Category Archives: exploitation

“I’m mad as hell”

To Lichanos[1],

In answer to your comment[2], yes, it feels sometimes as if I have reached the limits of appreciative criticism.

I dedicate to you, Lichanos, Network, WCC #61.


Scrub to 2:48 for “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more

It must be spent, willingly or not, gloriously or catastrophically

Furthering my research on Georges Bataille‘s general economy[1], helped by Valter‘s kind comment, it occured to me that the Marxian notion of surplus product is very similar to Bataille’s excess. The two notions and can only lead to wasteful spending such as luxury or war.

Thus, we read on page 21 of volume 1 of The Accursed Share:

“The living organism, in a situation determined by the play of energy on the surface of the globe, ordinarily receives more energy than is necessary for maintaining life; the excess energy (wealth) can be used for the growth of a system (e.g., an organism); if the system can no longer grow, or if the excess cannot be completely absorbed in its growth, it must necessarily be lost without profit; it must be spent, willingly or not, gloriously or catastrophically” (v. 1 p. 21).

If the “excess energy” or “surplus product” is spent “gloriously”, we call it luxury, if spent “catastrophically”, it is war. Notions that connect are pure war by French philosopher Paul Virilio and the military-industrial complex.

While researching The Accursed Share, I also happened on the blog with the same name[3] by Nick Srnicek and Kieran Aarons, which features two astounding photos, a shot of Cairo with the Pyramids as backdrop [4] by unknown (credits anyone?) and a photo[5] by German-born photographer Michael Wolf belonging to his “densities” project.

Go ask the physiognomists, phrenologists, pathognomists and characterologists

“I love this word decadence, all shimmering in purple and gold. It suggests the subtle thoughts of ultimate civilization, a high literary culture, a soul capable of intense pleasures. It throws off bursts of fire and the sparkle of precious stones. It is redolent of the rouge of courtesans, the games of the circus, the panting of the gladiators, the spring of wild beasts, the consuming in flames of races exhausted by their capacity for sensation, as the tramp of an invading army sounds.” — Paul Verlaine, Les Poètes maudits (1884)


Heliogabalus or Elagabalus

Heliogabalus was a remarkable example of psychopathia sexualis; but in his age there were no Krafft-Ebings to submit his case to scientific observation,” said John Stuart Hay in 1911 in The Amazing Emperor Heliogabalus. Heliogabalus, or Elagabalus as he is also called, is indeed a prime example in the category of Roman decadence, along with other notorious emperors such as Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero.

Keywords in the history of Roman decadence are inbreeding, bacchanalia, orgies, vomitoria, Great Fire of Rome, gladiators and pederasty.

The classic account of Roman decadence is Edward Gibbon‘s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788, a book that was instantly put on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. The history of Roman decadence is a necessarily a hybrid mix of truth and fact, but is interesting to note that the view Europe had of Roman antiquity during the Renaissance was that of an highbrow ideal. It wasn’t perhaps — although the existence of Latin profanity was already known to Antiquity scholars – until the excavations of Pompeii and we found the erotic art in Pompeii and Herculaneum in the second half of the 18th century that our view of the Romans started to change. This gave rise to the very first secret museum, the Secret Museum of Naples.

Back to Heliogabalus.

Two years ago in Amsterdam, I saw a pleasant man who served us in a bar while we were having dinner. His face struck me as perverse. How can someone have a perverse face? Is the nature of your character readable on your face? Go ask the physiognomists, phrenologists, pathognomists and characterologists and they will answer “yes“. Their sciences are long out of fashion and definitely politically incorrect, but I concur, without of course, casting a judgment. You need only look at the face of Heliogabalus.

For the sake of a book


Truman Capote/Andy Warhol with the Rolling Stones

Yesterday evening, after visiting friends who provided me with a Joe Sarnoesque [1] experience of suburban want and need in the Antwerp district of the Tentoonstellingslaan, I finished my viewing of Capote, which sheds light on the nature of fiction and modern writing. The key to the film is in its final five minutes where Truman Capote contends that there was nothing he could have done to save the life of the murderers, but as Nelle (Christine Keener, who I recently admired in Friends with Money, a portrayal of American depression) responds, he did not want to do that. Implied is that he did not want to save the murderers for the sake of his book In Cold Blood and in fact, put his own life to a perverted use subjugated to the pursuit of writing fiction. (see semi-autobiographical and autofiction.)

