What currently interests me in anthropology are a) accusations of eurocentrism; b) discussions on the nature of human nature (innate good or bad); and c) sexual anthropology. By sexual anthropology I mean a particular variant of it, which I call anthropologica, namely the prurient interest in sex which masquerades as anthropology.
There is no anthropologica in Sahlins, anthropologica is more the province of the 17th and 18th centuries.
I know not of discussion by Sahlins on the innate goodness or badness of man.
In France, the actor Michel Robin died. He turned 90. He played in more than 120 films. Always bit parts. You can recognize him by his bald head and the banal characters he usually had to portray.
Favorites are Mais ne nous délivrez pas du mal (1971), a film about two beautiful adolescent girls who start indulging in a satanic love for evil. Robin plays the simple gardener whose parakeet is killed by the diabolic duo.
There is L’Invitation (1973) in which Robin plays a simple and clumsy office worker who, after inheriting a fortune, invites his colleagues to his new estate. There, those good bourgeois men and women are intoxicated by a spiked drink at the hands of a rogue bartender. The situation escalates. Cult movie.
And then there is the genius animal head puppet film Marquis (1989) in which Robin voices a certain Ambert, a rat prison guard who is eager to be sodomized by the Marquis de Sade, something Colin, the living and talking phallus of the Marquis does not wish to indulge in.
Sean Connery was a Scottish actor, for a long time considered the most handsome man alive.
I have fond memories of four of his films:
In The Man Who Would Be King (1975), he is one of two British adventurers who first become king of Kafiristan, which is an actual historical region in Afghanistan. Kafirs are unbelievers.
In Highlander (1986) he is an Egyptian immortal who has to compete with Christophe Lambert.
In The Name of the Rose (1986), Connery is a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Thomas Aquinas.
But in Zardoz (1972) Connery is the funniest and the most memorable. Not necessarily in the good sense, because Zardoz is really a ridiculous movie, and not even in the “so bad that it’s good” category. But once you saw that movie, you never forget the image of Connery, like a kind of beefcake in orange shorts, with a mustache, with crossed suspenders.
I have to formally advise you not to watch that film.
We are 2293. The inhabitants of Earth consist of two groups, the Brutes, the plebs, ruled by the Eternals, a small elite that is bored. Eternals use part of the Brutes, the Exterminators, as a band of chosen warriors to kill common Brutes. Sean Connery is one of them.
The Eternals have a god for the destroyers, Zardoz, a giant stone head that flies through the air and spews weapons.
The teaching that Zardoz preaches goes like this:
“The Penis is evil. The Penis shoots seeds, and makes new life to poison the Earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the Gun shoots death and purifies the Earth of the filth of Brutals. Go forth, and kill! Zardoz has spoken!””
Movies such as Zardoz were inspired by neo-malthusian overpopulation disaster scenarios distributed in books such as The Population Bomb (1968) and The Limits to Growth (1971) by the Club of Rome. Those books were partly right. Today population stabilization is predicted by 2064. Then we return — I hope with enough secularists (the religious shall NOT inherit the earth) — to an ideal of two billion inhabitants. A gentle return. Two billion is ideal for our planet, we were two billion in 1927.
Although Zardoz was really a shitty film, there were some good films to come out of this dystopian eco-fiction scene.
There is Silent Running (1972), about a spaceship that takes the last plants of Earth into space and Soylent Green (1973), about a society where the starving inhabitants of Earth are encouraged to commit euthanasia. Euthanized people are then offered back to starving humanity as biscuit food, but now I deviate very far from Sean Connery.
In the scene above she is Fadela, the housekeeper in Naked Lunch (1991) who chases away the penis-buttocks-cartilage centipede.
The scene is known as the mujahideen’s scene, because that is the name of the typewriter.
In this particular scene actress Judy Davis sits on the lap of Peter Weller. They represent Burroughs and his wife. They take a drug named majoun. Judy Davis is typing on a typewriter. On the paper Arabic words appear. Peter Weller tells her to write dirtier prose, meaning more erotic, more pornographic. As the words become filthier the typewriter starts to enjoy the prose more. It starts undulating under her fingers, giving way, until it finally opens up and shows its fleshy vaginal innards. Judy Davis introduces her hands. She licks Peter Weller’s fingers. A penis emerges from the innards of the typewriter. They start kissing and making out.
Next scene. Judy and Peter are in bed together. Clothed A penis-like centipede with buttocks and cartilage jumps from what appears to be a cupboard with them in bed. We Just before it jumps there is a shot of ‘it’ showing other vagina-like orifices. It flaps around them in bed in a bizarre threesome, making squishy sounds.
A woman comes in with a whip. This is Fadela played by Monique Mercure. She chides the centipede, chasing it outside. It jumps from the balcony and when it hits the ground, it transforms into the typewriter.
The Poughkeepsie Shuffle: Tracing ‘The French Connection’ (2000)
Sonny Grosso was a New York City police detective turned movie and television producer, noted for his role in the “French Connection” heroin bust immortalized in the The French Connection (1971), directed by William Friedkin.
The BBC documentary The Poughkeepsie Shuffle: Tracing ‘The French Connection’ (2000) [above] features him extensively.
After being an adviser on The French Connection, Grosso went on to play a part in the film Cruising (1980), also directed by William Friedkin.
This film is also the subject of a documentary (above).
Gahan Wilson was an American author, cartoonist and illustrator.
I was unacquainted with the work of Wilson. Dave Letterman introduced him in the 1980s as the “guru of gruesome, wizard of the weird and the Michelangelo of the macabre.”
Me being European, Wilson reminds me of Tomi Ungerer (1931- 2019) or Roland Topor (1938-1997) and perhaps more of Topor, since like Topor, Wilson was not political.
Wilson is regarded as the only heir of Charles Addams (1912-1988) and often mentioned in one breath with Edward Gorey (1925-2000) .
The epithet ‘sick humor‘ sometimes pops up, although I have to disagree on this one, as, as a European, I am used to Hara Kiri, most likely the epitome of 20th century sick humor.
Since I found out about his death, I watched the “The Waitress” episode of The Kid (2001) and Wilson’s appearance at David Letterman’s (March 30, 1982) when he published Is Nothing Sacred?. I also listened to a reading of the wonderful story “The Sea was Wet as Wet Could Be” (1967).
His cartoon “I am an insane eye doctor and I am going to kill you now…” is frequently cited as of his best work. In it, a non-suspecting man reading an optometrist’s ‘eye examination’ with the text cited is approached from behind by a knife wielding optometrist.
There are body horror elements in his work and the cartoon “Harry, I really think you ought to go to the doctor.”, in which Harry is a regular man with the head of a prawn, is positively Lovecraftian.