Saturday, December 26, 2009
And if you think that's an accident, remember this is a clock from "Naked Decor", maker of the terrorist teapot.
Edited to Add: Apparently I am not the only one to notice (see comments section).
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Um, he's what?
He's the Penetrator. And he is super macho so have him being super macho with a bimbo.
You mean fucking her?
Oh, God no. But there should be a half naked woman looking like she's really asking for it. And he should be there being really masculine. Like shooting a gun or something.
Shooting a gun at a naked woman?
Oh, God no. Just shooting a gun with something threatening there like a black guy shaking his fist, and there's a naked woman, and like... pointy stuff, pointing at her. Like all subtle and symbolic of how macho he is because....
He's the Penetrator.
Okay, that thing you did last time was okay, but a bit subtle.
A bit subtle?!
Yeah, I mean this guy, he's the Penetrator. And he is super macho so have him being super macho and a guy being shot.
Wouldn't that imply he was fucking the guy?
Oh, God no. There should be a half naked woman looking like she's really asking for it. And he should be there being really masculine; I mean REALLY manly. Like shooting a gun and holding a bomb or something. Make it really clear. And this women she's been shot....
You mean symbolically?
No, she's actually been shot. In the shoulder so you can sort of show part of her booby. That'll be sexy. There will be the woman who's been shot and the black guy being shot, and him with a gun being like the perfect man.
Because he's the Penetrator.
6 Very Unfortunate Book Covers
Monday, December 7, 2009
"Dan complained about the constant sexual harassment from the gorgeous women who flocked around him. Cynics remarked that if it really bothered him so much, he would put on a shirt."
Not really, but the real blurb is pretty dull.
I think it is wonderful that many presses, large and small and even via self-publishing, are making vintage paperback available again. And I was pleased to hear that Harlequin was reviving some if its yellowback backlist--until I heard that this included censoring the non-politically correct parts for a "modern audience".
"...behavior—such as hitting a woman—that would be considered totally unacceptable now was quite common sixty years ago. Scenes of near rape would not sit well with a contemporary audience, we were quite convinced. We therefore decided to make small adjustments to the text, only in cases where we felt scenes or phrases would be offensive to a 2009 readership"
I am as left-wing and feminist as they come, but a reprinted books should not be airbrushed to remove its historical roots and original intent. This shows no respect whatsoever for the original author, the genre and age to which he (or occassionally she) belonged, or the audience. We know that sensational genres sometimes appeal to lurid interests, we know that over time the interests have changed, and we know that reprinted books come from a previous era. So keep your sticky editing fingers out of our pulps...
We can handle the truth.
* As if Harlequin Wasn't In Enough Trouble
* Censorship and Bowdlerization at Harlequin.
* The Big Slap in the Big Sleep
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Is he planning to leave the scruffy beard and just shave his chest?
Was he shaving a gap in his unibrow and the shaving foam washed off his forehead and onto his chest?(On a positive note, I see one is now allowed to refer to men having "beauty" products. Ha, the beauthy burden hits the hairier sex!)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Are we becoming more obsessed with the resemblance of anything oblong to the male generative organ? Or did people always note these accidental resemblances, but the internet gives us a relatively anonymous way to share these observations? Or are our minds descending further into the gutter with each succeeding generation? (who will think of the children!)
And why is it that anything oblong is quickly seen as phallic, but only a fairly limited number of things that are "negatively oblong" (a.k.a. some kind of hole) are seen as obviously vagina-like? In any case, when I saw the label pictured to the right in a toilet stall, you can guess what I thought. Or if you can't, it isn't people in general getting more juvenile and genital-obsessed, it's just me.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Ninja costumes for children were available only for boys.
Ninja costumes for adults are available only for women--and it doesn't really look like an outfit for stealth or combat. (Unless there is a secret ninja move called "cleavage of death").
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Papo apparently has a familiar perspective on the role of a woman on a farm.
That said, isn't odd that dogs are generally seen as masculine, cats as feminine.
What's with that?
p.s. my Halloween outfit is a puppy dog costume. Puppy dog, the "puppy" is important.
Friday, October 23, 2009
I confess, I like Schleich toys. Or as I prefer to call them Schleich plastic vinyl scale models.
But, anyway. I have one message for Schleich.
You see this figure depicting a woman who is apparently married to a farmer, jointly owns a farm with him, lives on that farm and is doing farm work? This is not a "farmers wife", this is a farmer who just happens to be female.
