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Watching Equus and listening to Martin Dysart’s ponderings on the psyche about how and when something determines a catalyst for the emergence of passion within the individual, made me contemplate this aspect of consciousness for the first time.

As Dysart says: “Moments snap together like magnets forging a chain of shackles. Why?”

Sexual attraction to, and /or having sexual relations with, an animal is a definite no-no as far as all religions and most societies go.

Be that as it may, the practice continued through the ages – regardless of what was considered ‘normal’ and in spite of religious constraints. Could this attraction be of genetic origin? Is it a mutated strand of DNA that dominates whatever conditioning determines the ‘reasoning process’, which would of course include all the ‘moral’ values that religion and society establish? So then is this condition determined before such a reasoning process is formed in the individual?

For a definition and some background information here are some extracts from Wikipedia:

Zoophilia, from the Greek ζωον (zôon, “animal”) and φιλία (philia, “friendship” or “love”), is a paraphilia, defined as an affinity or sexual attraction by a human to an animal. Such individuals are called zoophiles. The more recent terms zoosexual and zoosexuality describe the full spectrum of human/animal orientation. A separate term, bestiality (more common in mainstream usage and frequently but incorrectly seen as a synonym; often misspelled as “beastiality”), refers to human/animal sexual activity.

….The two terms are independent: not all sexual acts with animals are performed by zoophiles; and not all zoophiles are sexually interested in animals.

….Philosopher and animal liberation author Peter Singer argues that zoophilia is not unethical if there is no harm or cruelty to the animal, but this view is not widely shared, with the majority opinion supporting the view that animals, like children, are not capable of informed consent.

…Bestiality signifies a sexual act between humans and animals. It does not by itself imply any given motive or attitude. It is not always certain whether acts such as kissing, intimate behavior, frottage (rubbing), masturbation, or oral sex are considered ‘bestiality’ in all cultures or legal systems, or whether the term implies sexual intercourse or other penetrative activity alone.

It seems that bestiality is not all that uncommon and is even legal in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. It is illegal in the UK (for penetrative acts) and much of the USA, Australia and New Zealand, whilst Belgium, Germany and Russia permit sexual activity with animals but strictly prohibit the promotion of animal-oriented pornography. The practice is also reasonably common, as Wikipedia describes:

Scientific surveys estimating the frequency of zoosexual activity, as well as anecdotal evidence and informal surveys, suggest that more than 1–2% — and perhaps as many as 8–40% — of sexually active adults have had significant sexual experience with an animal at some point in their lives. Studies suggest that a larger number (perhaps 10–30% depending on area) have fantasized or had some form of brief encounter. Larger figures such as 40–60% for rural teenagers (living on or near livestock farms) have been cited from some earlier surveys such as the Kinsey reports, but some later writers consider these uncertain.

Then there is the question in some minds if aspects of bestiality are better understood as ‘aberrations’ or simply as ‘sexual orientation’. Again to Wikipedia which has this to say:

The activity or desire itself is no longer classified as a pathology under DSM-IV (TR) (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association) unless accompanied by distress or interference with normal functioning on the part of the person. Critics point out that that DSM-IV says nothing about acceptability or the well-being of the animal, and many critics outside the field express views that sexual acts with animals are always either abusive or unethical. Defenders of zoosexuality argue that a human/animal relationship can go far beyond sexuality, and that animals are capable of forming a genuinely loving relationship that can last for years and which is not functionally different from any other love/sex relationship.

So it seems that bestiality is a fairly well established and accepted sexual practice, although in most cases those involved are not ‘open’ about this preference – much as gay folk behaved before ‘gay liberation’ enabled the opening of millions of closets.

But getting back to Martin Dysart and his insightful ruminations about the nature of passion and whether such a wondrous sensation should be curbed by psychiatry simply because society deems it ‘improper’ and not ‘normal’ behaviour. As he says about ‘normal’: “..is a good smile in a child’s eyes all right. It is also the dead stare in a million adults.”

