Thursday, December 30, 2004

Of Postmodern Sex

“But isn’t sex always sexier in the mind?”

Last night at chuckey’s toma party, listening to more outrageous sextories from a friend got me motivated to finally write something I’d been meaning to write about for quite some time now. Mediated sex. Sex through the media, i.e. SMS and the internet.

I’ve been a netizen for four years. And with those four years, I confess to having had my share of sexual conquests and blunders. When I broke someone’s heart quite callously, I thought, “I really shouldn’t do this again.” But there’s a certain high in making someone cum just through your words, maybe even sometimes your voice. For certain people in a particular state of mind, mind fucking works. Without question, nothing a beats real-person sex; the smells, the tastes, the sensations. But sex seems sexier, hotter, hornier in the mind. So much so that when you finally get to doing the deed, it’s almost an anti-climax. What makes you wonder is, why so?

What is postmodern?

Postmodernism: philosophical ideas, mainly derived from poststructuralist theory, and also cultural formations, especially associated with global popular culture. (McGuigan)

Now, before this brief definition scares you away from reading the rest of this article, let’s dissect some key terms in the definition.

Postmodernism is a movement in the visual arts, cinema, architecture, philosophy, literature and various other “knowledge” disciplines on the latter half of the 20th century. Postmodernism is simply a collection of new ideas to interpret social phenomena, a new lens through which “observers” may view reality.

Since it’s a “post” then it implies a modernism. Modernism emphasizes the importance of our being “material,” made of bone and flesh, with material needs (food, shelter, clothing) in order to survive. Our reality is constructed by our materiality. You are what you eat. The reality of your body is the sum of the genes you inherited, the food you ingest, and the amount of physical work you do. You do poorly in school partly because you may be malnourished, and so, pre-disposed to “failing” in life. These are some “modern” explanations to the reality of your body.

What then, is a “postmodern” explanation? For one, it breaks away from anchoring reality on the material. It veers away from claiming there is an observable material reality out there waiting to be discovered and analyzed. Rather, reality is perception. There is no “real body,” only a “sign.” You are who you perceive yourself to be, and others’ perception of you. And since we’re not an all hooked up in a bee-hive brain, we all have different perceptions or interpretations of what is real.

Since the invention of language, what is “real” has always been mediated by language. Words, both written and spoken, in a way mediate between a subject (you) and an object (reality).

Postmodernism is heavily influenced by linguistics, particularly semiology; “A science which studies the life of signs at the heart of social life.” Simply put, semiology claims that:

A Sign as a unit of meaning is made up of:

1. Signifier—acoustic sound, visual mark (the sound your mouth makes when you speak and the swirly lines you make when you write)

2. Signified—concept of meaning associated with Signifier

A “sign” could be CAR. The car’s signifier is the letters C-A-R and that sound produced by your voice box. The car’s signified is the idea triggered in your brain when you see the sign “car.” Your mental picture of a car (indeed, for all I know, not only a mental picture, but also a mental smell, mental noise or whatever) will not be the same as mine, for a variety of reasons. Your idea of “car” might mean a Volkswagen Beetle while “car” might trigger “gas-guzzling Ford Expedition” in my brain. Maybe you have never seen a Ford Expedition in your life and that is why your idea (or signified) of CAR is different from mine.

Semiology shifted the emphasis from the notion that there is some kind of 'real world' out there to which we all refer in words which mean the same to all of us. Reality is constructed through “signs.”

We are the active makers of meanings. We don't sleep on a structure of metal, foam and springs, we sleep on a BED. The fact that we refer to it as a BED means that it is to be slept on. We don’t usually eat on it or shit on it. We do not live among and relate to physical objects and events. We live among and relate to systems of signs.

What is postmodern sex?

The signs SEX, FUCK, LOVE, DICK, CUNT may have as many meanings as there are interpreters. And we are active makers of the meanings behind these signifiers. The written words “I am sucking your clit” elicits different responses in us, and our individual “system of signs” connect the words “I am sucking your clit” to different equivalences most pleasurable to our egos and our senses.

And so, through mediated sex we are able to fulfill our fantasies and wants not so much with another human being, but really, with ourselves. You’re alone typing away on your computer screen “communicating” with someone of a similar proclivity, but you’re not having sex with them. You’re screwing with yourself, in your mind. You’re not screwing him and he certainly isn’t screwing you.

You wonder why you feel so empty and emptied out after having your sexual encounter with the random cunt or dick of the day. And for those who are bolder, you wonder why, upon meeting your cybersex partner, there seems to be no connection, no spark, no nothing. Only awkward stretches of silence when you’ve run out of things to say. The mind fuck seemed infinitely better than the promise of the real. Well because, a promise was all it was.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Father Christmas Must Die

Father Christmas is a lie,
A gift wrapped up in red.
Rosy cheeked phantom,
Saint Nic a long time dead.

Fine example of generosity,
As his wrapped gifts are dropped
Down the chimneys of the homes
Of privileged little tots.

