Re: Modern Love: So Close To Awesome Edition

1

I think if the NYT is trying to recapture the guts/glory demographic, this was maybe not as good an idea as someone thought it was.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 1:41 PM
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A friend of mine is acquainted, via their parents, with Natalie Portman. He never introduced me, though I know they met a couple of times when he was living here. Maybe I'll send him this ML and ask why he couldn't close the deal, against competition like this.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 1:45 PM
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Boggles the mind. Could the disseminated creepiness of the Unfoggetariat concoct something like that? No? Could the Flophouse's most eminent resident? Not if he tried.

Poor Natalie.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 1:46 PM
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If I brushed up on my Buddhology I might be able to wangle contact with Papa Thurman. The next step is a long one, though.

But I can go into rehab any time. I'll just wait for Winona to rehab and then show up there. A couple more busts and she's sunk to my level.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 1:50 PM
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I'm married, devoted to my wife. I have a home and a dog named Winston who loves me as only a black Lab can.

He's a lot more detailed about his relationship with the dog, of course.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 1:52 PM
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4: A different friend of mine knows him but doesn't particularly like him. Now that I think of it, this is the same friend who knows Max Boot.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 1:52 PM
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Flippanter is the guy to go through, apparently.

I personally know Minnesota Miss Congeniality USA 2005-2006. She a good old girl, junior division.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 1:55 PM
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5: "To a woman not to show more weakness than is natural to her sex is a great glory, and not to be talked about for good or for evil among men."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 1:55 PM
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The quality and detail of deployment-driven GI sex fantasies has decreased significantly since I retired. I blame the feminists. Or the ML editors.

Snark aside, my experience is that once they have been deployed long enough and life is miserable enough, GIs often stop talking about sex and yearn for more basis things, like their favorite meal or a hot shower and air conditioning. Dancing with Natalie Portman? Hard to imagine where that comes from.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 1:56 PM
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OK, I'll be the sucker this time and say I sort of liked this ML. I lose. I'm in the mood to like stuff.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 1:57 PM
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If only women had those loving dog genes. Life would be so simple. Devotion up the yinyang. They'd sit when asked and roll over when asked.

And guys, too, laydeez!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 1:57 PM
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my experience is that once they have been deployed long enough and life is miserable enough, GIs often stop talking about sex and yearn for more basis things, like their favorite meal or a hot shower and air conditioning.

Isn't that the official military test for "deployed too long"?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 1:59 PM
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Isn't that the official military test for "deployed too long"?

It actually happens pretty quickly if life sucks enough, and I say this not having been shot at in any direct and obvious way, which really has to suck at a whole new level.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:02 PM
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One speculates that after the yearning for women has given way to the yearning for hot water and white bread, it is a pretty bad sign when the grunts cease to express any desire for anything at all.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:05 PM
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Yeah, I thought the fact that he was yearning for the luxury of emotional drama was really telling. It's one thing to long for sex; it's entirely another when you're longing for the right to have feelings.

OT: I totally have a hott grading date tonight. W00t!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:09 PM
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I thought this was weird, but then I felt bad for judging a man who risked his life to defend our country and its freedom.

Must be weird for his wife though.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:10 PM
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it is a pretty bad sign when the grunts cease to express any desire for anything at all

No doubt. So let's all support porn and hookers for the troops, to keep desire alive.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:11 PM
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This was weird.

an undergraduate at American Military University, a regionally accredited commercial online institution

Who cares?

Portman should go on a date with this guy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:13 PM
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I don't think this is a bad essay at all. Surprise: when your daily life is boring, somewhat dangerous, and acutely uncomfortable, you might find refuge in elaborate fantasy. He makes the point well enough, and the Iraq v. Natalie Portman dichotomy is weird enough to be mildly amusing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:13 PM
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let's all support porn and hookers for the troops

Portman should go on a date with this guy.

