Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Shine On...

I was using PubMed and following a paper-trail on SSRIs (work related and not relevant to what follows), when I chanced on this nugget in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

There's dopeheads and then there are LEGENDARY dope-heads who merit an obituary in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


Off the coast of north-east Asia, a noxious cloud forms, darkening the sky as it gathers and grows in malevolence while it balefully bides its time until the ripeness of its malignance is attained. Then, gathering its full strength, it spreads forth across the globe leaving a trail of devastation behind.

Radioactive fallout? Nah, I'm talking about J-porn. Japan, as anyone who's ever spent more than a half-hour surfing the net with the "safe search" option disabled, is the motherlode for pornography of an eye-watering depravity. I confess to being a bit of an.....okay, a HUGE aficionado in my salad days but alas, now that the lettuce is wilted, and the cress is looking distressed, my interest these days tends to the sociological and anthropological rather than its anatomical aspect. Having burnt through my addiction through sheer surfeit, I find I can now view it as dispassionately as an observer from another planet. As William Blake wrote, "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom", or to take an example from real life, St Augustine, who in the flower of youth was busy sowing his oats, spreading his seed, starching his sheets (OK, OK, I'll stop), and famously uttered the heartfelt prayer, "Grant me chastity and continence, Oh Lord, ...but not yet". But eventually one day the hormonal carousel slows, the music dies and the good ship SS Libido heaves into a calm and sheltered bay. And then one writes "The City of God".

To illustrate what I wrote earlier on an underlying moral sickness in Japanese society, here are some images gleaned off the web. These are neither pornographic nor titillating (unless you're of a particularly perverted bent) but as I said, just indicators of moral decay. For obvious reasons I'm not including those verging on child pornography although that seems to command an alarmingly large audience (also nothing on Tub-girls as I have a sensitive stomach). Imagine a country where its such a commonplace for adult men to have a predilection for pubescent girls that it warrants the coining of a general term: lolicon (or roricon), a Nipponized contraction of "Lolita complex". Sick, sick, sick.

Even as a horny 14-year old I would never have found this fappable

By Hokusai (1760-1849), so presumably deeply ingrained in the culture

And the other way around. Octopussy?


A whole new meaning to snail trail

I think you get the picture so I shan't post further examples. On second thought, how about a few more.....

Alarmingly frequent depictions of sexual violence

I must have skipped this chapter of Kafka's "Metamorphosis"

I shudder to imagine what happens next

Obviously then, there is this massive disconnect between the surface appearance of Japanese society, which is hyper-refined, painfully polite and decorous, and its throbbing, seething undercurrents. Having spent 3 weeks there 20 years ago, (which naturally qualifies me as an expert), I can testify to the orderliness and refinement but ultimately, who can see into the dark heart of man? Having said all that, I greatly admire Japanese culture, particularly the strong emphasis on aesthetic composition and design even in day to day life. One sees it in the presentation of food, the myriad tiny and charming trinkets, the breathtaking marriage of skill and invention in netsuke*, and a generally obsessive attention to detail. And its not as if they're hypocritical about their predilections as Judeo-Christian-Islamic societies are. 

*I used to spend hour upon hour at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford admiring their netsuke collection.

Nevertheless, the Japs do tend to make an awful big deal over some aspects of their culture, particularly those that are held to be quintessentially Japanese (they're perfectly within their rights to do so, it just gets up my nose a bit). I'm talking about things like the tea ceremony with all its interminable shuffling about and arcane ritual that has been elevated into something-that-is-pure-and-spiritually-refined-and-if-you-don't-think-so-you're-a-goddamned-Philistine. It's only a beverage, for crying out loud, and it was invented by the Chinese, and why must everything be soooo bloody slow! Honestly I feel like farting in the middle of one just out of orneriness. Ditto for Zen archery. It drives me wild to watch documentaries where it is presented in hushed tones and a reverent air of you're-about-to-witness-something-special-so-approach-it-with-the-proper-frame-of-mind. Again, they're sooooo bloody slow and, they hardly ever hit the target! OK, some might say that in the spirit of Zen it's not hitting the bullseye that's the aim (perish that there should be something so coarse as a specific goal), but if that's the case why fucking bother?

Venting over, I wish the Japanese all the best in overcoming their current difficulties. If there is one nation on this planet that can do it, it's them. And I'll say it once more, I greatly admire their culture and intend to visit their lovely land again someday.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

In Passing II

Spotted at the Domkirche, Innsbruck while on a ski holiday last month.

Perhaps the Da Vinci Code isn't a crock of shit after all. :-)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

L'affaire Derbyshire

Anyone using the internet for reasons other than porn, (a vanishingly tiny minority then), will have been aware of the "sacking"* of John Derbyshire by the National Review for a column he wrote for Takimag. I posted very early on, before the Takimag site was inundated by near-hysterical libtards and would have kept on posting, but it proved impossible keeping up with the comments (over 4,000 to date!).

A few thoughts come to mind: whatever happened to the ideal of free speech, and "I may disagree with you but will defend to the death your right to say it"? It's as if the world has fallen through a rift in the space-time continuum into a parallel Stalinist dimension. But of course it is the Left that sets the terms for acceptable public discourse and they're just being faithful to their ideological roots.

Less acceptable are the actions of the NR in throwing a long-term writer under the bus for an article written for another magazine, while he is undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia, and with two college-age kids. JD has set up a donation button on his website and I intend to do so ASAP (really, I just maxed out on tickets for a family holiday and a new laptop so I need to clear my latest bill first), as well as getting his latest book (I already have the last two and recommend them highly). Anyway, please give. John Derbyshire is an honourable man who will not apologise for the crime of pointing out the truth and God knows we need more like him.

The cravenness of the NR is also notable. Of course JD was ditched after some hefty sponsor threatened to pull the plug and these days no-one seems to have the integrity to say: thanks for all your support and we hope for your understanding and continued support, but this is a matter of principle to us.

But there is also the issue of cowardice in caving in to the demands of ones ideological opponents for the head of one of your best writers. I would have stuck by JD if only for this reason. I really, really wish that I had a subscription to the NR if only for the pleasure of canceling it, but screw them, they're not worth it.

A final point is that among the hundreds of negative comments, not a single one gave anything approaching a substantive rebuttal to the points raised in the article. In other words, the points were  simply irrefutable based as they were on social and crime statistics, and the advice proffered was simple common-sense that any responsible parent would feel duty bound to impart. The epic convulsions of the liberal, roiboos-sipping, Birkenstock-wearing set represents nothing more than a colossal temper-tantrum at someone for daring to point out the truth and calling out their behaviour (for much of their actual interactions appear to serendipitously conform to the "racist" advice).

Update 8.05.2012: I've just received my copy of "We Are Doomed" from Amazon and donated US$100 to the Derb. It's the least I could do, the man is a legend, a legend for resolutely refusing to apologise for telling the truth.

*inverted commas because as he explains, he was a free-lancer rather than a salaried staff member. This in no way excuses the shabby treatment of a longtime contributor.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Time out

Allegri's Miserere. Composed to be performed on Wednesday and Friday of Holy Week.

The score was jealously guarded by the Vatican until it was famously transcribed by ear by the 14-year old Mozart.