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Thule Thinks

An outlet for random thoughts on random subjects.

Updated: 2018-03-15T00:30:13.686+01:00


Nurse Who?


When I was young one of my favorite comics in the world was the original run of She-Hulk. So much so that I still love it, and have reread it several times. She-Hulk is of course essentially a genderswapped version of the Hulk, and like the Hulk - and several other Marvel comics from the seventies it was filled to the brim with social awareness and stuff. I liked She-Hulk so much I even read her entire storyline with the Fantastic Four after Secret Wars. (Which included an interesting early commentary on papparazzi and publishing nudes of celebrity women which coincided with the very real harrassment of Lady Diana Spencer for those very reasons.) When I was young nerd culture was pretty much permeated by these types of characters. We had She-Ra (He-Man's interdimensional cousin), Supergirl, Batgirl, Spidergirl and so forth. In the seventies and eighties if there was a super popular character you would soon get a female version of the same. Most of whom were very lame. Some of whom were cool. Depending on whether or not the writers managed to create good stories for said character. Now, as you can tell I am super old, and when I encountered nerd culture it was very much male dominated. Female characters were often reduced to masturbation material or story elements for male heroism. Not always, but quite often. Even in the case of Roy Thomas' Red Sonja, who was portrayed almost as the Andrea Dworkin of barbaric comic books. Red Sonja established the meme of big breasted barbarian women in chain mail bikini, seen so often in fantasy illustrations. This all changed in the nineties, for a lot of different reasons. People like me being one of them. I've introduced a ton of girls to nerdy things like role playing games, and I've welcomed girls into Nerdosity. You see, I am one of those people who get along with women more easily than men. I don't know why, it's just always been that way. Another reason is that a great deal of games and literature shifted towards more focus on interpersonal relations, storytelling and such and quite simply became more inclusive. Today I find it quite amusing when I tell people that when I was a teenage nerd and tried to get the hot chicks to roleplay with me their reactions were "What dragons and elves and shit? That stuff is for boys!" For a variety of reasons I more or less fell out of Nerdosity just around the turn of the century, and I was a bit surprised to see the shifting of the clientelle whenever I frequented a comic book store. It used to be a dirty safe space for nerdy guys with few social skills and whose only sexual relations had been with a freeze frame of Denise Crosby baring her midriff and the aforementioned Red Sonja. Suddenly you had women walking around these places. Women who were not mothers. This evidently caused a lot of consternation in the kingdom of Nerdosity. You'd think no one would be averse to this, but evidently such is not the case. Male nerds felt threatened and invaded, and they were not happy when their favorite franchises shifted content to actually greet their new demographic. I think it's safe to say that the kingdom of Nerdosity is in a state of civil war today. On the one hand you have the loyalist Broflakes, true to l'ancien regime and armed to the teeth. They are fighting a younger and more well organized army known as the Snowflakes, who fight for diversity and inclusion and a New Order of Nerdosity. Their battlefields are the hills, valleys and lowlands of Tumblr, Twitter and Reddit, and their weapons are trolling, pile ons, ridicule, sarcasm, doxing, and invasion of safe spaces. Agewise I should belong with the Broflakes, in terms of values I have more in common with the Snowflakes, and I find the Broflakes to be a camp of sorry ignorant losers. However, I'm not fighting in this war, and when I look on the battles that are being waged my sole reaction is one of wanting to get the hell out of Dodge. For all their inclusive politics the Snowflakes are just as rash and insensitive as their enemies, and I just don't want to take part in their war. Let's [...]

Radioactive philosophers' heads and strewn corpses.


I love to see the world suffer in agony after and during a nuclear holocaust. As I grew up in the eighties we all knew that this was the way we were going to die. Either ripped to dust by the explosion or of radiation sickness in the aftermath. And it didn't happen. For some unknown reason. I was bereft of my awaiting destiny, and I guess I seek to emulate it by wallowing in fantasies about how it would have been. And I'm not talking about cosy apocalypse shit (though I also find that stuff to be thoroughly enjoyable), rather I mean the truly horrendous and bleak realism of Threads, the Day After and the film this blog is about: Dead Man's Letters. Dead Man's Letters is a Soviet film from 1986, and describes the aftermath of a nuclear exchange. The story is set in an unknown city in an unknown western country and revolves around a nobel prize winning physicist and a few other survivors. While some interpret this film as set in the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe there are several hints in the film that this is in fact not the case. The soldiers all use western style uniforms and weapons, and we also see that these soldiers are present before the nuclear war, so it's not a matter of occupation. Also, all signs have latin rather than cyrillic letters and a great deal of western consumer goods are shown throughout the film. At one point a reference is even made to the leader of the nation being a president, which was never the case in the Soviet Union. A side note perhaps, but an important side note: Soviet censorship at the time would probably never allow a film to show the downfall of the Soviet Union - and as such great care had to be taken to show that this was the fate of a western country. Incidentally it is also a much better film than the more well known but also somewhat overrated Soviet sci fi films by Tarkovsky. (Stalker and Solaryis.) Regardless, the main characters hide in a fallout shelter below what is either a university or a museum. They're all intellectuals of some sort, and they make their home among artifacts of former civilizations. Greek and Roman statuary adorning their sepulchre, where they dine, discuss and die. Sometimes all three at once. A particularly bleak sequence has one of them soliloquy at great length during a meal, before he calmly crawls into a freshly dug grave and shoots himself. None of the others try to stop him. Unfortunately I don't understand Russian, and I have not been able to find a subtitled (nor God forbid, dubbed) version of this film, so I have no idea what he was rambling about. Probably something very smart. There are many such poignant scenes, and the mise en scene during the outdoor sequences are incredibly evocative and atmospheric. Filmed in low contrasting (mostly) monochrome with an array of colored filters and varying degree of over exposed film the images compliment the landscapes perfectly. One of the scenes has two characters wading through the remnants of a partially flooded library. The nihilism is appearant. There are also some details I don't quite understand. Probably because of my inability to understand Russian language or culture. Such as the fact that one of the women in the shelter wanders about with her tits hanging out during most of her appearances or the inclusion of a gambling dwarf. The physicist whose point of view we follow is filled with remorse and despair as he wanders around in the ruins, and we learn that he was either directly or indirectly involved in creating the very weapons that destroyed the world. As such he represents the duality of humanity's destructive and analytical capabilities. He feels very much the weight of responsibility, both in terms of what has transpired and perhaps what needs to be done. As the characters die off one by one our hero decides that children are indeed the future, and sets out to lead a bunch of starving and irradiated kids to "the Central Bunker", where they will supposedly be saved. In a way he fails as we see that he is buried by the very children he wished to save, but th[...]

Did I ever tell you that I've been dead for weeks?


In the infancy of the Internet as we know it today it was afloat with weirdoes and strange things, and it was social. At a chat forum I used at the time I found myself chatting with a young, obviously disturbed and strangely fascinating young man. One day he intimated to me that he had in fact been dead for some time. He had stopped breathing, and had since found himself moving about in a state of living death. It was a condition he found puzzling, and he didn't dare telling his mother about it. There is of course no way to know whether he was pulling my leg or if he actually believed himself to be dead, but of all the strange ideas he entertained this was the only one he seemed to return to and not joke about. He didn't respond well to any assumptions that he was still alive, or joking. You'd think the belief that you are dead while still living is beyond any semi rational being. Interestingly however it is not. While the disorder, known as Cotard's syndrome is exceptionally rare it has been described several times since its initial discovery in 1788: An elderly woman who had suffered a stroke believed that the stroke had indeed been fatal, and that she was physically dead. Supposedly she used a great deal of her post-mortem existence to plan her own rites of burial. The syndrome is named after the French neurologist Jules Cotard who classified the condition as délire des negations (since identified as a different disorder from what is now known as Cotard's syndrome). While not the first to describe the condition he was one of the first to identify it as a disease. He described two cases in 1880 and 1882. He also quoted a great deal of earlier cases, described by a variety of psychological pioneers, Krafft-Ebing among them. Since then several hundred cases have been described, wherein the patients believe themselves to be dead, missing body parts, undergoing putrefaction, being immortal or simply not existing. Wikipedia lists a case where a fourteen year old at times believed himself and others to be dead, and also speculates that Per Yngve Ohlin, otherwise known as Dead - the most famous vocalist of Mayhem, suffered from Cotard's Syndrome. Sounds plausible to me. Another described case involved a 59 year old woman who had been bedridden for two years, under the delusion that she was paralyzed, or actually didn't exist at all. My Internet chat buddy logically concluded that he had for unknown reasons become a zombie. A more bizarre case was described as recently as 2004, in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica: A young man believed himself not only to be dead, but also suffered from clinical lycanthropy. Specifically he believed himself to periodically transform into a dog. Presumably he also believed that the natural behaviour of undead dogs is to engage in sexual molestation of sheep, and he expressed a great deal of guilt over having porked a sheep in a state of psychosis. (He must be from Hedmark or something.) Cotard's syndrome is not entirely understood. There is certainly a link to severe depression, and there may also be connections to anorexia, body dysmorphic disorder and other mental disorders. Possibly it could also be an extreme type of hypochondria, as Cotard himself theorized. Regardless of how it works let's hope the middle of the road nerds currently obsessed with sub par zombie entertaintment succumb to collective Cotard's, and the fad goes away with them. ;)[...]

