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Well, this is a period piece that may make you a little sad that time moves on. First off, the details. It’s an Andy Warhol film which covers what it’s like to hire somebody from a “Dial a Hustler” service. Basically the first half of the film consists of a client, Ed, at his Fire Island beach digs discussing with his ladyfriend Genevieve a huslter he’s hired, who is busy sunning himself on the beach. Ed and Genevieve bitch at each other for a while and eventually Genevieve declares that despite not paying for him, she will “have” the hustler herself. They are rich, and rather artfully decadent.
The second half of the film involves the hustler (Paul) discussing how to make money at the game with an older hustler (Joe). They dance around what they are doing; their macho delicacy prevents them from being frank (as opposed to Ed and Gen who quite openly speculate on how “big” Paul might be and what he might do. Eventually, they trade trade secrets on how to score the most bread.
I really enjoyed the film. I mean there’s no sex, or really any action whatsoever. Just Warhol’s typical talking about sex and action. The two actors who played the hustlers (Paul America and Joseph Campbell) really act off each other – it’s a shame that they didn’t make more films with them. (Paul America was killed by a car; Joe Campbell is the Sugar Plum Fairy referred to in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” – he died of complications from AIDS) What I enjoyed about it was the frank exploration of the act of hiring a hustler. It seemed as if Ed and Gen found discussing this at least as much fun as the act itself. Certainly they otherwise seem impotent in their motionless bitchiness. The notion, though, of the two men, carefully and gently discussing selling their bodies to effete rich older men, was nothing I’ve ever seen in a movie. Most treatments of prostitutes portray them as drugged out tragic sad people; these were two men who knew what they were doing, and considered it nothing more than a job; one for which the older workers might give the younger ones a few tips for success.
So which is true? We’re used to one idea, but could at least sometimes it be like the other.
Note: The film was released as part of a two-reel set along with “I a Man.”
Part 1 of this is an adaptation of an e-mail I sent to a person who* tormented me in Junior High and High Schools. I was sitting at work, looking at the person’s* page on Facebook, and thought – I need to write him and tell him about what he did. It just sort of flowed out so please excuse any grammatical errors or the like:
I’m surprised you don’t remember me. You don’t remember calling me a ‘faggot’ nearly every day, making limp wrist gestures at me all the time, at school and at the pool? Eventually I stopped going to the pool because I couldn’t bear it to have my mother see you and your friends teasing me. It made me feel ashamed. I couldn’t have any fun there while you were about.
Over and over again. My book bag was a “handbag.” I remember that one clearly. Yes, I was quiet, and bookish, and I had a funny (English) accent. I’d just come from England. Was that reason to do what you did?
At school you were pretty relentless. Again, I dreaded the sight of you coming down the hallway, that grin warning me that you were about to rip my day into pieces. You make me feel pretty rotten every chance you could get. It seemed there was nothing about me you couldn’t turn into a opening to taunt me, to show me how you were superior to me, how you could score points by putting me down. You acted as if I were queer dirt under your feet, and everyone else laughed and I began to half believe you.
I hated going shopping with my parents, not just for what you would say to me if we saw you, but for the shame of having them see it, hear it, and wonder what was wrong with me(!) that it happened. I was enveloped in shame and steeped in fear and a slowly thickening misery. Frankly if I weren’t so afraid of dying I’d have killed myself. Honest to God. There were times I didn’t know how I could, or if I ever would, be happy and not feel afraid and ashamed.
No you weren’t the only one to be like this but you sure as hell were the most consistent and constant. You’d even make your gestures at me from a great distance; there was no safe bubble for me in school, before school, after school. I thank God my family moved away from Gambrills, mainly because it meant moving away from people like you were.
I know this is a lot to take in, in one big e-mail. It’s a lot for me to take in that you did this to me throughout middle school and into high school, and you don’t even remember it. My torment was as inconsequential to you as what you used to watch on TV back then. I bet you remember that more than you remember what you did. It kills me that you can be oblivious to this, while even typing this and remembering, I can feel my chest tighten, my adrenaline pumping and I have to remind myself that those days were a long time ago. You’ll excuse me if I’m a little angry that you don’t even have the memory of those days when I have to live with it.
Anyway. I just wanted you to know that even if you didn’t remember me, I haven’t forgotten you. I don’t know if you have been blessed with children, but please, don’t let them do to anyone what you did to me. Nobody, nobody deserves it.
I really really hated you. Funny enough, I wonder now what you’re like. I see you’re a musician. That normally indicates a sensitive, insightful soul. (Like, you know, somebody you’d have called a faggit. Why did you change the pronunciation of that – I always wondered. Was it to add to the horror?)
