Archive for October, 2021

Superhero action

October 31, 2021

(Male genitals and sexual acts discussed in street language, so not for kids or the sexually modest)

In my 9/15/21 posting “Items of gay decor”, the section on The ritual of the action figures displays the Action Three — Leather Carlos, Tom of Finland’s Rebel, and Army Tyson (all of them hyperbolically homomasculine articulated toy figures variously labeled as dolls or action figures) — in the company of their woolly mammoths, under the blazing sun in one corner of my bedroom

And now, having contemplated (in my 10/28/21 posting “His fathers’ powers”) the complex lives of the superheroes (especially Aquaman, his husband Plastic Man, and the superhero son of their mating — superheroes have come a long way since the days of my childhood with Superman), I invited three D.C. Comics superheroes to join the Action Three, to serve as their power guides: Batman for Tyson, Superman for the Rebel, and the Flash for Carlos. It was time for some Superhero action.


Bearing the face for our era

October 30, 2021

In every era, in every milieu, there arises one man with the Face of Humane Wisdom.


Seven faces

October 29, 2021

Seven portraits of men (from 1875 through 1910) by John Singer Sargent, evoking character and state of mind, or celebrating male beauty, or both. Spurred by the appearance on Pinterest of this extraordinary charcoal sketch (from 1900-1910) of the young Italian man Olimpio Fusco (with his address on it!):

(#1) Fusco appears in at least one other drawing of Sargent’s — more explicitly sensuous —  in which he’s lying, naked, on his back in bed; these two drawings have led critics, with great caution, to describe Fusco as perhaps a “romantic interest” of Sargent’s

Put that aside for a moment, while I add that Sargent can fairly be described as having been a compulsive artist — always ready to dash off  a sketch or draft of pretty much anything he saw that caught his eye: colorful flowers, children playing, women’s clothing, faces (all kinds of faces, but especially men’s), street scenes, landscapes and seascapes, whatever. He did this sometimes with an eye to developing the sketches into works that could be exhibited or sold, but often just for his own pleasure. Sometimes for his very private pleasure, as in a large body of male nudes (many quite sensuous) created over the years, a selection of which were published finally in 1999, in this volume of John Esten’s:


His fathers’ powers

October 28, 2021

It ends in a distressing moment at the therapist’s, in a Psychiatrist-meme Rhymes With Orange cartoon from 10/24. Here I show only the troubled patient, the engaging young superhero OP Man; the missing therapist’s response supplies what amounts to the punchline of the joke, which I’ll delay for a while, until I can say a bit more about the lives of the superheroes (among them, the patient’s two fathers):

(#1) Same-sex relationships, up to and including marriage and mating, have come to the world of superheroes; as for same-sex mating, superheroes, not being subject to the limitations of human anatomy (in sexual matters as well as others), have abilities way beyond those of ordinary mortals — so OP Man inherits his powers equally from his two fathers

But what does it mean to say that Aquaman and Plastic Man were drawn to one another romantically and sexually, and then married and mated (in some order), to produce OP Man? Superheroes often exist in other worlds, on timelines quite different from ours, and (like the gods of classical mythology) routinely manifest themselves in a variety of ways — differing in form and character and inclinations and abilities. Jupiter, as lord of the sky, manifests himself not only in something like human form, but also in thunder, lightning, or in rain (I am fond of his manifestation as Jupiter Pluvius, probably because the name is a nice double dactyl, in both Latin and English) or as an eagle (also a favorite of mine, because I’m etymologically a sea eagle, though I’m not otherwise Jovian), and that’s just the beginning.

So: some manifestation of Aquaman and some manifestation of Plastic Man — there are many of each — had their worlds and timelines intersect in such a way that they could join together and raise a superhero son someplace, sometime, an OP Man who has now manifested himself in a fictive cartoon world that in many ways resembles our own and that seems to be roughly contemporaneous with our current time. Whoa.


DI Halloween

October 27, 2021

In the 10/26 daily cartoon by Ellis Rosen on the New Yorker site, Halloween comes to two guys on a Desert Island:

(#1) In real life, trick-or-treaters sometimes appear at a house unexpectedly, causing the residents to scramble to find some candy, or something, to give them — now, relocate this mundane scene to a cartoon-memic Desert Island

Pretty much anything that a cartoonist transports from real life to the DI situation is going to be deeply absurd: Where, on a tiny bit of beach in the middle of a tropical ocean, would some candy be stashed, especially without the castaways knowing about it? And how did a boat of trick-or-treaters find their way to the island? (Why, in fact, would they go to such trouble for such a slight chance of reward?)

