silversolitaire: (Eleven)
So, when I was looking through my box of old letters, I found a reply from a TV station from 1997 or so where I complained about a cartoon. This actually both amused and intrigued me. I actually still remember said cartoon and why I complained about it. As a matter of fact, I've tried since then and the dawn of YouTube to dig it up again and verify my slightly dodgy memory. So, in this letter they happened to mention the title of the cartoon I complained about, so now I know it again! *squee* Of course, my first stop was YouTube and lo and behold, there it was. I watched it... and all the things that annoyed me were still there. I mean, of course they were, but I still find them annoying and inacceptable. So I'm content *g*.

Now, I realize how this sounds. Like one of those nutjobs who complain about some kiddy cartoon which might not be 100% PC but hey, it's a kid's show, so loosen up. But really, it was more than that. Allow me to elaborate. The cartoon in question was "Who Killed Cock Robin?" by Silly Symphony short by Walt Disney himself from 1935. From what I've learnt now it was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Subject, Cartoons and actually won a Special Recommendation at the Venice Film Festival in 1936. So it's not just some neglectible throw-away cartoon.

Now, in order to understand what I'm talking about, you probably need to watch the cartoon in question.


The plot is quickly told. Cock Robin serenades his lady, Jenny, a Mae West stand-in of the avian variety, and is prompty shot into the chest with an arrow and falls down dead. Jenny's scream startles the neighbors and they watch poor Robin in his throes of death. The cops arrive and all but 60 seconds later the trial commences, discussing the question "Who killed Cock Robin?". I don't know about you, but in my world the trial shouldn't serve to figure out the culprit in the first place, but never mind that.

The cartoon is only 8 minutes long but if this is too much for your attention span at the moment, just check out, say, 3:00. Here, we have the first witness, no wait, suspect (who btw was rather randomly picked and dragged out of some bar along with two other guys, eh birds, while the coppers beat rhythmically on their heads with their batons) who's being questioned by the D.A. If you don't see the racial stereotype right there, allow me to enlighten you: here we have a blackbird, black, got it? He talks in the typical drawl and simpleton language usually associated with the stereotype of the black man, wears the stereotypical outfit. He turns white when scared, his gestures and stance is submissive and servile. Then there's the jury-choir reciting his testimony, adding the "No, sir"... I think it's rather obvious and quite racist. That was one of my complaints.

The other reason for complaint I've already hinted at earlier. It's this blatant use of police violence against the suspects. I realize this is just a cartoon, but i still can't stand watching the blackbird professing his innocence with the cop replying sardonically "Tell it to the judge, tell it to the judge," before beating around on his head without him putting up any form of resistance (2:30). I find that, frankly, quite disgusting. This just isn't funny.

And then, of course, there's the real kicker. Direct your attention to 6:40. When no verdict can be reached, neither the coon, nor the thug, nor the loon can be pinpointed as the culprit, Jenny demands "Someone ought to be hung!" and the judge, completely smitted by her presence, casually decides to hang them all, barely capable of lifting his eyes out of Jenny's cleavage. The jury breaks out into ecstatic singing and dancing: "We're gonna hang them all, we're gonna hang them all! We don't know who is guilty, so we're gonna hang them all!" ... Need I say more? This sentence alone, in my opinion, makes the entire cartoon inacceptable. They admit to not being able to prove any of the suspects guilty, so they're just going to give the death penalty to all of them? And I thought Phoenix Wright had a fucked up legal system.

To round it all off, the ending graces us with yet another stereotype. This time it's cupid-bird who really comes across as a total pansy, being delightfully pink, speaking with a lisp while waving around with his limp wrists. He confesses the "crime", but of course he didn't actually shoot Robin dead, he made him fall in love (wasn't he already in love before?). Robin and Jenny kiss (although he kinda seems to miss her mouth and hit some area between her chin and stomach, ehem), the jury breaks out into yet another song and everyone's happy. Or something.

Now, my problem isn't the mere existence of this cartoon. I'm not saying "BURN IT ALL!!!!! Hide it away, never to be found!!!!!". No, not at all. I just think this doesn't belong into the Sunday morning cartoons and this is why I complained. This is not a children's cartoon by any standards anymore. It shouldn't be aired anymore without reflection and commentary. It's just not funny anymore and it shouldn't be treated as such. That's my opinion.

While I was researching this, I looked at some of the comments on IMDB and people praise it for its "radical vision of The System", call it a "legal system at high speed". Thing is, I don't really think it is! I really don't think it's poking fun at the legal system and its convuluted ways, I think, despite being funny, they're being perfectly serious. Or rather, they're not reflecting such topics at all. Because otherwise we'd never have gotten such results, because despite everything, Disney usually really tries to do better. This cartoon merely is a sympton of its time, 1935, tail end of the Prohibition, rise of organized crime, at the brink of another World War. It really seemed okay then to portray minorities like that, to show them being treated in such a fashion, trivialize police violence. It was no big deal then. And this is exactly why it's so outdated now and why we can't just continue using it like it was as good as the next Spongebob Squarepants episode. It just isn't.
silversolitaire: (Eleven)
Sometimes my googling scares me... So, Beely was bored. No f-list updates, no new mails (other than spam and JB-ML rambling about how cute John Barrowman looks with hairgel). Always a bad combination. So I started snooping around random sites. As Tom always points out, I have the uncanny ability to dig up stuff that will upset me or gross me out.

Allow me to demonstrate. I was looking around and ended up finding this. If you know me, I have this weird phobia paired with fascination regarding giants / large statues. They freak me out, really freak me out, yet I can't stop looking at them. Now this guy, he calls himself a hyperrealistic artist and what he does is both fascinating, very skillful and oh so frightening! D: This gallery here is all in Russian, but it shows better pictures of the exhibits. If you want to read up on the guy, here's the wiki entry.

Needless to say, I find all the giants he made extremely scary. And oh God, what's with that mask thing??? The last image on the Washington Post gallery. Oh... My... God.

Weirdo art somehow brought me on the subject of this: Unpop Art! Now, I love Pop Art, so the concept of Unpop Art seems fascinating. And I have to say, a lot of pieces in the galleries are fascinating and interesting. Many others however are lame, borderlining disgusting, others clearly have crossed that line. I'd like to issue a clear warning that you shouldn't browse the galleries if you're easily upsettable by offensive images, also including pictures of real dead people. Yeah, some people are sick fucks.

Ignoring the pieces that obviously are of little artistic merit, I must say some I thought were pretty neat. Like this, a kitschy porcellain gun with Jesus on it. As a matter of fact, I found all pieces by Charles Krafft kinda interesting. Such as this bio grenade, or the onion pattern grenades, or the Forgiveness perfume bottle. Or this piece by Boyd Rice, Love. I'm so torn on the entire issue of using nazi and war imagery like that, yet it's fascinating.

Then, as a literature major this one amused me endlessly: (caution, artistic porn). "After the Staircase", of course alluding to "Nu Descendant un Escalier" (Nude Descending a Staircase) by Marcel Duchamp, the very painting said to have made William Carlos Williams, grand master of the Imagism, laugh and realize the ramnifications of impressionism at the famous Armory Show.


My favorite poem by W.C. William:

so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white


So, there actually are some really good pieces among that. Then of course there's some kind of freakish stuff too, like this one titled "Cairn Creek" by Beth Moore-Love. Again, warning, it's not really gross or explicit, but it shows a naked child in a somewhat pictoresque yet strangely grotesque surrounding. I don't really get this painting to be honest. Do you? I feel like it should tell me something, but I don't know what. Maybe it'd work better if it was larger. The same artist also has another painting later on which is... strange at best.

