They're going hard blocking it for some reason, so sorry if it disappears. Not sure what I think; I just feel like I've seen so many of these elements so many times now; should sci fi inspire déjà vu? I do like Blomkamp's aesthetic, though. Enjoy.
STYLE/FLAVOUR oriental fougere.
DATE OF ISSUE 2006
LISTED NOTES peru balsam, vanilla sugar, amber, sandalwood, tonka bean, patchouli, siam resin, caramel, oak, incense, orange peel, cedar.
I often only glance at one or two reviews before buying a new fume, since, as I might have already mentioned, I prefer not to load myself with other peoples' expectations and disappointments. Thus I came to Elixir des Merveilles without any preconceptions, apart from the side-eye I reserve for Hermès as a house in the round; they have never impressed me beyond their ability to induce certain people to pay alarming sums of money for possibly the ugliest bags on the planet. Slow clap for that, I suppose. I mean, Ambre Narguile is solid enough without being distinguished; there are a few others that were... pleasant... inoffensive... but that's part of the problem, is it not? Their fragrances tend to not even bother me and that is almost incontrovertible evidence of mediocrity, no matter where your tastes happen to lie. All this fuss is of course ephemeral to consideration of the perfume in itself and was something that merely confirmed my impression after the fact anyway.
Elixir des Merveilles is a pungent detonation from the moment it escapes the glass and wraps around your head, a spongy wad of dirty, syrupy, slightly decomposed citrus; rubbed kaffir lime, bruised lemon blossom, the last mandarin in the bowl - you get the idea. Accompanying this dubious melange is an almost aged if not decrepit vanilla, battered with a plank of splintery sunbaked resin. This fume is thick in almost every possible sense of the word; something to choke on- something to get both hands around- something that might need help finding its way home, and while it hoes the same row as other monster scents like Lutens' Chergui and the original Poison, it doesn't share their IQ, having more in spiritual common with Clinique's Aromatics Elixir, that drooling sleeper-hold of a thing, that infant migraine in a bottle. It doesn't so much smell like the former pair as possess their frightening tenacity and penetration, so keep that in mind when considering a second spray.
Along with all this fuzzy, dense citrus comes something grey and I can't quite put my finger on its origins since I'm still pretty much smelling what I did half an hour ago. Yes, Elixir is what you might call linear, so much so that it really just oozes slowly forward in a spineless kind of way, banging on the jellied orange like a favourite toy until you want to crawl out of the window or at least hit the mute button. Wherefore art thou, alleged cedar, because I'm gagging for you at this point. After half an hour or so the fruit bowl starts to sag and you're permitted a small peep of something drier, a flat amberous resin struggling through a vanilla turned both lactic and melon-y (yes, ew), a smothering toffee and something resembling bad rum and raisin icecream (I'm picking fake sandal and budget tonka) that have squeezed into a world that's starting to feel like the satin-lined interior of a white stretch limousine. Possibly not the intended destination. The whole thing settles into a decidedly MOR fly-spray amber in the end, the orange rising, undead, in dried peel form like a piece plucked out of a chai blend and wedged forcibly into one nostril.
So to summarize, Elixir des Merveilles is inorganic, asphyxiating and inarticulate. There, I've said it, and I feel much better. And for the price ($100+ 50ml) you can do so much better that I don't even know where to begin. That's not a popular opinion; the darn thing scores 100% on Basenotes, but I'd rather swallow the bottle than spray it on my wrist. Yes that is an exaggeration, but the sentiment remains.
Available online, if you insist.
© céili o'keefe.
I'm going to be serializing 'The Blackthorn Orphans' ebook
within the blog, starting on the 21st of June-
releasing a scene a week thereafter. Tell a friend!
Once you go harissa, you never go back. How quickly the susceptible can become enslaved by this unassuming Tunisian spice paste is a lesson for every incautious omnivore. It is a prong in the ruling triumverate of homemade staples prevailing in the Blackthorn Kitchen, along with quince jelly and Interstellar Relish. Each year as my supplies dwindle I get anxious about chili procurement and where the hell I'm going to get a bucketful of cumin seeds in short order and whether or not I'll have to cap some fool for it this time.