Wake up and smell the equality.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
But will it be a romance or a horror story?
Friday, October 2, 2009
The Collected Erotica is a gorgeous book; trade paperback sized, with glossy white paper and lush full color illustrations. This work is collected from a previous set of three books edited by London-based Charlotte Hill and William Wallace. However the writing voice of the "narrator" throughout is unmistakeably a male one (with something of a fixation on erotica with clerical and religious themes, not that there is anything wrong with that).
The format is that of an art book with extensive long excerpts fairly briefly introduced and discussed by the editor. Each page also features pull quotes and illustrations. At 400-pages long most people will certainly get their money's worth. The overall effect is a technicolor buffet of what intelligentsia considered worthy erotica--with an epicenter somewhere in a later 19th century but examples stretching from antiquity to the modern day.
And by the modern day I mean 1996, because although this is an updated 2007 edition it does not seem to include any material beyond the early nineties. And by "what the intelligentsia consider erotica" I mean there is a severely disproportionate emphasis on accepted classics such as Moll Flanders, the Story of O, Lady Chatterley's Lover and the works of Henry Miller. This collection might be more informative for those who have not already read those works in full.
The back flyleaf states of the editors that "[t]heir desire is that this collection should be should be enjoyed as widely as possible, and as much by women as men." Well, that is entirely possible but the content reflects the proportions of the materials available, not the interests of a diverse audience (e.g. many female nudes, very few men). Also, this is a collection of erotic material that is historic or has artistic or literary pretensions. It is a world in which magazines, pulp paperbacks, pin ups, movies, and the internet in its entirety do not even exist.
There is nothing wrong with that but I think it would be naive to present the collection is representative by any demographic variable, including gender. The only female writer referred to at any length is the darling or the literati, Anais Nin, whose biological sex is treated somewhat as a curiosity--it seems that the many anonymous artists and authors are presumed to be male. Homosexual material is given reasonable, but not extensive, coverage thanks largely to Oscar Wilde. Other nations are covered in the areas traditional for such works, the Karma Sutra, Japanese prints etc. But this coverage is deft and evocative given the few pages each particular subject gets in such a dense collection.
The voice of the original text that is interspersed with the excerpts is surprisingly uniform and lively, but it is highly gendered and not in a SNAG or metrosexual way. At its best it this text has pathos and humor that helps pull together all the disparate material samples. For example I was particularly struck by the following description of antique erotica photographs: "However charming or erotic Victorian photographs are , whatever magic contemporary chemicals and lenses have made of flesh tones, they always have a poignant quality. These were people who once lived, who crimped their hair, who tried not to laugh at the photographer's props. Now they are symbols of the fin-de-siecle: a reminder of the 'great vital constants' -- sex and death" [pg. 139]
But on the less charming side this narrator make some rather unenlightened comments such as implying that Casanova's promiscuity indicates "underlying homosexuality". In fact, from a fully modern point if view some of the narrator's statements seem hopelessly uninformed, for example: "...would a woman find [a well written homosexual encounter] positively erotic as men do lesbian scenes?" Quite how a historian of erotica could fail to know the answer to that question, I do not know--for yaoi/slash/MM has a history of its own that even the casual of observer of the genre would tend to stumble across. The same ironic, almost Victorian, blinkers reappear with the statement "[m]ale interest in female masturbation has no real counterpart in women."
These perspective make sense only to a person who limits their interest exclusively to the high art realms in which female "agency", as artist or consumer, is very poorly represented. To generalise from this paucity to conclusions about women per se is, at best, naive--and at worst indicative of an "underlying sexism" that runs thought even books with an overt mission to be enlightened about sex and sexuality in both the ancient and modern world.
The greatest asset of this book is also its greatest limitation: refinement. There is the homosexuality of Greek vases, but no Tom of Finland, no Mapplethorpe. The black-and-white semi-nudes of China Hamilton appear multiple times, but no Marilyn Monroe, no Betty Page. The Collected Erotica is a good "starter" book for the curious neophyte, but only part of your complete diet if you truly want to understand the full breadth and depth of our erotic traditions--high-, low- and middlebrow.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
All of the pictures are middle-aged or older, without cosmetics or fancily styled hair, and most have serious expressions. This is, of course, standard for portrait photography from the turn of the last century--when most women were capable of crafts rather more demanding than can accomplished with a hot glue gun and a stencil set. But all they are, in the eyes of this artist, are witches.
