This will not be one of those ' my ass itches and my cat just threw up' type of blogs. Instead I will regularly post my own articles on subjects including but not exclusive to: sexuality, theatre, film, literature and politics. Unfortunately there are no sexy pictures, and no chance for you to be 'interactive' so you probably won't read it....oh well! Honestly... I know I'm just talking to myself here, mainly, but...I don't care!
Here is a list of things that
annoy me greatly. As I have always been something of a curmudgeon, I am
offering them in the spirit of the season.
I’ve had it with these stupid
cuisine movies. I haven’t even seen any of them and I don’t intend to. First there
was ‘Juro ‘Dreams of Sushi’ and now
there is ‘Spinning Plates.’ Who cares? It all comes from the mistaken notion that
creating food is an art. It’s not. (How
do you tell if something is an art or a craft? Easy. If it’s an art then you simply must do it, you are compelled to do it. You’d go mad without doing it. And yet you can’t make
a living from doing it, and your work will never be fully understood in your
lifetime. If you are quite happy, generally, and you are doing something people
not only love but fully understand, and buy up in droves -- then what you are
doing is categorically not art.) Anyway,
rich, fat, bourgeois couples love to go to restaurants. So, somebody figured
out that making movies about how wonderful restaurants are is a surefire
moneymaker. But I don’t have to see the damn things, do I?
What after all, is an
Rob Ford has been giving
apologies a bad name. Recently he delivered a so-called apology for implying a Toronto
Star reporter was a pedophile. But what he delivered instead was what I call a
‘Right Wing Hater’s Apology.' This is when you are a Tea Party Member or the Head Of Ford Nation and some left wing crackpot catches you red-handed in a
dumb political correctness mistake. So
instead of a real apology you do a fake one. What’s great about a fake apology
is that you not only take absolutely no responsibility for your actions but also
manage to blame your accuser. Let’s say your right-wing fundamentalist dog
tramples on some lefty’s lawn, and they go all crybaby on your ass, and you are
obligated to apologize. This is what you
say: “I’m sorry that you feel that my dog trampled your lawn. I certainly
didn’t mean for that to happen. But if that is what you think happened, I am
sorry for any hurt you feel.” The meaning is clear: “You are demented. I would just
say ‘put a sock in it’ but since everybody is pressuring me to apologize all
I can say is that I’m sorry that you’re crazy, nuts, and insane, and that you imagined
the whole thing."
Yes, women are evil too!
I got this idea from my female
writer friends Moynan King and Lynn Crosbie both of whom have written fabulous
stuff about female serial killers. Okay, so have you seen Chris Lilley’s new HBO
show Ja’mie Private School Girl? The leading
character is a deliciously horrible, selfish, racist, privileged, spoiled brat
named Ja’mie. She is concerned only with keeping a tightly knit clique of close
friends in awe of her, and excluding girls who she spurns as fat, lesbian,
foreign or poor. This show will hopefully encourage many to entertain the
radical notion that yes, women are just as evil as men, it’s only that most of
them lack the brute force needed to carry out their schemes. Fortunately for evil young women everywhere,
social media is a very convenient tool that can be used by less physically powerful members of the female
gender to drive their victims to depression, and sometimes, even, to suicide.
The demise of bathroom sex……
I don’t know how it is in
straight clubs -- but in gay ones you’re not supposed to have sex in the bathroom
anymore. I got lectured at Toronto’s Eagle recently for trying to have a bit of
quite innocent sexual perversion in a bathroom cubicle. There was no one around.
We were upstairs near a sex maze in a leather bar on Church Street. What was
the problem? I don’t blame The Eagle; I blame the police for pressuring gay
bars to clean up their act. I, of course, am the only gay man in Toronto who
will ever complain about this, because apparently Toronto gay men are so busy
getting married, attending church, and adopting little black babies, that they
have little time for promiscuous sex. Which begs the question, who am I
actually having my promiscuous sex with? Is it with men who don’t exist? I leave this question -- which has a ‘who
created something out of nothing’ quality to it -- for Stephen Hawking.
case you haven’t heard, Justine Sacco, an executive at an American internet
corporation, recently tweeted from an airplane “Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding.
I'm white!” Justine, (who was born in South Africa) received a barrage of angry
tweets, and the controversy has gone viral. TV pundits are shocked not only by Ms. Sacco’s racist sentiments, but by the online reaction, which ranged from
‘Total looser!’ to much more virulent, apparently unquotable, responses.
I find Sacco’s tweet ideas not only
racist, but homophobic as well -- especially in the context of her apology: ‘There
is an AIDS crisis taking place in…(South Africa)…that we read about in America,
but do not live with or face on a continuous basis.” Ahh. It seems that -- like
so many people -- Justine Sacco has difficulty feeling empathy for the sorrows
of others – especially those whose race or sexuality is different than hers.
Well, I don’t know how to tell you this, Justine, but in the USA where you now
live the AIDS crisis is not something that gay people have merely ‘read about.”
