Yesterday 18-20 students at the South Philly Catholic girls' school St. Maria Goretti High chased down and pummeled into submission a flasher who'd been exposing himself to them and their classmates since mid-September. The police are trying to downplay the incident so as not to glorify vigilantism, but it's not working: they're heroes here.
Gary Farber says he knows how the Matrix will end.
We haven't had this fight in a while. Naomi Wolf is worried about the effects of porn.
The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as "porn-worthy." Far from having to fend off porn-crazed young men, young women are worrying that as mere flesh and blood, they can scarcely get, let alone hold, their attention.
Here is what young women tell me on college campuses when the subject comes up: They can't compete, and they know it. For how can a real woman—with pores and her own breasts and even sexual needs of her own (let alone with speech that goes beyond "More, more, you big stud!")—possibly compete with a cybervision of perfection, downloadable and extinguishable at will, who comes, so to speak, utterly submissive and tailored to the consumer's least specification?
The young women who talk to me on campuses about the effect of pornography on their intimate lives speak of feeling that they can never measure up, that they can never ask for what they want; and that if they do not offer what porn offers, they cannot expect to hold a guy. The young men talk about what it is like to grow up learning about sex from porn, and how it is not helpful to them in trying to figure out how to be with a real woman. Mostly, when I ask about loneliness, a deep, sad silence descends on audiences of young men and young women alike. They know they are lonely together, even when conjoined, and that this imagery is a big part of that loneliness. What they don't know is how to get out, how to find each other again erotically, face-to-face.
James Joyner and Dan Drezner have taken Wolf up on her own terms, and are debating whether porn has the effect she describes. But the real issue is whether we should think of porn as a cause at all. Wolf writes as if "the youth" have been lured by porn out of some edenic garden of soulful commingling, "What they don't know is how to get out, how to find each other again erotically, face-to-face." She says "again." But there was no first time.
Porn fills wordless spaces, and lets us manifest--by our response--needs that we haven't articulated. Is that too abstract? Then: you don't do wacky shit if you have a good idea of why you want to do it; it's harder to sucker someone if they know their weaknesses. This is no new insight: by bringing things to words and exposing them to the "light of reason," we diminish their power over us: to say and to name is to control.
If "the youth" are destitute and lonely, it's because they have no vocabulary for describing what they feel and no method for examining their feelings. Porn becomes their vocabulary, because it speaks to them. The problem is that they don't know how to talk back.
Jack O'Toole is having a blogathon to raise money for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Good blogging for a good cause. Go help him out. And one bit of guilt before you go: yes, I really did donate because of Jack's blogathon.
I came across this by accident, but then I had to post it, because who else will?
It seems the attorney's going to be fine, so I think it's ok to note that the shooting is really comical. The lawyer ducks behind a tree and angry man tries to shoot him on the right, so the lawyer slides over, then angry man tries to shoot him on the left; repeated until angry man runs out of bullets. One doesn't expect attempted murder to happen in the physical vocabulary of five-year-olds.
While a member of Congress' investigation into U.S. and Saudi intelligence failures, presidential hopeful John Edwards agreed to sell his home for $3.52 million to the public relations expert hired by Saudi Arabia to counter charges it was soft on terrorism.
Read the whole post and you'll see that he didn't do anything horrible, but as Tapped's Garance Franke-Ruta [my children will not have hyphenated names...nor will they be named Garance, come to think of it] writes,
I'm not sure I can even count the number of ways all this knocks Edwards off-message. But, boy, is this not the kind of story you want if your narrative is that you're a working-class-friendly opponent of lobbyists who's tough on national security issues.
Poor John, we almost knew him.
via Jack O'Toole
For homework, Ben, the poet, is instructed to stand on a busy city street and read his work to all who rush past. A woman who fears cancer to the point of paralysis is instructed to drink three cups of coffee while watching ''Terms of Endearment'' repeatedly. A man who can't face being in a car is told to drive down a dark wet road at night. Jeff, a claustrophobic businessman, has the assignment of shutting himself in a small space for as long as he can stand it. When I spoke with Jeff about his treatment, he explained that he had decided to lock himself in the trunk of his car. The first time, he lasted only three minutes, in an intense state of anxiety. He curled up in a fetal position and balled his fist up near his mouth. Eventually he conditioned himself to last up to a half-hour in the trunk. By the last time, he says, ''I was bored.''Fascinating story of psychologist David Barlow who cures anxiety by scaring it out of his patients. His success rate is around 85% and the only concrete example the reporter can find of a backfire is a woman who tried it by herself at home. Does one even need to comment?
