During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia this May, enjoy this honest and unbiased video in which ORDINARY CHINESE PEOPLE have DEFINITELY NOT BEEN COACHED OR COERCED into giving their opinions of Russia and particularly of its “handsome leader, like President Xi”: Vladimir Putin. Show solidarity to COMPLETELY UNPROBLEMATIC COMRADES WHO ARE IN FULL COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAWS AND TREATIES by eating bread, consuming dairy products, admiring Putin’s “big muscles” (not shown in these pictures), and repeatedly, SINCERELY expressing your desire to marry him. But REMEMBER to appreciate Putin’s big muscles only in a HETEROSEXUAL MANNER because he strictly forbids any reception upon his person of HOMOSEXUAL EYE BEAMS. Pity all countries which do not have handsome, shirtless, DEFINITELY HETEROSEXUAL leaders with big muscles. Presumably photos of Xi Jinping in his budgie smugglers are to follow shortly. You will ENJOY THEM and praise the MANLINESS of President Xi and announce SPONTANEOUSLY and VOLUNTARILY that you would like to marry him.
I’m sure there have been no end of articles and blog posts about ゼンタイ zentai: skin tight, faceless body suits. Originally they’re from Japan, of course, like many other cross-cultural mutations. The term is an abbreviation of 全身タイツ zenshin taitsu, “full body tights”. It’s also a safe bet that most of these articles fall into the categories of a) LOL weirdos b) LOL perverts or c) both of the aforementioned. Frankly, I would advise against uncontrolled internet searching on the subject unless you’re broad-minded because some of the people who are into it are absolute FREAKS and you might well see some obscure corners of the porn world that you’d really rather not. Also beware of YouTube’s “up next” autoplay…
Being an absolute freak is fine by me, actually (just wash your hands and probably have a shower too, before you do anything else) but perhaps especially for those who are creeped out by the whole thing, it’s worth watching the completely non-pervy and un-LOLZ-seeking Singaporean short film embedded here– Zentai Walk Documentation. Its participants, zentai-wearers all, have some very intelligent and insightful things to say about the suit’s erasure of racial and national signifiers, their reasons for enjoying zentai, the political and social implications of masks, and the paradoxical, simultaneous attention-seeking narcissism and humility or lack of ego that are required to step out in public wearing a peculiar costume. I have some experience of these issues as a performer, although fortunately for the public’s poor, blameless eyes I’ve never yet done any zentai.
The video relates to a zentai festival taking place in Singapore this April and May. This year’s public zentai walk takes place on the 23rd May. Check out the site for some more relatively wholesome information about zentai.
I was left with one burning question after watching the film, however. We see several of the people buying food, drink, or other items. So apart from the lady in the black suit and pink wig, who very sensibly has a backpack, where are all the others keeping their wallets and money?
On reflection it’s probably best not to think about it too much, unless you’re into that kind of thing.
Otherwise known as the now traditional lazy retrospective listicle
We all know by now don’t we my little blackguards my pretty roadside fartflowers of the friggingfields my dearest filthy fuckbirds yes we know yes yes yes oh yes that the top pages on the site are invariably James Joyce’s paeans to using the tradesman’s entrance and the translation of Hokusai’s tentacle hentai. Tens of thousands of you, constantly, from all over the world, day and night. You must have massive right arms by now (if you’re right handed).
But there is so much more to explore, and some of it doesn’t even involve sexual fetishes. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.
It’s been bubbling up for a while, but until now I couldn’t put a name to it. I’m calling it Dystopian Nostalgia; the undeniable affection and nostalgia that people in their 20s and 30s have for tropes of their 80s and 90s (i.e. pre mass adoption of the internet) childhoods, deliberately and perversely spiked with adult animus. It finds particularly vivid expression in online videos, and frequently goes viral. There’s probably a book or a PhD paper in pulling apart the reasons for it. Possibly it’s television itself taking the sublimated flak for the parents who left so many children to be babysat by the CRT. If so, get ready for some really vicious dystopian nostalgia when the touch screen babies come of age. Or perhaps optimism and hope for the future have finally died and this is a generation’s revenge on the medium that seemed so intent upon instilling and reifying optimism and hope when they apparently aren’t viable options any more, at least not for 99% of people on the planet who aren’t obscenely wealthy. Note that all three of the videos on this page have a definite pivot point where the mask of sanity and bonhomie slips… and then slips some more, and keeps on going.
I don’t want to seem like I’m on my high horse about it, because I enjoy a lot of this stuff. I just find it fascinating to see it emerging as a distinct cultural phenomenon.
One of the best examples is Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling’s Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared series. I’ve drawn attention to their videos before, because they’re incredibly perceptive, funny and dark. I also supported their recent Kickstarter campaign to make more of them and on that subject here’s a massively important aside from me as an artist, writer and film maker:
I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to support independent artists, film makers, documentarians, musicians and other creative people on Kickstarter, Patreon, etc., or by buying their stuff directly from them. Even if you only put in a few £, $, or € on one occasion or every month, it’s the best way we have right now of counteracting the mainstream media industries’ contempt for makers and ensuring artists can make a living, because making a living also means we can keep on making the things you enjoy and evidently want us to make. There are links to my own work on the right, HINT.
Now we’ve talked about Responsibility and Patronage, let’s talk about Love. The King of Love is called Malcolm, and he eats gravel.
Lesley meets the Duke and stares into the abyss in Lesley the Pony has a A+ Day! by Christian Larrave:
Finally, Too Many Cooks, which is like the Bohemian Rhapsody of Dystopian Nostalgia, starting as a painfully extended 80s sitcom title sequence before escalating recursively into a lengthy orgy of madness and murder.
The best things in life are free / But you can give them to the birds and the bees / I want Ban Ki-money.
A few weeks ago the United Nations held a special meeting to award me $950,000. I know it may seem random and all too much to take in. Why would they do such a thing? Believe me, I felt the same way, but the email was sent straight from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s personal Yahoo account so it must be legit. The UN has decided to “introduced this programmed” so as to abolish my poverty, and all I need to do is correspond with an African gentleman via his Japanese Yahoo account. Mr Emefiele uses a Japanese one because Ban Ki-moon is Korean, same difference… right? Also, boo to scammers. Mr Ban and his friend Mr Emefiele hate those guys.
Ki-moon really is making the world a better place, like he says. I can’t wait for my $950,000 ATM CARD.
More beautiful spam. You’ll see that I previously received a $10.5 million inheritance from the UN.
Shut up, you don’t know what real poverty is. I need that $950,000 on top of the $10.5 million I already had.
In regards to the recent meeting between the United Nations and the present USA government to restore the dignity and economy of the nations. Base on the agreement with the World Bank assistance to help in making the world a better place for all with by abolishing poverty.
We have been having meetings since early this year as to find possible means of eradicating poverty with the then secretary to the UNITED NATIONS. this email is to all the people that have been scammed in any part of the world, the UNITED NATION in conjunction with the present US government and world bank have agreed to compensate Scam victims with the sum of USD950,000.00 This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems etc. Our investigation shows that a lot of people are going through stress and poverty as a result of scam, this why we introduced this programmed in conjunction with the World Bank as a means of eradicating poverty.
Your name is among those in our list and that is why we are contacting you, this has been agreed upon and has been signed. You are advised to contact Mr. Godwin Emefiele he is our foreign representative in Africa being responsible for immediate dispatch of your ATM CARD credited with the total sum of USD950,000, contact him immediately for your ATM CARD.
The ATM CARD have being credited and can be used in any ATM machine over there. Therefore, you should send him your full Name and telephone number/your correct mailing address where you want him to send your card.
Contact Mr. Godwin Emefiele for your Card:
Person to Contact
Name Mr. Godwin Emefiele
Hoping to hear from you as soon possible.
Making the world a better place
Ban ki moon
On behalf of the United Nations.
“My name is Inori and I’m an anime personification for Internet Explorer! Shall we explore the web?”
