Librarians do gaga

May 31st, 2010 | Uncategorized

Thanks to my pal Ruth Horowitz for alerting me to this very wonderful video by the University of Washington’s Information School (and for giving me the opportunity to redirect our attention from my recent ill-advised haircut).

128 Responses to “Librarians do gaga”

  1. Kate L says:

    Great haircuts! 🙂

  2. Khatgrrl says:

    That was great!

  3. Elaine says:

    😀 😀 😀
    Love love love this! As most readers will probably know its doing the rounds on facebook
    “C-c-c-catalogue, c-c-catalogue…”

  4. Cait says:

    Thanks, this was wonderful! The hair…it will grow back, and you will be so cool all summer.

  5. Riotllama says:

    Movable stacks… le sigh.

  6. Kate L says:

    Oh, A.B.,

    Cait is right, it does grow back! A few years ago, I tried shaving my eyebrows, and ended up going down my own pathway to destruction. I ended up with no eyebrows for the summer! Now, that’s weirder than any buzzcut! Btw, did you know that buzzcut is a relatively new name for this style of ‘do? It used to be called a butch cut (!) No, I am not making this up!!!

  7. Kat says:

    Shaving your eyebrows?????????????? My lord, why?

    (I mean, the Ancient Egyptians did that when their cats died, was that it?)

  8. Dr. Empirical says:

    I’ll pass this on to my favorite librarian.

    By night, she’s an S&M Queen.

  9. datamuse says:

    This was my graduate program; the guy with the banjo was my adviser. I am totally tickled that this has gone viral! How awesome.

  10. I am in LOVE with several new wimmins at once.

  11. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    As a poet, I just keep being bugged that they didn’t title the whole thing “Database”.

    After all, “database” rhymes with “pokerface” and has the same number of syllables…

  12. --MC says:

    Oy, this place and its librarians. First the head librarian of the city library becomes an action figure, now this.

  13. Kate L says:

    A.B. … I fretted about my last posting all night! I don’t think your present ‘do is weird, I meant that my brilliant idea of shaving my eyebrows definitely was (as witnessed by poor Kat’s anguished response (#7) to my posting). Should you not be satisfied with the results, please remember that the hair on your head grows fastest in the summer. Unlike my eyebrow hair. I actually had reason to fear that it would never grow back!

    Dr. Empirical (#8) your posting reminded me of an early Steve Martin line, where he said he was really looking forward to going to an S&M party after his comedy routine, because he wanted to speak spanish with real spaniards and mexicans!

    Maggie (#10) Good for you! But who isn’t in love with all wimmin folk??? 🙂

  14. No worries, Kate L! My ‘do IS kinda weird, and I know it’ll grow out fast.

    And Yish, you’re so right about “Database!”

  15. I *thought* about “database”, I really did. But the fact that “Ca-ca-ca-catalog” sounds a lot less dorky than “Duh-duh-duh-database” made the decision for me.

    And thanks for the link 🙂

  16. Dr. Empirical says:

    Kate (13) I remember that routine! They asked if he was bi, and he said “Well, I speak a little Spanish…”

    My librarian friend brought me to an underground club in the hopes of recruiting me into The Lifestyle. I found it interesting, from an anthropological perspective (Hey- I’ve got as much scientific curiosity as the next guy!) but it’s not something I’m interested in pursuing.

  17. Dr. Empirical says:

    And now, since the purpose of this thread is to distract us all from Alison’s hair, may I boast extravagantly about how I spent my weekend?

  18. hairball_of_hope says:

    Off-topic, or perhaps on-topic a half dozen threads ago, for the arachnid philes and phobes, and strong wimmyn everywhere…

    Artist Louise Bourgeois has died at age 98. Bloomberg has a pretty decent overview of her life and work.

    Quoting from the article:

    There was no question about “Fillette,” or Little Girl, the innocent name she gave in 1968 to her most outrageous concoction — a two-foot-long phallus made from plaster and latex. And the title? It was like a little girl, she insisted, “an extremely delicate thing that needs to be protected.”

    Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe snapped her 14 years later smiling widely and holding “Fillette” under her arm like a big baton. Her happy face was the frontispiece of MOMA’s 1982 catalog; “Fillette” was cropped out of the infamous picture.

    Goldwater died in 1973 and, by coincident or not, his wife’s sex-themed sculptures appeared on the market. In 1974 came “The Destruction of the Father,” a large latex-and- plaster piece meant “to exorcise the fear” her father aroused at dinner by indicating his dismemberment by the family.

    Afterward, “I felt like a different person,” she said. “It really changed me.”

    […snip …]

    A key piece was her magazine photo-essay, “Child Abuse,” with pictures of Papa, tutor Sadie and herself on vacation. One line told her life story:

    “Everyday you have to abandon your past or accept it and then if you cannot accept it you become a sculptor.”

  19. Ian says:

    @Dr. E: You actually wore those trousers in public?

    @HOH: I watched a documentary on Louise Bourgeois as part my art history course. I could recognise the brilliance of her as an artist, but I was very uncomfortable with the way she continually wallowed in her unhappy childhood to relive the pain in order to put it into her art. It was like she was feeding on it and it just wasn’t healthy.

    Although she did make me laugh when she slapped down a very pretentious woman who said her work was all about the pain of being an artist, telling her in no uncertain terms that it was actually a privilege to be an artist.

  20. Bechadelic1 says:

    Yay, I see that the producer / director of the video, Sarah Wachter, posted above. So if I promise that I’m no stalker, is it ok if I still go ahead and say I think she’s super-cute in the video 🙂

    And I loved, loved, loved that huge wine glass, is that what is is?

  21. Dr. Empirical says:

    Ian, I didn’t wear them in public, I wore them in the CIRCUS!

  22. 🙂 Yes, I will accept your commentary on my super-cuteness with joy and thanks.

    It’s a huge martini glass. I don’t know why Nancy has it, but I’m sure there’s a very good reason for it–I think she might put up some kind of explanation at some point.

  23. Bechadelic1 says:

    @ Athenasbanquet # 22: Double yay for accepting the compliment so gracefully 😀

  24. Kate L says:

    Tonight at 7 pm Central Daylight Time (8 pm Eastern, 6 pm UW time and 2 am in the greater Croydon metropolitan area), the acting mayor of this small, midwestern college town in the heartland of the USA will read a proclamation announcing that June is LGBT Pride Month in our fair city. But such a move on his part is not without risk. I’ve just received an e-mail alert that opponents of the proclamation intend to make their presence known at the city commission meeting. In the past, this has meant their monopolizing public comment time for hours at city meetings with homophobic remarks that I will not repeat here. So, stay tuned. Best case outcome: the proclamation is made without incident, and we remain obscure and off the world’s radar. Worst case outcome: a donnybrook of a broughhaha (as we say on the High Plains) breaks out during the city commission meeting tonight on the part of the opponents of the proclamation, and you’ll get to see me and my ‘mates given them what for on You Tube tomorrow.

