This blog has officially been archived. Most of the texts have been deleted. Some of the poetry, fiction and opinion pieces remain.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Dear readers, fellow-bloggers, followers, friends and lovers,
I started this blog 4 years ago, in July 2007. While the blogging journey has itself been enriching and enjoyable throughout, I decided to put an end to The Queer Behind the Mirror [which explains the silence over the past few weeks, as I pondered the future of this online space.]
The 400+ posts will still be around till the end of the summer, and then I will delete this entire archive. HOWEVER, I also happen to be working on a different online project right now [ta-dah!]. If all goes well, it will be launched at the end of the summer. So feel free to come back to this space later this summer as I tell you more and link you to the new blogging project that's on its way.
And for the fellow-bloggers: that I don't write anymore doesn't mean that I don't read you on a daily basis! So keep the blogging up! :-)
I thank you all for your support, your readership, your fun comments and conversations over the life of this blog. Of course, I will still be reachable at: thequeerbehindthemirror[at]gmail[dot]com.
That's all folks!
humble post by Amak at 9:45 PM
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I thought about him as I woke up this morning.
I'm not sure whether it was the bad dream
Or the fact that sometimes, you can't help but miss
What you can't hold, what you can't touch,
What impregnated your body and touched your mind
In the violent and charming ways of a hummingbird
Flapping yellow in the virgin purple of a prunella.
I thought about him fondly, passionately, angrily,
Wondering what it meant to be in love with a man
Whose flesh you tasted, whose heart you ate,
Whose body you tied and buried, with your own hands...
Maybe specters haunt us in uncanny ways,
Like cold breeze sifting through door sills,
Uninvited, into everyday life, late night dreams
And spring mornings as we lay spread eagle
Licking the taste of blood off our parched lips.
Maybe abandoned lovers leave stains that,
No matter how hard you try, how hard you rub
(Bleach, detergent, soap...)
Come back and show dissimulated dirt
Under carpets, covers, bandages, skins
And under the pretence of joy, sunshine, clear skies
And bittersweet dew of memories on Spring mornings.
humble post by Amak at 2:32 AM
Friday, May 6, 2011
[If you don't know what NaMaBloMo is, please read here.]
So when and how did the month of May become National Masturbation Month?
Well it all started when Good Vibrations, a sex-shop in San Francisco, California (link here) decided to declare May the National Masturbation Month back in 1995. If we feel that the taboo around masturbation is yet to be broken in 2011, imagine what it must have been like in 1995? (Incidentally, 1995 must also be the year when I started consciously touching myself.)
Good Vibrations thought it was high time to raise awareness about masturbation and sexual health. The idea for National Masturbation Month was itself triggered after Jocelyn Elders (who was, by the way, the first Afro-American to be appointed Surgeon General of the United States, and that was in 1993; do the math) was invited to talk about AIDS at a United Nations Conference. Elders said that "[Masturbation] is part of human sexuality and perhaps, it should be taught." Due to the controversy that followed Elder's statement, she was fired by the White House in December 1995. (Thank you, Mr. Bill Clinton.)
However, Good Vibrations still picked up on Elders' suggestion and in 1995, the first National Masturbation Month occurred in San Francisco (and some other parts of the USA).
humble post by Amak at 11:43 PM
I just watched this wonderful video, made by BeLong To, an Irish organization for LGBT youth aged 14-23 (link here.) It's one of the best youth anti-bullying videos about homophobia I've seen yet, so I thought I'd post it here:
humble post by Amak at 11:11 PM
Monday, May 2, 2011
Charlie Brooker made this wonderful series for the BBC, called How TV Ruined Your Life. It's everything I like (and according to some who know me quite well, it's everything I am): cynical, critical, darkly humorous, verging of pungent bitterness... Ah, British humor!
This summer, I am starting a working group and running a series of workshops on polyamory. I think I'll screen this episode of How TV Ruined Your Life in my first workshop-- we're discussing representations of relationships in mainstream media, seeing how they frame our own imaginary and expectations about what our relationships are and/or ought to be and we're establishing ways to identify, acknowledge and come to terms with these moments.
This particular episode, "How TV Ruined Your Life: Love," is a must-watch for all the cynical lovers out there and/or for all the polyamorous lovers out there.
Note to myself: maybe I should start a cynical lovers' group along with my poly- group!
humble post by Amak at 2:48 AM
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Since I haven't been blogging much over the past couple of months (blame my thesis for sponging up all my writing/editing time), I found the perfect way to make it up in the month of May.
May, as some of you may know, is the National Masturbation Month in North America, which could, in effect, be turned into National Masturbation Blogging Month (NaMaBloMo). This month, at The Queer Behind the Mirror, we will try to bring in as many posts as possible (poetry, art, anecdotes, stories, articles etc.) about masturbation. And if there's something you want to share out here, please feel free to get in touch with me [thequeerbehindthemirror (at) gmail (dot) com] and I will be happy to repost, crosspost and guestpost your masturbatory pieces, thoughts, art...
humble post by Amak at 1:49 PM
Monday, April 25, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The Collège International de Philosophie in Paris reported at the end of February that a group of Hungarian philosophers were being persecuted by the Hungarian government and media. The philosophers are presently under investigation for having allegedly misused research grants allocated to them. However, the philosophers claim that they are being harassed and libeled because they openly criticized Viktor Orbán, the current Prime Minister of Hungary, and his administration.
