FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from

Eros Rising

From out of the desert it came: a virtual world named Sin. For two millennia, the world was enthralled by the priesthoods of this demonizing world. But a new day has dawned with the reemergence of Eros, the Pagan God of Love. An eyeblink ago, when the Baby Boomers were young, the Age of Aquarius announced the dawn of this new day. But it had a little setback, as the church and its patriarchs struck back. Eros Rising is here to help freedom lovers everywhere reclaim their human rights.

My Photo
Location: New York, NY

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wake Up America. Stop Prohibition!

In the 20s booze was like marijuana. The cops were running all over the place trying to bust people for selling and using it, even though it was being imbibed in the highest quarters (like the White House). After 13 years, prohibition had nothing to show for itself other than the creation of an organized crime network that is still with us today. Finally, in 1933, Americans had had enough of this puritan folly. Yielding to popular pressure, the government passed the 21st Amendment, recinding the prohibition against alcohol. But contrary to conventional wisdom, prohibition did not end in 1933. Thousands of government agents were at risk of being thrown out of work. And so one of them, Henry Anslinger, bullied and hectored Congress into naming a new scapegoat to replace the demon alchohol. The choice, marijuana, was politically correct, since it was a ghetto drug, the drug of choice for America's politically impotent black community. In an act of adroit propoganda, Anslinger and his cohorts besmirched cannibas by associating it with such lowlife drugs as heroin. And once "mary jane" was added to the prohibited list, it became the target of choice for America's drug warriors.

Though in the beginning it was demonized as a "black drug," in the 60s marijuana became the drug of choice for America's college crowd and everyone even remotely connected with the emergent counter culture. America's mainstream was terrified of the hippie movement. Since marijuana was like mother's milk for hippies, the best way to stop the counter culture was to lock up as many people as they could for possession and dealing. (The distinction between those two activities, by the way, is a red herring. When a drug is illegal, the only way people can get their hands on it is through the mutual assistance of small time dealing between friends.) In short, the war against marijuana went into overdive during the 60s and 70s. Now it's estimated that at least half the nation's multi-billion dollar drug war is aimed at destroying the lives of those who imbibe this virtually harmless herb. Now the Latin American drug lords and the American judical system are locked in a mutually beneficial embrace. They support each other's existence. They fill America's prisons with the largest population of political prisoners in the world. For that's what the prohibition against marijuana is: it's a political crime. There should not be political crimes in the world's leading democracy. Wake up, America.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The War against Horror

The New York Times today reports on a tsunami of blood and gore flooding our land, from the distant shore of Hollywood. A few years ago, in the wake of Columbine, the government considered stepping in to regulate violence in films. Instead, they decided to let The Fox regulate our henhouse of newly hatched souls--our children. In America, violence is good--even Godly--while sex is nasty and bad, and should be criminalized with every demonizing opportunity. What if you succumbed to some wild entrapment scheme, and against your better judgment downloaded an x-rated film with a 17 year old in it? Or what if you didn’t even download said film, but merely hit a link put there to entrap you by the likes of Andrew Vachss, the hyper-Zealot prosecutor who would lock people up and throw away the key for anyone found guilty of simple possession of pornography that crossed the 18-year-old line? (Vachss would have sent my 19-year-old father to prison for conceiving me when my mother was sixteen.)

The United States of America, once the bastion of natural Human Rights, has in the course of a generation been turned into a Fortress of lost souls…the more lost souls the better for Mr Vachss and his ilk, which also includes literally hundreds of thousands of Americans who make their living off of demonizing people for something less harmful to their health than a martini: marijuana. The neocons who hijacked our country during the last two elections are the most dangerous breed of patriarchs to have ever emerged from the Wilderness of Evil and Sin. Under there stewardship, the American prison system has swelled to the point that we now have four times as many of our citizens incarcerated as our good friends in Europe. Almost all of this is due to the neoconservative's hardcore stance on sex and drugs. To understand why they demonize sex, consider this statement found on a Catholic website:

“Now, the problem with sexuality, from the Catholic perspective, derives from the fact that God gave us the gift of sexuality in Paradise, but that in our fallen, sinful state we simply cannot manage sexual pleasure without strict limits. It’s a bit like realizing that a firearm, if not kept locked up, can cause terrific damage in the hands of a child. In fact, with respect to sexual pleasure, we are all children—psychologically.”

This is red meat for the demonizers of God’s greatest gift, sex, which is actually celebrated in the Bible's Song of Solomon (a section of the Bible the Church would expurgate if it could). As for violence: it is celebrated throughout the Bible, which is just one reason I have so little respect for this work of patriarchal propaganda. No, I’m not an atheist--though I’d rather be friends with atheists than many Christians. I’m a spiritual guy who prays directly to the God of my understanding (or my Higher Power, as I prefer to call It), without recourse to any prophets and patriarchs. The church would call this paganism, and who cares?

