"The happiest place on earth"

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing." - Redd Foxx


The economics honours cohort doesn't seem as close as some of the other majors in Arts (and biology, for a cross-faculty comparison). Someone attributed this to competitiveness and size.

My sex bible was missing from Week 8 (coincidentally around the time some sofa room shenanigans started) to Week 11. It'd been hidden on 2 occasions before but eventually turned up after some searching. I had given up on its reappearing when one day it suddenly reappeared. However, it was gone once more 1-2 days later. I need to chain the damn thing.

Someone told me she entered the sofa room last year and saw someone on top of someone else, but they sprang apart when she opened the door. They really need to remove the screen preventing people from looking in.

Pseudo-Western has actually become better since returning to the new canteen.

I saw a guy in a long sleeved dress shirt, black pants - and slippers. He wasn't limping and I didn't see any plasters or bandages on his foot. I'd have enquired about this incongruency, but the lift door opened and he walked out.

I am told that from 1st October, the thermostats of all central airconditioning in NUS have been raised from 24 to 25 degrees to save power. It must be because all the new CCTVs they're installing everywhere are sucking up power.

There's one class where various causes keep being pimped to us. In all my years (damnit) I've never had a class where the pimping even came half as close - 1/3 to 1/4 of the current pimping is the closest I've experienced. Of these, one particular cause has been pimped so much and so shamelessly that I've decided that henceforth I will do nothing to support it (it doesn't hurt that it's a cause I'm morally opposed to too) .

Apparently NTU students dislike SMU too. Hurr hurr.
The RiceTable Indonesian Restaurant Singapore: "RiceTable. The Only Authentic Dutch Rijsttafel in Singapore!"

But they don't have Sate Babi!!!
"Television enables you to be entertained in your home by people you wouldn't have in your home." - David Frost


Fuggi, fuggi, cor mio,
L'ingrat'e crud'Amore!
Che tropp'e grand errore,
Fars'un cieco fanciul si alto iddio,
Conosci il tempo perso,
Per una finta se colma d'inganni!
Esci di servitu, esci d'affanni!

Non istar più sommerso in gelosia, sospetti, sdegn'e pianti!
Che'l fin de ciechi amanti
E in van pentirsi e finir in dolore
Per esser tropp'erore
Fars'un cieco fanciul sì alto iddio.
"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." - Bernard Berenson


"With these factors eliminated, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the failure of some Malay parents to send their children to kindergarten is a matter of choice, not necessity...

It should not be surprising that many Malay parents are uncomfortable sending their children to PCF kindergartens. The Straits Times, 18 September 1999, carried a story of a Chinese mother who put her son into a PCF kindergarten and her daughter into a YWCA kindergarten. According to the newspaper report,

She could not help but be struck by the difference. She noted that her [daughter] learnt to be sociable and confident, and knew her numbers and letters too. [Her son] was good academically, but he would hide from strangers and was poor in social skills. So [the mother] moved him to the YWCA centre and he . . . improved.

This testimony is consistent with the apocryphal evidence about the nature of socialisation in PCF kindergartens that was put forward to Barr in several interviews. PCF kindergartens socialise children into an academic and examination-oriented education system at the expense of social skills. It may be re-running a stereotype to assert that Malays place a high value on family, motherhood, social skills, inter-personal relations and personal virtues like generosity, but there is no escaping that there is a large amount of truth in this particular stereotype. Whether in casual conversation, in a formal interview or conducting a business transaction with a Malay Singaporean, one is usually struck by the gentleness and sophistication of the conversational skills, the reluctance to press a point or articulate a criticism, the comfortable sense of self-composure and friendly serenity. It reflects a rather generous spirituality and humanism that is commonplace within this community, but which is not in step with the dominant ethos of Singapore. This is not to say that these characteristics are innate. Malay mothers work very hard to teach their children how to behave, as do mothers everywhere. In this particular culture, however, these virtues are given a position of pre-eminence. Malays are capable of adapting to Singapore’s materialistic exam-oriented culture, and they have no intrinsic problems with engaging in capitalist pursuit of profit. But it seems that Malays are reluctant to enter wholeheartedly into the milieu of the Singaporean education system at the expense of these virtues. Hence, Malay reservations about the sterile anti-humanistic culture of the PCF kindergartens, coming on top of issues of cost and lack of Muslim kindergartens, have combined to generate a situation of underrepresentation of Malay children in kindergartens."

