The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Girls Gone Wild...

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/12/fashion/12bisex.html?_

r=2&pagewanted=1&ref=fashion&oref=slogin

An interesting article on the more fluid nature of female sexuality: that women tend to be more bisexual, and men tend to be either/or. Now, I think simple observation would give most of us THIS impression I've been in a variety of circumstances where the women outnumbered the men, and in every case the number of women who formed relationships with each other was far greater than the men who behaved in a similar manner under similar circumstances.

In fact, I've actually never been in a circumstance where men seemed to form relationships with each other merely because there weren't women around. I wonder how this relates to images of sexuality in film. Specifically, the fact that I've seen thousands of on-screen kisses. Many quite hot. And I've seen women kissing each other--which is usually pretty hot (!). But I've rarely seen two male stars kissing each other in a movie convincingly. No, it's not that I just don't find men kissing to be hot (which I don't). I remember watching "Cruising" back in the day. Actually, walking into a blind screening of Freidkin's film at the Academy of Science-Fiction and Fantasy films. Dealing with an undercover cop in the seedy world of NY gay S&M clubs, it was pretty mind-blowing for a much younger Steve. One thing I can say is that there were tons of scenes of guys smooching, and it looked like they were getting into it. Male actors kissing each other generally look damned uncomfortable. There are interesting exceptions (one of them being Daniel Craig with Toby Smith in "Infamous") but in general...not so hot.

You know me and biological influences. Whenever I see a phenomenon that seems worldwide (women moving in and out of each others' body space more easily than men) I suspect that there is some kind of genetic advantage. Frankly, any explanation I come up with for this one is pretty weak...unless throughout history there have been many, many, many times when women outnumbered men, and being able to relate sensually or sexually to each other, and form bonded relationships, was a serious survival value. But that's just the biological level. The truth may be more connected to social function, or even spiritual essence. Damned if I know. But while I HEAR about it, I've never actually ran into a case of a guy unable to hook up satisfyingly with women, suddenly attracted to a guy. With guys who are interested in girls, it's usually girls or nothing. Women are way more flexible. I've known a number of women who were struggling in their relationships with men...and then woke up one day in another woman's bed. Interesting, but I don't have a clear idea what's going on.

Women themselves, when I've asked about it, just seem to feel that women look more at a persona's "energetic essence", more than the physical package its in. Maybe. I don't know. Any theories?

##

I've realized a couple of things about Intermittent Fasting over the last year. One is that a very interesting variation on I.F.--one that actually has some additional health benefits without sacrificing all of the values, would be, on fasting days, if hunger gets too high, eat a piece of fruit or a salad without complex carbs or heavy dressings. Such munching provides high water-content, high fiber, vitamin-rich but low-calorie relief. Because the value of I.F. seems to come from "waving" the caloric intake (with the greatest effect, of course, found when that "wave" goes to zero on fasting days) there is considerable reason to suspect that such a regimen could be far easier, and almost as efficient. Considering the almost universal cry in the health community that people aren't eating enough fruits and vegetables, it seems to me that breaking the fast with such healthy, light, low-calorie fare could NOT help but be an incredibly healthy change.

Now, then...what else? Well...the Tibetans. Linking these two things seems to be dynamite. If you can already do 21 reps of each move, you might not feel what's happening inside you. But they are simple movements that hold complex lessons, like the Tai Chi form isn't "Tai Chi"--it's the FORM of Tai Chi. Once you know it, it's like making a clay pitcher--the pitcher isn't the point. The point is to fill it with "Chi", the fluid of life. As the point of the Tibetans is to transform the movements into a graceful daily breathing routine.

Because you can start with only three reps, and those reps can be modified at first, it is available to anyone.

My own experience with combining these two has been great, and I'm starting to gather some anecdotal evidence from Nicki and a few students. More time needed.

But here's the thought: does anyone doubt that if you combined these two for ten weeks, the results would be powerful? And if that's true, it suggests a frame work for the "Seven Secrets" project that is more wieldy: a "Ten Week " or "100-Day" Body-Mind Diet based around these concepts, supported by simple meditation and goal-setting practices. Make two changes for ten weeks (or 100 days) to lose weight, gain tone and energy, save time and money...resist stress and focus your mind and life efforts...

I can actually promise all of these, but as Steve Perry suggests, I should under-promise and over-deliver. A question: what would you guys prefer: "Ten Weeks" or "100 Days"?

