The Rat
Monday, July 22, 2002
      ( 7:39 PM ) The Rat  
TAIWAN MAY GRANT longer stays to pregnant Chinese wives of Taiwanese men to help them escape mandatory abortions under Communist rule.

China's "one-child" policy was introduced in 1979; as of 2001, the mainland government claimed to have successfully prevented 250 million births through forced abortion and forced sterilization.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:39 PM

      ( 12:59 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 12:26 PM ) The Rat  
JOHN CAGE SUES FOR INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT ON 4'33". Ya can't make stuff like this up:

"Wombles creator Mike Batt has been accused of infringing the copyright of American minimalist composer John Cage, after placing a one-minute silence on his latest CD—and saying it was a Mike Batt composition.

"On Wednesday morning Batt's A Minute's Silence was played alongside Cage's famous 1952 work 4'33", which consists of four minutes and 33 seconds of silence, at Baden Powell House in central London.

"Cage's publisher Peters Edition and Batt hoped it would clarify the differences between the works..."

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:26 PM

      ( 12:22 PM ) The Rat  
THE ENGLISH are different.

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      ( 11:28 AM ) The Rat  
THIS IS MY UMPTEENTH APPEARANCE in a New York Post hed since the war began. And their circulation figures are up. Coincidence? I think not.

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      ( 11:24 AM ) The Rat  
—And yet this great wink of eternity...

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Sunday, July 21, 2002
      ( 6:40 PM ) The Rat  
EVE: We leave in five days. Buy some flats!!!

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Friday, July 19, 2002
      ( 1:27 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 1:16 PM ) The Rat  
JAPAN DEBATES reparations for WWII comfort women.

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      ( 11:57 AM ) The Rat  

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      ( 11:53 AM ) The Rat  
In best-sellerdom we frequently find the hero coming to terms and settling down in Scarsdale, or wherever, knowing himself. And on Broadway, in the third act, someone says, "Look, why don't you just love each other?" and the protagonist, throwing his hand to his forehead, cries, "God, why didn't I think of that!" and before the bulldozing action of love, all else collapses—verisimilitude, truth, and interest. It is like "Dover Beach" ending happily for Matthew Arnold, and for us, because the poet is standing at the window with a woman who understands him. If the literary investigation of our era were to become solely the property of Wouk, Weidman, Sloan Wilson, Cameron Hawley, and Broadway's amor-vincit-omnia boys it would be unfortunate indeed—like leaving sex to the pornographers.
Reading Myself and Others

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:53 AM

      ( 11:50 AM ) The Rat  
UNLIKE LAZIER WEB SURFERS, I have taken care to find a version of this story with a photograph, saving you the effort.

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      ( 11:48 AM ) The Rat  
I WONDER IF this stuff works.

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      ( 11:43 AM ) The Rat  

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Thursday, July 18, 2002
      ( 6:17 PM ) The Rat  
INTERESTING REVIEW of The Sexual Life of Catherine M. (though I can't say if she's right; haven't had time to read it).

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      ( 12:04 PM ) The Rat  
AND SPEAKING OF Mickey Sabbath, informs me an unabridged reading of the novel is now available. As the country song put it, I don't know whether to kill myself or go bowling.

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      ( 12:00 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 11:52 AM ) The Rat  
I KNOW DIDDLY-SQUAT ABOUT LAW, of course (and care only slightly more), but abolishing double jeopardy seems way sketch to me. Oh well, with any luck they'll at least wait until Eve and I are done terrorizing London before enacting it.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:52 AM

      ( 11:36 AM ) The Rat  
BLOW DART ATTACKS IN D.C. Interesting—though no mention is made of any kind of poison, let alone the venom of the boomslang as in Christie. A far more interesting case happened in 1977, when a reader was able to identify the cause of a dying girl's illness because her symptoms matched those of the victims in The Pale Horse (which is also my favorite Christie). Christie worked as a dispenser during WWI and was later to comment of the critical reception to her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, that the highest praise had come from scientists who acknowledged that she knew her stuff when it came to poisons.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:36 AM

      ( 11:26 AM ) The Rat  
EXECUTION, TEHRAN-STYLE. Now that's what I call thorough.

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      ( 11:16 AM ) The Rat  
"Despite all my troubles, I continue to know what matters in life: profound hatred."
Sabbath's Theater

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:16 AM

Wednesday, July 17, 2002
      ( 4:56 PM ) The Rat  
PICTURE IT: SICILY, 2002... Civic authorities in Catania, Sicily, bolted iron underwear onto a statue of a horse for the duration of a religious celebration. And since no one seems to have asked, I will: If they really had to bolt iron underwear onto something wouldn't it have been far more to the point to nail some of our friskier politicians?

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:56 PM

      ( 4:55 PM ) The Rat  
IT'S RAINING RATS. And speaking of which... no idea of the date, but I just found this listing off a random site.

SICILY—Horrified citizens of Sicily had enough of one overly enthusiastic animal lover and called city officials to exterminate a dwelling filled with—rats. It seems that an elderly woman was fond of rats and bred them for pleasure, feeding them until they could barely walk. Exterminators called in said that there were thousands of rats in one apartment and when they began the extermination, rats fled in droves, jumping out of the sixth story window and landing on people taking a mid-afternoon stroll.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:55 PM

      ( 2:48 PM ) The Rat  
"LAP DANCING AND OTHER FORMS OF ENTERTAINMENT." GAO releases report of purchases made by Army personnel using government charge cards. Geez, it's like these people were in Congress or something.

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      ( 1:02 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 11:12 AM ) The Rat  
YIKES. Martha Stewart is launching an Oprah-style book club.

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      ( 10:54 AM ) The Rat  
THIS IS REALLY FUNNY. Camille Paglia's greatest hits. Link sent by Eve.

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      ( 10:50 AM ) The Rat  
A JOB YOU WISH YOU HAD. A picture of that guy who reads buttocks for a living.

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      ( 10:36 AM ) The Rat  
SOME INTERESTING COVERAGE of possible plans for the World Trade Center site. More models here and here.

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      ( 10:34 AM ) The Rat  
All the new thinking is about loss. In this it resembles all the old thinking.
—Robert Hass, "Meditation at Lagunitas"

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:34 AM

Tuesday, July 16, 2002
      ( 1:12 PM ) The Rat  
"I think a lot of those women who seem bright also seem ferocious. What you like is that I seem bright without being ferocious, somebody who is really rather ordinary and is not determined to kick you in the teeth. But why carry it further—why marry me and have a child and settle down like everybody else to an impostor’s life?" "Because I've decided to give up the artificial fiction of being myself for the genuine, satisfying falseness of being somebody else. Marry me."
The Counterlife

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:12 PM

      ( 1:10 PM ) The Rat  
WINNERS OF THE 2002 BULWER-LYTTON CONTEST for the worst opening sentence to a hypothetical bad novel. Sample entries from 2001:

As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the sound chamber he would never hear the end of it.

The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog's deception, screaming madly, "You lied!"

Also just found an unofficial "Bulwer-Lytton Erotica Contest"—for which, go here.

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      ( 12:20 PM ) The Rat  

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Sunday, July 14, 2002
      ( 9:50 AM ) The Rat  
Some mornings it just doesn't seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.
—Emo Phillips

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      ( 9:44 AM ) The Rat  
HAPPY CHEESE-EATING SURRENDER MONKEY DAY! Ah, Bastille Day... what better time to revisit this column?

