WIGSTOCK SET LIST
Sugga Pie KoKo tearin' it up at WIGSTOCK 2004
THE WORLD FAMOUS BOB
LAUGH-IN STARRING THE GALS FROM LIPS
3PUEN FEATURIN FFLOYD
LADY MISS KIER
KATE PIERSON OF THE B-52'S
MUSSYCAT DOLLS (Mussy=manpussy FYI)
JOHN KELLY AS JONI MITCHELL
STARTIN AT 4:45 SHARP!
Schedule subject to change
Performers subject to sex change
For more info on Wigstock, please check out www.wigstock.nu or www.howlfestival.com for more on other events in the HOWL FESTIVAL.
AIR AMERICA ON FRIDAY
LEND ME YOUR EARS! Tune in at 8:06 on Friday the 28th as Bun-Bun is interviewed by Janeane Garofolo to plug Wigstock. If you don't get the station in your area--I'm boldly imagining that anyone knows who I am outside of NYC--you can listen at www.airamericaradio.com.
IRAQ: THE UNSEEN WAR
from Salon.com by Gary Kamiya
Aug. 23, 2005 This is a war the Bush administration does not want Americans to see. From the beginning, the U.S. government has attempted to censor information about the Iraq war, prohibiting photographs of the coffins of U.S. troops returning home and refusing as a matter of policy to keep track of the number of Iraqis who have been killed. President Bush has yet to attend a single funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq.
Please visit this site for a shocking slide show. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2005/08/23/iraq_gallery/index_np.html
If for some reason, you still support this war for lofty principles of democracy in the Middle East, have a look at what's really going on. Even if you don't support the war, viewing these pix will surely stregthen your committment to get rid of the worst president in US history.
I think Lady Bunion will be interviewed by Janeane Garofolo on the country's BEST radio station--in the evening slot around 7:00. I'll update you as details, times are confirmed!
After seeing The Aristocrats last night, I checked out www.theonion.com and found these amusing headlines:
RUMSFELD MAKES SURPRISE VISIT TO WIFE'S VAGINA
CHARDONNAY VOMITED INTO NPR TOTE
CALCUTTA FIRE MARSHALL: MANY INDIAN HOMES LACK BRIDAL EXTINGUISHER
Definitely worth checking out.
Nothing personal, but I always knew there was something suspicious about this game.
Golf, the ultimate symbol of Republican corruption.
By Michael Crowley
On a Wednesday afternoon earlier this month, top Republicans quietly disappeared from Capitol Hill. House votes were suspended for several hours. What was afoot? An urgent briefing on Iraq, the troubled economy, the coming avian flu pandemic?
Not exactly. The event that lured away the Republican throng, which included House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was the Booz Allen Hamilton pro-am golf tournament held in suburban Maryland. Alas, politics waits for no tournament, and back on the Hill there was trouble. Short-handed Republicans on the House Committee on International Relations nearly lost a major vote on U.N. reform when two of their own defected to vote with the Democrats. According to Roll Call, Indiana Republican Dan Burton had ignored a specific warning not to miss the vote, which Republicans barely squeezed out, 24-23. A "freshly-sunburned Burton" returned to the Hill the next day to read that he might have sabotaged his chance to assume the committee's chairmanship next year.
For many Republicans, it seems, golf is like sex—it leads to reckless risk-taking. Sure, the game has its Democratic draw: Bill Clinton, for one, was a famous addict. But in today's Washington, golf is an intensely Republican sport. George W. Bush, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, and Rick Santorum are all fanatics. John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi are decidedly not. Which stands to reason: The corporate, country-club veneer of golf fits more easily with modern Republican culture. Plus, golf tends to thrive in red-state regions, like the Sun Belt, where open land is plentiful and to which the GOP's power base has recently shifted.
At the same time, the Republican obsession with golf reveals the party's phony posturing as the champion of average Americans. All the hand-wringing among Democrats about why liberals don't go to NASCAR races or duck hunts misses the fact that Tom DeLay and Bill Frist don't go to monster-truck night with the guys from Deliverance either. They hit the links at exclusive country clubs with rich donors and corporate lobbyists. That's who they are. Golf is an expression of the party's elite upper-class id.
And that id is what's corrupting the party. Consider the Abramoff scandals. Time and again, golf was the bait that Jack Abramoff—the conservative superlobbyist now under federal investigation—used to lure Republican politicians into his realm. When Abramoff shuttled dozens of congressmen and their staffs to the Northern Mariana Islands in the 1990s, as part of his campaign to keep local sweatshops free from regulation, the group teed up at Saipan's LaoLao Bay Golf Resort. "It seemed to be so much about golf," one disillusioned conservative who traveled to Saipan recently told my New Republic colleague Franklin Foer. Abramoff even billed the island government for minutes spent booking tee times.
Several other dubious Abramoff exploits have featured golf, including the two trips that now have Majority Leader DeLay in deep trouble. One of them, a 1997 visit to Moscow allegedly underwritten by shady Russian oil interests, featured a stay at the luxurious 120-hectare Moscow Country Club. (Who knew they even had golf in Russia?) The other was a trip to Britain highlighted by golf at Scotland's legendary St. Andrews links, where Abramoff reportedly had a membership. (According to the Wall Street Journal, Abramoff enlisted an Arizona-based golf-tour company to provide the ultimate golfing experience to DeLay, who squeezed in rounds at three "British-Open quality courses" over his four-day trip.)
Meanwhile, publicly released e-mails suggest that Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney hit up Abramoff for a trip to St. Andrews as a reward for helping one of his Indian casino clients. The examples go on and on. When he wasn't shuttling Republicans to the fairways, for instance, Abramoff was handing out golf equipment. Time has reported that at least two former top DeLay staffers accepted clubs from him as gifts in potential violation of House ethics rules. Abramoff even bought movement conservatives with a few holes. New billing records released this week by a Senate committee show that the lobbyist charged one of his Indian tribal clients hundreds of dollars for golf with "Think Tank Activists."
As Abramoff's exploits show, golf is an ideal fulcrum for the GOP's cozy relationship with its moneyed backers. If you're a donor or lobbyist, a day of golf is an ideal chance for a long, leisurely stroll in the company of a politician. For a politician, it's a fine opportunity to hit up supplicants for campaign cash or other favors.
Republicans have engineered these mutual interests into a campaign cash cow that lets them have more fun than Rodney Dangerfield at the Bushwood Country Club. This National Republican Congressional Committee event list includes a dozen golf-oriented House Republican fund-raisers planned for the coming months. Don't miss your chance to sponsor a golf hole at Republican Congressman Eric Cantor's "Every Republican Is Crucial's (ERIC PAC) Annual Golf Tournament," where a mere $5,000 will buy you "two golf slots and company signage at golf hole." GOP Rep. John Boehner of Ohio sponsors his own annual golf tour, with fund-raising stops in multiple states.
It's safe to assume that Republican politicians and lobbyists don't spend all their time on the links trading putting tips. "Even conversation on the course is strategic," explains this profile in Lodging Magazine of Republican hotel-industry lobbyist Jack Connors. "Connors deliberately doesn't bring up business when paired with a legislator at a fundraiser: Invariably, however, somewhere on the back nine the legislator will ask, 'Jack, what's on your mind these days?' " Republican Rep. Joel Hefley recently recounted for the Hill "a golf outing where a lawmaker, whom he would not name, kept telling a lobbyist how much he admired his golf bag. Sure enough, the lawmaker soon had a new golf bag."
Some of the best evidence about the sport's corrupting function comes from a golf retreat/fund-raiser held three years ago in West Virginia for two of DeLay's political action committees. Energy-company executives paid as much as $25,000 to attend the retreat, which was held on the eve of House and Senate negotiations over a bill in which they had a huge stake. One of the executives later described tooling about in a golf cart with a top DeLay aide and pitching his case about the bill directly to the majority leader. For this, even the somnolent House ethics committee felt obliged to admonish DeLay.
Not long after Sept. 11, members of Congress were told of intelligence about a three-man al-Qaida sniper team that was training to assassinate U.S. politicians on a golf course. But even this chilling warning doesn't seem to have diminished Republican zeal for a day on the rolling greens. Golf is too central to the Washington GOP lifestyle to be abandoned easily. And some Republicans swear that it offers nothing less than a window into the soul. "You can tell a lot about a person's character by the way they play golf. If they cheat at golf, they'll cheat at anything," Tom DeLay once said. Hear that, GOP faithful? Take it from your leader: Next time you sell your soul to a lobbyist for an overseas golf trip, no mulligans!
THOU SHALT NOT KILL?
Pat Robertson, host of Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club and founder of the Christian Coalition of America, called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
From the August 22 broadcast of The 700 Club:
watch the video: http://mediamatters.org/items/200508220006
"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war."
And we call muslim clerics militant extremists? Puhlease.
And you remember Pat's and Jerry Falwell's take on 9/11:
Partial transcript of comments from the Thursday, September 13, 2001 edition of the '700 Club.'
JERRY FALWELL: And I agree totally with you that the Lord has protected us so wonderfully these 225 years. And since 1812, this is the first time that we've been attacked on our soil and by far the worst results. And I fear, as Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, said yesterday, that this is only the beginning. And with biological warfare available to these monsters - the Husseins, the Bin Ladens, the Arafats--what we saw on Tuesday, as terrible as it is, could be miniscule if, in fact--if, in fact--God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.
PAT ROBERTSON: Jerry, that's my feeling. I think we've just seen the antechamber to terror. We haven't even begun to see what they can do to the major population.
JERRY FALWELL: The ACLU's got to take a lot of blame for this.
PAT ROBERTSON: Well, yes.
JERRY FALWELL: And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way--all of them who have tried to secularize America--I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."
PAT ROBERTSON: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we're responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system.
JERRY FALWELL: Pat, did you notice yesterday the ACLU, and all the Christ-haters, People For the American Way, NOW, etc. were totally disregarded by the Democrats and the Republicans in both houses of Congress as they went out on the steps and called out on to God in prayer and sang "God Bless America" and said "let the ACLU be hanged"? In other words, when the nation is on its knees, the only normal and natural and spiritual thing to do is what we ought to be doing all the time--calling upon God.
PAT ROBERTSON: Amen
Check out www.ihatepatrobertson.com
Latifah Out of the Closet? --Unsubstantiated, juicy gossip from http://www.wdkx.com/index.php3?path=watercooler/watercooler.php3&page=gossip
Queen Latifah may have given fans a hint or two regarding her sexuality after a recent performance.
Latifah took the stage on Tuesday night at The Greek Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, California as part of the Sugar Water Tour line up which also includes Erykah Badu and Jill Scott.
While performing her rendition of the classic 'California Dreaming' in between verses Queen reportedly alluded to when it would be appropriate to listen to the tune, stating,'it makes you want to walk on the beach, it makes you want to just chill.' She then said, 'It makes you want go to your home girl's house and let her rub on your back.'
Latifah reportedly then did a 'zipping of the lips' motion and started to giggle.
This site also has a very interesting post about an early morning argument between P. Diddy and his baby mama Kim Porter which ended in him flying a plastic surgeon from Geneva to his yacht.
HIP HOP HOORAY FOR KANYE!
With rap's heavy-hitters like Eminem and 50 Cent openly dissing gays, Kanye proves that his views are as revolutionary as his beats and skillz, yo. A big ups to my brother. (Yes, I am aware that my attempt to be "down" are ludicrous, but there aren't many in the straight male-oriented rap community who come out publicly on our side and I think it's exciting. He's brave to stick up for us. Now I have to go look up "antonym."
Kanye West Calls for End to Gay Bashing
NEW YORK - Kanye West says "gay" has become an antonym to hip-hop — and that it needs to be stopped. During an interview for an MTV special, the 27-year-old rapper launched into a discussion about hip-hop and homosexuality while talking about "Hey Mama," a song on his upcoming album, "Late Registration."
West says that when he was young, people would call him a "mama's boy."
"And what happened was, it made me kind of homophobic, 'cause it's like I would go back and question myself," West says on the show, "All Eyes on Kanye West," set to air Thursday night (10:30 p.m. ET).
West says he changed his ways, though, when he learned one of his cousins was gay.
"It was kind of like a turning point when I was like, `Yo, this is my cousin. I love him and I've been discriminating against gays.'"
West says hip-hop was always about "speaking your mind and about breaking down barriers, but everyone in hip-hop discriminates against gay people." He adds that in slang, gay is "the opposite, the exact opposite word of hip-hop."
Kanye's message: "Not just hip-hop, but America just discriminates. And I wanna just, to come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, `Yo, stop it.'"
West, whose debut disc "The College Dropout" won a Grammy for best rap album, will see his second record in stores on Aug. 30.
FINALLY, A RESPONSIBLE JOURNALIST!
Bob Costas Boycotts Natalee Show
NEW YORK, Aug. 20, 2005
"I suggested some alternatives but the producers preferred the topics they had chosen. I was fine with that, and respectfully declined to participate."
statement from Bob Costas
(AP) While some cable TV hosts are making their living off the Natalee Holloway case this summer, Bob Costas is having none of it.
Costas, hired by CNN as an occasional fill-in on "Larry King Live," refused to anchor Thursday's show because it was primarily about the Alabama teenager who went missing in Aruba. Chris Pixley filled in at the last minute.
"I didn't think the subject matter of Thursday's show was the kind of broadcast I should be doing," Costas said in a statement. "I suggested some alternatives but the producers preferred the topics they had chosen. I was fine with that, and respectfully declined to participate."
Costas' manager declined to elaborate on what Costas didn't like about the topic.
Thursday's guests included Beth Holloway Twitty, the girl's mother; a television reporter and an investigator in the case. Seven of the show's 10 guests talked about the missing girl, the other segments were about the BTK killer.
The Holloway case has been a big attraction on cable news networks during a slow news period, with Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren getting record ratings as she's paid almost nonstop attention to it. Reports of Costas' decision first surfaced on the mediabistro.com Web site Friday.
"There were no hard feelings at all," Costas said. "It's not a big deal. I'm sure there are countless topics that will be mutually acceptable in the future."
Wendy Walker, senior executive producer of "Larry King Live," described it as a mutual decision for Costas not to do the show because he was uncomfortable with the subject matter.
"We love having Bob ... and since `Larry King Live' covers an extremely extensive palate of subjects, there will always be shows that he will enjoy hosting," she said.
The NBC Sports personality, also host of "Costas Now" on HBO, had agreed to be host for about 20 editions of "Larry King Live" this year. He's done six, the network said.
His decision is reminiscent of Keith Olbermann, the former sportscaster who left his MSNBC news show in the late 1990s in part because he was asked to repeatedly cover the Monica Lewinsky story. Olbermann is back now for his second run at MSNBC.
This cracks me up! (From a "fan")
yo queer..hows life treating you?....why do you call yourself a bunny you
are more like a bear...ROAR!....did you get breast implants?....and what
size are they?....they are like melons...get back at me..-Dan
OUR CHRISTIAN LEADER...
flips reporters the bird in this video. As Leno puts it, "That's the great thing about the second term. Who cares?"
DOLLY AT RADIO CITY
Finally got to see Miss Parton live and she was all that. She took the stage in a peachy orange, yellow, cream and fuschia silk chiffon rhinestone-crusted showstopper with slits. The body was serving! I'm not loving the new "ramen" curls but the shape was ample. And my lord--is she lovable! Playing a rhinestoned dulcimer which doesn't exactly signal poverty, but somehow she actually brought a tear during Coat Of Many Colors. She may be a loaded superstar, but she makes you believe those lyrics, about a poor hillbilly girl who proudly wears a coat of rags her mom makes her to school and is ridiculed. She played about 10 rhinestoned instruments and brought the house down with not only classics (though I still prefer Patti Labelle's insane cover of Here You Come Again to Dolly's original) but also selections from her upcoming covers album. John Lennon's Imagine had the audience on their feet. (Of course many of the hipster gays, and who knows, maybe ordinary New Yorkers applauded lines like "Imagine no religion.") I wonder how she felt about that? She closed with Hello God. I would have creamed for Baby I'm Burnin'. Seen: Murray Hill, Kevin Aviance, Mr. Mickey, retired dragster Lurleen Wallace, hilariously bitter doorgirl/socialite Alice "Big Al", actress Jane Adams, and Michael Kors.
Her photo album was delightful and nutty, with one look which featured whore-y wig with granny glasses and a come hither look. Bizarre! And her humor. "I've written many sad songs. Ok, some of 'em were downright pitiful!" And of her cover album: "I don't know if I'm putting old wine in bottles or new wine in old jugs." To a young man who lept to the stage (plant?) she repeated my favorite line "Boy, I'm old enough to be your LOVER! I mean mother!" which she used on the Grammys a few years ago. It's pretty rare to find an entertainer who is that pretty/sexy, funny AND a virtuoso musician. (I can only think of Charo--many don't know that she is a virtuoso flamenco guitarist. I just met her at Pam's roast and she looks the same. When Charo flew down the aisles during an off-Broadway show called Pete and Keely a few years ago, it touched my hand and I squealed like a 10 age girl on steroids--ok, and ecstacy. And heroin.)
I can't really imagine what Dolly wants. What she craves. How does she spend her spare time? We've all heard the dyke rumors. What does she do with her coins? I really can't imagine the real person because the stage persona is so well-crafted and that thing never leaves the house without the full Dolly ensemble. Give 'em what they want. I went with Miss Guy, who remembers her saying in an interview that it would take a family emergency to get her out of the house bare-faced. And some queen did her make-up recently and Dolly came fully made up. She did not remove her paint to re-paint! Danilo, hairdresser to the stars, went to her home to do some wigs and she greeted him on the porch in full face, wig, gingham shirt tied at the waist, daisy dukes, shimmer tights and candies. What makes a 60 year old woman cavort in custom 5/6 inch heels for 2 hours? (Ask Lypsinka!) Can't just be $ if she doesn't need it. I guess it's the satisfaction of having created something so fascinating. Even if it's not completely real, it's "real" to so many people.
KATE PIERSON AT WIGSTOCK!
The B-52's magical vocalist will hit the Wigstock stage with the rest of us "gals" on 8/27. She's one of the wiggiest creatures ever! Performing one of her sizzling solo numbers as seen in The Chanteuse Club. Her look has been such a huge inspiration to me---I'm sure she's thinking "Don't blame that mess on me, Bunion!" Can't wait to see what she's got cookin'.
NOT WHACK-A GERBIL!
What would PETA think?
http://www.gerbilboys.com/ (for the truly deranged and bored)
FUN ARTICLE BY ADAM MCKAY
Wet Hot American Summer: Bushie Style
So W Bush's approval rating has dipped to 42%. To give you an idea of how low that is, scabies gets a 36% approval rating and banging your elbow bone on a marble table edge gets a 32%. Heck, even the Devil gets a 4%.
I think Cheney just scored a 9% (note: poll results reflect a margin of error of plus or minus fifty percent except the initial 42% one, which is real). The only people still supporting W and these evil goofs are the Brit Hume fan club and people who worry that if they admit they were wrong Al Franken gets some kind of bonus commission ipod or trip to Cancun.
