Comical Genitalia

It’s not often you get a chance to use that phrase. I’m deeply grateful to an unsung staff reporter on the Sun for unleashing it on an unsuspecting world in this 2007 article, ‘Rude Buddha’ causes outrage. It was later lifted almost word for word in a Metro article – Cops probe Rude Buddha – a headline so brilliant you can forgive them the plagiarism.

The genitalia in question – a banana and two eggs – are welded onto a bog-standard statue of a seated Buddha. The work, by artist Colin Self, was probably considered rude by the good people of Norwich for a number of reasons. A banana and two eggs are surely innocent objects in themselves, but placed in the lap of a seated figure in an upstanding position, they acquire a whole new meaning. Then there’s the bronze colour of the foodstuffs, which stands out against the black of the Buddha. Finally, there’s the position of the hand curled in the lap – a classic meditation posture – suggesting an alternative activity is taking place. I’m reminded of a greeting card, with the picture of a seated mystic and the caption, “If that’s the sound of one hand clapping, I wonder what the other hand is doing?” Oh, and the statue was facing out into the street.

A Trilogy: The Iconoclasts is actually a witty spoof, melding ideas of sacred art with pop art, and evoking all the metaphorical associations of bananas and eggs. It’s a pity some people were so prudish as to complain to the police, forcing the gallery owner to turn it round so it faced into the shop. But I’d be surprised if it didn’t sell very quickly with all the free publicity. Perhaps Self got his friends to make the complaints.

So thanks to that staff reporter for adding an essential phrase to the English language – I hope it goes viral.

Emission Impossible

One of the upsides (and there aren’t many) of the Mail Online is that it sometimes posts quirky sciencey stories when there’s not enough right-wing, immigrant-bashing, foreigner-hating, Little Englander bollocks to fill the “news” section of the site. That’s the wide bit to the left of the sidebar of shame.

This one is quite charming – “Sperm have ‘an appalling sense of direction’ crashing into walls and each other in race to the egg”, complete with a photo of stock cars crashing into each other to make the point. While I’m considerably miffed that the Mail pre-emptively stole the obvious choice for a photo to head this blog post, I have to admit they’ve done well with the article. I can’t vouch for its scientific accuracy, or when the research took place, since there’s no link to the study. But that doesn’t matter. As entertainment it’s already done the job.

Woody Allen has been here before, in his role as an inept sperm in the 1972 film, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask). Here’s the entire coital sequence, from fettuccine to apres-sex cigarette.

Bikini Baristas: Would you like whipped cream with that?

We all know sex sells pretty much anything. In the State of Washington, home of the iconic Starbucks, it also sells coffee. Not by the aforementioned corporation, I hasten to add for fear of being sued, but by some small, independent coffee chains. Typically those that operate out of roadside stands, rather than having retail space inside a commercial building. And not everyone is happy at being served their lattes by beautiful young women in skimpy bikinis. You have to pity the sad puritans who don’t conjour up an entirely un-caffeine related fantasy at being asked if they’d like some whipped cream on their hot venti.

I give you Girl Town Expresso in Lynnwood. According to this article, a picture was sent to the Snohomish Health District that showed the owner, Rick Summers, having sex with one of the baristas inside the stand. Fortunately for Summers, he was able to prove that the incident took place long ago, when the interior was painted a different colour. And he said they were closed at the time. So, happy endings, and Girl Town Expresso is once more open for business. It’s worth taking a look at the comments below the article to get an idea of how Washingtonians think about the issue. Certainly, some Americans are prudish, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a member of the Disgusted Squad who sent in the photo.

But there’s nothing illegal about employing bikini baristas. Faced with this painful fact, Kitsap, a conservative county, is seeking to protect God-fearing Americans from the sight of bare flesh by erecting barriers round 3 expresso stands. The Kitsap Sun reports that planners are writing zoning regulations for future coffee stands, but the only thing they can do with the 3 existing ones is to build 8 ft barriers round them. Do they not have even the most basic grasp of male psychology? Anything covered up is automatically lusted after. Ask your average Victorian bloke about ankles.

You have wonder at the logic behind all this. Even if the aim is to protect impressionable minors, the baristas are wearing bikinis – standard issue on public beaches. When concerned parents take their children on vacation, do they spurn beaches because of the moral danger? In any case, if this blog post has excited your curiosity and you wish to do a little sight-seeing next time you’re in Washington, here is a directory of bikini barista stands in the state I was proud to call home.

Consider it a Public Service Announcement.

Blasphemy for the Day: Porn Stars for Jesus

A new feature in response to the BBC’s Thought for the Day, for that blessed day of rest, Sunday. You don’t have to be a believer to enjoy a day of rest.

Yes, all the adults in this entertaining video are porn stars. The chap with the sheep is Ron Jeremy, who has a master’s degree in special education, and worked as a teacher before finding fame in the adult film industry. They teamed up with the XXXChurch, which specializes in what it calls “porn addiction,” to make this warning to parents about the ease with which a typo can bring unexpected search results. Especially if you’ve got autofill enabled. Researching food products, for example, your children might be trying to type “milk” and end up with “milf.” On the other hand, they might well be deliberately typing “milf,” but that’s another story. The video is clearly focused on not using the Internet as a babysitter.

An interesting collaboration in what is surely a worthy project to protect children from online porn.

Hillbilly Kama Sutra

Well someone had to do it. In this case it’s Missouri woodcut artist, Tom Huck, with the redneck take on that fine erotic classic, the Kama Sutra. Tom Huck’s Evil Prints has been “disgusting the masses since 1995,” and long may it continue the noble enterprise. The full portfolio of 15 linoleum cuts will set you back $11,500, but there are only 20 signed sets available. It represents, apparently, 2 year’s work.

Here is Huck talking about the project.

They look brilliant, but they’re completely out of my range. I’m reminded of the Robert Crumb comics, which in the 60s and 70s I considered too ephemeral to treat as more than just comics. If only I’d kept them – now they’re worth a fortune.

But I did track down one of the most memorable images, through the magic of the internet, for your viewing pleasure. It chimes quite nicely with the theme of Hillbilly Kama Sutra, as well as providing a certain moral uplift in its celebration of strong family bonds (including the dog).

Poems of the Week (1/2): The Lady’s Dressing Room

Before - William Hogarth

Two for the price of one this time, although in separate posts, since Word Press doesn’t do columns. End to end would be an interminable imposition. First up is Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), satirist, in this heavy-weight battle of the sexes. Love-struck Strephon sneaks into the boudoir of Celia, his beloved, while she’s out.