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Saturday, July 13, 2002
      ( 1:26 AM ) The Rat  
There are five reasons for drinking: the visit of a friend, present thirst, future thirst, the goodness of the wine, or any other reason.
—attributed to Père Sirmond, 16th century

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Thursday, July 11, 2002
      ( 11:52 AM ) The Rat  
CANDICE BERGEN ADMITS DAN QUAYLE WAS RIGHT. Gee, it's a good thing she didn't wait ten years to go public. (Thanks to Shamed for the link.) For Barbara Dafoe Whitehead's eponymous 1993 Atlantic piece, go here. For Jonah Goldberg's trenchant analysis of why Hollywood has its head up its ass, go here.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:52 AM

      ( 11:50 AM ) The Rat  
JOHN FRANKENHEIMER died on Saturday. He was best-known as the director of The Manchurian Candidate, the kindest, warmest, bravest, most wonderful film I have ever seen in my life. A great loss to Hollywood, and the rest of us. Mr. Frankenheimer is survived by his wife of 41 years, Evans Frankenheimer; two daughters; and a grandson. R.I.P.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:50 AM

      ( 11:22 AM ) The Rat  
FOUND last night at East Village Books (a fabulous little place on St. Marks off Ave. A; open till 11 on weeknights, and midnight Friday/Saturday): a book on the history of drinking containing facsimile of an old ad headlined, "I was the mainstay of the Public Library until I discovered Smirnoff." As a former copywriter, I'd date it at about early '70s, maybe late '60s—it has that sort of Ogilvy glow. Of course, the writer's mistake was to assume that starting reading has to entail stopping drinking. I became hard-core at both more or less simultaneously.

Also last night at EVB, ditzy guy with equally ditzy chick yanked a gorgeous anthology of Yiddish stories off the shelf exactly one second before I could reach it. I had the typical crazed-female-at-shoe-sale reaction, naturally (which I also have at shoe sales). Time to go retake that likelihood-of-committing-murder test.

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      ( 11:20 AM ) The Rat  

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      ( 11:18 AM ) The Rat  
It's not true I had nothing on. I had the radio on.
—Marilyn Monroe

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Wednesday, July 10, 2002
      ( 6:30 PM ) The Rat  
EVE: Yeah, it's Pascal. And P.S. Fix your permalinks!

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      ( 8:46 AM ) The Rat  
One dances for the pleasure of the movement, and it is not necessary that one should wish to go to bed with one's partner; but it is a pleasant exercise only if to do so would not be disgusting.
—W. Somerset Maugham

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:46 AM

Tuesday, July 09, 2002
      ( 9:46 PM ) The Rat  
PERUSE THE WINNING ENTRIES IN THE GOLDEN JUBILEE POETRY CONTEST. Scroll down for Alexander Pirrie's "Boogie in the Garden." I would have thought "trumpet" cried out to be rhymed with "strumpet"—but then, I'm not English.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:46 PM

      ( 7:21 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 3:47 PM ) The Rat  
I'M THE EVIL QUEEN! Take the Disney villains test.

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      ( 3:33 PM ) The Rat  
MY LIKELIHOOD OF COMMITTING MURDER IS 35 PERCENT, according to this test. Seems a conservative estimate to me.

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      ( 10:42 AM ) The Rat  
EVE IS RIGHT about Mathewes-Greene, of course, but she also still hasn't read this story—as everyone should, pro-choice or pro-life.

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      ( 10:40 AM ) The Rat  
TODAY THROUGH THURSDAY, goods and services purchased below Houston St. will again be exempt from the sales tax. Does not apply to purchases over $500, gasoline, or (no shit!) tobacco.

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      ( 10:34 AM ) The Rat  
THE CITY POLICE OF WINNIPEG clearly failed to heed the warnings of this Monty Python sketch.

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      ( 10:24 AM ) The Rat  
Madame. The old man has sent her dozens—no, hundreds—of letters.
Toyama. If he sent out all his letters to different women, one of them might have been successful.
The Damask Drum

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:24 AM

Monday, July 08, 2002
      ( 2:54 PM ) The Rat  
WIN YOUR WIFE'S WEIGHT IN BEER and other Finnish pastimes.