He groaned into Julia's neck, which made her giggle uncontrollably. She and I exchanged a look, then I worked my hand between her thighs, where I found . . .
Where I hadn't expected one.
Zach had beaten me to it. He also had a hand on her right breast and his mouth on her left. He was hogging all the best parts! This went on for a couple of minutes, and I started to get antsy. Julia looked like she was having a dream about cross-country skiing. What could I say without bringing the action to a screeching halt? "Hey," I whispered to Zach. "Dude." Nothing. "DUDE!" I said, curtly tapping his hands. "Sorry, man!" he chuckled as he continued to monopolize Julia's torso for a further ten seconds. He reluctantly freed up a breast, but it was the one he'd been drooling all over. It seemed that Zach was fucking with me while he was fucking with me!
Getting used to the heightened visceral experience of something so incredibly hot took a couple of minutes and much visualization of Margaret Thatcher. Eventually, the increased vigor with which I was "bringing it" seemed to be re-enacted at the other end of the bed. Julia was sucking Zach's tool as if it contained the antidote to a tropical disease. It felt like I was driving the bus, and it was good...
Zach looked down at the action. He managed to say "Dude, let me hit that" and make it seem charming...
Through the conduit of Julia's body, I could feel each of Zach's thrusts on me. This felt both good and alarming...
Suddenly, Julia's groans seemed ever-so-slightly louder. Was this drunk idiot better than me? I grew concerned. Actually — momentarily — I began to shrink concerned. I regained my composure by convincing myself that I had set the groundwork for Julia's increasingly orgasmic-sounding squeals. It's a bit like when you can't open a jar of applesauce, and you give it to someone else, who pops the lid off effortlessly. You can loudly say, "I must have loosened it for you," and simultaneously steal his thunder while saving face. As I looked into Julia's face — eyes wide and filled with pleasure, mouth agape and filled — I wanted to relay a similar sentiment. Like, "We all know you're about to scream the house down, but let's not forget who laid the foundations, eh?"
I rebelled against all that Southern junk. I became a feminist. Did the commune thing. Went to graduate school. But what bothered me there, they had kicked those glamorous women out of the club. I saw women who had no decent jobs at all, but in their romantic lives they were powerhouses. My friends up North were glamorous. Beautiful. They'd come down to visit me in Richmond, and my Southern friends were plain Janes with flat chests, yet they are the ones who walked off with all the cute guys. They understood the art. On the other hand, the love lives of my Northern friends were a mess, but they were walking off with law degrees. What I wanted to do my whole life was reconcile these two things -- love and work.
And a great question from the interviewer: "Is there a woman who seduced God?"
[Answers instantly.] Yes! Lilith seduced God. She was Adam's first wife, but she refused to accept the missionary position. She said, "We're equal, why should I lie beneath you in the dust?" So she flew off and she found all these daemons -- hunky studs, hundreds of them. She copulated all day and had lots of children, and then just went around the world looking for comely youths to seduce. In one legend, she hunted Adam down and gave him wet dreams until he died. [Laughs]. In another story she seduced God Himself.
That's when the Temple of Jerusalem fell. She's the classic femme fatale. Also, don't forget Aphrodite was stronger than Zeus. She's the only goddess in the Greek pantheon who was never raped.
Go on, read the rest. You know you want to...
The whiz-kids at the DOJ released a heavily-redacted report on workforce diversity at the agency. Unfortunately for them, they didn't understand how to redact properly when dealing with PDF files. The Memory Hole has the complete report, with the redacted parts exposed and highlighted for your pleasure.