1973 isn’t all that far behind us and although society was still pretty liberal when Shaffer wrote Equus some thirty-four years ago, gay liberation was hardly as common as it is today and bestiality was probably regarded as much, if not more of an aberration than it is now, but what I keep harking back to are Dysart’s words that question the origins of this type of attraction in an individual, when he says:

A child is born into a world of phenomena all equal in their power to enslave. It sniffs, it sucks, it strokes its eyes over the whole uncomfortable range. Suddenly one strikes. Why? Moments snap together like magnets forging a chain of shackles. Why? I can trace them, I can even with time, pull them apart again but why at the start they were ever magnetised at all – just those particular moments and no others – I don’t know. And nor does anyone else.”

Stephen Hawking has recently got together with his daughter, Lucy, to co-author ‘George’s Secret Key To The Universe’, in what will be the first of a trilogy of novels aimed at children between the ages of nine and eleven years. Said Hawking Snr., “The aim of the book is to encourage children’s sense of wonder at the universe. We want them to look outward. Only then will they be able to make the right decisions to safeguard the future of the human race.”

The story is about a young boy, George, and his cheery astrophysicist friend, Eric, who has a talking computer that provides access through a portal to the known universe. The two of them get their spacesuits on and use this entry point to head off in search of other planets to which humanity could escape from the irreversible effects of the warming of the planet Earth. The trip enables the two of them (along with the readers), to learn the basics of astronomy and astrophysics through illustrations, photographs and other means. Eric could well be Hawking’s alter-ego, as he has to depend on his computer to do just about anything – much like the severely handicapped Hawking does. Eric’s computer even has a ‘mechanised voice’, like the one that Hawking uses to convert his jaw movements into artificial speech. And when Eric’s machine is taken away, he is left in a black hole from which he can not communicate or emerge.

Hawking’s big break came when he established that black holes don’t just swallow everything, including the light and energy within their gravitational field, but that they also leak it all back out at an accelerating pace over billions of years. This phenomenon, known as ‘Hawking Radiation’, is what allows Eric to be rescued – particle by particle, from his black hole, and then reassembled so that the stories could continue by way of sequels.

The adventures result in George finally discovering that “…you don’t need an actual secret key to explore the universe. There’s one that everyone can use. It’s called physics.”

Here’s a quote from Hawking in Time from the article about the book: “The universe seems to be selected from a large class of possible universes by the fact that it contains intelligent beings who can ask the question: What is the universe like?”. And he answers this himself: “The universe is not indifferent to our existence – it depends on it.”

This statement made me flash on some of my earlier posts and comments with regard to ‘the nature of reality’, aspects of  ‘religion’, ‘being here and now’, ‘alternate realities’, ‘the joyous cosmology and others, including comments made in response to posts by Darwin, Janusis and a few more. The gist of what I was getting at is that the nature of consciousness is such that it only resides in, and depends on, the perception of the individual and, to put it in maybe an inadequate nutshell, with the ceasing of that individual consciousness, the universe ceases to exist.

So Hawking’s statement that “the universe is not indifferent to our existence – it depends on it” gave me a major boost, as it does (to me) confirm what I postulated, and as I have the highest regard for Hawking, it kinda made my day. Java, of course, had to put it in his own style:

Sheeet maan, like da gurus say – all is Maya.

Instead, Equus was an evening’s theatre dominated by a riveting and outstanding performance by Rohan Ponniah’s Martin Dysart, supported to the hilt by Hiran Abeysekera’s Alan Strang.

The British School’s environs were buzzing with the expectant theatre crowd when we entered the premises and I couldn’t help but get that ‘maybe something special is on the cards’ vibe as we took our seats. The theatre was packed, and when the lights went off and as the first bars of the opening music began, the vibe intensified.

I’m not about to get into the plot and the history of this Peter Shaffer classic, as it has been rehashed enough for those of us who are familiar with it to balk at repetition. And for those of us who are not, much information is available in abundance on the net. Suffice it to say that the play revolves around the relationship between a ‘disturbed’ teenager and a psychiatrist whose lot it is to ‘treat’ him. The supporting cast consists of the boy’s parents, the magistrate who refers the boy to the psychiatrist, a young girl that seduces the boy, a nurse, the stable owner and six horses.

It is difficult for me to put into words the impact that Rohan Ponniah made on me from the time he uttered his opening lines and the fact that he sustained this impact throughout in this extremely demanding role was, to me, the hallmark of a seasoned professional actor par excellence. Never mind that his most recent foray in local theatre was his role in another Steve de la Zilwa production – Anna Weiss – nearly ten years ago!

