The labour party is desperate and in disarray, following Abbott's instructions like sheep to save their necks. First it was the racist boat people nonsense continuing the Tampa lie.
Now they are trying to pin their failure on the Greens. The only way to save themselves is to ditch Gillard, ditch offshore processing, embrace green policies and get Rudd back.

 
 
 
 


Both parties are appealing to the worst common denominator ( or maybe denomination). - to racism, hysteria, rather like the Reds Under The Bed Phenomenon,  crowd panics and other hysterical delusions. Why is it called border protection, or border security? Can anyone seriously suggest 2000 refugees threaten our borders? This is crying wolf or rape. It should not be called border or border protection.

It should be a refugee protection policy after all many of them are fleeing from conditions we have helped create in unnecessary wars of our making.  

The very idea of border security suggests a neurotic preoccupation with bodily boundaries and fear of penetration. Maybe Abbott and Gillard have some insecurity in this area.  Abbott is after all a strong opponent of Gay marriage and labours to present a male image.  And Abbott is by definition the head of a body of monks. Theoretically no penetration there.

Clive Palmer is right and rational. Fly them here and process them, most of them get visas anyway. Do away with detention it is immoral inhumane, brutalises new migrants and extremely expensive. Process them in Tasmania. It needs the money.

 But who needs rationality when you are trying to get votes by appealing to bigotry , hatred and fear.

 
 
From Communism to postmodernism, from one truth to many truths from one big lie to many lies.
Stalin had to murder 70m Russians to get them to swallow communism
Many Australians did it without a single casualty.
So  Postmodernism and conceptual art was a walkover.
Barrie Machin

If you have low self-esteem go climb a mountain.
Barrie Machin

A visitor to Picasso's studio found the artist gazing disconsolately at a painting on the easel. "It's a masterpiece," said the visitor, hoping to cheer him up.
"No, the nose is all wrong," Picasso said. "It throws the whole picture out of perspective."
"Then why not alter the nose?"
"Impossible," replied Picasso. "I can't find it”

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

 J. D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye

Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.

Anne Tyler Back When We Were Grownups

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. L. P. HartleyThe Go-Between

Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I've come to learn, is women.
 Charles Johnson Middle Passage1990

He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.
Raphael Sabatini Scaramouche 1921

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Leo Tolstoy (trans. Constance Garnett) Anna Karenina1877

If I am out of my mind, it's all right with me, thought Moses

Saul Bellow Herzog 1964

All this happened, more or less. Kurt VonnegutSlaughterhouse-Five1969


He was brainwashed so much his ideas had run.
Barrie Machin

Robert Conquest
Seven ages: first puking and mewling,
Then very pissed off with your schooling,
Then romances and then fights,
Then judging chaps' rights,    

Then sitting in slippers, then drooling.
 
 
The Soviet Union crashed with its voodoo economics- office of pricing and government lending to itself. Capitalism is going the same Alice In Wonderland way. Debt was infinitely leveraged to conceal current debt. Now  European bail out money is used to buy government bonds not so different from communism lending to itself. The crash is therefore inevitable and the guys who did it are bailing out, Cameron refused to tax financial transactions which is partly an exit plan. Europe descends slowly into war. Ideology, whatever form, pokes your eyes out.
 
 
Mayor Of Casterbridge
Time,
"in his own grey style," taught Farfrae how to estimate his experience of Lucetta--all that it was, and all that it was not. There are men whose hearts insist upon a dogged fidelity to some image or cause thrown by chance into their keeping, long after their judgment has pronounced it no rarity--even the reverse, indeed, and without them the band of the worthy is incomplete. But Farfrae was not of those. It was inevitable that the insight, briskness, and rapidity of his nature should take him out of the dead blank which his loss threw about him. He could not but perceive that by the death of Lucetta he had exchanged a looming misery for a simple sorrow.
 
