Posted: January 13th, 2013 | Author: Darwin Harmless | Filed under: freedom of speech and rule of law, How Weird is our Culture, If you read nothing else on this site, read this., justice delayed or denied, Personal issues, sexuality, Uncategorized | No Comments »
Meet Kayla Bourque. This lovely young woman is a fan of serial killers, slasher movies, and sadistic sex. You can check out her self-portrait on this website where she goes by the name of MurderErotica.
Ms. Bourque hit the news recently after she tortured and eviscerated the family dog while videotaping the event and providing live narration. She had previously disemboweled and dismembered her cat back in Prince George where she spent her childhood, and she revealed this, one imagines gleefully, to a classmate at Simon Fraser University where she was a criminology student. The classmate, not as enthusiastic about cruelty to animals as was Kayla, went to the police and the subsequent police investigation uncovered the video of Kayla’s fun with the family dog. That lead to her arrest and incarceration for six months.
I imagine the investigating authorities, and those who examined Kayla’s brain box and the evidence on video, were horrified. The problem is, there is no legal reason to hold her in custody. She was not, technically speaking, crazy. So they reluctantly released her, with as many restrictions as they could find excuses to impose, 46 conditions in total, including that she is to keep a strict curfew and have no contact with birds, animals, children, the elderly, knives, colleges, universities or (most dangerous at risk of all) the Internet. They also put out a warning to the general public, featuring her picture and a description of her crimes, with the information that she is dangerous and “a high risk to re-offend”.
When that picture and warning hit FaceBook, it went viral. Much swooning and hand wringing ensued, not to mention violent fantasies of giving Kayla Bourque the same treatment she had given the family pets. Many were the calls for her continued incarceration.
A very few of the FaceBook comments were calmly rational and simply questioned how such a person could come to be the way she is. But many were threatening violence, or fantasizing violence enacted on Kayla, while at the same time calling for Kayla to be incarcerated because she has violent fantasies. Irony is wasted on some people.
Anyway, Kayla Bourque is out on the street, at least during daylight hours. Monsters walk among us, and they can be very hard to recognize as monsters.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, a man who has never hurt any living creature as far as we know is also facing criminal charges and legal sanctions.
Remy Couture is a special effects and makeup artist. But Remy Couture’s work is simply too realistic. So realistic, in fact, that pathologists were supposedly unable to be certain that no actual homicide had taken place. He’s been charged with corrupting morals. Corrupting morals? Do you ever get the feeling that the authorities have a lot of nerve charging an artist with that “crime” in today’s world, a world in which the president of the United States kills civilians in far away countries with drones flown by video game pilots in Arizona?
The very term, “corrupting morals”, harkens back to the days when everybody seemed to be so very sure about what was moral and what wasn’t, and most of the time got it wrong. It brings to mind the burning of witches.
The article I linked to doesn’t say what punishment Couture faces if found guilty. But the mere fact that he’s gone to trial should be enough to freak out any fan of realism in cinema or art.
I can understand the need for a public warning on the release into society of somebody like Kayla Bourque. The fact that she has acted on her fantasies in the past must surely indicate that she would like to take her fantasy life out into the real world. It would be irresponsible of the authorities to refrain from warning the general public, no matter what the social consequences for Ms. Bourque. The violent fantasies she inspires in the FaceBook commenters are less excusable. Perhaps, like Remy’s art, that is her real crime.
I wish we had a legal excuse to keep Kayla Bourque institutionalized for the rest of her life, and I detest the kind of movies, pseudo-snuff films, that Remy Couture is involved in making. You couldn’t pay me to watch them, much less be involved in their production. But the argument that he is influencing others to commit crimes doesn’t work for me. He’s not telling anybody to commit any crime. If you are going to censor him, then we should also censor any reporting of violent crimes, because it’s a known fact that copycats, possibly serial killer fans like Kayla Bourgue, will imitate.
“And if my thought dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine.”
If we are going to punish people for their fantasies, or for expressing their fantasies, do we start with Stephen King? I’m sure there are many who would like to do that.
Complicated questions. Your thoughts on this would be most welcome.
Posted: November 30th, 2010 | Author: Darwin Harmless | Filed under: How Weird is our Culture, If you read nothing else on this site, read this., Uncategorized | 4 Comments »
I’d like to share one of my favourite “Oh those silly Catholics” stories with you. Years ago I had the good fortune to spend ten delightful days in Rome. I acquired a very temporary lover, a professional art historian, and she introduced me to the wonders of Roman art history. I can tell you that there is nothing better in this world for somebody of my temperament than to have a passionate affair with an art historian in Rome. But that’s not the point of this story. I’m getting to it.