Hiran Abeysekera was a revelation and, unexpected as it was, personified the essence of the character  he played – a confused, tortured soul, whose instinctive action caused horror and shock – not only to society in general and to his parents in particular, but to his psyche as well. So much so that the action and events leading to it were successfully blocked from re-entering his consciousness. And this was effectively conveyed in his exchanges with Dysart. Alan’s was another demanding role played with a controlled consistency that conveyed the turmoil within that gradually subsides as the sessions with Dysart progress and will establish this young actor as a compelling force in local theatre.

Tracy Holsinger was the other actor that grabbed attention with her ‘traumatised mother’ role of Dora Strang, played with subtlety and with just the right emphasis at just the right moments.

One of the smaller roles that impressed me was that of the Nurse, played by Janice de Zoysa, whose debut performance promises much in the realm of future local English Theatre and whose Nurse had just the right amount of stern ‘no nonsense’ air about her to seal her characterization of the part.

The other was Subha Wijesiriwardena’s Jill Mason, whose coy, yet persuasive manner provided the impetus for Alan’s final act of unbridled violence.

The production itself was right on. The unostentatious, yet entirely functional set, effective lighting, appropriate music and sound effects, all combined to add to the total effect. Unfortunately, the night we were there, there was a glitch in the lighting at the end of the ‘blue film’ scene, where the badly timed ‘blackout’ left the stage hands moving stuff off the stage and left the actors hurriedly taking their places, all exposed to the light. Unfortunate, but inexcusable – and did take away from an otherwise nearly flawless production on the night.

Steve de la Zilwa’s direction of this difficult exercise is a compliment to his abilities in getting together an ensemble that is able to communicate his vision and interpret the parts accordingly. That aspect, combined with his aesthetic sensibilities made for a production that, with some amount of extra work, will stand on its merit in just about any venue anywhere.

Having seen the original local production of Equus nearly thirty years ago, it is virtually impossible not to compare the two. However, memories fade and much of what I saw then has effectively dimmed with time. But what I do remember vividly is that the horses in general, and their movements in particular, were far more effective than the ones in this production and where Richard de Zoysa’s Nugget very nearly stole the show.

A standing ovation at the end of the play bore ample testimony to the appreciation of the audience and left me hoping like hell that these guys will get their shit together and not wait for another ten years to provide us folk with more memorable evenings of Theatre that, like this one, will not easily fade with time.

If you haven’t seen this production and are interested in quality theatre, don’t walk – run, for tickets are nearly sold out.

Pembroke Pottifer went through his early life with a hang-dog expression – and who could blame him, with a moniker like the one he had! But ‘Pemby’ (to his more recent friends) had other attributes that many guys would trade their family heirlooms for. For one thing, he had the biggest whanger that anyone who had seen it, had seen. And for those of you who haven’t a clue about what a whanger is, keep reading.

Pemby was an old school mate and being boarders at College as we were, nothing about anyone was sacred, so if there was anything odd or unusual among us boarders, rest assured it wouldn’t be secret for long and usually some appropriately descriptive nomdeplume would instantly be assigned, and for the rest of one’s life in College that name would stick – and most likely old mates would refer to one by that tag for the rest of their lives.

As things turned out Pemby was tagged with the nick-name ‘Donga’ the moment he was moved to the senior dorm, where all juniors were moved up to at about the age of thirteen and where undressing and dressing would be done without the aid of a sarong or a towel around the waist. Bathing in the nude in the senior section was also mandatory and the ‘freshers’ who dared to buck the practice were soon sorted out through a variety of methods until they adapted – natural selection in action to be sure – or were ‘selected out’. And so, when Pemby went for his first shower, the boys who were already in there, and those who arrived soon after couldn’t believe their eyes. Naturally the news spread like wildfire and the tag assigned nearly soon after, and whether Pemby, who was very much into drama and art and also pretty good at tennis, was on stage in some play, or playing the championship singles event at the ‘pubs’ tennis tourney, he was always cheered on with the ‘c’mon Donga’ routine. The name stuck through College days and then a few years later we lost contact – until a few weeks ago, that is.