Are you different now? I hope so. I’m genuinely curious. If you don’t want to reply to this I understand, but I would also like to forgive you. I’m trying to, I really am. I’m 46 and I’m still dealing with the fall out from those few short years and what you and your friends did, and so I really hope I can succeed in doing so.”
*Thereby hangs a tale – and a surprise.
Anyway, to change the mood a little, here is a picture of the unnaturally handsome Manolo Cardona, who I just saw (quite a bit of!) in a great film called “Contracorriente” or “Undertow.” I”ll post a review by and by.
Did that change your mood? It sure did mine!
Billy Graham asks, in a full-page ad urging support for candidates who wish to enshrine inequality in marriage, that we “Please join me in praying for America, that we will turn our hearts back toward God.” That implies that in the past we had our hearts toward God but that at some ill-defined point we turned away.
Which raises the question – when was that? Was it before 1865, when the law of the land and plenty of good Christian churches justified slavery, could find support in the Bible and custom for a person owning another person, for the idea that one race was inherently inferior to another? Is that the time he’d like to go back to?
Was it maybe before Brown vs. Board of Education, or the Civil Rights Acts, or the Voting Rights Act, when black people were legally separate and never equal, when lynchings and burning crosses were used to reinforce the color line that was “distinctly drawn by Jehovah himself…drawn in nature and in history in such a form as to make it a sin and a crime to undertake to obliterate it?” Should we pray to turn our hearts back to those days?
Perhaps the good Reverend means before the end of the draft, when rich kids could get college deferments and poor kids were sent to war?
Whatever he meant to imply it’s clear that for him and for his ilk, things went seriously off the rails, or “the nation turned against God” when power, previously concentrated in white male heterosexual hands, became diffused, even if ever so slightly, to sectors of society that didn’t resemble him and his concept of the white male heterosexual God (in this view, Jesus is a white male, possibly Episcopalian, not a brown-skinned Jew).
He fails to remember, or would rather you forget, that his past of glorious closeness to God was a time of oppression, of brutalization, and of lynchings. Of union-busting thuggery, voting qualification tests, and of back-street abortions to save the nice young men for the nice young women and from the sluts they knocked up. Of colored entrances and “No Irish Need Apply.” Of Father Coughlin and Jim Crow and Orval Fabus and sweet-looking old ladies who spat in school kids’ faces. This is the America he would return us to, the one where ‘our hearts were turned to God.’
Yes, since the 1970’s there has been extremism and license, but there has also been a succession of hard-won gains for women, for blacks, for youth, for minorities and even a little bit for the gays. And if Reverend Graham, and those who think like him, are to maintain even a scrap of the superiority they yearn to have again, they must stop this last win for America’s less-thans. They have lost so much that it genuinely panics them to lose the last status to which they can cling and from which they can exclude others – the right to have their libidinal and romantic relationships enshrined in law, licenced by their government, and held forth as superior to all others. That is the real reason behind the opposition to marriage equality, as it has been the reason behind the opposition to any equality, gender, race, or ethnic, and that is why Billy Graham is merely the ten-dollar, besuited, version of the five-cent gay-bashing thug.
What the preacher behind the pulpit and the thug with a baseball bat want is exactly the same; they want someone to be superior to, to look down on (in a Christian loving way) and the only easily identifiable vulnerable group they can think of is gay folks.
So don’t be fooled when some rosary-swinging priest, some scripture-thumping pastor, or some torah-waving rabbi wants to have a ‘genuine, loving debate’ over marriage equality, no matter how many biblical tracts he wraps himself in. It’s not about what they say it is; their arguments are collections of threadbare absurdities that fail to conceal the real fear and the real determination to avoid the loss of superiority, to stop being special, and to stop having people to be better than.
In today’s politer society, on television, and from the altar, it doesn’t look always so good to scream insults or commit physical assault on gay folks, so they have the Billy Grahams, the Mitt Romneys, the whole cabal of cassocked hypocrites to march out in front of cameras and voters and tell the most outrageous falsehoods that a child of four would be ashamed to advance.
But don’t forget, they are just the respectable face of the gangs of drunken teens with baseball bats. Don’t forget that ministers of the loving savior have opined that gay kids should be hit, have their limbs broken, or that gay people should be put in concentration camps. Again, these and the bashers are merely the more honest versions of the polite peddlers of prejudice and hatred who are sliming across our screens at the moment.
Well, this past week was pretty good – mostly – some things. Work was fine – especially since the holiday Monday made for a short week.
