Politics: April 2008 Archives

Vincent Gagliostro After Louie, an excerpt video [stills, and large details of stills, from installation]

Margaret Thatcher showed a video by Vincent Gagliostro at Pulse. I'd like to describe it as an art trailer for a full-length film not yet produced, but even in its current form it's certainly a complete work of art. There's not a single ugly or unnecessary frame in this piece. I snapped only five images while standing in front of the video screen last month; five images appear here.

Gagliostro describes the work as:

. . . a political love story set against the backdrop of a time when the gay movement mattered, when lovers were not looking for their rights within mainstream structures and when activism existed in its rightful home: the streets.

The artist is a friend and an activist colleague of mine.

Although I'm also no stranger to the world which inspired Gagliostro in creating this film, I prefer to let the gallery press release set the scene with the help of the director's own input:

"After Louie" hits you like a time bomb . . . was there really ever a New York like that where adventure and discovery and sexual tension were still palpable and possible on the skinny island of Manhattan? Was there a meatpacking district before Pastis? When you watch Gagliostro’s video, you actually remember, for a moment, the streets and the clubs and the boys with nice abs.

In the visual and audio collage of Gagliostro's piece you recall that New York City from the not-so-distant end of the last century like it was yesterday. You remember it all not with nostalgia, but, quoting Gagliostro, "with relief that this New York actually existed and actually happened before it was too late; that despite the tragedy and loss and pain of that era there was still the nourishment of real off-line experience and the comforts of heart and sex and art and strangers and bodies and life, and soul growth before everything was already discovered, developed, trained, tracked, exploited, done, over."

There's a clip of the video here, on the artist's very beautiful site.

Goya Inquisition Scene (1816) oil on panel 18" x 28.75" [three notes: beginning in the Middle Ages the Church had prescribed the conical hat, generally yellow, as a distinguishing mark for Jews; Jewish conversos were the principal concern of the Spanish Inquisition; from 1981 until 2005 Josef Ratzinger was head of the Vatican department formerly known as the Inquisition]

I just did a search from this site, and I see that there are already two pages listing my various posts on Josef Ratzinger. I was hoping he'd be dead before I'd have to do another or, even better, irretrievably compromised by some spectacular scandal. I really didn't want to have to think about this man again, and I certainly wasn't going to display another picture of that freaky face*. Virtually everything he stands for disgusts me.

Okay, except maybe the part about "peace", but I know he doesn't actually mean it and, like the Dalai Lama, he's certainly not going to embarrass our own "infernal" warrior king while he's over here. By the way, I also don't anyone believe a word he says about freedom or democracy. I was raised a Catholic, educated by Augustinians and Jesuits and studied history as an undergraduate and graduate student for ten years. I can assure you that the Church establishment has never cared what form governments assume so long as church interests aren't compromised. [cf. Eugenio Pacelli and Reichskonkordat]

Also this week, don't expect any homilies on capital punishment from Ratzinger, who we are repeatedly reminded has a boundless respect for life. Might hurt the sensibilities of the former "Texecutionor".

But the holy fiend is coming to New York again, and although both he and his office are increasingly irrelevant, apparently even to most Catholics, I just can't maintain my blackout on the latest Ratzinger developments. I was struck by something I saw in the joint statement he and his D.C. host just issued. George Bush. Now there's another pathetic excuse for an appointed ruler (so who's using whom on this visit?). It seems they both wanted us to know how much they respect human rights and diversity. I'm used to these lies from the White House but I just couldn't ignore it coming from our sanctimonious short-term visitor, since he's never ignored me or many of my friends, or anyone else whose integrity and rights he regularly impugns. I'm talking about all queers and all women, just for starters, but you can certainly add anyone not of the strictest, doctrinally-acceptable religious persuasion (that is, his own).

There is one incident in particular in Ratzinger's past, one which I cannot forget, one which was never disavowed. It's a statment which continues to reflect this narrow, clueless disciplinarian's real approach to the diversity of mankind rather than the "respect for his vast pluralistic society", he affected yesterday in Washington. In 1992, during a period of particularly virulent antigay violence in the U.S., he authorized a Vatican proclamation which said that that when lesbians and gay men demand civil rights, "neither the Church nor society should be surprised when ... irrational and violent reactions increase".

Perfectly consistent with the Church's traditional mode of addressing its own evils: Blame the victim.

Still we bleed, queers of every gender and our straight sisters as well, not least because of his vile ministry.

Josef Ratzinger arrives in New York on Friday. I'm sincerely hoping that at least some New Yorkers will know how to receive him properly.

although I'm not the first to notice that, on the other hand, his devoted personal secretary is pretty damn hot, even if this is way off subject (maybe)

[image from marxist.com]

ADDENDUM: [in the form of an appendix] For the complete text of a document describing queers as a "troubling moral and social phenomenon" and denying them a status from which they might argue for their rights, see the letter, "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons" on this Vatican site. This is a document which Ratzinger had authored, as head of Roman curia office once known as the Holy Inquisition. It was published by his old boss Karol Wojtyła in 2003.

all Washington getting friendly with the boss

Ted Rall saw only part of the story when he described the shoddy construction of our bases in Iraq, with its fatal consequences for our military personnel. In a cartoon dated 4/14 he wrote: "No one is that inept. Haliburton is obviously working for Al Qaeda."

I would go much further than Rall, altering that statement to read:

No one is that inept. Our entire government, the White House, Congress, even the Supreme Court, is obviously working for Al Qaeda.

The White House and Congress, by the leave of the Supreme Court, have together killed a million civilians and made refugees of five million more. Washington, with our approval, has laid waste the wealth, infrastructure and institutions of an ancient people and handed over those who survived to terrorists who had never before had access to their lands. It has bankrupted us all, as well as our children and our children's children. It has blown through the accumulated capital of the world's respect for our nation. It has totally distracted us from national and international problems which really have to be addressed. It has destroyed our liberties. It has mounted and maintained the most successful worldwide Islamic terrorist recruiting campaign ever imaginable. It has shut our doors to the contributions of both friends and strangers, and darkness has spread across a land and a people once spirited and open.

These are incredible accomplishments of which Al Qaeda could not have dreamed in a hundred years had our government not decided to cooperate with its agenda - and free of charge, it would appear.

They tell us the war is going to go on for a hundred years. I suppose we no longer need to ask why they haven't found Osama.

[image of a 16th-century woodcut illustrating the medieval christian fantasy, the "Witch's Kiss", from About.com]

This page is an archive of entries in the Politics category from April 2008.

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