And then there's this stuff by Caleb Weintraub which I'm telling you right now you should steer absolutely clear of if you're queasy, even when it's only painted. I'm usually not queasy about stuff that's obviously not real. But this painting here called Inch by Inch scared the living daylights out of me. It's explicitly gory, despite the blood being pink, but the thing that really did me in is that insane, murderous expression on that child's face. I'm seriously scared now of going to work tomorrow! (asdgashkk just clicked the link again accidentally and the painting popped up in front of my eyes. trauma...). That guy is one sick fuck. He only paints stuff like that it seems! Children mutilating adults... what gives?? No, I don't get this at all. I do recognize the artist's talent though.

The site also features a bunch of puppets modelled after real life people with grotesquely shaped faces such as Brian Peppers. I thought that was extremely well done and really captured his looks. Wouldn't want that doll sitting around at my place, but it's definitely interesting.

Now, leaving the paths of the features artists, I moved on from there to the Readymades which actually wasn't all that bad. Really made you wonder what's going on in some people's heads though since most of these pieces weren't made to intentionally offend (some clearly were though). There, I revisited the oh so famous Hansi, the Girl Who Loved the Swastika. Nothing new to the internet pro, but the cool thing is that I found a link for the entire comic! Wow! Now that was enlightening. It's just so seriously on crack, I'm lost for words. If you've ever wondered about a girl's development from Über-Nazi to American Christian biblethumper, this is your answer! There are just so many parts... I could quote the whole damn thing! So, do check it out, it's hilarious.

My romp through the world of strange art was concluded with this site featuring vintage (and now probably illegal) porn pulp fiction that would make House weep with joy. Who doesn't want to read timeless classics such as "Dog-Raped Women" or "Beast-Raped Mom And Daughter"?

I hope you enjoyed this little tour. If you're traumatized now, here's a picture of a Carebear. (You know, that's actually funny. I said these very words to Tom earlier: "Okay stopping now. I'd google carebears but somehow I think I'd find sick shit too." Now that I did... Boy, I was so right...)
silversolitaire: (Default)
Referring to my little entry two days ago I thought I talk about a couple of songs by Joshua Kadison that I found especially inspiring and lovely. Maybe some of you guys are interested in them...

I'm actually a little unsure about how to proceed now. Part of me wants to ramble on about the songs. But the other part wants you to check them out yourself and have your own opinion on them before you get influenced by me. I guess I'll just do the rambling and put it under a cut.

The first songs are from his debut album, Painted Desert Serenade. For starters, here's the eponymous song, Painted Desert Serenade. Like I said in my little essay, that's the song that won me over. It's the second track and it's just so lovely. The music just spoke to me, it was so light-hearted and good-natured, but the thing that really won my heart were the lyrics.

My thoughts. )

*feels a bit silly* Those are just images that have popped into my head whenever I've listened to the song. I'm sure other people see other things. And that's the beauty of it. Anyway, moving on.

The third track is Beau's All Night Radio Love Line. I've always liked the quiet melancholy about it. Slight touches of country, slow and wistful. The lyrics are lovely, as usual, telling a multi-layered story of different characters, all listening to the same call-in show. Like in most of his songs, you get the feeling Joshua is telling you one of his many experiences of his exciting life, but for his benefit I'm going to assume this is the narrator, and not him personally.

My thoughts. )

Going a bit out of order now, Picture Postcards From L.A. is another one of my favorites. Again, it's heavy with a story waiting to be told. My thoughts. )

Just like many other of Joshua's songs, this one deals with hopes and dreams that stay unfulfilled. Like in this other song from the same album which I'm not presenting here, called Georgia Rain. It features Jessie again and the trailer that is mentioned in her own song. One line that moved me especially was, "There's a trailer by the sea, down in Mexico. We dreamt a lot about it, but we never did go. Some dreams a better from afar, but that's just how things are." To me, this speaks of hope in a way, even if your dreams stay dreams forever. It's good to dream, even if you might never get it.

This song is especially important to me, because it played a huge part in my life at some point. When I was in L.A. I couldn't stop thinking about exactly that. I prowled through all the stores until I found a picture postcard of L.A. with the California sun and I wrote "I made it! Love, forevermore" on it. It may be silly, but it was important to me. I still have it. Just like Rachel, I never "made it"... Kinda funny, too, that in 1998 I travelled the same track that Jessie did. From Las Vegas over L.A. to Mexico. That was... amazing.

Since I just mentioned Jessie I guess I should present the song, too. It's the first track and probably the song most people would know by Joshua. It was in the charts for a while in the mid-90s. I'm only mentioning it now for that reason and because it's not necessarily my most favorite one. I still like it, of course, and it basically was what made me fall in love with Joshua, but still. It's a bit worn out I guess.

My thoughts. )

Last from this album I give you two songs which pretty much speak for themselves. They don't so much tell a story than illustrate sentiments everyone of us has felt at some point. At least that's true for Invisible Man. The other song, Mama's Arms might be autobiographical. I'm saying "might" because I can't really confirm it. Somehow this is what I remember from my heavy fandom days when I read each and every article and interview. But since I can't make sure, I'm going to be cautious. Either way, it's heartbreaking.

You know, in a way it's a bit frustrating that most songs who made it into the charts by Josh were those really smarmy love songs that don't really have any meaning, such as Beautiful in My Eyes. It's a nice song and all, but it's really just one of many love songs and doesn't carry a message or meaning. Yet, this seems to be the only glimpse the public got of his work. Same thing happened with Delilah Blue where the only actual single was Take it on Faith which is just as boring a love song as the other one. *shakes head*

Now wasn't that just the perfect lead-in to the next album? Delilah Blue!

I really had to force myself to stop here. Otherwise I probably would have covered the entire album. Somehow, all songs grow on you so much at some point that you just can't imagine not showing them to everyone you meet. When you're a little blues-y/gospel-y inclined (which I am), some of those tunes just make your heart thud in your chest and make you want to shout out loud with joy. Listen to the Lambs and The Gospel According To My Ol' Man are songs like that. I'm going to talk a bit about them.

The first one is just plain gospel, so it's not really worth a lot of words. The second talks about the narrator's father and how they both used to hang out outside of church and listen to the music drifting over to them. Our hero wonders about the questions of life and God, but he's never received a religious education from his father and yet he's given him the most important lesson imagineable: "Love's the only thing worth a damn".

Not that deep, but with the music, it's just awesome.

Now let's move on to a very special song, Delilah Blue. I've already covered what it means to me in the other post, so I'm not going to get into that again, but I'm just going to say that it's all kinds of awesome. It's incredibly long, almost ten minutes, and it just goes on and on telling you the story of these two people in magnificent detail until you feel like they're your best friends. Adding to that is this slow, sentimental piano with strings and drums that just tears the emotion right out of you.

My thoughts. )

If you've got your own ideas about the song, please share them with me, because I'd love to know them! ^^

Next is Jus' Like Brigitte Bardot. The beautiful thing about Joshua's albums is that you always have the feeling you're kinda listening to an ongoing story, illustrated song by song. In this song we learn about Neffertiti in all its beautiful gospel glory.

My thoughts. )

Now, onto the final song I'm going to cover here, Waiting In Green Velvet. Very similar instrumentation as Jus' Like Brigitte Bardot or The Gospel and many other songs which is probably the reason why I get the impression they're somehow connected. The story is quickly told, about a woman waiting for her bus, full of hopes and dreams, and somehow I always thought this was Neffertiti. Might just be me of course.

Hm, maybe I should mention for completeness' sake that on the album there's also a song called The Song on Neffertiti's Radio, just to illustrate you they all tie up nicely and build one well-rounded piece.

