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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Watching sex : how men really respond to pornography (4/10)

"You know what I did before I married? Anything I wanted to." - Henny Youngman


Watching sex : how men really respond to pornography / David Loftus

The “Slippery Slope” and the Question of Addiction

"When discussing the effect pornography has on men, its foes often apply a “slippery slope” model. After a while, the theory goes, the friendly nudes of Playboy no longer suit; the viewer must move on to more kinky and violent material...

If the antiporn theory is correct, the men would have used more pornography over time, and its content would have become more vivid and violent. Although most men said there had been times in their lives when they had used pornography more than at other times, high use tended to correlate—as we have seen in previous chapters—with external circumstances: not being in a relationship, being in college, amount of privacy, extra time on one’s hands, or when depressed, under stress, or experiencing relationship troubles.

In reality, only a few men reported that they had gone for the more vivid and kinky over time...

The only change many men cited was toward higher quality. “I look harder for well-produced, more interesting stuff, like Andrew Blake’s films,” said a 29-year-old married man who thought his tastes “haven’t changed radically.” Said a 29-year-old married custodian, “I feel that I’ve become more judicial about what I view now. When I was younger, anything with naked people in it was good enough; now I’m more picky about the performers, directors, and video companies. I tend to go with the ones I know by experience or reputation. With our having a child and my wife getting bored of the ‘same old porn movie junk,’ we rent fewer in a year than we used to in a month.”...

Is Addiction Possible?

A 24-year-old married student drew a clear line between the few who are susceptible and the many who are not:

'I use the analogy of role-playing games and heavy metal music. Some kids have killed people after playing role-playing games, and others have killed themselves after playing heavy metal music. Are these things inherently harmful? No. Many role players develop problem-solving skills through the playing of these games. Most kids listen to such music with no adverse effects.'...

“In true ‘addiction’ terms, I don’t think it is possible to become addicted to porn, just as I don’t believe in the notion of ‘sex addiction,” said a 33-year-old gay researcher. “But that is just my background in psychology speaking. I think it is possible to become a bit obsessed with it—and one can certainly allow it to upset other areas of one’s life. But as a true addiction—no.”

“Pornography is not cocaine or crack!” a 24-year-old engineer exclaimed. “Having lived with a drug addict, I know how consuming true addiction is,” added a 38-year-old homosexual. “I don’t believe a compulsion for pornography—if, in fact, there is such a thing—can in any way be likened to an addiction.”“I don’t get physically ill when I stop using pornography,” a 41-year-old math student dryly observed.

Another man spelled out the differences between truly addictive substances and porn:

'In recent years, it has become fashionable to tag various behaviors as addictive. People will claim that they are addicted to sex, or relationships, or anger, or overeating, or whatever it is in their life that troubles them. The people who exhibit these behaviors may have real problems. In particular, there is often a compulsive component to their behavior. However, these behaviors do not fit the model of real addiction. Someone wrote a book on this subject a few years ago. She suggested that what these people are suffering with is not any true addiction but simply existential anxiety: “the terror of knowing what the world is about.” She felt that it debased the word to call these problems “addictions.” Some people define addiction so broadly that it loses all content and becomes little more than a synonym for “want.” Real addiction generally involves use of psychoactive chemicals. Characteristics of addictive substances include craving, euphoria, tolerance, and withdrawal. Also, use of addictive substances is self-reinforcing: the more you use, the more you want. A few behaviors, such as compulsive gambling, possess some of these characteristics as well. I drank heavily for three years in college. I managed to stop before my life was an utter shambles, but it was a serious problem. I consider myself to have been close enough to real addiction to have some authority on the subject. Pornography is not addictive.'

Reality versus Fantasy: Do Porn Fans Associate Figures in Porn with Real People?

"Contrary to the assertions routinely made by antipom activists, most of the men I talked to were quite clear about the distinctions between pornography and real life. Perhaps those distinctions are what make porn so attractive to men. If so, their taste for porn does not mean they wish real life were more like it, any more than most people would want to live in a D.H. Lawrence novel. The average person is drawn to most entertainment precisely because it is different from life. It provides a temporary respite, a brief thrill, whether it’s a Disney movie or Debbie Does Dallas...

A 21-year-old American student said he never associated the women in porn with girls he knew because “I’m from Illinois, so all we have is corn and fat chicks.”...

Another method of testing the line between the fantasy of porn and the reality of their actual sex lives was to ask the men whether they had ever tried to import something they had seen or read about in pornography to their own sexual practices. Antiporn theorists regularly assert that porn teaches men to use, dominate, and humiliate women. What a man learns to want, they say, are sex acts the woman presumably isn’t going to desire or enjoy—such as fellatio, anal sex, or ejaculation on her face and breasts—and the man has to cajole, negotiate, or just plain impose the practice by surprise or physical force. The underlying assumptions are: Women are never equal parties in what happens in sex; women never want to do the things men become interested in because of pornography; and men don’t really care about women’s sexual pleasure or that they might not wish to do certain things. These assumptions were not supported in any way by the experiences and attitudes of the men in my survey...

Moreover, a number of practices men took from pornography into life were intended to increase their partner’s sexual pleasure more than their own. “I have learned to be much better at cunnilingus by watching it in porn,” a 35-year-old married man said. A 48-year-old widower said porn had given him useful information about “how to sensuously lick nipples and how to perform cunnilingus, both of which I think my wife appreciated.” An unmarried 23-year-old British man said, “My technique for masturbating her by stroking her clitoris has improved since watching ‘educational’ films (barely distinct from mild porn except by the fact that they are introduced by a doctor).”...

A 45-year-old gay man who liked to experiment when he had a long-term partner. “I’d always thought auto-fellatio would be great, but since I’m not that greatly endowed, nor am I very flexible, the act couldn’t be performed. We came as close as possible to it, though, with me standing on my head and cumming in my mouth while my partner held me up and watched. The first couple of times were exciting; after that it became more ridiculous and funny to me until I couldn’t do it at all.”

Whenever men referred to sex acts that antiporn crusaders claim all men are driven to by pornography, it was always in the context of consensual play...

After initial resistance, his wife enjoyed inserting marbles and then a vibrating Ben Wa ball in her vagina at his behest—but fisting, enemas, and sticking metal rods into his urethra and bladder made her sick. At times he traded days of housework for some of the activities she disliked. Although such activities may not be to many people’s taste, it should be noted that most of them involved penetration and manipulation of the man’s body, not his wife’s, so even this doesn’t support the antiporn argument that men force acts on women’s bodies to dominate and humiliate them."

Pornography as Hell, Pornography as Therapy

"Henry also struggled with the unaccountable behavior of some of the women he knew. On occasion, female coworkers seemed to delight in exposing their bodies to their male colleagues. “They would lean very far over while wearing a very low-cut blouse or sit across from me with their legs uncrossed while wearing a very short skirt,”A coworker would come up behind him and make bodily contact with her breasts, either pressing them into his back or brushing them across it...

'At that time I hated my male identity, wished I had been born female, and cross-dressed (privately) for excitement. Girls just seemed to have it so much easier. In the suburban SF Bay area schools I attended, a boy could not show weakness, and school officials did absolutely nothing to keep bullying in check. On the playground, if a bully picks on a girl, those around him will tell him to leave her alone. If a bully picks on a boy, those around him will watch to see if the boy will fight back. When they become old enough to date, girls are not obligated to make the first move. A boy must take the risk of being rejected (a girl who seems very nice can turn out to be very cruel), or he will never go on a date. I felt then, and I continue to feel today, that girls/women have it a lot easier in life.'...

Steve agreed that his experience did not support the notion that exposure to pornography is addictive and leads to ever more violent and kinky obsessions. “On the contrary, the evidence I have is that pornography can be a healing and life-affirming thing, leading to greater self- awareness and self-acceptance.”

