Archive for the 'Bloggers' Category

Controversial Trans-Fans Like Margaret Cho

July 17, 2007

By Dr. Carol QueenOh dear… when allies do not feel the alliance, it is so sad. I think this is an ongoing issue with progressives, but that’s not what I’m thinking about today. Today it’s trannies and tranny-chasers, transfolk and transfans, and sex (or really people’s reactions to sex) making things complicated in unexpected ways. Here’s what I’m talking about.

Margaret Cho, bright shining alterna-star and Good Vibrations board member, came to visit us at GV a couple of months ago, and she sat down with the team who makes GVTV clips for GoodVibes and also posts them on YouTube. Violet Blue was there, too, to interview Margaret for her own fabulous podcast, Open Source Sex. We talked about lots and lots, and one of the of things that came up was Margaret’s fondness for and attraction to transsexual men. She was dating a transguy when she visited us for our holiday party, and so we knew she had things to say about this; and GV has many transfolk on staff, so this seemed like a relevant and interesting line of enquiry. You can see what Margaret said here:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/wjwZ92up87I" width="425" height="350"/]
and also here, from Violet.But wouldn’t you know it, her comments proved to be controversial among some transmen: controversial enough that there ensued a little outpouring of anger. This is so easy to do on a blog or YouTube posting that it probably isn’t very surprising; and even when this kind of stuff hurts people’s feelings, it’s culturally useful to know what varying things can be brought up when we say, well, just about anything. This medium allows opinion, including (as I blogged about this spring) the option for people to pop off anonymously and with no real chance for back-and-forth discourse. Margaret’s detractors seemed insulted about two things, mainly: that she would single out transmen (who wish not to be singled out for being trans; after all they have gone through to be men, they simply wish to be ID’ed as men from now on); and that she’d express erotic interest in transguys, which was termed fetishism and not appreciated.

Now of course every transman may well want to be desired simply for his own individual qualities. (This has been my impression of the way most everybody else also wants to be desired: transguys do not really break the mold here.) The idea that someone would be desired only because he/she/ze fits a definition, has a particular body configuration, skin tone, hair color, breast size, cock size… though these sorts of building blocks of identity shape the way others see us and respond to us, most of us don’t want those elements to only be what others see and the only basis of their response. Others, of course, cheerfully place personal ads based on just those kinds of distinguishing element, but this ability to focus on outward manifestations that might draw others’ attention isn’t how we all want to work what we’ve got. Many of us even seem to want others’ erotic attention *in spite of* who we are and how we’re configured; and of course there are people who don’t want others’ erotic attention at all.

A sex-positive perspective is helpful here, but doesn’t help us simplify this issue away. It would imply that we want to support each individual’s consensual (adult) attractions and the choices they make in acting on those attractions; it also means we support each individual’s sexual boundaries, and we don’t feel people should be pressured into sexual experiences they don’t want to have. So I, for example, am comfortable that Margaret expresses any attractions and desires that she feels; in fact, because some people vocally and/or behaviorally express DIScomfort at the idea of having a transsexual partner, maybe her comments may help some trans-identified individuals feel more desirable and give hope that they may have not only a loving partner but one who actually finds them hot. When it comes down to our human antipathy at being desired, I find it often stops at the bedroom door of someone we also find hot: not always, but often.

But again, some transmen do not wish to be desired because of their transsexuality but without regard to it, and some, or perhaps many, transsexual men do not identify themselves as trans, but simply as *men*, and it is among these men that the greatest controversy seems to be generated. I’m pretty sure these are not the guys who populate our relatively new genderqueer social substrate — which is quite urban, for the most part, and lives right next to or smack-dab within urban queerdom, which also includes the new dyke who loves and accepts transmen and bois. These are guys who don’t spell “boi” funny and don’t want to spend as much time at the dyke bar as they may have done pre-transition, when they may have identified as dykes. These are guys who want the testosterone to do its magic and then go on living their lives a men, just men, no qualifier, and no being called out as a different kind of man.

But I wonder to what extent some of these guys understand (or are comfortable) that some transmen and transwomen DO identify as trans, and that not all TS individuals understand gender to include only two options. Margaret hangs out with and referenced folks who might consider themselves genderqueer or two-spirit; some actively embrace identities that seek to blend or transcend maleness and femaleness — which seems to be the very issue in Margaret’s comments that made the angry viewers angry. That others would appreciate them or desire them for these qualities might seem fetishistic; it might also seem like a radical transformation of cultural, gender, and erotic possibility.

Another locus of this notion of fetishism is, of course, porn, and MtF porn has been available for a long while, often presented in just this fetishistic way. Lots of transwomen do not feel comfortable with it or the view of MtFs and the language it presents: very few, it turns out, aspire to be thought of as a “chick with dick.” (Note to porn and sexwork consumers: this may be true even if the lady in question uses that phrase in her ad to get you to come sport with her and give her money.) But there’s another side to trans-porn, too. Presenting diverse bodies as erotic is important, because the larger culture does not adequately reinforce everyone’s sense of their own eroticism and attractiveness — and this may be especially true of transsexuals. The trans communities today include people who understand that explicit material featuring diverse transfolk adds to our understanding of sex and adds to cultural representations of transsexuality, and they want to make their own erotic materials; so the means of production is no longer solely in the hands of big porn distributors who have no stake in the positive portrayal of their subjects. Porn can be one resource for diversity; at the same time it’s understood that not everyone will want to view it.

And in fact this reminds me very much of the controversy around porn and erotic attraction that I know from the feminist community, in which some women are squicked by the very idea of porn (or of strangers desiring them based on no interpersonal connection), while other women happily learn to use a camera (or hit the clubs) so they can partake in and/or help shape the discourse (and hopefully have some hot sex along the way).

It boils down to this: *all* people and their erotic desires and limits must be viewed through the lens of diversity, because not every person who may be described with a gender or sexual identity label (woman, lesbian, leatherman, transman) is the same as others who might also be so described. What will please some will not please others. What will make some of them come will leave others cold. What excites some will be offputting to others. Margaret didn’t seek to erase the diversity among transmen with her comments, and I hope the individuals who are uncomfortable about her comments didn’t either. Put another way, one guy’s feeling of being fetishized may well be another’s sense that someone loves and desires him for all of (not in spite of) who he is. Both of those guys have every right to their own response; neither is wrong, and neither tells the whole story.

Want to see more about this? Study up, class! Margaret blogged about it: http://margaretcho.com/blog/truecolorsbreak.htm

And this site has more commentary on the fetish issue: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2007/05/08/4809/

Why the Hell Do People Do This? (put up with the URLage and crap, I’ll make it worth your while)

May 16, 2007

Just now my computer, which is SO polite, sent me a little message:

“Hi. This is the qmail-send program.
I’m afraid I wasn’t able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I’ve given up. Sorry it didn’t work out.”

All computer talk here will be italicized so you can read it. This seems to have been the problem:

:
209.139.193.251 does not like recipient.
Remote host said: 550 : Recipient address rejected: 5.1.1 sorry, no mailbox here by that name (chkuser)
[I think this means "chicken user"]
Giving up on 209.139.193.251.

— Below this line is a copy of the message.

Return-Path:
Received: (qmail 44853 invoked by uid 16947); 15 May 2007 02:47:07 -0000
Received: from unknown (HELO [10.0.1.3]) ([71.141.140.105])
(envelope-sender )
by 192.220.66.51 (qmail-ldap-1.03) with SMTP
for ; 15 May 2007 02:47:07 -0000
Mime-Version: 1.0 (Apple Message framework v752.3)
In-Reply-To:
Message-Id:
From: Carol Queen
Subject: Re: [Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture] New Comment Posted to ‘Hip-Hip-Hypocrisy! (with a Paean to Prostitutes)’
Date: Mon, 14 May 2007 19:47:02 -0700
To: getreal@what.com
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.752.3)

On May 14, 2007, Carol Queen wrote:
“Hi, Ohplease! Thanks for participating.

How about giving me more info about when and under what circumstances
you worked in the sex industry? You seem to have a strong perspective
about it and I gather you must have experience in the trenches.

