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Posts Tagged ‘sex

“In a free market the people are free, the ideas are locked up”*…

 

gift

 

Back when I first studied gift exchange, I dismissed its economic importance—after all, it reflects only a tiny portion of all our transactions. Perhaps it might interest an anthropologist, but only as a kind of curiosity item, a refreshing but impractical alternative to the real substance of economic life. But as I see it now, the gift economy is much larger than I realized—in fact, it’s almost as large as the transaction-based economy. For a start, I’ve seen its predominance in my own life. My wife and I don’t charge my children for their meals or the hours of service we provide them. My friends dealing with elder care or community service or church activities operate off-the-grid, so to speak—at least from a conventional economic perspective. These are gift exchanges, pure and simple, and they are everywhere you look, even in a modern capitalist society.

But I’m concerned here with a different class of activities, ones that straddle these two spheres—and are hard to classify for that very reason. Artistic or creative pursuits, endeavors that are typically pursued for the intrinsic joy of sharing one’s gifts, are also frequently commoditized and placed on the market. Are they part of the gift economy or the transaction economy?…

The estimable Ted Gioia explores: “Gratuity: Who Gets Paid When Art Is Free.”

[image above: source]

* Lewis Hyde, The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World

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As we share and share alike, we might recall that it was on this date in 1927 that Mae West was sentenced to 10 days in a workhouse on Roosevelt Island (known then as “Welfare Island”) and fined $500 for obscenity for her play Sex… despite the fact that the play had run over a year before the police raided, and had been seen by 325,000 people– including members of the police department and their wives, judges of the criminal courts, and seven members of the district attorney’s staff.

In the event, she served eight days of her sentence, receiving two days off of time for “good behavior”– and the resulting publicity did great things for Ms. West’s notoriety nationwide.

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Written by LW

April 19, 2020 at 1:01 am

“The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese”*…

The blue-green marbling of fungus that makes Blue (or as purists might have it, Bleu) Cheese blue is a delight to some, but a horror to others.  Now Roquefort-refusers have a new reason to demur…

Until pretty recently, a big chunk of fungal species were thought to reproduce without sex–until people really started to look. It turns out, there’s a lot more sex going on in the fungal world (on the down-low) than people thought. And that includes fungi that are used to make delicious blue cheese. Jeanne Ropars and colleagues in France, the home of Roquefort cheese, looked at the genomes of the mold species used in this particular cheese to see what kind of funny business was going on in their snack of choice. They found much more diversity than could be explained by asexual reproduction. And even more telling, the genes used by fungi to find mating partners have been kept intact and functional by evolution, meaning there’s probably some sex going on…

So far, no one has actually seen this mold having sex. But it could be. It could be doing it right now. Who knows what kind of awesome super-cheese could be evolving, right under your nose?

Read the full story at Molecular Love (and Other Facts of Life); and find the research paper to which it refers here.

* G.K. Chesterton (though this news could be just what it takes to attract poets into the mold…  er, fold.)

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As we put away the saltines, we might send inventive birthday greetings to David Wilkinson; he was born on this date in 1771.  A mechanical engineer and machinist, Wilkinson (no known relation to your correspondent) played a key role in the development of machine tools in the U.S. (initially in the textile industry):  he invented the lathe and process for cutting screws.

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Written by LW

January 5, 2013 at 1:01 am

Something so good, transmuted into something so bad…

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Last November Rowan Somerville was awarded the Literary Review‘s 18th annual Bad Sex Award

The prize was awarded for passages from his second novel, The Shape of Her. He was presented with the award by Michael Winner on Monday 29 November at a ceremony in St James’s Square. ‘There is nothing more English than bad sex,’ said Somerville, whose first novel, The End of Sleep, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. ‘So on behalf of the nation, I thank you.’ The judges’ minds were made up by sentences such as: ‘Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her.’

The other nominees were:

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (4th Estate)
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (Atlantic Books)
The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon (Atlantic Books)
Maya by Alastair Campbell (Hutchinson)
A Life Apart by Neel Mukherjee (Constable & Robinson)
Heartbreak by Craig Raine (Atlantic Books)
Mr Peanut by Adam Ross (Jonathan Cape)

OK, so mainstream novelists sometimes reach embarrassingly as they try to bottle bliss…  But what of those writers who pursue passion as a matter of course?  Now, with the help of Bad Romance Novels (“Bad excerpts from bad Romance Novels”), one can harvest the purple pearls that lurk within bodice-rippers (and also, occasionally, the scribblings of more “traditional” writers like Paulo Coelho or Thomas Pynchon)…  A couple of examples (chosen from those relatively more suitable for work):

He kissed her long and deep, and it was as if someone had just pressed a button marked “sizzle”…
The Billionaire Bodyguard – Sharon Kendrick

Their lips fit together with a perfection he had never known with another woman and she tasted as sweet as a Christmas divinity.
The Greek’s Christmas Baby – Lucy Monroe

UPDATE:  A watchful Twitterer (@jkmyrna, to whom, thanks) has alerted your correspondent to the fact that the “Bad Romance Novels” Tumbler linked above has been shuttered– for plagarizing its content, mostly from Uncle Walter’s Bad Romance Novel Quotes.  Interested readers should hie themselves thither.

As we reaffirm the wisdom of keeping some things to ourselves, we might recall  that it was on this date in 1927 that Mae West was sentenced to 10 days in a workhouse on Roosevelt Island (known then as “Welfare Island”) and fined $500 for obscenity for her play Sex… despite the fact that the play had run over a year before the police raided, and had been seen by 325,000 people– including members of the police department and their wives, judges of the criminal courts, and seven members of the district attorney’s staff.  Still, the resulting publicity did great things for Ms. West’s notoriety nationwide.

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