But then every Desert Island is a theatre of the absurd.

So much for the basics. Now to branch off in several directions.


Four ladies in red

October 26, 2021

From my old friend Matt Adams a few days ago, a wonderful sexy-funny image of his creation, composed while he and his husband Justin were on holiday at a gay b&b in the Canary Islands — a thoroughly satisfying semi-tropical place for people who live in the Netherlands, as Matt and Justin do, to vacate in while their adopted country slips into northern European winter (and all without leaving the EU); and of course a major travel destination for gay men (the beaches, in particular, are fabulous).

The composition, which I’ll analyze in more detail in a later posting, uses an image of Matt being playfully flirty while projecting an intense, earthy cruise (like, you can almost smell his sweat) — designed, if you’re in Matt’s intended audience, to make you laugh out loud and arouse you sexually, all at once. (Hey, it worked for me.)

Meanwhile, as background and counterpoint, Matt used one of four photos on display in that b&b in the Canaries, the Ladies in Red: highly sexualized (and stylized) images of women, which I would characterize as pin-up head shots, dripping with the redness of hot femininity and sexual bodyparts.

Today’s posting is mostly about the Ladies in Red. Matt and I haven’t been able to find out anything about the source of the images; they’re picked up and used in various advertisements (without credit), and Google Images seems to offer only that they’re stock photos of pin-up women. But there are at least four of them, and they’re clearly part of a thematic set. So one function of this posting is to present them to my readers in the hope that somebody out there can find out where they come from and what they were originally designed for.


Tell me, stranger, of your high-end “”

October 25, 2021

Briefly, and without any photos, about the latest baffling offer to share the resources of this blog, in exchange for something or other. Previously in this vein: my 9/14/21 posting “May I use you?:

More adventures in blogging, this time in dealing with correspondents who want to use my blog for some purpose of their own, in exchange for something; the nature of these proposed deals is usually unclear to me

And then today, mail from FN LN, with the header:

Collaboration with Arnoldzwicky?

Here at the colossus of content that is Arnoldzwicky, our sharp feral ears, tuned to detect bullshit, tingled with suspicion. Which was then amply confirmed by the body of the message:


Bug on the couch

October 24, 2021

The 10/23 Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, a Psychiatrist cartoon, with a bug — specifically, a mosquito — on the couch (Wayno’s title: “Interspecies therapy”):

(#1) Consider the mosquito, how it grieves (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 8 (an unusually large number) in this strip — see this Page.)

Not just the Psychiatrist meme (with all of its conventions), but also:

— the intersection of the human world (in which people go to therapists) and the insect world (in which mosquitoes have six legs, antennae, compound eyes, and proboscises)

— the bug-on-windshield trope

— Rorschach ink blots, as used by clinical psychologists

— autopsy photos

— fatal polytrauma, such as sometimes occurs in car crashes

Fully appreciating the cartoon then calls on a wide range of knowledge, both factual and cultural. I’ll take for granted here the (extensive) conventions of the Psychiatrist meme and go on to the rest.


Men in the air

October 23, 2021

… with showers, gusty winds, and some concomitant masculine property damage, between 2 and 3 p.m., likely tapering off within an hour or two. Then this Karl Stevens cartoon from the 10/25 New Yorker:

(#1) “It’s raining men, every specimen /  Tall, blonde, dark and lean / Rough and tough and strong and mean”


The end of the alphabet

October 22, 2021

Well, the Latin alphabet as used for writing English. Its Ω is Z, my letter: [zɛd] most Anglophone places, [zi:] in Anglophone America (meanwhile, it’s [tsɛt] in the language of my grandparents). Suddenly relevant once again when I stumbled on the Z-named  disc jockey Zedd, who led me to other Z-names: the singer / songwriter Zee Ali, the transgressive filmmaker Nick Zedd, and the robotic entertainer David Zed.

There are more; these four share the characteristic that their Z-names are professional names they’ve adopted. Their birth names, in order: Anton Zaslavski, Izyan Alirahman, James Harding, David Kirk Traylor.