“You’ve got an awfully kissable mouth.”
— Warren to Bernice in The Great Gatsby
A woman’s body is a poem,
Composed by God, and proven
In Nature’s mighty registry,
Because the spirit moved Him…
A woman’s body is indeed
The Song of Songs in splendor;
The lovely, wondrous strophes are
Her limbs, so white and slender.
O what a heavenly idea
Must this bare neck be, surely,
Upon which sways the little head,
The keystone, pert and curly!
The rosebuds of her breasts, they are
Unspeakably charming, the ceasura
That parts them, so dramatic.
And the creator makes the hips
In parallel formation;
With fig-leaf, the parenthesis
Is also a nice location. …
We have seen this similar pattern unfold numerous times before, whether it was the Satanic Verses ‘affair’ where the odious Ayatollah Khomeini issued a hit (or a ‘fatwa’) on Salman Rushdie’s head for the ‘crime’ of the use of holy writ for literary purposes; whether it was Denmark enduring an international boycott and a campaign of defamation, because the Prime Minister refused to to censor a small right wing magazine for publishing cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad; And when a Jihadist hit squad assassinated cartoonists for the ‘crime’ of again publishing cartoons mocking Muhammad.
First, the ‘offensive’ material is created. Second, creator of such material receives threats, even acts of violence, from those claiming to represent the party of God. Third, an orgy of equivocation and victim blaming. And fourth, political exploitation by wannabe ‘spokespeople’ of the Ummah to bolster their geo-political ambitions. Ayatollah Khomeini issued his gross fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989 after a near decade long brutal war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq that bankrupted and weakened the legitimacy of his regime, and sought to compete with Wahabbist Saudi Arabia for who will be the torch bearer for Islamic fundamentalism. During the Danish Cartoons ‘controversy’ Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah both jostled for this role to spread their anti-Western propaganda within the context of the post-Iraq war world. …
The cause of America is, in a great measure, the cause of all mankind. — Thomas Paine, from Common Sense (1775)
The Americans have taught us how to conquer liberty; it is from them that we must learn the secret of how to conserve it — Marquis de Condorcet
CLIME of the unforgotten brave!
Whose land, from plain to mountain-cave,
Was Freedom’s home or Glory’s grave!
Shrine of the mighty! can it be
That this is all remains of thee?
Approach, thou craven, crouching slave;
Say, is not this Thermopylæ?
These waters blue that round you lave,
O servile offspring of the free, —
Pronounce what sea, what shore is this?
The gulf, the rock of Salamis!
These scenes, their story not unknown,
Arise, and make again your own;
Snatch from the ashes of your sires
The embers of their former fires;
And he who in the strife expires
Will add to theirs a name of fear
That Tyranny shall quake to hear,
And leave his sons a hope, a fame,
They too will rather die than shame;
For Freedom’s battle once begun,
Bequeathed by bleeding sire to son,
Though baffled oft is ever won. …
‘Woke capitalism’ is a phrase that has been on our lips for quite some time. To me it is the same old exploitative capitalism, just with a different aesthetic. For the past decade at least, the upper echelons of society and culture, pop culture, academia, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and the corporate sector have been eager to demonstrate — or ‘virtue signal’ as some will prefer to say — just how committed they are in fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of discrimination and promoting equality, diversity and multicultural values.
Nevertheless, following the sickening murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month, the new lease of life the Black Lives Matter movement has received, and the righteous ‘awakening’ (or ‘awokening’ if you will) across society in the United States and beyond to the reality of racism and poor black Americans suffering under the jackboot of police violence, this trend has accelerated and intensified to an unforeseen degree. Slogans, catchphrases and policies that have long been associated with esoteric academics and incandescent activists have now been affirmed by corporations. Ben and Jerrys has explicitly supported the ‘Defund the police’ movement. Goldman Sachs have established a $10 million fund to support organisation combating racial disparities, structural inequality and economic inequity. Adidas has pledged to reserve at least 30% of new positions for black and Latino people. …
There are some words people wince at with an acute sense of revulsion and exasperation. ‘Moist’ seems to be a popular candidate for this visceral tic. Others are averse to ‘panties’ and ‘crotch’, since they sound rather harsh and inelegant in referring to intimate zones. Most people, even those who are unabashed logophiles, will have a few words that are disliked, scorned and contemptuous of, even if irrationally; words that never cease to leave an acrid taste in one’s mouth. Other words just plain irritate us.