When I was a child, I was fascinated by naked bodies. Mine and others. Of course naked bodies were not something a child in my culture got to view and certainly not something a child got to contemplate or inspect. That was a closed and locked door in a house far far away. But my mother had an interest in art, and on her coffee table in the living room lay one of those impractically large coffee table book. I can almost see the colours of the cover as I type this. I remember it as a Life publication, but can’t find it with an Internet search, so I may be confusing it with the Life pictorial atlas. I think the title was “Great Art of the World”. It was my first introductions to the Lascaux cave paintings, and included details of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the only place where I could see naked bodies. Those pages absorbed many hours of my childhood.
If you look at the Sistine Chapel ceiling art through the eyes of a seven year old child, it’s hard to beat the drama of those scenes. The boatman on the river Styx with his bulging mad eyes, ferrying the damned to their permanent new home in Hell. Adam and Eve tempted by the serpent, and driven from the garden. The flood, with the desperate mother trying to hold her child above the rising waters and begging her loving God for mercy, obviously to no avail. What images. What tragedy. What drama. So when I got to Rome, going to see the Sistine Chapel ceiling was on the top of my to do list.
The Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatican Museum. My new friend advised me to get there early, and to not waste time in the museum itself but to march straight through to the chapel, lest I find myself crowded among Japanese tourists. So that’s what I did. I was first in line when the museum opened, and I marched for seeming miles, not looking right nor left, until I found myself in the sacred source of some of the worlds greatest art iconography. I spent an hour in splendid solitude, lying on the floor, and maybe another hour wandering around just soaking up the details. And then I reluctantly left to see the rest of whatever the Vatican Museum had to offer.
That’s when I discovered the great art vandalism. It was unbelievable. The Vatican Museum has miles and miles of hallways and galleries, all lined with thousands of ancient Greek and Roman statues, most of them nudes. Every single statue had been vandalized. Every one had lost its penis to some malicious attack. Some had an obviously mass produced cast fig leaf glued to the mutilated area, but many were simply left in their hideous eunuch state, crudely dismembered with no attempt to smooth over the remaining rock. The amazing thing was that nobody else seemed to think this was worth noticing or worthy of comment. All these tourists streamed by, and nobody seemed to see the damaged crotches. What does THIS say about our culture?
This one got to keep his nuts at least but a wank is out of the question.
Back in her apartment, I expressed my astonishment to my lover, and she explained: When Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the church door, and launched the Reformation, the Catholic Church was a hotbed of corruption, with priests and bishops, if not the Pope himself, fucking everything in sight, including alter boys, carrying on in ways that could NEVER happen today. Wild parties. Drunken orgies. Much besides the sale of indulgences for the outraged Protestants to criticise. And the Pope of the day, Pope Pius IV, heard those critics. In response he launched the Counter Reformation, and the church set about if not cleaning up its act at least cleaning up its image. (How fmiliar this all sounds.) One of the forms this response took was to order the penises removed from all the statues in the Vatican Museum. Yes! It was ordered by the Pope.
Now think about this. There are thousands of statues. Imagine the scene. Gueseppe the Museum Currator is called before his Swollenness and given the mission. He delegates it to his lowest flunky, Bernardo, a common workman. “Go get a wheelbarrow and a chisel and mallet. Knocka da dicks offa thema statues.” So there goes Bernardo, wheeling his wheelbarrow down the streets wide and narrow, through the miles of corridors and through the galleries, knocking off dicks as he goes. Soon he has a wheelbarrof full of limp cocks. And ALL of the statues have been mutilated.
This is another crime of the Catholic church for which they have never been called to account. I count it as the most egregious act of art vandalism in the history of humanity. And it leaves me with one big question. What happened to those marble dicks? Were they burned to powder to make new cement? Or are they burried in a land fill someplace? Will they be found someday? Will an attempt at repairs be made, and DNA evidence used, to match the correct cock to the correct body? Okay, that’s silly. Marble statues don’t have DNA. It’s only magic crackers that might have DNA. And if the dicks were found, the Vatican would never admit it.
I do think it would make a good sequel or parody for the Indiana Jones movies – “Raiders of the Lost Cocks”. Anybody?