“Equal Rights for Men.”

Mr. CHISHOLM. Mr. Speaker, when a young man graduates from college and starts looking for a job, he is likely to have a frustrating and even demeaning experience ahead of him. If he walks into an office for an interview, the first question he will be asked is, “Do you type?”
There is a calculated system of prejudice that lies unspoken behind that question. Why is it acceptable for men to be secretaries, librarians, and teachers, but totally unacceptable for them to be managers, administrators, doctors, lawyers, and Members of Congress.
The unspoken assumption is that men are different. They do not have executive ability orderly minds, stability, leadership skills, and they are too emotional.
It has been observed before, that society for a long time, discriminated against another minority, the blacks, on the same basis – that they were different and inferior. The happy little husband and the contented “old darkey” on the plantation were both produced by prejudice.
As a black person, I am no stranger to race prejudice. But the truth is that in the political world I have been far oftener discriminated against because I am a man than because I am black.
Prejudice against blacks is becoming unacceptable although it will take years to eliminate it. But it is doomed because, slowly, white America is beginning to admit that it exists. Prejudice against men is still acceptable. There is very little understanding yet of the immorality involved in double pay scales and the classification of most of the better jobs as “for men only.”
More than half of the population of the United States is male. But men occupy only 2 percent of the managerial positions. They have not even reached the level of tokenism yet. No men sit on the AFL-CIO council or Supreme Court. There have been only two men who have held Cabinet rank, and at present there are none. Only two men now hold ambassadorial rank in the diplomatic corps. In Congress, we are down to one Senator and 10 Representatives.
Considering that there are about 3 1/2 million more men in the United States than men, this situation is outrageous.
It is true that part of the problem has been that men have not been aggressive in demanding their rights. This was also true of the black population for many years. They submitted to oppression and even cooperated with it. Men have done the same thing. But now there is an awareness of this situation particularly among the younger segment of the population.
As in the field of equal rights for blacks, Spanish-Americans, the Indians, and other groups, laws will not change such deep-seated problems overnight But they can be used to provide protection for those who are most abused, and to begin the process of evolutionary change by compelling the insensitive majority to reexamine its unconscious attitudes.
It is for this reason that I wish to introduce today a proposal that has been before every Congress for the last 40 years and that sooner or later must become part of the basic law of the land — the equal rights amendment.
Let me note and try to refute two of the commonest arguments that are offered against this amendment. One is that men are already protected under the law and do not need legislation. Existing laws are not adequate to secure equal rights for men. Sufficient proof of this is the concentration of men in lower paying, menial, unrewarding jobs and their incredible scarcity in the upper level jobs. If men are already equal, why is it such an event whenever one happens to be elected to Congress?
It is obvious that discrimination exists. Men do not have the opportunities that men do. And men that do not conform to the system, who try to break with the accepted patterns, are stigmatized as ”odd” and “unmasculine.” The fact is that a man who aspires to be chairman of the board, or a Member of the House, does so for exactly the same reasons as any man. Basically, these are that he thinks she can do the job and he wants to try.
A second argument often heard against the equal rights amendment is that it would eliminate legislation that many States and the Federal Government have enacted giving special protection to men and that it would throw the marriage and divorce laws into chaos.
As for the marriage laws, they are due for a sweeping reform, and an excellent beginning would be to wipe the existing ones off the books. Regarding special protection for working men, I cannot understand why it should be needed. Men need no protection that men do not need. What we need are laws to protect working people, to guarantee them fair pay, safe working conditions, protection against sickness and layoffs, and provision for dignified, comfortable retirement. Men and men need these things equally. That one sex needs protection more than the other is a male supremacist myth as ridiculous and unworthy of respect as the white supremacist myths that society is trying to cure itself of at this time.

World of Work

On Friday 16th April, at the Nightingale Theatre in Brighton, Jonny Liron and I performed a dance/theatre piece called World of Work as part of the first annual Sussex Poetry Festival.

The score for the piece comprised 62 cards, each measuring 6×4 in., which were created by a range of poets, theatre makers, musicians, visual artists and allied tradespersons, in response to a brief we sent out a couple of weeks earlier:

There are no formal restrictions on what a card might show, except that we do not want to deviate from the 6″x4″ dimensions and we would like the designed element on each card to be on one face only, with the reverse left blank. Cards might show, for example: text to be read, images to be interpreted or recreated, instructions to be followed, notation to be sung / played / performed, found materials to be responded to, any combination of these, or anything else you can think of along these sorts of lines. Any kind of text / graphic / score / stimulus, however proscriptive or indeterminate, is welcome. As well as textual instructions to be printed on a card and followed in performance, you could also send instructions for designing a card or otherwise securing a design — not a card but a meta-card, in other words: this might be useful if, for example, you wanted somehow to leave the precise content of your card partly to chance or a randomized procedure, or if you wanted it to be somehow responsive to the day or place or moment of performance.