Spices can change the way you cook and look at food in general; such is the power of flavour and the benchmark of a valuable paste. I credit harissa with our increasing swerve toward meat-free meals; anyone mourning the savoury middle provided by meat can find consolation in its salty, articulate depths and begin to look on a mixed veg roast with more than resignation. That said, we eat it with steak, couscous, fish, tagine-type stews, in humus, pumpkin soups, curries; practically everything except ice cream and I wouldn't try getting past me in a dark alley with a bowl of that shit either. It tastes honestly of its ingredients; if you know them you may already be getting a bit sweaty and impatient, but lo, it is even more than the sum of its parts.
A word about heat- I wouldn't go down the macho scotch-bonnet/bird's eye road, even if that's your usual approach; it's not that kind of thing. If you prefer to walk on the mild side, split the chilies and scrape out the seeds and pithy bits; this will render all but the most fierce far more palatable. If you have gloves, use them but be aware you'll probably have to throw them out afterwards. The disposable latex type are great but if you're going commando, don't touch your face with your hands until you've washed them thoroughly and be aware that even this may not absolve you from chili/finger/eye syndrome and more curse words at volume than you thought yourself capable. Consider too any pets that might wander in and be exposed to stray seeds or drips.
There are many versions of harissa to be found throughout North Africa, though they generally fall into two camps- that made with fresh chilies and whole spices or dried and powdered.
Here's my no cook, fresh-chili version. It is a 'wholegrain' type of beast because I prefer the fresh, open flavours and textures, and in my opinion, this gives a more predictable and reliable result. Ground spices are often of dubious merit, having long since given up their volatile goodness and that they are handy targets for adulteration doesn't weight in their favour either.
The amounts quoted achieve a golden mean, but I've made perfectly acceptable harissa with some very eccentric ratios so don't panic if you're short here or there. The chilies in the pic above weigh 200 grams unseeded, to give you an idea, the largest ones being as long as my (very long) hand. The recipe is endlessly scalable so you can go crazy and end up with lots of jars but remember you'll need room in the fridge for them. Harissa can apparently survive at room temps but I have never stored it this way and cannot recommend it. If you like a smoky flavour, blacken the chillies over a flame or under a grill as you would capsicums before blending them. You can pan-roast the spices lightly before hand if preferred- I never bother.
(Many thanks to Jarrod the chili pimp for the luscious examples pictured.)
YOU WILL NEED:
-100 grams fresh chilies.
-6 cloves of garlic. Or whatever garlic you have. Not important.
-⅓ cup of plain salt. Don't waste your fancy salt, table is fine.
-½ cup of coriander seeds. You can bruise these in a pestle but I never do.
-⅓ cup cumin seeds. Ditto as above.
-⅔ cup olive oil. Not extra virgin, just plain. Rice bran oil in a pinch.
-Juice of one lemon, a bit of chopped preserved lemon if you like, or fresh zest. You can leave the lemon out altogether; it's not crucial.
-More oil to top off the jars with.
-Clean, sterilized jars.
Shove the chilies and garlic into a blender. If you have a great knife you can chop them super-fine by hand, or pound them in a pestle but this takes ages and tends to splatter everywhere. The chilies should be like confetti and/or approaching pulp-type status.
Put everything else in a big bowl, add the chilis and mix it all together really well. Really well; the salt can ball and hide so work it thoroughly. And that's it, pretty much.
Sterilize however many jars you think you'll need; from memory, I think one really large jam jar should do you for the 100g version, but I make industrial quantities now. Clean another smaller jar to take any overflow. I top the jars off with a little extra oil to occlude the contents and keep air out.
Add a big tablespoon to curries, sauces and stews, fry in oil before adding fish fillets and finish with extra lemon juice, add to soups etc etc. I think you can add it to bread dough as well which would probably be absolutely delicious; if you're making little mezze pizza type things you could roll some into the dough to create swirls in the finished item. Also delicious as a seasoning for couscous; add a teaspoon or more to the dry grains and stir through before adding hot water and hit it with some extra lemon. Oh and tarka dahl; add it to the lentils with some tumeric. I could go on, but you get the idea.
We were given permission to photograph collections held by the Museum of Otago, something we've wanted to do for a long time but had never really gotten round to organizing. That's probably the best thing about a blog; it motivates you to actually reach for that darn rainbow instead of just talking about it over a cup of tea. Our first sortie was quite productive and we worked our way through a selection of highlights from the Pacific Peoples gallery, a sprawling mass of Polynesian, Melanesian and allied cultural expression from around our mighty main.
