Chris's picture

What the Coat Hanger Means

One of the problems with politics is how words and images can slip from being portrayals of people's lives into trite cliché so easily that you can't even remember when the line was crossed. For example, take the coat hanger.

The No Coat Hangerscoat hanger has been the symbol of activists who work to keep abortion a viable choice for all women everywhere. It represents the bad old days, when abortion was illegal in many parts of the country, although being illegal never stopped it from happening. The coat hanger has become ubiquitous in the debate over abortion. So much so that its meaning seems to have become invisible. It's been over thirty years now since Roe V. Wade was first handed down, and a couple of generations have grown up and become sexually active with the choice of abortion as something that could be taken as granted. The coat hanger and the deaths and self-mutilations it represents has become part of our intellectual wallpaper, something that is so old and familiar that we barely think of it at all. When we do, many people are likely to see the coat hanger as more symbolic of earnest young activists wound up on idealism and hyperbole than as part of our history.

Chris's picture

Good News: That Bear Stearns Stock Isn't *Totally* Worthless

I think I have a crush on Miss Victoria X. It's true that I don't patronize pro-dommes, partly because of a budget that, in a particularly profitable month, might allow me to purchase the privilege of a scornfully lifted eyebrow from one as she passes me in midtown Manhattan on the way to beat the hell out of some corporate lackey at the Plaza. However, were I in the market, I think that Miss Victoria X would be on my list.

Elizabeth's picture

I read it for the pictures (The New York Times, that is)

These two pictures accompany an article in this morning's Times on the presidential candidates' use of their opposition to NCLB (which stands for No Child Left Behind, not No Cheerleader left behind") as a way of rallying supporters.

Maybe it's just that my brain is still a bit addled from the end of the semester, and I'm only through my first cup of coffee this morning, but it seemed like an odd selection of images to me. Take a look. Then feel free to discuss in the comments whether or not these images matter at all.

This one is captioned "Students at Central High School in Davenport, Iowa, listening to former president Bill Clinton."

Photo of cheerleaders listening to Bill Clinton, accompanying article about No Child Left Behind

Chris's picture

NCSF Media Update, December 10, 2007

1. Texas town clamps down on home sex club
2. Positive changes
3. AdultFriendFinder settles pop-up adware charges
4. 'Exposing' the Folsom Street Fair

NCSF Media Updates represent a sampling of recent stories printed in US newspapers, magazines, and selected websites containing significant mention of SM-leather-fetish, polyamory, or swing issues and topics.

These stories may be positive, negative, accurate, inaccurate - or anywhere in between.

NCSF publishes the Updates to provide readers a comprehensive look at what media outlets are writing about these topics. NCSF permits and encourages readers to forward these Updates where appropriate.

Texas town clamps down on home sex club
by Paul J. Weber
Chicago Sun-Times
December 9, 2007

Elizabeth's picture

But will Medicare pay for lube?

drawing "Penis Pump" You might have missed the part about the penis pumps. It was in a New York Times article about Medicare overpaying for things like oxygen tanks. Apparently Medicare, despite its potentially enormous bargaining power, spends more for many items than they would cost in your neighborhood pharmacy or surgical supply store. In the midst of the article is this paragraph:

For example, last year Medicare spent more than $21 million on pumps to help older and disabled men attain erections, paying about $450 for the same device that is available online for as little as $108. Even for a simple walking cane, which can be purchased online for about $11, the government pays $20, according to government data.

Elizabeth's picture

Gratitude in the Square


Happy Thanksgiving, in the "day of gratitude" sense of the holiday.

It is easy to be pretty depressed about this country's sexual state of affairs. Much of the news and politics we cover here is of the sort that provokes outrage and activism. Less often does it prompt celebration. But today is a day for reflection and for gratitude, and there are, in fact, some bright spots in the past year. I'll start us off. Add your own reflections in the comments.

The US Congress -- both houses -- voted to repeal the global gag rule. We wrote about it here.

New York, Ohio, Virginia, Minnesota, Colorado, Maine, California, and Pennsylvania and at least five other states, have rejected Title V "abstinence-only" funding.

Genarlow Wilson was freed.

A circuit court declared the 2257 regulations unconstitutional.

Oh, and of course, this site was born, and had its coming out party. See the photos! We're grateful for Rapture Cafe and its amazing crew, and for the super-talented writers and performers who celebrated with us! And I'm very grateful for Chris Hall, the most amazing collaborator I could have.

So, what sex-related events or news or goings-on are you thankful for?


The cranberries are destined for our table later in the day. 

Elizabeth's picture

ENDA Passes the House: Why We're Not Partying

The Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) was voted on by the House of Representatives today. It passed by a vote of 235 to 184 with 14 not voting. It needed 212 to pass.*

It passed by the skin of its proverbial teeth. So, why are we not celebrating?

Let's review:

1. ENDA does not really protect gays, lesbians and bisexuals. Even though the debate about including or not including protection for gender identity or expression was framed in terms of protecting the transgendered, really those provisions would have protected gays, lesbians and bisexuals better than simply stating that, as the bill that passed the house does, that you can't fire or refuse to hire someone because of his or her real or perceived sexual orientation.

That is like saying "Fine, so we can't fire you for being a lesbian as long as you aren't too butch." If you're "too butch" all bets are off.

Elizabeth's picture

New Feature: Sex in the News

Many thanks to Viviane of the Sex Carnival for explaining to me how she acquired for her sidebar the ever-updated list of news items on so many sex-related topics! I've adapted it for use here, and you can see a page devoted to "Sex in the News" if you click on the "New Feature: Sex in the News" item that has magically appeared in your navigation menu on the left. (That's the menu with your name attached or, if you're not logged in, that simply says "Navigation".)

It looks like this:


news page screen shot


You can see the list of news topics there near the top under the heading "In the news". (They look like tags.) When you click on one, Google pulls together the most recent stories found using that search term and displays them for you on the page.

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