Happily whipping Jesus

scourging of ChristThis is a marble relief of the scourging of Jesus, made in the 17th century. It’s a photo I took in the Vienna Schatzkammer, or Imperial Treasury, in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. 

What’s interesting about it is the erotic depiction of Jesus, lying on his back, with his hands tied, and a slightly floaty, dreamy expression on his face while the man on the right whips him. 

The spectator on the left is clearly enjoying the show. That seems to be an erection poking his robes up, and his hand hovers near his cock.

All four men in this image have happy expressions. The face of the man with the whip shows slightly ludicrous glee. I guess I’ve looked a bit like that too, when the flogging is proceeding well and the girl is in sub-space and all’s right with the world.

It’s interesting because it shows awareness of bdsm on the part of the anonymous artist. I’d have thought it was an anti-bdsm image, showing that men who respond sexually to causing pain are wicked, if it wasn’t that the face of the Jesus suggests that he’s in a blissful state himself.

There are medieval images of the scourging of Jesus that show that the men doing the whipping have erections, but those are less ambiguous in their condemnation of the minority sexual taste. In those images the guys with whips are depicted as barely human, almost demonic, while the Jesus figure is depicted with flecks of blood on his body and his face contorted in agony. In this one, they all seem to be happy participants, like the guys in the Spanner Case.

It’s also interesting, like some of the descriptions of religious flagellation in classical Greek and Latin texts, for showing the ways in which religion and bdsm can, er, bleed into each other. Both approve of extreme states of consciousness, and valorise willing subjection to physical pain, but religion provides a non-sexual framework that people can use to explain what they, or their saintly martyrs, are experiencing. Without talking about sexual pleasure.

Finally, it’s interesting that this image is far more “blasphemous” than anything like Andre Serrano’s Piss Christ, and yet it was accepted in its time as a sacred image. 

An note on Piss Christ

Piss_Christ_by_Serrano_Andres_(1987)I think Piss Christ is a beautiful image, which is different from it being a great work of art. A photo of Amanda Seyfried naked is likely to be beautiful too, but that doesn’t mean the photographer is a great artist.

However, it seems to me to be strongly pro-Christ in its message: that Christ, immersed in the human, is still radiant.

It isn’t blasphemous. As a non-believer with some active dislike for Christianity and Islam, in particular (also communism and fascism, for similar reasons), I like blasphemous art and wish there was more of it. And Piss Christ isn’t it.

But Christian art can be very moving as art even though the “message” doesn’t move me. I don’t let my dislike of Christianity as a worldview get in the way of admiring and responding to the St Matthew Passion, or the altarpieces of Tilman Riemanschneider. 

A night at the opera

I was at Rossini’s “Barber of Seville” at Holland Park last week.

It’s not my favourite opera at all. It’s probably not even going to trouble my top 100 favourite operas. It’s partly because I hate Figaro’s “Largo et factotum” patter-song, which is one of the models for the scenes in Disney animation films where a major character comes on and immediately sings a song announcing who they are. Anyway, most baritones make a huge meal of it. It hasn’t got much musical interest, and I can’t see how anyone can find it funny, so there you are.

Anyway, this performance made the best case for “Barber” that can be made. It helps comic operas a lot if you have singing actors who look the part at least slightly, and who have a vague idea of what might be funny.

Anyway, for once I fancied the female lead, Rosina. She was sung by Kitty Whately, and she managed to turn the boring virgin of most productions into a girl who’s up for it and well worth chasing. She doesn’t want to be chased, or chaste; she wants to be caught.

In fact, she sings this:

“I’m gentle, and respectful. I’m obedient, I’m soft and loving.

I let myself be ruled, I let myself be guided.

But touch me in the wrong way, and I’m a viper.

I’ll make them fall, before I submit.”

Which is a sort of Submissive’s Creed, isn’t it?

Gams of Brixton 2

Anyway, before I’d gone into the Brixton Electric, where the Public Enemy gig was, I’d bought a cocoanut drink from a stall. I’d held up the girl who worked the stall because I can’t figure out British coins. The size of the coin has no connection with its value, and they don’t always have numbers on them to tell you what they’re worth. 

So I’d been a bit flustered and embarrassed because I was being slow while she was busy. I explained that I couldn’t sort the UK coins out at all, and finally just held out a palmful of shrapnel and let her pick out the ones that she liked. 

But when I was in the Electric Brixton, when the lights came up again while Public Enemy’s crew set up, I felt someone poking me from behind. I turned around and it was the girl from the stall, still laughing at me. She said, “‘Ello, you”, in the South London voice.

Her face was shiny-black, her lips were plush and plump and the colour of ripe aubergine (egg-plant, to some people). And because she was laughing, her tongue and throat were shockingly pink, and her teeth blinding white. 

I said, “ye gods, hello!” Because I try not to swear when I’m talking to women, until they’ve said fucking, or fuck’s sake or at least bloody, first. “Cold-drink-selling stall girl! Um, unless that’s not your name..? I’m Jaime. Hey, it’s nice to meet you.” 

“I’m Mollie-o. Hey, Jaime. I didn’t pick you for a Public Enemy fan.”