That's right, finally after six years America is waking up to this ridiculously corrupt, secretive and arrogant administration. The reality of what these guys have done can no longer be fudged. The invasion/liberation of Iraq is a disaster, the trade deficit and oil prices are skyrocketing, numbers and facts have been altered and corporate lobbyists now swarm over and through our government like rats over an untended salad bar... Not to mention the fact that due to their politicking our country is more divided than it's been since people rode horses to work and treated broken bones with butter and leeches. If this all keeps up pretty soon FOX News will have to start airing reruns from five years ago to keep alive the myth that the corporate-backed right isn't ripping our country apart and off.
So what does Bush Jr. do in the face of this collapsing house of lies and ineptitude? He rides his bike.
Let me say that again. With support for his administration falling fast and American troops engaged in a crazily complicated war that requires 24/7 diplomacy, managing and oversight, our president has gone back to his fake ranch to ride his bike.
Now before the Bush zealots jump all over me for distorting facts, let me be more specific: he's also clearing brush.
Since he's been in office, Bush Jr. has had almost 400 days at his play ranch in Crawford. I make silly comedies for a living and I haven't had 400 days off total in my whole life. This guy is the president, and he is riding his bike like a seven year old who just figured out it makes a cool sound when you put baseball cards in your wheel spokes.
And George Jr. isn't just vacationing. He's vacationing mad. You know, like when people drive mad? "Well then fine! Let's just go to the store!" And then the person goes 110 in a 25 zone while insisting everything’s all right. Well George W is vacationing mad. "You think my war is a mess? Well I'm going to Crawford to ride bikes and I don't care what you say!" "You think I made a terrible appointment in sending Bolton to the U.N.? I don’t care... I'm going to Texas and I'm not even wearing a tie! So screw you all!"
George W Bush may be the first president ever who you can honestly describe as petulant.
But George's vacation isn't all idyllic little league games and bicycle rides against sun-rimmed Texan horizon lines. All vacations have their spoilers. Occasionally there are mosquitoes or rain showers or the mother of a dead Army soldier living on your lawn. What a drag that must be. Imagine you're the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. You start a war based on manipulated intelligence -- or, as some people call them, lies. Now thousands are dying because of your hubris and deceit. Rather than face up to the problem you go for an extended vacation to Texas to ride your bicycle. But then the mother of one of the boys you basically sent to their death comes and lives on your lawn! Talk about your Shakespearian hijinks! Only instead of "out damn spot" it's "away damn brush!" or "ride damn bicycle!"
Here's what I say we do. I think anyone who has a problem with this war should go down to Texas and join Ms. Sheehan. I think there’s nothing more relaxing then sleeping in your ranch with the sounds of 300,000 people snoring outside your window. And I think all 300,000 should demand a speech explaining what we're going to do about this bloody mess. And then there must be questions.
And then, if all that goes down and we've really got some answers, then and only then, we can all ride bikes.
LET'S TRY THIS OVER HERE!
Legal fight begins for inquiry into lawfulness of Iraq conflict
Thursday August 18, 2005
Tony Blair could be forced to give evidence under oath after families of 17 soldiers killed in Iraq began a legal bid yesterday to secure an independent inquiry into the lawfulness of the 2003 conflict.
A lawyer representing the families lodged papers at the high court in London, seeking a judicial review of the government's decision this May not to order an investigation into the legality of the war in Iraq.
NEW AIDS CURE IS A CROC!
The crocodile has an immune system which attaches to bacteria and tears it apart and it explodes. It's like putting a gun to the head of the bacteria and pulling the trigger.
-- Scientist Adam Britton
SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) -- Scientists in Australia's tropical north are collecting blood from crocodiles in the hope of developing a powerful antibiotic for humans, after tests showed that the reptile's immune system kills the HIV virus.
The crocodile's immune system is much more powerful than that of humans, preventing life-threatening infections after savage territorial fights which often leave the animals with gaping wounds and missing limbs.
"They tear limbs off each other and despite the fact that they live in this environment with all these microbes, they heal up very rapidly and normally almost always without infection," said U.S. scientist Mark Merchant, who has been taking crocodile blood samples in the Northern Territory.
Initial studies of the crocodile immune system in 1998 found that several proteins (antibodies) in the reptile's blood killed bacteria that were resistant to penicillin, such as Staphylococcus aureus or golden staph, Australian scientist Adam Britton told Reuters on Tuesday. It was also a more powerful killer of the HIV virus than the human immune system.
"If you take a test tube of HIV and add crocodile serum it will have a greater effect than human serum. It can kill a much greater number of HIV viral organisms," Britton said from Darwin's Crocodylus Park, a tourism park and research centre.
Britton said the crocodile immune system worked differently from the human system by directly attacking bacteria immediately an infection occurred in the body.
"The crocodile has an immune system which attaches to bacteria and tears it apart and it explodes. It's like putting a gun to the head of the bacteria and pulling the trigger," he said.
For the past 10 days Britton and Merchant have been carefully collecting blood from wild and captive crocodiles, both saltwater and freshwater species. After capturing a crocodile and strapping its powerful jaws closed the scientists extract blood from a large vein behind the head.
"It's called a sinus, right behind the head, and it's very easy just to put a needle in the back of the neck and hit this sinus and then you can take a large volume of blood very simply," said Britton.
The scientists hope to collect enough crocodile blood to isolate the powerful antibodies and eventually develop an antibiotic for use by humans.
"We may be able to have antibiotics that you take orally, potentially also antibiotics that you could run topically on wounds, say diabetic ulcer wounds; burn patients often have their skin infected and things like that," said Merchant.
However, the crocodile's immune system may be too powerful for humans and may need to be synthesised for human consumption.
"There is a lot of work to be done. It may take years before we can get to the stage where we have something to market," said Britton.
LIMBAUGH LOSES IT OVER CINDY!
From the August 15 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: I mean, Cindy Sheehan is just Bill Burkett. Her story is nothing more than forged documents. There's nothing about it that's real, including the mainstream media's glomming onto it. It's not real. It's nothing more than an attempt. It's the latest effort made by the coordinated left.
It's working, CINDY! They are coming unhinged over your effectiveness. Now news stations are running interviews with mother from the opposite side. Which is what? Mother who WANTED their kids TO DIE? Makes no sense!
Madge Weinstein, the queenius drag podcaster invited me to Crawford with her. Unfortunately there is a little festival I have to attend on the 27th of August, but I pray that Madge goes and covers it for her yeastradio.com. Of course, Madge is a pampered, bloated, jewish lesbian so I'm not sure how she'll take to the blistering Crawford heat. One things for sure, if Madge makes it to Camp Casey and Bush drives by and sees her, he DEFINITELY will not stop to chat with Mrs. Sheehan.
I profiled Madge and a few other podcasters in September's Genre. I don't think this line will have made it in to the final edit, so just to tease you a bit, Madge confessed to me that she has "a prolapsed uterus so distended that she's become an advocate for female glory holes." In other words, her cunt hangs so low that she can stick it through a hole and be a "top" with her pussy! Are you hot yet???
THE GODDESS WHO???
There's another Bunny on the block: The Goddess Bunny from LA. I'm not sure of her current whereabouts, but she is a fascinating "lady" who was featured in a Marilyn Manson video a few years back. Vaginal Davis has regaled me with her tales for years--she's quite legendary. Her unique tap-dancing talents (love that umbrella, gurl!) can be viewed at:
MORE FROM PAM'S ROAST
COURTNEY'S NOT ON DRUGS! SHE'S ON JUGS! MINE! One of Courtneys' cut jokes was "When I first met Pam she was performing at a PETA benefit at an animal rights shelter. I was just looking for a place to crash!" Hee hee!
Bea Arthur was a hoot! And what a trooper! One of the lines from the roasters that they cut was "She's so old that she has sand in her cunt before she gets to the beach!" This might make a great intro at Wigstock for a certain ancient 'zine queen.
Lypsinka asked me if I didn't want to chomp down on Tommy Lee while sitting next to him. Not really. He's awful sweet, but kinda the wrong color for me.
But hanging with hung Dennis RODman did put me in the mood for deepthroating, uh....a champagne glass!
BUSH DEFENDS NOT TALKING TO CINDY
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush, noting that lots of people want to talk to the president and "it's also important for me to go on with my life," on Saturday defended his decision not to meet with the grieving mom of a soldier killed in Iraq.
Yeah, asshole! Go on with your life while you cause the deaths of countless others! Ride a bike while your poll numbers plummet! Better yet, take a hike. What if we all stood up and did what Cindy Sheehan is doing? What if we withheld our taxes--all %62/%55 or whatever percent of us who disagree with the war. Let's fuck them up! Who could organize this--is it an option? All I have is a blog, but what else can I do? If Cindy can do all this alone, what could we achieve together? Instead of just hating right-wingers, maybe we can reach them and teach them now. Everyone is sick of the war. Let's get the movement going, people!
Some recent signs that Republicans credibility is crumbling.
President Bush's standing with an American public anxious about Iraq and the nation's direction is lower than that of the last two men who won re-election to the White House — Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — at this point in their second terms.
Schwarzenegger abuse victim was paid off to hush before the election. So in other words without pay-offs, he was too scummy to run for office.
Gas prices still soaring.This annoyance cuts between party lines.
Iraqi constitution delayed a week--another irritant to the White House which proves how far their Iraq plan is off track.
Tom Delay's crooked croney Abramoff indicted and they are afraid he'll skip bail. This is at the same time the Delay has the nerve to preach against abortion and gay rights.
Judge reluctant to create emissions oversight
Eight states want court to order power giants to cut greenhouse gases
A federal judge expressed reluctance about beginning judicial oversight of pollution issues that affect global warming as she heard arguments Friday in a complaint brought by eight states against some of the nation’s largest power companies.
