Christian fundamentalists hijack Singaporean feminist group

AWARE, a 25-year-old Singaporean women's right organization, recently found itself in turmoil after a coup orchestrated by conservative fundamentalist Christians who signed up in large numbers just before the annual general meeting, then elected a new executive that immediately purged the organization of all its traditional leadership down to the subcommittee chairs.
AWARE held its annual general meeting (AGM) on 28 March 2009. There were over 100 people present. Of them, about 80 had only joined the organisation between January and March, one to three months before the meeting. Nine out of 12 executive committee (EXCO) places, including four Office Bearer positions, went to newcomers, who were voted in by wide majorities. There are wide-ranging suspicions that this "leadership grab" has been orchestrated by a well-organised group who do not share AWARE's values and who are seeking to use the name and the resources of a well-respected institution to further their own agenda. These concerns have been expressed not only by onlookers, but by older members of Aware...

# The new president, Josie Lau and 5 other Exco members belong to the same church, Church of Our Saviour. Given this, it is very likely, in our view, that they have acted in concert to take over AWARE. We do not know why as they have refused to disclose their reasons to either members of AWARE or to the press and this makes us even more worried. They, or persons whom they have been associated with, have written homophobic letters to the press. While that is their personal conviction to which they are entitled, we do not want AWARE to be made into a vehicle for any hidden agenda.

# Josie Lau, was in charge of the DBS Charity Drive in support of Focus On The Family, US-based Christian organisation that is opposed to abortion and equal rights for sexual minorities. This created a controversy last year which was well-documented.

# 160 members, including former AWARE committee members and founder members, petitioned for an extraordinary general meeting to consider a vote of no confidence in the New Exco on the basis that the New Exco has not acted and is not acting in the best interest of AWARE; does not appreciate or share the values of AWARE and does not have the requisite experience of carrying out AWARE's work or is otherwise inadequate to further AWARE's objectives. An EGM will be held on 2 May 2009.

WHAT HAPPENED (via IZ Reloaded)

High School Teacher Recounts "Sexting" Ordeal That Ruined His Career

danah boyd tweet-points to this "chilling story of educator in a sexting mess," and says "We should all be horrified by the prosectors' obsession with 'sexting'." Ting-Yi Oei, the Virginia high school teacher in question, is male. All charges against him have since been thrown out of court. But as in the case with Julie Amero, that final acquittal doesn't erase the personal and professional damage caused -- nor does it make up for the reckless tech-stupidity of prosecutors and school officials involved in the case.

Ting-Yi Oei's "sexting" witchhunt story begins about a year ago, when a fellow teacher told him about a rumor that some teens at the school were texting naked self-portraits around to one another.

I called a student I thought likely to have such a picture into my office. In the presence of the school's safety and security official, he quickly admitted that he did. He pulled out his phone and showed us an image of the torso of a woman wearing underpants, with her arms crossed over her breasts. Her head was not in the picture. The 17-year-old student claimed not to know who the young woman was or who had sent him the photo.

I immediately took the picture to the principal, who instructed me to transfer it to my office computer in case we needed it later. Being unfamiliar with camera features on cellphones, I asked the school's technology resource teacher for help, but he didn't have an immediate solution. The student then said that he could text the picture to my cellphone. That left the problem of getting it to my computer, whereupon the boy said that I could send the picture to my school e-mail address.

In hindsight, of course, he could have sent it directly to my computer himself. But it never occurred to me that my actions could be regarded as suspect: I was conducting a legitimate school investigation with children's welfare in mind, and I did so in the presence and with the full knowledge of other school officials.

I interviewed more students with the security specialist, but we found no more pictures and were unable to identify the woman in the photo. We concluded that she probably wasn't a student at the school. I reported our findings to the principal and assumed that the matter was closed.