 
One of the sketches from BEYOND THE CRINGE: SEX DRUGS FISHING DIY TERRORISM THE ASSASSINATION OF AMERICAN PRESIDENTS AND OTHER FUN THINGSin iBooks $2.99


SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL 1981

HUGE TELEVISION SCREEN. IN FRONT OF THIS SCREEN IS A NEWS DESK. AT THE NEWS DESK IS A T.V. NEWS PERSONALITY. AMERICAN DARK-RIMMED GLASSES. BOW- TIE. VERY EARNEST. TO ONE SIDE ARE THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE REVIEW AS A PANEL. SITTING VERY STILL LIKE DEAD. IT IS A T.V. SPECIAL. SPOTLIGHT ON NEWSMAN.

NEWSCASTER Good evening and welcome to Saturday Night Special brought to you by courtesy of Smith and Western for the American gun lobby. As you know this is the only programme devoted to an in-depth live coverage of one of America's dearest institutions (PAUSE) assassination. This year has been very exciting here at Channel 007. The up-to-date score is one Latin American Revolutionary 2 Italian Diplomats, 1 West-German Businessman, 2 Pop Stars, a famous Religious Leader and disappointingly a failed Kennedy assassination.

Tonight we have been particularly lucky because we have news of a Presidential shooting from Washington. Before we go over to the scene of the shooting I want you to have your score sheets ready.

SCREEN FLICKERS. Are you there?HOLDS HEARING AID. There appears to be some Satellite interference. Well before we show you the latest action replay I'll give you an update of the state of the two parties. Successful - Democrats 4, Republicans 6. Seriously wounded - Democrats 2, Republicans 3 (laughs). Well it looks like the Democrats have all the best shots. We have in the studio Richard Brock, our resident assassination expert, who specializes in Presidential assassinations. Tell us Richard why do you think the Democrats are trailing the Republicans so badly?

RICHARD POMPOUS HALTINGLY LIKE WINCHESTER IN MASH Well, of course I can't be dead certain but it seems to be the case that the Republicans either have more loathsome candidates or they make bigger targets.

SATELLITE PICTURE REFORMS. WE SEE A MAN GETTING OUT OF A LIMOUSINE SURROUNDED BY BODYGUARDS. THEN A MAN COMES FORWARD AND STARTS SHOOTING. THE BODYGUARDS RUN FOR COVER AND THE PRESIDENT GETS SHOT ONCE IN THE HEAD AND 3 TIMES IN THE CHEST (BONNIE AND CLYDE TYPE CLUTCHING).

NEWSCASTER Wow, did you see that, we'll replay it slowly for you. ACTION REPLAY We'll be showing you the Reagan and Kennedy and Lennon assassinations for comparison a little later. I think you can see the first bullet entering his temple now.

FILM STOPS. SCREEN MARKED WITH CIRCLE WHERE BLOOD SHOWS LIKE ON GOAL OF THE MONTH.

NEWSCASTER If you compare it with the killing we showed you last week at the Guggenheim these things are becoming a real art form. ANOTHER SLOW MOTION FILM COMES UP. THIS TIME A MAN SHOOTS ON HIS KNEE FROM FURTHER AWAY.

Wonderful, wonderful, finesse. Of course it is not just the actual style of shooting or killing we ask you to look for, but also the overall context.

ON SCREEN THE PRESIDENT'S WIFE COMES UP CLOSE. SHE IS CRYING. CAMERA ZOOMS INTO HER EYES.

INTERVIEW ON SCREEN How are you feeling at this moment Mrs President? Can you give us some comment about your husband's death, the people have a right to know. SHE BREAKS DOWN AND SOBS.

Thank you, thank you, that was great.

BROCK CONTINUES MUSINGLY – NO ONE IS LISTENING TO HIM ANY LONGER

RICHARD If the Democrats got fatter candidates or advocated massive cuts in welfare spending or cut some hit records they might do just as well. (BECOMES INANIMATE).

FEMALE PANELIST(Joyce Grenfell Type) I don't think the killings aren’t political at all, they are all to do with the climate. I think you are missing the point. After all we are not just here to go over Presidential assassinations. Before we end the programme could we see that rather splendid car bomb from outside the U.N.?