Lighting in museum displays is generally, to the photographer at least, something of a horrific ordeal. That, coupled with layered arrangements, reflective barriers and deeply unhelpful backdrop colours conspired to make the gathering of decent images pretty trying. Full credit then to my Lovely Assistant then for his technical expertise under such adverse conditions. Next time we will definitely bring a large black backcloth to block reflections (durr); if you are ever given the opportunity to photograph inside an institution, don't leave home without one.
Although we collect ethnographic items from around the Pacific ourselves, we don't know nearly enough to speak with any authority on the subject and thus we've confined our remarks to personal observations and the little we have gleaned as residents of the region. We hope these will be particularly interesting to northern peeps who might not have been exposed to too many objet from beneath the equator.
This first batch is in black and white. I have a particular skepticism about monochrome photography in that it tends to lend a spurious and sometimes entirely counterfeit majesty to both the subject and perpetrator, employed like some sort of wizard's cloak, as though it confers seniority or expertise per se. We don't roll that way and generally prefer colour because it is the joyous language of the entire universe and all those rods and cones are there for a reason. These images were desaturated largely because of problems with the source; irreconcilable colour casts and other artifacts of unsatisfactory capture.
Please note that the Museum of Otago retains copyright of this material; please do not reproduce them without permission.
Drum, Marquesas Islands.
The Marquesas, or Te Henua Kenana/Te Fenua Enata lie about as close to the middle of the Pacific Ocean as it is possible to be at random. Peopled by Polynesian settlers about 2000 years ago, they were largely depopulated by the introduction of European microbes but in looking at images of the place its easy to see why Gauguin settled and eventually died there.
This drum, in common with many around the Pacific, has slits cut into the lower body, and when struck probably shares its sharp, resonant tone with the the horizontal slit drums still in use by related peoples. Unfortunately, the mellow allure of the hardwood cylinder and patinated binding were lost to the camera as a result of the hideous colour cast produced by a lime green backdrop. Sorry about that.
A chiefly object.
Polynesian society is generally strictly hierarchical, separated into classes of varying and sometimes mutable rank with priestly and chieftain families occupying the highest positions.
They are deeply concerned with the acquisition and preservation of mana, which equates very loosely to prestige, although this is unsatisfactory; mana encompasses everything from demonstrable personal worth to supernatural energy to familial standing. It has something in common with the Subcontinental concept of caste in that it can be lost through inappropriate actions; tapu attends the possessions of people who have accrued a lot of mana and these items are forbidden to those of lesser status. In the flesh, this object has a lot of mana, though it is made from materials Europeans might consider humble; the concept of having to be qualified to use it is obvious, even to the uninformed.
Moai, Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
An enterprising early collector had removed this figure from Rapa Nui and installed it on his plantation in (I think) Tonga, which is an act probably equivalent to ripping memorial plaques out of Westminster Abbey and using them to pave your front yard. The OM acquired it from this brass-necked plonker in the twenties and thusly this is the only Moai or ancestor figure in a New Zealand museum.
It's always seemed lonely to me. I would have preferred to see it contained within the gallery alongside related figures instead of standing outside in isolation.
Whilst checking out the Wiki page to make sure I had my facts straight, I ran into the theory that the Moais' physiological expression is characteristic of leprosy, to which I say bitch, please; these same pathological pathologists would see psoriasis in Monet's dappled beauties or palsy and pituitary disease in Picasso's tortured whores.
Door Panel, New Caledonia.
These impressive timber figures flank the entrance to Kanak Great Houses, tall conical structures with densely-thatched roofs topped with a totemic hardwood finial.
New Caledonia is the home of the ancient Lapita culture, currently the subject of much anthropological conjecture regarding its origins and antiquity. Kanak sculpture has a highly individual quality that is obvious when set alongside pieces from Polynesian islands, and to my eye it seems much closer in spirit to various New Guinean idioms.