For him, pornography “is a part of life, a part of art, a part of the world. It is a major literary genre, and anyone who claims to be literate should have at least a sparse acquaintance with it. Because it is often the honest expression of the human spirit.” Steve recalled Cicero’s quotation of Terence: Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto. A loose translation might be: “I am human; therefore nothing that is human is alien to me.”

Perhaps the best argument by anyone in the survey that objectionable content may lie largely in the eye of the beholder came from Steve:

'I once met a smuggler of pornography; that is, of banned, disgusting, obscene books. It was on a boat, and he had a case of this stuff. The boat would be met in the night by an accomplice who was a local fisherman, and they would transfer the cargo, take it ashore, and distribute it. For this vile deed, both of them faced the death penalty if caught. The place was the Adriatic Sea; the country in question was Albania; and the dirty book was the Holy Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, according to Saint John. I learned two lessons. One, that “pornography,” or “filth,” or “subversive literature—whatever name you call the dog before you hang It—is a social and political construct. Any overlap between the literary genre of pornography and official smut is mere coincidence. The second lesson was that there are people—organized criminals—who believe in what they do. They aren’t just out to make money. An obvious example from U.S. history is the Underground Railroad—an organized conspiracy for the theft of property and the disposal of stolen goods abroad, to take the viewpoint of the Dred Scott court.'

I suggested a reader of his remarks might object to equating the Bible with pornography. Steve responded:

'I assert the analogy. The Fourth Gospel opens thus: “In the beginning was the Word.” In the ultimate analysis, my support for free speech is religious, for I see all speech as a manifestation of the Logos, the redemptive aspect of the divine. The lesson [of the Adriatic smuggler] has stayed with me. May it always do so.'...

By the age of 19 Gerald became disaffected with Christianity. He saw a pornographic movie that featured Harry Reems and ejaculated without even touching himself. "I ejaculated inside my pants. And it was amazing to me. Because it had never happened." [Ed: !!!]"
"The world is my lobster." - Henry J. Tillman


An email from Hum Sup Guy on HWMNBN's words: "if you think Singaporean girls are materialistic, anorexic, overdress, bitchy, emotional, fond of drama and sexist, it's even worse in Hong Kong. Over there, there's no such thing as going Dutch - the guy always pays":

"Having noted the words of wisdom from He Who Must Not Be Named, I attended a CNY dinner in *** with members of the Hong Kong society, primarily girls, to test out his hypothesis. I am afraid that after lunching with them (whom I consider a fairly representative sample of the typical Hong Kong girl), I am forced to conclude that HWMNBN's hypothesis is indeed precise and accurate. For further precision, I observe that they tend to favour alcoholic binges.

... I would appreciate it very much if you could send me an RGS pinafore for my birthday. It's on *** of November."

HWMNBN's reply: "Should clarify that yoru friend's sample isn't representative - the ones who make it overseas to study are never representative of the actual situation on the ground. He should try some of the home-grown variety... [HK girls in HK]'re far worse. but different genus. differnece between country mouse and city mouse in some ways" [Ed: Unfortunately he did not say more about the topic, even when prodded]

HSG's note: "I shall make it a point to visit Hong Kong in the summer and submit a full length report replete with photographs to sense the situation on the ground."

PS: Anybody who wishes to donate an RGS pinafore to Hum Sup Guy: please email me, thank you.


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"S'pore Luxury Backpacker
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And on Tomorrow.sg:

"Generous scholarships. Available here. Lee Kuan Yew Sch of Public Policy."

On NUS charging for plastic bags

"The easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to have any." - Katharine Whitehorn


"Rebate2Earth. With effect from 4th Feb 08, Plastic bags will cost 10 cents each! Plastic bags don't come for free! They cause pollution, death to marine animals and a strain on non-renewable resources... NUS Fights Climate Change"

So now we're phasing in a scheme where we have to pay for plastic bags used on campus.

As previously mentioned, plastic bags are not all bad, though those given out on campus are unlikely to be used to line dustbins or store food. Also, in Singapore in general, people are less likely to recycle plastic bags. But still.

In any case, linking reducing plastic bag use to all manner of evils, with varying improbabilities.

Pollution? Yes, but only if people throw them around (moral of the story: fight littering instead). Technically they are non-biodegradable, but we burn our rubbish anyway.

Death to marine animals? Only if they end up in the sea. So the solution is to clean our waterways and the sea and prevent people from throwing plastic bags into them (saying we should discourage plastic bag use to prevent marine animals' deaths is like saying banning parangs prevents people from getting chopped up by them).

The most ridiculous is linking it to climate change (even if only implicitly). As Climate Change Denial (which aims to explain why people deny its reality) points out, an average Brit's plastic bag consumption is less than 1/5000 of his climate change impact (measured by emissions).

Well, you might say - cutting emissions by <1/5000 is surely better than doing nothing at all. Yet this is not the case - encouraging people to engage in trivial measures crowds out those which are more effective. We all have limited money, time and energy, so encouraging useless measures is worse than useless - it is positively harmful; even the very rich, free and energetic have tons of other worthy causes in which their efforts would reap much greater rewards (e.g. working with amputees, supporting Taiwanese independence and prancing around in a bunny costume to promote PETA).

To wit:

"People have already acquired a severely distorted sense of priorities. 40% of people now believe that recycling domestic waste, which is a relatively small contributor to emissions, is the most important thing they can do to prevent climate change. Only 10% mention the far more important goals of reducing foreign holidays or using public transport.

This easy tips undermine the wider message on the seriousness of climate change. In its report on climate change messaging, “Warm Words”, the Institute of Public Policy Research argues that simple actions “easily lapse into ‘wallpaper’– the domestic, the routine, the boring, the too-easily understood and ignorable”. The IPPR is especially critical of headlines such as ‘20 things you can do to save the planet from destruction’ and said that putting trivial measures alongside alarmist warnings can lead people to “deflate, mock and reject” the very notion of climate change”.

And there is a greater danger that people might adopt the simple measures as a way to avoid making more challenging lifestyle changes. In regards of recycling MORI concluded that it was becoming “a ‘totem behaviour” and that “individuals use recycling as a means of discharging their responsibility to undertake wider changes in lifestyle”. In other words, people can adopt the simplest solutions as a part of a deliberate denial strategy that enables them to feel virtuous without changing their real behaviour."

The shocking but undeniable conclusion?

"Let’s be clear that voluntary action will never be enough- we will need radical political economic and social change."

Cute advice for people going for the HCAP (Harvard College in Asia Project)
(No, not me)

Ditching plastic bags 'no real use'

"For every person who wants to teach there are approximately thirty people who don't want to learn--much." - W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman


A previously linked-to article:

Ditching plastic bags 'no real use'

"IT is believed to be one of the simplest ways people can help the environment, but scrapping the plastic shopping bag might not be worth the effort.

The Federal Government's economic advisory body has recommended ditching plans to wipe out more than five billion plastic bags a year, saying the costs may outweigh the benefits.

The plan is supposed to save marine wildlife and reduce litter, but the Productivity Commission argues that not only is the plastic bag not a serious threat to wildlife, but governments have not taken into account the food-safety benefits of plastic bags or their typical re-use as liners for the garbage bin.

Instead, the commission argues that tougher anti-litter laws or harsher fines might be a better way of addressing litter.

The plans to rid Australia of plastic bags within two years may already be in trouble. The supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles have failed to meet a 50 per cent reduction target by the end of last year.

In the report on waste, due for release today, the commission will find there has been no cost-benefit analysis of a decision taken last July by state, territory and federal governments to phase out high-density polyethylene plastic bags by 2009.