Sigh.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:14 PM
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17: Sure, why not? Anything to keep the Phantom Blooper at bay.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:15 PM
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(Though I kind of agree that it would be awesomely cool of Portman to look the guy up and go out with him.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:15 PM
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a man who risked his life to defend our country and its freedom

Joke? In any case, don't let Stras hear you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:16 PM
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The real problem with the essay is that he's fantasizing about Natalie Portman, and not Monica Bellucci. Dream big, soldier.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:17 PM
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I'm not really joking. I have friends who served, a friend who is about to be deployed to Iraq, my dad is pro-military (well, South Vietnam Air Force), etc. etc. I feel guilty whenever I make a statement that might even appear to be anti-military/unpatriotic. Of course, this doesn't work well with the fact that I'm pretty liberal and anti-(this) war and yet pro-soldier.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:18 PM
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FRIST POAST


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:19 PM
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I really don't think the guy was ridiculous. But the idea that some guy risking his life daily is composing a Modern Love essay in his head the whole time... it's just wrong. Just as some sacred things should never be profaned, some inane things should never be taken seriously by real people. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed.

(The part about some sacred things never being profaned was situationally true, though I don't actually believe that).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:20 PM
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Natalie Portman is dating Devendra Barnhart. Weird lookin' dude. This ML guy is probably better.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:21 PM
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....and not Monica Bellucci.

Ogged's busty, olive-skinned Lur genes cannot be denied.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:22 PM
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let's all support porn and hookers for the troops

No trolling LB unless it's clear she's reading.

The real problem with the essay is that he's fantasizing about Natalie Portman, and not Monica Bellucci. Dream big, soldier.

Bellucci is a fer'ner, fer'ner. Also, Portman is at least arguably the most Iraq-invasion appropriate actress available.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:22 PM
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It was actually a decent essay. The descriptions of life in Iraq were effective, and although I suspect that everyone has some escapist fantasy scenario kicking around in their head, the specificity of his and the juxtaposition with life in Iraq made it interesting. Mostly I'm agreeing with 19.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:23 PM
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27: It is a species of pride to think oneself capable of profaning what the Lord has made.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:24 PM
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28: In Portland that guy would look like anyone. Only the glasses would tell you he was some sort of hipster and not a neighborhood guy or street person.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:24 PM
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SB. Almost!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:25 PM
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Surprise: when your daily life is boring, somewhat dangerous, and acutely uncomfortable, you might find refuge in elaborate fantasy.

This is both completely obvious, and makes me think differently about a section in an anti-war theater piece that I watched last weekend. The section consisted of readings from letters from a soldier home that switched between day to day frustration, and weirdly grandiose schemes for self-improvement (e.g., "I'll learn Norwegian.").


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:26 PM
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No trolling LB unless it's clear she's reading.

To this I must plead guilty.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:26 PM
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31: Ogged gets it exactly right.

the idea that some guy risking his life daily is composing a Modern Love essay in his head the whole time

is awesome. It *should* be completely obvious, and yet clearly it's not. Hence, not a bad little essay.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:29 PM
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Not to mention it's a shitload less pretentious and content-free than most of the undergrad essays we've managed to dig up....


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:32 PM
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39

Imagine a beowulf cluster of modern love columns.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:34 PM
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39: No one wants to read your creepy Neil Gaiman fanfic, Ben.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:37 PM
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I really can't believe I was the first person to make the joke in 39.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:38 PM
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Must be weird for his wife though.

This was my first thought.

Natalie Portman used to live somewhat near me, and our schedules were such that we would pass each other on the street at the same time three days a week. That same semester, there was a guy in a class I taught who would find a way to bring up some movie she was in sometime over the course of every single class meeting. It was weird.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:44 PM
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I know a guy who went to Harvard because of Natalie Portman.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:49 PM
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Knew, I guess.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:50 PM
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44: Because you killed him just to watch him die?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:53 PM
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Not just to watch him die, no.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 2:54 PM
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46: His last words: "Ben, the reason I went to Harvard was because of Natalie Portman."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 3:03 PM
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The Slashdot thing is "naked and petrified", not "naked and terrified", and I was always under the impression that it meant turned-to-stone petrified -- a scifi fantasy -- rather than scared, which is much creepier. (Also, then the hot grits wouldn't hurt, you see.) Then I started seeing people taking it in the "scared" sense of petrified, and now I don't know how many people heard it one way and how many the other.

(Alleged proof of originally-intended stone meaning here.)


Posted by: DonBoy | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 3:07 PM
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I knew someone who was Portman's instructor for a science class. He said she was registered under a fake name and did remarkably well.


