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December 04, 2003


Dear Friedrich --

* I'd assumed that the early-'90s sexual-correctness vogue was as nothing in the UK by comparison to how nutty it got in the States. (Do you remember those years? What was that all about?) But perhaps I was wrong. British journalist Neil Lyndon tells here how he was the victim of a witch-hunt for an essay he wrote questioning the orthodox feminist litany. Good passage: "As my scepticism grew, I found it embarrassing to realise how uncritically I had acquiesced to feminist ways of looking at the world. Once I started thinking more independently, however, it was exhilarating how quickly the feminist view fell apart. For instance, the more I thought about societies other than our own -- societies in the past, societies in other parts of the world -- the clearer it became that the order of relations between men and women was determined, above all, not by the power-lusts of men, as feminists were wont to say, but by the availability of reliable birth control. Where women could not control their fertility -- as in the West before the 20th century and in parts of the Third World today -- they were inevitably confined within a domestic life. When women could control their fertility, they automatically gained admission to the public life from which they had been excluded -- education, emploment, and political representation." (Link thanks to Jim Kalb, here.)

* I don't check in with Jim Kalb's blog (here) as often as I might only because his interests have turned towards Catholicism, a topic that doesn't mean anything to me. But Jim's as smart as can be. He's a first-class reasoner and writer, and he's one of the few non-libertarian, traditionalist conservatives out there. I'm happy to see someone making that case as well as he does. A respectful and intelligent group of paleo-commenters also hang out at his blog. So I just skip the Catholicism stuff and help myself to his other postings. Here's a good one about postmodernism and conservatism. And here's a good one on the topic of copyright.

* George Hunka's response to the Great-Art-I-Don't-Get game is one of the funniest, as well as one of the most sweeping, I've run across, here.

* Did you know that, prior to turning himself into Mr. Lord of the Rings, the director Peter Jackson had a wildass, edgy, irreverent film-nerd side? Polly Frost, who's on a horror kick, watched an early, buckets-of-blood splatter film that Jackson directed, and she enjoyed it. She's also come up with some original thoughts about vampires and zombies, believe it or not. Her posting is here.

* Public Choice economists love to analyze what government types are up to in terms of what they're out for. But what do Public Choice economists believe? And what might they be out for? Tyler Cowen has some hunches, here.

* I'm of several minds about the Bad Sex Award, whose this-year winner was announced here. On the one hand, anything for a giggle, and if we couldn't laugh about sex would we ever give it a second try? On the other hand: while it ain't easy writing well about sex it's still a topic that means a lot to a lot of people. And maybe it's simply a fact that a lot of foolishness has to be endured for the sake of the occasional payoff. (Hmm, kind of like sex itself.) Me, I'm happy to endure the silliness, eager to applaud a good try, and would hate to see people stop evoking, describing and discussing the topic. Still: pretty funny!

* Is David Lynch all he's cracked up to be? Really? James Russell takes a second look, here.

* In numerous, probably tiresome postings, I've tried to do battle with people's sentimentality about books. Books per se, that is. I'm a huge enjoyer of reading and writing but I can see no reason to be picky about the packaging it arrives in. Especially these days: even if, once upon a (largely-mythical) time, the fact that someone's words and thoughts got enshrined in book form meant a little something worth paying attention to, these days "packaging" is often all that paper, ink and binding represent. As a practical matter, books are one delivery system among many -- so why get hung up about them? Does it matter to you if that letter you're reading arrived via email, FedEx, or ExpressMail? So why not help ourselves to the good writing and the good thinking where and when we find it? One unexpected place where I've turned up some amazing (IMHO, of course) writing is on Amazon, believe it or not. There are reader-reviewers (and viewer-reviewers) who are really terrific. A few examples:

* The brilliant narcissism expert Sam Vaknin has put a lot of insightful and helpful writing. I think Vaknin is smashingly good on topics like how to recognize narcissists, what narcissism is, how to deal with narcissists in relationships and on the job -- key stuff! Maybe especially if you live and work in Manhattan. Anyway, here's Vaknin's kinda-sorta homepage on Amazon. His "guides" (clickable on the left side of the screen) are especially good.
* The Berkeley linguist (and very sensible writer about race) John McWhorter turns out to be a smart and informed lover of dramas and musicals too. Here's his kinda-sorta Amazon home page.
* Those who can't get enough of Steve Sailer's writing (I'm one) will enjoy his Amazon reviews, collected here.

* Fun to learn that the #1 bestseller in Britain right now is a book about punctuation. John Mullan profiles Lynn Truss (that's really her name), the book's author, for the Guardian here. Truss traces the deterioration of punctuation back to the late '60s and '70s (sounds right to me), and has some interesting things to say about email and writing. (Link thanks to Jim Miller, here).

* The Frank Lloyd Wright fracas seems to be one that just won't die: Terry Teachout proves himself Action Critic by getting up and making the pilgramage to Wright's legendary Fallingwater. He reports his reactions here. (Hey, I've visited Fallingwater too, and delivered my somewhat-more-negative impressions of the house in the posting that set the FLW debate off, here.) David Sucher takes note here. David's also put up a megasensible posting about judging artistic worth here.

* A round of applause for Paul Mansour, who's closing down shop over at The Scourge of Modernism. Unfair as it seems, life seems to be getting in the way of Paul's blogging. Which is a shame: Paul got off terrific postings about topics like modernism and preservation, and he always brought not just brains and taste but a lot of practical experience to bear on his thinking and writing. For the moment Paul's blogwork can still be enjoyed here.