Kanak people were mercilessly exploited by French colonialists and exported as slave labour all around the Pacific, with captives shipped as far away as Japan and South Africa. 'Blackbirding' ships called at New Zealand ports with cargoes of impressed and abducted islanders; there is a rumour that one of the old local pubs here in Port Chalmers once sported an underground passage to the nearby dry dock, its cellar holding these human cargoes while their ships underwent repair. Considering the history of this little town and human nature in general, very little about this story surprises me, and while it probably is rubbish, I can't rule it out altogether.
The Fall of Icarus. Bill Hammond 1995, acrylic on canvas, 200.5x216.5 cm. Christchurch Art Gallery.
This has long been one of my favourite works by a New Zealand artist. I know virtually nothing about its inspiration and execution and even less about Bill Hammond himself, other than his being a bit of a recluse (whatever that means) or at least not given to airing his figurative underwear in interview. But when it comes to images, I've learned to trust and even prefer this ignorance; the only requirement I have of art is that it speaks for itself. There's not much worse than coming to an unknown work loaded down with other peoples' praise and slag.
I saw it in the flesh once, walking through (I think) the Christchurch Public Gallery on my way to look at something else, and it stopped me in my tracks. A good image will obliterate context and that I recall neither its exact location nor size is to its credit. I do think I remember it being glossier than it appears in print, but that might be my own embellishment since I am a retrospective mental polisher for some reason.
The first thing that struck me was the gigantic field; stretching infinitely away into the deep, drowned green of dreams, the sort of colour that sucks at your eyes and glues your feet to the ground while your mind swallows it whole, leaving everything else to choke or dissolve. It is sleeping green, a cousin to racing green, but much, much slower. Buried in this primordial colour is a perspective that yawns and rolls and refuses to be reconciled, no matter how hard you stare; the horizon is imperfectly reflected where it lies like the slick silt of an empty beach, distance reckoned in the darker, oozing green that drips toward the land. I presume it is land, just as I presume the rest is sea, but am tempted to second-guess myself.
The sun is supposed to have sent Icarus earthward but here he falls from darkness, his pallid vapor trail more consequential than his puny form. This is fitting, since Icarus is just a walk-on in the larger and far more absorbing legend of Daedalus. In this image he is made an almost arbitrary object, a remote spectacle to an audience equipped with everything he lacks- wings instead of beeswax and presumption, belonging instead of intrusion. Homo Sapiens is a stranger to these islands and the first arrivals might have met a naive avian empire that shared its spirit with Hammond's birds. Here they stand composed, laconic, indigenous witness to an exotic failure. They are inscrutable, like all birds, mysterious even in their choice of clothing, their splendid livery bearing only oblique relation to our own, accommodating arms as well as wings, their sleek little hands communing with the branches as though they were parental limbs. They are a people in the only way we understand it, and drawn that way to help us understand, wearing shapes that are of value to us as conceited hominids. But The Fall of Icarus walks straight through Rousseau's simplistic notion of cthonic nobility, treating it like the pointless phantom that it is and getting so much closer to our reality, spectating our egotism, the belief that our consciousness is the most precious in existence, that somehow occupation signifies possession. We see ourselves and then miss the point completely. This is a solemn, timely piece of eloquence.
Others have found the birds that hang suspended to be dolorous portents, spectres flagging their own demise at the hands of impending human invaders. I find them serene, contained, almost delinquent and personally feel more empathy and solidarity with these feathered observers than with the bulk of my own species. I too watch the stranger crash into the water without pondering his name, and then go back to whatever I was doing. While there is immeasurable tragedy in the species we have lost and will lose in time to come, this image reminds me above all of the value and dignity in singularity and survival.
These birds are with us yet.
So yeah, at the moment I'm illustrating a kid's book I finished a few days ago; I woke up from a dream about very small dinosaurs and one thing led to another....
Sorry about that, lol. I'm going to pub it as an ebook + a .pdf with blackline versions of the illustrations and the text pages so that kids can colour them in themselves and put together their own physical book, which I would have loved to do as a kid. Maybe it's too lo-fi these days, I dunno, but it's something to do on a rainy day. I'll let you know when it's finished =)
A charming little spotted aloe from Toliara province in south west Madagascar, found in the wild growing on rocky sandstone at around 1000m, according to 'Aloes the Definitive Guide'.
It is rather lizardy in appearance, having a slightly roughened skin; the spots are raised and able to be detected by the fingers on the surface of the leaf. To about 20cm across. In cultivation I have found it relatively uncomplicated, although it seems to prefer a modest amount of direct sunlight in our high-UV conditions, and will stay the lovely celadon green seen here in the midst of the rosette if given shade, rather than going fawn as the sunned specimens are wont to do.
Perhaps not a total beginner's plant; it is a species that will let you know quite swiftly if there is something untoward about its conditions, getting serious brown shriveling of the leaves if under or overwatered, and seeming to prefer a very open soil mixture with plenty of large pumice pieces to aerate the roots.
I keep it on the dry side and on the windowsill so I can enjoy its complicated textures and pretty colouration. Some plants will apparently sucker but mine has remained solitary, flowering regularly once a year; this is the first year the inflorescence has branched. The spike has a curious and quite uncanny mobility, swaying like a slo-mo cobra as it grows and completing a north to south change in orientation within the course of single day here, for no apparent reason. The flowers themselves are particularly delicate and drop copious amounts of nectar on anything lying beneath so keep that in mind; I have to shift my Echeveria 'Giant Mexico' out of the way to prevent the drops marring the farinaceous leaves, and I've found (the hard way) that some aloe nectar will strip the finish off certain items of furniture if allowed to harden.
It would make some lovely hybrids. To my eye it seems obviously related to Aloe Laeta as well as Imalotensis etc, sharing its shagreeny texture and tiny saw teeth, but what do I know?
I am not sure why people insist on portraying glaciers as icy white and pristine, as though they must glow and even fluoresce in order to be significant to the human eye. Glaciers are not generally white and do not possess that kind of energy; they are dirty, injurious and protean, hungry monsters chewing and scraping the mountains as they plough downward, cleaving and collapsing on themselves along the way. What they have done is all around us and there is a terrible irony in the fact that we are now returning the favour, clubbing many of them to death with our own flatulent emissions. This is the Franz Joseph glacier in Westland, situated on the far side of the South Island as the crow would fly if any lived here.
On one of our recent visits to the area we decided to turn south instead of taking the passes home and swing by all the stuff we'd never seen. To beat the feedlot hordes of tourists that spew from enormous coaches at around 8.30 each morning, we hauled out at six in the morning and pretty much had the place to ourselves. Where the Fox glacier sulks at the end of the burrow-like vale it has carved for itself, cloaked by visibly-encroaching forest, to my eye the Franz seemed far more present, still snarling like something at bay as you climb the last of the shingle berms toward it.
To the south a slice of perfectly vertical strata forms an enormous cliff face at stark odds with the ground beneath your feet, either sheared cleanly by the ice in former times or thrust upward by some forgotten cataclysm. It presents its dew-soaked features to the rising sun, remaining dark and glassy in the hour of light beforehand. That hour is cold and heavy and silent, held in limpid suspension and coloured with the raw stone's breath; the air is damp and laden with the smell of thunder, lichen and powdered river dust before the stink of sunscreen and Calvin Klein are washed toward you as the tour coaches dock. Eastwards at surprisingly modest elevation lies the cupped, secluded icefield that sustains the glacier, so close to the sea that you can sometimes taste the salt blown on the wind. It is this strange adjacency that lends the West Coast its almost calculated geographical histrionics, its beauties squeezed into a narrow lane of forested meanders and gawping pitstops.
Standing before the streaming, broken snout of the glacier, at the very point where it ceases to be, you become aware of a silence that almost rings with abrupt cessation, like the violent echo of an argument choked off as you walked in, as if the ice and stone were parties standing fuming at each other. The landscape itself is scarred and heaped and gutted by this architectural ferocity, buried and exposed, creation revealed within destruction, its battered products released in streams and scattered as the ice retreats or rumbles forward. Even the few small herbs and floral speculators staking claims atop the silvery shellshocked alluvium are cowed, as though knowing it was just too soon.
There are gravely-phrased signs posted here and there cautioning against approaching the restive ice as though it longed to dismember the unwary; not long after these pictures were taken a party of tourists was crushed to death as they posed for snapshots at the base of the floe. There are worse ways to die, I suppose.