“Anime personifications” of random things are unfortunately an established phenomenon in Asia, via (of course) Japan. They’re rarely sane and often pervy. Now Microsoft has come along to smear the anime personification scene with their own unique stink of creepy and slightly out of touch trying too hard uncle-ness. This goggle-eyed, barely legal character in the orthodox moe style– who apparently also needs to wear a compression garment on her arm to manage the excruciating pain of her RSI… nice touch, lucky nobody at Microsoft noticed– is Inori Aizawa (藍澤 祈) and she has a Facebook page where she talks as if she’s a real person:
Hey everyone! My name is Inori and you can think of me as a personification of Internet Explorer. When I was younger, I used to be a clumsy, slow and awkward girl. However, just like the story of ugly duckling, people told me that I have really matured and changed over the years. I feel confident in my abilities now, and I’m eager to show you what I can do. Why don’t you get to know me a little better?
At least it’s nice to know that they know Windows Explorer has been a load of shit for years and everyone in their right mind hates it. There’s also a video where she shoots lasers from her hands and almost but not quite gives drooling otaku the chance to look up her skirt. The semiotic slippage between her being a person, a “personification”, Windows Explorer itself, and a sex object leads to uncomfortable suggestions like “Please try it out and let me know what you think ;)” it being Explorer, i.e. herself, Inori Aizawa. Just a reminder to Microsoft and/or internet perverts: you don’t try a person out. The picture below is captioned “See anything you like?”
However ill-advised it may be, the Inori marketing campaign is still nowhere near as bad as some of Microsoft’s even more tone-deaf Western marketing efforts, which are clearly made in a Yes Man vacuum into which no sane person ever has any input. Remember, dozens of people including senior executives must have signed off on horrors like the video below, where four dead-eyed actors who probably wanted to kill themselves afterwards issue North Korea-style directives about how much you can, must and will enjoy Microsoft’s new operating system at “Windows 7 parties” just like the ones they didn’t have because they are merely Z-list actors desperate for work, and anyway not a single real person on Earth ever had or wanted to have a Windows 7 party.
The malfunctioning and subtly belligerent colour-coded replicants (Slight Nerd, Silicone Grandma, Passive Aggressive MILF and I’m Really Their Middle Class African-American Friend) signify their enjoyment of Windows 7 LIKE HU-MANS by tittering mirthlessly and randomly throughout the video, or bantering with barely disguised hostility. They carefully steer clear of showing Windows 7 itself or what it does, or explaining why anybody would want it. They do, however, suggest that you’ll need to leave the HELP page open. Uh oh. If every single one of your organs doesn’t shrivel with embarrassment when you watch this commercial, you have already been taken over and you are one of the Pod People depicted therein.
If you really want to give yourself the creeps, you could watch it again but imagine that all the talk about parties, activities, videos, devices, etc. is actually related to promiscuous sexual intercourse at a Windows 7 orgy. “We. Have tried. Them all. Right?” “We each made a point of shooting.” “I named the person who would be first to have the hands-on activity.” etc.
Of course there’s no nation on Earth with a monopoly on baffling, pointless, annoying, off-putting and inept advertising. The advertising industry as a whole is one of the things that the planet would be better off without, the unscrupulous deceiving the unwary. In my experience, though, there’s no inexplicably bad advert like an inexplicably bad Asian advert. As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s often because the product being advertised is a solution to a problem that nobody in their right mind thinks is a problem. That’s the case in the following advertisement, for the “Unchoken Lucky Dog” money box. Tortured puns are quite common in Japanese product naming. This one doubles up on kanji for “lucky saving dog” and “unko” (poo). Yes, basically the dog eats your coins and then craps them out into a hole. I’m not sure where we’re meant to understand the luck coming into play. Is it lucky to save coins in a money box, or is it lucky for the dog that it’s able to safely and painlessly excrete small change?
