Category Archives: Opinion Piece

Gay History: What Are My “Gay History” Blog Posts All About?

As many of my blog followers would have noticed, I put a slightly perverse twist on the word “history”.

I love history, and always have. I excelled at it at school, right from the first day of what was then “Social Studies” at high school, which then morphed into history. As soon as the teacher started on about ancient Greece and Rome, I was hooked.

Ancient Greece & Rome – the beginnings of an addiction to History

In first form at High School, I was given the more complicated history projects, as Mrs Wilson, my asocial Studies teacher, knew I’d do the research, and put it all together in a professional way. I always scored high marks in history exams, and entered my School Certificate exam at Ordinary level for history, coming out with an Advanced pass. I had the ability that, even if I couldn’t recollect exact dates of events, I could fill in the gaps with a whole raft of other facts and figures surrounding the event. It’s a shame I can’t say the same for Math, Geography & Science – all subjects I had no love for.

This love of history has been with me all my life, and shows no signs of slowing. One of the great things I have applauded in recent years has been a strong movement towards telling the truth about history. Like many others, I grew up with a sugar-coated view of history. It was almost like we had to be protected from the very events that have placed us where we are right now! Yes, wars happened, but it was about the actual battles and the total outcome that was taught, not the actual human cost, the great blunders that cost lives…and I point directly at Gallipoli here as an example…the cities and towns and villages that were obliterated, and the millions left homeless and wandering. It never spoke of the hardships of the battlefield, where survival was an unexpected turn for those caught up in the romantic notions of war sold to them to get them to enlist. We were never taught about the aftermath of war, the disabilities, the mental anguish whereby that supposed “return to normality” never happened. My own father, who was in New Guinea and Borneo during the war, never recovered from the savageries of war, and was very much a twisted man up to his eventual suicide in 1978.

The history I grew up with extolled the virtues of the wrong people, like the ever adored Winston Churchill, who is credited…controversially…with helping to win WWII. We were never told of his drinking, his depression, his arrogance, unpopularity within parliament, his many bad decisions that resulted in the deaths of untold hundreds of thousands of people…decision making from afar, with no concern for the losses. Likewise, the Holocaust was totally ignored, the long years of events that led to Hitlers rise to power, nor the staggering death legacy of people like Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung. These were names that were just dropped into, and pulled out of, history as if their existence had no consequence. With the release of records, and film footage over the last few decades, we now have a clearer picture of the events that shaped the world around us.

But having said that, history is not just about the major events that happen around us, both in the past, and now. If we take the word ‘history’ literally, what has just happened is, in the blink of an eye, history! It is not just about what has happened in the past, but is happening right now around us, globally. The good…and the bad! Nor is it about great people, those with prestige and power. It’s about the tiny events by almost unknown people that has a long-term affect on the world. It’s about inventions, taking chances and risks, writing notes and letters, or just being a bit out-there and wacky. History isn’t just about all the serious shit – it has, quite often, an amusing and eccentric side to it.

And this is what I look for!

How many of you would read my blog posts if they were about the known, and mundane! As a gay man, I have lived through some major milestones of gay history, everything from the activism of the 70s and 80s, to the ghettoisation of the lgbt communities, to the devastation of HIV/AIDS, and the advent of Gay Pride.

However, like the world view of history, I don’t want to bore my followers by banging on about events they are already aware of. We all know about Stonewall, Gay Pride, Larry Kramer and the beginnings and politics of HIV. We know about Harvey Milk et al. Amongst all the night club dancing, the drugs, the sex, there was…and is… a plethora of other events happening. In many respects we have a bit of a blinkered view of our history on the gay scene (déjà vu?), seeing it mainly as events that happened from the mid-70s onwards. As you would have seen from the scope of my posts, the affects of both out-there and closeted gay people has been around for centuries. It is the weird, wacky, eccentric, brilliant, sad, funny, serious, fun, and downright fascinating shit that makes gay lives the earth-shattering influence they can be. That is what I want YOU to know about. If I can make you gasp, roll your eyes, or laugh then my aim has been a success.

I know there are politically correct individuals out there in Gayland who probably take offence to my calling the category “gay” history…and I don’t care, quite frankly. Their bleating falls on deaf ears. I identify as a GAY man, and as such use that term to define everything I do. However, that does not make me narrow-minded in the scope of what I post. I do not change terminologies to suit my own agenda. If an article is on queer, or trans, or homo, or bisexual…or any other terminologies within our community…culture, that is how it will be posted. I might be a narky old 80s queen, but I can assure you my world view is wide, and inclusive. The very multi-directional way our community has evolved is part of its…history.

Finally, I have to say I have loved putting these posts out there. It has indeed been an education for me as well. Who knew there was this much weirdness out there! And as gay people there is one thing I do know…the weirdness will never end as long as our community, and the individuals within it, are out there.

Bring on the Gay History!

Tim Alderman 2019

The blog owner Tim Alderman, with one of his two adored Jack Russells. They inspire me every day.
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Notes On The Hairless Man

I love hairless men, and possibly amongst my peer group, I am one of the few who admits it! I’ve never been caught up in the whole…often fake…macho ethos! The gay cultural stereotypes such as Bears, Clones, Leathermen etc have always extolled the virtues of hairy men, and as such, I’ve always felt on the outer, and discreetly cringe every time I’m added to yet another “Adoring Hairy Men” FB group. I even hate body hair on myself, and depilate what I do have every month. I don’t totally object to it…some I find quite sexy such as just the centre of the chest, or closely clipped chests…and treasure trails (the line of hair from the navel down) drives me insane with its erotic promise of what’s at the lower end of it. But totally hair-covered bodies I find quite a turn-off, especially if it’s really thick, on a man’s back, and masses of matted pubic hair. I hate that continual delays in foreplay as you pick it out of your mouth. For me, it’s about the sensation of skin, the soft, silky feel,of it as you run your hands…or tongue… down it. I love being able to lick someone all over. But that’s me! Needless to say, I don’t agree with a lot in this article…but it comes down to different strokes for different folks, and that leaves scope for all of us!

Michael B. Jordan

Men without chests — that was C. S. Lewis’s striking description of graduates of the postwar English schools, with their faculties trained to dismiss the virtues of patriotism and piety. These Englishmen, Lewis worried, would become lifelong enemies of the sublime, unable and unwilling, when push came to shove, to defend themselves or their countrymen. American men, I am happy to report — even the sensitive new age guys — still have something of a chest, thanks to our enduring fitness mania. But have you noticed how bare those chests are? Late twentieth-century America is increasingly a land not of men without chests but of men without chest hair.

Men without chests — that was C. S. Lewis’s striking description of graduates of the postwar English schools, with their faculties trained to dismiss the virtues of patriotism and piety. These Englishmen, Lewis worried, would become lifelong enemies of the sublime, unable and unwilling, when push came to shove, to defend themselves or their countrymen. American men, I am happy to report — even the sensitive new age guys — still have something of a chest, thanks to our enduring fitness mania. But have you noticed how bare those chests are? Late twentieth-century America is increasingly a land not of men without chests but of men without chest hair.

I first realized this a couple of years ago while watching the otherwise forgettable B-movie romance Picture Perfect, starring Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Bacon, who was then just under 40. As the two characters get ready to, well, put the 13 in PG-13, Bacon takes off his shirt and his chest is completely hairless. Okay, Kevin Bacon may not prove much. But not long after that, I saw Al Pacino, whose fuzzy talent has graced the screen in such classics as Scarface and Serpico, appearing as hairless as an angel in The Devil’s Advocate. (Once you’re aware of the hairless-man phenomenon, by the way, you can no longer see a movie without noticing it. Sorry.)

Now, only 20 percent or so of adult white males are totally without what’s technically referred to as “terminal pigmented chest hair.” And yet, in the last few years, practically every Hollywood male sex symbol, when standing half-dressed for his more intimate scenes, looks as if he has absolutely no chest hair. Tom Cruise. Matt Damon. Keanu Reeves. Brad Pitt. All of them look like boys. One even sees older actors depilated to look like the boy-man stars who now capture every significant romantic role. The traditional Hollywood aesthetic in which old was never sexy has been carried to a new extreme: Now only the immature is sexy. Forget heroin chic, the hip aesthetic of the early ’90s; say hello to permanent adolescence. And this new look trickles down. A big-city cop of my acquaintance confided not long ago that he shaves his chest. For several years now waxing salons have not been for women only. One of these days, no doubt, a cosmetic surgeon will come up with the philosopher’s stone of our age — how to transplant hair from men’s chests to their heads — and make a fortune.

But the hairless man represents more than just a simple change in cosmetic fashions, like the widening and narrowing of ties. These men without chest hair carry on, knowingly or not, quite a tradition. In ancient Rome and Greece, the romantic associations of men and boys were jeopardized by the appearance of facial and bodily hair. It meant the boy was now a man, which meant he was no longer available. The Roman epigrammatist Martial lampooned men who plucked their hair to stay boyish.

Why pluck the hairs from your gray fanny?

That’s a chic touch which men admire

In girls, not in a flagrant granny.

Martial also took issue with a man who insisted on calling him brother ( fratere), a term that also meant lover:

 

I’m shaggy-legged and bristle-cheeked

Daily you depilate

Your silky skin. Your voice is light;

You lisp in a charming way —

My voice, as my loins can testify,

Is gruff, and so, I’ll say:

 

We’re less alike than eagles and doves

Or lions and does, so Mister

Don’t call me “brother,” or

I’ll have to call you sister.

Obviously today, as ever, the phenomenon cannot be disentangled from the romantic ideals of male homosexuals. As Salon columnist Camille Paglia authoritatively noted in a recent piece, “depilation has become highly fashionable in the gay male world. . . . Not since Greek athletes scraped their oiled, sandy bodies with the strigil . . . have men had such a fetish for girl-smooth skin.” But what is most interesting about the hairless man is that he is no longer exclusively gay; he is, rather, the American male ideal.

Last decade’s gay “clone” has become this decade’s hetero stud. The subject of countless overwrought academic “queer theory” treatises, the gay “clone” was usually defined as an archetypal boy cruising men on the street-corners and in the clubs of big cities. Boyish and neatly dressed (jeans and T-shirt ironed), he displayed a vanity and sense of style that were a “perfect” representation of manliness. And then, somewhere along the line, the straight male began to imitate him. To see the gay clone today, one need only flip through magazines like Men’s Fitness or Men’s Health, two glossies that have made vanity a lifestyle.

A typical article from Men’s Health tells readers how to decrease calories and stress (“Assign numerical values to the major parts of your life, such as work, marriage, and family; this can help you better apportion your time”) while increasing earnings, physical strength, and sex drive. And “if Jane Goodall’s research assistants have been creeping around your backyard, perhaps it’s time to ask a dermatologist about hair removal with lasers. . . . A typical back treatment takes four hours and costs $ 500 to $ 2,000. Nose and ear procedures cost around $ 200. Backside denuding is at the doctor’s discretion.” After which, you can turn over and be made to look like the hairless man on the magazine cover. These magazines are an education in how to look exactly like a ’90s man without having to think about what it means to be one.

Nor is this simply another case of gay fashion being a trendsetter for straights. The newly prominent hairless man is a sign of the convergence of gay and straight culture. Male vanity and the desire to prolong adolescence are becoming mainstream traits, no longer the markers of a subculture. Just two years after Ellen DeGeneres’s “coming out” scored a ratings bonanza for her then-declining, now-off-the-air TV show, the arguments between gay activists and their critics over how visible homosexuality should be on prime time TV are already seeming quaint. Such arguments presume that there is a dominant, hostile majority culture. But there isn’t. There are only tiny protest groups that get laughed at when they count the number of gay characters in TV shows and movies. The mainstream culture is the culture of the hairless man, at best indifferent to old-fashioned, grown-up male traits.

Here is a mainstream cultural moment. Cinematic stud Mark Wahlberg was interviewed earlier this year by Matt Lauer on the Today show. By the admittedly bland standards of morning television, the contrast in personalities should have made it an interesting conversation: Strong silent type who recently played an outsized porn star in the movie Boogie Nights confronts Sensitive New Age Guy, the kind of softy Americans want to see first thing in the morning. Instead, the only contrast in the interview was that of a regular SNAG versus a post-macho SNAG. It took Wahlberg, the post-macho SNAG, only seconds to reveal his vulnerable side: “It’s kind of hard, you know, because the whole macho thing, you know, it’s — coming from Boston, it’s — it’s also an — an athletic place, you know, and there’s not too much opportunity there. So being the tough guy is the thing to do. . . . It was — it was difficult to — to accept the role in Boogie Nights only because I was — and it’s stupid now to think about it, but I was worried about what my friends would think, you know, and — and stuff like that . . .”

Machismo is never so talked about as when it is absent. But there was a worthwhile question answered by the interview: What do you get when you put two SNAGS together? Answer: a conversation about being gay.

LAUER: You said in an article in Premiere magazine that when you were growing up, it was tough to repress the fact that you were . . . creative. It was a little bit like being gay and not being able to tell your parents.

WAHLBERG: Yeah.

LAUER: How does it feel to be in a place right now where it’s cool to be gay — sorry, it’s cool to be creative? You know what, it could be either way.

WAHLBERG: It’s cool to be gay, too. It’s cool to be gay.

LAUER: I loved your look when I said it. You kind of looked at me and said ‘What?’

WAHLBERG: It’s cool to be gay, too.

In fact, there is nothing ironic in Wahlberg’s playing spokesman for the gay community. The rapper formerly known as Marky Mark was central to one of the most important sightings of the hairless man. Before his success in Boogie Nights had him making appearances on Charlie Rose and other talk shows, Wahlberg was a model for the famous Calvin Klein ad that appeared in countless magazines, but nowhere more prominently than on that humongous billboard above Times Square. Striking a pose in his skivvies, Wahlberg looked like a bit of rough trade freshly showered for a special occasion. But more important, he was, except for a butchy hairdo, as smooth skinned as the day he was born.

Not only has the mainstream gone gay — remember the quaintly controversial IKEA commercial featuring two thoroughly domesticated gay men picking out items for their home? — but gay life has gone mainstream. The course of this change can be seen in Hollywood movies. It was just a few years ago that the gay hit The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, a bawdy and occasionally hilarious movie from Australia, inspired a mediocre American imitation starring tough-guys Wesley Snipes and Patrick Swayze — hairless men both. In 1997’s My Best Friend’s Wedding, Julia Roberts’s gay pal, who is her cover date for the wedding, seems to be the only character capable of romance; a faux-heterosexual tic has him stealing all the scenes he is in. Amidst so many public displays of friendship to support the comedy’s bland premise (the possibility of good friends’ getting married) the gay character refreshes the movie by leading the rehearsal dinner in a round of “I Say a Little Prayer.” It’s a weird throwback moment in which the movie’s greatest display of devotion — a scene that could have been stolen from an old Gene Kelly musical — is romantically meaningless. It’s also a reflection of the question at the center of the movie: Is love just an intense form of friendship?

Well, yes, according to various pop-culture trends of the ’90s. The super-successful girl pop band the Spice Girls were practically a propaganda squad detached by the friends of friendship to demote eros to the status of a lower passion. Two of the most popular sitcoms of the decade Seinfeld and Friends were both predicated on the elevation of platonic love, one cynically and the other in a way that was painfully cute. Ross from Friends, the show’s one regular male character of serious romantic intent, doesn’t even merit being called a SNAG. His whiny boyish mannerisms suggest he can barely live up to the guy part. Men who really do love women have been, if not written out of television and Hollywood, playing second fiddle to their emasculated brothers.

In her famous 1964 essay “Notes on Camp,” Susan Sontag, the voice of New York’s then cultural vanguard, felt compelled to explain the obvious overlap between the self-consciously theatrical style described in her essay and homosexual taste, which, she wrote, constitutes “the vanguard of camp”: “The camp insistence on not being ‘serious,’ on playing, also connects with the homosexual’s desire to remain youthful.” In September 1996, New York magazine published a prescient article describing the decline of the other defining characteristic of gay life: militancy. Referring to the “‘Hallmarkization’ of gay sensibility,” the author, Daniel Mendelsohn, argued, “If you take away the edge and the kitsch, there’s not much left — and what remains isn’t all that different from what you find in straight culture.”

This seems to already overstate the difference between the sometimes campy and sometimes edgy singles culture of gays and the less campy and less edgy singles culture of straights. Traditionally, big cities are magnets for both gays and young people who are looking for careers first and spouses later. In places like New York, the romantic lives of a young straight and a young gay — both divisible into units of temporary attachments — aren’t really that different. The difference between young married people and young unmarried people is far greater. If an icon of gay sexuality like the hairless male has gone mainstream over the last decade, it is because mainstream America wasn’t intrinsically hostile to gay visibility to begin with.

What has been lost as the hairless man, an eternal boy, has become our male ideal? Real romance, for one significant thing. The hairless man is perhaps searching for romance, but only insofar as it supplies self-fulfillment and steers him clear of the burdens of love and family. Which is a pity. In order for real romance to occur, there must be some connection with matrimony. The hairless man would have to be robbed of his adolescent affectations and forced to mature. Defenders of a traditional culture have been overly fixated on gay characters, openly gay actors, and gay love stories. Such entertainment will succeed or fail on its merits as entertainment. Yet, it is the embarrassment of heterosexual love that should concern us.

Manliness cannot, after all, be reduced to a hard body, high income, and regular exercise. And yet, a pretty boy, the hairless man, has become the signature of American romance, thus mistaking the acorn for the tree, potential for the final product, leaving us with too many suitors and too few fathers, and stories about sex and love that never end in marriage and family. The problem, to paraphrase C. S. Lewis, is that we cannot raise geldings and expect them to be fruitful. We cannot turn middle-aged men back into boys and expect them to be leaders, elders, the carriers of what wisdom that comes with age. We cannot erase general notions of manliness from popular culture and expect today’s boys to be tomorrow’s protectors and providers. Where can one find reflections of manliness, if everywhere you turn, the American male seems boyish, hairless, shorn of any sign that he is an adult?

Reference

Gay History: Gay Marriage: What Would Buddha Do?

As a gay Buddhist, and someone who has a lot of respect for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I often have his sometimes controversial/sometimes contradictory comments on gays and gay marriage, thorn at me. It’s a difficult question, I know…how can I support someone who seems to be non-supportive if gays within the Buddhist community, yet support gay issues for non-Buddhists. I personally consider the Dalai Lama as a great man, capable of great compassion and understanding. I also know he is the head of a traditional Tibetan sect of Buddhism called the Gelug sect, and as such has his moral teachings within the beliefs of that sect. I would like to think that being the intelligent and loving man that he is, that these questions are something he has to often contemplate, and try to understand within an old tradition that has to live in the modern world. Buddhism is not just one sect, but many different sects all following diverse interpretations of the Buddha’s teachings. As such, there are conservative and liberal strands of Buddhism, so beliefs are not universal. The Dalai Lama is but the leader of one sect, and only speaks for that sect. I choose not to judge him to harshly! Om mani padme hum 📿🏳️‍🌈

A lot of people ask me what the “Buddhist take” on gay marriage is. Well, it depends on who you talk to. A few years back, in an interview with the CBC, the Dalai Lama rejected same-sex relationships to the surprise of many convert Buddhists, who sometimes too easily assume that Buddhist ethics are consistent with their typically progressive views.

As the Canadian interview bounced around the internet, some people were shocked and perplexed, but the Dalai Lama’s position shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the issue. After all, he has been consistent. At a conference some 12 years ago, when gay leaders met with him in San Francisco to discuss the Tibetan Buddhist proscriptions against gay sex, he reiterated the traditional view that gay sex was “sexual misconduct.” This view was based on restrictions found in Tibetan texts that he could not and would not change. He did, however, advise gay Buddhist leaders to investigate further, discuss the issue, and suggested that change might come through some sort of theological consensus. But at a time when same-sex marriage has taken front-stage center in American politics, the Dalai Lama’s more recent statements come as unwelcome news to proponents of civil rights.

A lot of people ask me what the “Buddhist take” on gay marriage is. Well, it depends on who you talk to. A few years back, in an interview with the CBC, the Dalai Lama rejected same-sex relationships to the surprise of many convert Buddhists, who sometimes too easily assume that Buddhist ethics are consistent with their typically progressive views.

As the Canadian interview bounced around the internet, some people were shocked and perplexed, but the Dalai Lama’s position shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the issue. After all, he has been consistent. At a conference some 12 years ago, when gay leaders met with him in San Francisco to discuss the Tibetan Buddhist proscriptions against gay sex, he reiterated the traditional view that gay sex was “sexual misconduct.” This view was based on restrictions found in Tibetan texts that he could not and would not change. He did, however, advise gay Buddhist leaders to investigate further, discuss the issue, and suggested that change might come through some sort of theological consensus. But at a time when same-sex marriage has taken front-stage center in American politics, the Dalai Lama’s more recent statements come as unwelcome news to proponents of civil rights.

Friends of mine have argued that the Dalai Lama doesn’t really look askance same-sex relationships, that he has no choice but to uphold his tradition’s dictates; and that maybe the Dalai Lama is just stuck with the old texts’ proscriptions in the same way that a Catholic, say, must deal with Thomas Aquinas. Of course, we can’t know and must take his public statements at face value. In his case, though, our expectations tend to be different than they might be for the local minister, priest or orthodox rabbi. And so many of us who have benefited greatly from his teachings are apt to feel disappointed.

References

Gay History: A Hit Song from the 1950s with a Gay Subtext (May 13, 1958)

From Rob Frydlewicz blog “zeitGAYst” in May 2012.

We’ve probably all seen the TV infomercials for Time-Life Records’ various music compilations, e.g. “Love Songs”, “Groovy 60s”, “Mellow Moods”, etc.  I’ve bought a number of them, and am glad I did, because they introduced me to some great songs.  One in particuar was Secretly by Jimmie Rodgers.  It entered Billboard’s Top 40 today in 1958 and became a #3 hit.  (Rodgers is best known for the song Honeycomb which topped the charts for four weeks the year before.)  It’s a pleasant tune, typical of so many songs from this vanilla decade, but what got my attention was its gender-neutral lyrics.  In my interpretation the song tells the story of two men who, due to the mores of the 1950s, must conduct their romance “secretly”.  Here’s the chorus:

 

“Wish we didn’t have to meet, secretly

Wish we didn’t have to kiss, secretly

Wish we didn’t have to be afraid to show the world that we’re in love

‘Til we have the right to meet openly

‘Til we have the right to kiss openly

We’ll just have to be content to be in love secretly.” 

Of course, these lyrics could also apply to a West Side Story situation between a boy and girl of different races or ethnicities.  Still, I thought the hidden message was a bit daring for the conformist 1950s.  (Reminds me of the secret delight I got when I first listened to the Village People’s innuendo laden songs.)  I’m curious whether the song was popular with homosexuals at the time. 

 Of course, these lyrics could also apply to a West Side Story situation between a boy and girl of different races or ethnicities.  Still, I thought the hidden message was a bit daring for the conformist 1950s.  (Reminds me of the secret delight I got when I first listened to the Village People’s innuendo laden songs.)  I’m curious whether the song was popular with homosexuals at the time. 

 

 Reference

 

Gay History: When Hate Came To Town!

My Thanks To Robert French, who posted this on Lost Gay Sydney:

This flyer, from the latter half of the 1970’s, turned up when a friend was sorting his personal papers recently.

Charming, isn’t it…not!

That such hate, such violence, such bile, such vitriol could exist in this world – let alone Australia – is almost beyond comprehension. Unfortunately, as a gay man, I am more than aware of its existence! Perhaps not quite as bad as it used to be back then, but don’t worry…it’s still there…hiding under rocks, and in dark corners, lurking down dank corridors!

The only good thing to be said about this is that the National Socialist Party had a very brief existence, was bogged down in disarray when it was around, and had very few members. These views, and the Nazi symbolism just don’t work in this country! A small blessing!

For, despite not finding roots here, the same hate has – and still does – exist in other countries, under many guises. Call it what you like, but it’s name is…disgust! That the lives of a very small social minority could foster such hate in someone shows more our strength as a community, for our lives go on, than your delusion that hate and discrimination will win out! A group of people who want nothing more than to be left alone to get on with their lives.

As a Buddhist, my road to enlightenment is pock-marked by people and events like this! I should feel sorrow for this person, look for the good in them! But I can’t with this sort of hate! It leaves a sour taste in the mouth, gets under your skin and leaves a savage itch that must be scratched to get it out! There is no good here…no redemption!

I can’t help but wonder (wish?) what kharma had in store for this person, but I reckon it would have been swift, and brutal! It tends to be unforgiving!

There is no place for this kind of hate in this world! It can only weigh you down, consume you, bar your way to progressing yourself down your path! It twists and distorts, poisons and bruises your soul! It is a lesson for all of us that – in the long run- hate cannot…and will not…win out!

Tim Alderman 2019

National Socialist Party of Australia

The National Socialist Party of Australia (NSPA) was a minor Australian neo-Nazi party that operated between 1967 and early 1970s. It was formed in 1967 as a more moderate breakaway from the Australian National Socialist Party (ANSP). The NSPA was led by Ted Cawthron

Cawthron and Frank Molnar launched the party in late 1967, explicitly rejecting the “jackbooted ‘Nazi’ image” associated with Arthur Smith’s ANSP. They focused particularly on Smith’s criminal convictions from a 1965 raid on ANSP headquarters. Although there were a number of attempts to reunite the two parties, the NSPA eventually attracted a number of other Australian national socialists disenchanted with Smith’s leadership.[2]

In May 1968, Smith resigned as leader of the ANSP and his successor, Eric Wenberg, merged the ANSP into the NSPA. Wenberg was accepted into a leadership position in the party, alongside Molnar as chairman, Cawthron as director of publications, Les Ritchie, and John Stewart. Early in 1969, however, Cawthron and Molnar fell out, with Molnar accusing Cawthron of being a closet Bolshevist. Molnar was expelled from the party.[3]

In early 1970, the party’s third congress in Canberra was attended by around 30 members. Later in the year, Cawthron became the first national socialist in Australia to run for public office, contesting the May 1970 ACT by-election. Cawthron came last out of seven candidates with 173 votes (0.32%),[4] but claimed to be content with the result considering the minimal nature of the NSPA’s campaign.

The party also ran three Senate teams for the 1970 Senate election: John Stewart and Michael McCormick in New South Wales, Ken Gibbett and Kevin Thompson in Queensland, and Cass and Katrina Young in Victoria. The Queensland team won the first place on the ballot paper and benefited from the donkey vote and received over 10,000 votes (1.51%), while the results for the other teams were insignificant.[5] The national NSPA vote was 24,017 (0.43%).[6] However, the actual support may be understated as NSPA did not field candidates nation-wide.

By 1972 the party was collapsing. The strong Queensland branch collapsed through infighting, and the involvement of three party members in a bomb attack in April on the Queensland offices of the Communist Party of Australia.[7] Establishment of a Sydney branch was frustrated by standover tactics of former members of ANSP. The Western Australian branch had collapsed and the ACT branch went into total eclipse. Only Victorian and South Australian branches survived the initial schism for a time, and even South Australia had to import a candidate from Melbourne.[5]

Jim Saleam, then only 17 years of age, was deputy leader of the party between 1972 and 1975, after Molnar was expelled from the party, under Cawthron‘s leadership. After the demise of NSPA, Saleam went on to found National Action in 1982, which existed until 1991, and then the Australia First Party in 1996.

Australia First Party

The Australia First Party (NSW) Incorporated (normally referred to as Australia First Party or AFP) is an Australian far-right political party founded in 1996 by Graeme Campbell and currently led by Jim Saleam. The policies of Australia First have been described as nationalistic, anti-multicultural and economic protectionist. The party’s logo includes the Southern Cross of the Eureka Flag.

Saleam is a convicted criminal, a former member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Party of Australia and founder of the militant Australian white supremacist group National Action.

Campbell era

The Australia First Party was established in June 1996 by Graeme Campbell, and registered as a political party by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on 13 September 1996. Campbell had been the federal Labor member for Kalgoorlie since 1980. However, he was disendorsed by the ALP in 1995, and continued to sit in parliament as an independent. He was reelected as an independent at the 1996 Australian federal election, and formed AFP soon after. However, AFP was not successful at the 1998 federal election and Campbell lost his seat, blaming his loss on Australia First being eclipsed by One Nation. In 2009, he claimed that, if not for the presence of a One Nation candidate, he would have picked up an additional 8.5% of the vote, which would have been enough to keep him in the race.

Campbell remained Australia First’s leader until June 2001, when he left the party to stand (unsuccessfully) as a One Nation Senate candidate in Western Australia. At the 2004 federal election, Campbell attempted unsuccessfully to regain his old federal seat as an independent. He again stood for the Senate in Western Australia at the 2007 federal election as an independent, but only achieved 0.13% of the vote.[3]

Salem era

Saleam has served two jail terms, one for property offences and fraud in 1984 and one for being an accessory before the fact in 1989 for his involvement in the shotgun attack on the home of African National Congress representative Eddie Funde.[4]

In 2002, Jim Saleam ran as an AFP candidate for a seat on Marrickville council, New South Wales, claiming “to oppose Marrickville being a Refugee Welcome Zone”. Later that year the party formed its youth wing, the Patriotic Youth League. AFP was deregistered by the AEC on 13 August 2004 for failing to nominate candidates at elections for four years. By 2007, Saleam had reestablished AFP, and in July 2009, Saleam claimed that the party had 500 members, and announced that he was registering its New South Wales branch, Australia First Party (NSW) Incorporated, with the AEC. The branch was registered by AEC on 13 June 2010, in time for the 2010 federal election.[5]

At the 2013 federal election, AFP was involved in Glenn Druery’s Minor Party Alliance. Saleam stood in the seat of Cook on a platform to end refugee intakes, running against Scott Morrison, and received 617 votes, or 0.67% of the vote.[6]

On 14 July 2015, the AEC de-registered the AFP due to its failure to demonstrate the required 500 members. It was re-registered on 1 March 2016 as “Australia First Party (NSW) Incorporated”.[7]

AFP contested the 2016 federal election, without any success. Saleam stood in the seat of Lindsay, New South Wales, receiving 1068 votes or 1.2% of the vote. In October 2016, the Australia First Party joined with the Australian Protectionist Party, Nationalist Alternative, Eureka Youth League, and Hellenic Nationalists of Australia to form the Australian Coalition of Nationalists, as a framework for cooperation between these entities.[8]

Saleam also stood for AFP in the 2018 Longman by-election, receiving 709 votes or 0.8% of the vote.[9]

Saleam stood in the seat of Cootamundra, New South Wales, in the 2017 by-election as an independent, though still a member of Australia First, as the party was not registered for NSW elections. He received 453 votes, 1% of the total. He again stood in the seat at the 2019 New South Wales state election as an independent. Saleam’s platform included the reintroduction of the White Australia policy and opposition to Chinese immigration.[10]

On 2 May 2014 the party aligned itself with the Golden Dawn party of Greece, a Metaxist fascist organisation, and on 24 July 2016, the party endorsed former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke for the 2016 Louisiana election via Twitter.[11]

Policies and electoral performance

The party stands on a nationalist, anti-multicultural and economic protectionist platform.[12]

The Australia First Party has been largely unsuccessful electorally. It has been elected to two local council seats, one in City of Penrith and one in City of Prospect. Saleam ran as a candidate in the 2018 Longman by-election, receiving 684 votes or 0.8% of the vote.[13]

In the 2019 Australian federal election, the party put up three candidates: Susan Jakobi in Lalor, Peter Schubeck for Longman, and Michael Chehoff for Swan.[14]

Activities

General

The Australia First Party’s activities have mainly consisted of distributing pamphlets and protesting. AFP members have repeatedly distributed racist pamphlets and stickers, on some occasions attempting to deny having done so in the aftermath. The AFP have also held numerous rallies, most of which have been labelled racist by the media and opponents, some of these rallies have ended in violent altercations. AFP claim that 150 members and supporters attended the Cronulla Riot.[15][16][17]

Patriotic Youth League

The Patriotic Youth League (PLY) was formed in 2002 by former One Nation activist Stuart McBeth as the youth wing of the Australia First Party. It has been described by numerous media commentators and academics as a far right, white nationalist youth organisation that has been linked to neo-Nazism, including the now-disbanded US-based Volksfront, and hate crimes.[18]

Nathan Sykes arrest

On 20 March 2019, Australia First member Nathan Sykes, described as a “prolific online troll and a lieutenant of Australia’s most prominent white supremacist Jim Saleam”, was charged with at least eight offences, after allegations that he made repeated and detailed violent threats to Melbourne journalist and lawyer Luke McMahon. He had previously made numerous racist and intimidating online comments targeting high-profile Australians, including ex-Racial Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, activist Mariam Veiszadeh and Guardian journalist Van Badham.[19]

Racism allegations

Australia First Party is as of March 2019 led by convicted criminal and neo-Nazi Jim Saleam. Saleam was a member of the short-lived National Socialist Party of Australia as a teenager during the early 1970s and the founder of the militant Australian white supremacist group National Action.[20][12]

Australia First also endorsed independent candidate John Moffat, who was later criticised by B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Michael Lipshutz, Cronulla Liberal MP Malcolm Kerr and Lebanese Muslim Association spokesman Jihad Dib for “inciting racial hatred”.[21]

On 10 July 2009, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that David Palmer, the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in Australia, said several Klan members had secretly joined Australia First. Palmer said Australia First had been identified as an Aryan party and would prove useful “in case the ethnics get out of hand and they need sorting out.” The Australia First Party later endorsed former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke for the 2016 Louisiana election via Twitter.[22]

In July 2010, it was reported that Australia First was distributing leaflets comparing Africans to monkeys, and “blaming Africans for the social problems in Sydney’s west”. Australia First denied responsibility for the leaflets, claiming that they had been distributed in an attempt to discredit the party.[23]

The Australia First Party used Sinophobia and fear of “African Australians” in their campaign during the 2019 election.[14][24]

References

^1 Henderson, Peter (November 2005). “Frank Browne and the Neo-Nazis”. Labour History (89): 73–86. JSTOR 27516076.

2 ^ Harcourt, David (1972). Everyone Wants to be Fuehrer: National Socialism in Australia and New Zealand. Angus and Robertson. pp. 25–28. ISBN 978-0207124150.

3 ^ Harcourt, pp. 31-32.

4 ^ Historic Glebe mansion Lyndhurst, once Australia’s Nazi Party headquarters, on market for $7.5m

5 ^ a b Harcourt, David (2007). “An assault on the jew‐democratic nut‐mad house”. Politics. 8: 111–112. doi:10.1080/00323267308401333.

6 ^ Harcourt, pp. 36-39.

7 ^ Brisbane’s Radical Books

Australia First Party

^ 1 “Identity Independence Freedom”. 14 September 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2016.

2 ^ “Policy 2: Rebuild Australian Manufacturing Industries”. Australia First Party. Retrieved 29 June 2016.

3 ^ Cambell Era:

• Scott Bennett (16 February 1999). “The Decline in Support for Australian Major Parties and the Prospect of Minority Government”. Archived from the original on 13 July 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2010.

• ?Antony Green (2007). “Senate Results Western Australia”. Federal Election 2007. ABC News. Retrieved 24 January 2010.

• Australian Electoral Commission

• Antony Green (21 December 2007). “Kalgoorlie”. Australia Votes 2007. ABC News. Retrieved 24 January 2010.

4 ^ Gibson, Jano; Frew, Wendy (12 January 2008). “No apology for white Australia policy”. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 February 2013.

5 ^ Marrickville Council:

• West, Andrew (29 February 2004). “White separatist takes on Marrickville”. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 July 2006.

• Jensen, Erik (9 July 2009). “Right-wing genie out of the bottle”. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 July 2009.

• “Parties and Representatives”. AEC redirection page – Australian Electoral Commission.

6 ^ 2013 election:

• “Bitter dispute erupts over Senate preferences in Queensland”. ABC. 5 September 2013.

• “Alliance of micro parties boosts odds for likes of One Nation or Shooters and Fishers gaining Senate spot through preferences”. Daily Telegraph. 5 September 2013.

7 ^ Registration:

• “Deregistered/renamed political parties”. Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 14 July 2015.

• “Australia First Party (NSW) Incorporated”. Australian Electoral Commission. 7 March 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2016.

• “Party Formation”. Australia First Party. Retrieved 16 May 2018.

8 ^ The formation of the Australian Coalition of Nationalists

9 ^ Longman by-election:

• Murray, Oliver (26 April 2016). “Far-right-wing parties after your vote on election day”. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 June 2016.

• Pollard, Krystyna (19 May 2016). “Controversial Saleam to stand for Australia First in Lindsay”. Penrith City Gazette. Retrieved 3 June 2016.

• 26, scheme=AGLSTERMS.AglsAgent; corporateName=Australian Electoral Commission; address=50 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra, ACT 2600; contact=13 23. “House of Representatives division information”. Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 29 July 2018.

10 ^ Cootamundra election:

• Grey, Lachlan (27 August 2017). “Australia First leader Jim Saleam to contest Cootamundra by-election in November”. Cootamundra Herald. Retrieved 10 September 2017.

• “Right wing extremist makes election bid in sleepy NSW ‘cherry capital'”.^ 11^Golden Dawn:

• Gemenis, Kostas; Nezi, Roula (January 2012), The 2011 Political Parties Expert Survey in Greece (PDF), University of Twente, p. 4

• Repoussi, Maria (2009), “Battles over the national past of Greeks: The Greek History Textbook Controversy 2006–2007” (PDF), Geschichte für heute. Zeitschrift für historisch-politische Bildung (1): 5

• Grumke, Thomas (2003), “The transatlantic dimension of right-wing extremism”, Human Rights Review, 4 (4): 56–72, doi:10.1007/s12142-003-1021-x, “On October 24, 1998 the Greek right-wing extremist organisation Chrisi Avgi (Golden Dawn) was the host for the 5th European Youth Congress in Thessaloniki.”

• “Australia FirstParty (@AustFirstParty)”. Retrieved 1 February 2018.

12 ^ a b Greason, David (1994), I was a teenage fascist, pp.283,284,289, McPhee Gribble

13 ^ By-elections:

• “Profile of Cr. Bruce Preece”. City of Prospect. Archived from the original on 19 September 2006. Retrieved 20 January 2007.

• “2006 Local Government Election Results” (PDF). Local Government Association of South Australia. p. 47. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 June 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2007.

• Schiller, Emma (14 September 2012). “Australia First Party council candidate elected”. Penrith Press. Retrieved 22 September 2012.

14 ^ a b Hood, John (23 January 2019). “Susan Jakobi, Australia First Party for Lalor in 2019”. Australia First Party. Retrieved 14 May 2019.

15 ^ Australia First Denies Racist Mailbox FlyersArchived 20 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine

16 ^ Baker, Richard (14 December 2005). “Australia First: reclaiming the agenda”. The Age. p. 11. Archived from the original on 3 February 2006. Retrieved 25 February 2006.

17 ^ Mulcair, John (10 October 2006). “Rally held at MP’s office”. St. George and Sutherland Shire Leader (Sutherland edition). p. 11. Archived from the original on 7 November 2006. Retrieved 13 October 2006.

18 ^ Patriotic Youth League:

• “Neo-Nazi link to campus anti-foreigner campaign”. Sydney Morning Herald. 2 December 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2010.

• Adam Bennett (19 December 2004). “Race hate group unstuck”. Retrieved 17 May 2018.

• Danny Ben-Moshe (2006). “The Far-Right and the 2005 Cronulla Riots in Sydney”. Retrieved 17 May 2018.

• Ewin Hannan; Richard Baker (13 December 2005). “Nationalists boast of their role on the beach”. Retrieved 17 May 2018.

• Sarah Price (29 August 2004). “Campus racism rises” The Sydney Morning Herald”.

19 ^ McKenzie, Nick; Baker, Richard (22 March 2019). “Police swoop on right-wing troll over alleged violent threats”. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2019.

20 ^ West, Andrew (29 February 2004). “No Apology For White Australia Policy”. Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 February 2013.

21 ^ Roberts, Greg (5 January 2007). “Cronulla candidate campaigns for race hatred”. The Australian. p. 4. Retrieved 18 May 2011.

22 ^ Jensen, Erik (10 July 2009). “We have infiltrated party: KKK”. The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. p. 1. Archived from the original (reprint) on 10 July 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2009.

23 ^ “Racist leaflets not ours: Australia First”. ABC Online. ABC. 27 July 2010. Archived from the original on 25 July 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2010.

24 ^ Campaign poster for Lalor with caption “No China city in Werribee”

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