#

Here's the far future story I'm thinking about: It branches off from Ursula Le Guin's classic "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas", a paradise with a rotten center. Imagine a world of enlightened, evolved people (due perhaps to a state-sponsored or otherwise widespread program of meditation and electronically/chemically enhanced brain functions. People live, perhaps in controlled domelike environments. Music, art, science...all carried to the highest levels. But...these peak minds have a vulnerability. From time to time, maybe once a year, a form of viral encephalitis sweeps the population, triggering a negative amygdalic response to any members of the society who look LEAST like the others. During these times, no one goes out in public without wearing robes, wigs and masks designed to make everyone look identical. But any crowd will coalesce around the one with a hair out of place, or a robe slightly out of fashion...and tear that person to pieces. Once the blood lust is gone, everyone proceeds politely about his business.

That's the situation. No one questions it. The world has broken into homogenized cliques. The story MIGHT center on a young girl who discovers another (child?) hiding in terrible fear, caught in the wrong dome when the fever strikes. The protagonist wants only to help her new friend get home alive.

That's the frame. I honestly don't know where to go from there, but on the other hand, I haven't put concentrated thought into it. I'm kinda interested in hearing your thoughts...

##

Fox News calls Michelle Obama "Obama's Baby Mama"--a term relating to an unmarried woman. From the "family values" perspective of Fox, that's pretty much the same as calling her a slut. After the assassination reference to her husband, Fox has nowhere to hide, and they are showing their hand: make partisan "jokes", apologize if necessary, but get those venomous, potentially lethal memes into the public consciousness. Does anyone have the nerve to defend this monstrosity? And how in the world did anything said about Hillary Clinton compare to calling for his death, and calling his wife a whore?

59 comments:

Dan Moran said...

Well, the conservative attacks on Michelle Obama are going to get nasty. On the upside, maybe fewer Democrats will join in than joined in on the conservative attacks on Hillary.

Anonymous said...

There's a hilarious rant on this at scalzi.com, in case anyone's interested. But seriously, could be it be just an honest mistake on Fox New's part? Couldn't they have just been ignorant about the real-world connotation of "baby mama" and thought they were being all "with it" and stuff using a slang term and just fell in love with the rhyme between obama and mama. Seriously! I'm not kidding!

Jerry S.

Josh Jasper said...

First, my take on the bisexuality issue.

Images of women in most popular culture are sexualized to a degree that men are not subjected to. I think women are getting trained, from the time the have sexual feelings, to recognize women as sexual objects, and not getting the same training for men.

Also, women being tolerant of sexual attraction in themselves to other women is something that is encouraged by men, and not as discouraged by other women. Whereas men talking about other men in terms of being sexually attracted is somewhat more dangerous. It's not a sure thing, and lesbians do get bashed, but from what I remember of FBI hate crime statistics, men get bashed more.

-------------------------------

As for the "baby Momma" comment, Dan, I'm not sure that Malkin was in charge of that screen image, or even that she knew it was there. I can't stand the women, but let's not criticize her until we've got more fact.

FOX News, OTOH, is fair game. They're race baiting. I hope this makes it into some major news organizations. Olberman could pick it up and run with it. I hope he does. It's all over my livejournal friends list.

Everyone I know who's commenting is outraged. Of course, most of my friends are pretty liberal. I suspect most conservatives won't care, or will tell us outraged liberals to get a sense of humor.

Steve, Hillary was called names too. There's been longstanding rumors that she's a lesbian. Not sure if it made it to FOX, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was given a wink and a nod there.

Michelle said...

Men on Men:

Torchwood 2nd season, a Doctor Who spin off...lots of good male snogging. James Marsters(John Hart) kissing other men is actually hot. First example I've ever seen. Captain Jack kisses everyone at some point though.

Best male gay relationship every still belongs to Rent(movie version at least) in my opinion. You really could see the love and friendship there between Tom and Angel. I can't remember if they kissed or not...but the song they sing when they get together was beautiful.

Michelle Obama: It's unforgivable what fox news said. Calling anyone a baby mama is horrible. It is not only a slut connotation but also renders her an incapable person in same phrase. Considering her background alone is enough to render it stupid. It's just as bad as eye candy in that vein.

Most First Ladys despite their foilables do good. I may not particularly like mrs. Obama but I have no doubt that she would devote her time and expertise to good works as a First Lady.

The Fox News headline actually inferred that liberals were calling her baby mama. FN is insidious in that. If you haven't read Michelle Malkin's post about it...don't it'll just make you froth at the mouth more. Idiots come in hand baskets.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Barnes: re your far-future story--have you seen how Poul Anderson handled something along the same lines in his novella "The Night Face"? Classic last line in that one...

Pagan Topologist said...

Steve, you have mentioned here what happens sexually in male-only prisons. It seems that when women are absent, men can take up with each other. (Hoping it never happens to you or me.)

I don't do it very often, but when I have an evening class on a fasting day, and I can feel that my mind is not as sharp as it needs to be to teach and not short-change my students, I eat a small can of sardines or a handful of nuts. I don't think that a bit of fruit would improve my mental functioning sufficiently. I do not have evening classes this next fall, so I probably won't do it at all then, but I think fruit would just make me hungrier.