Thanks!
CQ”

In response to this blog comment:

On May 4, 2007, at 4:10 PM, getreal@what.com wrote:
IP Address: 70.231.134.124
Name: ohplease
Email Address: getreal@what.com
URL:
Comments:

You are SURPRISED that a pimp would turn on the prostitutes and
johns? Seriously? I don’t know what land of oz you hooked in, but
in the real world, pimps are not people of the highest moral
standards.

The D.C. situation just shows what prostitution is all about. It’s
about men who want to feel powerful and who do it by ordering women
up on the phone like chinese food.

It’s about society keeping the names of those men secret, covering
up for them, letting them abuse women as much as they like even
though they are supposed to be “leaders” and even though
prostitution is illegal.

It’s about women participating in their own downfall by convincing
themselves this is really cool.

How many of those prostitutes are going to want their daughters to
grow up to be prostitutes? How many of them are going to try to
hide this from future boyfriends and husbands and employers.

Prostitution is not a noble profession. It is men using women as
objects to feel more powerful. It leaves damaged women in it’s wake.

The fact that you try to help those men and justify their abuse
makes you an abuser too.

Oh please, “ohplease.” I’d hoped to have a useful little dialogue with you. But, so like the many web-masked commentators who fuel their bad manners with anonymity, not to mention strew apostrophes all over like cat hair on a black sweater, you worked it out so I can’t even communicate back.

That’s so cheesy.

Well, tell you what. I dare you to reply to my question above and give us the skinny on your experience with the sex industry. It may be that you know whereof you speak (though that would be, in my experience, fairly unusual, I’m very willing to entertain the possibility).

Speaking of entertaining, the reason that I feel empowered to speak up about this is that I was a ***gasp!*** prostitute. For about ten years. I worked with madams (not pimps, “ohplease,” those are the ones with the hats). And if YOU worked as one too and had a different experience than I did, I would be thrilled to open the pages of my blog for a little discussion. But not with the “Can’t touch this” communication ethos of somebody whose communication style verges on flamery.

So since you won’t communicate with me, guess I’ll just have to communicate with you. Here goes:

You are SURPRISED that a pimp would turn on the prostitutes and
johns? Seriously? I don’t know what land of oz you hooked in, but
in the real world, pimps are not people of the highest moral
standards.

In the “real world,” pimps are business people, albeit illegal ones, of varying levels of awareness, decency, class background, and other options. But we weren’t talking about pimps in my blog, we were talking about madams, and one in particular. So let me get back to that: No, I’m not in the least surprised that the DC Madam “turned on” her clients; how else is she supposed to play this? But in real life, madams usually protect the black book at all costs, because it’s the foundation of their business. In an ideal world, they’d understand the workers as the foundation of the business, but really, pros come and go while clients are often with the madam for twenty or thirty years. We’re not talking about “moral standards” here; we’re talking about business ethics, and I’ll tell you what, if madams, pimps and ‘hos didn’t have ‘em, you’d know a lot more names of a lot more clients than you do right now.

The D.C. situation just shows what prostitution is all about. It’s
about men who want to feel powerful and who do it by ordering women
up on the phone like chinese food.

The DC situation is about powerful men (i.e., men with disposable income) who want to have sex. It’s about women (of widely varying degrees of power) who provide it. Each has something to bring to the table and exchange, and you can critique it all you want, as long as you’re a Marxist. Everybody else is taking the issues completely out of context. And by the way, “ohplease”? Men like that order a lot more than Chinese food.

Plus which, how come you people pretty much always address prostitutes as women? Didn’t you read my Ted Haggard piece? Why don’t you ever work male prostitutes into your lil’ worldview? Is it because, if you did, about half to three quarters of your rhetoric would start screaming, like the Wicked Witch of the West, “I’mmmmm mellllltinnnnngggggg!”?

It’s about society keeping the names of those men secret, covering
up for them, letting them abuse women as much as they like even
though they are supposed to be “leaders” and even though
prostitution is illegal.

Yup. Couldn’t agree more. That’s actually what my blog post was about, huh? Or did you read it?

