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The Monstrous Regiment of Women

Poe's Law says simply "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing." Although it's one of those things that was made up as a humorous point, the reality of it is as solid as the Laws of Thermodynamics. For example, take Colin Gunn's documentary on the horrors of feminism, The Monstrous Regiment of Women. When you can start out a film trailer with pontifications by Phyllis Schlafly, and have things only proceed downward into further lunacy from there, you know that you've truly dived head first into the rabbit hole. I can't quite decide which is the most disturbing quote, but the assertion by the woman who claims to have worked for a family planning organization is really up there: "I knew that if I could go into a school, the pregnancy rate would increase by fifty percent. I knew that if I could get a girl sexually active, that she would have three to five abortions between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. And that was actually our goal." Watch the trailer below, and remember that we ignore these people at our peril. (h/t to P.Z. Meyers at Pharyngula.) (ETA: Embedding doesn't seem to work. If you're feeling brave, watch the video at P.Z. Meyers' site, or directly from GodTube here.)

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A Bush in the Hand

This might date me a bit, but when I first saw a picture of a shaved pussy, it was a real turn-on because it seemed edgy and sexually aggressive. It wasn't something that women did, as a rule. Now, it's so common that it's banal, and natural bushes, like the one that Furry Girl has made her trademark, have become a fetishized niche. The difference between the two styles still inspires a lot of heat and passion, and not always the good kind. Some people insist that shaved pussies make women look like children; others think that pubic hair looks scraggly and unclean. I'm one of the rare ones, someone with no preference whatsoever. But I can say that I utterly despise the vehemence on both sides, and their willingness to pathologize women's bodies one way or another. What I dislike about the shaved look is its total ubiquitousness. I hate that it's considered de rigueur for models to shave their pubic hair unless they're trying to appeal to a niche demographic, and that women feel like they have to shave to show up at a sex party or even to fuck their date. Shaved pussies are gorgeous, as are pussies with wild, full bushes. But homogeneity is boring and unsexy, and if the aesthetic flipflopped tomorrow, I'd say the same thing about natural bushes.

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Taking the Joy Out of "The Joy of Sex"

I completely missed the news last September that Alex Comfort's groundbreaking sex manual The Joy of Sex has been released in an updated version, as revised by British psychologist Susan Quilliam, who describes herself as an "agony aunt" on her personal webpage. In the Toronto Globe and Mail's interview with Quilliam, their reporter calls the new edition "refreshingly conservative," which sends up all sorts of red flags from the start. Unfortunately, reading what the author herself has to say doesn't set my mind at ease:

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Erections for Peace

Apparently, getting in the good graces of Allah in the next world by waging a holy war is nothing compared to a steady supply of hard-ons in this world:

The Afghan chieftain looked older than his 60-odd years, and his bearded face bore the creases of a man burdened with duties as tribal patriarch and husband to four younger women. His visitor, a CIA officer, saw an opportunity, and reached into his bag for a small gift.

Four blue pills. Viagra.

"Take one of these. You'll love it," the officer said. Compliments of Uncle Sam.

The enticement worked. The officer, who described the encounter, returned four days later to an enthusiastic reception. The grinning chief offered up a bonanza of information about Taliban movements and supply routes -- followed by a request for more pills.


Blog: Literate Perversions

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Grit TV: Why Prop 8 Won

I highly recommend this episode of Grit TV for insights on the recent defeat for same-sex marriage rights in California via the passage of Proposition 8. The election results have produced a lot of anger and heat, and the conversation here manages to bring some light to what is a much more complex issue than is shown in most media or activism.

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Your Dose of Irony For the Day

Los Angeles Protests Stop Mormon Marriages
It's one of those odd twists that leaders of the Mormon Church probably never saw coming. Whenever opponents of Proposition 8, the ballot measure that eliminates the right of gays and lesbians to legally marry in California, protest outside a Mormon temple, they effectively stop church members from getting married, according Levi Jackman Foster, an ex-Mormon who lives in West Hollywood.

"A temple is the only place (Mormons) can get married," Foster says, "if they want to get sealed to God."

A Mormon temple, in other words, plays a vital role in a religion that strongly promotes marriage among its members.

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The History of Sex Slavery Hysteria

It's Election Day 2008 and I'm sitting in the Berkeley hills, looking across the Bay at San Francisco. My stomach is filled with butterflies edging, occasionally trying to edge itself into outright nausea at the thought of what's at stake today. It's not just the decision of Obama vs. McCain. That's deadly important, but here in California, there's a lot of very important stuff happening too. On the state level, they're fighting the battle over Proposition 8, which would undo the State Supreme Court's decision to make same-sex marriage legal, and Proposition 4, your standard parental-notification for abortion law. The airwaves have been filled with ads for and against, and the result of either is just impossible to forecast right now. And then, right across the Bay that's outside my window, there's Prop. K, a city ordinance that would decriminalize prostitution within the City and County of San Francisco.

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Studs Terkel, 1912 - 2008

On the eve of one of the most important elections in American history, historian and journalist Studs Terkel died last week. His work wasn't specifically geared toward sexuality, but his death is a loss for anyone who's ever felt like their story wasn't being told in the media. Terkel was best known for his oral histories like Working, The Good War, and Hard Times, which recorded the voices of ordinary Americans talking about the effects that major historical events had on their everyday lives. What I liked about him even more than his approach to history, though, was that he was irascible and unapologetic in his commitment to progressive politics.

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The Ethics of Fantasy

Fetish Diva Midori, who's long been one of the smartest perverts on the scene, started a particularly interesting conversation on her Yahoo discussion group recently: are there fantasies that are, in themselves, unethical? Are there things that are such inherent breaches of morality that even if you never intend to act on them, that it's immoral even to fantasize about them?

From a sex-positive viewpoint, the immediate impulse is to say unambiguously, "NO!" The opposite answer has always been the hallmark of the puritans who police desire, and has destroyed more lives than can be counted. The idea that we have a right to our own desires as long as they either stay in our own heads or are acted out with consenting adults is the very core of the struggles for queer rights, for the acknowledgment of transgenderism, for the legitimacy of BDSM, and for the free manufacture and sale of pornography and sex toys of all kinds. It defines the difference between the people who see sexuality as normal and natural and those who see it as a dark, animal part of ourselves that we must transcend.

But I think that for most of us, no matter how expertly pervy and kinky and open-minded we are, the answer becomes more ambiguous once you start delving into particulars. For instance:

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