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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Links - 5th November 2014

Is it time to get rid of the word pervert? - "For the longest time, in fact, to be a pervert wasn’t to be a sexual deviant; it was to be an atheist... Only at the tail end of the 19th century did the word ‘pervert’ first leap from the histrionic sermons of fiery preachers into the heady, clinical discourses of stuffy European sexologists... Not so long ago, some Neo-Freudian scholars were still interpreting anal sex among gay men as an unconscious desire in the recipient (or the ‘bottom’) to nip off the other’s penis with his tightened sphincter. ‘In this way, which is so characteristic of the pervert,’ mused the influential South African-born psychoanalyst Mervin Glasser in the paper ‘Identification and its Vicissitudes as Observed in the Perversions’ (1986), ‘he [is] trying to establish his father as an internal object with whom to identify, as an inner ally and bulwark against his powerful mother’... Although, happily, we’re increasingly using science to defend gays and lesbians, deep down most of us (religious or not) still appear to be suffering from the illusion of a creator who set moral limits on the acceptable sexual orientations. Our knee-jerk perception of individuals who similarly have no choice whatsoever over what arouses them sexually (be they paedophiles, exhibitionists, transvestites, or fetishists, to name but a few) is that they’ve wilfully, deliberately, and arrogantly strayed from the right course. In other words, we see them as ‘true perverts’... As a society we’ve become so focused on the question of whether a given sexual behaviour is ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’ that we’ve lost sight of the more important question: Is it harmful?... When it comes to sexual harm in particular, what’s harmful to one person could be not only completely harmless to another but might even, believe it or not, be helpful or positive. A gay Muslim who dies only to find himself in an afterlife thronged with 72 beautiful female virgins, as the Koran promises its faithful, will be in hell, not in heaven. One man’s angels are another’s demons. once one abandons the notion that one can ‘commit’ a sin by thinking a thought, it becomes quite clear that sexual desires — no matter how deviant — are intrinsically harmless to the subject of a person’s lust, at least in the physical sense. Mental states are ‘a mere breath on the air’ as the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote"
This is one reason people get years in jail for child pornography possession

Teach youth that gender is a cultural construct - "One can be pro-family and yet against the patriarchal family, which some religious groups support. Other cultural impositions are also possible, as “mainstream values”, by definition, exclude significant values held by minority communities. Even more frightening is the thought that progressive perspectives on gender that are taught in our universities will be cut out of the sex education curriculum. I hope I will be proven wrong... Youth who are taught that gender is a cultural construct would make sense of such research. They would recognise that the long history of the patriarchal socialisation of men, rather than nature, explains the different responses between the sexes. They would know that a progressive education can overturn such gender inequities."
The aggressive pushing of an ideological agenda: why parents are scared of sex education
Isn't the cutting out of non-progressive perspectives on gender what those who complained about Focus on the Family's sex education were aiming to do?

Leibovitz Sees Glitz and Grit, Sontag Broods on the Big Idea - "By interspersing sexy photographs of Heidi Fleiss and Nicole Kidman with closeup shots of victims of domestic violence at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, Ms. Leibovitz and Ms. Sontag have created a book that fairly hammers you over the head with its agenda. On one page, you get three Houston socialites with big hats and fake smiles; on the next, black coal miners in Alabama. Rather than letting you get drawn into the photographs, Women wants to make sure you get the point. If you want to look at Sigourney Weaver in a fishnet body stocking and shiny black ankle boots, well, you better not skip over the photograph of two grossly overweight women outside a gas station in rural Texas. The problem is, the book’s point-that women come in all shapes and sizes; that women are still oppressed; that women grow old; that women are deans of law schools and farmers and astronauts and scientists-feels a bit tired by now. Surely we know these things. Ms. Sontag would perhaps respond that we do know them, but that we don’t know them enough. If we did, women would earn equal pay to men and would not be subject to reflexive hostility when they show ambition and independence. Fair enough. But the essay ignores the photos that accompany it. Read Ms. Sontag’s critique of “today’s hugely complex fashion-and-photography system” and you wonder if she bothered to turn to the book’s last page, where Ms. Leibovitz ends her acknowledgments with, “I am extremely grateful to Anna Wintour and Vogue .” If only Ms. Sontag had written an essay that tackled head-on Ms. Leibovitz’s financial and artistic symbiosis with “today’s hugely complex fashion-and-photography system.” What would she make of the photograph, taken from below, of the red panties and crotches of four faceless, high-kicking Kilgore College Rangerette cheerleaders? Is it commentary-the male sports establishment exploits women by making them dress up as cheerleaders-or is it appreciation? How does the photograph jibe with Ms. Sontag’s statement that this is a book about women’s “ambition,” which women have been “schooled to stifle in themselves”? Is a photograph of women’s underwear a celebration of ambition? Ms. Sontag may not be particularly interested in what male viewers think of Ms. Leibovitz’s pictures. Her essay dismisses men as bores. She writes, “A book of photographs of women must, whether it intends to or not, raise the question of women-there is no equivalent ‘question of men.’ Men, unlike women, are not a work in progress.”"
Rangerettes was quite nice

Leonardo DiCaprio with a Swan - AnOther's Lovers
Leonardo and the Swan

Every Comment On Recipe Blogs - "“I didn’t have buttermilk, so I just poured baking soda into a container of raspberry yogurt. It tasted terrible.”
“I love this recipe! I added garlic powder, Italian seasoning, a few flakes of nutritional yeast, half a bottle of kombucha, za’atar, dried onion, and biscuit mix to mine. Great idea!”"

