Wednesday, June 30, 2010
It's been a long time coming, but Wonder Woman finally has a new wardrobe. The DC comics superheroine has tossed off the star-spangled outfit that she has worn since 1941. Her new look -- dark leggings, a studded denim jacket and heeled boots -- might be something from the closet of Lisbeth Salander, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (but in a size zero).
via Wonder Woman
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
On February 9, 1927, New York City police raided three theatres in a crackdown on Broadway’s spate of recent “obscene” performances   . One was bluntly titled Sex, which starred Mae West. Another, The Captive, riled the defenders of conservative intolerance, for its frank portrayal of “deviant” lesbian lust . Approximately 8-10 weeks earlier, the play had been attended by Henry Miller, June Mansfield and Jean Kronski.
via Henry & June
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Brenda was seventeen and I eighteen when we started dating. Although we were both quite social-having had girlfriends and boyfriends respectively, well liked among our peers, attended the requisite high-school parties, "hung-out"-our relationship was the first real one for the long-legged beauty and I. A knock-out drag-out two years dating exclusively, then another two of 'seeing other people', Brenda and I were the real deal sharing a relationship that left an indelible mark on both our lives.
Simply put, Brenda was my first love and I hers.
Unlike 'these kids today', neither Brenda nor I (none of my friends really) had the benefit of modern internet sexual miss-education nor the emotional seasoning to truly consider what we were getting into with our first forays of love and lust. When I was naively touching Brenda way back-in-the-day, or nervously driving us into big bad New York City to visit Xmas lights, or dealing with the jealousy of that 'seeing other people' experiment, I wasn't equipped to recognize the nuisances of loving someone, in or out of the bedroom. None of us can come from any place other then the one we come from, but as the years flew by and I gained experiences and a sense of myself, I’d often recall my four years with Brenda with as much regret as amazement that the girl and I survived my ego at all!
I really was such a kid.
Fast forward nearly 30 years later and Brenda sends me a B'day card (being the day before Halloween mine isn’t hard to forget) via my parents. My first ex and I had only seen each other one time since our fateful break-up in 1984-Orwell was right, it was to be a big year!-and though it was great seeing the pretty brunette at a mutual friend’s wedding at that happenstance Brenda and I only had time for the most cursory of catch-up. I was as nervous as she seemed to be but I shook her husband's hand, introduced my date, made small talk and then we went our separate ways.
I'm not 'on' Facebook, I hardly ever check my Myspace account and I never attend reunions, so Brenda's card was truly the first time I had contact with someone from my past…especially someone who meant as much as my first girlfriend had and did. I called the number provided and not that I hadn't expected it to be so, but Brenda's voice sounded exactly the same.
I learned that, like me, my long ago sweetheart with the slightly crooked smile and fantastic breasts-at least they were way back when-was like me, recently separated (she had heard about my recent split through a mutual friend I happened to email on a lark and that precipitated the sending of her card). Avoiding the obvious, we spoke about my parents, her mom, my sis and her kids, Brenda's kids until she finally mustered the courage for both of us and suggested a date for that most innocuous of rendezvous, "a cup of coffee".
Her hair slightly lighter and in a shorter bob, the Brenda I met at the Dunkin Donuts that fall evening was very much the Brenda I had known. Sure, we were both a little heavier (on me the extra weight looked slovenly, on a girl as tall as Brenda it wasn't noticeable until she mentioned it), but the woman sitting across from me exuded full Brenda-ness as I remembered it and as I assumed Brend-ness would be these many years later. When I dared look at her straight on, superimposed images played across my mind's eye, from the young Brenda I knew way back when and keep stored in my memory to the woman sitting across from me then.
I found both versions delightful, sexy and maybe even a little bit sad.
Old regrets flittered by with the crunch of our crullers, all that ‘why did you break up with me’ hurt simply brushed away in time’s brittle crumbs (how’s that for a metaphor?). I was just happy to see her, truly delighted basking in the light of the terrific mom she had become and reveling in her adventures while I tried to impress her with mine. She was Brenda and then again not Brenda, I was on familiar ground as well as skipping over territory I had never traveled…and I liked the potential of it all. As I tried not to study her, attempted to stare not so overly long when she lean back and her still ample breasts jutted to me or she smiled in that familiar way, I found I was both captivated by this comely woman across as much as wondering where that girl of long ago had gone...or the boy who had loved her.
Lots to process in a Dunkin Donuts on Thanksgiving night, that's for sure. But the sneaking suspicion that Brenda was experiencing me the exact same way, gnawed at my head. How could she not be staring, wondering, considering, pining and hopefully delighted by the man she now faced? I had worried about all manner of how I looked thirty years on, found as we sat across one another, laughed and recalled my vanity was a whisper of a concern.
As nervous as I was seeing Brenda, I was doubly so thinking about the possibility of some sort of physical contact beyond a cursory hug. I should have known a kiss would bring a floodgate of feelings, although all I really allowed myself was the hope it would be smokin' hot; God forbid this girl and I had lost that easy grace we always had had (at least for kissing). But as we stood at her car to say goodbye Brenda lean in and I suddenly felt like that boy of so so long ago kissing this girl for the first time, amazed how Brenda's lips felt the same, how I instantly recalled the way she kissed, how we fell into the familiar pattern I have been hard pressed to remember a second before our mouths touched.
