Are he and his small band of followers on the lunatic fringe of the Christian Right, or aren't they? First they blame the wildfires in California on homosexuality. Now the loss of American troops is also the fault of gays and America's failure to properly condemn them?
The New York Times today has the story of a lawsuit against the Westboro Baptist Church, which is being sued for creating a media circus outside of a soldier's funeral. They protested outside the funeral carrying signs that blamed the deaths of American soldiers on the fact that the U.S. condones homosexuality. Actually they've been doing this for at least two years now, but because the father of a soldier whose funeral was protested has filed a lawsuit, Fred Phelps and his crew are back in the news.
A federal appeals court has ruled today that the 2257 record keeping laws that have beleagured the adult industry for years now are in direct violation of First Amendment rights, specifically in regard to the definition of "sexually explicit conduct". As you know, this language has been spookily ... nay, ridiculously vague in keeping porn makers and the wide variety of so-called "secondary producers" on their toes; when you never categorically know what you're doing is against the law, it becomes just another scare tactic to keep porn peeps afraid that they're doing something wrong.
See no evil, see it everywhere: The cloak of invisibility renders child porn more terrifying and harder to do anything aboutSubmitted by Elizabeth on 21 October 2007 - 1:16pm
Debbie Nathan raises a taboo but important point yesterday morning: We must be allowed to see the child pornography that exists. Why? Because we can't accurately report on that which we can't see. It's a simple and obvious observation, really, and profound in its implications.
She is writing specifically about her investigation of the Kurt Eichenwald/Justin Berry story (PDF from Counterpunch), but the point applies broadly and it deserves to be amplified.
I just read over at Figleaf's Real Adult Sex that one of our all time favorite sex activists has just been recognized for her amazing work. Heather Corinna is the founder, editor, fundraiser and amazing force behind Scarleteen, the incredible sex info site for teens. I've raved about Scarleteen before for the way it doesn't talk down to teens, answers real questions, and doesn't reduce sex to mechanics and plumbing, but recognizes the complexity of relationships, emotions, mental and physical health.
Heather is also the author of S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College.
Jeff Rosenfeld reviews Prime, Pepper Schwartz's new book on sex and love for "women of a certain age"Submitted by Elizabeth on 12 October 2007 - 1:29pm
"The message is simple but important. Being single and of “A Certain Age” is no reason to give-up on sex. Pepper Schwartz knows – and we should too, that “You can have sex, and can want sex, way into old age,” And Pepper Schwartz offers herself up as a role-model for women who want to own their sensuality."
"The great value of Prime is that the sexual experience is always wrapped in its psychological and interpersonal trappings. Schwartz wants to create meaningful, honest relationships with her lovers, and takes us along as she does the psychological work."
"Prime deserves the same praise as Betty Friedan’s Fountain of Age (Simon & Schuster, 1993) Friedan’s agenda was similar to Pepper Schwartz’s. Years ago, she reminded her readers that old age should be anadventure. Prime is significant because it gives older women the hope and confidence they need to make their lives sensual and lush."
The New York Times today offers more evidence that when we complain about sex and violence in the media we are really just upset about the sex. The evidence? Christian churches using the violent video game Halo as a way to draw teens into church. One youth director explains: “We have to find something that these kids are interested in doing that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol or premarital sex.” It is interesting to note that the violence in Halo gets it a "M" rating (for "mature" audiences only) which means that for the most part the young people playing the game in their church basements wouldn't be able to buy it legally on their own. Does this make youth pastors pushers of "adult material"?
On the New York side of the border some US high school students went to school with tampons and pads attached to their clothing to protest the humiliation of their female classmates who have been questioned by security guards about whether or not they are menstruating.
The New York Times reports this morning that Verizon has rejected a proposal by Naral Pro-Choice America to use its network for sending text messages to people who sign up for them. Other cell phone networks have accepted the proposal which allows subscribers to sign up to receive text message updates from NARAL.
According to a communication with Verizon that NARAL gave to the times, the company's policy is to reject proposals from groups that “promote an agenda or distribute content that, in its [Verizon's] discretion, may be seen as controversial or unsavory to any of our users.”
There are at least three very troubling pieces of this rationale.
I'm using this photo to inaugurate what I hope will be a cool new feature on Sex in the Public Square. It's called Sex Symbols (unless someone suggests a better name for it) and it'll be an examination of material culture connected to sexuality, sex norms, gender roles, and so on.
I'd like this to have a fairly standard format so that it is recognized as a series across the site. The format could look like this: First a photo of the object (here it's a t-shirt but it could be anything that is tangible), then "What" (a brief description) followed by "Where/when" (a brief note about where/when the object was found) and then "Why? Discuss!"
The idea is to talk about what these bits of culture mean, how we feel about those meanings, what kinds of competing messages are out there, and so on.
Below is the first in the Sex Symbols series.
Some quick early excerpts from the ongoing blog-in at Bound, Not Gagged , where sex workers and allies are challenging the mainstream media's distorted representation of sex workers.
Sex workers are allies in the struggle to prevent and resist sexual assault and forced prostitution.