Monday, July 30, 2007

LIFE IS BEauTIFUL SO WHY NOT SUBSCRIBE TO PR0N?



Before anything else, to everyone on the East Coast, particularly in the NYC area, go to http://theidproject.com/gl_bwarner.htm for further info about my upcoming talk there on August 27th. I have two other area gigs which are as follows:

• Bluestockings - New York, NY - Author Event - Sunday August 26, 2007- 7 pm - Contact: Brooke -for info at Brooke@bluestockings.com
• Barnes & Noble - Greenwich Village - Author Event - August 28, 2007 - 7:30 pm

I just got back from the San Diego Comic Convention where, among other things, I had a lovely time at the Suicide Girls booth with lovely Bee Jellyfish and Cake. Bee said that the interview I did on her radio show is one of the most talked about interviews she's done.

Now I've previously said here in this blog that you don't need to subscribe to Suicide Girls to see my stuff on there. And you don't. They offer it for free to anyone who wants to look. But you know what? If you like what I write there you should probably think about subscribing to Suicide Girls. And here's why.

I'll bet dollars to donuts a whole lot of you out there either subscribe to or buy certain Buddhist magazines on a regular basis. And those mags may tell you great details about the Dalai Lama's latest comings and goings, who's been seen out on the town with Thich Nhat Hahn and what the Instant Enlightenment Roshis are selling this month. But they don't have articles every week by me in them. I guess that sounds obnoxious. But if you're reading this I assume you're a fan or at least you love to hate what I write. In either case you might want to support the people who are publishing it.

Bizarrely enough the folks at Suicide Girls actually pay me to write a column there. The money they send me each month has helped defer the costs of running our weekly Zazen classes at the Hill Street Center (I pay for that space) and helped me go out and do talks in far flung places. I wouldn't have even been able to go some of the places I've gone in the past year at all except for spending what I get from SG. I plan to use more of the dosh they send my way to do more Buddhist stuff in the future, including retreats and all kindsa things.

No matter what you think of their business, the people are Suicide Girls are supporting the Dharma. This is an amazing, wonderful and valuable thing. Naked girlie pictures are making it possible for lots of people to hear about Buddhism who would never have been exposed to it in a million, billion years otherwise. I don't really understand it myself. But these folks are making real Buddhism available in an area that had been heretofore untouched by anything of the sort. This is an incredible and mysterious world we live in.

Look. Even if you subscribe, no one's gonna make you look at the nudie pictures. That's up to you. They don't make me blush. It's really pretty tame stuff by today's standards. Then again I spent 11 years in Japan where the attitude towards such things is wholly unlike the Puritan inspired attitudes most Americans hold. When you live for a few years in a place where one of the top kiddie songs is all about tits it kinda makes you more at ease with things like the Suicide Girls. (See You Tube thing below. This is not late-night adult oriented anime. It's a kid's show called Zatch Bell)

Besides the nudie pix, if you subscribe to the site you can post comments right there under my articles instead of posting about them here.

No one at SG is telling me or even encouraging me to try and get you folks to subscibe. I don't get any bonuses for new subscribers. But I've just been thinking about it a lot lately and wanted to say this. For $4 a month you get 4 installments of my writing. I put in a lot more than a dollar's worth of work into those bastard things every week.

Anyway, you don't have to subscibe to get the articles. That's true. If you can't afford it, no problem. Or if you just don't want to, I'm not gonna try and make you. If it creates a big moral dilemma for you, maybe you should avoid that. Or maybe you shouldn't. It's up to you. But if you can I think a few more of you should subscibe.

60 comments:

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MikeDoe said...

Well, if these girls want me to see them naked I'm happy to have them visit. I'm sure we can arrange something...

Mysterion said...

After lunch one day in 1986, we went across the way for an ice cream cone (In Atsugi City, Japan). The parfette shop had a big screen TV (28" in those days). On the TV was a teen or slightly older girl showing full-frontal nudity as she was running around in the program.

"What is THAT?" I ask the shop owner.

The shop owner and a few other customers discussed the matter rather seriously for a few minutes but were unable to arrive at a consensus as to whether it was Tokyo TV Network or Fuji TV Network.

Anonymous said...

My wife might divorce me if I subscribed to SG.. Plus, I only come here to try and decipher mysterion's latest post. It is better than sudoku.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Although I think it's an unlikely place for your column, I say wherever you can publish your writing and spread it to others is great. However, I do find it a little odd that you would encourage people to support a site that objectifies women. It's just a little off-putting to me.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared said...