Phew... I'm kinda powered out now. I guess I'll just go ahead and post it now and see if the music touches you guys as it touched me! :)
silversolitaire: (Default)
I've read this series on Charles and Camilla for the past couple of days. Apparently some biography has been wriiten on Camilla and for some reason I'm enjoying it greatly, reading all those sordid little bits. Hah... It makes Camilla sound like an awesome woman, I'm surprised to admit. They go on about how she met her first husband, Andrew Parker-Bowles, when she was 17 or so and he taught her everything about love, sex and eroticism. That he gave her the lesson that nothing about sex is shameful and that it changed her a lot. Apparently, Andrew was quite the ladies' man and she'd often find him with some cheap affair in his bed, and she never cried or was upset but sorta gave the girls a look-over and sneered how he could do better than that.

Then she met Charles when she was 25 and he was... dunno, younger I suppose, and she immediately sweeped him off his feet with her straight-forewardness and sensuality. She in turn taught him everything about love and sex. He was madly in love with her, but it was clear from the start that he'd never be allowed to marry her. Supposedly his father told him "Wed her, don't bed her". He knew he was supposed to marry a virgin and the choice was Diana. Supposedly, when Diana moved into the Palace for get married, nobody received her, but there was a letter on the bed addressed at her from Camilla, dated three days before she'd even know she was going to move into the Palace. Weird situation.

When Camilla got married to Andrew, Charles spent days and weeks mourning his lost love. Apparently Camilla's husband never had a problem with his wife sleeping around with the heir to the throne. As a matter of fact, he enjoyed the social upgrade he experienced through that. After Charles had gotten married, they had taken the resolve to no longer consume their relationship physically since Charles had wanted to make his marriage work. Well, we all know where that led to, eh?

Anyway, reading this kinda has changed my mind a bit about the nature of the relationship between Charles and Camilla. I mean, it's no news of course. Ever since their marriage last year we kinda know all the details, and yet... I wil admit that I had always felt a slight twinge of animosity at the idea of them now getting a happy end after having been so mean and unfair to Diana, adulterers and what not. Silly me, of course the press had always been skewed towards Diana who was the beautiful, tragic fairytale princess.

Nobody, or I at least, had never taken the time to actually look at Charles and Camilla and reading all this kinda makes me realize that if at all it was probably Diana who was disrupting a great love, not Camilla. Camilla had always been the love of Charles' life and they just couldn't be together until last year. That's pretty awesome to think that they managed to maintain such a love and passion for each other through all these years, against all odds. Yeah, I think that' s pretty damn awesome. *nods*
silversolitaire: (silly)
[ profile] seal7 has pointed me towards this awesome set of posts: Garfield comics without Garfield's thoughts. A couple of people have begun to wonder: what would the Garfield comic strips be like without the sarcastic, philosophical comments by the fat cat. After all, he doesn't talk, right? If you know Garfield you know that he only thinks. So what if you remove these thoughts from the reader's view? This is what happens.

Most of the strips make you realize just how much of a poor miserable bastard Jon really is.

Some more as teasers )

And another one )

Check out the rest! )
silversolitaire: (huggle)
I stumbled onto it yesterday and was immediately enthralled. offers you a huge collection of information and intros of old TV shows and commercials of the 70s, 80s and 90s! I think I've spent hours browsing the site, watching clips and floating on a cloud of nostalgia... aaaaaaaah. Wonderful. I can only urge you guys to go check it out! :3

Here are some shows I used to watch as a child. God, I loved those.

Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs (Ramrod!), Defenders of the Earth (Mandrake was so cool...), Galaxy Rangers (Goose was awesome), Ulysses 31 (hehehe, kinda interesting premises that show had), Bravestarr (that one was so cool... come to think of it, what was it with Space Cowboys in the 80s? O.o; And why did I like them all??), and of course, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe! Heheh and the ever so cool Danger Mouse!

Yeah I really was into animation... But there are others, too! Like... Misfits of Science and of course, Remington Steele.

God, I could list shows forever and ever. I watched tons of stuff of course. Knight Rider, A-Team, Mission: Impossible, Highway to Heaven... Other animations like Dungeons & Dragons, Captain Future etc. but that'd take forever. I can only urge you to look at it yourself and enjoy oh so wonderful nostalgia...

*wanders off humming the Gummi Bears theme*
silversolitaire: (sad)
This is sad somehow. I should have known that I can't be part of any religious community. Somehow they're always full of fucktards. I was hoping to be able to find a Unitarian community in my vicinity. But there's none. So I joined a mailing list, but it's not really Unitarian Universalists but rather some group that has developed from reformed protestants into something remotely Unitarian now. But I get the feeling that this is merely a cover-up for... God knows what. Hardly anything they say corresponds with what I believe.

For example, I do believe in God. It's not necessarily the Christian God. As I have often said before, to me God is one. A greater force, a Supreme Being. I merely use the term God for simplification. I also usually use he, just because it's a lot easier that way. I don't need to justify myself for that. I know what I believe. And I also believe in Gods. I believe in Krishna. He feels me with so much love, so much awe and fascination. How could I not? And Jesus, I agree with most of the things he taught. Apollo, Shiva... so many wonderful Gods that I love to look up to. It feels me with incredible spiritual power to think of them, to believe they're actually there and they're powerful and divine.

For the longest time I've tortured myself over it. I've been angsting over the fact whether I've chosen the "right God", been meandering left and right to seek out the spiritual life to make me happy. And then I saw the truth. My personal truth. I realized that it's all just one. Just like Krishna said. People may be worshipping "lower Gods" but their praise all just goes to him and if they receive something from these Gods they in fact receive them through him. Now, I don't think there are any lower Gods, but I rather think there is one unified thing and it takes the shape of the God you choose to worship. I'm so sure of that, I could never abandon this thought. And it makes me so happy, because now I know why I've never been able to decide on just one God.

Now, I don't see why this is wrong. I mean, I KNOW it's not wrong. But people still manage to make me feel bad over it. I've tried to relate my ideas to this list. The discussion was "Comfort". And to me it was clear that only my faith gives me comfort because I feel safe and harbored and I know that I can turn to my God any time I want to and need to. And instead of seeing my point and accepting it, they do their best to disassemble it and ridicule it. I mean, I don't shirk a discussion and I like a critical argumentation, but when I constantly feel like I'm not taken seriously then it just hurts me. Especially since the discussion doesn't take place in English and I just can't express myself this well in another language. Kinda depressing, considering that... oh well. It's just weird, but I can only really discuss my faith in English properly. And these people use so many strange words and long sentences and Latin phrases that I constantly feel like I'm talking to my half-uncle. I feel so stupid! Like a school kid! And I hate this! I'm not stupid! I'm actually quite intelligent and I too know other languages and my fair share of Latin and yet I'm just stunned when a sentences goes on for 20 lines and uses words such as "proselyte", "object fixation" and something about teddybears and Poland. I don't appreciate being made to feel stupid.

So I'm being told that my believing in God (or Gods) actually is an attempt to substitute the teddybear I used to have as a child! I find that so offensive! And yet when I complain I'm being told that I can't take criticism, am not able to have an adult discussion and am acting like a sulky kid. In essence. And that annoys me even more, but when I complain again it only gets worse. Gods and my faith are made out to be a fairytale, stories created by man and it all just infuriates me. I find it so disrespectful! And I don't understand why it's so lame to believe in God? Is that not allowed anymore these days? Do we all have to denounce the believe in something higher than us, something divine? And why is it wrong to try to personify them?

