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Six Decades of Kitsch and Vulgar Productions

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From the News

Culture Minister Cai Wu criticized the trend of “vulgar productions” and “kitsch” in print and on electronic Chinese media, and lashed out at publications with gossip and sensational stories that advocate money worship and consumerism.

“We publish more than 300,000 books every year, but how many of them could be compared with the scriptures inherited from our ancestors?” asked Cai in an interview with Xinhua.

From china.org.cn

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Some vulgar books about China suggest to point at the mulberry but curse the locust when you criticize someone or something.

But what I do know is that China is as old as it owns Tibet. When I’m looking at the list of Chinese classics as listed by Wikipedia, it seems to me that the classics weren’t all written within sixty years. (The first Chinese classic I ever read, aged twelve or so, was Jin Ping Mei).

The People’s Republic of China is a rather young dynasty state, and during the 1950s China reconstructed, during the 1960s, the Great Helmsman and his vulgar fat ass knocked over what had been reconstructed previously, same during much of the 1970s, and then it was time to reconstruct again.

But it’s true – after 1978, some more useful stuff could have been written. Instead, we got:

– Deng Xiaoping’s Theories (and some other of his works)

– Jiang Zemin’s Three Represents and an opera building which (experts say) lacks architectural freedom (but still looks like the shell of a nuclear reactor)

– and I’m sure Hu Jintao has hired a gang of ghostwriters already, to write some more politporn.

Not to mention the “Modern Beijing Opera” and Chinese pop “music”. And almost every speech ever delivered and printed by a Communist cadre, on whatever level of the hierarchy.

But there’s no reason to become alarmist. Time after 1949 has been too short to build a civilization in China.

Written by taide

August 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Knockout Drops

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My vacation started today, and it is Friday. So off I went to my favourite pharmacy to by some knockout drops. The following is the dialog I had with Ms Richardson, the fourty-something year-old owner of the my favourite pharmacy.

Me: Good morning!
She: Good morning, Mr Taide! And what a beautiful morning it is, isn’t it? Your vacation started today, right?
Me: That’s right! And to celebrate the advent of this beautiful season, I’ve decided to go to the Dropstone discotheque tonight.
She: Oh, the Spring-Feelings-Make-My-Heart-Big-Bang Party?
Me: That’s right. I’m in the mood for an extramarital one-night stand.
She: Enjoy!
Me: That’s why I’m here.
She (whispers, tongue-in-cheek): You don’t need viagra yet, Mr Taide, do you?
Me (hating it when middle-aged pharmacists try to be tongue-in-cheek): Naah, not at all! I’m as powerful as a bull in its prime. But I’d like to buy some knockout drops.

Everyone in the sales room is now staring at us.

She (neither whispering nor tongue-in-cheek any more): Are you MAD?!
Me: Oh, uhm, no. Why should I be mad? Because I’m going to the Dropstone?
She: Because you are an outrageous, filthy, rapist, criminal BASTARD!!!
Me (now slightly annoyed): You are jumping to conclusions. I’m not going to drug anyone but myself.
She (confused): Yourself? But why?
Me: It helps me to deal with the situation. I’m too cheap to pay for sex. On the other hand, I reckon that sex with Dropstone acquaintances is going to be relaxing, but ugly. I’d prefer to awake with a mind-lapse next morning. Besides, if she claims that she didn’t want to have sex with me, I can counter-claim that I didn’t want to have sex with her.
She: We don’t sell knockout drops.
Me: Why didn’t you tell me at once? Could have saved both of us a lot of time. See you.

____________

In the News today

More and more women become victims of sex-related crimes involving so-called knockout drops. The federal pharmacists association demands measures to fight this crime. “This subject must get into public focus, and the international criminal dealing business with pharmaceuticals must be controlled more tightly and be punished more severely,” the association’s president Erika Fink said yesterday.

Verden Kills

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It was nice to shut down in Verden’s pubs during the 1980s. There was the Pedro in the Grüne Straße, and Vienna and Litfass in Am Lugenstein. Once a year, there was the Domweih, the biggest annual donnybrook in town. Occasionally, there was trouble with the Brits stationed here back then, mostly because of some NATO mattresses, but it was usually no problem to avoid our friends and allies, and one hour before midnight, military police treated those of them  to pissed to get away with solid ash wood clubs and collected them into Landrovers to cart them back into the barracks.

"sports" bar

Verden, "sports" bar

I haven’t been to our pubs for some twelve years. Ten years ago, an idiot visited the Domweih with a Kalashnikov, about one year later, someone opened fire on a doorman, some two years ago, a twenty-year-old was almost sent to kingdom come by twenty stabs, probably one for every year of his life.

Early in the morning on Tuesday, a thirty-year old patrolman was knived and seriously injured by a 19-year old in a pub next to the railway station. BILD-ZEITUNG means “picture paper”, and they duly deliver a picture of the crime.

I enjoy my life. And I’ll happily stay away from my home town’s night life to live a bit longer. Anyway, even if this town was safe – just to see the faces of certain people there would spoil the party.

________

From Verdener Nachrichten Online, talking with Jürgen Menzel, police speaker, four days after the knife attack:

Q: Have there been expressions of sympathy from local politics?
A: No.

