Monthly Archives: October 2008

In defense of Michael Jackson


They Don’t Care About Us

“In recent years a workprint of Spike Lee‘s music video to Michael Jackson‘s “They Don’t Care About Us” has appeared, which is a rough cut of the Prison version. This version contains even more violent footage (the Rodney King beating, Los Angeles riots, the Chinese Tank Man, the Vietnam war) than the released video, which also includes scenes of the Holocaust, dead bodies, gunshot and African famine scenes and a kid throwing around a foot detached from its body.” —Sholem Stein

See art and politics

Eat Out More Often

RIP Rudy Ray Moore

Rudy Ray Moore died. I had never heard of him. But the image above I liked.

Rudy Ray Moore (March 17, 1927 – October 19, 2008) was an American comedian, musician, singer, film actor, and film producer. He was perhaps best known as Dolemite, the uniquely articulate pimp from the 1975 film Dolemite, and its sequel, The Human Tornado. The persona was developed during his earlier stand-up comedy records.

Rudy Ray Moore’s type of African-American humor, called bawdry, is also represented by Blowfly and the Detroit Grand Pubahs.

Through mine eye the stroke from her did slide, directly down unto my heart it ran


My eye, a couple of minutes ago

A continuation of “ocular eroticism”, ocular eroticism III

“Through mine eye the stroke from her did slide,
Directly down unto my heart it ran.”Thomas Wyatt

Full poem:

So unwarely was never no man caught
With steadfast look upon a goodly face
As I of late; for suddenly, me thought,
My heart was torn out of his place.
Thorough mine eye the stroke from hers did slide
Directly down unto my heart it ran.
In help whereof the blood thereto did glide,
And left my face both pale and wan.
Then was I like a man for woe amazed,
Or like the bird that flyeth into the fire;
For while that I on her beauty gazed,
The more I burnt in my desire.
Anon the blood start in my face again,
Enflamed with heat that it had at my heart,
And brought therewith throughout in every vein
A quickened heat with pleasant smart.
Then was I like the straw, when that the flame
Is driven therein by force and rage of wind.
I can not tell, alas, what I shall blame,
Nor what to seek nor what to find.
But well I wot the grief holds me so sore
In heat and cold betwixt hope and dread,
That but her help to health doth me restore
This restless life I may not lead.

Ocular eroticism II

The ocular eroticism mentioned in my previous post appears to be a niche art criticism trope.


Essays in Critical Materialism

Reconfiguring the Renaissance: Essays in Critical Materialism – Page 159

by Jonathan V. Crewe – Renaissance – 171 pages

37 The same model of what we may call “ocular eroticism” informs secular literature as well: one thinks of Wyatt’s “Through mine eye the stroke from her did
Transcendence, Desire, and the Limits of ...

Eroticism on the Renaissance Stage: Transcendence, Desire, and the Limits of … – Page 103

by Celia R. Daileader – Performing Arts – 1998 – 194 pages

displacing the “ocular eroticism” prevalent from Plato through Wyatt – an eroticism which pertained to the longing for one’s lady as well as the longing
Reading the Medieval in Early Modern England

Reading the Medieval in Early Modern England – Page 208

by Gordon McMullan, David Matthews – Drama – 2007 – 287 pages

point is that Mary’s ‘erotic fragrance’ — a vestigial remnant of medieval ‘ocular eroticism‘ — presupposes the importance of Mary’s physical knowledge
Shakespeare the Actor and the Purposes of Playing

Shakespeare the Actor and the Purposes of Playing – Page 134

by Meredith Anne Skura – Performing Arts – 1993 – 325 pages

particularly of the erotics of the gaze.50 The ocular eroticism associated with the hunt in general in Love’s Labour’s Lost is here epitomized in
The Madness and Perversion of Yukio Mishima

The Madness and Perversion of Yukio Mishima – Page 70

by Jerry S. Piven – Literary Criticism – 2004 – 273 pages

which is also consistent with Mishima’s ocular eroticism as simultaneously retaining, destroying, and merging with those on whom he gazes,

Sexual Aliveness: A Reichian Gestalt Perspective

by Edward W. L. Smith – Self-Help – 1987 – 126 pages

Gotta love Google books.

My tongue would penetrate her eyelids

Claude Nicolas Ledoux has the best public domain eye. The best in the non-public domain area is the eye from Bunuel's An Andalusian Dog.

Claude Nicolas Ledoux has the best public domain eye.

The best in the non-public domain area is the eye from Bunuel’s An Andalusian Dog.

French blog Au carrefour étrange has a post on ocular eroticism.

Story of the Eye invariably comes to mind, but to our subject at hand:

I quote from Au carrefour étrange[1] who quotes from La vie sexuelle de Robinson Crusoe:

« J’ai connu une femme dont j’embrassais l’œil en introduisant ma langue entre ses paupières et son orgasme alors était intarissable » (Michel Gall. p.89)
« I once knew a woman whose eyes I kissed and my tongue would penetrate her eyelids, she would then climax to the point of exhaustion» (Michel Gall. p.89)

I love books or films which start with the sexual life of….

La vie sexuelle de Robinson Crusoe

Examples in this category include The Sexual Life of Catherine M., The Sexual life of the Belgians, The Sexual Life of the Savages and now this The Sexual life of Robinson Crusoe.

