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Author Topic: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus  (Read 17834 times)


Keith Otis Edwards
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20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« on: January 19, 2010, 12:07:38 AM »
O.k., the lame joke of the title is a takeoff on the title of a difficult and somewhat abstract piano piece by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-JÚsus. But I have only four views to share about Jim Thirlwell. No, I have no baby pictures of him to post.

1.) About a month ago, The New Yawkeh magazine published an article about Vincent van Gogh in which it is claimed that van Gogh did not cut-off his ear, but that tough-guy Paul Gauguin cut it off with a short sword he always carried. I didn't really care about this, but the article had a large self-portrait by van Gogh that set me to thinking that Jim Thirlwell bears some resemblance to the mad artist. Yeah, there's the red hair and whiskers, but also they both have high cheekbones. Both have a somewhat . . . uhm, "troubled" look in their eyes, but there the resemblance ends, because van Gogh's eyes are somewhat narrow, while Jim Thirlwell's are (at least when I've seen him) somewhat bug-eyed. Jim Thirlwell bears a passing resemblance to Vincent van Gogh; I don't know if that's worth mentioning or not.

2.) In addition to Jim Thirlwell's wild-eyed appearance, there's also his prominent Adam's apple and his remarkably svelte (thin) anatomy. I was impressed by this when I spoke with him after a show in Detroit. (It was in the middle of summer in a club without air-conditioning above a bowling alley, and his slenderness together with the fact that he was wearing that long-sleeved print shirt in a room that was at least 95˚ and him being from NYC led me to suggest at the old Foetus Forum that perhaps heroin was involved, but I was quickly and sternly corrected of this notion.)

Bulging eyes, weight loss and a prominent Adam's apple are all symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Jim, have you had your thyroid checked lately?

3.) The trouble with school is that what they teach you is often wrong. I guess it was in biology class that I learned that males have an X chromosome and a Y chromosome, while females have two X chromosomes. I also learned that in some rare cases males are born with double Y chromosomes. It was said that such XYY males are exceptionally aggressive and sociopathic. This was at the time of the trial of Richard Speck, who in 1966, murdered eight student nurses in Chicago, and it was widely reported that Speck was an XYY karyotype, and that this accounted for his actions. (The article about Richard Speck at Wikipedia provides complete details of the case.)

XYY types are supposed to have a very masculine appearance, and that certainly applies to Jim Thirlwell. This, together with his sociopathic lyrics (e.g., I hate you all. I gotta admit, I can't stand all of you people. The sight of you makes my stomach start to churn . . .[&c.]) and that every Foetus song is a song from hell, made me think, Uh-HUH!  A sure case of XYY chromosomes! when I first heard Foetus in the mid-1980s.

However, I took a course in Police Administration at the local community college a few years ago, and it so happened that at the same time, some young guy in the suburbs here shot a cop. He was soon captured, and the papers and TV news all showed photos of the guy. He had red hair, high cheek bones and an evil look in his eyes. The course instructor (an ex-cop) of course mentioned the case in class, and I stated that this guy had "that XYY look about him, you know?" The instructor did know, and mentioned Richard Speck. (Or maybe I mentioned Richard Speck, I can't recall exactly.)

Wikipedia was up and running by this time, so I later looked-up XYY chromosomal abnormalities and the case of psychopath Richard Speck, and it turns out that all of that is bullshit. Speck had (he died in prison) normal chromosomes, and furthermore males with chromosomal abnormalities are not more violent nor antisocial than normal males.

4.) Jim Thirlwell is a normal, talented guy. Scary, but normal scary.


MindlessAutomata
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2010, 03:22:03 AM »
5)  Jim Thirlwell is a musical Jedi.


komplex707
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2010, 02:02:55 PM »
6.) Thirlwell's Music does not forgive!


NodmiTheSellout
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2010, 02:11:54 AM »
. . .wha? Are you trying to diagnose him with a medical condition because you think he's funny looking? What's going on here? Some people just uh, have certain physiques/body features/etc., it's not necessarily a reflection of anything but, well, their appearance.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 02:14:36 AM by NodmiTheSellout »


DLJ
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2010, 10:40:50 PM »
...i always thought the portrait of Jim Cunningham, from Donnie Darko, looked a lot like JGT circa late 1980's / early 1990's...
 


(right-click and "view image" to see larger)


Keith Otis Edwards
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2010, 08:53:37 PM »
Yo! NodmiTheSellout! "Funny looking"? "Funny looking"? Din't nobody say nuthin' 'bout "funny looking."

Would you deny that in performance he assumes an especially exaggerated wild-eyed look -- that of a maniac?  He does this because that's how homicidal maniacs are commonly believed to appear. I merely observed that at one time it was (erroneously) thought that an extra Y chromosome caused this "super-Male" look and its attendant psychopathic behavior. (Of course, if he's not acting, we got an even bigger problem now.)