--- Assimilation as multiracialism: The case of Singapore's Malays, Michael D. Barr; Jevon Low

Cultural differences are denied or played up alternately by academics, but always for the same agenda - to prove that there is structural and/or systemic discrimination and/or marginalization which is unwarranted.

Or, in other words, the Powers That Be are evil.

Using similar mumbo jumbo, I can "prove" that women are not physically weaker than men and that claiming that they are is sexist.

We need more reflexivity here.

Friend: They did a project on how left handed people are marginalised.
Me: Har?
Friend: It's social theory - everyone is marginalised.

Friday, November 02, 2007

"Care should be taken that military uniforms such as the Army Combat Uniform, Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform, and the Airman Battle Uniform are not washed with optical brighteners, as these will make them more visible through Night Vision Devices or under low light conditions."


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Weary of contestations, negotiations and renegotiations.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

National Prescribing Service learning module -

"The only other comment to make about trandolapril are the unusual brand names: Odrik, Gopten and now Tarka (as a combination with Verapamil). Sound like the sort of medications you would buy over the internet from a bloke called Borat in Khazhakstan. "
"When I can no longer bear to think of the victims of broken homes, I begin to think of the victims of intact ones." - Peter De Vries


u r wt u wr:

- 'I ♥ to scope out slopes'
- 'Too busy to fcuk'
- 'You better make more than I can spend'
- 'Yoga keeps me flexible'
- 'Some girls have *4-leaf clover* all the luck *4-leaf clover*'
- 'I *soccer ball in heart shape* soccer players'
- 'Behind every girl. [Back] There is a guy checking her out.'
- 'Want a game? Adidas.'
- 'I like nice boys' (Yeah right)
- 'Some day my Prince Charming will come'
- 'Suicidal tendencies' (???)
- 'I am beautiful in every single way'
- 'I make boys cry' (I know this person)
- 'Taste of innocence'
- 'What I want for Christmas is 2 boyfriends' (Contributed)

- 'I only sleep with the best' (Worn by a balding man in his late 30s)

A tube top over a T-shit is the ugliest Superman I've seen so far.
"The murals in restaurants are on par with the food in museums." - Peter De Vries


I feel like a zoo animal in a cage.

There're ang moh tourists here to tour the library.

And some of them are taking pictures of us.

Monday, October 29, 2007

"My favorite thing about the Internet is that you get to go into the private world of real creeps without having to smell them." - Penn Jillette



Do you know, some guy said I have a bukkake face [Student 2: Was that a compliment?]

[On St Margaret's] I'm surprised the school buildings aren't polka dots. Then they can blend in.

[2nd upper person on the economics crowd] Just now this second lower girl rolled her eyes at me. I think she thought I was third class.

What should I bring to deal with stupid group members? Intelligence. Not present at the moment... Water, so I can shout and scream at them.

[Me: Get me a drink] What do you want? [Me: Surprise me] ... Do you drink Mango?
[Me: Then it's not a surprise anymore]

[On journalism] I love coming to USP for quotes. It looks like I'm going all over the university for quotes.

XXX? Is XXX here? I've seen him only twice this semester. I'll ask his friend YYY. You two guys alternate. If you don't come, he doesn't come. If he comes, you don't come.

I don't know what an armature is. Very few people here know what an armature is. Actually I know but I'm acting blur on behalf of the other people in the class.

[On a student's explanation] One person didn't understand. So maybe it's just his fault.

It's the RMS value. [Instructor: What's RMS? Come and draw a picture.] *sotto voce* I should just have kept quiet.

Can you explain? [Student: It's very complicated.] That's why I asked you to explain... [On the explanation] If this was an exam question you'd have filled out one whole page and you still wouldn't have gotten the answer.

I'm writing in horrible handwriting, because everything is in your lecture notes. Anyway I don't have better handwriting.

God might still be there, but he's not a useful hypothesis in Science.

[Me on why I seem so free: I do not engage in a lot of-] Pre-marital sex. [Me: ... Yes. That saves me a lot of time.]

[Student: ***, do you use a Mac?] Do I look like I use a Mac? Macs are for losers. *slaps butt*

Are you GEP?... You look GEP, you sound GEP.