Good enough to eat, part two


In my previous post on Italian cannibal films, a favorite subject of mine I mentioned in passing how the films portrayed primitive practices. I didn't really take on that particular subject in any real way though. Despite the fact that the notion of something primitive is a powerful psychological factor and an important trope in these films. It's time to tackle the myth complex of the primitive in relation to horror films. (Warning: several spoilers below.) As usual I don't mean myth in the way Mythbusters use the term. While I am in many ways a cultural relativist I'm much interested in the power and function of a myth than I am in cultural relativism. When I say myth I mean a tale with emotional truth by which we order our perceptions of reality. Primitive is such a myth. In my first post on the subject I mentioned Edgar Rice Burroughs. When I was quite young my parents bought me a collection of nine Tarzan books. Several more had been written but if I am not mistaken these were the ones that had been translated to Norwegian. I loved these books, for many reasons. One of the reasons that has stayed with me is the idea of lost civilizations and advanced cultures surrounded by jungles and cannibalistic savages or similar. It's an idea equally important in Burroughs's Barsoom series, where the noble red martians are surrounded by primitive barbarian green Martians. The idea of the primitive is the central core of the Tarzan books. Tarzan, Lord Greystoke, himself is a white man reared by a tribe of apes (who stand in for the most primitive humans) and rises to be their king and the lord of the Jungle. His naked body and sharp steel knife are contrasts symbolic of his primitive surroundings and the noble astuteness of his mind and character. I'm not going to claim that Tarzan is great literature. It's inherently racist and formulaic but read with the right mindset it can be both entertaining and enlightening as a source to knowledge about the society that fostered the books. I could write a whole post about Tarzan, but I won't. At least not today. These ideas of exotic locations filled with less sophisticated people are fundamental to cannibal films, as well as a whole array of other exploitation, sexploitation and horror films. A potent and lovely example is the french film Gwendoline with its S&M fueled fantasies of a lost realm of white amazonian women surrounded by savage cannibals - and a shit ton of nudity! This film displays not only the idea of the primitive as a scary and hostile other, but also what constitutes the idea of the primitive. They are tribalistic, they occasionally eat people and they like to ravage white women. This of course is the very pattern of both Tarzan and cannibal films. However there is an interesting duality to be found here, which is even more explicitly present in Cannibal Holocaust: civilization is just as wicked, just more ingenious and twisted in its wickedness. In Cannibal Holocaust this very twisted wickedness is shown as western documentarians out to make a film about primitive people in the jungle. They find their primitiveness to be a disappointing in its lack of true savagery and go about provoking them in a cruel way. It's a beautiful inversion of the common conceptions found in so many other cannibal films. It's no longer enough to venture into the jungle and have blonde hair to be cruelly tortured, slain and eaten. (Without condiments, cleaning nor preparation. Even this vegetarian knows that they're begging for salmonella or something.) While it's not entirely the noble savage it certainly is a viable post colonial critique of our freudian fear of and fascination with primitives. And as post colonial critiques go I personally prefer mine with a touch of brutality and nudity. When I say touch I mean "a lot". Defining the primitive is not easy. I use the term vaguely, as it is a vague notion we have. Part psychology and part cultural trope. The primitive is usually, but not always, "the other[...]

Let Dead Nazis Lie


It's been some time since I wrote about cheap ass exploitation films, so I figured we'd tackle three of the original Nazi Zombie films together. Even though I, like many others, have had it up to here with the recent zombie mania. Still, there are old movies out there that are actually worth seeing, as opposed to the "remakes" of Romero's films and the Walking Dead and shit like that. However the three films we're about to tackle aren't really known to be classics of the same level as Fulci's or Romero's films. It was inevitable I guess. Zombies and Nazis are the two greatest evils you can imagine, and considering how many dark occult myths are associated with the nazis it was just a question of time before they mixed. And it's no wonder. Our fear of nazis returning to haunt us mixes well with our fear of death, and undeath. The deeply psychological image of undead nazis coming out of the deep (whether it's water, snow or the desert sands) symbolizes this well, and is used throughout all the films in the genre. This evil from the past has remained hidden for years, but is now back to exact punishment and death. It's so jungian you can cut it with a knife. Or something. The first film to explore the genre was Shock Waves (1977), with famous actors Peter Cushing, Brooke Adams and John Carradine. That's right, Cushing didn't just blow up Alderaan in 1977 he fought nazi zombies too. And this film establishes a pattern followed by its copies. After encountering a ghost ship a group of seafarers, led by Carradine, land on a tropical island to repair their ship where they run into the marooned hermit Cushing and eventually the undead SS death squad. The film takes its time establishing mood and plot, and the first scene involving a zombie is unsettling. We immediatly understand that this dude is dangerous as well as determined. This applies even more to the scene of German soldiers rising from the water, one by one. It's a memorable scene, and as such is has been enthusiastically copied. As opposed to the two next films we're about to review it is also pretty consistently well photographed and edited, and the music is great. It turns out that the zombies are supersoldiers developed for submarine warfare by the Third Reich. They are more or less invincible, as well as sadistic and murderous and were stranded here by their former commander. They've spent some good deal of time under water, but have recently determined to surface and get even. Slowly they murder their way through more or less the entire cast before the film ends on rather dark note. While our heroine escapes she's clearly lost her sanity and the less than living aquatic aryans are still out there somewhere. Shock Waves is clearly the best film of the genre and it's actually a good horror film too. Absolutely worth seeing for all horror hounds out there. It's not the Exorcist, but it's certainly on par with most John Carpenter films. In fact much better than his newer films.. Establishing a link between the nazis' real interests in the occult, their horrendous medical experiments, the fierce reputation of the SS and the popular zombie genre was a brilliant idea. Zombie Lake (Le lac des morts vivants 1981) is a strange little film, directed as it is by Jean Rollin. Yup, you heard it Jean "LSD-nudity" Rollin. He thought the movie was a piece of shit however, so he directed it under the pseudonym J.A. Laser. (Incidentally Jesus Franco, another schlockmeister pulled out of this project at an earlier phase.) First full frontal nudity appears at about a minute into the credits, and as this Laura Gemser-lookalike is randomly and prolongedly showing us her muff in an underwater scene she is accosted by an aquatic zombie in Wehrmacht uniform. We don't get to see what he wants with her, but it's safe to say he's not out to get laid. (The underwater sequences have beautiful colors btw.) The Feldgrün corpse and his buddies then venture forth from the bottom of[...]