It’s about women participating in their own downfall by convincing
themselves this is really cool.

Ummmm…. I’m not sure where you got this. Is this from your own experience? Are you, like, a disappointed call girl? Because the coolness factor, in my experience, isn’t #1 in the minds of most prostitutes: the $$$ factor is, whether they’re libertarian rich-chick wannabes or in survival mode.

How many of those prostitutes are going to want their daughters to
grow up to be prostitutes? How many of them are going to try to
hide this from future boyfriends and husbands and employers.

Dunno, but I can guarantee you that none of them will want to share with YOU about it. I may be the only once or future prostitute who has the time for you.

Prostitution is not a noble profession. It is men using women as
objects to feel more powerful. It leaves damaged women in it’s [sic] wake.

Oh, I see. It’s a 1980s women’s studies thing, maybe.

Listen, “ohplease.” If you’d like to define getting sexual gratification as “making one feel powerful,” you can do that, I suppose, though it would make sense to mix into the definition the power one derives from giving (and/or, in our case, selling) sexual gratification. And getting paid. But can I tell you something? For someone talking about the SEX industry, you haven’t felt very comfortable actually addressing sex. That strikes me as odd, it really does. In fact, nothing at all in your post addresses sexual acts, desire, or gratification. That’s just wild.

About “using people as objects”: An argument can be made that this is what much of the work world in fact consists of, but if you’re goinna do that, you’d better convince me you have more facility in Marxist theory than you do in feminist theory. Because these days, feminist theory worth its salt hesitates to speak FOR women with different experiences, and invites them to speak for themselves. Which, for the record, is why I wrote you the friendly email asking you how you know what the hell you’re talking about.

And about that apostrophe… gosh, this is such a pet peeve of mine. A pet peeve within a pet peeve! It’s, like, pomo!

The fact that you try to help those men and justify their abuse
makes you an abuser too.

Exactly how am I trying to “help these men”? Again, did you read my blog, or just hit “comment”?

I return to my original point: Why the hell do people do this?

But that just brings up a related peeve: the people who ask me to join Facebook or Whatthefuck and only give me their first names. (Or occasionally just initials.) Um, sweetie? I don’t know you. And this makes me hesitate to be your “friend.”

So frustrating. I guess none of y’all are worried about running into Miss Manners out here.

Hip-Hip-Hypocrisy! (with a Paean to Prostitutes)

April 28, 2007

Just back from a road trip/tour in the Midwest, where the fissures in the hide of our country’s body politic are most evident, I find that another Bush administration official has gone down for the best reason possible: consorting with hookers! Yay, hookers! My colleagues in the sex industry surround the White House and every fundamentalist mega-church in the land, poised to do their part. Hypocrites, beware!I had already planned to write about the Washington DC hookers because their madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, has lately been in the Bay Area news. She lives in Vallejo, even though she runs her service, “Pamela Martin and Associates,” out of the nation’s capitol. When she got busted, she engaged in the most entertaining bit of passive-aggressive courtroom theatre I’ve encountered in a while: “Oh, poor poor pitiful me, I am but a legitimate escort service operator, sworn to make sure that no politician will ever have to eat his dinner alone.” (Here, naturally, I paraphrase a little.) “But oh dear me, I have been falsely accused of running a herd-o-hookers; how shall I defend myself? My girls are not prostitutes; they would never, never fuck a politician, and if they did, I’d turn them in them myself.” (Not the most supportive madam on the block, Ms. Palfrey; working girls, this is the best reason I can imagine to go into business on your own.) “Oh dear, oh my, I have no money. Ooooh, I know! I’ll just sell the only asset I have, my lil’ black book.”

The judge stopped her, but not before she’d handed off a copy; hence last night’s news, that after the end-of-day news cycle (hoping to avoid the silver-sharp tongue of Keith Olbermann, no doubt), another White House resignation had been tendered.

Of the AIDS Czar. For appering in said Little Black Book.

Heh heh heh.

And what do you suppose this czar’s HIV prevention policy might be, given that he is the bureaucratic love child of W and Condoleeza? That’s right, class: abstinence unless you’re married, and fidelity to your spouse.