You may find it less than totally surprising that most of what they tried to hide is simply embarrassing and in no way secret. Can "trust no one" make a comeback to non-trite usage now?
Erstwhile Unfogged commenter, cycling fan, and pop-culture maven Girl27 has started a blog called, invitingly enough, Everybody's Girl.
One hopes that a recipe for Tuna Casserole will not long be the top post there.
Great post here.
Bonus points for coining the term "bongological."
On the way to dinner, about five minutes into a ten minute drive, we had both completely forgotten where we were going. We still don't know if we went to the place we'd intended.
I guess we'll never know.
Anyone need cheap babysitting?
Stands to reason: Google is working on its own book-text search.
It's wonderful news (via Buzzmachine and Instapundit) that there's now a blogging cafe in Tehran. But check your optimism a bit, we're still dealing with the mullahs. Here's a translation of part of the front page:
You can write things in a weblog and talk and hear about them in the cafe: about literature, money, love...but not politics!
Some of the young people in Tehran are politically knowledgeable and read the papers, but a lot of them are on the net. Now even more of them will hear about blogging. And blogging, with its ease of setup and use, just might be the little edge that they need to stay ahead of the authorities and find another outlet for political expression and organization. ...we can hope...
That man, Donald Luskin, who has shown what some would perhaps characterize as a notably odd interest--perhaps even shading into another sort of interest, with another name--in Paul Krugman, seems to have authorized the initiation of legal action on his behalf by his attorney against...Atrios. To put it another way, in the words of said attorney, Mr. Jeffery J. Upton,
This firm represents Donald L. Luskin, a Contributing Editor to National Review Online and author and host of Poorandstupid.com, among other activities. You recently linked to Mr. Luskin's October 7, 2003, posting on his website entitled "Face To Face With Evil," in which he chronicles his attendance at a lecture and book signing presented by Paul Krugman. You chose the unfortunate caption "Diary of a Stalker" for your link. More importantly, your readers, in responding to your invitation to comment, have posted numerous libelous statements regarding Mr. Luskin...
Some might read the following as a threat,
As a result of your control over and participation in the comment section of your site, as well as the fact that Mr. Luskin has personally brought these libelous comments to your attention already, you face personal liability for their distribution. Determining your identity for the purpose of making service of process can be easily accomplished through a subpoena to Blogspot.com.
Classy. Atrios has a few relevant links. Including an article written by Luskin about Krugman with the helpful headline, "We Stalked, He Balked." And he also has a roundup of blogospheric reaction, including Instapundit's "this is just embarrassing" and a gem from Brad DeLong.
UPDATE: You may find this diagram of Mr. Luskin's perception of reality helpful.
The big news of the day seems to be the rate of economic growth in the second quarter.
U.S. economic growth surged in the third quarter of 2003 to the fastest pace in nearly two decades, the government said Thursday, coming in much stronger than economists expected.
The burst of GDP growth was led by a 6.6-percent growth rate in consumer spending, the fastest pace since 1988.
Brad DeLong puts it in perspective.
How can such strong output growth coexist with such lousy employment news? It is this year's great economic data mystery. Everyone believes that it cannot last. Either (i) firms will find themselves unable to meet rapidly-growing demand with their current labor force, and will start hiring at a furious pace, rapidly expanding employment; or (ii) households will take a look at their less-than-certain employment prospects, cut back on spending, and the pace of demand growth will slow drastically.
Current forecasts are smack in the middle: predictions of output growth at an annual rate of between 3.5% and 4.0% per year over the next year and a half or so, coupled with employment growth of perhaps 125,000 a month on average--enough to keep the unemployment rate from rising, but not enough to make unemployment fall.
However, the longer the disjunction between fast output growth and stagnant employment continues, the less likely this smack-in-the-middle forecast becomes. Things are very likely to be either significantly better or significantly worse than the current consensus forecast--but we have no idea which.
Of course, any good Democrat wants the opposite of what's happening now: everyone needing a job having a job, but the economy in the tank. Any chance of such happy days, Prof. DeLong?
"Giant killer birds with subwoofers on their heads." But for real.
The nifty word of the day.