Never mind that they are, or were, ordinary, real people. Never mind the historical role of witchcraft accusations as a way of vilifying and even murdering unacceptably independent, unconventional or inconvenient women. Smiling, young, blonde, beautiful, heavily styled women are good. Older, serious, brunette, average looking, plainly dressed women are witches.
Some things never change.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Double amputee, Sergeant Smith, was skeptical about Sigrid's idea to enter the piggy-back race. But went she turned up to the event wearing a ball gown and high heeled shoes that was just taking things too far!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Do you remember the song "Barbie Girl" by Aqua?
Do you remember how Mattel tried very hard to sue for copyright infringement (and failed because the song is a parody and so "fair use").
And yet today, over ten years later, I saw a TV advertisement for a barbie doll with hair you can style that used the distinctive hook from the song.
And that's not all, look at this:
I guess money always wins in the end?
Barbie Girl embraced by Mattel
Years Later, Mattel Embraces ‘Barbie Girl’
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Isn't that logo a kid with a number tattooed on his arm giving a stiff-arm salute?
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Thirty years ago written erotica was written almost exclusively by and for men. The shady recesses of the bookstore had a few books old enough to be somewhat acceptable as classics (Moll Flanders, The Story of O) and some extended sexual fantasies (although the hay day of the "sleaze" paperback novel had already passed). Writing erotica mainly involved writing for brown bag magazines also aimed primarily at men.
Twenty years ago the internet was beginning to slay most magazines and many of the rest had lost their reputation for printed good fiction. There was a great outpouring of amateur erotic fiction at newsgroups and eventually formalised in sites like Literoritca (1998). Erotica in the public eye started to include rather more than two genders and fetishes previously unimagined by most memebersof the public.
Ten years ago Black Lace (founded 1993) was beginning to make inroads in erotic novels written by and for women, as a viable alternative. Starting with Ellora's Cave, epublishers (crossing over into print-on-demand novels) brought highly erotic romance into the mainstream. Novels with explicit sex started to dominate the acres of romance fiction in chain stores. Female fetishes were catered to by increasing numbers of small presses, now numbering in scores.
Most recently Black Lace, which never got on the romance band-wagon) ceased to publish new work. Writers on forums have begun to ask if there is any market for romance that is not erotic, and if there is any market for erotica that is not romance. Barnes and Noble has acquired Fictionwise, the largest vendor of ebooks. New ebook vendor AllRomanceEbooks opened their new all genre site (Omnilit, 2009). And erotica is listed only as a sub-genre of romance.
Written erotica seems to have become over-whelmed by backflow from the much larger romance genre. Small presses focusing on erotica of all types struggled to find a loyal readership, and to find writers who can combine a readable plot with titillating sexual material. I suppose it is a swing of the pendulum, having one read erotica as a kind of uninvited voyeur, the female gaze has now seized centre stage and squeezed the men into the wings.
Perhaps the reason a balance eludes us is that the male readers enjoyed erotica, but predominantly as a guilty please--not to be discussed in mixed company. And many women read erotica only as justified as an ostensibly secondary aspect of romance--a genre almost no men will openly read. We have marked out genres based on gender boundaries, and erotica can jump the fence, but not straddle it.
So to speak.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Okay, so an eleven-year-old girl is abducted, imprisoned and raped over a period of eighteen years. That is not a virtual slave. That is an actual slave.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
But sometimes I come across something that is the pure and utter dark side of all of these things. Like a bill being passed into law in Afghanistan that removes all rights of custody from mothers, does not allow them to work without a husband's permission, and allows a husband to refuse to give his spouse food until she consents to sex. The selfish use of force can spoil anything. It says motherhood is unimportant, food is a weapon, a woman is a sexual amenity without free will, marriage is slavery and the law is a mechanism for the oppression of the vulnerable.
This is so saddening and perverse I cannot even enjoy complaining about it. Because it is not unimportant. It cuts to the heart of what we should be as people. Men and women. This law suggests not only a horrible role for women but a terrible identity for men and I do not see why either would tolerate such a law, let alone write, support, vote for or celebrate it.
I am grateful not to live under such a law which would make the independence I experience as a single professional woman literally impossible. But I should not blithely enjoy my status without aome gratitude, and some obligations. My pleasures are allowed to me as a virtue of my culture, not the birth right of every human being. It makes me realise that each of my pleasures (freedom from oppression, education and literacy, self-determination, ample food) is also a privilege, and not one to be taken for granted.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
But, at the danger of agreeing with the Daily Mail, designing a doll for the specific purpose of simulating breast feeding, complete with strap-on nipple, is ... odd. And "odd" is putting it mildly.
