Monday, August 30, 2010

Summers Evil and the Dangers of Ephemism

Several recent blogs have picked up on a 'advertorial' by Summers Eve (see right, click to enlarge).  This full page ad tried, very ineptly, to mash together an ad for soap with an article about how to ask for a raise.  I don't have anything to add on the general stupidity of this advertisement.

I would like to make one point.  I was suspicious as I read the Boing boing article that it would be easy to mistake exactly what kind of product Summers eve is.  My suspicion deepened when I read the Sociological Images post entitled : Douching Your Way to the Top.

We are so used to the euphemisms aren't we?  "Feminine wash", "Feminine cleansing"?  It means vagina soap, right?  Douching?  Actually, no, it doesn't.  If you put these products in your vagina you are likely to end up with a very unpleasant result.

As irrational as it might seem Summers Eve is selling a product designed solely for washing the external pubic areas.  Or as they say "the external vaginal area".  WTF?! Isn't that akin to calling the face "the external throatal area", or the buttocks "the external anus area".  And for extra coyness the FAQ part of the page refers to the pudenda as "down there" (I kid you not).  And should you feel any doubt at all: "Summer's Eve washes and shower gels are not used internally".

Why would you need a special soap just for washing the skin in the pubic area, which is exactly the same as the skin covering the rest of your body?  I have no idea.  But just remember, don't put soap or any other cleaning products inside your vagina even if you do need a raise... 'kay?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Classic Covers: the Glorious Pool

Oops, we forgot to get cover art done for that smutty swimming pool book.

Eh, just trace over Miss August.  Nobody will know the difference.

What about the background?

Some basic shapes, bright colors, scribble in some grass there....

Bingo.  That'll do.  Nobody buys these things for the covers after all.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is this story true?

[Aug 25, 2010] The story of a 72-year-old grandmother having a sexual affair (and surrogate baby) with her grandson has been all over the internet after appearing in New Zealand magazine New Idea. The question is: is any of it true. To put is bluntly, incest and weird surrogacy fits into some Kiwi stereotype of what might happen in crazy ol' America.  And this story fits neatly in the media categories or 'thing we love to hate' and 'thing we love to gossip about'.  It tidily combines: incest, age difference/older woman, old woman uses surrogate (or any other fertility service), 'he's with her?!' and many other memes of prurient interest and moral outrage. It is, to put is frankly, too outrageous to easily believe it is true. The fact that the story has now vanished from New Idea's website suggests that someone is not happy with mag's fact checkers right now.  Stay tuned for developments.

'I'm in love with my grandson and we're having a baby'

When 72-year-old Pearl met her grandson, little did she realise she'd soon be 'pregnant' with his child

Pearl Carter is positively glowing with joy. She has a handsome new boyfriend, is enjoying an active sex life after many years of celibacy and, amazingly, is preparing to become a mother again.

But the retired grandmother isn't carrying the baby herself. She and her young lover have spent a staggering $54,000 hiring a surrogate to help them with their dreams of having a child.

What makes Pearl's decision to become a mum again even more shocking is that her new boyfriend is her biological grandson, 26-year-old Phil Bailey.

Phil is the son of Pearl's daughter Lynette Bailey, and the pair is braving public horror and even prison by breaking one of the last taboos – incest.

However, the pair makes no apologies for their controversial plan to start their own family.

'I'm not interested in anyone else's opinion,' Pearl says. 'I am in love with Phil and he's in love with me. Soon I'll be holding my son or daughter in my arms and Phil will be the proud dad'.

Phil adds, 'I love Pearl with all my heart. I've always been attracted to older women and I think Pearl is gorgeous. Now I'm going to be a dad and I can't wait.

'Yes, we get laughed at and bullied when we go out and kiss in public but we don't care. You can't help who you fall for.'


Monday, August 23, 2010

The Cuglies

There is ugly, pug ugly and fugly... and then there is cugly.  A brand of ugly found only in clothing catalogs, rendered even more mind boggling that even on attractive models, and with reckless use of Photoshop, it still looks this bad.  Rest assured should you go temporarily insane and buy this thing, it will look even worse in the privacy of your own home. The only scenario that makes this... shirt (?) in any way explicable it as follows.