What's even worse is that nobody seems to listen to me. In my post I started out in a similar fashion as I did here. I listed a couple of Gods that fill me with this unspeakable feeling of awe and reverence. And promptly I was stamped the polytheist who uses these Gods to "intoxicate" herself with and performs odd rituals. I've pointed out again and again that they have obviously failed to grasp anything I said, because I have quite clearly stated that I do believe in one singular Supreme Being. But no, instead I'm told that this is a far too dodgy term and not really a term but just some silly idea.

I'm just fed up with it. It's painfully obvious that this isn't a place for me. These people seem to spend their entire day trying to rationalize away the existence of God or any higher force. And I don't want any part in that. I don't want to rid myself of Gods. I want them here, with me. I want to know there's something I can rely on sometimes that isn't human. But apparently modern people don't do that anymore these days. Well, screw you guys, I'm going home.
silversolitaire: (huggle)
I've always liked insects, I must confess. My love for them has expanded far beyond the point of rescuing them out of the water (which I still do of course). I find them pretty and fascinating. I love watching them. The only species excluded are spiders. They scare the shit out of me >_<. I wish I didn't have this phobia, but I can't get rid of it.

Anyway, for a while now I've been visited by a strange fellow whom I found very fascinating. He (I'm simply assuming it's a he) moves strangely, almost like a hummingbird and he has a long snorkle like nose. Today I managed to find out his name.

So now, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you...

Mr.Humming-bird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum)!

Isn't he cuuuuuuuute? *_*

Not to be confused with the Bee Fly (Bombyliidae), of course, who is equally as cute.

And for finishing, to delight the masses a picture of...

Phanaeus vindex Floridanus... also commonly known as... Dung Beetle! XD
silversolitaire: (Default)
The discussion today made me think of my own spirituality. As we where discussing I thought about how my belief reflects my personality. I've been troubled spiritually all my life. Ever since I have started to develop a mind of my own about such things I have been searching. Searching for the right thing to believe in. I've read up on this and that, different religions and cultures. I've always had a deep fascination with mythology. I was wishing back the old Gods. I wanted to worship Thor, Freya, Bragi and Loki (yes, even him), Apollo, Athene and Demeter…

Why? Because I loved the multitude of these Gods. Their stories, their "humanness" in a way. They made mistakes, they were angry, they loved, hated, desired. I liked the idea of someone powerful who could still fail. And I also liked that those Gods expressed themselves through art, music, poetry. I was missing that in the belief I was brought up in. But of course I realized those Gods were gone. Long gone… I was searching for stories, for legends that confirmed that they still existed… but somehow it was clear that they were gone. I was sad.

I kept looking. I read up on Buddhism, but it never really caught on for me. Whereas I found the teachings inspiring and certainly true, I realized that I needed a Divine Being I could feel safe with. Then I found Krishna and I submerged in studying him. He was fascinating, his teachings, the legends around him and also his looks. All Hindu Gods gave me this inexplicable feeling of awe when I looked at their brilliant blue skin, red palms and rich decoration. I felt their Godliness. In the Bhagavad-Gita he says,
"There is nothing superior to Me. Everything existing is connected to Me like pearls on a thread. I am the sweetness of flavor in water; the radiant luster of the sun and the moon; the primordial root syllable Om within all the Vedas; the subsonic element of sound in ether and the ability in man. I am the original fragrance in the Earth, the brilliance in blazing fire and the vitality of all beings; I am tolerance in those who perform austerities." (7:7-9)
Later on he says,
"Whichever demigod a particular devotee desires with faith to worship, I surely sustain firmly that faith in him. Endowed with that firm faith the devotee executes worship of this demigod and sanctioned by Me solely obtains that which he desired from that demigod." (7:21-22)
I was deeply moved by this. It was a concept I had never really considered until then. Could it be that even though I might worship a certain deity I am in fact worshipping something superior to that without being aware of it? I didn't understand that thought fully yet then, but I harbored it in my heart. I soon realized that whereas Lord Krishna had my deepest admiration I could not handle his worshippers whose policies I rejected. But I held him there and I kept looking.

Jesus. I admired him for what he means to the world now, regardless of what he might have been in reality. A very trivial reason for manifesting my belief in him was the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. Up till then I thought I didn't really believe in Jesus. It was long before I even started looking beyond what I was taught. I thought there can only be God and nobody else. No virgin, no saints. A human son made no sense.

Then I started listening to the words of this musical and I began to understand Jesus. What a fighter he was, how troubled he was by the people suddenly starting to see him as the Messiah, following him. How he hated his destiny and didn't understand why he of all people had been chosen to fulfil it. He didn't understand his own significance, was scared and insecure. And I felt sympathy for Judas who only wanted to change things and felt betrayed and abandoned as Jesus began to matter more than all the things he said. Judas was jealous of the people who got Jesus' attention now and it led him to betray the man he loved the most.

All these things I understood now, and I understood the concept of incarnation as well. The concept of Divine Energy. After all these years of reading and searching I finally understood. God isn't one person. God is a Supreme Being, a force superior to everything and everyone. God is merely a word of convenience for this Supreme Being. No one can say they don't believe in God, because no matter what they believe in it is this Supreme Being and it takes the form of whatever makes you most comfortable with. All the Gods I loved and worshipped, they all were there and they all were okay. There is monotheism, but there's also polytheism. There's every single deity ever in existence. This Superior Being is Krishna and Apollo and the Christian God and Thor and Allah and Jesus and the Archangels and Osiris and everyone else. I stopped looking now, stopped trying to find the ultimate religion. I realized it all was good and it all was true.

After this long digression I return to my original thought which was that my belief reflects my personality. I think this long and winding road to what I believe now had a fundamental part in my development as a person. I see in my own example that the thing parents need to give to their children is a sense of spirituality. Raising a child without the concept of religion will inevitably lead to a general lack of receptivity and understanding when it comes to such things. I'm glad my mother at least tried to make me Protestant, because this gave me an invaluable basis to grow and progress the way I did. I have a basic set of morals developed through a sense of right and wrong that I earned by reading so many different teachings. I'm very grateful for that.
silversolitaire: (huggle)
I took a looky at all the religions they offered me and checked out their stance on contemporary issues. My main concern is homosexuality. I'm gonna make it easy for you to choose the religion of your own personal preference! Allow me:
  • Unitarian Universalists: The Unitarian Universalist Association’s stance is to protect the personal right to choose abortion. Other contemporary views include working for equality for homosexuals, gender equality, a secular approach to divorce and remarriage, working to end poverty, promoting peace and non-violence, and environmental protection.

    Comment: Those are good. They can stay ^_^.

    Convert now!

  • Reform Judaism: Judaism holds that human life begins upon first breath, and Jewish law requires abortion if necessary to save the mother’s life prior to birth. Most believe potential human life should never be terminated casually, but it is generally regarded as a personal decision especially within the first 40 days of pregnancy. Homosexuality: Homosexuals are God’s creation, and Jewish instruction is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Reform (and Conservative) Judaism have a long history of support for homosexual rights.

    Comment: Cool, too!

    Convert now!

  • Liberal Quaker: Views vary, some maintaining that abortion violates Quaker commitment to nonviolence, but some view the right to choose abortion as an aspect of equal rights for women, and/or as a personal matter between the woman and God. The American Friends Service Committee (an independent Quaker organization with participants of many faiths that provides international programs for economic and social justice, peace, humanitarian aid) supports the woman’s right to choose abortion per her own conscience.

    Comment: No mentioning of homosexuality... suspicious. But their stance on abortion is okay.

    Convert now!

  • Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants: Most churches teach that abortion is morally wrong, but many ultimately support a woman's right to choose, usually accompanied by policies to provide counseling on alternatives. Many are accepting of homosexuality and gay rights.

    Comment: I don't like the abortian thing, but I guess it's okay to say so. Supporting gay rights is a plus.

    Convert now! (sorry no link...)

  • Roman Catholic: Abortion is considered to be a form of murder, an act worthy of excommunication. Homosexuality is a sin. Divorce is a sin. Women are afforded the highest regard as mothers and wives. Marriage is considered a sacrament and permanent; divorce and remarriage are not acceptable unless the first marriage is annulled. Remarriage after divorce results in inability to receive sacraments.

    Comment: Suckers.

    Convert now!

  • Jehova's Witnesses: Abortion is wrong. Homosexuality is a serious sin. Gender roles are defined -- men are the head of the household and women are loving caretakers who assist the husband in teaching the children. Divorce is permitted under certain circumstances, but Jehovah hates remarriage unless the divorce occured as a result of adultery. Service occurredarmed forces or any form of allegiance to government is prohibited; one must only show allegiance to the Kingdom of Christ. Blood transfusions, along with ingesting blood, are considered wrong, as God said the soul is in the blood. Bone marrow transplants are left to the individual conscience. (Note: all other forms of medical treatment are acceptable.)

    Comment: Idiots, go to hell! Or wherever they go... grrrrrr...

    Don't you dare, but... convert now!

  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons): Abortion is wrong. Homosexuality is wrong and homosexual rights vehemently opposed. The divine role of woman is mother and wife, helper to the husband. Men are regarded as the head of the family, provider, leader, and teacher. Marriage is regarded as eternal, but divorce is permitted if necessary. In keeping with the belief that doing good works is essential for salvation and is Christian, Mormons established a "welfare" program. Mormons practice monthly fasts and give fast offerings to assist the needy.

    Comment: Welcome to the 21st century. That's all I'm going to say.

    Convert now!

  • Seventh Day Adventists: Abortion has moral consequences, but the church accepts compelling reasons for a woman to choose abortion -- after counseling, the final decision is regarded as her own. Homosexuality is forbidden. Gender equality and womens rights are promoted, but women are not permitted at the highest levels of the church hierarchy and are generally regarded as subordinate to men. Marriage is permanent and divorce only permitted on grounds of adultery. Working for peace is encouraged by the SDA church as a Christian value. Many SDAs refuse combat status in the armed forces, and the church urges strict control of semi- and automatic assault weapons. The church supports community activities for equal rights and justice, antipoverty, education, and the direct provision of health care facilities.

    Comment: It's sorta repeating now, isn't it? Yeah, yeah, yeah... yadda-yadda, got the drift. Subordinate, eh?

    Convert now! (if you must)

  • Christian Science: The church claims no position on abortion. Reliance on conventional medicine is considered a sin. Physicians cause illness. Homosexuality is often regarded negatively, a belief that requires healing through Christian Science practices -- the Mother Church has not announced opposition to this view.

    Comment: Healing, eh? No thank you.

    Convert now!

  • Humanism: The American Humanist Association endorses elective abortion. Other contemporary views include working for equality for homosexuals, gender equality, a secular approach to divorce and remarriage, working to end poverty, promoting peace and non-violence, and environmental protection.

    Comment: Good, good!

    Convert now!

  • Several forms of Buddhism: Abortion is considered murder, and all violent acts cause horrific karmic consequence. Homosexuality in itself is not specifically condemned by scripture, but opinions vary, especially among various Buddhist cultures -- e.g. USA Buddhists are generally very accepting while Asian Buddhists are generally strongly opposed to homosexuality. It is believed that divorce wouldn't occur if one follows Buddhist precepts, but a couple is not condemned if they separate due to vast personal differences. Gender roles are generally traditional (e.g. woman as child caretakers and men as providers), but less rigid as contemporary demands are made on women (e.g. working women).

    Comment: Hmm, not sure... The feminist inside of me is howling.

    Convert now!

  • Hinduism: Abortion is considered an abominable, as the fetus deserves protection. Views on homosexuality range from neutral to strong opposition, in part because sexual activity itself is generally regarded as contrary to enlightenment and, as such, is only acceptable within marriage for procreation. Divorce and remarriage is traditionally and culturally unacceptable, although not prohibited by the scriptures. Divorce and remarriage of widows is becoming more common, however, among Hindus.

    Comment: Too bad, the sex thing... *snickers*

    Convert now!

  • Sikhism: Abortion is a sin. Homosexuality is not addressed in scripture, but one source indicated that it is considered as part of one's karma, and subjects the person to psychic imbalance between female and male energies, which could lead to self-destructive behaviors. Gender equality is a stated position and is emphasized in practice. Remarriage of widows is permitted.

    Comment: Hm, I can see where it's coming from. I don't necessarily agree, but it seems at least reasonable, if you believe in the devine balance of man and woman. Gender equality is cool.

    Convert now!

  • Islam: Found no statement about contemporary issues. Suspicious. No statement, no conversion. Period.

  • New Age: Abortion is not condemned, as there is no official doctrine. Generally adherents are supportive of a woman’s right to choose abortion.

    Comment: What about gays? *blinks*

    Convert now!

  • Scientology: Scientology regards homosexuality as an illness. Based on the belief that you cannot free yourself spiritually without working to free others, Scientology has founded and supports many organizations for social betterment, particularly in the areas of drug abuse, crime, psychiatric abuse, government abuse of law, human rights, religious freedom, education, and morality. Scientology strongly favors the use of their methodology for spiritual/mental healing over the use of conventional treatment.

    Comment: *growls and mutters curses* #

    Convert... now! *DON'T*

  • Neo-Pagan: Abortion is not condemned, as there is no official doctrine. Beliefs about abortion range from “pro-life” to “pro-choice.” Views on divorce, homosexuality, and gender equality are generally very supportive of human differences, equality, and personal choice. Many believe that involvement in community action, especially regarding environmental concerns, is integral to the belief in human interdependence and worship of the Earth Mother.

    Comment: Very nice ^_^.

    Convert now!
Oof! That was a lot! *_* Well, I hope I didn't offend anyone. In the end it all comes down as a fact. And the comments are just my personal opinion, so bear with me! ^_^

Religious Tolerance!
silversolitaire: (Default)

I will never cease to be amazed at my bluntness.

Since yesterday I am the proud owner of my own copy of the wonderful book Celluloid Closet - Homosexuality in the Movies and the video documentary based on it from 1995. I've watched it and I now feel as if someone had switched on the lights and I'm seeing clearly now at last. All too clearly even...

Too be honest, I am mad. Yes, I am. I'm mad at the fact that I had to grow up in a world where such obvious gay references in movies had to be kept mum about. I am angry that I'm now sitting here, aged 22, and staring at the TV screen, not believing that it had never even occurred to me before, that 'Cabaret' was indeed about a gay man. And it's not even hidden! If I had watched to movie, I would have noticed it. But I didn't.
And why? Because all I knew about it was what was written in my musical encyclopedias and in that summary on my CD. And while I loved the music, I never really found the story all too appealing. Some Nazi drama about an American (English?) writer in Berlin during WW II, hooking up with a flamboyant night club singer who gets pregnant from him and he finally sees that his quest for adventure had been silly after all. *yawns* How boring. BUT! Nobody ever told me that the stage version of this musical obviously had been butchered beyond recognition. It was only the movie with Liza Minelli in '72 that was true to the original book, 'The Berlin Stories' by Christopher Isherwood. Suddenly the writer Cliff Bradshaw becomes Brian Roberts, frail and boyish, and obviously more on the same side of his pitch.

