Notes from the culture wars

John Hagee’s Creepy Christian Teddy Bear …”

“I guarantee you, if you see your table praying before the meal, you can mentally subtract a third from your tip.”

The Catholic Church had slaves as late as 1996.”

“Non-sexual self-bondage is not a recognized mental health diagnosis at this time.”

“When war, global devastation, and environmental ruin become things to celebrate as the ‘fulfillment of prophecy,’ then not only do we ignore clear Biblical mandates to be peace makers and stewards of the earth, we who should be working to bring the kingdom of God to earth, instead, become villainous co-conspirators in the reign of evil and death.”

“While he was alive, the right wing savaged King as a communist who hated America and a dangerous subversive. Now they’re claiming he was just like them. Not coincidentally, they’ve done the same thing with the Bible.”

“When the attorney general of the state of NJ decided that we had to put up a same-sex site, and we did it, we literally had to hire guards to protect our lives because the people who were so hurt and angry with us were Christian people who feel that it’s a violation to Scripture.”

Alfie’s Home, cited in PFOX’s Supreme Court brief, is the most horrifically disturbing children’s book we have ever seen.”

“We searched the Internet for any examples in which a religious group had been forced to host a same-sex ceremony against its beliefs. We couldn’t find any.”

“The story serves as an illustrative example of the way the conservative echo chamber can twist facts and turn baseless speculation into their controversy du jour.”

“While the ‘liberal media’ is often framed by conservatives as activist and acting on an agenda, it seems that the deeper criticism contained within that charge is the simple fact that, after hearing The Word of their side of the story, the media refuses to become an activist force for their cause.”

“When he lists all these denominations and atheists and Buddhists and Muslims it’s like we’re all equal, of equal proportion, and we are not.”

They never think about what the Jewish kid feels like, or the atheist, or, Powers forfend, the Wiccan.”

“Best wishes for your good health, and the speedy demise of the sham institution that employs you.”

“I still think that Ken Ham is genuinely out to make Christians look as foolish and dishonest as possible because he hates Christianity.”

“Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the bishops are still complaining about contraception — but the administration should stop listening. Catholics already have.”

“Frankly, the culture wars are kind of over and Republicans largely lost.”

“That’s why, from the outset, many of us have resisted the rhetoric of embattled religious freedom. — If you want to take the Queen’s shilling, you must play by the Queen’s rules.”

“What has always been the worst about Douthat is that his conclusions, supported by whatever he can scrape together, have rarely been true.”

No evidence exists that those quotations are authentic. Yet they are presented to students in Texas public schools as real and historical proof supporting an ideological point of view.”


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  • Baby_Raptor

    I gotta disagree with the culture wars comment…The culture wars are FAR from over. Women are still being stripped of their bodily autonomy. Non-heterosexuals still can’t marry in most states. Christianity still enjoys massive privilege and bullying power. 

    And 1+3 keep growing. So how are the culture wars over again?

  • Riastlin Lovecraft

    I think his point is that most of the opposition are clearly old men. Powerful old men, sure, but old nonetheless  In 50 years, they’ll be dead, and most of their children will know better. And the ones who don’t won’t have as much power-

  • Baby_Raptor

    I can see that reading, but it’s the wording he chose that’s wrong and potentially damaging. If enough people were to take his attitude, we’d be seriously boned. 

  • Darkrose

    Not necessarily. His audience is other Republicans, and he’s trying to convince them that they’ve already lost, so they need to stop screaming into the wind of progress. I would love for the Republican party to get that message. 

  • Foelhe

    Keep in mind this guy’s a Romney adviser. There’s a good chance he’s sad that Republicans are fighting a losing battle.

    If you’re on the side of the culture war fighting for more rights, more freedom, more dignity, then don’t put your weapons away just yet because we’ve still got battles to win. If you’re on the other side, well, misery and disillusionment might just be your style.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     I know, but by then there will be a new (hopefully smaller) crop of angry old rich white guys, and sometimes people get tired of waiting. 

    Sigh.  It’s a good thing for a whole lot of people (including me) that I don’t own a Death Note.

  • Wednesday

    I don’t think I’d be particularly tempted by a Death Note, but if anyone ever gives me an “Nonviable pregnancy that gets discovered in time to not be fatal but still requires an abortion” Note, well, expect a lot of male Republicans to suddenly be hospitalized.

  • AnonymousSam

    Pretty sure any pregnancy that happens to a male Republican is going to be nonviable and would require an abortion. :p

    All the same, it would make for some schadenfreude value.

    “Get this thing out of me!”
    “Ah… sir? You made that procedure illegal last year.”
    “There’s literally no way I can give birth to it!”
    “Well, I guess you should’ve thought of that sooner.”

  • Makabit

    Hey, I delivered mine surgically. Any congressman who needs to can do likewise.

  • Wednesday

    Yeah, yeah, I know. But I’ve spent enough time in fandom circles that I felt it necessary to specify nonviable pregnancy even when the gestater would be a cis man.  =P

    And there are women who will gleefully throw other women under the bus — Jane Roe is one of them, ironically.

  • stardreamer42


  • PatBannon

    Sigh. It’s a good thing for a whole lot of people (including me) that I don’t own a Death Note.