Having travelled extensively at the pleasure of my parents I was awakened early to the fact that alpine scenes and mountains in general tend to look alike, no matter where you are. I strain my eyes and heart in seeking out those subtle differentials, and while they do exist, buried deeply within angle and detail, more than any other landscape the montane place is a thing of infinite repeat, of giant scale achieved with a modest cache of fundamentals. A mountain is a mountain, except perhaps, when it is a volcano, and I do love this calm ubiquity. At any point upon the planet the very substance of the earth emerges at these high vantages, contending with the sky and acquainting itself with its own forgotten surface. We can see it as it comes up for air.
HERE. Compulsory reading.
I love this so much I think I broke something. (from KG ACCIDENTAL)
Taken over the roof of the Orokonui wildlife sanctuary building, looking toward the Silver Peaks across Blueskin Bay on the Otago coast.
A nor'west had caught and planed some orphaned moisture, licking at its feet and head. Wind seems to revel in its own visual impunity; we can never see it, even when it strikes us in the face.
I have always loved the way clouds betray the invisible. They are such determined, fatalistic informants.
Judith & the Head of Holofernes, Klimt (a noted slut)
In my continued reading of the Celtic myth cycle one thing has stuck me as particularly singular, namely the promiscuity entailed therein, the extramural encounters enjoyed by both genders and the absence of moral judgement and social consequence detailed around those activities. Good times. It's not really a surprise- the equity we have begun to enjoy once more in the West is an echo of the legal and personal freedoms we held two thousand years earlier- but a population so apparently uninvested in the shaming of the hoe is an intriguing one.
Regardless of my marital status, jaundiced eye, cane-waving and general haterating, my sympathies will always lie with good old fashioned honest adult promiscuity. My characters are a terrible bunch of sluts, generally speaking; in my considered opinion it is truthful and often delightful to put it about. Make of that what you will. We are a slutty species; with our embarrassment of secondary sexual characteristics, the persisting, universal emphasis thereon, almost constant sexual potentialities and frankly gobsmacking fertility, our hypersexual nature is an inconvenient truth that will defy all attempts to suppress or scarlet-letter its biological reality. The prudery of monotheistic morality is merely a reflection of its enormous, throbbing scale. So there's no need to beat about the bush in search of why we are so hopelessly and comprehensively dirty. We just are. If you do not feel yourself to be a part of that largesse, if you do not believe that women are just as party to the urge as men, consider yourself the exception that tests the rule and part of our species' seemingly boundless evolutionary expression. But judge it at your peril.
While a contemporary definition of slut is and should be inclusive of male activity, that came about five fucking minutes ago in the grand scheme of things. Historically a slut has been a woman, and there was little we could do as a hopelessly disenfranchised gender to alter the ground beneath that. That women have since is to our credit, because if you believe that men were finished with that designation you'll need to spend the rest of your life explaining that to me. Let's not argue about these few things; that historically, slut is female, that as a term of abuse it draws its power from the interests of those in power, namely men, and that our use of it as women is an artifact of institutions that were imposed on us. We may perpetuate the slut while standing in the smoking ruins of those shitty institutions, but we did not install them.
The concept of negative promiscuity, the slut-as-destructor paradigm has its roots in that much greater evil; an overly-proprietary interest in our fellow human beings. Needing to own and control the female came about, arguably, with the need to control and own the land upon which our newly-agricultural fortunes depended. You cannot take it with you and are therefore obliged to leave it to your heirs. Your heirs, not just anyone who might require it; that would be very wrong indeed. Men were required to keep their wives at home and under visible control in order to have their familial and material legitimacy acknowledged.
Tough gig, given our aforementioned biological imperatives. Enter the Slut, slut-shaming, slut-exclusion, slut-battery, slut-burning and slut-expulsion. Remember those? Until very recently in the west these phenomenons have been frightening prospects for any sentient woman conscious of her position in society and that of her children. They still are for some of us, even where legislated against. And every last one of these fates await women to this day in the rest of the world. Slut, to the majority of living women, can come with a death sentence. Lest we forget.
Judith II, Klimt.
T H E N E W P O L I T I C S O F S L U T T E R Y: T H E N E O S L U T.
Slut in modern western rhetoric is comparatively frivolous and yet honestly indicative of the progress we have made upon liberal thought's broad ways. Personally, I have a fondness for the word and if I call someone a great big slut, I'm shaking hands with their prowess and pulling-power and wishing them the best. Stripped of its formerly grim societal repercussions, sluttery becomes more about the shooter than the target. What are we doing when we call someone a slut and mean it in the vintage manner? We're talking about our own sexual insecurities, our wish not to be upstaged or superseded or outshone by someone more sexually successful or even just visibly hot. After all, the slut is getting some. We may not be, and that has to be defended somehow.