Posted by: f | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 3:13 PM
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49: did remarkably well for a girl.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 3:14 PM
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49: It's her real name, I'm told.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 3:16 PM
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He said she was registered under a fake name

"Natalie Hershlag" or some craziness like that, no doubt.

It just sounds so made-up! "Her shlag". Come on.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 3:17 PM
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Yeah, this was a pretty good essay. If he got a little editing to cut away the damage done by reading too many previous ML columns ( "The swirling flashbulb-pop taste of something unpronounceable on my tongue...") he'd be a fun writer. The ending part, when he's in his patrol car, had a nice pulp noir feel to it.

It was funny that he thought that soldiers fantasizing over screen queens was a new thing, when it's the biggest WWII cliche imaginable (Ava Gardner, or whoever that sweater pic was). I kept waiting for him to make a connection to that venerable tradition.

On the other hand, it's probably good that the rising generation is forgetting about WWII. I can't stand another ten years of it being 1939.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 3:32 PM
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Ms. Hershlag was a great favorite of Professor Dershowitz's, from what I heard.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 3:36 PM
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55

Scandalous innuendo!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 3:37 PM
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53: Betty Grable? Jane Russell? Carole Lombard? Rita Hayworth?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 3:38 PM
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Tortured logic!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 3:39 PM
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Jane Russell, 38D-24-36, a devout Christian and right-to-lifer, from Bemidji Minnesota by way of Canada, right down the road from Frances Gumm.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 3:42 PM
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56: thanks, much better.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 3:44 PM
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Well, I remember him telling me that her first name was also different, but perhaps I'm just going senile.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 4:07 PM
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an undergraduate at American Military University is relevant only because he placed second in the contest.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 4:11 PM
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Yeah, I thought the fact that he was yearning for the luxury of emotional drama was really telling. It's one thing to long for sex; it's entirely another when you're longing for the right to have feelings.

This is really interesting to me -- and I think maybe not an uncommon reason to search for romance. For me anyway.

Not to mention it's a shitload less pretentious and content-free than most of the undergrad essays we've managed to dig up.... comments some of us have written in the past year.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 4:29 PM
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Hershlag and Dershowitz, sittin' in a tree

K-I-S-S-I-N-G....

Yuk.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 4:44 PM
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53: Wasn't Lana Turner known as the sweater girl?


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 4:51 PM
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Speaking of romance, Ryan Adams' reading of "When the Stars Go Blue" is more than a bit de trop. Why doesn't he just offer to come to your house and, for ninety-nine cents, hit you over the head with a bag of lead pellets shaped like your ex-girlfriend?


Posted by: Uncool iTuner | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 4:52 PM
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I remember when Portman compared celebrity-hood to Dubois' concept of "second sight" and double consciousness.

I wrote an angry long letter to the editor as my real life self, and of course when I was in the grips of critical race theory in law school and said that this was the most ridiculous, offensive thing I'd ever read. They published the entire letter, and it took up like a whole column of "Letters from the Readers." A couple of other people responded similarly (and it may have been picked up by blogs).

She responded contritely. I can now be known as "that girl who made Natalie Portman cry."


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 4:59 PM
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Oh hey, I found that passage in "The Souls of Black Folk":

[T]he Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,--a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,--an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder."

To this, thinking about celebrity-hood, I too would say (this is from the Allure article):

"Oh my God! I'm not black, but I know what it feels like!"


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:05 PM
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53: Wasn't Lana Turner known as the sweater girl?

I would have guessed Jayne Mansfield, though not, obviously, during WWII.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:07 PM
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I would have guessed Jayne Mansfield, though not, obviously, during WWII.

Huh. I would have guessed Erica from ninth grade homeroom. Also, obv., not during WWII.

"Sweater girl" is a pretty common term, I think.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:10 PM
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66, 67: Wow.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:12 PM
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Yeah, what Flip said. Wow.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:14 PM
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I can now be known as "that girl who made Natalie Portman cry."

So, so awesome.

I bet Portman doesn't wear a flag pin, either.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:18 PM
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72: or dunk


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:20 PM
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64: Yeah, it was Lana Turner in WW2. The Betty Grable pose was full length from the back with her looking over her shoulder. I had (actually still have) an old Army trunk from my uncle with those and other pinups pasted in the lid. My parents defaced them so I could take the thing to summer camp in the early 1950's. Damn!