  25. Well. since Bechadelic dared — yes I love ALL the wimmins in this video, but the big-glass-wielding, square glasses wearing librarian especially made my information bell go ding.

    I may have played this once too often because now Dinah keeps singing “c-c-c-catalogue” absent-mindedly. I’m pretty sure she’s mapped her own meaning into it, however.

    Kate L, carry a ziplock with a wet bandanna inside it with you when you head out for a possible rumble. In case o’tear gas.

  26. Ian says:

    @MaggieJochild: You know, it’s now very difficult to think of Dinah without imagining her affecting an aristoc(r)atic Southern drawl, a la Scarlett O’Hara. Even when she talks in lolspeak.

    I do love this blog – librarians doing impersonations of popstars and handy hints for not-so-peaceful protesting. Where else?

  27. Khatgrrl says:

    Dr E. Love the sexy circus trousers! What else would one wear in such situations?! Looks like a fun weekend adventure.

  28. Alex K says:

    @17 / Dr Empirical: Why, you hairy-chested hunkahunka, you. Bravo! Ignore Ian and his jealousy-tainted trouser comments.

    Da da da database da da database… mes bibliothequaires, mes concitoyennes dans la republique des lettres, je vous adore!

  29. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Ditto Alex K! My God, I’m straight and the wimmin in that video are so incredibly HOT how does anybody get any work done in that library? St. J is purring and he can’t even read, much less use a cat-a-log!

  30. Ian says:

    @Dr E (21): I am, of course, jealous of the pants, not the swinging from ropes and trapezeseseses. Or the proximity to muscular men in tight clothing.

    I once wore a pair of trousers for a performance that had thick rainbow flag style stripes from waistband to ankle for a carnival of the animals themed community dance evening. I wonder what happened to the trousers?

  31. Marj says:

    #17 Dr E: Whoa! I was convinced the trapeze thang was just a line. Bravo – nay – bravissimo!

    The britches are cool; but were the white socks really necessary?

  32. Dr. Empirical says:

    Socks were required, Marj, but colors were not specified. Apparently it’s important to keep the little board we jump from very neat.

    I’m afraid I don’t own any interesting socks.

    The trapeze form for which I’ve been taking lessons is called static trapeze. We just dangle and pose, flowing gracefully from pose to pose. A great workout, but not nearly so much fun. This was my first attempt at flying trapeze, and I’m hooked.

    Ian (30) the presence of muscular guys means nothing to me, I’m afraid. In my static trapeze class, most of my classmates are professional or aspiring dancers. Not only are they very young and very slender, they’re also very bendy!

    Still, professional detachment and all that, righto?

  33. Kat says:

    Gaga, circus, trapeze, hot librarians, socks…..This blog rawks!!

    So, my first girlfriend tried to run away and join the circus when she was in high school….She was unsuccessful, but continued to take static trapeze through college. I always wondered about that, though, because her parents were paying thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars to send her to a music conservatory as a cellist. The damage to her hands as a result of trapeze seemed not to mesh with aspirations of becoming a professional cellist…..

    librarians are awesome. ‘Nuff said. I keep wishing that I could get a job at a library….

    Did anyone see the Lady Gaga episode of “Glee”? I have major issues with that show, but how often do you see a super “manly man,” jock dad unequivocally standing up for his gay son on network TV?? Very good episode.

    I think you can still catch the episode on Hulu.

  34. Kat says:

    oh, and Dr. E, I highly recommend fun socks. Even just big, bold stripes are enough to give you a little fun for the day.

    Or am I the only one who can be cheered up during a crap day by stripes or polka dots??

  35. Kate L says:

    (Maggie #25) It’s turning out to be an uneventful evening at the Melody Ranch, and the local townfolk will continue to enjoy the obscurity they so dearly love. The proclamation was proclaimed, and its supporters in the audience far outnumbered the opponents. The opponents did speak out against the amendment, but they did not invoke damnation or hellfire this time around, so I don’t think they were really trying. Two of the five city commissioners complained that the proclamation was only the opinion of the mayor, and one of those two promised to bring the proclamation up for a vote at a future city commission meeting. No one suggested doing this when a recent former mayor proclaimed Defense of Traditional Marriage Day back in 2006, and I doubt that the commissioner who wants a vote now was so outspoken against the LGBT community when he was an executive with Chevron’s corporate home office in San Francisco. Btw, in the 2008 elections, this guy was campaign treasurer for a perennially unsuccessful candidate who proudly proclaimed that as a local landlord, he wanted to be able to discriminate against the LGBT community. There are now two milestones remaining on the way to nirvana here in Smallville… defeating the promised vote to rescind the LGBT equality proclamation, and our latest attempt to add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the city human rights ordinance. The last time we tried to amend the human rights ordinance resulted in the nightmare of abusive comments I referred to previously; the least incendiary of which was the claim by opponents that the human rights ordinance should not protect “lifestyle choices” (a phrase that opponents also used tonight). This despite what is generally known about sexual orientation and gender identity not being a choice, and the fact that actual choices like military service or religious preference are already included in the ordinance. Oh, one of the two protesting commissioners said that “this city commission is no place for politics”. That got the only laugh of the evening from the audience, and the acting mayor was quick to say that he thought a city commission meeting was an appropriate place for politics!

  36. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#35)

    Speaking of homophobes… 48 states and DC have submitted a brief in support of a father of a Marine who was killed in action. The Westboro whackos disrupted and protested at the funeral, the father was arrested, and in an appeals court ruling, he now owes megabucks in trumped-up legal fees to the Wasteboro klan (the Phelpses are all attorneys). The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.

    The two states that didn’t sign the brief? Virginia and Maine. I understand the Virginia AG not signing, Ken Cuccinelli is a right-wing homophobe who doesn’t believe in global warming, claimed Obama was born in Kenya, sued the US Govt against the health care bill, etc. But what the hell is wrong with Maine? Janet Mills seems ok, from what I’ve read.

  37. Judybusy says:

    Dr. E, very impressive and so fun!

    Speaking of circuses, we have a wonderful circus school for kids in St. Paul,Circus Juventas. I haven’t seen a show in a while, but it’s so impressive. Local Twin Citians should def check it out!

    I have yet to watch the video. In some ways, I’m remarkably rule-bound and so have followed my employer’s policy of not streaming video, and sucking up interweb tube space. The irony of using their time to read and comment is not lost on me, however!

  38. Dr. Empirical says:

    I have a friend in the Twin Cities with a son who would love that, Judybusy! I’ll be sure to recommend it!

  39. Bechadelic1 says:

    I finally figured out what what –MC was talking about in a comment way up on the list and what’s also mentioned on Sarah W’s blog! Maggie, that “the big-glass-wielding, square glasses wearing librarian” is Nancy Pearl, the action figure librarian featured here!

    Apologies if that’s old news, it’s new to me 🙂

  40. Feminista says:

    #21 Dr.E: I think the pants look fine,and I’m glad to see a scientist being whimsical.

    In other news: I mentioned in February that I was participating in a national on-line discussion on relationships for the 2011 edition of the classic women’s health & sexuality book Our Bodies,Ourselves. Now I’ve been asked to write about my experiences with,as I call them,the perils of perimenopause.

    No money yet,but will be listed in the credits,receive an autographed copy of the new edition,and get an invitation to the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective’s 40th anniversary celebration.

  41. judybusy says:

    Cool, Dr. E–they are a Cirque du Soleil-type circus and do amazing things with music and costume.

  42. Alex K says:

    @30 / Ian: Careless boy! First your stripey trousers go provocatively missing, and then — well, we never heard if you were able to locate those valuable linen sheets in the midden that is the bottom of you closet.

    Come here. Mistress Alex requires your chastisement.

  43. Alex K says:

    @43 / Alex K: Surely you mean “your closet”?

  44. Alex K says:

    @44 / Alex K: Hush! Go away! Ian and I are about to bond.

  45. Ian says:

    @Alex K: Whatever you’re taking it’s not strong enough!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Finally watched the video, and posted it immediately on FB! And now, what I get up to when I’m not noodling on teh intertubes.

  47. My goodness, what this post has unleashed! Libido and librarian begin with the same syllable, I suppose that’s it.

    Kat, polka dots and stripes DO cheer me up. Also seersucker and dotted swiss.

    Bechadelic, what a fecund link you gave us in # 39. That novelties site, Archie McPhee, features not only Nancy Pearl as a librarian action figure with shushing action but also a Deluxe version, because the first was so popular, with additional accessories. There’s also a Jane Bronte action figure (a real one, not the hilarious spoof version with her sisters going around Youtube) and, even better, an Anne Bonny lesbian pirate action figure. My birthday is in August, y’all. I’m serious.

    To my astonishment, one of the c-c-categories at McPhee’s was “Bacon & Meat”. The bacon edibles sounded gross even to my swine-dining sensibilities — I mean, bacon-flavored jelly beans is like a Weasley gag product. But the pig acupuncture model was intriguing.

    So, Kate L, look — at your window, it’s Melissa Etheridge trying to get up the nerve to stop by for a visit, go check, honey! Okay, is she gone? Listen, y’all, I DID get a jar of baconnaise. It’s about what I expected, authentic flavor but too strong for anything but a mere schmear on a tomato sandwich or as an addition to other dressing. One jar will last a long time, I think.

    Apologies to HoH and Irena Klepfisz for using schmear in conjunction with tres tref cuisine.

    And Dr. E, lovely snaps and biceps. Reminded me of some special eons ago that George Plimpton did about learning trapeze to be part of a circus act. It is extrenely challenging, and at one point I was so caught up in flying the ropes (from the reading end, not bravely doing as our Dr. E exemplifies) that I wrote a short story called “Trapeze” which was published in Sinister Wisdom circa 1979. Not long after, there was a wonderful theater troupe of fat lesbians in the Bay Area who did trapeze in their performances, I think called Fat Lip. Leah Kushner, Judith Masur, and Judy Freespirit are the only names I can recall at the moment.

  48. Nancy Pearl has a FB fan page, but it says she is MARRIED! To a MAN! (gnashing of teeth)

    Okay, I’ll borrow Kate’s time machine and we’ll see what other realities can be attained.

  49. Bechadelic1 and Maggie Jochild, not quite – Martini-Glass-Lady is Nancy Gershenfeld, another (super-awesome) prof at the iSchool. Who is also married, sad for you. 🙁

    Please focus your rending of space and time appropriately.

  50. Laughing hard, here. It’s a REALLY good thing I have no superpowers.

  51. judybusy says:

    The anonymous up a few was me….

  52. Alex K says:

    @47 / Maggie Jochild: Unleashings indeed. Last night I dreamt about a nutria.

    This appalled me even DURING the dream, so the nutria became a rat, to my relief.

    No trapezery. Thus far.

  53. Annie in Norway says:

    Archie McPhee is the bestestest in the world. I’ve been a huge fan since I was wasting time in Seattle one day circa 1990 and happened onto their store. I still have my fairy wand and crocodile shoes (crocodile shaped plastic shoes). I also have (and use) my tiki god lights for the proper party atmosphere. Absolute necessities in our modern world. I’m a bit dubious of the Mullet wig with lights though.

  54. Dr. Empirical says:

    Sadly, as a straight guy, flamboyant socks are a bit outside my comfort level. I do, however, frequently stop by the supermarket on my way home from circus school, still clad in circus wear.

  55. Kat says:

    Oh, I dunno, Dr. E, I’m sure you could get away with stripes. Some guys wear argyle, right?

    Further trapezery: I just got an invite to a show to be put on by a friend–Opera on a trapeze! Not kidding.

    I wonder how it will work, but I’ll have to rely on written accounts or video. She’s charging $200 a ticket!

  56. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    @Dr. E, great pics! My husband (not St. Jerome) learned to fly trapeze at Omega Institute, summer camp for grownups. He still wears his trpeze gear to work out in, but it didn’t include striped pants.

    Kat, kindly set up a PayPal account so that I and interested others can get together the scratch for you to go to the trapeze opera. Hairball, you out there? Split it with you! Please post any and all links detailing this trapeze act. Me, I’m trying to expunge the imagined sight of Renata Scotto singing “Suiceeeeeediooooooo!” as she swings from the rafters.

  57. Bechadelic1 says:

    @ # 49 and 50: Aww, so I struck out on the ‘correct information’ front and Maggie, you struck in other ways too heh heh 😀 Well, never mind, I’m sure we’ll find our own superpowers. I have one already. Just call me Supersleep – waking me up once I’m in dreamland is very difficult indeed.

  58. nel says:

    I was at Omega a few years ago during one of those trapeze classes. My class on lesbian sexuality was really good, but I have to admit that during breaks I looked skyward at the fliers and was mesmerized and envious and thought about switching courses. I have always wanted to fly.

    And Dr. E, if my 75 year old Mom who only ever wore black socks and peds until last year can wear striped socks and what she now calls “happy” socks, even a straight guy could. However, as someone in a profession where I see a lot of people in their socks, mostly it’s only the gay guys who have nice socks, you’re right. But I’m most impressed when they aren’t, and still have happy feet.

    And I love the librarians do gaga video! The person who told me, in 6th grade, that you can’t be smart and sexy is so wrong. Swoon.

  59. Dr. Empirical says:

    Okay, I am at this moment wearing a pair of garishly-patterned tights from

    I need to buy a pair of shorts to cover the package, but I think I have the legs to pull this off. In the circus, anyway. No need for striped socks.

    nel, there’s nothing sexier than a smart chick!

  60. Dr. Empirical says:

    Hey! Guess what I just learned:

    Tights don’t have flys!

  61. NLC says:

    OK, well these folks (Solmate Socks) have an interesting take on “mismatched socks”[*].

    (Just to make it clear that I’m not a shill, my only association is that they have been an underwriter for VPR, and I thought they –the socks– were kind of cool. So I thought I’d pass them along to my net-buddy DrE, and the rest of the gang.)

    [* I.e. same pattern/different colors. (Colours, Ian).]

  62. Ian says:

    Awww, thanks NLC. I’m gay and I have lots of stripey socks and recently decided to branch out on some that are black with coloured panels at the toe and heels but are also polka dotted. What I like is that the polka dots are on the sole of the foot so you’d never know they were there as long as you’re wearing your shoe of choice, but as soon as you relax and the shoes comes off, the polka dots are there.

    Hmmmm, socks as a metaphor for life (or otherwise) in an office. I really do have too much time on my hands!

  63. Ian says:

    PS The librarian that levers my libido would be Joe Tennis, with the Codex and the Harry Potter glasses … *sighs*

  64. judybusy says:

    Oh, Dr. E, you crack me up. Many’s the time I’ve delayed the bathroom trip just to avoid dealing with the pulling down and up of nylons. (“Can I hang on till I get home? Then I could just leave them off…”)

  65. Okay, not only does Nancy GERSHENFELD have a FB page but her profile photo is of the giant glass! Sense o’humor. (Humour for Ian, Marj, Judybusy, Pam I, etc.)

  66. Kate L says:

    Maggie (#47, #48) Actually, it’s not so much a time machine as a time radio-telegraph. The quantum Wheeler singularity (what Dr. Wheeler himself calls a “black hole”) is so small that only gamma-wavelength messages can get through, and then only in the form of alphanumeric characters. It’s June 3rd, 1968 as I type these words. The final showdown between Bobby Kennedy and Gene McCarthy is on for tomorrow. The ’68 California primary will determine how things will go at the Chicago convention later this summer,and (I believe) who our next president will be. Can’t believe that the two remaining candidates for the Republican presidential nomination this year are Reagan and Nixon! Those guys don’t belong in 1968, they belong to the past! Well, I’ll send this message on to June 3, 2010. I hope that it finds you all living in a utopian paradise in that far future world. Judging from Alison’s DTWOF series, I assume that racism, sexism and homophobia have all been overcome. Back here, wimmin are still writing furtive messages to each other on the wall of the science library elevator. What we need is one of those electronic newsgroup internet devices, but the most sophisticated computer available to us is the IBM 360, and everything you write to it has to be on key punch cards!

  67. Andrew B says:

    “Those guys don’t belong in 1968, they belong to the past!” Oh, Kate… That’s so good that it’s a little painful… If only.

  68. Alison says:

    Another Gaga rendition that is oh so glorious:

    “Don’t Get Caught in a Bad Hotel”

  69. Kate L says:

    It’s been said that 1968 contained too much history for people to cope with, starting with the assassinations. I can remember lying on my back in the back of the family car the afternoon of April 4th, thinking about how the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King earlier that day was a horrible turning point, not realizing that it was just the start of all that followed that year. Those were heavy thoughts for a 13-year-old in a small Kansas town, but it was that kind of year. Btw, it was actually Martin Luther King who, earlier in 1968, had said that Richard Nixon belonged to America’s past, and not to its future*. In early June, I watched CBS News coverage of the California primary; the lead was shifting back and forth between Kennedy and McCarthy all evening. I went to bed before CBS declared a winner, thinking to myself that I could read all about it in the morning newspapers (a hardcopy form of an online news service popular in the mid-twentieth century). Little did I know what I would be reading. After all of that, it was the Apollo 8 astronauts who were named Time magazine’s Men of the Year, because their orbits of the Moon at Christmas was about the only uplifting news that whole year.

    * – Years later, after Nixon had been elected, re-elected, impeached and removed from office, in one of the many, many White House tapes released to the public, Nixon was talking with his aides Haldeman and Ehrlichman about how to contain the damage from the testimony of former White House chief counsel John Dean concerning the Watergate cover-up. At one point in the tape, Nixon says, “Maybe someone will shoot him”. From the moment I first heard him say that, I realized that Richard Nixon knew he would never have been president except for the murders of his political rivals.

  70. judybusy says:

    Alison, that was great–I’ve always loved street-theater elements in protest!

  71. Ready2Agitate says:

    Maggie, your posts DO cheer me up on a crap day (as Kat would say).

    I just love those wmn in the vid. Yup. Kyoooot!

  72. Ready2Agitate says:

    Feminista, does that mean you’ll come to Boston for the BWHBC 40th anniv?

    Judybusy, luscious and lovely lupines!

  73. Feminista says:

    Ready–Es posible. No se la fecha.

  74. Ann says:

    Way cool!
    I’m sending this to our local radio station to give them a chuckle too.

  75. Andrew B says:

    Kate, I don’t know enough about the period to have a firm opinion as to whether RFK would have beaten Nixon. Certainly he would have been a stronger candidate than Humphrey, and the ugly spectacle in Chicago can’t have helped the Dems.

    On the other hand, it’s worth remembering Johnson’s prediction that the 1964 Civil Rights Act would give the South to the Republicans. We’re still feeling the results of that. And especially for those who are inclined to think of war presidents as Republicans, it’s important to remember LBJ’s enormous troop buildup in Vietnam, and the way that he and his generals were discredited by the Tet offensive. Nixon prolonged the war another four years until he finally shut it down, on Vietnamese terms, in time for his reelection campaign; but nobody knew in 1968 that he would do that. In 1968, the war was a Democratic (big D only!) project and liability.

    In 1968 I was much too young to have any personal awareness of any of this. It must have been interesting to be 13 in 1968 — old enough to be aware of what was happening, too young to be involved.

  76. judybusy says:

    R2A: Thanks for the compliments! I’m assuming you’d want to know the white fowers are actually foxglove! (People seem to have this thing about accuracy and knowledge around here…) These are lupines. This shot is from last year; with the very warm weather, the aphids exploded and got the best of my poor lupines this year.

    Andrew, I always appreciate it when people point out the Democratic responsibility for the war in Viet Nam. It helps us keep a healthy scepticism about them!

  77. NLC says:

    (Re-asking on this –i.e. “the current”– thread:)

    This is a bit off-topic, but I have a purely linguistic question, and I’d be interested in hearing what this group has to say.

    Specifically, the use of “lesbian” as a noun/vs/adjective when referring to an individual.

    This came up while I was reading an article in which the author used the sentence:
    “Susan is lesbian.”
    whereas, I guess, I would have expected:
    “Susan is a lesbian.”

    Clearly “lesbian” is commonly used as both a noun and as an adjective (witness earlier references to “lesbian haircuts”, etc) and English is very fluid in this regard. But, while it’s not really a big deal, the author’s usage in this context just bumped against my ear.

    Does this sound strange to other readers? If not, would you consider this a common usage? Or, am I just betraying my ignorance of such things?

    For that matter, do you detect any difference in the meaning of the two sentences above?

    (Perhaps, given the author, might this be a britishism?)

  78. Alex K says:

    @75 / Andrew B: As someone 14 in 1968, my principal concern was finding new and inventive ways to masturbate. Old enough to be aware of what was happening, too giddily crotch-fixated to care. My heavens, just rocking back and forth on the edge of my seat in geometry class!

    Well, someone on this blog has to channel Lois once in a while.

  79. Alex K says:

    @77 / NLC: To my ear, “Susan is lesbian” could be used about a five-year-old, with the complement “but of course she doesn’t know it yet”. We’ve all seen those children.

    “Susan is a lesbian” expresses Susan’s acknowledgement and acceptance, or pride, of an identity.

    How does this discrimination strike other readers?

  80. judybusy says:

    “Susan is lesbian” sounds wrong to this American ear, no matter the context. I wonder why the author chose to write it that way.

  81. To me, the distinction is the same as “Susan is American” vs “Susan is an American.” They are both identities, but the latter is a countable category, the former refers more to self-expression.

    I view lesbianism, as I do any and all sexual and emotional identities, as a collected behavior whose definition depends on the person choosing it, the time and region they live in, and the culture around them. Human beings are born with an inherent impulse to form emotional attachments, to initially occupy the identity their families select for them, and a craving for the acceptance and company of other human beings. What gender they become, what racial and class identity they express, and what sexual orientation they select will depend on what conditioning they receive and whether they accept or reject each aspect of that conditioning. Most of this occurs before the age of three. A majority of the conditioning is ingrained by the age of six months, before we are verbal and before we have any concept of having the power to reject conditioning imprinted on us by the people we adore and need for survival.

    It’s all a construct. It simply happens so early that we can’t remember “before”, most of the time.

    But some of us find the alternatives offered us unacceptable even at the outset, and feel a rebellion that later, once we have language and cultural agency, we will (in Western society) act upon as a change in expressing our identity. Currently, with 3+ decades of conservative backlash against the fundamental principle of feminism that “Biology is not destiny” and the biological determinists being on top of the heap, we are under the sway of “gender and sexuality are inherent”, and only studies which might prove this are likely to receive grant money or academic approval. It seems politically liberating to claim “I was born this way, therefore it’s unfair to oppress me.” But people of color are born with certain physically identifying characteristics utterly beyond their ability to change, yet they are under constant risk of savage mistreatment and/or death all the same.

    In fact, it is MORE threatening to the right-wing political status quo to assert, in fact, all gender and orientation is conditioned and chosen. It gives us far more freedom to acknowledge the plasticity and vast potential of human culture and created identities. It gives us the kind of freedom that makes christianist heads melt down from the implications of it all. And it certainly means nobody is born in the wrong body — just as no body is illegal or inhuman. The difficulty lies with the culture around us, not our innocent, beautiful bodies.

    For a number of complicated, interdependent reasons, during the 1900s “gay/lesbian” were identities which got constructed in various regions and according to generational pressure. They varied widely according to class, race, and coming of age era. “Lesbian” to me, as a gathered identity (hat tip to Liza Cowan for the term and theory) means something concretely different than it will to someone born even five years later, such as Alison, and alters again in another five years.

    So when you say “Susan is lesbian”, my interpretation of that identity will require parsing of terms for us to actually agree on its meaning. And to my mind, the most important fact is whether Susan has chosen that identity for herself. I have been close to many women who have moved from one identity to another, back and forth, with equal integrity. To insist they were born a particular “way” is to label at least one phase of their life as inauthentic and abnormal, which I cannot agree with. I think of some of my exes, of Jan Clausen and Joanne Loulan, and I will not allow myself the hubris of saying they at any point went against a genetically-determined orientation. They simply changed their minds, having made them up in the first place based on incomplete information and going on, as we all do/must, with incomplete information. We’re ALL guessing our way through the dark, and doing equally well at it. I do believe. And whatever our choices, we deserve full human rights.

    Finally, the issue is not whether Susan is lesbian or is A lesbian. The issue is whether she is LIBRARIAN, and will she want me?

    We want to be wanted. That’s the heart of it.

  82. judybusy says:

    Oh, Maggie, thanks for the eridution and humor at the end! I still think it sounds clunky without the “a” but you make some great points.

    I’m signing off, and am headed home to begin preparing for a fundraising dinner party to benefit Clare Housing, a local non-profit which provides housing and services to PLWA/HIV. It’s tomorrow, so all of my energy and skill will be thus employed. My partner did the shopping today, got home to begin things, and just called me to tell me we have no paprika, and we need about a cup’s worth! So, off to the co-op!


  83. ksbel6 says:

    @Maggie #81: I still find it interesting that you are so set on gay/lesbian/trans being a choice, when everyday there is more evidence that it is not a choice.

    Here’s a fun one, do you think left-handed people are born that way, or is it a choice? It is certainly not a genetic trait that is passed on like eye color…in my entire family (including great aunts, etc.) there are only three of us. The idea scientists have come up with is that you must both have the left-handed gene, and a hormonal trigger to end up left-handed. So who’s to say the same exact thing doesn’t happen with sexuality?

    As to people who decide to have relationships with both same sex and opposite sex partners, who’s to say they are not just attracted to both sexes, and that is in their genetic code.

    I’m not saying I’m positive it is in genetics, I’m just saying I’m always surprised at how strongly you commit yourself to the, “this is a choice” camp.

  84. Marj says:

    The above erudition notwithstanding, to a native speaker of British English “Susan is lesbian” sounds like LOLspeak. I suppose you might say “Susan is a bit lesbian” if you meant Susan has latent tendencies of which she is (as yet) unaware.

    Maggie, I used to be a librarian, but I gave it up. Does that mean you don’t love me anymore?

  85. Andrew B says:

    NLC, answering purely as an American English speaker (with no expertise about how lesbians use the word): “Susan is lesbian” sounds odd to me, but I would accept it. I don’t hear any semantic difference between that and “Susan is a lesbian”, although if somebody tried to construct one I wouldn’t argue.

    Who is the author, anyhow?

  86. Andrew B says:

    ksbel6, 83, I want to pass along something a student of mine pointed out to me once. For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that sexual orientation is totally innate. There would still be a choice about how you think of yourself and your orientation. A person could see her lesbianism as giving her a way to make a deep connection to other people (specifically women) and form valuable relationships with them. Or she could be more of a Lois and see it as a way of making multiple connections that would involve great pleasure and satisfaction. Or she could be in the closet, and hate herself and try to suppress everything about herself that wants to reach out to other people. Or, of course, many other possibilities. And the same would be true of gay men and bis. (My student was a gay man.)

    Even if orientation were totally innate, there would still be a choice about how to see oneself and how to think about one’s orientation and act on it. I don’t know if this is what Maggie had in mind, but it seemed worth pointing out. Choice versus innateness is a false dichotomy.

  87. Feminista says:

    @Ready: Check your email.

  88. I don’t have the linguistics terminology for this, but — when we say “Ian is gay”, to my mind that is the exact parallel of saying “Susan is lesbian.” I mean, we don’t usually say “Ian is A gay”. What’ the diff?

    R2A, the studies that are often alluded to as “proving” a genetic basis to sexial preference are all deeply flawed with regard to basic science in at least three regards.