The Lady’s Dressing Room

Five hours, (and who can do it less in?)
By haughty Celia spent in dressing;
The goddess from her chamber issues,
Arrayed in lace, brocades, and tissues.
Strephon, who found the room was void
And Betty otherwise employed,
Stole in and took a strict survey
Of all the litter as it lay;
Whereof, to make the matter clear,
An inventory follows here.
And first a dirty smock appeared,
Beneath the arm-pits well besmeared.
Strephon, the rogue, displayed it wide
And turned it round on every side.
On such a point few words are best,
And Strephon bids us guess the rest;
And swears how damnably the men lie
In calling Celia sweet and cleanly.
Now listen while he next produces
The various combs for various uses,
Filled up with dirt so closely fixt,
No brush could force a way betwixt.
A paste of composition rare,
Sweat, dandruff, powder, lead and hair;
A forehead cloth with oil upon't
To smooth the wrinkles on her front.
Here alum flower to stop the steams
Exhaled from sour unsavory streams;
There night-gloves made of Tripsy's hide,
Bequeath'd by Tripsy when she died,
With puppy water, beauty's help,
Distilled from Tripsy's darling whelp;
Here gallypots and vials placed,
Some filled with washes, some with paste,
Some with pomatum, paints and slops,
And ointments good for scabby chops.
Hard by a filthy basin stands,
Fouled with the scouring of her hands;
The basin takes whatever comes,
The scrapings of her teeth and gums,
A nasty compound of all hues,
For here she spits, and here she spews.
But oh! it turned poor Strephon's bowels,
When he beheld and smelt the towels,
Begummed, besmattered, and beslimed
With dirt, and sweat, and ear-wax grimed.
No object Strephon's eye escapes:
Here petticoats in frowzy heaps;
Nor be the handkerchiefs forgot
All varnished o'er with snuff and snot.
The stockings, why should I expose,
Stained with the marks of stinking toes;
Or greasy coifs and pinners reeking,
Which Celia slept at least a week in?
A pair of tweezers next he found
To pluck her brows in arches round,
Or hairs that sink the forehead low,
Or on her chin like bristles grow.
The virtues we must not let pass,
Of Celia's magnifying glass.
When frighted Strephon cast his eye on't
It shewed the visage of a giant.
A glass that can to sight disclose
The smallest worm in Celia's nose,
And faithfully direct her nail
To squeeze it out from head to tail;
(For catch it nicely by the head,
It must come out alive or dead.)
Why Strephon will you tell the rest?
And must you needs describe the chest?
That careless wench! no creature warn her
To move it out from yonder corner;
But leave it standing full in sight
For you to exercise your spite.
In vain, the workman shewed his wit
With rings and hinges counterfeit
To make it seem in this disguise
A cabinet to vulgar eyes;
For Strephon ventured to look in,
Resolved to go through thick and thin;
He lifts the lid, there needs no more:
He smelt it all the time before.
As from within Pandora's box,
When Epimetheus oped the locks,
A sudden universal crew
Of humane evils upwards flew,
He still was comforted to find
That Hope at last remained behind;
So Strephon lifting up the lid
To view what in the chest was hid,
The vapours flew from out the vent.
But Strephon cautious never meant
The bottom of the pan to grope
And foul his hands in search of Hope.
O never may such vile machine
Be once in Celia's chamber seen!
O may she better learn to keep
"Those secrets of the hoary deep"!
As mutton cutlets, prime of meat,
Which, though with art you salt and beat
As laws of cookery require
And toast them at the clearest fire,
If from adown the hopeful chops
The fat upon the cinder drops,
To stinking smoke it turns the flame
Poisoning the flesh from whence it came;
And up exhales a greasy stench
For which you curse the careless wench;
So things which must not be exprest,
When plumpt into the reeking chest,
Send up an excremental smell
To taint the parts from whence they fell,
The petticoats and gown perfume,
Which waft a stink round every room.
Thus finishing his grand survey,
Disgusted Strephon stole away
Repeating in his amorous fits,
Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!
But vengeance, Goddess never sleeping,
Soon punished Strephon for his peeping:
His foul Imagination links
Each dame he see with all her stinks;
And, if unsavory odors fly,
Conceives a lady standing by.
All women his description fits,
And both ideas jump like wits
By vicious fancy coupled fast,
And still appearing in contrast.
I pity wretched Strephon blind
To all the charms of female kind.
Should I the Queen of Love refuse
Because she rose from stinking ooze?
To him that looks behind the scene
Satira's but some pocky queen.
When Celia in her glory shows,
If Strephon would but stop his nose
(Who now so impiously blasphemes
Her ointments, daubs, and paints and creams,
Her washes, slops, and every clout
With which he makes so foul a rout),
He soon would learn to think like me
And bless his ravished sight to see
Such order from confusion sprung,
Such gaudy tulips raised from dung.

Jonathan Swift

If you thought this misogyny deserves a swift rebuttal (in the groin, probably) then I urge you to visit Poems of the Week (2/2): The Reasons that Induced Dr S to write a Poem Call’d the Lady’s Dressing Room, where Lady Mary Wortley Montagu will administer the slap down.

Poems of the Week (2/2): The Reasons that Induced Dr S to write a Poem Call’d the Lady’s Dressing Room

After - William Hogarth

Not a snappy title, but Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) makes up for it in the poem. Please see Poems of the Week (1/2): The Lady’s Dressing Room if you missed the first part of this bout.

The Reasons that Induced Dr S to write a Poem Call’d the Lady’s Dressing Room

The Doctor in a clean starch’d band,
His Golden Snuff box in his hand,
With care his Di’mond Ring displays
And Artfull shews its various Rays,
While Grave he stalks down — — Street
His dearest Betty — to meet.
Long had he waited for this Hour,
Nor gain’d Admittance to the Bower,
Had jok’d and punn’d, and swore and writ,
Try’d all his Galantry and Wit,
Had told her oft what part he bore
In Oxford’s Schemes in days of yore,
But Bawdy, Politicks nor Satyr
Could move this dull hard hearted Creature.
Jenny her Maid could taste a Rhyme
And greiv’d to see him lose his Time,
Had kindly whisper’d in his Ear,
For twice two pound you enter here,
My lady vows without that Summ
It is in vain you write or come.
The Destin’d Offering now he brought
And in a paradise of thought
With a low Bow approach’d the Dame
Who smileing heard him preach his Flame.
His Gold she takes (such proofes as these
Convince most unbeleiving shees)
And in her trunk rose up to lock it
(Too wise to trust it in her pocket)
And then return’d with Blushing Grace
Expects the Doctor’s warm Embrace.
But now this is the proper place
Where morals Stare me in the Face
And for the sake of fine Expression
I’m forc’d to make a small digression.
Alas for wretched Humankind,
With Learning Mad, with wisdom blink!
The Ox thinks he’s for Saddle fit
(As long ago Freind Horace writ)
And Men their Talents still mistakeing,
The stutterer fancys his is speaking.
With Admiration oft we see
Hard Features heighten’d by Toupée,
The Beau affects the Politician,
Wit is the citizen’s Ambition,
Poor Pope Philosophy displays on
With so much Rhime and little reason,
And thô he argues ne’er so long
That, all is right, his Head is wrong.
None strive to know their proper merit
But strain for Wisdom, Beauty, Spirit,
And lose the Praise that is their due
While they’ve th’impossible in view.
So have I seen the Injudicious Heir
To add one Window the whole House impair.
Instinct the Hound does better teach
Who never undertook to preach,
The frighted Hare from Dogs does run
But not attempts to bear a Gun.
Here many Noble thoughts occur
But I prolixity abhor,
And will persue th’instructive Tale
To shew the Wise in some things fail.
The Reverend Lover with surprize
Peeps in her Bubbys, and her Eyes,
And kisses both, and trys–and trys.
The Evening in this Hellish Play,
Beside his Guineas thrown away,
Provok’d the Preist to that degree
he swore, the Fault is not in me.
Your damn’d Close stool so near my Nose,
Your Dirty Smock, and Stinking Toes
Would make a Hercules as tame
As any Beau that you can name.
The nymph grown Furious roar’d by God
The blame lyes all in Sixty odd
And scornfull pointing to the door
Cry’d, Fumbler see my Face no more.
With all my Heart I’ll go away
But nothing done, I’ll nothing pay.
Give back the Money–How, cry’d she,
[I lock’d it in the Trunk stands there
And break it open if you dare.]
Would you palm such a cheat on me!
For poor 4 pound to roar and bellow,
Why sure you want some new Prunella?
[What if your Verses have not sold,
Must therefore I return your Gold?
Perhaps you have no better Luck in
The Knack of Rhyming than of fucking.
I won’t give back one single Crown,
To wash your Band, or turn your Gown.]
I’ll be reveng’d you saucy Quean
(Replys the disapointed Dean)
I’ll so describe your dressing room
The very Irish shall not come.
She answer’d short, I’m glad you’l write,
You’l furnish paper when I shite.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Ouch! I think Lady Mary wins by a knockout.