John Flynn
wrote at 5:07pm on May 1st 2008 in reply to Lorna Corcoran Dear Lorna,

In a nutshell the answer is that French kissing is highly unadvisable and could well, depending on the circumstances, be sinful.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church deals with the subject in a general way when it examines the virtue of purity.

2522 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

In applying this to your specific question I think that the explanation of the dangers involved in French kissing on the Web page of the Pure Love Club shows the dangers of such intimacy and the problems it can lead to.

Father John Flynn 'applied' the catechism to French kissing - like the catechism is a science?

Wonders never cease. World Youth Indoctrination Day! I can't wait.

June 02, 2008

Slutbucks

Sometimes I think that those with the dirtiest minds, are those who read more into images, logos and literature. It's as though they spend the bulk of their time looking for the dirt, or transforming something into an obscenity. Christian groups tend to have a higher frequency of complaining about something (and creating pornographic interpretations of just about everything nude or erotic - even a nipple can be downright offensive), and making a huge federal case about things that are legal. A good example is the story about a Pennsylvania Sex Shop facing religious groups/protests.

The latest target is Starbucks and its new logo. The topless maid, according to Resistance's spokesman and president, "has a naked woman on it with her legs spread like a prostitute." Mark Dice gets more creative, referring to Starbucks as Slutbucks and it can only make one wonder: who has a dirtier mind? The religious nutjob or the average coffee drinker? Mark confuses the mermaid tails. He sees them as spread legs, and he equates the image to that of a prostitute. Who has a dirty mind...Mark?

His group has called for a worldwide Starbucks boycott. Yep, based on the ''obscene'' image.

May 21, 2008

Women, Sex and Religion & an Essay on BDSM/Violent Pornography

Two new essays have been added to Lucrezia Magazine tonight.

Triple_goddess_symbol The first, Women, Sex and Religion by Roxanne Rhoads explores the role of religion in shaping women's sexuality.

The second is published courtesy (permission) of Backlash and the essay author FCK and it is titled Bisexuality, BDSM and the Myth of Violent Pornography.

Keep an eye peeled as there is going to be more new content, from stories to erotic art.

May 12, 2008

Benedictsaurus Rex

Australia will be hosting World Youth Day, which is more about spreading the Vatican’s view on everything; we will be hosting Pope Benedict, and no doubt he will give a few fancy speeches, and I find it all amusing, considering his most recent speech about the ‘shame’ of his priest’s abusive actions. The not so funny thing is that this church tends to avoid prosecuting its errant priests. Rather than incarcerate a portion of past sexual predators, avoidance is the preferred option, and this idea, coupled to the reality that my state is paying to host this shindig, is an abomination in my mind, because I tend to add it to the current crises people within Sydney are experiencing.

There are currently many homeless families who find it difficult to find a rental property, and then there were those families who have had their homes repossessed after the sub-prime collapse overseas, and yeah, the adverts for World Youth Day are gaining momentum, and the Pope is gallivanting around spreading his thoughts on sexuality, namely that in our world, a world of rising costs, contraception is almost ‘evil’. How dare people plan their families? How dare people take control of their lives? But most of all, how dare people have sex without wanting pregnancy as the final resultant?

According to the Pontiff, sex could become like a drug. Horrendous huh?

I’m not sure what to make of our politically (and religiously) correct world. It’s a world where everything is evil/bad/hazardous or politically/religiously incorrect, when everything a person does is never enough as it doesn’t fit into the main current.

Pope Benedict has recently said that no mechanical technique can substitute for the act of love that two married people exchange as a sign of the greater mystery. How the fuck would he know? It’s not like pontiffs every ‘marry’ to be considered married. Many of the past popes had mistresses anyway, and many fathered children ‘in sin,’ and not only that, many of the modern ‘leaders’ of this church have crossed the ethical line that is consent after sexually interfering with minors. So who are they to tell the rest of the world how to conduct their sexual relationships? All these priests live a homogenous life, that may as well be technically described as ‘homosexual’ in the sense of them living with other men for the duration of their lives. Here they are, expounding on their belief of heterosexual marriage, when many have never related to women in an intimate way, and it doesn’t make sense.

What bothers me a little more though, is the idea that the state government is going to pay millions to host this Papal dinosaur, when many families who try their best, are currently struggling to find a home to live in.

I am a great believer in people practicing their own faith, and having the freedom to do it, but Benedict, like every pope, is like a dictator, thrusting the patriarchal ideas of a controlling church, on society.

Besides, World Youth Day should be renamed World Catholic Day because it is a PR roadshow. It's quite ironic to call it World Youth Day, after all the sexual misconduct (against youths) this Church is accountable for and continues to cover up.

July 14, 2007

Sexual Selections & Other Songs

The University of California has an interesting short page on Sexual Selection. Sexual selection, as a choice, is slightly more complex in the human sphere.

Male peacocks may maintain elaborate tails that they display in season, and male tomcats can sniff out a female cat at distance humans find perplexing. Human sexual selection takes on different forms, and when the vast sexual spectrum is entertained, can take on many forms or be based on various aspects; kink, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.

One area that has always intrigued me is sexual selection based on culture and/or genetics (only because I think ‘racial’ is a stupid term that has gone beyond its use by date with our knowledge of DNA). These differences can be termed ethnic, but on closer inspection they’re genetic. A group of people adapt to an environment, over centuries and develop physical characteristics that is, on some level, reflective of the locale. David Suzuki, in one of his essays, used his eyes as an example to illustrate the fact that there are higher fat deposits behind his eyelids , which reflect a need for the body to adapt to extreme temperatures, ie cold. I remember reading an article in a fashionable women’s magazine years ago that illustrated the variations of female beauty from one society to the next and in certain tribes, beauty standards are salient, if not confronting, which is why the mainstream end of the sea is quite calm in comparison. Female beauty, on the western scale, can be viewed as being moderate but at the same time, it’s generic.

