Friday, February 26, 2010

Going for the Gold

I know there is a rumor that the reason that I haven't been blogging for the past few weeks is that I'm an Olympic athlete and I've been in Vancouver competing. Sadly this is not true.

I say sadly because Carnal Nation is reporting that the athletes in the Olympic Village have used up all the condoms that have been provided for them, a total of 100,000! Apparently 8,500 emergency condoms are being rushed in. According to the article:

Canadian skier Emily Brydon believes the condoms are being used for safer sex. "What happens at Olympic Village stays at Olympic village,” she says. “There's a lot of stress pent up over the week, so it's safe to say that some good times happen."

Snowboarder Crispin Liscomb agrees. "Everyone focuses so much on their event for their days, that in afternoon it's on. After four years, and really months and months for some of the sports with nothing but water and granola, these guys are ready to part and enjoy and vent."

Some might say it is a little be sensationalist to imply that the entire Olympic Village has turned into a huge orgy full of very beautiful, very athletic people... but that's what I prefer to believe so I'm going to imply away. Yes, the hottest, most exclusive orgy you'll never be invited to is going on right now in Vancouver, and the countries of the world are being united as never before.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Those Crazy Trannies Aren't Crazy Anymore in France

The French government has just announced that it no longer considers transsexualism to be a mental illness. It is the first country in the world to do so.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

V-Day Approaching: Save the Vaginas

This article horrified the hell out of me this morning. It is called "The Six Weirdest Things Women Do to Their Vaginas."

And as weird as these six things are, the weirdest thing that I've ever heard of doing to a vagina -- bedazzling it, also known as (and it's hard to even write it) vagazzling -- is not on the list.

Come on, people. Leave vaginas alone. I promise you it ain't broke. Please, for the love of God, don't try to fix it!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Make Haiti Your Valentine?

Today's Savage Love Letter of the day:
I enjoyed the opening to "Savage Lovecast" 172 in which you described being asked for advice from mainstream publications on "spicing up" couples sex lives. I thought your response was great. My wife and I, big fans of yours and the show, saw the devastation from the earthquake in Haiti and felt the need to do as much as we possibly could. We decided that we'd take the money we'd normally spend on Valentine's Day—flowers, dinner out, and the other stuff you came out so strongly against—and donate that money to the relief effort in Haiti. We're encouraging others to do the same. It's cheesy and lame but love doesn't cost a thing, and neither does staying home on Valentine's Day and fucking.

The Stacks - Howl on Trial

Howl on Trial
edited by Bill Morgan & Nancy J. Peters
City Light Books, 2006

Allen Ginsberg's poem Howl was first published by the small press run by San Francisco's famous City Lights Bookshop in 1956. The books, printed in the UK, were seized by Customs as they entered the US on the grounds that they were obscene material. The seizure created enough press to justify a second edition, which City Lights owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti had printed locally so that Customs would have no authority. In 1957, undercover officers purchased a copy of the book at the bookstore and then brought charges against Ferlinghetti and the clerk that sold the book. The book was labeled obscene and banned. The court case that followed was one of about a dozen cases that changed America's strict obscenity laws so that books that employed gutter language and sexual imagery (frequently homosexual imagery) in pursuit of lofty literary goals could be sold in the Land of the Free.

Reading Howl, it isn't difficult to spot the passages that the censors may have objected to.
who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sits on her ass and snip the intellectual golden threads of the craftman's loom,

who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a candel and fell off the bed, and continued along the floor and down the hall and ended faiting on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt and come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,

who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning but prepared to sweeten the snatch of the sunrise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake,

who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad stolen night-cars, N. C., secret hero of these poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver -- joy to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses' rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely pettycoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too, (...)

In the end, the publishers convinced the court to rule that Howl was a serious work of literature, to add support to the legal precedent set during the Ulysses obscenity trial that held that an artistic work must be judged as a whole and not on the basis of a few passages taken out of context, and slam the door on the argument that a serious work of literature could be banned entirely because it was unsuitable for children.

Howl on Trial is a fantastic record of these historical events. It contains some historical perspective -- an introduction by Ferlinghetti, a timeline of important dates in the history of censorship, etc. -- but the genius of the book is that it tell most of its story through primary source material. It contains the text of Howl, news articles, editorials and criticisms by famous critics, letters to the editor by ordinary San Francisco citizens both in support of and in opposition to the poem, and the full transcript of the trial.

This is going to be a short review since there isn't much to review. You can't exactly criticize a court transcript based on its literary merit! If you are interested in history, if obscenity trials interest you as much as they interest me, you will find this account as fascinating as I did.

I have only one complaint that I wish the book had addressed. It is all well and good that Howl was ruled to be literature and not smut -- and therefore not subject to censorship. But what about the smut? Neither the historical figures, nor the historians who contribute their opinions stand up for the rights of authors and publishers to publish obscene material that doesn't have literary value. That omission makes me think we might not have come as far since 1957 as we think we have.