Xark began as a group blog in June 2005 but continues today as founder Dan Conover's primary blog-home. Posts by longtime Xark authors Janet Edens and John Sloop may also appear alongside Dan's here from time to time, depending on whatever.
No. 1 way I can tell that the holiday season has arrived? The No. 1 search term for visitors to Xark is "SANTA SEX," and yes, there should be a 2008 "Santa Sex & Elf Panties" graphic in your online stockings very soon, boys and girls.
But the "SS&EP" series is really just a running joke here -- it's only about sex in the way that Snakes on a Plane was about herpetology and transportation safety. Today's topic is actually about sex -- sex in the "turn-you-on-omigawd" sense -- and it begins with the banner at the top of this page. As a "thank-you" (and a smart piece of marketing) for including her in the collage, sex essayist Susie Brightsent me a copy of her latest publishing endeavor: X: The Erotic Treasury. She's the editor (and the author of one of the pieces).
Schwag like that (it's a beautifully made $35 collector's book) deserves a review. But herein lies the rub: What kind of qualifications do I have for reviewing a collection of erotic short stories? And more importantly: How do I manage the line between the socially acceptable sex-in-the-abstract tone of Xark (I mean, my MOTHER reads this blog) and cover the sex-is-sexy reality of a book that's intended to turn people on?
And it occurred to me: My dilemma illustrates both the appeal and paradox of modern erotica: It's simultaneously taboo and mainstream, meaning we're both titilated and bored by it at the same time.
So anyway, I'm gonna talk about sex after the jump. If you don't want to read about sex -- or, more likely, you REALLY don't want to read ME talking about sex, just don't click the link (of course, if you're one of our RSS subscribers, you're just on your own).
I'm not a Hillary Clinton fan, and my estimation of her has diminished geometrically since April. But when Clinton supporters say that they're mad about sexism in the news media, don't dismiss it as sour grapes. They've got a legit beef.
By Courtney E. Martin, AlterNet Posted on November 28, 2007
In Esther Perel's insightful, beautifully written book Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic,
out in paperback this month, she argues that we have lost sight of the
critical balance that makes a relationship great -- intimacy and
distance. In her private psychotherapy practice in New York, she's seen
too many couples wrapped up in our workaholic, kid-focused culture; the
true loss, she argues, is sensuality and pleasure -- vital ingredients
to a life well-lived.
Her seemingly paradoxical argument -- that less togetherness can lead to more intimacy -- has been a global hit. Mating in Captivity
has been published in the United States, Spain, Italy, Germany, Canada,
France, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, Brazil, Israel, Australia, the United
Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands, and it will soon be available in
Greece, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Turkey. AlterNet caught up
with this global traveler long enough to ask a few questions about her
vision for more satisfying partnerships. Her answers are telling, but
perhaps even more refreshing is that she embodies her message. Esther
is playful, thoughtful, sexy and thoroughly independent. See for
Nothing really all that surprising about the Wikipedia entries. But the Conservapedia traffic says something that's really nothing short of amazing -- if it's true. Nine of the conservative encyclopedia's top 10 pages are basically variations on the same subject, which I suppose makes my bullshit meter pulse just a bit. Could it be part of a clever hack by somebody trying to make a point?
You'd think that fundamentalist homeschool parents looking for lesson plans on Intelligent Design would at least show up somewhere in the rankings.
Speaking of which, here's what the site lists as its popular articles. You don't need suggestions of gay obsession to make this bunch look disconnected from reality (And for the record: I know plenty of conservatives, but I don't know ANYBODY who reads this site).
The long-anticipated unveiling of Charleston's new statue of Gen. William Moultrie, the Revolutionary War hero of the Battle of Sullivan's Island, finally took place in June, and by all accounts the city's seer-suckered elites were suitably thrilled.
The eight-foot bronze atop a marble pedestal looks as if it could have been proudly cast and displayed in the 19th century -- or earlier -- making this one modern monument that got made without any any annoying input from those modern art smartasses, Bauhaus Marxists all...
Not that there was zero oversight. Back in 2000 Moultrie backers had to win approval for their concept from the city's Commission on Art and History, which wanted to see how the thing would fit in at White Point Gardens, better known as The Battery. Proponents propped nine feet of painted cardboard atop an existing (and since removed) monument to give the boardmembers some sense of its scale, then stood in serious contemplation while confused tourists tried to figure out why these locals were so interested in cardboard.
I had assigned a reporter to cover this event. At one point, a 6-year-old tourist boy standing beside the reporter turned to his parents and said, "That looks like a giant green penis."
Which, by the way, happens to be the smart-ass modern art/architecture critique of most heroic sculpture: It's phallic, intentionally projecting power and authority and control. Hence, smart-ass intellectuals and children see penises everywhere, while people who like such sculpture tend to be offended by the mere use of the word "penis" in public.
But I digress.
I finally stopped by to take a good look at Moultrie on Thursday while shooting a nearby artifact, and something struck me: It seems the artist has endowed Charleston's defender with a bulging manhood that would make the members of Spinal Tap weep with envy.
Has it always been thus? Perhaps. But what I see in this statue is a 21st century imagination of a 19th century work of kitsch -- blissfully inhabiting an irony-free world that refuses to acknowledge the miseries and awakenings of the 20th century.
Hence, in this one bronze we see the martial romance of the 19 century, plus the penis-size obsession of the 21st century.
Can a heroic figure today be truly heroic without the full package? One suspects Michaelangelo's David would bear a distinct resemblance to Johnny Wad were he to be carved in this horribly conflicted decade...