I don't know, maybe it is fine in the context of Spanish culture, but making this an export product was, IMHO, a mistake. Or maybe I am a throwback because it never bothered me that newborn dolls came with bottles. Not that I would consider, even for a second, giving a young girl a newborn doll unless she asked for it.
Oh well. It won't be the first time I was caught being a hypocrite.
But until people are ready to see actual breast-feeding in public without blinking, complaining or deleting it from facebook, I doubt it will be considered a fine recreation activity for the 5 to twelve set.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Don't miss the rest in this series:
* Food is like Love
* Truth is like Beauty
* Flares are like Totally Last Decade
* Riding Naked and Bareback on a Windswept Beach is like Vigorously Applying Sandpaper to Your Genitalia.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
This really is not surprising.
Presumably all insurance companies have subtle differences so that each of them offer the best deal for certain types of people seeking certain kinds of coverage. And most people who change insurance companies will tend to choose the cheapest deal they are aware of that meets their needs.
Ergo most people changing from any company to any other company will save money--especially during a recession when they may also be reducing coverage.
So no, I am not surprised.
Just how stupid do the boffins at State et al think we are?
Monday, July 20, 2009
It seems even meat can't look like meat anymore. Payments are lower of you have spotted or striped pigs because the consumer doesn't know natural pigment from mold so these pigs need to be skinned before packaging. Steak is sprinkled with chemicals to help it keep a red, freshly dead color rather than a natural dark brown. And chicken is soaked in saltwater to make it fatter and heavier.
So Foster Farms makes an explicit connection between meat primping and cosmetic surgery with their "Say No to Plumping" campaign, complete with a bizarre little video with talking chickens. --"I've been thinking about having some plumping done...a lot of chicken's are having it done, Betsy." -- But, well, frankly I find chickens talking about being fatter and tastier, in the voices of chatty female friends pretty damn unappetising. If anything it makes me roll my eyes at Foster Farms.
The entire campaign website contains a total of about one page of largely unreferenced moral panic statements suggesting plumped chicken is a direct route to cardiac arrest and stomach cancer, reference to science no data actually on the site, and the whole thing excessively plumped up with talking animals. Chicken who want to be centerfold of succulant fleshiness.
Chickens are to women what public health campaign are to preachy ad campaigns--totally different things, thank you very much. (I also note that the chicken actors aren't beak or claw trimmed for our convenience. I bet all the chickens actually raised on at Foster Farms are and that whole issue worries me more than some saltwater.)
In the economic section the amount of "plump" versus real meat is calculated based on a nice heterosexual marraige with one child eating the purely speculative industry ideal of four chicken meal a week. Uh-huh. --"Plumping is deceiving, Martha."-- I am sure the idea is that natural is better. but in the end this campaign read more like a creepy male point-of-view rant about how women use cosmetics to seem more beautiful than they are, cheating the male "consumer".
For added "ewww" factor try replacing the word "plump" with other words in the little videos.
"The people who want to plump me say no one would ever find out".
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Take for, for example, this Singaporean Burger King ad (source). Comparing a seven inch sandwich to male genitalia is overly obvious and not terribly clever, but, whatever. What make me more uncomfortable is the heavily made up and photoshopped women looking rather like a doll, a frightened doll. That's just, um, not nice.
Or is she just meant to look... surprised?
Blowing A Seven Inch…Sandwich
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Enter Biore, the skin product for people who don't have skin problems. You see having skin that is neither oily nor dry is now no longer having good skin, it is having the "problem" of "in-between" skin. Don't worry, keep slathering unnecessary products on it and I am sure it will be screwed up in no time.
I mean, seriously, you cannot make this shit up: "Over acne angst? Too young for wrinkle remedies? You and 21 million other women have in between skin. We have create a space just for you ... and nobody else". Nobody else, presumably, than those other 11 million, 900 thousand and 99 other in-betweeners with whom you are meant to interact in a skin care social networking "space" based on the compulsion to treat the terrible problem of not having problem skin.
What next? The umbrella for days when it is neither rainy nor sunny? Perhaps the transparent rug for people who want the inconvenience of having some things to vacuum but still want to be able to see their floorboards. Or maybe I am just bitter because my acne and wrinkle phases decided to overlap, excluding me forever from that coveted "in between" status....
