Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson are making news with their [cover] for Vanity Fair.
Vanity Fair spokeswoman Beth Kseniak said it’s too early to say how the magazine is selling, but that it has scored about 3,000 new subscriptions and almost 5 million web site page views.
Some of that buzz has been negative. “The whole cover just seems faux-racy to me,” says Siobhan Burns, a New Yorker in her mid-30’s who reads the magazine in her office. “And why, in 2006, do women still have to take their clothes off and look pouty, rather than being heralded for their accomplishments?”
My counter-question is, “why on earth does it have to be one or the other?”
Why can’t women take their clothes off AND be heralded for their accomplishments? I’ve not read the accompanying article, but I doubt that the meteoric career paths and recent acting kudos bestowed on the lovely naked misses are ignored.
Pseudo-feminism is tiring, to me. Rebecca Traister is just fine as a writer (even if I might still be smarting that she interviewed me once for a Salon story and then I didn’t get quoted in the final article)… but are we sure that Tom Ford’s being clothed on that cover while the women were naked is really an “over-the-top [o r g y] of self-love, misogyny and outright idiocy”?
I’m just saying there are plenty of actual occurrences of misogyny and outright idiocy out there in the world… ones we would be far better served criticizing and examining… then two hot [unclothed] chicks on a magazine cover.
A Chicago-area family is in the middle of a legal struggle over circumcision, and it’s a battle with no precedent.
The mother wants her 8-year-old son circumcised. The father does not. Apparently neither side’s position is based on religious or cultural tradition — which would probably actually have simplified things, for once.
My intuition tells me there is probably an element of power play involved, since the parents are divorced and there are plenty of attorneys on the scene.
But I still have a hard time with the idea that a mother would willingly put her child through a traumatizing and painful procedure when there is no medical need for it (the most recent Circumcision Policy Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics says that data is not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision).
Especially when we’re not talking about an infant, who will never remember the procedure! An 8-year-old boy already has a definite relationship with and understanding of his body. It seems needlessly cruel to perform what is basically a cosmetic mutilation on a child who is old enough to anticipate and fear the operation.
I’ve heard the anecdote that the most oft-cited non-cultural motivation for fathers advocating or opposing circumcision is that they want their son’s [parts] to look like their own. I can see that. A similar agenda leads thousands of couples to spend thousands of dollars on fertility treatments, instead of adopting. But in the Chicago case, the father is the one opposed. And demographically, it’s pretty safe to presume that the father himself is circumcised.
A JAMA article reported that “the frequency of circumcision varies directly with maternal education, a marker for socioeconomic status.” Can’t we deduce that this battle boils down to the Chicago mother’s inherent opinion of what a “normal [organ]” looks like?
I’m a professed [libertine], with plenty of exposure to lots of [male parts]… and I have never actually seen a live uncircumcised [part], so prevalent are the cut ones among American-born adults. If it would be foreign to me, what are the odds that a “normal” suburban housewife in the Midwest has encountered one?
I really hope that the courts stop the mother from prevailing. If she cared so much about circumcising her son, the morally responsible time to force the conversation was eight years ago, when the procedure would have been easier on all fronts.
And if she managed to wait this long, she can wait another ten years, and then let her son decide for himself when he’s an adult. That’s a whole decade to propagandize to him and try to win him over to her position.
Regardless, I hope both parents accept the final court decision, whatever it is. Far more painful and traumatizing than any recuperation from a school-aged circumcision is the way the child is being used as an emotional pawn in this drama.
* Disclaimer: I’m aware that not having a child, nor one on the way, nor having a penis, renders my opinions on circumcision mostly immaterial. But, hey, similar pesky details don’t stop male lawmakers from making legislative decisions regarding my uterus, so I see no need to hold my peace.
Our trip to New Orleans solidified what Jack and I had suspected: [we have a taste for the alternative lifestyle]. We had sampled the wares and now we were ready to fully partake of what [it] had to offer.
Only, how to go about it? We couldn’t travel out of state to New Orleans every time we wanted a little [excitement]. The idea of taking out a personal ad seemed distasteful and possibly dangerous. The websites all looked garish, and we suspected they were primarily a meeting place for the toothless and undereducated. We didn’t like the options we saw, so we did nothing. Our inactivity was frustrating me… I was ready to be [morally flexible].
Suddenly, we didn’t have to think about that — because it was time to move. Jack got the job offer, and we boxed our home up and drove it a couple of states over. All the usual chaos ensued, real estate agents and new driver licenses, caravaning of cars and dogs and arguing over how best to pack up the crystal and the record albums.
Other than the knowing glances exchanged by the movers when they lifted our boxsprings to find a couple of errant issues of [an adult publication] underneath, it was your standard uneventful relocation.
And that really took up quite a bit of time. When we weren’t mentally distracted, we were physically exhausted, and so for several months, I didn’t mind that I was having just your average garden-variety [marital relations].
Which of course, is anything but. Even when it’s just us, Jack and I are fans of [a wide variety of relations]. “Just married [relations]” is still, for us, a lot more excitement than most people are having.
Please don’t think I take it for granted.