“Why should I do something that Congress and the president have decided they don’t want to do as a matter of policy?” Judge Loretta Preska asked lawyers for the states. (MAYBE BECAUSE THE JUDICIAL BRANCH IS SUPPOSED TO CHECK AND BALANCE THE CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT, YOU DUMBASS!)
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the states would prove that the five power companies are responsible for 10 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions.
Every document released on nominee John Roberts is more damningly conservative.
Pentagon and White House offering different takes on the war.
Rove scandal still brewing. Might Bush's puppet-master bite the dust? Who'll hold his hand? Read this post about how Rove engineered Bush, an Ivy League graduate with a background in oil--he's no rancher, but that makes him look more down home and everyman.
Steve Cobbles blog from huffingtonpost.com:
He's Not a Cowboy!
The cartoonists have been having a field day with Cindy's challenge and George W's double super secret vacation, which is good.
But I have one bone to pick -- not just with the cartoonists, but with my brother and sister progressives. Please quit calling him a cowboy.
George W. is not a cowboy. He's never been a cowboy. He's an oil man, and a prep school/Ivy League/Skull & Bones cheerleader, born and schooled (sort of) in New England.
This may seem trivial, but it's not, because most Americans like cowboys. That's why the Crawford ranch was built in the first place -- because Karl Rove knew that a ranch setting was more popular and populist than an oil derrick. Especially an oil derrick sitting on a dry hole, which was the only type W had any connection to...
Where I used to live in southern New Mexico, there are real cowboys. They'd call W a "drugstore cowboy". Or, as my friend Jim Hightower often says, he's "all hat and no cattle".
What W really is, though, is a failed oil man.
And at $66 a barrel, an oil man is way less popular than a cowboy, even a drugstore cowboy...
ULTRA NATE STOLE MY FIGURE!
(SO DID BRITNEY, FOR THAT MATTER!)
Actually, she's expecting a baby girl (Izaya) in 2 weeks. Ultra is the fantastic singer/songwriter behind FREE--you know it: Cus you're freeee ta do what you want ta dooo--which topped international dance charts a few years ago. But for old school house lovers, she is sooooo much more than her hits. Teaming up with the Basement Boys she churned out crazy early club hits like IT'S OVER NOW, SCANDAL, REJOICING, IS IT LOVE? and was one of the first house divas to regularly appear Wigstock where she always turned it! The girl is singlehandedly responsible for at least one of my bunions!
Best wishes to her in this new phase and feel FREE to check out her website to hear new music, watch videos for NEW KIND OF MEDICINE, IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND, FREE, DESIRE, and GET IT UP (I guess somebody did, right Ultra?)
Cindy Sheehan on CNN yesterday: I know he (Bush) knows the war is unjust "because the Downing Street memo proved that." Bless you, honey! What democratic politician is even mentioning the Downing Street memo? I ain't hearing it if they are. It takes a fucking housewife to put the pressure on the president and his lies. An ordinary housewife, who writes her blog on www.huffingtonpost.com:
We had a very interesting day. We had Bush drive by really, really fast twice. I caught a glimpse of Laura. I was hoping after she saw me that she would come down to Camp Casey with some brownies and lemonade. I waited for her, but she never came.
No, Cindy. They are not going to send you any brownies or lemonade. They can't even acknowledge you. To do so would acknowledge the lies which took us into the war which killed your son, and so many other moms'.
We are here at the Crawford Peace House now. I came here so angry and I have been so encouraged and overwhelmed by the support from all over. I was thinking that there is no reason for us progressive liberals to be angry anymore. We have the power. One mom has shown that ordinary citizens can make a difference.
(Sing it, sweet sister! I wish I could Fed-Ex you some brownies and lemonade!)
We the people have to hold George Bush accountable. We have to make sure he answers to us. If he doesn't have to answer to Congress, or the media, we will force him to answer to us.
Cindy, I really think you can, girl! He's not even coming close to answering you. The closest he's come is to say that he's considered pulling out of Iraq early. He might of said that anyway because of dropping poll numbers surrounding his handling of the war. But that doesn't answer your question of WHY WERE WE THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE??? Somehow, perhaps through your very ordinariness, you've struck a chord and I feel like it's happening at just the right moment to make a difference. Maybe Americans are overheated, tired of rising gas prices or of dodging the rain of frogs in Montana--whatever it is--your message is being picked up and broadcast as is. The Post only runs the story of your in-laws disagreeing with you, and CNN broadcast a story today about how counter-protesters to protest you, but your message is still coming through loud and clear. Some of these idiots have banners which say FREEDOM and SUPPORT OUR TROOPS. The stupidity of that! Whose freedom are they referring to? Our freedom to attack whomever we choose without reason? Or the freedom of Iraqis who these counter-protesters could care less about as long as their fucking gas prices don't go up? And support our troops? One of those troops was your son, and that's who you ARE supporting. You don't want others to die needlessly! Isn't that support? How could anyone actually be so ignorant as to feel that we were in such danger from Iraq that the expense and human toll was ever worth it???
Cindy ol' gal, you've singlehandedly opened a hole in the administration's credibility so wide that they are now on attack mode. And they're slinging every bit of mud they can find. Stand strong and see this right through to that motherfucker's impeachment!
Cindy goes on:
Still putting out the O'Reilly fires of me being a traitor and using Casey's name dishonorably, my in-laws sent out a press statement disagreeing with me in strong terms; which is totally okay with me, because they barely knew Casey. We have always been on separate sides of the fence politically and I have not spoken to them since the election when they supported the man who is responsible for Casey's death. The thing that matters to me is that our family -- Casey's dad and my other 3 kids are on the same side of the fence that I am.
November 2, 2004 was not George Bush's accountability moment: today is. We are finished allowing him to get away with deceiving the American public and abusing his power.
We are mad as hell and we're not taking it anymore.
This is George Bush's accountability moment. That's why I'm here. The mainstream media aren't holding him accountable. Neither is Congress. So I'm not leaving Crawford until he's held accountable. It's ironic, given the attacks leveled at me recently, how some in the media are so quick to scrutinize -- and distort -- the words and actions of a grieving mother but not the words and actions of the president of the United States. But now it's time for him to level with me and with the American people. It's too late to bring back the people who are already dead, but there are tens of thousands of people still in harm's way.
CHRISTINE LAHTI ON CINDY
Cindy Sheehan is my hero. She is the hero of all Americans who make up the 62% of us who oppose this war. As an American exercising her right to free speech, she is a brave, passionate, living example of democracy, and she has the undeniable force and the moral authority of a grieving mother. Being a mother of three, I can't even imagine the depths of the grief she must feel having lost her son in this horrific war. But I can imagine that her grief and rage -- her demand for justice and action -- is a force that is unstoppable. No wonder Bush is intimidated. No wonder he can't even walk down his driveway. He is scared shitless. Whether he acknowledges it or not -- whether his aides try to insulate him from the truth or not -- his hands are covered in the blood of Cindy Sheehan's son.
GARY HART ON CINDY
A Voice Crying in the Wilderness
The caskets keep coming home... with no public official to greet them or to respect them. They are the forgotten dead and they represent thousands more of the even more forgotten wounded. But wait. There is someone to hold the emperor to account. There is someone willing to look ridiculous, to be mocked and made a fool of. She is not a Senator. She is not a party leader. She is not in the regular establishment Rolodex of the Sunday talk producers. Yet, she holds the highest office available in a republic, that of citizen. When the last Marine leaves Iraq, dead or alive, she can claim more credit than them all. Because of the courage of one brave woman, she quite possible will have had more to do with finally bringing this great nation back to its senses... and to its principles. Remember her name. It is Cindy Sheehan.
AND ARIANNA HUFFINGTON WEIGHS IN:
It Takes a Village to Smear Cindy Sheehan
The right wing attacks on Cindy Sheehan -- desperate, pathetic, and grasping at straws -- expose much less about their target than about the attackers.
I mean, trying to slime a grieving Gold Star mom because she is inconveniently questioning the reasons her son was sent off to die in Iraq? Why that would be like trashing a much-decorated war hero or outing an undercover CIA agent…
How much longer can the Bushies get away with mauling the very values they profess to stand for before their supporters start getting wise to the fact that the only value they really value is power?
Think about it, they’ve shown absolutely no compunction about turning the sleaze machine on an undercover agent who’d spent her career working to protect us from weapons of mass destruction, a Silver Star/Purple Heart veteran who volunteered to fight in a war the administration chickenhawks gamed the system to avoid, and now the mother of a dead soldier.
The right wing smear machine whirrs on -- using its media mouthpieces to do this dirtiest of dirty work. First it was the lie that Sheehan had, in the words of Drudge, “dramatically changed her account” of her June 2004 meeting with Bush. Despite the fact that this supposed flip-flop was a total distortion created by taking quotes out of context, the story quickly made its way into the hands of conservative bloggers… and allowed the TV jackal-pack to start tearing away at Sheehan’s flesh. For all the details on how this went down, check out Media Matters blow-by-blow description. The lowlights included Bill O’Reilly and Michelle Malkin tag-teaming up to push the idea that Sheehan’s “story hasn’t checked out”. O’Reilly also claimed Sheehan “is in bed with the radical left”, and, later suggested “this kind of behavior borders on treasonous”… and, for bad measure, tried to slime Sheehan by linking her with “people who hate this government, hate their country”.
Rush Limbaugh played his usual role, parroting the flip-flop party line, saying that Sheehan was “trying to pull a little bit of a swindle” and that “she’d been totally co-opted by…the whole Michael Moore leftist mentality.” Fred Barnes piled on, saying of Sheehan: “She’s a crackpot” (no doubt using the same video-based diagnostic technique pioneered by Bill Frist). And Michelle Malkin went all Patricia Arquette on the case, using her heretofore unpromoted ESP powers to let us know that Sheehan’s dead son Casey wouldn’t approve of “his mother’s crazy accusations”.