We were sitting at the Bareass Bar the other evening when this guy comes up and says hi. He looks vaguely familiar, but we can’t place the face (we later realized that it was because the hang-dog expression had disappeared) so we say hi in return. He then goes on to ask if we are who we are and when he gets the affirmative response, his face breaks out into a wide grin and he proceeds to tell us that he is Pemby, and that he was certain that it was us  -the facial growth and the obvious aging process notwithstanding. I get him a brew, he sits down and we exchange some parts of our lives that took place since those College days. Strange that we had both been in the same part of the States, but had no idea of each other’s whereabouts, although we weren’t far away from each other for most of that time. Getting into what we had done with our lives, Pemby indicated that  he was very comfortably off, with a house in Beverly Hills and although he never got spliced, he had loads of chicks virtually at his beck and call. And, he said, it all stemmed from his occupation.

In answer to what this fascinating occupation was, Pemby launched into a detailed description of how he got to the US and how things worked out for him. It was an enthralling tale of pieces just falling into place in the most serendipitous manner imaginable until he was kinda a ‘star’ in his own right. And now, even after all the years he had been at it, Pemby was still in demand and could command a sizeable fee for ‘appearances’ which, he said, he limited to just a few a year, spending the rest of his time traveling around the world with whichever chick of his choice was selected for the particular trip.

Java was showing signs of getting impatient to get to the bottom of the ‘occupation’ story, though I had already made a guess in my head as to what it would be. I mean, he did say Beverly Hills, right? And that’s where the movie stars and others in the entertainment biz reside. He also mentioned the loads of chicks he had access to, and flashing back to school days I had a good idea why! And then of course there was that mention of ‘appearances’. I knew I had to be right, but waited for Pemby to finish his story in his own style and time.

And finally, Pemby told us about how he had continued dabbling in the theatre-arts field through junior college and then at UCLA and paid his way with the earnings he got working at popular porn-video store on Sunset and with a few ‘bit-parts in art films’ – as he put it. Anyway, to make a long story short, Pemby went from ‘bit-parts in art films’ to getting his fertile imagination working overtime and ‘performing’ with his ‘art’ – until he made a name for himself and got to where he is right now. He gave us his website and we promised to access it to check out his history and accomplishments as we finished our drinks and headed out of the Bareass Bar together, promising to keep in touch.

Back home once more, Java’s at the laptop.

Heeey maaan, check dis sheet out.

And there it was: ‘Pemberton Pottifer – Performance Artiste Extraordinaire With A Difference – Next Performance (at the Louvre) Sold Out’. It appeared that Pemby specialized in setting fabric to esoteric music from the middle-ages and was one of the most successful performance artistes around.

How about that!

Always having been interested in Ethology, I often get totally absorbed in watching animals’, birds’ and other creatures’ behavioural patterns. And so this morning, whilst feeding the chickens some left-over crumbs of bread, I noticed a leech on Buster’s nose, removed it and bunged it in towards the hens that were waiting for more handouts.

The hens scrutinized the moving leech and several pecked at it, flinging it away and checking it out again. After the leach endured a few of these probably painful inspections it suddenly went into vertical mode and extended itself upwards to stand stiffly erect – like a mini leaning tower or a priapic penis. It froze in that position as the hens seemed to lose sight of it – or interest, at any rate – and moved away to peck at other assorted micro-organisms that got their attention. I watched the leech for a few more minutes and then noticed that it was almost imperceptibly altering its alignment, gradually angling its self whilst still extended to its full length and leaning back towards the earth. And then, as soon as it reached a very acute angle, it zapped itself under a fallen leaf and disappeared from view. I was intrigued at the entire behavioural pattern and wondered at the complex genetic defence mechanism that reacted instantly to save the leech’s ass.

Watching the leech made me flash back to my experience in the rainforests of the Western Ghats in India, when I was involved in collecting pit vipers for the (then) Madras Snake Park, where I was assisting Rom (Romulus) Whitaker (more recently of National Geographic TV productions fame) for a short while. One of the heaviest rainfall areas in the world, this forest was a paradise for leeches and hell for David Hayles (a budding Entomologist with an interest in Herpetology) and me. But that’s a whole other story.