No. It is a terrible personal tragedy that has ripped our lives apart.
said, I must applaud Justine Sacco for bursting the nauseating bubble of
comforting hypocrisy that typifies our recent love affair with political
correctness. As we all know, two forms of utterance are dictated by western
culture’s relatively new conception of a diverse society: the public and the
private. It is universally accepted that all forms of public speech – i.e.
books, newspaper and magazine articles, speeches, and interviews – ban the
n-word when referring to African Americans, the f-word when referring to gay
men, and the c-word when referring to women. Most of us abide by this rule most of the time, and congratulate each
other ceaselessly for our civility, tolerance and open-mindedness.
private speech is another matter. When we are having a drink with a friend or
whispering sweet nothings in the ever-ubiquitous post-coital ear – anything
goes! It’s our private time, after all. How many of us have ever leaned over to
a pal ‘sotto voce’ confiding – ‘I know I shouldn’t say this, but –‘ or -- ‘Shh…
I hope know one’s listening…’ or the ever popular: ‘I know I say that, but what
I really think is – .‘
society is as fragile as the civil laws that provide its coherence. It’s one thing to legislate against hate
speech, and quite another to wrench hate forever from the human heart.
thank God for the internet.
For though we may think we
know the difference between public utterance and private speech, internet
chit-chat has made it increasingly difficult to separate the two.
until recently the worldwide web seemed like the wild west of ideology, where
anything ‘went’ -- and anonymous
scatalogical rants ruled. But now Google and Apple have decided that some books
should not be available (it’s called censorship!), And Facebook categorically
assures us that some of our interchanges are protected and others (how’s that
again?) are not. At the same time we grow increasingly paranoid of government
and corporate attempts to use computers to gather our personal information.
other words, we’re not entirely sure if the internet a public space or a
classy, politically correct publicists like Justine Sacco can be caught with
their panties down and their hate quite visible for all to see.
course it’s not easy to eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia -- especially
in an increasingly fundamentalist world
(witness the recent ‘Duck Dynasty’ controversy).
the other hand, the only we can deal with hate is not by pretending that it’s
over, but by bringing the hate centre stage and discussing it, admonishing the
sin (not the sinner): i.e. the hypocrisy that lies at the very core of western
thank you, Justine Sacco. You remind us yet again that each and every one of us
--when it comes dealing with our own, personal ingrown hate and prejudice, --is
wholly, completely -- nay utterly -- FULL OF CRAP.
used to think it was that all plays are now an hour and forty-five minutes with
no intermission. Then, I used to think it was because theatres lie about even that. Plays are sometimes even
longer. They usually say ‘90 minutes without an intermission’ in the program –
and you know then that you’re in for up to 2 hours without a break, and you’d
better go to the bathroom, now.
no, it’s not that.
It’s not because of ‘the death of the intermission.’
certainly not the fault of the actors. They seem to get more and more talented
every day. Musical comedy actors now have to be quadruple threats: they have to
sing, dance, act and, if possible, play a musical instrument. (I’m sure glad I
don’t go to musical theatre school!)
I don’t blame the actors.
blame the writers and the directors.
see once upon a time there was a difference between plays and movies.
you went to a movie you could go to sleep or have sex with your girlfriend in
the back row -- and it didn’t really matter. But when you went to a play, you
knew that whatever you did might have an effect
on the action.
do I mean? Well I don’t mean ‘audience participation’ -- like in a hippie way,
like having sex with the actors -- like in Dionysus in ’69. No, I don’t long
for those days, don’t get me wrong. That whole experience always kinda scared
I mean is that there was a time, it seems to me (and of course I may be wrong),
when the way the audience reacted affected the way the actors acted. If the
audience laughed (and it was a comedy) the actors would play (delicately of
course) to that laughter.If the
play was a drama, then the actors could feel, quite often, if the audience was
‘with’ them or not, and play to that energy. Watching a play wasn’t a passive
experience; it was active, because you knew that it was in your power to affect
what was going on in front of you.
alas, no more. Now we sit, and we watch, and the actors do their thing, and the
set is fabulous! It twirls around, or it falls on our heads, or whatever, and
it’s pretty clear that the actors know what they’re doing. And they won’t
likely be doing anything else--
i.e., responding to anything that we, the audience, do. If we’ve paid a lot of
money for the show (which we usually have) and we’re out for an evening with
‘the wife’ or an afternoon with ‘the kids’ then we usually stand up and give
the play a standing ovation no matter what.
how did things come to such a pretty pass?
the purpose of going to see a play these days is to pretty much just to have
our view of life confirmed. It’s 2014 (almost) and we know very well what is
right and what is wrong, and we certainly don’t have much more to learn. We
know who the good people are. Good people are good citizens, usually, and they
care about the environment, and the future, and the kids, and they go to work,
and make a living, and they kinda care about things generally. And we know who the bad people are too. They are, for the
most part, not like us at all. They
do drugs, and they do not talk nicely, and they act inappropriately around
--you know -- sexual matters, and they don’t care about children, the
environment, or the future. And from the moment the play starts, it’s easy to
tell the good guys from the bad guys. And if the good guys win, we will laugh
-- and if they lose we cry. But there aren’t any surprises.
in a way, going to a play is kinda like not
going to a play; they’re both basically the same thing.
only thing that’s different is that going to a play is an occasion, cuz, after
all, we went out to dinner first, and we got dressed up -- or at least we’re
not wearing what we wore when we sat at home and watched something on youtube
the night before, right?