Thursday, August 31, 2006

Rising Tides

Excellent post over here too:

...generally, it takes a strong, knowledgeable organized workforce to ensure safe working conditions, just as it has always taken a strong, knowledgeable organized workforce to ensure decent wages and benefits (not to mention an 8-hour day, pensions and weekends.) In other words, every gain that workers have achieved throughout history is a reflection of the relative power workers have in relation to management, not how much "extra" management can afford to bestow upon its subjects through the goodness of their hearts.

Lots more.

(Via Ezra Klein:

Welcome to America

Where we used to have First Amendment Rights:

An architect of Iraqi descent has said he was forced to remove a T-shirt that bore the words "We will not be silent" before boarding a flight at New York.

Raed Jarrar said security officials warned him his clothing was offensive after he checked in for a JetBlue flight to California on 12 August.

Mr Jarrar said he was shocked such an action could be taken in the US.

(Via the Language Log:


Something to cheer about:

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Twisty Rides Again

Another fine post from Twisty Faster:

Radical feminists are not the enemy. We’re not even a bunch of homely old frigid prudes jealous of all the hot sex we’re not getting. Patriarchy is the real sex police. By convincing you that you’re hot when you cave in to its psycho demands, it has turned you into its slave. “Well, what of it?” you say. “What I choose to (a) do in the sack or (b) wear to work or (c) have implanted in my chest is none of your beeswax.”

Perhaps not, but, well, it’s just that certain of your so-called choices are making the whole group look bad. Men appear to have gotten the impression that women are not, you know, quite as entitled as men are. So they’ve institutionalized ‘beauty,’ dieting, cosmetic surgery, sexual harassment, wife-beating, and rape, to name but a few of the thousand unnatural shocks female flesh is heir to. We’re blaming the patriarchy, not you, but really, mightn’t it be time to step up?

“Examine your lives!” is the Twisty refrain. Don’t forget that, as a member of an oppressed class, everything you do is political. So what say you reevaluate those phony, misogynist feminine constructs? Every tube of lipstick, every coy little head-tilt, every train-yourself-not-to-gag-while-deep-throating-a-flaccid-bratwurst session is a symbol of oppression. And not just your oppression, either, but the oppression of all women. And they’re not just symbols, either, but concrete evidence of your collaboration with the dominant culture. Every time you ‘choose’ to totter down the street in a pair of heels and a pencil skirt you’re a Yay Patriarchy billboard. It says “I willingly brand myself as different from and subordinate to men. Shall I bend over now?”

There's more!


I've got this lump in my armpit.

Which I immediately assume is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, because, well, folks, once you have had a terminal disease, you know you can have a terminal disease, and even though my thyroid cancer didn't actually kill me, yet, that tiger got loose, and it never did get caged again.

So I went to my PCP on Friday, who is very sweet with me. (I take her all my lumps. The last one was a lump on my hand that is, you'll be glad to know, just a ganglia, and won't kill me. You get these from typing too much. Say, from writing five books in one year. Hmm.) She told me she didn't think it was anything to fret over, but then she scheduled like fifteen tests (okay, 3) so you know what I did all weekend: researched all the terminal diseases I was probably going to die of over the next six months.

I had the last two tests today (mammogram and an ultrasound) and the guy saidthey were (and this is ABSOLUTELY my least favorite word in the fucking language) inconclusive.

He doesn't think the lump is anything to worry about though.

He's not worried.

Why the fuck would he be?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

One Week Down

It's the beginning of the semester again, the time of the year when I feel most like Sisyphus at the bottom of the hill. Oh, crap, I'm thinking. There's that rock again.

I love teaching. I love English. I love what I do. As I told my freshmen students on Wednesday morning, words are my business, and I love the whole business of words. It's just this first week, standing on the threshhold of the semester, when I'm thinking, good crap, don't these little fuckers know Chaucer yet? I mean, I've been teaching freshman comp, what, fifteen *years* now? Surely they know how to write by NOW?

Or, you know, Dickens. Must I explain Dickens AGAIN? Or World Lit II. Monkey. Reading Monkey. Surely you little trolls get the whole business about Buddha and all-suffering-arises-from-desire so stop with the fucking desiring already by NOW?

If you don't, hell, go find some of my old students. Ask them. I'm going for coffee.