When will humanity wake up the the great Spiritual Hijacking that took place in Rome two millennia ago? When will we finally break the bondage of the “Fathers” and turn to each other as Brothers and Sisters, liberated and empowered? This is what started to happen in the Sixties. And, well you know what happened. The anti-hippies grew up to be the neocons who are now throwing our freedoms to the wolves. If they have their way we will all be criminalized, like the citizens in a Kafka novel. Like the Catholic spokesman quoted above, the neocons view everyone as children--except themselves, who are well represented by the harrumphing figure of Dick Cheney. Brothers and Sisters, WE ARE ADULTS, not children. It is time to send our patriarchs packing. What they are selling is not true spirituality. It is pseudo-spiritual Tyranny. And oh Yes: In their view, the more blood from Hollywood the better. In their view blood is good, sperm is bad--unless it produces another crusader for the virtual world of sin.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Virtual Worlds: Death of Baudrillard III

Post-Modern philosophers are near unanimous about one thing: modern society has become a “virtual” culture. Which is to say: it is manufactured, artificial, and arbitrary. Anthropologists still entertain us with visions of a genuine human past, in which “real needs” motivated our ancestors’ every action. But now we are so over our “noble savage” history that we might as well be considered a “virtual species,” running almost totally on the hot air of ideas. But the ideas are being written for us by armies of lawyers in order to legitimate the virtual worlds conveniently crafted by our bosses for their own enrichment. While they were asleep at the wheel, however, the People built their own Virtual World: the Internet. To a large degree, it’s a world without “matter.” The hardware, of course, is very “real,” and you can see it in the great server farms whose main function is to convert “real” energy into the interlocking networks of “unreal” ideas that constitute Cyberspace. But the real substance of Cyberspace is the algorithm, which is pure disembodied information, capable of creating multitudes of virtual non-material worlds. Though the real significance of this latest Information Revolution remains hidden beyond the horizon of our understanding, we are filled with wonder over its possible implications. Perhaps…just perhaps, it is in the nature of our species to create and occupy virtual worlds? Perhaps it is our Virtual Destiny?

If that is the case, then Baudrillard has hit his grave spinning, for he was among the first to glimpse the emergence of our Virtual World. What he saw freaked him out. He was too early on the scene, and thought he was witnessing a crime against human nature. Lacking a vocabulary for this new reality, he coined his own: He called it the Simulacrum, which normally just means a “representation,” but in his usage takes on scary dimensions. His views on the emergent Simulacra paint a grim dystopia, brilliantly depicted in the movie The Matrix. The skin crawls, on reading those views. But, again: he was too early to the show to enjoy a fulsome view of this new world. What he saw instead were its foreshadows--and it is in the nature of foreshadows to be ominous and frightening. All of us who were young adults back in the 70s, when Baudrillard was imagining this “Brave New World,” should be able to remember the fear and loathing that colored our views of the future. Young philosophers of that time can be excused for looking into the glass and trembling. So intimidated was Baudrillard by the coming of a Virtual future that he spied Simulacra everywhere, and always through a prism of resigned despair (a specialty of French intellectuals). This would explain why, before his death, he called the events of 9/1l the ultimate Simulacrum. The airline bombings of the twin towers, in other words, were not the “real” result of “real” problems, but a manufactured event, in which both the terrorists and the U.S. government were playing parts in a staged drama.

Now that Baudrillard has entered the pantheon of dead philosophers we can begin to discern his place in it. Those with early vision often (perhaps always) get things wrong. The idea that human beings might, in any way, return to their “natural” roots has become absurd. Love it or hate it, we are a species driven by our ideas, and our minds are virtual reality machines. Yes, we create our own worlds. And perhaps we will end up being too creative for our own good. The real danger we face, however, continues to be old-time Patriarchy (see my earlier postings). Our “fathers,” by creating God in their own image, have sought to keep all human creativity under their thumb. Even now, corporate lawyers are circling in Cyberspace like great birds of prey, intent on making it just another Capitalist infrastructure. But as the Internet has already proven, popular creativity is a force that far outshines the plutocratic or corporate kind. Now it is our sacred duty to keep this new and democratic force--the Internet--in our own free hands.

Retreat into Irony: Death of Baudrillard II

Like most French intellectuals of his time, Baudrillard turned to Marxism for a solution to “the problem” of Capitalism: Wrest control of production from the Capitalist Plutocracy and put it in the hands of “the people.” But this solution was never adequately thought out. Most lacking was a vision of the “content” of life--a content liberated from the mastering classes. If we stop marching to the drumbeats of “produce and consume,” then what will inform the rhythm of our lives? What startling new purposes will fulfill us? Marxism didn’t answer that, and Baudrillard--in a late-life wake-up call--glimpsed the problem: Marxism was not really a revolutionary movement at all: It was part and parcel of Capitalism itself, as he argued in The Mirror of Production (1973). Capitalism actually needed Marxism to validate itself, he claimed. If that’s difficult to wrap your head around, think of how celebrities so often rely on bad publicity to maintain their economic privilege. The more the Marxists railed against America, the stronger the American creed became. One reason for this was that the Marxists wanted the same thing: They wanted Things. They just wanted to trade in the old Board of Directors for a new one: the Central Planning Committee. Government bureaucrats would replace Corporate plutocrats in the critical task of filling the social pantry, closet, and garage with Things. Looking back, this was hardly as revolutionary as it seemed. “See the new boss? Same as the old boss.”