Bob: "Oh shit, Benny.  You know that multiple-choice checklist we send to our sweat shops?"

Benny: "Yeah, so?"

Bob: "It looks like we accidentally ticked every single collar option on the gray blouse.  Now we have ten thousand blouses with six different kinds of collar, and a bow."

Benny: "Is that all? Our customers are, pretty much by definition, devoid of any style of sense.  They probably won't even notice."

Bob: "You're right, lets pair it the gray suit with the giant bow on the shoulder."

Benny: "Whoa boy, if you put to much polyester on the upper torso it can create a spontaneous singularity and bring about the end times. Don't you remember the Rayon Housecoat Crisis! We ended up having to convince people that Texas always looked like that."

Bob: "You're right Benny.  Thanks for talking me down there."

Benny: "Any time, Bob.  Any time.  Now hand me that bag of polyester lace shoulder pads and the hot glue gun.  I have a hundred bolero jackets to bedazzle before quitting time."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fun with Catalogs #1

As I can't get them to stop sending me catalogs, I may as well have fun with them. I vaguely remember an artist who cut out girls in skin mags and showed the reverse image, and sold it for big bucks (nice job if you can get it). This is the PG-rated, totally free (and worth every cent) version of the same idea.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Under-appreciated Villainesses: Dansen Macabre

Dansen Macabre is a Marvel Comics villain in search of an artist who appreciates her pin up perfection.  I mean most comic books turn even the most unassuming female character into a burlesque nightmare.  But Dansen Macabre is a Kali-Cult, exotic dancer who hypnotised men with her routine.  Also she dresses in what appears to be a totally form-fitting white catsuit and a black ribbon so dynamic it puts Coca-Cola's trademarked logo to shame.  And the depictions of her are uninspired, at best.

If I have to put up with phallocentric comic books they should at least be able deliver the one thing they are mean to be good at--the objectification of fantasy women.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Old Spice

Much has been made of the recent Old Spice ads (see also YouTube) and I have to agree that they are pretty cool.  They are trading pretty heavy on the trope of 'you can love it honestly, or you can love it ironically'.  This is the same basic principle that lets me wear a Princess Sparkle (My little Pony) T-shirt without having to turn in my feminist card. (And, personally, the centaur ad is my favorite)

What seems to be less clear is whether the heavily ironic mantitty of  Isaiah Mustafa  is actually selling any aftershave.  Some guy (I don't remember the name of men who leave their shirts on) on the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast asked whether you would wear something in order to smell ironic, is that even possible? Well my answer is that there is at least one kind of person who can wear a symbol of masculinity ironically, no matter how it is produced.

And that is a woman.  (Yes, I did buy some bodywash and deodorant.  Advertising wins again!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Librarian Erotica, Who Knew?

Librarians, as a profession, have a rather strange and conflicted reputation. One aspect of it is perfect primness and propriety.  And it seems that where ever such a reputation exists, it results in pornography.  There is a list of 49 hardcore pornography novels about librarians here that is strangely fascinating. Another ten (including one more) are reviewed here.  And there are two more examples mentioned here--bringing the total to 52.

So called "sleaze" paperback like these tend to go uncatalogued and were not printed on good quality paper. As such many titles are impossible to find and at the end of their life-span as physical objects. I certainly do not need to start a new collection, but if anyone out there is so included, here are the titles you would be looking for. 

I also added some more modern examples and reprints (links to Amazon). This leaves us with a listed of 61!  And I am sure I have missed more than a few.

Listed, of course, in alphabetical order (by title).  Some of these titles will contain material guaranteed to offend just about anyone--you have been warned.