I posted a story about our first experience, at a club in New Orleans. There is no way I could clean it up for a sfw site. Sorry!
I have posted a second part of my bedroom predilections, although the bedroom really isn’t a factor in this case. It can’t be cleaned up for here, so take a look when you can.
I can’t properly format it here, but I’ve posted at the other site about a comment I recently received from a Christian who wants to save me from my sins. Imagine how that went over.
Check it out when you get the chance…
I did decide to go to the party the other night. It was everything I expected, and nothing I hoped for.
I’d received an email with a street address and a 7-digit code, and the instruction to “look for the building on fire.” We Mapquested the address; Jack advised that I made sure I had a full tank of gas. The party was not in a part of town where I’d want to have to stop on the way home at 3:00 am.
Sure enough, my drive went from gated subdivision and manicured lawns, to busy freeway replete with malls and chain restaurants, through downtown’s skyscrapers, and into an industrial area. The few working sodium lights did little to dispel shadows around Dumpsters, receiving docks and long, low cinder block buildings. To add uncertainty, the street signs were too dirty to read in the ambient light, and none of the buildings seemed to have numbers.
Finally, I saw lots of cars clustered at one property. Sure enough, there was a ten-foot orange flame of light projected on the concrete wall facing the street. I’d found the place.
There was a keypad next to the door. I punched in my code and a tiny light turned green, but before I could touch the doorknob, it swung open. Techno music bumped out, and Michael Clarke Duncan’s twin gestured me in.
The walls were red, and the gladioli were white, and the candles were everywhere. A statuesque brunette in a tiny black dress escorted me down a long hall and handed me off to a waifish blonde in a tiny black dress, who showed me the coat check, the restrooms. This was apparently a warehouse that had been converted to an artists’ co-op. They had properties in New York and L.A. as well, the blonde said.
The long hallway opened onto a huge white cavernous room lit only by rows of votives on the walls and a two-story-high projection of a DVD of two girls [performing a certain act that has a numeral for a name]
Arriving at any party or club, the first thing a woman does is rate herself relative to the other women in the room. It’s subconscious, and any woman who claims she doesn’t do it is lying. “No, really, I don’t”s will not be entertained; I’m one of the most confident women I know, and I do it. We can’t control it. Western culture prizes women that are young, healthy and beautiful, and you have to gauge where you fall on the spectrum at any given event to know where you stand.
I was in the middle on attractiveness, and in the middle in income. I was one of the youngest people.
I was also one of the least gilded. The women were all in standard [adult party] wear, which is merely club wear that reveals more (Mesh tops, micro-minis, garters, flossy halters, ultra-low-rise, ultra-push-up. Lots of lingerie and scanty things. Everyone stops short of displaying [flesh below the belt], but that’s really the only line.). Nothing was too surprising about the attire, but it was the execution: everyone seemed bleached and glossed and implanted to the ostentatious nines.
I’m a preppier look, usually more Ralph Lauren than Stella McCartney. Fashion-forward is nice but haute couture doesn’t exactly play at the homeowners’ association meeting. We look for all the world like Young Republicans, really. My husband doesn’t have highlights. He doesn’t own anything like this (link to Int’l Male catalog), which is what the host seemed to be wearing.
(Don’t think I show up at these parties looking like Mary Poppins. I tweak my look for the occasion, and it works for me. It’s just a “[hot] librarian” look, something with a bit of mystery.)
There was a lot of hipster club furniture about, white leather and chrome and lacquered bits. There were lots of hipsters draped about on the furniture, women with forced perma-smiles, their dates with shirts unbuttoned way too far. There were a few girls dancing, in a very artful way that had nothing to do with being close to one another or enjoying the music and everything to do with projecting exactly how attractive they fancied themselves.
Everyone seemed to be posing. No one seemed to be having any actual fun. The dynamic was all wrong. Instead of the affectionate, unaffected energy I’ve grown to prefer, the room had a very competitive vibe, as if this were just another A-list nightclub on any given Saturday. Snippets of conversation floating through the room were on who’d just bought lofts at the hottest new address, who’d just re-upped the lease on his S-Class. The few girls who were making out, with each other or their dates, seemed to be doing so as performance, covertly watching who was watching.
I am not a fan of assumptions, and the Lord above knows I don’t judge recreational [partying], but I would hazard the guess that the dull stares, hollow laughs and meaningless conversations had chemical catalysts.
I spotted a few people I knew from around, and I wandered about with my Scotch and my wristlet and talked a bit. But other than little pleasantries and banter about mutual [lifestyle] acquaintances, I couldn’t muster up any interest. The artifice had overwhelmed me.
This wasn’t my kind of event. The venue, amenities and staff were top-notch, mind you; it was the crowd that didn’t work for me. There weren’t any guests here that I wanted to have a conversation with, much less kiss or fondle or [do more with].
It was a very slick party, and I suspect that all the very slick people went home and had some very slick [interaction]. I introduced myself to the hosts, thanked them, and ducked out after 45 minutes. I was home by midnight.
I recently posted at the other site about my rituals when getting ready to go out for a de vi ant evening. There’s no way to clean it up for here, so just be sure to take a look over there when you can.