    Man, if I had a Death Note…I would probably be identified and captured immediately, because I am no Light Yagami. Might be cool for a little while, though, especially with the ability to set the method of death. See some virulently anti-gay preacher found dead from auto-erotic asphyxiation while watching hardcore gay pornography, now that would be something.

  • MikeJ

    So how are the culture wars over again?

    The US civil war was effectively over after Gettysburg.  There were many other battles, and many people died after that, but from that moment on, the outcome was never in doubt.

    That’s how the culture wars are over.  Yes, shitty stuff is happening, and shitty stuff will continue to happen.  But the outcome is not in doubt.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     The US civil war was effectively over after Gettysburg.  There were many
    other battles, and many people died after that, but from that moment
    on, the outcome was never in doubt.

    Are you kidding?  Sure, the open-field battles may have ended, but the Klan and Southern Congressmen have been waging asymmetric warfare on the rest of America ever since.

  • FearlessSon

    So how are the culture wars over again?

    The US civil war was effectively over after Gettysburg.  There were many other battles, and many people died after that, but from that moment on, the outcome was never in doubt.

    The Pacific theater of World War II was pretty much decided after the Battle of Midway.  

    Here is hoping it does not take a nuclear detonation to get the other side of the culture wars to stand down, but with how determined they seem to be I sometimes wonder… 

  • EllieMurasaki

    I drove past the local Planned Parenthood today. Protesters with ‘I want to be born’ and ‘HONK for LIFE’ signs.

    Um, lady with the ‘I want to be born’ sign, you’re already born. How about a little care for other people who are already born?

  • Baby_Raptor

    That says everything you need to know about these people. A pile of tissue that maybe doesn’t even have a brain, isn’t even fully formed, is the size of your average beta fish and is completely dependent on an incubator…But it “wants” stuff. 

    It “wants” to force it’s mother to submit to ~10 months of slavery so it can be…I’m probably thinking too much into this, but…Would we encourage that attitude in anyone else? So why is it supposedly a plus to a fetus fetishist? These are the same people who get outraged when someone has the balls to feel entitled to food and a roof over their heads!

  • Ann Unemori

    Well, am I wrong in saying that the fetus “wants” to be allowed to grow and live? The survival instinct is not so simple to shrug off.

  • Beroli

    Well, am I wrong in saying that the fetus “wants” to be allowed to grow
    and live? The survival instinct is not so simple to shrug off.

    Yes, you are wrong in saying anything that doesn’t yet have a brain wants anything or has any instincts.

  • Chris Doggett

    Well, am I wrong in saying that the fetus “wants” to be allowed to grow and live? 


    The word “want” incorrectly implies consciousness. My tree does not “want” to shed leaves, and my fingernails do not “want” to grow. These are simply process that happen as a result of biology, not choice or deliberation. 

  • Foelhe

    I don’t think want really makes sense in that context, to be frank. A fetus without a developed brain doesn’t have the ability to form preferences. Even if it’s biologically disposed to do something, that’s not the same as wanting it.

    In a slightly less ridiculous society, I’d just consider it somewhat poetic. You could say the same thing about a flower wanting to grow – even if it’s not strictly true it gets a point across. But a lot of people don’t seem to understand fetal development, so the metaphor gets lost.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yes, you are. Unless you can explain to me how a barely developed clump of cells can have survival instincts? Pretty sure you at least need sentience for that. 

  • Ross

     What does it mean for something without a human-like consciousness to “want” something? What does it mean to “want” to “be allowed” to “grow and live” when you have no conception of what it means to grow, what it means to live, or, for that matter, what it means to “be allowed”?

    You know that thing we were talking about with God making a rock so heavy He can’t lift it?  I’ll tell you if God can make a rock so heavy He can’t lift it when you can tell me in nice sensible, rational terms, what that would mean. And I’ll tell you if a fetus “wants to be allowed to grow and live” when you tell me what it means for a fetus to “want to be allowed to grow and live”

  • AnonymousSam

    … Now I’m seeing the following on a meme picture:

    “Fetuses want to make a rock so big they can’t lift it.”

    This is the closest I can get to that, though. :p

  • Wednesday

    So, if she just wants fetuses/embryos to be born, she’d be okay with inducing labor before viability, then, right? So long as it’s alive when it exits the gestating parent’s body? =P

  • Rae

    I’ve actually had a similar conversation with some very hard-line (no abortion at all ever) pro-lifers before. I asked if in cases of rape, considering that the mother did not consent to sex in the first place, inducing premature delivery after the point of viability would be an acceptable solution in order to both preserve the fetus’ life and to reduce the amount of pain and suffering the mother would go through. 

    It was very telling that all the women whom I posed the question to reacted along the lines of “Huh, that actually might not be objectionable…” whereas everyone who said “No, it’s too risky to the health of the fetus” was a man.

    Like, really. Even if the life of the fetus was preserved no matter what, they still put keeping it from potential physical harm above reducing the pain and suffering and the risk of physical harm of an actual rape victim.

  • Edo

    The culture wars are already over! Why can’t you just get over it already?!

  • FearlessSon

    From the Crumbs from the Communion Table link:


    No. No. No.

