Did I shoot Andy Warhol?

Of course, I didn’t shoot Andy Warhol, at least not in this life.

But I’ll get back to that later.

First, a warning. This is going to be another of my long rambling rambles. I am not going to restrain the free wandering nature of my mind. It is also potentially a very controversial post. I’m going to be discussing Feminism (and Cow Vaginas) as honestly and openly as I can. This is a dangerous thing to do, as may become clear. I am also intentionally not linking to a couple of posts and discussions that sparked possible elements of this post. I don’t want to target individuals and bring upon myself a torrent of abuse and hatred…I get enough of that going home for Christmas (only kidding). I expect I’m going to get trashed if certain people read this. I am writing in the spirit of free expression and thought. Also I may contradict myself, forget what I’m talking about and be entirely wrong headed idiotic and random.

Welcome to my head…it’s a horrible place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live here. But I do. I do live here. This is my head.

Hold on tight Sahil, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

And we’re going to start off by saying that I do generally consider myself a feminist. I am also a man. An online test tells me I’m a revisionist Feminist, 100% Gender Abolitionist, 80% sexually liberal (honk) and 60% Socialist. By my reckoning that actually makes me240% feminist. I think that’s going a bit too far.

Anyway, the quiz pissed me off quite a lot…it was very leading and a lot of the questions didn’t make sense. Also I couldn’t answer loads of the questions the way I wanted to. This is why I hate online quizzes. Also double negatives aren’t not bad y’all.

Or something.

Anyway, This is really not the point.

Lets go back a bit.

I’ve had several dreams involving Andy Warhol…the first one involved a journey on the Megabus (a cheap coach/bus service that I have never used) up to London. We spent the whole journey discussing the relative merits of cost of varying forms of transport. This was not really that interesting, but I did think it quite cool that the wig wearer was present. I assumed he was cool and therefore it was rubbing off on me. Well…I didn’t really think about it that much at the time…I was in dream mode. Whatever, we got to London eventually, and we made a film with Lars Von Trier called the five obstructions. This was the day before that film was shown on television (not precognition, I had just read the TV guide before going to sleep and had decided to watch it the next day), go out and watch it, its a damn cool film…especially if you like film making theory. Basically, Von Trier sets Jorgan Leth a series of challenges, all kind of the same. It’s just to remake one of Leth’s first films, the Perfect Human (which I’ve never seen) under the conditions of a series of ‘Obstructions’ set by Von Trier (should that just be Trier?). The film takes the form of a series of chats between the directors, and the new, obstructed versions of the short. It’s absolutely incredible to watch if you’re into films as basically it shows you how great director’s minds can work. If you don’t mind watching artsy documentaries then watch this and your eyes may well be opened to some of the more interesting things to think about as you watch films.

Anyway, I’m getting distracted. The dream version of the film was nothing like that…and to be fair I can’t remember much of it apart from a few images that are hard to explain…needless to say, the sets of the film we were making were kind of living and I kept slipping from the perspective of Director to Actor to Character and back. Though under constant watchful guidance of Andy Warhol. Oh…and there was something to do with the American Civil war…but I’m not sure what.

Ok…so that was Warhol dream number one. I thought it was pretty cool, I rarely dream about famous figures, mostly just people I’ve met. Also it remained vivid for long enough for me to tell someone about it, meaning that some of the details solidified. This is handy, as I often forget my dreams.

Anyway, the second time he cropped up I can only really remember I tiny segment. I was in a Cherry Blossom tree (I don’t know what the symbolism of this might be, but what it makes me think of is a song by the Manic Street Preachers, a band I thoroughly enjoy, though the song itself is from one of their lamer albums…the first three albums all remain high in my esteem, (does that even make sense) after that its mostly just nostalgia for my teenage years. Anyway, they become relevant again later…though some of you may have made the connection already) with a sniper rifle, I looked through the sights to see that I was aiming at Andy Warhol. Holy crap..I thought…I’m about to shoot Andy Warhol. Anyway, as I pulled the trigger and the bullet started heading for the artistic Christian King of the Factory. I shifted perspective (this bit of the dream was very visually impressive) and pulled out of the scene to see that in fact I was just sitting and watching the film ‘Who Shot Andy Warhol?’. My brother found the film amusing as poor Andy died on screen…I wasn’t aware of his biography at that time as this was pre the endless hours spent on the internet. Anyway, bro laughed, I laughed nervously to conceal the fact that I was actually really freaked out by coming that close to shooting someone. Even if it was only a film.