I do usually eat fruit first on eating days, and I have discovered that I am losing my taste for bacon and other cured meats at breakfast time. I eat either fruit and eggs and organic, grass-fed heavy cream, or else maybe some lean, uncured, pork sausage.

As to why women are more prone to bisexual behavior, I am inclined to agree with you. Social bonding of women in groups has in the past been critical to survival. Men tend to play dominance games in groups, and adding sexual tension could easily make a group less cohesive, not more. Though, of course, it seems to have worked for Sparta.

Come to think of it, I have not seen it, but I seem to recall your mentioning homoerotic tension in Brokeback Mountain.

Steve Perry said...

It's the nature of mud-slinging -- the idea is, if you throw enough, maybe some of it will stick. A big enough lie told often, leaves a ring even if it's flushed away.

Hillary has been called names for years, Bill, too. Michelle and Barack are going to suffer the same slings and arrows, it goes with the territory. Dial into some of the hard right-wing groups and look for mention of "Hillary Cunton," or "Hillary Carpet Muncher."

I used to like Dennis Miller, the stand-up comedian, until 9/11 drove him over the edge. His comment was that the Clinton marriage was so much about convenience there ought to be a tub of Slim Jims inside their front door.

Re fasting: I find that adding any fuel to the engine when it is idling causes it to rev -- i.e., it works better for me to eat zero than to have a bite of anything. Sugar in fruit is simple and it cranks the digestive system about as fast as drinking Coca Cola. When nothing is coming down, the belly says, "Oh, well, lean times." Once that first bite arrives, the belly says, "Whoopee, food on the way!" When no more shows up, the stomach gets very unhappy and roils and gurgles.

Metaphorically-speaking, of course.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

Oh, go John Scalzi! That was a good take down of the stupid "baby mama" thing.

The thing I've noticed is that men-on-men sex scenes in movies are more likely than women-on-women scenes to skip the kissing altogether, and sex scenes without kissing, I don't care what the genders involved, are not hot. That may be why you hear more men saying two women together are hot than women saying the same for two men - it's one if your sample is Captain Jack out and out snogging some guy, and quite another if your sample is some brief glimpse of one guy on top of another. If you want your sex scene to be unerotic, having the couple never kiss is a good way to do it.

Lynn said...

It's rather interesting to go to Snopes and compare the rumors about Obama with the rumors about McCain. Scary too. A lot of people believe rumors without even bothering to fact check.

AF1 said...

Being that Fox News is so fair and balanced, I expect to see similar slurs levelled at McCain's wife.

Anonymous said...

Yeah! She's McCain's Sugar Mama. You know. Since she's so rich and all.

Jerry S.

Stephanie said...

YOu forgot the part where a Fox "pundit" tied her fist pump to a terrorist salute ... It's Fox News, there's a reason why there are few respected journalists there and a lot of people with questionable personal histories.

And Michelle Malkin - of course she knew - the woman who demanded Duncan Donuts take a commercial off the air for a paisley scarf.

The good news is Obama is firing back with fightthesmears.com, the bad news is some perfectly intelligent people still cheer on and secretly believe every smear - whether it's because they're afraid or just mean, it's still inexcuseable.

Fox has mastered the dumbing down of "news" into sound bytes... I always suspect that the whole reason Fox exists is a hand full of bitter partisans wanted something that would prevent a repeat of Watergate by convincing a certain percentage of the public that news could be accepted or rejected based on your political stripe, not its factual nature - it doesn't matter that the president did something morally wrong, because it was reported by the "evil liberal media."
I fear the end result has made us infinitely more blind and foolish as a culture, and sometimes I wonder if we'll ever recover.

tcastleb said...

I'm working with a psychologist on a paper regarding the results of an internet survey he made about orientation. Nearly 18,000 people took it; over 35% identified as gay, bi, or other. About 70% of test-takers were men. 14% said they were bi; 55% of those were male, 44% female, and the rest were other. Almost 20% said they were gay; 70% of those were male, most of the rest female.

The 18-question test is over at http://www.mysexualorientation.com , and measures mean orientation and orientation range, meaning how flexible you are sexually. If you want more info on that, I have more, just let me know. It's really interesting, and throws a wrench into the whole idea that only 10% of the population is gay. This is expanding on Kinsey's idea that sexual orientation lies on a continuum and few people are entirely straight or entirely gay.

There's a gay movie I just saw called Alive and Kicking. One of the actors really is gay, the other guy isn't, but it's entirely convincing and feels natural. And I agree with Rent the movie. I think the best movies that show gay relationships are one when gayness is accepted and being accepted/coming out isn't the point of the movie. There's also My Own Private Idaho, which is a lot older, but has gay relatiohships and River Phoenix doing a smashing job.