Rock? What rock?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

You're Only As Good as Your Sources

Y'all know me. I'm firmly against single-sex education, because separate will not be equal, not on this planet, folks, at least not any time soon. And I'm not believing any conservative who wants to spin me a sweet story about how it will be better, either, honest it will!

But here's the thing: if they really believe single-sex education is better, why are they finding it necessary to lie so ceaselessly in all of their arguments for it?

Every screed put out -- well, the TownHall columns, yes, of course, those are idiocies and lies from beginning to end, what can we expect from an organization that hires Ann Coulter and Thomas Sowell, I give you that -- but even the arguments that are meant to be real arguments, when their sources are tracked down, as Mark Liberman tracks them down for us over there at the Language Log, they are rife with lies.

(See here:

If they had a good system, they could give it to us.

Since they don't, they should shut up.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Here Comes

Here comes the new semester like a freight train, and I have the syllabi designed and emailed to all four of my sections, which is fairly fucking amazing, if you ask me, considering the amount of Xanax I was forced to scarf down due to the kicking around the English Department got during the pre-semester work sessions. Here are some questions I have gotten back from my students so far:

(1) You have six books on the required reading list. Are we going to read all of those?

(2) Can you tell me which book we're going to read first? I'm going to be in court for the first week of the semester, so I won't be able to be in class that week.

(3) You're syllabus says we're writing three stories. Wat if I oly write 2? Thanks! (Note: It actually says essays, and it says four.)

(4) I notice your attendance policy where it says you take off for attendance. What if I have to work? I work so I'll have to miss class every Friday for work. I don't want you counting off on my grade for this!

(5) I was looking over the list of books for your class and saw the story Dracula. Can I substitute some other book, since I'm a Christian?

I've also discovered that many of my students don't know what the word "tentative" mean (as in "attached you will find the tentative work schedule for our semester.") They seem to think it means something like "sketchy" or really thin, to judge by their jokes.

Grant you, as mr. delagar likes to say, if they already knew things, they wouldn't be in school, would they now, but on the other hand?

Good fucking shit.

Friday, August 18, 2006


The semester begins!

And rather than having time to work on prepping for the four separate classes (yes! with four separate preps!) that I will be teaching (one section of WLIT II, one section of History of the English Language, One section of Vic Lit, and one section of freshman comp I, for those of you keeping score at home), what does the university have me, and all the other instructors at our university doing?

Yes, yes. You got it, first shot.

Workshops! Meetings! Encounter sessions!

Ah. Bliss.

Yesterday, for example, it was a Writing Taskforce Meeting. AKA What The English Department is Doing Wrong.

Imagine how much we enjoyed that one, campers.

So if the posting is light for a bit, it's because I'm in lovely meetings, curled up in a catatonic haze. Chewing Xanax.

Back in a while.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tastes Like Lions

Here's the Kid's first short story -- written entirely by her, BTW. I just did the typing:

Tastes Like Lions

Once upon a time there was a lion village. There were lots of people. Then one day a giant chicken swooped down and ate all their lions, and the people became poor.

So the leader of the village, he himself a lion, called together the two most popular knights. “You should go and try to slay this giant chicken.”

The first most popular knight went first. He was big and brawny, but he had an itty bitty brain.

The chicken lived up on a high cliff – you must not forget this, for it will be very important later on. The first most popular knight climbed up to the top of the cliff and grabbed the chicken around the throat. The chicken then pecked him, and the knight ran backwards, and the chicken chased him down and ate him.

Then the second most popular knight came. He was very wise. He climbed up the cliff very carefully. The chicken said, “Knight, why do you come?”

The knight said, “I come to slay the giant chicken.”

The chicken said, “But I am the giant chicken.”

“In that case, I shall have to slay you.” So far the knight has not moved a step.

The chicken is thinking that this guy is like the first knight, easy to slay, low on strength. The chicken says, “Well, I will not let you.”

The knight say, “Well I must.” He steps forward.

“Why must you slay me?” The chicken backs up a step.

“Because you eat lions,” the knight says, stepping forward another step, “and the leader of my village is a lion, so he doesn’t want to be eaten.”

“Well, I did have my eye on him,” the chicken admitted, backing up another step, “he does look juicy.”

“See, that is why I must slay you,” said the knight, stepping forward one more step.

“Well, I will not stand for this,” the chicken said, backing off one more step and stepping off the edge of the cliff.