Statues also die


Les Statues meurent aussi

Les Statues meurent aussi (Eng: Statues also Die) is a short subject documentary film by Chris Marker and Alain Resnais released in 1953 and financed by the anticolonial organisation Présence africaine. Its theme was that Western civilization is responsible for the decline of black art due to cultural appropriation. The film was seen at the Cannes Film Festival, it won the Prix Jean Vigo in 1954 but was banned shortly afterwards for more than 10 years by the French censor.

Aimé Césaire (1913 – 2008)

[FR] [DE] [UK]

Aimé Fernand David Césaire (25 June 191317 April 2008) was a French poet, author and politician. He was with Léopold Sédar Senghor one of the figure heads of the négritude movement, the precursor to the Black Power movement of the 1960s. His writings reflect his passion for civic and social engagement. He is the author of Discours sur le colonialisme (Discourse on Colonialism) (1953), a denunciation of European colonial racism which was published in the French review Présence Africaine. In 1968, he published the first version of Une Tempête, a radical adaptation of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest for a black audience.

World cinema classics #40

Today’s World Cinema Classic is Glen or Glenda Youtube, sorry embedding disabled, a film on transsexuality directed by Ed Wood, Jr. and released in 1953. I only saw this a couple of years ago. Since the arrival of the VCR, the film has been marketed as one of the worst ever. I would have to disagree with that statement, it’s very enjoyable. There is a dream scene in this film (a bit similar to the one shown in the clip) which ranks way up there with “genuine” surrealist films such as Un Chien Andalou. By all means, see it.

The defining sentence is “Pull the stringk!”

Caveat emptor: There is the slightest of chances that I liked the soundtrack (I cannot identify it, does anyone have the details?) so much that it prejudiced me in a favorable way.

Previous “World Cinema Classics” and in the Wiki format here.

Icons of erotic art #13, 14 and 15

Grand bath at Bursa (1885) by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Grand bath at Bursa (1885) by Jean-Léon Gérôme


The Turkish Bath (1862) - Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

The Turkish Bath (1862) – Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

In the Tepidarium (1881) - Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
In the Tepidarium (1881) by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

I quote from my text on Ingres’s Turkish Bath, but the validity is for all three paintings:

When Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, director of the French Académie de peinture painted a highly-colored vision of a turkish bath, he made his eroticized Orient publicly acceptable by his diffuse generalizing of the female forms, who might all have been of the same model. If his painting had simply been retitled “In a Paris Brothel,” it would have been far less acceptable. Sensuality was seen as acceptable in the exotic Orient.

Most of my renewed interest in these painting has been thinking about books such as the Pre-Victorian British erotic literature epistolary novel The Lustful Turk and reading Turkish author Bedri Baykam’s pamphletish but nonetheless thought provoking history of modern art Monkeys’ Right to Paint , which contends that modern art (he means modernist art) is largely influenced by non-Western arts. Baykam takes the 1984 MoMA exhibition Primitivism in 20th Century Art as a starting point for his rant against the art establishment.

See also

Previous entries in Icons of Erotic Art here, and in a Wiki format here.

RIP Alain Payet (1947 – 2007)

Nathalie rescapée de l’enfer / Nathalie, Fugitive from Hell (1978) – Alain Payet

Alain Payet (January 17, 1947December 13, 2007) was a French writer-director.

Payet started his career in regular cinema as second assistant director on Philippe Labro‘s L’ Héritier (The Exterminator), which starred Jean-Paul Belmondo.

He directed 1970s Nazi exploitation movies (Nathalie, Fugitive from Hell) and “porno chic” features. He also made “porn versions” of some famous French films such as Astérix, Les Tontons flingueurs, and Les Visiteurs.

He died of cancer in Paris.

Eye candy #3

Moord in het Nudistenkamp

Moord in het Nudistenkamp (Eng: Murder at the Nudist Camp)

Honey West is a fictional character created by Gloria and Forest Fickling under the pseudonym “G.G. Fickling” and appearing in numerous mystery novels by the duo.

The character is notable as being one of the first female private detectives in popular fiction. She first appeared in the 1957 book This Girl for Hire and would appear in 10 novels before being retired in 1971. The character was also the basis for the short-lived TV series Honey West in the 1960s.

More Honey West here, from a fine collection of Dutch translations of detective novels. Probably the paratext (in this case the cover illustration) is better than the text itself.

Previously on Eye Candy.