So when they ask why the poor,
Don't have Santa too,
More lies must be invented,
To cover up the true.

That Father Christmas is no more
The hero Santa Claus.
Consumer society has adopted him,
And used him for their cause.

A logo, branded image
For shops to sell their stuff.
A messed up folklore legend,
Redesigned with soft white fluff.

Why do we still use him?
What purpose does he serve?
Other than to say that lies,
Have some valid worth.

The tale of old Saint Nic,
Still can have its place,
In story books and tales told,
Of why we still embrace.

The time of giving every year,
To mark the caring season,
The joy of sharing what we have,
For no selfish reason.

As for teaming him with faith,
What an odd way to tie,
Faith and lies on the same day,
Father Christmas must now die.
Ah, Christmas excesses. Christmas means abundance and overindulgence in all things bad for you and your health. Have I said Christmas was shitty this year? Well, literally shitty for me. Four days of pooping my brains out, I have. Four days!!! Methinks I've been food poisoned in a certain resto-cafe that serves "Twice-Cooked Adobo." There, be warned.

Note to self: if food tastes funky, don't fucking eat it!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Just a random pic the boyfriend and I took at the annual UPD lantern parade. Must admit, sure don't appreciate them austerity measures when yer desperately wanting to feel christmasy. Sigh, they even repeated last year's theme which was "Perya" (loosely translated -- "fair"). Which means they've recycled some of the floats from last year. Gripe, gripe, gripe.

Monday, December 20, 2004

No more classes, no more books....

A two-week reprieve that isn't really a reprieve since I've papers to check, a book review to do and a report on Korea to prepare for has finally come! And for the past couple of days I've gone on a French film frenzy. Here are some of the terrfic finds I've managed to pick out from among the many Hollywood flicks....

Comment j’ai tué mon père (How I Killed My Father)


Forty year-old Jean-Luc is a successful gerontologist living in the wealthy Parisian suburb of Versailles with his beautiful wife Isa. On the surface, Jean-Luc appears to have everything one could want from life, however the unexpected arrival of his long estranged father (Maurice) promises to shatter Jean-Luc’s facade.

A quiet yet lively man, Maurice abandoned his wife and two young sons years ago, without any apparent misgivings, to practice medicine in Africa.

Like most European movies, this film is slow-paced with well-written characters. It builds into a climax so nerve-wracking it is testament to the brilliant acting and directing. For those who have father issues, you'll need a tissue box while watching this one.

Sous le sable (Under the Sand)


Marie Drillon is a strong, attractive, professional, independent middle-aged woman trying to get her life back on track after the sudden disappearance of her husband. Even for a superwoman like Marie, the shock of the tragedy is psychologically traumatizing.

Marie isn't sure what happened to her husband (Is he dead? Did he run off with someone else?) and she's in denial about him being gone. At Parisian dinner parties with her supportive, careful friends, Marie still talks about her husband in the present tense. At home, she still imagines that he is with her; she pours two cups of tea in the morning and she reminds him to set the alarm clock before going to sleep at night.

A film exploring what grief might do to a woman married to the same man for 2 decades or so. Makes me wonder how my mom ever copes. Where Marie verges into extreme denial and bouts of hysteria, my own mother just keeps plodding on. I suppose we're all made of different stuff. Mind you people, I chose these films totally at random!



A middle-class family must deal with racism, incest, homosexuality, and other issues when a pet rat comes into their life. A bitterly funny satire of family life from France.

This is Ozon thumbing his nose in French bourgeois sensibilities. It mocks just about every aspect of a "traditional" bourgeois household. Although most "sexual" images are tastefully implied, it manages to tickle forbidden funny bones. Its hilarious, knee-slapping fun.

I stand alone (Tout Seul)


The story of a brutal, unemployed butcher at the end of his rope, I STAND ALONE is a violent and dark film exploring the darkness of the human soul. The nameless butcher, just out of prison, looks for a new job. With each rejection he becomes more and more certain that the world is out to get him, leading to stunning acts of violence as the protagonist goes on a hate-filled rampage. Containing graphic sex and violence, I STAND ALONE is a disturbing but powerful look at one man's tormented soul.

What to expect from a film by the same director (Gaspar Noe) who made Irreversible? Extreme acts of violence and unspeakable acts designed to make your stomach churn and your brains a-turning. If you can stand it, watch it.

Sur mes levres (Read My Lips)


In its opening shot, READ MY LIPS shows Carla (Emmanuelle Devos) inserting her hearing aids and getting ready for work. But it's evident that her hearing problem does not hold her back as she throws herself into answering the constantly ringing phones at her job as an unappreciated secretary for an architecture firm.