The Breathing Machine


For many years I was aware of J.G. Ballard, but I had never read anything by him. I'm a lazy reader, and usually don't bother with literature. I prefer academic books. But when so many artists I enjoy find profound meaning in Ballard's literature it's hard to overlook. Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire and Gary Numan were significantly inspired by Ballard. Cronenberg adapted his novel Crash for the silver screen and there is even a Doctor Who episode inspired by one of his books. (Paradise Towers from 1987. Charming in its own eighties way.) Even Hawkwind. There's more too... Anyway. I found High Rise sitting on shelf and picked it up, and for some reason I left it sitting on a new shelf for a couple of years before I read it. But when I finally did. Wow. In a lifetime you'll only have a few experiences where your world is permanently altered, and this was one of those. I vividly remember the brutal in medias res opening where the main character barbecues his neighbor's alsatian, before the book goes on to recount his experiences before and after this savage unsentimental meal. The novel brought together so many elements in a story that sounds preposterous but works like a charm. The brutalist Erno Goldfinger architecture of the high rise itself conspires with the futuristic cityscape in which it lies and the modernist search for meaning and power. It was a beautiful book, and I found myself viewing the world in a different way. I immediately sprang to tackle the next book, Atrocity Exhibition, upon which Joy Division based their song of the same title - and arguably his least accessible work. The short textual fragments coalesced to form a whole that affected my perception of reality in a profound way, with their oblique mythical contents. At this time I used to ride the subway to work, and I remember sitting on the subway station listening to the sounds of automatic billboards periodically switching posters. It sounded like the city itself was on a respirator, gasping for breath in the summer heat. For a moment of clarity the humans around me stopped being people and became symptoms. The spit on the ground was a festering pool of potential evolution. Ballard's fascination with landscapes as an extension of the human will, and vice versa, his use of medical references, his sterile lack of exposition or exaggerated back stories and his modernity all click with me, and he rapidly became one of my favorite authors of all time. Up there with Gibson, Mishima, Burroughs and quite possibly Delany (by whom I have only read one book of as of yet). Ballard's reality is our reality without clothes. His religious/erotic portrayals of life in the city and interhuman relations in the city are eye popping. I certainly don't see cars or highway intersections the same way anymore. They are both frightening and sexy to me now. And I'm not alone in that... I leave you with this: The Normal - Warm Leatherette width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>[...]

Muscles, fire, guns, the new frontier and inner city savages!


"We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won't allow them to write "fuck" on their airplanes because it's obscene!"Colonel Walter E. Kurtz - Apocalypse NowI just read that despite previous rumors that Chuck Norris' involvement with Expendables 2 meant that the film was going to a PG 13 film, it is in fact R-rated - with swearing and all. Chuck Norris is of course famously a christian conservative right wing twat, and doesn't like cussing. Murder and war is fine, cussing is not.I grew up mostly in the eighties, a decade most of you think of as the decadent days of shoulder pads, mullets, horrible synthesizer music and pink over sized knit sweaters. This is of course true, but the eighties were also the last decade of cold war anxiety and all the implications that came with that.A significant feature of this decade was the fact that a former movie actor turned Republican politician held office from 1981 to 1989. Fittingly his values are embedded in quite a few of the mega movies of the decade, and certainly in the meme "action film". Chuck Norris' involvement with right wing politics is not unique, to say the least.Let's take a look at the action films of the eighties, to which Expendables plays loving tribute. We're talking Sylvester Stallone, Charles Bronson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris of course - and a million clones. In many ways however the meme was born some years earlier with Clint Eastwood and his brilliant interpretation of the role "Dirty" Harry Callahan in 1971 - a movie that spawned a handful of sequels and changed the face of action films forever.Dirty Harry was set in the inner city in the dying throes of the hippie era, post Manson and towards the end of the Vietnam War. Social upheaval, the early clashes of the culture wars and drug culture had a severe impact on American culture, and the result of course was fear. Fear of course breeds fantasies of escaping fear, and Dirty Harry showed us that one of the most potent images was the head strong, authoritarian white cop who could look past politics and turmoil and create order with his .44 magnum revolver. The revolver is of course a unique symbol of the American frontier, and in Callahan's hands it transforms modern America into a new frontier where savages fear its powers. Dirty Harry postulates a potent urban myth wherein politicians are weak and corrupt and the law itself gets in the way of justice and order. (Incidentally: Dirty Harry's script was co-written by a certain John Milius. Hang on to that name for now, we'll return to him later.)Several years later the film's myth would be invoked again in a whole bunch of films, but two of the most memorable are Death Wish (1974) and Cobra (1986) starring Charles Bronson and Sylvester Stallone respectively. The two films take different approaches to the myth however, and both are interesting:Death Wish presents us with the common man turned spirit of vengeance, who takes the law into his own hands because the lawmen are too civilized to exert authority. He becomes judge, jury and executioner, to use a cliché, and turns his revolver on street punks and modern savages. Chaos and turmoil surrounds the common man, but with the right tools he can turn the frontier back into a home for good men.Cobra's take is different. In Cobra the law is no longer just flaccid or corrupt, it is irrelevant. Gangs have taken over the inner city and are enforcing their own rule, with no respect for the laws or the police. They have zero qualms about open war with the police. Into this situation Marion Cobretti is injected as a self proclaimed cure. His revolver is replaced with a modern 9mm gun, and the frontier is gone. This is the normal state of our decadent civilization. Cobretti is seen as a necessary evil and the only way to take on the worst of the lawless elements. He succedes, but the viewer is warned not to follow his path -[...]

I anledning åttende mars: PUPPER


I går fikk vi vite det alle har visst lenge: Dorthe Skappel har silikonpupper. Mediene mente at dette var noe verdt å lage overskrifter av, og reaksjonene vekslet mellom indignasjon og likegyldighet. Jeg er faktisk ganske likegyldig til puppene til Dorthe Skappel, men jeg er ikke likegyldig til responsen.Det er en sterk kulturell meme i dag et silikonpupper er feil, og at bare dumme bimboer har silikonpupper. Jeg er uenig, og jeg vil gjerne bruke at par minutter av din tid til å angripe denne latterlige dobbeltmoralens, om vi i stor grad kan takke feministene for. Ja, jeg vet at feminister er så mangt, selv om enkeltgrupperinger forsøker å kapre begrepet og definere andre ut av det. Her tar jeg for meg de tradisjonelle kvinnesakskvinnene i Ottar og Kvinnefronten og deres likesinnede. Det er et hav av forskjell fra Andrea Dworkin og Valerie Solanas på den ene siden og Jenna Jameson og Sasha Grey på den andre, men i norsk feminismediskurs er det altså Kvinnefrontens logikk som har hatt mer eller mindre hegemoni siden syttitallet.Jeg har mange ganger hevdet, og provosert folk med, at det ikke er noen betydelig forskjell på å forstørre puppene sine og det å lage et hull i øret. Ihvertfall ikke moralsk. Det er din kropp, bruk den slik det behager deg - sålenge det ikke skader noen. (Nå skal jeg ikke gå inn i noen diskusjon rundt poenget at man kunne brukt pengene på veldedighet eller at helsevesenet kunne reddet liv istedetfor å lage fine store pupper. Jeg sier bare: la den som er uten sten osv.)Silikonpupper handler om kropp, og når vi snakker om kvinner er kropp et minefelt av kroppsidealer. Feminismens ideal er kanskje det snevreste av alle, og for noen grupper grenser det mot det totalitære. Det er kanskje tilogmed snevrere enn det man finner i motebladene, og ihvertfall langt snevrere enn det man finner i pornografiens verden: feministenes tradisjonelle fiender.Feminismens ideal er denne størrelsen som kalles "naturlig". Det er noe freudiansk over akkurat det begrepet. Freud identifiserte at natur-kultur og eros/libido-thanatos er to dyader med sterkt sammenfallende kulturell signifikans. Altså: vi identifserer naturen med noe positivt og fullt av livskraft, mens kulturen er død og stivhet. Det er en grov forenkling og virkeligheten er mer kompleks, men det sier noe om hvor fundamental dragningen mot naturlighet er for mange. Det er å være naturlig er et slags moralsk imperativ, og de som går mot naturen er fæle folk. Å forandre på kroppen er såkalt unaturlig.Natur er det utemmede og ville, mens kultur kommer fra kultivere, altså å dyrke og kontrollere marken. Opprinnelig var kultur et begrep som handlet om jordbruk, og det var også med jordbruksrevolusjonen det vi i dag forbinder med begrepet ble et sivilisatorisk trekk.Dette danner grunnen for en logisk feilslutning av de helt store, som jeg tror jeg må lede tilbake til første mosebok, hvor Adam og Eva får beskjed om at de skal legge naturen under seg. Mennesket er ikke en del av naturen, men bryter med og kontrollerer naturen. Dette er selvsagt det reneste sludder. Mennesket er naturlig, og alt mennesket gjør er naturlig. Skillet mellom natur og kultur er fullstendig overflødig - ihvertfall på et moralsk plan.Observer forøvrig det moralske feministiske freudianske poenget i skillet mellom natur og kultur (og ekstremfeminister er ofte opptatt av Freud, gudene må vite hvorfor): kultur er å drive den skarpe spisse plogen ned i den fruktbare jomfruelige marken for å plante frø og således undertvinge seg jorden. Eros og natur er kvinnelig og fruktbar, mens kultur og thanatos er maskulin tvang og død. (Om du tror jeg trekker dette langt så sjekk ut begreper som fallogosentrisme: språket og logikken er en fallos som brukes for å underkue det feminine følelsemennesket. I shit you not.)For de totalitære erkefeministene som Ottar får det[...]