The kiss was special in a way no kiss ever was before for me or no kiss I ever experience will be, I am sure.
Brenda and I agreed on another 'date'.
Two weeks later the pretty lady and I found ourselves alone in my empty condo… with no fear of my folks walking in now. I can’t speak for Brenda, but God was I nervous, even more so then I was at the Dunkin Donuts. It was obvious the possibility of 'you know what' happening was more then a possibility this night and the irony of being with my first real girlfriend after the end of the longest relationship of my life was not lost on me (Brenda would later admit that other then one other guy, she hadn't been playing the field either). Though things were wider, fuller, a little fleshier (and I'm just talking about me here) the girl of my first wet dreams and I giggled quite a bit through all the tossling. The holding, laughing (we did oh so much of that), the entire dance to and of intimacy, what we spoke about after and the plans we made neither of us were sure we'd keep, it was all poignant with a capital 'P'.
Somehow Brenda's skin smelled the same though I knew she had to have changed and/or updated the perfume she wore this many years later; she undulated exactly as I recalled in fitful masturbatory moments, albeit with a bit more intensity as I my now-skilled-mouth attended to her in a way I hadn't ever; I shot back decades in the simple way she did the things she did, tickling it in a precise way no other girl has ever been able to match. I'd argue that sexual recall is as strong as our sense of smell.
Tom Waits sings in "Martha": "All that mattered then, was that I was a man." I was far from being one when Brenda and I dated, the ever-consistent pursuit of friction the nadir of my existence, romance and emotions a jumble in my head and heart way back when. But being with Brenda now, from sharing a coffee, to kissing her-and all those things a gentleman wouldn't relate-to learning about her loves and life and family, all of it, makes me realize where to put my memories, how to live in the present with my past. Yes, I get the chance to relive a moment or two through a touch and a shared recall with the one person who helped me make those memories in the first place, but I think that part of what being a man is about, or maybe dare I say it being a woman, being an adult, is enjoying your memories, letting them get some air occasionally (especially if you're given the opportunity) but being open and ready to make new ones.
You can go home again, the trick is knowing what furniture to keep and what to throw away, or at the very least know where to move to to get round it.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
We’re all familiar with Henry Fuseli’s painting, “The Nightmare”. The feelings of stress and suffocating anxiety that the image evokes. Freud would consider this work as an example of “the uncanny.” The “unheimlich,” the unfriendly world of the shrieking horror of our unconscious. In our unconscious dwells the taboo; those dark secret yearnings of our worst nightmares. “The hag ridden realm of the unconscious.”
I’m still learning about Jung, but I think he would say that this painting is an example of an ancient story; a mythology. A piece of our collective unconscious. A story that is whispered, by candlelight, while snow falls softly outside. Jung would also talk about “the shadow.” For our emotional sanity, we must acknowledge the shadow. Recognise that we do have indecencies, the taboo, in our psyche. Only then can we live healthy, sane lives. We shun the taboo, yet are drawn to it. It fascinates us, in the same way that we cannot turn away from Fuseli’s “Nightmare.”
Fuseli painted the picture in 1781. He produced at least three other versions of “The Nightmare.”
But what is our place in this painting? We are the voyeur, gazing in horror at the potential violation of this beautiful young woman. We anticipate the violation hungrily, at the same time screaming our denial. There is the stench of sulphur, the ghastly shriek of tortured demons. Why does Fuseli want to show us this depravity? Is he telling us that he knows our darkest, deepest secrets? Is he telling us about his own contaminated desires? Why does Fuseli want us here?
Whatever Fuseli’s reason, his painting is an image to haunt our waking hours. To make us afraid of sleep. To dread our dreams. The sinister creak on the stairs, the screams of hell, echoing down through eternity. It is Fuseli’s “Nightmare.”
Contemporary critics found the work scandalous due to its sexual themes. A few years before he painted “The Nightmare,” Fuseli had fallen passionately in love with a woman named Anna Landholdt in Zürich. Landholdt was the niece of his friend, the Swiss physiognomist Johann Kaspar Lavater. Fuseli wrote of his fantasies to Lavater in 1779:
“Last night I had her in bed with me—tossed my bedclothes hugger-mugger—wound my hot and tight-clasped hands about her—fused her body and soul together with my own—poured into her my spirit, breath and strength. Anyone who touches her now commits adultery and incest! She is mine, and I am hers. And have her I will.…”
Fuseli’s painting, influenced Mary Shelley. Shelley would have been familiar with the painting; her parents, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, knew Fuseli well. In a scene from her Gothic novel Frankenstein, (1818), where the creature has murdered Victor’s wife, Shelley seems to draw from Fuseli’s canvas:
"She was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down, and her pale and distorted features half covered by hair."
The novel and Fuseli's biography share a parallel theme: just as Fuseli's incubus is infused with the artist's emotions in seeing Landholdt marry another man, Shelley's monster promises to get revenge on Victor on the night of his wedding. Like Frankenstein's monster, Fuseli's demon symbolically seeks to forestall a marriage.