Randall Tobias, the hypocrite in question, is indeed married. Friends, you just can’t make this shit up.

Now, when I toiled in the vales of the sex industry I was blessed with far more supportive madams, and far less hypocritical clients. But whether a sex worker has a Cinderella tour, like I did, or has to put up with Haggards and Tobiases (and whomever else is ordering in at the White House — remember, someone over there likes butchy boys, if Jeff Gannon’s name appearing on the sign-in list is any indication), they are still engaged in the honorable work of distracting often-powerful men from doing even worse mischief than they already are.

Kudos to them! Who knows how many times ‘hos have saved the world?

And if anyone wonders why prostitution is the world’s oldest profession, consider this: It’s because happily-married mid-level White House officials with fetishes for dispensing nearly-useless sexual health advice that they don’t even believe but insist others parrot before they can get funds to save even one life — well, they deserve love too. Or blowjobs. Or prostate massage. Or whatever other obscure kinky thing they like that can get done in a $300 hour, with a tip if their professional condom tester looks anything like Ann Coulter.

(Yes, it’s somewhat revolting, I know, but if you kids really want to grow up to be sexologists like me, you must be able to watch videos of Karl Rove and Ann Coulter rimming each other. No, it comes with the territory; if you can’t do that, you have to find something else to be when you grow up.)

But I know that not what some of you are thinking; you’re thinking, “What might be worth $300 an hour? And is that taxpayer’s money?” (By the way, in my view three hundred is a pittance; considering where they work, those hookers should be getting hazard pay, just like our boys and girls in Fallujah.)

Well, I can’t speak to the source of the funds; usually they’re crisp twenties, freshly ironed by the ATM. But as to why the hourly fee is so high: Have you ever had to breathe in the stench of hypocrisy?

Oh, you have? On their *balls*?

I rest my case. Now you know why Robert calls our nation’s capitol “WashDick.”

… But I Dream About Stephen Colbert

March 10, 2007

No, I really did. And I have so few remembered dreams, too — my psyche generally keeps its nighttime workings locked up. Lord *knows* who else I’m having strange erotic experiences with, without remembering them.

And it’s not like I even watch Colbert all the time. I watch him a lot, but not always. When I woke up from this dream of him I knew I had had an important visitation, but what does it *mean*? Feel free to throw a little interpretation my way, if YOU can make heads or tails of it.

I was onstage MCing something. My next person to bring up was Colbert, and I intro’ed him with the same inflection Jon Stewart uses at the end of almost every Daily Show when he spends his minute with the other comedian: “… our good friend Stephen Colbert at the Colbert Report… STEPHEN!”

But Colbert, unbeknownst to me, was going by another name at this show. He was SO not happy at being mis-introduced. And I, for the life of me, could not remember what his pseudonym was supposed to be. He hung around the margin of the stage, angry, for quite some time. This was at some sort of atmospheric brick comedy club, and the audience didn’t seem to notice anything amiss except, perhaps, me being off my MC game. I finally called an intermission to try to deal with it.

I don’t recall how I got into the pantyhose. I never wear them. I know certain fetishists (1, 2)just adore them, but I’ve always hated them. But there I was when intermission was over, wearing the pantyhose, the kind with the little cotten panel sewed in (because with cotten crotches you’re less likely to develop vaginal infections, right? UNLESS the cotten is covered up by the less breatheable nylon, you idiot pantyhose manufacturers!). I know about the cotton crotch because my next exchange with Colbert was like this:

He approached the stage, pushed me down, and grappled with me in a way that was vagely but not clearly sexual. But he wanted to get at the pantyhose! He ripped the crotch open! (OK, so this is what can be GOOD about pantyhose. I’ll admit my bias has been dented a bit by this dream experience.) And written on the white cotton panel was his proper pseudonym! I could introduce him! The show could go on!

Then I woke up.

Two other things. You may be wondering why I didn’t just ask him his dang pseudonym. I did try to do that, but he was in a snit and wouldn’t reveal it. Nor do I remember it now. It vanished with the dream. Probably the key to the whole thing, huh? And gone with the wind.

