Archive for September, 2021

Fireworks! Bang!

September 22, 2021

This posting originally came in two parts, united in fact by a sheer accident of timing, that two celebratory — fireworks! bang! — things happened  during a July weekend in the US: the first is a personal celebration, of an honor from the Linguistic Society of America that marks me as officially a kind of famous faggot (I happily embrace faggot); the second is the 4th of July holiday, an occasion as American as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie, but capable of being hijacked for raunchy purposes. But in the interests of getting something posted while I still live, I’m putting the second part off, to appear as a separate posting (which will require a warning of  irredeemable raunchiness; this part dips into sexual topics with some frequency, no surprise, but needs, I think, no more severe a warning than that).

Notes: I do love fireworks, because there are occasions when only excess will really do the trick; but like a stereotypical queer, I am at best lukewarm on sports (though I have an enthusiasm for the San Francisco Giants when they’re in the World Series — go figure); I enjoy eating the occasional hot dog (for its taste and texture as well as its phallicity), but it has to be kosher (I had my ritual Independence Day Hebrew National wurst on the 3rd); and I also enjoy eating apple pie, but my preference is for Julia Child’s Tarte aux Pommes (another faggy enthusiasm).

The other thing about holidays, the Fourth of July notably among them, is that they are occasions for elaborate advertising campaigns hawking homoware: men’s premium underwear (including oh my, jockstraps), steamily presented, and gay porn videos (not to mention sex toys for gay men), all of these items that I view both as sources of deep personal satisfaction (which I am happy to talk about in detail, in the plainest of street language) and as objects of academic analysis, on several levels.

And then I have contrived to make a more than accidental connection between celebrating my recognition as an LGBTQ+ linguist and celebrating the Fourth of July, by selecting a holiday porn ad that turns on the ambiguity of N and V bang, as referring to noise-making or as referring to sexual intercourse: consider this exemplary text, the Falcon Big Bang 2021 sale ad (for gay porn) that came in my e-mail on July 2nd:

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Guest posting on “How does he sleep at night?”

September 21, 2021

Back in my 9/4 posting “How does Wilderrama sleep at night?”, I appealed to my colleagues in semantics:

Dictionaries seem not to do a lot of sense differentiation for how — NOAD boils the relevant OED2 entry down to ‘in what way or manner; by what means’, all as one sense — and I don’t know anything in the semantics literature that covers this territory (but then I’m basically pig-ignorant of the semantics literature [this is hyperbolic, meant to be entertaining, but the truth is that what I know of semantics is unsystematic and patchy, things I’ve picked up as a syntactician outsider], so I’m sketching  a treatment improvisationally here. I would be happy to be illuminated.

And got a fine thoughtful response from Hana Filip (Professor of Semantics in the Dept. of Linguistics at Heinrch-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf), in several installments, which I will incorporate (lightly edited) below, with her permission, as a guest posting.  I induced her to agree to release this material, despite its being preliminary and far from publication style, with this appeal:

The point would be not that [you and I are] hammering out an answer, but that we’re thinking things through. My readers are mostly not linguists, so they don’t get to see linguists at work, before things turn into published material. In particular, they don’t get to see us using a conceptual apparatus (and the technical vocabulary to go with it) to try to make sense of the world; we don’t inject that technicality into the discussion just for show — but much of it is really necessary to get past the point of just accumulating judgments and examples from texts.

That will involve  my contributing explanatory text at various points, to fill in things that Hana and I take for granted (on her side, she’s not a specialist in syntax, but shares a considerable body of conceptual background with me in syntax). The result is then something like a public conversation between us, with me turning to the audience every so often with commentary on the proceedings.

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Powerfully eruptive, yet respectful of his anatomy

September 20, 2021

(Men’s underwear and its symbolic values, frank talk about male sexuality, but otherwise not over lines; use your judgment.)

Powerfully eruptive, yet respectful of his anatomy: the vaunted twin virtues of Krakatoa underwear for men, especially the company’s Vesuvius collection (which is, presumably, doubly volcanic in symbolic power), all with aggressively full front pouches, designed (as the ad copy has it) to respect a man’s anatomy while preparing him for life’s activities. The goods:


(#1) Krakatoa’s Vesuvius Collection: trunks, boxer briefs, and briefs in intense blue and intense red (power colors) and in black and (for the trunks) saturated gray (strongly masculine “just plain guy” colors), with those volcanic pouches all around

These two volcanos and this underwear will take us many places. But first, two shots of Krakatoa underwear (from lines other than Vesuvius) being modeled by actual men (accompanied by the ad copy “Put a volcano in your pants”).

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DI Gilmore Girls

September 19, 2021

Apparently, the Desert Island cartoon meme is inexhaustible; the New Yorker seems to have one in almost every issue. In the current, 9/20, issue, Maddie Dai gives us an odd couple whiling away the time on their island performing episodes of the tv show The Gilmore Girls. Until…

(#1)

Dai’s DI has some unusual features. Its tiny terrain is hilly; its sand has been shaped into a chair for one DIer to sit in (while watching his companion’s miming of Lorelai and Rory in the frame of the island’s faux-tv); the two shipwrecked DIers are an interracial couple; the island has not just the usual single palm tree, but an intimate pair of them. (The remote is a fine extra touch.)

