Coup d’oeil: sex edition

  • Anthony Lane (New Yorker) explains several of the reasons why I was never going to, do not intend to, and will not go see the Sex and the City extravaganza:

Mr. Big not only buys her a penthouse apartment…, he offers to customize the space for her shoes and other fetishes. “I can build you a better closet,” he says…. The creepiest aspect of this sequence was the sound that rose from the audience as he displayed the finished closet: gasps, fluttering moans, and, beside me, two women applauding. The tactic here is basically pornographic—arouse the viewer with image upon image of what lies just beyond her reach….

[T]he most revealing line in the film, the winner being Miranda’s outburst as she hunts for an apartment in a mainly Chinese district: “White guy with a baby! Let’s follow him.” So that’s what drives these people: Aryan real estate.

Worse still is the sneering cut as the scene shifts from Carrie, carefree and childless in the New York Public Library, to the face of Miranda’s young son, smeared with spaghetti sauce. In short, to anyone facing the quandaries of being a working mother, the movie sends a vicious memo: Don’t be a mother. And don’t work. Is this really where we have ended up—with this superannuated fantasy posing as a slice of modern life?

  • Honoring Abstinence vs. Honor Killings. At Pajamas Media, Aaron Hanscom asks, What was New York Times blogger Judith Warner thinking when she compared evangelical fathers at a purity ball to an infamous Austrian rapist?
  • So this is really more about internet privacy issues. There’s been a lot of internet traffic about allegedly pornographic and obscene materials found on Chief Judge Kosinski’s FTP server. Lewd observations about the prurient, which have abounded in this case, aren’t really that interesting to me, but the privacy issues that have come up are, and Larry Lessig has started the only really interesting discussions about this.Judge Kozinski, a Reagan appointee with a reputation as a First Amendment champion, has since recused himself from presiding over an obscenity case and invited the Judicial Council of the 9th Circuit to launch an investigation of himself (LA Times).

    Lessig’s basic argument is that a disgruntled litigant sending around a directory filepath that Kozinski thought was not publicly accessible and took a bit of rooting to find, makes it breaking and entering, just as though someone had jiggered a faulty lock and broken into Kozinski’s den.

    Two posts from Lessig’s blog: The Kozinski mess (which incited quite an uproar for Lessig’s defense of Kosinski’s improperly configured FTP as having been hacked and broken into as opposed to passed around) and the follow-up On privacy in the cyberage.

  • This NYT Magazine article really stressed me out, mainly because of the anecdotal explanations of how men and women divided labour in the home. How do they keep track of all the rules about who does what how and at what time?? But this was super interesting (I like facts):

The most recent figures from the University of Wisconsin’s National Survey of Families and Households show that the average wife does 31 hours of housework a week while the average husband does 14 — a ratio of slightly more than two to one. If you break out couples in which wives stay home and husbands are the sole earners, the number of hours goes up for women, to 38 hours of housework a week, and down a bit for men, to 12, a ratio of more than three to one. That makes sense, because the couple have defined home as one partner’s work.

But then break out the couples in which both husband and wife have full-time paying jobs. There, the wife does 28 hours of housework and the husband, 16. Just shy of two to one, which makes no sense at all.

The lopsided ratio holds true however you construct and deconstruct a family. “Working class, middle class, upper class, it stays at two to one,” says Sampson Lee Blair, an associate professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo who studies the division of labor in families.

“And the most sadly comic data is from my own research,” he adds, which show that in married couples “where she has a job and he doesn’t, and where you would anticipate a complete reversal, even then you find the wife doing the majority of the housework.”

  • A book review on a biography of the Kamasutra (Washington Post). I didn’t read the whole thing.

“You know, guys,” he intoned, “sex is the greatest thing in the world.” He paused, and then added with infinite wistfulness, “But it’s just not that great.” There, in that gulf between the reality and the dream, lies the domain of pornography, the sex industry and the masturbatory fantasy — of Viagra and the midlife crisis. Our Western myths of love are seldom about fulfillment; they are all about yearning.