Finally, reading the paper this morning I’m struck by the resemblance between Colbert and Dennis the Menace’s father. Is this why America immediately took Colbert into its heart? Probably not.

Uh-Oh, Free-Associating Again! (And who should make an appearance but Ann Coulter…!)

March 9, 2007

Walking to work the other day, from Hayes Valley to 5th and Howard where the Good Vibrations offices are located, I passed more than one nodded-out soul drifting along. I commend you all to the recently-posted sort-of-salutary comments on meth posted on December’s Meth Day entry, but drugs affect plenty of people in a problematic way, and nowhere is it so noticeable as in SOMA the morning the sugar daddy has been through. One guy was not nodding, though… he was going the other direction for sure, muttering and pacing around enough to take up pretty much the whole sidewalk. It was right outside the chi-chi new market at 8th and Howard, which must be a mindfuck of a place for homeless folks to hang out, like outside the pet shop would be to a love-starved little kid whose parents won’t allow a puppy.

So this one guy was not just taking up space: I saw that he was bumping into people on purpose. Not just any people: women. I cut a berth around him and didn’t get hit, but the women plugged into iPods and lost in conversation got shouldered roughly. Whatthe? A misogynist? Or was this as close to female contact as this poor nasty guy usually gets?

Of course, random females rarely wish to be the only female contact for random guys, especially this way. “Fuck you!” they yelled at him. “Fucker!”

Sigh. Fucking, which can be the nicest thing in the world, again used as an epithet having zero to do with erotic experience: instead, as shorthand for angry and violent sentiments. No freakin’ *wonder* the country is in dire straits. More good fucking (wanking too, of course) and there would be less energy by far for so many of the ills our mixed-up polity seems heir to: kicking Yale a capella singers, Abu Ghraib torture, extreme rendition… I could make the list longer, but it’d just be depressing. And even when actions don’t become physical, there are the words. And that, of course, just makes me think of Ann Coulter.

AnnCoulterTimeMagazine.jpg
Photo from TIme Magazine

Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Valentine’s Day, Anna Nicole

February 14, 2007

All right, maybe it’s a little odd to send a Valentine to a dead person I didn’t even know, but all the cable news frenzy has been a Valentine of a kind too, right? A twisted one, but then, that’s entertainment… as Anna Nicole (nee Vickie Lynn Hogan) must have known.

I’m guessing she didn’t start out knowing it. A lil’ Texas girl for whom the best available route to the most glamour, fabulosity, and probably also just plain makin’-ends-meet lay in the many gentleman’s clubs that mushroomed up there in the 80s. But you meet a lot of rich guys in those places, maybe she figured, and so she did. Never mind that the one she snagged was old enough to be her great-granddad — he looks pleased as punch in those photos of him they’re showing on TV.

photo from allposters.com

This isn’t exactly the American Dream. And yet it is, for plenty of American women (and gayboy twinkies, too, truth be told, who are just as up for finding Mr. Rich Mr. Right). See, Anna Nicole’s American life is, in this historical moment, pretty much completely shaped by her femaleness, not to mention by her class. And at this time, when the pundits are alternatively helping to keep the bright lights of life still shining on her memory and shaking their heads because everyone’s so fixated on her*, her death, her details, the great attention paid to her passing isn’t just because she’s America’s Rose (huh?) or our next incarnation of Marilyn Monroe or even America’s Diana. It’s because she’s the girl next door who rose to unexpected (and in one sense unexplained) heights. *She’s* the proof that in America, anyone can make it really big… and that fantasy helps so many people wake up in the morning, it’s no wonder folks are fixated on Anna Nicole. For one thing, dying young, while nailing any kind of celebrity to the wall of the pop limbo hall of fame, really messes with the fantasy.
Read the rest of this entry »