As I’ve remarked earlier on this blog, the DI form allows a cartoonist to strip some rich real-world gag down to its essentials and make it pointed — but also deeply absurd by virtue of its being located on a nearly featureless DI.

In this case, Dai gives us what could have been a wry William Haefeli cartoon on the lives of urban gay men: a couple of Gilmore Girls enthusiasts playing at animating Lorelai and Rory in their New York apartment — with the watcher no doubt providing running commentary on the performer.

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Cockateal crotches

September 18, 2021

(Male bodyparts, sex between men, visually right up against the line, so entirely unsuitable for kids and the sexually modest.)

From yesterday’s “Materials for a blog”, reporting on my asking, puckishly, in Facebook:

What happens in the romantic popular song “Teal for Two”? If it’s set in a tealroom, whazzat?

Answers to these and other questions are forthcoming, but first the spur for my silly queries: a Daily Jocks ad for PUMP! men’s underwear, a display of PUMP!’s Activate homowear collection, in teal (with deep purple and white), with four teal studs in four different moose-knuckly garments, displaying four different cruise faces: We’re looking at you, buddy, cause we know what you need!

Ad copy:

Your favourite brand is back with a new collection for 2021. The PUMP! Activate collection comprises … a Trunk, Brief, Jock & Sidecut Brief, all made with premium materials to achieve unmatched levels of comfort and style.


(#1) Cockateal crotches: Cockateal, cockatool! / A-wand’ring I will go

Men’s underwear, a bird, a color, a sportive allusion to cocks of the phallic, rather than avian, sort. As in my 8/15/21 posting “Jock robin”, about Cock Robin and a jockstrap in robin’s egg blue.

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Unfree variation, summer of 2007

September 18, 2021

From a wildly defensive comment of mine on my 9/16 posting “The pengring”, a comment about my loss of an audience in linguistics:

Story. My proposal for a course at the 2007 Linguistic Institute (at Stanford) was rejected on its merits, but was added at the last minute (after I appealed in wounded anger) because I was a local faculty member. (This is the position of the applicant for college admissions who would not be admissible on the merits but is accepted as a legacy.) The course was, by all accounts, a tremendous success and I’m proud of what I did. (I’ll post the course description and my course-end summary of its content; all of the material for the course is in a Page on this blog.)

So here it is.

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Materials for a blog

September 17, 2021

Accumulated: a recent rush of bits of stuff — mostly, but not entirely, silly and playful — that might conceivably be turned into blog postings. I posted some of them yesterday on Facebook, and elicited some comments from readers there. In any case, I’m parking some notes here, rather than in computer files or little pieces of paper. This material is skeletal, but you might find some of it entertaining or thought-provoking. Warning: men’s underwear figures prominently.

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The pengring

September 16, 2021

In the mail yesterday (in transit for a month from Italy), this neon purple penguin key ring — a pengring, portmanteau of penguin + ring — a little gift of friendship in difficult times, from Anna Thornton — morphologist Anna M. Thornton, Professor of Linguistics at Università Degli Studi Dell’Aquila,  the University of L’Aquila, Italy:


(#1) A hollow key ring, with the hollow good for holding the pendant penguin and so finding and wielding the keys on the ring, though this particular design is usually intended to make the pendant usable as a bottle opener; I don’t, however, think I’d want to risk scratching that handsome purple surface on a bottle cap (but then twist caps have widely replaced pry-off caps, so we all have less call for bottle openers)

And from this, excursions in many directions.

I note at the outset that the penguin is one of my totem animals; my house is a riot of penguiniana (and mammuthiana as well). Anna’s choice of penguin as gift creature was no accident.

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Items of gay decor

September 15, 2021

(References to penises but no depictions of them , even (alas) on plastic action figures. On the other hand, there’s a neon pink dildo, so readers might want to exercise their judgment.)

My neon pink DJX Trough jockstrap (in size L) has arrived from the antipodes (the company is in Australia, but the jock was shipped from New Zealand) and been installed in its place as an item of decor in my living room. Meanwhile, my new Lollicock neon pink dildo has come to rest on the desk in my bedroom; it has become a Desk Dildo. And I am finally releasing a portrait of three gay action figures and their three companion mammoths, engaged in a ritual celebration under the blazing bedroom sun (on what I still think of as Jacques’s dresser, even though it’s the one I use in daily life — the dresser on which J once erected a small shrine to Mark Wahlberg in his (Marky Mark’s, not J’s) Calvins).

Anyway, it’s all dick-heavy (on the scene and even in reminiscence), though there are no discernible actual dicks.

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May I use you?

September 14, 2021

Well, really, May I use your blog?

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, though I’ve been slowly learning. Here, two cases, of somewhat different sort, to which I’ve assigned the names: the Strong Family Circus; and Matt Thomas, Content Supplier.

With a cartoon for the occasion:


Cartoon from Gaping Void Culture Design Group (more on them below)

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