Tag Archives: society

selections from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

‘I think,’ said Anna, toying with the glove she had taken off, ‘I think . . . if there are as many minds as there are men, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.’ Continue reading

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selections from The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

WORKINGMEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE! Continue reading

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selections from Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

No one ever said that you could work hard—harder even than you ever thought possible—and still find yourself sinking ever deeper into poverty and debt. Continue reading

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selections from This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate by Naomi Klein

4254681996_27b1ed7ff0 Continue reading

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selections from George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (1912)

LIZA. Every girl has a right to be loved. (102) Continue reading

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Show Me (the Hindu Art of) Love

photo(1)typically, thanks to the fact that i never board the metro near downtown, i get a seat. and, more often than note, i get a seat by a window, because nobody else wants to be locked in. i, with my 45m commute to and from work, do not give a fuck. so i usually crawl into my window seat, maybe prop my legs up, and bury myself in whatever book i want, even if that book be an illustrated copy of the Ananga-Ranga, an Indian sex manual written in the 15th or 16th century to save “foolish and unintelligent” from their “animal point of view” of women.

it’s interesting stuff, even for an unmarried 21st century man like myself, but not necessarily what you want to be caught reading in an aisle seat surrounded by restless commuters in the middle of rush hour. oh well…

It is true that no joy in the world of mortals can compare with that derived from the knowledge of the Creator. Second, however, and subordinate only to this, are the satisfaction and pleasure arising from the possession of a beautiful woman. (xv)

do i buy it? i’m fascinated by religion and often even consider myself a pretty spiritual person, but i’m not sure i’m quite yet on the level of putting something like “knowledge” above “pleasure.” why can’t we have it all and just admit that “knowledge of the Creator” is the same thing as “possession of a beautiful woman”? in all seriousness, i’ve found myself suggesting this very notion especially when discussing music. for sex is a kind of rhythm, despite Chris arguing it not being a very good song, and therefore maybe it’s the rhythm of the Creator. oh dang. also, yes, we’re all uncomfortable with the word “possession” when applied to “woman,” no matter how “beautiful.” moving along.

And thus all you who read this book shall know how delicious an instrument is woman, when artfully played upon; how capable she is of producing the most exquisite harmony; of executing the most complicated variations and of giving the divinest pleasures. (xvi)

photo(4)

delicious indeed. no matter how true this selection might be, one can’t help but imagine it coming from the twisted mouth of a sleazy old monster hiding in some horrible saloon caught halfway between Middle Earth and the Tenderloin.

i thought it’d be helpful to see the illustrations i saw while reading this text. also, picture the guy sitting next to me on the metro thinking to myself, “oh jesus i’m sitting next to a fucking creep.”

Before proceeding to the various acts of congress, the symptoms of the orgasm in women must be laid down. As soon as she commences to enjoy pleasure, the eyes are half closed and watery; the body waxes cold; the breath after being hard and jerky, is expired in sobs or sighs; the lower limbs are limply stretched out after a period of rigidity; a rising and outflow of love and affection appear, with kisses and sportive gestures; and, finally, she seems as if about to swoon. At such time, a distaste for further embraces and blandishments becomes manifest: then the wise know that, the paroxysm having taken place, the woman has enjoyed plenary satisfaction; consequently, they refrain from further congress. (19)

the first thing that comes to mind for me while reading this is… how scientific! it all sounds about right, but i can’t in good faith verify any of it. if i compare this to what i see in porn, i’d be a laughing stock for believing porn to any degree. and if i go off of personal experience, well, let’s just say i’m not exactly in a studious mood while engaging with a women undergoing “paroxysm.”

photo(6)The following are the signs by which the wise know that woman is amorous:–She rubs and repeatedly smoothes her hair (so that it may look well). She scratches her head (that notice may be drawn to it). She strokes her own cheeks (so as to entice her husband). She draws her dress over her bosom, apparently to readjust it, but leaves her breasts partly exposed. She bites her lower lip, chewing it, as it were. At times she looks ashamed without a cause (the result of her own warm fancies), and she sits quietly in the corner (engrossed by concupiscence). She embraces her female friends, laughing loudly and speaking sweet words, with jokes and jests, to which she desires a return in kind. She kisses and hugs young children, especially boys. She smiles with one cheek, loiters in her gait, and unnecessarily stretches herself under some pretence or other. At times she looks at her shoulders and under her arms. She stammers, and does not speak clearly and distinctly. She sighs and sobs without reason, and she yawns whenever she wants tobacco, food, or sleep. She even throws herself in her husband’s way and will not readily get out of his path. (29)

if you think that sounded straightforward, then prepare yourself:

