Vigilante or self-gratifying murderer?

Just caught an episode of Dexter, the show about a serial killer with a heart of gold. Well, sort of. From what I gather, Dexter is a morally ambiguous man who works for the Miami police department and follows up leads on cases that have fallen through the justice system and takes justice in his own hands, blood and all. Fine. Sounds all dandy and heroic and all that jazz, BUT, there’s a tiny problem that viewers and broadcasters seem not to notice and/or dismiss: Dexter is not satisfied by simply championing justice and standing up for the those the system has failed; He’s satisfied by the act of killing too.

Unlike vigilantes before him, who were fine to simply shoot a perpetrator/criminal, Dexter must tie them up, slice ’em a bit for personal pleasure and butcher them to pieces.

Basically the show is a heap of violence and gore-glorifying trash wrapped up in sappy dialogue in hopes of humanising the protagonist, and presented as a heroic saga. Yes, indeed, the drug-like Dexter gets when he sniffs blood trickling from his victims is heroic.

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Wild nights out….or In (Warning: Not for the faint of heart)

What one-night-stands lead to. The following is a post made on Craigslist about a month ago as a response to another post by the guy in the story. I’m assuming both posts were by a guy with an overactive imagination and no gal was involved, but still, the sheer misogyny and De Sade-esque imagination leaves me wondering about the future of hook-ups with strangers:

I was the tall blonde with the nice rack, tight jeans and oh so tan body. You bought me drinks all night long. After the bar closed, we went back to my place for more drinks. After many many drinks we headed back to my bedroom where we started kissing and fondling each other. I even allowed you to get into my panties. I explained to you that I wasn’t willing to go ” all the way” after just meeting you. Your exact words were ” thats ok, we can just lay here and cuddle” i thought that was some of the sweetest words I had ever heard. Little did I know about the ASSHOLE inside you.
I woke up to the birds chirping but couldn’t open my right eye, and you were gone. I went and looked in the mirror and saw DRIED EJACULATE on my face and in my eyelashes. I also found it on my breadspread and headboard. You disgusting pig, no it dosent end there. I went to thebathroom to wash your filth off and found that not only had you jacked off in my face while I was asleep, but you also took a SHIT on my bathroom floor.
What kind of peice of shit jacks off on someone when they are sleeping and then shits on the floor. I finally got your mess cleaned up and took a long hot shower, and went into my kitchen to make some coffee. There I find you took the entire 12 pack I bought last night along with a fifth of Patron….So lets recap what happened.
I fell asleep thinking this guy was so sweet and was going to have sex with him in the morning, to waking up with dried cum on my face, in my hair, eyes, on my headboard, etc.. and walking into my bathroom to find a turd coiled up on the floor like a snake ready to attack, and to top it all off, you took all the beer and a fifth of $55.00 patron out of my fridge….
FUCK YOU ASSHOLE!!!!!

Italy in the Balkans: Durres, I

Sunset over Durres

Sunset over Durres

It’s both unnerving and fun being in a fast-food joint in Durres. For one you get a great view of what is undeniably a Mediterranean lifestyle: Waiters, chefs and busboys eying -up a statuesque blond innocently looking at the menu and walking away to the dismay of the boys who hurriedly and lustily run after her all the while forgetting the plexiglas between them and the sidewalk. Ouch! “Where’d she go, where’d she go”? cried the chef. “Man o Man what an animal, get her, get her man!”, urged the busboy, gasping for air in confusion when he hit the glass and returned without his siren. Such scenes are typical Durres, one of Albania’s most ancient cities and proudly Mediterranean in all manners look, feel, food, music, style, boys, girls, lust, passion, sex.

Famous Italian singer Alessandro Sanfino proudly said in his Miss Globe 2004 (Held in Durres’ Roman Amphitheater) appearance that Durres reminded him much of his boyhood Sicily. The hungry-eyed, greasy, olive-skinned boys at the fast food place couldn’t help but remind me of a hilarious scene from Jack Lemmon’s Avanti, where a curvaceous blond Brit is chased about a small fishing town by a crew of dark, greasy Sicilian fishermen who abandoned their boat mid-sea at the sight of the Nordic beauty.