It finds the key expected benefits of getting rid of the plastic bag - the reduction in harm to marine wildlife through ingestion or entanglement in litter - is partially nonsense.

"Plastic bags are a highly visible and long-lasting form of litter because they can easily become airborne, are moisture resistant, and take many years to decompose," it says.

But it says the extent of harm to Australia's marine wildlife is far from certain, saying the figure in use of 100,000 marine animals killed a year was based on a Canadian study done over four years in the early 1980s.

It quotes Australian government research estimating that less than 1 per cent of plastic bags become litter, and that they account for only 2 per cent of litter by number.

Instead, the commission argues plastic bags may actually assist environmental impacts in landfill because of their "stabilising qualities, leachate minimisation and minimising (of) greenhouse gas emissions".

As well, they provide "an important task in product and food safety, keeping uncooked meat or cleaning products separate from other foods".

The commission cites research showing that up to 75 per cent of householders re-use plastic bags as garbage bin liners or carry bags. It finds there has been no cost-benefit analysis of the impacts of banning the bags.

"It is clear there would be costs that might well outweigh the claimed benefits associated with banning HDPE shopping bags, and such a ban would only address problems associated with the less than 1 per cent of plastic bags that become litter," it finds.

The report recommends governments do not proceed with the plan unless they conduct a cost-benefit analysis.

Sydney beauty therapist Lesley Greenwell said she was concerned about the damage her plastic shopping bags might do to the environment, but said this did not stop her ploughing through about 10 a week.

Since the 1990s, when plastic bags became an international environmental issue, Ms Greenwell said she had been trying to cut down on the number she threw away. "I do re-use bags, for rubbish or whatever I can around the home," the 27-year-old said.

Ms Greenwell said she was relieved to hear about the Productivity Commission's report as it removed some of the guilt surrounding the use of plastic bags.

Planet Ark managing director Jon Dee said major supermarkets had failed to meet their goal of slashing 50 per cent of bags by the end of last year.

They had only managed to reduce their use by 45 per cent, although he said the bigger problem was that non-supermarket retailers now give away 55 per cent of plastic bags."

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Watching sex : how men really respond to pornography (3/10)

"Trying to be a first-rate reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach's 'St. Matthew's Passion' on a ukulele." - Bagdikian's Observation


Watching sex : how men really respond to pornography / David Loftus

The Image of Men in Pornography

"“They always had a kind of sleazy look about them, always needed a shave,” recalled a 53-year-old who saw 8mm black-and-white films at Idaho Jaycees “smokers” in the early 1960s as well as the first mass-market porn movies of the mid-1970s... A philosophy scholar in France said, “In the late seventies, they were mostly ugly and often looked like bums.”

Several men suggested the unappealing appearance of the men ruined the viewer’s ability to believe in the sex: “Some men in porn are criminally unattractive and it defeats the willing suspension of disbelief: Why is this gorgeous woman having sex with this jerk???” The men struck another viewer as “always ugly, or heavy set” so “I really couldn’t fathom the thought that these lovely ladies were having casual sex with the gross guys.” A third called the men “butt-ugly” and concluded, Those women must be miserable...

'In still shots, the men always seemed sort of phony and posed, with stupid looks on their faces,” wrote another man, adding that “I find with porn specifically (and with any sort of modeling or fashion photography in general), the models usually seem to have the most unappealing expressions, sort of the ‘You killed my dog; now I’m going to have to kill you’ look.'.

An Australian programmer/analyst agreed: “They often don’t seem to be enjoying it much. Also, many of the guys in videos seem to be a bit limp even when they’re supposed to be hard.”

This fact also struck another man as odd:

'I’ve seen so many videos in which the people take their clothes off, and the man still is not fully erect. The woman spends time getting him hard with her hands and mouth. This is nothing like my experience—by the time my clothes came off in most of my sexual encounters, I was hard as a rock. I wonder if having done it over and over for cameras has made sex with almost anybody less exciting for them. Bottom line: it’s unrealistic and it’s a distraction that takes my mind out of the fantasy.'

One man pondered the emotional state of such men:

'They all seem so empty. I’ve found the men a real big turn-off at times. And it’s not really a competition thing for me. It’s not that I identify them as competition and don’t want them in the picture. It’s that I know there is a lot more to being sexy than just having a big dick and keeping it up for an hour. Most of the men in porn lack any kind of subtlety or expression of desire other than grabbing the nearest vagina and sticking it in.'

Some men said the males in pornography were less intelligent or interesting than the females. “The guys were usually dumber than the males,” one man noted. “Most of their roles are so shallow that they ould easily be replaced by dildos,” said another; “Roles for actresses tend to be considerably deeper than those for actors in pornography— though that really isn’t saying much.”

“In general their purpose seemed to be to demonstrate how good the female was,” wrote a 27-year-old married chemical engineer. He added they seemed “devoid of any character or personality, almost like a person who was asleep or drugged or at work, who could do nothing except have sex.”...

John Stoltenberg, a gay antiporn collaborator of Dworkin’s, wrote, “Male supremacist sexuality is important to pornography, and pornography is important to male supremacy. . . . Your penis is a weapon, her body is your target. . . . Because men are masters, women are slaves; men are superior, women are subordinate; men are real, women are objects; men are sex machines, women are sluts.” But not one of the men I talked to said pornography made him believe “that we are just like the
in pornography: virile, strong, tough, maybe cruel,” or that “women want to be raped, enjoy being damaged by us, deserve to be punished,” as Stoltenberg ridiculously asserts."

How Men Use Pornography

"Opponents of pornography routinely assume men use it only to aid misturbation. In Only Words, MacKinnon writes, “Pornography is masturbation material,” and adds this “is an empirical observation,” as if she had actually studied men doing it.

But quite a few other men indicated that MacKinnon’s “empirical observation doesn’t always hold. A 28-year-old editor/publisher, married seven years, who said “most of the time when I look at porn I do not masturbate at all,” explained: “I have on occasion used it with friends as an element of foreplay, and I have also used magazines such is Playboy to demonstrate poses when taking my own pictures.” The latter consisted of “personal pictures we [his wife and he] have taken for our own pleasure, or perhaps something to give to a close girlfriend of my wife.”

A 42-year-old electronic publishing specialist in his second marriage said, “I sometimes look at erotic materials without any intent of arousing myself to orgasm, but this is because I have developed an intellectual interest in the subject.” [Ed: HAHAHAHAHA]...

A corporate manager said after using porn, he felt “ready to go on to something something else, like playing the piano. Music and sex, what else is there?”...

[A] 35-year-old, a married programmer, described his response thus:

'When I use magazines, particularly bondage magazines, I often find that I feel a little bit stupid about the whole thing after I cum. I think what happens is that the magazine starts to deconstruct itself in my hands. Before I cum, I’m wrapped up in my sexual response to the women I’m looking at. After I cum, my sexual response fades, and I’m left with just the women. And then they’re not women, they’re just pictures of women. And then it’s not pictures, it’s just little dots of color on the pages of a magazine. And finally it’s not even a magazine, it’s just an object in my hands. And I paid $8 for it. How stupid. I’m happy to report that this doesn’t happen after I’ve been looking at porn on my computer. I suspect this is because there is no persisting object to deconstruct itself after I cum. Close the window, exit the program, and there’s nothing left.'...

Sharing Porn with Others

"If the story of pornography is men exercising control nver women, then it would make sense if, as adults, men gathered to enjoy the experience and direct one another toward the choicest bits of female humiliation and degradation.

However, half of the heterosexual men in the survey said they never even discussed pornography with other men, let alone perused it in their company...

“Many of the frats would hold Saturday night showings of porn flicks as a way to raise money for the house,” a married science teacher said. [Ed: New idea for Hall Inmates!]...