Last weekend we went off to Bethlehem for a quick visit. C found a great deal on a hotel, and we had a mostly good time. Saturday was lovely weather, but Sunday was a bit chilly. Went to the usual places – Re-Wired for coffee, a new place (Molto Pazzo), and the Bethlehem Hotel for brunch. Got some a really impressive piece of artwork made of stainless steel, and a few things for the Christmas tree. Somehow the taps on Christmas stuff seem to be a bit tighter closed – it’s not all ‘so new’ this year.
Monday I didn’t do much but we did go to lunch – with a horrible waitress.
Tuesday there was some tension at work over one of the analysts.
Tuesday night I want to my counsellor who fired me! Yes, he fired me. I’m really pissed – he’s a bit of a turd frankly for how he did it. He manipulated the conversation to say (a) you are fat (b) you are not doing anything about it, therefore (c I am done with you. Frankly he can go fuck himself.
However, Wednesday I walked for x minutes. It felt good, kinda, and bad, kinda. Thursday C was out so I didn’t – pure laziness. Friday neither. Saturday morning, x + 10 minutes and that felt better. I’m planning on doing x + 15 minutes tomorrow.
Friday boss was a bit … well, we had a ‘training moment’ about how many people I cc: on my e-mails. Much ado about nothing but it pissed me off good and proper. I don’t think my “sin” was as severe as it seemed at the time, but once Greg got into the swing of things he wouldn’t stop. I dunno. Work has been…disconcerting. Not as smooth and easy as usual. Bumpy and things. And soon we’ll start on my security investigation which has me minorly stressed.
Today we had Ethiopian food for the first time. It was … interesting. Intriguing. Basically you get some vegetables and some stewed stuff, and it’s all piled on these huge pieces of injera bread which is flat and spongy and odd but good. And no utensils. You use the injera to pick up bits of the food. The injera is very very filling.
Must remember to buy some low-carb bread at Mom’s tomorrow. Actually tomorrow should be a long and busy and tiring day. I hope I can fully take part after my exercise.
See you soon! Visit my tumbler!
And for today’s hot guy, since I’m watching SouthLAnd, here’s the sexy and talented Benjamin McKenzie. Too beautiful to live!
Azis. He’s a Bulgarian singer of ‘chalga’ or Gypsy and Turkish influenced Bulgarian popular/folk music. He’s quite stunning in appearance, yet also a big star there, and he even apparently has his own TV talk show. Here’s a picture of him:
So here’s the video to “Lud Me Pravish” (“You drive me crazy”). Watch it and think….
Okay, so big tough Vanko 1 comes after two days having left “poor” Azis all alone, with no money or anything to eat. Azis accuses Vanko 1 of having lost his mind, and having put them in this situation. Vanko 1 says that they wouldn’t be in the situation if it weren’t for Azis’s stupidity.
Okay so there’s a back story. Some sort of arrangement, right? Rather mutually supportive at the very least. Then Vanko 1, surrounded by half naked women sings of his successes at crime, rather crudely, and at how “you” hate yourself for helplessly crawling between his legs. He says “I’m bad. But in bed, I’m God.”
Azis vamps around singing that
“Without you I can’t hear and I can’t see the reason for my life / Without you I don’t have the strength to breath / Know that you are my life.”
Now the odd thing is that although there are all these girls prancing around, as Azis sings of his love, Vanko 1 answers him back. It’s as if Vanko 1 is trying to hide behind the curtain of lady flesh, but really can’t deny that he and Azis are lovers. Now that might be my read, not yours; if so let me know.
But beyond that, you have to love/be jealous of a culture where this can be mainstream pop music. Can you imagine a tough-guy American rapper singing back and forth with no irony to a bearded effeminate guy like this? And nobody batting an eye? If you can, let me know how!
In case you didn’t quite get the point, their publicity machine put out this shot for the partnership (musical). Remember, nobody thinks less of Vanko 1′s masculinity after this. Certainly not that he’s ‘gay.’
Could there be a survival of a pre-World War II/Great Depression view of male sexuality (not ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ but ‘normal’ or ‘fairy’) still in operation in Eastern Europe? Or just territories of the former Ottoman Empire? The old view didn’t die out here completely – it survives in ‘situational homosexuality’ where the butchest criminal can have a male lover in prison, but you’d best not call him a ‘faggot’ on the outside. It was killed off during the social panic caused by the tension and upheaval caused by the Depression depriving men of their assured roles. I’ll try to develop this more in future posts.
First off, “Hipnotisan” (“Hypnotized“) by Dado Polumenta (from Montenegro):
Now very very sexy Turkish singer Arkan, first “Ask Gitti Bizden” (“Love Left Us“):
And here’s Arkan in “Op“:
Tell me what you think! And just to keep you focussed, here’s Tarkan himself, all close up and such: