The Sins of the Mother: Dr. Laura and Son

Drlaura_schlessingerYou might think I’d be joining in the “Ha ha” brigade.

As you may have heard, Deryk Schlessinger — son of notorious homophobe/ sex-phobe/ right-wing relationship and sex advisor Dr. Laura Schlessinger — is under investigation by the Army (he’s a soldier in Afghanistan) for creating a MySpace page with some unbelievably disturbing and fucked-up shit on it. Among other things, the page (now removed) included cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation; a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee captioned “My Sweet Little Habib”; racial epithets; and a comment that “godless crazy people like me” have become “a generation of apathetic killers.”

Deryk_schlessinger(Read the whole story. It really is quite unsettling — this guy is clearly profoundly disturbed. The scariest part for me: “I LOVE MY JOB, it takes everything reckless and deviant and heathenistic and just overall bad about me and hyper focuses these traits into my job of running around this horrid place doing nasty things to people that deserve it… and some that don’t.”)

Nelson_hahaAnd much of the blogging that I’ve seen about this has been pretty gleeful, along the lines of “poetic justice” and “the bitch got what she deserved.” I’ve seen comments like, “What goes around, comes around”; “Good job, Mama Laura!”; “Karma has a hilarious tendency to bite us all in the ass”; and “Can’t wait for the next revelation.”

Ted_haggardNow, usually I’m up for a good round of Schadenfreude. I’m perfectly happy to cackle with glee over the downfall or public humiliation of right-wing, homophobic, sex-phobic hypocrites. Especially with folks like Mark Foley and Ted Haggard, where the punishment so perfectly fit the crime.

But not this time.

This time, I’m just sick and sad.

Here’s why.

SinsofthefathersFirst: When hateful fucked-up parents raise deeply disturbed children — that’s not poetic justice. That’s tragedy. Even when the fucked-up parent has made a career out of self-righteously scolding other parents and giving them appalling advice on how to raise their kids. I can see why it’s tempting… but really, what kind of karma or comeuppance is it to have parents “punished” with disturbed, sociopathic children? Do we on the left really want to be engaging in that kind of Old Testament, “sins of the fathers” thinking? Do we really want to be looking at messed-up kids as the just deserts that evil hateful parents deserve?

Dr_laura_nudeWhen bad things happen with the hateful hypocrites themselves, I’ll happily have a laff riot. (The Dr. Laura nude photos, I was perfectly willing to cackle over.) When bad things happen with their kids… not so much. It may be reasonable to point out the hypocrisy of smugly preaching about family values when your own family is so completely fucked up. But the gleeful tone of some of these blogs is, in my opinion, wildly inappropriate.

Second, and maybe even more importantly:

It’s not as if liberal families don’t ever have disturbed kids.

AlcoholismLiberal, gay-positive parents can be distant, controlling, abusive, alcoholic, generally crazy, and any number of other things that can seriously fuck up their kids. And for that matter, totally healthy families can end up with disturbed kids. (It’s not nearly as likely, but it does happen.)

Hate_is_not_a_family_valueI agree with the T-shirts and picket signs that hate is not a family value. But neither is directing your contempt for hateful homophobes in the direction of their fucked-up children. Let’s please not act as if violently disturbed kids are somehow the natural result of right-wing parents… and please, please, let’s not be so joyful about it.

Mistakes Were Made: The Arrogance and Fun of Admitting You’re Wrong

Wrong_way_2_2“As smug and self-righteous as people can be when they’re loudly insisting that they’re right, it does not even come close to the smug self-righteousness of people who are loudly pointing out that they’re big enough to admit their mistakes.”

I’m quoting myself here.

See, I get a little tired of hearing skeptics, science-lovers, and atheists get accused of being arrogant, completely convinced that we’re right about everything, and unwilling to either say “I was wrong” or “I don’t know.”

Scientific_method_2I mean, of course we can be arrogant and stubborn, what with us being human beings and all. But in my experience, skeptics and science-lovers and atheists, while we can be very certain that we’re right, are also as a rule very willing to admit it when we’re wrong. (That’s exactly how science works, after all — it’s a self-correcting system that works by people acknowledging that they’re wrong and changing their mind when the evidence becomes sufficiently convincing.)

