I hope you have all recovered from the festive family fun. For us it was a mixture of family duty and catching up with the ever growing clan - not only in numbers but in body size too! The trip down south to Masterton and Martinborough was uneventful and smooth. Thankfully there were not many drivers on the roads. The peaks of Ruapehu looked magnificent in snowy splendour (Ruapehu is Mt Doom, for all you non-kiwi LOTR fans) and the Manawatu wind farm is rapidly becoming a tourist attraction: an example of good-looking public art.
Oh yes, we watched the Queen and the Flint Street Nativity, all good Xmas TV fare, but I got intrigued by a series of films and programmes I saw which were quite unplanned but somehow tied in with each other:
America's Hardest Prisons on National Geographic Channel was hardly Boxing Day breakfast fare but I persisted. The usual they're-all-bad-sad-or-mad, don't-they-look-awesome, why-are-they-allowed-all-that-gym time? kind of of "reality TV" look at life in a prison (but without a winner at the end). All tattoos, muscles and bad boy attitudes and a breathless female reporter (why are they always female?) casually remarking that 10 percent of inmates are raped. Not that anyone owned up on camera for that - neither tops or bottoms.
Which brings us to American History X, in which a splendid looking Edward Norton very much joined that rape statistic during his spell in gaol. Such a cute arse! It never stood a chance. But it did win an Oscar.
What intrigued me in that particular story line was how the rapist actually got hard enough to rape, even to the point of orgasm, in such a short time period of about 5 thrusts. Who volunteered to fluff him, we demand to know. And a note to the police department: when arresting a suspect dressed in boxer shorts, demand he drop them. The taxpayer wants value for money.
The prison warden in the documentary series said her charges got an "inmate look" about them when they have been incarcerated for a while. I think she meant the previously mentioned body size and adornments, which are pretty much the only things an inmate has some sort of control over and the only things he has to establish status among, power over and sexual repellence against other inmates.
And there we were on our last day of Christmas sojourning at our good friends Roger and Ross, who run a gay homostay in Napier. Go stay with them, the welcome is magnificent, the hospitality without rival and the entertainment, well, they function as an unofficial gay venue for the eastern North Island.
The DVD was playing one of their specialist offerings with lots of hairy, tattooed and leathered up men doing unspeakable things to each other. And yes, they all had very much the "inmate look", which made me wonder why America's hardest prisons could not be turned into queer heaven if only they got over their sexual hangups. The men in the DVD sure looked they were having a greater time than poor Ed or the sad sacks in the Indiana big house.