    Bad Christian. Bad! No!

    I really wish I could chastise that way, and that it actually worked.  Sadly, it only works on creatures that actually want your approval.

  • Tricksterson

    Bad Christian!  No Death Cookie!

  • AnonaMiss

    I’ve been to Ronald Reagan’s Boyhood Home, and you, sir, are no Ronald Reagan’s Boyhood Home.

    (It’s in Dixon, IL. I have a friend who grew up there and described her town as having a “cult of Ronald Reagan”, so I had to go see the temple.)

  • aunursa

    If I were a waiter, and every time I waited on a table of Christians, the patrons were friendly and I received a 20% tip — that would be more effective than ten tracts.  Or if every time I received a tract it was accompanied by a 25-30% tip, that would make an impression on me.

  • Naked Bunny with a Whip

    There’s nothing like the stupidity of a religious group arguing that sexual orientation should not be protected from discrimination because it’s not “immutable” and can “shift over time and does so for a significant number of people.”

  • stardreamer42

     Precisely. I am fond of responding to people who say that anti-gay discrimination is okay because “being gay is a choice” by pointing out that by this reasoning anti-Christian discrimination is perfectly okay too, because one’s religion is ALWAYS a choice. The response to that is always, “But-but-but that’s DIFFERENT!” — but they can’t describe how.

  • Ross

    I find that these days comparatively few homophobes are still willing to outright say that “being gay is a choice.” Though they certainly still act as if they believe it.

  • fraser

     If they thought it was a choice, gays in the military wouldn’t be an issue–just say “you can’t have gay sex and serve.” Instead it’s “you can’t be gay and serve.”

  • Tricksterson

    I like to point out that if people’s sexuality is a choice then that must mean that humans are naturally bisexual.  I like to wear something easliy washable when I do so however because it makes their heads asplode.

  • vsm

    Am I a terrible person if the children’s book made me laugh?

  • Tricksterson

    So according to Alfie’s Home homosexuality is caused by “bad touching” and the cure is…more bad touching?

  • AnonymousSam

    Ah, yes, I saw the first articles about the priest who called 911 because he was stuck in a pair of handcuffs. I’m almost willing to give the man the benefit of the doubt because I kind of sort of created the diagnosis of “non-sexual bondage and locking compulsive disorder.”

    It was for a character in a story I never got around to finishing, sadly. A young girl is babysitting her sister for a few hours while her mother runs out for a quick errand. The two girls take advantage of their mother’s absence to steal a couple of chocolate truffles from on top of the counter. Unbeknownst to them, one of the girls has a deadly vulnerability to rich chocolate and begins choking, asphyxiates and dies in her sister’s arms. The trauma from this incident is compounded by the surviving girl’s mother having a mental breakdown, blaming her, lashing out in a fit of psychosis and having to be rescued by CPS, who place her with extremely strict, religious grandparents, who make it no secret that they want nothing to do with her and one day let slip that her mother committed suicide soon after the incident.

    The girl grows up with a twisted interpretation of herself, believing that she is detestable and dangerous. She absorbs her grandparents’ religious mania, never quite believing in the harsh and judgmental God who faults her for everything she’s done and could ever possibly do. She hears about being “in bondage to Christ” and similar bizarre metaphors, which she eventually Googles at a library computer and… uh-oh. Something clicks. If I’m such a terrible person and this is what I need, then I should do this to keep everyone safe from me.

    Fast forward about twelve years and she’s a young adult with a severe disorder. She can’t stand to touch people without a plethora of locked chains, handcuffs or similar bondage paraphernalia, under penalty of panic attacks. She locks every door she sees in a compulsive effort to keep anyone from unknowingly approaching her, afraid that she might somehow lash out and hurt someone before she can get safely bound again.

    I’m 90% sure that’s nothing like what this priest supposedly suffers from, but the concept seems feasible to me. There’s no reason it couldn’t be a form of stress relief without being sexual per se. I’m just skeptical that such is actually the case, because… yeah. The 10% of us who know that our culture obsesses about sexuality to an unhealthy degree and try to do otherwise also know that the remaining 90% of the population is busy thinking “sex sex sex!”, so the odds are not in Mr. Donovan’s favor.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     I want to know how he managed to cuff his hands _behind_ him.  I try to visualize it, and it’s like that Calvin and Hobbes strip where Hobbes (somehow) actually tied Calvin to a chair in a way that Calvin couldn’t get himself loose.

  • Ann Unemori

    If your fingers are nimble enough I could see someone slipping the cuffs on and closing them, even behind your back; technically it’d be easier than tying a knot in a rope. But it’s still odd behavior. 
    Anyone got a link to the Calvin cartoon mentioned?

  • Consumer Unit 5012
  • AnonymousSam

    With handcuffs? I’ve, um, managed pretty easily it with far less user-friendly cuffs…

  • Foelhe

    Depends on the handcuffs. Police style cuffs with short/no chains would be tricky, but your typical sex-play cuffs tend to have a few inches of slack. Might be a bit awkward, but definitely doable.

  • Lliira

    Our culture does not obsess about sex to an unhealthy degree. The way our culture regards sex is unhealthy, but it’s the way, not the amount. In fact, at the root of the problem is the idea that thinking about and doing sexual things is ipso facto unhealthy, and you should only partake in it occasionally, if it all. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with thinking about, and having, sex a whole awful lot. 