Another Holy War

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My grandfather became a regular smoker as a prisoner of war. He was captured with several hundreds of thousands of fellow German soldiers in the Ruhr Pocket by the Americans and held in the Rheinwiesen camps. There was little to eat – but there were cigarettes. Some fourty years later, he died – probably as a consequence of smoking.

In 1945, even the U.S. Army’s POWs smoked.

But smokers in the American army now may have to abstain from it soon. Spiegel Online reported on July 12 that experts demand a complete smoking ban for the U. S. military – this includes combat situations. This could save the Department of Veterans up to six billion dollars, spent on the treatment smoking-caused diseases.

Only a few high-ranking officers speak out against the idea. “When you’re tired and you’ve been going days on end with minimum sleep, and you are not getting the proper meals on time, that hit of tobacco can make a difference,” retired General Russel Honore explained on CNN.

The campaigns against smoking – like most prohibition campaigns – are becoming samples of bigotry, and this is a particularly striking example. Apparently, the cigarette prohibitionists fear, more boys than necessary will be K.I.A. and spoil the statistics. Cracks aside: These daughters and sons of the American nation have been sent to foreign countries to face disaster and death – and to inflict the same on others. When facing death or mutilation, you are alone – at least as alone as when you are diagnosed with lung cancer.

If you don't quit smoking, you'll be in a world of shit.
If you don’t quit smoking, you’ll be in a world of shit.

Photo: Los Angeles Times

Soldiers are left alone in many situations. It is only fair to leave them alone when they want to lit a cigarette, too. It’s strange that the “experts” can’t see this.

One explanation for that may be that they are nerds. But there is a political aspect to this weird debate, too. Such technicalities trivialise the burden the soldiers have to bear. The bigots at home are wallowing in their virtues. Must feel great.

Written by taide

July 13, 2009 at 8:58 pm

In Violation of the ASBO

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Porn is becoming part of popular culture, as we have learned from Sasha Grey and Spiegel Online. But there is a time for porn, and a time for breakfast, when porn isn’t deemed desirable. On the other hand, maybe Caroline Cartwright’s neighbours simply aren’t hip, and haven’t understood the latest trends.

Aaaah!!! Ouuuhhh!!! Uuuuuuhhhhh! STOP it, PIG!!

Codeword: ASBO*)

__________________

*) ASBO stands for anti-social behaviour order.

Written by taide

July 12, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Pornographic Popular Culture

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The following quotations are translations into English, back from the German article by Spiegel Online. Sasha Grey’s original verbalisations during the interview (which was probably conducted in English) may be different.

Aged eighteen, Sasha Grey decided to become a porn star. Aged 21, she has become a porn star. Now, she wants to conquer the world.

This is about how Spiegel Online introduces American “actress” Sasha Grey. She talks about her work with director Steven Soderberg, feminist views of porn, and the appetite for what is forbidden.

Then Spiegel Online, quite submissively I’d say, addresses the young lady as the star of the American porn industry and lets Grey tell how she got her first prominent part. Grey then compares the general conditions and differing approaches of porn production companies, the way an author’s film is shot, how incredibly nervous she had been, and that she had private drama classes as a child.

It’s a bit like a typical German family television show: not exactly a stress interview – rather a cuddly couch for the the star of the American porn industry to promote her latest products: working on a record with her Ateceline Band, a book about sex and philosophy, the establishment of a porn company of her own, and the production of “Fuck Junkie”, its first movie.

Oooh, Saaaasha! This is soooo greaaaat !!!

Oooh, SAAASHAAA ! This is SOOOO GREAAAT !!!

But the really interesting bit is that “porn is part of popular culture. (…..) In the future, porn will more and more become part of the entertainment industry”. Which is “good, the more we taboo sex and pornography, the more problems we will have in society.”

The rest of the interview is rather dull – what many people, especially feminists, may find degrading (suggests the interviewer), i.e. being choked, spat at, slapped and penetrated by half a dozen men can on the contrary (suggests Grey) be a liberating experience full of relish. And of course, there is a codeword with which she can stop a shoot right away.

Which leaves me with the question what Hugh Hefner and le Marquis de Sade are supposed to have in common.

And the hunch that casting shows on television are only the beginning of a career full of relish. Having seen the first sixth-graders wearing stripper gloves while attending class, I can probably foresee the direction popular culture is taking.

I’m afraid Grey’s assessment concerning popular culture is fucking true. And there seems to be no codeword to stop this “liberating” process.

Written by taide

July 12, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Posted in America, Germany, USA

Tagged with ,

Six Kinds of Crap, Footnote

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Taide: No, Heidi Klum would have been a lousy porn actress.

Justrecently: She was successful as a model. I’d say she’d have been about as successful as a porn actress.

Taide: No way. Being a model is worlds apart from doing porn. If Heidi Klum sat in a shop window in the Stahlstraße in Essen, and a [supermarket name] cashier sat in the next window, the cashier would have much more traffic.

Justrecently: More men than women blog about Heidi Klum.

Taide: They are idiots. The whole modelling business is for women, not for men.

Written by taide

May 23, 2009 at 9:06 am