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Spirituality

Spirituality

  1. Standard member Nyxie
    The eyes of truth
    08 Mar '05 01:12
    The most famous lesbian in history is without doubt Sappho of Lesbos, born in the seventh century B.C. Praised by the Greeks for her sublime poetry she was variously depicted "the tenth Muse", "the marvel among women", etc. There is still debate as to whether she was truly an exclusive homosexual or really bisexual, enjoying passionate relationships with both men and women. The life and poetry of Sappho - or Psappha, as she called herself in a local dialect - are filled with the love of women. She gathered a circle of girls around her; and with them she explored poetry, music and love. Inevitably the early Christians thought her highly immoral. Thus Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishop of Constantinople, ordered her books to be burned wherever they were found, and he termed her "gynaeon pornikon erotomanes" ("lewd nymphomaniac". In 1072 Pope Gregory destroyed more of her surviving works. The poems of Sappho that are still known today are said to represent about 5 per cent of her total output, the rest having been destroyed by the bigots.


    Nyxie
  2. Donation kirksey957
    Outkast
    08 Mar '05 01:16
    Originally posted by Nyxie
    The most famous lesbian in history is without doubt Sappho of Lesbos, born in the seventh century B.C. Praised by the Greeks for her sublime poetry she was variously depicted "the tenth Muse", "the marvel among women", etc. There is still debate as to whether she was truly an exclusive homosexual or really bisexual, enjoying passionate relationships with b ...[text shortened]... t about 5 per cent of her total output, the rest having been destroyed by the bigots.


    Nyxie
    Nyxie, I never heard of her. I would have guessed that Martina Navaratolova was the most famous of all time.
  3. Standard member Nyxie
    The eyes of truth
    08 Mar '05 01:23
    My next topic is one of the most important art censorship cases in U.S. history. It began in 1951 with a ban on a short film called The Miracle, by the Italian neorealist master, Roberto Rossellini, and ended in a monumental Supreme Court decision. The case also raised profound questions about the separation of church and state, questions that still bedevil our society today.

    Let me give you an overview of the case; afterwards, I'll talk in more detail about the history of film censorship, the pivotal role of the Catholic Church, and some of the lessons of the Miracle case.

    Late in December 1950, Rossellini's Il Miracolo opened at the Paris Theater in Manhattan. The film is a religious parable featuring a dim-witted peasant woman, Nanni (played brilliantly by Anna Magnani), who is plied with drink and then seduced by a vagabond whom she mistakes in her stupor for St. Joseph. (St. Joseph is played by the young Federico Fellini, who also wrote the screenplay.)

    It's not clear whether Nanni is even awake for the actual sex, but in any event, she soon discovers she is pregnant and decides it is an immaculate conception. Her fellow villagers are not so naive; they mock and torment her, even singing religious hymns as they parade her through the streets with a basin instead of a halo on her head. Nanni escapes to a hilltop church, and experiences a beatific moment of religious ecstasy after giving birth alone on the church floor.

    When released in Italy in 1948, The Miracle was harshly criticized by the Catholic Cinematographic Center - an arm of the Vatican devoted to vetting movies for moral propriety. But it was not banned - indeed, it was shown at the Venice Film Festival, where works considered blasphemous by the Vatican would not have been allowed. The Vatican's semi-official newspaper, Osservatore Romano, published a guardedly appreciative review, noting that "objections from a religious viewpoint are very grave," but also pointing to "scenes of undoubted screen value," and concluding that "we still believe in Rossellini's art."

    In New York City, public officials were not so broadminded. City License Commissioner Edward McCaffrey, a former state commander of the Catholic War Veterans, announced that he found The Miracle "officially and personally blasphemous," and ordered the manager of the Paris to stop showing it. The next day, the Catholic Church's Legion of Decency called The Miracle a "blasphemous mockery of Christian-religious truth," and McCaffrey suspended the theater's license.

    The film's distributor, Joseph Burstyn, filed a lawsuit to challenge McCaffrey. Burstyn was a champion of foreign films; several years earlier, he had introduced Americans to the glories of post-World War II European cinema by exhibiting Rossellini's masterpiece, Open City. Movie star Ingrid Bergman, bored by performing in formulaic Hollywood vehicles, was entranced by Open City when she saw it, and by Rossellini's next feature, Paisan. Whereupon she sent Rossellini one of the more famous letters in cinema history. "I am ready to come and make a film with you," Bergman wrote, even though I know only two words in Italian: "Ti amo." With this introduction, it was probably only a matter of time before Bergman deserted her husband and ran off with Rossellini. The affair was still good tabloid copy when The Miracle opened at the Paris in Manhattan as part of a trilogy of short foreign films called The Ways of Love.