  1. Bang the Librarian Hard by Laura Winters
  2. Campus Lust
  3. Chained, Whipped Librarians
  4. The Chaste Librarian by Celia Jade
  5. Degraded Raped Librarian
  6. Eager Beaver Librarian
  7. Eager-to-Spread Librarian by Don Scott
  8. Eager Young Librarian by J.D. Blackwood
  9. First Rear Entry
  10. Forbidden Reading by Linette Ashton
  11. Helpful Head Librarian
  12. Horny Balling Librarian by Nick Eastwood
  13. Horny Hot Librarian
  14. Horny Licking Librarian
  15. Horny Peeping Librarian by Frank Brown
  16. Hot Bed Librarian
  17. The Hot Librarian! A Novel of Erotica - Erotic Encounters by Iyla Brown
  18. Hot, Licked Librarian
  19. Hot Loving Librarian
  20. Hot Mouth Librarian
  21. Hot Pants Librarian
  22. Hot to Trot Librarian
  23. The Hottest Librarian by Gary F. Woods
  24. In Heat Librarian
  25. Janet, Librarian by Raphael Mello
  26. Lash the Librarian!
  27. The Librarian by Carmine
  28. The Librarian by Victoria Calaway
  29. The Librarian Gets Hot
  30. The Librarian Got Hot
  31. Librarian in Bondage
  32. Librarian in Chains
  33. Librarians Don't Get Married by A P Miller
  34. The Librarian Licks Big Ones
  35. The Librarian Loves It.
  36. The Librarian Loves to Lick by Frank Warfield
  37. The Librarian Slave
  38. The Librarian With the Hots
  39. The Librarian's Boys
  40. The Librarian's Hot Fun
  41. The Librarian's Hot Lips
  42. The Librarian's Hot Urges by Nick Eastwood
  43. The Librarian's Love by Ava Delany
  44. The Librarian's Naughty Habit by Heather Brown
  45. A Librarian's Training.
  46. Licking the Librarian by Hank Borden
  47. Line Up for the Librarian
  48. The Lusty Librarian by Waldo Beck
  49. Naughty Voyeur Librarian by Nick Eastwood.
  50. Nympho Librarian.
  51. The Oral Librarian. 
  52. Overdue for Please by Shelley Aikens
  53. Overeager Librarian.
  54. Raped and Roped Librarian.
  55. Sally - Sexy Librarian.
  56. Sex Behind the Stacks.
  57. The Sinful Librarian by Anonymous
  58. Split  by Kristina Lloyd
  59. Three-way with the Librarian.
  60. Untamed by Kathleen Lawless
  61. The Young Librarian by Rod Waleman
  62. What a Librarian! 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Classic Cover: A Stranger in my Arms

The reason our heroine finds herself in the arms of strangers may be that her idea of an intimate embrace involves grasping her man firmly by each lapel.  Or possibly she just can't find a man who her shares her passionate for interpretive dance.

Her: "You kneel on the floor behind me fully clothed, and I will close my eyes and reach backwards over my shoulders...."

Him: "Why are we doing this again?"

Her: "It will express our ineffable connection, and also do wonders for my lower back pain."

Him: "Screw this for a game of soldiers."

The previous title of this book was And Ride a Tiger, so maybe that is what actually happened to his lower extremities.

Friday, August 6, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics by Hillary L. Chute

Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics (Gender and Culture Series)

My taste in female-authored comics is pretty obvious from the sidebar of this blog.  Colleen Doran (A Distant Soil), Wendy Pini (Elfquest), Donna Barr (Stinz, Desert Peach) and I am also a fan of women embedded in the production line comics (such as artist Lily Renee Phillips).  But I have never been much drawn to the rather sordid memoirs of the overtly feminist artists covered in the book I am reviewing today (Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Phoebe Gloeckner, Lynda Barry, Marjane Satrapi, Alison Bechdel).
Need More Love: A Graphic Memoir

My first impression of Graphic Women was not over-whelmingly positive, it is written in the convoluted, polysyllabic jargon that is the academic version of purple prose. And it did not help that, to my eye, Chute simplifies some things that are complicated and complicates some things that are simple.  For example she frequently attributes the different levels of critical such of Husband (Crumb) and wife (Kominsky-Crumb) to sexism.  While there is no doubt that sexism plays a role it is a complex one in which commercial appropriateness and the development of associated skills are involved--not just the crass biases of critics.  Meanwhile the blocking of Gloeckner's work from spaces like public libraries has less to do with its complex and uncomfortable themes than the depiction of erect penises which has always been a problem whether the context is high art or Playgirl magazine.