But Durres is more than just lusty boys and flirty girls. As a 2,500 year old city, it boasts layers and layers of history, literally. Much of the town’s ancient ruins remain hidden under a motley of Italianate, Balkanic, Ottoman, Communist and post-Communist homes and buildings. One would have to do away with these and the core center in its entirety to unearth Roman baths, beautiful mosaics, and public forums in the fashion of glorious Rome. This long and ongoing flirtation with Italy seems to be only increasing as most of the town’s residents hopped on boats in the early 90s and sailed for Italy, only to return every summer fully Italianated, sporting the hippest, chicest clothing that immigrant money can buy and oh so beautifully chirping the Italian CIAO. Mama mia che bell ragazze e ragazzi! Bronzed beauties returning to their hometown during peak August heat, strolling and strutting down the main boulevard (Bulevardi Tregtar) while boys cringe with unbridled passion on sidewalk cafes, eyeing up every Bella brushing past them. Oh, that Boulevard of cruelty!

I took a few chances on this giant catwalk only to be hissed at and sometimes even followed down to my destination until it dawned on me that the men would always be there, sipping coffee, the local raki brandy, hoping to chat up some nice girl. So one day I detoured and ended up in a dead-end street with my heels in my hands (needed flip-flops for those unsteady rocks), circled about a couple of times and finally found my way to the gallery, a few blocks away from those pesty, lusty men. I jetted into a restaurant all the while keeping my head straight, lips tight: Oh Malena, Malena!

So I learned something i didn’t understand before: The women that seemed to never smile, that seemed rude were actually pretty darn warm but as Malena showed us, good girls don’t walk around smiling and turning their heads. After a couple of weeks I got the hang of being tight-lipped and stone-faced when walking the cat-walk.

This Italian connection continued to follow me as I chanced upon this “Italian” and his buddy one evening. I wanted to know what he thought of the town and whipped up the best Italian I could and to my delight we were chatting about how beautiful the town and the atmosphere was until I detected the giveaway: instead of pronouncing the r roughly the guy did what all Albanians do: he belted a soft roundish r. Gosh darn it! Another Italo-Albanian, Albanian-Italian, refugee, wannabe…… ah the city itself lusts for Italy, its Mediterranean aunt.

The curious sex-lives of “New Yorkers”

“There are roughly three New Yorks”, claimed E.B. White in his book “Here is New York”: The city of commuters, of natives and of settlers. Of the three, “the greatest is the last – the city of final destination, the city that accounts for New York’s high-strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements.” Of the three groups of people that buzz around this island, the settlers “give it passion”, claimed White. Being a settler myself and seeing the city as the ultimate playground of options and goals, I have to agree with White, but as strongly as I approve his assertion I decry some of the misdirected energy that we settlers pour into this metropolis. Case in point: The latest edition of L Magazine ( A pocket-size bi-weekly publication pandering to young NYC hipsters), The Sex Issue. The creative young writers behind this product of city chic have opted to use that settler ambition and ingenuity to highlight and inform us of the bizarre sex lives of a tiny margin of NYC folk which I’m betting hail mainly from middle-America and elsewhere.

Among those interviewed are porn stars, Sexperts, Cabaret performers, Sexologists, Sex Therapists, Sex Bloggers, Sex Writers – a bunch hardly representative of the attitudes of the multifarious residents of the big apple.

Here’s a ‘typical’ Manhattanite try-sexual woman:

Age: 33

Sexual Orientation: I don’t like the use labels, but it If had to pick one I’d say try-sexual. I’m willing to try (almost) anything once.

Location: Williamsuburg, Brooklyn

Professional Life: Sex educator, writer, director, producer, host and author

Relationship Status: In a relationship with a man. We currently live together. We are mostly monogamous.

How has your job affected your personal sex life? For starters, I’m desensitized to sex talk. I can talk about orgasms, penis, vagina, whatever – anywhere. The titillation factor is gone. Also, I don’t make as much noise as my partner would like because I work in porn (hosting, directing, producing) and I can’t stand when a girl sounds overly fake. …..We just took a tantra workshop last weekend, and I’m learning to express myself. Also, I’m numb to porn since I watch lots every month for work…And I love to use sex toys. Which is positive, mostly, but sometimes I think it’d be better if I spent more time with my hands. Get back in touch with my body that way.