    Burstyn's lawsuit came before a judge who, at a preliminary hearing, questioned McCaffrey's power to censor movies. Film censorship was well-entrenched in New York, but it was vested in the state Board of Regents, not the municipal license commissioner. Exhibitors had to apply in advance to the state board before showing any film. McCaffrey backed off and lifted his ban.

    But now a more powerful figure, Francis Cardinal Spellman, entered the fray, with a statement attacking The Miracle that he ordered read at every mass in all 400 parishes of the huge New York Archdiocese. Spellman, a right-winger whose political power was such that he was known as the "American Pope," had not seen The Miracle, but he had heard about it. This was enough for him to condemn the film as "a despicable affront to every Christian" and "a vicious insult to Italian womanhood" which should really be named "'Woman Further Defamed,' by Roberto Rossellini" (a reference, of course, to the affair with Bergman). Spellman said it was "a blot upon the escutcheon of the Empire State that no means of appeal to the Board of Regents is available to the people for the correcting of the mistake made by its motion picture division" in giving a license to exhibit The Miracle in the first place.

    Picketing began at the Paris the same day, and continued for several weeks. Sometimes numbering more than 1,000, these representatives of the Catholic War Veterans, Knights of Columbus, and Archdiocesan Union of the Holy Name Society carried signs bearing such messages as: "This Picture is an Insult to Every Decent Woman and Her Mother," "This Picture is Blasphemous," and "Don't be a Communist – all the Communists are inside." They yelled similar affronts: "Don't enter that cesspool!", "Buy American!," "Don't look at that filth!

    Eight days after Cardinal Spellman's lament that there was no way for the state to rectify its error in licensing The Miracle, a way was found. A three-man committee of the Board of Regents convened, viewed the film, and declared it "sacrilegious." Four days later, the full Board directed Burstyn to "show cause" why the exhibition license should not be withdrawn. And on February 15, 1951, despite briefs supporting artistic freedom from the Authors League, prominent Protestant clergy, the ACLU, and assorted writers and intellectuals, the full Board ruled that the film was sacrilegious and therefore in violation of New York's 30 year-old film censorship law. The Miracle parodied the Immaculate Conception and Virgin Birth, they explained, " - concepts "sacred to [millions of our people]," and inexcusably associated them with "drunkenness, seduction, mockery and lewdness."

    Burstyn's attorney, the First Amendment expert Ephraim London, now took an appeal; but the state courts rejected his arguments that not only the sacrilege standard, but the very existence of movie licensing, violated the First Amendment. On the contrary, using a rationale that is often heard today from those advocating state benefits for religion, the New York judges said they were simply accommodating citizens' religious preferences. Not to protect believers against "gratuitous insult" to their religious beliefs, according to the state Court of Appeals' logic, would amount to discrimination against them and hence an infringement of their freedom "to worship and believe as they choose."

    The appeals court disposed of arguments by both London and the American Jewish Congress (in a friend-of-the-court brief) that the Church-driven censorship of The Miracle violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, which prohibits Congress from making any "law respecting an establishment of religion," and is generally understood to mandate the separation of church and state. The state's obeisance to Cardinal Spellman yielded only an "incidental" benefit to religion, said the court; and in any event, "[w]e are essentially a religious nation, ... of which it is well to be reminded now and then."

    London now appealed to the Supreme Court; and in a unanimous decision in May 1952 in the case of Burstyn v. Wilson, the Court declared "sacrilege" far too vague a censorship standard to be permitted under the First Amendment. Weaving an elaborate metaphor, Justice Tom Clark wrote for the Court that trying to decide what qualifies as sacrilege sets the censor "adrift upon a boundless sea amid a myriad of conflicting currents of religious views, with no charts but those provided by the most vocal and powerful orthodoxies." He added that "it is not the business of government ... to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine."

    Clark noted in passing that banning films because of sacrilege might also "raise substantial questions" under the Establishment Clause; indeed, censorship based on a standard like "sacrilege" inevitably favors vocal and powerful religions over quieter and weaker ones. "Under such a standard, the most careful and tolerant censor would find it virtually impossible to avoid favoring one religion over another."

    But Clark stopped short of deciding the case on Establishment Clause grounds - with consequences that reverberate today. With government vouchers funding religious schools, a White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, and widespread outrage last summer over a federal court decision recognizing that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance represent government endorsement of religion, we are still wrestling with the issues in the Miracle case.

    Nyxie

  4. Donation kirksey957
    Outkast
    08 Mar '05 01:37
    Nyxie, as an owner of a video store would you ever censor a movie from your inventory? It is gratifying to know that technology is such that censorship is almost a mute point.
  5. Standard member Nyxie
    The eyes of truth
    08 Mar '05 01:39
    John C Rice kissed May Irwin in 1896, and became the first couple to be recorded kissing in the film called The Kiss. This prompted the first demand for film censorship.