Anyway, I can’t remember the rest of that dream, but I figured it might be significant. I have occasionally explained to people that Andy Warhol may be my ‘spirit guide’. New theories are emerging. And my mouth hurts because I just ate some hot chili sauce. For those of you who are visually minded, I am wearing my favourite stripy jumper and my green corduroy trousers. My T-shirt is poking out from underneath my jumper (which was found in the street on my birthday two years ago…woo). It is also stripy but smaller stripes and different colours, it used to belong to my friend Will. I’m at work.

This is mostly irrelevant information though.

So anyway, recent clues are actually pointing to a different conclusion. I no longer think of Andy Warhol as a source of spiritual guidance.

Let’s come back to that later though, first let me assure you that there is going to be some feminism stuff here eventually. In fact…lets do a little now.

Since starting blogging and reading more peoples discussions and chatting with people, not least of which is my current Significant, I’ve been reading a lot of feminist stuff from a lot of different sources. My eyes have been opened and pretty damn wide. I’ve always considered myself an equalicist/feminist/whatever term it is that applies to me. I fell into a lot of traps though. I did things and held beliefs that would be considered to be the subtler side of patriarchy. I still do sometimes, but I really do try to be otherwise. I find this is a constant struggle and it is difficult.

Aside: I just had an argument with a customer who got banned for saying the c*t word. Now…I say that plenty at home among friends who know I don’t attach significance to it. Anyway, he shouted it at the computer, and got told off by Mr I a friend and co-worker. We decided to ban him once his time was up. He came back and started arguing the toss. Trying to defend himself (bear in mind if you think I’m being harsh on him that he is quite a young kid and we have other young kids in this place). His argument mostly consisted of ‘I didn’t say it it just came out of my mouth. It’s not offensive anyway…nobody was offended’. My responses should be obvious, when he said that nobody in here was offended, I told him I was…he then asked if I was a girl. Now…face to face, my beard usually settles that one. But it really riled me and seemed relevant to this post. Just thought I’d mention it. I told him that my gender was irrelevant, but was interrupted and didn’t finish my chain of thought. I was intrigued by his point of view and thought I might have a chance to teach some kind of equality lesson. I don’t like preaching though…and I was interrupted.

Anyway, I do keep on struggling to improve myself. A hell of a lot of the socialised and peer pressurised stuff is hard to get rid of though. I’m far from perfect. I do honestly try though. As has been made clear in previous posts gender equality is a big deal for me, something that I consider a lot. Among people I love and trust (most people I meet…I’m pretty damn full of love you know) I often make jokes and similar comic statements, I even conform to certain stereotypes in the knowledge that my good friends generally know where I stand on these things. I feel bad about this as I do think that it damages causes that I hold dear, but fun and jocularity is something I hold dear to. What I hate about myself is when I engage in some of the sexist gags of people not so enlightened, or in the presence of people who might not detect the irony. This is similar to something I’ve discussed before (the Computer Abuse Language, I can’t be bothered to find the link as work is ending in an hour and a bit and I haven’t finished discussing all this and I have to prepare the place for locking up) so I won’t go into too great detail. Basically, I’m criticising myself for falling for the jokes and the subtler side of this patriarchy thing. I even used to hold the good old fashioned ‘everyone’s equal already’ and ‘feminists are kicking up a big stink over nothing’ type views…I now realise this is crap. My mind is always open to change, and some of the things the people on the internet have shown me have changed me deeply. Or perhaps just made me realise for real a lot of stuff I half believed already. Those of you who have helped me learn, I thank you…and I pray that you continue.

Discussion with significant and Vintage in particular have been eye opening, plus many other places I have lurked. I thank you greatly.

One discussion with Siggy today went on for hours trying to work out a debate she’s having with people on the internet. The basic gist of it was that some feminists were attacking her for not being man hating enough. This clearly pissed both of us off. I mean sure…I’m willing to agree that most men are terrible in many ways. Patriarchy is fucking horrible. I don’t think that enough people realise just how much both genders are oppressed. And by Jove is it worse for women. I do however think that it is important to recognise that men suffer as well. I find that I am constantly under pressure to conform to male stereotypes that don’t in anyway relate to me. I am bundled together with people who read Zoo and use prostitutes. I read an issue of zoo once to see what all the fuss was about. There was a ‘letter’ sent in by a ‘reader’ who was describing her wonderful experience after a club night where she had got incredibly drunk and then flashed by a bouncer on the way out. She (as any right thinking woman would) gasped in shock and awe and joy at the sight. She then also enjoyed being bundled into the back of a car and driven out to a lay-by and repeatedly and violently screwed by aforementioned security guard.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I was sick at this. I mean…this was actually a magazine basically suggesting that women love being sexually assaulted abused and raped. This was so much worse than I expected. I just thought it would be tits and trash. Generally offensive and insulting to the intelligence of most men, but it was so much more horrific than that.

