The Malta Independent 24 October 2020, Saturday

El Gran Masturbador

Mark A. Sammut Sunday, 11 October 2020, 10:53 Last update: about 12 days ago

El Gran Masturbador, “The Great Masturbator”, is a 1929 fantastic surrealist painting by the Catalan artist Salvador Dalí that probably reflects the artist’s ambiguous attitude toward sex. Apparently, Dalí’s father wanted to impress on the young Salvador the perils of irresponsible sex by showing him a book containing explicit pictures of the ravages of sexually transmitted diseases. The painting seems to be a reaction to that dour lesson imparted from father to son.


The masturbator fantasises about great achievements, obtaining gratification through the fantasies but also legitimising negative attitudes. Masturbation can be both literal and metaphorical. In this latter sense, last Monday a Great Masturbator resigned from the country’s highest institution, after having wreaked extraordinary damage to it, through fantasies and nasty realities hidden behind them.

He fantasised he was the greatest politician ever to lay foot on these Islands. He fantasised that with little effort, less foresight, and even less ability he could transform Malta into the “Best in Europe”. He sold these fantasies to the electorate. A seller of pornography would peddle fantasies of gorgeous women, glamorous men, great sex, when in reality it’s filth, pretence, and exploitation.

Reality and fantasy are two different worlds. The Malta Muscat left us is a thousand miles away from being “Best in Europe”. Just consider this example. A few days ago, lawyers George Bugeja and Louisa Cassar Pullicino penned an article elsewhere in which they claimed that “our insolvency laws [have been] classified as the last in Europe by the World Bank” [my emphasis].

Another fantasy was that the institutions of the country work, when in reality law enforcement went to the dogs. There’s no better proof of this than the name of the Home Affairs Ministry itself! The Law-and-Order Ministry (i.e., the Home Affairs Ministry) has now been explicitly renamed “and Law Enforcement”! It’s like taking “The Ministry for Education” and adding to it, “and for Teaching Kids”. This necessarily means that the Police Force can only be saved by the current Commissioner’s tenacity and grit not by the legacy of the Great Masturbator’s myopic vision.

The Great Masturbator fantasised that, aided and abetted by a real estate developer, he could create a University out of nothing and that this improbable project could revive Cottonera. Now we have a phantom university.

He fantasised he would build long-lasting economic prosperity; instead he sold a mirage. The consumer of pornography fantasises building a long-term relationship by objectifying himself and his partner.

Muscat’s law-of-the-jungle approach to urban planning has maimed the character of the country, raped nature, and disfigured our villages and ruined their soul. It obfuscated the line between city and countryside. You now see huge blocks of flats in the countryside and you can’t understand why there was nobody to stop the Great Masturbator from authorising the blind scrabble for instant gratification and instant money-making.

He fantasised that his friends could use their Panama (and probably other offshore) companies for the Electrogas, passports, Montenegro, Vitals, and possibly Ryanair-Malta Air deals and schemes. He fantasised that he and his friends were so wily and astute, nobody would ever catch them, that they could get away with rumping the country. No wonder Ian Borg felt he could ejaculate “norgażma!” in Parliament!

Muscat’s style was obscene, metaphorically pornographic. “Pornography” comes from the Greek word pornos, meaning “pig”, leading to two shades of meaning: behaving like pigs in the mud and at the trough.

The Great Masturbator was given a respectable financial services jurisdiction and turned it into a whorehouse. He bequeathed an unresolved mysterious quarrel with Russia, the consequences of which are yet to be gauged. He left a trail of suspicious involvements with the corrupt governments of shady countries that might have compromised our reputation and more for years to come. And, having left the country looking like a pigsty, he stepped down proposing the narrative of a hero who has accomplished his mission. He should be tried for treason, and yet he pushes his adults-only autobiography as if it were the epic history of a great hero.

He even had the temerity, the unabashed brazen face, to use his own 13-year-old daughters to argue another sex-crazed point. He would allow them to decide whether to abort if they get pregnant “by mistake”! All decent people have been scandalised by this comment! So many points were raised! How can 13-year-olds express an own wish on such matters? Worse still, how can he fantasise conspiring with his teenage daughters to break the law? What kind of creature is he? But the worst consideration is his being cool with the extreme sexualisation of children! What kind of values has he (and his wife) passed on to those children? Why on earth should 13-year-old girls – who are usually either still enveloped in their Oedipal complex or are beginning shyly to romanticise about being hugged by a boy – be involved in sexual relations? With whom? With some paedophile? With their friends at school? What kind of man seriously thinks of his 13-year-old daughters as already sexually active and to such an extent that they risk pregnancy and consider abortion? What had he been discussing with them over lunch during their childhood?