  • AnonymousSam

    Misphrasing. I’m referring to how people seem incapable of private sexuality. Too many people are obsessed with who’s having sex with whom — and what kind of sex, and how liable they are to have sex with others, and whether they’ve ever had sex with someone they’re not supposed to, and if they look sexual or dress sexual or do sexual things or have sexual items and… so on and so forth.

    I know I’m guilty of having the same thoughts (and that I’m probably hypocritical of it in spades in this discussion). While I’m admitting that, I should also remind myself that there are asexual people who might not be like this at all, but their perspective is so alien to me that I honestly can do nothing but give them a nod of bemused respect. I can’t (and I’m not sure I’d want to) do that, but I aim for being aware that people’s sexuality is none of my business and trying not to think beyond that.

    (Aside: Recipe for potential argument demonstrating my point- children’s fashion. So many flame wars
    over whether or not certain children’s clothing styles are
    inappropriately sexualizing children, when perhaps a better question is
    why clothing should automatically be a message about sexuality in the
    first place.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    I would call what you describe an inability to keep their noses out of other people’s business, particularly when pertaining to sex. ‘Private sexuality’ it seems to me would describe the sexuality of somebody who doesn’t discuss their own sexuality in any context other than with the [potential] sex partner(s), which is an entirely different thing.

  • AnonymousSam

    Objects get imbued with the same conviction that they absolutely must tie in with sexuality somehow and there must be deepseated sexual meanings behind any individual object’s preference, etc. I can see playing around with something like a rope or even a gag the same way one might comb their hair or file their nails. Sometimes it’s just relaxing, and I have no idea how to describe why, but it’s not always [consciously?] sexual, so his story actually seems plausible to me.

    The problem is, I don’t think this kind of automatic behavior comes easily to most people. They see a ball gag and it only has one purpose to them and the idea that sometimes it could just be a thing to wear to keep one’s mouth occupied would sound like a flimsy excuse to them. They’d be thinking about it the entire time it was anywhere near them, and for a long time afterward.

    It’s my hypocrisy that I kind of want to hear more from this guy to know if he’s really one of the few people who could be that casual with something, even something usually associated with sexuality, or if he’s just embarrassed about it and is trying to deny it had any sexual meaning since he can’t claim it never happened in the first place. In the absence of any other persons surfacing with a connection to this (as you hypothesized is actually the case), there’s no way to really tell, just probability.

  • Deird


    I have a pair of handcuffs. I have quite often cuffed my hands in front of me, or behind my back, and then tried getting out of them – sometimes with a key, and sometimes with a hairpin. It’s fun!

    I have never used my handcuffs in a sexual context. And yet, the phrase “I own handcuffs” makes so many people instantly assume kinky sex that I mostly don’t let people know that I own handcuffs, because having people sniggering about my sex life is even more uncomfortable when they’re sniggering about a totally imaginary sex life that they just made up based on something I happen to have in my possession.

  • AnonymousSam

    You’re awesome, Deird.

    I’m just all around a naughty person. I’ve never grown up out of my teenage years. I have a kinky sex life, but not everything I do revolves around it, including my sex or my kink. If you see me strutting around town in a bondage collar, it’s not because I’m an exhibitionist who’s intent on thrusting sexuality into the faces of others, it’s more likely because (A) it’s comfortable and I like how it both looks and feels or (B) I’m purposefully watching how wearing it makes me invisible and causes people to either look anywhere but at me or talk to thin air somewhere to my side.

  • Lliira

    I just plain don’t care if people know I have kinky sex. I’m not going to burst into random places and start describing stuff in detail, but if they find out somehow, whatever. It’s not like it’s shameful.

  • Deird

    Agreed, but while I could happily reply with “So, you know about my sex life. And?”, what I usually end up having to say is “Okay guys, that’s the twentieth joke in the last five minutes. Can we PLEASE stop making insinuations about my sex life? Please?”

    People “knowing” is very different from people “sniggering”. And I’ve mostly encountered people who do the latter.

  • Lliira

     I’ve actually never encountered people sniggering over my sex life. Not to my face, anyway. Not online that I’ve seen, either. Hm. I think it is possible I intimidate people. :D

  • Lliira

    Imo, a lot of reason for that obsession is that we’re not allowed to be open. 

    For instance, it used to be sort of scandalous if a woman admitted to having and using sex toys. Now, even in mainstream gossip blogs, some of the most prudish, misogynistic, and generally backward places on the internet that are still considered mainstream, the response when someone talks about having one as if it’s rebellious or something is: um, so what. There’s an assumption that women are entitled to sexual pleasure. People talk about sex toys more now, but it’s more in the context of “which one should I buy” — normalized except in certain fundie corners. (Like the state of Alabama, in which sex toys are still outlawed, horribly.)

  • AnonymousSam

    Quite possibly. I keep wishing there was a way to gather data on how what kind of effects, if any, Trojan and other companies have had by advertising vibrators on television.

    Oh, they call them “personal massagers,” but yeah. Duh.

