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December 2023
Vol. 23, No. 3

Hosing Down

Free the Twerking Terpsichores!

by José SinatraJune 2013

Many seemingly reasonable Americans are increasingly concerned with what they perceive as a diminution of liberties, such diminutions instigated to serve either the national security or virulent political megalomania. Of course, the official line is always “national security” with no acknowledgement of the other’s existence; people are still buying it and it’s the easiest way to keep one’s subjects under control while that control is incrementally increased….

One of the more blatantly bird-brained examples of official control has been occurring recently at a high school in North County. At risk is the freedom of citizens to react to music itself in an honest and personal way. Imagine being told by some idiot, “I do not like the way you react to that song so I am going to punish you” when that same idiot actually has the legal right to effect punishment. In America. In Poway.

No, you needn’t imagine it because it has actually happened to a group of lovely young high school soon-to-be graduates who happened to be videotaped as they danced to some music during days when they may have been in heat. Or maybe the music was so powerful it simply compelled their bodies to react as if (in the eyes of some and the hopes of others) they were enjoyably experiencing the natural whimsies of estrus.

I’ve always loved nature.

The video of the dancers ended up going viral and came to the attention of school officials who took great exception to the refreshing freedom that these young students celebrated. Power and control needed to be asserted; these babes needed reigning-in and punishment! Suspension, expulsion, banishment from graduation ceremonies, and other modes of vengeance were considered and pleasurably fantasized. And that dance they were doing — they call it “twerking” — must be made a criminal act, even if only because the dance itself was beyond the officials’ own abilities or they looked so damn lame when they’d try it at home (even after hours of scrupulous study of the video…).

To condemn twerking is to deny a historical truth that, over many centuries, has evolved into a vibrant and meaningful art.

The term itself comes from the Greek terkis, meaning upside, and kint, signifying down or down there.

The dance originated in Africa — most likely in Egypt — around 3500 B.C. and imitates the physical movement often exhibited by female servants during punishment for having in some way displeased their masters. They would be stripped and tied upside down and spanked several times on the bottom by the bare hand of the goddess Ankes-En-Amen, whom modern scholars doubt ever really existed. Therefore the victims of this “punishment” had to become pretty good actresses, having to realistically cry out while executing a series of sharp pelvic movements in response to the vengeful hand of a ghost that wasn’t actually even there. So successful were they at pulling the wool over their masters’ eyes that they eventually realized how truly stupid men are and how easy it would be to take over ruling the cities. And that they did indeed, while what we now know as “twerking” began its new life as a celebratory dance.

There have been accusations that the physicality of Twerk represents a desperate attempt to — by frenzied motion — literally put out a figurative fire that has ignited upon the dancer’s core. It is all done upside down to keep the head as close as possible to the floor (as is cautioned during any fire) in order to avoid the inhalation of ascending smoke. This interpretation might be less objectionable if not for its fear of confronting historic fact. And none of the arts is immune to that fear.

Many years ago, the Bangles (one of my favorite chick groups) were going to record an amazing song based on the real truth about this Dance That Dared Not Speak Its Pain. For some reason (Drugs? Company pressure? PMS?) they entirely revised and effectively neutered the song. Thus the rich  “Twerk That Asp, Nefertiti” emerged as the entirely pedestrian “Walk Like an Egyptian.” What had once been an anthemic hymn instead may have set back the feminist cause, despite its unfortunate commercial success. I’ve refused to speak to any of the Bangles ever since and have no intention of doing so in the future. As a matter of fact, I’ve never spoken with any of them in the past either, and again, that’s their loss. Please understand that I hold no real grudge and still might allow them to do me one day. Especially the munchkin.

Through the ages, twerking has remained an inspiring symbol of the power and glory of womanhood and has been known to turn some male observers into drooling idiots. Which, come to think of it, may be the case with the school officials in Poway. As I write these words, they’re considering adding to the dancers’ school records actual charges of sexual harassment!

I kid you not. The one thing that I want more than anything in the world at this moment is to hear the actual voice of one of these school control freaks — one of the people to whom we entrust the education of our children — explain to me where the sexual harassment exists in all this. Please, Answer Me! Who is being harassed? These girls haven’t harassed anyone, sexually or otherwise; something you may be stupidly confusing with the only conceivable hurt here — that of your own improper and unsatisfiable lust, which you should pack up and move with elsewhere immediately, you dangerous, demented perverts. Try China.

What of the real victims here? Allow me to address them forthwith.

To you maiden students, with only history and art and this humble minion joined in battle for your honor, as you approach adulthood through this sudden forest of flames:

I have watched your video while it plays to my own song, “Too Young for Love,” and have witnessed magic. We become one. I love your energy, your rhythmic acuity, your true sense of openness… your determination not to stand idly by in our troubled world, but to turn things upside down, to really shake things up, not unlike your own spiritual predecessors: Joan of Arc… Marie Curie… Jenna Jameson… what a fearful bond you have formed, all of you — from such bonds hath sprung democracy and industry, huddled masses yearning to shun surface images and facades, yet seeking to reveal qualities among the backsides of all vistas and therein grasp the proud torch of freedom… taking it within you and standing for that freedom, be it on your feet or your head… while enemies despise and persecute and seek to control you. I shall remain always at your service. Um… like, you know, whatever.

Your admirer,
Uncle Hose

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