Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Sex, the Church and the 50's

A walk down Memory Lane is filled with stumbles, stumbles over formative experiences that now seem absurd.

One of my favorites is the Catholic Church's "teachings" on sex in the 50's.

We learned that in the masturbation department (aka self abuse) that awe  had an eventual choice between hairy palms and a penis that just fell off.

We learned that despite the millions of years of evolution and the unrelenting surge of hormones, that virginity must be placed above all else.

We learned that almost any kind of "impure thought," which arrived about every 10 seconds, could send you to hell for eternity.

And, finally, it was really hard to enjoy sex when you knew that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were always watching.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Beautiful people

I love to watch beautiful people congratulate themselves, give themselves standing ovations, glamorize and accessorize themselves, get expensive gift bags, gush with thank you's, pose for photos on the red carpet, answer silly questions about their lives and outfits and take a few seconds of their glory time to make political statements.

They do this so well because they have a whole season of awards shows to practice spotlighting themselves, rubbing elbows with their glitterati colleagues, dressing up and practicing their humility speeches.

This whole season of awards shows probably costs, if all is taken into account, as much as the entire annual budget of the NEA. But, after all, isn't it worth it?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A man

A man leaning on the hearse, smoking a cigarette
A man pushing his granddaughter in a stroller
A man begging for money or a cigarette
A man stepping into a locker room shower
A man on skies just before his broken leg
A man spray-painting graffiti and midnight
A man watching his son be born
A man shooting up drugs in an alley
A man skiing his wife’s nipples
A man leading a protest march
A man drinking alone at a bar
A man confessing his sins
A man chatting on a dating sight
A man with a bullet in his gut
A man sitting down to dinner with his family
A man on the phone with his mother
A man who looks much older than he is
A man who loves to cook
A man eating ribs at a truck stop
A man dressed like a woman
A man in very soiled clothing
A man hiding from the police
A man with a braided beard
A man who can’t dance at a disco
A man with a wad of big bills
A man missing a limb
A man playing flag football
A man just arrived from Somalia
A man wondering what it means to be a man

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sticks and stones

To rephrase a childhood chant: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but images can never hurt me. Art can aim at beauty, contemplation or aesthetic satisfaction, but in this current political and cultural climate art can aim to provoke, challenge and enlighten.

I don’t believe that serious art intends only to offend. There’s too much of the heart and soul of the artist in it for such a narrow intent.  Much of the history of great art is provocation to a new way of seeing and acting in the world.

I don’t believe artists intent to be martyrs either. Suffering is not their goal; but hard, committed work is. A conscience that questions the world, in whole or part, and answers in images of substance is the real work of the artist.

Friday, February 24, 2017


Would it be possible to build a working economy based on the teachings of Jesus?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

In their heads

What could possibly happen in the lives and the brains of individuals who brutally rape, who live to kill, who sexually abuse children? Is it genes, chemicals, upbringing and/or life experiences?

For me, it's hard to imagine these capacities in human beings. But we see them played out again and again in daily life.

If we consider useless to be human beings, then must we accept them as a part of our species? Sometimes the manifestations of evil seem beyond understanding.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Befriend an artist

Life boring? Filled with tedious routine? Tired of sitting on the couch watching sports? Just living in dullsville?

Make friends with an artist.  Your view of the world will expand. You will be pleasantly provoked. Your eyes will be opened. You will go strange and surprising places and meet strange and surprising people.

Don't wait. Do it today.

If you are an artist, find someone aching to get out of life's ruts. Make friends with them. Learn who they are. Let them know why art can matter to them. Teach them to play.

Don't delay. Do it today.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

FNN news alert

Based on a Fox News report, President Trump has identified a new Muslim terrorist strategy. Fox reports that Muslims have killed over 10,000 people in Stockholm with arsenic-laced Swedish meatballs.
As a result, President Trump has signed an executive order banning all meatballs from entering the US, and has appointed Martha Stewart as Consultant to the President on Meatball Terrorism.   

Monday, February 20, 2017

A list peom

A rake pulled through cold back earth
Birds on a warm day ranting
A candy wrapper on a perfect green lawn
Me, wanking like a teenager
A pair of dirty white socks
A pasta meal and a green salad
A leaf drying up in spirals
A small cut bleeding
A perfunctory kiss on the cheek
A small drawing, almost finished
Snuggling skin to skin in bed
An erotic daydream chased away
A sudden thought about God
Dirt under my fingernails
A yard with children playing
An unnecessary argument
A colander full of washed fruit
A wedding ring that’s much too tight
A blouse casually unbuttoned at the neck
A sidewalk covered with acorns
A couple about to undress
An unsigned check
A CD that makes you cry
Finally cleaning the bathroom sink
A little black cocktail dress
The postcard you forgot to send
A cup of chopped pecans
A gun locked in the safe
A child with a broken toe

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Joseph Campbell once commented that the female had mythic power within herself, but the male had to adorn himself—as king, priest, warrior—to gain that same power. Culture has gone from Venus of Willendorf  (earth mother) to the Greek Venus (ideal woman) to Virgin to seductress to the contemporary buffet of choices for women to be women.

Since so much of this journey has taken place in a patriarchal society, it is reasonable to think about how this impacts the balance of mythic power related to gender. Many of the most revered designers of women’s clothes are men. Men traditionally dressed themselves in conservative garb. The women they dressed with excessive jewelry, makeup and clothing that dispatched their mythic power and simply sexualized them.  Was this simply a means to diminish women’s power and take charge of their sexuality? Did women consciously select this often uncomfortable and revealing fashion? Did women feel this was the way to take back their own feminine nature?

The NY Times women’s fashion issue is an interesting resource to consider some of these issues. Some fashion presents the seductress. Some fashion presents the woman as man. Some presents the woman searching for identity, much like I think is the case in the real world. In one image a coutured female leans against a naked male, reversing gender roles and mythic balance.

These excursions into fashion image have not been lost on men. Men are increasingly choosing cosmetic surgery. Hair style, clothing style, make up and jewelry are now a part of the image for men.  Men’s wardrobes steal from women’s in flair, color, fabric and diversity. The search for identity in gender, power, sexuality and mythic meaning continues.

On oddity beyond the anorexic male and female models and the hypermale models is the fact that none of these models ever smile. They all seem grim, glum, emotionless, humorless. This I don’t know what to make of.