  • stardreamer42

    There’s even a website which specializes in marketing sex toys to Christians! (I don’t remember where I saw the link — it might very well have been here.) Both the website itself and the items featured on it are, shall we say, rather less garish than most other such sources. 

  • Lliira

     rather less garish than most other such sources.

    No, they aren’t. I don’t know what they are, but they aren’t, because most other sources are not “garish”. You seem to think online sex toy stores have porn plastered all over the place or something. Nope. Not Babeland, not Good Vibrations, not any of them.

  • AnonymousSam

    Heck, I don’t even see much difference between the three sites I looked up and the ones I’ve occasionally browsed. A little more scarcity of variety, at worst, but there are things on them that I’m honestly very surprised they’d carry– male masturbation toys, anal toys for both sexes, even strap-ons.

    That last kind of makes me want to throw things. “What, a gay man could marry a woman and have her go at him with this and that’d be just peachy, but the moment you introduce an actual male in the picture, then it’s a horrible sin?!” … *Checks* Actually, that’s exactly what they say. AAAAAARRRGH.

    I did find one that was explicit in its condemnation of certain things, though. Apparently it used to be even more so, as an outdated page referred to “sin free toys only” and “We pray to Jesus for guidance before adding any new toys, and He always responds.” (Um. I feel bad for Jesus.) Said site still includes a “Biblical Q&A” page which includes material that makes me want to throw bigger things at them, though, claiming that physical or sexual abuse in one’s youth is what leads to fetishes and BDSM leanings. They also claim God wrote the Bible and never uses euphemisms, which AAAARRRGH AGAIN.

  • WalterC

     Jesus Christ – Brand Marketing Agent for Sex Toy Website was probably one of the more unusual musical theater pieces.

  • The_L1985

     Technically, sex toys are still sold in Alabama “love shops.”  I know; I’ve seen them on the shelf.  They get around the law by putting big stickers on the boxes that say “For Novelty Use Only.”  Nope, they’re totally not buying dildos, handcuffs, buttplugs, or oddly-shaped vibrators for sexual purposes, so it’s totally ok!  They’re not buying them as sex toys or anything…

  • stardreamer42

    It’s not clothing styles per se that set me off about “inappropriately sexualizing children” — it’s kiddie T-shirts with slogans like “Too Sexy” or “I’m Hot”. Honestly, what kind of parent buys crap like that for their kid?

  • AnonymousSam

    I had no opinion on it for awhile, when the complaints were about short skirts and belly tops, but lately, I’ve been seeing ads for a t-shirt company, and one of them has a slogan reading “Admit it, you’d go to jail for this.”

    It comes in children’s sizes.

    That is the definition of fucked up.

  • Mrs Grimble

     Or the T-shirt I saw once that had “Porn Star in Training” emblazoned across it. In child sizes in a display of kid’s clothing….

  • stardreamer42

    ” There’s no reason [self-bondage] couldn’t be a form of stress relief without being sexual per se.”

    I agree. It certainly wouldn’t be any stranger than cutting, and we know that happens and isn’t a sexual thing.

  • AnonymousSam

    One could argue that it kind of is, in a way, since pain and pleasure share some neurological links, but yeah… kind of don’t want to talk about that. Self-consciousness acting up.

  • Anonymouse

    I can back this up without being particularly self-conscious… My current working theory is that I started cutting when I was a teenager out of very poorly managed masochistic urges. I knew the idea of pain fascinated me, but I couldn’t possibly be one of THOSE perverted people, so I concluded that I must have been depressed and wanted to cut myself for that reason! Which led to me actually developing self-punishing thought patterns tied to self-injury that have persisted nine years to this day and still provoke the occasional relapse. :|

    I also used to think that everyone must find bondage etc. sexy but there was a tacit agreement to condemn it and by golly, I wanted to be on the “right” condemning side. So yeah. Reading that article made me very sad for the bishop.

  • Carstonio


    I also used to think that everyone must find bondage etc. sexy but there
    was a tacit agreement to condemn it and by golly, I wanted to be on the
    “right” condemning side.

    I had understood that some variants of Christian sexual ethics insist that sex for any purpose other than procreation amounts to enslavement to desires. That might explain why some Christians lump homosexuality, masturbation and bondage into the same category. The ethic is troublesome because it completely ignores the role of sex in emotional intimacy.

  • AnonymousSam

    I have a limited amount of how much about myself I’m willing to say per day and apparently I hit it last night. Quick, while I’m still too tired to care!

    I had a cutting period myself, to the point where suddenly reading it out of the blue kind of triggered me (no apologies needed stardreamer; I honestly had no idea that was there until it happened and it wasn’t a bad trigger, just gave me the chills something awful). It was a low point in my life. I recognized that it wasn’t going anywhere good, so I made myself break the habit by– replacing the pain with pleasure.

    The funny thing is, it led somewhere good. The conversion of emotional pain into physical pleasure eventually became emotional pain -> intellectual pleasure, by which I mean that I started writing erotic fiction. To this day, my most prolific writing comes when I’m under stress — and it almost always takes on an erotic slant, to the point where my current writing, in order to satisfy that drive, has to be divided into two versions (“PG-13” and “R”) in the event that I finish this and no publisher wants to touch the erotic content.