“Well, that was easy,” said the knight, going over to look off the edge of the cliff.

Down below, the giant chicken became lunch for the village full of lions.

Explanatory Notes:

(1) It is a giant chicken and not a dragon because We Like Dragons, and no knight should ever slay one

(2) I asked her where she got the idea to have the knight slay the chicken by having it back off the cliff, b/c wow, what a cool plot twist, and she's just eight, how come I can't come up with plot twists like that, and she said she just imagined Tom and Jerry and what would happen if it was Tom and Jerry having a fight. Also, that in her *first* draft, the knight waved his sword at the chicken and scared him off the cliff, but she liked this version better.

Have I got a tiny Chaucer on my hands or what now?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

This Here

Over at Unfogged

reminded me of the rambling diatribe I had with the kid while I was cleaning house the other day (I do too clean house, Other Liberal Professor, so fuck up!): the kid was following me around with this small doll she brought back from her grandmother's house in her hand.

I don't know quite how to explain this doll. I've never quite seen anything like it. First, the kid doesn't like dolls. A grave disappointment to me, may I add, since as a child *I* loved dolls (shut up, I did) and I actually saved my favorite doll from childhood, Jimmy, for years & years, to give to my daughter if I ever had one, and then I went and had one, and she does not play with dolls. She plays with dinosaurs. And wolves. And imaginary dragons.

Anyway. She's carrying around this four-inch tall -- doll. That's not exactly a Barbie. Too small, obviously. Also, it is dressed something like Tinkerbell would be, if Tinkerbell were a bit more butch. Short leaf skirt. Leaf boots and a leather belt. She's got a bow and arrow and a flower for a belt-buckle. The kid is demanding to know how this forest creature, which is what she has decided she is, manufactured all these items of clothing. Did she make the skirt from a leaf, do I think? Did I think she would have killed an animal to get the belt, because the kid doesn't think that's cool. Except she had the bow and arrow, didn't she, so maybe she's a hunter, she might have. But maybe she only hunts what she needs to survive. These sorts of deep moral questions, while I'm scrubbing the soap ring out of the bathtub.

"What about her make-up?" the kid wonders. "Where do you reckon she gets her make-up?"

{Note that reckon, in passing. I think that's Oklahoma. It might be AR.)

"Make-up!" I cry. "Surely she doesn't wear make up! Can't be any patriarchy oppressing her, out in there in the middle of the forest, can it?"

"What?" the kid is alarmed and startled. "But she is wearing make up." She shows me the doll. "See?"

Green eyeshadow. To match the green dress.

"What's the patri-- patri -- who's oppressing her?" the kid demands.

I explain about make-up and what it means in a feminist context. The kid cuts me off halfway through, since she's *had* the feminist lectures before, thank you.

"Well, maybe she just likes make-up," she argues. "Some people just like make-up, you know."

"Sure," I say, washing my hands at the sink. "Oppressed tools of the patriarchy. They love it to pieces."

She gives me her best eight-year-old annoyed look. "Native Americans painted their faces," she argued. "They put on that paint. Like in that movie. Maybe she's wearing that kind of make-up. Painting her face that way."

I grinned at her in the mirror. "What a clever girl," I said, and kissed the top of her head.

"Because she is a forest creature," she said, smugly. "Now what do you think she makes it from? Maybe ground up flowers? Or leaves? Or--"

All *afternoon* this goes on.

She doesn't play with dolls. She obsesses over them.

Monday, August 14, 2006

More Fine Christian Values

(Via TBogg

Here's why you don't hit kids. Here's why you don't ever hit kids. Here's why you don't buy into the worldview that says "these kids just need a good whuppin" to teach them how to act. Here. This is why.

Because it's a straight fucking road to this:

"A 13-year-old cadet at a private military academy who died while camping at a state park refused food throughout the excursion, the father of two fellow cadets said Sunday.

Victor Jusino of Sunrise said his sons, ages 9 and 10, told him the boy continuously threw away food after the 33 cadets arrived early Wednesday at the Back to Basics Christian Military Academy’s Training and Leadership Corps campout.

“They described to me that he wasn’t eating. He wasn’t feeling well. His stomach was hurting him and the heat was getting to him,” Jusino said.

Other cadets gave similar accounts to WFOR-TV in Miami.