ArroganceAnd I think there’s a substantial and functional difference between the arrogance of saying, “I really think I’m right about this — but if I’m wrong, then by all means convince me”… and the arrogance of saying, “Nothing you could say or do, nothing I could possibly see or experience, could ever shake my faith.”

Richard_dawkinsIn fact, not only do skeptics and science-lovers and atheists admit it when we’re wrong — we’ll do it proudly. Like the guy Richards Dawkins is always poncing on about, the college professor who publicly shook the hand of the person who proved one of his pet theories wrong and said, “My dear fellow, I wish to thank you. I have been wrong these fifteen years.” Skeptics and science-lovers and atheists will not only admit that we’re wrong and that we don’t know everything — we’ll do so happily. Proudly. Even smugly and arrogantly We’d take out full-page ads in the New York Times if we could afford it.

DebateBy Jove, nobody admits that they’re not always right and that they don’t know everything better than we do!

SmugSo I’m going to do an unbelievably smug, arrogant, self-aggrandizing thing here — and take you on a tour of some of the places in this blog, either in the posts or the comments, where I’ve done one of the following:

1. admitted that I was wrong and changed my mind;
2. called attention to mistakes I’ve made in the recent past;
3. pointed out a subject on which I recently changed or was currently changing my mind;
4. acknowledged my uncertainty and/or my limited or faulty knowledge on a subject;
5. asked for help, advice, or information.

Question_mark_headI’m not even talking about the places where I’ve pointed out the limitations of science or human knowledge generally. And I’m not doing the tour of places where other rabid atheists/ skeptics/ science lovers have admitted that they’re wrong. Maybe I’ll do that in another post someday. For now, I’m sticking to my own personal mistakes, ignorance, and limitations.

This is going to be fun. For me, anyway. I hope y’all enjoy it as well.

Deathly_hallows“Again, I don’t know why I’m subjecting myself to this public humiliation, as my track record on these pop-culture predictions has consistently sucked.”
The “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” Prediction Contest, or, The Most Trivial Thing On This Blog To Date, And That’s Saying Something

Bill“Important disclaimer: I’m a smart observant person, but I’m not a legal expert. If any legal experts see any flaws in my understanding of the law, please point them out.”
Hate Crime Laws, and the Difference Between Speech and Evidence

Hitchens“I’m literally and physically pulling those numbers out of my ass as we speak, by the way.”
So Christopher Hitchens Walks Into A Bar…

Gonzales“I think that’s a very good point, Jon. But now I’m wondering. It seems to me (and do correct me if I’m wrong, you obviously know a lot more about this than I do)…”
Our No. 1 Crime Fighter: Alberto Gonzales, and What Government Is For – comment

Scientist“I am passionate about science, especially for someone who’s only studied it as a humanities major and an educated layperson.”
The Slog Through the Swamp: What Science Is, And Why It Works, And Why I Care

Probability_book“Our brains are not very good at grasping statistics and probability. (That includes mine — I can’t get more than ten pages into a ‘Statistics and Probability For Dummies’ book without my puny earthling brain exploding.)”
A Lattice of Coincidence: Metaphysics, the Paranormal, and My Answer to Layne

Cards_fanned“Okay, this is freaking me out now. I based my metaphysical beliefs for YEARS on the idea that this pattern was ridiculously unlikely. Sheesh. (BTW, if there are any mathematicians or statisticians reading this who are screaming with frustration at my math, please feel free to correct me.)”
Ditto. This one counts for double — I pointed out a mistake I’d made in the recent past, AND asked for help on a subject on which I knew my understanding to be faulty. Yay, me!

Duke“But… oh, just go read the piece on the SmackDog blog. He says it better than I can.”
Credibility and the Duke Rape Case Fiasco

Blasphemy_challenge“I’m sorry that I misunderstood you about being angry because people were making snarky jokes about your faith. It seemed to me like that was part of what you were saying. My bad.”
Defending the Blasphemy Challenge: A Reply – comment
(Also in that comment: “Plenty of smart people have had some stupid ideas. I’m one of them.”)