And the SF idea sounds cool. Reminds me a little of "The Lottery." So, you have a person (mostly), a place, and a problem (girl wants to get friend out.) The friend's problem/need is obvious; if s/he doesn't get out, s/he'll die. What does the rescuer need? What's her problem? What's keeping her from getting what she needs? How does she change? (Just the basic questions I learned to ask in writing workshops. :>p )

Anonymous said...

From my point of view all the FOX bashing that goes on in these posts shows just the narrow mindedness that FOX is being accused of. Yes there are conservative newscasters on FOX who let their views color their reporting so that their shows really aren't worth listening to. I never watch Hanity. Can't stand him. But you see the same thing on CNN and MSNBC. I never watch Olberman, MSNBC's Hanity except with a liberal bias instead of a conservative one. If you look long enough and hard enough you can find material to make any network or any person look bad. Even Obama has had to apologize for a slip here and there on the campaign. The outrageous comment on the rolling banner on FOX was put on by a production assistant. Considering he clearly is not an Obama fan, he rates to be white. Now before this hooha about his use of the term "baby mama", I had never heard the expression and had no idea of what it meant. I am surprised good hearted people on the site aren't willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt that he didn't realize how the expression would be interpreted.


Marty S

suzanne said...

and I suppose these folks

http://www.thesockobama.com/index.html

are just cute, not racist, either,
eh, Marty?

Brian Wood said...

Marty:

You are TOO white. And I'm NOT kidding. (Never heard the rap song “Baby Mama” by Three 6 Mafia? First time I had heard the term used. Here’s the video. This is what FOX news is inferring: this is the lifestyle FOX is bringing up, that the Obama’s are Ghetto and got where they are by way of welfare, food stamps, affirmative action.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zMA4d4HR8Y


As you suggested, I went to Scalzi’s blog (His slang was terribly outdated. Almost on par with groovy and far out). You would think, if you had read it as you claimed, you would have understood Scalzi’s point. After reading your second posting, I am of the mind that you not only did NOT understand Scalzi’s points, but that you AGREE with everything FOX puts out there. However outrageous it may be.

I could bore you with stories of going into stores (Sears, JC Pennys, etc), hanging back ten or so feet from my now ex-wife and watching white clerks and workers rush to get within "sight" of her to make sure she didn't steal anything. I can tell you how everytime I stepped into the white person's face and asked them what they were doing. Why were they following the woman. When they would begin telling me it was none of my business or that they weren't doing anything, I'd then inform them she was my wife. Oh, the bending over backwards that would then commence. Nothing like catching a racist in the act. It's a satisfying feeling, let me assure you. And I did it many a time.

Click on my name if you want to read more in "A White Man's Response To The Race Issue." Don't be "scurred". I don't bite.

Anonymous said...

Brian:
1) As I said in my post there are people on FOX who are outrageous and I won't waste my time listening to. I just pointed out that if one is to be fair one should recognize there are liberals on the other networks who are just as outrageous in the other direction and I will add that there are some fair and reasonable people on all the networks.

2) When it comes to Rap music I never deliberately listen to it. This may be either because I'm too white or too old.

3) I am well aware of the existence of racism. When I was about eight or nine a car driven by a black cut us off. My mother commented "What do you expect from a 'put in derogatory term for Black'." Believe it or not I was offended by the statement. For one thing it was patently unfair as we had certainly had plenty of similar experiences with white drivers. That was the day I joined at least my own civil rights movement. I thought about the incident and given I was only 8 or 9 and the year was 1953 or 1954 the only solution I saw was to make a vow to myself that my kids would never hear anything like that from me. I figured if everyone would just raise their kids not to be racist we could kind of solve the problem one person at time.


Marty S

Ethiopian Infidel said...

pagan_topologist,

Is the homosexual activity common among male prisoners comparable to female lesbian liaisons? Wheres the latter appears to promote nourishing emotional bonding and intimacy, gay prison sex (at least from the outside) appears to function to promote the establishment of brutal, cut-through dominance hierarchies. Further, I've the impression that much male prison "sex" is in fact rape.

mjholt said...

"Obama's Baby Mama"- Fox Noise is being racist. They are smart, savvy, and vicious. Every dig at Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and every other woman is calculated. Josh Jasper is right, they are race baiting.

A friend mentioned that Fox Noise phrase this evening to me, and the hair on the back of my neck rose. I was offended and angry on a basic level. I realized that I have taken the Obamas into my heart and I am personally offended. This trash talking is a dangerous game for Fox to play, because when people begin to identify with a person, they then take that person and their people into their tribe/pack/flock/etc., and when that happens they start to identify with them on all levels. I hope and pray that at least 60% of the voting public will do that with Obama.