“He wasn’t eating any food,” 12-year-old Joanna Miller said. “He would ask people if they want his food or he would just throw it on the ground. When he was supposed to drink water, he didn’t want to.”

Few details released
The academy’s principal, Lynda Browne, did not return messages left at the school Sunday. North Miami police have released few details about their investigation into the death at Oleta State Park. An autopsy is pending.

Jusino said his sons told him they were given three meals a day after starting each morning with a long hike. But the boys were dehydrated, sunburned and had insect bites when he picked them up Saturday morning, he said.

“They were very dirty, their clothing was wet. They had been sleeping in wet clothes, and their hair had been cut,” Jusino said.

The cadet, whose name has not been released, got out of bed in the middle of the night to tell a drill sergeant he didn’t feel well, and collapsed on the way to the bathroom, Browne told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. She said the boy’s mother told her that her son “wasn’t the most physical, strong or athletic child,” the paper reported.

The academy subcontracts with Fort Lauderdale-based Juvenile Military Training and Leadership Corp. The camp is run by certified National Guard drill sergeants, Browne told the paper.

In January, a 14-year-old boy died after a confrontation with guards at a Panama City boot camp for juvenile offenders operated by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office. Martin Lee Anderson died one day after being roughed up by guards."

Okay. Call me a far-left liberal socialist loon -- because that's what I am -- but there is NO REASON ON THIS PLANET that a 14 year old needs to be "roughed up" by "guards" for ANY REASON whatsoever, and I don't care what his offense was and I don't care what he did.

These people.

This world.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Get Over It, Can't You?

We had a party last night, at chez delagar, for the new art instructor at the kid's Montessori school, and for all our old friends, including The Other Liberal Professor and Mr. OLP, and their kids, includingMiles, the kid's intended, and Mick, his little brother, who can't get any cuter, and Mouse came, and Zelda and a Fine Time was had by all.

But toward the end of the party, when perhaps your host had had a few too many Snakebites, as she does tend to, and the question had turned to birth control, issues of, I'm afraid I became one of them, ah, strident feminists you hear so much about.

See, I love my kid. I wanted my kid. A lot. Worked hard to get her.

I also did about fifteen years of birth control before I decided to have my kid.

My folks had four kids entirely by accident -- every one of us was a failure of birth control. My mother had three kids in five years before she was 24 years old, when she and my father were living in a three room trailer. I read these Right-To-Life blogs that shriek, "Are you glad your mama didn't abort YOU?" "Aren't you glad your mama didn't have the pill available when YOU were conceived?"

Shit. As soon as the pill WAS available, my mother was on it, or I wouldn't have three siblings, I'd have about twelve, and I wouldn't need two or three Xanax a week, I'd need a few dozen.

And if my mama had had the pill available when I was conceived? I wouldn't need any Xanax, would I? So STFU.

So to get back to Billy Bragg, as I always do, the kid and I were listening to Billy again, and we get to this verse, in Billy's song "Everywhere," which is one of my current favorites, about the Japanese Internment camps which our Winger buds are gettng so nostaglic over. It's about two friends, one of whom is of Anglo-Saxon descent and dies in the Philipines, and the other of whom, of Japanese descent, is interned during the war:

"...I never got home, my platoon was never saved
That little fox
hole became my island grave.
Lee got out of jail but a
prisoner he remained
Till he ended his own life to lose
that ball and chain

And they said Oh Little Slanted
Eyes can't you forgive and forget
And he said, Oh Mr
Friendly Ghost
Can you catch water in a net?"

So we're listening to this song, for about the 700th time, driving around Pork Smith, because yes, I am obsessed with Billy Bragg, and mr. delagar *has* rebelled and will not let me play any more Billy in the house (I'm waiting for the kid to rebel but so far she is being very kind and indulges me as we drive about) and the kid asks, "What's that mean, you can't catch water in a net, what's that about?"

"Well, right," I agree. "It's metephor, in't it?"

She considers it. "Because he can't forgive and forget? Forgive and forget what?"

Eh, fuck, I think. So I shut off the CD and go into lecture about Japanese internment camps in WWII, with a brief foray into how some folk in our charming nation want to intern Muslim citizens in similar camps now, and explain how forgiveness is a good thing to be able to do, but how it's very, very rough.

She is thinking it over. "Catching water in net," she muses.