But don't get me wrong. The movie wasn't that "innocent" either. In the end, it boils down to the message that Brian in fact was rather heterosexual and his "slip" with Sally's lover Maximilian had just been a mistake and he really ought to be with Sally. Sad. Isherwood said about this that he felt as if Brian's affection for Max had been used as some kind of kink only to emphasize the heterosexual value of his relationship with Sally. In the end he gets to prove his heterosexuality in order to get the girl. That's disappointing, too. But not as much as to abandon it at all, IMO.

In a way, I agree with Harvey Fierstein here. Better a negative representation than none at all. But I only partial agree. Hollywood and the movies have become a very powerful tool to form people's opinions and ideas. Whole generations of queers had to grow up with the notion that homosexuality really is queer, twisted, weird and sick, and that it inevitably will end up in tears, anguish and death. Thank God, I grew up in a time, when it was no longer demonized. But it was invisibilitized. Now, which is worse? I can't decide, really.

I wonder, if I had grown up with the notion: there are gays out there, this is how we see them. Would I have then developed a consciousness of it sooner? Then I would have had the chance to form my opinion and know for myself: they're here and it's not wrong, for crying out loud. Just as I saw depictions of hatred and racism which I loathed and condemned, I would have been able to see them, see us, as a group that actually does exist.

But I didn't. I don't think I had any notion of homosexuality until I was 12 or so. For a very short time, I thought it was a turn off. Then I realized that I liked girls myself. I suppressed it, of course, not knowing what I was dealing with. I got into a relationship with a man, stayed with him for some time, realized that I could not suppress my need for women and get free again. Free and happy. But I was all alone. I struggled out of this horrible time myself. If there had been more films that visualize this, it all would have been a lot easier, I'm sure.

Thing is, those films existed. They were all there, all the time. I just didn't see them. And why? Because people kept mum about it. You don't talk about such films. Sure, they're there and those who are interested in it and want to know more about it are free to do so. Fine. But please don't make us acknowledge this openly, okay?

Well, thanks a bunch! If I think of all those years I was mocked and bullied by other people because I saw a gay subtext that nobody else did. I was told, "You queers always want to make everybody else queer! This is disgusting! Don't pull us all into your sordid affairs, okay?" Thing is, those things were there! It wasn't my sick sad mind that made it all up, no, it was them who were too stupid to see it themselves. It's not said explictly, thus it's not there, okay? Any questions?

Actually, yes! Why do those people turn a blind eye on gay references in movies? Hints that very intentionally placed there as it had been stated by the directors, screenwriters, actors many, many times? Why do they so desperately cling to the fact that it's no explicit, thus nonexisting? Isn't that really stupid and intolerant?

You tell me...

Now, to close my speech *g*, let me point out a few movies I always have had "under suspicion", been laughed at for my assumptions, and now finally found the proof!

Ben Hur
Now, please, don't tell me you never noticed the special kind of friendship between Judah (Charlton Heston) and Messala (Stephen Boyd). They grew up together, then parted and when reunited suddenly find each other on different sides. Judah is still a jew, now a distinguished member of society, but Messala has risen to fame in the Roman Empire. They quarrel over politics and become fierce enemies.

Messala, the villian without motivation. Supposedly. But no. See it this way. They were lovers when they were young. Messala returns, full of hope and ardour and still desperately in love with Judah. But he has to realize they no longer share a life. Both have changed, up to a point when it is impossible for them to get together again. And then Judah even rejects him. This hurts. That's how he grew to hate the one he could not have.

Makes perfectly sense. And I didn't make that all up. Gore Vidal, one of the screenwriters of Ben Hur, said that it was just intended that way. It was all laid out. But then they said "We'll never get Heston to do that!" So they only let Stephen Boyd in and he pulled it all off, and Heston played along, absolutely clueless. It's brilliant! Just look at the scene when Messala returns and they drink together and practice with their spears again (not what you think!). Handsome Messala, madly in love, eyes sparkling, touching Judah carefully, and longingly and Heston goes all "Well, old friend! haha!"
I elaborated my thoughts about that one before. It's a rotten shame that they have butchered the message of this movie for the stage version. Although, if I'm correctly informed, they changed that for the all new Broadway staging. Sure hope so!

As for the movie, it's brilliant. I just love the scene when Brian hisses, "Screw Maximilian!" and Sally replies, "I do!" . Brian stares at her and then he mumbles, "So do I..." That's an ingenious dialogue, IMO. And I love the scene when Brian, Sally and Maximilian kiss at the same time. That's so tender...
A Streetcar Names Desire
My ideas about that one can be read a couple of entries below. The gay "sub"text would be absolutely obvious, IF the movie industry hadn't butchered around that one as well. You must be really over-subtle to get it from the movie. Once again, the play by Tennessee Williams is so much clearer. There it leaves no doubt that Blanche found her young husband with another man, yelled at him "You make me sick!!!" and thus brought him to kill himself over the shame.

Same goes for any other Tennessee Williams screen adaptation. 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', classical! I think I've also talked about this one below. Brick had a love relationship with Skipper (I still don't know if that's really his name!) and he never really got over the loss. This would also explain his veritable loathing of his wife and the thought of performing his marital duties with her. In cut-scenes from the movie, we can see dialogues between Brick and Big Daddy where he accuses his son almost openly of "unnatural love".

Another very bizarre example of Williams plays for the big screen with gay themes is 'Suddenly Last Summer'. I have not seen this and I seriously doubt whether I want to. Apparently, Williams wrote this on the advice of his psychotherapist on order to come to terms with his own sexuality by "exposing the evils" of homosexuality. The result was the tale of a "degenerate poet" who first uses his demented mother and later his older cousin to lure young boys into his trap, but finds his horrible end in the frantic attack of raging urchins.

The movie later only consisted by perhaps 40% of Williams' original play, the rest was written by Gore Vidal. The catholic Legion of Decency (hum...) then approached the matter with a pair of scissors and butchered it to pieces. Surprise, surprise! Yet they decided that this film could be shown, since it illustrated the perversion and horrors of homosexuality in a mixture of obsession, madness and cannibalism. They decided, however, that the poet should never make an appearance throughout the film. The result was quite fascinating. The actor who played Sebastian Venable was cut out everywhere. All that was left was a glimpse here and there of his arm, his sleeve, his legs... he became a demon without a face. The story was told in shady flashbacks by his cousin, played by Elizabeth Taylor. That way this film became a truly disturbing horror vision.

A funny notion about this film: Katherine Hepburn played the poet's mother. She had no clue what the fuzz was all about until the director and Spencer Tracy spent one whole evening explaining to her the concept of homosexuality. She then plain refused to believe that people would actually engage in such disgusting actions and then demanded the film to be altered!
Rebel Without a Cause
That's almost classical. Young Plato, played by Sal Mineo is the obvious sissy. He has a photograph of a guy in his locker and follows Jim, played by James Dean, with ardent admiration. He probably was looking more for a father figure than a lover, but Jim returns his feelings so blatantly, that sparks fly. In a way, Jim's just as loving and caring towards Plato as he is towards his girl, played by Natalie Wood. But of course, in a time like this, none of them could act upon their desires, thus they were stuck in a constant balancing act between desire, suppression and anguish.

Of course, like so many queers in the movies, Plato finds his bloody end as well.
An additional note: That's something that really bothers me, too. Gays usually are depicted as mad, degenerate and murderous. And of course, they always die, be it by murder or suicide. No matter so many gays in the past had to feel bad about themselves. I thought this was really significant, that my beloved book included a whole Necrology listing many gays that died in the movies. Very, very sad...

