She plays o' the viol-de-gamboys, speaks three or four languages word for word without book, hath all the good gifts of nature, knows a hawk from a handsaw, and can see a church by daylight. The rest is subject to fancy.

Pornography, Women, and Honesty

Stacia Kane in a thoughtful post about the book Porn for Women from the “Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative,” asks:

Isn’t it time we move past this shit? Past the idea that what women really want is hugs’n’chocolate, because sex is just something we do for him? Past the idea that men only do nice things in order to get sex? Can’t we agree now that women are adults, and diverse, and so are men, and that to put out a book this simple-minded and ridiculous and call it “porn for women” is shameful, and sexist, and just plain not fucking funny?

You can read the whole post here, and you really should, and no, it’s not about “that kind” of porn, though it is perhaps worth bearing in mind that pornography, or pornos graphos originally referred to the graphos, the writing (and images) used by prostitutes to establish their services and prices for customers.

Gollum: Schizophrenia or Multiple Personality Disorder?

…Gollum displays pervasive maladaptive behaviour that has been present since childhood with a persistent disease course. His odd interests and spiteful behaviour have led to difficulty in forming friendships and have caused distress to others. He fulfils seven of the nine criteria for schizoid personality disorder (ICD F60.1), and, if we must label Gollum’s problems, we believe that this is the most likely diagnosis.

More here and here.

Sucking the Quileute Dry

To millions of “Twilight” fans, the Quileute are Indians whose (fictional) ancient treaty transforms young males of the tribe into vampire-fighting wolves. To the nearly 700 remaining Quileute Indians, “Twilight” is the reason they are suddenly drawing extraordinary attention from the outside—while they themselves remain largely excluded from the vampire series’ vast commercial empire.

Op Ed piece from the New York Times.

Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse 5 POW

In December of 1944 Private Kurt Vonnegut was captured by Wehrmacht troops. A month later, Vonnegut and his fellow POWs were imprisoned in an underground slaughterhouse known by German soldiers as Schlachthof Fünf (Slaughterhouse Five), beneath Dresden. The following February Vonnegut survived the allied bombing of Dresden and wrote a following letter in May of 1945 to his family from a repatriation camp. The letter is astonishing reading.

Kevin Carey “That Old College Lie”

Carey notes that Senator Claiborne Pell died at age 90 on January 1, 2009. Senator Pell was the driving force, and the inspiration for the federal Pell Grants for under funded college students. In the context of noting that Pell Grants are no longer anything like sufficient in terms of funding percentages of college costs for low income students, Carey points out that:

It’s that too many of the students who do enroll aren’t learning very much and aren’t earning degrees. For the average student, college isn’t nearly as good a deal as colleges would have us believe. . . . A 2006 study from the American Institutes for Research found that only 31 percent of adults with bachelor’s degrees are proficient in “prose literacy”–being able to compare and contrast two newspaper editorials, for example. More than a quarter have math skills so feeble that they can’t calculate the cost of ordering supplies from a catalogue. more . . .

Winter Solstice, 2009

You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
At this time to the Goat is run
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all,
Since she enjoys her long night’s festival.
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year’s and the day’s deep midnight is.

John Donne “A Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy’s Day, Being the Shortest Day” more . . .