Leeches are particularly disturbing creatures, being ultra-sensitive to the presence of warm blooded animals, one will be quick to attach itself to a host, be it mammal, amphibian, fish or fowl. Then, having sucked its fill of blood, it drops off. The hassle with leeches though, is that most often one doesn’t realize that they are feasting on one’s self, as their saliva contains an anaesthetic that prevents the sensation of the bite and the sucking process, it also contains a peptide called hirudin which is an anti-coagulant that prevents the blood from clotting and disturbing its feeding on the blood of the host. However, it is because of these qualities that the leech has been used extensively in clinical practice for purposes such as to remove poison from the body and in preventing venous congestion after some surgical procedures.

Here’s an extract from http://www.earthlife.net/inverts/hirundinae.html about leeches:

The most notorious leeches are the land leeches in the family Haemadipsidae which are relatively common in South Eastern Asia, Oceania, South America and Madagascar. Many of these leeches specialise in sucking the blood of mammals and the Ceylon Leech (from Sri Lanka) Haemadipsa zeylenica is a well known and serious pest to humans and their livestock.

Used for centuries to cure anything and everything that might possibly relate to the blood, they are still being researched today with medical concepts in mind. Millions upon millions of Hirudo medicinalis in Europe, and Haementaria officionalis in Mexico were dragged from their happy homes to be kept in unpleasant captivity until it was there time to sup the putrid alcohol and other drug ridden blood of unhealthy humanity. Many people made there living catching and selling them, to the extent that in much of Europe H. medicinalis is now an endangered species. Some people may even owe their lives to the leeches, a single H. medicinalis can consume 5 times its own weight in blood, but then it doesn’t eat again for 6 months.

Anyway, the morning’s observation will lead to a small experiment in due course, when I will collect a bunch of leeches put them in with the chickens and then watch the proceedings. Should be interesting, don’t you think? For an amateur Ethologist, that is.

It wasn’t as if she paid a whole lot of attention to the day in general, but nevertheless it did call for a celebration of sorts. Crawling out from under her duvet on a cold and blustery morning, she got herself the usual steaming cuppa to clear the remnants of drowse and thought about the day. Maybe do some baking – a cake, or does she extend herself and get into something more complicated? She turns on the music and lets her mind wander to nowhere in particular. At least it’s a holiday and there would be no having to interact with the folk at work all day – a definite plus.

The telephone rings – it’s the folk back home calling to convey love and best wishes and telling her how much they miss her. She flashes back to those childhood days when birthdays had a lot more significance – from the early childhood parties through to those teenage years and finally to her present set of circumstances, where a major shift in values didn’t leave room for a sentimental celebration of the occasion, except for those few and far between exceptions which were more often determined by circumstances rather than by choice.

But celebrate, she must – it’s just one of those things, she says to herself. The music brings her back – it’s Counting Crows and Adam Durwitz’s plaintive wail penetrates her haze…

…..Round here she’s always on my mind
Round here hey man got lots of time
Round here we’re never sent to bed early
And nobody makes us wait
Round here we stay up very, very, very, very late
I can’t see nothing, nothing round here
Catch me if I’m falling….

Maybe a glass of red before breakfast – just to set the pace as it were – and to get the day off to a sound start. And birthday celebration or not, she will get ‘smashingly drunk’ tonight.

Java’s reading this book on Cybernetics – dealing in particular with the study of control and communication in organisms – as opposed to that of organic processes or electronic systems. And that to me was pretty far out! I mean, Java is hardly the studious type, being more into picking up bits ‘n pieces from here ‘n there and applying his own system of analysis in arriving at the conclusions he arrives at. So when I saw him pretty much absorbed in the tome, no music on and no doob in sight, I though it best to let things lie and not disturb the flow.

Heey maaan, check dis sheet out. Know what? Dis cybernetics thang be ‘focusing on how anyting (digital, mechanical or biological) process informashun, reacks to informashun, and changes or can be changed to better accomplish da fust two tasks’. An hey, anodder descripshun be dat ‘cybernetics is da study of systems and processes dat interack wit demselves an produce demselves from demselves’. Coool sheet, huh?

