John 19:6

Allow me, if you will, to take you on a journey, a travelling travail through the deepest recesses of human psycho-history.

I am going to fill you in on the Hasselhoff Code.

More two thousand years ago a man called Yeshua Bar Yesuf was born, and less than two thousand years ago he was nailed to a tree for saying ‘Come on guys, join the party and be nice a while.’ (Yes, I do apologise to fans of Lloyd and Douglas) At the time no one thought it was all that exciting, this being Roman practice and all (execution (although technically that is Persian), not being nice), but with good marketing, a spot of martyring and the Borgias the teachings of the Christ penetrated all important demographics and brought, if not world peace, a better understanding of the taxation system.

More importantly, however, the greatest of all world conspiracies was borne in the death of Yeshua. The Templars, the Bloodline of the Grail, the Priory of Sion; all of these are modern literary landmarks of a tale that will not die.

My part in this story starts less than a week ago (where ‘a week ago’ was almost two months back) in the city of Wellington (in which I was ostensibly residing in for the purposes of seeing my nephew). Part of Wellington’s charm is that it isn’t Auckland, which is a disaster of a city and well worth avoiding. No matter where you go in Wellington there is a sense of friendliness, one that extends to the beggars and muggers (who, following the dictates of the New Right, are providing essential services and, if the market didn’t direct it, wouldn’t really want to hurt you). Still, being an Aucklander (or almost an Aucklander, since the North Shore is, in fact, a separate city) I am automatically an unfriendly person and thus was hiding in Castro’s drinking mochachinos (and contemplating buying the non-shite version of ‘Solaris,’ to whit, the Russian film). As part of my deep meditation I took a customary stop in the toilet and espied upon the walls a mass of ‘Flatmate Wanted’ ads, almost all of which featured David Hasselhoff.

I do not know whether you have ever tried to crap whilst the Hoff is watching but it is not easy business. Bestowed with the world’s most perfect example of a mullet and with a smile that says ‘Crazy person!’ Mr. Hasselhoff’s gaze is like that of the Illuminatus Eye; all knowing, all seeing and all condemning. To be confronted with near eighteen of these visages is enough to drive a man to madness or, in this case, a boy to whimpering.

For three hours.

Once I had steeled myself sufficiently (and wiped away all stains and unsanitary liquids) I examined these posters more closely. In my well-spent youth I studied iconography (Easter Weekend, 1989) and am somewhat savvy with the way images can contain entire novels of hidden meaning. These images of the Hoff (sometimes with Kitt) meant something. A hand splayed here, a rough curl there or, most disturbingly, a cock-bulge. The message seemed to indicate divine providence, but one toilet was never going to give me all the answers.

Thus, over the course of two days, I visited them all. There are many toilets in the Wellington area and I have experience them all.

Students of world history know that Hasselhoff was, in no small way, responsible for the fall of the Wall. They know that his career was resurrected when he turned cooking oil to TV gold. True students, however, also know that his bloodline, of good German stock, can be traced back near two thousand years to a small settlement outside Jerusalem. Whilst no one will publicly make the link I am sure that you, like I, can see what lurks beneath that happy brow.

The Hoff is the Second Coming.

Or the Deep South has gone mad.

One or the other.

Miniskirts

Everyday I fall in lust with a pretty young thing and everyday I theorise about why. Today (where, to be fair, today was three weeks ago) I was sitting upon a ferry boat redirected because of a bomb scare (Devonport can be so exciting), thinking about my forthcoming stitch removal (an uninspired event not worthy of these chronicles) Sitting (as I usually do) I did espy a ‘pretty young thing in a miniskirt’ with whom I immediately imagined a torrid, and frankly downright disgusting, sexual coupling.

But, mostly, I thought about the miniskirt.

The miniskirt is a bone of contention between, well, most individuals in society. I belong firmly in the ‘God bless them’ camp thatn the admires the hutzpah of miniskirts wearers no matter the weather (I’ve been to Camden town in the bleakness of winter, and I must say ‘God bless them cockneys, gov’nur!). However, being an academic by trade (if only temporarily) I want to tempt fate and ruin the fantasy by working out the prevalence of my fetish’s origin.

