The madness of certainty, I will admit, holds an essence of the erotic for me. I often feel an attraction to people who hold the conviction that they "know" - whatever that story happens to be.
By Permission of Attila Richard Lucaks
My own fragile ego is regularly seduced by authorities of this or of that thought construction - living, breathing embodiments of this or of that mystique. Through them I can enhance my own ego identity; through them I can add content to my own ego story; and through them I can fall in love with a mystique. And while I fully recognize that the ego monster’s whole story is made of glass, his complete and total commitment to it - Yes! I can perceive a “hot mess” in that. People who believe their own bullshit - they awaken the pornographic story ...
The Desert Sandbox: Mental Mapping an Erotic Mystique
My little anglo saxon blue eyed and fair skinned identity exoticized and eroticized the “brown other” at an early age, at 6 years old to be precise (I think sometimes we are afraid to talk about how early this shit starts, but if you bother to think back …). It was the drawings of the middle eastern males in my childhood catechism that did it to me; still today I remember reading my grade one catechism and looking at the illustrations of the swarthy, jet haired middle eastern males with their flocks of sheep or goats or whatever and they seemed to a young gay boy just beginning to mental map a mystique of the exotic other to be oppositely fascinating: fierce, kind, virile, biblical and hella jacked all at once. In truth, or at least the truth that I remember, all the illustrated bible stories of my youth were chock full of nearly naked brown men with jacked physiques. Goliath, in particular, was a catechismal hot daddy; young David always looked lovely too … And yes, there is, on some level, sex in all of this. Obviously, as a child I wasn’t thinking about having sexual relations with the camel herder, but nevertheless, some aesthetic preferences, some erotic associations, and some sexual objectifications were forming around the differently appealing “brown other”.
To be perfectly honest, I think that I wanted to play with the “browns” of the bible stories in their desert sandbox, and on some level, I think that I still do. And interestingly, the aesthetic attraction that was being formed in my mind didn’t stand apart from the biblical story and the geographical region; rather, it was irrevocably tied up with it. The aesthetic seed was planted early and over time an erotic mystique surrounding brown men, the desert, palm trees and religious “stories” blossomed inside my head.
An exciting transformation happens when the story and the person become one: Patricia Hearst was really kinda dull and ordinary before she was kidnapped, indoctrinated, armed, given the revolutionary name of “Tania” and quite literally LIT UP with purposive intent. After being debriefed and normalized she quickly became dull and ordinary again (to me, at least).
Where I grew up (basically in the mall), the photo of revolutionary Patty was on the cover of magazines and books everywhere. And seeing the ubiquitous image of the young and radicalized Patricia Hearst armed and “on the ready” in front of the dark and menacing SLA symbol, my mental landscape was once again being shaped by, and was helping to shape, the seductive erotic story attached to the prototypical fanatical image.
To give yourself over to a story with a mission and to devote yourself to a leader, are all means to one end: self-transcendence. And for activated egos seeking self-transcendence, the fanatical story offers the very best content the ego can possibly get because it is an absolute story that admits no holes and allows for no doubts. It is a closed ideology hermetically sealed by faith - it is the “truth”! Likewise, the fanatic is the very best friend ego can have because he is the living incarnation of the absolute “truth” - the one that will open your eyes and bring you to the “truth”.
As a youth who wanted desperately to escape his discreet island universe, I very much longed for the story, the mystique and the person that would sweep me off my feet and into transcendence.
The first time I saw a magazine cover shot of Osama Bin Laden I was attracted to his image and I didn’t find him appealing merely on account of his sensual mouth, kind eyes, swarthy complexion and prodigious nose, but also for his fanaticism.
The fanatic is like a magician who has come to believe in his own magic trick and his performance grows all the more spellbinding for it. And this is precisely the pull, this is the attraction - one looks and thinks: “ah, look how sure he is; he ‘knows’”. And then you give yourself over for a good mind fucking (the fanatic is a one trick pony, but that pony sure knows how to fuck) with relentless repetition of dogma until, finally, you “know” too. In this way, the ego finds certainty and truth, that which, out of fear, it desires most.