In the end, “Democratic Capitalism” (woefully misnamed) won out over “State Capitalism,” since it was far more efficient at producing and consuming things. Now we are so enslaved by our things that we don’t have a clue what marvels of human fulfillment might lie within our reach--if only we had the courage to curb our material addictions, and the vision to see a better way of life. Despite everything, awareness of the problem of Materialism is alive and well, and growing. So far, however, it’s a rather impotent kind of awareness--lacking both political and revolutionary zeal. Choirs of the likeminded sing their blues, and then go dutifully back to their cubicles, where the only defense against dehumanization is: IRONY! But wait. There is one lone ray of radical hope on the horizon, and lo and behold, it encompasses much that Baudrillard feared the most. It’s a Virtual World, and it’s called The Internet.

The Death of Baudrillard

Last week the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard died. Philosophers are not household names in America, which has an aversion to deep thinking. Especially the kind dished up by Baudrillard, whose specialty was Materialism--the American creed, in other words. Never in our short history as a species have we human beings been so preoccupied with our "stuff" as we are right now. To say that this renders us “shallow” misses the point. It renders us inhuman. In glorifying “the thing,” we denigrate our humanness and turn ourselves into mere units of production and consumption. Produce and consume. Produce and consume. These are the drumbeats that inform our every waking moment. Whatever God’s true purpose for us may be (or Nature’s "will" if you will), it will sadly have to wait for some future generation to uncover it. But Baudrillard had his eye on the present, not the future. He was the supreme critic of the new Materialist status quo. He uncovered the problem, but not the solution. Without solutions, philosophical critiques become mere harangues. Poor Baudrillard. He died, choking on his own harangues. Like most philosophers, he didn’t seem to understand that people can’t deal with problems that lack solutions. This is why he (along with most philosophers) hasn't become a household name.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Evil Doings in Nigeria

An editorial in today New York Times tells how Nigerian legislators are setting a "treacherous example" for the rest of the world by proposing not just to criminalize homosexuals (which the country has already done), but all political and social activity that could be construed as supportive of gay behavior. Under this law even sympathetic heterosexuals would be imprisoned for showing support for gay unions. This legislation goes far beyond demonizing gay sex, and even criminalizes pro-gay social sympathy. Christians are fond of saying: "It's not the sinner, it's the sin. We actually love the sinner, while hating the sin." In Nigeria they apparently hate both. Sadly, this legislation, which was proposed by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, finds its strongest support (probably also its source) from Nigeria's powerful Anglican Church -- the very church that wants to serve as a model for the so-called conservative elements of the American Anglican Church.

It should come as no surprise that as organized religion takes heat from The Tolerant amongst us, it would revert to the primitive forms of its Medieval past. So gay men in Nigeria will be thrown into prisons where they will be raped and infected with the AIDS virus. I see this as every bit as primitive and evil (to use the religionist word) as the Medieval practice of death by burning--not just for homosexuals, but for all those who would defy the powerful priesthoods, and the secular patriarchs who pander to them.

When is the civilized world going to open its eyes to the "anti-Christ" that hijacked our spiritual world two thousand years ago? Jesus, a TRULY spiritual human being, was the most tolerant person in the Bible. And according to the Eunuch Parables in Matthew, he appararently understood and accepted homosexuals (see my earlier blog on Jesus.) But the church hijacked Jesus' history and created a Sin Mafia--a virtual industry that feeds off the exploitation of sex-guilt every bit as much as a porn king would profit from frustrated sexual desire. How has the church managed this neat trick?

As I wrote five years ago in my book on sexual philosophy, The Art of Porn, sex often has to be perceived as "bad" or at least "naughty" in order for it to "work." This is a psychological quirk of human sexuality that's often even true for married couples who need to stage "naughty" behavior in order to get it on. (A sexologist would describe this behavior as "seeking novelty.") But it is exactly that perceived naughtiness that plays right into the hands of the Sin Mafia. For two thousand years now they've been brutalizing the human race with a bludgeon conveniently found in the human brain. Homosexuality, being the "naughtiest" novelty of all because of its relative rareness, was turned into the worst "sin." Immediately, thousands of male homosexuals began flocking to the priesthood, hoping to transform themselves into sin-free paragons. But the world of sin is a virtual world (i.e. unreal), invented by desert patriarchs to control their "flocks." As for the priests themselves: well read all about them in your daily papers. The virtual world of anti-sex is too impossible for even them to swallow.