BRIEF BUT SPECTACULAR FILM OF LATIN AMERICAN GUY, BIG MOUSTACHE, BIG FACE ON SCREEN, RUNNING ROUND SOME

GUARDS TO THROW BOMB. GREAT EXPLOSION.

NEWSCASTER Remember you at home have to judge the best three terrorist acts this season. Just mark the three you have chosen in the correct order. The first number 1, the second number 2, and the third number 3. The first correct entry will receive a telescopic rifle, a Saturday Night Special 38 handgun and a year's free supply of ammunition. Tune in next week when we are bringing you an exciting Killerthon - our new special about serial killers.

 
 

SEX DRUGS AND ROCK AND ROLL AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL ESSAY

 

© Barrie Machin 2007

Shimmering Pioneer Books.

1st Edition

 

 

All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the author.

 

This essay argues that historically the cultural psychology of human beings demands adolescent rites of passage which incorporate mind changing rituals and physical, spiritual and intellectual challenges. Our societies subsitute crude materialism for such inner needs and criminalises some of the inevitable consequences of cultural vacuity.

There is a great deal of justifiable anxiety about the incidence of drug taking and other unbridled activity among young people in Australia.  There appears to be an exponential growth of addiction to substances like marijuana, heroin, crack, ecstasy, glue and petrol sniffing (especially amongst street kids).  This causes apprehension, fear and even anger. Some of this seemingly incomprehensible behaviour can lead to AIDS, brain damage and death.  There are calls for stricter penalties.  Other people, particularly those who have been touched by some personal tragedy express more liberal attitudes and ask for more research and understanding.  Some call for decriminalisation of drug use and a health focussed approach. While I favour that I do not focus on that here.

 

What I suggest here, without condoning substance abuse, is that much of what appears to be incoherent, disordered and dangerous behaviour has its roots deep in the human psyche and requires careful and patient understanding.  The spectrum of human cultural possibilities is extremely broad and what is repressed deviant or illegitimate in one society may be elaborated and celebrated in another.

 

In other cultures adolescent drives, which find their expression in culturally defined addiction and delinquency in our society, are selectively channeled and controlled and given appropriate cultural expression. For example in the Papuans of the Trans-Fly bachelors were heterosexually celibate but there was institutionalized sodomy. Boys were initiated to it at the bull-roarer ceremony. Pederasty during Puberty rites was also practiced in ancient Sparta. Such practices were considered to be part of the transition to manhood.

 

In many traditional small scale societies, those in which we, as human beings evolved over millions of years, the transition from childhood to man and womanhood, emerging sexuality, and concomitant intellectual changes were marked by rituals of transition- rites of passage in which elders inducted initiates into new codes of behaviour and dress. Hitherto secret tribal rules were revealed and there was often instruction in the use of sacred objects and stories for example the Australian Aborigines were allowed for the first time to see bullroarers and sacred stones.  Sometimes during these very complex and lengthy rituals male and female elders provided young people with practical sexual and religious training.

Amongst the Bemba young women go through the Chisungu ceremony where they are given special magic for growth and nubility and substances, which enhance the safety of intercourse and emphasize the value of fertility. 

Boys amongst the Tanzanian Zaramo are taught the manly duties of sexual performance and how to give pleasure to girls through the use and manipulation of clay figurines.  

Amongst the Nambiquara Indians of Brazil girls go through a lengthy puberty ceremony in which adult secrets are transferred.  Some Aboriginal societies teach the skills of male and female masturbation.

Often the symbolic marking and scarification of the body signifying the crossing of social and psychological boundaries accompanied this period of intensive and condensed learning.  The Sudanese Nuer initiation required the forehead was scarred by three broad cuts. 

Amongst the Iatmul of New Guinea initiators, men who had previously killed, the back of the novice is cut deeply with bamboo knives.  Nambiquara novices have their upper lip pierced.  Pokot girls of western Kenya are circumcised at the beginning of a series of rites leading to marriage. The labia are cut to produce a scar that covers the clitoris in an attempt to recreate virginity and distinguish between immature and mature love.

