As you may have heard, I have resumed my work as pornosopher and I am currently writing my master’s thesis which investigates whether porn can be art. In my research I get lost very often (which kind of seems to be the purpose).
However, it is time for me to stop getting lost, because I have another paper to finish on political myth, a paper which I have tentatively titled “Mythe, meute, Europa,” which translates as “Myth, mob, Europe.”
Before I start that work, one of my most satisfying finds of the latest obsessive quest: Annie Besant’s sublime pamphlet: “Is the Bible Indictable?” (illustration).
Besant asks (in 1877, mind you!):
“Does the Bible come within the ruling of the Lord Chief Justice as to obscene literature? Most decidedly it does, and if prosecuted as an obscene book, it must necessarily be condemned, if the law is justly administered.”
HUNDREDS OF YOUNG MEN WENT ON A RAMPAGE IN GREENWICH VILLAGE, shortly after 3 A.M. yesterday after a force of plain-clothes men raided a bar that the police said was well known for its homo-sexual clientele.
Thirteen persons were arrested and four policemen injured. The young men threw bricks, bottles, garbage, pennies and a parking meter at the policemen, who had a search warrant authorizing them in investigate reports that liquor was sold illegally at the bar, the Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square.–New York Times, June 29, 1969
The Stonewall riots were a series of violent conflicts between New York Citypolice officers and groups of gay and transgender people that began during the early morning of June 28, 1969, and lasted several days. Also called the Stonewall Rebellion or simply Stonewall, the clash was a watershed for the worldwide gay rights movement, as gay and transgender people had never before acted together in such large numbers to forcibly resist police.
Except for Illinois, which decriminalizedsodomy in 1961, homosexual acts, even between consenting adults acting in private homes, were a criminal offense in every U.S. state at the time the Stonewall Riots occurred: “An adult convicted of the crime of having sex with another consenting adult in the privacy of his or her home could get anywhere from a light fine to five, ten, or twenty years—or even life—in prison. In 1971, twenty states had ‘sex psychopath‘ laws that permitted the detaining of homosexuals for that reason alone. In Pennsylvania and California sex offenders could be locked in a mental institution for life, and [in] seven states they could be castrated.” (Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, by David Carter, p. 15) Castration, emetics, hypnosis, electroshock therapy and lobotomies were used by psychiatrists to attempt to cure homosexuals through the 1950s and 1960s.(Katz, pp. 181–197.)(Adam, p. 60.)
Subsequent nightclubs, such as The Sanctuary, often billed as the first modern DJ-led nightclub of New York, epitomized the post-Stonewall era, “when gay men had won the right to dance intimately together without worrying about the police.” —Peter Braunstein
The International Times (it or IT) was an underground paper started in 1966 in the UK, based in central London. Editors and writers included founders John Hopkins (Hoppy), Barry Miles and Jim Haynes. ITs first editor was the recently deceased playwright Tom McGrath. Singer of the DeviantsMick Farren, Jack Moore and avant-garde writer Bill Levy were closely involved. The name International Times was changed to just “it” for a time after objections from The Times newspaper. However, it was anyway generally referred to by the letters “I-T”.
Leaving the 20th Century: The Incomplete Work of the Situationist International (1974) is an anthology of Situationist texts edited by British activist Christopher Gray. The original edition was designed by Jamie Reid.
As well as being blatant in his observations, James Gillray could be incredibly subtle, and puncturevanity with a remarkably deft approach. The outstanding example of this is his printFashionable Contrasts;—or—The Duchess’s little Shoe yeilding [sic] to the Magnitude of the Duke’s Foot. This was a devastating image aimed at the ridiculous sycophancy directed by the press towards Frederica Charlotte Ulrica, Duchess of York, and the supposed daintiness of her feet. The print showed only the feet and ankles of the Duke and Duchess of York, in an obviously copulatory position, with the Duke’s feet enlarged and the Duchess’s feet drawn very small. This print silenced forever the sycophancy of the press regarding the union of the Duke and Duchess.
I was three years old when May 68 happened. May 68 was the direct precursor of the hippie movement here in Western Europe. Most of our teachers had been brought up in the “hippie” climate.
Yesterday E-L-I-S-E posted this burning Citroën DS (the photo is new to me and is unsourced at E-L-I-S-E). It brings me to repost one of my favorite quotes on art and politics.This is from one year before May 68.
A smashed telephone, a burnt car, a terrorised cripple are the living denial of the ‘values’ in the name of which life is eliminated. Delinquent violence is a spontaneous overthrow of the abstract and contemplative role imposed on everyone, but the delinquents’ inability to grasp any possibility of really changing things once and for all forces them, like the Dadaists, to remain purely nihilistic.
They can neither understand nor find a coherent form for the direct participation in the reality they have discovered, for the intoxication and sense of purpose they feel, for the revolutionary values they embody. The Stockholm riots, the Hell’s Angels, the riots of Mods and Rockers — all are the assertion of the desire to play in a situation where it is totally impossible.