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Odds & Ends

Tuesday, January 6, 2009
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Every once in a while I find something that I think might be interesting to do a post about, so bookmark the page; then, very often, I forget to actually do anything with it.  So I’m just going to do a quick round-up of some of these things here.

Jonathan Fenby

He’s the author of the Chiang Kai-Shek biography that I reviewed a while ago, and I like the book so much I went searching for other writings of his.  This is his page at the Guaridan.co.uk, where he’s still churning out stuff at a pretty good rate.

He primarily writes about China, but there are some articles in there about current affairs from other parts of the world as well.

The Hour’s YouTube Channel

For some reason I’m sometimes very slow to catch on to things; one of those is the fact that YouTube has channels, so if there’s something you’re really interested in, you can just check out or subscribe to the channel page and have all the relevant videos collected and organized for you.

So, when one day I was looking for Ricky Gervais stuff and found this . . .

. . . I clicked on the channel link on the side, and, wouldn’t you know it, lots of other great Hour interviews (although George has become somewhat ga-ga giggly with the celebs in his old age; it’s probably the only way they’ll agree to come on the show — he still asks some decent questions, though).

vp_mallick_190Heather Mallick

She’s a columnist for CBC.ca.  I like her writing.

About a month ago she wrote an interesting article about porn-culture going mainstream (which isn’t a new idea, but I liked her take on it).

I would encourage people to read it and then maybe comment below — hopefully we can get an interesting discussion going about it.

I realize now I really need to start looking abroad then the CBC, though.  I’m turning into an old man.  Or is that just a silly stereotype?  Sorry CBC.
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5 Comments leave one →
  1. James17930 permalink
    Wednesday, January 7, 2009 12:33 pm

    I’ll take the ga-ga giggly comment back. He actually does more of a ‘charmingly disarming’ thing to get them to open up more. Quite astute, and it actually seems totally natural, which it no doubt is.

    Which just makes him a neat guy.

  2. SarahP permalink
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 1:08 pm

    I took up the gauntlet and read Mallick’s article on porn’s place in mainstream society. I didn’t think her take on it was particularly novel; she actually seemed more bored by it than anything.

    Personally, I find the vast majority of porn misogynistic and unpleasant. Disgusting. Rolling in muck. Waste of time. Unfulfilling.

    But my real objection is how it changes the way we see sex in general, and women in particular. I don’t get feminists who say “whatever floats your boat” when that includes women put into violent, abusive, and horrifying positions. What about the Grade 8/9/10 (etc.) boy, exposed to such images for most of his life in one form or another, thinks it’s okay to treat his girlfriend (possibly my daughter) that way? And that girlfriend who, also exposed to such images over and over (despite the best efforts of her parents), thinks that it’s okay too. Not to mention infantilism of objects of sexual desire. That just flat out scares me.

    I live a life that is, as much as possible, free of porn. I can’t say I miss it. Seems to me, focussing to much on porn makes you miss out the real good sex in favour of a poor imitation.

  3. James17930 permalink
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 11:15 pm

    ^Exactly. That’s the interesting point she makes (the way it changes the way we see sex in general), and the fact that she seems somewhat bored about it shows just how commonplace, and, somewhat banal, it’s all become.

    However, and I’ve told you this many times, you really have to realize there’s a distinction between different types of porn. Not all porn is degrading or painful. Some of it is, yes — and personally I don’t like that stuff at all. But there is a lot of stuff that is oriented for couples and does show the loving side of sex, hard as that may be for you to believe.

    But, again, if the two people are willing participants in something painful or whatever, I can’t say it’s wrong, I can just not watch it. If two people think something is okay — i.e. they are both consensual participants and they are not hurting anyone else — I can’t tell them it’s not okay.

  4. SarahP permalink
    Friday, January 9, 2009 10:57 am

    Moral relativism is ridiculous. You can, and do, tell people something is wrong with the way they think/act/speak all the time. And by “a lot of stuff” you mean what exactly. ‘Cause the vast majority of it that I’ve seen is violent, cruel stuff, even if it’s not passed off like that. Basically, it’s so guys can get off on their own.

    And the women in the porn industry – how wonderful to have your body by used as a object of sexual gratification in return for money! Who in their life taught them that their boobs were the best thing about them? And that sex could and should be bought like anything else?

    In the past couple of years, there have been a few people in my life that have been very hurt by pornography. I’m not talking affairs, or s and m, or any weird stuff. I’m talking about your basic male-dorm porn, widely available on the internet. And it’s been all men who’ve had the problem, though women have definitely gotten hurt by it.

  5. James17930 permalink
    Friday, January 9, 2009 12:05 pm

    “Moral relativism is ridiculous.”

    No it’s not — it’s called ‘reality.’

    “You can, and do, tell people something is wrong with the way they think/act/speak all the time.”

    That’s true, but usually only when it involves violence against an innocent party. At times where I’m just complaining about the way someone acts or is, I don’t actually expect that person should change or consider them morally decrepit — I’m usually just complaining. And if they bother me so much that I can’t stand it then I just leave them alone.

    “And the women in the porn industry – how wonderful to have your body by used as a object of sexual gratification in return for money!”

    Well, yeah. Some of them are millionaires and running their own studios now. ‘Oldest profession,’ remember (well, close — you know what I mean), except that now, women have more control over it than ever before.

    “In the past couple of years, there have been a few people in my life that have been very hurt by pornography. I’m not talking affairs, or s and m, or any weird stuff. I’m talking about your basic male-dorm porn, widely available on the internet. And it’s been all men who’ve had the problem, though women have definitely gotten hurt by it.”

    Well, obviously I don’t know any details about this, so I don’t want to make any assumptions, but if the women were hurt simply by nothing more than the fact the guy was watching porn, then, well, I would say they should be a bit more open-minded.

    If it was something more involved then my apologies.

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