Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pornosophy: Why Men Refuse to Talk About ED

Ottoman Miniature of Wife Upset About Her Husband's ED (Hamse-i Atai)

Have you ever found yourself saying “where are the other 30 million men who are supposed to be suffering from impotence problems?” In fact, ED medications are some of the most widely and candidly dramatized drugs advertised on early morning television stations, which cater to a primarily over 50’s crowd. You’ve seen the ones for 5 mg of Cialis which treat both ED and BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and are aimed at sparing otherwise loving couples from missing those special moments. Anyone who knows how sex really takes place realizes how out of sync these commercials are with the reality being that long married couples have certain buzz words and endearments that turn them on like “I'd like to squeeze your buttocks"or "wanna?" The BPH part is a whole other ball of wax, as the correct depiction would show a guy rushing to unzip his fly in front of some nameless Port-O-San. But the fact is that despite all the advertising, however over idealized it is, sexual dysfunction itself is something that most men still are ashamed to talk about. Some men are in complete denial and simply blame their problems on their partners, while others become anorexic and a third group finds themselves living in fear and shame—despite the fact that they’re suppose to be in good company. Men should start to boast about their sexual failures, just like they once did about their conquests. It might not help anything, but there's always strength in numbers.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Final Solution: Was Hitler a New York Liberal at Heart?

Was Hitler a nice guy? Could he be as charming as Donald Trump? Was he a New York liberal, at heart? Would Hitler have made a good dinner companion? How was he as a conversationalist in his famous Bavarian lair, the Berghof?  Same with Mussolini, Franco, Idi Amin and now Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. We tend to look at people in the context of their bad deeds whether it means exterminating a race, destroying irreplaceable antiquities or inflicting unspeakable tortures on captured enemies. But we often forget that man is a social animal and at the end of a hard day's work raping and severing heads, every one needs to relax in the company of friends and toss back a few cold ones. Of course, there are those who can’t leave their work behind—even when it means filling social media with psychopathic tweets. Their murderous impulses spill out and before they know it they’re living out the famous banquet scene at the end of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus where Titus serves up a pie whose filling is made up of the body of the Goth empress Tamora’s two sons Chiron and Demetrius. "Why, there they are, both baked in this pie, / Whereof their mother daintily hath fed, / Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred." The character of Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson in the Kubrick adaptation) is another example of a sociopath who is not a good dinner companion, letting the pressures of work spill over into his social life—to the point where he uses an axe to hammer his way into the room in which his frightened wife is hiding. The serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer apparently was an unpleasant character, but on the other hand Ted Bundy was known to be bright and engaging. Bundy would have been good dinner company. Even those whose destructive impulses lead to mayhem can be taught to have good manners, to wash the blood of their hands, as it were, and to don the appropriate attire for a cocktail party or charity affair. A good dictator will get much further in life if he takes his SSRI and learns to say “put it there pal” as he shakes hands and look his companions straight in the eye.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What Does it All Mean?

“Just because I'm paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me,” goes the old saw and just because you have a negative view of reality doesn’t mean you’re depressed. Naysayers don’t make for ideal dinner guests and those who express the point of view that life is utterly meaningless are not going to be honored at the ceremonies for Project Hope. But there's something cleansing in holding not only a negative view about one’s own prospects, but mankind in general. It’s tiresome to hear evangelical and hortatory speech full of promises that can never be fulfilled. Yes, indeed we’re all here for a short stay, in which we make a bit of a fuss, before giving up and finally dying. "First you suffer, then you die," sings a rock group called Vomitorial Corpulence, a Christian Goregrind band from Melbourne. As Macbeth says, “Life’s… a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” However,  while it's alright for Vomitorial Corpulence or Shakespeare to spout these verities, try it out on your friends and you’ll soon find yourself ostracized for not getting with the program. This is the age of totalitarian thought, where words are monitored for their attitudinal content and the true problem of having to make meaning in a world where there's no program, no panacea, and really nothing that will alleviate either the disease of consciousness and longing or the pain of existence is glossed over. Caden Cotard, the main character of Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, NY initially seems to be dying from an incurable disease, but what the film reveals is that the disease is life itself.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Final Solution: Will Self-Hating Jews Be Accepted by the Alt-Right?

picture of ancient skastika from Lalibela, Ethiopia church  (photo: Samzhab)
Will self-hating Jews be allowed to join the Alt-right movement? It’s always interesting to look at the history of Jewish collaboration  in the Warsaw ghetto and elsewhere. Now that a new generation of Nazis have come to prominence, it will be interesting to see which Jews will be selected for admission into the precincts of an Aryan white supremacist party that aims to do away with Semites, Blacks, Hispanics and anyone who will pollute the Indo-European blood of the founding fathers. It’s nice to have a Jewish lawyer and one wonders if the the late Roy Cohn, who had been a friend and mentor to President-Elect Donald Trump ("What Donald Trump Learned From Joseph McCarthy's Right-Hand Man," NYT, 6/20/16) would have passed muster with the honchos of the Alt-right. What's  certain is Sieg Heiling would not be enough; anyone can do that and pretend they were simply watching an old Jane Fonda aerobics tape. Just dressing up like a storm trooper or Aryan Brotherhood gang member as you might on Halloween in Greenwich Village isn’t going to do the trick either. Nor is changing your name from Levy to Smith or Jones. In order to be admitted, a Jew is going to have to prove him or herself and do something to advance the cause of their own extinction, whether actively participating in the Breitbart News Network, wearing a Steve Bannon tee-shirt or boasting a collection of antique Swastikas.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Kerry James Marshall's "Mastry" at The Met Breuer

"A Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self" by Kerry James Marshall
Kerry James Marshall has referenced how Ralph Ellison’s “notion of being and not-being, the simultaneity of presence and absence, was exactly what I was trying to get at in my artwork.” “A Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self” (l980) looms over the retrospective of Marshall’s work currently on exhibit at The Met Breuer. The painting, a cocky black figure with big white teeth that’s beyond the stereotype of 50’s television caricature (say Amos and Andy or Aunt Jemima) jolts the viewer out of complacency with a piercing stare that’s nothing short of a reprimand.  “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me,” is a quote from Ellison himself that’s cited later in the show. In “Slow Dance” (1992-3) Marshall carries this idea further in showing his black couple embracing to The Originals’ “Baby I’m for Real,” a soul title Wittgenstein could also have written. The name of the show is “Mastry” which could refer to the old masters whose works are cited all through the exhibit (as in “Beauty Examined” from l993 which references both Eakins' “The Gross Clinic” and Rembrandt’s “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp") or Grandmaster Flash. After all his technique is a little like the kind of “sampling” that rappers employ. Marshall wants his cake and eat it too and he could leave himself open to criticism. What's with all these dead white males? “Beauty, School of Culture” (2012) is a mural of a ghetto beauty salon with the Tate poster of the Chris Ofili show on the wall. “De Style” (1993) takes a classic scene from a franchise like Barbershop while tipping its hat to the great group portraits like “The Night Watch.” Marshall sometimes seems like a precocious kid who can’t stop showing off his knowledge. And he is imaginative in leaving nothing to the imagination. In “Red (If They Come in the Morning)”from  2011 he draws on Barnett Newman’s color field painting in his exploration of race. But he’s the ultimate post-modernist in his juxtaposition of indigenous and so-called high culture—and the real deal. This is one show you won’t want to miss.