If you’re a skeptical blogger and want to participate in the Skeptic’s Circle, here’s the guidelines, schedule, and submission info. Happy reading, and happy blogging!
It was in the page on Ted Turner — the part talking about his divorce from Jane Fonda. Apparently, one of the main reasons Fonda and the atheist Turner broke up was that she had become a Christian. I quote:
Fonda’s divorce papers, however, were filed on the same day the New Yorker published an interview with Turner in which the 62-year-old media mogul said he and Fonda split up partly because of her decision to become a Christian.
“She just came home and said ‘I’ve become a Christian,’ ” Turner told the magazine. “Before that, she was not a religious person. That’s a pretty big change for your wife of many years to tell you. That’s a shock.”
But that’s not the disturbing part. Here’s the disturbing part:
Replied Fonda: “My becoming a Christian upset him very much — for good reason. He’s my husband and I chose not to discuss it with him — because he would have talked me out of it. He’s a debating champion.”
I’m going to repeat that:
I chose not to discuss my newfound religious faith with my husband — because he would have talked me out of it.
I would rather get a divorce than allow my faith to be seriously questioned.
Or to put it another way:
I know that my faith probably doesn’t stand up to reason. I know that I could be argued out of it. But I still want to have it — even if it means divorcing my husband of ten years. I’d rather get the divorce than be convinced that my faith is mistaken. I’d rather get the divorce than even take a chance on being convinced that my faith is mistaken.
How fucked-up is that?
Some religious believers welcome questions and robust argument. Fonda is apparently not one of them. Too bad for her. That’s gotta be one weak-ass faith.
Please note: This post, and the post it links to, discusses my personal sex life — or to be more accurate, my tastes in porn — in a certain amount of detail. Family members and others who don’t want to read that, please don’t.
This piece was originally published on the Blowfish Blog.
Has anyone else noticed a drastic shift in kinky porn in the last few years?
I’ll admit that I haven’t studied this trend with any scientific rigor: this observation is very much anecdotal, and I could be talking out of my ass. But I really don’t think so. I was actually so used to the prevalence of dominant women in SM porn that it took me a while to realize that they weren’t nearly as prevalent as they used to be.
And now I’m wondering: What’s that about?
In fact, you could argue that this dynamic is happening because of the opposite of sexism. Women have had submissive and masochistic fantasies for ages, and porn is finally starting to cater to our goddamn fantasies of being the helpless, vulnerable center of attention/ object of desire — not just men’s.
But I think there’s something else going on here, something that’s key. Again, I haven’t studied this with any kind of rigor, so I’m just going to speak for myself, on the assumption that what’s true for me may be true for others as well.
So what does this have to do with male-dom female-sub porn? After all, we still live in a sexist world where women have less power than men. Wouldn’t women and men alike be fantasizing about men in shackles and women with whips?
In the much broader and more obvious sense, of course that’s true. We’ve made a lot of advances, but the world is still very sexist indeed. But — again, speaking only for myself now — in a more immediate day-to-day sense, the reality that I want a fantasy escape from isn’t sexism.
It’s the fight against sexism.
wallow in the familiar roles, in a safe place that’s separate from your everyday life.
This one’s for everybody. But it’s especially for (a) godless parents, and (b) people who were brought up by godless parents.
It has to do with how to teach children about godlessness.
All of which I’m grateful for.
But they also did something that I now think was a mistake. I’m sure it was well-intentioned, I can understand why they probably did it; but I do think it was a mistake.
They never explained to us why they didn’t believe in God.
I’d picked up a natural resistance to conventional religion from my parents. But I didn’t have any natural resistance to Tarot cards, to reincarnation, to synchronicity, to trickster spirits, to the idea that the Universe arranged itself to teach me lessons about life.
Years wasted believing an embarrassing assortment of stupid woo bullshit.
All of which is admirable. All of which I get. I don’t think atheism should be taught to kids as if it were a fact they shouldn’t question, another true thing that your parents know and that you just have to trust. I think my parents were totally right about that.
I think you have to teach them how to do that.
So I’m curious. If you’re a godless parent, how do you handle it? If you were brought up by godless parents, how did they handle it — and how do you feel about it now? This is on my mind; I donât have kids and don’t plan to, but I have kids in my life now, and I’m starting to think about it.
Humanist Symposium #12 is up at Evanescent! This is probably my favorite blog carnival of all, and I always look forward to it eagerly — it’s such a perfect refutation of the idea that atheism is a depressing, negative, self-centered philosophy. My pieces in this Symposium: “A Relationship Between Physical Things”: Yet Another Rant On What Consciousness And Selfhood Might Be, and If You Weren’t An Atheist, What Would You Be? My favorite other piece in this Symposium: On Patriotism at A Load of Bright.
And Carnival of the Liberals #53 is up at Neural Gourmet. This is their “Best of 2007” edition — and so I’m extra-special pleased and proud to be part of it, with my piece Good Cop, Bad Cop: Atheist Activism. My favorite other piece in this “best of the year” carnival: Was Martin Luther King, Jr. a terrorist? by Engage: Conversations in Philosophy.
