Skip to main content

Belgian awful

Belgium has just banned all wearing of clothing which obscures or semi-obscures the face - in a clear attempt to stop certain religious clothing most often associated with women of a certain faith - on the absurd grounds that no one should be allowed to "see but not be seen" in public. Are bans on tinted car windows and sunglasses to follow? Bans on security cameras? We in the West live in a pan-optical society, and the right to look extends far beyond the right to be seen. Otherwise x-ray specs would be enforced. We have a right, surely, to protect our dignity, modesty, person - and even privacy. More to the point, is religion such a threat to the secular powers that be (namely so-called democracy and capitalism) that it must be basically cleared from the market place and the public squares, as a contagion, like second-hand smoke? Religion threatens humanist mastery, and especially the aims of instrumentalism. It gestures to realms and spaces less visible, and less scientific - indeed, the mystical, the spiritual, perhaps the magical, and, at times, of course, the musical and artistic. At the least, the need or desire for religion is a deep and valid psychological one. Whether there is a God (and we must hope there is, or could be) there is definitely an historic belief in one, extending over thousands of years. It seems churlish and simplistic to seek to rescue these women from garments they have no wish to rend. Such laws are inhospitable and utterly infantile. True freedom would allow for each of use to choose how we wish to be arrayed and disport ourselves. Clothing makes the man. Symbols have power. Without religious symbols, religion is drained and purified, desalinated to the point of evaporation. Then again, perhaps God exists finally in the thin air the State demands he disappear into. To trouble our minds no more.

Popular posts from this blog


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:

HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!