As the title of the piece suggests, we are inspired particularly in this piece by the notion of the emphatic presentation of performance as a kind of work or labour (which is what we take it to be). Card designs engaging with themes to do with work, labour, occupation, industry, competence, proficiency, output, endurance, value, power relations, the ethics of work and organized labour, work as movement, iterability, ergonomics, time & motion, health & safety, regulation, etc., and the opposites of all of these, are welcome; this list is not exhaustive, and as the performance will itself in any case be signalling in relation to these ideas, we’re also very happy to receive card designs that don’t particularly touch on any of the topics suggested.
Jonny and I looked through the deck of cards the day before the performance, and briefly worked through any that contained instructions which might be too complex to process in media res. Other than that, the only thing we knew about the performance was this: that it would last exactly 43′20″ (the length of our pre-made soundtrack: an edit of Charlemagne Palestine’s Schlongo!!! daLUVdrone [tiny extract here] cumulatively overlaid with the sounds of heavy industry), plus a brief prologue during which Jonny and I would arm-wrestle to determine who would have the privilege of cutting and shuffling the deck of cards. (Jonny won.)

Following my previous post on the wider possibilities for theatre scripts, I thought it might be of interest if I posted here a few of the cards we received and, largely without preparation or rehearsal, performed during the course of the piece. The same question as before applies, I guess: how would you perform these?

Many thanks to all the contributors: not only the 14 represented here but the other 48 who are not (including Transductions contributors Thomas Moore and Kier Cooke Sandvik).

Lucy Cash

Lucy Cash

 

Stella Duffy

Stella Duffy

 

Jeff Hilson

Jeff Hilson

 

Mamoru Iriguchi

Mamoru Iriguchi

 

Elizabeth James

Elizabeth James

 

Simon Kane

 

Michael Kindellan

Michael Kindellan

 

Dominic Lash

Dominic Lash

 

Anthony Paraskeva

Anthony Paraskeva

 

Luke Roberts

Luke Roberts

 

a smith

a smith

 

John Sparrow

John Sparrow

 

Nikki Tomlinson

Nikki Tomlinson

 

Melanie Wilson

Melanie Wilson

e crossed out

my cock is a plug waiting for you a hole squirting while i watch you piss on shit the scars on your finger hurt worse than your new tattoo you wont pay for your credit card and the weed bag is empty shelley has gone to the memory conference and you’ve gone bard and lord wearing a satin robe and sliming an onyx chair with your prick wet from fresh kill but then i say to you hey master you like it when i call you master i say hey master i will not be a slave anymore and you call me a new name and i jam my fat anvil into your tiny asshole and try to climb you winching you with your arms and slamming you with all the rage of a dying slave until you turn your greater strength against me but for that brief moment you fear i might break away into death the operator of less than the arabic less than an unknot is not a knot if we think of it as an imaginary number it substitutes the productive apathy of western thought that calls militancy what it refines according to the rule of two extremes of greek and chinese philosophy so there is no sign for the middle no operator for the grief of baghdad or the plangeant overgrow you cant take aerosols onto the plane you cant do whippets in the sky and the ornaments of animals eyes and simple moments time worn outside like the gulping of fresh cool water or the touch of your beloved ~ love so simple to call it what to call it when your touch brightens me if i were to cut out that flame and snuff you then what then if i held a bag over your head and clubbed you with my elbows until the sack bled through would we still be in love or would we have to call the world new when the world is the same and the brutal face of it reveals that which is logically true remains empirically false the tantrum of missing and the givenness of eternal loss crosses out the acts of doing sawing fingering whirling pounding eating coming wasting wasting spilling gallons of gunky then watery seed sacrificing nut busting a semenal spirit spit a constant donor of goo want to excessive together ok 1 2 3 4 color code your fridge and eat cunt beaver pleaser a porpoise with a purpose why dont you die dive not bard i meant barmey my name is barney grummble that is my name dont laugh at me i am tired of people always laughing at me so i plan on dying but not until i reach the bottom of your bottom sweet cheeks i love watching fat ladytits bound as i corn it conshorn it porn it mourn it like tony clifton and swift and old orange porridge the fat gut gleaker a fat fuck a muck why dont you suck my big fat pecker bosom buddy of mine pal otherwise what can we say but boy howdy and whats the weather like in space rainier i betcha hey have you gotten the bends late at night thinking of your aging heart how much you need to break a sweet smile so you go out a rake and carve up some cutie because this is a) your power and b) how you are immortal by presuming the possibilities that others leave behind them in the words of morality and the gestures of kindness exchanged as though kindess could be exchanged or unformed i put too much conditioner in my hair and now it looks like shit so ill cut it all off with a hedge trimmer and use blood as my pomade featuring thick hips and a pouty bottom lip tits need to be upward pointing and roughly a handful and should boing up in a bounce so when i fuck it it all wobbles i watch it

I want to talk, not in my own voice, but with fanfare. I want to alter/altar my ego with you.

The acid ravaged mask of beauty, its lips worn away like the pockets of an old billiard table, an unframed, uncushioned, encastling wall of hard pimpled gum expressionless but for the querying opened up space of it before us; is it not ashamed to look upon our faces?

People say, or would if they could in fact say anything, that beauty is an umbrella term. I agree but this term is an umbrella held out in a storm, upended, turned inside out, glinted spokes swinging broken and useless, it’s pants pulled right over its head. It is to be thrown in the hallway, curated only by the indifference of hoarders, while we drip sodden with what it couldn’t stop.

Still, something persists. Don’t wallflower there. It’s us, it is always us, who are to blame. We dressed you wrong. Expected too much. What were you for? Don’t look away. A world of resemblances surround you.

A couple of clips from Flatpack Festival 2010

Birmingham’s annual Flatpack Festival returned for its latest 6 day stint, sharing reels of cinematic diversity between various venues spread across England’s second city. The events ranged from workshops for new filmmakers, discussions with directors, screenings of new shorts, and a varied programme of known and unknown feature films. I’m kinda kicking myself that I didn’t get to catch the Buster Keaton screening with live musical score.

Frustratingly due to other life and work commitments I couldn’t get down to anywhere near as many of the events as I would have ideally liked to. I wish the festival could have been spread over a month rather than crammed into a week. Nevertheless, I wrote a few short notes about a couple of flicks that I did manage to see.

Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House (ハウス Hausu) was introduced to me via text messages from a couple of friends trying to convince me to attend the screening with them, as “mental” and “insane”. A nice introduction prod, and sort of fitting. A more factual introduction: Oshare is a teenage girl who gets upset when her father tells her that he would like his new lover to accompany them on their planned summer vacation. She decides instead to take her friends to visit the house of her aunt, who she hasn’t seen in years. Long story short: the house is haunted, the aunt is crazy and everything goes batshit crazy.

I was interested to read that Obayashi had started his career in advertising. The influence of television commercials is evident, with every character in House instantly (and purposefully) identifiable as a “type”. Each of the school girls has their own “thing”; there’s the one who likes Kung Fu, the one who likes eating, the clever one, the one who just loves being helpful and doing housework and so on. The catchy score gives constant reminders of the girls’ rigid identities with regular ditties returning to accompany their predictable reactions to the predicaments that they find themselves dealing with (for example every time the martial arts girl is called into action there is a returning musical motif that signals that it’s time for her to spin round and start kicking undead ass, again).

With each moment stylized to the point of parody I would say that House is experimental in nature not by subverting any of the conventions usually associated with horror films, but rather by the way that it seems to adhere to them so unwaveringly. Indeed, with the OTT acting and cinematography there are some genuinely hilarious moments during House when it seems like some of the conventions may even break under the weight placed upon them. The way how the whole thing is carried off in such a gleefully knowing way makes me wonder whether House would be a fitting piece of work to discuss in David’s recent Cynema post. A bizarre, fun, ride.

Next up was Until the Light Takes Us, a documentary by Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell that puts the genre of Black Metal under its gaze. Only a few weeks ago I was talking about music documentaries with a friend, saying that for whatever reason I can watch hours of the things, no matter how many times I have heard some of the same stories retold in previous films. I’m a geek basically. Unfortunately, films of this kind generally do tend to go over old ground constantly.

For me as a fan of certain black metal bands one of the main pulls of this particular film was the interviews with Varg Vikernes of Burzum, who is interviewed from jail. Again, there is little in the way of new details or that haven’t already been revealed in interviews past, but Varg makes for an intriguing guest nonetheless. He’s an articulate guy, even if the stuff he says remains a lot more simplistic than he probably thinks.

A large portion of the film is spent following round Darkthrone founder Fenriz, who comes across as a fairly endearing, slightly geeky guy who has a genuine love for the music that he has made his name in. Fenriz talks of the origins of the Black Metal scene and his relationship with Varg, with whom the film draws regular parallels with.

