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Saturday, 28 August 2010

Serendipity

Serendipity. Isn't it a wonderful word! Good old Horace Walpole and the eighteenth century enlightenment.

In this case, I meant that I find wonderful things when I start researching for the posts I write. Mostly -- though not always -- I'm looking for pictures to go with my rants. But as the Wikipedia item on serendipity says, an informed search, that is, one where you can see the usefulness and relevance of pictures or articles even if Google hasn't done the linkages for you, makes for some very satisfying discoveries.

I was looking for an image to go with my May-September Relationships piece, and I came across this website, a collection of images on non-western homosexuality.

A few thoughts popped into my head when I found it. First, it is a common lie from the Christian-Fascists that homosexuality is a western evil, introduced to noble savages by our degenerate culture. The images (and other work) suggest that the opposite is true: homophobia is the evil introduced by us into more primitive societies.


Consider for example the picture of the of the oh-so-Christian conquistadors murdering "sodomites". The brave Spanish soldiers are having a bit of a party, murdering evil gays. Look at their insouciant, even joyful attitudes. What fun it all is, to be sure. In Reay Tannahill's Sex in History, she describes how many pre-Columban cultures were tolerant of homosexuality. In one culture from meso-America, a young man was given a male slave to satisfy his hormonal urges on reaching adolescence. The big no-no wasn't gay sex, it was fathering a child with an inappropriate woman, because that created all kinds of obligations for the family. Better to let him get his rocks off with a young man. One wonders whether the scion of the family and his slave ended up fond of each other.

This familial reason for promoting adolescent homosexuality is probably one of the reasons the Greeks tolerated and even encouraged the pattern of a young man being taken in hand by an older to show him how to be a man -- a bisexual man -- something Mary Renault uses to great effect in her novels set in Ancient Greece. After all, the Greeks also exposed babies to control population.

So we have the thoroughly decent and endearing Spanish conquistadors murdering evil sodomites and then we also have a photograph of a indigenous American vase in the shape of two men fucking. You know, I think I'll just pop down to Target and get an anal sex jug. So much for homosexuality being a western import! (Reay Tannahill also says that the priests of the new imposed religion in Spanish America were always asking their parishioners to tell them during confession whether they'd had sex in the "proper vessel" -- the Indians used heterosexual anal sex as a birth-control device)


The next thought that struck me was one I've often mentioned: that in a world where it doesn't matter whether you have sex with your own or the "opposite" gender, bisexuality would be normal and widespread. Have a look at the charming picture of the Threesome in India, the glorious peacock eyes of all three participants, the one man up the other who is in turn fucking the woman. I love the way they have taken off all their clothes except their headdress. I love also the sublime looks on all their faces. Glorious.








The final thought was that perhaps May-September relationships are historically all too common. Look at the utterly charming painting of the Sheik and his boy enjoying a party in the garden. Maybe I should have chosen this image to illustrate my May-September piece.

Final point: it seems to me that the more you look, the more you dig, the more you find that gay and bisexual is universal, throughout all cultures and all times. And that when Judeo-Christianity is absent, mostly it's tolerated and in some cases even welcomed.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Dieux du Stade

It's French, mes amis. And it means 'Gods of the Stadium'. And they are. Young French rugby players, who seem to be leaner and more beautiful than their British, New Zealand, Ozzie or South African counterparts.

The new Dieux du Stade calendar, magnificently photographed by Tony Duran, is out. Just a few photos to whet your appetite and possibly wet your..... ahem.

One thing which intrigues me: the beaut blokes in these photos must know they're going to be perved at by all us homos. OK, there is prolly a huge female audience too, but the women I know don't much care for muscly guys, even as tastefully muscular as these guys. Does it bother them? One suspects not: ppl I know from Europe say that though they don't make a fuss about it, many, many youngsters these days don't much care whether their partner is male or female. The world is moving on from the either/or culture of 30 years ago. A sporty friend (American football and soccer) reckons that sportsmen (young ones) are comfy with touching other men and being close to them. Maybe. Jason Akermanis doesn't think so, as I've mentioned before. But then he's a nincompoop.

