Pour moi, ‘inappropriate’ is one of these irksome words. This quintosyllabic word consistently grates on me whenever I read it, or hear it uttered. I greatly detest the tone of voice it’s often said in: a sickly mix of concealed condescension and obese pomposity. …
All of us have probably seen the two videos that have spread rapidly across social media and further accentuated the ‘race wars’. First, the horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, where an officer crushed his windpipe by kneeling on his neck as he lay on the ground, his face firmly kissing the concrete, despite his desperate cries: “I cannot breathe…don’t kill me”. Second, Amy Cooper, acting like a ‘Karen’, a term denoting an uptight, bossypants white woman who is a stickler for enforcing every petty rule and regulation upon everybody else, attempting to call the police on Christian Cooper (no relation), a black pedestrian and bird watcher, in New York’s Central Park, while she was walking her dog. The dog wasn’t on a leash, which isn’t allowed in that particular area of the park. According to his account of the interaction on Instagram, Christian Cooper called her out on it and asked her to follow the rules. Amy Cooper refused. Christian replies: “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.” …
The rise and metastasis of the so called ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ (IDW), a neologism invented by one of its head honchos, Eric Weinstein, has been a curious development in public life. An affiliation of supposed ‘free thinking’ insurgents in the battlefields of the culture wars resisting the cultural hegemony of their bête noires: identity politics, political correctness, post-modernism, post-structuralism, wokeness and biology denialism. Bari Weiss in her rather laborious ballyhooing longueur in the New York Times on the IDW declared the hard ‘dangerous’ truths no one wants to hear, but the “renegades” of the IDW will certainly proclaim without restraint or embarrassment: “There are fundamental biological differences between men and women. Free speech is under siege. …
Current times aren’t exactly favourable to revolutionary politics, whatever banner it may be. Revolution is a term of reproach, a supposedly ‘discredited’ idea that always leads to more disastrous results than before. Among stolid liberal wiseacres, it is convention to excommunicate Thomas Paine and embrace the grandiloquent Edmund Burke. After all, drastic, large scale social and political change inevitably fail, with misery, bloodshed and needless chaos being its only result.
At best, as per Burke, a society is permitted a maximum of one revolution in its history (the example he gave was the 1688 ‘Glorious Revolution’ in England). Any change or reform that occurs, if it can’t be avoided, must be incremental and strictly within the bounds of the existing structures, so as to maintain ‘continuity’ and ‘harmony’. A proposition that is absurd on its face, as well as, dare I say, ‘utopian’ for the modern world. …
The world in which we ourselves exist intellectually is a world largely molded by Marx and Nietzsche. — Max Weber
The two most brilliant and influential philosophers of the 19th century were Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche. They are often posed as polar opposites: Marx the egalitarian and communist, Nietzsche the individualist and ‘aristocratic rebel’, to use the title of Domenico Lusurdo’s critique of the Lützen born thinker. Yet, both geniuses of German extraction can be said to have some things in common that ought to be noted.
Both men share a place in the pantheon of the greatest minds produced by German civilisation alongside Kant, Hegel, Goethe, Heine, Schiller and Feuerbach. Both are among the most profound critics of Christianity, doing much to discredit its traditional explanations of human society and morality and dethroning its claim to moral superiority. Both were largely ignored and unsuccessful during their life, struggling with money and ill health, only to achieve infamy and greatness after death. “Holy be your name to all future generations!” proclaimed composer and long time friend Heinrich Köselitz, known by the pseudonym Peter Gast, at Nietzsche’s funeral in 1900. Likewise Marx’s closest friend and comrade in arms, Friedrich Engels announced at Marx’s funeral in 1883: “His name will endure through the ages.” …
They are still often dismissed in respectable circles as a teenage boy time waster; mere ‘escapism’ at best. Or worse, an addictive substance poisoning young impressionable minds with depraved sex and violence. But I enjoy playing video games nevertheless without a care for what uptight prudes and religious moralists may ludicrously assert.
Growing up I remember having so much fun whizzing through Pro-Evolution Soccer (in the days when it was far superior to FIFA), plundering my way through San Andreas on Grand Theft Auto the post-nuclear holocaust wastelands in Fallout New Vegas with Frank Sinatra’s classic Blue Moon playing in the background, or smashing it with an arsenal of martial artsa combos as Yoshmitsu or Kazuya Mishima on Tekken. …