Fuseli is often quoted as saying, "One of the most unexplored regions of art are dreams".
Tom Lubbock, writing in The Independent, Friday, 7th April 2006, gives us a 21st century reading of Fuseli’s painting.
Can a picture be scary, like a film? You might think not, for a simple reason. What makes a movie scary is not the subject alone, but the timing. You need sequence, you need editing, to create suspense and shock, the horrible realisation, the sudden jolt. And this a picture cannot do - because a picture (so one old theory goes) is all taken in at a glance, in a single blink.
Of course, this is sort of true. Looking at a picture is not like watching a film or turning the pages of a book. You grasp what's going on quite quickly (well, depending on what you notice). A whodunit in paint would be hard to do. But in another way, the glance theory is quite wrong. The eye sees a picture, not in a blink, but in a series of fixations that dart and scatter across its surface.
But the "timing" of a picture - that's something else again. Even though the scene is all before you, a picture can pace and direct your attention. Though it lacks the syntax of a strip cartoon, it can create episodes and sequence and surprises. The sequence may not correspond to literal eye-fixations. (Words on a page have an order, after all, but the eye darts all over the page as it reads). It's a matter of managing the viewer's interest.
To see a pictorial edit at work, take that classic scary picture, Henry Fuseli's “The Nightmare.” The voluptuously flopped sleeping woman is visited in her dreams by a revolting incubus and a frightening horse. All very Gothic, Freudian etc. But put psychology to one side, and look at stage-management.
Look at the picture, and watch how you look at it. It may seem upfront enough, with its three prominent characters, a woman and a couple of creatures. And it's true that these elements are clear(ish) in your field of vision. But you don't attend to them all at once. Fuseli controls your involvement.
“The Nightmare,” is not a fluent, unfolding composition, where one thing leads smoothly to another. It's made up of separate incidents, each requiring a distinct act of attention. Move between them, and attention jumps. What's more, these incidents have an order. The picture arranges things so that you move and jump in sequence. This still image is cunningly and abruptly edited.
The brightest patch is the woman's bust, her breasts, shoulder, throat, cheek, closed eyes, the unconscious mind in the helpless and exposed body. This is the first "shot" in the edit. It is not simply eroticism. It uses eroticism to manage the viewer's attention, and it won't just be the eyes of the male viewer that are immediately drawn to this area. Sexy female vulnerability, with a spotlight on it, is a general hot grab. That's where Fuseli begins his sequence. Though far from the centre, it is the picture's hub, the point from which everything else is paced.
This hub, you notice, is not the whole woman, just a part. The woman's body is itself delivered in shots. The bust is one incident. The left forearm and the flaccid hand, trailing its fingers on the floor, are another. (There's a clear jump of attention as you look between them: this - that.) And the rest of her, the tapering mermaid's tail curve, ending in a single toe-point, is a third shot, another jump. This fragmenting of the passive figure is not only fetishism. It's editing. You the viewer have to put this distrait body together from its parts. It makes it all the more passive, less in control of itself.
And then, the monster! - the devilish hunched incubus, that squats on the woman's belly. The jump juxtaposition is obvious here: compact brown lump set upon stretched-out, languid white curve. There's an extra scari-ness in the way this figure lurks. Its lower half is shadowy and formless, blending into the gloom behind, not really anything. Its hideous shape and nature only come to light, materialise, as you go up, with a gradual realisation.
What adds to the fear, when you see what the creature is, is that it isn't actually doing anything to her. It's just sitting on her, inert, like a monkey-ornament. It's not performing a horrible act. It has some calm and horrible purpose, which is worse. And it turns its bulging eyes to meet the viewer's in a way that shows a mind at work, and may invite complicity.
But as this horror is sinking in, the scene's big shock effect strikes: on the far left the crazy nightmare horse, flash-lit, eyes burning, hair standing on end, barges into the picture out of the darkness, out of nowhere, out of control. It enters suddenly, and Fuseli depicts it like something that is seen suddenly, its form not fully grasped. He paints a Francis Bacon creature, in elusive, flickering highlights and blurs that don't integrate into a single solid. It is hysteria and suddenness embodied. Without its white-hot eyeballs, the horse would hardly read as "head" at all.
The scene carefully paces its horrors. It is made of shots and jumps, gradual realisations, sudden shocks. It is thoroughly and dramatically timed. True, the editing of a picture is always more flexible than the frame-sequence of a cartoon strip or the cuts of a film. You can always go back, you can move between things in other sequences, every part can be related to every other.
You can do your own edit. But still, a scene such as The Nightmare, emphatically divided into its distinct and horrid incidents, puts a potential scare into your every move.
Cross posted from billierosie
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Ralph Greco, Jr is an internationally published author of short stories, plays, essays, button slogans, 800# phone sex scripts, children’s songs and SEO copy. Ralph is also an ASCAP licensed songwriter/ performer and Internet radio D.J. He lives in the wilds of suburban NJ, where he attempts to keep his ever-expanding ego in check.
Billierosie likes satire and positive thinking. Her interests are in the Arts; theatre, literature, painting, sculpture. Erotica and fetish. Billierosie has three stories published with Oysters & Chocolate; Feet, Will You Be My Mommy? and The Little Dancer.