I looked around. There weren’t many white guys there, come to that. “Well, I’m in Brixton, Public Enemy are in Brixton. I just thought, what can I do? It was meant to be.”

girls of brixtonMollie-o laughed again. She was bouncing. She was wearing a low-cut top, like of lot of Brixton girls. Her breasts were about 35 centimetres from my eyes. They looked firm, dark, warm, and other good things. They wouldn’t keep still.

“You’re being stalked by Public Enemy, eh? Oh la, I should be so lucky.”

“I’m being stalked by Brixton drink-sellers. Believe me, that’s better.”

“Hey, Jaime, you mind if I smoke?”

I did mind, a bit. But I said what a man says when he’s talking to a girl who isn’t a submissive but who is prettier than ciggies are foul. So she lit up. “I couldn’t get over you holding out that handful of change,” she said. “I could have paid for my ticket out of that.”

“Ah, but you wouldn’t have done that. I could tell.”

“Oh, I’m a bad girl, me.” It means something different when a girl who isn’t a submissive says it, but it can’t help but focus my attention.

“Bad girls are the best kind, Mollie-o.”

“Ah la, I am the best kind.” She leaned forward. Her breasts were closer to my nose. 

 And then I remembered a girl back at home. I’d made a promise that I was going to keep my willie out of the girls I met, until I got back to her. So I didn’t say, “you’re clearly the best,” and put my hand on her side, so that her breast pressed against the inside of my wrist, and pull her in for a kiss.

Nor, to take things in a different direction, did I say, “I know a way of turning bad girls into good girls.” 

Instead I only said, “Oh, you sure are.” 

Mollie-o smiled, with brilliant teeth. “I love your accent. It’s … your voice is adorable.” 

I said, “your voice is as cute as puppies.” The puppies came to mind because I wasn’t really thinking about her voice. Her breasts were irresistibly cute, they had a black circle at the tips – though I assumed that Mollio’s nipples wouldn’t actually be cold and wet. And above all, they wouldn’t keep still. “So are you.”

Mollie-o smiled and waited. I wanted to kiss her. It wouldn’t have been hard. I said, “Oh, you are a bad girl. But I’m going to have to go. It’s been lovely to meet you.”

Fortunately Mollie-o knew her value. It was my loss. “Hey, lovely to meet you too, Jaime. You have a good night.”

So there you are. I came to that town while I was spoken for. But I love Brixton.  

Gams of Brixton

I was at a Public Enemy gig in Brixton a few nights ago.

I’ve been staying with friends in Herne Hill, a town in Sarth Lonnin. Brixton’s the last stop on the Underground rail system on the way home, and I just fell in love with the place.

electric brixtonBrixton used to be famous for race riots, or inter-community tensions as we ex-parole officers say, as well as crime, hard stares and so on. But now the place is wonderful. It’s bursting with life. There’s lots of music being played on the street, also drumming if you count that as something different from music.

And pretty black girls walking three abreast down the street singing in harmony, not because it’s part of a show but because it’s a nice day and they feel like it. 

And a guy who offers services like making people fall in love with you, or making people come to harm, or telling your fortune and curing all your diseases is standing outside the station handing out his business card, because this is, after all, the modern world.

Anyway, Public Enemy played the local hall, and I went along.

I gotta go now. I’ll tell what happened later.

Bdsm and race 9

My thoughts on bdsm and racism aren’t going to come across as angry enough for some people.

I shocked myself when I was whipping Carol’s ass. She’s a black woman. Therefore, her ass is black, and that opened up thoughts about how she really could have been my slave. Just a blip ago, in historical time; and wouldn’t that have been hot? I liked that for a few seconds before my conscience woke up and overrode my cock.

But then, nobody’s perfect. Carol won’t do bdsm with black men.

Some men – white men, Asian men, even some black men – would never try to get to know Carol, because they dislike and perhaps fear black people. That’s contemptible in several ways, but on the other hand it’s good that people with attitudes like that keep the hell away from Carol. If they keep their distance, they’re less dangerous. So, at least within bdsm meet-up circles, that kind of racism is a self-solving problem.

Another group of men, mostly white and educated, will chase Carol because she’s black. Which is to say, they probably think it’s a bonus that she’s pretty, and by the time she’s told them to fuck off they may have noticed that she’s smart. But they’re after her because they want a black girlfriend to look good on the resume and “prove” that they’re not racist. Those guys are kind of tedious, though they mostly aren’t dangerous.  

There are racially based ideas about white women – that they’re stuck-up, that they’re easy because they wear revealing clothes – and so on.

There are ideas about white men, that we’re arrogant, that we have tiny penises (or is that just white Americans?), and so on. I can’t really get very upset about people stereotyping or rejecting me because of race. That’s because except for short periods in other people’s countries, and once on an Arab airline, I’ve never been in situations where someone’s opinion of my racial group makes any real difference to me. That‘s how racial privilege works. The privilege is not having to think about race.   

But sometimes, in a bedroom race is just a matter of skin that looks different to, and often nicer than, yours. It can be just aesthetics and sex. Skin to skin is good.