I watched Laura Bush in Afghanistan (trip 3) tepidly defending, but still defending Michelle Obama about the "never been so proud" comment. Mrs. Bush put the comment in context and repeated that at least twice when the reporter pushed the issue as though Mrs. Bush was too stupid to know what she said. Laura Bush has been ignored, btw, on things that she has done. I don't understand why she became almost a non-entity -- oh wait--she talked about education and books, gasp, for girls, non-white people, white people, and Islamic people, and wasteful things like that.

As far as bisexuality and homosexuality goes, I thing men are much more likely to go there than women. I know a lot of bisexual men. Perhaps you don't see it because you are perceived as strongly heterosexual. I think that I only see it because of friends, since I am a well-know traditionally married woman. My husband sees less of this than I do, so that is why I think it may be your own sexual identity that shelters from that.

Michelle is spot on about Torchwood. Everyone is sexual fair game. It's great. I am sure many people are offended, but I and my husband enjoy it immensely.

Michelle, I cannot see what there is to dislike about Michelle Obama. I think she would win the Mamie Eisenhower good wife award (there isn't one but there should be). She will never embarrass us as a nation. Neither would Cindy McCain, although if my husband treated me like John McCain has treated her, I would have kicked his gold-digging ass out.

To put sexuality and hatred in perspective to make myself laugh, years ago on a talk radio program, the caller was ranting on in a rabid manner against homosexuals. The moderator asked him what he though about heterosexuals, and he said we should get rid of them, too. Sometimes haters just hate, usually ignorantly.

Mark Jones said...

Until today the first--and only--reference I knew for "baby mama" was the title of a stupid "comedy" film that came and went fairly recently. I thought it was dumb construction created purely for use in the movie. Whatever negative connotations it has in the real world are news to me today. Of course, I don't work for a network news organization....

As for the bisexuality issue--I think it's cultural. No evidence I can point to, just my gut feeling. Two women getting intimate? Most guys think it's hot, or at least don't object. Two guys getting intimate? That's a whole 'nother ball game.

Plus, as a frequent reader of fanfic, most of which is written by women, I've seen far more guy on guy porn than woman on woman. Which doesn't surprise me--but does suggest that the difference in behavior in real life has more to do with cultural taboos than anything inherent in men or women. If those fanfic writers were in charge of the world, I imagine we'd see a lot more male bisexuality in the media (and, eventually, in real life as well).

suzanne said...

it's driving me crazy
but someplace recently
in some of the DVD viewing
I was doing
I saw some really hot man/man scenes
only I cannot remeber where!
I think it was a m ovie, not one of the many series
I've been watching lately
and it wasn;t in a prison context.

Also there is some touching (moving) male/male sexuality in the movie Shortbus

Steven Barnes said...

Yes, it COULD be a mistake. I'd be interested in keeping track to see:
1)are equal numbers of "mistakes" made toward McCain?
2) Are equal numbers of positive mistakes made as negative?
##
Considering Fox's rather obvious leanings, if either 1 or 2 go in the wrong direction, I reserve the right to think it is either deliberate, or an expression of unconscious fears and hostilities.

Steven Barnes said...

I know Hillary was called names. I only disputed that her burden of femininity was larger than Barack's burden of race. I don't remember anyone calling for her assassination.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

The outrageous comment on the rolling banner on FOX was put on by a production assistant. Considering he clearly is not an Obama fan, he rates to be white. Now before this hooha about his use of the term "baby mama", I had never heard the expression and had no idea of what it meant.

Marty, I don't much watch any TV news (though I did watch a lot of Fox when visiting my father just before he died). I understand that there are some things about Fox that you like, and you don't want them globally trashed. And, maybe overall they're still biased enough to deserve the overall trashing, whatever the bright spots, but, you know, I'm not going to argue that. I don't watch them.

What I am going to say is that not knowing the meaning of the word "baby mama," while mildly surprising to me, isn't shameful. Not knowing the meaning of "baby mama" and applying it to a potential First Lady, because, hey, she's black, and it's OK to throw around black sounding slang around a black person without checking what it actually means, that's really not OK. So, whether that production assistant knew darn well the connotations of the word used (what I suspect) or whether he or she didn't, as you suspect, he or she really isn't off the hook.

His slang was terribly outdated. Almost on par with groovy and far out.

To be sure, to illustrate his point the words only need to be known by white people and recognizably slang used by black people - if more up to date words would be less recognized by white people, then he's better off not using them.

When it comes to Rap music I never deliberately listen to it.