Lambda Awards Winner 2010/Bisexual Fiction for Holy Communion. Though born in West Germany Mykola (Mick) Dementiuk is Ukrainian and grew up in the United States. He is the author of Times Queer, Vienna Dolorosa, Holy Communion, (Synergy Press) and other writings. Over ten years ago, he suffered a stroke while in the process of working on his novella My Father’s Semen (STARbooks Press in Cruising for Bad Boys) and now writes with one finger of his left hand, his right arm and leg paralyzed. His ebook, Dee Dee Day, about an elderly transvestite in NYC in the 1970s was released recently (eXtasy Books).Jude Mason’s a people watcher. When you go to a party, she’s the one standing in a corner holding a glass of wine, watching the crowd. She’ll probably be smiling. Jude’s got a wicked imagination.
July 16th at 7pm, Join the Naked Girls or Chicago for a celebration of strong women throughout history. Yes, women who have fought for centuries for the right to do whatever they want, inCLUDing removing their clothing and reading in public, will be exposed in ways you’ve never imagined. If you thought July 4th was Independence Day, think again!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
In the early and middle 60s most of the girls I knew would say, "Look but don't touch!" And man how I looked, my mouth hung open and drooling after them. They still wore nylons and garter belts in those days but in my mind that image is still there...hose...hose...hose. I can never get enough of that image.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Was there something sinister about Lewis Carroll's fixation with seven-year-old Alice Liddell? Not necessarily, says Katie Roiphe.
The Guardian, Monday 29 October 2001
It is true that the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, otherwise known as Lewis Carroll, author of the inimitable classics Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, liked little girls. Or, as he once wrote: "I am fond of children (except boys)." He took exquisite, melancholy photographs of little girls. He befriended little girls on trains, and beaches, and in the houses of friends. And one particular little girl, Alice Liddell, came to be his muse and great passion.
Unfortunately for Dodgson, the 21st century does not look kindly on a single man who is beguiled by seven-year-olds. Feminist critics have darkly suggested that Dodgson was a paedophile. They have condemned the beautiful photographs he took and objected to his objectification of the immature female body, and read all sorts of rapacious nonsense into the Alice books.
At the other extreme, many of Dodgson's defenders have protested too much. They have attempted to argue that he was utterly without feelings for little girls. One of his early biographers wrote, "There is no evidence that he felt or inspired any pangs of tender passion", when of course there was an abundance of evidence that he did. His defenders tend to portray him as a shy, stuttering bachelor with a fondness for children that may as well have been a fondness for stamps or porcelain puppies.
Is it possible that neither view of him is correct - that he was neither the child molester nor the pure, white-haired reverend? It is possible that our crude categories, our black and white views of romantic feeling, cannot contain someone like Dodgson. It is almost impossible for us to contemplate a man who falls in love with little girls without wanting to put him in prison. The subtleties, for those of us still mired in the paranoia’s of the 20th century, are hard to grasp. When one thinks of a paedophile, one thinks of a lustful, over-the-top, drooling Nabokov love, but that is not Lewis Carroll. His love was more delicate and tortured and elusive; his warmth, his strange, terrified passion, more intricate and complicated than anything encompassed by a single word.
Dodgson's affection for what he called his "child friends" was always mingled with a vague yearning. He wrote to one 10-year-old girl, "Extra thanks and kisses for the lock of hair. I have kissed it several times - for want of having you to kiss, you know, even hair is better than nothing." This is typical of his correspondence. He converted whatever his feelings were into the whimsical, quasi-romantic banter that eventually made its way into the Alice books. He wrote to one mother of a potential visit with her daughter, "And would it be de rigueur that there should be a third to dinner? Tête à tête is so much the nicest."
There was a romantic intensity to the friendships that Dodgson struck up with children, a hint of hunger, of never quite getting enough. This was especially true of his relationship with Alice. There was always a sense that he wanted more of her. And yet, can we really blame him for that - as long as he didn't act on his feelings? If he turned himself inside out, turned the world inside out with his powerful imagination, in order to avoid them?
He was not alone in his obsession. The era seemed to breed a certain type of neurasthenic man who had a well-developed and intellectually complicated disdain for overt physicality and who found himself drawn to pre-teens.
Take John Ruskin. He also fell under the spell of an Alice, among other young girls he encountered. One particular street urchin whom he glimpsed in Italy made a big impression on him. It is one of the paradoxes of Victorian culture that the sentimentality, the frilly, sugar-sweet view of the child often coexisted with darker sexual urges; that they fed each other, and the squeamishness about sex led to a perverse attraction to anything innocent and pure. Children were safe, and in their safety, certain thoughts - dirty, sensual thoughts - were allowed to flourish.
It is almost impossible to claim that Dodgson was drawn to little girls on a purely spiritual plane. His deep aesthetic appreciation of their physical presence was too conspicuous. He wrote to Gertrude Thomson, an artist who sketched girlish fairies and nymphs, "I confess I do not admire naked boys in pictures. They always seem... to need clothes, whereas one hardly sees why the lovely forms of girls should ever be covered up."