Beyond contempt. But I will say this for these sleazeballs: they are nothing if not resilient. After the Cindy as Flip-Flopper story was revealed as a very poorly done hatchet job, a second load of sludge was quickly dumped: the ludicrous statement from the (ahem) “Sheehan Family” condemning Cindy’s “political motivations and publicity tactics” (run under a banner headline proclaiming “Family of Fallen Soldier Pleads: Please Stop, Cindy”).
Where do I start with this piece of manufactured offal? How about the fact that no one put their names on the statement, which was “signed” by “Casey Sheehan’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins”. Don’t these folks have names? The only name attached to the “Sheehan Family” statement (delivered to Drudge via email with permission “to distribute as you wish”) belongs to Cherie Quartarolo who describes herself as Casey’s aunt and godmother. So did I miss something? Since when does godmother outrank mother? What I really want to know is: how does Casey’s second-cousin-twice-removed feel about Cindy’s vigil? How about his ex-brother-in-law’s cleaning lady?
Cindy deals with all this very succinctly in her latest post, but suffice it to say that Casey’s dad and their three other children are all supportive of what Cindy is doing. Hmm… I always thought conservatives were big proponents of the importance of the nuclear family. Does James Dobson know about this attempt to undermine the primacy of a mother?
I guess it takes a village to trash a grieving Gold Star Mom.
I'M SLICED FROM PAM'S ROAST!
WITH JEFFREY ROSS, wearing a fur to annoy Pam
WITH ANDY DICK
WITH ANNA NICOLE
Looks like I got the chop from the Pamela Anderson Roast, according to the New York Times article below. Eddie Griffin was also chopped--and he was hilarious, with no script to work from. I submitted some jokes which were considered too dirty and then given a script by some Comedy Central writers. I didn't think my lines were all that funny, but I didn't wanna make waves and question it. I got a few laughs from the studio audience, but I knew that I'd hardly slayed them. Pam and PETA's Dan Matthews were really the ones plugging for me to be on board, and I think Comedy Central reluctantly agreed to appease her. The frustrating thing was that after all my smutty, funny material lines were cut, the other roasters went really filthy with their shtick. But they were all very funny, so I suggest that you all watch it anyway! But don't look for Bunion! (Maybe on the home dvd???) I was just happy to be part of such a glittering evening and hob-knob with the celebs above. OK, I'm bitter and suicidal. I knew you wouldn't believe my brave, charitable face. Please bombard Comedy Central with anthrax-laden hate-mail immediately--KIDDING!!!! It'll be a fun show and I'll be watching--through my tears, on my birthday, for chrissakes!!!!
FROM TODAY'S NEW YORK TIMES:
Sweet, easy Pamela Anderson - centerfold, actress, philanthropist - enters a snake pit of twisted and talented comedians Sunday night on "Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson." Let's cut to the chase: She's wearing a translucent black top, and she's braless.
But that top - which can be seen straight through when the lights shine on it - may actually be among the least scandalous elements of the sick yet riveting roast, which was filmed Aug. 7 at Sony Studios in Los Angeles.
Among the most scandalous moments : jokes about genitals; the self-consciously scummy, diseased personas of almost everyone on the dais; and Courtney Love, the bloated musician, who throughout the proceedings acted as if she belonged in an institution. Again.
With Ms. Love thrashing around, it can be hard to remember that it is Ms. Anderson's night. Smoking cigarettes, Ms. Love heckled the comedians and flipped people off, regularly flashing her underwear and pulling up her top. When not lurching toward center stage in raw bids for attention, she slumped so far down in a white sofa that some of the male comedians - particularly the M.C., Jimmy Kimmel - appeared to prop her up. Toward the end of the roast, she reclined entirely.
"How is it possible that Courtney Love looks worse than Kurt Cobain?" the comic Jeffrey Ross asked. Is that line even legal?
But when people joked about Ms. Love's history of substance abuse, she would respond slurrily, "I've been sober for a year!"
"If you're not on drugs," Mr. Kimmel shot back at one point, "you've got problems."
As an event to raise money for PETA, the charity organization supported by Ms. Anderson, the evening proceeded without the wood-paneled gentlemen's-club ambience of the old Friars Club roasts. (Comedy Central no longer broadcasts these.) Instead, the graphics in the title sequence, which set the tone for the night, appeared to be inspired by tattoos, videogames and mud-flap detailing.
The roast was informal and coed, with Mr. Kimmel's first lady, Sarah Silverman, and the fat insult comic Lisa Lampanelli getting top billing. Bea Arthur, the ranking roaster, appeared if not shocked then certainly chastened by how low the jokes were going.
Ms. Anderson, on the other hand, appeared amply prepared for the jokes about her promiscuity, her surgical enhancements, her rumored moronism. ("Don't be fooled by the dumb blonde routine," Mr. Kimmel said. "This woman is as smart as a rock.")
Some jokes, though dirty, even seemed to please the pert pinup. Nick DiPaolo, noting that Ms. Anderson's body was so perfect that it seemed to defy the laws of digestion, speculated: "I think frozen strawberry yogurt comes out of it. It's in a swirl. It's got sprinkles on it."
Ms. Anderson beamed with pride.
She was also gracious, though more subdued, when Mr. DiPaolo slammed her work on television.
"As an actor," he said, "you have the emotional range of Terri Schiavo."
He added, "If I was a baby seal and I had a choice between being clubbed to death or watching an episode of 'Stacked,' I'd be like, 'Somebody call J. Lo and let her know her mittens are ready.' "
Some of the scheduled roasters, including Lady Bunny and Eddie Griffin, had their quips cut from the television version. The remarks of others, including the comedian David Spade and the Playboy king Hugh Hefner, appeared on video.
Mr. Hefner - who had Ms. Anderson on the cover of Playboy a record 11 times - turned sober in his speech. "In all seriousness, Pam, may your spirit and drive continue to inspire women everywhere to whip out their melons. Or, I mean, to throw off the chains of our sexually oppressive society."
The Bunnies who flanked Mr. Hefner cried out in protest. Mr. Hefner assured the girls that they would still get to use chains with him.
Surprisingly, given Ms. Love's oscillation between catatonia and exhibitionism throughout the night, Comedy Central chose to broadcast her own effort at roasting her friend Pam. "Don't worry," Mr. Kimmel said, introducing Ms. Love. "She slipped herself a roofie before the show."
But the former Hole singer plowed through a decent set of jokes, though she stumbled scarily as she started, saying that because she's sober now, "all these drug yokes - jokes - are tired." She savored her error for a beat and went into brief reverie: "Yokes. Jokes."
Referring to the reputation she and Ms. Anderson share for being good in bed, she also recognized a difference: A guy wants to have sex with Pam "and tell all your friends about it." With Ms. Love, a guy wants to have sex, "and tell none of your friends and see a doctor."
Ms. Love herself seemed to require the attention of a doctor. But she still insisted from the sidelines, "I've been sober for a year!"
"You got it, doll," said Sarah Silverman, unpersuaded, at one point. As Ms. Silverman told the crowd, "I was curious to see which Courtney Love was going to show up: the smeared-lipstick crazy coke whore or the violent smeared-lipstick crazy coke whore."
By the end of the raucous, nauseating and often funny night, it still wasn't clear.
Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson
Comedy Central, Sunday night at 10, Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central time.
LADY MISS KIER AT WIGSTOCK!
DEEELITE'S Supa Dj Dmitry, Lady Miss Kier and moi at Wigstock, Tompkins Square Park circa '92.
Ooh la la la la la la la la! Kier has just been confirmed for Wigstock. She's been living in London for years deejaying and writing music, but recently moved back to NYC and is ready to bust out one of her new tunes for the wigsters on 8/27. Her dee-lightful, dee-licious, dee-gorgeous voice has not been heard on a Wigstock stage for a decade! (And yes, she's still a fox!) Check out her site at www.ladykier.com.
Jackie's site has been updated and includes some hot new photos like this one! Check 'em out along with her new merch. And if you liked her band DIRTY SANCHEZ's underground smash FUCKING ON THE DANCEFLOOR, they've got a new cd coming out too. Visit this retarded whore/clown today!
Check out this Andy Dick video at http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2675149?htv=12
Click on Harlan McCraney: Presidential Speechalist
MAYOR OKS CIRCUMCISION RITE???
I tell ya, I don't want to seem anti-Semitic--I need an agent, for chrissakes!--but doesn't this bit of news make you "bris"tle a little?
From the NY POST today.
After a closed-door meeting with members of the Orthodox Jewish community yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg decided not to ban a little known practice in which a rabbi draws blood with his mouth after a circumcision to clean out impurities.
The custom is thousands of years old, but earlier this year, health officials investigated Rabbi Yitzchok Fischer of Rockland County after an infant he circumcized that way died from herpes.
(But wait...isn't the practice supposed to REMOVE impurities?)
Fischer was questioned after health officials learned three other babies he circumcised contracted herpes, according to published reports. Health officials filed a legal complaint ordering Fischer to use a sterile tube and wear protective gloves, and said he has agreed to abide by that order.
(Wow! To get herpes and not even have an orgasm to in compensate for the life-long disease or death? Amen! Are there no herpes-free, blood-sucking, foreskin-slicing rabbis in Rockland County that the orthodox jews can use?)
NEED SOME PIZAZZ?
