A statement on the Grand Challenges for Global Health website • Discussing an initiative for a next-generation condom which recently received $100,000 in founding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The initiative, despite its potential to help global health worldwide, understandably leads to some jokes. “To say that Bill Gates is calling for new development on high-tech condoms might be a bit of an overstatement,” snarks PC Magazine’s David Murphy, “given that it conjures up the idea of Wi-Fi-friendly prophylactics running a stripped-down version of Windows 8 or something to that effect – we’ll let you make your own jokes on whether they’d be touch-friendly.” (via shortformblog)
If the high-tech condoms are the like the bad old days of Windows, I’d expect them to be extra susceptible to viruses, Trojan horses, etc.
This brings me to the last consideration of the erotic. To share the power of each other’s feelings is different from using another’s feelings as we would use a kleenex. When we look the other way from our experience, erotic or otherwise, we use rather than share the feelings of those others who participate in the experience with us. And use without the consent of the used is abuse.
In order to be utilized, our erotic feelings must be recognized. The need for sharing deep feeling is a human need. But within the european-american tradition, this need is satisfied by certain proscribed erotic comings-together. These occasions are almost always characterized by a simultaneous looking away, a pretense of calling them something else, whether a religion, a fit, mob violence, or even playing doctor. And this misnaming of the need and the deed give rise to that distortion which results in pornography and obscenity - the abuse of feeling.
When we look away from the importance of the erotic in the development and sustenance of our power, or when we look away from ourselves as we satisfy our erotic needs in concert with others, we use each other as objects of satisfaction rather than share our joy in the satisfying, rather than make connection with our similarities and our differences. To refuse to be conscious of what we are feeling at any time, however comfortable that might seem, is to deny a large part of the experience, and to allow ourselves to be reduced to the pornographic, the abused, and the absurd.
A statue of the Roman half-goat, half-man god Pan — who was the Greeks’ god of the wild — getting wild with a female goat (see above) has proven so NSFW (or, in this case, NSFM) that theBritish Museum has placed a parental advisory in the gallery where it will be on view as part of the upcoming exhibition “Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum.” The statue was excavated from beneath some 100 feet of Volcanic ash that enveloped the Villa of the Papyri, the residence of Julius Caesar’s father-in-law Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, on the slope Mount Vesuvius.
“Female genitalia have long been a source of fascination, recently of celebration but generally of confusion. For many women their genital appearance is a source of anxiety. Vulvas and labia are as different as faces and many people, particularly women, don’t seem to know that. This is about grabbing the attention, using humour and spectacle, and then educating people about what normal women really look like. It’s time our society grew up around these issues. It’s not vulgar! It’s vulva!”
Date: ca. 1550–1458 B.C.
reign of Ahmose I to Hatshepsut
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Harp Player: HELLO.
Someone’s penis is pointing the wrong way.
The industrial system has reduced sex to a productive activity, just as it reduces all human functions to productive activities. Under industrialism, the purpose of sex has become purely economic: to breed consumers, workers, and soldiers for their proper roles in industrial and military hierarchies. Sexual relations have been reduced to productive relations. The basic unit of people-production is the monogamous heterosexual family.