If you’re a humanist or a liberal blogger and want to get in on the hot blog-carnival action, here are submission forms for Humanist Symposium and Carnival of the Liberals. Happy reading, and happy blogging!
The Archdiocese of New York is handing out coloring and comic books that warn children about sex predators, the first such effort by a U.S. Roman Catholic diocese. In the coloring book, a perky guardian angel tells children not to keep secrets from their parents, not to meet anyone from an Internet chat room and to allow only “certain people” such as a doctor or parent to see “where your bathing suit would be.” In a comic-book version for children over 10, a teenager turns to St. Michael the Archangel for strength to report that two schoolmates are being sexually abused. The books have been distributed to about 300 schools and 400 religious education programs to use as a resource. They also can be viewed online. Some critics, while applauding the intent, say the books should say explicitly that trusted adults, including priests, may be the abusers. (Emphasis added.)
My first reaction to the “some critics say the books should say explicitly that trusted adults, including priests, may be the abusers” part was this:
Gee, ya think?
Gosh, what on Earth might have made you think that?
(We need a sarcasm font. Imagine the above three paragraphs in a sarcasm font.)
But then, it occurred to me.
Once you start telling children that priests are fallible human beings and that you can’t necessarily trust everything they tell you…
…well, you see where I’m going with this, don’t you?
The perpetuation of religion depends, not only on teaching children your religion, but on teaching them that religious leaders and teachers are special and trustworthy, that they know more about God than the rest of us, and that they deserve a special level of respect and trust. If you tell children not to automatically trust priests, the whole house of cards falls down.
This doesn’t read to me like taking responsibility for the sexual abuse scandal in the priesthood. It reads to me like PR. It reads to me like yet another case of the Catholic Church covering their own ass — at the expense of children’s actual safety.
Life handed us lemons this week.
In a very literal way. We get a weekly delivery of organic groceries and produce from Planet Organics (a service that we love, btw), and normally we custom order to get the particular produce we want. But this week I forgot to custom order, so instead we got the produce that they picked for us.
Which included four lemons.
Lemons that we didn’t really want or have any use for. Also, we have a lemon tree in our backyard, so they were superfluous as well as being unwanted.
So there was really only one thing I could do:
I made lemonade.
Hot honey lemonade, to be precise. What with the weather being so cold and all.
I mean, what the hell else was I supposed to do? Life had handed me lemons. I don’t really see that I had a choice here. The opportunity was just too perfect.
When life hands you lemons, you damn well make lemonade.
And when life hands you cliches, you gas on about it in your blog.
Please note: This post, and the post it links to, discusses many different aspects of my personal sex life, in a certain amount of detail. Family members and others who don’t want to read that, please don’t.
Are you a sex addict?
I seem to be.
Via Dr. Marty Kleinâs excellent Sexual Intelligence blog comes news of this Sexual Addiction Screening Test from SexHelp.com, a site designed “to help those affected by sexual addiction and compulsivity.” The site was created by Dr. Patrick Carnes: inventor of the term “sex addiction,” founder and designer of multiple treatment programs for sex addiction, and author of several books on sex addiction.
According to Dr. Klein, Dr. Carnes admits he has no training in human sexuality. But let’s not focus on that just now.
Because according to this test, I have a problem.
Which is a bit odd. My life is good; my sex life is great. Things in my life are stable and flourishing, and sex is a happy part of that.
So I don’t actually think I have a problem.
I think this test has a problem.
To find out more about which questions I answered “yes” to on this test — and why I think the questions are the problem, not my answers — read the rest of the piece. Enjoy! (And if you take the test yourself, please let me know how you scored!)
And now, a cute picture of our cat.
This one requires a little explanation.
Catfish’s favorite thing in the world is to sit on our heater. When it’s off, the pilot light is still on, so the top of it is a little bit warm all the time. We put a placemat on it so she can sleep on it, and she pretty much never wants to do anything else. She treats the heater like it’s Shangri-La.
But when the heater’s on, of course, it’s much too hot for her to sit on. And when it’s been turned off, it still retains a fair amount of heat, and it’d be dangerous to put the mat on it right away. So when we turn the heater off, we have to wait for several minutes for it to cool down before we can put the mat back on.
This is Catfish sitting next to the heater, impatiently waiting for us to put her mat on it.
Really. When the heater’s been turned off, she sits on that little bookshelf next to it, and glares at us until we put the mat on. The moment we do, she’s on it like a shot.
Note to family members and others who don’t want to read about my personal sex life: You really, really do not want to read this post. At all. This post goes into quite a bit of detail about aspects of my personal sex life that you almost certainly don’t want to know about. If you don’t want to read about that stuff, please don’t read this post. Thanks.
Originally published in Other Magazine, the essay, “Buying Obedience: My Visit to a Pro Submissive,” discusses in detail what becoming a sex work customer was like — before, during, and after. The editor’s interview with me goes into these ideas in a little more depth, and I thought y’all might be interested in seeing it.