"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, July 07, 2008

"We don't bother much about dress and manners in England, because as a nation we don't dress well and we've no manners." - George Bernard Shaw, "You Never Can Tell" (1898), act I


With all the talk about discrimination, representing diversity, giving everyone an equal voice and coming up with material that everyone can use, one part of an interview with Paul Joannides, who wrote "The Guide To Getting It On", was interesting:

Gay Rick: Am I correct in assuming you're a heterosexual male?... There were points where I just felt that it was very, written from the point of view of a heterosexual male?... Why did you choose to go the route you did, instead of saying "you and your partner", versus "you and your wife"?

Paul Joannides: I was living in West Hollywood... for those of you who don't know, West Hollywood is - well...

Gay Rick: You can say 'gay'. It's gay.

Paul Joannides: ... When I was first working on the book, early on, I went down to local bookstores called "The Different Light", a very large gay and lesbian bookstore. And I met with a couple of managers and said "yeah, I'm writing this book on sex and I'd like to really make it for everybody, no matter what your orientation, and I wondered if you had any thoughts?"

And talk about being blown away.

They looked at me and said: "Unless you wake up every morning thinking about cock and thinking about sucking cock, don't do us any favors... Don't try to write another committee book. It would be just as insulting as the last 50 committee books on sex."

And I was really blown away, but I actually thought about it, and, uh, when I looked around, there really weren't any books I could find that actually had any kind of a straight male voice. They were committee books. They were exactly as you said. Your partner could be anybody. They were, so, I followed that and went with it and that was the voice the book ended up having. But you're absolutely right. It is a straight male voice, and it's written for heterosexual or bisexual couples. It's not, it's just not for a gay audience.

To give you an idea of the struggle we had, I wanted to include more pictures of gay men having sex. When we would test those illustrations with straight male audiences, they basically said: "We really wouldn't be interested in that book unless we had to buy it".

And then when we showed the book to gay males, they say, "Eugh, look at all that pussy. That is so gross".

So what we found and what researchers are now telling us in the last couple of years... is for males who are straight, they tend to be rigidly straight, and males who are gay, they tend to be rigidly gay. They don't like that much to crossover. The idea that we're all bisexual doesn't seem to be holding much water.

And so I think we either have a book, you need to speak to someone deep down, you either do the one or the other. I don't think you can have both.


A book with a straight male voice would be able to speak more to straight males about being gay, about gay males.

One thing this made me think about was a comment that sex education in Singapore was Victorian in that the genders are always separated, and that this is unhealthy.

Yet, there is a reason why body searches have to be conducted by personnel of the same sex as the one being searched, male rape counsellors are very rare (I can't find any examples) and many women's shelters don't allow men inside.

Separation and difference do not automatically lead to discrimination and inferiority.
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