Thursday, 18 December 2014

Thankyou Kim Jong-un!

I don’t know how to express my gratitude. People say you’ve done some pretty horrible things in your reign as dictator in North Korea (I’m not sure - because, like so many I don’t read newspapers anymore). But whatever your mistakes in the past, somehow, you’ve finally seen your way to do some good. You know what I’m talking about don’t you, Mr. Jong-un? (Or should I address you as ‘Your Highness?’ Or ‘Your Holiness’? I’m never sure. Frankly, I wouldn’t know how to address our great Canadian leader Stephen Harper in similar circumstances!)
Anyway, Your Magnificence, you know what I mean. You succeeded in stopping a new movie called The Interview from its Christmas release. You’ve done a great service to The American People. Did you see This isThe End? I’m sure you did (I mean, who didn’t)? For that would certainly explain why you decided to put a stop to The Interview. What a piece of boring garbage This is The End was! And so you decided, in your deep spiritual wisdom, to nip another Rogan/Franco commercial blockbuster in the bud even before it had a chance to cheapen our lives with it’s soul-crushing mixture of cheerless, witless, gags, useless nonsense, and intensely unfunny profanity. 
Thankyou, Oh Great One.
There is one obvious benefit of course. Hopefully, cancelling The Interview will be a blow to the commercial film careers of  Seth Rogan and James Franco. They are a couple of pretty smart guys. And Seth Rogan, I think, has some real artistic talent (Franco may simply be a ‘pretty face’ — I’m not quite sure yet, as I’ve always been blinded by pretty faces!) But the point is, both Rogan and Franco show both the intention and potential  to develop into serious artists. But now they might — since their commercial movie hopes have been dashed in this particular instance — turn their time to more serious intellectual pursuits, i.e: novel creation, playwrighting, and HBO.
Bravo, Peerless Leader!
And, if you’re not too busy issuing proclamations and reviewing the troops,  could you turn your immense brain to some other subjects that immediately require your attention?
Could you see your way to making terror threats against the movie musical remake of Annie (You know, the — ‘Let’s do it over again and make a fortune, only this time we’ll have a BLACK Annie, so it will be socially relevant’)? And could you stop all future sequels to The Hobbit and The Hunger Games? In fact, could you threaten to bomb theatres in American that show bad movies, period?
I would be particularly glad if you could take the care to jeopardize the sequel to Frozen. (Any threat to Disney would be welcome. I’m asking you with the utmost respect, Your Supremeness!)
Legions of future generations will thank you.
I don’t know if you’re aware, Jong-un The Amazing, but girls around the world have learned from the hit animated film Frozen that to ‘Let it Go’ means having your hair turn from brown to blonde, and your dress transform from the colour of mud to sparkling blue! And the young women who learned their ‘feminism’ from Frozen now idolize glamorous celebrity Emma Stone (who in a recent very prestigious speech at the U.N. taught us that modern women might improve their lot by being nicer to men)!
In fact, could you do me one final favour (I promise, this is the final one!). Jong-un The Omniscient, could you simply drop a bomb on Disney studios? 
Not just a bomb threat — a real bomb. 
Like, soon?
Of course you would have to do it in the dead of  night. I don’t want there to be any loss of life. But certainly it would be great if you could destroy all that digital technology that is responsible for ‘special effects.’
I’m sure you’re aware, Oh Jong-un The Terribly Special, that there was a time when Hollywood films had value, when they weren’t all hatched from the tiny brains of fat, dumb, sexist, capitalist executives yearning to pack their pockets with loot, but from the brains and loins of visionary directors and writers the likes of: Bill Wilder, John Ford, Martin Scorcese, Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma, Ruth Ford and Garson Kanin, and Frank Capra — to name a few.
But that time is over. As Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer predicted so many years ago, entertainment in America  has become purely an industry, and what inspires movies these days is dollar signs in the eyes of CEOs!
Again, thanks, Your Umatchable Wiseness!
Western culture is forever in your debt.

(apologies to Jonathan Swift)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Homosexuality Is Not Productive

