Friday, 22 December 2006

Diana Supine [ or not ? ]

diana supine, originally uploaded by dianayorkblaine.

Echoing not only the 1814 painting by Ingres on the flat's wall, "Grande Odalisque", but even more Manet's 1863 "Olympia" [ based on Victorine Meurent ], this delightful, tasteful, natural shot of USC Senior Lecturer, Dr. Diana York-Blaine, a confident, sexy, married 44-year-old Californian woman, manifestly comfortable both in her skin, and with men, aroused turdulous vitriol in some comments on her site, where she posted it on Dec 7, 2005, and on her web-site, including form some disgruntled USC students, and on some other blogs. But only 5 months after she posted it.

The term "supine" of the title does not reflect the free-thinking, probing, sceptical mind revealed in her blog, where this self-declared "feminist" also labels herself a "philosopher, writer, adventurer, bon vivant and butt-kicker". Read her reflections there on her father's life, death and funeral, to find the warm humanity of this feminist academic, and her vigorous challenge to the twin extremes in US [ and indeed Western ] culture, the poles of Porn and Puritan, are an emphatic endorsement of what I would term a wholesome "eroto-filia", against the parallel [ re-in-FORCE-ing ] obsessions of those who reduce the person to un-OWN-ed parts, or equally those who promote a part-less bogus [in]-humanity. Dr. Diana is one un-abashed nude, who bares not only [ part of ] her healthily en-fleshed form, but the weak, shallow and sick foundations of the twin, de-humanizing enemies of human wholeness and joy.

Although long repelled by the historical, official framing of faith by Christian bodies in gender-slanted terms, as well as their un-historical dogmatism and literalism, she quotes her morning prayer as: "God, I surrender the people I love, the people who love me, the people I dont love, and the people who do not love me. Help us all find peace". Her restrained reaction to her vicious detractors in May, 2006, in the month of her beloved father's death, showed that she "walked the walk", and not only "talks the talk". And she is a dog-lover. And passionate, lifelong gridiron fan.

I am still perplexed by some of her challenges, such as regarding "control" or "letting go", but as Plato put it, "an un-examined life is not worth living". Or with Seneca, "As long as you live, keep learning how to live".

One of the joys of this internet age is unexpectedly discovering inspiring and challenging minds [ also OWN-ing delightful, un-mutilated bodies ]. Amazingly, Diana only ceased "DIE-ting" in 1997, at 35, ending a long period of oscillating weight and culturally-influenced obsession with her appearance. Her healthy enjoyment of good food since then has actually seen her lose weight - another encouraging parallel to Viktor Frankl's "paradoxical intention".
One constructive challenge I would pose to Diana and any feminist is to re-situate their concern for "female self-determination" in the context of not simply "auto-nomy", but what I term "log-onomy", where reasons and reasoning ground their reasonable choices. And then instead of just talking of "womens right to choose", we could all begin to focus on "peoples duty and need to decide - intelligently".

Finally, I applaud Diana's unyielding stand that regarding the vile crime of rape, only men do it, and only men can stop it. It is naive and simplistic to retort that most men do not commit that crime - like Arab suicide-bombers, or IRA car-bombers, or FARC kidnappers, they all need "safe houses" of apologisers who find excuses, or fuel the sick ideology that de-humanizes their target. Both with crimes of rape and terror against civilians, it remains true that "the absurdity breeds the atrocity". The given tribal or gender identity can become a mask - for terror. The real solidarity is a moral and human one - my Beduoin heros may wear Israeli or Jordanian uniform, but they all stand between us and the suicide-bombers, and the place for males is not hiding in some pan-male pack, but confronting and unmasking the traitors to human decency in their midst. It can be done, and it works.
It worked and eventually forced the "IRA" to end their campaign in Ireeland.
Thank you, Dr. Diana, for unmasking more than your lovely form.


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Aside of the dog loving part, I am totally with Dr Blaine, too.

Dogs, on the other hand, ... ah well...

Harkonnendog said...