* I don't know anyone who's got Nancy Lebovitz's knack for turning up fascinating and oddball art sites. Here's one of her latest finds, an Objectivist art gallery. (Nancy's own site is here.) Once again I've got no choice but to pull my dignified self together and say: Who knew?

* What to make of Paris Hilton's sex video? I'm not sure, and neither is the Village Voice's Ed Halter (here). But he goes ahead and tells the history of celebrity sex movies and sex tapes anyway: Marilyn Monroe, Stallone, the Go-Go's and even Spalding Gray all play roles. Why he overlooked my personal fave -- Elle MacPherson's sister's naughty home video -- I don't know.

* Outerlife does some thoughtful reflecting about what it's like to live in a gated neighborhood, here.

* The British bad-girl columnist Julie Burchill is nothing if not a loose cannon, but she's sometimes brilliant and sometimes hilarious -- great fun to read when she's on your side, infuriating when she isn't. I remember fondly a point she made back in the punk days, when other journalists were carrying on in typical radical-young-critic mode about what punk meant -- revolution, the Situationists, etc etc. Burchill, who knew many of the original British punk bands personally, told her colleagues that they were full of it. The punks, said Burchill, were anything but radicals; instead, they were working-class kids who wanted to drink a lot and who didn't want to work for a living. Here she is on Israel, and in feisty, down-to-earth form. (Link thanks to Alice Bachini, here).

* The amazing Denis Dutton isn't just a topflight philosophy-guy and impresario (he's responsible for Arts & Letters Daily, here), he's also a firstclass thinker about music. Here's a brilliant essay he's written about the pianist/critic Charles Rosen. Dutton moves from the specific into some fascinating thoughts about aesthetics and modernism. Makes me wish I wish I were more of a classical music buff myself. Brian Micklethwait, who is one, agrees that Dutton's essay is firstclass, here.

* My hopes, such as they are, for the movies have attached themselves not at all to the computer-enhanced superspectacles, about which I find myself incapable of caring. Instead, my hopes have fastened onto the other end of the digital-movie spectrum: a mush that includes video-on-demand, movies distributed via the Web, Flash thingees, and personal sound-and-image expressions that come in all kinds of zany forms, narrative and non. So, in the spirit of tracking the birth stirrings of this world ...

* Here's a parody of "2001." It isn't inspired, exactly, but good lord it's mostly done with Legos, which is some kind of achievement.
* Hey, why does a movie need any production values at all? Why not just reach for your tools and start creating, here?
* People who work for ad agencies seem to be especially well-prepared to make small movies, here. (Link thanks to TurboKitty.)
* And if you're going to play with your medium, why not play with the web browser itself, here?

* Many of today's kids and young adults are so uninhibited about things bodily and sexual that I've been maintaining for a while now that real-live sex is going to start turning up in their artwork -- for the simple reason of, well, why wouldn't it? I may be onto something. Daniel Wakin reports here for the New York Times about a young woman student at NYU's film school whose idea for a short film featuring some nonfaked sexual action was turned down by the school's administration.



posted by Michael at December 4, 2003


I've seen references to the 'Eats, shoots and leaves' book all over the blogosphere, but none seem to have drawn attention to the other version of the title joke which involves not only a panda and a dictionary, but also a prostitute and an omelette, which I'm sure 2B readers will be able to self-assemble.

Posted by: Gabriel on December 4, 2003 3:44 PM

Alice Bacchini found some stuff on the Internet last August which could also have won the Bad Sex Award. Thought it would be funny to share it, with a nod to Ms. Bacchini--particularly here very last line:

"I also found this free one, and look, those of you who think this kind of thing is basically just stupid, I do sympathise. I mean, seriously:
Cassie grew up on a dairy farm in a quiet small town. She is now addending university in Seattle and she loves it. "The people are so friendly and outgoing, I love all the parties and the guys!" she says. When Cassie isn't studying you can find her out shopping with her friends or at a frat house party.
Addending. Come on. Do girls that sweet and ordinary strip off on the internet and describe what they did with their boyfriends after lab class? (If I had enough readers, some of them would now comment in that yes, they really do, I'm sure.)

OK, if you want me to write more about sex-related blogs, I'll carry on with this theme later.

Mind you, I can see why the free one is free. It seems to be written with the aid of a Lithuanian-English dictionary.

"His reaction was more than I could have hoped for," indeed. "Then I set my mouth to the same task." We just held each other in the aftermath of our shared passion. "Oh, Cassie...that was incredible." I smiled, "That it definitely was. And there'll be more just like it or better..."

Better would be good, yeah."

Posted by: annette on December 5, 2003 4:20 PM

A Comment on Sex Differences.

One of the last bastions of 'sexual correctness' can be found in, of all places, the roleplaying game community. If you so much as hint that there might be a small possibility of a vague tendency to a slight hint of a difference among men and women in certain areas you'll get jumped on hard enough to squish your intestines together.

You can say that the female of the species tends to be shorter than the male, and that a female of a certain height tends to weigh less, but God help you if you note that women of a certain weight tend to be weaker than men, or that men have poorer visual memory than women.

There are differences between the sexes, none of which justifies any imposition of social inequality. If a man shows that he is able to nurture children, then I say he should be allowed to get a position nurturing children.

IOW, never refuse assistance from anyone who can do the job.

Posted by: Alan Kellogg on December 8, 2003 1:52 AM

i am not making a comment on ur head, i am trying to find out how much my hed weighs could you tell me sum gud websites to find it out, i am truely grate ful for any help you may beablr to give,

Posted by: FREE PORN on May 29, 2004 7:20 PM

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