As I watched two young men walking down Church Street holding hands, a question occurred to me. 
What will all this come to? 
I thought: well, this can only lead to ‘trouble, and seat wetting!’ (to quote The Rocky Horror Picture Show).
As Ian Brown notably stated — when speaking of Sasha Baron Cohen’s Bruno — “I would say there’s something inherently edgy in the ideal of male on male sex – the primacy of desire, it’s genetic futility – and anything that defrays that tension can be funny.”
Yes we find homosexuality edgy and/or funny, but it’s difficult to take it seriously. Neither two men together nor two women together can ever produce children naturally or easily. Gay couplings never will.
Do not underestimate the significance of that fact.
It’s always been essential for human beings to procreate, ever since The Bible and the endless ‘begats.’ These days it might be better if we slowed down the procreation a bit (i.e. world overpopulation) but that doesn't matter. People will always value procreation because of major cultural fears about the death of the human race.
Gay people seem to have only recently figured out the cultural significance of the fact  that their unions are unproductive, and have tried their best to make themselves appear otherwise. Witness: images of gay bankers and prosperous gay men in gay advertising (are we not business leaders like other white men?) Witness: gay and lesbian obsession with the adoption of children, with the trading around of sperm and the freezing of eggs, with gay ‘families.’  And lest we forget: the endless (quite offensive) talk of the tragic deaths of the apparent masses of artistic homosexuals from AIDS. But these hastily cobbled images and obsessions are no substitute for the real thing. The truth is that homosexuals are not any more successful at business than anyone else, can only adopt children (not produce them) and just as many gay plumbers and construction workers have died of AIDS as gay artists. (However in the haste of gay leaders to make us appear productive — no one seems to want to talk about gay plumbers and construction workers. Need I point out that plumbers and construction workers are also quite productive?)
The point is that homosexuality and lesbianism — by being essentially unproductive — are simply not an effective component of a capitalist culture. The traditional family is a very important component in the capitalist system (mother stays home and has kids, dad goes out and works, kids grow up and become part of the labour force).
So, as much as gays and lesbians are hellbent on assimilating, they never will be seen by anyone as an effective cog in the machine of capitalism. I know it, you know it, and everyone knows it (though we don’t dare talk about it).
What replaces the value of productivity in queer culture? Pleasure, beauty and contemplation. People have a sense of this — they often imagine that we queers have more pleasure (I wish we did, but such fantasies about us ignore the strip clubs and the sex trade industry in straight culture ) or are more beautiful (come on, straight women are as obsessed with being pretty as gay men are) or are more thoughtful (nice fantasy, but no, gays and lesbians are generally just as dumb and thickheaded as straight people.)
No. We are not prettier or smarter than heterosexuals, and we do not have more fun than they do. Yet, pleasure, beauty and contemplation are the values that queer culture inspires, and the place where our culture inevitably directs itself.
After all, if gay men are more ‘aesthetic,’ it is about beauty and pleasure, not productivity. To quote Socrates, who was fortunate to have lived before the advent of capitalism:  “therefore I decked myself out in finery that I might be among fine young men.
The culture of capitalism has in mind for us a quite different and specific end: that we fill our lives with twinkling electronic and digital devices, soft-core porn images, expensive fashion, fancy restaurants, and budget breaking real estate purchases. And on top of this it is very important that each of us work 24 hours a day so that CEOS of the global mega corporations can amass huge profits.
And capitalism requires heterosexual families in order to function.
So where does that leave us — the queers?
Happily, forever outside.
Don’t you agree?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Ninety Percent of Children Cry

I couldn’t watch CNN anymore. There were three women on New Day sitting on a couch talking about what was going on in Bill Cosby’s pants when he drugged them and had sex with them. No disrespect to these women but — is this news? I mean are we really watching this because we are concerned about the abuse of women, or just because dirty stories about inter-racial sex just titillate us so much?
I switched to CBC. Some nice guy was talking about kids visiting Santa. (‘At last, I’m home,’ I thought.) Then he said — apologetically — (So typical of CBC, they’re apologizing for everything nowadays with Stephen Harper intent on taking them down.) “Ninety per-cent of children cry when they see Santa.”
Now that really hits home.
The obvious response would be - duh. Wouldn’t you cry if you were three years old and some determined parental unit plunked you down on a fat man’s lap and you were suddenly confronted with blindingly red and white colours and a huge fake beard? And what if Santa was old and smelly (there are Bad Santas you know)? What then?
Which leads me to inquire: if 90% of all children who go to see Santa do not enjoy the experience (and are blatantly obvious about it), why in heavens name would parents continue trotting them out for this sadist Christmas ritual?
The answer is simple and terrifying.
Most parents couldn’t care less what their children need. Instead, it’s all about the parents.
Children take their kids to see Santa, not because it brings the children pleasure, but because it’s a required rite of passage — because their parents took them and it terrified them, and because everybody else does it, and well — you just, should, eh? Because it’s something people do.
Double, wow.
The reason I’m so appalled by this is because it strikes me that generally speaking, people have children for no other reason than to fulfill society’s expectations, not because they care about children or raising them.
And the effects on the children are devastating.
My background is an exemplary example. My mother married when she was 17 and I was born when she was 21. She didn’t want to be married. She was still just an adolescent escaping her own mother. So the fact that she screwed me up so royally is really not her fault.
Perhaps this isn’t happening anymore (you say)? I beg to differ. Every day I look out the window of my house in downtown Hamilton and see legions of babies with babies — pretty girls chatting on cellphones, smoking and doing drugs, while the boyfriends in baggy pants follow them pushing strollers.
It will always be the same: people have children because they are supposed to — the last thing they care about is the needs of the children. Instead they expect the children to fulfill their lives and live up to their expectations, and someday make them proud.
Being gay, I had some hope for gay parents (though I would never want to be one myself). After all, it takes so much planning and effort for a queer couple to manage having children that I thought maybe gay, lesbian and trans people might raise children for all the right reasons in stead of the wrong ones (ie because they love the kids and truly care about their development).
But no. It’s the sheer hysteria of gay parents — all that pride in the little kiddies, all that money paid to surrogates — and the frenzied showing off of the little’uns, that makes me afraid that queers really are going to be just as bad at parenting as their straight counterparts. 
Oh well.
I suppose it’s too much to ask that it all might stop?
Of course I understand that people will forever want to raise children, and that’s fine (okay, after all, we do need to propagate now and then) but perhaps they might  do so  only when they are emotionally mature and have energy for the kids — and wish to respond to the person those kids turn out to be — instead of trying to shape them into a societal expectation of success.
But I doubt it will ever happen.
So the children will continue visiting Santa.

And alas, they will continue crying.