Bible1“I’ve actually read a fair amount of the Bible. I was a religion major, for goodness’ sake. But until recently, I somehow managed to miss this bit.”
Greta Christina Takes the Blasphemy Challenge

Religious_symbols“I think I need to clarify my point about faith. I thought I’d made it clearly in my original post, Well, There’s Your Problem; but if Laura — who does, in fact, try hard to understand what I’m saying and give me the benefit of the doubt — didn’t understand it, than I obviously said it wrong. For which I apologize.”
Answering Laura: Atheists on Religion, Believers on Religion, Part 3

Bergstrom“In a perfectly non-sexist society, it’s possible that we might still have more male engineers than female, more female teachers than male. I don’t know. I don’t think any of us knows.”
Brain, Brain, What Is Brain? or, Is Gender Hard-Wired?

Question_mark“…since my own definitions have been shifting around lately, I thought I’d gas on about it here.”
Atheist or Agnostic?

God_delusion“Lately, however, it’s been becoming increasingly clear that ‘100% sure that there is no God’ isn’t the only definition of ‘atheist.'”
Ditto. Actually, the whole point of <A HREF="this post was to call attention to the fact that I was changing my mind about an important topic.

Sex_offender_sign“There are some very commonly-held myths about sex offenders that turn out to be total bullshit — myths that I believed myself until I read this piece.”
Please Think of the Children: Sex Offender Hysteria

Blake_god_1“When you don’t believe in God, the question ‘What purpose do we serve?’ is as elusive as ‘What caused us to be here?’ is solid. It isn’t simply mysterious. It’s unanswerable.”
Why Are We Here? One Agnostic’s Half-Baked Philosophy. (This one may seem like cheating, since I was using the abstract “you” to mean “all naturalists” as well as just “me.” But I was mostly talking about my own naturalist philosophy here, not other people’s; and besides, it was such a big important a topic for me to admit my limitations on that I couldn’t resist.)

Selma“…ripped fishnets and miniskirts and skimpy tops don’t make me look like a punk rock waif any more. They make me look like an aging tramp. And I don’t know why that is — or whether I’m okay with it.”
The Aging Slut

Fishnets“I want to dress in a way that reclaims my sexual power. But I want to do it in a way that doesn’t make me look, or feel, pathetic and desperate. And I’m not sure how to do that. Any thoughts?”
Ditto. In fact, this entire post is about how I don’t know the answer to an important question and am struggling with it.

Matisse_woman_reading“Quick caveat/tangent — I may not be being fair. I haven’t been reading a lot of contemporary literary fiction lately, so maybe I’ve just been unlucky.”
The Death of the Novel? – comment

Mark_foley“Jon, you make a good point. I think the abuse of power issue is more important than I’d originally made it out to be.”
Sixteen Candles: The Rep. Foley Scandal – comment

Kimjongil_1“I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and am now thinking that, on the specific topic of North Korea, I may well have over-reacted.”
North Korea, and Reason 8,624 that the War on Iraq was a Bad Idea – comment

Bisexual“I have (a theory) about my ‘bis tend to end up with women’ observation… But I’m very aware of the fact that my circle of close friends does not constitute a statistically accurate sampling — so I want to expand the sampling to my circle of people who read my blog. Much more accurate…”
If You Believe in Bisexuals, Clap Your Hands: My Letter to Dan Savage

Lordoftherings“I am now convinced that I was mistaken about LOTR’s moral simplicity and political irrelevance. Again, I haven’t read it for 20 years, and even then I didn’t read it very carefully after the first 100 pages or so, since I wasn’t enjoying it. Mea culpa.”
Why I Like “Harry Potter” Better than “Lord of the Rings” – comment

Wrong_wayWe hope you have enjoyed this tour of Greta’s Willingness To Admit That She’s Wrong And Doesn’t Know Everything. We now return you to our regularly scheduled program of opinionated ranting.

Come Hear Me Read! Perverts Put Out, May 25

Best_american_erotic_2005Come hear me read dirty stories! In honor of National Masturbation Month, the Perverts Put Out series of sex readings will be holding their Wank Edition, a sterling celebration of self-abuse, on Friday, May 25, with fabled and infamous sex writers Charlie Anders. Meliza Bañales, m. i. blue, Jen Cross, Juba Kalamka, Thomas Roche, horehound stillpoint, emcees Carol Queen and Simon Sheppard… and of course, MEEEEEEE. I’m planning to read my very nasty story, “View from the 14th Floor,” originally published in On Our Backs and reprinted in Best American Erotica 2005.

