Archive for the ‘Language and religion’ Category

Death’s end

February 23, 2018

Mick Stevens in the February 26th New Yorker:

(#1) The Grim Reaper reaped

I was immediately reminded of the 5th verse of the Isaac Watts 1707 hymn text “Lo! what a glorious sight appears”, which is set as the 3rd verse of the Sacred Harp song Promised Day (#409 in the 1991 Denson Revision of the book):

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Lexical adventures in the Sacred Harp

February 23, 2018

Two explorations in the vocabulary of The Sacred Harp, 1991 Denson revision, provoked by songs called at shapenote singings in Palo Alto: most recently, the occurrence of dragon(s), serpent(s), and hurricane(s) in Florence #121 (all of them unique in the book, according to Chris Thorman’s 1992 Concordance to the songbook); and a while back, the striking use of vice in Mission #204’s “luring scenes of vice” (one of two occurrences in the book, the other being in Columbus #67).  Elsewhere, there’s Cambridge #287, a hymn of resistance to temptation; and O Come Away #334, a rousing temperance hymn (with a history in German student drinking songs).

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Days of sensual pleasure

February 14, 2018

(Prominently featuring men’s bodies and mansex, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Yesterday, Mardi Gras, a day of license and pleasure (in all things, but especially food). And then today is Valentines Day, a celebration of love: romantic love, but also carnal love. Both high holidays in the gay precincts of the world. A matched pair from Daily Jocks and a steamy 3-way from the Lucas porn studios:


(#1) [header:] Hey there handsome… ❤


(#2) Diego Lauzen (left) and Wagner Vittoria (right), lovers in porn and in real life, plus Beau Reed (very much the man in the middle, a Valentine boy for them to share)

Header and text for the ad:

❤ Be Mine, Bareback Valentine! ❤

Lucas Entertainment features the hottest bareback action, award-winning gay porn movies, and the sexiest guys on the web!

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Between Parody and Pastiche

January 2, 2018

Today’s Zippy takes us to the rolling green hills between Parody and Pastiche:

(#1)

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No vacancy

January 1, 2018

In today’s Zippy, our Pinhead seeks signs … in signs, specifically at the West Motel, on Historic Lincoln Highway, 4040 Columbia Avenue, Columbia PA:

(#1)

Lord, give me a sign! he cries. And as Zippy watches the West Motel sign, searching for something to believe in, there comes a sign: the NO of NO VACANCY blinks on; Zippy is no longer vacant.

Plays on the ambiguity of sign and on the ambiguity of vacant.

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BF pornopaloozas

November 24, 2017

(Gay porn sales for Black Friday and beyond. So: men’s bodies and mansex, in plain language, definitely not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Most of the hard-core raunch is in a posting on AZBlogX, but here’s one BF ad (for the Lucas studios) that I can get by with here:

(#1) Some word play is evergreen

The ad is a study in lean, swimmer body types and also in rise heights for tighty-whities: from left to right, lo, mid, and hi. And it satisfies what ought to be a rigid requirement for all BF ads: a significant Black.

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Noodling with formulaic language

October 6, 2017

Today is National Noodle Day. Yes, an event fabricated by people in the food indusry to showcase their products and sell them, on a date no doubt chosen only because it hadn’t already been claimed by any other food. But noodles are delicious, they’re multicultural, and they’re fun.

I celebrated the occasion at lunch with some porcini mushroom and truffle triangoli (stuffed ravioli, but triangular rather than square) from Trader Joe’s, with arrabiatta sauce (a spicy tomato sauce). Pasta in English food talk for Italian food, but  noodles in English food talk for Chinese (and other East Asian and Southeast Asian) food — so today they’re noodles to me. (I recommend a broadminded view on what counts as noodles.)

I also recommend that we adopt a symbolic figure for the occasion, something like the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Halloween pumpkins and witches, Pilgrims for Thanksgiving, the New Year baby, and so on. I suggest the Flying Spaghetti Monster, with his noodly appendages.

But first let’s get down to some recent noodling with formulaic expressions in the comics: One Big Happy (an idiom), Rhymes With Orange (a frequent collocation or an idiom, depending on who you read), and Mother Goose and Grimm (a proverb):

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Ecstasy

October 1, 2017

Following up on yesterday’s posting “The archangel Michael” (focusing on the nature of angels and archangels, especially those represented in art as wingèd men), on to angelic music in the Sacred Harp hymnbook: on

angels, wings of love, robes of light, flying away, being carried away, ecstasy. With trumpets.

As before, I’ll start with the Christian context — of art yesterday, of music today — and move to sexual, in particular gay, interpretations of these works, finding in them homoerotic elements that were surely never intended. This move is straightforwardly sacrilegious, and therefore offensive to many, so I’m warning you now that after a respectful discussion of themes in hymn texts, I’ll turn to descriptions and depictions of flagrant mansex, but I’ll flag this shift, so you can bow out if you wish.

The connection is the ambiguity of the word ecstasy, an ambiguity that is rooted in a significant similarity between religious ecstasy and sexual ecstasy: being transported or carried away, in mind and body, by an experience.

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The archangel Michael

September 30, 2017

(And other wingèd men.)

Yesterday was Michaelmas, devoted to Saint Michael the Archangel, a figure of great power and terrible beauty, who among other things lent his name to the gorgeous autumn-blooming aster commonly known as the Michaelmas daisy (see my 10/5/13 posting).

(Today on the calendar of religious holidays it’s Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. A very different thing.)

Angels and archangels are messengers of god, also protectors. As protectors, they can be either militant (usually masculine) or maternal (usually female);  Michael, wielding his sword against the serpent / Satan, is definitely one of the militant band — but he can be portrayed either as a muscled hero (an Achilles or Ares figure) or as an ethereally beautiful young man doing holy battle (so a hybrid of Apollo and Ares, but Christian).

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Revisiting 5: Don Bosco

August 25, 2017

Brief follow-up to my 8/20 posting about Bosco chocolate syrup as an artistic medium — a posting that led to Don Bosco being my morning name a couple nights ago.

(#1) Giovanni / Gio / John / Don Bosco

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