It's clear, then, that Dodgson had a submerged erotic fascination with the nubile female form. But what to make of it? What if he did love children, and in that love was a sexual element? What if he admired the bodies of little girls and never touched one? There is no doubt that he was tormented by what he called "the inclinations of my sinful heart". Even his mathematical writings were marked by his struggle. In the introduction to Curiosa Mathematica, Part II, he wrote that fixing one's mind on mathematics as one lay in bed could ward off "unholy thoughts, which torture with their hateful presence, the fancy that would fain be pure". Strong language for a book about trigonometry.
The picture we get of is of a man afraid of his own dreams, struggling for command over himself. In one of his most charming analyses, the biographer Morton Cohen actually charted Dodgson's moments of greatest torment and insomnia in his diaries and found that they correlated to the days on which he saw Alice.
But Dodgson's response to any heightened agitation he felt with children was this: he sat with Alice in a boat gliding along the glittering river and made up stories, the more outlandish the better. His feelings rhymed and punned themselves into expression. He chatted her up with the manic energy of Wonderland. His frustration, his alienation, blossomed into the caterpillar at the hookah and Humpty Dumpty and the Mad Hatter. He channelled his devotion into a wild and lovely literary universe; his imagination so dangerous and inflamed, it fled the real world. He called the Alice books a "love-gift". And because this love is unrequited, because it is impossible, ethereal, because he cannot allow himself to fully feel it, there is a hint of sadness. As he puts it, "a shadow of a sigh" trembles through the story.
To me, there is a nobility in a self-restraint so forceful that it spews out stuttering tortoises and talking chess pieces rather than focus on the matter at hand. There is something touching about a man who fights the hardest fight in the world: his own desire.
You can feel the loneliness on the page. You can the feel the longing in the photographs. You can witness the self-contempt in his diaries. How can one not feel sympathy for a man who writes in his diary, "I pray to God to give me a new heart", but is stuck, in spite of his astonishing powers of invention, his brilliance, his immortal wit, with the one he has.
He had impure thoughts, yes. What matters, in the end, is what he did with them.
Katie Roiphe's novel about Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell, “Still She Haunts Me”, is published by Review, RRP £10. And at Amazon.
Cross posted from billierosie.
Camille's first male or female depending on the season. Is male or female Camille?
No one knows. The woman with a penis is an object purely fantasy that seems to be the essence of pornography.
Camille is a mystery. A man or woman? After you see these drawings you will only mutter, "Charmant! Ooo lah lah!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Roxanne was born in March, 1941 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Tragically she passed away in 1987 due to a heart condition, probably linked to a bout with rheumatic fever she contracted as a teenager.She died peacefully at her home in Minneapolis. She was 46.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Origin of related term "money shot"
The "cum shot" is often referred to as the money shot in a borrowing from mainstream feature filmmakers, who used the term "money shot" as slang for the image that cost the most money to produce; in addition, the inclusion of this expensive special effect sequence would become a selling point for the film. For example, in an action thriller, an expensive special effects sequence of a dam bursting might be called the "money shot" of the film.
The pornography industry adopted the term "'money shot'" because the final ejaculation scene has become an important element in pornographic depictions, in part because it proves to the viewer that they have witnessed an authentic sexual act.
The "cum shot" has become such a common conclusion to scenes in pornographic movies that if a scene does not end with an ejaculation sequence, viewers may believe that the actor was unable to climax or that the scene was cut. According to Stephen Ziplow, author of The Film Maker's Guide to Pornography , "...the come shot, or, as some refer to it, 'the money shot', is the most important element in the movie and that everything else (if necessary) should be sacrificed at its expense." The term has gained acceptance in pop culture and is sometimes used in conversation. Borrowing the meaning from the pornographic film industry, the term is used to refer to a highly anticipated or satisfying end, but in a non-pornographic context.
 Pornography and erotica without "cum shots"
Two exceptions to this expectation are softcore pornography, in which penetration is not explicitly shown and "couples erotica", which may involve penetration but is typically filmed in a more discreet manner intended to be romantic or educational rather than graphic. Softcore pornography that does not contain ejaculation sequences is produced both to respond to a demand by some consumers for less-explicit pornographic material, and to comply with government regulations or cable company rules that may disallow depictions of ejaculation.
Cum shots typically do not appear in "girl-girl" scenes (female ejaculation scenes exist, but are relatively rare) and orgasm is normally implied by utterances, cinematic conventions, or body movement.
While the term "cum shot" normally refers to filming of the ejaculation scene in a pornographic movie (the term "shot" in "cum shot" refers to the filming, or "shooting" of the scene), the term is also used more loosely to refer to the actual physiological event of male ejaculation.
It is common for a fellatio/irrumatio scene in pornography to end with the actor ejaculating onto the actress's face. Some have interpreted that as an expression of misogyny, male domination and objectification of women.
For example, in Padraig McGrath's review of Laurence O'Toole's book Pornocopia – Porn, Sex, Technology and Desire, he rhetorically asks whether "...women enjoy having men ejaculate on their faces?" He suggests that the role of a "cum shot" scene such as this is to suggest that "...it doesn’t matter what the woman likes – she’ll like whatever the man wants her to like because she has no inner life of her own, in turn because she’s not a real person." McGrath argues that there is a "power-aspect" to depictions such as "come shots."