The most surprising finding about the shared use of porn with a spouse or lover was that just as many men said their wife or girlfriend was totally supportive of their use of pornography as those who said their significant other absolutely hated it...

Several men had seen Playgirl magazines among a lover’s possessions. “My last girlfriend and I actively enjoyed reading erotic materials together and watching videos together,” recalled a 24-year-old audio engineer. “A few actually surprised me,” a Bangladeshi man said. “The didn’t seem the type. You could imagine the expression on my face when this quiet, shy woman pulls out a 12” dildo and a bunch of Playgirl magazines.”...

Many men felt romance novels constituted female pornography. The largest consumers of porn are women, and the best-selling porn genre is written for them,” a 49-year-old British man declared. He asserted further that force is used in this women’s genre more often than in male pornography. “It’s called ‘romance,’ but usually referred to as 'bodice rippers.' The prevalence of rape fantasies in this literature has often been remarked upon. That doesn’t worry me; in fact, it’s a useful thing to cite when hypocritical feminists attack men’s pornography.”

Another Englishman ventured the opinion that “many women are interested in porn and much of what I have recently read in ‘women’s magazines’ is very sexually explicit. I know that recently a U.K. women’s magazine got rid of naked centerfolds because women were not interested in them without erections!”...

'I’d never admitted using pornography to any other girlfriend until my present one. Originally she was rather perturbed by the thought that I needed a magazine to get satisfaction. She felt inadequate and jealous that I would be giving my thoughts to a picture. She finds mental images much more satisfying and hence has trouble understanding why I would need a picture. After some very long and open conversations, I finally got her to realize that I have no kind of mental attraction towards these women. I merely use it as a visual stimulus for masturbation; I have sexual urges and pornography helps satisfy them. While she thinks of the magazines as being very pathetic, she no longer feels jealous or inadequate—it’s just a pathetic guy thing she has to put up with.'...

Of all these examples—men whose partners enjoyed sharing pornography, men whose partners were not as interested but sometimes shared porn use for the man’s sake, and men whose partners tried it once or twice and indicated they did not want to anymore—none conforms to the scenario depicted by opponents of pornography, in which men routinely cajole women into unhappy viewings of porn and force sex acts upon their partners after seeing them portrayed. In nearly all the relationships described by men in this survey, both partners sought to be considerate and discreet...

There are even gay men who accept antiporn ideology, though none that I talked to. A 32-year-old graduate student in the social sciences reported:

'Once in a while, I will take home a guy who believes the Dworkinite crap (not to insult coprophiles with the comparison) about how porn is degrading, un-PC, etc. I try to explain the importance of porn in gay male culture, and how homophobic the antiporn 'feminists' really are. I talk about how antiporn laws have the effect of facilitating government repression of gays - specifically those who are marginalized and most defenseless: rural gays. I cite the ways the Dworkin/MacKinnion legislation in Canada has resulted in confiscations of gay and lesbian political literature by customs. And that I like porn.' [Ed: In a previous chapter, it was revealed that porn is extremely important in helping gays discover their sexuality, and thus to be antiporn is to be antigay.]"

Watching sex : how men really respond to pornography (2/10)

"Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so." - John Stuart Mill


Watching sex : how men really respond to pornography / David Loftus

I Know What Boys Like:

"Several said pornography is most effective when it is believable. Others wanted to see the participants express genuine pleasure. A plot helped. So did good writing, characterization, decent acting, 'realistic' characters and acts, and a natural progression of events instead of abrupt changes...

Many men expressed annoyance and disappointment over unbelievable settings, stories, and behavior:

'For example, a woman gets out of a swimming pool and is going to have sex with a man, but first must put her high heels on!

I’ve seen amateur videos of sex and masturbation: women usually don’t make much noise when they cum. They squeal a little, or sigh and tremble for a few seconds, then it’s over. Knowing that, it’s disgusting to see women carrying on in paroxysms of shrieking ecstasy. Also, the closeups of the “passionate faces” are sometimes hard to believe. Those contorted faces look more like they’re in pain than in pleasure. Where did porn makers ever get the idea that sex has to be such unpleasant work? And the guys get so athletic, they look like they aren’t enjoying themselves at all. Like it’s just a big show, an athletic event. To me, that isn’t sex, it’s self- abuse.' [musician/writer, 48, married]...

A 40-year-old programmer in Britain. married seven years, had a similar critique but argued that it was an inevitable hazard of the genre:

'The problem is that by being underground, porn his evolved into a totally separate genre. Ideally one could find red-hot sex scenes” in an ordinary drama, or Umberto Eco-quality literary pastiche in a porn novel. In practice, the market has so split that few dare try an in-between work. The literati would sneer at the porn episodes, the pornophiles would be frustrated by the breaks for plot. I’m not trying to sound holier-than-them. I normally say that I like a bit of plot with my porn, but I remember an intensely frustrating Dutch film. Every time the “action” had been going on long enough to “inspire” my partner and I, it would switch back to the plot'...

A number of men in the survey cited the hyper-stylized porn videos of Andrew Blake as a welcome exception:

'What mystifies me is that the other film producers don’t get it—here’s a guy, new on the scene, making money hand over fist, and they make much less. Doesn’t it ever occur to them to try and figure out why he is so successful and duplicate it?'...

The flip side was that if a woman looked like she was not terribly excited, viewers were disappointed:

'The lack of enthusiasm is remarkable. Some women are moaning like they’re having a religious experience, but when they show their faces they look like they’re at an accounting seminar. The looks of boredom are amazingly blatant—so much for acting!' [business owner, 30, married seven years]...

“The biggest problem with the majority of porn I see is that the women are far too similar in body type,” said a 32-year-old bisexual man. “Someone once described the type as ‘the body of an athletic 20-year-old with the tits of a nursing mother.’...

'Some of the women are really stupid, like they couldn’t graduate from kindergarten. They are so frivolous and dorky that even their sexy bodies can’t turn me on. I’m really turned off by uneducated types in porn!'...

If the participants in this survey are any indication, clearly the sex acts men like to see in pornography are incredibly diverse. Very few acts took precedence over the others, and many different permutations were each mentioned by at least a couple of men. By far the most-cited sex act was fellatio: women performing oral sex on men. Said one man:

'I can tell the difference, when a woman “knows what she’s doing” it turns me on a lot more than when she’s clueless. Most lousy videos show clue- less women, who suck a cock by bobbing up and down violently as fast as they can (ouch!).'...

Antiporn activists who think pornography is about men exercising power over women and humiliating them should consider the fact that the number of males in my survey who wanted to see anal penetration of men equaled those who liked to see anal penetration of women...

But most men who mentioned bestiality did so because they were not into it at all. “A friend has a video of a woman having sex with a pig that is repulsive to me,” a 32-year-old public relations man related. Said a swingers club owner who had been a police officer, “I’ve seen some of the bestiality tapes. I’ve always thought: No wonder this stuff’s illegal, or should be illegal. I’ve always thought that was kind of gross. Why would anybody want to have sex with a dog?”

The most unusual example was recounted by an Australian man: “I saw a porn video at work some years ago. It depicted sex with live animals and women using live eels, which disgusted me. As I recall, these women were also defecating into a container which had these live eels. They must have been drugged to do the things that they were doing. I didn’t have to watch much before feeling ill.”

Many men also made a specific point of saying they did not like depictions of violence, and some said they were repulsed by the idea of it. A 32-year-old computer consultant, divorced, described a video scene and his reaction:

'One time I had rented a film that basically featured a guy with a humongous penis just piercing a woman’s anus without warning. Her screaming pretty much convinced me that [1] she wasn’t acting, and [2] she wasn’t crying out in pleasure. I had that video for just one day before I took it back.'...

