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Thursday, August 22, 2013

The prom

I'm still too frazzled to put together a proper post, but I wanted to jot down a thought. What follows is fluff. This blog usually reserves non-political trivia for the weekend -- but this week, the weekend starts early.

I've been catching up with a series called The Big Bang Theory, which is new to me even though many of you have followed it for years. Many episodes are laugh-out-loud funny, and the ladies are adorable. But the nerds on this show don't really resemble the nerds that I've known.

Sorry, but I don't think that science geeks spend all that much time thinking about boinking. At least, the nerds I've met don't continually express their thoughts about boinking. They don't act as if there were no other permissible topics of discussion, the way lumpenprole slobs might do.

Many years ago, I was talking to one of my college professors about (of all people) Gordon of Khartoum. I noted that some writers have suspected that Gordon might be gay because he never married. My prof's response: "It's easy to say that. A lot of people don't understand that the great men of history get to be the great men of history because they don't spend as much time as normal people do worrying about who takes whom to the prom."

At the time, I didn't agree. I saw myself as a potential Great Man of History yet I thought about girls all the freakin' time.

Maybe it's a function of age, but I find it easier now than then to understand what my professor was getting at. I also think that if I had spent more time doing stuff and less time thinking about girls, I might have gotten somewhere. Maybe I wouldn't have attained Gordon-of-Khartoumhood. But...somewhere.

My point is this: Our popular culture treats Da Boink as the sole worthwhile activity in all of human existence. In doing so, our culture misrepresents our experience and misleads young people.

As Malcolm Muggeridge (and just because I quote him here doesn't make him my favorite person) famously said: "The orgasm has replaced the Cross as the focus of longing and the image of fulfillment." We need not go back to the Cross. (And I'm not sure many people truly longed for it.) But if you're shopping for a raison d'etre, then orgasm -- howevermuch fun -- doesn't suffice.

Believe me, kids: After the first ten or twenty minutes of The Sole Worthwhile Activity In All Of Human Existence, a certain familiarity sets in, a certain repetitiveness, a certain is-that-all-there-is. This state of mind can be pleasantly spacey. But this is also the time when I tend to hear distant voices offering a droning rendition of Verdi's Anvil Chorus. Maybe that's why some people get into BDSM -- it gives 'em something to do aside from humming along with the Verdi.

For a young man, the best thing about orgasm is that, afterward, you finally have at least thirty minutes of not thinking about sex. At last, you can focus on writing your novel! Must get to work -- now! Alas, that's precisely the moment when she wants to cuddle.

Schtupping ain't everything. In fact, it's hardly anything. Monkeys schtupp. So do dogs and cats and beetles and anteaters and snails. But only human beings can design a Parthenon or sculpt a Pieta or erect the great statue of Gyuanin in Sanya.

There's another teevee show that makes a similar mistake: Da Vinci's Demons. I could stand to watch only one episode of that beautiful-looking irritation. Never mind the anachronisms, never mind the religious bigotry, and never mind the historical question of Lenny's homosexuality, which falls into the likely-but-unproven category. Bottom line: I've read more about Leonardo da Vinci than you (probably) have and -- unlike the writers of that show -- I've concluded that he (probably) wasn't a very sexual being. Even in his secret writings, he rarely addressed the subject of sex. When he did, he seemed to look upon the act with a cold eye, as though coitus were a bizarre biological process involving some alien species.

That attitude is impermissible and unthinkable to our current entertainment-creators. The people who write for television all presume that those of fine and famous mind were as rut-obsessed as is the lowest quasi-humanoid lumpenprole organism in the audience.  When Leonardo da Vinci was twenty, he wasn't like I was, or like you were, or like anyone you know. He didn't think about girls -- or even boys -- all the freakin' time. He had bigger fish to fry. And that's how he got to be Leonardo da Vinci.

Another thing: There's an early episode of Big Bang Theory in which a gifted artist wins a date with Penny by surreptitiously drawing her portrait. In real life, this trick doesn't work. Trust me. In fact, the results can be downright humiliating, because your sketchbook provides an excellent visual record of your failures.

On the other hand, I've heard that Stephen Ward used this very stratagem to assemble his harem (or whatever you want to call it). Bugger all! Why did it work for him and not me?

(Finally! I finally managed to get some politics into this post!)
I've been having the opposite thought: that I should have spent more time doing girls and less time thinking about stuff.

But to be one of the Great Men of history you have to be a bloodthirsty, remorseless psychopath. Ambition is a sin.

Also, wouldn't something a bit more up-beat than Verdi be a better choice for a mental soundtrack for sex? In the same way they use "Nelly the Elephant" as a pace-setter for CPR. Maybe the Will Tell Overture.

The Verdi isn't a CHOICE.

Not in my case. When the Verdi seeps unbidden into your consciousness, you know you need a change.

When things get really bad, the soundtrack changes to the Song of the Volga Boatman.
"Our popular culture treats Da Boink as the sole worthwhile activity in all of human existence"

The bottom line is the bottom line: sex sells.

The promotion of mindless promiscuity among youths rots whatever they've got left in their fucking heads after so many years of subjection to school.

Some Christians and Muslims get this right.

Corporate pressure mediated through contemporaries in the form of 'peer pressure' is becoming ever more internalised, what with 'social media'.

Just when we wondered whether capitalism could become more schizoid...

Slavery is freedom! More slavish slavery is freer freedom! Yeah!

Almost everyone becomes more like themselves...or is it less like anything other than a zombie? Don't ask them; they won't have a clue...
Snowden's latest revelation: Britain runs a secret internet-monitoring station in the Middle East, which taps underwater cables.

Yes. In Cyprus.

"The Independent is not revealing the precise location of the station but information on its activities was contained in the leaked documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden. The Guardian newspaper’s reporting on these documents in recent months has sparked a dispute with the Government, with GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives containing the data."


"One of the areas of concern in Whitehall is that details of the Middle East spying base which could identify its location could enter the public domain."

Ha ha!

Try this: the GCHQ base at Britain's Ayios Nikolaos Station in Cyprus.

Are the government shitting their pants, now I've 'revealed' that?

Or are the editors at the Guardian and Independent a bunch of fawning lickspittles where 'national security' and the man who reminds them about D Notices are concerned?

GCHQ's main bases outside of Britain are on Ascension Island and Cyprus.
"There are known knowns.
These are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns.
That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know.
But there are also unknown unknowns.
There are things we don't know we don't know."
Donald Rumsfeld
b., You just made me remember this poetry.
After all, Joseph's post was suposed NOT ro be about politics.

if you're only enjoying 20 minutes of it, i suggest you're doing it wrong.
hahaha, love this post! If you've caught up on Big Bang Theory, did you do so for free? If so, how? Because those fuckers keep a tight rein on the full episodes online.

You might like to try to catch up on The IT Crowd from Great Britain, which is howlingly funny. They are going to do *one* more new episode, which is breaking my heart because I want more!

What I don't want more of is male attention. I live alone (with my dog) and I can't believe the number of men, most several years my junior, who seem to think I need "saving" from solitude. And they severely resent being disabused of this notion.

And here's the thing: if I invite one of these men to an art opening where I'm meeting other friends, or to a neighborhood event, they not only don't go, they belittle the concept.

The brain is the biggest sex organ, I've heard it said...but where are the men who believe in a meeting of minds first and foremost? Luckily...I can wait! :)

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