He alleges that the "...central theme [of pornography] is power...[,] implicitly violent...eroticized hatred."
Susan Faludi, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, argues that pornography scenes depicting women performing oral sex on men objectify the male performer, in that the male performer's entire body, except for the erect penis, is off-camera. In the article "My Son's Penis" from Masthead magazine, Richard Jeffrey Newman, who cites Faludi, claims that "the male performer's [in porn] primary function is to make her [the female actress'] performance possible. He is her straight man, her foil, or as Susan Faludi puts it in her essay "The Money Shot" her "appendage, the object of the object.""
The author of the Masthead article claims that the woman in such a scene may appear like a "machine". She states that during a scene depicting a "white woman's mouth in the act of swallowing a white man's penis ...the shape of his organ glides back and forth against the inside of her left cheek...[with] her lips engulfing and expelling his genitals as if she were the only movable part of a well-oiled machine." The author claims that the "cum-shot is supposed to represent the pinnacle and proof of male heterosexual pleasure."
The author of the "My Son's Penis" article states that with "the cum shot, the pleasure of which is expressed not in what the man on the screen felt in his own body up to and including the point of his ejaculation, but rather in what it means for him to ejaculate onto the body of a woman." She claims that the way cum shots are depicted in pornography is a "more or less absolute yoking in heterosexual pornography of male sexual pleasure to a woman's presence." She argues that focus on having the man ejaculate onto a woman "... has a moral fervor, an intellectual certainty" that is usually associated with "religious or scientific pronouncements."
Another critic of "cum shot" scenes in pornography is the US porn star-turned writer, director and producer Candida Royalle. She produced pornography films aimed at women and their partners that avoid the "misogynous predictability" and depiction of sex in "...as grotesque and graphic [a way] as possible." Royalle also criticizes the male-centredness of the typical pornography film, in which scenes end when the male actor ejaculates. Royalle’s films are not “goal oriented” towards a final "cum shot"; instead, her films depict sexual activity within the broader context of women's emotional and social lives.
Also people involved in the porn industry differ in their opinions on the topic. Thus, Bill Margold, who has starred in over 400 films, has stated that cum shots represent "vicarious revenge exacted upon the cheerleader by X-number of men who could not get that cheerleader."
In contrast, sexologist Peter Sándor Gardos argues that his research suggests that "... the men who get most turned on by watching cum shots are the ones who have positive attitudes toward women." (on the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex in 1992). Later, on The World Pornography Conference in 1998, he reported a similar conclusion, namely that "no pornographic image is interpretable outside of its historical and social context. Harm or degradation does not reside in the image itself".
Author Lisa Moore suggests that it is the pleasure the actresses exhibit that the male partners enjoy, and that it is more accurate to think men want their semen to be wanted. Women's activist Beatrice Faust stated "Since ejaculating into blank space is not much fun, ejaculating over a person who responds with enjoyment sustains a lighthearted mood as well as a degree of realism." She goes on to say "Logically, if sex is natural and wholesome and semen is as healthy as sweat, there is no reason to interpret ejaculation as a hostile gesture."
Cindy Patton, activist and scholar on human sexuality, points out that in western culture male sexual fulfillment is synonymous with orgasm and that the male orgasm is an essential punctuation of the sexual narrative. No orgasm, no sexual pleasure. No cum shot, no narrative closure. In other words the cum shot is the period at the end of the sentence.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
History is rife with fashion disasters. If you had to pick a single decade where dress sense did a complete Titanic, though, it has to be the 1960s. Taking their sense of freedom to embarrassing extremes, fashion designers all over the world struck out in all kinds of ludicrous directions, proving in their enthusiasm for the unique that they proved themselves the bastions of absurdity.
One of the biggest themes designers seized on during the ‘60s was sex. It was everywhere, thanks to the revolution, so why not bring it into the world of fashion? True, fashion designers had always thought of themselves as the cutting edge of sensual allure, but here was a chance to really pull out the stops. Alas, there are some stops that simply shouldn’t be pulled.
Fashion radicals in the ‘60’s took two directions: less and more. Less being less clothing and added skin, and more being … well, call it more options – the designers’ way of blurring gender roles.
One of the highlights of the ‘less’ movement was the topless bathing suit. Agreed, it was developed and released in 1964 by Rudy Gernreich as a publicity stunt to get his name in the papers, it was still a perfect example of how fashion designers were pushing the design – and taste – envelope. Nothing more than a pair of bikini briefs with a pair of thin straps coming between the breasts – leaving them bare -- and down the back, the, Gernreich’s creation received an interesting of mix of horror and scorn. The horror came from the likes of Vatican, who proclaimed the suit “desperate and senseless adventure of impudent shamelessness”, and even the Soviet Union, who called it “back to barbarism” – of course the Vatican also said that Rock ‘n Roll was the devil’s soundtrack and Khrushchev was publicly outraged when he watched the filming of the Shirley MacLaine movie Can-Can, so at least the suit was in very good company. The worst criticism came from those in the fashion know, who pointed out that all one had to do to have a topless bathing suit was to buy a bikini and leave half at home – and literally half the cost of the $24 suit. The suit really only caused a stir here in the puritanical US (“The police are apprehensive of what these suits will reveal. I’m apprehensive they’ll reveal nothing,” said Mort Sahl), as European women, of course, had been bathing topless for decades.