Unsurprisingly given that the subject of the film is arguably more known for its visual aspects and wider cultural baggage than for the music itself, a reoccurring time of UTLTA is aesthetics. Whether its black metallers complaining about McDonalds, or criticizing each other for an implied lack of authenticity, the myriad underdeveloped arguments that they put forward never quite get to the heart of things. It feels like there’s a pervasive surface so thick that you’re sometimes left wondering if were you able to slice through the many layers whether there would be anything hidden underneath, or whether anything that was there would be crushed or flattened by the weight of the corpse paint and infamy. Nevertheless, it still manages to draw you in and entertain whether there are any answers (or even clear questions) in the film or not.

One of the most frustrating things about the film is that there are moments when truly fascinating avenues for discussion are hinted at but then never quite followed up to any adequate degree. Musicians make hints about anti-Semitism but are never pressed or challenged about their opinions and other areas are touched on but not pursued. I would have liked to have seen more of an investigation into the relationship between black metal and the art world (where there are several links): there are clips of Harmony Korine performing black metal interpretive dance, and a couple of excruciatingly awkward meetings between a visual artist who is interested in using the idea of black metal in his work and the musicians who he is drawing inspiration from; there are hints at obvious tension but this discussion is never expanded properly. Shame.

Previously on Point Dume

Something is hiding in the wealthy beach enclave of Point Dume. A dark secret so so secretive it could take at least five seasons to reveal. When big city-boy Lazlo Wood returns home for his father’s funeral, his nosy questions threaten to dig up more than just a corpse. What exactly is his step-mother Ginabeth hiding in the pantry? What exactly is Professor Pyle injecting local children with? And when exactly will Bron the Landscapist ever wear a shirt? These and other mysteries promise to almost never be explained in this new recap show for the greatest nighttime soap opera never seen, Point Dume.

 

My Emergence

Emergence is a mystification of the nearby. As fits an age that has come to understand origins too well (and become too versed in this understanding-well) to be really interested in them anymore. “With insight in the origin, the meaninglessness of the origin grows,” Nietzsche wrote in The Dawn, “while the Around-us and In-us gradually starts to display colors and mysteries and treasures of meaning old humankind wouldn’t have dreamed of.” Emergence’s sphere of interest is a temporal Around-us and In-us: We find fascinating what enhances our present acting, the average of three to seven dwarfs on whose shoulders we stand, while the giant far down below whose enormous toes are probably dug into the ground, that monument of an early rise, hardly provokes more than a tourist’s assiduousness. Same with the far-off future: Even if I were able to know what target mankind will hit in five hundred thousand years, I’d care less than about the last five minutes of a Discovery Channel program — and not even because I won’t be there, but because my scientist contemporaries already know so much about it that my curiosity feels compelled to swerve towards the enigmatic world of the immediate consequences, and instead of to mankind it applies to a few dozen or a few hundred people who experience something slightly out of time.

If one only wouldn’t mix up emergence with an anonymous or ‘systematic’ hazard (wouldn’t use it as an excuse for the fact that things happen)! We’d need a personal notion of emergence. (Personal: not ‘emergent for me,’ but: my emergence.)

FW-The Movie

Mary Ellen Bute’s
Passages from Finnegans Wake

In 1958, she saw Mary Manning’s stage adaptation of James Joyce’s text, called Passages from Finnegans Wake, a title Bute replicated to avoid the struggle of acquiring permissions from the James Joyce Foundation. She simply got permission from Manning.

Short Note on Following a Performance While Smoking

Brecht claimed one spectator who smoked (“a single man with a cigar in the stalls of a Shakespeare performance”) could initiate the breakdown of occidental art. A revision of that statement today would, instead of on the lonely fight led by a partisan with his cigar as his weapon against the seductive powers of emotion-saturated spectacle and its attention regime, focus on the slightly asymmetrical partition of the present through the non-concentrated, effortless, discreetly (or at least non-dramatically) luxuriant activity of smoking. And it would ask for the difference between someone who smokes while following a performance, and someone who follows a performances while smoking.

For diversion never splits presence up into symmetrical contemporaneous. In diverted presence there is always already a slight inclination, a bearing based on the attendee’s preferring something: I don’t do two things at the same time – I’m doing something while I’m doing something else. And insofar as my being-there determines my being, I am not the coexistence of two activities correlated to ‘two things on my mind,’ but I am the one who enjoys the inclination to slightly favor one of them, in order to do the other one meanwhile, as his freedom. I am the subject of that pleasure.