Happy birthday. [Me: I should come up with a catchphrase to counter that.] You can say 'I'm GEP'. That annoys me.

[On Powerpoint] Make sure your names are on the title slide... Are you all ashamed of your work or what?

That cursor [is] moving by itself. It's getting closer to Halloween.

You with me or not? *swings head* That means we take a break.

How many of you have seen Bertrand Competition before? *Hands raise* In IO or in Micro? [Students: Micro] You guys know too much. Was today's lecture too slow? *Disappointedly* I had to spend time typing all these notes.

*Drilling noise* *In direction of drilling* Hey! Stop that! *Drilling continues*

What could [Claim] 3 be? What could 3 be? Let me end the suspense.

[On condemning people to hell even if they haven't heard the 'truth'] They could say, 'But I didn't know' and he'd say '*Blih*. Down you go... I know you such that if you'd been presented with the truth, you'd have rejected it'. What can the guy say?

die vine knowledge (divine)

[On God creating us in a way such that we'd act a certain way and only be secondary causal agents] But our actions are pre-determined. Which sucks.

In the other tutorial, they sit in the front two rows. In your tutorial you sit at the back. I can't figure that out.

Some people in Britain think the Elgin Marbles have become part of British National Heritage. I disagree with them. I think what has become part of British national heritage is the conflict over them.

Anywhere in the world I go I can have a hot shower, except for Britain. [Student: You're just being an American]... They have diseases that are medieval. Foot and Mouth Disease. Mad Cow Disease.

The British artifacts in the British Museum in Singapore... I came late. I thought we had the British Museum here. [Instructor: We don't have the Elgin Marbles here]... I was quite confused.

My mom, she's a horrible tourist... She says things that appal me... She's been to so many places, yet in some ways she's never travelled... She goes on and on and on and tells the man at the Turkish Restaurant how the Greeks have such great food... But one of the things she does that's very condescending: 'Oh, they have that here?'... As if it's a revelation... At one level, I can see a connection being created and fostered.

[On the ACM] We can't really rely on our coolie past or our convict past to foster [National Pride]

Liberal arts college... Sign of the times. 'What do we need to turn you guys into?'

3000 people in the woods somewhere. You wear sandals, smoke lots of dope. You also have issues of gender and sexuality. That was my experience of a liberal arts college in the States.

[Instructor: Who here thinks a liberal arts college in Singapore won't work?] XXX has to die... XXX has to die. ZZZ has to die. [Instructor: I don't... I want to keep my job.]

The teacher was droning on and on about mathematics, then he said: 'Now, let's take 5 minutes to do Creative Thinking.'... He flashed some transparency... After 5 minutes... 'Let's get back to work'

[On liberal arts in Singapore] We spend 12, 13 years [in the Singapore education system]. We're not ready for it. [Student 2: To interrupt you, respectfully, then what the hell is this class doing?]

Are you guys passing notes in class?... *sees notes* 'The evolution of the human penis' *I get slapped* Are you the resident expert? Your name is on it. [Student: She had props too. Peanuts.] [Student 2: Carrots.] *I get slapped*

I don't like the National Museum. It's one of the worst museums I've ever been to... I don't think I've been to a museum that downplayed artefacts more than this museum. They have these magnets at the entrance and people can play with them... Things that have nothing to do with the museum.

[On the National Musem] They gave me the little robot... I couldn't figure it out. [Instructor: Are you an arts studentu?] Yeah.

Everything has a narrative, even if it's 'I'm pretending that there's no narrative and I'm being neutral.'

It didn't feel like a museum. It felt like Epcot Center. [Student: It's like the Singapore Discovery Centre]... What happens there? [Me: You get brainwashed.]

