Jennifer Aniston. . .

. . . being named as the sexiest woman alive speaks to nothing but a hugely problematic and repressed nature of sexuality in the US. People are intimidated by aggressive, adult female sexuality and choose perennially childish, slightly gauche, boy-like kind of femininity as sexy. The popularity of egregiously talentless Natalie Porter is evidence of the same phenomenon.

This phenomenon is mirrored by the popularity of Ashton Kuchner whose trademark goofiness is perceived as sexy by equally sexually stunted individuals.

What do you expect, though, if in a much more sexually liberated UK a huge hullabaloo is raised over sexual acts by undercover officers?

Undercover Officers Have Sex With Activists They Spy On

My “State Universities” thread has been overrun by the discussion of British undercover officers who had sex with activists whose groups they infiltrated. I think we should move this discussion to a separate thread because I want the important conversation about state universities to continue.

Honestly, I have no idea why people are reacting so passionately to the article about the sex lives of undercover police officers and activists. Yes, it’s annoying to find out that your sex partner wasn’t entirely honest. It happens all the time, though. What’s the big deal? Is the entire hullabaloo being caused by the officers’ profession and the fact that many people disapprove of it? Well, I have to remind everybody that having sex with people’s professions is very unhealthy. Sexual desire and sexual enjoyment are a value in themselves.

Say, you’ve had sex with somebody, enjoyed it, had an orgasm, and then discovered that your partner is or does something you personally happen to find unacceptable. Say, they are a Putin supporter. (I hate Putin, in case people don’t know.) How is that going to diminish the value of the orgasm you experienced with them?

Or is it all about the lies those undercover officers told? Well, again this happens all the time. But we don’t bed the texts people utter (if we are sexually healthy, that is.) We bed their bodies and are attracted by their sex appeal. If the sexual attraction was genuine on both sides and if pleasure was experienced by both partners, then who cares what things they concealed from each other? (Of course, I refer to the concealment of things that are not life-threatening.)

I tried imagining what I would have felt if when I was a union organizer, I had discovered that an undercover policeman slept with me to get some information or whatever. If the sex had been good, I’d laughed and thought to myself, “This union organizing thing totally rocks. Now it’s giving me satisfying sex partners. Yippeee!” And if the sex had been bad, it would be an annoying waste of time, irrespective of the partner’s profession.

I don’t even know what tags to add to this post because the entire topic is so contrived. What’s the big deal, folks?

Thomas Frank’s Pity the Billionaire: A Review, Part I

I’m a huge fan of Thomas Frank. His What’s the Matter With Kansas was absolutely brilliant. Since I discovered that great book, I’ve been following his articles and interviews and eagerly awaiting his new book.  You can just imagine how happy I was when I got the chance to read the proofs of his Pity the Billionaire, a book that analyzes the reasons behind the rise of the Tea Party movement. The book strives to answer the crucial question: how is it possible that the Americans’ response to the global economic crisis that happened as a result of unbridled free market practices led them to form a movement that would defend the free market rather than to a movement that would ask for regulations?

The book, however, turned out to be a massive disappointment. Frank’s trademark wit is gone. Aside from a few forced jokes, the book is written in a plodding, unimaginative style that I had no idea this author was even capable of.

His analysis of the “right renaissance” is also unimpressive. People who have been reading my blog for a while know that I’m no fan of the Tea Party. Still, I have to recognize that Frank is being intellectually dishonest in his characterization of the Tea Partiers. For instance, he blames them for the apocalyptic tone they often adopt and the doomsday scenarios they enjoy generating. This, however, is not a distinctive trait of just the Tea Partiers. It is just as present among the Progressives. The Liberal blogs I read are filled to the brim with endless apocalyptic scenarios. By the way, Slavoj Zizek’s 2009 book is titled Living in the End Times. You don’t get either more apocalyptic or more progressive than that.

Another fault that Frank ascribes to the Tea Partiers is that they erase the class distinctions and see no difference between a share-cropper and a small-business owner. Does this remind you of anything, by any chance? Yes, right you are, the #Occupy movement that lumps everybody who is not a billionaire into the imaginary downtrodden 99%.

Frank then proceeds to blame the Tea Party for its rhetoric of self-pity:

[They] advance their war on the world by means of a tearful weepy-woo. Self-pity has become central in the consciousness of the resurgent Right. Depicting themselves as victimized in any and every sitiation . . . is essential to their self-understanding.

Again, #OWS, anyone? Remember this statement from a prof with no debt, a house of his own and a wonderful life, who wallows in self-pity because his life is so complicated and anxiety devours him? So why do the Tea Partiers get blamed for their weepy-woo while Liberals don’t?

[To be continued. . .]