Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

On this day in 2019

June 16, 2019

At least seven occasions of significance to me today: three fixed to the date June 16th, plus four movable occasions that happen to take place on this Sunday this year. There will be a section in the middle with seriously raunchy material from gay porn that some will want to avoid; I’ll provide a warning when this stuff is imminent.

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Follow-up: John Rechy

May 26, 2019

Yesterday’s posting “High 5 from a bison”, all about number(s), ended with some exposition of John Rechy’s 1967 novel Numbers, about a male hustler collecting lots of tricks — numbers of numbers — on the streets and in the parks of Los Angeles. Now two follow-ups: Soft Cell’s (“Tainted Love”) musical tribute to the novel, and notes on Rechy’s life and career, still going at 88.

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High 5 from a bison

May 25, 2019

(After the cartoons and the lexicography, John Rechy will take this posting into the world of mansex, in some detail and in very plain talk; that section is not for kids or the sexually modest, but I’ll warn you when it’s looming on the horizon.)

Two bison greet each other in a John Baynham cartoon with a wonderful pun:

(#1)

That’s numbers (roughly ‘amount’, but as a PL C noun) — and indeed large numbers of buffalo did once roam the plains of North America — vs. numbers referring to physical models, or simulacra, of symbols for certain abstract mathematical entities — in this case, the natural numbers. Such physical models are also familiar: think of the letters in the HOLLYWOOD sign, or the numbers on the building at 666 Fifth Ave. in NYC (with its own kind of fame as a Jared Kushner property). But people don’t walk around with, much less inside, giant versions of such models. That’s deliciously absurd.

Looking at the lexical items involved will take us deep into the lexicographic weeds and then to the secret places of mansex, starting with the dim recesses of Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

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What a piece of work is Miss Lucille

May 22, 2019

The 4/25 One Big Happy features Miss Lucille:

(#1)

Ah, a piece of work.

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The dragons of Homoland

May 11, 2019

The centerpiece:


(#1) “Rainbow Dragons” (for LGBT Pride 2018) by Ross Sanger, on Deviant Art (hat tip to Kim Darnell)

Two effects here. One, in popular culture, dragons are  tamed, almost to the point of cuteness; otherwise, they’re creatures of great power and potential danger (in Western traditions, active malevolence) — but here are cicurated (tamed, rendered mild or harmless), or even cutesified. And then, dragons have become loosely attached to gay culture; they’ve been homoized in some contexts — Homoland is, at the very least, congenial to dragons as symbols, perhaps as symbols of gay power, so that dragons and rainbows have come to have some affinity for one another, in draconical rainbows and arcipluvial dragons (like Sanger’s).

Especially in places where dragons bear some specific symbolic weight, gays and their rainbows are likely to follow: the red dragon of the Welsh flag; the logo of Dungeons and Dragons; and the dragon of Chnese astrology. But gay dragons, often in rainbow, might pop up anywhere (as in #1).

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Ariperro

May 5, 2019

The punchline to a wonderful two-line bilingual joke, realized in this cartoon:

(#1)

First, some analysis of the Japanese-Spanish joke. Then some reflections on its appearance, all over the net, in both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking contexts, without attribution to an artist or identification of a source. And, finally, a likely account of its origin, in the Zona Dorado district of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico.

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The May flower

May 1, 2019

Yesterday, the flowers of the season were still yellow — les jaunes d’Avril — but today they are white — les muguets pour le premier Mai — also (on the plus side) delicately pretty and highly scented but (on the minus side) both poisonous and rampant, while conveying beginnings, affectionate respect, and the power of unions marching in the streets. Hey, they’re just colors, and just plants — It’s Just Stuff, as I say every so often —  each capable of symbolizing pretty much anything, in some sociocultural context or another.

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Where are you going with that?

April 30, 2019

The One Big Happy from 4/3, recently in my comics feed: the tough neighborhood kid James and his sledgehammer:

(#1)

What I hear in the first panel is an echo of a quotation with an ax, not a sledgehammer:

‘Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

One of the great first lines in English literature, just grips you right off, does E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.

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The self-published book

April 25, 2019

In the recently published The Ultimate Cartoon Book of Book Cartoons —

(#1)

edited by New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein (a regular visitor on this blog), this Ed Koren (who’s also on this blog):

(#2)

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A Ceci disavowal

April 24, 2019

From Jeff Bowles on Facebook on the 12th, this Magritte-based composition:

(#1)

Apparently a Magrittean disavowal (there’s a Page on such disavowals here), playing on Magritte’s wry late 1920s painting La Trahison des images (The Betrayal / Treachery of Images which shows a pipe, with the painting labeling itself Ceci n’est pas une pipe ‘This is not a pipe’. Here we get Louis Flint Ceci, on the left, objecting in astonishment that what’s on the right is not (a) Ceci; instead, it’s (a) Davisson.

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