aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Girls Gone Wild: virgin whores
Any regular Comedy Central viewer is familiar with the Girls Gone Wild commercials. A gay man, I pretty much completely ignored them. Ariel Levy didn’t.
Three years ago she went to South Beach at spring break and wrote about it in Slate. The piece still gets good traffic; because it’s still so insightful:
Crazy Debbie is a 19-year-old personal trainer by day. She wears body glitter, white stilettos that lace up to her knees, and a rhinestone Playboy bunny ring. “I did a scene for them last night,” she says proudly, which is to say she masturbated for the GGW cameras in the back of a bar. “People watch the videos and think the girls in them are real slutty, but I’m a virgin! I just think this is fun. Miami is one of the few places where people aren’t ashamed of their bodies. And yeah, Girls Gone Wild is for guys to get off on, but the women are beautiful and it’s fun!”
Here’s Ariel speaking in yesterday’s Fresh Air interview:
I think there’s still a lot of emphasis on purity and virginity, you know, and some of the early stars of raunch culture, for example, were Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears. And when they first became popular, it was like, you know, they were half-naked, they were our--these national pastimes was just drooling over these girls--but they had to tell us constantly in their music that sex was something they sang about, not something they engaged in. I mean, I still think that there’s this real pressure to be a virgin even while you look like a whore. It’s like we want all our sort of iconic female roles in one.
And I think, you know, not unrelated is the fact that we keep pumping billions of dollars into abstinence-only education, which tells these young people, essentially, `Just say no to sex until you’re married.’ And we do that despite the fact that there’s never been a single study to show that this works, and, of course, the United States has woefully high levels of, you know, teen pregnancy and STDs spread.
So I think it’s like, there’s an actual anxiety about sexuality paired with a sort of endless appetite for hotness.
RELATED: ”Baby give me a kiss” by Claire Hoffman in the LA Times. An absolute must read look at the man behind the ‘Girls Gone Wild’ soft-porn empire.
Ariel Levy on Feminism
Listen to Ariel Levy on Fresh Air. There’s so much there, I choose today her take on the word feminism:
I think that the word itself, of course, has famously fallen out of favor with my generations and the generations younger than I am. I’m 32. I don’t think that’s so surprising or so problematic… nobody’s walking around calling themselves yippies, anymore, either… I just think that the various names for revolutionary movements for social change that were, you know, comfortable and popular in the `60s and `70s, you know, that they’re just not--they just don’t fit necessarily now…
[T]here’s no such thing as a unified woman’s movement right now. I think it’s fragmented, and I think people are doing lots of important things. And I think that, you know, the ongoing struggle for reproductive rights is crucial, and I think that--I mean, people are doing so much important work, I just don’t think it’s got a sort of solid, unified center.
If you’re not familiar with Ariel’s writing, I wasn’t either before picking up Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women And The Rise Of Raunch Culture in The Strand last year at about this time. I highly recommend it.
And money can’t buy happiness
The Chronicle reports (subscription required) on a study that finds Laptops Change How Students Work but Do Not Improve Their Performance:
[A] laptop’s value isn’t so cut and dried, according to a study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.
The study, which is described as one of the first systematic efforts to figure out how students use their laptop computers, came up with the uncontroversial finding that the machines give users more flexibility in choosing where and when to study. But the researchers found no evidence that the computers improved students’ work.
In fact, a report on the study says, students with laptops tend to spend “significantly more time” working on assignments than other students do. But that extra time is not reflected in their finished products: Students with laptops get roughly the same grades as those who trek to computer labs. Instead of saving time, the report argues, laptop users are often killing it—firing off e-mail messages, sending instant messages, and surfing the Web.
What’s more, students with laptops may grow overly reliant on them, as instructors in one typography course at a Midwestern university found out. “Students reported spending long periods of time searching the Web for pictures rather than sketching and then scanning what they needed,” says the report. “Instructors had to sometimes tell students to use paper rather than their computers to store ideas.”
