April is the most Abrahamic month

🐇 🐇 🐇 It’s still April Eve, but I have a big carton of April-related things, which I will unpack for you a day in advance.

To start with, tomorrow is (as always) April Fool’s Day and also the great linguist Leonard Bloomfield’s birthday.

Then, April this year is a festival of Abrahamic religion: Ramadan, Passover, and Easter, all coming up in the next few weeks. To recognize the last of these occasions, some words about Easter egg quotations and images. The wonderful cartoonist Ed Koren will put in an appearance here.

Finally, the April illustration from the 2022 Tom of Finland calendar, showing (among other things) the crotch plunge gesture. Warning: this material is vividly (homo)sexual, so distasteful for some readers.

April Fool’s. See my 4/1/14 posting “April 1”, especially for the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest BBC broadcast of 1957 and NBC’s 1970 report on harvesting from the pickle trees at the Dimbleby Pickle Farm. And reflect for a moment on the aggressive and sometimes quite nasty potential of pranks.

Leonard Bloomfield. The great American linguist Bloomfield was born on 4/1/1897– 43 years before my birth year (1940), roughly halfway between my Zwicky grandfather’s birth year (1879) and my father’s (1914). On the man, see my 4/2/20 posting “Stanko Day?”, where I note:

In more personal terms, … parts of my life history tracked his, but 50 [or so] years later: [Bloomfield] went to UIUC in 1910, I did in 1965; he went to OSU in 1921, I did in 1969; he was president of the LSA in 1935, I was in 1992.

The festival of Abrahamic religion. This year:

Ramadan begins on Saturday 4/2
Passover begins on Friday 4/15
Good Friday is Friday 4/15; Easter is Sunday 4/17

Easter egg content. I’m given to salting my postings with unmarked verbal and visual allusions to other material: Easter egg quotations and (correspondingly) Easter egg images (see my 4/13/19 posting “Easter egg quotations”). Mostly I just let things stand without comment, as a little present for the knowledgeable, but sometimes I’ll point them out after the fact.

As I will now do, as a kind of holiday present for you, for an Easter egg quotation in my 3/27 posting “The logic of syntax”. The immediate context (with the EEQ bold-faced):

Well, there’s your problem. The predicate in Mrs. Potato Head’s example is the verb live, whose semantics is hugely remote from the predicate classes in the table

In my 3/9/15 posting “Ed Koren”, about the wonderful cartoonist, I pointed out that a favorite Koren of mine got chosen as the title cartoon for one of his books:

(#1) A Koren furry beast under the hood

Now the problem is obvious.

Tom of Finland’s April 2022. Yes, it’s the hypermasculine, (man)sex-drenched world of the graphic artist Tom of Finland (readers who find such material distasteful should leave at this point).

The April page in the ToF 2022 calendar shows an encounter between a soldier and a sailor. From my 2/16/21 posting “Hello, sailor”:

(#2) This Tom of Finland 1986 drawing (gouache on paper) seems to be untitled, but obviously it should have the soldier rasping throatily “Well, hello, sailor!”

Call the sailor Salt and the soldier Joe. Joe seems to be dominant in the encounter, but he’s also providing sexual pleasure for Salt, by masturbating him via a crotch plunge gesture, in which he jams his (left) hand into Salt’s trousers. Meanwhile, Joe has his crotch pressed up against Salt’s buttocks, to penetrate him; it’s entirely possible that (out of our sight) Salt has pulled down the seat of his trousers and Joe is already inside of him.

The drawing comes in two sexual parts, a top part focused on the men’s heads, and a bottom part focused on their crotches. Taking them separately:

(#3) The top part: Joe has a controlling hand on Salt’s head; but Joe’s mouth is open, and he seems to be drawing Salt towards him so that Salt will kiss him — in any case, they’re about an inch away from kissing, for their mutually desired pleasure

(#4) The bottom part: Joe’s hand is in Salt’s pants, masturbating him (an act obviously for Salt’s pleasure, but then many men take great pleasure in giving hand jobs to other men); meanwhile, Joe has either already penetrated Salt or is on the verge of doing so (an act conventionally for Joe’s pleasure, but then a great many men take deep pleasure from taking other men into their bodies and being stimulated by the penetration)

If you see this scene — which I find immensely hot, by the way, because it’s both crazy sexy and wonderfully affectionate — just as Joe dominating Salt and using him, then you’re missing ToF’s take on man-on-man sex, which is that every form of man-on-man union is a source of pleasure for both men. In particular, getting fucked by guys is just as satisfying as fucking guys (though, obviously, satisfying in different ways, physically and psychologically). So that when a guy fucks you, you’re exchanging sexual gifts.

And then the crotch plunge, which even in ToF (where we get fully visible enormous cocks in hands, in mouths, and in assholes) seems oddly transgressive and shocking; maybe it’s the very fact that the raw act is hidden from view, treated as so shameful it must be concealed, kept secret.

That is, maybe it gets its emotional power from other contexts, where the raw acts must be concealed from public view and the depiction of crotch plunges is right up against the line of what can be shown — as in the occasional, deeply NSFW, crotch plunges in homo-focused underwear ads, like the one in my 9/24/19 posting “In the cowboys’ locker room”:

(#5) Taking a Locker Gear jockstrap plunge in a very carefully composed Daily Jocks ad

I know, it started innocently with April Fool’s pranks and Leonard Bloomfield, and here we are with dirty pictures of guys jamming their fists into other guys’ private parts. Some months are like that.

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