Some of it's actually not bad. But I need to find an advisor every time I want to buy CDs for one of my nieces, so I can make choices that both might pass muster with them, and have lyrics I can feel OK with. (Not that the same wasn't true of my generation's music.) My main problem with rap music, actually, is that to deliver it well you need rhythm, which I don't have, more than melody, which I do. My voice was made for ballads, hymns, and the like. I can more easily sound good singing opera than rap. And I like best to listen to music that I can perform well.

Pagan Topologist said...

You are probably right about prison sex, Ethiopian Infidel. I hope never to find out firsthand.

Michelle said...

Currently my dislike of Michelle Obama is contained her religious views. It's personal and in NO way does mean she should be degraded in any way.

I have previously stated that I planned to vote Libertarian. I can't now because Bob Barr was picked. His views on religion are in direct opposition to mine. So I'm out in the wind again.

Most first ladies have dedicated their lives to humanitarian projects. Lara Bush is a laudable example and should be commended for her efforts. Regardless of which lady ends up in the white house, I agree that both will do their best and do well for whatever they choose.

Hilary was and has been called many names. Which I disagree with. But she carried herself well then despite public policy being her cause. She's been through rough times...no doubt.

Dan Moran said...

"I know Hillary was called names. I only disputed that her burden of femininity was larger than Barack's burden of race. I don't remember anyone calling for her assassination."

Not that I can recall either, but they did for Bill. Pretty sure it wasn't because of his race.

From my point of view all the FOX bashing that goes on in these posts shows just the narrow mindedness that FOX is being accused of.

Because critiquing a news organization for its narrow minded agenda is the same thing as having a narrow minded agenda ...

http://www.crooksandliars.com/category/fox-news/fox-news-graphics/

At least one of the graphics there is a fake and labeled as such. But mostly they're real. I like the one labeled "Democrats legislating defeat in Iraq," but doubtless everyone will have their favorites.

Christian M. Howell said...

I disagree with the NYT about the prevalence of male\male relationships vs.female\female relationships.

IF you look at the images of women in this country's whole history, they have been marginalized and made to feel "not quite human."

This powerful force would of course make it "logical" to step out of the mold of "barefoot and pregnant, which is all most men have to offer women.

And because of the taboo of "men kissing," it will not be as "easy" for men to openly display affection.

And for the record, I don't think two women kissing is hot, I think it's gay. (the women of Lesbos are suing to get their name back)


The Barack mess is just the reaction of fools who expect every black man to become 50 Cent or JayZ. NOT! Some of us want what we deserve and that's an equal opportunity to excel.
I think it's time to separate from that Sambo crap once and for all.

But as long as a majority of our 18-30s are wearing bum uniforms, this kind of thing will continue.

The funny thing is that such a fashion sense comes directly from the desire to maintain the status quo (black women have long been held higher in the culture) where they want the passive "it's OK" type as to allow them to feel more masculine.
I guess they don't realize that competing in the traditional white-male-dominated industries is the only measure.


BTW, don't mind me, my middle name is controversial.

Steve Perry said...

Men are visual creatures. See two women kissing and getting into sex, most men I know can easily picture themselves in the middle. Two guys kissing may or may not turn women on, I dunno.

Two of the most erotic scenes in movies I can recall:

The Fox, (1967) with Kier Duellea and Anne Heywood. There is a scene on a white bearskin rug, as I recall it, and they are making love. There comes a point where the camera is focused on Heywood's hand, and you hear the sounds of passion and all of a moment she grabs that rug and moans -- that's all you see, is her hand ...

Jesus.

In Personal Best, Mariel Hemingway and Patrice Donnelly play track athletes who eventually wind up in bed together. Robert Towne is as good a director as they get (Chinatown, the Yakuza, and is doing a remake of The 39 Steps) and that scene is brilliant.
I've never talked to a straight guy who saw it who wasn't turned on ...

Kissing and cuddling goes back to Mama; Daddy, in our culture, until recently, was much less demonstrative -- though I'm sure he probably did, I don't ever recall my father kissing me.

Two women kissing doesn't threaten anybody. Two men kissing gives straight men who might be insecure in their masculinity pause ...

Steve Perry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Perry said...

Oops, I didn't mean to say "director," but "writer," in re Robert Towne. Mea culpa.

Dan Moran said...

"Kissing and cuddling goes back to Mama; Daddy, in our culture, until recently, was much less demonstrative -- though I'm sure he probably did, I don't ever recall my father kissing me."

I remember kissing my dad, particularly toward the end of his life; but I don't remember him ever kissing me, either.

I kiss my sons every day before I drop them off at school -- even my nine year old, who's a tough guy. Times change.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

My father kissed me, hugged me, and told me he loved me all the time. On the other hand, he grew up in Greece, so, different (though no less clear and distinct) boundaries for masculinity.

Steve Perry said...