Has your job led to uncomfortable situations? Sometimes because you’re working around sex. It’s difficult to find the line between sex-positive and sexual harassment. In a regular office job, it’s not cool for your co-worker to tell you that you have a great ass, but when you’re working on a porn set talking about tits and ass all day, it’s just different…..I was at a party once where this guy was trying to get me to have sex with him. It was a kinky fetish party and everyone was doing something, but I just wanted to watch.

And on to another……

Age: 25

Sexual Orientation: Bisexual, but just in a slutty way. I have had sex with men and women but am mostly straight.

Location: Manhattan

Professional Life: Writer/editor/former call girl.

How does your work affect your personal sex life? It never really did. Sex at home i sway different than sex on the job. If anything, my real boyfriends get cheated because I don’t feel compelled to perform for them, putting on a big sexy show like I would for a client. Real sex, real intimacy shouldn’t be about smoke and mirrors, bells and whistles.

I love sex! One thing I’ve learned is that people should be more open-minded about their sexual partners. As a call girl, I have had mindblowing sex with people I might not have given a second glance to otherwise.

Obviously some people think I’m tainted in some wayy. Others fetishize what’ I’ve done. I don’t want to talk about it all the time with some guy I’m dating so he can get off on it. And just because I was a call girl doesn’t mean I’m easy. I’ve had guys who know me treat me like I should be instantly sexually available.

Nude Model and Porn Actress

Age: 20

Sexual Orientation: I’m a two on the Kinsey Scale.

Location: Manhattan

Professional Life: At this point in my life , I’m only doing nude modeling and Alt Soft-core porn. I get nude and pose in erotic positions. I also participate in solo and girl/girl videos, but I have never done anything with a guy for my job, and don’t plan to. I also dance in my panties at weekly dance parties in the LES (go-go dancing). I used to do a lot of niche fetish work, and I was a submissive in many bondage movies.

I was about to turn 18 and wanted to make a lot of money and not work a lot of hours. Some of my friends were fetish models, so I got my first jobs through them and people they knew. Once you find one fetish job in NYC, the rest land in your lap.

The last video I ever did as a sub was a self-domination video. I basically had to beat the crap out of myself and then masturbate. After I got paid that day, I was soooooo done with the BDSM world.

Ok, time for a definition of passion right now:

The emotions as distinguished from reason; intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; ardent affection

Nothing in these people’s lives indicates a passionate living. Rather, everything they do is overly-calculated carried out with cold rationality and precise method. Sex has become technical, just another extension of our mechanical lifestyle.

It is noteworthy to mention that in societies the world over, migrants to big cities often tend to adopt native norms, behaviors and attitudes and then adapt them to fit their preconceived ideas of metropolis living, often resulting in exaggerated practices and norms. This both creates an atmosphere of inventiveness and tackiness. And the line between the two is usually blurred in sophisticated societies that tend to co-opt even the lowest, sleaziest with a masterful use of language, psychoanalysis, cool rationality and vulgar consumerism.

Here’s to sexual alienation and degradation! Perhaps the natives should wake up and shake the city back to normality.

Sexual Emancipation a Ruse?

Virna Lisi in her iconic gender-bending shot

The following are comments by an online forum participant on women, sex, power and intimacy. There was a heated discussion going on about women post the sexual revolution and this poster’s comments struck me:

Open-minded is a subjective phrase. What does it mean to be open minded, and where does one draw the line between open-minded and f*cked up? I agree though, these liberated women are great for sex. The fact that they don’t ask for commitment because they ‘don’t need a man’ is the icing on the cake for me

On single, working ’sexually-empowered” women:

If being a smart confident woman means sleeping around, do all the work, and don’t commit yourself to marriage, I as a male, am all for that. Honestly, the women who think they are liberated are the least liberated, they’re so easy to take advantage of. I’ve slept with tons of ‘liberated’ women and never had to commit, because they say they don’t need a man to look after them. Well since they don’t need a man, i just get up and leave after sex. Works for me.