Pulling yourself into a new existence.


Thanks to a friend of mine, who dragged me into this with enthusiasm and conviction, and the wonderful people at Wings of Desire. I had a new experience yesterday, and I can't quite use my academic training to quantify it. This is nothing new, it happens to a lot of people, and I dare say more and more people consciously seek it out.Have you ever taken a look at commercials from way back? I mean a real look and not just looked at the way women are portrayed as servants, but how so many of them were about selling modernity as well as a specific product. Sleek modernist design, machinery, science and urbanity were selling points in the year after the second world war. There was an air of progress, safety and techno optimism after the dark irrational forces of fascism had been vanquished. Take a look at the beatiful schematics of the washing machine here for instance. Nothing mystical about it. Nowhere, no how.Compare this to how we sell shampoo today. It's all about emotions, and ethereal unquantifiable orgasmic experiences. Interesting huh?Unless you're blind and stupid you've probably noticed a few social trends that fit in this very context: getting married is back, the catholic church is growing in protestant countries, along with new age, occultism, buddhism, hinduism and islam, and television shows are increasingly concerned with mystic experience, parapsychology and alternative religions - in a positive way.Yesterday I was suspended by two hooks lodged in my back. I'm not a member of some Amazonian tribe where things like this is done to prove manhood, nor am I particularly masochistic - and yet I chose voluntarily to have my skin stretched and chance all my weight on two steel hooks and a small patch of skin.Though I like to see myself as an individualist and not some follower of trends it would be naive not to notice a pattern here. Especially considering my other interests: ritualism, occultism, buddhism, symbology, mythology and so forth ad nauseam.Traditionally something like this would have been a rite of passage, in the Arnold Van Gennep school of thought, and he makes some very interesting points. Rites de passages is highly readable today and perhaps one of the few books on ritualism that has really stood the test of time. His theory of course concerns moving from one type of existence into a new one - or crossing of thresholds.This is not necessarily evident though, and I actually think modern ritualism (in this particular context) is both a result of and a continuation of a fragmentation of traditional ritualism. By result I mean antithesis: modernity has rationalized society to the point where people lack content for their lives. We are born, we live, we die, we rot and if there's anything in between that puzzles us we turn to psychiatrists with chemical explanations - and for some reason we don't feel fulfilled by this. Like there is something missing. For this reason many of us crave entry into a world of irrational thought. Perhaps even initiatory experiences (though I feel a need to point out that this initiatory experience and use of traditional ritualism should not be likened to the rather outdated "sect" called traditionalism).Personally I am an academic, scientifically minded person who prefers Houdini's open minded debunking to Blavatsky's fraudulent bullshit when mysticism is involved, and still I find a great deal of meaning in this kind of ritualism.And ritualism it certainly is. Structurally it even parallels the classical outline of Golden Dawn rituals. You start with a cleansing, followed by an invocation of inner strength, you perform the act, and end it with a new cleansing. (While many occultists are moving away from this somewhat rigid pattern I personally prefer it, and it works well.)There's a reason why rituals are constructed this way - and you'll notice the very sam[...]

Fire and the myth of the New Flesh!


One of the most central myths in human history, told by what is probably every single culture to ever have existed is the myth of fire. The most well known is of course the myth of Promethevs who stole the fire from the gods. You've all heard it.There are several reasons why these myths are so powerful, depending on the myth itself of course, but also inherent in the common theme. Obtaining fire is about freedom to decide one's own fate, civilization, mastery of nature, predictability and about connection to the profound. Most significantly, fire was a step on the tool making evolutionary ladder which allowed humans to control a force of nature and thereby paved the way for technological innovations that came later. It's up there with the first knife, the wheel and the jar and other significant early achievements.Mythically speaking the most significant trait of these stories would be man's ability to rise into the sphere otherwise occupied by the gods (the Sun most prominently of course). By mastering the art of fire man was no longer a slave to the gods, but master of his own destiny. Even, by mastering the gift from the gods we are able to construct a new religion and approach divinity in a new way. The innovation of fire supposedly coincided with the approach of sun worship and patriarchy, at least on some level.The various fire myths around the world are complex, and despite following some common structure they also differ vastly. Claude Levi Straus goes into some of these in great detail, but I'm going to leave that be for now. My understanding of the symbolic meaning of many of the details, and my knowledge of mythical structures is nowhere near as impressive as his. One common theme for fire myths is that after initially obtaining fire the gift is lost, or stolen from man, and a hero must regain it for the good of his people, by going on a quest of some sort.The movie La guerre du feu (English Title: The quest for fire) from 1981, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud concerns this exact portion of the fire myth, and it's one hell of a story, with briliant production values and direction! (Also, it's the first feature film appearance of Ron Perlman, whom some of you probably know better as Hellboy or from that horribly overrated film by Caro and Jeunet).I first saw this film when I was about seven or so, and it made a lasting impression. The film starts out with a small tribe of stone age people who have fire, but don't know how to make it. The entire structure of the tribe is therefore geared towards caring for and guarding the kindle they carry with them, and guard with their lives. Consequently when this kindle is accidentally lost after a fierce battle with a competing tribe life takes a turn for the worse. (The competing tribe fills the role of what Lévi-Strauss called the Trickster, somewhat simplified.) It's decided that three of the tribe's members will go out and search for a new source of fire, while the rest of the tribe try to survive without it.Wile I am certain things like this happened in real life it is evident that this is no historical drama, but a compression of cultural and technological evolution into a myth complex for retold in the language of "modernity". The stone age tribe coexists with tribes that are significantly more advanced technologically, juxtaposing the "primitive" tribe on the first step of the evolutionary ladder with the more civilized tribe - capable of creating fire, as well as other technological gizmos. Also, the cult venerated by the more advanced tribe is seemingly more complex than the fire-seeking tribe, though this is not a significant theme in the tale.This film is of course a redux of the so called "cave man" genre, which was immensly popular back in the fifties and sixties, before nearly dying out. (The most long lived memory o[...]

To preserve the temple, it must be burned!


