Saphan Loy’s Cheesecake: A La Mode

Nothing like a sampling of 150 year old French cheesecake, eh? This is, for all of our Philistines who regularly turn to Saphan Loy for some sort of digital relief from the crushing and isolating boredom of their lives, a painting by Gustave Courbet, and it was completed in 1866. Its translation in English is The Origin of the World. We chose it, in part, as a response to the proliferation across the web of images of unspeakable indecency in general, and to the ghastly appearance on the red light blogs of equally appalling glossy images of Asian models along with the less-glossy, poorly rendered, out of focus images that attempt to capture the decadence and moral degradation of the red light districts in Southeast Asia. We chose this wonderful painting also to highlight some recent observations on the choice of images that sites like Big Baby Kenny Ng’s have made, and to comment also on Werewolf’s dreadful resurrection of his boring blog.

First, Professor Eustace McGargle, and by Professor McGargle we mean Professor Ng, has selected for his blog about prostitution in Thailand the image of a child (which appears on his main page) in addition to his distasteful galleries of poor girls from Isarn. Do our eyes believe what we are witnessing? Interested in understanding the reasons behind choosing a child’s image for his site, we looked for the image through the search engines and discovered (not surprisingly) that it is actually a small child dressed like a cartoonish character from American “professional” wrestling named Hulk Hogan. This image must have circulated widely across the Internet in the late 20th century, so it is apparent that Professor McGargle simply copped it and re-posted it back in the day when it probably made the rounds by email among the poorer classes within the United States.

There are so many things that are wrong, or simply creepy, about dressing a child up as an adult with facial hair, that I will just let that pass for now and focus more on the fact that the Americans who might drunkenly chuckle or appreciate a child-like “Hulk Hogan” are most likely from the lower middle to lower classes in the United States. Professional wrestling enjoys the same cultural prestige as a circus: an obvious recurring theme in the red light blogosphere as well. Speaking of which…anyone for a Singha at the Carousel Bar or Carnival?

In what is perhaps the most egregious gallery that Ng has published on his website, young Thai women are displayed (exhibited for the public by Ng) nonconsensually while they perform the most intimate rituals of worship. Their images appear in lurid, voyeuristic detail as they kneel before the sacred images at the Phra Tri Murati Shrine in Bangkok. The images are neither anthropological nor cultural: they are sexual. The professor, hanging back from the crowd, simply waited until the unsuspecting Thai women were kneeling in supplication before he lasciviously snapped his shutter. The images here are a solidly reasonable argument for the restricting of Thailand’s generous tourism entry requirements.

Further, after thinking about it carefully, Saphan Loy suspects that not only is Professor McGargle’s willingness to simply steal or co-opt images as well as Saphan Loy’s protected content from the Internet indicative of broader patterns, it may be symptomatic of something more integral to his dysfunctional personality. We therefore had a look at some of his published academic articles he posted on his site (none of which are recent, and all of which have been co-authored) and came to some troubling conclusions. Is it possible that a careful reading of the citations in those articles might reveal some sloppy scholarship? Is it worth the painful and time-consuming effort to sift out original thought from regurgitated or flatly plagiarized material? Is it worth the bother of asking his co-authors directly for some clarifications? Just saying….

At any rate, the troubling image of a small child wrestler character aside, the other odd thing lately is mundane Bangkok, or, supposedly, the resurrected Werewolf. What the hell happened to him? Did he sustain a brain injury recently? Has he been lobotomised by cheap beer and tertiary syphilis? Not only is it, as promised, extraordinarily boring, but the image he selected for the masthead appears to be three footballers providing each other hand relief while watching a UFC match on the telly. Can it get any more homoerotic? Please change it. Even if it is boring Bangkok, at least put up a picture of a phone booth, or a soi dog, or anything else that just happens to be in Bangkok.

Okay, ladies. Now that we have gotten that off our chest, we can get on to more serious matters. We will leave you with Courbet’s The Bather (1868) for the prurient purposes of titillation. Who doesn’t love hairy armpits?

Vintage "Soapy"

The View from Above

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