The following are the eight signs of indifference to be noted in womankind:–When worldly passion begins to subside, the wife does not look straight between her husband’s eyes. If anything be asked of her, she shows unwillingness to reply. If the man draw near her, and looks happy, she feels pained. If he departs from her she shows symptoms of satisfaction. When seated upon the bedstead, she avoids amatory blandishments and lies down quietly to sleep. When kissed or toyed with she jerks away her face or her form. She cherishes malicious feelings towards her husband’s friends; and finally, she has no respect nor reverence for his family. When these signs are seen, let it be known that the wife is already weaned from conjugal desires. (29)

photo(5)“i swear to god she was making no clear signs whatsoever. all she ever did was JERK HER FACE AWAY anytime i tried to toy with her… how the hell was i supposed to know she didn’t want sex?” part of me wants to give the author a break because this was written in the 15th century, but then other times he proves that he’s actually somewhat ahead of his time:

And, moreover, let it be noted that the desires of the woman being colder, and slower to rouse than those of the man, she is not easily satisfied by a single act of congress; her lower powers of excitement demand prolonged embraces, and if these be denied her, she feels aggrieved. At the second act, however, her passions being thoroughly aroused, she finds the orgasm more violent, and then she is thoroughly contented. This state of things is clean reversed in the case of the man, who approaches the first act burning with love-heat, which cools during the second, and which leaves him languid and disinclined for a third. But the wise do not argue therefrom, that the desires of the woman, as long as she is young and strong, are not the full as real and urgent as those of the man. The custom of society and the shame of the sex may compel her to conceal them and even to boast that they do not exist; yet the man who has studied the Art of Love is never deceived by this cunning. (32)

basically, only an idiot believes a woman who plays along with society, pretending to be less interested sex than men. even the first part feels pretty spot on. guys just want to put it in, jackhammer, come across the world, and sleep. women need time to get worked up. and how do you take your time? well there are SEVEN different places you can kiss her!

And understand at once that there are seven places highly proper for osculation, in fact, where all the world kisses. These are–First, the lower lip. Second, both the eyes. Third, both the cheeks. Fourth, the head. Fifth, the mouth. Sixth, both breasts; and seventh, the shoulders. (100)

photo(3)and those are only the “highly proper” places ;)

really, i could be copying so many more massive chunks of the text to this blog, so i’d better stop there. but before i go, let me leave you with the footnote on the term “Purushayitabandha,” which “is the reverse of what men usually practice. In this case, the man lies upon his back, draws his wife upon him and enjoys her.” (125) the footnote reads:

This position is held in great horror by Muslims who commonly say, “Cursed be he who makes himself earth and woman heaven!”

so she can be on her back, on her side, standing up, sitting on you (if you’re sitting), and on her belly (or all fours), but Allah forbid! she catch you on your back? please, you should try being earth every once in awhile. it’s quite humbling. Continue reading

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The Times They Are A-Changin’ [archive]

things on my mind right now: Bob Dylan. revolution. Iran. evolution. iPhone. Internet. society. popularity. fame. work. play. kill. gay. freedom. parade. swimming.

you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone

yesterday, after a couple bowls, i went swimming in the heated pool at Chris’ apartment complex. there’s nothing like feeling like a bird for a few hours, simply flying from perch to perch, diving, swerving, colliding, riding. have you wondered what’s the difference between flying and swimming?

the loser now will be later to win

one of the simplest ways to sound wise is by making extremely mundane comments, like “everyone makes mistakes” or “you’ve gotta do what you gotta do” or, in the most extreme, “that’s the way it is.” god, often credited as the wisest being in the universe, attained his glory with the stupidest (and, to this day, least challenged) statement of all: “i am what i am.” however, by overstepping the bounds of redundant rationalism and restraint, stepping into the dark shadow of maniacal madness and infinite brilliance, one can stack peaks of genius incomprehensible and carve valleys of all-encompassing knowledge. all it takes is a reversal of certain mundane statements. for example, “love is the greatest human passion” becomes “love will kill us all.” “i fear death” becomes “i eagerly await death.” and “losers lose” becomes “losers win.”

the battle outside ragin’ will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls

if you haven’t noticed, the Iranian people hate their government (i’m not the only one!). after an election pretty clearly robbed by the incumbent presidency (he got more votes in some cities than their actual populations), protests have rocked the capital city of Tehran. it’s been going on for almost two weeks now. they started out peaceful (and for the most part seemed to remain so) except for in instances where Iranian authorities opened fire on citizens. actually, the protests and peaceful gatherings are dying a slow death, as the government promises serious crackdowns, as family and friends continue to be injured or killed, as optimism fizzles into ashes. i’m rooting for the Iranian people, of course, and i hope (pessimistically) for the best, but mostly i pray that if ever the people around me felt wronged to the point of bursting, that we will have the power and resolve (and stamina) to take to the streets.