Additionally banking on the expansive of bare flesh that seemed to be one of the defining factors of the decade – and perhaps spawned by the publicity around Gernreich’s suit -- the famous fashion designer Kenneth (and you know they have to be famous if they only have one name) announced in ’69 a whole line of makeup products for the bare bosom. With such descriptions as “tip blush,” and “cleavage delineator” you can imagine how fast these products flew off the shelves – and into the private collections of transvestites.
As part of the ‘more’ school of design, there were many experiments in gender experimentation in the 60s – including the failed attempt to try and raise interest in skirts for men. As reported in Paul Kirchner’s wonderful book, Forgotten Fads and Fabulous Flops, Seventeen magazine put boys in kilts in a spread, and even Time was hooked by this supposed next fad with a report that the garment industry had big plans to import the concept of the male skirt. Alas, no amount of publicity and wishful thinking in the mind of fashion designers could change the mind of the American male.
One of the best examples of fashion insanity owes a lot to the gender play experimentation of the ‘60s -- as a radical reaction against it. Eldridge Cleaver is known for many things: Black Panther Minister of Information; author of Soul on Ice; misogynist; jailed in connection with a shoot-out with the Oakland Police, ex-patriot living in Cuba, Algeria, and Paris; and -- ready for this? -- failed fashion designer.
Eldridge had this problem, you see, with the current state of men’s fashion. He felt that men should be able to enjoy all the stylish and comfortable pants being offered for women. Why should they get all the fun?
But Eldridge couldn’t just wear the new women’s slacks -- after all, there was this little problem he had about sexual identity (and he had a lot of issues with sexuality, just read Soul on Ice). So what to do about this garment dilemma? His answer was to create a whole new line of clothing, slacks with all the style and comfort of women’s pants without sacrificing his pathologically all-important machismo: Cleavers, the pants with an “appurtenance.”
Cleaver probably threw a lot of bombs during his Black Panther revolutionary days, but nothing compared to his Cleavers. While the pants component received some praise, it was that all-important “extra” feature that most people had issues with. After all, it was one thing to go through the supposed embarrassment of wearing ‘women’s’ pants, but quite another to wear them equipped with a very present, rather exaggerated 20th century version of a external jockstrap.
Luckily Cleaver’s vanished even quicker than cleavage makeup and the topless bathing suit, joining the ranks of Nehru jackets and bell-bottoms -- exiled to the deep, dark corners of fashion history. If we are lucky, their mistakes will never surface again -- but looking at the general history of garment insanity it’s more than like just a matter of time.
Monday, June 14, 2010
For a man in Victorian times there were two kinds of women: 'nice' women of your own class, whom you married; and prostitutes or women of easy virtue, whom you went to bed with. Victorian society looked indulgently on men who sowed their wild oats. For respectable women it was a different story: they were expected to be virgins when they married. This meant that, to gain sexual experience, men would resort to prostitutes. Unfortunately, with prostitutes came the threat of a sexually transmitted or venereal disease, such as syphilis or gonorrhoea.
As well as being painful and deeply embarrassing, venereal disease, if untreated, could lead to sterility, impotence, madness and eventually death. Penicillin would not be discovered until the 1920s and would not be available as a medicine until the Second World War. In the 19th century, the main treatment was mercury, in the form of calomel, ointments, steam baths, pills, and other concoctions. It was crude, painful and largely ineffective, as well as having side-effects such as tooth loss, kidney damage, anaemia, mouth, throat, and skin ulcerations; neurological damage; and death.
Research into an effective treatment for syphilis was controversial because of the perception that a widely available cure would increase “immoral” behaviour.
In Victorian days the official line on sex was that it was solely for the purpose of producing children. It wasn't supposed to be fun. So, however tolerant the Victorians may have been in practice of men having sexual adventures, venereal disease was, in some quarters, regarded as God's punishment - the wages of sin.
This is one reason for the flourishing trade in virgins - for those upper class men who could afford them. They were not necessarily paedophiles; but were protecting themselves by having sex with a woman who had never had sex before. She could not be infected with these diseases.
There was another, more chilling reason, why virgins were so highly prized. It was believed that sex with a virgin could actually cure a man who was infected with syphilis.
By the middle of the 19th century the authorities were increasingly worried about the high incidence of venereal disease among soldiers and sailors. For this reason the Contagious Disease Acts of 1864, 1866 and 1869 were passed. They allowed known prostitutes working in garrison towns or naval bases to be examined, often brutally. If they were found to be infected they could be imprisoned in state institutions.
Women were assumed to be the source of infection and the Acts were deigned exclusively to protect men. The men themselves were not examined, so that there was every chance of a client passing a disease on to a prostitute, rather than the other way around.
However, Victorian society was not concerned about prostitutes who were infected with incurable diseases by their clients. It was the danger of men passing on venereal disease to their wives and families that caused anxiety and moral outrage.