Wesley Clark is in a bind. People have said great things (TNR Subscription) about him.
In 1986, a superior noted in one of Clark's performance reviews that it is "not possible to overstate the significance of Col. Wes Clark's impact on our Army."
One review notes how he "freely stated and defended opinions at variance with conventional wisdom." Another praised him for "tempering brilliant intellect with pragmatic know-how."
But because Clark has an image problem, because, as my fiancee curtly put it after watching him debate, "he's a suck-up," the mention of these reviews hurts Clark as much as it helps. It serves to remind that he's always been reporting to someone and that he's worked very very hard to please that person. That's great, but it's not presidential. I like Clark, and the anecdote I posted here (click that link!) should put a quick stop to any notion that he is, in fact, "prissy," but this is a real problem for him. He needs to seem less eager, more strong.
Camille Paglia, 85% drivel, 15% right-on-sister!, is interviewed at length in Salon today.
James Joyner has posted a list of links to pictures of female bloggers. Of course, there's great natural curiosity about what the people you read look like, but I must say, a list of only female bloggers seems a bit odd; a bit like the obsession with Hillary Clinton's hair. So, to set the world aright, here's another gallery of bloggers, men and women (several pages).
We had a couple of solar flares last week, but the one now headed for Earth may be the third largest on record. We could be in for some great Aurora as well as power outages and cellphone service interruptions. Aurora here. Cell phones here.
UPDATE: I have to admit, I was a little skeptical of the anticipated effects, but my cell phone hasn't had reception since early yesterday. Cool!
Somebody at the company next door was considering buying a car. I didn't catch much of the conversation, but he was loudly informed that:
1). All Mercedes are chick cars.
2). The SL500 is the most chick car of all chick cars.
But rest assured dear reader, potential SL buyer, that the folks next door are nutters. I know this because a rigorous study has already been done.
Please make a note.
You thought she was some sort of cyborg, right? Not quite, but close.
Now anyone can breeze through congested intersections just like the police, thanks to a $300 dashboard device that changes traffic lights from red to green, making nasty commutes a thing of the past and leaving other drivers open-mouthed at your ability to manipulate traffic.Best part (my emphasis).
Police are worried about the possibility of intersection chaos if people duel over control for lights. But even more fundamentally, the dashboard device may be impossible to detect even from a police car right next to it, and it may be perfectly legal anyway.Many more yucks here. via Marginal Revolution
From an article in The Economist summarizing an article to appear in the scientific journal Climatic Change:
[Jeffrey Dukes of UMass Boston] calculates that the fossil fuels burned in 1997 were ultimately derived from 400 years' worth of "primary production", as the organic material produced by photosynthesis is known technically.
...[Dukes] calculates that completely replacing 1997's fossil-fuel consumption with fuels derived from biomass would use up almost a quarter of the Earth's primary production.
Wind power, anyone? Or (shudder) nuclear?
Better begging through neatness, humility, and specificity. But maybe that's not the point.
...if a panhandler asks for 17 cents or 37 cents, will he collect more donations than if he asks for 25 cents? Answer: He will receive about 60 percent more.
...Students, acting as fundraisers, went door-to-door asking for donations. At half the houses they added one sentence to their spiel: "Even a penny would help." Did this have any effect? Answer: It nearly doubled donations.
...Is it better to a) lecture students that they should be neat and tidy, or b) compliment them for being neat and tidy. Answer: In this study, the lecture method was useless, while method "b" led to a three-fold increase in the collection of litter."
This is priceless. The Revision Thing: A history of the Iraq war, told entirely in lies, using nothing but quotes from administration officials.
I was going to take care of this myself, but thank goodness some other people are willing to deal with the long layover at Heathrow.
a team of Hollywood film stars is about to visit the Middle East on a private peace mission, in the belief that their charms will work magic on the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Brad Pitt, his wife, Jennifer Aniston, and Danny DeVito are among the stars who aim to succeed where world statesmen have stumbled.
Pitt and Aniston believe that most people in the region want a negotiated settlement with an end to violence, and imagine that by appealing directly to "ordinary folk", they can bring the warring parties together.