Traditional mentality:

I probably wouldn’t sleep around as much if women didn’t dress like sluts all the time. It’s kinda hard not to wanna have sex when you’re a guy surrounded by hot sexy women wearing barely anything everytime you go outside. Men are visual creatures. You want us to stop scrwing around? Don’t tempt us. Besides, we get aroused a hell of alot easier than women do. As soon as we’re done, about an hour later we want more sex, and the cycle continues.

The clincher:

As a man, i think women sleeping around with men they don’t even know is great.”
Because that’s what men want. We men have created a delusion that in order for women to earn our respect they must do all the work and have sex with us on command. Sadly for women, it has worked like a charm.

So, are we under a delusion, perfectly whipped up by men to get to the bottom line while we’re left clenching air? Have we been deceived to become men’s playground? Are we happier than our mothers and grandmothers? Are we still victims, but this time unaware of our victimization?

When in Rome…

It’s hard not to feel schizophrenic when making the shift from Europe to America. This author makes that physical and mental shift almost on a yearly basis after long stays in Europe. What is most striking upon being back is the drab colors that ‘adorn’ the American. Even New York City can’t escape the stigma of unfashionable when one returns from such places as Rome and Milan and even Greece. Perhaps it’s not right to compare NYC to the sun-drenched Mediterranean but even the Milanese are aware of their Bella Figura, however much they may deny it.

The lack of color is so ubiquitous that upon arriving one feels like a supermodel (long stays mess with your head.) In Europe the author thwarted attempts to feminize her, opting for functional, comfortable and arguably unfeminine clothes but on her return she sees that her attempts were unsuccessful, and unbeknown to her she became feminine. Assimilation is not a human triumph, it is like sleep-walking, yes, it’s a somnambulistic feat! The feminine graces one picks up abroad suddenly appear as the Somnambula walks among a haze of monochromatism and unisex mannerisms. She stands out!

Eek, just what she tried to avoid!

American Televison: Why so caricature? Voices are louder, expressions more defined, shock-value gestures galore. Loud. Curt. Abrupt. False-Animation. No Flow. Obnoxious. To watch European TV is to see modest, flowy discussions with temperate levels of sound (even in ITALY!), courtesy, humility, and wise-cracks aside when the discussion is serious. Americans on TV are almost always cracking a joke except during the most grave issues. There’s a sense of smugness about each TV personality whether they be an anchorman, weatherman, host of a talk show (these are the worst, i.e. Bill O’Rielly, Rosie O’Donell and how can one forget Queen Bee Oprah Winfrey?) There is absolutely no conveyance of humility though there’s plenty of self-deprecatory talk which in the end just seems dishonest. Just noise. Self-deprecatory kings such as Letterman and O’Brien DO NOT resemble those humble hosts of Euro TV. They are exactly what they set out not to be: OBNOXIOUS! They didn’t really set out to be humble though did they ? *Wink*

Commercials: It’s possible that America makes the funniest commercials in the world, but it also makes the most condescending ones. Being talked down to is so apparent the first few days back that I feel violated and humiliated.

Documentaries are getting worse. Case in Point: Michael Moore! His narrative, although treating crucial material, is oft childish and delivered as if talking to kindergarteners , behesting us to listen quietly and to nod to his inflected questions. Such exaggerated speech reveals the obvious and I hate to be the one to point out the obvious but here goes: We are accustomed to easily-interpreted expositions, to everything being bluntly told, not suggested, to directness and not subtlety. The natural assimilation to this way of thinking naturally hinders all ability to think critically, associatively, and most importantly in a symbolic language–which is a prerequisite for understanding art, literature, poetry, film and dance.

L’art est mort, Vive L’art!

And interaction of locals? Self-serving, law-enforced, law-fearful etiquette and false modesty. Looking at the surface one thinks: “Oh , finally , a polite and un-snobby person once entering NYC (think of all the Parisian snobbs) but scratch that surface and they’re all playing a role assigned to them by the market-place (“Be good for customers, be kind for money, be polite for business, smile, you’re on camera!”). I haven’t decided yet whether i would rather see their real brutish selfs or be content with the rules of the market, for it has weaved for us such a polite and constantly smiling populace.

Reality or Disney Fantasia? Which would you pick? The mother of all questions!