A couple of men said the most repulsive pornographic images they had ever seen had been circulated by feminists."

The Appeal of "Lesbian" Pornography

"Antiporn activists like Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Susan Cole, and Sheila Jeffreys have regarded the fact that so many men like this so-called “lesbian” pornography as yet another sign of hatred uward women in general, and lesbians in particular. They see males’ interest in watching chicks get it on as expressing a need to pry into and degrade every aspect of women’s lives, and insist that pornography distorts the truth about lesbians. As Dworkin asserts, such material “does not document lesbian lovemaking; in fact, it barely resembles it.”

Since “lesbian” porn does not provide an “accurate view of lesbian sexual activity,” Mariana Valverde and Lorna Weir have written, “This imaginary and distorted access to lesbianism confirms men in their 'right' to have unlimited access to any and all women, even women who are explicitly uninterested in men [and] . . . undermines all women’s right to say no and erodes the foundations of choice and consent.”

Unfortunately for Dworkin and her cohorts, most of the men in my survey clearly understood the women were not lesbians. In making a distinction between the performers and the characters they play, a 22- year-old Canadian software engineer pointed out that plots that include “lesbian” encounters often take pains to show the characters are not lesbians. “Sometimes it is implicit that they are not, but still interested in sexual experimentation.”...

A 28-year-old heterosexual man who worked for a sex magazine, roomed with a lesbian, and might be presumed to have some knowledge of the subject, declared that many of the women in pornography are, in fact, lesbians:

'Well, from professional experience, I know that a large percentage of sex workers and a high percentage of glamour models (at least on a local level—we’ve never had a big-name star pose for us) are gay. The magazine I work on is pansexual-leaning-heavily-to-the-gay-side, so this may have some impact on it, but nearly everyone I have ever met involved with the sex industry—be it stripping, photography, massage, etc.—are at least bi.'

Pro-porn author Susie Bright agrees that lesbians play a significant role in the industry. “Lesbians and die-hard bisexuals are most definitely in the front ranks of the adult movie business. In true Hollywood style, it’s okay to publicly proclaim you swing both ways, but it’s Closet City when it comes to revealing one’s preference for women.”...

Antiporn feminists like Dworkin and Cole (who also happen to be lesbians) appear to take such pornography at face value—that is, as straightforward depictions of what men believe lesbians do together— but it is clear that many and perhaps most men do not. When men say “lesbian” in this context, it is a kind of shorthand that everyone understands, even if it is not strictly accurate...

There was the wag who, when asked, “Is there anything in particular you like to see two women doing?” replied, “The dishes...

How authenticity is achieved was a matter of some disagreement. Some men put it in terms of urgency or passion. Said one, “I like to see em 69ing, pumping, sweating, really getting involved in the action.” Others thought a slow pace, a romantic approach, was more realistic and therefore more exciting. “Kissing, hugging, oral sex too, yes. But it’s the tenderness that does it for me,” wrote a 27-year-old computer analyst. I do not like to see them ramming big dildos into each other. I’d much rather see them softly licking each other, or deeply kissing.”...

Why Are “Lesbian” Scenes So Popular?

Some suggested it was simply the greater number of female bodies to look at. “If one nude woman is arousing then two are more so,” said one man.. 'My eyes can move from one back to the other and enjoy the differences.'

Men liked to see a woman enjoy sex, so the prospect of seeing two women in a state of arousal was doubly appealing. “I have a theory that most men like scenes with two women because most men like to see women enjoying sex,” wrote one respondent. “It doesn’t matter if the woman is alone, with a man, with a woman, with whatever. The turn-on is watching a woman so into sex, she will do it any way possible. Two women together just doubles the pleasure.”

Some men suggested that not only did women’s bodies present a different physical aesthetic, but there was something different about women's style of lovemaking, too. “Women are more openly sexual than men, and two women joining in their sex is extremely arousing,” one man believed. “There seems to be a greater sense of self-indulgence and enjoyment in them,” another remarked, "and the interaction is not so fixated on genital contact."

... 'I always found it fascinating, and also a turn-on, to watch women make love. I think because of my own makeup, of the harshness of everything about my life, that in the process of looking for love, I had it equating softness and gentleness and that, and somehow I feel that women are capable of giving that to each other. And that was my idea about it.'

Several responses in this vein suggested that “lesbian” pornography conveys a sense of equality, a lack of power relations between the actors, which appealed to them. “Perhaps, simply because seeing an erection is not required for the act of being ‘into it,’ the artifice works here more effectively,” one man observed.

A different physiological response to sex was raised by a 25-year-old grad student as a factor in his fascination with women in general and “lesbian” sex scenes in particular:

'I’ve had some orgasms in my time which are much more deep down, in my gut, than in my penis. And I imagine that’s what it feels like for a woman. I’m in some respects envious that women can have multiple orgasms. And I guess I’m just curious about the varieties of sex that women can have and I’m also turned on by the fact that I think that women are much more sensuous creatures than men.'

A small group of men suggested much of the appeal in “lesbian” pornography lay in the supposition that women know best what arouses and satisfies other women. “I think it is exciting because I think women probably have a better idea how to please one another than a man does. Therefore I guess that lesbian sex is more arousing and sensual for the participants, and that makes it more arousing to watch,” said a married, 24-year-old history student. “I like the way they touch each other,” a mechanic stated; “They claim that one knows how and what the other likes and it shows in their acts.”

This related to credibility: It becomes easier for the viewer to imagne the women in pornography actually enjoy themselves when other women stimulate them. This might have applications in the viewer’s own sex life. As one man said:

'Watching a woman make love to another woman tells you about how that particular woman would want to be made love to. So when female A starts licking and sucking on female B, you can learn, to a great extent, what female A likes to have done to her. So watching two women is often more exciting because you can see what they like doing or having done to them that isn’t often done by guys.'...

“It seems that the women in such scenes are very interested in having sex,
a characteristic that most women in real life don’t expose publicly.”

One man said, “It’s often ‘culturally agreed,’ or was when I was growing up, that women aren’t sexual, or certainly aren’t as much as men. Seeing a woman practically in a trance getting off as she pushes a baseball-bat size dildo in her ass kinda blows that concept out of the water.”

Some men found “lesbian” scenes appealing precisely because there are no men around. As a 40-year-old fan put it: “No hairy men. No stupid cliché cum shots.”...

'A lot of the women portray a certain sensitivity that isn’t there during a heterosexual scene.'

Other men suggested the viewer might enjoy identifying with the players: putting himself in the position of either or both of the women he is looking at. “It doesn’t require you to look at a man and sort out your feelings about that,” said one:

'The appeal of lesbian sex to heterosexual males is that the fantasy of the encounter can be visualized from either partner’s point of view. I find it much easier to visualize myself as a gay woman (I wouldn’t have to change my preference) than a straight woman.'

Of the men who said they imagined themselves as one of the women, only a few specified a role, and it was invariably the passive one. “Maybe I imagine myself in the position of the subservient woman in such scenes,” one man wrote. “Sometimes I imagine myself as one of the women being seduced by the other woman,” said a 33-year-old man whose wife of 8 years had been his only sex partner. This does not accord with the antiporn notion that men go to pornography to see and experience power over women; here, the men not only got off on pretending to be a woman, but expressly chose to be the subservient one.

Some of the men ruled out being one of the women because they did not wish to intrude on the scene. “I never imagined being a woman or being directly with them because I wanted to learn and see what they would do without knowing I was there,” said a 23-year-old bisexual man who preferred women as sex partners. A 43-year-old accountant agreed: “I imagine I am watching them with or without their knowledge.”...

