Sweet dreams #5: Mostar bullet holes

Taking a break from the Probation Officer story. 

I’m leaving Mostar this afternoon. It was a beautiful city once, before evil nutcases started killing people for evil and stupid ethnic and religious reasons. The bridge over the Neretva river was one of the most beautiful things in the city and for a hundred or so miles in any direction. So evil morons blew it up, with, I expect, a passionate sense of righteousness.

Every so often I’d be sitting in the sun of the new peaceful Mostar, having a rakia in some coffee shop. Rakia made of fermented fruit, and it will burn a couple of layers of the skin of your mouth or throat every time you have a sip. And leave claw marks all the way down the throat. So it’s wonderful. You can relax, eye off girls, and talk about not talking about politics with people who speak English.

mostarBut if you’ve in a shop and you look behind a hanging cloth, or you’re in a market and you happen to see behind a piece of three-ply wood that catches the wind, you’ll see bullet holes in the stone or the old wood. And you can only hope that whoever tried to kill someone there, just a few years ago, missed. But it takes away some of the summer cheer.

Écrasez l’Infâme. In particular, écrasez religion, all of it, including the supposedly harmless stuff that gives cover to the murderous stuff. And the ideologies that work like religion, like communism and fascism. Fuck them all. Fuck ethnic nationalism, too. 

On the other hand, they’ve rebuilt the Old Bridge. Using as much of the original stone as possible. Hope, I suppose. 

Freud: Masochistic women caused Nazism

Freud wasn’t all crank ideas about Edward de Vere writing Shakespeare’s plays, and Akhnaton possibly running off to Canaan and re-naming himself Moses. He also had amusingly crank ideas about bdsm.

My favourite, from Eros and Civilisation is that masochistic women are so opposed to the life force, in their desire for negation and destruction, that they’re responsible for Nazism. 

That’s a paraphrase, of course. But it is the argument. It’s not as if women, or gays, owe Freud any favours. Nor do we bdsm perverts. 

A Dangerous Method

I finally saw this last night. 

It’s a film that owes most of its fame, I think, to the few seconds of screen time that Michael Fassbender, as Carl Jung, spends spanking Keira Knightley, as a patient-turned-psychoanalist, Sabina Speilrein. Which is not in any way a hot scene, though Knightley’s character is appealingly happy to be spanked. But Ms Knightley’s bottom is bony enough to use as a letter-opener, though it’s a bit ungallant to say so. 

The film was written by Christopher Hampton, based on his stage play. I found it slightly odd, in a way, because Hampton does treat psychoanalysis almost with the disrespect it deserves. But if we accept that psychoanalysis was pseudoscience, and a conscious business product, then why do we need a film that takes its infighting over ideas seriously? I’d have found a film about the marketing of psychoanalysis more interesting. Because Freud’s influence lasted longer than it ever should have, and that’s an interesting story.

The soundtrack – Howard Shore adapting snippets of Wagner – is great. It may be the best thing about the film, and I may buy the disk. 

Sacramentalized sodomy

One of the pleasures of watching the US election was watching the hacks pretending it was going to be close, and the Romney cheerleaders trying to convince themselves their man was going to win. I’m as excited by Obama as I’d be by any moderately competent centre-right politician who isn’t actually insane. That is, I’m glad he beat Romney, but beyond that it’s business as usual.

However, since then there’s been the meltdown from the religious right, who feel disappointed by the lack of respect they got at the ballot box. Now that has been exciting. My favourite dummy-spit is from a guy called George Weigel, in the National Review. It’s wonderfully sexual and self-revealing.

Those who booed God, celebrated an unfettered abortion license, canonized Sandra Fluke, and sacramentalized sodomy at the Democratic National Convention have been emboldened to advance the cause of lifestyle libertinism through coercive state power.

I like Weigel’s leap from typing “sacramentalized sodomy” to thinking of “lifestyle libertinism” being forced on him through “coercive state power”. He’s got his eyes shut and he’s waiting.

It looks like a suppressed gay thing, though that’s a cliche, of course. I suppose it’s just something that springs to mind whenever homophobic Christian Republicans say something more than usually weird. But the bit about him being coerced into libertinage by the state (perhaps by guys in sharp black uniforms?) should be pinging the radars of gay doms in particular.