I have a well developed pornographic imagination and the combination of “crazy” and purpose spark something in me that is pointless to deny. The ego monster represents something so different and so uncomplicatedly (no doubts, no grey areas) purposeful, that I tend to seek it out, befriend it, put it under a microscope (metaphorically speaking), examine it, eroticize it, and inevitably, want to have sex with it. Even today, I have friends that I had hoped would have some ego monster in them just on account of how they looked (Arab) and where they came from (Saudi) and was mildly disappointed when they were anything but: “Dude, seriously? You only have Eminem on your ipod?” Shiiiit, everyone knows that any young Arab fascist worth his explosives listens religiously to Immortal Technique - yet another sexy (and stupid) ego monster.
I once went out with a Sikh guy and if I’m honest about it, it was his Sikhism that made up the largest part of the attraction. Actually, I didn’t even like him; he was ignorant and rude, but he wore fabulous turbans in blue, red and white, and was an excellent kisser.
But the worst thing was that, just like the Arab brethren of the last paragraph, he didn’t play along and do his part to uphold the mystique; underneath the stupendous turbans and behind the beard, he was just a stupid brown boy from Surrey - the monster was surely there, but it was a self-serving, self-entitled monster; there was no larger story, the mystique began and ended with the turbans and even the sex, which was the only thing that kept the relationship going as long as it did, in the end started to approximate, at least on my part, hate fucking. I couldn’t handle the long hair either (seriously, it was just everywhere. Maybe had he tied it back, but he never did ....). Eventually, I just had to break it off.
And that’s the thing, it's less in me now than it ever has been before, but still to this day I can feel the pull of downward transcendence through other people’s stories and give my time and energy to complete idiots based on that attraction. Basically, I’m a hopeless culture whore and if the culture is brown and has an element of religiosity to it, the more I’ll whore for it (magdalene complex). Yeah, so thanks very much for that, catholic catechism ...
Rule 34: Sexualizing the Terrorist
They get it, right? The cats down at the Rolling Stone headquarters for cover design or whatever, they know what I’m talking about; they know what it is. A cover like this doesn’t happen by accident, right? The salacious photo isn’t for nothing, right?
Rolling Stone Magazine understands that there is a demographic and a market for this; or even if they don’t know it, they are wanting to create one and are actively constructing a mystique for it. And if you have any doubt that this is an established and growing mystique, just think of all the related things that might come up if marketers took that cover and what it represented and produced an “If you liked this, you might like _____” offering of related materials. Oh, its a profile alright; and it just so happens that my ego needs fit the profile.
And this isn’t a “me thing” or a “gay thing” or a “straight thing” or a “fetish thing” ... okay, okay, it's a “me/fetish thing”, but in broad terms it's a human species thing; it’s what all identification with religion amounts to: ego attachment to a story, a mystique and a representative of that story and mystique. That’s why it’s important to lay it out and break it down, because if you see it and name it for what it is: the seduction of a frightened and insecure ego, then the identification ends and you are free from it. The aesthetic pull may remain, but the ego attachment dissolves.
And although I understand and feel the pull of the fanatical story, and although I can be seduced by and get a semi for fanatics themselves, I can honestly say that I have never succumbed to being the ego monster’s or my own ego’s complete puppet; the seduction is never entirely complete, the relationship never fully consummated. Even for as much as I’ve perhaps wanted to, I could never completely swallow the dogmatic story whole like that; I could never give my mind over and fully commit to it - I think that my bull shit gag reflex remains too much intact, perhaps my sense of liberty too. It's never become religious (in the broad sense) on my part because I can see it from above, from the perspective of this blog, which is not identification, but observation - watching one's own stories. And also, with age, I’ve grown tired of the Monster and my own ego cravings. I mean, ultimately, who has the energy for all of that?
Mind you, having said that, I will tell you that I’ve swooned for the Ego Monster, compromised myself for him, swallowed his other things whole (no gag reflex), and still hope to get jiggy with the “passage to india” (or arabia or persia or wherever brown ego monsters roam) on some future occasion … :p
Roger Daltry Sexy Outro
The Who: See me, Feel me (Listening to You):
“See me, feel me, touch me, heal me
See me, feel me, touch me, heal me
See me, feel me, touch me, heal me
See me, feel me, touch me, heal me
Listening to you, I get the music
Gazing at you, I get the heat
Following you, I climb the mountain
I get excitement at your feet
Right behind you, I see the millions
On you, I see the glory
From you, I get opinions
From you, I get the story …”