Saturday, April 24, 2010

Layer 287 . . . Free Spirits, Physical Intelligence, Nukes, Burlesque and Women's Liberation.

An aspect of human wellbeing that Oxzen has occasionally referred to, but not examined in depth and detail, is physical intelligence.

The human body is an incredible achievement of nature. Thanks to scientists like Darwin, Crick and Watson we've begun to understand how we evolved from the Big Bang to where we are today, via DNA and natural selection. The human body should be respected, celebrated, protected and looked after.

Oxzen, of course, is not one of those who believe that God created the universe and everything in it, including the first human being, who, for some reason, he called Adam. Allegedly.

Oxzen is not one of those who believe that God created the first woman from one of Adam's ribs.  Oxzen has yet to discover why God decided to somehow create the first woman from one of Adam's ribs, instead of using the same stuff he used to create Adam.

According to my DK Bible, "Adam and Eve walked naked and happy in the garden, and had no need of clothes." More of nudity later.

No matter. We've arrived in the 21st Century, at a point in history where we can witness fierce debates about the need to spend untold billions of pounds of our taxes on nuclear weapons to commit mass destruction on other human beings . . .  whilst at the same time millions of our fellow human beings, in cities and towns everywhere, are living in poverty - for want of the means to earn a decent living, and for want of decent levels of social security and old age pensions. The people who shout the loudest for more WMDs are not those who're living in poverty.

We're living in a time of bread and circuses, a time in which most people prefer to spend countless hours watching talent shows, soap operas, game shows, Top Gear, Dave, poker, snooker, sport, Big Brother and property development tips programmes . . . rather than spend a single minute taking care of their bodies and souls, or reading a book to a child, or trying to figure out why we should maintain a nuclear arsenal AT ALL, when Germany, Spain and Italy aren't bothered about whether or not they can nuke China - but especially before we've enabled every citizen to live in a decent home with enough money to feed and clothe their children properly.

We're living in a time when a young man, who's apparently a serious candidate to be the political leader of our country, can blithely talk about needing bigger and better nuclear weapons with which we can attack China, or 'defend ourselves' against China, which is a country that hasn't even threatened to attack any other country, let alone ours.

And on this point - a brief digression. In a nuclear conflict, which country is likely to emerge in a worse state - China or Britain? Answer - neither. We can't even imagine what we'd do to the planet if we filled the atmosphere with billions of tons of impenetrable toxic nuclear dust, a billion times more than the dust from an exploding volcano. Cormac McCarthy imagined it and wrote a book called The Road. Those of us who were unfortunate enough to survive the blast and the radiation would have a lot more to worry about than not being able to fly in airplanes.

Where was I? Oh yes. We re living in an age in which a team of 30 or so doctors and nurses spends 24 hours transplanting the face of a dead human being on to the head of a living person, and in which millions of children have no-one to read with them or talk to them; millions have to make do with bad housing and bad food.

In the week of the face transplant our capital city is holding a Burlesque Week, which looks like becoming an annual event. The daughter of a friend is taking part. It seems London is full of women of all ages and all shapes and sizes who are learning to be burlesque performers, and to do other things which appear to be celebrations of the human body and human sexuality, such as pole dancing. I'm not aware, as yet, of any amateurs who are learning to do lap dancing and table dancing just for fun , but you never know.

The popular burlesque show of the 1870s through the 1920s referred to a raucous, somewhat bawdy style of variety theater. In 20th century America the word burlesque became associated with a variety show in which striptease is the chief attraction. Although the striptease originated at the Moulin Rouge in 1890s Paris and subsequently became a part of some burlesque across Europe, only in American culture is the term burlesque closely associated with the striptease. These shows were not considered 'theatre' and were regarded as 'low' by the vaudevillians, actors and showgirls of neighbouring theatreland.

In the 1930s, a social crackdown on burlesque shows led to their gradual downfall. The shows had slowly changed from ensemble ribald variety performances, to simple performances focusing mostly on the striptease. - Wikipedia

We assume that in the first era of burlesque most of the performers allowed themselves to be exploited by accepting relatively paltry sums of money in exchange for performing dances involving the shedding most of their clothing in front of a largely male audience.

What seems to be clear in this second era of burlesque is that there are 3 categories of performers. Firstly there are those like Dita Von Teese [ ] who are paid huge sums of money for their appearances and performances, and become very wealthy. It's hard to imagine how these women are exploited, unless you want to say they're exploiting and degrading their own bodies. Others would say they re simply making very good use of their own bodies to make money as an artist and a skilled performer, which many of them undoubtedly are - even if it's not exactly 'high' art.

The second category consists of women who are paid small sums of money for entertaining punters with performances which they may or may not enjoy doing. Those who don't actually enjoy burlesque dancing, if there are any, presumably make their living in this way because it's their least bad option.

In the third category are women who are pure amateurs - whose amour is for the pure joy of performing.

So what is burlesque? It's a form of dancing in which the outer layers of clothing are quickly removed, and for most of the dance the woman performs in her underwear - knickers, bra, corset, stockings and stiletto shoes - sometimes with the aid of props, such as large fans. Usually the stockings are peeled off, but never the knickers, which are often big and frilly. There's never even a suggestion that they might be removed. Some women choose to wear thong knickers that reveal their butt cheeks.

The bra, on the other hand, always comes off - usually right at the end, with a dramatic flourish, and it's twirled above the head of its wearer.

Underneath the bra the performers wear colourful nipple caps, sometimes with tassels. No nipples are allowed to be shown or seen.

Some performers have developed the knack of counter-rotating their nipple tassels by swinging and wiggling their breasts, and this becomes the grand finale of their act. Most dancers end by simply exposing their breasts to the audience, and enjoy the applause briefly before striding offstage.

It seems most of the women who go to burlesque classes are young and well-paid  professionals who have no intention of taking up dancing as a career. They do it for fun, for a thrill, for the sheer excitement of taking off their clothes and exposing their breasts and their bums in front of an appreciative audience.

These days lots of men (and women) are keen to pay 20 quid or so to watch women remove their clothes and expose their bodies. Whooping and cheering audiences provide the dancers with recognition and appreciation, which may contrast strongly with what happens in the rest of their lives - professionally dull and domestically boring - lacking in appreciation, affection, excitement, joy, stimulation, etc. Maybe this public display of their bodies and their sexuality  is a compensation for the lack of vibrancy and sexuality in the rest of their lives. On the other hand, it might be an extension and a continuation of how they live. It could be interesting to do a survey.

Physical intelligence is important. Sexuality is important. Everyone should take care of their body and  feel proud of their body. I doubt if it's possible to buy a completely new face, and you definitely can't buy a new body - only alterations to the one you already have. It's important to use it, and not abuse it.

We need to make the most of our bodies and their precious physical senses, and use our eyes, ears, etc to the absolute maximum, to keep us properly in touch with our world, to inform our perceptions and our awareness. Humans need to touch and be touched. The more physical intelligence - and social & emotional intelligence - there is in the world, the less likely it will be we'll end up fighting and killing one another. Though there will always be mad politicians, calling themselves realists, who'll cheerfully consider dropping the big one, come what may.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment