Thursday, November 06, 2008

So I feel like I should write about something other than politics, just because that's all we've been talking and thinking about for days now. But I can't. Because I actually walked around yesterday being sort of emotional and a little teary and feeling like, "Oh my god, the world is a better place than I thought it was, and there's still a lot of problems, but it's going to get even better." I felt really proud and happy to be an American.

Now, don't get me wrong, I've always been pleased that I was American, in a calm and rational way. But it was a passive sort of feeling. I don't recall ever feeling quite so actively happy about it.

I would not say I was a cynical person. But I do tend to be, shall we say, skeptical and analytical. I'm suspicious of anything that looks like a cult of personality, and I am not prone to going along with the crowd just for the sake of it.

But he's really gotten to me, Mr Obama, because I feel hopeful, in a way I haven't felt for a while. And while a tiny, stubborn part of me still says "Don't get your hopes up, don't drink the Kool-Aid, that way you won't be disappointed if it fails..." the rest of me says "No, I'm going to trust this feeling." So I am.

It's interesting to me, too, that I don't recall feeling this way when Bill Clinton got elected. And you know how much I like Bill. I like him a lot. Bill is on the very short list of men who could booty-call me, and I'd go. He wouldn't have to buy me dinner or anything. I think Bill is that hot.

(Who else is on the list? Christopher Walken, John Stewart, and Jason Statham. If any of those guys ever call me, I'm there, no questions asked, boom. I have already cleared this with Monk. Just in case.)

Obama does not turn me on sexually, although I suppose you could say he excites me intellectually. Frankly, in spite of the fact that I once made up some stuff about what he would be like in bed, I do not get a sexy vibe from him at all. Maybe it's different in person. Then too, I'm guessing he has not been feeling all that sexy the last little while here, on account of being under just a teensy bit of stress.

But Obama is an iconic figure in a way that Clinton, for all his skill and charm and accomplishments, is not. I suppose as we get used to an Obama presidency, and his inevitable flaws and shortcomings begin to show, that may wear off some. But until then, I doubt I'm going to be able to think of him sexually. To me, it's the little flaws that make someone feel three-dimensional and thus, human. Icons aren't sexual to me because they're one-dimensional.

However, I'm guessing Mr. President-Elect can get along just fine without me being sexually attracted to him. And if he's just as good a president as we need him to be, I'm fine with that too. I hope he will be.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wow. Wow. What an amazing and historic night. Monk and I sat watching the returns, shrieking and clutching each other and saying "Omigod, omigod, he's really going to do it!"

What a big change is coming - really coming - in our world. I'm not someone who thinks Barack Obama walks on water, heals the sick and raises the dead. He's just a man. But he's a good man, and he's a smart man, and I think he's honest and has integrity, and I think he really wants to lead us well, and make the country a better place than it currently is. I haven't felt that way about my president for eight years, so it makes me very happy that I now do.

Amazing to live through history being made.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I'm voting today! No, I didn't do mail-in like most people, I get a weird pleasure out of going to the actual polling place. We're going to all-mail voting in Washington soon, so this may be the last time I ever do this. And I've never had to wait in line more than a few minutes, possibly because I go in the middle of the day. But I will, if I have to.

So off I go, to happily vote for Obama, and somewhat resignedly for Gregoire. She's not that great of a governor, but at least she's better than the anti-choice, Christian-fundy Dino Rossi.

The Death With Dignity measure? I'm voting for it, we should have the right to die when we're terminally ill.

And then I'll be watching the returns tonight, although... it seems like curtains for McCain. It's not over, of course. But Nate Silver assures me that a McCain win is quite unlikely.

I've been highly amused by this site - I bet they have something fun in store for the finale!

Now I'm just wondering what should I do with the very large chunk of time and brainpower I have been devoting to reading and processing tons of political information. (And ranting about it.) Wait, never mind, I seem to have a very dusty "To-Do" list here. I think I wrote it six months ago. Perhaps I'll get started on it!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Today, a book recommendation. If you haven’t read this already, you should. It used to be shocking - now it’s a classic book of American sexual history: Thy Neighbor's Wife, a non-fiction book by Gay Talese, originally published in 1981. It's out of print now, but you can buy it used for practically nothing.

It’s hard to describe what kind of book Thy Neighbors Wife is. “Narrative nonfiction” is the best way to say it, I think. It’s an exploration of the emergence of certain kinds of sexual outlaws in America from about the 1940’s to the 1970’s, with a few dips further back in history. Much of it is about a time we’ll never live again – after the Pill, but before AIDS.

Talese doesn’t cover much gay culture, and there’s not a lot about BDSM, either. This is mainly interweaving stories about straight nudist/swinger culture, some sex work history – massage parlors and porn modeling - and very personal biographies of influential people in the alternative sex culture like Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt, and a number of others. If you’re an American swinger, or a polyamorous person, or a sex worker, or a sex writer/publisher, this is a piece of your history. The people in this book have all had – and in some cases, continue to have - a strong influence the alternative sexual culture we have now.

It’s a thick book, and it’s complex and absorbing reading, but Talese keeps you engaged. The wealth of detail he provides gives one a sense of really knowing these people.

Talese also tells a lot of stories about government’s very active censorship of sexually oriented materials in that period. People now take for granted their access to educational sexual materials, erotic literature, and unabashed pornorgraphy, but it wasn’t that long ago that many, many people couldn’t get those things. Some of the details of the Supreme Court cases aren’t super-sexy reading, but I think it’s important to know where your rights came from. People – actual live people – got arrested, stood trial, lost their livelihoods and their freedom, and fought back, so that you could read and look at whatever you liked. Pay them a bit of homage by reading and knowing about them.


Note on the subject of books and reading: several nice people have invited me to join Goodreads. Thank you for thinking of me, and it’s a cool idea, but I simply cannot handle contributing to even one more social website. It’s the same reason I haven’t signed up for FetLife, which I am also regularly told I should do. So I fear I must decline…

Saturday, November 01, 2008

You know, I usually try to not resort to profanity and personal insults when I have a negative opinion about someone. I feel it’s a failure of creativity, for one thing. As a writer, I generally think I should come up with something better. And just in terms of rational discourse, that kind of thing doesn’t advance a discussion.

However, there are exceptions to that. This is one of them, because I am angry, and these people do not deserve thoughtful refutation.

So, Carl Prine of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review? Fuck you, asshole. Your snarky piece about how prostitutes and their clients tend to vote Democratic is tacky, clumsy, uncalled-for and offensive. It’s an obvious attempt to smear Democrats, because after all, if dirty filthy hookers and “johns” like them – not to mention pimps and transsexual sex workers - that’s bad, right? You’re a leering prat and I hope you get crotch rot.

(You’re also a lousy investigative reporter. “Johns” ? No one says johns anymore, you idiot. That term was out-of-date back in the eighties. And putting it in McCain-esque quotes like that, as if it’s a new and daring bit of street-slang, makes it even lamer.)

And Kathryn Jean Lopez: Fuck you, you sanctimonious bitch, for linking to the piece on The National Review Online by saying: “What Sells in Pennsylvania: Some Pennsylvania prostitutes are clear which party they want to go to.”
I suppose when one’s party is flailing as desperately as yours is, you need to clutch at anything you can to make yourself feel one-up. Or – as I look at pictures of you - maybe it’s evidence of a deeper type of insecurity. Either way, you lose.

You don't see as many of these types of sneering put-downs of sex workers as you used to. But man, it really makes me mad when I do.