Sure, and I hugged and kissed my kids until they couldn't stand it any more, but, old as I am, that qualifies as "relatively recently" on the geological scale.

Real men punch each other on the shoulder and spit on the ground. If there is a hug, it is brief, includes back slapping, and contact is only from the chest to the, well, the chest.

Men who hug and kiss outside of gay culture are still fairly rare in American society. Two Arab men can walk down the street holding hands; two straight white boy crackers would rather cut off their arms than do that.

The societal rules for men and women are different. Always have been, and I'd be surprised if they matched up any time soon.

Anonymous said...

Others have touched on this here, but I think that the reason females may find deriving physical pleasure from one another easier than males is due to the result of millions of years of nursing and other early close contact. Both male and female babies have to not just feel comfortable with sucking on a tit, but they have to badly want to. It is a basic survival trait. Babies of both sexes have to, for evolutionary reasons, enjoy and take pleasure in close physical contact with female secondary sexual organs. They have to like touching females. Evolution may have made both males and females comfortable with the touch, smell, and taste of women, while not programming males' genetics in any similar manner to enjoy male to male contact.

Marco

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

The societal rules for men and women are different.

Oh, they were different for my Greek immigrant father, too, just not in the same way as for, say, the WASP grandfather (who was more reserved about the hugs and "I love yous"). Dad took his daughters, but not his sons, out to dinner to celebrate our thirteenth birthdays, told his daughters, but not his sons, that they were good looking, and put more effort and instruction into telling his daughters to put on the sexual brakes than he did with his sons. At least, that was my sense. So there were gender role differences there, but still, his style of masculinity was both more openly boastful and more physically demonstrative than that of the WASP grandfather.

I don't think either of them would have been all that happy to see two men kissing in a movie, though. (Dad would be have been much more willing than Grandfather to pass Steve's "can Will Smith get laid" test, though.)

Anonymous said...

Oh, and as a follow-up, from an evolutionary standpoint, adult women may have to feel comfortable holding either a male of female baby, infant, child, or even an adolescent close to them for prolonged periods of time and comfortably feeling affection for them. When it comes to physical contact and comfort, they have been adapted to be more equal-opportunity pleasers on both a physical and emotional level than have males.

Marco

Anonymous said...

The following is a quote from Ed Rendel a Democrat and not an arch conservative.
"Well, I said that I think during this entire campaign coverage starting in Iowa and up to the present, Fox has done the fairest job, has remained the most objective of all the cable networks: you hate both of our candidates. No, I'm only kidding. But, you actually have done a very balanced job of reporting the news. And, you know, some of the other stations are just caught up with the, Senator Obama who's a great guy. But Senator Obama can do no wrong, and Senator Clinton can do no right."

I do not claim that there are no problems at and I actually watch more of CNN and MSNBC then FOX. I am just claiming they are at least as fair in covering the news as the other two networks they just lean to the right instead of left. Being a good or bad news network is not about the occasional bad slip such as the "Baby Mama" header its about how you cover the news day in and day out. I turned on MSNBC this morning Gen. Wesley Clark had bashed McCain on national security on the internet. They covered this by having Gen. Wesley Clark on and there by allowing him expand on his statements and get them out there to more people. Nobody who disagreed with him was on to contradict any of his statements. I then turned to CNN. Someone had bashed Obama on economic issues on the internet. They had a discussion with an Obama campaign person allowing him to answer the criticisms and nobody who supported the charges. Do we see a one sided pattern here. The liberal news stations are essentially campaigning for Obama. First they did this against Hilary, now they are doing it against McCain. So bash FOX news if you want, but be honest and bash the other networks for being at least as bad just in the opposite direction.

Marty S

achoiceofweapons said...

Hey Steve,
Just riffing on the bi issue for a moment. I have seen a few bi scenes on BBC's Torchwood with the main character Captain Jack Harkness, who is a time agent, immortal, and from the 23rd century where he is considered or most folks are considered omni sexual having been with several species he considers mono sexuality to be quaint. Interesting to say the least but I think I will remain mono sexual, I'm sure my wife would appreciate it. LOL
Jaycee

Nancy Lebovitz said...

My own experience with combining these two has been great, and I'm starting to gather some anecdotal evidence from Nicki and a few students. More time needed.ᅠBut here's the thought: does anyone doubt that if you combined these two for ten weeks, the results would be powerful?

Well, me, actually. Admittedly, I'm only up to 10 reps, but I'm not getting dramatic improvements in my life. I've gotten *some* improvements, but no increased energy. I'm willing to take it to 21 reps plus some weeks, but I'm not feeling very sure that the Tibetans are great for everybody.

And missing considerably less food than IF makes me feel bad enough that it isn't obvious to me that combining it with the Tibetans is wonderful.

