Saturday, 28 January 2017

Crazy "Trads" and Professional Selfies

Warning: frank thought about p*rn*graphers' interest in dress for Catholic women.

We live in very strange times. Not long ago I was in a conversation about the options open to a Catholic teacher at a Catholic school who finds himself with a male student who identifies as female and wants to be addressed by a made-up female name. The secular world doesn't even blink at such stuff, so it is interesting that it finds this weirdo completely objectionable.

Of course, people in Extraordinary Form of the Mass circles have been circulating warnings about the man for some time. A big part of his danger for innocent (and perhaps naive) people in the Catholic traditionalist movement is that he called his organization (or business) "The Latin Mass Society". This, of course, was confused with England's Latin Mass Society.  Clearly you do not want your daughters to come under the influence of Mr P*rlas. 

I find it amusing that his models now find  Mr P*rlas objectionable for his new interest in N*zism whereas the traditional Mass societies have been having kittens for years about his fetishistic take on chapel veils, for which he used the same models. To be honest, I probably haven't seen the worst of his photos, for I tend to be dissuaded, not encouraged, by warnings that p*rn lies ahead. But any way you look at it, Mr Perlas's interests are looked at askance by all sorts of people.

What I find most odd about the latest story to come out about Mr P*rlas is that a man of Filipino heritage finds N*zis appealing. Or do I? N*zi aesthetic is (or was) a big deal in Toronto's gay subculture, as it was impossible to ignore if you had to walk past "Northbound Leather" to lectures at the university every day. As Mr P*rlas is an erotic photographer (like Vogue's Helmut Newton, incidentally), it is not surprising that the N*zis get a look-in. What is even odder
 is his take on trad Catholic women.

But again--how odd is that? As a Catholic schoolgirl, I was uncomfortably aware that Catholic schoolgirl uniforms were a turn-on for some men and, indeed, men used to sit in their cars outside my high school around 3 PM to watch our skirts swing down the avenue. From Catholic schoolgirl uniforms to Catholic chapel veils is perhaps not such a jump. Ick.

Oddest of all, Mr P*rlas sees no contradiction between his art and his devotion to the traditional Latin Mass.

What the Fox article cravenly ignores is the very likely possibility that Mr P*rlas is mentally ill. Artists very often are. On the other hand, he could be a socially awkward eccentric. Perhaps he is both. And as much as the traditionalist Catholic community would like to deny that he is a traditionalist Catholic, we cannot ignore the fact that mentally ill people, sexual sinners and socially awkward eccentrics do turn up at Traditional Mass and--incidentally--have souls to save. 

One meets all kinds at the TLM--saints, sinners, pro-SSPX, anti-SSPX, social climbers, working-class heroes, aristos, scientists, conspiracy theorists, toddlers, nonegenarians and the occasional wild-eyed nut. Sometimes the nuttiness of the nut is completely harmless: the absolute conviction he can perceive demons making the choir sing out of tune, for example. Sometimes the  nuttiness is deeply embarrassing: wearing religious habit she has no right to, for example. When the nuttiness is dangerous---well, that's what all the parish safeguarding is about. Safeguarding and medication.

But since Mr P*rlas' models have brought him back to our notice, I am interested in the current craze of self-photography. When I was 20-something and felt Life had given me a kicking, I asked a professional photographer to take photos of me that I could "see" who I was from the outside. The artist disliked "normal" work like weddings, but agreed to take the job, as I was sufficiently weird. (My status as an amateur boxer tipped the balance.) We were interested in my psyche, not my physique, so fortunately these photos were all head shots. I wore unflattering shirts and pullovers. My lips were chapped, my hair was prophetic and I looked the way I felt, which was cranky. I was after Reality, and Reality bit. The photos, however, were artistically very good.  

I didn't tell many people about these pictures because I discovered most people thought the project shockingly vain.  

Ha ha! Skip ahead 20 years and nobody talks about vanity anymore. Facebook is littered with self-portraits and overweight girls on British TV explain they want to lose weight for their "boudoir shoot".  A "boudoir shoot" is an appointment in which a woman pays to dress in lingerie, pose on a bed and be photographed in sexy poses. Do not ask me why because that's my question. 

WHY do women want to be models for Mr Eccentric-or-Mental-Ill-or-Both? WHY do women want to be models at all? In my case, I wanted insight, but what do all these other women want? Do they think it is an easy way to make a living, or are they interested in the art, or what? 

So three things: 

1. Avoid coming into contact with Mr P*rlas unless you are a priest who wants to save his soul.
2. Accept that weirdos hang around the fringes of the traditionalist movement.
3. Examine the growing female interest in self-photography and "being a model." What's up with us?

Update: I find this sentence in the Fox report killingly funny: "Kitty worked with Anthony on a shoot in Ohio.  As was Perlas' style, it was a trade deal.  She got the nudes she wanted for her portfolio and Anthony got his photos of her wearing veils." Apparently the nudes were the normal, respectable part of the matter.

Update 2: I have slapped on the combox moderator to prevent further bizarre spam. Thus, there will be a delay before your comments appear for a bit.


  1. I got married nearly five years ago and hired a woman to do my make up for the big day. All was well. Six months later she contacted me for a "special" she was running where she would make me up and have a photographer take "boudoir" photos of me so I could give them to my new husband. Ick.

    Apparently this is a thing in the US now, like the "trashing of the dress" post wedding shoot. My only explanation is that we just can't get enough of ourselves. Celebrity culture is now our culture.

    1. The trashing of the dress thing is so horrible. Such a waste! If a woman doesn't want to preserve it in a box for the next generation, she could dye it and wear it to fancy events or she could donate it to a clothing bank. I once knew a woman who said all the women in her Communist-era village rented the same wedding dress; not everyone can afford a fancy wedding dress but many poor women dream of wearing one!

      Celebrity culture is truly awful, tacky, mindless, morally vacuous.... I can't stand it. The only "famous" people I think that much about are journalists, novelists and churchmen. Well, and sometimes the Royal Family because I live in the UK. That, however, is limited to things like "Oh, look. There's Princess Anne" and "The Countess of Wessex dresses very well" and "Goodness, little Prince George is adorable!" But that sort of thinking is HUNDREDS of years old.

  2. The trashing of the dress is, as usual, all about the ego, in my opinion. It's firstly about, "You know that whole wedding dress I dreamed of, and searched for, and agonized over? It really doesn't mean that much to me. You know that whole wedding thing that took over my life so much so that I became crazed over the color of the napkins for the reception? I'm really too cool for that. You know how I spent $ 3,500.00 on my dress I wore for only one day? I'm well off enough that I can ruin it." And off course, it's another opportunity to get flattering professional photos taken in the ocean just like celebrities do in glossy magazines.

    1. This: "it's another opportunity to get flattering professional photos taken in the ocean..." Ha ha ha!