If so. please watch this insane video:
A VACUUM IN THEIR LIVES
From photographer Brian Berman: I just got back from shooting in LA and San Francisco and before that I was shooting in Morocco for three weeks (on vacation). I just shot this somewhat strange story, for myself, in LA that I thought you would like to see. At the very least it's good for a few laughs. There is a group of guys who collect vintage vacuums and then have a convention where they show off their collections (which sometimes top off at about 300 vacuums). They have vacuuming competitions/races, repair clinics, a social and then they have a banquet where they give out awards for best vacuums in various categories etc. Needless to say, there were quite a few characters there and the hot and new Dyson was quite the divisive topic. I'm still going through the contacts, but here are some of the images. brianbermanphoto.com
SHE STOLE MY ACT!
Go Figger: A Cultural Critic Dresses Up
Daniel Harris's Diary of a Drag Queen
by Joy Press
August 8th, 2005 3:55 PM
Diary of a Drag Queen
By Daniel Harris
Several years ago, cultural critic Daniel Harris published A Memoir of No One in Particular, a supposedly satirical attack on memoir mania in which the author managed to outstrip all those other self-portraitists by being more obsessive and unstintingly focused on the minutaie of his own behavior. But apparently Harris felt he hadn't gone far enough, because now he returns with Diary of a Drag Queen, a discomfiting journal of his descent into midlife crisis and depression via drag.
Harris admits there's a sizable element of masochism in all this. No matter how many wigs he buys or makeup tricks he masters, he makes an ungainly woman. The cruel denizens of his favorite transsexual chat room mock his photos, and his dates sometimes flee at the door. Harris is interested in screwing straight guys, and the portraits of the men who parade through his door are the meat of the book, literally and figuratively. He finds poorly employed black men particularly drawn to his ugly she-male persona, and he is touched by the sentimentality of some of the blue-collar men who come courting, like the Sicilian construction worker who compliments Harris on his "figger." His experimentation with the world of feminine accoutrements yields alternately entertaining and irritating commentary. "I know, far better than most, how hard it is to be a woman," he writes, as if womanhood could be boiled down to beauty products. Still, he's an acute observer of the human condition (his own, at least), and the pages of this diary are littered with enough intelligence and humor to make it worth taking a dip in Harris's bath of self-pity and loathing.
ALBERT CRUDO'S PAINTINGS
If you like this one, check out more of Albert's work on www.albertcrudo.com. Also portraits of Paris Hilton, Donald Trump and the Cupcake of Prague.
ON BUSH: "THERE'S JUST NO CONSCIENCE THERE."
A puppet can't have a conscience.
From Thomas de Zengotita's blog Cindy Sheehan Has a Friend on www.huffingtonpost.com
I haven't seen Bill O'Reilly so flummoxed since Al Franken took him down at that LA book fair last year, though this was much subtler. He had to grin and swallow it all because he was interviewing the mother of a dead soldier. I can only assume he was misled by his booker, or maybe his booker was misled by Dolores Kesterson herself -- who knows? But Bill obviously thought he was going to get this woman to acknowledge that her son died "in a noble cause" in Iraq on tonight’s O'Reilly Factor,around 8:30, NYC time it was.
Dolores was slated to be the anti-Cindy Sheehan.
Oooops. O'Reilly was obliged to blend his most unctuous pretense-of-fairness manner ("I'll give you the last word") with his most over-bearing bullyboy style as he tried to manipulate and finally bludgeon this poor woman into conceding his point with questions like—(rough quote) "You know Michael Moore, you know he hates our country. If you had to choose between him and President Bush, who would you choose?" Answer, a bit fumbled, delivered under huge pressure by a woman with no media experience: (rough quote) "Well, I don't really know everything that Michael Moore stands for, but I know he hasn't caused anybody to be killed for no good reason..."
And so on...
Some of you bloggers out there with all the software need to circulate this interview...
From Eric Boehlert's blog Cindy Sheehan Has a Friend, Cont'd on www.huffingtonpost.com
Agreed. It was must-see TV. And not only because what it revealed about Bill O'Reilly -- he was forced into a four corners delay after he realized the mess he was in with Dolores Kesterson, mother of slain Chief Warrant Officer Erik Kesterson -- but also what the segment revealed about president Bush, who apparently tried to bully the grieving mother when she questioned him about his war of choice.
At one point during the interview O'Reilly asked Kesterson, the Santa Clara mother, about her allotted three-minute meeting with Bush following her only child's death in 2003. But keep in mind what Cindy Sheehan told CNN's Wolf Blitzer this Sunday regarding her brief grief time with Bush in 2004:
Sheehan: "He wouldn't look at the pictures of [my son] Casey. He didn't even know Casey's name. He came in the room and the very first thing he said is, 'So who are we honoring here?' He didn't even know Casey's name. He didn't want to hear it. He didn't want to hear anything about Casey. He wouldn't even call him 'him' or 'he.' He called him 'your loved one.' Every time we tried to talk about Casey and how much we missed him, he would change the subject. And he acted like it was a party."
Now to "The O'Reilly Factor":
Kesterson: So actually, you know, it did come about. They put me into a cubicle by myself, took everything away from me. I also came prepared with a letter to give to the president about how I felt about the war and, you know, the loss of my son, my only child for a cause that I thought, you know, was not worthwhile at that point in time.
And so president Bush came marching in, to make a long story short, came marching in to the room, got right in my face, eyeball-to-eyeball, nose-to-nose this close, toe-to-toe and he said, "I'm George Bush, President of the United States, and I understand you have something to say to me privately." And I said, 'Yes, I do respect the office of the presidency of the United States, but I want to tell you how it feels to lose your only child in a cause that you don't believe in, in an unnecessary war. And, you know, we talked about it from there just like you and I are talking about. [Emphasis added.]
O'Reilly: Was he respectful to you?
Kesterson: Yes, yes was. But he did, you know, come at me a few times with trotting out, 'Delores, do you realize we've been attacked on 9/11?' Who doesn't [realize that]?
O'Reilly: He hugged you at the end, did he not?
Kesterson: Well, yes, he asked if he could hug me and I said, 'Well, that's a human thing, you know, I'm human.' And I agreed to it. But my personal feeling is that he really doesn't have a conscience about all this death and destruction. That was the essence I took away after looking him in the eyes and meeting with him—there's just no conscience there.
I know that there is a health insurance crisis in this country, with the rates so high that more people than ever are uninsured. (I can't wait for Michael Moore's new film which will deal with this topic.) Many folks are insured through their jobs, but this isn't an option for freelancers. I have located a freelancer's union which offers HIP insurance at around $200 per month if you qualify by proving that you have earned $10,000 or more in the last 6 months from different employers with either check stubs or tax returns. So for all you freaky artists, drag queens, computer trouble-shooters or other freelancers who feel that insurance is beyond your means, you may wanna check out www.workingtoday.org. It is not a quick process to qualify, but $200 is roughly half the rate that other insurers offer. Before qualifying for workingtoday.org (which also involves a $25 annual fee), I was enrolled in HIP for about $350 per month. Just passing this along because getting insurance can seem quite hopeless!
I watched the video, and it is hideous, but is hip-hop usually respectful towards women? Or does hip-hop normally shy away from promoting violence--usually of a kind more violent than slapping. And what's the difference between this smackfest and men boxing professionally? If there women are stupid enough to do it, I guess they are as entitled as boxers are.
WATCH THE VIDEO AT: http://www.m90.org/view_image.php?image_id=2633
Station fined over slap contest
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer called the settlement a "wake-up call"
A New York radio station has been fined $240,000 (£134,480) over an on-air contest called Smackfest, in which women slapped each other to win prizes.
Part of WQHT Hot 97's settlement - the maximum for the offence - will go to an domestic violence awareness charity.
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer investigated the station for a potential violation of state law on promotion of a combative sport.
Hot 97 recently fired employees over an offensive song about the Asian tsunami.
The Attorney General and the Athletic Commission said the station ran the contest, in which young women "violently" slapped each other, between April 2004 to January 2005.
Prizes on offer included concert tickets and up to $5,000 (£2,802) cash. Footage of the contests was made available on the station's website.
The law establishes set boundaries that cannot be crossed to protect our community's health and safety
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General
"This agreement should be a wake-up call to all those in the entertainment industry who think outrageousness is a clever marketing strategy," Mr Spitzer said.
"The law establishes set boundaries that cannot be crossed to protect our community's health and safety."
Emmis Radio, which owns hip hop station Hot 97, said the contestants were all volunteers but noted "it was not our finest hour, and New York City deserves better".
As part of the settlement, the station will also advertise domestic violence charity Safe Horizons on its website and publicity events for five months.
Earlier this year the station came in for heavy criticism when it played a spoof song about the devastating Boxing Day tsunami, written by one of its producers.
A producer and presenter were sacked for playing the song, which Emmis admitted was "morally indefensible".
Anyone smell burning plastic? The roast, shot in Culver City on Sunday night, was a hoot and a half. I had never seen some of the comedians and Sarah Silverman and Lisa Lampanelli were outrageously funny. Eddie Griffin was nuts, too and Pam's entrance must be seen to be believed. I was so thrilled to meet Charo and Anna Nicole and I were clowning on the red carpet. Courtney Love was sweet, though a little unruly--apparently you can't smoke on TV?--but that's her trademark. I think she showed her snatch several times, but it all added to the drama in a good way. Bea Arthur got a standing ovation for her "reading." And Andy Dick had some hilarious gags. Tommy Lee is a total sweetheart and Dennis is always fun--and sexy! I reminded him of one time we went out with Carmen Electra in San Francisco after the Exotic Erotic Ball and he caught me....actually, I'll save that one for the book. But don't miss the roast! I know they'll have to edit some of the smut, but hopefully they'll leave a little bit in!
