Tell Me What I’m Looking At: “Seconds in Ecstasy”

This June my mother and I went to Sweden and while we were there we visited several art museums, as is standard whenever we go anywhere together. Ostensibly, we both enjoy seeing art. Moreover, my mother loves gift shops. Among the art museums on our itinerary was the Gothenburg Museum of Art, a gorgeous museum, maze-like and old, with baroque gilt frames, high ceilings, rooms of melancholy Swedish landscapes – grey snow, “the long grey dusk” – and then there was this:


A 20′-tall floor-to-ceiling stripper pole ornamented with one inverted nymphic giantess in panties and camisole, thigh-high stockings, and platform heels, slowly, permanently rotating. Medium: styrofoam, plaster, fiberglass, the object status of female humans. Pink light. I thought I was looking at yet another example of the sexualized female body exhibited for display to an androcentric masculinist target audience for whom the only laudable thing for a woman to make or to be is a sexualized object, on display, for the male viewer. Yet again, the point was that I was looking at a woman. She was skinny, white, fashionably lacking in clothing, so I’m recognizing her as “ATTRACTIVE.” Here I am, looking at an attractive woman, and she is art; the pleasure is in looking at her. I am supposed to derive some satisfaction from looking at a giant white stripper eternally circling her pole. Certainly the men in the sculpture gallery with me were satisfied with the object they were viewing. They saw a woman the way they wanted and expected to see a woman: as a sexualized object. And they were smiling and chuckling to themselves. I hated them. And I hated the piece, entitled “Seconds in Ecstasy,” the product of the Swedish sculptor Casja von Zeipel.  All she makes are these skinny white foam women and more rarely men, sometimes a stiletto boot off on its own. My mother and I saw another sculpture of hers outside a department store: white woman, high heels, leather jacket, underwear, holding up the store like Atlas holding up the globe, sort of the embodiment of the seas of young women destined to enter the store to buy high heels and underwear seeking to become beautiful to the eye of whoever until the death of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Continue reading “Tell Me What I’m Looking At: “Seconds in Ecstasy””

Police Violence: Cool, So Long As It’s Queer, Sexy


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Police violence has been getting a lot of press recently, what with the tendency of police officers in our charming U.S. of A. to be white men equipped with fragile egos guarded by bony husks of socialized hypermasculinity who use state power and munitions to maintain white male supremacy, particularly by killing black men and women, but also through rape and generalized bullying, all in the name of “serving” and “protecting” the American public. I have heard, for example, that police officers’ well-funded racist and sexist violence is not that great. That it may be something we, as a culture, are morally obligated to repudiate and correct. Police violence being “BAD” is a concept oft-enough cited that it has, wonder of wonders, begun to gain some purchase in the collective consciousness.

What one hears less about these days is just how “SEXY” police violence can be.

Luckily for all those absent-minded social justice types who may have been on the brink of forgetting the undeniable, timeless allure of a cop wielding his immense and ropily veined penis like a baton – or taser, perhaps? – in preparation to discipline some naughty, naughty prisoners, Paris Review has come to the rescue with a delectable reminder.

The article “Doing Hard Time” (hard, you know? like the penis of a sexually aroused male? got it? good) is a bite-sized panegyric to the cop-themed output of the artist known as Tom of Finland, as compiled in The Little Book of Tom of Finland: Cops & Robbers, an anthology promising lucky readers “nearly two hundred pages of…police-on-felon fucking.”

Consensual police-on-felon fucking, of course. Which is entirely different from the non-consensual police-on-felon fucking that has, sadly enough, imperiled the Sexiness Rating of police-on-felon fucking of late. Continue reading “Police Violence: Cool, So Long As It’s Queer, Sexy”