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one." - Cato the Elder


Someone: this is a real acid test for any lit paper
with the ongoing penchant for jargon
which is like a pandemic in our discipline right now
few outside the discipline give us any sort of credit at all

Me: oh so it's not just me huh :P

Someone: fuck you lah, go to bed lah
i never said it wa sjust you what :P

Someone else: the moral from my project *** sems ago
'don't be the only girl in the grp'

coz guys are so SERIOUS

no matter how smart u are
even if u decide to say someething irrelevant/random/out of pt during a meeting
they look at u like you're a bimbo

and guys only talk to each other when there's only one girl
and not inform girls anything

Someone on the above: it depends also on whether the gal is a chiobu
it matters A LOT

Someone else (2): hahahaa
not as if girls don't do that

Frigid Girl: oh today they were giving out condoms in the arts walkway, so they gave one to me
and i asked my tutorial mate if he wanted it at the start of the tutorial
and he said, nahh
then at the end of the tutorial i asked him, you sure you don't want?
then someone else interjected, how's things with your girl?
then he said to me, I think i'll have that afterall, thanks

they just got together
which was why he didn't think of it initially

Someone: attend more conferences
fertile breeding grounds

all these repressed academics and students
im goin for one in *** next month

Tim the Great: horowitz london, funny

he come in, they standing ovation him
then he sat down
they sat down

then he gestured for them to stand up. then they didn't

then, opening bars of god save the queen
then everyone has to stand

i want yo yo ma's rendition of dvorak's cello concerto. dunno where to start looking

Me: record store

Tim the Great: ...

MFM: it's ok, most of your readers prob don't read yawning bread.

Me: so who reads yawning bread
gay people and?


MFM: politically interested people. I suspect most of your readers are just gossip fans

Han: or people who like to look at your hair

MFTTW: notice that uber-conservatives like to hide behind free speech when it suits them

but when you try to have some gay party..... oops, it's worthwhile to stifle free speech of the minority when it could lead to "social destabilization"

Someone: iya some idiot lah
i bet he also dunno anything bout the arts

jus a normal pop culture typical singaporean
so much for uni education


whos thio li ann!?
okay heres uni educationnot working on me
From Alfian:

Exaggeration and Intimidation: On Thio Li-Ann's tactics

In the press, Thio Li-Ann has spoken about one hate mail she has received, regarding someone who wanted to 'defile her grave'.


From her Parliamentary Speech:

"This August, I had my own experience with this sort of hysterical attack. I received an email from someone I never met, full of vile and obscene invective which I shall not repeat, accusing me of hatemongering. It cursed me and expressed the wish to defile my grave on the day 377A was repealed.

I believe in free debate but this oversteps the line. I was distressed, disgusted, upset enough to file a police report. Does a normal person go up to a stranger to express such irrational hatred?"

From The New Paper:

'I have already been insulted and received hate mail, even harassment.

'But should we be a nation of cowed individuals, subjugated by fear of being called hateful names?


Since her speech on Monday, she has been called terms like 'homophobic', 'unenlightened' and 'prejudiced' on the Internet. Some called her a 'fundamentalist'.

Many other profanies, vulgarities and four-letter words were hurled at her because of her stand.

Prof Thio said: 'One person expressed the wish to defile my grave on the day 377A was repealed. And I am conveying the sense of it in the most polite way I know how.

'I don't believe in repeating obscenities.'


Professor Thio herself was "shell-shocked" and made a police report after receiving an abusive email in August from an unnamed stranger who threatened to defile her grave on the day Section 377A was repealed.

"If it was just a rude letter, I'd let it slip. But this really overstepped things," the law lecturer told Today.


Some of you might be curious to know what was this mail that was "full of vile and obscene invective", with "obscenities" she could not repeat, that she had to censor by "conveying the sense of it in the most polite way I know how".

I reproduce it here for you. I know what that email is because I wrote it. And contrary to the TODAY report that said it was by 'an unnamed stranger', I actually signed off with my name, and sent it from my yahoo email account (the one I'm using here). This is the email. It consists of four lines:


Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2007 05:03 +0800 (CST)
From: "Alfian Bin Sa'at"
Subject: a valentine
To: lawtla@nus.edu.sg
Sunday, Aug 12, 5.03am

Subject: a valentine

Dear Dr Thio,

This is a personal note to you.

I think you are absolutely fucked up.

As long as you exist, with your hatemongering and your vicious crusades against sexual minorities, I will never leave Singapore. I hope I outlive you long enough to see the repeal of 377A and on that day I will piss on your grave.

With love,


Thio Li-Ann has filed a police report, accusing me of 'Intentional Harassment'. On 26 October, I sat for a two-hour investigation at the Tanglin Division Police Station at Kampong Java Road. The Invesigating Officer was a very friendly and helpful man. Those of you with uniform fantasies, please restrain from asking me if he was attractive, because I will not entertain that query. Anyway, he wasn't in uniform. In my statement, I reported the following.

