Archive for the ‘Gender and sexuality’ Category

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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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:

(#1)

(#2)

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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LSAZ1

October 12, 2021

Announcement from the Linguistic Society of America on Friday the 8th (right before a 3-day weekend holiday in the US, which is why this has only come to me this morning):

The LSA is delighted to announce that Kirby Conrod has been selected as the inaugural winner of the Arnold Zwicky Award. This award is intended to recognize the contributions of LGBTQ+ scholars in linguistics, and is named for Arnold Zwicky, the first out LGBTQ+ President of the LSA, who was elected in 1992. Dr. Conrod is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Swarthmore College.

Kirby Conrod, LSAZ1

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Jacques and Arnold’s presidential adventure

October 4, 2021

More notes on the 1993 annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, at the Biltmore Hotel (now the Millennium Biltmore) in Los Angeles, at which I gave (on 1/9/93) my 1992 presidential address to the society, “Mapping the ordinary into the rare: Basic/derived reasoning in theory construction”.

The setting. The hotel is a landmark building of downtown Los Angeles (on Pershing Square).


(#1) The exterior, viewed from Pershing Square; you will have seen bits and pieces of the exterior and (especially) the interior in numerous movies and tv shows (Business Insider photo)

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Flipping with the cowboys

October 3, 2021

(Substantial section on English syntax and semantics, but even that is about raunchy sexual vocabulary — so it’s pretty much wall to wall about sex between men, in street language, with photos: absolutely inappropriate for kids or the sexually modest)

What got me into this was the cover of a CockyBoys gay porn DVD Flipping Out (#1 below, after the fold), showing two men engaged in the variety of anal intercourse known as Asian Cowboy. More descriptively, Squatting Cowboy: the receptive man rides the insertive man’s penis roughly the way a cowboy rides his horse, by sitting on it — in this case, from a squatting position. In plain Cowboy, the receptive guy lowers himself onto his ride while kneeling, so in more descriptive terminology, that’s Kneeling Cowboy.

I was struck by the photo because the Cowboy sex positions hold a special resonance for me, and because I’d been looking for Cowboy illustrations in which the insertive guy is sitting up (in a chair or on a sofa), a position that invites the men to kiss, the way my man Jacques and I did when we enjoyed Cowboying together. The cover of Flipping Out gives me just what I was looking for, in an especially attractive and wonderfully intimate composition of bodies.

Then, as a linguistic bonus, there’s the verb to flip-fuck, played with in the DVD’s title.

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Lila Gleitman

October 1, 2021

🐇 🐇 🐇 Discouraged day yesterday, which I tried to find relief from by posting something small but entertaining, but every posting I started ballooned into a sizable project — including this one, but I’m going to ruthlessly cut out a big file on Lila that I assembled a couple of years ago, when she was still alive and I wanted to celebrate her, but then it just became one of hundreds of other similar merely nascent projects, so instead I’m going to ramble on about Lila and my life and Chuck Fillmore and probably my Aunt Marion, who like Lila was a sporty woman, direct and funny and tonic to be around.

The spur for this posting was Lane Greene’s Johnson column in the 8/21/21 issue of the Economist (which I finally got to yesterday; I’m hopelessly behind on my reading as well as my writing — though I got the bulletin about Lila’s dying — on 8/8, at the age of 91 — from Barbara Partee the day it happened).

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Carnival for catamites

September 27, 2021

(As you should be able to guess from the title, this posting is going to discourse on men’s bodies and sex between men, and then mostly in street language — this is the last time you’ll see the learnèd catamite (though I note that the etymology is from Ganymede, which is certainly relevant) — so this posting is very much not for kids or the sexually modest.)

I’ll start by looking at an image from an ad for gay porn from the Titan studio, posted on 9/25 as an exercise in interpreting images. The image is of course specially posed for p.r., not a still shot from porn, so it might bear only a glancing relationship to the actual porn. Bear this in mind when I rehearse yesterday’s comments.

That took me, thanks to a crucial clue from Richard Vytniorgu, to the specific porn scene that image was advertising, which then led to a complex world of gay male identities, personas, and sexual practices.

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Joseph R. Applegate

September 26, 2021

Today’s morning name, of a linguist who deserves to be better known, though he received some belated recognition late in his life (he was born in 1925) and after his 2003 death. I’ll tell his story by, first, reproducing a thumbnail photo of him; and then, referencing websites about him, from some of the viewpoints that are significant to the story of his life. And finally, a note about another viewpoint that is, as far as I know, utterly missing from these official records.

The photo:

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Ganymede in fur

September 25, 2021

(Relatively decorous text about decidedly indecorous sexual relationships, plus female nipples. So you might want to use your judgment.)

A 9/21 e-mail ad for a fall 2021 sale of Titan gay porn: the carefully composed background image of Man and Boy — presumably, a still shot advertising one of the 1000+ porn flicks on sale — exhibits a double vision of sexual dominance and submission:


(#1) Zeus and Ganymede, powerful man and beautiful boy (in modern gay terms, Daddy and Boy), OR Severin and Wanda, slave and his dominatrix (in modern gay terms, the Slave / Masochist, call him Servo, and the Master / Sadist, call him Domino)

Zeus and Ganymede is what we expect in a coupling of adult man and young boy, so older Servo with beautiful young Domino is a reversal of age expectations. But the older man is slipping his hand into the boy’s underwear, to minister to the boy’s penis; the boy is smiling knowingly at us, his audience, with insolent pleasure; and the boy is wearing a fur coat — together signaling that we have in fact stumbled upon a scene from the queer edition of Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs.

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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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