When Blog Topix Collide: Gavin Newsom, Porno Politics, and Ethical Sluthood

February 2, 2007

The Chron’s editorial page today features San Francisco’s two biggest sex issues of the week, and their juxtaposition has our young mayor ass-deep, as my dear dead old dad Max Queen used to say, in alligators. (Max had a “drain the swamp” tagline, but that now belongs to Nancy Pelosi; I won’t belabor it.) I’ve been meaning to write about both issues, and now that they are contextualizing each other harder than two French feminists in a dark alley, I guess I’ll tackle both at once. I mean, of course, the controversy over Kink.com’s purchase of SF’s historic Armory building (the handsome, dungeonesque relic at 14th and Mission), and this week’s dramatic revelation that Newsom had an affair with Ruby Rippey-Tourk, a staffer married to his friend and campaign manager.
SF Armory, photo from Noehill.com
That this latter situation is not one of those consensual threeways with which some of us liven up our weekends seems pretty clear by Alex Tourk’s action upon the affair’s revelation — he abruptly quit — and Newsom’s somber, “sorry”-filled response response to the press. (Though always-priceless Bad Reporter Don Asmussen had a field day with that notion in this morning’s cartoon.) Irritating letters to the editor are already blaming the kerfluffle on “San Francisco Values” — these kneejerk folks sure do like a buzz-phrase, from Bush to Limbaugh on down to opinionated people in San Rafael — but give me a freakin’ break: this guy is the first mayor of a major American city to have an affair? Can you say “Rudy Giuliani“? And THAT guy’s a presidential candidate. In fact, last I heard, he was the Republican’s front runner.
Read the rest of this entry »

Goodbye, Molly Ivins

February 1, 2007

This has been a hell of a year for death, and I don’t mean the charming hooded one who speaks in ALL CAPS from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. And today I picked up the paper to see truly bad death-related news (besides that from Iraq, which is there on a fluctuatingly-horrific-but-always-petty-damn-bad basis): Molly Ivins has left this mortal coil.

Everyone will say all the good stuff about Molly that can be said: She’s a plain-spoken (or rather, fluent in Texas-speak) liberal muckraker journalist; she knows just how bad it is in Washington DC today because she observed (and muckraked) Bush back when he was Texas governator; she’s irreplaceable. Hell, even Bush himself gave a nice comment at the news of her death, doubtless written by the guy or gal in the office whose job it is to do such things. I saw her speak at a Feminists for Free Expression conference, I think it was; she was even better in person than on the page, and that’s saying something.

But most of the obits, wonderful as they’ll be, won’t say a word about what Molly had to say about dildos, so I’m going to call that detail my own contribution to the outpourings of love and gratitude to this most engaging and unique of columnists.

Now, I know nothing about Molly’s personal feelings about dildos, if any. But I had the honor of being a commentator in a movie in which she also played that role, Dildo Diaries — some people who talk to me have heard me say being in that video with her was one of the great honors of my life, so see, I’m not just buttering her up because she’s dead. Dildo Diaries, by two awesome Austin women, takes up the question of why owning more than five dildos is illegal in Texas. Not only do they talk to Molly, whose quip about the situation is pure Ivins — “It’s illegal for a prick to touch an asshole in this state” (which means what? Shrub wasn’t allowed to shake hands with The Hammer?) — they also go around to Texas state legislators to get comments. The actual legislator who introduced the law talks to them! You’d think when raw-boned Texas gals with cameras come to your office asking about such things that a sensible guy would hide under the desk.

DD isn’t seen widely enough, in my opinion; it played at Frameline in 2003; its auteurs, the Mizzes Barton and Wilder, show it in Austin now and again; and there’s an 11-minute clip on Youtube that you owe it to yourself to see.

With all the other things you’re going to hear about Molly Ivins this week, check it out to remind yourself that she could bring her own special genius to bear on *any* bone-headed pomposity that came into her view.

(By the way, if you think this situation is as stupid as Molly does, you’ll love the Wet Spots’ song “Texas Annie” about it.)

The Wet Spots - Hello Kinky

sfgate has Molly Ivins’ last column … and they say there’s a place for us to post our thought on her, though I was rushing too fast to figure out where that place was. Feel free to post them here, too. Goodbye, Molly. Every once in a while somebody goes too soon, and as far as I’m concerned we still need you.

To remember her? Raise some hell and do a breast exam.
Molly Ivins

How Is An iPod Like A Vibrator?