The Complete PersepolisThere is good and proportional use of excepts from the works being discussed, embroidering upon their composition, meaning and context. It seems to me that Chute varies in how much she illuminates the various author-artists. For example, she is revealing in discussing Kominsky-Crumb, and settles into a more plain-spoken and almost journalistic tone in the chapter on Marjane Satrapi. I think the best balance is struck in the final chapter on Alison Bechdel where the complexity of Chute's language and of the subject are best married together. 
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic 
But there seems to be a very persistent self-involved strain such as when Alison Bechdel asserts that cartooning is "inherently autobiographical"--when the format as a whole clearly leans more towards the fantastical. Overall, it seems to me that the non-literary graphic novel and comic communities aware of and while not embracing, certainly respect, the literary and memoir aspects of the format.  however it seems that the reverse is not true.  The bold fantasies mainstream of comics is almost completely absent from considerations of the context for the author-artists in this volume and their intricate and neurotic disclosures.

One Hundred DemonsOverall, after reading this book, I did find their work of these female comic artists rather more appealing when 'taken from behind' in terms of motivation, biography and wider social context--than when Ii had taken them at face value. I was convinced, for example, for the first time that Kominsky-Crumb's naive style is a fully deliberate choice--albeit one I still find off-putting. I did however use my limited funds to buy a copy of Kominsky-Crumbs graphic memoir and of Persepolis.  On the whole I would say this book is dense, informative and useful in understanding a rather isolated but important strand of graphic novel development, but that this book embodies rather than explains its peculiar and irritating pretensions.

Cross-posted to Feminist Review

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hopped Up on Sex

It seems that the world's so-called experts have trouble with the message that people, so long as nobody is being harmed should do what they want--what they enjoy.  I imagine this has something to do with the fact that if this simple message was widely accepted, we wouldn't never quite so many "experts". I read a of  I noticed the subtle and not so subtle statement, that women should not enjoy books more than sex, that women who don't want  lot of sex should somehow learn to want it. ("Hoppe ... offers numerous ways women can boost their desire for sexual intimacy.")Healthy Sex Drive, Healthy You: What Your Libido Reveals About Your Lifereview

No matter how liberated or accepting of diversity our society becomes, we cannot seem to get away from the constant conflicting condemnations.  A woman must not be a slut. A woman must not be frigid.  A woman cannot just have as much sex as she wants, she must determine how much she is meant to want, and somehow achieve that frequency. A woman must not prioritise other things above having just the right amount of sex.  A woman is important to the extent that she is providing and receiving sex ("Physical intimacy with your partners is important because it is a barometer of your whole life").

To be fair it is entirely possible that the book focuses on women who want a higher libido, rather than prescribing it, if you will excuse the phrase, willy-nilly. But all of the surrounding materials seem to ring with echoes of my collection of Victorian sexual non-fiction. "Women's lives are fuller and richer than ever, but often at the expense of sexual intimacy." (Working women are de-sexed). "[A] woman s libido is a reflection of her overall health" (if you don't want sex--or 'enough' sex--you are abnormal and sick).  Hoppe's book, for all its professed 'holism' seems to exist in a world devoid of healthy celibates, asexuals, single people or--as far as I can tell, lesbians. A world that would be strangely familiar to the bearded sexual experts of one hundred years ago.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I am Sexist

I really am; I honestly think we all are to some extent both against woman and men.  We marinade in our culture and no matter what you want to think or feel, it does get in. 

For example this morning I was scanning the middle of an article about a member of congress being quizzed on possibly breaking ethics rule.  This was the picture. I caught myself making an assumption about which one was a member of congress.  (Hint, it's the one on the left.)

In one of those stabbing little ironies the story on the facing page was about how San Francisco ban on affirmative action was upheld.  Specifically that to return to an affirmative action program one would have to show that the city "purposefully and intentionally discriminated."  The problem being that you don't have to be purposeful or intentional to discriminate--and those who do discriminate overtly are usually smart enough to lie about it.