  • Carrie Looney

    “My current working theory is that I started cutting when I was a teenager out of very poorly managed masochistic urges.”

    Yes, that’s how it was for me.  Cutting wasn’t about depression, it was just kind of fascinating.

    I’ve found other outlets for my masochistic urges.  And since Babeland has been mentioned – I miss them greatly from when I lived in Seattle. An awesome sex-positive shop.

    And as mentioned, kink doesn’t have to be about sex… but there’s nothing wrong with it when it is. :)

  • Mrs Grimble

     I’m reading Temple Grandin’s Thinking In Pictures  and she describes how, as a child, she discovered that pressure on her body would relieve the stress, panic and fear that resulted from her autism.  Eventually, she built her own ‘pressure box’ that applies controlled, gentle pressure all  over her body (which she still uses). Also, in her work with cattle, she observed that applying similar gentle ‘squeeze’ pressure to their bodies calmed them, and designed chutes for that purpose.
    Having read that, I think it’s perfectly possible  that this priest’s self-applied bondage served much the same purpose and had no sexual angle at all.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    The eHarmony thing.

    What the actual fuck?

    They’re a dating site, for Pete’s sake. They complied with the law after a discrimination lawsuit and that should be that. eHarmony doesn’t even seem to have tried the kind of stalling tactics that would win them points with anti-QUILTBAG Christians (like claiming venture capital was hard to find in the bad economy of 2008/9, etc), they’ve just gone with it and launched the appropriate website that caters to LG(B?) people.

    And some Christians still have to have a huge shitfit over it? Wooooooooow. (O.O)

  • Chris Doggett

    On fetus-fetishism by the forced pregnancy crowd: I read somewhere that was a certain amount of overlap between the forced-birthers and extreme animal rights activists. Both groups tended to project their own fears and anxieties onto perceived victims who were voiceless and often hyper-idealized. 

    There’s a weird fear of retro-active abortion in those protests. “Be glad your mother chose life!” and whatnot, like the protester can’t grasp why such an argument is prima facae absurd. (then again, these folks have trouble with the weak anthropic principle)

    The culture wars are “over” the same way the Republican party is “finished”. Maybe in a generation or two, yes, but there’s a lot of rear-guard action, a lot of fighting retreats that will go on until then. On the bright side, what I’ve seen of a lot of the culture-war issues is that the opposition is “a mile wide, and an inch deep”. When gays are mysterious and frightening “others”, it’s easy to hate them, but once people start seeing them as friends, co-workers, etc. then the resistance drops away. Abortions are terrible… for other people. 

    It’s good to recognize and celebrate progress, but the fight is still going. 

  • Carstonio

    I read somewhere that was a certain amount of overlap between the forced-birthers and extreme animal rights activists.

    I question that, because “Guess which one isn’t protected” is a very common argument.

    There’s a weird fear of retro-active abortion in those protests. “Be
    glad your mother chose life!” and whatnot, like the protester can’t
    grasp why such an argument is prima facae absurd.

    It does seem like an existential fear. Perhaps they project these fears onto women, equating contraception and sex for pleasure with the possibility that they might never have been born or may not have been wanted.

    Maybe in a generation or two, yes, but there’s a lot of rear-guard
    action, a lot of fighting retreats that will go on until then.

    My fear is that we’ll win the war but lose the peace like Reconstruction, where the North gave up protecting the rights of freed blacks for almost a century.

  • Chris Doggett

    I question that, because “Guess which one isn’t protected” is a very common argument.

    I phrased it poorly. I meant to say that there’s a certain amount of overlap in the psychological profiles of forced-birthers and extreme animal rights activists.

    Both groups see themselves as protecting the defenseless. Both groups hyper-idealize the subjects they’re “protecting” and the context they exist in, whether it’s releasing lab animals “into nature” (where they are grossly unprepared, and will starve or die of predation) or wanting to force women to experience “the miracle of childbirth” and “the glory of motherhood”. (with the attendant costs and health risks, regardless of the circumstances the child is born into) 

    Some of that carries through to the “What if Mary had an abortion?” signs, which ignores the Godwinning “Well, what if Hitler was aborted?” comeback. 

    My fear is that we’ll win the war but lose the peace like Reconstruction, where the North gave up protecting the rights of freed blacks for almost a century.

    I read a piece over on Metafilter about “everyday sexism” which managed to be both enlightening and grim.  Just because you celebrate how far you’ve come doesn’t mean you can’t keep pushing on towards where you need to go. 

  • Carstonio

     Thanks for the clarification. Excellent point that the two groups are psychologically identical.

  • fraser

     Sexism may be the last bastion to fall. You can build a life without many minorities in it, ignore gays, but it’s hard to live a life without women. And as Douglas and Jared Wilson were complaining last year, equality anywhere is a threat to patriarchy everywhere, because if one women is free, they’re all potentially free. So it has to be stamped out.

  • fraser

     Some people have made the “contraception is a pre-emptive abortion” argument (and by some people I mean people posting in comments on blogs, so we’re not talking speakers with any standing).

  • banancat

     Wouldn’t it follow then that abstinence is pre-emptive contraception, and therefore also pre-emptive abortion?  The difference is the sex involved, which shows clearly that these people thing sex should be punished (for women) with childbirth.