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:20 PM
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Ed Exley: Shut up. A hooker cut to look like Lana Turner is still a hooker.
Johnny Stompanato: Hey!
Jack Vincennes: She is Lana Turner.
Ed Exley: What?
Jack Vincennes: She is Lana Turner.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:23 PM
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72: I bet you she calls people "bitter" and doesn't bowl well.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:27 PM
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This is a kind of offensive interview of Cynthia Nixon!

A few years ago, you moved in with a woman, after leaving the father of your children. Do you find it easier living with a woman than a man because you have more in common? I think you do have more in common.

You can use the same bathroom in movie theaters, for instance. That's absolutely true!

Can you share clothes? No. Christine doesn't wear women's clothes; she only wears men's clothes. She won't even wear any kind of women's shoes. I bought her a pair of cowboy boots that were from the women's department, and she was like, "Don't do this again."

Do you think of her as the male figure in the relationship? No, I don't at all. Look at what's happening now. She's at home with the kids, and I'm the one out pounding the pavement. . . . She's for Hillary, and I'm for Obama.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:32 PM
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By "offensive," I think you mean "hilarious." Remember where you are.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:35 PM
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You are so right, Flip.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:36 PM
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You can use the same bathroom in movie theaters, for instance. That's absolutely true!

To think! If only movie theaters had unisex bathrooms, she might never have had to leave the father of her children...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:36 PM
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Remember where you are.

No one here is easily offended.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:42 PM
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She's for Hillary

Many of the Unfoggedtariat would find this extremely offensive.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:44 PM
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i think the cover of Time magazine was surreptitiously goatsexxed a while back.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:44 PM
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Animated gif of the scene that earned Lana Turner the sobriquet "Sweater Girl" (from They Won't Forget 1937).

The Betty Grable over-the-shoulder pinup.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:51 PM
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84: wow. What figures! What legs!


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 5:54 PM
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84: Rrrowrrr.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 6:04 PM
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86: I believe the non-anachronistic phrase is "Hubba hubba!", Flip.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 6:58 PM
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I believe that Portman's real last name is Herzog. There is a Crimson letter to the editor about Israel that she wrote floating around out there.

Speaking of fantasies, I was thinking about porn earlier (for a bunch of reasons). I had two basic thoughts. 1.) A lot of people, especially men, really like pornography. 2.) The porn industry is incredibly exploitative of women and fairly dangerous for them. For example, there was a woman on NPR a while ago who ran special health clinics for people in the business who said that many pornographers don't want their actors to use condoms. It's allegedly possible to photoshop a condom out, but that adds to the cost or something.

In general, I'm a harm-reduction sort of person. I don't expect porn to go away anytime soon. I just wonder whether there could be (or perhaps there already is) a way of finding out how particular pornographers treat their workers. People buy fair-traded coffee and baskets. Could there be some kind of ethically-sourced porn?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 8:50 PM
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Last year I was putting together slides for a lecture on commodification and body image and such. For the opening slide I did a Google image search for "beauty," and Natalie Portman topped the list. I was surprised, but none of the students seemed to care one way or the other.


Posted by: marichiweu | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 8:55 PM
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Portman is an only child, even though her MD dad is a fertility doctor. Her mother is from Cincinnati.

She wants to be a positive role model and eschews nudity.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 9:12 PM
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Could there be some kind of ethically-sourced porn?

This was part of the original concept behind suicide girls, I think, and there are other porn shops that pride themselves on being, you know, forthright and woman-friendly and so on. I don't really know any names, though. I like my porn on super 8, screened in dingy, anonymous basements with sawdust covering the floor, the kind of a place where a man's likely to get knifed if he stays for the credits.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 9:21 PM
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90: huh? she was naked in Darjeeling Limited for a fairly long sequence.

i remember it clearly because she seemed so bony, esp. her ribs, a case of nudity being definitely less beautiful than partially clothedness -- and i usually find skinniness very attractive.


Posted by: mmf! | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 9:31 PM
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This was part of the original concept behind suicide girls, I think

Right, and for the most part, they do "okay," in a sort of libertarianish well-of-course-we're-going-to-pay-as-little-as-possible-and-get-you-to-sign-your-rights-away kind of way. Which I'm a little iffy on. Although the up side, presumably, is that it doesn't pay well enough to create a huge market for someone to be literally forcing a bunch of young women to be SG models or anything.