I'm currently reading Spring Snow by Mishima Yukio - one of my favorite authors. And one who deserves more attention at that. I first read about Mishima in an article about eating disorders and distorted body images in body building when I was in high school, and I was instantly fascinated. The article focused on Mishima as a model and his morbid fascination for St. Sebastian. To mishima death was very important. He even describes how he had his first orgasm while looking at a black and white depiction of a painting of St. Sebastian's martyrdom. It became a theme in Mishima's life, and an image he gladly reproduced. Tied to a tree, pierced by arrows and radiating of masculine beauty with his well toned muscles. I'm not (very) gay, but I can certainly see the beauty in his body. There is irony in this image, just as there is irony and ambiguity in his literature. Mishima is of course understood mainly as a Japanese author and the theme of his literature was certainly that of Japanese traditional society - just as the man tied to the tree is certainly Japanese. On the other hand his writing style is mainly inspired by western novels - and the image he copies is that of a christian saint. This kind of ambiguity was a theme in Mishima's life - on many levels. A subject of particular interest to many is his sexuality. Mishima is usually seen as a homosexual, and his semi autobiographical Confessions of a Mask certainly support that image. On the other hand Mishima was married and fathered children. His family maintains that he was not in fact a homosexual, but enjoyed the image it created. I personally find that hard to believe, and if I have to speculate it's quite evident to me that Mishima was either gay or bisexual. It is of little consequence however. The other ambiguity is that of militant nationalism, and evading the draft by citing poor health in the last days of World War II. Mishima was obsessed with traditional Japanese values, such as bushido, shintoism and the emperor's stature, and it seems he felt more than a little guilt due to not having fought in the war. After the war he became a successful novelist and playwright but also a militia leader operating on the far right of Japanese politics. Calling him a fascist is tempting, though certainly inaccurate. (But that's a discussion I'll leave for another time.) Mishima's novels are a reflection of an individual with deep traumas, intense anger and also intense compassion. He is able to describe the most sublime beauty while juxtaposing it with nearly grotesque nihilism. It's all very subtle however, to the point of being inhibited. The first novel I read by Mishima was the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, a book that describes a young man's deep emotional turmoil while he trains to become a priest, in the eponymous temple. Much of the book is made up of conversations between the main character and his physically deformed nihilist friend, in something of a doppelganger motif, and the entire novel is a discussion of beauty and the ephemeral nature of such - especially on a religious level. I was intensely smitten with how Mishima spoke to me in his descriptions and subdued anger. Mishima finally managed to subdue himself in the ultimate way. In 1970 he led some of his loyal followers in a coup of sorts. Mishima, in uniform, announced to an army camp that he had restored power to the emperor and consequently withdrew to perform seppuku. The samurai's honorable way out. The coup was hardly designed to be anything but an opportunity for death and Mishima acheived his martyrdom. Typical for his erotic attraction to death and destruction he had rehearsed the ritual on film, and the event itself was also preserved for posterity. Mishima was obsessed with the beauty of decay, and this was his ultima[...]



Rasisme er nok et ord som slenges rundt uten at alle egentlig vet hva det handler om. Spesielt er det naturlig nok rasister selv som ikke skjønner hva dette ordet betyr. I det store og hele vil jeg oppfordre folk til å være litt forsiktig med å bruke dette kraftige krydderet på maten sin. Det som ofte skjer når rasisme-ordet slenges ut er at alle debattanter lukker ørene, og åpner munnen. Tenk deg om før du bruker det, men når du bruker det, bruk det med selvsikkerhet og bevissthet. Hva er så rasisme? Rasisme er å ta en stor gruppe mennesker med lett gjenkjennelige identitetsmarkører og essensialisere deres oppførsel basert på fordommer. Dette kan være på bakgrunn av etnisitet, men like gjerne også kultur. Det er i det hele tatt veldig vanskelig å skille mellom etnisitet og kultur i praksis, og rasister har gjerne et uklart bilde av forskjellen på de to, hvilke begreper de bruker for å beskrive folk og hva som er grunnen til at de misliker noen. Mange rasister tar anstøt av å bli kalt rasister fordi de ikke er opptatt av rase, og dermed i sine øyne ikke kan være rasister. De forfekter det man gjerne kaller en klassisk rasismedefinisjon hvor etnisitet er det bærende kriteriet. Denne formen for rasismen, hvor rase/etnisitet/blod definerer gruppen er eksepsjonelt sjelden, og noen vil si at den kanskje aldri har eksistert i sin rene form. Selv for de klassiske rasistene i gode gamle dager var det et stort innslag av kultur i rasismen. Man så kanskje ned på "negre, hottentotter og villmenn", men ikke fordi de hadde en underlig farge på huden, men fordi de var barbarer og hedninger med grusomme skikker. Etterhvert som tiden gikk ble man mer klar over at det var kulturen som var roten til fordommene og man begynte å snakke om kulturell rasisme, eller for den saks skyld nyrasisme. Nyrasismen er den samme rasismen som alltid har vært der, men den er litt mer tilbakeholden i sin språkbruk. Det er ikke lenger "stygge arabere og utspjåkede apekatter", som Max Manus skriver om som er "de andre", det er muslimer, fattige analfabeter fra slummen og kvinneundertrykkende fanatikere. I praksis er det de samme folkene man snakker om, og bare språkbruken har endret seg. Dette er greit å få med seg: rasisme er rasisme uansett om man snakker om rase eller kultur. Begge deler er en unnskyldning for å hate og skyve fra seg mennesker som er annerledes og ingen av delene kan rettferdiggjøres. Rasisme er å miste syne av individet og skjære en stor gruppe mennesker over en kam basert på deres bakgrunn og tilhørighet. Da er vi inne på det andre elementet som forvirrer og kompliserer: hat. Mange rasister sier at de ikke synes at noen folk er bedre enn andre, de vil bare ikke at kulturer skal blandes. Dette er det vi kaller for differensiell rasisme, eller differensialisme. Det skiller seg fra hierarkisk rasisme som er den mer gjenkjennelige "jøder og negre er fæle folk og vi er bedre enn dem"-rasismen. Men det er sludder. Differansialismen er gjerne maskert hierarkisk rasisme. Om ingen kulturer er bedre enn andre, er det egentlig så farlig at man kan blande seg? Denne formen for rasisme er på moten, og svært utbredt og langt på vei godtatt i Norge i dag. Blant annet kommer den sterkt til uttrykk i Fremskrittspartiets partiprogram, men også de andre partiene støtter den i noen grad. Det er dette synet som ligger til grunn for alle disse vage uttalelsene om integrering. (Integrering er at annet begrep noen burde blogge om, for dét blir misbrukt det.) Implisitt ligger det en tanke om at en kultur har en egenverdi som blir truet av andre kulturer, og man er redd for at en kultur vil bli utslettet. Newsflash: kulturer er i evig forandring, og de har aldri vært isolerte. Da ville de stagnert. Det er og[...]

Total suppe!


