Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chapter 30, Verse 1: Make Love and an Open Letter

I've got a headache Space Travelers. I drank too much last night. This is something that happens. Fact. The poisons of choice was two Chimay triples followed by a legion of cheap gin armed with tonic. I'm taking the morning to recover and I'm going to do something I've been putting off for a while: Compose an open letter to Cindy Gallop. I first learned about Cindy on TED. Here is her segment.

I used to do wellness education in college, and many of the topics that I'd address were about sexual health. This is a topic I care deeply about, and one that I feel deserves a sober approach. I tire of the back-of-the-classroom giggling on the topic of sex. I was then very pleased when I was listening to Cindy. She spoke in a very confident and direct tone. She spoke much like we want our doctors to speak to us about our health. In many ways, her approach to talking about sex skipped all warm-up foreplay to make the audience comfortable. I very much appreciate this. However, something just wasn't right. While I was pretty much on board with her problem statement, I felt that her method of addressing it was tragically flawed.

Her observations: Pornography has become modern day sexual education. That pornography as entertainment displays sexual norms that are not always positive or promote good sexual health. That in a society where discussion of sexual topics is taboo, people lack the proper resources to get the information they need.

Her idea: Create a website to separate porn myth from sex reality. Her creation is a website called make love not porn and addresses specific topics and leaves space for users to leave feedback.

Lick some email stamps Space Travelers, and hope the internet postal service is running.

Dear Cindy Gallop,

My name is Alias Tagami. I am writing to you to address some concerns I have after recently seeing your TED talk and after exploring your sexual education website Make Love Not Porn. This is not a letter from a church group; not a letter from some hyper crazy evangelical who thinks you're trying to get every 14 year old pregnant by saying the word "vagina" in public. I am a 26 yr old man who writes a blog about social issues. I do have a history as a wellness educator, and I am very passionate about sexual health topics. It is that passion that actually led me to find your TED talk in the first place. I very much respect and appreciate the sober manner in which you spoke. It is refreshing to see someone not beat around the bush and address sexual topics as serious things that are not to be giggled at or ashamed of.

Your talk made one very profound point that stands out above all other things: That pornography has become modern day sex education. I agree. Further, I believe this is not a good thing, and not because porn is bad or immoral either. I believe we are on the same page here. I was watching your talk and quite impressed, at this point I was cheering you on. You had the tone, and you had delivered clearly your thesis.

But then we had a split. Your message seemed to be very directly aimed at getting sexual education to girls and women, and yet you seemed to only address the porn mythos that exist in boys and men. Your statement that a certain level of "reeducation, rehabilitation, and reorientation" need to take place seemed heavily aimed at men, and yet your site seems to address girls and women. I see this as a disconnect. If modern day porn has become de facto
sexual education, then should we not examine who is would be drawing any information from it? In other words, if a man is getting in his head certain sexual norms about sexual intercourse from porn, it doesn't make sense to address girls and women about a topic like cumming on a girl's face. The message on your website only further adds to the problem I believe. If the porn myth is that every girl likes this, and you put "not necessarily," you've done your job in diffusing the myth, but you've left the reader in an undefined place. I think this is a bad place to leave a person. Additionally, the user feed back on each page does not help a reader get reliable information and is often very contradictory.

There is a functional issue as well. How does one find your site? If I am a 14 year old boy or girl who is looking for information on the web, what actually is going to happen? They will open a browser window and type in a question or phrase on google. Do you think they will navigate on their own to your site? But more importantly, in addressing the porn myth versus the sexual reality, you've chosen the wrong myths. What you've chosen are literally the mechanics of intercourse. To me, this is not where the bulk of where porn distorts human sexual relationships. A real porn myth worth addressing would be who you have sex with, and not how you have sex. In a porn feature a pair may have sex only moments after they've met a total stranger. Birth control is not addressed. Contraceptives are rarely used. These are the real important myths to address because these are the types of sexual topics which would promote an open dialog between sexual partners and allow for candid communication about all the other stuff. The mechanics of sex are in our genes, and no matter what we put down on paper or on the web, it is going to come down to the doing part of doing it. Let's address the issues of sex that take place before nudity, before arousal, and before humping and moaning. Let's get people to where you are in speaking without blushing on the topic. I think that would be the most empowering sexual education.

Lastly, there is one more thing, and it's about the whole "reeducation, rehabilitation, and reorientation" thing as being what I perceived as your only break from earnest discussion. It felt like a punchline, and at that kind of a cheap shot. As a man, I felt your comment implied that misinformation about human sexuality was a bunch of bless their hearts (and boners) guys who just don't have the worldly perception that you do as a woman. I found the statement's subtext to be a bit sexist, and very unnecessary. Sexual education is of great important to all people, independent of gender. You should not turn off men to your message by inserting this kind of baggage.

I can tell you deeply care about this, and I admire your initiative. I also envy your platform, so I hope you appreciate the opportunity you have now. Because, I'm rather wordy, I'll try my best to summarize what I'd hope you'd do with your platform. I would like you to reconsider your site's user feedback. I suggest that you at minimum put in place some sort of moderation for comments to safeguard against false information getting to a interested reader. Diversify the site's porn myths to include topics about sexual relationships and not just sexual mechanics. On the topics about sexual mechanics, please consider your audience and that it is not just men who express negative porn myths and practice porn norms. I would like you to review and do some critical thinking about how helpful the "some do some don't" statements are on your site. It feels like you're afraid to make a bold statement here, and waffling doesn't help a reader that is looking for reliable information.

I am a supporter of your efforts, and though my summary is critical of the fruits of your labor, I want you to know that I admire what you're doing. I hope that my feedback is useful to you. This is an open letter that I will be posting on my blog I believe that my readers would enjoy any reply you would send back. I feel your creation is incomplete, but still taking shape. I look forward to checking back on the progress you make, and hopefully one day, I'll be able to direct people to your site as a resource I endorse.

Alias Tagami

Hopefully she writes back. I hope I wasn't too harsh. I just felt that I need to speak as candidly about my concerns as she did with hers. Be cool and wrap your tool Space Travelers, there is no better way to be a better lover than to actively stay educated. Happy Valentines Day, and as a parting gift, some links.

CDC Statistics Center - Lot's of resources on reproductive health and STIs/STDs.
Natl' HIV & STD Testing Centers - Find one near you. Go get tested, and bring a friend.

Friday, February 12, 2010

vLog Unspecial 04: Religious Entitlement & Irony Purists

Thursday, February 11, 2010

vLog Unspecial 03: Synthetic Capitalism & Consumer Ethics

Dearest Space Travelers, please do go easy on me. I haven't slept in over 24 hours. So if my thoughts don't transition very well in this vLog unspecial, I've got an excuse.

Note: I still have not ate the Reeses.

Single Thought #8

If existence is a rental, I'm cool with that. I feel like we're all renting, but some of us are saving up for the house that is neither built nor for sale.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chapter 29, Verse 2: Thaw

Greetings Space Travelers from the heart of the Snopocolypse. President Obama perfers to call it Snomageddon, but I think he secretly likes Snobama (either way, I think this means somebody in his office reads twitter and briefs him). SnOMG appeals to my nerd background, but ultimately the b-boy in me has a sweet spot for the Snowtorious B.I.G. Anyways. All this snow got me inspired, and when inspiration strikes, it's like blizzard. Words, like snow flakes appear, but how much falls, and how much sticks in the end we just have to wait and watch.

We all want to be the snowflake that falls last.
We all want to be the one that lays on top,
and sparkles in the dusk light.

We all want to be situated on a perfect drift of snow,
far from the pedestrian foot path;
far from being trampled;
far from the the filth of the
shoes and tires
traveling fast
with no care to take in the beauty of a
picture perfect snow-scape.

We want to be untouched, and appreciated from a distance.

We don't want to be a part of someone else's design;
their half-assed snow man;
their snowball busted and melting against a warm car window.

We want to be emergent and beautiful,
and we want to be the

Let it snow Space Travelers.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

vLog Unspecial 02: Having Cake

Oi Space Travlers, I've got a hankerin' for some cake. No I don't want to eat it, I plan to simply have cake. I think if you tried it, you'd find it rather enjoyable.

Chapter 29, Verse 1: On Cats and Closing Doors

I was laying in bed Space Travelers, and a muse struck me. At this terrible hour, I crawled to my laptop and felt I had something to share. I'll soon return to my cozy bed, but first, this.

I raised a lot of animals when I was growing up. I had three cats, and they assumed three different characters: Little, fat and bad. They each had a very unique personality, and they would react to people in many different ways. Cats aren't really like dogs in that they don't really accept commands. Cats kind of do what they wish and certainly only what serves their (sometimes evil) agenda. I did learn one trick to manipulating a cat.
If I wanted a cat to go into a room, calling her and waving at her would never work. If I didn't prove to her that it was in her best interest to enter a room, she wouldn't. As a grew up, I noticed that if I closed the door very slowly, the cat would observe a dilemma and would always run to make it through the door at the last second (this is why we close the door slowly. No cat injuries...).I feel that life is often like this. So many doors slowly closing, and we unlike the cat sit in indecision. These doors often are new ideas, new experiences, and even the heart of another. Sometimes going through the door can be it's own reward. Free will is meaningless in stillness. We are alive when we move; when we exercise choice. I can't promise that every door you run through leads to happiness, but I know a lot of happy cats.

Meow Space Cats.


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