Swamped with work, Carla asks her boss to hire an assistant for her, Paul (Vincent Cassel), an ex-con who is trying to get his life back on track. To everyone else--her sexist coworkers and her sexy friend Annie--Carla is a dog with a disability. But to Paul, who is Carla's subordinate, she's a femme fatale. In Paul's life--to his parole officer and the two-bit thugs to whom he still owes money--he is an untrustworthy outcast and a bum. But to Carla, he is a secret weapon with skills (lock-picking, physical intimidation) that she needs. Likewise, Carla becomes Paul's secret weapon as her ability to read lips opens up a new world of possibilities to his plotting, criminal ways.

READ MY LIPS is a story of romance through and through, and, in its second half, it is a fast-moving and constantly flip-flopping heist drama. Once Carla and Paul really start working together, the tension between them only helps them along. Never trusting each other, never predictable in their actions, these characters imbue Jacques Audiard's masterful film with a breathtaking suspense that is simultaneously alluring and repellent.

I loved this film. Vincent Cassel is hot. Need I say more? :)

Ma femme est actrice


MY WIFE IS AN ACTRESS is a clever French comedy from Yvan Attal, who directs, produces, and stars in the film. Jealous and paranoid, Yvan (Attal) is the husband of Charlotte (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a popular young actress who is constantly being cast in starring roles opposite attractive and seductive male actors. This drives Yvan crazy. But because he loves her, he must let her pursue her career dreams.

A sports writer who operates in a world that is equally exciting, if not quite as glamorous, Yvan's own career is always secondary to Charlotte's. When she travels to London to work on her latest film, sharing the screen with the studly older actor, John (Terence Stamp), Yvan makes furious and impulsive trips via Eurostar back and forth between Paris and London.
He worries that his marriage with Charlotte will not withstand the weight of his heartache.

Roughly the equivalent of a Hollywood romantic comedy, this French version still manages to come off as more real and infinitely more intelligent.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

No Nilad

It's been five days and still no water in our little corner of the metro. Thanks Maynilad. What a great way to end the year. No advisories, no warning, no nothing. Should water actually trickle out of faucets, it smells and tastes like shit. Literally. Lopez mismanagement isn't just their business but of tens of thousands of us affected. Just you try hike electricity rates next year. Motherfuckers.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Season of UnforGiving

Don't you miss those days when Christmas meant new clothes, new toys and pamasko from ninongs and ninangs? It meant seeing your cousins and playing and Christmas parties with games and goodies. But why is it that as we grow older Christmas only brings headache and heartache?

First off, the goddamn traffic is so thick and heavy you wonder how all these people manage to get anywhere at all. On the length of EDSA there are about a dozen malls or so. Yeah, go ahead and count. This means there are some 10 million people or so are expected to be milling around and doing their shopping pretty much around a 9 kilometer circumference. And of course these people will need to drive their cars, ride taxis and other public utility vehicles to get to their destination, hence the goddamn traffic. This time of year, drivers are especially lawless. To fuck with basic road courtesy, we gotta finish shopping!

This is also the season for the "little marked white envelope." They creep up and pounce on you from unexpected places and circumstances. People you have never seen in your life hand you the envelope and wait for the sacred mana that is the peso bill to be delivered from your unsuspecting pocket. "Kami po yung basurero n'yo." Fucking hell you are, they've already come by! "Meri Krismas Mam! Donation lang po sa simbahan." This church is aaaall the way from Mandaluyong. Or, the ambush carolers who hand you the envelope just before they harangue you with their varied versions of the same ol' shitty carols.

Our pockets suffer the most during this season, it bleeds. We not only have to shop for (very much expected) gifts for lovers, friends, family and godchildren, but we must choose wisely or else said gifts may end up in someone else's hands due to "recycling." You do it and I do it. But I guess, what we don't know won't hurt us. Unless of course we ask. "So how come I never see you wearing the Marvin the Martian tie?"

Christmas lights used to be a pleasure to look at back when we could afford them and the electricity. Despite the pronouncements of PGMA, we ain't out of crisis yet. And so energy rates will come up, and water rates will increase and our measly salaries remain pretty much the same. I've always wondered what they do to them roadside decors after the season. Store them and re-use for next year? Or just throw 'em away? The idea that most likely we're not getting the most out of 'em decors due to substandard materials brought on by corruption in LGUs kinda makes me wonder some more...

And finally the heartache of those without significant others (sayang naman ang lamig ng panahon at walang kayakap or kaulayaw!) and those with missing family members whose birthday it was on the 24th. Hay. The pronounced loss of said family member will probably soon pass. Maybe as each unforgiving Christmas passes, so too will the loss. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


Here's the nasty weather system devastating the country. I suppose Pag-asa had a hell of time thinking of a male Pinoy name starting with a Y.
The skies are weeping droplets along with those from my eyes. Overcast and gloomy and quietly storming in my head, I am inconsolable in my thoughts.

Would that the fears would stop knocking on my windows. Would that my knightly-shining armor would do its job and protect me from imagined doom. Would that my peace of mind stay a bit longer, and resist being consumed in the icy holidays. But it won't. And as the crisp cool air kisses my cheeks and elicit shivers, so will it kiss my heart. It is pouring. And so am I.