"No one has ever done anything really bad to you," I tell her. "No one ever will if I have anything to do with it. But when someone does something really bad to can forgive it. Sometimes. Forgetting, that's a lot harder."

"Like catching water in a net."

"Right," I agree. Thinking how much I would love to just get over some of this shit. How much I would.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Reaping What I've Sown

So last night, about ten o'clock, the kid is making herself a PB&J, and doing a fine job, too (eight is a great age, may I say), when I walk through the kitchen and slip on a bit of yogurt she has spilled earlier and not cleaned up.

"Hey!" I point out. "Someone spilled some yogurt here and I almost broke my neck!"

"Oh," she says, with utter sweet sincerity, "wait, just a minute -- let me get out my tiny violin." Then she kicks in the sound effects. "Eee- ee- eee -- EEE!"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

How Hot Is It Where You Are?

It was 106 here today, according to the WC.

109, according to the sign by the kid's Aikido dojo.

Really hot, whichever guide you want to go by. It is now 7.07 p.m. and still too hot in the house -- even wth the a/c running non-stop -- to get any serious work done at all. Which, if you *know* me, means seriously fucking hot.

This makes, I believe now, about twenty-two days in a row in which the temperature has gone over 101 degrees EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I blame Bush.

Because everything is his fault, why else?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Bush's Lovely Little War

"There's nothing I've read that says what to do if your buddies have raped and murdered a family," Watt said.

Monday, August 07, 2006

This Mama Game

Beading hair. Picking off ticks. Fixing six hundred thousands dishes of tuna fish with relish because her daddy just ain't know how to mix it right.

And this, yesterday: "Mama? What is the big deal about abortions, anyway?"

*** *** ***

Now, mind you, I knew I was going to have to deal with this question some day. But the kid just turned eight. In May.

I was sitting at the breakfast table reading a SF novel and drinking coffee. She had been reading a Hank the Cowdog book and eating a waffle, without syrup, right from the toaster, which she likes to do. I studied her across my book. "Um," I said. Then I said, "That's really sort of a question you're not ready for."

"Tell me," she insisted.

I looked at mr. delagar. He looked back. You're the mama, that look said. Fucking coward, my look said back.

"Where did you hear about abortions?" I hedged.

She gave me an annoyed look. "You. You were talking about them yesterday? When you said George Bush was an f-word idiot and people had only voted for him because they believe him when he--"

"Oh, right. That was me." I drank more coffee. "All right. Well. You know what an abortion is, right?"

"Yes," she said, uncertainly. "It's when a mama doesn't want a baby, right? So she doesn't have it?"

"Not exactly." I went into stages of fertilization, and blastula, and embryos, and fetuses, and implantation on the uterine wall. "But all of this is almost beside the point," I told her. "This is the point. Are you listening?"

She nodded.

"Who owns your body?" I asked. Now this is the dance we have been doing since she was two, since before she knew what the words meant. So she knows the answer to that question.

"I do," she told me.

"So who has the right to decide what happens to that body?"

"I do."

"That's right. The reason laws against abortion are wrong is they give someone else the right to decide what you do with your body. Who should decide what happens to your body?"

"I should," she said, with absolute certainty.

"That's right," I agreed. "Because it's your body. That's really all there is to it."

Sunday, August 06, 2006


As an instructor of HEL (History of the English Language), it's cracking me up to watch the Kid picking up the Arkansas/Oklahoma accent. It also puts a nice spoke in the wheel of those who think parents have all that much control over what happens in their children's lives -- she's with us almost all the time; she's with her peers maybe seven hours a day, and only that during the school year. Who is she learning to speak like? Well, it ain't me, can I point that out?

She's getting the Oklahoma monophthong -- mah, she says, for my, and raht, for right.

She's got the Arkansas double diphthong -- da-uh, for day, the-uh, for there.

And cran for crayon. I'm not sure if this is AR or OK. It's very cute, though.

Nearly everything she says these days, I say it right after her. "Stop mocking my accent!" she yells.

"I'm not mocking it," I insist, "I'm recording it! For Science!"

But she doesn't believe me.

Why yes. I am warping my child. How kind of you to ask.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Just ain't right.

No one told me being a mama meant I would have to learn how to put beads into an eight-year-olds hair because, and I quote, she "wants to be a pirate like Jack Sparrow."

Dude, beading hair is *rough.* (Remember I'm the one who has trouble talking and buttoning her shirt at the same time.)