Of course, you still end up with issues around the attitudes of the consumer and the fact that a lot of the models, being young, are often going to be more idealistic/naive/dumb/attention-whorish than would be ideal. Blah blah they're young women operating in a world where being hottt = social approval. But except for the potential future issue of "omg you were a SG model, you're completely unhirable, you slut!" it seems to me that SG's doing porn *about* as well as it can be done right now. (And notice what they're doing is softcore stuff.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 9:53 PM
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92: That's one of the great things about the WW2 pinups, a fantasy didn't have to involve the attachment of padding to avoid injury.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 9:57 PM
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I watch only girl on girl porn, 'cause I'm a feminist.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 9:58 PM
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I watch only guy on guy porn, 'cause I'm a feminist.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 10:02 PM
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Swordfight, ew.

And I bet those poor guys are being presssured to not use condoms.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 10:13 PM
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91: I like my porn on super 8, screened in dingy, anonymous basements with sawdust covering the floor

This is how porn probably should be viewed to appreciate what you are really up to when you are watching it. I first saw Deep Throat in a true "porn" theater in downtown Long Beach in the early '70s with a group of teammates. It allowed no denial of what you were on about*. A few months later it came to my campus and what a difference it was seeing it with hundreds of hooting college students**. And now Internet porn is like driving on the Interstate (fibrous tendrils of middle-classdom stretching across the country, you just pop off the road at the interchange and go to a franchise, it's like you've never left home)—cool, a facial!

And if you ignore the heavy-handed "message" and most everything else about the film other than getting interesting interviews with many of the folks involved in the original film, I highly recommend Inside Deep Throat for anyone with the slightest interest in pornography and American society.

*One of the only other times I felt so sleazy was reading the Starr Report online.
**I will allow that my experience was probably colored by the prior viewing, but it was clear even the 1st time watchers were having a very different experience than I had had.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-08 11:13 PM
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On reread, 98.1.last is far more sanctimonious than is warranted. (At least coming from me.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 12:12 AM
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And I bet those poor guys are being presssured to not use condoms.

Well, it's not healthy for them either. And you're probably right that they're being pressured. Maybe I should have been clearer that I thought that most porn actors are exploited.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 2:24 AM
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Andrew Sullivan taught us that the gays love the bareback action.

Why would people still be up on the east coast? Addiction to porn, that's why.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 2:47 AM
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Very funny.

I woke up at 4 in the morning. I always wake up briefly at 2:30, and then I usually wake up for a little bit at 4. Sometimes I need a snack.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 5:56 AM
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A snack made of porn?!?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 5:57 AM
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Could there be some kind of ethically-sourced porn?

1. The Feds already put quite a bit of effort into enforcing the child labor prohibition, at least.

2. Which neocon was it who said that a liberal is someone who sees fourteen year olds performing sex acts on stage, and worries about whether the performers are earning the minimum wage?

3. If there is going to be a demand for compliance consulting to verify that porn is ethically produced, where do I apply?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 7:06 AM
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I agree with B. in 19, BTW.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 7:07 AM
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92: Don't know about Darjeeling, but in Goya's Ghost and the stripper movie she was less naked than people hoped, and I believe that there was a third movie where she asked for a nude scene to be cut.

She played an underage nymphet in one early movie, and maybe she or her family got creeped out and decided never again.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 7:15 AM
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104: 3. If there is going to be a demand for compliance consulting to verify that porn is ethically produced, where do I apply?

Or at various times in the past (maybe the future), staffer for wingnut Congress members investigating porn so terrible that no but the investigators could survive seeing it without becoming irretrievably corrupted.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 7:24 AM
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it seems to me that SG's doing porn *about* as well as it can be done right now.

You mean, except for the fact that they're male-owned and rip off their workers? OK.

(And notice what they're doing is softcore stuff.)

That's a better defense. No health risk.

Beginning in 2004, California OSHA finally enforced health rules for the porn industry, although given the bottom-feeders in the LA porn industry I'm sure that's hard to do.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 7:41 AM
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staffer for wingnut Congress members investigating porn

There is an amusing anecdote in The Brethren, Bob Woodward's* book on the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Burger, about the justices and their clerks viewing some pornographic films that were germane to one of the obscenity cases being argued (Miller v. California?). When the action got hot and heavy, one of the clerks yelled out from the back, "That's it! I know it when I see it!."