You asked. I can believe it's good for some people. It isn't obvious to me that it's good for everyone.

And as for weight loss, I consider five years to be a reasonable test for whether a method is sustainable.

As for the far future novel, very interesting. It does get to the question of whether sf has to make sense, and I'm not sure it does.

For example, it's inconceivable that the government in 1984 would put so much effort into breaking Winston's mind, but this doesn't affect the power of the book.

I think what you've got works better as parable than world-building, but that may not be a problem.

Why do people even go out when the madness hits them? Maybe they're hoping for a chance to kill someone.

If the standards for not getting killed are that stringent, then so many people would get killed (especially if it's once a year) that I don't think the society could survive.

On the other hand, the horror of the thing requires that everyone go out every time. I think the feel would be very different if most people go to ground in their homes (are they safe from their family members?) and just a few with the worst cases of raving whatever go out to try their luck.

Again, in a world that makes sense, an epidemic(?) like that would be seen as a problem and worked on. If you set it in the far future/parable land, you can get away with a technological culture which doesn't try to cure such a serious disease.

Or is the idea that it's so embarrassing and frightening that even though the people then look like truth-seekers most of the time, they can't even frame the problem to themselves?

One way the story could go is for one of the subcultures to find a cure. Or if it's a disease, to eventually develop immunity. How do they think about what they've done? About what's still going on in the rest of the world? What do they do? Does it turn out that some people *like* the risk and killing, and don't want to give it up?

Marty S said...

Steve: To be honest your future world novel doesn't sound like something I would want to read. The outline you have given sounds more like the plot of a horror film than it sounds like a science fiction novel. My first thought is Night of the Living Dead recast in a futuristic setting.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Marty, no guarantee that you'd like the book, but the line between horror and action-suspense is very blurry. It's a matter of how much chance the viewpoint characters have of success and how much emphasis is put on the horrific elements.

The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross starts with a horror premise (there are thing people can not know safely, it's very Lovecraftian) but takes it into humor (so there's a government agency to keep people from finding those things out) and adventure (I'd have to reread it for the details, but I remember liking it).

The Lord of the Rings has a lot of horror in it, but it doesn't have a horror novel's sense of helplessness.

Anonymous said...

wolfdaddy2002: here's a thought regarding women forming realtionships. Children. Thought: one guy, two women. One woman has a kid, but then dies. The other woman is now in a position to provide caring for the child. My wife and i are planing on having a child, and we know SEVERAL women who are actually relieved! ALL of them, without promting, without talking to each other, have said something to the effect of: "Oh good, you two are having a kid, now i don't have too. I can spoil, help raise yours" They are all withing three years of each other, and all bisexual. (five women)

Marty S said...

Nancy: I am not much of a horror or action-suspense fan. I am more an old fashion hard science fiction fan.I can't write to save myself, but if I wanted to do a clash of cultures kind of novel the plot line would probably go something like this.

Two starships arrive at a fertile empty world at the same time neither has the resources to go elsewhere so each land and start a settlement. At least one of the starships maybe both would contain humans. In either case there would be something that initially makes the two groups clash. It turns out there is something hostile about the planet makes it impossible to survive without the groups cooperating.

Probably been done before, but if any of you writers like the plot feel free.

Brad said...

Re: Michelle Obama-it would seem to me that the Baby Mama reference is equal parts an attempt at rhyming cleverness (my mother is campaigning for Obama and refers to herself as "a Mama for Obama") and racist code-word bullshit that doesn't have the courage of its bullshit convictions.

Re: Bisexuality in men and women- Well I have a definite perspective on this...I would say that men in current western culture are concerned about being passivated by being treated as women ( I.e. being hit on by other men) In some guys, this is a conscious worry, in some guys it's unconscious. Women are already treated like women...so the concern is shortcircuited, so...more expressed bisexuality.

I went to an all male boarding school for 3 years as a kid. During that time, there were a lot of "straight" boys climbing into bed with other "straight" boys. When they got the opportunity though, girls were still very much preferred by the vast, vast majority. I will say that none of the homosexual relationships I observed had any kind of deep emotional component to them, and a fair number were pretty abusive.

It was, in retrospect, an interesting experience in that none of these guys would ever admit to being interested in other guys. It also showed me that whatever else I had going on, I wasn't gay. Plenty of opportunity there.

The times and places straight men can show physical affection for one another are very limited, but they're there. Usually it involves some pretty awful stuff, like combat. When you're trying to comfort a friend because both of you have just had to clean another friend up with a shovel and a hose, concerns about how manly you are go away.

Darvin said...

Girls Gone Wild is a total rip off. I do not share men’s affection with porn. That is why I think this is a kind of abuse. And they still order products, complain about inconveniences and delivery misunderstandings. What sick people started it?

Lesly said...

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