    (1) There is no control group of people who became homosexual or heterosexual without having received conditioning. And all conditioning shapes you, even if you seem to go the
    “opposite” direction.

    (2) Such studies are only made of adults who are well-entrenched in their conditioning, never of babies.toddlers at a time when conceivably conditioning might not have shaped identity. And all evidence now points to plasticity of the brain (not to mention genes) of such an extent that adult behavior actually remaps brain configuration and genetic expression, even betweeen identical twins. This plasticity is, likely, the explanation for human evolution, which has been far more rapid than biology and genes alone can account for. Our ability to physically alter our own genes by behavior alone in a single generation, passing on a changed set of genetic expression to our offspring simply by how we chose to live our lives, is a profourd argument against any theory of biological determinism. Human beings use culture to create identity, and it’s a defining characteristic of being human. But that means we must advocate living in a way which promotes social justice and downplays “the hand of g*d”, not to mention the patriarchy, so genetic fatalism is literally being shoved down our throats. and

    (3) Such studies are always of problematically small populations that are never random. The lesbian/gay participants are self-selecting and self-identifying, which is a very snall percentage of actual lesbians and gays out there. Thus, it cannot be representative.

    It’s just more logical to me that it’s an aspect of our cultural overlay which may FEEL as inevitable as what class or religion we were raised in but is something that can be completely altered by our own volition or by being raised with different conditioning. It’s simply too malleable and diverse from culture to culture or generation to generation to be a predetermined genetic imperative.

    Further, homosexual behavior is far more rampant among other species than we’ve been told. Among some primates it is as common as different-sex contact, especially when breeding is removed from the picture. Which leads me to wonder why same-sex contact is not MORE common among modern humans? I suspect it is because we have a political and religious hierarchy invested in maintaining a gender binary intent on keeping the subordinate gender tied to breeding, and the way to maintain that is through heavy conditioning from the second trimester on. The modern 4-10% who resist conditioning enough to find a way of living that is not completely male-dominated therefore becomes a typical statistic of those who resist cultural tyranny. To believe otherwise is to believe that nature is programmed toward heterosexuality, which is not accurate and not reflected in human societies across time and geography. Homosexual behavior does as much to perpetuate most species as breeding behavior, and almost every successful species has a high mixture of both.

    But the story of humanity is one of choosing conditioning over biological drives whenever possible and advantageous to do so.

  89. Kate L says:

    A few hours ago, a drunk driver ran into my car. I’m fine, although the L-mobile may never patrol the streets of Smallville again.

    It’s possible to feel an identification with people without realizing exactly what that identification is. Years ago, I attended a scientific conference at the University of California at Berkeley. I stayed at the Clark Kerr dorm, and took advantage of my free time to walk the neighborhoods surrounding the campus. As I did so, I could not help but notice all the women who were dressed like me (plaid shirts, jeans, hiking boots – Doc Martens are the best, if you can afford them). We all wore our hair short, no doubt to keep it our of our faces on outcrops. I felt an immediate kindred spirit with all these women. I smiled, and they smiled back. It was like… coming home for the first time! And I thought to myself, “Wow! I didn’t know that Berkeley had such a big enrollment of women geologists!” So much for my walk-across-the-quad epiphany!!!

  90. Kat says:

    Kate L, yeeps! Car accidents are super jarring and scary, even if you’re physically ok (well, that’s been my experience, anyway).

    You must have walked the correct direction (i.e. towards my house–I’m about 4 blocks from there!) when you left the Clark Kerr dorm to take said walk. Had you walked the other direction, you would have ended up in the very middle of frat/sorority hell, and I have yet to see any “women geologists” around the sorority houses!

    One of my favorite things to do with out of town friends is take them on walks around the neighborhood Kate L describes.

  91. Kate L, it’s past midnight here, now the 5th. I’m still up, writing, and have a candle burning for you. Will start it again tomorrow when I wake up. Kudos for survival and being better than ever.

  92. Ready2Agitate says:

    wow, being confused by Maggie Jochild with ksbel6, now that’s a jolt to my self-concept!

  93. Ready2Agitate says:

    Kate L, well I’ll be – a difficult anniversary preceded by being hit by a drunk driver. Rats. You are as strong as ever, girl. Can’t kill the spirit!

    In solidarity and with affection,


  94. Alex K says:

    @88 / Maggie Jochild: Four sentences for you.

    Ian is gay.
    Anne is lesbian.
    Anne is a lesbian.
    Ian is a gay (“I’m the only gay in the village”, for LITTLE BRITAIN fans; perhaps this is a British usage…? Also, “a gayer”).

    Someone clever will know exactly how to describe where the line falls between adjective as predicate (Anne is lesbian, Ian is gay) and, with addition of the article, definite or indefinite, “adjective” as noun.

    Someone clever also will know why the same process doesn’t work for some sorts of adjectives; you’ll agree, I hope, if you substitute “yellow” and ring the changes.

    The difference between those usages is real.

  95. Annie in Norway says:

    I am not a huge fan of McDonald’s apart from their fries, which I think they sprinkle with fairy dust or crack cocaine or something, anyhow have any of you seen this ad? I thought it was surprisingly well done. It’s all advertising of course and in the end was probably a recommended move by a squadron of suits, but anyhow.

  96. ksbel6 says:

    @Andrew B: Excellent point. I do not argue that choice or genetics are the only two possibilities. Simply that to imply that genetics plays absolutely no role, as Maggie does, is pretty exclusive.

    I’m very open to the idea that choice is involved, as your student points out. It is just shocking to me that Maggie is so set on our sexuality being determined by our cultural influences from before we were toddlers. Is that actually that much different than a genetic argument? One still has absolutely no control over that…did any of us get to pick where we were, or who we were influenced by before we turned 3? So does that then mean it is not a choice? Just saying, most human behaviors are very difficult to explain…and watching the way other animals interact does not do much to help. Other animals are just not as complex as humans are (my apologies to anyone offended by that).

  97. Jain says:

    I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s since 1966, but I am very impressed.

  98. Ian says:

    I’m so proud to be used in a sentence to illustrate a linguistic point!

    Yep, Little Britain turned the adjective ‘gay’ into a noun (he’s a ‘gay’, or the variant ‘gayer’). Skins turned ‘gay’ into a verb – “do I have to gay you now?”

    There’s no linguistic difference AFAIK between ‘Ian is gay’ and ‘Susan is lesbian’ and ‘Spot is humping the chair leg again‘. Although, to take a cue from Armistead Maupin’s Significant Others you could argue that saying someone is Uppercase Lesbian denotes that they’re from the island of Lesbos, as opposed to someone being a lesbian, a woman sexually and emotionally attracted to other women.

    By the way, on the choice/nature debate, ‘phobes should treat us with respect and consideration whether it’s a choice or not!

  99. My earnest apologies to ksbel6 and R2A. It was past my bedtime, and that’s the real explanation.

    I don’t think genes play NO role in human behavior, just that the role is usually subordinate to culture and frequently insignificant. And that what gets allocated a :genetic: cause is primarily a political choice, not actually scientific. I mean, there are studies aggressively being done to isolate the “white” gene in hopes of linking behavior to skin color.