Sunday Aug 14 2005
10:00 PM The Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson (Special)
11:30 PM The Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson (Special)
Monday Aug 15 2005
01:00 AM The Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson (Special)
09:30 PM The Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson (Special)
Wednesday Aug 17 2005
02:30 AM The Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson (Special)
Thursday Aug 18 2005
09:30 PM The Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson (Special)
Friday Aug 19 2005
12:00 AM The Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson (Special)
AND YOU THOUGHT THE BURKA WAS TORTURE?
Female circumcision surfaces in Iraq
A German aid group finds the first solid proof of the practice, thought to be prevalent in the Middle East.
By Nicholas Birch | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
KIRKUK, IRAQ – Set on an arid plain southeast of Kirkuk, Hasira looks like a place forsaken by time. Sheep amble past mud-brick houses and the odd sickly palm tree shades children's games. There is no electricity.
Yet along with 39 other villages in this region that Iraq's Kurds have named Germian (meaning hot place), Hasira and its people have become noted for presenting the first statistical evidence in Iraq of the existence of female circumcision, or female genital mutilation (FGM), as critics call it.
"We knew Germian was one of the areas most affected by the practice," says Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, director of a German nongovernmental organization called WADI, which has been based in Iraq for more than a decade.
Of 1,554 women and girls over 10 years old interviewed by WADI's local medical team, 907, or more than 60 percent, said they had had the operation. The practice is known to exist throughout the Middle East, particularly in northern Saudi Arabia, southern Jordan, and Iraq. There is also circumstantial evidence to suggest it is present in Syria, western Iran, and southern Turkey.
But while this practice was suspected in the region, there was never solid proof that the procedure was so prevalent.
When WADI presented the results of its survey in Vienna this spring, Mr. Osten-Sacken recalls, various Iraqi groups accused the group of being an agent of the Israelis. Even the Iraqi Kurdish authorities, who have backed efforts to combat FGM since the late 1990s, were rattled.
While urban Kurds are generally more lax in religious practice and more Western-looking than most Iraqis - they are the major opponents of sharia for Iraq's new constitution, for instance - many rural pockets cling to traditions.
"The [Kurdish] Ministry of Human Rights hauled us in for questioning," says Assi Frooz Aziz, coordinator of WADI's Germian medical team. "They accused us of publicizing the country's secrets."
Secrecy obstructs awareness
But it's not just obstructionism that has held up awareness of the phenomenon. Unlike in parts of Africa, where FGM is practiced relatively openly, in the Middle East it is veiled in secrecy.
"You can't just walk into a village and ask people if they circumcise their daughters or not," says Germian social worker Hero Umar. "These people only talked because we've been bringing them medical help for over a year."
Women in Hasira and the surrounding villages are reluctant to talk. But after long negotiation, Trifa Rashid Abdulkerim agrees to answer questions.
A farmer's wife from the village of Milkhasim, she says she learned the techniques from her neighbor, and took over when she stopped performing the operation. "June is the best time of the year," she says, "and the best age for patients is between 3 and 8."
TOM BROWN - STAFF
Anti-FGM campaigners point out that FGM crosses religious and ethnic boundaries.
But as a cleric in Sulaymaniyah puts it, "Islamic scholars have complex views on the phenomenon."
Sitting in his office in the Kurdish city, Mohammed Ahmed Gaznei explains.
"According to the Shafii school, which we Kurds belong to, circumcision is obligatory for both men and women. The Hanbali say it is obligatory only for men."
Personally opposed to female circumcision, Mr. Gaznei has helped in campaigns to stamp it out.
In 2002, he and other senior Kurdish clerics issued a religious edict, or fatwa, supporting the Hanbali practice. He has since appeared on TV several times to preach against FGM.
In Germian, however, information is slow to filter through the population. Women are still thought to be promiscuous if they are uncircumcised, some people here say.
"They say the food an uncircumcised woman cooks is unclean," says Shirin Ali, "and that a circumcised girl has more affection for her family."
WADI workers said that four months ago in a village just north of Hasira, a newly married - and uncircumcised - woman was so badly treated by her in-laws that she performed the operation on herself.
Hero Umar, the social worker, nonetheless thinks attitudes are slowly beginning to change.
"Most imams are cooperative," she notes. "The biggest obstacle remaining is the older generation of women."
WHAT IS FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION?
The different types of mutilation
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the term used to refer to the removal of part, or all, of the female genitalia. The most severe form is infibulation, also known as pharaonic circumcision. An estimated 15% of all mutilations in Africa are infibulations. The procedure consists of clitoridectomy (where all, or part of, the clitoris is removed), excision (removal of all, or part of, the labia minora), and cutting of the labia majora to create raw surfaces, which are then stitched or held together in order to form a cover over the vagina when they heal. A small hole is left to allow urine and menstrual blood to escape. In some less conventional forms of infibulation, less tissue is removed and a larger opening is left.
What is female genital mutilation?
Why and how Amnesty International took up the issue of FGM
A role for Amnesty International
A human rights issue
International human rights standards
FGM and asylum
United Nations Initiatives
Strategies for change
Information by country
Contact organsations and advocacy groups
The vast majority (85%) of genital mutilations performed in Africa consist of clitoridectomy or excision. The least radical procedure consists of the removal of the clitoral hood.
In some traditions a ceremony is held, but no mutilation of the genitals occurs. The ritual may include holding a knife next to the genitals, pricking the clitoris, cutting some pubic hair, or light scarification in the genital or upper thigh area.
The procedures followed
The type of mutilation practised, the age at which it is carried out, and the way in which it is done varies according to a variety of factors, including the woman or girl's ethnic group, what country they are living in, whether in a rural or urban area and their socio-economic provenance.
The procedure is carried out at a variety of ages, ranging from shortly after birth to some time during the first pregnancy, but most commonly occurs between the ages of four and eight. According to the World Health Organization, the average age is falling. This indicates that the practice is decreasingly associated with initiation into adulthood, and this is believed to be particularly the case in urban areas.
Some girls undergo genital mutilation alone, but mutilation is more often undergone as a group of, for example, sisters, other close female relatives or neighbours. Where FGM is carried out as part of an initiation ceremony, as is the case in societies in eastern, central and western Africa, it is more likely to be carried out on all the girls in the community who belong to a particular age group.
The procedure may be carried out in the girl's home, or the home of a relative or neighbour, in a health centre, or, especially if associated with initiation, at a specially designated site, such as a particular tree or river. The person performing the mutilation may be an older woman, a traditional midwife or healer, a barber, or a qualified midwife or doctor.
Girls undergoing the procedure have varying degrees of knowledge about what will happen to them. Sometimes the event is associated with festivities and gifts. Girls are exhorted to be brave. Where the mutilation is part of an initiation rite, the festivities may be major events for the community. Usually only women are allowed to be present.
Sometimes a trained midwife will be available to give a local anaesthetic. In some cultures, girls will be told to sit beforehand in cold water, to numb the area and reduce the likelihood of bleeding. More commonly, however, no steps are taken to reduce the pain. The girl is immobilized, held, usually by older women, with her legs open. Mutilation may be carried out using broken glass, a tin lid, scissors, a razor blade or some other cutting instrument. When infibulation takes place, thorns or stitches may be used to hold the two sides of the labia majora together, and the legs may be bound together for up to 40 days. Antiseptic powder may be applied, or, more usually, pastes - containing herbs, milk, eggs, ashes or dung - which are believed to facilitate healing. The girl may be taken to a specially designated place to recover where, if the mutilation has been carried out as part of an initiation ceremony, traditional teaching is imparted. For the very rich, the mutilation procedure may be performed by a qualified doctor in hospital under local or general anaesthetic.
Geographical distribution of female genital mutilation
An estimated 135 million of the world's girls and women have undergone genital mutilation, and two million girls a year are at risk of mutilation - approximately 6,000 per day. It is practised extensively in Africa and is common in some countries in the Middle East. It also occurs, mainly among immigrant communities, in parts of Asia and the Pacific, North and Latin America and Europe.
FGM is reportedly practised in more than 28 African countries (see FGM in Africa: Information by Country (ACT 77/07/97)). There are no figures to indicate how common FGM is in Asia. It has been reported among Muslim populations in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, although very little is known about the practice in these countries. In India, a small Muslim sect, the Daudi Bohra, practise clitoridectomy.
In the Middle East, FGM is practised in Egypt, Oman, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.
There have been reports of FGM among certain indigenous groups in central and south America, but little information is available.
In industrialized countries, genital mutilation occurs predominantly among immigrants from countries where mutilation is practised. It has been reported in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK and USA. Girls or girl infants living in industrialized countries are sometimes operated on illegally by doctors from their own community who are resident there. More frequently, traditional practitioners are brought into the country or girls are sent abroad to be mutilated. No figures are available on how common the practise is among the populations of industrialized countries.
The physical and psychological effects of female genital mutilation
The effects of genital mutilation can lead to death. At the time the mutilation is carried out, pain, shock, haemorrhage and damage to the organs surrounding the clitoris and labia can occur. Afterwards urine may be retained and serious infection develop. Use of the same instrument on several girls without sterilization can cause the spread of HIV.
More commonly, the chronic infections, intermittent bleeding, abscesses and small benign tumours of the nerve which can result from clitoridectomy and excision cause discomfort and extreme pain.
Infibulation can have even more serious long-term effects: chronic urinary tract infections, stones in the bladder and urethra, kidney damage, reproductive tract infections resulting from obstructed menstrual flow, pelvic infections, infertility, excessive scar tissue, keloids (raised, irregularly shaped, progressively enlarging scars) and dermoid cysts.