I left the building quickly that day -- the start of spring break -- to join my wife, Diane, at a doctor's office to discuss her upcoming surgery for a potentially malignant tumor. I told her about the sexting photo, but we had other things on our minds. When I returned to school two days after break ended, I confronted a new problem: The boy with the photo on his cell was now in trouble for having pulled a girl's pants down in class (another teen phenomenon known as "flagging"). I informed his mother that I was suspending him, and in the discussion I also told her about the earlier incident. She was outraged that I hadn't reported it to her at the time. She called me at home that night at 10 p.m. and again at 7 a.m. the next morning, agitated and demanding that the suspension be revoked and threatening to involve an attorney. I told her as calmly as I could that the suspension was for the deliberate act of pulling down the girl's pants. A couple of days later, after an appeal hearing with the principal and me, she shouted at me, "I'll see you in court!"

The story quickly takes a turn for the surreal. Soon, the teacher who claims he sought only to protect the kids he taught was himself charged with possession of child pornography. Read the rest of the saga here: My Students. My Cellphone. My Ordeal. (Washington Post)

BB Exclusive: John Waters on the Origins of Teabagging.

There's been a lot of talk of "teabagging" lately. Conservative anti-tax advocates in the United States have been organizing "tea party" protests, fashioned after the colonial-era protests of British rule. In doing so, they and the right-wing TV punditards who cheer these spectacles on for ratings have ranted about "teabagging," and the desire to "teabag Barack Obama" and such, without apparent knowledge of the word's more common street use.

More recently, news anchors and bloggers have giggled knowingly over that sexual reference, but nobody has acknowledged how the word first entered popular American slang.

I'll tell you how. John Waters.

Here is the email exchange:

XENI: Dear Mister John Waters: We at Boing Boing are devoted fans of your work, and we consider you one of the greatest heroes of the "happy mutant" culture we celebrate. Where does the term "teabagging" come from? Is it true that the term was first popularized, or originated, in one of your films? Also, what is the deal with right wing nutbags (if you'll pardon that term, too) appropriating a perfectly good term for a sex act in such an offensive manner? Your humble devotée, -- Xeni.

JOHN WATERS: "Teabagging" is by my definition the act of dragging your testicles across your partner's forehead. In the UK it is dipping your testicles in your partner's mouth. I didn't invent the term or the act but DID introduce it to film in my movie "Pecker." "Teabagging" was a popular dance step that male go-go boys did to their customers for tips at The Atlantis, a now defunct bar in Baltimore. Hope this helps. -- John Waters

* Yes, this is an actual transcription of an email exchange between Boing Boing and John Waters.

Below, the clip from his movie "Pecker" that started it all. (YouTube Link).


Mr. Waters' work in sculpture and photography is currently the subject of an exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles: REAR PROJECTION. Snip from show description.

"Rear projection" is a movie term for the process whereby a foreground action is combined with a background scene filmed earlier to give the impression the actors are on location when they are, in fact, working inside a studio. In Waters' latest work, this artificial and outdated visual effect is embraced, attacked and taken to extremes.

Glorifying the struggle, humiliation, and wild excitement of a life in show business, Waters uses an insider's bag of film tricks and trade lingo to celebrate the excess of the movie industry. Rewriting and redirecting existing film imagery snapped off the TV screen, he assaults, elevates, subtitles, and startlingly alters these one time classic, respected, even honored movies to attain a new kind of equality: a cult film that only needs one viewer - John Waters himself.

And finally: below, a rare John Waters short praising the merits of smoking in movie theaters.


(Special thanks to Mr. Johnny Knoxville and the incredible Richard Metzger, who you really ought to be following on Twitter instead of Ashton Kutcher or CNNBRK.)

Marilyn Chambers, RIP


The adult film legend died at age 56 on Sunday. She was found in her mobile home by a family member.

Chambers' death was a "total shock," [fellow adult star Ron] Jeremy said, because they had been scheduled to sign a contract Monday to perform together in an off-Broadway "tongue-in-cheek" re-enactment of the porn classic "Deep Throat." "What's strange is that she was at a stage where she was totally happy and totally content with her life," Jeremy said. "Her life was falling together, and she was doing really well."
Above, an interview with Ms. Chambers from 1977 on a NYC public access cable TV show. The porn title for which she is best known: The Mitchell Brothers production "Behind the Green Door."

Oregon Passes Bill "Too Gross to Talk About"

The newspaper headlines around this one are funny: "House passes bill too gross to talk about," cringes the Oregonian. Bottom line seems to be that they've outlawed bukkake. Here's a pretty straightforward wikipedia entry about the act, popularized first in Japanese pornography, then made famous through American titles.