So . . . you one of those "don't-judge-people-by-their-looks; we're all the same inside" people? Uh-huh?


NodmiTheSellout
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2010, 01:30:12 AM »
Something like that, yeah. It's not a matter of being 'the same' so much as appearance not necessarily telling you anything about the person. Trying to associate appearance with someone's medical condition (for want of a better word) in particular can lead to some pretty troublesome self-images and so on. Not that that's exactly relevant in this case, but all things considered, it's better to err on the side of not giving people complexes. Although really, my first point with that was 'What the hell would lead you to even think that about someone you don't know?' I guess I regard one's mental/emotional/hormonal/medical/etc. state is something that's personal, and so seeing it talked about as flippantly as fashion, or something, kind of creeps me out.

'Course, I don't think that'd be a popular sentiment here. I guess I'm pretty "PC" in how I conduct myself with others. I don't hold back my opinion, mind, I just try and make sure I don't voice that opinion such that it detracts from the message. . .you know, it's hard to have a meaningful discussion about someone being wrong/ignorant/etc. when they're distracted by the fact that you've been calling them a faggot, or whatever.

Keep in mind that I'm posting this as someone who merrily blasts "English Faggot/Nothin' Man", so I think art (music, comedy, etc.) has a different ruleset. Dependent on the message behind it, anyway. . .I've always interpreted the foul shit in JGT's music as at least partially satirical/ironic/whatever, or at least conscious of its foulness, not condoning it. If the whole punchline/message seems to be something like "rape is funny!" or "homosexuality is dirty!", then I'm not so much on board.

Hi, I'm Jamie. I rant in the wee hours of the morning.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2010, 01:32:06 AM by NodmiTheSellout »


Keith Otis Edwards
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2010, 05:03:35 PM »
Jamie, those are marvelous values you profess, although I would expect to hear them from an elementary-school teacher, a Unitarian minister or in a sensitivity-training seminar, rather than here at this, of all the forums on the 'Net. As you mentioned, such attitudes are associated with feminism and the PC guardians, but they are obviously better than the bad-old way of "I don't like his looks." I applaud you for your enlightened attitude, but wonder if you are likewise as open-minded toward someone like, say, Dick Cheney.

As admirable as your sentiments are, though, it so happens that none of us really believe in them. We should act as you preach, but for better or worse, none of us do, and we do judge a book by looking at the cover.  That's why actors are typecast in certain roles; why Kiefer Sutherland is Jack Bauer and Pee-Wee Herman is not. Furthermore, every one of us devotes a lot of time and energy to perfecting the persona we present to the world. If you have a radical hairstyle (such as a mowhawk) or dress exclusively in black leather, it's all part of how you wish to be perceived by others. So with tattoos. So with body piercing. Or instead, you may present yourself in a manner similar to that of John Hodgman, the PC guy in the Mac ads. If you wear a suit and tie or if you wear deliberately-ripped jeans, either way, it's how you wish to be perceived by the world, because, Jamie, your preachiness is pure buncombe, and every one of us naturally judges people by how they look.

And nowhere is this more true than with the man who screams out, "I CAN DO ANY GODDAMNED THING I WANT!" Whose every public utterance is designed with only one thing in mind -- shock value-- and whose public persona is that of wild-eyed raving psychopath. If there's something offensive that hasn't found its way in to one of his songs, I must've missed it.  And you're preaching to me that I should refrain from any speculation about this spectacle?

What're you nutz?


NodmiTheSellout
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2010, 11:20:37 AM »
There's a difference between thinking different appearances work best for different things, and going, "Well look at this person, they must have [insert hormonal/genetic/whatever disorder]", which is what I regard as weird. There's a difference between making half-conscious judgments like, "Oh, that girl has a mohawk, she probably likes punk rock," and, I don't know, "That girl has a mohawk, she probably rebelled against a parent who raped her as a child." One is a reasonable association, the other is "Why the fuck would that even cross your mind?"

Funny, I never mentioned feminism, you're the one who mentioned it. Although I do think it's kind of funny to use that in particular, when it's hardly a united ideology.

It's not like I'm going, "You can't say those things," it's more like, "You can't say those things without me thinking you're kind of creepy."

As for the offensive stuff in JGT's music well, I've addressed that. Overall I'm not as hard on entertainment as most, let's say, activists are. I'm not going to pretend there's some great fuckin' reason for this either. What it comes down to is, I like what I like, and am not gonna stop listening to something due to poor attitudes about women (the biggest offender in the music I listen to). I'm just not that dedicated, or concerned with it. For me, these are songs, they're not reality and not even necessarily reflective of all that much.

I think the 'writing' I do (roleplaying) is a pretty different thing than, well, anything at all that's worth being published, or is even written with the intent of public consumption, but there's still the simple fact that I write things with pretty terrible messages behind them, mostly because it's fun for me when fictional people suffer. Considering the fun I have with that, I can't really judge anyone for what they write, because I don't know why the fuck they wrote it, what association that has with how they treat people, etc..