Pornography objectifies women. Nude photography glorifies them. SG makes the deal all that much sweeter by featuring girls who don't resemble Barbie, and girls who decorate their bodies, either with ink or metal. I think it's great (and my libido agrees, coincidentally :-D). But I guess no one says it better than one of my Venezuelan classmates:

"If she wanna get naked, let her get naked!"

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jinzang said...

So is this the Internet generation's version of "I only subscribe to Playboy to read the articles?"

Brad, you should incorporate your group as a non-profit, apply for 501 (c3) status, get a merchant banking account, and put a PayPal donation link on your site. It's a lot of trouble, I know, (been there, done that) but if you're going to ask for money, you might as well cut out the middleman (or woman.)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations...
you're now a member of SuicideGirls!

Okay?

babbles said...

I am not too terribly active here but I do really appreciate Mr. Warner's writings both here and on Suicide Girls and did purchase a membership; albeit it was a week or so ago when they had a 50% off special on their Myspace page . . . but still it has been worth it. Find me at: http://suicidegirls.com/members/chemzen/

Furthermore Whil Wheaton's articles are worth reading as well!

maakumaaku said...

hah..its so true about the sex thing being no big deal here in Japan. In fact, I just showed that youtube video to my coworker and he was shocked to hear that in America, that would be a 'no-no' for kiddies. The attitude is so different here, its true.

Heather said...

I don't have a problem w/ naked chicks. But don't they all look the same as every other naked chick out there, save the black hair and tattoos?

Also, they don't
own
as much as you'd like to think.

Mysterion said...

Heather said... "they don't own as much as you'd like to think."

EXCELLENT Post, Heather. Thank you very many.

Another layer of deception. Another sleeping Golem awakened.

"I know faces because I look through the fabric my own eyes weave, and behold the reality beneath." - Kahlil Gibran

Otto Kerner said...

I think that the question of whether nude photographs of women are bad is a red herring. Neither the photograph nor the feeling it evokes in straight men and lesbians is bad. However, the latter -- the feeling the photographs evoke -- is well-known to be highly distracting. I recently heard a quotation from a sutra in which the Buddha says it is the single most distracting thing possible. Therefore, the question is not whether pornography is immoral, but whether it is beneficial to the practice of Zen Buddhists to encourage them to frequent pornographic websites. I tend to think it is not (of course, for straight women and gay men and anyone else who isn't particularly aroused by nude women, a subscription to Suicide Girls could, in theory, be a nice, relaxing opportunity to appreciate the human body as an art form).

I, personally, have mixed feelings about pornography ... but I trust that the average man with internet access will err well on the side of finding more than enough of it, and doesn't need any encouragement.

I also agree with Heather the women who appear on Suicide Girls mostly look about the same as other models (i.e. pretty damn good -- perhaps a website full of pictures of less attractive women would be less disruptive), except with a greater frequency of body piercings and tatoos.

I also appreciate Heather's pointing out that Suicide Girls might have a seamy underbelly. This is a secondary question -- regardless of whether pornography per se is bad, does this particular organisation of pornography dealers do bad things?

Mika Rantanen said...

Um, if you have trouble with the concept of SG, how about you just send the money to Brad directly? And Brad, if you happen to glimpse these comments (I know you said you are not answering them yourself, after someone tried to fake being you here), how about that? Would it be possible to donate money directly to you if one enjoys reading these?

Anonymous said...

The issue for me is not the naked girlies (me and my wife are retro enough to actually own pron video cassettes!) but suicide girls somewhat less than owner operated status and the way they have mistreated previous suicide girls ( and held the copyrights to these girls images even after they got booted). I am sure their are to sides tot he story, btu it makes me feel conflicted. Support Brad Warner and the Dharma, or support screwed ex-suicide girls?

Anonymous said...

Goth-chique doesn't change anything, if you after plastics, go after plastic, if you prefer "London Calling" tattoos, go for that.

I think that the whole problem with "sex business" is not the sex, it's the business.

People get booted and mobbed at software companies, organic food producers, Hare Krishna anti-alc counseling firms, and even at the Repuclican party for stupid reasons, too.

--IceBucket

Kozan Bob said...

Suicide girls is a great site, both for the alternative fem content and the articles, but mostly it's the coolest thing out there for social networking and threads; remember, MySpace is owned by Rupert Murdoch and therefore quite evil.