Open up a copy of Vogue (French, US, Australian, UK, etc) and you’ll see the same products being advertised, and you’ll see similar palettes being used to decorate a woman’s face. With the exception of seasonal apparel variation, everything else falls into a steady current of convention. One could be fooled into thinking that beauty is ‘standard’ or sexual selection is standardized in some way, but there’s the other, the type of sexual selection that also includes the genetic aspect, or the type that considers cultural origin. Using the smallest example I can find, but one that is a frequent example or salient enough to sit global bookshelves, the common romance (erotic, or otherwise) that always ensures that two people originate from the same (or similar) genetic phylum (for want of another term); it’s always a case of characters having the same complexion. You can have a scene incorporating bondage, golden showers or reaming, but the two consenting adults are always white (for some reason) within a city (Paris, London, New York) that features significant cultural variance. Nine out of 10 erotic stories are like this. In fact, most Black Lace (one example of a publishing imprint) erotic novels are like this and I doubt that all the readers are Anglo. I sometimes call it the homogenous aspect of sex, and despite all the different preferences that are out there, many stories gravitate toward the same thing; black on black, or white on white, but it’s almost always a case of white dominating. I read my fair share of romantic fiction while growing up, and I dabbled a little as I got older, and I can’t remember ever seeing any variation. The Sixties, Seventies and to some extent, Eighties, saw a lot of migrations across the world. The Sixties heralded sexual change, however the mainstream continued to maintain a generic stance where relationships, sexual or otherwise, were concerned, and to some extent it still does. For example, there are never any articles in magazines that discuss the impact of cultural or religious differences on the relationship front. Maybe it’s considered controversial, or politically incorrect, but it’s something that thousands of people confront at one point or another; on a large or small scale.

As recently as yesterday, my cultural origin was queried, by a frisky waiter who turns it on for every female that comes his way (I’m no special case), or passes by the brasserie (as I’ve witnessed over the months), and I wasn’t sure what to make of it, whether to link it to the global attitude on a select culture or religion. As is obvious, I’m not blue eyed and I don’t have a lily-white complexion. In the pre 911 world that was, cab drivers would often begin conversations in Arabic, thinking I could follow for me to interrupt them and politely inform them that I had no clue what they were talking about, to which they’d exclaim ‘but aren’t you (insert any culture)?’ So in the post 911 world, and everything that’s flowered since, it’s become an interesting social experience for me, like yesterday. He needed a verbal confirmation, and posed his verbal hypothesis as I paid for my lunch, as in ‘you’re nationality X aren’t you?’

No, I'm not, I replied.

‘Oh,’ and then his attitude did a three sixty, for me to think ‘what a dickhead,’ for the tete a tete to transform into a one sided come on from his end. He’d returned from Rome, as did his attitude, coloured with the view that it was perfectly okay to cast verbal bait to every woman in passing, like an expert angler; cast the bait, and see how many fish bite.

Continue reading "Sexual Selections & Other Songs" »

April 12, 2007

Autoerotica

Pornnovel I was reading about this new innovation, the virtual boyfriend (or girlfriend, it all depends on what you desire) or as virtual as the word Tamagochi implies. Is it for people who have had enough online dating? Does it provide a relationship run-through before you get railroaded?

It works in the same way as the original Tamagotchi, except that you have to keep your partner happy and you do this by taking them out, giving them compliments, being sexually inventive and so on. Doing this gives you points, and the more points you accumulate, the more chance of the relationship surviving.

The idea of a bona fide virtual partner isn’t new. An older article from 2005 (New York Times) discussed the merits of a virtual partner - at length, I may add - and it’s quite scary considering a person is highly likely to come across a person with a crap general knowledge of the world. There are many instances where one is on a date and one is faced with a partner who is devoid of a large chunk of general knowledge. Vivienne, the virtual character in the NY Times article, can converse on 35,000 topics, everything from philosophy to sculpture. It is scary because the chances of dating someone like that are quite low.

Continue reading "Autoerotica" »

March 24, 2007

On the (Ivy League) Cult of Abstinence

There’s something about the Abstinence Movement that irks me, and this is entirely based on the cult like approach to the issue of pre-martial sex; some of these activists draw upon the objectification of women to further their cause, and justify their campaign, often contradicting themselves in the process. For example, Janie M Fredell in the Harvard Crimson, says the following:

“Look no further than magazine covers soliciting advice on how to dress for a man, how to get him to propose, and sex moves that will make his head spin for evidence of a cultural obsession with the objectification of women. According to popular culture, a woman needs a boyfriend to feel fulfilled; she needs someone to tell her she’s “turning him on” to feel sexy.”

While I don’t disagree with this, it is a reality in most societies, this entire Abstinence movement focuses on marriage, or implies that a woman is ‘sexier’ if she waits until she sleeps with the man she’ll be marrying, or engaging in sex once she’s married. To me, that says that a woman is incomplete unless she is married. The other thing that she mentions, that of virginity being a 'sexual attractant', isn't anything different to the opposing arguments that she's made to critisize magazine. You can see Fredell writing an article for Cosmopolitan titled, 'Virginity Makes you More Attractive.' It's a contradiction of sorts. She rants about women being objectified, and then she'll objectify a woman based on virginity, i.e. that of a female being less attractive if she's not a virgin.

Continue reading "On the (Ivy League) Cult of Abstinence" »

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