The organisers admit that none of the actors has any experience of the Middle East or of conflict resolution, but argue that this may be a good thing as they will be considered non-partisan.
One global flashpoint calmed. Next?
You already know about this, right? Google Alert will do a specified Google search daily and notify you whenever there's a new result.
Is it entirely fair? Close enough.
Conservative proponents of over-literalism were last seen knocking Paul Krugman for referring to Don Luskin as a "stalker." Now I see that Andrew Sullivan objects to Katrina vanden Heuvel's talk of "Bush's assault on women" on the grounds that Bush has not, in fact, assaulted anyone. Need I point out that "The Daily Dish" is not, in fact, a dish but rather a weblog of some sort? Please, people. Are we going to see an article condemning Bill Clinton for never actually having constructed a physical bridge to the 21st century?
Students have been using a test version for months, and Mr. Winstein said the system was still evolving. The prototype, for example, shows the name of the person who is programming whatever 80-minute block of music is playing. Mr. Winstein said he once received an e-mail message from a fellow student complimenting him on his choice of music (Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 8) and telling him "I'd like to get to know you better." She signed the note, "Sex depraved freshman."Surely she meant "deprived?" Or she might have just pasted the subject line from some spam. In any case, I think the end of her troubles is very near.
Andrew Northrup argues that the US, Canada, and Mexico should become one nation. I'm not sure he's serious. But just in case...
the US and Canada, two countries which have not had a war in going on 2 centuries, and which share what is by far the longest unguarded border on Earth. I suppose the argument against this is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but that's a lazy person's philosophy. What's preventing it? We share a common language (yeah, I know English won't get you far in Quebec, but let me tell you about Texas and southern California), we share most of a common language. We both play baseball, hockey, and (real) football, for crying out loud! Has there ever been a border so arbitrary?
Dude, Canada is the great release valve of the American liberal soul. If not for Canada, there would be rioting in the streets every two weeks. As long as there's Canada, a pissed off liberal can say, "I am this close to moving to Canada." Take that away at your peril.
And speaking now as someone who's been to Canada a few times and is engaged to a Canuck, I have to say that Canada isn't just cold America. Canadians are so damned civilized and polite that going there is kind of like...going to a foreign country. Listen to some Canadian radio and tell me if you don't notice the difference. Let's try not to screw this one up.
There have been a lot of "the Japanese are weird" items lately (maybe since Lost in Translation?). In any case, I'm sure it's only because it's true.
Police arrested a man for stealing shoes at a southern Japanese hospital then found a collection in his home of 440 women's shoes — all for the left foot.
When questioned about the alleged thefts, Irie told police he had "a penchant for women's feet," the Yomiuri newspaper, a major daily, said. It was not clear why he may have preferred the left foot.
A privacy group hired a skywriter to write part of the Social Security number of Citigroup's chief executive above New York City on Friday, protesting the bank's lobbying efforts to keep lawmakers from tightening privacy regulations and demonstrating that even the privacy of bank executives is at risk.
Working during a break in cloud cover, an airplane scrawled the first five digits of CEO Charles Prince's Social Security number in 15-story numerals above Citigroup's global headquarters in midtown Manhattan.Of course, they won't be successful unless they have the gumption to write the whole thing, but it's a start. From Gary Farber, blogging like his old self. Not that he's so old, you understand.
It would make me happy if everyone realized, all at once, that hating most of the poetry you read doesn't mean you don't like poetry; it just means there's precious little good stuff. So, consider this a public service. Here's some good stuff.
Joshua Clover. I like him a lot. New stuff, exciting even. Go here, click "Next Page" three times and, by Amazonian magic, you'll be reading one of his best poems. A bit more info and another good poem here. (Ignore the poseur photo, ok?)
Charles Wright. Austere, somber, almost spare. Amazon rocks. Click this link, sign in, and I think you'll be looking at a great poem.
Hart Crane. Just might be my favorite poet. Voyages is brilliant. Just keep paging through. At Melville's Tomb is also amazing (the entire poem could be "scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph" and it would still be one of the best poems I've ever read). If anyone thought in poetic images, it was Crane.