January 15, 2007

Or vice versa? OK, this just came to me, and today I am in a fog of influenza-induced fever, which is the excuse I plan to use if the iPod people tell me I’m taking their name in vain.

In spite of this fog I managed to reply to an email from women’s mag journalist Jen Allen, who’s writing up a story on vibrators for Self Magazine. What are common concerns? What do we say to Good Vibes customers who have those concerns? One of the complaints of some nascent vibrator buyers is: But it seems so mechanical!

And after all these years I finally had an answer just about everyone in this increasingly technological society will be able to relate to, given the number of Apple sound-and-moving-picture gizmos that have infiltrated our lives: Sure, a vibrator is mechanical, but so is an iPod, and every day more people are plugging into those instead of just humming their favorite tunes.

See, I *can* hum. And sing… sort of. But music is such a many-splendored pleasure, it would be a shame to restrict myself to only my own shower stylings. When I wake up in the middle of the night or the wee hours now (perimenopause: such a garden of delights, whether or not you call ‘em hot flashes or “power surges”) I have a trick for going back to sleep that involves assiduously avoiding getting on the mental squirrel-wheel that is obsession with all I need to get done; I figure that unless I’m going to get up at 3:30 a.m. to do it, I’m better served by actually falling back to sleep.

Princess Teacup Bouvier aka Teacup Jan 07.jpg

So I put my hand on Teacup (she’s usually there within reach, probably *hoping* I’ll have a hot flash), getting her to purr, and I sing songs in my head. Things that I haven’t heard in thirty years — Veronique Sanson, people! Where is she now? The entire Rocky Horror Picture Show album! (You know I have a minor obsession with it, and there is nothing more soothing than “Don’t Dream It, Be It” when the night is dark. Plus if I drift off to erotic dreams of Frank N. Furter, RiffRaff, and Columbia, so much the better – www.rockyhorror.com).

All the Britpop that used to play on the UK radio station that beamed to the continent when I was an exchange student in Germany in 1973. You can’t find that stuff on jukeboxes now, my friend. You can’t find the German stuff at all! Heino! No *way*! Nor, for that matter, is most of the jukebox fare from my days at Butterfield Stage Station, the biker bar in Arlington, Texas, where I worked in 1975, easily accessible in the new century. Sure, I can download Jefferson Starship doing “Miracles,” but all that other cowboy/biker bar stuff? I wouldn’t even know where to look. It, like the bikers I cruised or went home with, live in my brain, especially at 3 a.m.
Read the rest of this entry »

Vote for Carol!

January 12, 2007

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE SEX BLOG! Nominate by midnight EST, 1/15/07.

http://dirtyspoke.com/2006/12/26/2006-sex-blog-of-the-year-awards/

DirtySpoke wants you to nominate your favorite sex blog in the following categories. They say:
Once nominations are counted we will post the top 5 blogs in each category for voting. So get your friends, readers, enemies and lovers on board to nominate you. Only one nomination per IP address (duplicates will be deleted). Make sure to include the blog site address (i.e.-http://your-site.com) in the ballot form.
The following categories are open for nomination:
• Best Overall Sex Blog (Any sex blog, by a man, a woman, a group, gay/lesbian, etc.) – Winner to appear with Meme on the radio and receive a copy of Rachel Kramer Bussel’s new book “Caught Looking: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhbitionists.“
• Best Female Sex Blog (Limited to blogs written by a woman, that means she’s gotta have a vagina)
• Best Male Sex Blog (Limited to blogs written by a man, yes, with a penis)
• Best Couple/Group Sex Blog (This can be a blog written by a couple or group, but has to have at least 2 writers – Not a blog about group sex) Winner to receive a 2 DVD set of The L Word, Season 4 (Catch the premiere on Showtime Jan. 7, 2007 at 10pm)
• Sexiest Sex Blogger (Based on pictures of the blog writer) Winner to receive a copy of “The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities“
*More Prizes to be announced!
Wanna promote yourself? Add a button on your site for nominations! Go HERE for the html code!
Are you interested in sponsoring a category? Contact us for details.
Remember, nominations close 12 midnight EST 01/15/07!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.