I was literally sickened by it.

Anyway, the point is that it is possible that not all men are of one type. Variation and variety of people is what gender equality and gender issues in general are all about. People should be free to be different. I shouldn’t feel like I can’t express myself fully. I should feel like its fine for me to dress however I want. I lack confidence though. I am incredibly insecure (underneath a thin veneer of boistrous and noisy faux confidence and egocentricity) and worry at the slightest thing wrong with me.

I don’t think I’m alone. V directed me to a great article recently that was stating that the reason that men are insecure is because they (we) realise we’re actually the weaker sex. I agree one hundred percent with that assessment. The author of that piece (and many others) have hit a nail on a head there. Well…maybe not one hundred percent. But it’s certainly true of me. Perhap’s this makes me a gender traitor.

I don’t know.

Anyway…I’m getting distracted and I don’t have long left to write.

Siggy has been being lambasted for not being ‘the right type’ of feminist. This is wrong. Variety and discussion should be the watchwords of the feminist movements. You’re more than welcome to hate all men, but if you start hating women for discussing then you just appear to be plotting for a matriarchy. I don’t think that would be a better world…just a different one.

There is no reason to fight oppression with oppression.

I have so much more to say but I have no time to write over the next few days.

First off, let me tie up some of the loose ends.

I think Valerie Solanas may be a more likely candidate for my spirit guide that poor Andy. Because of course it was her who really shot Andy Warhol. She’s been cropping up everywhere for me lately. Mostly through the Matmos track Tract for Valerie Solanas.

I will, apparently believe anything that has a good beat. This song has a damn good beat. And is made using an inflated Cow’s Uterus and Vaginal Tract. Find out how here. Then buy the album…it’s absolutely incredible.

Anyway, I now believe that I am being told to ‘destroy the male sex’ by my dreams. I really like her writings. I will tell you more about my views on what she has written once I’ve finished the SCUM manifesto. I’m busy lots though.

Oh…and she inspired the Manic Street Preacher’s song ‘Of Walking Abortion’. It’s a good song.

She has been raised in a few days of research to the status of a hero of mine. As have Matmos…who I’m only now beginning to realise just how much.

I assure you there’ll be follow up material for this. Including an essay on Angela Carter’s ‘The Passion of New Eve’ that I wrote for Uni…that book kind of changed my life a little. Maybe a lot. It’s an out of date essay though so my thoughts may have changed.

I’m so sorry for cutting this short, but I really am too busy at the moment.

I’ll post more bits and bobs but will be slowing down around the holiday season as my computer is going to the workshop for retooling.

Also busyness due to travelling to home and back and possibly to Wales as well….which will be lovely if I can afford it.

Erm…any questions or thoughts? I haven’t said half of what I wanted and I will respond and not censor anything…but please don’t lay too hard into me. I try to be good, but I am weak and insecure.

And I’ll leave with an inspirational note from Solanas herself:

‘Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.’

– Valeria Solanas – SCUM Manifesto

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14 thoughts on “Did I shoot Andy Warhol?”

  1. Thanks for enjoying. The boob job thing is ridiculous. I can’t believe that its even vaguely legal to do something like that, and I adore freedom of speech.
    I think the kid deserved a second chance, but he had been being abusive and rude all day. He was so young, and you’ve got to realise that we run a family business. Lots of parents use us as a cheap alternative to child care. We’ve also been criticised by parents (and when I say criticised I mean yelled at) of customers who have heard bad language in the shop and had a go. The irony of course being that its the kids who swear most and also that we’re trying to protect.
    I don’t like being militant about it though as it makes me feel like a school teacher. I did not sign up for a computer related job just so that I could start turning into my mother.

  2. Oh, and glad you enjoyed the post…I’m a bit paranoid about getting abuse about it, Siggy got into an argument with someone in which she was accused of being a gender traitor or trying to defend men and blame women. This seems strange when she remains one of the strongest and most committed feminists I know. God knows what they’ll think of my bullshit.

  3. My, that SCUM manifesto made me angry. Radical feminism makes me nauseous. Anyone who has that much hatred for an entire section of society, without looking at them as indivudals, in my mind is not worth giving the time of day.

    OTOH, I quite like liberal feminists, but personally see more of value to *myself* in the liberal masculinist ideas of Warren Farrell.

    I think that gender should be more flexible than it is, informed but not entirely determined by sex. There are more differences between different masculinities, for example, than there is between the default masculinity and the default femininity. I also think that the masculine and feminine moulds are equal, but qualititively different.

  4. Solanas’ extremism I find much more appealing than certain other aspects of the more radical side of feminism. But then, I think that you get progress through a variety of points of view. None should be ruled out (even the most extremist) out of hand. Solanas is much more eloquent than most people who’d talk openly about eliminating half the population of the planet. Personally, I read it more metaphorically, that way I don’t get motivated to kill myself.
    I’ll look into Warren Farrel, I don’t really like the term Masculinist (or feminist for that matter). Id rather be an androgynist. Or perhaps a humanist (if that didn’t already mean something else).
    I would personally like to see the complete removal of any attachment between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. So much of gender identity (possibly all) is socially formed and unnecessary. Masculine and Feminine should just be a bundle of bits and pieces of characteristics that we can toy with and use and play with at our will. One should never be criticised for being different.
    Variety…it keeps on coming up.
    Oh, and yes, everybody is an individual, Someone recently said that if you wanted to see why men couldn’t be trusted you should read Zoo. Zoo is not men…it is a horrific representation of a media construct of what men ‘should’ be like.
    Fucking evil stuff if you ask me.
    Oh, and apparently Solanas did say later on that in fact men ‘of a certain kind’ were able to join the SCUM movement and could be an active part of it, so she didn’t entirely tar all men with one giant brush.
    Still….I admire her anarchic attitude. The proposal is so dramatic. I love the idea of entirely dismantling the whole social system and starting again.
    Even if it costs me my life.

  5. Yes, but who would get to determine what ‘certain kind’ of men could join?

    The whole SCUM thing seems to be aiming for a simple reversal, whereby patriarchy would become matriarchy. I reject this as being equally as rooted in ego and so forth as anything that feminism is criticising.

    Plus, I notice that Solanas was repeatedly sexually abused by her father as a child. My conclusion: Men are fucked up, yes, but so are women. Everyone is, to a greater or lesser extent, fucked up by their parents. My mother for example, definitely emerged from a matriarchal family situation, and it’s taken her 56 odd years to start to break through the conditioning and so forth, which I would argue is far more subtly manipulative and harsh than any kind of fatherly abuse.

    Now, I’m starting to realise that it’s sounding as though I’m saying ‘at least you know where you stand with a domineering father figure’ and, although that’s not quite it, there is a certain element of that kind of thinking in my worldview, probably because I’ve seen what effect a domineering female can have on those ‘under her power’, as it were.

    Gender equality is the way forward, definitely. But I’m having difficult reconciling my beliefs that (a) sex and gender shouldn’t be as strongly linked as they currently are, and (b) that the two genders (sexes?) are equal, but different. Is (b) just a product of my social conditioning?

    Also, transvestites freak me out, and ‘queens’ make me cringe. Transexuals, on the other hand, no problem there whatsoever. Strange.

  6. So, bearing in mind that I’m still not quite halfway through the manifesto. I think that you’re right. But I also think that she’s right. My current reading has to go through a filter of taking the whole piece on a more…erm..symbolic(?) basis.
    Basically I think the ‘male’ and ‘female’ that Solanas is describing are images of a certain type of dynamic. I think that both men and women are capable of being like the men that Solanas is describing. There is no inherent inadequacy in men or inherent brilliance in women. I do admit to being jealous of being excluded from the act of motherhood (though some of the baggage that comes with it I am glad to not have to deal with directly). Just looking at a little chunk of the manifesto, we see that Solanas states that women, unlike men enjoy the following pursuits:
    ‘sleeping, shopping, bowling, shooting pool, playing cards and other games, breeding, reading, walking around, daydreaming, eating, playing with themselves, popping pills, going to the movies, getting analyzed, traveling, raising dogs and cats, lolling about on the beach, swimming, watching TV, listening to music, decorating their houses, gardening, sewing, nightclubbing, dancing, visiting, `improving their minds’ (taking courses), and absorbing `culture’ (lectures, plays, concerts, `arty’ movies).’