I dag skal jeg ta for meg noen andre begreper som brukes mye i politikkens verden: "autoritær", "totalitær" og "fundamentalistisk". Disse begrepene brukes mye feil. Ja, feil. I motsetning til gårsdagens forklaring av "høyre" og "venstre" er ikke dette ord med en spesielt uklar betydning.Jeg starter med det siste, fordi det er så viktig for norsk kultur. Fundamentalist. Som regel brukes dette ordet ganske så synonymt med "ytterliggående", eller "ekstremistisk", og det er en grunn til det - men det er feil. Fundamentalister er riktignok ofte ganske usmakelige folk med ekstreme synspunkt, men de trenger ikke være det - og her kommer det lille sjokket for noen av dere: Den Norske Kirke er fundamentalister, men ikke spesielt ekstreme. Ja, de er det. Fundamentalisme betyr at man bygger sin ideologi eller religion på kilden(e) istedetfor tolkning. I realiteten er det naturligvis naivt og umulig, men det er ihvertfall det man forsøker på. I sammenheng med Den Norske Kirke henger det sammen med Martin Luther. Da han protesterte mot katolisismen var et hans primære ankepunkt at paven hadde for mye makt, og han ville returnere til skriften som fundament for troen. Martin Luther var altså fundamentalist, og retningen oppkalt etter ham er en fundamentalistisk retning.Når det gjelder Usama bin Laden som ofte kalles fundamentalist er tilfellet omvendt, noe som også gjelder Anders Behring Breivik. Disse to var/er ekstremister, men retningene de forfektet har ingenting med fundamentalisme å gjøre. Viktig å få dette med seg.Det neste begrepet er totalitær, og det henger sammen med autoritær. Begrepene "totalitarisme" og "totalitær" skriver seg fra Benito Mussolini og Partito Nazionale Fascista. Mussolini hadde en idé om å skape en ideologi som gjennomsyret samtlige aspekter av Italias liv: religion, politikk, kunst etc etc. Fascismen skulle være en totalitet som det italienske samfunnslivet hvilte på. (Et av de mest minneverdige utslagene av totalitarismen i Italia var F.T. Marinettis forslag om å forby pasta, fordi han mente at folk ble dårlige fascister av det. Det ble ikke gjennomført.) Prosjektet feilet, men begrepet ble stående, og blir gjerne også brukt om andre retninger med tilsvarende ideer: stalinisme, nasjonalsosialisme, islamisme og maosisme, osv. Kjennetegnet er altså at én ideologi eller tankegang skal gjennomsyre absolutt ALT, og ingen alternativer aksepteres overhodet. Det er en fullstendighet og monomani over det.Totalitarisme har avstedkommet teorier og bøker og drøftinger så lange som syv vonde år, og dette begrepet kan diskuteres til kuene kommer hjem, men i all hovedsak er man enige om det jeg har skrevet her. Så kan man diskutere om totalitarisme er en egen ideologi, eller en måte å være ideologisk på. [Jeg mener det siste, om noen lurer, men den første ideen later til å være den dominerende i Norge, for øyeblikket.]Som regel når folk sier "totalitært" mener de "autoritært", og totalitære regimer er tilsynelatende alltid svært autoritære - men de to begrepene er IKKE synonyme. Autoritære regimer er villige til å sette makt bak tankene sine for å opprettholde lov og orden, men de er ikke nødvendigvis totalitære. Iran er et totalitært regime hvor alt hviler på én tolkning av Islam. For å håndheve denne tolkningen bruker de autoritære virkemidler. Zimbabwe er et autoritært regime, men ikke på noen måte totalitært, akkurat som Thatcher var autoritær men ikke spesielt totalitær. (Hun var snarere ganske pragmatisk i mange henseende.)Så husk: Fundamentalister bygger på et fundament slik et hus står på en grunnmur.Totalitære folk gjennomsyres av en total idé, og ingenting annet er lov.Autoriteter slår deg med kølle for å få d[...]

Høyre, venstre - en, to - en støvel og en sko!


Norge har blitt utsatt for noe mange, inkludert meg, omtaler som høyreekstrem terror. Dette begrepet får mange til å reagere fordi de ikke kjenner igjen høyresidens tradisjonelle verdier i det man gjerne kaller høyreekstremisme. Ofte ser de faktisk det de oppfatter som venstreverdier i det man gjerne kaller høyreekstreme, og når noen høyreekstremister kaller seg nasjonalsosialister, da er forvirringen total.La oss prøve å rydde litt, og med trykk på litt - for dette er et stort tema. Men la meg først skyte inn at noe av det jeg skriver her kan andre være uenige i, og noe av det kan være banalt og ikke minst svært forenklet. Men men, kjør på!For å forstå begrepene høyre og venstre må vi ty til historien. Vi kan ikke definere begrepene uten å se på hvordan de oppstod. For det som etterhvert begynner å bli noen hundre år siden var det revolusjon i et land som kalles Frankrike, og under denne revolusjonen ble det laget et parlament. På den venstre siden av parlamentet satt republikanerne, og på den høyre satt monarkistene. Her dukker altså høyre- og venstresidene opp, og for siste gang i historien er de nogenlunde enkle å forholde seg til. Dette var ikke partier som bestemte seg for hvor de skulle sitte, men enkeltstående representanter. Ryktene vil ha det til at de konservative kongetro satte seg på høyresiden fordi de radikale som ville avskaffe monarkiet bråkte så fælt og oppførte seg generelt dårlig.Etter som tiden gikk ble mye av ideologien i Europa organisert etter disse linjene: høyresiden ble et begrep som beskrev generell konservatisme, mens venstresiden ble et begrep som beskrev de som ønsket forandring. I Norge oppstod derfor partiene Venstre og Høyre med innførselen av parlamentarismen. Høyre var kongetro, tro mot unionen og tilhengere av dansk skriftspråk og embedsstyre og sånne ting. De var konservative. Partiet Venstre var litt mer sammensatt, fordi de favnet om "resten". I stor grad var det liberalistiske ideer som dominerte, sammen med nasjonalisme og ønsket om republikk, men partiet tiltrakk seg også marxister, anarkister og andre personer som ikke hørte hjemme på "høyresiden". Og nå begynner det å gå galt.Da arbeiderklassen fikk stemmerett oppstod det en opposisjon som ikke hørte hjemme i noen av de to partiene, mens om tiltrakk seg mange av de tradisjonelle velgerne til venstrepartiene. Dette var altså velgere og politikere som beveget seg bort fra høyre, og dermed må man si, mot venstre. De tok med seg ordet både i Norge og resten av Europa og plutselig betydde ikke lenger "venstre" liberalisme, nasjonalisme og republikk, men marxisme og internasjonalisme. Partiet Venstre forble der det var, og derfor har vi altså i dag i Norge et parti som heter Venstre som er på høyresiden av sentrum. Det er mange som finner det forvirrende, og jeg har truffet oppegående voksne mennesker som sier at Venstre er et sosialistparti mellom SV og Arbeiderpartiet. "Javel", tenker jeg da, og forsøker å forklare. Tyngdepunktet i politikken skiftet og venstresiden ble sosialistene (Arbeiderpartiet), sentrum ble liberalistene (Venstre) og høyresiden ble de konservative (Høyre).Da vet vi hvorfor venstre betyr sosialist, mens venstreradikale er kommunister - snarere enn voldelige republikanere. Men hva skjedde med høyresiden?Verdiene som venstresiden tildligere forfektet flyttet litt på seg, men ikke fullstendig. I Norge var unionen var oppløst, så Høyre omfavnet nasjonalismen og unionstankegang var ut, mens Venstre ikke lenger var så opptatt av dette, og det reflekterer den endringen som fant sted i Europa. Nasjonalismens romantiske ideer ble i økende grad de konservatives ideologi. I mellomkrigstiden ble ogs[...]

A little piece of whaaat?


Here in Norway we have a chocolate called Freia Melkesjokolade (milk chocolate), and to me - as a person interested in national myths, this sweet delight is very interesting. Let me tell you why, and also tell you a little bit about Norwegian nationalism while I'm at it. So here we go!Earlier today I was riding the subway here in Oslo, and I noticed that Freia has a new ad campaign up. Probably their most mythisizing one ever. (Is that even a word? It is now, and I coined it, and you get to pay me royalties.) Now, their slogan is "et lite stykke Norge" or a little piece of Norway to my international readers, and their latest campaign takes this quite literally. The boards show a small secluded plot of land, with a text explaining why this particular plot was chosen by a named individual. This is good advertising for two reasons, and they both relate to mythic aspects. What Freia does is that they're creating an emotional truth. First because it relates to their slogan, but more importantly because it gives access to someone's personal emotional experience (by proxy) and links it to the tangible and universal experience of eating chocolate. When you eat that chocolate you're eating someones affection for Geirangerfjorden. If you think I'm overdoing it, believe my, I'm not. I've worked with measuring the effect of ad campaigns, and that's the way ad people think. Evidently it works really well too, and the creation of myths and historical patina is probably the most used and successfull form of advertising today. Just look at what Coca Cola is doing with doc Pemberton, or Levi's move away from pure sex, to showing how their clothes were originally worn by miners. Never thought about that now, did you?Anyway, back to Freia. In addition to building a myth of personal experience linked to a very concrete place Freia is coupling this to their tried and tested ties to national romanticism. Freia is of course the norse goddess of fertility, and the entire image of the chocolate is geared to further a romantic image.The posters don't depict an urban scene, it's as rural as rural gets - despite the fact that only 2.1% of the Norwegian population are employed in any form of agriculture. You won't see many people with brownish skin either. The Norway we see on those posters is not relevant to most Norwegians except as fables or dreams. We might have seen it passing by in airplanes or trains, and we might even vacation there, but very few of us ever spend much time there. It's Disneyland baby.This is a significant cultural trope, and a very potent one. One of the most important and renowned poets in Norway, Henrik Wergeland, formulated a theory that highlights the process we are witness to. Of course, Norway was under foreign rule from just after the black plague and up to 1905. Most of the time we were under Danish rule. Wergeland, and others with him, claimed that the original population in Norway and their culture had been partially suplanted by less pure danish counterparts. In particular the language and national virtues such as hospitality, democracy and courage. A typical golden age myth, which is common for most nationalisms, maybe even all. (I've written about that before. Read it.) Wergeland however took this trope further and spoke of what he called "den uægte lodning" ("the untrue solder" in English). Norway's past and future were two halves of gold ring, but the ring had been broken and soldered together with lead. This lead soldering had to be removed, and a national culture had to be reconstructed. The basis for this culture was to be found in rural areas, where Danish culture had failed to penetrate. This theory of course provided the founda[...]

