Archive for February, 2019

An omission

February 23, 2019

What someone doesn’t say can be as significant as what they do say; more generally, a topic that someone doesn’t talk about can be as significant as the topics that they do.

So I don’t know quite what to make of a passage from a NYT op-ed column by Thomas T. Cullen (U.S. attormey for the Western District of Virginia), on-line yesterday under the title “The Grave Threats of White Supremacy and Far-Right Extremism: Hate crimes are on the rise. Police and prosecutors need better tools to fight back.” and in print today under the title “Rising Far-Right Extremism in America: Police and prosecutors need better tools to fight back”, about the case of Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson, arrested last week and accused of plotting to assassinate Democratic members of Congress, prominent television journalists, and others. The passage:

In 2009, Congress took an important step in arming federal investigators to deal with hate crimes by passing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This law makes it possible to prosecute as hate crimes violent acts committed against victims because of their race, color, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity or disability. The law provides stringent maximum penalties, including life imprisonment, if someone is killed during a hate crime.

The omission in the bold-faced clause is sexual orientation, which is specifically listed in the Shepard/Byrd law — as a result of the savage murder of Shepard in 1998 because of his sexual orientation.

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Driving it home

February 23, 2019

 

(Simulacrum of a hunky mostly naked, though not actually X-rated, charioteer. Loud gay undertones, and overtones too, but nothing direct about sex. Still, possibly not to your taste.)

Symbological notes on the occasion of a gift from Vadim Temkin: a 2019 calendar using his Gay Tarot of Eons materials, in particular the page for this month, February, with his Chariot card:


(#1) Most obvious phallicity: the spear. Auxiliary phallic symbol: the column. Subtler symbolism: the two horses (testicular symbols, perhaps) rushing onwards, barely controllable (as in an erection — the charioteer as erect penis — rushing towards ejaculation). Crowning symbolism: the Spartan helmet, in an open-faced variant.

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In the land of supertitles

February 22, 2019

Revived on Facebook recently, this 2/20/12 Cyanide and Happiness cartoon by Jay A.:

(#1)

The first three panels are routine (but annoying): Character 1 produces an example of AccConjSubj (the non-standard Accusative Conjoined Subject me and Steve) and Character 2 reacts with hysterical peeving, becoming physically sick from experiencing the AccConjSubj.

But then we discover that we’re not in anything like the real world, where someone speaks and someone else hears what they say, but instead in the Land of Supertitles, where someone produces a banner with writing on it and someone else reads it. That has to be what’s going on — since otherwise how could Chr2 know how Chr1 was spelling what they said? YOUR instead of YOU’RE, ALLERGYS insead of ALLERGIES, AFFECT instead of EFFECT, THEIR instead of THEY’RE, ITS instead of IT’S — they’re all homophones, so how could Chr2 know that Chr1 was spelling them wrong? UNLESS CHR2 COULD READ WHAT CHR1 WAS SAYING.

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For gay penguins, science and Canada!

February 21, 2019

A few days ago, this full-page magazine display made the rounds of Facebook:


(#1) Deriding the “Libtard Agenda” while imitating the Johnson Smith Co.’s ads for novelty items in the back pages of comic books and other publications aimed at children

The first copies I saw didn’t identify the creator or the publication the page came from, and there was some question whether it was (as George V. Reilly, invoking Poe’s Law, put it) “a right-wing parody of progressive views, or a left-wing parody of right-wing opinions of progressive views”. Parody, certainly, but from what viewpoint?

So in its form it’s a parody of a genre of advertising hucksterism. And then in its specific content it’s a parody of a style of political talk (either mocking what’s framed as a preoccuption with kale, gun control, facts, and the like, or mocking those who engage in such mockery).

Much has now become clear. To start with, the copy of the page in #1 identifies the creator as Mary Trainor, and that provides enough context to eventually sort things out.

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News for penises: notes on phallophilia

February 20, 2019

(This posting will go lots of places, some of which — a Greek military re-enactors’ group in Melbourne — you’ll find astonishing, but there’s no denying that, as the title suggests, it’s penis-dense. Without actually depicting them — those images are in my posting this morning on AZBlogX, “Gay Heart Throbs” — but still. However, without penises strewn along the road every few feet, there’s no getting to the fun stuff (like allusions to Miss Anne Elk and to Sonnets from the Portuguese). So use your judgment.)

Phallophilia I: self-regard. A recent Daily Jocks ad (for Kasper Military shorts from the Helsinki Athletica company) showing a hunky model gazing fixedly down at his bulging crotch, with a title and a caption supplied by me:


(#1) On contemplating his penis

Could I just say here for one moment that
I have a new theory about the penis?
Yes, well you may well ask, what is my theory.
And well you may. Yes my word you may well
Ask what it is, this theory of mine.

Well, this theory that I have — which is mine —
This theory which belongs to me is as follows.
Ahem. Ahem. This is how it goes.
Ahem. The next thing that I am about to say
Is my theory. Ahem. Ready?

My theory is along the following lines.
All penises are round at one end,
Tubular in the middle, and then
Anchored in hair at the far end.

That is the theory that I have
And which is mine, and
What it is too.

— excerpts from an interview with noted penis scholar Gay H. Throbs, DPhS. (Doctor of Phallological Science)

On the nose, GHT!

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Wading with Vladimir and Estragon

February 19, 2019

That, at least, is where it started, with this bit of playfulness on Facebook:

(#1)

One among a great many available versions of Wading for Godot (like this one, hardly any have an identifiable origin, but just get passed around on the web, along with jokes, funny pictures, and the like: the folk culture of the net). I’m particularly taken with #1, as a well-made image and as a close reworking of lines from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot:

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Film watch: men kissing men

February 18, 2019

As furors break out here and there over same-sex kisses in the media (especially in ads) and also in real life (in public places) — disgusting! THINK OF THE CHILDREN! get that out of my sight! — I move to celebrate them. Especially men kissing men, an act that enrages a fair number of people, apparently because they have been conditioned to view it as the functional equivalent of two sweaty naked men fucking. I view it as the functional equivalent of a man and woman kissing: an act of romantic connection with a spicy tang of sexual attraction (but no more)

And so I come to two recent British films viewed on Netflix: The Pass (Russell Tovey and Arinzé Kene as footballers) and God’s Own Country (Josh O’Connor and Alec Secăreanu as Yorkshire sheep farmers). Both are fraught love stories set in intensely masculine working-class social worlds. With wonderful performances. And man-on-man kissing, both touching and moving.

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Three exercises in cartoon understanding

February 18, 2019

Two from the 2/18&25/19 New Yorker — a Seth Fleishman (wordless) and a Lars Kenseth (a captioned meta-cartoon) — plus a vintage Gary Larson (considered both without caption and with).

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Eat it! The oral humiliation you deserve

February 17, 2019

Yesterday’s Wayno & Piraro Bizarro:


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

A play on desserts (on the menu) vs. the deserts of just deserts. Plus a small cascade of idioms on oral humiliations. With a nod to the nasty rough edges of the verb eat (and, while we’re on the subject, suck). (Eventually, this will lead to some very plain-language talk — not for kids or the sexually modest — about some social and sexual practices among gay men. I’ll warn you when the topic is imminent.)

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Presidents Day weekend in Berkeley

February 16, 2019

A bit of personal and intellectual history, having to do with the fact that there was a period of years when on the Friday before Presidents Day my husband-equivalent Jacques Transue and I would drive from Palo Alto to Berkeley for the annual meeting of the BLS, the Berkeley Linguistics Society, then held in Dwinelle Hall at UCB over the three-day weekend. (It has since moved its dates to less crowded times during winter quarter.)

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