A 27-year-old computer analyst said his preference was highly contextual:

'Sure [I’d like to join them]. But only if I think they’d welcome it. I wouldn’t want to be an unwelcome intruder bothering two true lesbians. But as a partner willingly welcomed into a threesome with two hot bisexual women—oh, my, yes. A “me sandwich” is a very nice idea.'...

The accent on kissing, and the fact that a fair number of men didn’t project any man into a scene with two women, suggests that it is feminine beauty and the sight of women enjoying sexual pleasure— no matter whom they’re with—that thrills most male viewers. That SO many men said they envied women, and wished they could know what it was like to be a woman enjoying sex, flies in the face of the notion that male viewers get off on the domination, degradation, and pain of women."

Watching sex : how men really respond to pornography (1/10)

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." - Mae West


Watching sex : how men really respond to pornography / David Loftus:


"In a much-quoted 1974 essay, Robin Morgan launched one of the most famous salvos against pornography when she declared: 'Pornography is the theory, rape the practice.' Within seven years, Laura Lederer's Take Back the Night: Women on Pornography, Andrea Dworkin's Pornography: Men Possessing Women, and Susan Griffin's Pornography and Silence: Culture's Revolt Against Nature had all been published...

There was something un-feminist about all this. The women's movement had correctly championed the notion that the individual has the right to define reality for herself. It sought to correct millennia of men defining women's reality. But some women turned around and committed the same offense against men. Their books were filled with peremptory assertions about what happened to men who look at porn, and none of it was good. 'Pornography is often more sexually compelling than the realities it presents, more sexually real than reality,' wrote MacKinnon. Sooner or later, all men want to live out the fantasies depicted in pornography, she asserted. But how could she know this? Where was her evidence?...

Within the last decade, the public debate has shifted. Feminist scholars such as Lynne Segal, Linda Williams, Lynn Hunt, Alison Assiter, Avedon Carol, and Laura Kipnis have supported pornography and explored its history. National ACLU president Nadine Strossen published Defending Pornography, and Canadian activist Wendy McElroy authored XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography. Feminist performance artists and writers such as Susie Bright, Pat Califia, Candida Royalle, and Annie Sprinkle produced their own porn as well as declared their support for it and championed the practice of sadomasochistic sex...

What's wrong with this picture?
There are still no men in it...

I decided to find out by doing something no one had ever done: ask the men themselves. I talked to nearly 150 men, some in person, some on the Internet. Their answers might surprise you. Among other things, they said:

1. They would like to see more plot and romance in pornography.
2. They do not particularly enjoy closeups of genitals.
3. They not only do not find violence against women or domination of women sexy, they are specifically turned off by such behavior... and most haven't even seen any.
4. Though they enjoy looking at women having sex with women, they don't believe the women pictured are actually lesbians.
5. They have not sought ever more vivid, kinky, and violent pornography...
6. They don't like the way men are portrayed in pornography."

Unveilings: Men's First Exposures to Pornography:

"'I think I first masturbated to images of 'ethnic' women in National Geographic. This magazine is more pornographic than many would like to admit.'...

For the most part, the sharing of erotic magazines and pornographic materials was a remarkably free and egalitarian experience. Men rarely reported a boy charging others for a look, for instance. When one boy found something, he either kept it to himself or shared freely...

Of course when porn was brought to school, there was a dynamic of asserting power over other boys - 'I'm better than you because I have this stuff' - but this material was still freely circulated as part of gaining social cachet. The everyday competitiveness and aggression of boys and young men was seemingly put on hold in the face of the mystery of girls and what they looked like under their clothes...

'I didn't know what masturbation was. I looked the word up in the dictionary that came with our '60s Encyclopedia Britannica and it said 'to gratify oneself.' I imagined someone staring into a mirror and saying, 'I'm so great, I'm so great.''...

A few boys were introduced to pornography by girls. This should not be surprising in view of the fact that there was so much of it available for discovery in parents' bedrooms and closets and on the street. Before the great divide of puberty, boys and girls can be similarly inquisitive and nonjudgmental about matters of sex and nudity...

Many men remarked that their interest was captured by the female form and its beauty... Not a single man reported that he felt a sense of dominance over women, or enjoyed seeing them in humilitating positions...

If, as antiporn theorists contend, the attraction of pornography lies in experiencing power over an exposed, vulnerable, degraded woman (as opposed to, say, sexual arousal, delight in the positive attitude of the models, and appreciation of feminine beauty), then one might suppose that even closeted gays would derive pleasure from heterosexual pornography. After all, gay or not, they are still men in a patriarchal society, and women are 'only women.' But even though some gay males wished they could be turned on by heterosexual pornography, most simply were not...

Just as shared consumption of pornography could foster male bonding, so traditional male bonding situations had a tendency to encourage porn consumption. Several men had their first exposure to pornography among Boy Scouts on a campout of paper recyling drive...

What's essential about men's first exposures to pornography is that whatever the context, it never had primarily to do with objectifying or degrading women."

Growing Up: The Social Context:

"Several survey participants accused their parents of hypocrisy. Although his mother frowned on 'pornography and related things,' an audio engineer said she 'reads Harlequin romances which have very steamy sex scenes in them.' Another man recalled that the official parental line was 'we don't want that stuff in our house,' and his mother made it apparent that she considered it 'filth'; but when the boy got his hands on some magazines and a video in eighth grade, they confiscated them... but did not dispose of them...

One of the dangers of vehement opposition from the church, parents, or society was that if a boy concluded they were lying or wrong about pornography, he was more likely to question everything they told him... 'I slowly began to realize that sex was a natural part of human existence, though, which shook my faith in my religion. After all, why would God build such desires within us if they were bad?'"

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"A good wife always forgives her husband when she's wrong." - Milton Berle


Gender Differences in Preferences

"If women prefer jobs that are less risky, more socially virtuous and less competitive, then this could explain part of the gender differences in the labor market...

This article has reviewed a stream of experimental literature on gender differences in risk preferences, social preferences and competitive preferences. In general, this literature has documented fundamental preference differences between the two genders (with exceptions noted in the text). These differences are consistent with preference-based explanations for the gender gap in wages.

For example, most lab and field studies indicate that women are more risk-averse than men (section 2). This risk-aversion can lead to the attraction of women to jobs with lower mean, lower-variance salaries. This preference-based explanation is consistent with some gender-gap evidence without resorting to discrimination arguments.

A number of studies also indicate that women’s social preferences are more sensitive to subtle cues than are men’s (section 3). This can lead women to choose professions which they think are socially appropriate for women, based on the cues they observe about the workforce (for example, what proportion of women are in this given profession).

Finally, a third stream of literature suggests that women’s preferences for competitive situations are lower than men’s. This can lead women to choose professions with less competition (and again to end up receiving lower wages on average). It can also lead to women earning less or advancing more slowly within a given profession...

One important and interesting question about these differences is whether they are ingrained or taught. By taking a step back and asking what causes the gender difference we can also connect some of the different elements discussed in this paper. For example, a large body of literature in evolutionary biology and socio-biology documents differences in competitiveness between males and females, in many species. This literature argues that the differences in competitiveness arise because, due to differences in the cost of reproduction, competitive males will attempt to mate at every opportunity. Females, on the other hand, are inherently choosy, reserving their favors for the strongest suitor.

Connecting competitive behavior with risk taking, Dekel and Scotchmer (1999) developed an evolutionary model of preference-formation, to investigate to what extent evolution leads to risk-taking in winner-take-all environments (like reproduction). They show that winner-take-all games are related to the survival of risk-takers and the extinction of risk-averters. Since in many species a winner-take-all game determines the males’ right to reproduce, the argument suggests that males will evolve to be risk-takers.