Overall I can't say why, but it depends on who's saying what whether I'll get offended or think it's fucking ridiculous. I've long felt that a lot of JGT's lyrical content is a kind of character thing--nuggets of truth, sometimes, that are wrapped up in this creature he's invented for the sake of the song.  So that's why a song can contain pretty much anything and I won't consider it objectionable (to say nothing of the fact that I don't pay as close attention to his lyrics as I do those of other musicians, anyway). Meanwhile, when I'm talking to someone and they mention thinking, say, Dane Cook is hilarious, my opinion of them is gonna take a huge blow (both because he's unfunny, and because 70% of his act seems to be "I treat women like garbage and they like it, LOLOLOLOL", among other bullshit, so that probably means they think that in particular is funny).

What it comes down to is--I don't believe in censorship, and I don't believe every instance of troublesome subject matter in a song/show/movie/comedy routine/whatever is something that should be immediately protested. I figure, if I can listen to this supposedly 'offensive' shit, and turn around and treat people decently, there's no reason other people can't. Just because I listen to, I don't know, "Stumbo" every now and again, doesn't mean I'm gonna read about a woman getting raped while hitchhiking and go, "WELL SHE DESERVED IT," or any such bullshit. This almost certainly makes me a half-assed feminist, or whatever, but oh well. I still put my foot down when I see people actually treating me or my fellow woman like garbage, and that's more than can be said of plenty of people.


Keith Otis Edwards
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2010, 01:25:19 PM »
Nodmi, as much as you write (relevant or not), there's no escaping that there is no basic or substantial difference between saying, You shouldn't say such things! and If you say such things you're weird!

You can't weasel out of it that way. Both are scolding. Admit it, fer chrissakes.

Somehow, it buggers my imagination to drop in at a Foetus forum and have someone accuse me of being weird. But this is America, where there is always an accusing finger to be pointed.


NodmiTheSellout
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2010, 03:54:14 PM »
I never said I wasn't scolding. I am scolding, which is fine. It's fine to give opinions about what people should talk about, how they should talk about it, etc.. What wouldn't be OK is if I thought that, so I went ahead and edited it out of your post. That's what I'm saying. I'd never do that, because that's censorship, and that bugs me. You're free to just roll your eyes and move on.

EDIT: Though I think it's worth mentioning that JGT didn't put pictures of himself in music booklets and so on for a while, and even though that's changed, I do think there's a certain. . .separation between music and personal image that's not true of other musicians/bands.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 03:57:03 PM by NodmiTheSellout »


DLJ
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2010, 12:03:36 AM »
wow, so here we have some discordant discourse!
 
thank you both for keeping it adult...it will be a dark day when discussions here devolve into "f-you", "no, f-you!". 
 
there's a bit in JGT's part of The Sound Of Progress, where he touches on not putting his face on the album covers - something along the lines of he'd be in a record shop and spot something of interest, then look at the back cover and see a photo of a bunch of fat hippies and put the record back...he wanted the music to speak for itself.  but of course he also created a series of personae behind it - all the aliases, the odd guest appearances, the near-slogans and very identifiable artwork.  that was the face of foetus.
 
well, no censorship here - i fully support everyone's right to say what they want, whether i agree with it or not.  i only censor spambots.
 
hope everyone has a happy groundhog day.
 


MindlessAutomata
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2010, 12:15:20 AM »
wow, so here we have some discordant discourse!
 
thank you both for keeping it adult...it will be a dark day when discussions here devolve into "f-you", "no, f-you!". 

Amused observation:

I've been tickled by the lack of cussing on this forum, and especially the self-censoring, despite that Foetus' music is filled with profanity, violence, so on so forth.  If someone gets offended here I'm not sure Foetus is for them ;)


MindlessAutomata
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2010, 12:18:45 AM »
Anyway this whole thread is a silly moot point since JGT has always been known to be aquiet & rather polite guy not at all like his stage persona.  Least from all accounts I've read. 

 And if you're a fan of the music, well, let's not point fingers, buddy, you're listening to music with lyrics about violence, rape, racism, and everything else! :P
« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 12:20:42 AM by MindlessAutomata »


DLJ
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Re: 20 Views of the Infant Foetus
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2010, 12:35:43 AM »
wow, so here we have some discordant discourse!
 
thank you both for keeping it adult...it will be a dark day when discussions here devolve into "f-you", "no, f-you!". 

Amused observation:

I've been tickled by the lack of cussing on this forum, and especially the self-censoring, despite that Foetus' music is filled with profanity ... [liberal snip]
 
i think you'd you'd be hard-pressed to name more than 5 Foetus songs with cuss words in the lyrics.  from ALL foetus, stermax, wiseblood, ruin etc albums.  that's what - 40 give or take?  ten songs on average, 400 +/-?