An it harm none, do as you will. Although I do not subscribe to faith per se, the Wiccan rede isn't a bad place to start purging the dead weight of pointless proscription. Safe, sane, consensual; the BDSM community has it sorted too. In the liberal world we presumably wish to construct, let's concede that another's sexual proclivities aren't, outside of any demonstrable, objective evil, any of our business and just leave it at that. Slut-shaming begins in trash-talk, snowballs into scapegoating and that shit ends in crowds of thugs wielding machetes and more recently, .50 calibre. The distance between calling someone a (insert epithet here) and hauling out the big gauge can still be frighteningly minute.
Shorn of it's biblical and genealogical implications, however, sluttery loses its sack full of doorknobs and just becomes about taste which, as already stated, isn't really our business. What is our business is the ethical conduct of others, because we are all affected by its implications. The neoslut should of course check themselves and stay conscious in and of their activities, and be especially mindful of that place where happy promiscuity dissolves into passive and/or aggressive fuckery; namely, when you cease to be a slut and turn into a jerk. As a society we should definitely concern ourselves with that. Jerks have far too much power.
Let's select a public example wherein the principles at work are easily discerned and have indeed become a focus of the slut shamer and the apologist alike. So many keys have already been pounded to so little avail in pursuit of the truths demonstrated by this incident that I throw caution to the wind and land with a belated splat in the midst of this particular shitstorm in a teacup.
Exhibit A; the case of the Famous Actress who fucked her Married Director after working with his Wife on the movie in which they were all involved. Lets not rehash the did she/didn't they/whatever aspect and assume for the sake of argument that it occurred as is stated above.
Was She even being a slut? Sluttery means more than one, and usually overlapping, so technically, probably, but I wouldn't slap a gold star on that shit. Was He being a slut? Same answer. I suppose so, but I am unmoved by the logistics.
People who slut shame the likes of the She in this case are being pointlessly vicious, intellectually lazy and have the wrong end of the stick anyway. For a start, She wasn't being a slut, she was being a big fucking jerk and so was He. Her vagina didn't wander onto his penis while she was sleeping. The fact that she was not married does not absolve her in the slightest; if we wish people to respect our intimate arrangements, however we arrange them, we have to respect the nature of theirs. The validity of marital status, the contractualization of love and fidelity as though they were tradable commodities are irrelevant; someone who divorces their spouse for breaking its conventions had an obvious and public expectation of fidelity. So did her children; He and She shit on all that and the ethical buck stops there, I'm afraid. There is no get out of jail card, no matter how you cut the deck.
People who excuse this conduct on the grounds of liberality need a swift fucking kick too. It's not okay to do it just because you want to. We are not free to be pricks to one another on a selfish whim. Sloppy narcissism is the greatest enemy of the freedom we are cultivating for ourselves; if we don't get that shit under control it will soon be too late to salvage anything from the structures we have finally thrown off. When someone is a jerk we all have to live with the consequences and they blow up in all our faces every day, sometimes literally, unfortunately. There is no sisterhood in special-pleading on behalf of bitchery. There is sisterhood in correctly identifying and challenging shitty behaviour in others, for the benefit of all involved. If only someone had said to the Actress 'Think with your head, girlfriend." Let's just get our facts straight, our aim right and our hearts and heads clear.
I agree that both liable parties in the above scenario deserve censure for their reprehensible conduct. Not for being sluts, but for being arseholes. Responsible, consensual promiscuity is not the enemy and the neoslut should be left to get on without poisoned, anachronistic harping on a code that none of us adhere to anyway. Slut-shamers need to get real with themselves about the origins of their anger and the direction of their aim; laissez-faire apologists are devaluing the self-determination they invoke with their attempts to shield their favourites behind some imagined feminist aegis. They need to learn the difference between ethics and morals and accept the value of the former even in the cold shade of the latter. The neoslut should keep it all above board and head into the clinic regularly. All that requires effort; the kind of effort entailed in accepting personal responsibility as the partner of personal entitlement. Our freedoms have been so hard won; let's not fuck them up.