I admit it! I too like to write about insanity, obsession and dark lusts, and most of my characters happen to be gay, but please, I never connect their sexual orientation with their actions! That's something we absolutely have to distinguish: you're not saying all gays are killing maniacs, just because you write about one. I'm thinking about Poppy Z. Brite's 'Exquisite Corpse'. Haven't read that one, but given that fact that she successfully wrote about sane gay characters before, I'm absolutely sure that she's not implying that those two lovers were cannibals because they were gay. Thank you. Now on with my list
Ooooh yes, my beloved Spartacus with this wonderful dialogue about oysters I mentioned some posts back. Once again, the scissors erased the gay subtext, which really is a pity in this case, because that explained Antoninus' actions. He was shocked at the though of being asked to engage in actions he was not ready to do. That's why he fled from his master to join Spartacus and the other rebel slaves. I really want the DVD with the complete version!
The Maltese Falcon
Okay, not a film with real gay issues, but remember that guy who comes to visit Sam Spade? He's queer! It's suggested by him using perfume, but also the way he touches his lips with his walking stick in a very sensual way. Once again, this is not a figment of my sick mind, but I have proof. In the original novel, this guy is identified as a homosexual by Spade's secretary.

Haha! Gotcha! But this is very useful actually. See? These little facts give us hints to how Hollywood used to gloss over homosexuality and gives us a powerful tool to unveil it again. Like our own little Queer Stone of Rosette!
Those are just examples where homosexuality was effectively disguised until almost nobody saw it anymore. What I found much more astounding though, were the films that openly dealt with gay topics! And I had no clue! I did, however, see some of them. I'll make a list of a couple of those and new ones I just discovered. Just to name a few:

The Children's Hour (1962) with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley McLaine, about two teachers having a sexual relationship with each other, being accused and tried for it and ending with Shirley's character hanging herself... Shirley's scrumptious in that one. *sighs*

Making Love (1982) about a gay husband coming out and getting into a relationship with another man. A Hollywood landmark actually, probably first real gay romance on the big screen. Unfortunately a bit too blow-dried to really make people go crazy over it.

Cruising (1980); rather disgusting and anti-gay, but still interesting. With Al Pacino, about a gay policemen who goes out killing other gays. The murder scenes are atrocious.

Mädchen in Uniform (1934); German b/w movie about a girl in love with her teacher.

The Hunger (1983) with Susan Sarandon and Cathérine Deneuve about chic lesbian vampires and sweet sex scenes. I want Cathérine...

Midnight Express (1978) about a man's experiences in a Turkish prison. Supposedly falsifying Billy Hayes' original book, but it's got a sweet shower kiss scene.

Young Man With a Horn (1950) with Lauren Bacall as a drop-dead gorgeous, tantalizing lesbian. I don't think I've closed my mouth for an hour or so after I've seen her hit the screen. Gods, she was SUCH a beauty. I was bewitched by her body. She was really thin actually and I felt so bad for admiring it, but still I did. So elflike...

The Boys in the Band (1970), the first Hollywood movie in which all principal characters were gay.

Rope (1948), a Hitchcock classic and one of the 7 lost movies (or so), about two male lovers who kill a former classmate and indulge themselves in inviting friends at their place with the corpse on the premises. A shockingly brilliant flick, IMO.

Ludwig (1972); one of my personal favorites. A screen adaptation of the life of King Ludwig II of Bavaria who was gay, as we all know. Helmut Berger pulls off a grand Ludwig, youthful and beautiful. The movie was directed by Visconti and he and Berger were lovers at that time. Of course, this movie was screened censored for many years until finally restored to its full homosexual splendor.

Staircase (1969), a musical about a gay couple, with Rex Harrison and Richard Burton. Rather annoying, really, but a landmark nevertheless.

A Different Story (1978) with Perry King; disputed a lot since it's about a gay man and a lesbian, both unhappy, who falls in love and marry each other. It was accused of showing gays turning straight. I, however, think that this isn't the case. Just because you're gay, doesn't mean you have to avoid the other sex like hell. To me, this is the truest and purest expression of friendship and love, when you can be together without having sex. Admitted, I did not see the movie, so maybe they had sex, but this is just a general comment on my side! ^_^.

I have some more movies on my mind, but I can't remember the names for the hell of it. I was surprised though that one of the first things captured on film way back then in 1890-something were two men dancing! Interesting, don't you think? I now could start with the oldest written piece known to us, the Epic of Gilgamesh, around 4000 years old, describing a very intimate same sex bonding between the two male main characters, including the traditional elegy and all that, but I'll spare you that! ^_^

With that I shall close my lecture for today. I could go on about this forever, but I can't possibly do that. I've still got some stuff to write. But I just wanted to record this for the future. I'm sure I'll write more about this some other time.
silversolitaire: (Default)

Oookay. I wanted to talk about that very nice book I found in the library this Friday. More details later, just read this first:

I came across this particular dialogie. It's from the movie Spartacus. It's the older man, Crassius, taking a bath and his young slave, Antoninus attending him. They are having this conversation. Now tell me what it is about!

Crassius: Do you eat oysters?
Antoninus: Yes.
Crassius: Snails?
Antoninus: No.
Crassius: Do you consider the eating of oysters to be moral and the eating of snails to be immoral?
Antoninus: No, master.
Crassius: And taste is not the same as appetite and therefore not a question of morals, is it?
Antoninus: It could be argued so, master.
Crassius: Um, that'll do. My robe, Antoninus. Ah, my taste... it includes both oysters and snails.


Got it??? I think this is brilliant! They are obviously not talking about food, are they? They are talking about taste in men or women! And it's ingenious! This dialogue was later cut out from the final version. For obvious reasons. But, IMO, this would have given the film a whole new twist and much more meaning. Like why Antoninus left his master so rushedly to join the other slaves. Too bad they canned it.. :-(

I just would like to state that my taste, it includes both oysters and snails as well, but... I enjoy slurping oysters sooo much more! *snerk*

The book I got this from is called The Celluloid Closet - Homosexuality in the Movies by Vito Russo. I found this in the Queer Studies corner on the American lit library. Way cool book. I adored it endlessly. I can only recommend this to everyone. Unfortunately it ends 1989, since it's old, but hey, it's wonderful. Taught be things I never even guessed before.

I still can't calm down that I didn't get the obvious reference in A Streetcar named Desire by Tennessee Willliams. Or maybe I did, and I just forgot it. And I was so proud that I got the reference in The Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, LOL. I mean, now thinking about it, it's really sorta obvious what it was that Blanche caught her hubby doing. I remember it so well from the theater, when she runs out of the house and yells "You make me sick! You make me sick!!!!" How could I have missed that? Of course she found her husband with another man. And he killed himself over the shame... how sad. But Williams always did such great stuff.

And then in Tin Roof, Brick and... what's his name, Skipper? Now, when you think about it, it's sorta clear that Brick is gay, was in love with Skipper, who's now dead, hates Maggie for being a woman and for trying to entice Skip away from his side. It's obvious. He doesn't want to sleep with Maggie and explodes at the mere mention of Skip's name. And Maggie accuses him of it, too! She says "I hated Skipper, because you loved him so much!" And we're not talking about friendship here. She clearly says that she slept with Skipper to show him that his love is unnatural and that he has to change. Always the same construction. So tragic...

When you think of it, this is the same pattern as in the most famous love triangle, the Shakespeare Sonnets. Maggie is the Dark Lady (and what a dark lady...), Brick is the poet, aging, alcoholic and bitter. And Skipper is the young, golden-haired man. Pretty and fickle, letting himself being seduced by the Dark Lady. Classical triangulation of desire! Woohoo! *_* Now I'm feeling so smart for having realized that! *g*
silversolitaire: (Default)

I just thought about "The Road to El Dorado" a bit. I was wondering... WHY?

Why did they have to put in the female to screw up the beautiful romance between Miguel and Tulio?

I was always wondering this. It's absolutely obvious that Miguel and Tulio are lovers. They are so much like a couple in every aspect. How they treat each other, are familiar with each other, comfortable around each other. Just think of the many times and ways they touch each other all the time. When Tulio is lifting Miguel and he has his face half buried at the other guy's ass, he doesn't look the slightest uncomfortable with it, doesn't he? And of course, the conversation in the boat when they think they're dying. "... and you made my life rich." Would you say this to your friend? No way! There are these many momentoes between them, when Miguel gets all excited about something and Tulio rolls his eyes, then smiles lovingly and lets him have his way. And think of Miguel's look of heartbreak at Tulio's "Forget about Miguel". And then, all of the songs that are being sung, in the background, giving voice to the character's emotions... the list is endless.

Trying to discuss which of the songs was the one giving away the most that Miguel and Tulio are lovers was rather pointless, because no particular song could be pinpointed. They are all eligible.

Let me point out a few examples:

Without Question

Miguel is "thinking" it while looking around in the village, but in fact he's thinking about Tulio. It becomes clear when he looks up to where he expects Tulio to be standing and just that moment he thinks "I love you, I love you without question, I love you". Why would he think this about a village he's just arrived in anyway? Of course he means Tulio.

"I'd believe in anything were it not for you
Showing me by just existing only this is true
I love you, I love you without question, I love you

The more I want the more I steal
The more I hold the less is real
All worldly things I follow blind
In hope not faith was paid in kind
The line is drawn, the change is made
I come to you, I'm not afraid."

I especially like the last line. I think that's so angsty... It shows that Miguel is afraid to completely give in to his feelings for Tulio. That is quite plausible, taking into account that Tulio is someone who rather suppresses his feelings. Miguel's afraid of rejection.

Next song:
Trust me

These lyrics almost speak for themselves. There are many "gay" signals in there. Most of all "pretty boys" and the like. Think of the Japanese artform of bishounen which goes almost hand in hand with homosexuality. And then there's always room for interpretation of these words. It's about angst again, fear of admitting your feelings, about time you've wasted looking for other love when true love was always waiting near.

Looking back it makes me shiver
Don't be scared to kick the past
Selling lovers down the river
Nothing built for speed will last overnight

All those years of desolation
Pretty boys and damage done
Not the way to find salvation
Looking after number one

Trust me
Try rolling with the flow
Trust me
I've been there don't you know
I'm giving you a chance, so take it
I got all you want, you'll make it
Standing there in front of me, you're naked
You can't hide a thing, you've got no choice
Trust me

To me, this is clearly sexual. "standing there in front of me, you're naked, you can't hide a thing"... but it's also emotional. Showing everything to this one person.

Then next...
My Heart Dances

Obviously a song about breaking up, about fighting with the one you care for. Meaning, Miguel and Tulio's fight about Chel and leaving El Dorado. There is no way of pretending the girl could be meant in any way. I point out "enchanted boy".

I see you in the distance and I see us as we are
So nearly so contented but a careless word too far
I see you in confusion for a once enchanted boy
My heart dances, oh oh, but not for joy

I longed to love you better but I swear I don't know how
You could have been my future but I had to have it now
The things we love completely we are fated to destroy
My heart dances, oh oh, but not for joy

All those lines "longed to love you better", "you could have been my future" point towards a couple that has been together for a long time already. This rules out Chel completely again. I really love the sadness of this song. "My heart dances... but not for joy." *sobs*

Next on my list...
Friends Never Say Goodbye

The song in the background when they're fighting. Tells so much more than just friendship, but love... and betrayal. And hurt.

What is done has been done for the best
Though the mist in my eyes might suggest
Just a little confusion about what I'll lose
But if I started over I know I would choose
The same joy the same sadness each step of the way
That fought me and tought me that friends never say
Never say goodbye

Also this line: "here isn't much I haven't shared with you along the road" tells me a lot more than what meets the eye. This could also have a sexual connotation once again.

And last, but not least...
Someday out of the Blue

Probably the best known song of the whole lot. Not really related to the film's contents, but still in full correspondence with its spirit. It could illustrate the possible outcome of Miguel and Tulio, if they hadn't gotten their acts together again in the end. I like the sadness of this song, but also the hope.

Some day out of the blue
In a crowded street or a deserted square
I'll turn and I'll see you
As if our love were new
Some day we can start again, some day soon

In a way this also reminds me of Brian and Curt from Velvet Goldmine, but that's a whole different story! ^_^.

Now I think I've made a clear point that Miguel and Tulio are a couple. Now, what to do with Chel? Why did Tulio have to fool around with this chick? We had enough evidence of a loving relationship between those two guys with mutual attraction and affection (whether acted upon it or not remains a mystery). But, and that's the main point I'm making, it's not that obvious, if you're an innocent unsuspecting viewer. Thus, no need of "de-gaying" the film. But still they did. Why else should they have inserted this Chel-chick? Their so-called romance is ridiculous and just disturbs the flow of the film. It almost appeared to me as if they, panic-stricken, put her in (as an object of romance) to avoid the voices of indignation that would surely have attacked them otherwise.

So, what did they do? Did they try to keep the gayness away with her and indeed intended Miguel and Tulio to be gay, but chickened out? If this is true... it makes me very sad. Because... what can I say? It would have been beautiful. So free of issues and anything. They're just there. Nobody would have bothered, nobody would have known. It would have been "Don't ask, don't tell". So why, why, why???

The answer is simple: Chel was a decoy. For the average bigot mind that would have cried "EVIL FAGS!!!!" otherwise. Chel gives a good excuse for them to ignore these bits. It is my belief that the characters of Tulio was sketched out to be bisexual. A friend pointed out that Tulio's attraction to Chel is nothing but physical. And it's true. He resists her long enough and it never really goes deep. Her mistake was to misread and/or ignore the signs of Tulio being taken already.

Chel is a cool character. She is funny, fearless and cynical. I don't want to hate or condemn her. If it wasn't for her, we wouldn't have had any cool women (or any women at all, for that matter) in the movie. In the end, I thought, she had stepped back from Tulio. She realized that she would never be able to get between Miguel and Tulio, so she resigned and got used to the idea of the three of them staying together. She did however try to get her hands on Tulio alone first! Tsk, tsk, tsk...

Tulio and Miguel's problem is that they've gotten too used to each other to really appreciate each other's presence. They never really thought they could not have each other anymore. Friends never say good bye. Especially Tulio. He never thinks about what he has in Miguel. He usually gets annoyed at him or thinks he's silly, but secretly he is happy that he's there and smiles about his antics. He loves Miguel, but he would never admit it. And Miguel? He's too timid to make a move. Maybe they even shared physical love already, but to them in was never clear how fragile their relationship could be, because they just took it for granted. Then Chel bursts into their little world and Tulio gets distracted for a moment. But this was necessary, because then they both realize how much they love each other.

Tulio doesn't want to leave Miguel behind, but Miguel can't stay with them without having things set straight. He is too proud and still too timid to make a move. But then when he sees his love's life in danger, he doesn't think twice and gives up everything he wanted, just to save him. This makes Tulio realize, too, what he had, has and needs: Miguel. They leave together again and Chel too sees that she can only be their friend...

I really love "Road to El Dorado"...


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February 2009

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