The results, though? Pirate bandana hat with beaded dreads? Very cute. Particularly with the temporary tatts.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Kid Gets Snarky

So we're driving. I'm trying to listen to my beloved Billy Bragg, who is singing to me about God's Footballer, who scores goals on Saturday and saves souls on a Sunday, and breathe my way through an anxiety attack, and the kid speaks up to DEMAND to know what a retrocartoon is.

Me: "Now what now?"

The Kid: "A retrocartoon."

Me: "I have no idea. Use it in a sentence." (My standard dodge, btw, when I don't want to answer a question. That and "Why did we buy you that dictionary if you ain't ever plan to look anything up in it?")

The Kid: "It's not IN a book. It was on The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. Magic Music Maker turned everything on the farm into a cartoon and Mandy got squirted with milk and when she got up she said I hate retrocartoons. What's a retrocartoon?"

Me: "Oh. Crap." Because where do I start on that one? I gave her a brief explanation of retro, and how it was meant to be ironic, sort of, and how, in which case, this was supposed to be funny, since it was a kid's cartoon, did she get it now?

The Kid: "No. What's retrocartoon?"

Me: "I'm sorry. That's the best I can do. You won't get it until you're about 20."

The Kid: "Why? Why won't I get it until I'm 20?"

Me: "Because you don't have the cultural baggage. You won't have the cultural baggage to get that joke for about 12 more years. That's how it is."

The Kid: "Where can I buy the baggage?"

Me: (ever so patiently) "You can't *buy* cultural baggage. You can only collect it."

The Kid: (eye-roll apparent in her voice) "That was a *joke*, Mom."

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Here We Go

I'm currently working on the query letter I'm going to send to the agent that I have, after weeks of research, decided is the one to whom I will pitch the quintology. I read her blog. I like her client list -- I had already read half a dozen of the books on it and, except for not being socialist gay science fiction novels, you know, they're very like my work -- she's funny, she's in NY, we're perfect for each other. So I'm putting together the query letter. And I'm sitting writing it and my heart is hammering, I'm queasy, I can barely focus, I'm like, I haven't been this nervous since...good shit. I have never been this nervous.

It's just a query letter. It's not like I haven't done this before. Shit, I've been doing this since I was twenty.

I think it's because these are the first books I've actually cared much about. Man, is it going to sting when these get rejected.


This Is Just To Say

That I am not nearly

as angry

at my students

as certain

Recent Posts

Might Indicate

It's Just




(102 again today).

(I love my students. And I've got some excellent ones again this semester. )

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Where's the Lysol When You Need It?

So I should know better than to lurk on conservative sites,but I just can't stop...

This is over there at that Ann Althouse's place. She had a smartie post up about gay guys. You know how those gay guys like to fuck. (Jeez. Cause how wrong is that?) And then there was Coulter, claiming Bill liking to fuck made him gay. (Yeah, I didn't follow that bit either -- well, here, it goes like this: gay = an insult; we hate Bill; let's insult him; we don't like sex; he does sex; let's say doing sex must make you gay. No, sorry, I can't make it make sense. You have a try.)

Anyway: Here are some of the comments from the charming folks at Ann Althouse's site. Warning: they like to gagged me. Read at your own risk.

....the difficulty is that the term "promiscuous" is generally perjorative. I believe it is generally
taken to mean not just multiple partners, but a cavalier or unthinking approach to sexual relationships. I don't know whether Coulter claims to be talking about promiscuity in a value-free way, but if so I suspect she is being disingenuous.The "agrees to your rules" analysis makes sense to me, in term of both the number of sex partners and the narcissism. What I'd really be interested in knowing is whether dealing exclusively with people who agree to your rules affects the quality of the relationships or the overall satisfaction the partners derive from them.