And, after hours of soul-searching and lechery, I think I’ve done it.

It’s the school system.

I don’t know whether such things are decided by a Board of Trustees, a Principal or a horny gym teacher, but many modern school uniforms now sport ever shortening skirts. Thus it seems only natural that if you inculcate young girls to wear such skirts, especially in winter, that these same girls, years later, will come to endure such treatment voluntarily (and, I would hope, at a university where I teach).

And hurrah says I, without any mollification.

It makes me wonder, though. A fairly common fetish is the woman dressed as a school girl (skimpily clad); will this change as the fantasy becomes ever closer to humdrum reality? As girls become woman and woman affect ever shortening thigh attire does this mean that I will become the very caricature of a Victorian and lust after long skirts (with the occasional fevered imagining of a glimpse of ankle)? Or will I demand a fetish of obscenely short cut-offs and crop tops that wouldn’t pass as bras?

Actually, I might move on to that one now…

Communities

There are many things I don’t understand. Why microscopic processes collapse on the macroscopic levels. The popularity of lip piercings. My fixation on peculiar women.

Then there are the Livejournal Communities. Communities that, with few exceptions, exist to glorify in the subjective notion of beauty.

Peer group and peer acceptance is hard enough for most people. Still, in the world proper people tend to gravitate towards their own kind by simple social pressures.

In the world that is Livejournal you get voted in. Or, as can sometimes be the case, be told to ‘Fuck off,’ just in more rude terms.

Some of the Communities exist for a legitimate reason, such as support for various hobbies and weird haircuts. Most of them, however, are Communities that seek to accept, or reject, you on the basis of what you look like. Your reward for passing muster? The ability to accept other like-bodied people.

Let me stress this; such Communities don’t then engage in constructive dialogue or engage in projects to beautify the world. As far as I can see their express purpose is to make sure that ugly people can’t interfere in their little part of the online world.

Of course, those who get rejected from one Community can just set up another. Perhaps it’s all good in the end. It’s just possible that what we are seeing is the construction of little polities that will one day result in an ecumenical movement of ‘Hey, we’re all basically the same, aren’t we?’

Then again, it’s probably more likely that it’s just people being bitchy.

Damn you all to hell.

Shameless Self-promotion

I’ll preface my words of glory with the caveat that says that ‘I am sure that some of you will find this interesting.’

My day job is that of a Philosopher. I teach (and quite well if student evaluations and ovations are a measure of success) and I research.

And today my research has finally produced fruit.

Some of you will know that my field is Epistemology, and that I have an interest in weird phenomenon. I’m not a Believer in that I am fairly sure that life is chemical and that ghosts are simply misunderstood instances of natural laws oprating in conjunction with particular facts. Still, as an epistemologist I can’t deny that perhaps, just possibly, some of the features of the world as we claim to know it (through the practice of the Natural Sciences) are, in fact, misunderstood.

It’s a pity then that more people aren’t epistemologists.

Last year there was a slight verbal scuffle between Drs. Michael Shermer and Freeman Dyson on the matter of evidence for the existence of the paranormal. I read both tracts and found myself siding with Dyson, who thinks there is reason to think that paranormal phenomenon might be a justified belief, rather than Shermer, one of America’s most prominent Skeptics.

So I wrote a paper on the material, filling out the vague argument I thought Dyson was suggesting, for presentation at a conference.

A version of this paper has now been accepted for publication in ‘The Skeptic,’ edited by Dr. Shermer.

This makes me happy. Happy because finally my interest in weirdness has produced not one but three reasons to think that we should entertain beliefs about paranormal phenomenon, happy because I’ve managed to write a paper on Epistemology that is scientist-friendly (according to Shermer) and happy because the paper is, whilst not overly critical of Skeptics (who I do think should become Epistemologists and also be a little more aware of the History of Science) does point out that garden-variety Skepticism, that which proclaims the Cult of Science, isn’t such a happy place to be after all.

I’m mostly happy, however, because this paper shows that Philosophy is, as it always has been, useful to Science (whose proponents often ridicule their parent discipline).

Whilst I may make enemies tomorrow today I make a friend of the world.