If you haven’t heard me read, you really should. I realize this sounds totally smug, but if I do say so myself, I’m a very good fun reader, and I have a special way with a dirty story. If you’re in the Bay Area, come by and introduce yourself — I’d love to meet my bloggies in the flesh!

Perverts Put Out
Friday, May 25
7:30 pm
CounterPULSE
1310 Mission Street, San Francisco
$10-15

Dream diary, 5/20/07, The gun and the Converse high-tops

GunDream #1: I dreamed that I was at a restaurant with friends (in that dream way, they were close friends in the dream, but not anyone I know in real life). A man came into the restaurant waving a gun around in the air, and everyone in the restaurant started going crazy. I called the police on my cel phone, and then managed to get the gun away from the guy, by hitting him on the head with a large metal valve that was on the table. The police came — but the gun had disappeared, and my friends started saying that they hadn’t seen the gun, didn’t know what I was talking about, and didn’t know why I’d hit this guy (who was still knocked out cold). The police arrested me for assault and for filing a false police report, which they were calling “first degree fraud” and which they saw as much more serious than the assault. The rest of the dream involved me being processed and put in jail, and completely freaking out because it was obvious that my friends were fucking with me or framing me, and I had no idea why. I woke up very upset, and it took me a while to shake it off.

Converse_high_topsDream #2: I dreamed that I was in a shoe store trying on sneakers, and discovered that they had started making Converse high-tops with decent padding and arch support. I was very excited — I bought a pair with Tweety Birds all over them, and was thrilled that I could start wearing Converse high-tops again. This was a very happy dream, and I woke up in a good mood, but somewhat disappointed that it wasn’t true.

Fred Phelps, Jerry Falwell, and the Blasphemy Challenge

God_hates_your_tearsDon’t know if y’all have heard this, but Fred Phelps, the seriously insane right-wing hate-mongering funeral-picketing homophobic fundie nutjob, has announced plans to protest at Jerry Falwell’s funeral.

Believe it or not, that’s not the weird part.

Jerry_falwellHere’s what jumped out at me. Phelps’s reasons for hating Falwell and believing that he’s burning in hell are basically that Falwell disagreed with Phelps about the correct interpretation of the Bible. And one of the main pieces of Scripture he’s using to support his “Falwell’s in hell” thesis is the one about committing the one unpardonable sin and denying the Holy Spirit.

Blasphemy_challengeExactly the piece of Scripture that the Blasphemy Challenge people are going on about.

The piece of Scripture that many Blasphemy Challenge critics claim is irrelevant.

BibleApparently, the whole “one unforgivable sin”/ “denying the Holy Spirit”/ blasphemy thing isn’t as irrelevant as some people think. I’m sure it doesn’t get much play in more reasonable, loving, tolerant churches and Christian families. But Ingrid’s dad grew up in a hard-core fundie household… and when we mentioned the Blasphemy Challenge to him, he knew exactly which passage we were talking about.

God_hates_fagsNow, I get that Phelps is the fringe of the fringe. He is almost certainly mentally ill, and I mean that quite literally. Even other hateful homophobic right-wing fundie nutjobs think this guy is a nutjob. This is the guy who went from picketing at funerals of gay people to picketing at the funerals of soldiers who died in Iraq, on the theory that the war in Iraq is God’s punishment of America for tolerating gays and other evil people. His theory that disagreeing with his own interpretation of the Bible constitutes a denial of the Holy Spirit is hubristic to the point of delusional. He gets in the news a lot, but he doesn’t represent mainstream religion, or even a reasonably sizable rivulet off the mainstream, or indeed anything other than a handful of equally insane followers.

I’m just sayin’, is all.

The “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” Prediction Contest, or, The Most Trivial Thing On This Blog To Date, And That’s Saying Something

Deathly_hallows_4It’s time.

The book is on sale for pre-orders. It comes out in July of this year. And rumors about the possibility of spoilers are already starting to circulate. So now is the time to begin Greta Christina’s Harry Potter Book Seven Prediction Contest.