1) The mail was shot off one night after clubbing with friends (hence the time). Before that, on the cab ride home, I had been told that Thio was the 'member of the public' who called the police, resulting in the cancellation of the 'Pink Picnic'. The officer asked me how I felt when I wrote that letter and I said 'aggrieved, wounded and helpless'. And then taking a cue from her Parliamentary speech, I added, 'distressed, disgusted and upset'.

2) I had sent only that one email to her, which I did not think satisfies the criteria of repetition and persistence that would constitute 'harassment'.

3) The phrase 'fucked up', to my understanding, meant 'dysfunctional'. I said I did not consider the term abusive.

4) I had not threatened her with bodily harm.

5) In fact I had not made any threats to her at all, unless she thinks being a fellow citizen with me in Singapore constitutes a threat.

6) As for 'cursing' her with death by talking about outliving her, I said I was merely pointing out the obvious fact of her mortality. I also said that since I was younger than her, I would naturally expect her to die earlier, barring any misfortune. The sympathetic policeman offered to change the word 'die' to 'pass on' in my statement.

7) On the part about pissing on her grave, I said that gesture was meant to celebrate the repeal of 377A. I also said that a few lawyers had told me it was not illegal to piss on graves.

As the interview went on, the incredulity of it all I think struck the policeman. I told him that if what I sent her constituted harassment, then it would set an impossible precedent. Anyone who has received any message through whatever form of communication causing 'emotional distress' can file a police report alleging 'intentional harassment'.

I asked the policeman why he was even acting on her complaint, and whether he had more urgent cases to attend to. I told him she was wasting taxpayers' money and state resources. I said this was precisely the kind of 'bully-boy tactics' that she spoke of in her Parliamentary speech. I also said I considered her calling the authorities about the 'Pink Picnic' to be an example of harassment, and that I felt harassed listening to her Parliamentary speech.

I ended the statement by saying that I hoped she was aware that many of her actions have affected and hurt other people. I said I did not discount the possibility of her receiving other hate mail, but acting on me specifically as I was a strategic target, having written plays with gay themes.

I am posting the 'hate mail' here, knowing full well that there will be those who will chide me for my hot-bloodedness and impulsiveness. I apologise to those who think that my 'uncivil' four-liner has somewhat sabotaged the repeal-377A cause. But I think the exposure of this woman's pettiness, tendencies towards exaggeration, as well as her wanton abuse of the legal system, far outweighs the flak I will inevitably receive.

Alfian. : )

(This is why I cannot be a journalist, hurr hurr)
The Internet in school was sucky on Friday and Saturday, and I'm told it still sucks now, but there's a way to fix it (not least since it might still suck tomorrow).


"From sofero-senpai, how to get around the problems of accessing those sites:

Dear all:

After confirming that while access to these services are possible outside the Local Area Network, a frustrated me called NUS ITCARE who then provided a solution:

In Internet Explorer:
Go to Tools > Internet Options > Connection Tab > LAN Settings > Tick the checkbox for “Use a proxy server for your…” > In the Address Field type in veron.nus.edu.sg, under Port field, type in “3128″ > OK to apply settings.

This according to NUS ITcare however, is only a temporary measure. (Seem like someone screwed up some port settings over there) They advice us to regularly check back if these sites are still accessible without the proxy server method

Similarly, you can do the same in Firefox. Just go to Tools > Options. Click on the “Advance” tab where you’ll see the button for “Settings” on how Firefox connects to the internet. Fill out the HTTP proxy as “veron.nus.edu.sg” and fill in “3128″ for port.

Addendum: It seems that some people can’t get on MSN Messenger. Well, you can try this: go to Pidgin’s download site and get their multi-protocol messenger (can sign in to many messengers all at once in one program). I’ve been using it all this time and didn’t notice a difference."
"The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything." - Walter Bagehot


"I have no real reason for uploading this note and it will probably be deleted; I just have a perverse wish to vent against such tripe.