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      ( 11:46 AM ) The Rat  
[The Baltimore Sun's] Susan Reimer believes that "sexual liberation... [was not] a bad idea," yet sees the need for abstinence education, since "sex education is not enough... providing information on contraceptives does not increase the likelihood that [teens] will use them." Unwilling to ask anyone to "renounce pleasure," she suggests that girls be told instead to wait and grow up because older men are "better lovers" (an idea that falls under the category of "not completely thought through").
—Frederica Mathewes-Green, Real Choices: Listening to Women, Looking for Alternatives to Abortion

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:46 AM

      ( 11:43 AM ) The Rat  
THOUGH I AM, AS FRIENDS KNOW, A SWORN ENEMY OF HUMAN HAPPINESS, even I had to admit that the wedding, this Saturday in Seattle, of my friend Michael to his fiancée Monica was quite beautiful. So many couples have fled their church, which is being renovated, that the next wedding to be held there isn't until February. The priest explained that each time yet another of the church's splendors was taken away—from the swathing of the interior in white plastic ("Great acoustics!" as optimistic choir members pointed out; it really felt like attending a wedding inside a wedding dress) to the closing of the center aisle and removal of the organ—he would ask again if they wouldn't prefer to go elsewhere; but they held firm: this was their church, this was where they would marry. They also spent the wedding night at their new digs rather than at a hotel (though there is to be a honeymoon). In a world of ever-more-elaborate weddings, and a bridal market so lucrative there is now a magazine published specifically for second- and third-time brides, you have to admire a couple able to view the wedding as not a vacation from a marriage but the beginning of one.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:43 AM

      ( 11:23 AM ) The Rat  
Me. Shamed just asked me whether I, or [Mutual Friend X], hates the world more.
Chris. I think I'd have to go with him. I can spend an entire evening with you without necessarily wanting to commit suicide at the end of it.
—overheard last week

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:23 AM

Wednesday, July 03, 2002
      ( 1:17 PM ) The Rat  
SO I TOOK the personality disorder test Zorak linked to, and evidently I'm totally nuts. Like, seriously. And for further Kermit-the-Frog news flashes, watch this space.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:17 PM

      ( 12:59 PM ) The Rat  
PICTURES of my home town! (Yes, it really looks like that.) Somebody remind me why I'm living in a prime East-Coast military target when I could be living in a prime West-Coast military target?

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:59 PM

      ( 12:18 PM ) The Rat  
AFTER THE FIREWORKS TOMORROW (and here's hoping our technicians do a better job of it than Hong Kong's did), be sure and catch Rick Brookhiser's documentary Rediscovering George Washington, to air on PBS at 9:30 PM. I saw a preview at the Historical Society a couple months back, but since I'm too lazy to explain why it rocked will just quote the official description:

"[Rediscovering George Washington] features a fresh approach to American biographical documentary—getting the camera off old prints, out of the offices of talking heads, and away from stock footage of marching feet. The show offers modern analogs for the events and dilemmas it describes. How should a president deal with the Whiskey Rebellion? A seminar of colonels at the Army War College discuss the problem. Did Washington throw a stone across the Rappahannock? Five local high school pitchers go to the spot and try. Whenever experts are used, they talk on the spot. Richard Brookhiser, the writer and host, is not an off-camera narrator, but a passionate and involved presence, in the tradition of David Attenborough (Life on Earth) or Kenneth Clarke (Civilization)."

Rick is the man. So tune in.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:18 PM

      ( 12:08 PM ) The Rat  
I BET JOHN HOLLANDER GOT BEATEN UP A LOT AS A KID. Quoting Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse:

Finally, a recent offshoot of the clerihew, invented by Anthony Hecht and first published by him in collaboration with this author: the double-dactyl is a pair of quatrains of two accentual dactylic feet, with the following conditions placed on it:

Starting with nonsense words
Then comes a name
(Making line number two);

Somewhere along in the
Terminal quatrain, a
Word, and we're through.

Or, in a perfect instance,

Schoolteacher Hollanders
Mutter and grumble and
Cavil and curse,

Hunting long words for the
Line of this light-weight but
Intricate verse.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:08 PM

      ( 11:52 AM ) The Rat  
MMMM, vodka.

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      ( 11:43 AM ) The Rat  
I wish you read books (you know those things that look like bricks but come open on one side).
—F. Scott Fitzgerald in a letter to Zelda

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:43 AM

Tuesday, July 02, 2002
      ( 5:05 PM ) The Rat  
We were fashioned to live in Paradise, and Paradise was destined to serve us. Our destiny has been altered; that this has also happened with the destiny of Paradise is not stated.