  • AnonaMiss

    wrt “want”, that’s a metaphor that’s become so overused in English that we forget it’s a metaphor. If I say that water wants to flow downhill, that’s a totally reasonable English statement, and is both easier and more natural than saying what I actually mean: “unless impeded, water will tend to flow downhill.” That doesn’t mean I think water has a mind and preferences.

    A fetus wants to be born like water wants to flow downhill, not like a hungry person wants food.

  • AnonymousSam

    Fetus birth is an exergonic reaction?

  • AnonaMiss

    Fetus birth is an exergonic reaction?

    I deserved that.

  • banancat

     No, “want” is no longer a metaphor.  It’s wrong to appeal to some archaic, obsolete meaning when people don’t actually use it that way.  This is how language works.  There wasn’t some time point where that definition was right and now new definitions are wrong compared to it.  “Want” used to mean something different than what it means now, and unless you’re using it in some poetic sense, you are the one who is wrong for using it in a way that most current speakers don’t use it.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Actually, in science we sometimes use “want” that way to express what is more cumbersomely expressed as “that tendency of a system to behave under the given conditions of (laws governing the system).”

    So we might say, “quarks want to be stuck together” when actually it is better precisely stated “quarks stay bound due to the nature of the strong interaction (cue page-long blabber about gluon exchange, gluon self-interaction resulting in quark confinement, running coupling constants, and so on)”.

    As can be seen, sometimes a moment’s imprecision avoids a world of earbashing over stuff the average person won’t care about.

  • Dave

    Admittedly, from a scientist’s perspective it’s not quite clear what we ever mean by “want” other than the tendency of a system to behave in particular ways under the laws governing that system.

    That is, when I say I want pizza, from that perspective it’s not like there’s some sort of extraphysical impetus that creates this desire. Rather, this desire is a natural consequence of my brain operating under the laws that govern its behavior.

  • P J Evans

     Or, as I read about lasers, ‘photons are gregarious’.

  • AnonaMiss

    Aaand Foelhe beat me to it.

  • Worthless Beast

    I read the tip complaint somewhere before.

    There’s an anime I’ve seen… I haven’t seen the whole series, “Bento!” – it’s a comedy about poor college students having epic grocery-store battles over discount box dinners. They create a whole honor system and everything.  I remember a scene in which one victorious character was telling another not to just dive into his food, because they had to do a sort of saying grace – only it wasn’t religious.  The girl asked the boy to think about all of the people who made the food – the farmers, fisherman and people who prepared it. They thanked the people behind the food before diving in.  It was a mindfulnes thing. 

    I think that could be a neat form of “grace” for everyone to do – whether one believes in a God or gods or not.  The farmer might not know you are thanking him or her, but you still remember that your food comes from somewhere. 

    Also, pay some grace to your waiter/waitress, and since you can do something physical for them, leave them a good tip for good service. Whatever you believe in.

  • Worthless Beast

    End sentence came out weird… I meant it as “Whatever you believe in, leave a good tip for good service.” 

  • Foelhe

    Oh, that’s really nice. I try to practice gratitude whenever I can, but that idea never occurred to me.

  • Steve Morrison

    The girl asked the boy to think about all of the people who made the food – the farmers, fisherman and people who prepared it.

    That reminds me of the “Thank you, Jesus, for this food/De nada” graphic Fred linked a while back!

  • Lliira

    Imo, there was someone else in the room with that priest, and that person was either a total asshole and left him like that, left him like that for good reason, or (most likely) they lost the key. Whatever happened, the saddest thing is that the priest cannot be honest about it. Dishonesty over one’s sexual desires inevitably leads to some pretty terrible things. 

  • Jeff Lipton

    Re “Alfie’s Home”:  The moral is that touching of private parts leads to gay-ness when Uncle Pete does it, but it cures gay-ness when Daddy does it.

    Poor kid — he’s going to be gay again when Nancy touches him…

  • Invisible Neutrino

    That actually happens? OMFG Ew. D-X

  • mountainguy

    “While he was alive, the right wing savaged King as a communist who hated America and a dangerous subversive. Now they’re claiming he was just like them. Not coincidentally, they’ve done the same thing with the Bible.”

    reminds me of Matthew 23: 29-32:

    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,

    And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.

    Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

  • hagsrus

    GOProud, Log Cabin Republicans Won’t Participate In CPAC This Year

  • FearlessSon

    On the subject of non-sexual uses of ostensibly kinky things, I think that it is important to establish that “kink” is a thing, “sex” is a thing, and “kinky sex” is a thing, but they are not necessarily all the same thing.  

    Kink could honestly be any particular little unusual quirk that a person does that excites and/or soothes them, and that need not necessarily be sexual.  You know how a lot of autistic people like the feeling of pressure on their bodies, find it calming?  That might be an example of a kink that is not necessarily sexual.  Temple Grandin, for example, identifies as asexual but built herself a “squeeze machine” to apply pressure to her body as a form of relaxation.  