The first eighteen lines of The Canterbury Tales, to cite what is probably the best-known passage of early English literature, articulate a dense web of cultural relations that structures and locates individual subjectivity, a web that we may call "heterosexuality." The lines seek to situate humans in the grand scheme of the cosmos, in relation to both the physical and the spiritual realms. They do this by specifying a network of categories, of binary oppositions...that structures the world of the Tales (and the world that produced the Tales) - and they begin with an act of masculine penetration of the feminine: "What that Aprill with his shoures soote, / The droghte of March hath perced to the roote." April/March, summer/winter, male/female, active/passive, desire/inertia (or desire/dullness, as T.S. Eliot would have it), fecundity/barrenness, generative nongenerative, sky/earth, spiritual physical, knowledge/the unknown, outside/inside, public/private, health/illness: a whole cultural paradigm, structuring the seasons, the labor, the physical life, and the spiritual development of humans, is set up: male pierces female to the root.

-- A Kiss Is Just a Kiss: Heterosexuality and Its Consolations in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, by Carolyn Dinshaw
Diacritics © 1994 The Johns Hopkins University Press

OH PLEASE. SHUT UP AND DIE. It's HIS because there's no word for ITS in Middle English. March is NOT called female. Just cos you see PENIS ALLUSIONS everywhere does NOT mean they're there: it just means you are profoundly desperate to have something "FRESH" to add to a library of Chaucer criticism in which anything remotely useful you might have to say has ALREADY BEEN SAID. How the HELL do you get 'labor', 'a whole cultural paradigm' and 'spiritual development of humans' from the stupid rain chasing away the stupid drought? You get THE WEATHER REPORT, that's all you get. Taking the first 18 lines of The Canterbury Tales and calling it a 'dense web of cultural relations that structures and locates individual subjectivity' also known as 'heterosexuality' is just STUPID PSEUDO-INTELLECTUAL POSTURING. You're MUTILATING a great work by appropriating and contextualizing it to suit your own devious queer-theory gender-studies agenda and THAT'S SHAMEFUL. NOW GO AWAY AND DIE.

It should be noted that the venom in my vent is due to my bad lungs and worse temper at being awake at 1:30am researching this crap in an attempt to write lucid essays."

The original article sounded funny enough to check out, so here are some other gems:

"It is certainly true that innocent kisses often occur between men at moments of heightened emotion in late Middle English texts-just kisses, as when Arthur and his court regretfully kiss Gawain goodbye as he sets out on his journey [596]. Such kisses represent conventional cultural practice, informed by the rules of courtesy and hospitality; there is nothing problematic about men's kissing one another per se in the medieval romance context, as there might be today in the United States."
This is a very problematic passage, since there's something problematic about men kissing women - what more with men kissing men?!

"The Fathers and Doctors of the Church saw that kisses between men could be sinful, a possible first step in homosexual encounters that were spoken of in terms of one partner's feminization-terms that make homosexual relations parodic of heterosexual ones. Though they are not in themselves mortal sins, Aquinas discerns in the Summa theologiae, kisses come to be treated as such "ex sua causa," "because of a wicked intention," as the Blackfriars edition renders it; kisses that are intended to arouse, to incite venereal pleasure, are properly called libidinous and are condemned as mortal sins. Earlier, Peter Damian ("The Jerome of our times," according to Bernard of Constance) had written in his Liber Gomorrhianus that "whoever is found in a kiss alone. . . will be justly subjected to the whole range of ignominious discipline" ("qui solo osculo ...omnibus illisprobrosae disciplinae confusionibus merito subjacebit"). The comprehensive and influential Penitential of Cummean (seventh century) regards kissing, either "simpliciter" or in various degrees of erotic involvement, among homosexual acts to be censured.'"

"The role reversal in the bedroom is represented on the first day as Gawain and the female deer-barren hinds and does-are hunted in narrative tandem. The animal whose slaughter is described is the mirror image of Gawain: finally killed, the throat is cut, the limbs are cut off, the doe is eviscerated, and her insides are unlaced [cf. 1334]. In a passage whose length has always been a puzzle-we know the gentry must have loved this detail; but it does seem excessive in this carefully structured romance, and such detail is repeated in the narration of the following two hunts (of male animalshthe animal body is split to pieces. I suggest that this unlacing of the body is the poem's visual representation of straight gender identity's failing. When such identity fails, the body perceptually disaggregates, because it's that heterosexual identity matrix that-ideally and tenuously-accords unity to the body in the first place. The straight gender behavior that Gawain enacts is so fundamental that without its guarantee of unity he is subject to-or, better, of-corporeal disaggregation. And such disaggregation threatens the possibility of meaning itself: "The image of [man's] body," says Lacan, "is the principle of every unity he perceives in objects" [Seminar 2: 166, qtd. in Butler, Bodies 77]."