    Now pretty much anyone who knows me knows that I love all of those things. I do not think that Solanas’ assessment of men applies to all males. The whole piece is about a kind of structure. Yes she is reversing the patriarchy into a matriarchy, but I think she may well be doing it for rhetorical reasons. As I read it, she is describing a system of oppression.

    It is of course worth nothing that she was ‘a little bit mental’ and so it is easy to cast aspersions on her connection to reality. Also being abused as a child is going to screw up anyones ideas of gender and sexuality and all sorts of things. This is reflected in the sheer invective of her prose. I still think that she raises some fascinating points.

    I always try to distinguish between sex and gender. Limiting sec to the biologically created differences between the sexes, whilst gender is the social structure of identity built upon that foundation. The two have little to do with each other (in my opinion). The two sexes are different and equal. The gender’s on the other hand have been constructed into an impossible and unbelievable structure. (Try and find some anti-feminists and contrast their views with Solanas, perhaps a rebellion against the synthesis of Patriarchy and Matriarchy is a goal to struggle for.

    Male oppression exists, and enforced matriarchy is a horrible thing.

    As for Transpeeps. I say anything goes. Somethings make me uncomfortable, but I certainly believe that to just be social conditioning.
    everybody is different and expresses themselves differently. You can’t rule out any of these.
    I do understand where you’re coming from though.

    Oh…and please read Angela Carter’s ‘The Passion of New Eve’ I think you’d get a lot out of it.
    I’m going to post an essay about it shortly. That I wrote for school (uni)..but it will be very spoiler heavy (it was intended for academic study and so under the assumption that the book has already been read.

  7. ‘A true community consists of individuals — not mere species members, not couples — respecting each others individuality and privacy, at the same time interacting with each other mentally and emotionally — free spirits in free relation to each other — and co-operating with each other to achieve common ends. Traditionalists say the basic unit of `society’ is the family; `hippies’ say the tribe; no one says the individual.’

    Just got to that bit…thought it needs consideration

  8. I like my new name.

    Matriarchy is bad like patriarchy. But maybe reversal of things needs to be described for point-proving. Whatever. I’m pissed. Solanas… well, it would be tough to see her point if you take it on literal terms… Still, so fun to read. I love extremist stuff, really takes you out of yourself, like you get to forget about all the difficult complex stuff, just really unreasonably go for it. That’s what’s so great about hating the Daily Mail, you just get to hate. So simple.

    Gender: why constrain anyone? It’s just fucking lazy to want to think of people as a certain way without looking into their character too much. lame. Especially given the very real possibility that it is a social fabrication given our incredibly patriarchal society (which, yes, does constrain us ALL, not just women, but probably women more so. whatever, I’m pissed, leave me alone).

    Umm, Justin, you seem nice. Don’t hate radical feminism, just cos some of them are fascists, doesn’t mean it’s all bad.

    God they are idiots. Today they started saying that I was telling them to look feminine. I never mentioned such a thing. Alabaster, you know this not to be true! Is that not completely a product of their projecting mysoginy onto me because I disagree with them a bit? I tell thee, they don’t wanna listen.

    Sorry, I really am pissed.

    Happy Christmas, you wanna get pissed like me, it’s fun.

  9. You’re drunky deary.

    Anyway, you know exactly where I stand on this, and its fairly close to you.

    Gender is a constraining construct. Radical Feminism is actually pretty grand until they start doing the exact same things they complain about (in this case projecting negative stereotypes upon women…but there’s plenty of other examples). There are lots of idiots.

    Anyway, one thing that struck me when we were talking n the phone was when you said that someone told you (and I paraphrase) that ‘right thinking men’ would understand when feminists have to attack men, and just accept it.

    This struck me as odd, but my head’s a bit funny today (and there’s kids shouting all around me…we’re very very busy today) so I’m not sure what’s so wrong with it. Basically IO think its all of this attacking. Encouraging people to just lie down and take it when they are being attacked or told that they are crap seems to be another thing that entirely doesn’t stand up to Feminist morals. I mean…the phrasing can be seen as an obvious…
    Bah…
    I can’t be bothered with this.
    I’ll come back when my head isn’t funked up. (I think I have a cold…and my bowels were funny this morning, and not the kind of funny that had me doubled over in laughter…the kind that just had me doubled over. Bum.)

  10. Hey, you’re welcome here whenever…I just can’t really be bothered to re say what’s already been said again. Everytime I start I realise I’m just going over my views again. No learning from repetition. Except when playing piano or summat.
    Whatever.
    You’re more than welcome here any time dear…as is any body…as long as they take their shoes off on the way in.

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