Pavement-hogging cyclists caught in the act - "At least 100 cyclists were caught within an hour and 15 people were issued fines of $20, Shin Min Daily News reported. This follows a report last month by The New Paper that there were many cyclists riding along the pavements of Woodlands Avenue 9 and many near-misses with pedestrians... One resident, Ms Chen, said that many cyclists are very reckless. "My five-year-old son was nearly knocked down by a bicycle a few days ago. It was really dangerous," said Ms Chen, who is in her 40s. A police spokesman said that when cyclists cause hurt to pedestrians, they could be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to one year, or both. Shin Min reported that the pavement where the operation took place was narrow, but in a span of 10 seconds, at least 30 bicycles would pass by. Before the Traffic Police operation started, some reckless cyclists were spotted, with two cyclists brushing against each other. Many pedestrians were also seen looking back frequently as they walked on the pavement, seemingly to look out for cyclists coming from behind. It is understood that many of the cyclists would ride from residential areas to industrial estates between 7am and 8am to get to work. Many cyclists interviewed by Shin Min said that cycling on the roads was too dangerous, so they decided to cycle on the pavement... Writing on his Facebook page about the operation in Woodlands Avenue 9, Mr Khaw said that a cycling lane had been created for cyclists but there were still those who rode along walkways."
The roads are dangerous - so we need to make pavements dangerous too

What If Hogwarts Had A Mandatory Sex Ed Class? - "'That was so informative! Did you know that witches can store their menstrual blood to use in fertility potions? Oh! And Professor McGonagal was telling us about protection charms that you can put onto your vulva so that anything that enters you without your consent will turn black and shrivel up.' They boys grimmaced and hoped they got to land a muggle girl their first time instead."

Cooking with extra virgin olive oil is a 'waste of money' because it loses its health benefits when heated - "Even after being cooked, olive oil will still be at least as healthy as vegetable oil so it is not worth replacing one with the other, said the report. But it could be ‘economically advantageous’ to use standard olive oil rather than pay more for the extra virgin variety, it added. And there are other ways to get the most out of olive oil when cooking, they added. One is to keep heating to a minimum, another is to keep adding a splash of olive oil during the cooking process so that it does not get so hot it loses its healthy properties."

mophie space pack - Built-In Phone Storage | mophie - "space pack is the world’s first rechargeable battery case with local built-in storage made for iPhone 5s/5."

“Game of Thrones” should watch its back: Why this work of nonfiction is as riveting as the fantasy - "We don’t think of Shakespeare as writing historical fiction, but his historical plays really are that, aren’t they?
Those two cycles, the two tetralogies [comprising "Richard II"; "Henry IV, Part 1"; "Henry IV, Part 2"; "Henry V"; "Henry VI, Part 1"; "Henry VI, Part 2"; "Henry VI, Part 3"; and "Richard III"] are probably the most influential lens through which we view the 15th century. So much of what Shakespeare did with those plays — although I don’t think a lot of it was deliberate – reflects the common 16th-century views of what happened in the previous century. And that has remained the way people understand the Wars of the Roses. It’s the most important historical fiction of all when we’re talking about the 15th century.
The first I ever heard of the Wars of the Roses as an American child was in the Chronicles of Narnia. Someone is explaining something complicated to Lucy Pevensie, and she throws up her hands and says “It’s worse than the War of the Roses!” So for a long time the only thing I knew about it was that it was impossible to understand...
I suppose if you could boil it down into one instant, it’s the moment of anointing... That’s what is at the heart of Shakespeare’s “Richard II,” and at the heart of the real story of Richard II as well: the terrible deed that was done by deposing and killing an anointed King. You’ve messed with someone who has literally been touched by God. It’s like when people object to doing stem cell research today. You’re messing with nature, with the rules of the world. Think about it in those terms... This is also one reason the Wars of the Roses eventually petered out. Everyone had to be out there on the front line, which leads to an enormously high mortality rate of male aristocrats in the English 15th century. You get to the end of the 1400s and there is virtually no one with any royal blood left. They’ve slaughtered each other."

Only 39% of Singapore respondents who have lived abroad want to retire here: Survey - "According to the survey, chasing a better quality of life and lower cost of living were among the key reasons for choosing to retire overseas. Countries like Australia and Malaysia were revealed to be popular retirement locations for Singaporeans."
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