Today's Oregon ruling was sparked by a really awful non-consensual crime that involved a single perp and a single intended victim. Not funny, and I'm all for the maximum possible penalties there. But the language of the bill appears to cover the consensual but equally icky Porn Valley phenom, which typically involves lots of multiple participants, some of whom are paid as performers:

The proposed new law nobody wants to talk about would make it a second degree sex abuse crime to propel "a dangerous substance at another person." That substance being semen or other bodily fluid flung out of sexual desire.

Yep. Apparently such behavior is part of a gang initiation rituals.

The proposed law follows an incident last June when a man threw his semen on a mother in a Portland area Target store. Her little girl saw it first.

(via Susannah Breslin)

Jobriath Boone: Rock's Fairy Godmother

Richard Metzger is the current Boing Boing guest blogger.
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If you've never heard of Jobriath Boone, don't worry, you're not alone. Obscure even by "rock snob" standards, Jobriath was the first really openly gay rock star. David Bowie and Lou Reed flirted with bisexuality, nail polish and make-up, of course, but Jobriath was in his own words, "a true fairy." He wasn't just "out of the closet" he was out like a police siren with the volume turned up to eleven! I've been a Jobriath freak for about 20 years when I stumbled upon his first LP at a New York City flea market. "What is THIS?" was my initial reaction to the cover, obviously influenced by the artwork for David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs." Clearly from the image on the cover, Jobriath was a 70s glitter rock wannabe. Make that perhaps a "neverwas," for aside from a massive advertising campaign that saw his image on 250 New York buses and a 40 foot high poster in Times Square, two solid LPs (recorded with the likes of Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and Peter Frampton) and a memorable "Midnight Special" performance, Jobriath was a massive flop at the time. Too gay for mid-America in 1974? For sure, but that hasn't stopped Jobriath's Broadway showtunes meets glam rock oeuvre from being rediscovered by fresh ears this decade. Championed by Morrissey, Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys and singer-actress Ann Magnuson (who once told me that I was "the only straight guy in the world who's ever even HEARD of Jobriath" back in the early 90s), the tiny cult of Jobriath got a lot of new members when the CD compliation "Lonley Planet Boy" was released in 2004. His life was also a major part of the inspiration for Todd Haynes' "Velvet Goldmine" although few people realize that fact (the Maxwell Demon album covers are direct homages to the original Jobriath records). Admittedly, his music isn't for everyone --some people just HATE it-- but for those of you who embraced the equally obscure Klaus Nomi, you'll probably love Jobriath. "I'maman" on The Midnight Special "Rock of Ages" on The Midnight Special "I'm Ready for my Close-Up" an informative Jobriath article from MOJO. Why You Should Like Jobriath

Artist paints herself having sex with each president of the USA

Artist Justine Lai's new project is a set of oil paintings of her having sex with every president of the USA, in order.
In Join Or Die, I paint myself having sex with the Presidents of the United States in chronological order. I am interested in humanizing and demythologizing the Presidents by addressing their public legacies and private lives. The presidency itself is a seemingly immortal and impenetrable institution; by inserting myself in its timeline, I attempt to locate something intimate and mortal. I use this intimacy to subvert authority, but it demands that I make myself vulnerable along with the Presidents. A power lies in rendering these patriarchal figures the possible object of shame, ridicule and desire, but it is a power that is constantly negotiated.

I approach the spectacle of sex and politics with a certain playfulness. It would be easy to let the images slide into territory that's strictly pornographic–the lurid and hardcore, the predictably "controversial." One could also imagine a series preoccupied with wearing its "Fuck the Man" symbolism on its sleeve. But I wish to move beyond these things and make something playful and tender and maybe a little ambiguous, but exuberantly so. This, I feel, is the most humanizing act I can do.

NOTES ON JOIN OR DIE (Thanks, Frank W!)

Sapolsky on primate sexuality part two: required viewing for the horny

Here's part two of Stanford's Robert Sapolsky incredibly fascinating and illuminating lecture on primate sexuality (I posted part one last week). Sapolsky is a great lecturer: funny and engaging, and his material will make you rethink your relationship with your bits. Required viewing for anyone who has ever been horny, or who ever plans to be.