Body mutilation and pain also stimulates mental changes. Often it is believed that contact with the spirit world is only possible through the mortification of the flesh. Once again these human responses are utilized during the ritual performance to aid status passage.  

Amongst the Mandan Indians of North America made famous in the movie 'A Man Called Horse', visions were encouraged through bodily mutilation. Young married men impersonate the deity and swung from large hooks threaded through their lower back muscles. The courage of young Cubeo boys of the Amazon is tested through severe whippings from masked men. Among the Pitjanjara circumcision at puberty is followed over the years by tooth extraction, nose piercing, fire-walking, chest scarring and subincision. These events pace the life-cycle and at each trial more sacred lore is transmitted.

In many societies like the Santals of Bihar and the Muria of Orissa in India premarital intercourse is accepted and encouraged. The Santals accept pregnancy, if it occurs, and the girl must be married so that the child has a guardian spirit.  The Muria, who provide special dormitories for adolescent copulation disdain pregnancy, which, in their view, is prevented by the guardian spirits, but it is very rare.  A similar practice known as bundling used to be practiced in small rural communities of Western Europe.

Anthropologists have found that where early sexual activity occurs there appears to be a period of infertility.  This is certainly influenced by the belief system of the society.

 In India what is displayed on Temples can only be found in our society in what is defined as the so-called pornographic pages of magazines.  The sculpture on these temples celebrate sex in all its forms, and the male and female organs are objects of worship.  When in Northern India I filmed a ritual for peace and harmony on earth where women sang as ritual song for Shiva in which they invited the God to cover their faces with his seed.  A desire for the life force. The Chinese philosophy of Tao elevated the prolongation of sexual passion as a means of divine transcendence.Other societies, which frown on premarital sex, nonetheless place a high value on marital sex. The Arab Perfumed Garden begins:

 

Praise be given to God who has placed man's greatest pleasure in the natural parts of women and has destined the natural parts of man to afford the greatest enjoyment to woman.  In another part: I profited by this moment to admire the beauties of her vulva. The blessing of God the best creator, be upon it.

 

The Egyptian Jala al-Din al Siyuti begins

 

Praise to the Lord who adorned the virginal bosom with breasts and who made the thighs of women for the spear handles of men.

 

Most maturity rituals are concerned with adult sexuality and human reproduction. There is a constant attribution of social importance to such activities and sexuality and religion is culturally integrated with the human life cycle and the pattern of the seasons. Each ritual phase was an occasion of solemnity, structural formality, symbolic repetition and imprinting of shared cultural symbols of religion, ecology and gender.

In all these societies there is the consecration and public affirmation of the value of socially defined masculinity and femininity and social patterns of sex, birth, child-care are open to observation. Each religious and social process selects and cultivates an innate tendency of human nature. 

Our society has few defined and shared rites of passage like the ones I have described, yet if we look around we can find examples of ritualistic behaviors amongst young people. Bodily mutilation can be found in certain sado-masochistic practices, punk ornament and drug injection. In more muted forms, body marking off all kinds intensifies during adolescence, with the hair being a particular symbolic and sexual identifier. Makeup can be classified in this way as part of the same desire to transform the body to mark a transition.

The parallel to the vision quest can be found in any drug taking behaviour, which alters consciousness like glue-sniffing, petrol sniffing, ecstasy (exing).  Thus drug-taking behaviour should not be connected with risk-taking but with other adolescent behaviour linked to the desire to alter consciousness like increased idealism and religion and mind-altering music.  Such music, often percussive and deeply rhythmic, which accompanies traditional rituals, is substituted in our society by adolescent identification with psychedelic bands and singers. 

The skilled sexual teaching by elders is replaced by and large with informal social experiment, magazines and films. 

Not only does our society not mark the stage of reproductive maturity and adult orientation but it also, despite glossy appearances, actively represses sexuality with a curious mixture of titillation, ignorance and ambivalence.  This innate sexual repression has been conveniently bolstered by the fear of AIDS.   Therein lies the curious preoccupation with the fear of heterosexual sex rather than the practices that are most common to the spread of the virus in this country.  We have no shared rituals where the joy of all sexuality, marital or premarital is celebrated.  Peculiarly only homosexuality is celebrated in the Sydney Mardi Gras. There are no widely publicized rites of transition to adulthood.  Privileged university degrees and their ceremonies are poor substitutes for the human desire for dramatic hallucinatory performance.