    A critic at that time responds with his views of The Kiss :

    Herbert s. Stone on the 15th of june 1896 : Neither participant is physically attractive, and the spectacle of their prolonged pasturizing on each other's lips was hard to bear. When only life sized it was pronounced beastly. But that was nothing to the present sight. magnified to gargantuan proportions and repeated three times over it is absolutely disgusting. All delicacy or remnant of charm seems gone from Miss Irwin, and the performance come near to being indecent in it's emphasized vulgarity... the Irwin kiss is no more then a lyric of the stock yards.


    A modern writer on the kiss :

    The Kiss is simple that, it's about 20 seconds long, each second pure and innocent as your first kiss. Even the way it is filmed, very close and personal, that it makes you feel like it is the first time you are witnessing a kiss.

    Nyxie
  6. Standard member Nyxie
    The eyes of truth
    08 Mar '05 01:43
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    Nyxie, as an owner of a video store would you ever censor a movie from your inventory? It is gratifying to know that technology is such that censorship is almost a mute point.
    For the record I no longer have that video store. I can't think of any movie I would have censored from my library. There are some that I simply will not watch, but that is my personal choice, and not one I inflict on others.

    Many people came to my store because it was well stocked with older titles that you jst don't find in video stores these days. If a customer asked for a movie, I would find it and add it to my collection, if it was possible to purchase it.

    Nyxie
  7. 08 Mar '05 03:46 / 1 edit
    I was channel surfing this weekend. Discover Health channel was showing a female surgeon. She had striking hair and nice eyes, though I thought her jawline was unattractive. She was tall, and her hips seemed suspiciously narrow. Turns out she is a surgeon who specializes in sex-change operations in Trinidad, Colorado. She herself is someone who was born male and went through the hormones and surgery to look like a female. The voice was so-so as far as femininity.

    They also followed another male-to-female patient around with a camera, showing the gradual results of the female hormones, taken in ten times the natural adult female quantity. This guy was 6-foot one inch and over 200 pounds.

    But here's the kicker. Both of these people, who grew up feeling that they were really female despite their genetically-male bodies, are now living in lesbian relationships. One might think that since they desired so badly to look and be female, they might pursue males after the change was completed. Not so.
  8. Standard member Nemesio
    Ursulakantor
    08 Mar '05 03:56
    Originally posted by Nyxie
    John C Rice kissed May Irwin in 1896, and became the first couple to be recorded kissing in the film called The Kiss. This prompted the first demand for film censorship.

    A critic at that time responds with his views of The Kiss :

    Herbert s. Stone on the 15th of june 1896 : Neither participant is physically attractive, and the spectacle of their prolonge ...[text shortened]... ersonal, that it makes you feel like it is the first time you are witnessing a kiss.

    Nyxie
    It's a very famous film for historic reasons. I was familiar with it, but
    had no idea about the controversy it raised.

    I swear, it's like people had never kissed before.

    Nemesio
  9. 08 Mar '05 05:13 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by Nyxie
    [b]The most famous lesbian in history is without doubt Sappho of Lesbos
    Psappho, as she called herself, was born at Eresus, on Lesbos...and feared for her penmanship was banished.

    After five years of exile she returned to Lesbos and became a leader of the island' s society and intellect.
    She opened a school for young women, to whom she taught poetry music, and dancing, it was considered the first "finishing school" in history.

    In that particular time period all literature was produced by men,. It is impossible to know the thoughts of a women through the minds of a men. Many poets think she was the greatest, but she was ridiculed by the classical Greeks. Later medieval monks refused to copy her poems, or simply destroyed them.

    Is it true that Sappho was a lesbian?

    It is possible, but not certain. It is more likely that she was bisexual, but it is also possible that she was defamed and called these things. No one really knows.

    One of her poems

    WHAT IS A WOMAN

    Like the sweet apole which reddens upon
    the topmost bough,
    A-top on the topmost twig, -- which the
    pluckers forgot, somehow,--
    Forget it not, nay, but got it not, for none
    could get it now.

    Like the wild hyacynth flower which on the
    hills is found,
    Which the passing fee of the shephards
    forever tear and wound,
    Until the purple blossom is trodden in the
    ground.

    gil
  10. Standard member Nemesio
    Ursulakantor
    08 Mar '05 05:53
    Originally posted by gentlegil
    WHAT IS A WOMAN

    Like the sweet apole which reddens upon
    the topmost bough,
    A-top on the topmost twig, -- which the
    pluckers forgot, somehow,--
    Forget it not, nay, but got it not, for none
    could get it now.

    Like the wild hyacynth flower which on the
    hills is found,
    Which the passing fee of the shephards
    forever tear and wound,
    Until the purple blossom is trodden in the
    ground.

    gil
    I would be interested in seeing the Greek; translations can
    lose a lot without having a transliteration nearby.