*Ordinarily I would say that any anecdote taken from Bob Woodward should be treated with all the skepticism due to Bob Woodward, but in this case, the principal anonymous source for the book was later revealed to be Potter Stewart, and since the anecdote pokes fun at Stewart, it can be regarded as evidence against interest and therefore more credible.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 7:46 AM
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given the bottom-feeders in the LA porn industry

Please, not another analingus thread.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 7:47 AM
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I was going to say that most people I know who work (or have worked, by now) in the porn industry are quite nice, really, and very professional, but then they were writers and costumers and so on, not the (track) suits.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 7:48 AM
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kink.com also has a reputation for being pretty aboveboard and ethical, but I haven't investigated very far (kink is, well, not my kink).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 7:56 AM
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It's a massively decentralized thing, ranging from your exhibitionist neighbors using a video camera and uploading stuff to the porn equivalent of Youtube, to radical feminists in SF, to skeezy guys in LA hanging out at the bus station waiting for the next runaway.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 8:03 AM
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Well, the porn industry in the valley isn't so decentralized. It's a fairly big money, fairly professional operation run by a few big companies hiring from the extensive ranks of underemployed film professionals to do the off-camera jobs. The skeezy guys at the bus stations are just runners, or maybe independent contractors.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 8:05 AM
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I don't always appreciate the Economist's shtick, but they had a great effort a couple of years ago about Vivid Video, in which the magazine argued that Vivid had successfully recreated the old Hollywood studio system (from circa 1940) for porn.

Part of the genius of the Vivid model is the realization that the franchise value of the performers, and not the production of discrete films, creates the bulk of the value. So they built a system that creates adult entertainment celebrities (both A-list and B/C/D-list), and uses the celebrity, the Vivid brand, and a network of distribution deals to create a mutually reinforcing system.

An indispensible component of this system is taking better care of the employees than is typical for the industry. Just like the old Hollywood studios, they give the newcomers more pay and security than they could get on the open market, but extract a lot of the surplus that the A-list stars would have earned as free agents.

I let my Economist subscription lapse years ago, so I don't know whether they have followed up with a story on the effect of the youtube revolution on the Vivid model. If not, they should (is McMegan still looking for freelance opportunities?).


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 8:07 AM
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I thought that the Big Lebowski porn magnate was well done.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 8:15 AM
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Yeah, sounds interesting. I don't know much about that kind of very commercial porn. You'd think with the net there would now be effectively zero barriers to entry in the business.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 8:17 AM
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You'd think with the net there would now be effectively zero barriers to entry in the business.

The similarities and dissimilarities to the music business are striking and instructive. In both cases, the net provided both risk (ease of unauthorized duplication and distribution of digital content, risk to distributors of disintermediation by content producers) and opportunity (introduces the product to new audiences, facilitates introduction of new talent).

The music business had a dominant distribution model and politically powerful incumbents. Porn, for the most part, did not. The music business incumbents fought digital distribution at every turn, while the more fragmented porn business embraced it.

And yet, I'm not sure that the outcomes (to date) really prove anything about whether the recording industry was right or wrong to react the way they did. Porn industry revenues are supposedly plunging, and file sharing (both homemade and copyrighted works) may have irreversibly ruined the industry's revenue model.

Ironically, the survivors in the porn industry might be the "dinosaurs" that most closely resemble the recording studios, e.g. Vivid. Vivid has revenue streams that are less vulnerable to pirating (e.g. touring strip shows and hotel and cable deals). One unanswered question is whether the feature-length adult film as a medium is as anachronistic as the studio album; I suspect the answer is yes.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 8:49 AM
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John,

I personally know Minnesota Miss Congeniality USA 2005-2006.

Yeah, well I personally dated Miss Carpentersville 1974. Sadly she cast me aside soon after she gained her crown. Happily I discovered at my 25th HS reunion she had been married three times and put on significant weight. She could still sing well though.

She missed her chance for happiness with me but there is only so much of me to go around. More's the pity.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 9:24 AM
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Clearly, you guys don't read Ezra Klein.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-19-08 1:19 PM
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