Buffy_season_7I’m not quite sure why I do these. When I did my Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Seven Prediction Pool, I got exactly zero out of five predictions right. But I had a gas doing the pool anyway, and was entertained and impressed by how well other people did on it. (Rebecca and Jack both got four out of five, and the game wound up coming down to the tie-breaker.)

So here are the official rules to Greta Christina’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” Prediction Contest. If you don’t like ‘em, hold your own damn contest.

Sorcerers_stone1. Predictions must be posted as comments in this blog. No private emails.

Chamber_of_secrets2. Each player should submit a list of five predictions. If you want to make more, you can submit a second list of five — but correct predictions from the two lists will not be added together. Each list of five stands on its own. (No more than two lists per player.)

Prisoner_of_azkaban3. Predictions must not be totally obvious. For instance, “The book will be longer than 300 pages” or “Harry will use magic during the course of the book” will not count.

Voldemort3a. On that topic: “Harry will defeat Voldemort,” “Harry will kill Voldemort,” and “Voldemort will die” will not, by themselves, be accepted as predictions. You can, however, predict how Harry will kill/defeat Voldemort, how exactly Voldemort will die, or whether Harry will die himself in defeating Voldemort.

Goblet_of_fire4. Predictions must not be totally vague, either. I have to be able to reasonably determine whether what you predicted did or did not happen in the book.

Order_of_the_phoenix5. Your predictions may duplicate other people’s predictions. You’re on the honor system to not cherry-pick the best predictions from other people’s lists. However, each new player must make at least one prediction that’s not on a previously posted list — so it’s in your interest to post your predictions early.

Half_blood_prince6. Predictions may not be changed once they’ve been posted.

Deathly_hallows_37. Predictions must be submitted no later than 12:01 am Pacific time on July 20 (that’s the day BEFORE the book comes out). If serious, credible spoilers about the book leak out in the media before then, I’ll stop accepting predictions. (So again, get your predictions in early!)

Greta8. In the case of judgement calls, I will be the final arbiter. If you don’t like it, tough. This isn’t global warming, people — this is a Harry Potter prediction contest, and in the cosmic scheme of things, or indeed any scheme of things, it is utterly trivial.

Gravestone9. Tie-breaker: Originally, I was going to have my tie-breaker be the same one I used in the Buffy Season Seven Prediction Pool: how many major characters will die in the last episode? But J.K. Rowling has already announced that two major characters will die in the last book, thus completely screwing up my tie-breaker.

Thanks, bitch.

Therefore, the tie-breaker question instead will be: Which two major characters will die in Book Seven?

(If there’s a tie, and both/all winners get the tie-breaker right, then all will win, and all will have prizes.)

Chocolate_crinkle_cookiesPrize: I’m not actually going to do this as a pool this time — it was too much hassle with the Buffy pool. This is just a straight-out contest. The winner, if they live in the Bay Area and are someone I personally know, will receive one (1) homemade chocolate pie, personally delivered to your door. With whipped cream, if I can find my hand-held electric mixer. If the winner doesn’t live in the Bay Area or is someone I don’t know, they will receive, in the mail, 1 (one) batch of my homemade chocolate crinkle cookies.

ListAnd now, to get you started, here is my list. Again, I don’t know why I’m subjecting myself to this public humiliation, as my track record on these pop-culture predictions has consistently sucked. But I’ve always promised myself to be fearless in my writing, and that includes being unafraid to make a fool of myself in public over pointless pop-culture trivia.

So here goes.

Snape_41. Snape will turn out to be a good guy after all, and it will turn out that he murdered Dumbledore on Dumbledore’s own orders.

Snape_32. In his search for Horcruxes, Harry will encounter Snape also trying to find and destroy Horcruxes, and the two of them will have to cooperate to destroy them (or at least one of them).

Snape_23. Snape will die heroically attempting to defeat Voldemort. (Unofficial prediction: One of the Horcruxes will be in Snape himself, and he’ll kill himself to destroy it. That one doesn’t count, though — if it turns out to be right, I get nothing but glory.)

Dumbledore4. Dumbledore’s portrait will begin to speak, and will give Harry advice.