    Nemesio
  11. Donation Pawnokeyhole
    Krackpot Kibitzer
    08 Mar '05 13:16
    Originally posted by Nyxie
    The most famous lesbian in history is without doubt Sappho of Lesbos, born in the seventh century B.C. Praised by the Greeks for her sublime poetry she was variously depicted "the tenth Muse", "the marvel among women", etc. There is still debate as to whether she was truly an exclusive homosexual or really bisexual, enjoying passionate relationships with b ...[text shortened]... t about 5 per cent of her total output, the rest having been destroyed by the bigots.


    Nyxie
    Nyxie,

    Sappho was probably doubly damned: being a woman, she was a victim of chauvinism; and being sexually nonconformist, she was a victim of erotophobia.

    One thing that puzzles me is why people get so particularly worked up about sexual diversity. It seems to be viewed as threatening, and to exciting moral disapproval, much more than its objective consequences would warrant for those feeling threatened or expressing disapproval.

    For example, let's suppose gays and lesbians could get married. Because they constitute only a few percent of the population, and sexual orientation is biologically fairly stable, it is unlikely that they would ever present a threat to the majority of married heterosexuals, by way of example, or in terms of political power. Yet they are feared and despised by large numbers of people, especially fundamentalists.
    (Check out www.godhatesfags.com for an example), as if the future of civilization depended upon it.

    Why does sexual diversity cause such a storm. do you think?

    P.S.

    I am sorry if my post, on the topic of mind-brain connection in another forum, came across as dismissive. I tend to just speak my mind directly on such issues.
  12. 08 Mar '05 15:13 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Pawnokeyhole
    Nyxie,

    Sappho was probably doubly damned: being a woman, she was a victim of chauvinism; and being sexually nonconformist, she was a victim of erotophobia.

    One thing that puzzles me is why people get so particularly worked up abo ...[text shortened]... dismissive. I tend to just speak my mind directly on such issues.
    Why does sexual diversity cause such a storm. do you think?

    I think it may ultimately go to what Elisabeth Schussler-Fiorenza called the “kyriarchy.” Think of it: human eros—in all its dimensions, including sexuality—is perhaps the deepest, most profound and powerful, personal and intense experience and expression of ourselves—body, mind and spirit. Societies at all levels throughout history have set taboos and made laws regarding both erotic experience and erotic expression—for good or ill (I certainly have no problem with prohibitions on pedophilia, for example).

    Controlling eros is a way of controlling individuality, channeling it into “socially acceptable” expressions, at a very deep level. The questions are: to what purpose, for whom, and who decides. Who is in charge, who holds the power?

    A side issue, perhaps (not directly on point with this thread): Who controls sexuality, also controls the “rules” of procreation. For example, think of the Nazi program of eugenics in an attempt to expand the so-called “master race.” Another example is simple lines of heredity: a society that is patrilineal probably has a bit more incentive to try to control (at least female) sexual behavior—after all, the woman always knows that the baby is hers; only the man might have doubts.
  13. Standard member Nyxie
    The eyes of truth
    09 Mar '05 02:36
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    I would be interested in seeing the Greek; translations can
    lose a lot without having a transliteration nearby.

    Nemesio
    For you Nemesio :

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/sappho/index.htm

    Enjoy, Nyxie
  14. Donation kirksey957
    Outkast
    09 Mar '05 02:56
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [b]Why does sexual diversity cause such a storm. do you think?

    I think it may ultimately go to what Elisabeth Schussler-Fiorenza called the “kyriarchy.” Think of it: human eros—in all its dimensions, including sexuality—is perhaps the deepest, most profound and powerful, personal and intense experience and expression of ourselves—body, mind a ...[text shortened]... ter all, the woman always knows that the baby is hers; only the man might have doubts.
    [/b]
    Stephen, I know in the animal kingdom, sexual posturing is often dominance behavior. Perhaps rules are man's way of dominance behavior. I had a golden retreiver once and he was just completely over-sexed. Even after he was neutered he was always climbing on something. If it wasn't a kid in the neighborhood , it was the corner of the bed. It was really embarrassing when company would come over. He had this blanket that he dragged around and made love to. I do know that there are expressions of taboo stuff in the animal kingdom so I tend to think we make up our rules for no apparent reason.
  15. 09 Mar '05 03:03
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    Stephen, I know in the animal kingdom, sexual posturing is often dominance behavior. Perhaps rules are man's way of dominance behavior. I had a golden retreiver once and he was just completely over-sexed. Even after he was neutered he was always climbing on something. If it wasn't a kid in the neighborhood , it was the corner of the bed. It was rea ...[text shortened]... aboo stuff in the animal kingdom so I tend to think we make up our rules for no apparent reason.

    Talking about being preoccupied with sex ......

    There is a famous Dutch saying which says: Zoals het baasje blaft, blaft ook de hond.