Archive for the ‘Race and ethnicity’ Category

The Joy of the Penis

August 16, 2022

(Well, yes, about — among other things — men’s genitals and the beauty of Black bodies, some of it in plain language, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

The Joy of the Penis: A Study in Chocolate. A stunningly designed Daily Jock ad that came in my e-mail today: a Self-Regard composition, showing a man contemplating his penis with a gaze downward. Not gravely (as with the examples collected in my 11/18/21 posting “Helgi Narcissus (again)”), but with joy, pleasure, delight (his smile made me smile reflexively in response). Also, unlike my earlier examples, he’s a handsome Black man with luminously brown skin. The whole thing is a loving study in brown tones — charcoal, chocolate, leather, golden brown — and amiable masculinity (with his penis and testicles neatly, but not obtrusively, outlined in his charcoal longline trunks):

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Did that actually just happen?

June 28, 2022

Or words to that effect, from Rachel Maddow, describing her stunned reaction to watching pieces of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony on 6/28 before the Jan 6 committee (the US House select committee investigating the 1/6/21 insurrection at the US Capitol). And yes, it did actually just happen. And I was stunned too; I watched the whole thing, amazed and appalled. (Also moved to recall my rapt attention through the Army-McCarthy hearings when I was 13 and the Watergate hearings and House impeachment hearings when I was 33).

6/28 is also Stonewall Day (remembering 1969), this year an occasion for a mixture of extreme emotions, among them distressed disbelief that we lgbt-folk are threatened with a return to the mindset — and the laws — of the Pinko Communist Scare fostered by Joe McCarthy about 70 years ago.

6/28 is also Sarajevo Day (remembering 1914), the anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Archduchess Sophie, which somehow tipped the world into the nightmare of the Great War. Followed by the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the great influenza pandemic of 1918 — the wars echoed now in the monstrous evil of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Great Flu mirrored in the Covid pandemic we’re living through now.

Meanwhile, here in 2022 everything is happening at once, and a lot of it is unbelievably awful. (Did that actually just happen?) See the above, and add last week’s US Supreme Court decisions on concealed carry of weapons in public and on abortion. The last of which moved Ann Burlingham to whip off a postcard of rage and protest to me (written and mailed in Pittsburgh on the 6/25, arrived in Palo Alto on 6/28, whoopee!):

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Romper buddies

May 14, 2022

Taking off from a delightful ad for Romperjacks on Facebook back in November and December:

Here I give you the ad photo, and inventory some of the things it inspires me to write about in future postings (several being themes from earlier postings on this blog).

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LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS BLACK WOMEN

April 15, 2022

What I posted to Facebook on 4/8, on the occasion of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. My follow-up said that, yes, the reference was to Agee (the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, on which more below) and added:

 I can’t begin to say how pleasing KBJ’s appointment is to me.

To amplify a bit. This is not the Promised Land, but it is nevertheless a Big Fucking Deal. One of the things about my hero John Lewis that moved me especially was that he truly believed that we could reach the Promised Land in this life (not in an afterlife on Jordan’s other bank) — just not in his life, it would take some time. [More below on Lewis and this astonishing bit of faith on his part.] Meanwhile [Lewis believed], we have to keep moving on the path. KBJ is a highly visible step on the path, and that’s a big thing, a moment of joy.

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The photoon from Satilla Shores

December 9, 2021

On Facebook on 11/23, Charlie Fulton offered this photoon — a photograph intended as a cartoon — and provided it with a caption, in this case a brief text expressing a personal opinion of his about some event, not depicted in the photoon, without any explicit connection between the event and the photograph. So Charlie’s captioned photoon takes a ton of context and background knowledge to appreciate, but (in my opinion) it’s very cleverly bitter (measured bitterness being a CF specialty).

The photoon, with Charlie’s caption:


(#1) [CF:] Ah, the clever “toenail defense” tactic. I should have seen it coming.

The only really easy part of the comprehension exercise is recognizing the objects in #1 as the edible seeds — known in English as Brazil nuts — of the Bertholletia excelsa tree  (native to South America).

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Annals of commerce and advertising

November 19, 2021

An hour or so ago I ordered a copy of the book version of the 1619 Project. To update the 8/18/19 issue* of The New York Times Magazine that I’d been saving since it came out. From (my copy of) the cover of that issue:


(#1) Setting the scene for the project

*Note: 8/18 in print; 8/14 on-line, so the earlier date is the one now given as the date of publication.

Then, Amazon being what it is, I immediately got offers of products related to my purchase: an assemblage of salt and pepper grinders. I am baffled, utterly baffled.

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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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But what does his chest hair MEAN?

August 22, 2021

On 8/19, a posting about the novelty song “Harry’s Jockstrap” from 50+ years ago — a jock that’s pale blue, suggesting that Harry is a fairy:

Harry’s jockstrap, Harry’s jockstrap
It’s pale blue, it’s pale blue
They say that he’s a fairy. But Harry is so hairy
So are you, so are you

… [The verse] suggests that Harry’s hairiness shows that he couldn’t be queer, presumably because, the singer believes, significant body hair is a sign of masculinity, and that’s incompatible with homosexuality. The whole thing is silly beyond belief; the world is rich in hairy fairies … Though I do understand that hairiness as a litmus for straightness is a widely held folk belief, a consequence of the powerful folk theory that homosexuality is literally sexual inversion, so that gay men are, by definition, feminine, in fact a species of female.

So far, some folk associations; there will be more:

— 1 a man’s wearing pale blue clothing (or, more generally, pastel clothing), especially underwear, especially a jockstrap, INDICATES homosexuality

— 2 heavy body hair on a man, especially on the chest, INDICATES high masculinity, which in turn INDICATES heterosexuality

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Come a long way, long way still to go

September 24, 2020

Things have improved, but still we’re far from the goal (and there are constant threats to take back the gains). The hymn for this time begins:

Lift ev’ry voice and sing
‘Til earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
… Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on ’til victory is won

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Latinx

September 22, 2020

From the Vox site “Latina, Latino, or LatinX? Here’s how the term came about: The gender-neutral term that’s supposed to be for everyone, well, isn’t” by Terry Blas on 10/23/19

The occasion for this posting is a net conference yesterday on latinx — referring to an orthographic form; also to its various pronunciations by speakers of Spanish; and especially to its choice as an racial/ethnic/cultural (self-)descriptor.

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