Emmanuel Pierrat has called The Sexual life of Robinson Crusoe a small masterpiece. It is not available in an English translation.


Here the An Andalusian Dog eye, just before being slashed, with the beautiful Argentinian tango in the background.

I’ve posted the razor scene before, it’s about the last place online where you can still see the still and the film[3]

Here is the tango scene with a nice colorized pre-razor still of the film.


Un Chien Andalou (1929) – Luis Buñuel [] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Un Chien Andalou is World Cinema Classic @69

Elliott Smith @39

It’s been five years since singer-songwriterElliott Smith (August 6, 1969October 21, 2003) died from two stab wounds to the chest. The autopsy evidence was inconclusive as to whether the wounds were self-inflicted. Smith had battled with depression, alcoholism and drug addiction for years, and these topics often appeared in his lyrics.

I’d heard of him before, but this is the first time I am listening to his work. His story and music remind me of Nick Drake and that other tragic 20th century American musician, Tim Buckley.

Some complimentary depression imagery:

Goddamned Days on a Goddamned Planet standing on Emotional Rescue

Goddamned Days on a Goddamned Planet standing on Emotional Rescue by you.

Goddamned Days on a Goddamned Planet standing on Emotional Rescue

Dimitri Verhulst is Flanders’ hottest (I hate that word) novelist and one of the few contemporary Flemish novelists translated into English (Problemski Hotel is in print by Marion Boyars)

His latest novel Godverdomse dagen op een godverdomse bol (Eng: Goddamned Days on a Goddamned Planet) was not released through conventional channels but given away free with Humo magazine which understandibly upset the bookselling business. The book’s release did not go unnoticed, far from it, I believe one out of every 20 Flemish people now have a copy in their homes. Imagine that on the scale of a large country. Incredible.

The book.

Goddamned Days on a Goddamned Planet offers a bleak view of humanity.

The story is that of human evolution, much like the epic poem The Legend of the Centuries by Victor Hugo was in the 19th century and The Cantos by Ezra Pound in the 20th century.

The novel should be seen as an epic poem rather than regular novel. It’s difficult to imagine that as novels go, this one is plotless, unless you concede that reality lacks plot for want of a plotter.

Most people seem to find the novel boring and hard to read, others have remarked to laugh out loud while reading.

Dimitri Verhulst will be best-known internationally for the future film version of his novel De Helaasheid der Dingen (expected in 2009).

Verhulst is a writer pur sang. He never repeats a formula. I agree that this novel is cold, but its reputation will go a long way. Still, I will be wanting some emotional relief from his future writing.

Digression #1: Steve + Sky (the link is Felix van Groeningen) is WCC #68.

Note to self: should be able to get hold of Verhulst’s poetry.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Poetry… But Were Afraid to Ask Timothy Leary

Goede Raad is Vuur

Goede Raad is Vuur (cover photograph: ‘De Toren van Babel‘ in Ruigoord by Marrit Dijkstra)

Goede Raad is Vuur is a Dutch language poetry anthology and at the same time a theory of poetry, first published by Simon Vinkenoog in 2004.

Simon Vinkenoog is the Dutch Timothy Leary, just as Jean-Jacques Lebel was the French Timothy Leary, see counterparts.

The book is the definitive guide to cult poetry and begs for a English translation.

These are the poets and theorists mentioned:

Gerrit Achterberg, Fadhil Al-Azzawi, Hans Andreus, Antonin Artaud, Charles Baudelaire, Hakim Bey, Breyten Breytenbach, C. Buddingh’, Remco Campert, Ernesto Cardenal, Hugo Claus, Jean Cocteau, Gregory Corso, e.e. cummings, Isidore Ducasse, Jan Elburg, Desiderius Erasmus, Clayton Eshleman, David Gascoyne, Guido Gezelle, Allen Ginsberg, Goethe, Jan Hanlo, Hermann Hesse, Johan Huizinga, Jos Joosten, Rutger Kopland, Gerrit Kouwenaar, D. H. Lawrence, Lucebert, Navaho, Ben Okri, Paul van Ostaijen, Brian Patten, Ilja Leopard Pfeijffer, Sybren Polet, Ezra Pound, Rainer Maria Rilke, Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Rodenko, Jalal al-Din Roemi, A.Roland Holst, Nanao Sakaki, Bert Schierbeek, Hans Sleutelaar, Gary Snyder, Fritz Usinger, Hans Verhagen, Dominique de Villepin, Eddy van Vliet, Tito de Vries, Alan Watts, Lew Welch and Walt Whitman.

In this collection for example: “The Right Mask” by Brian Patten in a Dutch translation more powerful than its English original:

One night a poem came up to a poet.
From now on, it said, you must wear a mask.
What kind of mask? asked the poet.
A rose mask, said the poem.
I’ve used it already, said the poet,
I’ve exhausted it.
Then wear the mask that’s made out of
a nightingale’s song, use that mask.
Oh, it’s an old mask, said the poet,
it’s all used up.
Nonsense, said the poem, it’s the perfect mask,
still, try on the god mask,
now that mask illuminates heaven.
It’s a tight mask, said the poet,
and the stars crawl about in it like ants.
Then try on the troubador’s mask, or the singer’s mask,
try on all the popular masks.
I have, said the poet, but they fit so easily.

Read the rest of this sublime poem here.