And the people of Malta and Gozo entrusted their children’s future to this buffoon!

His campaigning, his political style, his administration – they all remind you of the classic example of how democracy can go wrong. When faced with the choice of voting for either the doctor or the sweet seller, the unthinking part of the electorate votes for the sweet seller. They fail to understand that the doctor can cure you; the sweet seller sells you tasty but deadly stuff.

Robert Abela welcomes Bernard Grech!  

Somebody told me that it’s unbelievable that Prime Minister Abela should treat newly-elected PN Leader Bernard Grech in such an arrogant way. At first I agreed. Upon further reflection, however, I concluded that actually Dr Abela is worried. And very much so. The irrational welcome given to Dr Grech during his first meeting with the PM can only indicate Dr Abela’s deep insecurity and concern with Dr Grech’s potential.

I’m ready to bet my last cent that as time goes by, we shall see Bernard Grech grow from strength to strength. This will necessarily mean virulent attacks from Dr Abela and his supporters. But the stronger the attacks, the stronger will Dr Grech grow.

I was right

Forgive me this brief interlude. But I was right.

I received a barrage of insults and even a few threats because I was right.

In 2016, when I published my book on the Panama Papers scandal, I said in an interview with il-mument that I was leaving the Labour Party also because Muscat was heavily flirting with the idea of introducing abortion – intelligence I had obtained from Italian friends. Many didn’t believe me, and insulted me, and more.

But now I can say it out loud: I was right. As I publicly said in 2016, Muscat’s pro-abortion. He’s even ready to kill his own grandchild.

Maltese Quirks (6)

Despite his bravado at the European Parliament so many years ago, Muscat was the Prime Minister who least safeguarded the Maltese language. During his tenure, the State moved away from linguistic autonomy to neo-colonialist attitudes. No wonder other Europeans believe that we actually function in English. Which is not the case. Unless we want to use language to create social barriers.

Somebody intelligently remarked that perhaps English ought no longer be one of the State’s two administrative languages. Despite my patriotic ideas, I don’t think this would be wise. The State needs both Maltese and English. But that means exactly what it says – the State needs both.

A Local Council has put up this sign: “Stop tfisser Ieqaf!” Needless to say, they’re being sarcastic. But beneath the sarcasm lies a deep truth. Many Maltese “speak” English, but the Maltese are not an English-speaking nation.

Had the Great Masturbator visited this town, he could’ve caught a glimpse of this witty sign. It might have enjoined him to stop abusing himself, and the country and its reputation.

But now, what’s done is done.

Let’s hope it’s not too late for the Maltese language.

My Personal Video Library (3)

The 2006 documentary L’Age d’Or du X analyses the liberalisation of French censorship and the ensuing golden age of hard-core porn films that flourished in France from the mid-1970s until video took over in the early 1980s. It’s a study on the mentality shift that took place as a result of the rise of ultra-liberalism, the availability on the market of the contraceptive pill, and the ideas paraded in 1968 (when AIDS was still in the future).

Pornography didn’t start in the 1970s. The 1993 book The Invention of Pornography: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity, 1500-1800 edited by Lynn Hunt, is an excellent collection of essays on the subject. But more important in my eyes is the 1981 essay by Ronald Dworkin called Is There a Right to Pornography? in which the American legal philosopher argues that there is indeed such a right. But liberal thinkers, I believe, live in a world of fantasy. Psychological studies show that pornography consumption is deleterious.

This summer, the right wing in neighbouring Italy tried to impose some sort of control on access to pornography. Giuditta Pini, an MP from the Partito Democratico (Muscat’s best friends in Italy), cried foul on Facebook: “Perché va bene tutto, ma se dopo il lockdown vogliono toglierci anche il porno, io non so davvero più cosa dire”: “We’re ready to accept a lot, but if after the lockdown they also want to take porn away from us, then I don’t even know what to say”.

The University of Exeter now offers a course on pornography and the University of Sunderland publishes a journal called Porn Studies. Others propose courses to teach youngsters how to interact with pornography given the ease with which they access porn and the distorted ideas about sex that it conveys. Some studies demonstrate that exposure to pornography is a significant factor in teenage premarital pregnancy.

All said and done, our ancestors were right about onanism and eyesight: living in fantasy makes one blind to the real world. Muscat is a case in point. He was so blinded by his political masturbatory frenzy that he couldn’t see that the mess he presided on – not only corruption but also the murder of a journalist who was investigating it – shattered his ultimate fantasy: high European office.

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