please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand

Google. Facebook. Twitter. Flickr. YouTube. welcome to the Internet. they may not be the giants today or tomorrow, but right now at this exact moment, they are. and you should be paying attention. your parents may be trying to understand, you should try to help them out. you might think it’s really simple, but you grew up with the web getting stuck in your hair like sand after playing at the beach too long. or fuck it. ignore the older generation and wait for them to die, instead focus your energy on trying to keep up with the younger generation. but that’s no use. when you were growing up, growing into your coil of flesh, the younger generation was still just atoms in the air, actually transmitting messages, they were the air and circuitry that is the internet. and now that they’re alive human beings, they might have forgotten their electrical past, but it strikes their neurons a thousand times a second. they’ll always be ahead of you. try your hardest to keep up, but don’t make yourself unhappy doing it. if you feel yourself losing it, then let go.

the first one now will later be last

is there anyone that knows, is there anyone that cares? you pray, so you must care about something, though you may not know a thing. do you got any friends? do you have a baby? do you love because your brain pounds your brain to love? you love because your brain pounds your brain to love. you drive to the driving range because you’re driven to drive to driving range. you pull water from a well through a pulley because you’re pulled to the pulley to pull water from the well. shotguns shoot guns at your bleeding brain, where you once stood, but now you just think. and someone asks you, what do you stand for? and you say, i don’t stand for anything, but sure do think a lot. roar the lion roars. pick the guitar picks. here’s a folk song sung by Bobby Dylan himself:

Continue reading

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dipoleia [archive]

i hope you’re ready for a history lesson.

in mythology class yesterday, our professor wrote two words on the board: Dipoleia (“double-sided axe”) and Bouphonia (“ox-slaying”). she then began to describe a ritual that took place every year in Athens, possibly around the time of the last full moon. young virgin girls from respectable Athenian families would make cheese or honey cakes to give to Zeus as gifts. these cakes would be set on his altar at the acropolis. then one or several oxen would be let loose on the acropolis, free to wander as they choose. inevitably one unwise ox would wander near the cakes and (oh so immorally) munch on Zeus’ cakes! of course, axeman would be waiting for this and one would immediately slice the head of the ox, whose intestines and blood would spew across the altar. now, killing is strictly forbidden around the altar, so the guilty axeman would run for his life. he would of course be caught and brought to trial. his defense: i killed not the ox, the axe killed the ox. so the axe is put on trial, found guilty, and condemned to death. the people of Athens would carry the axe to the coast and cast the axe into the sea. this may have been intended to atone for a year of sacrifices.

i miss the fun religions. i love nothing more than knowing that someone actually FEELS. in temples today, you can never be quite sure distinguishing the ones thinking about who’s going to win the super bowl vs. the ones releasing their existence to the ultimate everything. in classical Athens, you just look at the guy cutting off an ox’s head with a double-sided axe. then again, maybe he just liked killing things. either way, it’s PASSION and it’s Interesting, which is what i miss from a lot of modern societies.

i planned on that being the end of my history lesson, but this morning i learned a lot about the incredibly fascinating civilization of the Minoans. besides being one of the earliest and most influential civilizations in the Aegean, this may have been the only completely matriarchal society to ever have existed.

i’ll just list the things that interest me about them. none of their “cities” (pretty much giant palaces) had fortifications of any kind. no walls, no defense. they weren’t at all about symmetry. their architecture followed the contours of the natural geography. in fact, nature dictated everything. they had no official temples or monuments. they would worship at peak sanctuaries (everywhere from low hills to high mountains) or in sacred caves. most strange of all, none of their art exhibits war scenes. it’s all octopi (this is like the Minoan seal of authenticity), other sea creatures, and asymmetrical designs, perhaps suggesting that they were not interested in preserving the past. we can be certain, for example, that the Egyptians with their pompous pyramids were at least a little concerned about the future. i like a civilization that seems to be more aware of its place in Nature, as opposed to being above it.

in other news, Nine Inch Nails is performing at bonnaroo 2009, instantly making it nine times cooler than coachella. Continue reading

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the Victorian era [archive]

MARY: Do either of you ladies ever stop to think how the world will have changed by the 21st century?
IDA: Well aren’t you quite the dreamer, Mary?
LISA: Come now, Ida, wouldn’t you agree that society will have become quite amoral?
DANIEL: Why! with the dawn of technologies just flowering now, however, won’t our morals seem quite obsolete in contrast to the ethics of the future?
YESSIRRIETHATSMEALRIGHT: I’m not sure I believe in the future. Continue reading

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3001: A ? Odyssey [archive]

“Weirrrrrdoooooo”

“Good question. I’ll be surprised if society is still around in this manner. I doubt it heavily. Too soon to tell, but more later, i’m going to ponder.”

“Are you kidding? By then it’ll be back to microbes for us”

“Is that a movie or what” Continue reading

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