According to the Collège International de Philosophie, the current campaign against this group of philosophers is symptomatic of other issues afflicting the intellectual circles of Hungary: the Academy of Science recently dismissed four philosophy professors while the director of the National Theatre of Budapest was publicly stigmatized for being homosexual.
Among the group of philosophers being currently persecuted are prominent European intellectual figures such as Mihály Vajda, Sándor Radnóti and Ágnes Heller. Ágnes Heller was born in 1929, and was a follower of Hungarian Marxist philosopher and literary critic, György Lukács. Considered the founder of the Budapest School of Philosophy, Heller was persecuted as a dissident in the 1970s, and, in 1977, she left the country and pursued an academic career, first in Australia and then in the USA. Heller has been heavily slandered by the Hungarian media over the past few weeks, to the point that she has now put forward a criminal complaint against the newspaper “Magyar Nemzet” (“Hungarian Nation”) for its constant attacks.
According to Heller, the accusations of misuse of funding are just a cover-up, exploited by the government and the national press, to be able to harass a number of philosophers for their leftist inclinations, and for having criticized, in both the national and international press, the current policies of the right-wing government in Hungary. In an interview with “University World News,” Heller said the following: “There were more than 100 grants [given for research.] Why had they picked six of them for investigation? They gave the answer. The attacked philosophers were all liberal-leftist,” before adding: “Why was the attack concentrated on me, when I have not received one single penny? And why immediately criminal charges? On what ground, if not as ideological harassment?”
Many European intellectuals are worried about the safety of their colleagues in such a political climate. German philosophers, J. Nida-Rümelin and J. Habermas recently published an open letter denouncing the campaign aimed at discrediting those philosophers. They actively called on the European Commission “not only to subject the Hungarian media law to a long-overdue legal assessment, but that, at the same time, in the course of this assessment, it [the European Commission] ought to take into account the general practices of the Hungarian regime and its agents, and in this case especially it ought to examine the treatment of critical academics and intellectuals.”
I hereby post a video of Heller explaining the situation:
humble post by Amak at 6:11 PM
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
On February 5, 1981, the Metropolitan Toronto Police raided four gay bathhouses in Toronto, arresting 306 people; 20 owners were charged for “keeping a common bawdyhouse,” and 286 men were charged as “found-ins.” While men were being verbally abused, beaten up and dragged out naked on the streets, this moment spurred what is now called the Canadian equivalent of New York City’s Stonewall Riots. Indeed, following Operation Soap (which was the name given to the raid and mass arrest), the LGBTQ communities in Canada rallied, got organized and steered mass protests. Thirty years on, this protest has now turned into what we know as Pride Toronto.
Thirty years is not so far back in time, and yet, in those 30 years, much has been accomplished, including, amongst others, recognizing the civil rights of LGBTQ and other minority communities, the passing of numerous anti-discrimination bills and the legalization of same-sex marriages. Three decades also propelled Pride Toronto into uncharted directions, altering the nature of the parade from a few thousand politically-conscious queers and allies descending into the streets to make themselves visible to what numerous activists now call “a big corporate party.”
While Pride Toronto “prides” itself on being one of the largest cultural festivals in North America, attracting up to one million people, the culture(s) being promoted by the 10-day event is still fraught with ambivalence: is Pride Toronto a political event, is it just a large profit-making corporate celebration, or, if it is a bit of both, how does Pride negotiate both these ends and incorporate them into those 10 days?
The crux of the question may be looked at in light of the debate about whether the activist group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) should, or not, be allowed to participate in Pride Toronto. The embers of this fiery dispute, ignited a few years ago, are presently being fanned again. QuAIA is an off-shoot of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, and is a Toronto-based LGBTQ group aimed at protesting the military occupation of Palestine by the Israeli authorities. While their aim, as a LGBTQ group, is to make themselves visible and vocal enough to state their discontent in the face of a particular kind of colonization and occupation, the queer communities, and the public as a whole, are divided over whether Pride Toronto is an adequate space for QuAIA to denounce the politics of the government of Israel (and other countries supporting Israel.)
Last year, the Toronto Pride Committee claimed that Pride did not have any affiliations to political entities or causes and that QuAIA would not be allowed to march in the Parade. Subsequently, the committee changed its decision at the last minute, and QuAIA was allowed to take part in the parade, but the words “Israeli Apartheid” were altogether banned from use.
Last week, Toronto mayor Rob Ford announced that the city would refuse to grant any funding to Pride Toronto should QuAIA be allowed to participate in the parade. Speaking to the Canadian Jewish News, Rob Ford stated that “taxpayer dollars should not go toward funding hate speech.” From Ford’s point of view, denouncing and expressing an oppressive political situation, in a public fashion, in a democratic society, is “hate speech.”
Rewind back to thirty years ago: had the protests of the LGBTQ communities in 1981 been silenced and shrugged off as “hate speech,” where would the queer communities presently stand in terms of civil rights and anti-discrimination?
humble post by Amak at 8:15 PM