In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"


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Beyond Monogamy: exploring the possibilities of the human heart

No Place For Sheep

monogamy not amrried to the idea

Like many of our abstract sacred moral concepts, the cult of monogamy is reified to the degree that it’s considered “natural” for humans to live within its framework. Never mind that people break out all the time, and that the entirely monogamous relationship exists more in the theory than in the practice, still the monogamous ideal dominates our culture’s sexual and loving relationships.

However, “it just is” has never been a persuasive argument for me, and the reification fallacy of misplaced concreteness always comes in useful when thinking about morality.

I’ve wondered often if one of the unacknowledged goals of monogamy is to protect us from experiencing difficult emotions such as jealousy, insecurity, a sense of abandonment, of being displaced by another. Of loss, of insignificance, and so on. These are emotions we first experience in childhood, for some of us when we acquire siblings, and for all of…

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Today in Madonna History: October 2, 1992

Funny how things change with a little time seasoning. I did not appreciate Madonna when I first heard her, probably the song “Holiday,” finding her music too bubble gum and her vamp style too demeaning to women with her kitten sexo-fascist look and a less than subtle attempt to capitalize on sex. It was 1983, and I was still into Joni Mitchell and the Rolling Stones, suffering through Michael Jackson’s Thriller, admittedly a great album, though far too pop for me, rock-alternative elitist in my own mind and leftover feminist hippy. My heyday was in the 70s.

Like many amateur critics of the time, I thought the 80s were bereft of music with soul–all that techno machinery replacing actual musicians and musicianship swapped for computers. It wasn’t until her song “Live to Tell” from the movie At Close Range that I stopped to listen to her, her voice, her passion, her captivating eeriness. The movie was a tough movie, and I thought the song was rendered well against the backdrop of the grim and complex themes only one of which was rape. I did not see the movie–only read about it and opted out–but felt it in her song. I thought that was a telling tribute to her talent as a singer/songwriter (though a collaborative effort).

After that, I listened to her music through the years with a more open mind and attuned ear about both music and sex. Some songs I liked and some I did not. When I truly began to appreciate her was when I saw the imitators–ostensible innovators to the uninitiated–follow along on her coattails, thriving off the capital of her inroads into the hip and campy hypno-sex as music scene, only one of whom I consider the most famous and imitative, Lady GaGa. Imitation is not necessarily the litmus test of greatness but combined with prolific productivity and time, there is something there that will turn Madonna (yes, some would argue already is) into the icon she deserves to be, even in my mind. Maybe that something is maturity, mostly mine.

Today In Madonna History

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On October 2 1992, Madonna’s “Erotica” video premiered on MTV.

The “Erotica” video was directed by fashion photographer Fabien Baron, and featured a masked Madonna in a dominatrix costume. It also featured celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Isabella Rossellini and Big Daddy Kane. The video was highly controversial, being aired by MTV a total of three times, before becoming Madonna’s second video to be banned, after “Justify My Love” in 1990.  

MTV spokeswoman Linda Alexander said, “The themes of the video are clearly aimed at a more adult audience. It is not appropriate for a general viewing audience”.

The footage of Madonna lip-synching the song in her S&M dominatrix costume was filmed on August 22, 1992 at The Kitchen in New York City, while the rest of the footage for the video was shot during the photo sessions for Madonna’s “Sex” book.  

In order to imitate the look of old home-made movies, the entire video…

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The “Gaze” Captures and Can Kill.

literary lew

The eye is powerful for it captures reality for us and the image it creates then becomes our “reality.” But the “reality” thus captured is only a snapshot and is not actually “reality.” Here is a short video clip which vividly illustrates the illusory nature of what our eyes capture. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr6VawX2nr4)

Now the impact of this approach is not that the “snap shots” that we live by, which compose our reality, are unimportant. We can’t live and function without this composite snapshot we carry with us each day, a template through which we see the world. But this insight does help us to see that from time to time we can back off a bit with what we “think” we see and be less certain about making pronouncements about it. In other words, we can be a little more humble.

Technically, a further qualification is in order. The “eye”…

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A Letter To My Father’s Mistress

Life as the other woman is just SO hard. You can’t put pictures of your cute little getaways on social media, you can’t brag to all of your friends how awesome your new man is, and you can’t bring him home to meet the folks. Your sleepovers are few and far between and you know you’ll never get that goodnight or good morning text from him because he’s at home with his family. Oh shit — did you forget about those other people? Y’know, his wife? His children? You probably didn’t think it would matter; you probably figured it was just a little affair and we would never find out. We’ll just go on and live the rest of our lives completely unaffected by it, right?

Nope. I am the child of a cheating father and believe me, I’ve been deeply affected by the mistakes you’ve made. In fact the pain that you’ve caused me will follow me for the rest of my life. Soon after my father’s infidelities came to light I struggled with depression, anxiety, and binge drinking — problems that I had never had before you were around. I was in so deep I didn’t realize I was spiraling out of control until I had nearly destroyed my academic career, my friendships and my relationships. The selfish choices you made ruined my whole family. Not just my mom, and not just me or my sister either. But his parents too. His sisters, nieces and nephews. My mom’s sisters and her nieces and nephews. It ruined my relationship with my boyfriend of two years because I couldn’t deal with the stress you caused. People have openly mocked me about my dad being a philanderer and I can’t say anything back because it’s true. Do you have any idea how it feels to come home to your crying, depressed mother and have to be the one to comfort her because of mistakes YOU made? Members of my family (myself included) had mental breakdowns because of the pain that YOU caused. The worst part is that I had to accept you or face the threat of being cut out of my father’s life. Because, after all of this, he’s still crass enough to continue dating you. Yeah, he may have left her, but don’t you dare believe he ever did it for you.

THIS is not a little affair and you’re ruining people’s lives far beyond your own. It’s bad enough to disregard his wife, but the damage you’ve caused me and everyone else will haunt us forever and you will eventually pay for what you’ve done. You can attempt to justify your decision by saying he was unhappy and that, if it weren’t you, he would have probably just cheated with another woman. But it’s not your place to decide “If not me, someone else.” You let it be someone else.

Thought Catalog

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Life as the other woman is just SO hard. You can’t put pictures of your cute little getaways on social media, you can’t brag to all of your friends how awesome your new man is, and you can’t bring him home to meet the folks. Your sleepovers are few and far between and you know you’ll never get that goodnight or good morning text from him because he’s at home with his family. Oh shit — did you forget about those other people? Y’know, his wife? His children? You probably didn’t think it would matter; you probably figured it was just a little affair and we would never find out. We’ll just go on and live the rest of our lives completely unaffected by it, right?

Nope. I am the child of a cheating father and believe me, I’ve been deeply affected by the mistakes you’ve made. In fact…

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