 Bleaker still, for dispossessed youth struggling in this liminal cul-de-sac, are the acknowledged threats to the planet, largely the result of the behaviour of blokey sporty anti-spiritual, hollow entrepreneurs they are supposed to emulate.  Thus the role models of a good adult, and all the most profound human values, have been degraded to the market place.

The good adult is defined by new and vacuous heights of materialism, ambition and celebrity attainable only by gargantuan greed and literally earth shattering individualism.  All the activities, which used to be handed down and controlled by known and respected adults have been deregulated and left to the whim of market forces.

In an inversion of patterns, which evolved over millions of years of evolution, we delay sexual and reproductive social maturity and prolong adolescence either through inefficient inchoate non-socially directed incompetent educational systems, or indefinitely through unemployment.  An unacceptable proportion of young people have had their search for meaning, their need for hormonal direction and altered states of consciousness socially and sexually suspended.

Having failed to recognize the desire for the cultural direction and approval of sexual drives and the common human need for altered states of consciousness either through religion, idealism and/or chemical substances, we condemn so many of our youth for failing to behave correctly.  As a result many of them resort to drugs as way to mark the key transition from youth to adult-hood or as a solace in the blind alley of permanent liminality.

 


 
 
I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the starsDid wander darkling in the eternal space,Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earthSwung blind and blackening in the moonless air;Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,And men forgot their passions in the dreadOf this their desolation; and all heartsWere chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,The habitations of all things which dwell,Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum'd,And men were gather'd round their blazing homesTo look once more into each other's face;Happy were those who dwelt within the eyeOf the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;Forests were set on fire—but hour by hourThey fell and faded—and the crackling trunksExtinguish'd with a crash—and all was black.The brows of men by the despairing lightWore an unearthly aspect, as by fitsThe flashes fell upon them; some lay downAnd hid their eyes and wept; and some did restTheir chins upon their clenched hands, and smil'd;And others hurried to and fro, and fedTheir funeral piles with fuel, and look'd upWith mad disquietude on the dull sky,The pall of a past world; and then againWith curses cast them down upon the dust,And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'dAnd, terrified, did flutter on the ground,And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutesCame tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'dAnd twin'd themselves among the multitude,Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food.And War, which for a moment was no more,Did glut himself again: a meal was boughtWith blood, and each sate sullenly apartGorging himself in gloom: no love was left;All earth was but one thought—and that was deathImmediate and inglorious; and the pangOf famine fed upon all entrails—menDied, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;The meagre by the meagre were devour'd,Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,And he was faithful to a corse, and keptThe birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay,Till hunger clung them, or the dropping deadLur'd their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,But with a piteous and perpetual moan,And a quick desolate cry, licking the handWhich answer'd not with a caress—he died.The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but twoOf an enormous city did survive,And they were enemies: they met besideThe dying embers of an altar-placeWhere had been heap'd a mass of holy things   For an unholy usage; they rak'd up,And shivering scrap'd with their cold skeleton handsThe feeble ashes, and their feeble breathBlew for a little life, and made a flameWhich was a mockery; then they lifted upTheir eyes as it grew lighter, and beheldEach other's aspects—saw, and shriek'd, and died—Even of their mutual hideousness they died,Unknowing who he was upon whose browFamine had written Fiend. The world was void,The populous and the powerful was a lump,Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless—A lump of death—a chaos of hard clay.The rivers, lakes and ocean all stood still,And nothing stirr'd within their silent depths;Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp'dThey slept on the abyss without a surge—The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,The moon, their mistress, had expir'd before;The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air,And the clouds perish'd; Darkness had no needOf aid from them—She was the Universe.
 

Epitaph

01/26/2012

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My tombstone reads: My God Is That The Time! (1982)
 

Barrie Machin Sculptor, printmaker, author, consultant