It's a great deal. I recommend you subscribe today.

Anonymous said...

"My wife might divorce me if I subscribed to SG.. Plus, I only come here to try and decipher mysterion's latest post. It is better than sudoku. "

ditto

Anonymous said...

Don't feed Mysterion's ego, or he will never become enlightened!

See, he's already really old and tries to stuff himself with greasy burgers to create more evil Karma. But he will eventually become liberated, no matter how hard he tries to "delude" himself.

And about his riddles: It's not that hard to throw a couple of random thoughts into Google and mix that up with some conspiracy theory de jour. Shakespeare didn't live! Jesus was a Buddhist! There was no man on the moon! Soylent Green is people!

Help the aged! <3 <3 <3

--IceBucket

shambhala said...

My only real complaint is that I can't read the SuicideGirls columns when I'm at work.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I love you.

Mysterion said...

--IceBucket...

I don't grease my guts out at Val's
(that was an extreme case of obtuse humor)

Mysterion's ego is an illusion as much as it is self-delusion. (How Nixonian to speak of self in third person possessive! LOL) The s\fact is: While amusing self, I am making a feeble effort to amuse others.

(additional rant deleted for the benefit of the sangha)

Jules said...

Subscribe to SuicideGirls? That's a cabbagin'. Fail to support the Dharma? That's a cabbagin' too. There's almost no avoiding a leafy future.

But there IS hope. Send me your donations NOW, and I'll ensure they get properly donated to Brad's BuddhaZillaMobile fund (less a small administrative fee), guaranteeing your eternal escape from the crushing, catastrophic, cruel, cabbagey WHEEL...OF...SAMSARA.

Jules said...

Full disclosure: I'm a current SG subscriber. I probably won't be renewing my subscription when it expires in a month though, despite the cool articles. I don't like what I've been hearing lately. Suing one of the girls for modeling on a competitor's website? Give me a break!

/Cabbage all the way, baby

Anonymous said...

Is it possible Nishijima Roshi made a mistake? I just can't put this guy in with Daido, Joko, Bernie, Suzuki and the others. Not to mention the people who have really got their samadhi gig on in SE Asia and India. For what it's worth, 15 years in, I just don't see it in this guy. Sorry, but this is unsound and unhelpful teaching. Go to an established center with many dharma teachers, and get in relationship with sangha.

aumeye said...

While planning which of Brad's appearances I want to attend, I'm wondering if he will be giving a talk at all three NYC locations, or speaking only at the idproject, and just signing books at the Author Events.

aumeye said...

Post post ~ I wondered that aloud in case Brad reads this and chooses to answer that question in his next post. Or in case someone else knows . . .

Brad said...

Aumeye, I'll be talking some at all 3, I think. But I believe the ID Project one is the most like a formal lecture situation. At least that's how I'm preparing for it.

aumeye said...

Thanks for the response, Brad. Now I can make a more well informed decision.

Mysterion said...

From the 'world of passion',
to 'the world of passion'.
There is one pause --
if it rains, let it,
If the wind blows let it.
(1424) IKKYU = One Pause

Mara is the lord of 'the world of passion.'

My take of the poem:

Moving from one temptation
to the next temptation
take one moment
observe the rain
feel the wind

diarmuid said...

see ya at the lila.

Ryan said...

Hi Brad - there is a good vegan spot called Tien Garden right next door to Blue Stockings. be sure to check it out!

Matt said...
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Matt said...

yeesh, that stuff about the former suicide girls is weird stuff... i'm kinda bummed.

Also, i'm really (really really) not trying to pick a fight, but does it really matter where the teacher's from? Also, I'm looking at the relevence (sp) of grouping Brad in with those other teachers. As someone who lives in Ohio, he's not exactly my teacher at the moment. I'm curious what it is about him that keeps him (or us /end hip buddhist philosophizing) out of such company as Daido and Suzuki, etc..?

This may sound silly, but Brad? I thought you posted awhile ago that you would never ever post in the comments section?

straight above my head
a swan of beauty and grace
I hope it don't poop

::gassho::

Anonymous said...

"All the girls in all the girlie magazines won't make you feel less alone"

Sure, SG is supporting Brad. Maybe Brad could set up a sponsorship deal with a fast food chain? Or big pharma?

The product SG is selling is porn. It is a big business, and kudos to the folks at SG for finding a niche in that market and exploiting it.