There are other calendars of beaut sportsmen. But these are to my mind the best. And just imagine how sexy their accents are!

I'm off to take a cold shower.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Still More on J C Leyendecker

I've mentioned Elisa Rolle's blog before. It's an excellent place to see all about new gay-shaded books, authors, artists and films. I hope one day she'll be able to review one of my books (so far I've only had short stories in anthologies)

She's also done a post on J C Leyendecker  [new link as Elisa has moved to Dreamwidth from LiveJournal], and borrowed some of my pictures to do it. So I thought I'd borrow some back, while pointing you to her blog post on Leyendecker and also to her blog which coincidentally has just done a review on Black Wade, which is a book I've been contemplating buying. The art of Black Wade and Leyendecker is very different, is it not?








Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Halfway Home

Yeah, I'm talking about Paul Monette's sumptuous masterpiece, written just before he died from AIDS.

I've just finished reading Rough Music, by Patrick Gale, another masterly composition, filled with the soft melancholy of life, and I thought to myself, fuck, why do I bother keeping on writing when I know for a fact that others do it so consummately, so polished, so effing well, and I produce this prose as constipated as a municipal flowerbed outside the municipal shithouse, all salvias and lavenders and overdone roses, with all the originality and talent of a Country Women's Association cake sale? Why?

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Because I Loved You Better

Another poem from A.E. Housman. It's about Moses Jackson, Housman's best friend, who was unable to return his love, and in the end treated him very cruelly. Today we remember Jackson only because he was loved by a genius. Jackson emigrated to Canada and died 15 years before Housman.


Because I liked you better
Than suits a man to say,
It irked you, and I promised
To throw the thought away.

To put the world between us
We parted, stiff and dry;
`Good-bye,' said you, `forget me.'
`I will, no fear', said I.

If here, where clover whitens
The dead man's knoll, you pass,
And no tall flower to meet you
Starts in the trefoiled grass,

Halt by the headstone naming
The heart no longer stirred,
And say the lad that loved you
Was one that kept his word.



Friday, 6 August 2010

The colour of his hair

A very bitter and angry poem about..... being different, by the gay poet A.E. Housman.



Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists?
And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists?
And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air?
Oh they're taking him to prison for the colour of his hair.

'Tis a shame to human nature, such a head of hair as his;
In the good old time 'twas hanging for the colour that it is;
Though hanging isn't bad enough and flaying would be fair
For the nameless and abominable colour of his hair.

Oh a deal of pains he's taken and a pretty price he's paid
To hide his poll or dye it of a mentionable shade;
But they've pulled the beggar's hat off for the world to see and stare,
And they're haling him to justice for the colour of his hair.

Now 'tis oakum for his fingers and the treadmill for his feet
And the quarry-gang on Portland in the cold and in the heat,
And between his spells of labour in the time he has to spare
He can curse the God that made him for the colour of his hair.


The wonder is that there are still grindingly stupid idiots who do not see the moral of this poem.

We are born with the psychosexual equivalent of red-hair. Get over it, you wowsers, you judgers, you haters. Get over it, and follow the Jesus that you pretend to love.

Guilt, self-hatred and deceit.

Guilt, self-hatred and deceit: a deadly and toxic brew.

From the Blog Bi Like Me:

I had this feeling a while ago, and maybe you've had the same one. I obviously haven't been truthful and forthright to my wife and family about my bisexuality. But am I being punished? I may seem happy, I may act great. You may say, he's handsome, he's got a wonderful family and wife. You see me from the outside..but you don't know my insides are a bubbling cauldron of deceit, lies, and evilness. That's the way I feel sometimes. Sometimes I feel that god is punishing me for my actions. 

and: 