    Humans have a small number of actual genes — there are “lesser” organisms with more. It’s all about which genes get expressed and in what configurations, and so far this has turned out to be exponentially more complicated that mapping genomes. And it appears that what “turns on switches” to create genetic expression in all human realms is highly affected by culture, to state it conservatively.

    The difference between this viewpoint of plasticity and one of claiming mostly genetic determination is the potential for change and the self-empowerment of saying “I make a choice daily to be X”. (Pun slightly intended.)

    I’m not a woman because I was born with a vulva, not now; I’m a woman because I was conditioned to be one based on my genitals at birth, I had a girlhood, I spent most of my adult life re-examining those entirely culture-bound definitions and discarding that which does not suit me. The latter work is what is necessary for all of us to sort through our conditioning so it is not a fatalistic blanket we wear as confiningly as “I wuz born thisaway”. Questioning conditioning IS the freedom-fighter work of those who fight major oppressions. And at this point of my life, you would do well to “look at me as if you had never seen a woman before”. Chromosomes are not what determines my current identity.

    If we accept that about gender, why not sexuality?

    I find that to be a liberation stance which scares the fuck out of the patriarchy.

    But we don’t have to agree on this to make common cause for human rights. I only ask that the wash of hormones or gay gene pseudoscience not be presented as a monolithic viewpoint or argument for why we shouldn’t be rounded up and gassed (as if the Nazis didn’t believe Jewishness was genetic).

  100. bean says:

    yeah, what she said.

    i know that aspects of identity are chosen because i have chosen them. whether or not some people are born homosexual, i am queer by choice, and so far, luckily, it hasn’t gotten me killed.

    i prefer a world in which it’s ok to choose to be queer, whether you are born that way or not.

    and, politically, i think our struggle is for the right to self determination, even where that self identity is chosen. especially where.

    whether sue is lesbian or a lesbian…tricky.

    technically, grammatically, it’s ok to say so-and-so is a jew, but i prefer so-and-so is jewish, and ian, as we all know, is gay. i’m guessing he probably never uttered the sentence “hey, mom, i’m a gay.” in both those cases, i find the terminology with the article objectifying. is so-and-so a leper or someone who suffers from leprosy?

    with lesbianism, it’s different, however, because for many lesbians the term is inseparable from it’s political implications. i am A Lesbian because i have chosen to identify with a political as much as a sexual identity.

    but, really, i don’t care that much either way. we use it as an adjective all the time: e.g. “lesbian haircuts” for instance.

  101. bean says:

    oh, and about librarians: this bitter unemployed librarian is tired of always having to talk about whether we live up to the stereotypes, whether the hair-in-a-bun spinster or the tatooed-dominatrix/sex-kitten-underneath-it-all.

    yeah, librarians are sexy, no shit, but don’t these stereotypes sound just a little too familiar???

    videos like the one floating around are made to justify our jobs because college students are too stupid on their own to figure out why they need their libraries, because they believe everything they need is available on the internet and will come to them over their i-pad. and, unless they go into serious research later, unless they are headed for grad school, they’re probably right.

    try explaining to a class of freshmen the need for net neutrality or the dangers of media conglomeration and its relationship to what is and is not available at the library, let alone over the internet. try explaining to them that it’s the publishing industry’s fault, not the librarian’s that the databases are complicated to search. you’ll get the blank stares too….

  102. Ready2Agitate says:

    yeah, what she said.

  103. Ready2Agitate says:

    (and fwiw, I’m a jew – but I prefer you say that I’m jewish)

    bean, shouldn’t we both go outside and play now that those crazy rolling thunderstormbursts have passed?

  104. Ian says:

    I would never have said “hey mom, I’m a gay”. She would have been horrified by the use of such an ‘Americanism’ as ‘mom’. *wicked laugh* I never actually came out to my Mum before she died – I’m not sure whether I regret that or not. It’s a bit late now, of course. I have a feeling that she knew, but that IT must not be discussed under any circumstances.

    I have a feeling that in this country, the use of the indefinite ‘a gay’ has come about to differentiate between the noun and the adjectival pejorative, for example, ‘spinach is so gay’ that irritates me beyond belief.

    Attitudes are changing in Britain, but slowly. I was sat with a group of people I’m not out to recently. Lesbians weren’t called ‘lesbians’ they were called ‘lemon lickers’ (by a woman) and there was a clear distinction from the men between ‘good’ gays that act like ‘normal’ men that they ‘don’t have anything against’ and very camp gays that are effeminate and showy. I did feel a sting of obligation to jump up and confront this homophobia, but it was kind of interesting to sit back and quietly analyse their attitudes to LGBT people.

  105. Kat says:

    Little Britain was the first time I ever heard “a gay” (or specifically “the only gay in the village.”

    It’s not something that exists in American English usage, even in the context of “humor” at least as far as I know.

    (humor in quotes because I don’t find Little Britain to be funny)

    I’m glad someone mentioned (I can’t find it now…ugh) the island of Lesbos. Because, yeah, there are real people from there, who are, technically Lesbian.

    Could that play into the “So-and-So is A lesbian” versus “So-and-So is Lesbian”?

    We had a family friend who was Greek from Lesbos, and as an old man, he would gleefully introduce himself to people by saying “I’m George. I’m Lesbian.” While this was a completely true statement, it would confuse the hell out of people (it was intended to). Probably because Lesbos is fairly small, and one doesn’t often encounter people from there?

  106. Fester Bestertester says:

    In light of Ready2Agitate comment above (@103) I suppose that it’s only fair that someone now quote Jonathan Miller’s line (from his time with Beyond the Frindge):

    “I’m not a jew, but I’m jew-ish…”

  107. R2A, if you feel like articulating, what’s the difference for you between being a Jew and being Jewish?

    And Ian, “LEMON-LICKER”? That’s a new one for me. I guess it can be lemony, sometimes; usually more like oyster or raw cashews with the women I’ve known. (And now I can hear the cyber-screams of TMI and will stop.)

  108. Kate L says:

    Kat, Maggie, Ready2Agitate…
    Thanks! 🙂 By coincidence (?), the man who assaulted me 5 years ago today just happened to drive by as I was walking my dog this morning. He said something out his car window that I didn’t hear. Not that I would have wanted to!

  109. bean says:

    i’m interested in what r2a has to say on this too.

    from my perspective, being called “A Jew” is something that, maybe more in the past, was hurled as an epithet, usually together with the word “dirty”. so i prefer “Jewish” as a descriptor than “Jew” as an identity. especially since i identify with neither the jewish god nor the disgrace known as Israel. don’t get me wrong, i’m proud to identify as jewish, specifically anti-occupation jewish. i’m proud to identify with a tradition of jewish radicalism and activism, and i appreciate having an ethnic identity that locates me and my family in history.

    i’ve been told it’s kind of a bit of internalized anti-semitism to balk at being labled “a jew.” so i don’t make a big deal about it, especially when other jews use the term this way. you can pretty much tell what someone’s intention is from how they use the term. very similar, I think to the discussion we were having about being “gay” versus being “a gay.” whether it’s a slur depends on who’s saying it and how they are saying it. but factually, yes, I’m a jew, and by some definitions, a gay.

    and, yes, R2A was right; someone tell me to shut off the computer and go outside!!!!!!!!!!!!