Similar evolutionary explanations are consistent with women being more sensitive to social cues than men. In exercising choosiness about mate selection, women who were sensitive to these cues could, on average, produce more fit offspring than those who were not. In contrast this increased sensitivity did not affect a male’s chance of reproduction, and was thus not selected for.

Indirect evidence on the nature/nurture question comes from the studies with children (before nurture has full impact) and cross-culturally (when nature remains constant but nurture changes). The evidence we have here suggests that gender differences in preferences remain among children and in different cultures, providing support for the nature over nurture explanation. Of course, some cultural differences have been identified, suggesting that nurture has an effect as well."

Finally - something to throw at those who ask me to justify my observation that women are more risk averse.

Nothing yet about irrationality, paranoia or gullibility, though (then again, paranoia is an extreme form of risk averseness).
Meditating on the words of the Lord (specifically Deuteronomy 32:35) to help cope with a current existential dilemma have put me in a righteous fervour, thus I am inspired to help prop up Gabriel's defence against the face of blustering stupidity of people who don't realise that putting your image voluntarily on the net can haunt you forever without adequate control (to Gabriel: Now you understand my paranoia)

For the uninitiated, the post below refers to a little fracas Gabriel had when putting up semi-gravure kawaii pics of a NTU academic that were on a public website/blog and simultaneously linking to her NTU profile. Below are excerpts from the conversations quoted on the deleted post without the photos/urls (Gabriel is either too cowardly or too lazy to only take down the photos - readers who know him should be able to guess which).

I also think Asst. Prof Xu Rong should count herself damn lucky that Gabriel is both nice enough to accede to her request as well as indolent enough to desire avoidance of confrontation - other parties would have been more belligerent - and rightfully so - in the face of an (implied) threat with no substance.

Convo excerpts follow:

A: i dont know........... im not 100% convinced

Me: ...........and dawn yang didn't have plastic surgery

B: she looks slightly different leh

Me: yah it's called makeup and photography
B: no la i tot its the mouth parthahha
her mouth looks different in both photos
ok la maybe its just the smile i guess

Me: haha modelling must pout mah

MFTTW: Specialization in instrumentation techniques and data interpretation for GC, XRD, FTIR, UV-vis, ICP, EA, TGA/DTA/DSC, in situ TGA-IR, BET, XPS, AFM, SEM, TEM
hahahahhaha that is soooo bogus
that is like saying ... "if you printed a paper and you can't read what is printed on the paper we'll help to "interpret" the data"
...i think sg univs are still quite conservative in their opinions of having professors post bikini photos online
Me: that's why not world class...
MFTTW: actually to be honest i was more ocncerned with her NUS bs-ms-phd credentialsi supose now that NUS is top 20 universiites in the world our phds are considered "world-class"

C: er if she wasn't a prof i'd say ok
Me: hahahaha you don't like smart women ah
C: i got no prob with smart women lajust think tt profs shdn't parade in bikinis. somehow it feels wrong

Cock: sooo....she's a hot bod academicthat isn't actually unusual.questions arise whether or not it would be improved by losing those glasses.but it is fine as it is, as far as i can tell.
Me: not unusual meh
academics are all...
anyway when did you last find an academic who's a model?!

Cock: not many, but many fit and astonishingly intelligent people.exist. in oxford.

D: She is another perfect reason for Singaporeans to hate china women
....Not only do china women seduce cheekopeks at kopitiams, they are starting to target the young 'uns too
And take away our jobs, positions
Foreign talent.

E: chey. i thought you were goingto show me some sex video she featured in or something

F: are they the same person?
Me: am I fat?
F: no
Me: ...

G: who is thislooks like your ex gf
H: oh she's a model?I thought those were personal pictures that someone put up
H: I would if I had a girlfriend who looked like that!

I: fake boobs i think
the shape

J: damn gross lol she is prob at least 28and she acts like she is 15
gross cause she acts so young
thats the most offensive...u are suddenly so forgiiving!
jus cause she is hot
tsk tsk
oh well i shd have expected so HA
Me: pls lah who don't I forgive
J: lol dont ask difficult qns

[Gabriel: A very good way of getting most guys to do something is to accuse them of being scared to do it.

Since banks worldwide are in trouble, the paranoia of a person who will never work in a bank is perfectly understandable.]

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Marriage is the only war where one sleeps with the enemy." - Anonymous


In reference to this post:

Xu Rong:

To Gabriel Seah:


I am writing this mail to request you to kindly remove my photos and related messages from the above Blog which is owned and managed by you according to the information given inside this Blog. They were re-posted in your blog without my permission. If no action is taken by you, I will consult a lawyer to seek advice for necessary actions.

Thank you and I appreciate your kind help.

Xu Rong


Hi Xu Rong,

I can understand that you may have strong feelings (of various kinds, and for various reasons) about this but threatening someone is not the best way to get that person to do something.

Just for your information, I am quite sure that the lawyer will tell you that you cannot do anything, since I was not being defamatory (you put the pictures and text up yourself). A case might be made for copyright infringement, but I did not post many pictures so fair use would probably cover it. In any case, even if a judge ruled in your favour I doubt you would get much in damages.

In any case, since you asked me to take the pictures down (in a fashion), I will. I assure you that it will be useless, though, since once something goes up on the Internet it is there forever.

Personally I don't think there's anything wrong with what you did, especially since the pictures were work-safe. Evidently you didn't think there was anything wrong either (since you linked to your NTU home page in your first blog post).

I think an academic who is not afraid to model, shattering the traditional mold, is something we need to see more of, but then, people are judgmental and closed-minded. You may have heard of Sarong Party Girl/Miss Izzy, who posted nude pictures of herself in the past. I think she's getting along fine now. Of course, she isn't employed by a government-linked company either, but let's hope that NTU is enlightened; a Global University of Excellence should accept that its staff have wide-ranging interests.

I hope this episode has not damaged your life/career.

Good luck.

PS: I will be posting your email and my reply on my blog as an explanation for the post's removal.

omy - 新闻 News: 南大女讲师 网上贴性感照

Monday, January 28, 2008

"The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a war." - E. B. White


u r wt u wr:

- 'Juicy girl next door'
- 'Everybody loves a brunette' (This was an artificial brunette)
- 'Cock youth' (???)
- 'I'm huggable'
- 'I just want you to know you're the most available person in my heart'

I got the following all in one day (the first day of school):
- 'So close yet so far'
- 'Float away with me' (I know the girl who wore this)
- 'Sexy is always in style'
- 'I don't want to talk to my pillow anymore'
- 'I ♥ hamburger'
- '[Speech bubble] Gotta get a guy who can drive' (this one walked past me fast, and the weird bosom shape interfered with reading)
- 'Don't interrupt me while I'm talking crap'
- 'Do me in the dark more' (the cardigan blocked the sides)
- 'FLMP' (in Lego design)
- 'Daddy's little expensive girl'
- 'Very huggable' (Contributed)

- 'Death cab for cuties. Pretty girls make graves.' (???)
- 'Life is too short to date ugly people'
- 'Beautiful vegetables' (?)

- 'Save a mouse. *picture of mouse* Eat a pussy' (Guy)
- '*Almost* handsome' (Guy)

Everytime I see someone in a scarf, I feel like pulling both ends. I've done this at least twice.

I saw a girl wearing a V-neck top. Not only was her black lacy bra peeking out the wrong way (there're ways to show off your lingerie - lacking symmetry in display and showing only the top right corner of one cup is not one), but she had a plaster on one breasts. I think I rather see a lovebite there than a plaster.
"Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them." - Alexandre Dumas


Kent Rogowski - Bears - Teddy bears inside out.

cjho 08: Things I miss about Singapore - "2. SG Girls X_X
3. Weather. I miss wearing t-shirt, shorts and slippers everywhere!
4. Knowing for sure which side the cars are coming from.
5. Speaking Singlish.
6. Sweating. (Low humidity here. After exercise, it just feels like I have not perspired at all, and that is so weird.)"
Tim: gah
these are the reasons why i *don't* want to go back
Me: SG Girls wth
sweating is good?!?!