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
I apologise for the poor quality of the picture but the damn thing was spinning around rather quickly under conditions of near darkness. It is one of 250-odd (and I do mean odd) carousal figures on what is billed as the world largest indoor carousal.
Anatomically speaking you must admit this this centaur lady is made of pure, 100% WTF. But then the House on the Rock is pretty high grade WTF throughout. (More about that later).
Friday, May 29, 2009
Latisse, unlike many beauty drugs, does seem to work but:
* Nobody knows its mechanism of action (as stated here)
* Its known side effects are that it can cause eye swelling, and brown coloration of eyelids that is (probably) reversable and brown color change or the iris of the eye which is not reversible.
No, don't get me wrong, I think people with various disorders and complaint causing hair loss could benefit. Yes, Latisse is FDA approved but this does not mean it 100% safe, it means that it can help with a disease or disorder. The Latisse site says: "LATISSE™ is an FDA-approved prescription treatment for hypotrichosis used to grow eyelashes, making them longer, thicker and darker. Hypotrichosis is another name for having inadequate or not enough eyelashes."
But the advertisement I saw was clearly aimed at encouraging purely cosmetic use by people with normal but not enormous, eyelashes--not people with a disorder effecting their eyelash appearance. Unless anyone is suggesting Brooke Shields had hypotrichosis and beauty maven Anastasia is an expert in diagnosing this condition? Who would risk an unknown drug with weird side effects when the same effect can be produced with mascara? And is it responsible to run an expensive ad campaign encouraging them to take a prescription medication instead?
The FDA clearly has in mind that this drug be used to compensate for deficits in eyebrow appearance caused by a medical condition. Anastasia seems to have something rather less humanitarian in mind when she urges women: "If you're not happy with the lashes you were born with — and let's face it, many of us aren't — LATISSE™ is a great option that delivers real results."
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
"Now every time you want to turn on your light you will have to click the switch twice, not once like before--then the light will come on. Oh, and sometimes if you don't move around enough the light will spontaneously go off and you will have to switch it on again. And I will gradually change all of the light switches in your house to this system, and perhaps the garbage disposal and garage door operator too.
And he adds apologetically, "sometimes you won't flick the switch in quite the right way. But that is okay, just doing it again and it should eventually work."
Now you might ask why the hell he is going to do this. And he might say, "oh, mostly we will harness this energy and use it to good things like provide power to poor people. But some undisclosed amount of the time we will just use it to make some money. And I am going to keep the money. But we have convinced the power company to require you to use these switches, so you really do not have any choice."
How would you feel about that?
Because you know those recaptcha field where you type in two words? One of those word is a security precaution, the other is you digitalising a scanned document for someone else. And at least some pf the time that someone else is a commercial entity like the new York Times who "paid an undisclosed sum to von Ahn's CMU team to complete its project."
Recaptacha is portrayed as being so clever because it uses a worthless and wasted resource (our time) to make something valuable (money for them). First it was on Wordpress, and Craiglist, then Today.com, now Shutterstock. Companies are taking the easy road of giving away their contributors' and customers' time for a cheap security option. Cheap to them that it, as is usual the workers end up bearing the cost in units of a few second here and there throughout their day. But to the tune of decoding millions of words per day--both for the public good and for profit.
And nobody seems to mind? Is it because
* Young white men from universities must be obeyed?
* We truly think our time is worthless?
* Typing barely legibly word is fun?
* We like saving large commercial companies money?
Just say no to Recaptcha. In this economy companies should hire people to fix their security and the New York Times can get my labor for free when they post the resulting archives on the open internet, also for free. Until them the digital proletariat need to protest, not thank "the man" for exploiting them.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
"Can I speak to the person in the household that pays the XXXX bill."
"I don't pay that bill."
"Can I speak to your husband then?"
"I don't pay that bill. A bill from that company doesn't come to this address."
"So who pays that bill."
"Nobody, I am not one of you customers."
The second was a company trying to tell me something unnecessary about a minor change in their terms of service, it went like this.
"I am calling about your XXXX service."
"So is this Mrs XXX."
"Actually Dr. XXX"
"I am calling about your XXXX service."
"So I gather."
Seriously. Is this still the type of script phone staff are being given? Out-dated much?
"Only the males are killed in accordance with the rules," said journalist Heba Nasreddin, while "the piglets and sows are hit with an iron bar and left to bleed to death."
So when it comes to non-halal animals it seems women and children come last?
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Gig Harbor school tape of kiss leads to complaint