Moral reformers such as Josephine Butler campaigned against the Contagious Disease Acts. They claimed that they were sexually discriminating in that they laid all the blame for 'immorality' on women. The Acts were finally repealed in 1886.
Syphilis first appeared in Europe in the 1500s. But by the Victorian era, it was rampant. Thousands endured paralysis, blindness and insanity from the infection before finally dying.
Syphilis in the Victorian era was known to be an infectious disease that entered the body through a minute cut or small wound. The primary impact of the disease would be a lesion or a sore at the initial “site of inoculation.” Six to eight weeks later, a secondary eruption would flare up, generally first pink in colour and eventually copper. In this second stage of syphilis, symptoms such as depression and chilling in the joints and limbs would often occur and within weeks or years disappear spontaneously. In its tertiary stage, syphilis affected the brain, liver, lungs, and muscle. This disease was most often spread through sexual contact but it also spread congenitally, where mothers would infect the infants in their womb.
And a big thanks to Oatmeal Girl, for reminding me of Henrik Ibsen’s play GHOSTS, (1881) which deals superbly with the tragic consequences of congenital Syphilis. In Ibsen’s play, Helen Alving, is infected with syphilis by her philandering husband. She, in turn, infects her unborn son, Oswald. The play ends with Helen Alving, contemplating euthanasing Oswald, as the disease takes hold of him and grips him in a violent seizure.
As I write, syphilis cases are rising. Some hospitals in major British cities report that they are now treating hundreds of patients a year, compared to none at all just a few years ago. In the past two years, there have been outbreaks in Manchester and London through unprotected sex.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Here's what happened: Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell me there was "something wrong" with one of the two hamsters he holds prisoner in his room.
"He's just lying there looking sick," he told me. "I'm serious, Dad. Can you help?"
I put my best hamster-healer look on my face and followed him into his bedroom. One of the little rodents was indeed lying on his back, looking stressed. I immediately knew what to do.
"Honey," I called, "come look at the hamster!"
"Oh, my gosh," my wife diagnosed after a minute "She's having babies."
"What?" my son demanded. "But their names are Bert and Ernie, Mom!"
I was equally outraged. "Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we didn't want them to reproduce," I accused my wife.
"Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?" she inquired.
(I actually think she said this sarcastically!)
"No, but you were supposed to get two boys!" I reminded her, (in my most loving, calm, sweet voice, while gritting my teeth together).
"Yeah, Bert and Ernie!" my son agreed.
"Well, it's just a little hard to tell on some guys, ya know," she informed me. (Again with the sarcasm, ya think?)
By now, the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on. I shrugged, deciding to make the best of it.
"Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience," I announced. "We're about to witness the miracle of birth."
"OH, Gross!" they shrieked.
"Well, isn't THAT just Great! What are we going to do with a litter of tiny little hamster babies?" my wife wanted to know. (I really do think she was being snotty here, too. Don't you?)
We peered at the patient. After much struggling, what looked like a tiny foot would appear briefly, vanishing a scant second later. "We don't appear to be making much progress," I noted.
"It's breech," my wife whispered, horrified.
"Do something, Dad!" my son urged.
"Okay, okay." Squeamishly, I reached in and grabbed the foot when it next appeared, giving it a gingerly tug. It disappeared. I tried several more times with the same results.
"Should I call 911?" my eldest daughter wanted to know. "Maybe they could talk us through the trauma." (You see a pattern here with the females in my house?)
"Let's get Ernie to the vet," I said grimly.
We drove to the vet with my son holding the cage in his lap. "Breathe, Ernie, breathe," he urged.
"I don't think hamsters do Lamaze," his mother noted to him. (Women can be so cruel to their own young. I mean what she does to me is one thing, but this boy is of her womb, for goodness sake.)
The vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little animal through a magnifying glass.
"What do you think, Doc, a c-section?" I suggested scientifically.
"Oh, very interesting," he murmured. "Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, may I speak to you privately for a moment?"
I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside.
"Is Ernie going to be okay?" my wife asked.
"Oh, perfectly," the vet assured us. "This hamster is not in labor. In fact, that isn't EVER going to happen... Ernie is a boy."
"You see, Ernie is a young male. And occasionally, as they come into maturity, like most male species, they um.... er.... masturbate. Just the way he did, lying on his back." He blushed, glancing at my wife.
"Well, you know what I'm saying, Mr. Cameron."
We were silent, absorbing this.
"So Ernie's just...just...Excited?" my wife offered.
"Exactly," the vet replied, relieved that we understood.
When my vicious, cruel wife started to giggle. And giggle. And even laugh loudly.
"What's so funny?" I demanded, knowing, but not believing that the woman I married would commit the upcoming affront to my flawless manliness.
Tears were now running down her face.
"It's just...that...I'm picturing you pulling on its...its...teeny little..." she gasped for more air to bellow in laughter once more.
"That's enough," I warned.
We thanked the Veterinarian and hurriedly bundled the hamsters and our son back into the car. He was glad everything was going to be okay.
"I know Ernie's really thankful for what you've done, Dad," he told me.
"Oh, you have NO idea," my wife agreed, collapsing into laughter.