Friday, October 26, 2007
The Black Marker Brigade
Sad but true, the Black Marker Brigade exists. It's a quiet, diligent, anonymous league of Backroom Types whose mission on Earth - or, at least, in Malaysia - is to protect us from accidental or intentional exposure to titillation of the salacious variety. Their thankless task, in effect, is to ensure that you never have to be confronted with (and, presumably, affronted by) an image of the Female Nipple. Whenever and wherever it may appear: in imported literature, cinema posters, and comics, for instance. And so what if you've just forked out $18.75 for a reputable photography journal or glossy art magazine? How can it claim to be reputable if it's got naked pink titties in it?
Hah! In the name of Art too many atrocities haved been committed. Too Much Flesh Exposed. It's time people stopped taking off their pants just so that some artist-pervert can paint them. One practiced stroke of the felt-tipped pen and... voila! Goya's Naked Maja is naked no more! A deft rub here and a quick daub there and... Hullo! Michelangelo's David is ready to meet the Malaysian public! Anytime now the Black Marker Brigade may be commissioned to bring decency and modesty back to the medical textbooks. You can bet the floors of all our book warehouses will be slippery with drool.
Do members of the Black Marker Brigade go to work in sinister Ku Klux Klan-style hoods? What do they do to nude black women - do they switch to Tipp-Ex? What are the long-term consequences of membership in the Brigade? Does one go through life seeing dark spots and splotches on women's chests that can't be removed with even the most devout rubbing? What do they write in their passports under Occupation?
Well, it's a dirty job - but somebody has to do it. The Stout-of-Heart and Incorruptible who attain the rank of Veteran in the Black Marker Brigade have the awful onus of ritually purifying 8 X 10 glossies and wall-sized posters of the most notorious and lascivious-looking of foreign film-stars. (God, we had a horrible experience with that disgusting Member of the Italian Parliament... what was her name? Ah yes... Cicciolina... none of us got any sleep for a week. we had no choice - it was a Standing Order from the Minister of Home Affairs.)
One shudders to think of the things some people have to do to earn a living. Still, there are obviously a few rare souls who seem to have been born with black marker pens in their untiring little hands. You can easily identify them in a crowd, they're a breed apart: look for the dark ink stains on their lips and fingertips. Our hands are filthy but our minds are clean! This is the solemn credo of the Black Marker Brigade.