Thursday, August 25, 2005

bumming and carved chicken mentality

Having pondered (or maybe ranted is a better word) on the exhibitionism of spirit - in the form of gut spilling of detail and trivia - I sorta naturally moved to another kind of exhibitionism that is perhaps a counterpart to it?

I am thinking of exhibitionism of body. Well have you noticed how flesh is the in thing - well actually the out thing. I might be a bit oldfashioned but I can't help flinching with a shudder when I see someone's (male or female) jeans hanging merely by a thread of imagination with their derriere and its cleavage visible. WHY would I want to see that? "Excuse me...its a free world but I don't really want to see your bum". That's what freedom is, is it?

And then there's the matter of the cleavage of the upper regions. Ever notice that bending is now a precarious business...I hold my breath thinking something that shouldn't fall out will.

I am quite gobsmacked by the amount of bare flesh paraded around. "Why" is the question that haunts me. Why do we want to reveal all? Don't get me wrong I am not a prude and prism person but somehow I have this distinct unease with what I have now come to label exhibitionism. Be it spilling your guts, your derriere or your cleavage for general view and consumption - I find that worrying.

Yeah ok. So there is this ancient dynamic of the attraction of the sexes, and the physical does mattter (bit unrealistic to think it doesn't). But let's also face it - we have lost a sense of owning our bodies, or for that matter letting someone who has the right to it own it. Where does the intimacy of sex come in - if the body you relate to is one that hundreds have eyeballed, looked, fantasised about. Yeah sure it makes you feel sexy but I think there is a high degree of fall out in the loss of "privacy" in the body.

As a Christian, there is almost a holiness to the intimacy of sex. It's such a profound mystery this thing we call sex. For instance we are the only living creatures for whom sex actually has something more than procreation involved...its for pleasure, for love, for intimacy. We don't mate during the reproductive cycle like the rest of the animal kingdom, we take pleasure in the body of a mate. But now we seem to be detiorating and becoming like a herd of animals where sex is flaunted and acquired at random, and part of that flaunting is letting everyone see your "goods".

We are now living in an era of "carved chicken mentality". Have you realised that we rarely buy a whole chicken - or deal with the messy bits. Everything is cleared, cleaned, and packed into little packages of "thighs" or "wings" or "breasts". A whole chicken is a bit of a nuisance...we only want to savour the delicacy of the breasts.

Well sex and bodies have become like that. I can safely presume that most men and women now eye one another in terms of body parts. "She has gorgeous breasts" or "he has sexy shoulders" or "she has fantastic legs" or "he has a delightful bum". We don't really look at "people" anymore...we look at bodies. We are TUNED to look first at the bodies, and often that is all we will see. Our hormones are too inflamed to look beyond. And obviously this leads to dissatisfaction for exhibitionism doesn't help the's basically saying "here is a body part - sample it". Here is a breast or a thing or a bum.

I have nothing against nakedness. But I have a deep distrust of a social trend that is reducing sexuality to body parts, and reducing people to displayed flesh. Something is wrong. Maybe it's time we respected each other as people and stopped promoting the "body culture". Our bodies are PART of who we are...and that is something that is slowly and surely being forgotten.

Exhibition of body or soul. Scary

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

blogging your heart out?

I am not sure what I feel about blogs. I mean this is an absolutely ridiculous statement to make about 4 months after starting one, but it's unfortunately true. I am meditating on the whole phenomenon of "blogging".

Is the blog a diary? But aren't diaries private and record things for our eyes alone? In fact one is generally mortified about someone actually finding the diary and reading it. One even gives strict instructions to a close friend - "please burn my diaries when I die, *without* reading them". One doesn't really write a diary and go waving it around and say "hey read this" to everyone passing by. You don't wave your personal life and information to passing strangers, or do you?

Don't many blogs seem to be diaries? That's what is puzzling. Why are we writing a diary for everyone to read and comment? And i
f everyone is commenting, it's not a diary it's a discussion board. If it's a discussion board why would you want the world to know personal stuff? I think this is all getting circular.

For instance lets say that you are waiting for your girl friend, boy friend (if you are double) or cat (if you are single) to come back after a jaunt somewhere? Why are you so hell bent on telling the world that you are just waiting for that great hot night, or cuddle and smooch (erm yes ofcourse cats don't smooch - I suppose they just swipe and loop around you with a throaty "Mrrrrrrrr")

And then there are personal things that no one needs to know. What does it matter to the rest of the world if I had a wonderful Korean meal last night, with lots of spice, got inebriated and had an outrageous flirtation with the waitress or waiter of the restuarant. (No I didn't really do that - that was just an example of "blog material").

I just worry about the entire world becoming a gut spilling venture where everyone peers into everybody's life (laid out colourfully in detail complete with pictures too).

I think its a trend - the talk show culture - where everything is public material. One discusses ones marital problems, family affairs, parental mess ups, sex lives, in front of a tv audience. I mean it makes me quiver with horror. Is there nothing sacred or personal anymore?

I am not sure if what is happening is a depersonalisation of ourselves by making it all public. Surely privacy in somethings is a good thing. Don't somethings deserve the sanctity of privacy? What I felt about the return of a long absent lover - that's deeply personal - something meant "for my eyes and hers/his". And surely some things are trivia.
Like the details of the Korean meal.

On the other hand its good to have somethings up on a public space. I worry a bit about all the blogs out in cyberspace filled with trivia which all of us are busy wading through with some sort of voyeuristic pleasure of having a look into someone's life.

:S I dunno.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

pawns and king pins

One wonders about how long these cycles of violence will continue. The coalition forces bombing Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Al Queda bombing central cities. While the king pins sit behind closed doors, the pawns pay a price and pay it dearly. What will it take to put an end to the destruction of innocent lives on both sides of this divide?

I don't need to have done politics or have experience in the field to know that a "war against terror" is too abstract for success, and that its abstractness merely means that the innocent will die. As Arundhati Roy put it, how can one wage a war "against an abstract noun". I also know that terrorism has root causes that cannot be eradicated by counter violence, for causes live on after its proponents die. That is the nature of movements with causes for unlike armies these are phoenix-like, and from the ashes of their destruction new adherents are born. I have lived in a country that has had "terrorist" activity escalating into civil war, and it has not been counter-violence that solved the problem. In fact violence merely fuelled more cycles of revenge. It is the desire on both sides to see an end to it, that ends violence.

A "war on terror" is as laughable as those who magnanimously and gratiutously propound it in their lofty speeches. I didn't need to be a politicain or "special intelligence" to know that the terrain of Afghanistan would not yeild Osama Bin Laden (as predicted prior to the war) for he would never be located in the ant country landscape of Afghanistan. Or to know that the war on Iraq was a recipe for disaster and death. Did not the intelligence indicate this to those embarking? Did they not point out that removing a dictator in a tribal country is a recipe for mayhem and chaos? Lets not pretend that no one in the Western governments knew this. If they didn't it is an even greater shame and scar on their nations' intelligences. Or were they too swelled up with their own egoistic opinions that they can "sort it out"?

Maybe, just maybe, there is too much pride to believe the West can fail. But it did. And it still does. The war in Iraq was certainly not "won", for the Iraqi people.

So now the world reaps the seeds of violence sown, by both the West and Al Queda. and if a head count be taken, it would be safe to say that Al Queda is far stronger than they ever were. During the Iraq war, I watched reporters interview civilians in Iraq, Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and despite the tensions between Middle Eastern nations, the cry was the same: "We will repay, for every life you destroy we will take ten". It was the voice of normal citizens. Not of Al Queda. Not of militants. But of ordinary men and women. even of children. The West is increasingly generating violence and, through it, hatred and anger, but hoping vainly that they can live in insular violence free societies. But violence breeds violence does it not?

However the West might define him, and whatever they might feel or say, Osama Bin Laden is a leader of a large part of the Islamic world, and now a leader to be reckoned with. For the sake of those who will pay the price if we don't, perhaps it's time to dialogue. The West presumably does not want to talk to this "leader" because he is a "savage" and "evil". If it wasn't so depressing I would find it almost "amusing" that the West is believed to be no different!

I often think of the one thing that can bring an end to cycles of violence and pride. The humility to ask "what have we done wrong" in our international relations with other nations. The West has too much pride to admit it has been wrong. As Blair and Bush demonstrate - they have always been right, they are always right, and they will always be right. They alone know whats best for the rest of the world and how to fix it. If they were wrong about the wmd, well who cares they got Saddam anyway and wasn't that "absolutely flipping marvelous", the ends justifies the means so it doesn't matter if we lied and we were wrong, we did this flipping good deed for the world.

How can one expect leaders to admit they were wrong to an "enemy" if they cannot admit it to their "friends" and nations?

But, for the arrogance of its leaders ordinary people will pay. For those who go to bed at night not knowing what "terror" means, it is difficult to imagine the absolute nerve twisting, gut wrenching feeling of "being a target" of violence. But people do. People in Iraq do, people in London now do. Its a "terror" you cannot get away from or fight back - you cannot stop the bombs from falling from the skies in Iraq onto your homes and streets nor can you prevent them from exploding on the underground or the streets.

No one should have to suffer for the pride, arrogance and evil of others. But people do, and no where more so, than when selfish and indifferent politicians play their power games across the chess board of the world. The term "pawn" resonates strongly for me. Those who carry out the acts of violence are no more than pawns primed to attack and trained to kill. Neither Osama Bin Laden, George Bush nor Tony Blair will ever confront one another with weapons...they place their carry out the jobs they want done. They live while others die. Pawns are expendable, citizens and civilians are expendable.

I am so tired of the way people kill and maim each other. Disgusted that life has no value on both sides of this divide, that innocent people pay a price they shouldn't have to pay, but always do. I am sick to the heart that the innocent pay the price for the pride of politicians.

The tsunami of December 2004 taught me something - defending oneself against the vagaries of life is hard and painful enough, without the evil that humans seem to desire to inflict on one another.