Harry_potter5. Harry will NOT die — or if he does, it’ll be some weird temporary “visiting the land of the dead” thing. He won’t be dead at the end of the book.

Gravestone2Tie-breaker: Snape and Voldemort will die in the last book.

Snape_1Okay, fine. So three out of my five predictions involve Snape. Plus my tie-breaker. So what’s your point? At least one of them wasn’t “Snape will have a torrid affair with a 45-year-old atheist sex writer from America.” I have SOME pride.

So those are my predictions. What are yours?

Hate Crime Laws, and the Difference Between Speech and Evidence

BillAs you may have heard, there’s a bill winding its way through Congress that would expand the current Federal hate crime law to include hate crimes committed over sexual orientation, transgender identity, gender, or disability. (The current law covers hate crimes committed because of race, color, religion, or national origin.)

PhoneI’m not just writing this to beg everyone reading this blog to write or call your Senators. (Although I’m doing that, too. Please, for the love of all that is beautiful in this world, write or call your Senators. This passed in the House, but it’s facing a fight in the Senate, and I’m hearing that the calls against the legislation are far outstripping the calls supporting it. It takes two minutes. Google your Senators’ names, find their official Websites with their phone numbers, and call them. Please do it.)

Hate_crimeBut that’s not the only point of this post. I’ve had a rant brewing for some time about hate crime laws, and now seems like the obvious time to do it. (Important disclaimer: I’m a smart observant person, but I’m not a legal expert. If any legal experts see any flaws in my understanding of the law, please point them out.)

**********

God_hates_fagsThere’s a common misconception about hate crime laws — which is that they criminalize hateful speech or writing. They don’t. There is an enormous difference between hate speech laws or rules — such as the ones that exist on many college campuses (and which I do, in fact, vehemently oppose) — and hate crime laws.

Matthew_shepardHate crime laws don’t criminalize speech. What hate crime laws do is say that, if a crime is motivated by hatred or bias towards a group — a race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, etc. — then extra time should be added to the sentence.

In other words, they say that certain motives for crimes are worse than other motives, and deserve a more severe punishment.

And that’s a legal principle that is both extremely well-established and widely accepted.

Maltese_falconLook at the difference between first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, justifiable homicide, etc. Our laws say that it’s worse to kill someone in cold blood for money than to kill someone in the heat of passion for anger; which is worse than killing someone recklessly and stupidly in an accident; which is worse than killing someone in self-defense. It’s a clear legal principle: different reasons for killing people deserve different degrees of punishment.

First_amendmentNow, some people argue that the problem with hate crime laws is that they are de facto laws against hateful speech — since hateful speech is typically what distinguishes between a hate crime and a regular crime. If you’re screaming, “Die, faggot,” when you’re beating someone up, that’s evidence that it’s a hate crime — and some people argue that this makes hate crime laws a violation of the First Amendment. (I’ve seen this argument made — unopposed — not just in political and punditry circles, but in otherwise generally intelligent and more or less progressive pop culture arenas, such as Law & Order, The West Wing, and South Park.)

But that’s just silly. There’s a huge difference between speech as speech, and speech as evidence of motive.

Double_indemnityAgain, let’s look at the difference between first-degree murder, second-degree murder, justifiable homicide, etc. If a person who’s killing someone is heard to say, “Ha ha, after months of careful planning, my scheme to kill you for your insurance money is finally coming to fruition,” you can bloody well believe that those words are going to be used as evidence of first-degree murder. Nobody on Earth is going to oppose that on First Amendment grounds.

Self_defense(And if the killer is heard to say, “You bastard, I can’t believe you’re having sex with my wife, I’m so angry I could kill you,” or “I can’t believe how drunk I am — whoops!”, or “Get your hands off me! Help!”, or “I’m sorry, but the ghost of Millard Fillmore spoke to me through the fillings in my teeth and told me to kill the first redhead I saw,” then that’s going to be used as evidence to support second-degree murder, or self-defense, or an insanity plea, or whatever.)

That’s what hate crime laws do. They don’t make hateful or bigoted words into a crime. They allow those words to be evidence of a particular motive for the crime.