And kudos to Brad for finding a niche in the buddhist industry and making some cash out of it.

Anonymous said...

Mysterion, my dear, my Euro trash body will go to Bay Area soon and visit thy temple Val's, I already made plans for it. I can't think of any better way to worship you. No kidding.

I apologize for the rant, but I regret even more I didn't even read it before you deleted it. E-Mail?

"Is it possible Nishijima Roshi made a mistake?"

Who's the new anon kid of the block who disrespects our pitiful Pogo-Priest? I'd like to hear more.

Finally, I don't see a point why Brad does not offer direct financial funding. Where is the Hardcore Zen member site? 10$/month would be fair enough, 30$ is Premium Membership for heavy comment posters like Mysterion and Jared. They might even get answers every now and then.

--IceBucket

Anonymous said...

"The Fifth Training: Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body and my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self transformation and the transformation of society."

Porn is just another drug we consume. Odd that a Zen teacher would encourage this?

Gedo said...
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Matt said...

when you put it like that, does porn contradict the "fifth mindfulness training" after all? especially considering the alleged "healthy porn" the SG site supposedly promotes?

isn't the alleged mission of SG actually to help people consume porn mindfully? am i taking a tremendous leap here?

also, i'm not condoning drugs in any way, but I should really be asleep right now instead of wasting time on blogs...i'm starting to feel a bit groggy, and I didn't even need alcohol to help. is there a difference here? can we talk about it in terms of absolute? i'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

ahhh...what IS right and wrong, what IS good and evil????

-anonymouse bastard-o

Anonymous said...

BTW: that's anony-mouse bas-tard-O, bitches. get it straight...

professor said...

I promise to break the grip of craving and desire.

Porn is porn. Whatever.

Dharma is porn. Porn is dharma.

If you don't like tits in your dharma, get it somewhere else. If you don't like dharma in your tits, you can get lots of them anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

I do not think I have any more mastabatory fantasies subscribing to SG than before I subscribed. I've always imagined having sex with attractive women and I guess that I always will. At least until I get to be around mysterion's age. After that men probably do not think about women in sexual ways.

Jared said...

>>Ice-Bucket

Finally, I don't see a point why Brad does not offer direct financial funding. Where is the Hardcore Zen member site? 10$/month would be fair enough, 30$ is Premium Membership for heavy comment posters like Mysterion and Jared. They might even get answers every now and then.

Poor college student = me getting the Super Saver Membership ($5 a month in exchange for sorting his fan-mail every day)

I think Ice-Bucket's got a good point. If Brad wanted to make money, as some Anon said earlier, then why wouldn't he just charge admission to his site? Or set up a paypal so we can send money right to him? Brad gets paid for his articles regardless of whether or not we send money to SG. And I doubt he gets much commission off of his books. So what's with the haters who think Brad's rolling in the dough over his supposed Porno-Dharma??

Anonymous said...

"Is it possible Nishijima Roshi made a mistake? I just can't put this guy in with Daido, Joko, Bernie, Suzuki and the others."

I suspect you know nothing of any of these teachers but what you've read, right? & the closer you get to anyone, the less perfect they become.

The real reason you mention the usual suspects above is because they're always showing up in the the magazines and books edited by their students. So Zen becomes an insular exercise in privileged access. "It's true because my teacher says it's true, but also because my constant advertising of my teacher legitimizes whatever he or she has to say."

Look, it doesn't seem at second glance like SG is any better than any other porn site. Their message of female empowerment apparently has nothing to do with what actually goes on at SG, with who actually benefits from this public persona of the site. At the very least, if Brad is going to write for someone, he ought to do some basic research to see what he's actually supporting and asking others to support.

But as for Brad not being like the aforementioned Dharma Varsity, thank Buddha! It's so tiring to have someone like Loori up in his cathedral, writing books that purposely OBSCURE the Dharma so that people will feel as though they need a Daido and his cathedral to interpret it for them. Or grandiose statements like street retreats or zazen at Auschwitz (and I like Bernie!) or anything at all that makes anyone assume that practice is to be found anywhere outside of their lives; that they need canoe-and-zazen trips in upstate New York or piss-stained nights in the Bowery to realize something.