This doesn’t work with real dogs. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
Recipe for a Japanese promotional video: too much text (include some mangled Japlish to confuse native English speakers and Japanese people alike, obviously), show the same action over and over again, random Street Fighter sound effects, hi-NRG music bed from the mid 1990s. All present and correct here. Continue Reading
O Nigeria, land of bounteous unpaid inheritances and altruistic functionaries, you have made me a millionaire so many times over. An email I received recently:
Subject: Immediate Release of Your Unpaid Inheritance Fund.
for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief
1 United Nations Plaza New York, NY 10017 USA.
I am humbly using this medium to notify you that your unpaid Inheritance, Lotto Winning OR Compensation payment of US$10.5 Million Dollars in Nigeria has been irrevocably approved to be release to you. We have assigned Keystone Bank Nigeria Limited to pay this US$10.5 Million to you as soon as possible. Your Payment Approval Number is UN1829738. Your US$10.5 Million will be released to you on a special method of payment called “ATM SWIFT MASTERCARD Payment”. This method of payment is designed by United Nations and Keystone Bank to make sure you receive the fund without disclosing your bank details to anyone over the internet.
The Keystone Bank will issue you an ATM MasterCard which you will use to withdraw this US$10.5 Million from any ATM Machine in your country. You are hereby advised to contact the ATM Manager of Keystone Bank Nigeria Limited, Mr. Osas Eke on his open access email: [REDACTED] @Gmail.com and send him your Payment Approval Number WB82973 enable him issue you the ATM MasterCard without any delays.
Thanks for adhering to this instructions.
for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief.
Thanks for taking the trouble to write, Valerie! I have a few questions, though.
1. You seem a bit unsure if the payment of US$10.5 Million Dollars in Nigeria is for an inheritance, for winning the lottery or for compensation. A relative died recently, he had a lottery ticket in his pocket and I sued the shopkeeper for allowing an anvil to fall on my relative’s head while he was buying a lottery ticket, so the payment of US$10.5 Million Dollars in Nigeria could be for any or all of these things. Please clarify.
I’ve just rationalised (in most cases reducing) the prices of my books and ebooks so they’re consistent across like formats. Since I’m based in Britain and price things in pounds the prices may still translate into odd amounts in foreign currency, but they will at least now translate oddly and consistently.
Career Suicide is my memoir of working as an artist and film maker for most of my adult life, while experiencing almost every misfortune except popularity. I’ve been told it’s funny, a good read and it contains valuable insights on the art world’s foibles and failings. And slightly less valuable insights into my own. My adventures in gonzo art criticism continue at my other blog, of the same name.
Uncanny Valley collects my published short stories from various anthologies and magazines circa 1996-2006: among other things, a magic talking dog castrates the Estuary Gaffer Tape Rapist with his teeth, a robot maid trades housework for sabotage, and the last living intellectual escapes from his cage at the zoo and goes on a rampage of contemplation…
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden answering* some of the “unmerrrrkan, traytor!” accusations that have been flying around in the usual reckless, unsupported, contra-factual and rabble-rousing way in the US media:
“This is a predictable smear that I anticipated before going public, as the US media has a knee-jerk “RED CHINA!” reaction to anything involving HK or the PRC, and is intended to distract from the issue of US government misconduct. Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn’t I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.”
What a conspiracy revelation. The US military-industrial-entertainment complex knows phoenixes are real and there’s a massive Sino-American phoenix-petting race that they don’t want the public to know about.
But seriously, if you’ve been obtaining any of your knowledge about Snowden and the US government appointing itself Big Brother from some American Ken and Barbie puppet show “news” programme, get some real and unbiased information about the subject from the horse’s (or phoenix’s) mouth because the situation is several different varieties of fucked up and Snowden has done the whole world a huge service by bringing it all out. He also created another great aphorism when he noted that suspicionless and universal surveillance taking place outside of the USA (as per the US government’s assurances) is still about 95% of the world and applies to any US citizen who ever sets foot outside the country, even if it seems at all sensible for anybody to believe that US citizens aren’t all under Big Brother’s all-seeing algorithmic eye as well.
If you like this blog and have been intrigued, titillated, surprised or disgusted by anything you've seen here then please consider sending a few £/€/$/¥ etc. my way by getting one of my books. They're written by the same person who writes this blog, so you will like them too. They're available in print, or as ebooks for every existing type of reader and tablet. You can also tip my films on Vimeo, if you want. Thanks.