"Gender, desire, and anatomy here are not, and don't have to be, unified. He kisses him just like a woman, but he doesn't break like a little girl. The parody of heterosexuality that emerges as we read these kisses serves to denaturalize for us such a notion of Christian heterosexual identity... We could imagine that Bertilak had more agency in this whole plot than he finally admits to Gawain-that his sending his wife in to Gawain was a way of bonding himself, via the woman, to the man... But Gawain is not a character given to parody, and neither is this poem interested in pursuing the homoerotic links that would unsettle its project of representing Christian knighthood. Any liberatory potentials of this parody such as recognizing a positive erotic impulse between Bertilak and Gawain and linking it to identity are unthinkable in the culture of this poem"
Funny - so much of what she says is unthinkable in the culture of the poem.
"Human beings are seventy percent water, and with some the rest is collagen." - Martin Mull


Potter is a lefty, says French philosopher

"PARIS (AFP) - Harry Potter is a left-winger and the seven books by J.K. Rowling are a diatribe against Thatcherite Britain, a French philosopher said Friday on the day of the last novel's publication in French.

"It must be said from the start that Harry Potter is deeply political and that the books speak of today's England," Jean-Claude Milner told the left-wing newspaper Liberation.

"Reading it, one can see that J.K. Rowling -- like many cultured English people -- believes there was a real Thatcherite revolution, that it was a disaster, and that culture's only chance is to survive as an occult science."

According to Milner, Harry's world of magic -- and especially the elite public school setting of the Hogwarts school of wizardry -- offer a means of resistance against a triumphant middle-class represented by the non-magic Muggles.

"Harry's uncle and aunt -- Muggles par excellence -- live like heroes of Margaret Thatcher's world, in a neat little estate where all the houses are identical," he said.

"One can equally say that modern England is a world where the Muggles have indeed taken power, first with Margaret Thatcher and then with Tony Blair -- a world where the omnipotence of the middle class is given free rein," he said.

According to Milner -- a professor of linguistics at Paris university -- the scene in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" in which Harry's aunt is blown up like a balloon is a satire on Thatcher.

"Here we can see a reference to (the film) 'The Great Dictator' by Chaplin, featuring an all-powerful middle class figure gone mad. And one cannot help but note that the aunt is called Marge -- a clear allusion to Thatcher."

For Milner, Hogwarts provides a refuge for the minority who wish to preserve civilisation from the dangers of globalisation. And he says Rowling's use of Latin and Greek words in her magic vocabulary is a kind of antidote against the value-for-money society of modern Britain.

"In the world of Hogwarts there are certainly inequalities. But at the same time, since culture is open to all, Hermione -- the child of Muggles -- can outperform Malfoy, the child of wizards," he said.

"So what appears as elitist is in fact real equality, as opposed to the false equality of the Muggles. In this, Harry Potter is a war-machine against Thatchero-Blairism and the 'American way of life'.

"J.K. Rowling is a real libertarian motivated by a desire to conserve. It is as if she is saying ... the real magicians are not Tony Blair's spin-doctors but people who know Latin and Greek."

As for the evil Voldemort, he is the "super-spin doctor". A wizard himself, he is proof that culture alone is not enough to save the world. Power-mad, he differs from good wizards because he lacks "nobility of soul".

"So we have on one side the Muggles, where oppression means power over things; and on the other hand Hogwarts, where knowledge enables one to resist the materialism of the Muggles -- but also opens the way to power over people.

"This terrible power, which Voldemort seeks and which we call tyranny, is one of the themes of Harry Potter -- and indeed one of the themes of English literature since Dickens and Orwell," he said.

Some British critics have in the past accused J.K. Rowling of conservatism for setting her books in a nostalgic era of boarding-schools and steam trains.

The finale of the series -- "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows" -- went on sale in France and Germany Friday, three months after it came out in the English-speaking world."

Of course, this has to come from a Frog.

MFTTW: they only published harry potter in french last friday?!
damn, no wonder the french are disgruntled.
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