If you want to talk about overly reliant, let’s look at staff, faculty and administrators too. But what I read here leaves me reluctant to infer any clear conclusion:
Students with laptops proved much more likely to work at home, and much less likely to use common spaces on campuses, than were students without the machines. And the laptop users were far more inclined to work alone.
On the one hand, that poses a problem for professors: how to build a sense of community among students who increasingly view course work as a solitary pursuit.
On the other hand, laptops presented the typography students with an interesting opportunity. Since they did more of their work in and around their dormitories, the students actually spent more time interacting with peers outside the field of design, a shift toward interdisciplinary thinking that has its own advantages.
Here’s the study.
O come on Emanuel!
Hillary fans are not going to rejoice about this:
Jon Stewart: “So your plan is to find Franklin Delano Roosevelt, exhume him, reanimate him—”
Rahm Emanuel: “Well, Hillary’s already helping us with the Eleanor part—”
Jon Stewart: “Settle down ….”
Ha, get it? Because Eleanor Roosevelt was the lesbian wife of a popular Democrat president. Comedy gold! You did great in the midterms, Rahm, but we won’t be surprised when you come down with a sudden case of Polonium 210 poisoning.
Georgia ranks 5th in the number of deer collisions; State Farm Insurance says “deer whistles” have been proven ineffective. John Berman had a report on GMA yesterday that advised, “If you see the deer, don’t swerve, don’t be afraid, hit it if you have to.”
Swell. And what can we do for the deer? Berman says, “One solution is creating wildlife under passes...surveillance video from a study conducted in Virginia shows that given an option, deer will cross under a busy highway, avoiding the dangers above.”
Huh? That’s it? I’m thinking they picked that solution because they had the video (I don’t) of deer using an underpass rather than because that’s the best idea anyone’s thought up.
None of these stories has bubkiss to say about real solutions to a real problem!
So I went looking and here’s what I found:
Currently, there are approximately eight does for every buck in the wild. Laws restrict the number of does that hunters may kill. Deer do not have monogamous mating relationships, and bucks will often mate with more than one female. As a result, the ratio of does to bucks sets the stage for a population explosion.
Allowing hunters to kill more does, however, does not resolve population problems. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the open hunting of does left fawns without mothers, and removed too many females from the breeding population. Sport hunting decimated deer populations in many states. As a result, states passed laws restricting the hunting of does. These policies have contributed to the overpopulation of deer.
Hunting does remove some animals from the population, but it does not keep deer populations at a continually reduced level. Immediately after a hunt, the remaining animals flourish because less competition for food exists, allowing the remaining animals to live healthier lives, and resulting in a higher reproductive rate.
Left alone by humans, the ratio of does to bucks would be approximately equal.
They want hunting banned. But that’s not all:
Many national, private, and state owned lands are open to logging… Companies demolish large stands of trees, rather than selectively taking trees from different stands of timber. This practice ill effects animals dependent on trees for food and cover. It also creates fields of additional “browse” vegetation for deer, causing a surge in deer population attributable to the introduction of this food source.
Ban sport hunting. Reintroduce natural predators, such as wolves and mountain lions, where possible.
Maintain existing populations of natural predators.
Ban clear-cut logging. Allow fires to burn naturally in wildlife areas. Limit new human habitations in wildlife areas, decreasing the risk of property damage in the event of a fire, and making controlled burns a more acceptable wildlife management tool. Prevent humans in residential areas, state parks, and federal parks from feeding deer. Deer should be reliant on their own habitat for food. Erect high fencing around crops and plants. Electric and sturdy fencing increase the effectiveness of this deterrent. Fences should be at least eight feet high and buried one foot deep. Openings in the fence should be small. Contact a university agricultural extension office or landscape business before purchasing and installing your fencing.
We’ve got a deer problem and, while media stories show empty pictures and laugh at what they think are funny deer stories, that problem’s getting worse. One thing is clear to me, we’d all benefit from more humane education.