Prof. Robert Sapolsky on the Neurobiology of Primate Sexuality: Part 2 (Thanks, Avi!)

Stanford's Sapolsky on primate sexuality: funny, fascinating, educational

"This is a hilarious yet edifying talk on Sex given by Prof. Sapolsky to his Bio l50/250 Human Behavioral Biology class at Stanford in Spring 2002" -- regular readers of this blog will remember Sapolsky as the incredibly fascinating, funny and engaging scientist whose Stanford lectures on stress are some of the most interesting biology presentations I've ever heard.

He's absolutely scintillating on the subject of primate sexuality: funny, informative, and filled with aha moments that'll have you rethinking your relationship to your naughty parts.

Prof. Robert Sapolsky on the Neurobiology of Primate Sexuality (Thanks, Avi!)

Vasopressin, pair-bonding and male fidelity

Last week's episode of Quirks and Quarks, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's national science radio program, had a fascinating segment on the role of vasopressin in monogamous commitment. Males in some species of pair-bonding mammals have their lifelong attachment triggered by vasopressin release, and studies of men in monogamous relationships find a correlation between low vasopressin levels and high levels of marital strife.

The whole program is really fascinating, covering the science of pheromones, the role that estrogen plays in female fidelity, and many other romantic elements of science.

Your Brain on Love

MP3 link

XKCD explains the baseball metaphor for sex


Today's XKCD nerd-toon has a fantastic, profane chart explaining the "base" system as it pertains to romantic entanglement. I'd always been pretty familiar with the main touchpoints (as it were) -- first, second, third base and home run. But I must admit that I have wondered from time to time where on the notional diamond one might find "Downloading Star Trek fanfiction and replacing Riker's name with your crush's." Oh, and Joel? Fursuits are on there, big fella.

Base System

TED2009: Make Love not Porn

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Just announced at TED2009: a new website, Make Love not Porn. Cindy Gallop announced the website, and she said she created it because she has sex with younger men and they learned about sex from watching hardcore porno Make Love Not Porn

Hospital fetish restaurant in Latvia

Marilyn points us to Hospitalis in Riga, Latvia, a hospital themed restaurant where, "the food is served in syringes, flasks and operating-room dishes, and customers can be tied up in straight jackets." The waitresses all wear fetish-nurse outfits and Milla-Jovavich-in-Fifth-Element red wigs:

The food is served in flasks and operating-room’s dishes and isn’t that cheap (7 and more lats per meal), but this is a bizarre experience that is worth breaking the bank. Besides, the place is owned by local doctors, but unfortunately, the president of Latvia, who is also a doctor, declined his appearance at the opening once he realized how weird this place actually is.
Hospirestaurant - Hospital Themed Restaurant in Latvia (Thanks, Marilyn!

Fox News "sexpert": Obamas Do A Lot of "Fisting."


Susannah Breslin sends in this clip, and says even she has no idea what this so-called "sexpert" on Fox News is implying. Whatever it is, it's TMI.

Update: Our well-lubed commenters are probably correct in guessing that the Fox analyst [snort] means "making happy-fun terrorist fist-jabs in the air" when she says "fisting." This just makes it funnier.

Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster

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Our friend Craig Yoe, an illustrator, designer and comic historian has a new book called Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster.

Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-creator Joe Shuster showcases rare and recently discovered erotic artwork by the most seminal artist in comics, Joe Shuster. Created in the early 1950s when Shuster was down on his luck after suing his publisher, DC Comics, over the copyright for Superman, he illustrated these images for an obscure series of magazines called Nights of Horror, published under the counter until they were banned by the U.S. Senate. Juvenile deliquency, Dr. Fredric Wertham, and the Brooklyn Thrill Killers gang all figure into this sensational story.

The discovery of this artwork reveals the "secret identity" of this revered comics creator, and is sure to generate controversy and change the perception of the way we look at Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and Jimmy Olsen forever. The book includes reproductions of these images, and an essay that provides a detailed account of the scandal and the murder trial that resulted from the publication of this racy material.

Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-creator Joe Shuster