Like everyone else, I love Suzuki Roshi, but until Brad starts driving his new Beemer to lunches with spiritual dignitaries at which he'll continually bark at all the unpaid waitstaff (some of whom he's probably sleeping with), I don't think Suzuki's is the best lineage to compare Nishijima's with.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

'Is it possible Nishijima Roshi made a mistake? '

about what?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

About pairing his brown slacks with that grey jacket.. big mistake.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vinegar said...

It's interesting that most of the post assume the SG site is pornography. Even the people who are positive or neutral about Brad's suggestion to subscribe refer to it as pornography.

In terms of NT Greek.....

pornos = adultery, fornication, prostitution

graphy = writing, letters

Step outside the Puritan/Judeo-Christian box. Are pictures of naked women bad, sinful, wrong? Is the problem with the pictures of naked women or with your reaction to them. Perhaps the problem is with the viewer and not what is viewed.

These are not pictures of adults having sex, abusing, or molesting children. They are pictures of grown women without their cloths on.

How you react or respond to it is your issue. If it is a distraction which arouses your sexual desire so you can't practice whose problem is that?

If someone is making money making pictures of nude women available for viewing, I guess I don't see the issue.

In another vein, hey there Jared! You rank right up there with Mysterion in the minds of some in terms of posting frequency. Know who this is??

Otto Kerner said...

Vinegar,

I don't quite follow you. You cannot define everything word by its etymology. If "graphy" means writing, letters than this would mean that no image could ever be pornographic.

I agree completely that the problem with pornography is not with the image -- it should be obvious that no image can itself be "bad" or "immoral", but in this case, we are talking about images that are not even images of something bad, but rather of something beautiful. The problem with pornography is definitely in the reaction it causes in some viewers. Does this make the problem not a problem?

diarmuid said...

I must admit that I've become fascinated by this controversy.
Apparently I'm not alone.

It seems that at the heart of this dilemma is a discussion of craving and aversion, but in that sense what separates models with their clothes on from models with their clothes off? The extent of the craving and aversion?
If you don't like to look at girls, fine.
But they will always be around and you will always have to deal with it.

If you want to criticize the behavior of the publishers at SG, fine.
But if this is the case then you should be willing to scrutinize as well the producers and executives behind the other types of media that you consume (your cable television provider, perhaps?) Also, the clothes that you wear, the food you eat, the music you buy and so forth. It's no secret that the entertainment industry at large is rampant with all sorts of scaly and fire breathing beings, Godzilla notwithstanding.

A lot of magazines derive great revenue from tobacco and alcohol advertising, and we know what that is all about... but it is a part of our world, and part of the reason that I like to read what Brad writes is that I feel that he lives in the same world that I do and yet is able to navigate this with a clear head (most of the time!)

I have considered dropping out of society numerous times, but I haven't done it. I can appreciate the philosophies of hermits, and even envy their physical detachment, but I've yet to take such drastic measures in pursuit of spiritual liberation. Throwing this damned computer off of a cliff, uh, I mean donating it to charity, would probably be my first course of action.

In light of the simple economics of asking blog readers to subscribe to SG, it looks like your basic cross promotion tactics to me. If you don't want it, don't buy it. Some hard sell, eh?

"Is this a clever play by the enemy? Letting my guard down now won't accomplish anything!"
- Chichi Chichi oppai!

Anonymous said...

"No matter what you think of their business, the people are Suicide Girls are supporting the Dharma. "

that's creepy rationalism. The goal outweighs the means to attain it.
What if the SG's continue the cycle of suffering & desire in many more lives?
We all gotta make a living. I prostitute myself for bananas everyday. If i were you, i wouldn't take the advice of a monkey like me.
-
Here's a great video on the elation of thinking we've got what we want, experiencing brief happiness, then deflating again into the muck of the everyday.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxE0IR2GVQc
This is hilarious in and of itself, and shows the cause of suffering and our elusive attempts to solve our suffering, all at the same time.

Anonymous said...

I don't find the Suicide Girls offensive at all and are in fact guite tame as Brad says. The average "horror" movie like Hostel, Saw and Wolf Creek which depict the torture of women is something to be offended by to me and those are mainstream movies aimed at teenagers. Where are Christopher Lee and Vincent Price when we need them?
Thanks Brad for your articles and books.

Kyla
The things that teach us the most seem to be found where we least expect them. The average Buddhist magazine caters to an elitist, upperclass crowd of the privileged who like to imagine they are enlightened or darn near close to it by thinking about and reading about such "enlightening" things.

Roseanne said...

Thanks so much for the post, pretty helpful information.