  110. Dr. Empirical says:

    When I was dating a woman of African descent, neither she nor I had any difficulty with describing her as “black”. When one of my right-wing friends refered to her as “a black”. I am unable to articulate the reasons for this.

    But dude, if you’re uncomfortable discussing your beliefs about the civil war with “a black”, maybe that should tell you something about your beliefs.

    Sorry; venting about something that happened over a decade ago.

  111. Dr. Empirical says:

    So upset, apparently, that I can’t form a proper sentence.

    I meant to say “When one of my right-wing friends refered to her as “a black” it bothered me. I am unable to articulate the reasons for this.”

  112. Ian says:

    Maggie!!! “Lemon-licker” refers to the shape of the lemon, not the taste! To the oval shape with the protruding nub at the top …

  113. ksbel6 says:

    #99: I do not accept that cultural defines my gender anymore than I accept that genes define my sexuality. We have seen it so many times, the identical twins where one wants everything to boyish and the other wants everything to be girlish, no matter what their physical attributes were at birth.
    Even in terms of gender, genetics vs. choice becomes very complicated very quickly.

    I do have this cool (I think) new input though…the Navajo Indians did not believe that gender could be determined from physical characteristics, and would not assign a gender until a child reached the age of 5. At that time, if the gender was not already clear (we all know the folks who fall into their gender very neatly and very young), they would place the 5 year old in a tipi with both a sewing needle and thread, and a bow and arrow. Then they would set the tipi on fire. Whatever the child came out of the tipi with determined the gender. It was considered a great honor to marry someone who’s physical attributes were different from their assigned gender as those people were said to be able to relate better to everyone.

  114. makky says:

    Friends, I’m requesting suggestions for my Netflix cue. I’m seeking lesbian/gay themed movies. I got “Tipping the Velvet” from this site and got a huge kick out of it. Another movie from the 90s that I especially liked was an Australian movie staring a younger Russell Crowe–oh, called “The Sum of Us” I believe. I’ve probably seen about all of the movies over 20 years old including Ninotchka but suggest away, if you please. Thanks.

  115. S. Irene says:

    Kate L, This sounds creepy and controlling to me. Can you file for a restraining order? Even if there wasn’t a sufficient record to get it at this time, it might lay some framework. And perhaps warn him to keep his distance. Hope you are doing OK.

  116. Dr. Empirical says:

    Makky, I can recommend Ed Wood, with Johnny Depp as the title character. When I first say the movie Plan 9 From Outer Space, I watched the character played by John “Bunny” Breckenridge and I thought “That’s the gayest man I’ve ever seen!”

    In Ed Wood, he’s played by Bill Murray, who gives him an odd sort of dignity.

    Also, Martin Landau totally earned that best supporting actor Oscar.

    I’ve heard good things about A Single Man, but haven’t seen it yet. It’s due out on DVD in July.

  117. Makky, “Show Me Love” won the Oscar for best foreign film over a decade ago, and it’s an outstanding teenage lesbian love story — in it’s native Swedish it’s “Fucking Amal”, that being the name of the place where they live.

    As someone recently stated, “Antonia’s Line” is fantastic if you haven’t seen it.

    And Kate L, what S. Irene said, #99. Perpetrators keep invading space until someone stops them. If you don’t want to do this work, let’s organize whatever help you want. Right now, candle still burning here.

  118. And ksbel6, I hear you. I really appreciate getting to hear strong, divergent views from those who are working toward the same world I am. Bring your arrows AND your thread when we go marching, marching, okay?

  119. Steinberg says:

    Killin’ it.

  120. ksbel6 says:

    Will do Maggie!! I figure that way, I can shoot them, and then retrieve them with much less effort than if they are not tied in some way to the bow 🙂

    Makky: “Imagine Me and You” is pretty good. So is “Fingersmith” (another Sarah Waters adaptation). My guess is that all of the “Tales of the City” stuff is good (another set based on several novels), but I haven’t seen them yet.

  121. makky says:

    Thanks Dr. Empirical, Maggie, and ksbl6. Didn’t know Ed Wood was gay themed. Have not seen any of those movies as I pretty much skip public outings But Netflix makes it easy. I’m on the 2movies per mo.for 5$ plan so progress will be slow. This past month I watched a couple of Doris Day movies! She caught a lot of flack for her movies by super-liberals but it’s not as if she wrote the scripts or did the directing.

  122. bean says:

    depends what you’re looking for, but here are some of my favs:

    born in flames
    all over me
    hedwig and the angry inch
    torch song trilogy
    parting glances
    the hours

  123. Ian says:

    Torch Song Trilogy is good. I really enjoyed the film version of The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green. Very funny, with a lot of wish-fulfilment.

  124. ksbel6 says:

    Makky: The Hours is excellent…just watched it Friday night. Also, don’t forget you can watch all the “instant streaming” videos you want (they do not count against your number of dvds). Their tv selection for those is much better than their movie selection, but it is pretty cool. Have you seen any of “The L Word”? It’s not great, but it would be worth watching it on instant.

  125. Annie in Norway says:

    Even though it’s already been mentioned, I loved Tipping the Velvet. I am such a big soppy gooey sap for love stories. *snff*

  126. bean says:

    heck, you might as well just read The Hours. the book is awesome. movie is good too. meryl streep on our team.

    oh, and speaking of meryl streep, let’s not forget…

    Angels in America

    a six hour long Absolute MUST SEE

  127. Dr. Empirical says:

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say Ed Wood is gay-themed, although it’s certainly gay-friendly. Wood himself was a heterosexual transvestite. Bunny Breckenridge was, and I’m putting this a politely as I can while still being accurate in my description, a great big flamer, but is a fairly minor character in the film.

    I’ll Third bean and Ian’s reccomendation of Torch Song Trilogy.

  128. After watching The Hours, I sat in my car and wept about how lucky I am. I have been able, since leaving my parents’ home at 18, to make all my life decisions without having to care of the emotional or physical needs of a man, or having to subvert my choices to a man, at least on an individual and personal level. I’m not the first generation with that common opportunity — I think my mother’s generation was — but it’s incredibly new and rare in the history of humanity, and still not universally available. I have lived in poverty and under oppression, yet I’ve had that freedom to follow my own mind and heart, something millenia of women (even royalty, even the rich) were not granted because they were women, which by definition meant the will of men close to them could and did supercede their own will.

    No wonder the religious right is willing to destroy government, economy, and/or the environment to make sure women go back under the rule of men. But nothing can cement over the fissure my generation pickaxed open, standing on the shoulders of “unnumbered women dead”. It’s an exciting thought this Sunday morning.