It seems to me that the social science studies do indeed show that homosexuals are more sexually active (let's jettison the somewhat loaded "promiscuous" term) than male heterosexuals. But that's not because of homosexuality qua homosexuality; it's because it's men having sex with men. It's a gender difference and not a sexual orientation difference.It's men behaving badly; not gay men behaving badly (so to speak).As Wright points out, the restraints (or requirements or demands, whatever one wishes to call them) that women place on male partners do not exist when the relationship is between two men.And the evidence shows that if you remove some of those female-male restraints (pregnancy concerns, economic concerns) that male-female sex increases. My guess is that if you were to somehow (who knows how) remove all of those limits that females place on sex with men, the men and women would be a sexually active as gay men.Of course if you change women to that extent, you no longer have a woman. Just two men with different bodies.Think about those male heterosexuals where the female restraints are removed or mitigated. Powerful men, rock stars, actors. My guess is that their sexual activity closely mimics or replicates that of gay men


Promiscuity is an immoral behavior, so trying to find a way to describe it without moral baggage is like trying to work out a way to describe lying that doesn't sound so bad.

(4) Part of what civil marriage is, I believe, is negotiating the differences between male and female in a way that minimizes bad outcomes without becoming too intrusive in privacy so long as things aren't going catastrophically wrong. But when you don't have to manage those differences, what's the point of using the same institution?

USMale's comment reminds me of the old joke about what a lesbian brings to her second date (a U-Haul!).

Beinart's claim that an assertion like Coulter's was ipso facto bigoted was news to me, but apparently in some circles that's how it works.It took only a few minutes on the web to find studies, both older and recent, that backed her up. Here is one concerning HIV-positive males:A total of 3723 HIV-infected persons (1918 men who have sex with men [MSM], 978 women, and 827 heterosexual men) were interviewed in clinics and community-based agencies in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York City, and San Francisco from June 2000 to January 2002 regarding sexual and drug use behaviors that confer risk for transmitting HIV. Less than one quarter of women and heterosexual men had 2 or more sexual partners, whereas 59% of MSM reported having multiple partners. Most unprotected vaginal and anal sexual activity took place in the context of relationships with other HIV-positive individuals.Now I realize HIV+ men may not be behaviorally typical. But this is only one of many studies from the 1960's to the 2000's that basically confirmed Coulter's argument. In contrast, I didn't see any evidence contradicting her general claim, even on gay sites objecting to it.(Incidentally, if you search on terms like 'homosexual' and 'promiscuity' the top results are evangelical Christian 'pro-family' sites that cite older studies; if you search on terms like 'MSM' and 'multiple partners' the top results are medical studies.)Certainly there are a lot of bigoted uses for this kind of information, and using it properly calls for extreme compassion and sensitivity (things I don't expect to find from Ann Coulter). My sense is that the politics of gay marriage work against that. They pressure opponents to use the data tendentiously, and pressure proponents to pretend it isn't there and fall back on ad hominem arguments.I only spent a few minutes on this; there may well be countervailing evidence I didn't uncover. I'd appreciate correction from anyone who knows better.

Ann Coulter's assertion about Bill Clinton has a solid, logical basis.I mean, imagine being married to Hillary Rodham, who, speaking heterosexually, could only fit into some master political plan.Next is Bill's latter taste in women. For example, the one with the nose, and Monica. These seem to indicate his orange/red period, an evolving need to abuse mindless objects.Also keep in mind that when Hillary was at the peak of her "feminine" beauty - she was wearing very comfortable shoes (i.e. sandals). You know, the one's those wacky male professors wear around NYU and UC.But then the "master" plan breaks down when Mrs. Clinton wants to cash in - to collect her part of the arranged marriage; to finally become an elected and vital Marxist. Is she asexual, btw?Meanwhile, the country is going to pot.Then Bill finds himself up in Harlem with a passing case of jungle fever. His black period.Half joking, Ms. Coulter concludes his next sexually frustrated, same-sex step. Not to imply it's congenital, but more an unintended result. Any questions?


Coulter's 100% right. Ever watch Will & Grace? Practically every other line on that show is sex-related. Sure, other TV shows will occasionally have a dirty line, but nowhere near to the extent of that show. 'Nuff said.Furthermore, Coulter's use of empirical evidence to prove homosexula promiscuity - ie, "open your eyes, moron!" - is perfectly valid. If I were to tell you that the average black ( I emphasize average) was a better athlete than the average white, would I need to cite "chapter and verse" evidence, as that whiny loser Beinart demands? Of course not - I'd just point to the NBA.Some liberals are afraid of this, because if empirical evidence posits unequivocally that there are physical diffrences bewteen the races, the same evidence shows mental diffrences between the races. But that's an old problem with liberals. They've always been scared of the truth.