About the Department of Justice and users of twitter.


This is my mail to the US department of Justice, concerning their recent attempts to extract profile information about users of Twitter.
You can send mail here:

I am a Norwegian citizen living in Norway, and as such I have no rights as a judicial subject in your country.
However, recent developments have made me, and many others subjects of your legislation none the less. It has been brought to public attention that the department of justice seeks private information about twitter users who voice their support for WikiLeaks.
While I don't mind you knowing my full name and oppinions it disturbs me a great deal that you feel a need to covertly gather intelligence about political activists using their democratic right to free speech via the internet.

For this reason I feel the need to write to you, and tell you who I am and what I stand for.
My full name is [removed for reasons of google and spam and so forth, disclosed in the mail though], I am a librarian working at the largest public college in Norway where I'm a liason librarian for the department of education (serving 3.500 students and 300 teachers).
I also have a master's degree in contemporary history.

With regards to WikiLeaks I have advocated both on twitter and elsewhere that all citizens have a natural right to know everything their elected officials and their policy making employees are doing on their behalf. It is in fact the foundational principle of republicanism (res publica). Anyone who seeks to stand in the way of this right is an enemy of democracy.
I have participated in a public debate in librarian media in Norway, and supported the Norwegian Library Association in their condemnation of the move by the Library of Congress to block WikiLeaks. You can read summary of my position here: from Norwegian by google translate.)
I have also on numerous occassions tweeted my views on WikiLeaks (as well as several other issues of potential interest to you). My tweets can be read at

It frightens me that someone like me, with my belief in freedom of information, right to privacy and free speech can be such a threat to your system that you feel the need to persecute, slander and prosecute us to the full extent of your ability. They only way I, and my brethren pose a threat to your way of life is if you insist on keeping secrets from the public and pursuing policies that are detrimental to your own people's interests. Your nation was after all founded on the principles of democracy, openness and human rights. A far cry from how you are perceived in the world today. Did you ever stop to consider why?



(image) I found a book the other day. On the street that is.
It wasn't a book for me, so I left it for someone else, after taking a picture of it.

I had nearly forgotten about the phenomenon of bookcrossing, or liberating books, but as a librarian I am naturally very positive to the idea. You take a book you liked, and slap a sticker on, and place it somewhere in public. Someone takes it home, reads it, and leaves it for the next person. I've never done it myself, but after being reminded I will. Not sure which book yet though.

It's a good practise for many reasons. First of all you get to do something nice for someone you don't know, which is always good. Secondly it's about books and books you love, not about peddling goods for cash. I've done that for a living and I can tell you that selling books is rarely about loving books. Giving them away, or lending them out, is much better.

Read more here:
And, readers in Oslo, here are the books that have been liberated in our fair village:

Nyt Norge threatens legal action against blogger


The Norwegian blogger Christoffer Biong is being threatened with a lawsuit by the government financed initiative Nyt Norge (enjoy Norway). The case is a result of Biong's use of Nyt Norge's logo for his adbusting campaign against what he rightfully sees as a distorted campaign.
Using a corporate logo in this fashion is a well established means of political expression, and should be protected by free speech. If you can't use a corporate logo to protest their actions your means of expression are seriously hampered. This is especially true if the corporation is run by the government - and in turn our money.

We should make sure that these pictures recieve the attention they deserve, and that this turns into a public relations blunder for Nyt Norge. I would've never heard of these pictures if they didn't threaten legal action. Smart huh?

So here are the pictures they've got their panties in a bundle over:


Axis and Allies 1940


Finally! It's out, and I own it. The newest Axis and Allies that is, Europe 1940. Axis and Allies Pacific 1940, and Europe 1940 can be combined into a single huge game, that devastates any previous version.You may not know, but I'm a big fan of strategic boardgames, and I've been following axis and allies since 1992 or thereabouts. (I guess it's hardly a shock considering my preternatural interest in WWII.) I've played every single version since the "classic" - except from D-day and Guadalcanal, and I've mostly loved them. I don't have any idea how many hours I've spent rolling dice and picking off plastic enemies. The only one I didn't care too much for was Battle of the Bulge, and figured that these limited campaigns aren't really my thing. Which is also the problem I had with the previous incarnation of Europe and Pacific. While I did use the rules for combining the game that were floating around the internet I wasn't really pleased with it. I want true global warfare, not theatres.So, after I bought Pacific 1940 a great deal of my time has been spent checking for updates on Europe 1940. Waiting impatiently and speculating about it. No more! I've played it now. That is, I skipped Europe, and went straight for the global rules.And I am very pleased. The game feels like "classic" AnA, but bigger and better. The boards and rules fit together like they were designed to be used together, unlike the last version. And I love the italians and french, and the new way the chinese work. Even more so I love the rules for neutrality, and the way the axis can more or less bide their time with the Soviet Union and the United States.There are a few things missing, or that would have been better in a different way.The soviet troops are too similar to the italians, in color. I don't see why they stuck to the brownish soviets, when they could've easily made them the red color of the japanese in AnA Pacific. Red soviets I would've loved.(I see that a lot of peope were annoyed that the french and the soviets share design on several units. Personally I don't care. As long as I can tell them apart they could've used whatever design they wanted to for the french. It's not like they're going to be a huge factor at any point anyway.)I also miss money. I hear that most players don't use the money, and prefer to write the numbers down instead. I however prefer to use the little paper pieces. Not a big deal though. You can cannibalize an earlier game, or print your own.I also think the new battle board is horrendous. We made our own, that you can flip over, so that each player has a board with defender on one side and attacker on the other. The gameboard is so massive it's more practical to have a battle board each.I've only played the game once, with three players, and I can't wait to play it again. It's by far the best version yet.(Yes, I should've had more pictures, but I was too busy playing to really bother with a camera.)[...]

For my sake, please!



Open Letter to Reporters without Borders


The reputable press organization Reporters without Borders (reporters sans frontières) have issued an open letter to wikileaks citing them for what the see as reckless behaviour in releasing 77,000 confidential documents. You can read it here:,38130.html. Naturally, I disagree with them, and I sent them an e-mail about it, as should you I decided to also publish my views here, as I believe it is an important issue. So here goes:I have just finished reading your "attack" on wikileaks, and I must say I am a bit disappointed.While I realize that a great deal of the difference between your organization and wikileaks is a result of differing values, with regards to the legitimacy of the state itself and its methodology, I do find your approach a bit lacking in focus.I am of course fundamentally respectful of your work to further press freedom and end censorship and alike, but when you claim that wikileaks' release of documents gives the various authorities around the world legitimate reasons to monitor the internet and keep internet activists under surveillance it smacks quite a bit of backwards logic. That would be like saying that the government can legitimately keep journalists under surveillance because some of them publish confidential materials. There is no legitimacy in such a policy and there never will be. It seems to me that you as an organization should rather focus on that instead of running errands for the Obama administration in taking down Wikileaks.Also, this issue touches on fundamental issues in state theory, and the philosophical reasoning for a democratic system. The question remains whether a state should be allowed to keep secrets from their own people, while resting on the "legitimacy" the same people provides? Or rather, should a government answer to its people, and be ready to defend its policies without secrecy and threats of legal action? Democracy is founded on the right to overthrow the government should it lose legitimacy, by peaceful means or otherwise. With the excesses we see today, with more than a million dead in two wars, mostly civilians, we as citizens are in our rights to expose and criticize government policies. We have a fundamental right, and even obligation to protest against heavy handed and illegitimate state behaviour, by any means we have at our disposal.Additionally your arguments seem a bit willy nilly considering that you untill recently praised wikileaks for leaking documents pertaining to Guantanamo and the incident known as "collateral muder". There is no fundamental difference between this most recent release of documents, and these earlier instances. The only difference is in the respose from Obama and his cronies.Organizations such as your own will continue to reap the benefits of wikileaks' work in the future, as well as suffer the collective punishment of the authorities. The question you should ask yourself is simply, whose side are you on? I'm not implying that you should stand by wikileaks regardless, or that this issue only has two sides, but if you are in favor of press freedom, you cannot turn your back on wikileaks in this matter, and claim that they are the reason why the government is cracking down on freedoms. The government is cracking down on freedoms, because they are protecting their own power, despite lacking legitimacy and a system of principles to back them. All they have is force, and the people's fear of force - in whatever f[...]

