In the Drum last night a young woman who described herself as a conservative and at times defended Milo Yiannopoulos as a supporter of free speech at times negotiated the moments when Milo crossed the line. When asked what free speech she would condemn she replied that only when a person ordered another to go out and hurt others would she feel that the line had been crossed. Yet, an atmosphere of moral equivocality has been established under Trump; the Jewish community, always vulnerable to right wing bigotry, has recently suffered a wave of nasty behaviour: swastikas painted on synagogues, for instance, or a Jewish cemetery desecrated, tombstones overturned. Trump’s style is to express prejudice one day and then to deny it another, which creates an environment of moral relativity; people in need of targets for their anger and outrage feel they are permitted to behave accordingly.
Yianni’s sneering about gays, all of which was equally applicable to himself, as the interviewer said, and not tolerated in Nazi Germany, covered some interesting ground. Yes, after an extraordinarily harsh upbringing we are in need of counselling, at the very least. Here, the interviewer agreed, to the point that his personal opinion was that ALL religions were hateful and damaging. But Yianni is a living examplar of internalised homophobia: powdered, bejeweled, wriggling and weirdly opinionated, hating his own kind, following the Trump.
Re the infestation of feminism, the Shulamith Firestone book of the 1970’s speculated that young people and adults would negotiate their relationships. As she belonged to the far left, perhaps her opinions were expected to be extreme and thus ignored.
Since I wrote the previous blog, Milo has lost his book dead with Schuster NY and his connection with Breitbart. I watched an extensive analysis of the interviews Milo gave in 2016 (?) and the speaker made the assumption that Milo was only now being punished for his seeming pro-pedophiliac comments because he was also pro-Trump, whom he disgustingly called “daddy”. I wonder if this a use of gay porn idiom? But, when Milo said that he had actively pursued the Catholic priest, whom he remembered as being “hot”, he insisted the relationship was affirming. I have an older friend who made a similar claim, that he had nobody in his adolescence to whom he could turn for sexual education. The reviewer of Milo’s demise as a public figure said that pedophilia occurs with children belonging to disfunctional families, to children who cannot reach out to their local priest or teacher for protection. The use of the term “grooming” is useful here, because the victim brings a damaged sense of self to the abusive situation; what results is that the victim comes away with a triumphant feeling of having drawn the attention of an adult, a person of power, compared to the victim who is confused and powerless. Years later, perhaps the victim needs to continue to assert that the experience was minimal, that it actually had positive effects. This was certainly my case.
An interesting doco on SBS has just informed me that the US state of Colorado had recently legalised the use, both medicinal and recreational, of marijuana. Since doing so, it has spawned a series of industries and activities. Let’s deal with the silly ones first: the multi million dollar factory that makes drinks and chocolates that can get you high; any number of entrepreneurial scenarios that can make the designer a lot of money, however, carry the problem that money earned is considered by the federal govt as illegal and risk it being seized. A protection industry staffed by ex army guys (who could star in my porn movie any day) is needed to convey huge amounts of paper currency to undisclosed, but guarded vaults since 80 0/0 of all transactions use paper cash.
Then, there’s the medical marijuana industry: despite research that has taken place in several states in the USA, as well as belatedly here in Australia, the validity of such research is accepted reluctantly. Children with gruesome seizures daily are found to get better from the use of such a medicine. The result is that whole families become displaced so that a child may receive relevant treatment, resulting with families living in trailer parks in cramped conditions, and parents becoming destitute. Should parents together with their children attempt to cross state lines to where their extended families live, and a job prospect is likely, the child’s medicine may be seized by police, and should the child prove positive for drug ingestion, the parents risk being charged with drug abuse. The medical clinic makes all this clear, the rock and the hard place of the situation.
Australia is only now commencing drug trials for multiple illnesses including epilepsy in children; for some of them suffering up to 20 seizures a day, any relief would be welcome. It is a condition I experienced weekly for a year, then, last year more serious episodes, called “tonic/clonic” took place; these were quite frightening, of which, wetting the bed and spinal spasms were the more bearable. It seems to me the most precious aspect of being human is consciousness; after such an episode, memory of self was diminished. You lived under a cloud of vagueness for several hours, not knowing who you were or what had happened the night before.
As I have not had such an episode for several months, nearly 12 months, I spoke with my neurologist about the medical marijuana trials. His advice however was that I was overqualified, by which he meant that I no longer experienced the episodes. However, the high dosage of so-called mood enhancing medication with its side effect of manual trembling that I continue to take daily makes me wonder if it is time to try something new or rather different. From my hippy days ingesting the weed has been a regular event; I wonder if its absence in my system for the last decade has created this protest demanding THC?
SBS TV ran a doco on whether Shakespeare’s skull had been removed from his tomb in an English country church. The group investigating the issue used all manner of laser equipment to scan and re-construct both the contents of the tomb and a single dis-embodied skull, which according to a pamphlet, had been interred in a nearly family vault. The latter was opened, to the excited comment of the presenter (It could almost be Harry Potter); permission had been granted however on condition that no bones in the crypt be disturbed.
The skull was reconstructed by a forensic specialist and found to be that of a 70 year old woman. Meanwhile a scan of the tomb inside the church, which had always been recognised as Shakespeare’s, seemed to indicate that its contents had been disturbed at some time and reconstructed to support the floor paving. The inscription on the tomb, clearly a place of unusual veneration, mentioned a curse upon anyone who disturbed Shakespeare’s bones.
One can only surmise the benefits resulting from tourist pilgrimages to this place. The look of perversity on the cleric’s face when he announced that permission would not be granted to open the grave; one wonders if definite proof that Shakespeare’s skull was missing would induce disappointment in a potential visitor, perhaps even persuade them against visiting the church. Perhaps a residual, spiritual belief that the skull was the important site of consciousness and even the soul was at play here?
Part of the doco’s explanation for this curious grave-robbing and stealing of the skulls of people of genius was involved with the contemporary theory of phrenology, that a serious study of the bumps on a person’s skull explained emotion, spirituality and so forth. The only consolation I can find from this dark corridor of history is that we were prepared to do to members of our own culture what we did in the colonies, to subjugated people.