Modest Sculpture

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You’ll say I’m reading too much into this but this is the only statue among the dozens at the local store that has a booklet attached to it. I don’t think the booklet was placed where it was by accident. There were no other nudes at the store.

Yale Tries to Figure Out Sex

People keep trying to cheer me up, and those who know me are well aware that anything in the “At least you don’t have to be back at Yale” category is likely to work.

Here is a link that illustrates my alma mater‘s heroic attempts to figure out how sex works. I’d say Yale has a long road to travel on this subject.

Thank you, my dear friend Ol., for the link.

A Strange Voyage

I’m looking for activities that will occupy my brain and give me some moments of not thinking about Eric. So I found a list of the best Spanish movies of all times and started watching a film a day. I don’t like movies and find them as difficult to follow attentively as most people do reading a phone book. It is a constant effort not to get distracted, which is exactly what I need at this moment.

The first movie I watched as part of this plan was EL EXTRAÑO VIAJE (A Strange Voyage.)* It was made in 1964, and Franco’s censorship hid it from viewers for 6 years. Of course, today it’s hard to see what it was that bothered the censors so much about this completely innocent movie. I was baffled, too, until almost the very end of the film. Yes, there was a young woman in a bikini but she appeared only for about 30 seconds and was seen from a distance. And the same young woman walked around in very tight-fitting pants. Still, not even Franco was deranged enough to censor an entire movie just because of that.

The last 15 minutes of the movie made it clear what bothered the dictatorship’s censors about EL EXTRAÑO VIAJE. The culminating scenes are dominated by a male star appearing in a variety of female outfits. There is no convincing explanation for why gender-bending initially becomes necessary to this character but the sudden eruption of queerness at the end of the film is both disturbing and beautiful. We discover that the comatose world of a piss-poor Spanish village of the 1960s conceals pockets of freedom and beauty where people access the liberating potential of shedding gender constraints.

Of course, we are still talking about a movie from 1964, so let’s not expect too much. Everybody who is “tainted” by gender-bending is punished in the end and the chaos seems somewhat contained. The trope of the “evil tr*nny” is integrated into the movie (in an utterly unconvincing way, I might add.) Still, it definitely makes sense to see EL EXTRAÑO VIAJE on the list of the best Spanish movies of all times.

* The movie is available on YouTube with English subtitles if anybody is interested.