"I'm against penis binding. Men wear their penis either down the right pants leg or the left. Now, if you cut away a piece of the material on wither side you'll see that the penis is strapped to the leg. Pants were orignially designed to corral the penis."
Eldridge Cleaver, from Jet Magazine, 1978.
With all this talk about Wieners in the air I won't even attempt to try to decipher what all this fuss is about. Wiener exposing himself to some co-ed in his "tighty-whities" pales in comparison to past penis controversies in popular culture.
Mr Wiener, though married with a pregnant wife, and clearly having violated his marraige vows, in ways I am sure rock stars do hourly, is an innocent compared to Eldridge Cleaver.
I write not to exonerate Weiner from his moral dilemna, but merely to put some light on the big problem behind the metaphorical Zipper, always managing to escape and embarass the best of us males in the worst way.
Obama suggesting Weiner's resignation in light of all these extra-judicial revenge killings and continuing old Bush foreign policy objectives carries no weight with me. None of these guys gets to control the moral center as far as my opinion goes.
As a penis based controversy it brings to mind an old memory of ex -revolutionaries and Paris fashions, former Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver strutting his "stuff" on the Champs Elysee in his "Penis Pants."
A media lightning rod, Eldridge Cleaver was a man of radical politics, had been in exile in Algeria for his role in Black Panther shoot-outs then transplanted to Paris where he became the darling of the French right wing. He was personal friends with Valery Giscard D'Estaing, a French centre-right politician who was President of France, 1974 to 1981 and seeming ly a darling of the French right, some of whom financed his entry into the fashion world.
His seminal rape-rant, Soul on Ice, sold a bill of goods that left my 14 year old mind as suspicious of his ideas of rape as a revolutionary act as I was of jack-leg preachers selling "prayer cloths" as they invited nubile young parishioners to their private abode for "intimate worship." The idea ofd Rape as an act of insurrection was surely the sign of an "agent provocateur" in my your developing radical mind.
In his book, Soul on Fire, Cleaver renounced his revolutionary past. He claimed a religious conversion, hung out with yet another ideological fornicator (this time in the name of God), the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who believed sleeping with virgins drew him closer to God, but I should mention that this allegation was never proven and was considered lacking merit.
Cleaver came to believe that we should all learn "to see not an enemy, a target or a statistic, but a brother, a sister, a fellow American, another child of God." It does make my eyes water, the way it does when I see that Michael Jackson brother talking about starting a charity for "the poor orphan children."
On the way to the creation of the Penis Pants, the penis was clearly the center of Cleaver's universe, First in Soul on Ice, with his thesis of rape as an act of revolution. Then his precious slogans like "Political power grows out the barrel of a dick " paraphrasing Mao, who pretty much liked those fresh faced ingenues just like Rev Moon did. Even Stokely Carmichael would mirror his thoughts saying "the only position for women in SNCC is prone."
Cleaver, at the height of his transformation in exile in Paris, took his role as a purveyor of fashion seriously, creating the daring and revealing "Penis Pants." Is this creation, he seemed to be shouting to male leadership, "Penises of the world Unite, let it all hang out!"
To make this fashion manifesto from the City of Love was all the more powerful, if indeed silly. His pants were an atack on everyone's favorite targets, Homosexual Fashion Designers. Well favorite after, blacks, Roma, Jews, Algerians, Greeks, Germans, rednecks and whatever your prejudicial flavor.
Of his design and this blow against homosexual influence in the fashion industry Cleaver said:
"Who controls our clothing? If you notice, the clothing industry is dominated by homosexuals. They want men and women to look basically the same.
There are a lot of problems involved in the design of men’s clothing. The way our clothing is designed right now requires a man to wear his genitals in either his right or his left pants leg. There are a lot of implications to that. Scientifically, it’s been determined that that structure generates a lot of heat that has a decomposing effect on sperm. There’s a whole warping effect that comes from wearing your genitals in your pants leg."
Left or right, socialist or capitalist, fascist...the penis sits at the center of the political universe. How come we never hear of women caught up in these kinds of debacles with such frequency? Women leadership is seldom caught with their knickers down, in airport washrooms, or as careless as to send images of their nakedness to young targets or recent conquests. Is is a function of testoserone?
Maybe Cleaver was a cleaver surrealist. The image clearly reminds me of that movement. Or was it merely a last ditch ploy of a tired revolutionary, a way to reinvent himself, declaring himself harmless and wanting to come home by embracing what, to me (and I am sure the general population), was absurd.
Of late, designers Isabel Mastache has resurrected the idea of Penis Pants showing a new expression of the idea in her 2010 Fall/Winter Collection. Bad Ideas don't die they just get recycled.
I feel like maybe America has donned those old trousers of Cleaver and our military is the dangling symbol of our prowess as we strut the halls of global power. While jobs have dissappeared, the economy sinks deeper in the Mississippi and we wait for that next welfare check from China.
As for Anthony Wiener...who cares?