LynchingAnd they do this to support the principle that hurting or killing someone because of bigotry and hatred is an exceptionally bad reason to hurt or kill someone. They say that this sort of crime harms not just the victim, but all of society. They say that our society is exceptionally appalled by crimes committed because of bigotry, and finds them even more intolerable than garden-variety crime.

Now, I’ll remind you here: We already have a federal hate crime law on the books, adressing crimes committed because of race, color, religion, or national origin.

LaramieSo to oppose this latest law is to say that hurting or killing someone because of any of those reasons is exceptionally bad
 but killing someone because of gender, sexual orientation, transgender identity, or disability is nothing special. No big deal. When someone gets beaten up because they’re black or Jewish or Italian — that’s exceptionally serious. When someone gets beaten up because they’re queer, female, transgendered, or disabled — not so much.

That is some fucked-up shit.

Phone_2Please call your Senator, and ask them to vote yes on the hate crime law. Please do it now.

Jerry Falwell

Jerry_falwellJerry Falwell, talking with Pat Robertson on The 700 Club, September 13, 2001. Commenting on the 9/11 attacks, two days after they happened.

“I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.'”

Let’s just not forget, people.

Reality Porn: British Phone Box Cards

Please note: This post contains fairly explicit descriptions of my personal sex life and my personal sexual practices and proclivities. Family members and others who don’t want to read about that, now would be a good time to stop reading.

No, really.

Spank_me_cane_meI recently came across a lovely set of dirty web pages (the site has several pages , but they won’t all let you link directly) devoted to British phone box cards — those cards printed up and placed in phone booths by British prostitutes, dommes, and submissives to advertise their services. (Thanks to Spanking Blog for the tip!)

Lucy_needs_a_firm_handI’ve always been fascinated with these phone box cards, and have always found them very hot and very sexually compelling. More so in a lot of ways than regular porny porn. So when I had a chance to look over this sizable collection of them — a collection full of examples that happen to push my particular sexual buttons, collected by someone who clearly shares those buttons — it gave me a perfect opportunity to, shall we say, meditate, on what it is about these cards that’s so mesmerizing.

I think it has to do with reality.

Innocent_college_studentI’ve always found real sex, and realistic sex fantasies, much hotter than impossible or implausible ones. Maybe it’s because I have such a literal mind. But there’s an immediacy to real-life sex depictions and realistic porn that I find very compelling. It makes me feel like I’m right there — in the picture, in the story, in the movie. (I write about this a little more in A Sex Writer’s Defense of Visual Porn.) Even when I’m making up sex fantasies for myself, I have a weird compulsion to come up with a plausible back-story before I get to the good parts.

Which brings me back to the phone box cards.

The_strapSee, these aren’t just sexy photos and drawings of pretty girls getting spanked. They’re sexy photos and drawings of pretty girls who want you to spank them for money. The cards don’t just give you a fantasy for you to whack off to. The cards represent real women for you to potentially get off with. Who are, in fact, actively encouraging you to get off with them.

Punishment_at_its_bestObviously, dirty photos and videos depict real women, too. But the fact that these cards are the advertising cards of professional women means that the women are, in theory, available — in a way that, for the overwhelming majority of us, porn actors and models aren’t.

School_leaver_needs_firm_strappin_2And that gives the fantasy an impact, an immediacy, that regular porn just doesn’t have. It’s so much easier to imagine taking one of these phone-box girls over my knee and spanking her hard — because I could. In real life. (Or if not that exact girl — who knows how old these cards are, and if any of these women are still working — then another one not unlike her.) It could happen. And not just in a “Yeah, sure, theoretically anything could happen,” way, but in an “I could make this happen” way. If I were visiting London, and had a decent amount of extra cash in my pocket, I could find one of these cards, and call one of these girls, and do things with her that I will never in my entire life do with a porn star or a fetish model.

(Or I could do it here in San Francisco, on the Web. But that’s a subject for another post.)

Naughty_schoolgirl_emily_janeAll of which gives these cards a weirdly intense impact on my libido — one that definitely outstrips the erotic power of the images just by themselves.

Neat.

P.S. I was talking with my friend Tim about this today, and he told me that the Loud Family song “Self Righteous Boy Reduced to Tears” was inspired by one of these phone box cards. (A more dommy one than the ones I’m showing here, I assume.) And I say yet again: Neat. I had no idea.