I could refrain from having sexual liaisons outside my marriage: I've tried..and unless I get castrated, not gonna happen. 'Nuff said? As a result of my choice to remain secretive, I am in a constant personality upheaval. Some days, I'm great. Relatively calm, pretty content. Other days, I'm downright nasty, unhappy and resentful. Unfortunately, I take it out on some of the people closest to me
and:
I'm constantly feeling the pull between my family and my desire to be with another man. There is always a conflict within me. The emotional roller coaster is terrible. A long time ago, after I first got married and had my experiments with other men I would be wrought with guilt. I'd swear off not only being with another man, but also everything associated with the action..like looking on the internet, chatting in chat rooms, etc. It doesn't work. The pull and attraction is obviously too great. I am clearly not the person people see me as. Those who know me would be shocked if they knew of my real life - my true feelings. In college, I was quite the lady's man My friends, family and co-workers see me as a stable, smart, honest, hardworking, loyal and loving father. ....don't assume that my sexual encounters are taken lightly. They are not. It is a cross I must bear, and if I wasn't worried about the affect on my kids lives, clearly there would be an easier way out of the constant internal struggle that I go through. I don't go there or do something because of my loyalty to them, and in spite of my unhappiness, I plod on..every day

It seems to me that we are born the way we are. We are born with (or they inexorably and inevitably develop within us) feelings towards men, feelings of love and desire. We try hard to be moral and decent, not just by the standards of society, but by our own perhaps more demanding standards. And we fail, too often. And then we endure guilt and self-hatred, and our lives are poisoned as a result. How much simpler it would be if the world quietly accepted that feeling love or desire for another man is not wrong or evil, but part of the natural continuum of human interaction, that in fact m2m love might even be noble and uplifting, and that in any case, we are what we are. A friend once said that asking someone to be straight if they are gay-shaded is like asking them to be two inches taller. We can't do it. And by trying to contort ourselves into the strict (& strait) paradigms demanded by the Christian-Fascists, we damage ourselves and those round us.

I am not unfaithful to my wife, because I love her and don't want to hurt her. But there is an aching void in me where I lack men: not for sex, but for love.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Christian

In a conversation in one of my groups about Anne Rice's renunciation of Catholicism because it is, inter alia, very hostile to gays (her son is gay), someone said something startling and thought-provoking:

I have been thinking there should be another term, say "Followers of Christ", for those of us who believe yet don't hate. I am wary of claiming to be Christian and am definitely turned away by any advert for something which uses "Christian" in its description.

I feel that too. I know many Christians who are a credit to their faith: kind, compassionate, likable, honest and decent, who live their lives as Christians without grand-standing, pretence or hypocrisy. Including, as it happens, Anne Rice, whose record of personal generosity and Christian love shows her to be a real Christian. Then there are those filled with hate. They always talk about hating the sin not the sinner, but that's a joke. Mostly, these days their hate is concentrated on gays and gay rights. I call the Christians who would impose their beliefs on everybody the Christian-Fascists. There is nothing appealing or attractive about these people. Thin-lipped, judgmental, filled with hate and spite, they lack humanity and forgiveness.

The irony is that Jesus never mentions homosexuality. Not once. He talks a lot about hypocrisy (which he condemns), and he says, emphatically, that we should love one another, and that this is the most important commandment. In fact, when a Roman came to Jesus asking that his slave-lover be healed, Jesus did it. Without fuss.

Of course there are those poisonous passages in Leviticus. But the Christian-Fascists pick and choose which verses they accept and which they don't. They wear polyester-cotton shirts and lycra-cotton undies despite mixed fibres being forbidden, and they oppose slavery even though Leviticus says it's ok. Divorce is also an abomination. We going to ban divorce? Burn divorcees at the stake? Pshah! St Paul said some stuff about gayness, but firstly, that's open to interpretation, and secondly are we talking about Christianity or Paulism?

The constant Christian-Fascist refrain that God hates gays is like a boil in the body-politic. Its pus leaches into our society making hate crimes acceptable. And tell me, did even one Christian minister condemn the attack on Matthew Shepard? Didn't hear of any. Did you?

The churches once supported slavery and the absence of women's rights. Today they are embarrassed about this. One day they will be as embarrassed about their hatred of gays. And they will acknowledge that God made us too. He made us with our sexuality as it is. And that God is much more hurt by lying and hypocrisy and hate than He is by us loving the "wrong" gender.
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