    That having been said, there is still a strong association in the cultural collective consciousness between kink and sex.  However, I would attribute that to sex itself being an inherently exciting/soothing activity, and that tends to mesh well with a person’s kink appeals.  There might also be a “chicken or egg” thing going on, where the cultural association between kink and sex causes a person to think of sex when exposed to kink because of that link, and vise-versa, which would become something of a self-propagating meme since having more kinky sex only strengthens the association.  

  • Christina Nordlander

    Maybe the bishop was Anton Chigurh.

  • PatBannon

    I can see how powerful and corrupting a Death Note is. On one hand, there are some people in the world that could really use killing…

    “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot. There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.” – Marine General James Mattis

    On the other hand, you know, if you use it, you’re a mass murderer. Or at the very least, a serial killer. And mass murderers and serial killers tend to be the sort of people that could really use killing.

    I suppose to preserve your morality, such as it is, while using a Death Note, your final target would have to be yourself. Since at this point you would probably be the most prolific murderer in the world. Well, the most prolific murderer in the world who ever acted alone, and didn’t have, say, an army or a nation or something.

  • Patrick McGraw

    I’m an anti-war, anti-death penalty Quaker. But if a Death Note dropped into my lap I’d become a monster within a week.

    I do think I’d evade law enforcement better than Light Yagami, though, because I would avoid the central mistake of making people realize someone was behind the deaths. Yes, I know he wanted to change people’s behavior and all, but the fastest way to get found by the police is to let them know they should be looking for someone.

  • reynard61

    “The story serves as an illustrative example of the way the conservative echo chamber can twist facts and turn baseless speculation into their controversy du jour.”

    If the University *REALLY* wanted to drive the Rethuglicans apeshit crazy they’d *renovate* it and use it as the Barack Obama Presidential Library. I’d bequeath real money to see that!

  • Tricksterson

    Way wo to make an RTCs head aspode.  If they say the United States was founded as a Christian nation ask them “Then why does it have fifty pentagrams on it’s flag?”
    Also, reccomended as an atidote to Ken Hamm’s  creationist museum, the Dinosaur national Monument.  It’s apparently worked for Douglas, the man who was responsible for it’s creation.  He was raised a Six Day Adventist but while working on the site wrestled with the evidence of his senses.  He apparently compromised by becoming a Unitarian.

  • AnonymousSam

    But to be clear on the subject, the problem is that when most pro-life advocates say a fetus “wants” to be born, they don’t mean the fetus is operating according to its biological imperative to grow and catalyze labor contractions, yadda yadda. They’re using the word with anthropomorphizing intent and saying the fetus has feelings and consciousness.

    In the best case scenario, they’re arguing that the fetus wants to be born so that it can love its mother and grow up and yadda yadda some more. In the worst case scenario, they actually claim that the fetus is aware of its impending destruction and would be begging for life if it only had the means to do so. The more they anthropomorphize the fetus, the more nightmarish their mind interprets what happens and the more vehement they are that an act of evil is being performed.

    This is why clarity of language is necessary. A fetus has biological imperative to be born, but does not have the consciousness to desire to be born. It’s not even like a coma patient. More like saying that a tadpole understands skyscrapers and wants to climb them as a frog.

  • Patrick McGraw

    In the worst case scenario, they actually claim that the fetus is aware
    of its impending destruction and would be begging for life if it only
    had the means to do so.

    ::Trigger warning for surgery, pregnancy, abortion, and link to a potentially disturbing image.::

     I’m reminded of a particular piece of glurge someone I know posted recently. regarding a surgery performed on a fetus, discussed here on Snopes. The claim is that the fetus “reached out and squeezed the surgeon’s finger, as if thanking him for the gift of life.”

    So in addition to ridiculous ideas about pregnancy, it adds ridiculous ignorance about surgery and anesthesia.

    Plus, of course, the message added is that therefore abortions should be illegal even in cases of spina bifida, not that such treatment should be available for any pregnancy where it would prove beneficial. That would be Big Government Socialism.

  • AnonymousSam

    Ginny in the D’Souza thread was very fond of the story of a fully formed infant gasping for breath and tragically expiring post-abortion. Nevermind that for all intents and purposes, this never happens.

  • FearlessSon

    Even if it did, it would not matter.  

    How is it that people like that can have an unhealthy surplus of empathy for something not even aware yet, and at the same time consider empathy for anything actually aware, experienced, and involved to be something best forgotten about?  

  • AnonymousSam

    A faith which entails people going into a realm of despair and unspeakable agony for all eternity based on whether or not they say the right magic words in the right context with the right mental attitude and framing somewhat precludes a properly developed sense of empathy, or so I would assume.

    The bigger question is why someone with a reason to have no empathy can see this is painfully shortsighted and wrong, but they can’t.

  • Dave

    Unlike many abstractions, living people have a way of not quite fitting into the well-defined categories on which most formally constructed rules depend.

    Empathy for actual living people therefore frequently forces us to choose between strictly enforcing some set of formally constructed rules, on the one hand, and engaging compassionately with those we empathize with, on the other.

    That can be an uncomfortable choice to have to make, especially if we identify strongly with a particular rule-set or generally have a strong preference for clearly defined rules, which many people do.

    Some people resolve that tension by reluctantly discarding or weakening the rules. Some resolve it by reserving their empathy for convenient abstractions.