I was the only straight person in Harvard Law's first "Sexual Orientation and the Law" class in 1991, and my male and female classmates were pretty candid about the deep differences between gay men and lesbian women. Our class spent a lot of time debating the strategic value of pursuing same-sex marriage: my female classmates thought we should do it, while my male classmates were FAR from excited about the idea. The arguments against it were (a) there could be a huge political backlash and (b) do we (gay men) want to be herded into a monogamous straight-jacket?I've been impressed with how well the gay and lesbian community has maintained its united front despite the backlash over the Goodridge decision in Massachusetts. With nine courts against them so far this year, I had expected to hear some of the gay men start recriminating.

When I first started dating my wife she had a large circle of homosexual male friends. I wasn't exactly comfortable with this at first but I made a good faith effort to be open minded.Researchers have said that men think about sex dozens of times per day. If you have two males that are homosexual partners ...well you can do the math.Once these gay men would start drinking they would try to seduce other straight men at their partiesand tell stories of wild orgies unfortunately accompanied by gory details.I pretty agree with the more promiscuous label. Although it usually isn't wise to paint everyone with one broad brush.

One problem most people have with discussion of group differences is that they're afraid, with reason, that people will use any evidence of group differences bluntly, and judge people by a group rather than as an individual. "So what if I'm dumb, on average group X to which I belong is smarter than group Y to which you belong," and things far more hurtful.When people compose their own identity and how they view other people through group memberships, it's an inevitable consequence.

"You're dealing with somebody who agrees to your rules." Says Robert Wright, explaining why male homosexuality expresses male sexuality more purely than does male heterosexuality.Well, by that logic masturbation would be the purest expression of sexuality. I'm not sure male homosexuality expresses male sexuality, or even sexuality, at all. The very concept of sex requires two genders.And Beinart looks unusually stupid in calling Coulter a bigot for believing that male gays are more promiscuous than straights. That's just an empirical fact. And even though I look obviously straight, gay guys often hit on me...I get the feeling they're not just promiscuous, they're desperately promiscuous.And they seem to think I should be flattered(!) Get this, gay guys: coming on to a straight guy is about as flattering as a dog trying to hump your leg.

More On Why I Love That Language Log

They ain't ignore Mad Mel's misogyny:

I wonder how the reporter would have quoted someone saying "motherfucking"? Or for that matter how he would quote Mel's use in the same eloquent improv passage of "sugar tits" to refer to a female officer, a remark which for some reason hasn't been taken up by the press as mysogynistic, and for which Gibson has not directly apologized. A schwa for the "i"? "Sugar mammary glands"? Presumably with accompanying "t*ts" on-screen.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Two things:

One, I'm reading the best book I've read in nearly forever, John Weir's [What I Did Wrong].

This is one of those books that's so good I want to go out and buy sixteen copies so I can give one to every one I know. I may yet. It's too short -- a bit under 300 pages -- and I find myself reading it as slowly as possible, not wanting it to end, that sort of book. I also keep flipping to the end to read the blurb, saying to myself, who is this guy? Why have I never heard of him? Why isn't he famous? Why is there no John Weir parade? No John Weir Chair at Yale? No John Weir Holiday every year? John Weir Wing at the library? Good shit, this is like the best book I've read in my life, this can't be the first thing he's written?

And it isn't, he wrote one -- one!-- other book back in the 80's, but that's it. It's killing me. Once I've read that I'll be done. Argh!

It's such a good book. Nearly every page is arresting. I don't want to give away anything -- not that it's heavily plot-driven, cause it isn't, it's not that sort of book -- but an example, a for instance, there's this bit where the main character is remembering his best friend from high school teaching him to shoot baskets, and that's it, that's all, nothing else is happening, it's a page and a half, maybe, but the writing just knocks you over.

And then! Weir goes off, now and then? Into these flights of language? Oh, he kills me. It's great.

I don't even like that sort of thing. I'm into plot! But this is just such a good book. Go! Find it! Read it! Or I'll find you and you'll be sorry!

Wait -- I forgot the other thing.

I learned a new word.

Deontology: the theory and study of moral obligations.

In't that a great word?

Nothing to do with John Weir. Just the other really excellent thing happening in my life just now. I like good words.

Language Notes

The pleasures of the Language Log are unending.

This post, for instance:

Though still scratching my head about a world in which "masturbate" is a dirty word, but "rape" is not, I've checked out some more vocabulary....