Searching for a definition of Britishness: Fine, but 'no motto, please' - "It was a lofty idea: Formulate a British "statement of values" defining what it means to be British, much like the Declaration of Independence sets out the ideals that help explain what it means to be American... Nor did it help when The Times of London cynically sponsored a British motto-writing contest for its readers. The readers' suggestions included "Dipso, Fatso, Bingo, Asbo, Tesco" (Asbo stands for "anti-social behavior order," a law-enforcement tool, while Tesco is a ubiquitous supermarket chain); "One Mighty Empire, Slightly Used"; "We Apologize for the Inconvenience"; and - the choice favored by 20.9 percent of the readers - "No Motto, Please, We're British."... The Earl of Mar and Kellie then suggested that the British could use the Scottish motto "Nemo me Impune Lacessit," which he translated as "do not sit on a thistle" (actually, it means "no one attacks me with impunity")... There is also talk of a "British Day," similar to Independence Day; a "museum of Britishness"; and a revisiting of the national anthem, "God Save the Queen," one of whose later verses advocates annihilating the "rebellious Scots," which is not very nice to the Scottish."

Creationists launch 'science' journal - "On 9 January, Answers in Genesis, a Christian ministry run by evangelical Ken Ham, launched Answers Research Journal (ARJ ), a free, online publication devoted to research on “recent Creation and the global Flood within a biblical framework”. Papers will be peer reviewed by those who “support the positions taken by the journal”, according to editor-in-chief Andrew Snelling, a geologist based in Brisbane, Australia."

Female genital cutting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "One of the four Islamic schools of religious law, the Shafi'i school, rules that clitoridectomy is mandatory. Other sects are adament about the practice. In 1994, Egyptian Mufti Sheikh Jad Al-Hâqq 'Ali Jad Al-Hâqq issued a fatwa stating, "Circumcision is mandatory for men and for women. If the people of any village decide to abandon it, the village imam must fight against them as if they had abandoned the call to prayer." The Al-Azhar University in Cairo has issued several fatwas endorsing FGC, in 1949, 1951 and 1981... In the United States, as recently as 1938, FGC was advocated by Reverend Oscar Lowry as a method of preventing masturbation: "While incest and illicit commerce of the sexes is abominable, there is another even more so—if that be possible—that is, the heinous sin of self-pollution or masturbation... In some cases where there may be impingement of the clitoris, a slight operation may be necessary to relieve the tension and irritation...""

Steve Jobs Announces iSex (Video)

Portal - This modern masterpiece shakes the FPS genre to the very core - "The gun is typically regarded as a phallic symbol of masculine agency, through which power is won and maintained. In any first-person shooter, a power dynamic is reinforced between subject (the player's subjective sense of self) and object (the rest of the game world.) The player is forced to accept militarism and conquest by violence, historically masculine behaviors, as the only course of action. To play a first-person shooter is to enter into a context in which only the male perspective exists, regardless of the gender of the character or player... She acquires a Portal Gun for use in these tests; interestingly, the gun's masculine symbolism is subverted by the fact that it shoots portals rather than bullets. Portals are oval-shaped openings that are visually and spatially connected; go in one and you'll come out the other. The Portal Gun creates connections rather than destroying life. It is through innovative placement of these connections, or portals, that goals are achieved or enemies overcome. A psychoanalytic reading would likely conclude that the portal is an image of the female sex organs: oval and receptive, and also a metaphorical birth canal through which the protagonist is constantly being born into new trials."

2 Girls, 1 Cup, 1 Grandma, 1 Reaction - "Getting old people involved would be the one way you could make cup chicks even worse."

VIOLIN DUEL A DRAW FOR ANTIQUE STRADIVARIUS, NEW INSTRUMENT - ""Some like blondes; some like brunettes. Some like them slim; some like them hefty," Dr. Joseph Nagyvary contended. Hefty in this case was the 300-year-old Leonardo da Vinci Stradivarius violin, valued as high as $5 million, pitted against a slimly played violin that Nagyvary crafted in just six weeks and completed in August 2003. In all scores from the audience – whether among those who considered themselves trained musicians or those who are average concert goers – the new Nagyvary violin ranked slightly higher than the ancient Stradivarius... For those four selections, trained musicians in the audience gave the Stradivarius an average of 8.03 in tone quality and 8.0 for power while the Nagyvary violin got and average of 8.1 for tone quality and 8.33 for power. Other audience participants' votes put the Stradivarius at an average of 7.83 for quality and 7.8 for power while the Nagyvary got 8.03 for quality and 8.23 for power."

Body is found in L.A. tow yard a day after car accident - "The body of an elderly woman was discovered Sunday in the front passenger side of a crumpled car in a San Fernando Valley towing company's yard -- a day after paramedics had removed her son from the same vehicle after a crash, authorities said. The woman, whose identity was not released, had apparently been left in the car at the accident scene in Tarzana even as her son was taken to a hospital, police said... The slightly built woman had been concealed beneath an air bag that had deployed during the accident"

Full Service - Weird News Story Archive - "A new British mall is building in an innovation to attract women shoppers: a day care center — for their husbands. “Some grown-up men are very similar to small children, and most couples have anecdotes of their own to prove it,” said a spokesman for the Bluewater Retail Centre, being constructed in Kent. He added that the idea for the big-baby-sitting area came from “extensive research showing that 50 percent of couples’ shopping trips end in argument.” The creche features video games, televisions showing sports ...and beer."

The Titans In Their Twilight - "Lee, though retired, remains personally more powerful than his peers, continuing to call the shots in his role as "mentor minister." In part, this is because he seems more modern than the other patriarchs; unlike them, he refused to build a cult of personality or patronage. His success, however, was achieved in part by constraining opposition parties and the media. "The idea that Singapore is run by a meritocracy is institutionalized to such a degree that if you argue for checks and balances, you're questioning the integrity of the people at the helm," says Rodan. Some analysts think infighting in the ruling party is a real risk after the elder Lee exits the scene. His son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, "will not have the same hold" over the opaque party structure his father built, says Johns Hopkins's Welsh."

The Straight Dope: Why does the U.S. surgeon general wear a uniform? - "Uniforms had fallen into disuse until C. Everett Koop was appointed surgeon general by Ronald Reagan. Koop conceived of his post as a bully pulpit and thought the uniform (the SG is the equivalent of a three-star admiral and has a similar uniform) would get people to take him more seriously. Instead, at least at the outset, it got them to take him for an airline steward, and Koop good-naturedly hoisted a few bags into the overhead bins for fellow passengers."

Beer had seat belt, injured driver didn't - "Investigators were trying Monday to determine if a suspected drunken driver involved in a single-vehicle crash Sunday night failed to buckle his own seat belt even as the 12-pack of beer on the passenger seat was safely secured."

N.Y. man faces stalking charge - "A 20-year-old man from upstate New York was jailed in Spokane over the weekend for allegedly stalking a 15-year-old girl he claims to have met through an interactive video game... Stetar, whose MySpace page is peppered with Bible verses, said in his last entry, on Dec. 26, that he was depressed. The self-described 6-foot-2 inch, 130-pound "materials handler" for a pallet company wrote that he might want to become a teacher at a Christian school and would like to meet his future wife."

Dean Hrbacek Photoshops Body for Election Photo - "The picture, presented as a true image of the candidate, is actually a computerized composite of Hrbacek’s face and someone else’s figure, in suit and tie, from neck to knee caps. The give-away is a flawed fit of head and collar."
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