Aug 27, 2014

The Top 10 Public Penises of Islam

Islam doesn't have quite the beefcake potential of Hinduism or Jainism.  No androgynous gods, no naked holy men.  The Quranic prohibition of idol-worship is often interpreted to mean "no human figures, period," and even when humans are allowed, propriety forbids bare chests, let alone nudity.

But there are remnants of the penis-obsessed Graeco-Roman culture and  muscular transplants from the neoclassical greats of Europe -- and, sometimes, contemporary Muslim artists get away with arguing that the only way to depict strength, honor, liberation, or war is through muscle. Nothing sexual is intended.

One assumes.

In fact, I found at least 20 impressively nude or muscular statues, reliefs, and other public works of art in the Islamic world (countries with 50% or higher Muslim populations).

 Here are the first 10, arranged roughly from west to east.

1. Ceuta (a Spanish colony on the coast of Morocco): The Pillars of Hercules, two mountains standing guard at the entrance to the Mediterranean, is memorialized in a statue of Hercules.

2.Algeria was under French domination for over 100 years, from 1830 to 1962, so one might expect some equivalent of the Luxembourg Gardens or the Musee d'Orsay.  There isn't a lot, but in Jijel, about 350 km from Algiers, you can see Le PĂȘcheur (The Fisherman), a boy mending his nets.

3.Tunisia, likewise, was under French domination from 1881 to 1956, but about the only significant beefcake art is, oddly a statue of the first president, Habib Bourguiba, in Ksar Hellal.  He's liberating four oppressed peasants, including two muscular, half-naked ones.

4. Libya was the site of ancient Carthage and the Roman Province of Tripolitana, so there are many statues of muscular men, now in the National Museum.  This one came from the Hadriatic Baths.

More after the break.

Aug 26, 2014

Wild Boy: The Gay Jungle Boy of 1950s Comics

There were many variations of the Tarzan mythos during the middle years of the 20th century, but one of the most fondly remembered by the first generation of Baby Boomers was Wild Boy, Prince of the Jungle.

He had a short run, appearing in 8 issues of a  Ziff-Davis series (1950-1952), which oddly starts with 10.  Then St. John took over the title, renamed it Wild Boy of the Congo, and published 6 issues (#9-#15), in 1953.  That's it.

But what he lacked in longevity, Wild Boy made up for in gay potential.

His origin story: the young American boy David Clyde goes to the Congo with his uncle, who hires evil native to kill him.  He escape and grows up in the jungle, but speaks a stilted "me, Tarzan" patois.

He has two animal companions, a panther (Daro) and a monkey (Kimba), and a native boyfriend, Keeto (who speaks the same patois.)

Artists vary in their interpretation of Wild Boy: should he be a little kid or nearly an adult?  And just how feminine should his wavy hair, lipstick, and eye liner get?

But he's definitely a gay icon. He displays no interest in women, but he rescues and hugs Keeto every five minutes.

The comics are hilarious today for their stereotypes of the white Western colonial master and the "childlike" natives.

Hint: the good ones wear Western-style clothes, and the bad ones wear loincloths.

Here he uses the old chestnut "I will make the sun disappear!" to avoid execution by an evil tribe.  How corny can you get?

But at least he's holding hands with Keeto.

Aliados: Argentine Teenagers Save the World

Lots of UFO contactees tell us that this is the final era of humanity.  We have only a short time to prove to the Galactic Overlords that we can do the right thing: end war, stop environmental degradation, switch to solar energy.  If we succeed, we will be invited to join the Federation.  If not, our planet will be "cleansed."

The Argentine sci-fi series Aliados (Allies) draws on that plot.  Six teenagers are chosen by the Feminine Energy Creator to save "the human project."  They have only 105 days.

Unfortunately, they have problems of their own, each with its own catch phrase.

1. Noah (Peter Lanzani, left), a hedonistic millionaire's son: "Self Satisfaction at Any Cost."

2. Anorexic pop star Azul (Oriana Sabatini): "Brilliance and Pop Destruction"

3. Maia (Mariel Percossi), a violent bully: "The Pleasure of Hurting."

4. Manuel (Agustin Bernasconi): a shy, insecure bullying victim: "The Voice of Suffering"

5. Homeless juvenile delinquent Franco (Julian Serrano, left): "Alienation in a Pure State"

6. Valentin (Joaquin Ochoa), an orphaned victim of child labor: "Prisoner of His Loneliness"

Seven "Beings of Light" have agreed to help them.  They have catch phrases, too:

Ian (Pablo Martinez, left), the leader, from a place beyond time and space: "Secrets of the Soul"

The others are connected to the teenagers:
1. Noah gets his "soul mate" Venecia (Jenny Marinez) from the Astral Plane: "Love in Action."

2. Azul is inhabited by Luz (Oriana Sabatini), from the Causal World: "The New Message'

3. Maia gets Ambar (Lola Moran), from the planet Sirius: "Peace Disguised in War"

4. Manuel gets Inti (Nicolas Francella), from the planet Upsilon Andromeda B: "Fire that Heals"

5. Franco gets Devi (Caroline Domenech), an enlightened human: "Between Heaven and Earth"

6. Valentin gets Gopal (Maximo Espindola), from the Land Beyond the Mirror: "Reflections of Friendship"

Complex stuff, full of New Age jargon, with some Hinduism thrown in, and the plotlines are even more complex, full of alliances, betrayals, hidden agendas, and people who aren't what they seem.

It's a major hit in Latin America.  There are both broadcast episodes and online webisodes, plus a music soundtrack, two video games, a theatrical performance, and a Club Aliados that countless thousands of kids and teens have joined.

Notice that some of the human-Light Being pairings are same-sex.  The episode I saw seemed to have a gay subtext between Valentin and Gopal (left), and others have found links between Noah and Ian.

However, there aren't any specifically gay characters.  Producer Cris Morena has been criticized for erasing gay people from the Cosmos.

You can see the episodes through the official website.