I first heard of cybernetics through a book by Gregory Bateson called ‘Steps to an ecology of mind’ back in those tripped out and spacey days of the seventies in that City of the Lost Angels. Systems of thought and ponderings on alternate realities were very much by-products of the psychedelic adventures many of us experienced in those days when Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert (aka Baba Ram Das), Allen Ginsberg, Alan Watts and them heavies got it together to show folk like us that there were other ways at looking at the world – or reality, if you will. John Lennon and The Beatles, along with many other singers, writers and artistes brought it home to millions of others and so the changes in the value systems that the generation older than ours believed in were dissed as hypocritical and meaningless by a whole lot of the younger generation. But the cybernetics that Bateson discussed has branched out since then and now, from what I gathered from the liner notes of the book Java was into, one characterization in the fifties was ‘the art of ensuring efficacy of action’, whilst the more recent one was the one that Java referred to a bit ago – ‘cybernetics is the study of systems and processes that interact with themselves and produce themselves from themselves’. And this extends to all manner of disciplines – biology, computer science, sociology, engineering, management – you name it!

Say maan, dis ‘systems an processes interacting wit demselves’ sheet sound like dis blogosphere we be trippin thru – an ‘producin demselves from demselves’ soun like dem strands of dat DNA sheet, huh? An in de end do it turn out to be systems organizin informashun as best dey can like som kinda genetic code dat gets moved on tru time an space and temporary physikul manifestashuns?

I kinda sense that this is heading into those unchartered realms of Java’s imagination and don’t really want to take the trip. The morning started out to be one of those gorgeous hill country ones with the overnight rain leaving the leaves and ground cover glinting as the sun’s shafts lit them up. Since then however, darkish clouds have covered the source of shine and a gloomy outlook prevails. The dogs have been spooked by something in the garden, so this was a good excuse to make my exit. Java too may have felt the shift in mood as he moved to get his fixins and turned on the sound.

I caught the strains of 10CC’s ‘Life is a Minnestroni’ as I wandered out to get the dogs.

It really wasn’t all that important to either of us, it was just that the remark left all sorts of possibilities as to what was really meant by what was said. Or was it more important to consider what was not said, in relation to the chain of events that led to the instant?

Java was the one who brought up the possibility that although the remark was directed at no one in particular, the gist of the message could well have applied to more than one of those present. To take umbrage at what was said, if what was said wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, is to either be paranoid to some extent or to realise that perhaps it did apply to some personal chain of events that resulted in the remark.

If this sounds convoluted it’s meant to be, as it is a convoluted meandering of the stream in search of answers to questions that may never even have been asked! A waste of time for sure, but that’s how minds work when minds get to the place where reality is confused with what the mind sees as ‘behind that thin veil of what appears to be real’. Aaanyywaaays…

The club was buzzing when The Aging Queen walked in with her attitude properly in place. She always took care to keep the closet door closed as she had yet come to terms with disclosing her true feelings to one and all, and though some of the near and dear had definite inklings of her sexual preferences, mutual understandings left it all simmering beneath the surface. Heading to her usual spot by the bar at the end that was closest to the dance floor, she looked around for known faces of friends and the other regulars who, though she wasn’t close to, acknowledged each others presence with a knowing look or the recognition vibe. Squeezing through the crowded space on the way to the bar, The Queen was fastidious in avoiding touching the unattractive elements but anyone who caught her fancy would be rubbed against in passing – a tactic that had worked for her on more occasions than one.

Java was at a table with Alice and The Sandman, waiting on The Cherry Lady when he saw The Queen as she came in through the door. He saw her look around, but she didn’t catch his eye. In any event, they were in virtual darkness and wouldn’t have been easy to spot. He saw her get to the bar, order her usual V ‘n T and get into the music. It didn’t take long before she was really getting into it, arms flailing to the beat as she surveyed the scene for trade.

Just about then The Cherry Lady walked in and Java asked the waiter to get another round of drinks, with a Margarita for Cher. And then, as Java related it, all hell broke loose.

Sheeet maan, one minit we be sittin dere getting into dat music an vibe an da nex ting we hear what sound like a hi-pitch scream comin from dat dance floor space. Den we see a scuffle breakin out an dese bouncers shoving dere way tru dat crowd. Dat shoutin be getting louder an as we all look dat way, we see Queenie be right smack in da middle of dat dat fracas an we be hearin her high pitch voice even over all dat music. Dose bouncers soon be in control an we see dem movin two dudes an Queenie toward dat door. We hear ol Queenie protestin dat she never even lay a finger on dis young dark-skin dude, but da dude an his fren don hear her – dey both lunge at her wit profane descripshun in da ver-nac-u-lar of what dey be doin to her face, but dose bouncers know dere stuurf and save her ass. Dey push her tru dose dose doors an make shure da two dudes don follow her out and da place soon settle down.

Not long after dat scene be tru we finish our drinks and Alice an Da Sandman say goodnight, Cher say she be havin one more Margarita an den will drop ma ass off on her way home.

According to Java, the night turned out to be longer than anticipated, as Cher got into a game of Pool which led to more games and soon the place was about to close. And then imagine their surprise when who should walk in but The Aging Queen herself. Heading for the bar, she looked around and caught Java’s eye, but decided to get her drink and address the bartender instead. She gave him (for all else to hear, of course) her version of what had really taken place earlier and then, as if addressing no one in particular, but everyone in general, she said:

You shouldn’t play games, if you don’t know who exactly it is you’re playing with.

And with those words of wisdom, she looked around again and swished off out of the club.

Checking out one of the most popular (or would ‘most widely read’ be a more suitable term?) blogs on kottu yesterday I was struck once again by the vehemence of one respondent in particular who spared no pains to express his attitude towards the blogger in the most personal and vituperative way, even bringing the blogger’s family into the equation (okay, alright – it is Sittingnut and Indi that I’m on about – as if that would have required brains to figure out!). And this made me flash on the emotive responses that, in all probability, all us bloggers are susceptible to.

Ever had the feeling that someone out there didn’t care for you, probably based on your views and or perhaps a comment that may have been made? And have you ever felt suspicious that it was that entity who made it a point to tag your title on Achcharu with particularly insulting or caustic remarks? And did this train of thought extend to you ‘getting back’ at this ‘asshole’(?) by making comments and/or tagging his/her stuff with insulting stuff in return? And was this all based on suspicion? No? Never had that feeling? Okay – guess we haven’t been in the same boat at one time or another!

Anyway, this particular phenomenon does work in reverse as well – as I’m sure all of us are well aware of. Positive or complementary comments will, in all probability stoke that part of the consciousness that basks in the adulative expressions that result from a particular post – just as much as it will be quick to take offence at what is perceived to be a put-down. And the heavier the ‘put-down’ comes across, the more the negative will be the personal reaction, is how it seems to work. Unless of course one has the capacity to be totally objective and ‘see’ any comment in perspective, without attaching any ‘personal’ value to whatever is said – a rare state of mind, to be sure but one that may well exist.

What is weird to me about this whole phenomenon is that emotions are created by the mind towards nebulous entities in response to stuff that one perceives as being put out by them. And this results in either cultivating a positive relationship with an individual that could well extend to exchange of mail and even meeting up, or it could well go the other way around – resulting in negative emotions that could go to whatever extreme may be possible. And what is even more weird is that sometimes offence could be taken (for whatever reason) against folk who could well be ‘soul-mates’ and get to be close friends, if not for some misconception that results in exchanges that are seen to be obnoxious and personal. So how does one deal with this? Or does one deal with it at all? Does one ‘go with the flow’ and let the emotional responses take over? Or does one try to be more ‘objective’ about it all and let this reflect in whatever response one decides to apply to a given situation?

In the end I guess it is an ‘all is fair..’ game out there with entities that put their thoughts out in cyberspace for anyone to latch on to and do what they will with it in terms of responding. But shouldn’t there be at least a modicum of ‘decency’ or ‘ethics’, if you will, with regard to the reactions and counter-reactions? We have seen this in the past as well, with Groundviews in general and Sanjana in particular coming in for some seriously profane schtik for the views that they express. Of course cyberspace and the organisms therein allow the individual freedom to express one’s self in any manner one chooses to do, so it would only be by self-censorship that the type of vicious diatribes we sometimes see could be stemmed (all credit to those that allow this type of shit to appear as comments on their blogs). And so it goes.

In Java’s words:

Shheeet maaan, takes all fuckin types – but some types are more fuckin dan odders

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…the sound of one hand clapping

October 2007
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Ephemeral Ruminations by Java Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at wordpress.com.

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