Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fat Chance

“New York” magazine recently ran an article by Gary Taubes entitled “The Scientist and the Stairmaster,” which brings forth the notion that exercise does not make one thinner because exercise builds up an appetite, forcing the gym bunny to simply eat more, thus maintaining the weight. While this seems logical enough, the idea that fat people are merely genetically predisposed to obesity, not lacking in willpower, is moronic. Yes, I’m sure that their bodies tell them they’re starving after a workout – but Taubes ignores the fact that the obese have free will to ignore that hunger, to not fill their stomachs to the point of “full.” This is no different from athletes who push themselves beyond normal tolerance for exertion, who ignore the pain. Indeed this is most certainly an issue of willpower. Some people have a high tolerance for hunger, for pain, for masochism in a sense. At the very least this is an issue of taking responsibility for one’s actions, for putting fork to mouth a few times less, for not hiding behind science. Obese people may lack the “skinny gene” but they also lack the ability to be comfortable feeling uncomfortable. This is the very definition of willpower.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Double Pumping" at Kinky Camp 3!

Eat, drink, scream at the (four) screens and be merry!

Saturday 9/29 at midnight at Monkey Town in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

A Double Doc Bill featuring Dustin Robertson’s “Pumping Velvet”:

Smalltown boy, rockstar, bodybuilder, circuit boy, menace and icon. Dustin Robertson has ascended from being continually gay bashed as a kid and abusing drugs, to becoming a competitive bodybuilder and working as Hollywood’s top music video editor for divas like Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Madonna. His personal experiences from his often-tumultuous life are documented through the innovative use of full color animation, narrative and fantasy sequences, erotic images, film and TV clips, music videos, and other forms of mass media.
--Matt Dy


A “silent” version of that classic softcore Schwarzenegger flick “Pumping Iron”:
He’ll be back. Slicked in body oil.

Preceded by Kurt Koehler’s “Hung Frankenstein”:
Mel Brooks meets John Waters. Enough said.

Come one, come all, come campy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Personal Jesus

I went from reading Susan Sontag’s “Notes On Camp” to a “New York Times Magazine” article on catastrophe insurance and found a defining thread, that of logic. Everything in life is logical, from sensibility to gambling odds, regardless of whether or not we’re consciously aware of it. (There’s arrogance in the word “miracle” – a subtle supposition that if we in all our “glorious human wisdom” can’t see it and explain it, it must not be logical.) This idea was perfectly encapsulated in a quote from that same magazine’s profile of the visionary music producer Rick Rubin (the Billy Wilder of his industry in terms of genre reach). As a kid from Long Island Rubin fell in love with magic, but he was more concerned with the logic of the perceived “supernatural.” “I always think about how things work, the mechanics of a situation – that’s the nature of being a magician.” Later in the article he admits, “I do not know how to work a board. I don’t turn knobs. I have no technical ability whatsoever…My primary asset is I know when I like something or not. It always comes down to taste.” While this is undeniably true, Rubin’s taste isn’t something mystical but a result of a particular obsession that led to learning and finally to a subconscious “knowing.” (Like a boxer whose muscles know how to throw a right cross instinctively through years of training.) Outwardly, Rubin’s brilliant decision to have the late legend Johnny Cash reinterpret industrial Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” and new wave Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” at the end of his country music career seemed odd. Even Rubin acknowledges, “I still never assume that anyone will like any thing. But I can’t imagine that they won’t either.” Rubin isn’t merely secure in his own gut feel faith. He finds that faith in knowledge.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Crime and Punishment

“The New York Times” published an Op-Ed column by Laura M. MacDonald entitled “America’s Toe-Tapping Menace,” in which the writer, referring to the recent scandal involving Senator Larry Craig’s solicitation of gay sex in a Minneapolis airport bathroom, high-mindedly declared, “Clearly, whatever Mr. Craig’s intention the police entrapped him.” Say what? As evidence, Ms. MacDonald suggests that the arresting undercover officer had to have “responded” to Craig’s “coded signals” for Craig to have been nabbed in the first place. This is like saying that if a dealer goes up to an undercover officer posing as a junkie and offers him drugs and the guy “responds,” playing along that he’s an addict before the arrest, it’s entrapment. MacDonald is disregarding the very fact that Craig – not the officer – made the first move. If this is a case of entrapment like MacDonald believes, then a heck of a lot of streetwalkers deserve to have their criminal records erased.

Which brings me to MacDonald’s second erroneous point. “Public sex is certainly a public nuisance, but criminalizing consensual acts does not help.” What world is Ms. MacDonald living in? Society criminalizes consensual sex all the time – notably with regards to whorehouses where no innocent person has ever accidentally stumbled upon a sex act (unlike, say, in a Minneapolis airport bathroom). This is not a gay rights issue. Public indecency, lewd behavior, be it gay or straight, is against the law. (And yes, soliciting sex in itself is not a crime and the airport sting is most likely unconstitutional, blah, blah, blah. Regardless, this case has zip to do with sexual orientation.) If one cannot walk around flashing others, why should he be allowed to engage in public sex? No one, especially a gay homophobic statesman, should be above the law.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Beyond Sontag

There’s a difference between “high camp” and “low camp,” between a witty, smart, mostly gay (excepting Radley Metzger) style and a physical, primal, mostly straight (excepting John Waters) sensibility. It’s not that gays are generally more intelligent than heteros – just that they’re forced to work harder, to subvert society through code (i.e., to sculpt it to conform to their own reality). Watching Metzger’s soft-core sex farce “Score,” I was reminded of Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” – both being tales of an older couple artfully dragging an unwitting younger couple into their games. (When I later learned “Score” was based on a stage play it all made sense – how brilliant of a “pornographer” to use a theater script as his foundation!) Radley Metzger is the thinking man’s Russ Meyer.