Four ladies in red

October 26, 2021

From my old friend Matt Adams a few days ago, a wonderful sexy-funny image of his creation, composed while he and his husband Justin were on holiday at a gay b&b in the Canary Islands — a thoroughly satisfying semi-tropical place for people who live in the Netherlands, as Matt and Justin do, to vacate in while their adopted country slips into northern European winter (and all without leaving the EU); and of course a major travel destination for gay men (the beaches, in particular, are fabulous).

The composition, which I’ll analyze in more detail in a later posting, uses an image of Matt being playfully flirty while projecting an intense, earthy cruise (like, you can almost smell his sweat) — designed, if you’re in Matt’s intended audience, to make you laugh out loud and arouse you sexually, all at once. (Hey, it worked for me.)

Meanwhile, as background and counterpoint, Matt used one of four photos on display in that b&b in the Canaries, the Ladies in Red: highly sexualized (and stylized) images of women, which I would characterize as pin-up head shots, dripping with the redness of hot femininity and sexual bodyparts.

Today’s posting is mostly about the Ladies in Red. Matt and I haven’t been able to find out anything about the source of the images; they’re picked up and used in various advertisements (without credit), and Google Images seems to offer only that they’re stock photos of pin-up women. But there are at least four of them, and they’re clearly part of a thematic set. So one function of this posting is to present them to my readers in the hope that somebody out there can find out where they come from and what they were originally designed for.

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Tell me, stranger, of your high-end “”

October 25, 2021

Briefly, and without any photos, about the latest baffling offer to share the resources of this blog, in exchange for something or other. Previously in this vein: my 9/14/21 posting “May I use you?:

More adventures in blogging, this time in dealing with correspondents who want to use my blog for some purpose of their own, in exchange for something; the nature of these proposed deals is usually unclear to me

And then today, mail from FN LN, with the header:

Collaboration with Arnoldzwicky?

Here at the colossus of content that is Arnoldzwicky, our sharp feral ears, tuned to detect bullshit, tingled with suspicion. Which was then amply confirmed by the body of the message:

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Bug on the couch

October 24, 2021

The 10/23 Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, a Psychiatrist cartoon, with a bug — specifically, a mosquito — on the couch (Wayno’s title: “Interspecies therapy”):

(#1) Consider the mosquito, how it grieves (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 8 (an unusually large number) in this strip — see this Page.)

Not just the Psychiatrist meme (with all of its conventions), but also:

— the intersection of the human world (in which people go to therapists) and the insect world (in which mosquitoes have six legs, antennae, compound eyes, and proboscises)

— the bug-on-windshield trope

— Rorschach ink blots, as used by clinical psychologists

— autopsy photos

— fatal polytrauma, such as sometimes occurs in car crashes

Fully appreciating the cartoon then calls on a wide range of knowledge, both factual and cultural. I’ll take for granted here the (extensive) conventions of the Psychiatrist meme and go on to the rest.

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Men in the air

October 23, 2021

… with showers, gusty winds, and some concomitant masculine property damage, between 2 and 3 p.m., likely tapering off within an hour or two. Then this Karl Stevens cartoon from the 10/25 New Yorker:

(#1) “It’s raining men, every specimen /  Tall, blonde, dark and lean / Rough and tough and strong and mean”

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The end of the alphabet

October 22, 2021

Well, the Latin alphabet as used for writing English. Its Ω is Z, my letter: [zɛd] most Anglophone places, [zi:] in Anglophone America (meanwhile, it’s [tsɛt] in the language of my grandparents). Suddenly relevant once again when I stumbled on the Z-named  disc jockey Zedd, who led me to other Z-names: the singer / songwriter Zee Ali, the transgressive filmmaker Nick Zedd, and the robotic entertainer David Zed.

There are more; these four share the characteristic that their Z-names are professional names they’ve adopted. Their birth names, in order: Anton Zaslavski, Izyan Alirahman, James Harding, David Kirk Traylor.

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Tell me that you love me

October 21, 2021

Two very different occurrences from my experience.

The Fillmore plea. From the late 1960s, Chuck (Charles J.) Fillmore, tapped (as senior member of the linguistics department at Ohio State) to serve as acting chair of the department while Ilse Lehiste was on leave, hesitantly addressing the first faculty meeting of the year (I was one of those faculty):

(CJF) I can do this job if you all tell me, often, that you love me.

The Transue plea. From ca. 1990, my guy — my husband-equivalent — Jacques Transue, with some visible anxiety, pulling me aside for a moment of serious couple-talk, holding my hand, gazing into my eyes:

(JHT) I need you to tell me more often that you love me.

Two clearly different senses of the verb love (but both, of course, capable of different shadings in different contexts).

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Formicavore home cooking

October 19, 2021

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro strip (Wayno’s title: “Dietary Restrictions”), with a culinary misstep:

(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

There’s a lot to talk about here: the gendering of the two characters in #1; the Bizarro theme of anteaters and food; fire ants; hot and spicy food; the art of anteaters (it’s not just Bizarro).

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Arabic? Irish? Whatever

October 18, 2021

That’s the personal name /émǝn/, in a fully anglicized rendition of either of two very different names: the (Egyptian) Arabic name of MSNBC commentator Ayman Mohyeldin; or the Irish name of Google software engineer Éamonn McManus (who’s also a friend of mine). Time for a multicultural, multilingual moment.

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Two faces

October 17, 2021

(men’s bodies, references to sex between men, so inadvisable for kids and the sexually modest)

From ads in my e-mail recently, these two male faces, with (lots of) context removed:



The question is how we read these faces, what we see in them, and that turns out to be an enormous question, in part because our responses are a compound of  many different kinds of judgments, all of which are complex and variable in themselves.

The faces are not without context. They are, to start with, faces in poses (these faces are in static photos; if we had them in motion, there would be even more information to cope with).

Suppose we got them in a neutral pose, facing the camera. What we’d be looking at then would be a compound of a basic face overlaid by a facial expression, and we’re accustomed to assigning an interpretation to both of these things. And these interpretations are essentially never unique.

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Masculinity comics 7

October 17, 2021

Now graduating from boys and normative masculinity to men and normative masculinity, but still in the comics. Via Verdant on Twitter, the Lieutenant and Sarge in an old Beetle Bailey (apparently from 3/30/65):

At issue is the status of illegible vs. neat handwriting with respect to normative masculinity.

Sarge, offering himself as an authority on the matter, identifies his own illegible writing as rough, and is about to brand the Lieutenant’s neat writing as, well, at least soft.

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