Tuesday, January 15, 2008
sex and society
First of all, I should warn you that some of this post might be a little tasteless, or at least, some of you might think it so. But I might have mentioned en blog a year or so ago how fascinated I was by L G De Garis' last years when he had bowel cancer and found his own body so interesting and the stages of the disease a rare fascination, including when he collapsed and vomited in church. I mean he was an eccentric to the end, I am (oops - I wrote 'was') just a person.
The illustration herein is interesting too in its irrelevance. I was thinking (as you will see, this is what this entry is about) about how people position themselves in structured/planned space, and I thought oh yeah the cover of that Vice Versa record where you see the bird's eye view of the people watching television. Now. looking at the cover in question, I see it is in fact a picture of the improbable idea of a man with a riot shield and baton, facing a television. To my credit, I was correct in remembering it is a bird's eye view. It's not immediately obvious that it's a person with a riot shield etc, until you see the other pictures on the sleeve, showing him from other directions.
Anyway, I went to all the trouble of scanning it, saving it in photoshop and erasing the name of the radio station that the person who sold it to the record shop I bought it from stole it from, which I feel fine about because said radio station (NOT a public radio station) wouldn't want it anyway, and then saving it for web, so here it is. Sorry it's still got a sticker on it. It's not a great record. Vice Versa added Martin Fry and became ABC.
So the slightly tasteless bit first, sorry, but it's kind of interesting. I was filling in time at a notable educational institution this morning (NOT my usual workplace) and I went to a cafe which had a large window at one end, and tables arranged in rows aligned with this window. When I entered I noticed that there was a conventionally quite attractive woman at the window end of the room, and a who cares man a few tables away from her also at the window end. I quite consciously thought, I must not sit anywhere in the room where I'll be facing this woman because it will look like I am there to perve on her. A few minutes later I realised I had quite unconsciously sat at a table facing the woman. As god is my witness (and that means a lot) I have to say I did not consciously do it and it is possible I sat there because it was a good place for maximum natural light, though of course not as good as if I'd sat facing with my back to the window! Oh, I'm a terrible person. If it makes us feel any better later I heard her talking to a staff member and I thought what a ghastly tootling voice she had.
Soon afterwards, I was in a meeting that involved seven people sitting round a table (or rather, four tables pushed together). It was 4 women and 3 men. The 4 women all sat consecutively (actually that's not strictly true, as there was a space between two women) and so of course did the 3 men. I have no idea how conscious this was on anyone's part. (In this instance I'm not thinking that the men sat to ogle the women or that anyone ogled anyone. By the way, my previous scenario did not involve me ogling either actually).
I guess this could have been coincidental (what are the odds?) During the meeting on the rare occasion my mind wandered (it was a 6 hour meeting) I thought about other ways you could categorise people - by institution, for instance (and with one exception, we were all sitting contiguously by institution) or by discipline or department (again, we were roughly sorted on discipline lines). Essentially the person who was the odd one out in these categorisations probably felt the odd one out themselves, as they (note how cleverly I am disguising their gender) were in a different, administrative role to everyone else and was about to leave the project under discussion. Additionally, they are much younger than the others, if that's a consideration.
Well, I thought it was interesting at the time. Now I look over it again the most interesting thing was the Vice Versa record cover.