Privatized Propaganda


My political view are well known to anyone who's frequented this blog, or otherwise been subjected to my opinions. They're not really the subject of this blog however, I just wanted to tone an ever so little black flag before I get started on my subject: privatized propaganda warfare.Over the last year or so wikileaks has become the most publicized actor in an ongoing information war between peace activists and various governments of the world. Wikileaks ofcourse has been responsible for leaking a great deal of classified material pertaining to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and this upsets the people responsible for sending troops to this wars.Wikileaks however is not the only opposing actor in this war against government information monopolization and spin doctoring, and the war is not new.I have previously posted the cultural terrorist manifesto, as well as a video by Emergency Broadcast Network - and both of these posts concern the same ongoing information war. What EBN, the Grey Wolves and Wikileaks have in common is that they represent a phenomema or ideology often dubbed infoanarchism. An ideology they also share with the swedish Pirate Party and several other groups and individuals - including yours truly. The main motto for this loose movement of people is "information wants to be free". If you're into revolutionary romanticism we can call this an "information guerilla". It's a quite accurate description.In other words it as an ongoing insurrectionist campaign being waged between state forces and comercial media with huge budgets and established channels of communication and technology on one hand, and volunteers with highl improvised means of communication and distribution on the other. In many ways this is an example of assymetric warfare, or fourth generation warfare, but on the information front rather than on the classic battlefield.Assymetric warfare is seen by many as the most important tendency in modern conflict and it is usually typified by regular military units with training and technology going against a guerilla with little or no training and little common ground with their enemy. Usually wars are fought over territory or ideology, or both, whereas an information war is waged in the field of public image and credibility and over a strictly ideological goal.The interesting thing is however what history teaches us about what happens when a large military system takes on a guerilla. Quite often the "weaker" party succedes, and the government must accede to loss. Whether we are talking about conflict of force, in the cases of the american revolution, the vietnam war or Gandhi's campaing to oust the brits from India - or we are talking about popular protest movements such as the civil rights movement in the sixties. To retain some shred of legitimacy a government cannot trample the rights of its citizens lest it become a dictatorship. So this wikileaks bout is something of a pickle for the authorities. They must attack the activists while trying to come out as the party that takes care of the public interest. Wikileaks must be made out to look like they are thugs, criminals, sociopaths and evildoers, rather than concerned citizens. Once people start questioning why the government so often feels the need to take on their own citizens, whose will they supposedly draw their legitimacy from, the authorities are quite simply fucked...I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions, maybe while you check out this wonderful little rap about wikilea[...]

Wikileaks, the falcon and the snowman.


This week Wikileaks has released approximately 90,000 classified documents garnered from sources within the massive US defence. Pentagon and the White House are consequently angered to the point of bursting like lemmings, and have naturally initiated a search for the "traitor" in their midst. However, it seems that several thousand employees had access to these particular documents, and the search for the culprit may not be as easy as it is to find the un-american in "24". It is going to take time, and it's going to involve quite a few people.This of course leads my mind to american intelligence in general. Of course the expression itself became an oxymoron with the invasion of Iraq because of their quite laughable work, but organizations like CIA, NSA, SS (secret service in case you didn't know) and the FBI have a long history of fuck ups. During the cold war their ranks were so littered with sleepers and walk ins that it's not much of an oversight to say that they lost the intelligence war against the Soviet Union. This history of incompetence goes back even further, to the days of OSS (office of strategic services), who were so easily spotted while under cover that the joke was that OSS was an acronym for Oh, So Social. Despite their efforts to make you think otherwise, the american intelligence agencies really are laughable compared to their counterparts in other countries.This history of incompetence makes me think of one of Sean Penn's early films, the Falcon and the Snowman. Usually on film the CIA and similar organizations are portrayed as labyrinthine conspiratorial agencies full of hardcore toughies with the latest in technology, death squads and intelligence gathering gadgets. Whether they are up against innocent civilians in the ridiculous Enemy of the State or even the slightly more realistic Three Days for Condor Condor, or they are defending freedom against horrible soviets in ... Errr... I don't think I've ever seen a film where the CIA are the good guys except for comedies or James Bond. Even good ol' boys in the US prefer to see their very own CIA as the enemy. And it's no wonder. You don't want these people on your side. Just look at their work in Chile back in 1973. In the real world espionage isn't quite so sci fi-ish or fancy, and their agents are hardly as kewl as in the movies. (True, the do have technological monsters like Echelon in their service, but the CIA still can't catch Bin Laden. Not that it would matter much if they did. People are pissed off at the US for a reason. Bin Laden isn't Cobra Commander you know...)The Falcon and the Snowman is a film about a pair of walk in spies (played by Sean Penn and Timothy Hutton) and their follies as they hand over documents to the KGB in exchange for monetary attention. While most films involving espionage of some sort feel the urge to include gun fights and explosions, and the occasional cleavage, this film is quite realistic. Intelligence work is mostly analysis and catalogueing documents. Very few of the people involved with intelligence work go to embassies and sleep with beautiful russian women to whom they reveal their secrets. (Though the latest espionage debacle between the US and Russia may have you think otherwise...) It's a good film, despite David Suchett's appearance as the russian spy master. You really get a feeling for how difficult it is to discover a leak, catch the perpetrator or get the needed evidence to prosecute. The two spies live the go[...]

I have my eyes on you, you pervert!


I use a tool that allows me to see what keywords people search for when they end up here at Thulethinks. I write blogs about strange subjects, and accordingly I get a bit of traffic from various strange google searches. Nothing like the kinky zanyness that turns up in Batcheeba's analysis, but still.
- man pubic hair torture
- hot stories first time handjobs
- erected boys
- snuff tortureporn
- torture mutilation rape snuff young girl story
... and so forth. Things you don't want people to know you play with your genitals to.

Very funny. What's even more funny, and quite frightening too, is that the tool that allows me to see these keywords also allows me to see the poor people's IP-addresses and locations, as well as OS and browser and so forth.
Imagine what a person with some real computer knowledge to do to harvest information. Imagine what corporations can do, or the authorities. I mean, I'm a total n00b when it comes to the information superhighway, and I can access this information with a click...

It's time to be paranoid.



In case you are one of the few people who hasn't noticed, me and Batcheeba are currently involved in a new blog venture called Kaliglimmer. It's a blog where we review underground music and art in a variety of genres (and other material should we feel that it fits the bill). You might find it interesting.

The adress is

Incidentally, for those who care about these things, Kaliglimmer is a mineral otherwise known as muscovite. A nearly translucent, mostly black and very fragile mineral - and very beautiful. In Norway it is known as kråkesølv (crow's silver). Kali is of course the hindu god of time and death (as well as a whole bunch of other things), and I suppose Kaliglimmer means that it shines like Kali's aura or something like that. As per our obsession with crows, Kali and shiny things - as well as beauty where others see worthless junk, the name fits the blog.

Be sure to contact us if you have material you want reviewed.