First sexual intercourse can only take place after gradual and painful dilation of the opening left after mutilation. In some cases, cutting is necessary before intercourse can take place. In one study carried out in Sudan, 15% of women interviewed reported that cutting was necessary before penetration could be achieved.1 Some new wives are seriously damaged by unskilful cutting carried out by their husbands. A possible additional problem resulting from all types of female genital mutilation is that lasting damage to the genital area can increase the risk of HIV transmission during intercourse.
During childbirth, existing scar tissue on excised women may tear. Infibulated women, whose genitals have been tightly closed, have to be cut to allow the baby to emerge. If no attendant is present to do this, perineal tears or obstructed labour can occur. After giving birth, women are often reinfibulated to make them "tight" for their husbands. The constant cutting and restitching of a women's genitals with each birth can result in tough scar tissue in the genital area.
The secrecy surrounding FGM, and the protection of those who carry it out, make collecting data about complications resulting from mutilation difficult. When problems do occur these are rarely attributed to the person who performed the mutilation. They are more likely to be blamed on the girl's alleged "promiscuity" or the fact that sacrifices or rituals were not carried out properly by the parents. Most information is collected retrospectively, often a long time after the event. This means that one has to rely on the accuracy of the woman's memory, her own assessment of the severity of any resulting complications, and her perception of whether any health problems were associated with mutilation.
Some data on the short and long-term medical effects of FGM, including those associated with pregnancy, have been collected in hospital or clinic-based studies, and this has been useful in acquiring a knowledge of the range of health problems that can result. However, the incidence of these problems, and of deaths as a result of mutilation, cannot be reliably estimated. Supporters of the practice claim that major complications and problems are rare, while opponents of the practice claim that they are frequent.
Effects on sexuality
Genital mutilation can make first intercourse an ordeal for women. It can be extremely painful, and even dangerous, if the woman has to be cut open; for some women, intercourse remains painful. Even where this is not the case, the importance of the clitoris in experiencing sexual pleasure and orgasm suggests that mutilation involving partial or complete clitoridectomy would adversely affect sexual fulfilment. Clinical considerations and the majority of studies on women's enjoyment of sex suggest that genital mutilation does impair a women's enjoyment. However, one study found that 90% of the infibulated women interviewed reported experiencing orgasm.2 The mechanisms involved in sexual enjoyment and orgasm are still not fully understood, but it is thought that compensatory processes, some of them psychological, may mitigate some of the effects of removal of the clitoris and other sensitive parts of the genitals.
The psychological effects of FGM are more difficult to investigate scientifically than the physical ones. A small number of clinical cases of psychological illness related to genital mutilation have been reported.3 Despite the lack of scientific evidence, personal accounts of mutilation reveal feelings of anxiety, terror, humiliation and betrayal, all of which would be likely to have long-term negative effects. Some experts suggest that the shock and trauma of the operation may contribute to the behaviour described as "calmer" and "docile", considered positive in societies that practise female genital mutilation.
Festivities, presents and special attention at the time of mutilation may mitigate some of the trauma experienced, but the most important psychological effect on a woman who has survived is the feeling that she is acceptable to her society, having upheld the traditions of her culture and made herself eligible for marriage, often the only role available to her. It is possible that a woman who did not undergo genital mutilation could suffer psychological problems as a result of rejection by the society. Where the FGM-practising community is in a minority, women are thought to be particularly vulnerable to psychological problems, caught as they are between the social norms of their own community and those of the majority culture.
Why FGM is practised
Custom and tradition are by far the most frequently cited reasons for FGM. Along with other physical or behavioural characteristics, FGM defines who is in the group. This is most obvious where mutilation is carried out as part of the initiation into adulthood.
Jomo Kenyatta, the late President of Kenya, argued that FGM was inherent in the initiation which is in itself an essential part of being Kikuyu, to such an extent that "abolition... will destroy the tribal system".5 A study in Sierra Leone reported a similar feeling about the social and political cohesion promoted by the Bundo and Sande secret societies, who carry out initiation mutilations and teaching.
Many people in FGM-practising societies, especially traditional rural communities, regard FGM as so normal that they cannot imagine a woman who has not undergone mutilation. Others are quoted as saying that only outsiders or foreigners are not genitally mutilated. A girl cannot be considered an adult in a FGM-practising society unless she has undergone FGM.
"Of course I shall have them circumcised exactly as their parents, grandparents and sisters were circumcised. This is our custom."
An Egyptian woman, talking about her young daughters 4
FGM is often deemed necessary in order for a girl to be considered a complete woman, and the practice marks the divergence of the sexes in terms of their future roles in life and marriage.
The removal of the clitoris and labia ' viewed by some as the "male parts" of a woman's body ' is thought to enhance the girl's femininity, often synonymous with docility and obedience.
It is possible that the trauma of mutilation may have this effect on a girl's personality. If mutilation is part of an initiation rite, then it is accompanied by explicit teaching about the woman's role in her society. "We are circumcised and insist on circumcising our daughters so that there is no mixing between male and female... An uncircumcised woman is put to shame by her husband, who calls her 'you with the clitoris'. People say she is like a man. Her organ would prick the man..."
An Egyptian woman 6
Control of women's sexuality and reproductive functions
In many societies, an important reason given for FGM is the belief that it reduces a woman's desire for sex, therefore reducing the chance of sex outside marriage. The ability of unmutilated women to be faithful through their own choice is doubted. In many FGM-practising societies, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a woman to marry if she has not undergone mutilation. In the case of infibulation, a woman is "sewn up" and "opened" only for her husband. Societies that practise infibulation are strongly patriarchal. Preventing women from indulging in "illegitimate" sex, and protecting them from unwilling sexual relations, are vital because the honour of the whole family is seen to be dependent on it. Infibulation does not, however, provide a guarantee against "illegitimate" sex, as a woman can be "opened" and "closed" again.
In some cultures, enhancement of the man's sexual pleasure is a reason cited for mutilation. Anecdotal accounts, however, suggest that men prefer unmutilated women as sexual partners. "Circumcision makes women clean, promotes virginity and chastity and guards young girls from sexual frustration by deadening their sexual appetite."
Mrs Njeri, a defender of female genital mutilation in Kenya7
Beliefs about hygiene, aesthetics and health
Cleanliness and hygiene feature consistently as justifications for FGM. Popular terms for mutilation are synonymous with purification (tahara in Egypt, tahur in Sudan), or cleansing (sili-ji among the Bambarra, an ethnic group in Mali). In some FGM-practising societies, unmutilated women are regarded as unclean and are not allowed to handle food and water.
"I was genitally mutilated at the age of ten. I was told by my late grandmother that they were taking me down to the river to perform a certain ceremony, and afterwards I would be given a lot of food to eat. As an innocent child, I was led like a sheep to be slaughtered.
Once I entered the secret bush, I was taken to a very dark room and undressed. I was blindfolded and stripped naked. I was then carried by two strong women to the site for the operation. I was forced to lie flat on my back by four strong women, two holding tight to each leg. Another woman sat on my chest to prevent my upper body from moving. A piece of cloth was forced in my mouth to stop me screaming. I was then shaved.
When the operation began, I put up a big fight. The pain was terrible and unbearable. During this fight, I was badly cut and lost blood. All those who took part in the operation were half-drunk with alcohol. Others were dancing and singing, and worst of all, had stripped naked.
I was genitally mutilated with a blunt penknife.
After the operation, no one was allowed to aid me to walk. The stuff they put on my wound stank and was painful. These were terrible times for me. Each time I wanted to urinate, I was forced to stand upright. The urine would spread over the wound and would cause fresh pain all over again. Sometimes I had to force myself not to urinate for fear of the terrible pain. I was not given any anaesthetic in the operation to reduce my pain, nor any antibiotics to fight against infection. Afterwards, I haemorrhaged and became anaemic. This was attributed to witchcraft. I suffered for a long time from acute vaginal infections."
Hannah Koroma, Sierra Leone
Connected with this is the perception in FGM-practising communities that women's unmutilated genitals are ugly and bulky. In some cultures, there is a belief that a woman's genitals can grow and become unwieldy, hanging down between her legs, unless the clitoris is excised. Some groups believe that a woman's clitoris is dangerous and that if it touches a man's penis he will die. Others believe that if the baby's head touches the clitoris during childbirth, the baby will die.
Ideas about the health benefits of FGM are not unique to Africa. In 19th Century England, there were debates as to whether clitoridectomy could cure women of "illnesses" such as hysteria and "excessive" masturbation. Clitoridectomy continued to be practised for these reasons until well into this century in the USA. However, health benefits are not the most frequently cited reason for mutilation in societies where it is still practised; where they are, it is more likely to be because mutilation is part of an initiation where women are taught to be strong and uncomplaining about illness. Some societies where FGM is practised believe that it enhances fertility, the more extreme believing that an unmutilated woman cannot conceive. In some cultures it is believed that clitoridectomy makes childbirth safer.
FGM predates Islam and is not practised by the majority of Muslims, but has acquired a religious dimension. Where it is practised by Muslims, religion is frequently cited as a reason. Many of those who oppose mutilation deny that there is any link between the practise and religion, but Islamic leaders are not unanimous on the subject. The Qur'an does not contain any call for FGM, but a few hadith (sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad) refer to it. In one case, in answer to a question put to him by 'Um 'Attiyah (a practitioner of FGM), the Prophet is quoted as saying "reduce but do not destroy". Mutilation has persisted among some converts to Christianity. Christian missionaries have tried to discourage the practice, but found it to be too deep rooted. In some cases, in order to keep converts, they have ignored and even condoned the practice.
FGM was practised by the minority Ethiopian Jewish community (Beta Israel), formerly known as Falasha, a derogatory term, most of whom now live in Israel, but it is not known if the practise has persisted following their emigration to Israel. The remainder of the FGM-practising community follow traditional Animist religions.