Gay History: Buddhafield – A Dark Story of a Gay, Speedo Wearing Guru, and Exploitation!

In 1985, recent film-school graduate Will Allen found what appeared to be an exciting alternative community in Los Angeles. Always curious about the meaning of life, Allen was lured by a charismatic South American-born guru known as Michel, who seemed able to answers his questions. With little hesitation, he joined Buddhafield, a group where love and enlightenment flowed in abundance.

It wasn’t until 22 years later that Allen realized he belonged to a cult.

When Will Allen, then 22, was forced to leave home in 1985 after his mother learned he was gay, his sister invited him to join a local alternative community and meditation group in West Hollywood, California she had been attending for nine months.[9][10] The group, led by Michel Rostand, eventually grew to one hundred members and began calling itself Buddhafield.

The group leader, Michel Rostand—a well-tanned disciplinarian who rarely wore more than Speedos or tight gym shorts—claimed that he could put people directly in touch with god.

Before he became an enigmatic leader to a group of hippies, Rostand was searching for fame in Hollywood. His biggest role was as an extra in the Roman Polanski classic, and a handful of gay porn. He also fancied himself a dancer, and told people he performed in the ballet.

His accomplishments weren’t much, but to him they were monumental. To him, he was a star.

Rostand utilized his acting talent to create a powerful persona that would capture the minds of more than 100 vulnerable souls. He started by holding weekly yoga and meditation sessions at a studio in West Hollywood, and soon the group grew.

Attracted to Michel’s messages of healing and self-fulfillment, newcomers often gave themselves over to Buddhafield readily. Calling him “The Teacher,” they ditched functioning society and moved into one of Buddhafield’s several houses together. Rape survivors, for example, felt cleansed, and lost souls found salvation through Michel’s tutelage and their newfound family. In joining Buddhafield, some sought to escape society’s authoritative decrees or replace drug habits with spiritual highs. Others were tossed out of their homes or contending with trauma or battling disillusionment with their respective religions. Most maintained low-end jobs to pay rent, but they rarely communicated with people who were not part of the roughly 100-member organization. Life as they knew it ended. And for more than two decades, they loved it. 

“It somehow felt good to be elite,” Coquet said of his 25 years in the organization. “There was something about it.”

Allen, Coquet and Cheiffo realized that, once they took the plunge, nothing could be halfhearted. Michel, who is also a well-read ballet dancer trained in hypnotherapy, led activities on six nights of the week. If anyone said they’d rather not attend, a friend would question their devotion, insisting that person was stuck inside their own muddled headspace. Supposed enlightenment waited beyond every doubt.

“We all thought we were going to be with him until we died,” Coquet said.

Sometimes the guidelines were more specific. Michel would hand down dictums on an individual basis. His biggest hangups were sexual, as the group later discovered in a dark way. He banned most members from fornicating, citing the release of energy that comes with an orgasm as an inferior high. Often seen in nothing but a Speedo and Ray-Bans, Michel was particularly interested in recruiting attractive young men. Even better if they were virgins. (He was raised Catholic and probably feared the AIDS epidemic that was sweeping the country, Coquet pointed out.) In truth, “everybody was fucking everybody” surreptitiously, one ex-member says in the movie.

Buddhafielders told themselves lies about what was going on, and they fed lies to outsiders too. When the mob appeared in public together, they fibbed about their affiliations. At a movie theater, they would claim to be a “movie club.” While on hikes, they were an “ecological group.” They had T-shirts to prove it.

The rare times anyone conversed with strangers about their personal lives, Buddhafielders lied about where they resided, fearing potential exposure. “Society is not going to understand it, so just don’t even try,” Coquet said of the Buddhafield groupthink. 

Barring fleeting skepticism, no insiders questioned Michel’s rules. They’d found tranquility. “There was truth in all of it,” Coquet said. “There were lies and weird manipulations, but they were based on something we really believed in.”

And for a long time, no one would rather return to normal society, anyway.

“‘This [was] such a great way to live, to see life from this way,'” Allen said, describing their justification. 

When we think of cults, we picture murder and nutty religious practices. But in Buddhafield, positivity abounded, and they kept up with current events throughout. “There was a lot of humor in everything we did,” Allen recalled. “[Michel] was very funny, and we laughed and laughed and laughed a lot.” 

Everyone lived, cooked, did yoga, meditated and attended seminars (including acting and ballet lessons) together. Some worked together too. Allen, Coquet and Cheiffo said they were temporarily employed at an Indian restaurant whose clientele included Barbra Streisand, Ally Sheedy and Michael Jackson. A cultlike faction of Sikhs apparently hired the trio to pose on their behalf because “people in that cult were too spacey to be waiters.” They donned traditional Sikh turbans to appear authentic.

Members paid Michel $50 for weekly hypnotherapy sessions called “cleansings.” Coquet, in fact, was a licensed therapist himself. Michel hired him to give non-hypnotic counsel, while Michel oversaw the sessions oriented toward metaphysical growth. Working closely with Michel lent Coquet and Allen unprecedented access to their teacher.

For his finest act, Michel performed what he called “the knowing.” Promising the most intimate connection to God possible, only privileged disciples were granted “the knowing.” No one wanted to leave before they’d experienced it. Cheiffo, a self-described “punk-rocker” who was loyal for 27 years and received “the knowing” seven months after arriving, said some waited 18 years hoping they’d be selected. The documentary’s subjects liken “the knowing” to an LSD trip: colors swirl, trees sway and divinity presents itself. Today, Allen, Coquet and Cheiffo recognize the manipulativeness of the practice. Michel would employ an ancient Hindu technique, pressing his fingers to the recipients’ eyes in such a way that intense beams of light would form. Using the spiritual teachings they’d been fed, members fixed deep meanings to the experience, often calling it, at most, “God” or, at least, “intoxication.” If it was ineffective, Michel claimed that person wasn’t spiritually prepared to receive “the knowing.”

“When I was actually revealed ‘the knowing,’ I was screaming bloody murder,” Coquet said. “It was so painful to me, and everything in my being was saying, ‘Get out of this house. Leave now.’ And I did everything I could do to just stay there and stick with it. There were other times when it was just amazing. I would put my hands on my eyes and have there be a light show.”

The warning signs were always there, but the tribe’s bond both strengthened and splintered after the FBI raided a Texas cult led by David Koresh in 1993. The standoff ended in flames, killing 76 affiliates of the Branch Davidians sect. Michel panicked. He changed his name to Andreas, effectively creating a new character for himself. Fearing a similar fate, he relocated Buddhafield to Austin. Mutual support within the institution fortified, yet somewhere in that process, a shift occurred. For those who’d been around since the beginning, Andreas’   purpose went from imparting enlightenment to ensuring the group stayed afloat. He was convinced he was a Christlike figure, and history tells us that most Christlike figures are executed.

Members had to derive positivity among themselves. Many were at Andreas’ every beck and call. They got little sleep, yet they were expected to remain alert at all times. One guy made Andreas ornate fruit salads every morning — they were mostly thrown away, but he continued nonetheless. Allen, who lived with The Teacher for 18 of his 22 years in Buddhafield, was tantamount to a personal servant, reading to Andreas and tucking him in nightly, among other tasks. As if being worshiped weren’t enough (some members called him “my lord”), Andreas’ “Howard Hughes neurosis” — Allen’s words — was satisfied at all hours. 

Because his role as therapist provided unique access to the mysterious leader, Coquet learned things few did. According to Coquet, Andreas claimed a “persecution complex” as a result of being molested as a young boy. Members later learned that, despite his sex regulations, Andreas was manipulating male Buddhafielders into sleeping with him. Advised never to say no to their teacher, disciples — gay and straight — would receive spiritual awakenings during “cleansings” and then convince themselves to give their bodies to Andreas. They were effectively being raped, but it carried the guise of consent. 

No one talked about it. “You’re just a sack of meat to this person,” one man says in the movie. “That’s when I began to hate him.”

Through it all, no one outright confronted Andreas — at least not to Allen, Coquet and Cheiffo’s knowledge. When someone was tempted to raise concerns, another member would encourage them to return to their spiritual center. Those who actually left were forced to “disconnect” from the group, just like in Scientology. (Buddhafielders were sometimes ordered to maintain ostensible friendships with these people to keep tabs on them, should anyone choose to contact the authorities.) But in 2006, a nostalgic apostate returned to Buddhafield after a decade. Unlike some of the current insiders, he was able to spot the change in Michel/Andreas’ spirit. He wasn’t a teacher anymore — he was a master, and a fussy one at that. 

Then the returnee heard from his friends that Andreas was a sexual predator. This “character,” as Allen described him, barged into his wife’s cleansing session — a strict no-no — and accused Andreas of hurting his disciples. Andreas denied it and later blamed Cheiffo for not being there to “protect” him. But the damage was done: Before leaving again, the former member wrote an email to the group outlining all of the abuse allegations. More victims came forward. A steady implosion set in.

A few Buddhafielders had already planted seeds toward exiting. Allen, for example, who’d been a kept man, got a job in 2003 so he could save money in case he decided to leave. Most were facing an uphill battle if they chose to reboot their lives, so they didn’t jump ship immediately upon learning of Andreas’ wrongdoings. Even some who had suffered his advances didn’t quit right away. In fact, some victims refuted the allegations altogether, still hoping to protect The Teacher. Instead, Buddhafield saw a gradual wave of departures as people accepted that they belonged to a cult. Andreas left for Hawaii, starting a new clan. Certain loyalists followed him, and he rounded out his numbers with locals who are devoted to him today. Now charging $100 a pop for therapy sessions, Andreas still has all his financial and personal needs secured. “Holy Hell” shows Allen and other ex-Buddhafielders confronting him on a Hawaiian beach. 

“He used to say, ‘In the world, but not of it,'” Cheiffo recalled. “Now, when this thing was over, we were not in the world. My God, it’s been so hard to get back into life. I feel like I was in a frickin’ convent — or jail, really.”

With few marketable skills, minimal income and intense intimacy issues, displaced Buddhafielders have had to piece their lives together. Legal recourse is not easy, so Allen hopes “Holy Hell” will draw attention to the darker side of Andreas’ actions — if he can get the movie distributed in Hawaii. But Allen, Coquet and Cheiffo say people they introduced to the group are still following Andreas, which means attacking from the inside would be like harming their own family. Andreas covered enough of his tracks to eliminate a potential criminal case. That’s why he called his therapy sessions “cleansings” and ensured his sexual encounters had a semblance of consent. They could bring civil cases for harassment or duress, but is it worth the effort and money?

Allen, Coquet and Cheiffo were in their 50s when they were forced to hit that bitter “reboot” button. They felt like “gypsy” 20-somethings. They were building careers, exploring relationships and learning how to be self-sufficient adults — things that enlightenment alone cannot accomplish. The struggle was roughest for Cheiffo, whose partner left her when she quit Buddhafield. Her dear friend of 17 years, who is still one of Andreas’ pupils, will no longer speak to her. 

“Later, we had to use humor to heal this whole thing,” Allen said of their 10 years outside of the cult. “We said, ‘We were laughing then — why aren’t we laughing now? Let’s get through this one step at a time, one day at a time.’ There was a lot of crying, a lot of tears and frustration and confusion, but eventually, after that, you have to laugh. You have to. Otherwise, what? You’re going to be a victim your whole life? You’re always going to suffer. It is funny to step back and laugh at yourself and not take yourself so seriously because that’s a problem

CULT WARNINGS AFTER WATCHING “HOLY HELL” DOCUMENTARY

Imagine spending over twenty-two years of your life believing you are one of the select few who knows the secrets of the universe– only to discover the world that you live in is really a brainwashing cult. This is the story behind Holy Hell. Will Allen, the filmmaker who made this documentary from 20 years of recording cult activities, woke up and decided to expose his former guru.

Unfortunately for this story, the Buddhafield cult still operates. Relocated to Hawaii, Gomez continues to manipulate new and old followers under his new moniker Reyji (God-King). Though he reportedly often travels in disguise it appears his influence has reached many in the area who are involved in yoga and other new age pursuits. This documentary seeks to provide not only closure for those who helped make it, but also serves as a warning for those who may be exposed to the group.

After watching, I was very disturbed at the ending as it did not seem to me that the former members had done their recovery “homework” by making the effort to really learn about unethical hypnosis and mind control. I was left to wonder if ex-members are still allowing cult-programmed phobias against cult experts to keep them from getting the help they might need to truly heal from the years of mind control abuse.

I encourage anyone interested in how cults work to watch this documentary.

Tim Alderman 2019.

References

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Today’s Whinge: Monday 25th February 2019

Dear Married At First Sight!

Firstly – can we stop calling this a “social experiment”! IT’S NOT! The first two seasons, it was a social experiment. Do you remember that? Show went for about 4 weeks, they got “married”, had a reception, a honeymoon and that was about it. Those “marriages” actually had a chance of survival.

Since then, it has been nothing more than a cheap, ratings grabbing, melodrama, specifically manipulated to create situations that are so unrealistic that Dynasty would be proud to have aired! Relationship “experts”? What a bloody joke! I wouldn’t take my faltering relationship anywhere near them! There main role on this sad show is to match people to be mismatched, thus eliciting the maximum amount of drama out of each relationship. It’s a bit like marital exploitation, really!

And what a disgusting way to portray marriage! By creating the most unrealistic situations possible…things that would NEVER happen in a marriage in the real world…only in the television world. I’d really like to know how many people have group dinner parties with others married on the same day as them! How many have a weekly “commitment” ceremony! Committed to what! They are not even legally married! And how many want to be put through the torture of continuing to pretend a relationship can be worked out because one participant wants to “stay” for another week! I’d be telling the “experts” to fuck off, personally! Then just walk. Not as if you have to worry about a legal divorce! The group bucks and gens parties? Who the fuck does that! Exactly! No one!

How participants can allow themselves to be degraded and exploited by this show is beyond me! If you were sort of desperate, and just went with the flow to get a fuck…I could sort of understand it…but take it seriously…no way! The bitching, rumour-milling, and putting each other down is cringe-worthy. And while it all goes on, the so-called “experts” just sit back and let it happen, instead of stepping in and preventing some of this very damaging behaviour continue! If you weren’t marriage shy when you went into this show, you would be by the time you got out! Even in the heat of an “extra-marital”, there is a camera there, catching every word, every keystroke on a mobile phone, every dirty word muttered! Just like in real life…not!

The truth is – these relationships don’t stand a chance. They are set up for a fall. Contrived matching, contrived situations, forced situations that would never happen in a real marriage, massed bitch sessions disguised as dinner parties, and just a total pretended of marriage, with no grounding in what really happens within a marriage! It truly degrades and belittles the real institution of marriage. As a gay man who has spent decades fighting for the right to have same sex marriages recognised as legitimate relationships with all the benefits and privileges of straight marriages…I find this show totally offensive, as its banality and shallowness makes me wonder…if this is how straight marriage is portrayed, then why was our fight so hard! Why were we denied the opportunity to be as banal as straights?

This show just needs to stop…but we all know that as long as it sucks in a huge proportion of female viewers…who, by the way, are the only people who comment on it on the IG page…then, as a ratings grabber, it ain’t gonna happen.

One can only hope that the true institution of marriage can withstand this cheap onslaught of exploitative rubbish!

Tim Alderman ©️2019

Today’s Whinge: Friday 15th February 2019

Well, a number of whinges today!

  • So over scammers on Instagram! They are becoming more, and yet more, prolific! I’ve stopped using DM completely…and damned if I know…considering it’s obvious I’m GAY…why women send me messages! Can’t tell you how many American servicemen I’ve had protestations of love from…covering everywhere from America, to Afghanistan, to France. I played with one for three days before he hit me up for cash…only for him to get NOTHING! Because of this, I’ve also removed my “single” status from my profile. Might be old, but I’m not bloody silly! The latest scam is hunky guys sending links to supposedly more salubrious sites…but really just to harvest your credit card details! I’ve got pretty good at spotting the potential scammers now. Nearly always “New Profiles”, no info about them in the profile, many hundreds of “followers” and “following”, but no posts. A minimum of posts when they are there, usually posted around the same date. They suddenly like 5-6 of your posts, followed by an effort to send you a message a couple of minutes later. Also setting up fake accounts using photographs they have hijacked from elsewhere! PLEASE report these scammers, guys. I know we are not going to stop them, but it is going to make their lives that little bit more frustrating if dozens of their fake accounts are suddenly taken down! As far as I’m concerned…THEY GET NOTHING! Fucktards!
  • So dear Donald J. Trump – the so-called President of the United States, in case you haven’t heard of him – is going to declare a State of Emergency to get the funding for his ridiculous wall! I wonder what a real State of Emergency might look like in his tiny, addled brain! On the upside, it has to go through the court system to be enacted! On the downside…the court system is biased in his favour! We can only hope some judges can see the inanity of this declaration. He is such a bully! Hates not getting his way! I’ve seen children with more maturity than this joke! Let me guess where the money will come from if he does win…education, health and welfare…certainly not defence!
  • Can anyone tell me why Scott Morrison is reopening the Christmas Island detention centre? Oh…because his ludicrous legislation trying to stop the nedivac of asylum seekers on Manus Island to get medical care in Australia…failed! Your LNP is probably one of the most unsympathetic, unempathetic governments ever, when it comes to caring for other human beings! No Scott, the boats are not going to start up again! But, being the only election tactic that the LNP knows, it is not surprising. You resort to it every time! Just bring on the bloody election!
  • If I have to listen to that Clive Palmer “Palmer United Party” ad for much longer, I could be tempted to sue him myself for mental anguish! Such a disgusting waste of money, considering no one will be voting for him!
  • Why do I have to record SBS news every night, to find out what is actually happening in the world! There is so much going on in places like Venezuela, Yemen and Syria…not covered by the free-to-air news services. Talk about the dumbing down of the masses!

Tim Alderman ©️2019

Today’s Whinge: Tuesday 12th February 2019

Not so much a Whinge today as an interesting response by Nate White (a very erudite English writer) on Quora, giving his reasons why many British people don’t like Donald Trump. This pretty well echoes my own feelings on the question, and is certainly applicable to most people I know on the subject. I wish I had written this!

“A few things spring to mind.

Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.

For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.

So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.

Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever.

I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.

But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.

And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.

There is never any under-layer of irony, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.

Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.

Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.

And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.

Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.

He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.

He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.

And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.

That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a bully’s snivelling sidekick instead.

There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down.

So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think ‘Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:

  1. Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
  2. You don’t need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.

This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.

After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.

God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.

He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.

In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.

And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:

‘My God… what… have… I… created?

If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.”

Tim Alderman 2019

Today’s Whinge: Saturday 9th February 2019

Ever wondered how the church came to stick its nose into our lives so much?

If so, read on! Religion & Sexuality 101…without mentioning the bible once!

“By the 11th century, Christianity was the dominant religion in the West, and basically ruled that world, and even rulers wouldn’t defy it if they wished to retain their thrones.

So at that point, the church decided some micro-management was needed…starting with marriage!

For the first 1,000 years, people did not get married in a church…marriage was a civil contract between the couple, and there was no church involvement. Verbal consent…and sex…was all that was needed to seal the deal.

In 1073, Gregory VII came to the Papal throne. He decided it was the Churches duty to take control of marriage for the good of society. At this great time of social change, landowners consolidated and hung onto property by passing it onto their eldest sons. However, there was often sibling rivalry over that position due to different birth mothers for different sons…so “God” was called in as referee…

That is, the church was the one who made the legitimacy of a son legal. This ensured the dynasty was safe!

For the first time in history, this deal between us and the clergy meant you had to be married by a priest. This in turn led to the church creating laws that told you who you could…or couldn’t…marry. They would only let you marry someone who was further down the line from your 7th cousin (that’s a long way), which consequently gave them veto to dictate marriages throughout all Christian lands. Funnily enough, due to this, just about every single marriage at that time was invalid. Only the church could give you a dispensation – naturally! – which in turn meant it generated great wealth for itself – naturally! For a hefty fee, the church would let you marry your choice of partner.

This all looks a bit stupid now, but at the time it meant the clergy could have a say in your marriage, thus they had a key means to control society…which is what the church has always been about! Didn’t matter if you were rich or poor…and this occurred right across Europe.

And so began its stranglehold on controlling sex, through it’s legal hold on people’s lives. By the 12th century, it had completed its hold on marriage by declaring it a “sacrament”, thus along with Baptism & holy communion, it was an “unbreakable contract with God”.

But wait – there’s a dilemma! Since the 5th century and the writings of St Augustine, we had been taught that all sex was sinful EVEN WITHIN MARRIAGE! Despite approving of marriage, marriage itself was tainted by sexual sin. The Sarum Rite (the Use of Salisbury) from the 13th century declared that marriages had to take place in the doorway of the church, and the bride & groom couldn’t enter the church until the ceremony was complete. In other words, it can’t quite handle the concept of marriage having a sexual and holy nature.

This, of course, raised questions amongst the laity…if marriage is a sacrament, why do we have to put up with being married outside the church door! Apart from its impracticality, with church porches being of various sizes, people spoke with their feet and moved it all inside.

These new church laws not only intruded on the private (sex) lives of the parishioners…but also on the sex lives of the clergy. Up until the 11th century, many clergy were happily married, and had families. Celibacy was represented by monks & nuns, but there was no formal requirement for clergy to be celibate. This concerned Gregory greatly, and he declared that “my great concern is that the holy church, the bride of Christ, Our Lady and mother, should return to her full glory and stand free, chaste, and Catholic!”. The pope now wanted all clergy to renounce sex, and bishops were made responsible for enforcing the campaign. The message was that God didn’t want married priests in his church as they polluted it! Married clergy were not just offensive to God, they and their offspring threatened to empty the church’s coffers. Married clergy had families, who had an inconvenient habit to give their children an inheritance..they were establishing dynasties, passing church wealth onto their heirs, instead of preserving it for the church. In 1139, a council of bishops in Rome declared that clerical marriages were universally unlawful and invalid. It ordered clergy to embrace the highest Christian ideal…celibacy! And we all know where that led!

This had a permanent impact on Western society, as from that point on, celibate clergy saw themselves as superior to everyone else. Their sexual restraint set them apart from those who indulged in the sin of sex…even if not all clergy lived up to this high ideal, the division was still established. Celibate clergy were superior to carnal laity! This made it easy for them to look down on others…especially women, who were considered “sexually unruly”, and not to be trusted. Women were a danger to holy places! In Durham cathedral, there is a line clearly marked at the doorway beyond which women could not pass.

By the 13th century, the church had taken control of marriage, stopped clergy marrying, and silenced women! It had boosted its power by intruding into people’s private lives in unprecedented ways.

Now, they snuck into the bedroom! Sexual desire, even in marriage, was something the church wasn’t happy about. It was thought that a man who loves his wife too much is an adulterer. All love for another mans wife is shameful, but so is excessive love for ones own wife! However, it would appear that a great many people ignored the church’s extreme teachings, and it would seem that there was a lot of sex going on…even outside marriage! Adultery was embraced with vigour…including same sex love. The middle ages were a golden period for gay poetry…most if it written by monks! Despite the church calling homosexuality the greatest of sin, the clergy were openly celebrating it! Sex! Sex! Sex! It was everywhere!

The church decided that if it couldn’t stop it, it would have to take it over! In the 13th century, they came up with an extraordinary solution…so all over Europe, church leaders started setting up, and licensing….brothels! On the south bank of the Thames, are the ruins of the great palace of the bishops of Winchester. Right next door are brothels…known as the stews…and they were managed by the church! Church leaders could now exercise tight controls over sex in the brothels…and make money at the same time. The bishop imposed strict rules upon the stews, he forbade prostitutes living on the site, and there were precise opening hours. Sex workers had to leave not only the brothel but the whole area on holy days between the hours of 6-11 in the morning, and between 1-6 in the afternoon. And when parliament was sitting, night time too, because the bishop would be in presence at the palace while attending the House of Lords.

The church had a monopoly on moral authority throughout Europe. The great reformation became a period of change in the 16th century! Protestantism declared that marriage was not a sacrament , and introduced divorce. They also declared celibate clergy to be a danger to society, and the cause of “other sins”…, and wanted all their clergy to be married.

But that is another, equally complicated story!”

Tim Alderman ©️2019

Today’s Whinge: Wednesday 6th February 2019

Outrage

  1. an act of wanton cruelty or violence; any gross violation of law or decency.

  2. anything that strongly offends, insults, or affronts the feelings.

  1. a powerful feeling of resentment or anger aroused by something perceived as an injury,insult, or injustice:

Outrage is the new black…or so it is beginning to feel to me after the vitriolic attacks on Liam Neeson, after his over-sharing remarks today. In his defence…he was relating a story, and mind you, a story from the 80s. What he stated was how he felt at that particular time, and if we all stopped being outraged about the comment, we might be honest enough to admit that most of us have felt that way about something, at some time!

Then we have “reality” television, another way for not just us to be outraged, but the participants in the show as well. It is almost as if, being television, it is validated. In last nights episode of “Married at First Sight” – a show I don’t watch, as it is an advert for everything a marriage shouldn’t be…but, of course, in the name of cross-promotion, I can’t escape it on morning television – one of the newly married couples had a dispute regarding some kite flying (not as in kid’s kites), an exercise the female partner did not want to indulge in! Her response, and temper tantrum, thrown at her partner was startling to watch…and was in fact, bullying. A good example of who doesn’t have a check on her emotions, and bullies her way to achieve her own ends. As one of the commentators on the Today show noted…if a man had responded in the same way to a woman, he would be howled down, and the clip shown on every social media platform, to over-the-top outrage comments! Interesting juxtaposition, isn’t it!

These days, everybody thinks they are an expert on everything, and being hidden away behind computer, phone and tablet screens, they think they are very clever at displaying their outrage over just about everything. We no longer look for positives, only negatives!

Wired Magazine in late 2017 made an interesting observation regarding the #MeToo movement, and its hijacking, and derailing, by social media.

“Three days into the #MeToo meme, my Facebook News Feed is teeming with posts. Female friends have shared heavy anecdotes about inappropriate events. Men have attempted to express solidarity, or concern, or surprise. Celebrities have run with the meme. A backlash has materialized, in which women voice concerns about those who are speaking up.

On its surface, #MeToo has the makings of an earnest and effective social movement. It’s galvanizing women and trans people everywhere to speak out about harassment and abuse. It’s causing everyone to weigh in on systemic sexism in our culture. In truth, however, #MeToo is a too-perfect meme. It harnesses social media’s mechanisms to drive users (that’s you and me) into escalating states of outrage while exhausting us to the point where we cannot meaningfully act. In other words, #MeToo—despite the best intentions of so many participating—is everything that’s wrong with social media.

Outrage is central to the design of most social media platforms—for very good reason. It’s an emotion that inspires sharing, which causes all of us to spend more time engaged with the platform. And that translates directly to revenue for the companies.”

This article (follow link in references) also brings to the fore how we are manipulated by social media. Back in the prehistoric days…before social media came along…if we were outraged by something, our only responses were to be outraged at home or at work, and if you really wanted to voice an opinion, you wrote a letter to a daily newspaper! This sort of kept it contained, and personal. And really, that is how it should be! I, for one, no longer overshare on social media, or get outraged over things. I do this because I loathe sitting there watching the vitriol pour in as people “vent”. I think the responses often outrage me more than the actual source of the comments.

We can be a vile species, and social media outrage is one of the more distasteful aspects of life in the media age. It demeans people, robs them of their voice, forces explanations from victims when they are often not needed. We twist, edit, misquote and deceive in order to provoke outrage. In severe instances, people can lose jobs or have careers destroyed by outrage…and those who cause it don’t even care!

I laugh when I hear people talking about privacy these days. There is NO privacy! That is a right we forfeited to live in this modern age. Social media has ensured it! Just look at our poor footballers. No longer can their Mad Monday antics, or indiscretions around flashing their bits about to a video camera be kept “in Club” anymore! There is always someone with a camera, and us with our outrage! Dylan Napa is paying the price right now! I have friends who have done Facebook rants when drunk, or have displayed perhaps too much raw emotion during periods of depression, and I think to myself…please…don’t put that here! It’s too public, too exposing. You are inviting outrage!

We need to check ourselves! We need to self-censor. Stop and think before you hit the “Post” button. Like me, keep in vanilla. Don’t give others the fuel to instigate outrage! It is only by self checking that the fires of outrage can be quenched!

Tim Alderman ©️2019

References

Today’s Whinge: Monday 4th February 2019

So, the banking industry has finally been called to task, after the Banking Royal Commission report was released. I’d like to say I was shocked at the findings…but I wasn’t!

For a long time now we have watched them ride rough shod over their customers. Massive profits, massive salaries to CEO’s, along with obscene bonuses. And zilch customer service!

Greedy, arrogant, grasping, appalling, voracious, money grubbing, obscene, heartless, corrupt, lying, deceitful…and these are just MY words to describe them! Jail every single one of the bastard that has been involved in this obscenity!

And this is the Royal Commission that Scott Morrison and his government…forever toadies to the higher end of town…. didn’t want! They voted against it 26 times…yes…26! Karma has now put it in to their hands to start fixing. In the meantime, both they and the Labor party have continued to take donations from them! I demand, right here, that they return any money donated by these institutions! After all, a lot of it wasn’t legally or ethically earned in the first place!

When the financial institutions were deregulated in the 80s, they were allowed to self-regulate as a way of, in part, having a more competitive edge. Many of us, at the time, didn’t think that deregulation was a good idea, as it basically allowed them to do whatever they wanted. The government insisted that that wouldn’t happen! Well…it has!

We have, over the last few decades, walked ourselves into a toxic mire through deregulation, and the sale of public assets, including privatisation! It is beyond me how even the simplest thinking individual in the community could see what was going to happen…yet our consecutive governments, both State and Federal, have continued to deny it. So, they deregulate and privatise…and we pay! Dearly!

Enough is enough! There is an election looming.! It’s time to throw some panic in to not just the government, but the opposition as well! The two-party-preferred model is no longer working! It’s time for independents and minor parties to stop giving preferences to the two major parties, and tell them to start fighting their own battles! As voters, we always end up being handed the shit end of the stick! It is supposed to be government of the people, by the people, for the people! Aren’t you sick of the rich end of town always getting what they want on gold platters!

It’s time they got fucked!

Tim Alderman ©️2019.

Today’s Whinge: Sunday 3rd February 2019

A question for you guys out there – are you finding men’s underwear really uncomfortable these days?

There seems to have become, amongst designers and manufacturers, this obsession with “emphasising” underwear. Now, I don’t know about you, but in my day-to-day life, just running around doing the mundane everyday things, I don’t really stop to think “is anybody looking at how big my clock looks in these undies?”. Add to this some really strange fabrics to make them from, and you have the perfect recipe for uncomfortable undies. There is simply no worst scenario than walking along a crowded street and realising that you either have to pull your briefs out of your bum crack, or you need to rearrange the jiggly bits…including having to hoy your balls back in after a fallout! Next time you see a guy furtively ducking into a dark lane way, or hiding in a doorway…ask yourself…does he have to rearrange?

It seems that just about every pair of briefs you buy these day has to have instructions on how to put them on. There is a whole world of special pouches, holes, double linings, and specially sewn front panels to navigate when you put them on! Push down, pull up, manipulate, mould, insert here, put this bit here and that bit there – it’s a world of intricacy! Bad waistbands that are either too wide (and act like corsets), too narrow, too loose or too tight. Fabric mixtures that are too smooth and slinky, or just seem to…embarrassingly…just…smelly! And all for what!

If you already married or partnered, then your other half already knows how big – or small – you are, so you are going through a lot of discomfort for nothing. If you are looking for a partner, or a pick up…is it a good idea to falsely advertise! Let’s face it…sooner or later the briefs are off, and the truth is just sitting there (or otherwise). And how do you go about hiding your excitement at the thought of some potential rummy-pumpy? In the old days, you’d just jiggle it down your trouser leg, but with these new-fangled undies, well…there it is! Hello world…I have a hard-on!

They are just not working for me. I’m sick of looking like a dirty old man, constantly fiddling with myself when I realise the head is caught in an uncomfortable position!

About 12 months ago, I went back to cotton classic y-fronts. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am seeing many photos of guys in the same, in my Insta feed. And a lot of them are young guys…the ones I would expect to see in Andrew Christian. I know that classic y-fronts have an image problem! There are associations with fathers and uncles, high school locker rooms, and conservative ads. There is an image of oldish men with their undies midway up their chest, looking remarkably unsexy. But that image is slowly being turned around as it becomes more obvious that they are not going to be pushed out of our wardrobe by those cock emphasising youngsters.

I don’t want undies midway up my chest, in “dad” style. I’m getting on…but not that much. To counteract that really bad look, I’ve gone down a size when buying them. And it works. Sits them very nicely just above the hips. They are roomy enough to do this, and in the case of American “Jockey” (as distinct from Australian “Jockey” – yes, there is a difference!), you get some shrinkage with the first wash.

And I have to say – America wins hands down in the y-front stakes. “Hanes”, “Jockey”, “Fruit of the Loom”, ‘Polo Ralph Lauren”, “BVD” (have to be bought from Asia now), “Roundtree and Yorke”, “Stafford”, “Calvin Klein”, “Tommy Hilfiger”, “Lee”, “Gildan”, “2Xist’, and “Dockers”…along with many others, gives a great choice to those considering an undie rethink. Even contemporary labels like “Box” and “Aussiebum” are putting them out. All these brands fit well,in a smaller size. Australia does its own “Jockey” (the branding on the waistband is in grey…black in America…and our fabric is a softer, smoother cotton than the weave of the American), and we also do a very cool “Teamm8”, not forgetting our traditional “Bonds” with the horizontal fly, labelled as a S’port brief).

My biggest disappointments have been the British y-fronts. I’ve tried 3 brands so far, and they have ALL had the same problem – the bias binding on the leg bands. Within an hour of wearing them, the leg bands have stretched…and I’m falling out of them!

Do they have sex appeal? Am I ashamed to drop my duds when wearing them? Yes, they are sexy, and the number of guys who find y-fronts a fetish is quite staggering. No, I am not ashamed to be caught in them. They cling where they should cling, and definitely show off ones merchandise with no uncomfortable contraptions. They sit comfortably on the hips…and you are totally unaware of their presence when going about your everyday affairs.

In a word…they are just damn comfortable!

Sometimes it pays to look back instead of forward. For those who feel a need to twist and manipulate their bits into junk-emphasising undies…you are welcome to them! But this guy is proudly striding out in his y-fronts!

Tim Alderman ©️2019

Today’s Whinge: Saturday 2nd February 2019

“Gender neutrality (adjective form: gender-neutral), also known as gender-neutralism or the gender neutrality movement, describes the idea that policies, language, and other social institutions should avoid distinguishing roles according to people’s sex or gender, in order to avoid discrimination arising from the impression that there are social roles for which one gender is more suited than another” – Wikipedia

Gender neutral language! Once again the PC brigade – a continuing blight on our society with their intolerance and narrow-minded attitudes – and a minority… a very small minority…try to foster their own language on to the community at large. Now, I come from a small minority, but we have always fought for rights without attempting to change language. Any language change that did happen came about through a historic process, not a demanding of!

I refer to myself as Gay, as do the majority of those in my circle. But I do not expect everyone around me to use that term when referring to me. Indeed, many in the general community don’t, but choose instead to use the term homosexual…a medical term for our sexuality. We’ll keep the more derogatory terms out of this conversation. I admit to having issues with the word Queer, and do not associate my self with Queer culture. That is not to say that I do not recognise that a Queer culture exists! It does, but is not my cultural language. Likewise, I recognise that gender neutral people exist, and are entitled to their own culture, but as with Queer, as far as I’m concerned it does not include me.

If you want to use a gender neutral language, then you go for it, but don’t expect the whole of society to just fall into line! As it is, it’s not going t\o happen anyway. The whole concept is so Orwellian it is frightening. Gender neutral toilets are one thing – I have no issue there – but to take people’s identity away from them is just wrong!

Let’s get it straight right here…I am a male, a man, a he, a him! I am a man, and have always been proud to be a man. Nobody…but nobody…is going to rob me of that identity. I am NOT an it, a they, a them or any other form of non-identity these people want to foster on me.

There is a lot in contemporary society I don’t like, but accept because there is a natural attrition that happens as the generations change. But I will not see our language distorted and obliterated by a few that don’t want to be recognised in traditional ways. Sure, demand that people use this language when referring to you…but don’t expect everyone else to want the same thing.

That is all I have to say on the non-issue! My prediction – another “trend” that will be just a flash in the pan! A movement (thankful for that) that defies sanity!

Tim Alderman 2019.

Seriously! No!