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:05 PM

      ( 11:35 AM ) The Rat  
HEATHER MAC DONALD, intrepid reporter for City Journal, will be the keynote speaker at the Fabiani Society TONIGHT, 6 to 8 at the Princeton Club, 15 West 43rd St. (between Fifth and Sixth). For her terrific article on the Cincinnati riots, go here.

Fabiani sucks, as I've said before in this space, but Mac Donald is one of the best reporters working today, so even if the price is being surrounded by a bunch of political hangers-on, drop on by. (And remember to leave the tattoos at home—this is the Princeton Club.) There's lots of free cheese, always dear to a Rat's heart.

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      ( 11:31 AM ) The Rat  

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      ( 11:29 AM ) The Rat  
RODENTIA IN THE NEWS. Vampire rats have been attacking livestock in Argentina. Hey, wasn't me.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:29 AM

Monday, July 01, 2002
      ( 5:36 PM ) The Rat  
IF THEY WON'T LET YOU VERIFY YOUR GENDER THE TRADITIONAL WAY at work, or if you were just traumatized by the Gay Pride Parade, go here. (No. 23: "Does Canada suck or what? A) Yes. B) Yeah.") I scored, as it were, as a man, "86% confidence": "How do we know? Well, deep down, your gender affects everything about you, from your favorite number to your views on Canada. Many men who took the test think and act just like you, as you can see from the clusters above."

I assume this is the effect of growing up with two older brothers (or else of the testosterone shots?). Back in '96 a (male) friend told me he was convinced I was a man trapped in a woman's body. Another (male) friend's comment, on hearing the story: "I don't understand, if you were a man trapped in a woman's body, why you would ever want to get out!?"

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:36 PM

      ( 9:58 AM ) The Rat  
Your actions are my dreams...
—Leontes, The Winter's Tale III.ii

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:58 AM

      ( 9:51 AM ) The Rat  
SLOW MONDAY AT THE OFFICE? Take a virtual tour of MoMA Queens.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:51 AM

      ( 9:51 AM ) The Rat  
REALLY SLOW MONDAY AT THE OFFICE? Why not re-read this, or this?

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Saturday, June 29, 2002
      ( 1:37 PM ) The Rat  
"Why don't you want to admit that there is freedom of thought among women?"
"Because, brother, according to what I have observed, among women it is only the freaks who think freely."
Fathers and Children

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:37 PM

Friday, June 28, 2002
      ( 6:58 PM ) The Rat  
A POST TO ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE THAT BLOGADDER WILL NEVER MARRY ME. Thoughts on his remarks re the new Rutgers study of young men’s attitudes toward marriage:

To begin with, yes, the median age for men is as low as 27. (It’s 25 for women—which is why I already know this though Blogadder and I were born in the same year.) We’re only used to a higher age because people who do stuff like (as he notes) pursue advanced degrees, do tend to marry later.

However. I’m surprised he tries to argue that the permissiveness of cohabitation has nothing to do with men’s reluctance to marry. Is one's desire to marry then completely divorced (sorry) from the rewards or risks that go with it? Omnia vincit amor may be a nice thought (I have my doubts), but that doesn't make it true.

Necessary disclaimer: I’m not by any means pretending that everyone used to live up to the virgin-bride, blood-on-the-honeymoon-sheets ideal. Obviously there was plenty of free love going on decades and centuries before it was culturally ratified (some have speculated that the mobility occasioned esp. by WWII probably had a lot more to do with the liberalizing of sexual behavior than even the Pill-powered Sixties did). Still, there is a big difference between a society in which people tend to restrict sex to people they would marry, and a society in which, for a sizable proportion of the young, it's not that strange to shag a guy whose name you never quite did catch over the music.

To take an extreme (but not uncommon) case: shotgun weddings. The rise in the number of unwed mothers has far more to do with the decline in shotgun weddings than with any actual increase in the amount of sex being had. This isn't just the fault of the men btw—I still remember a friend, unintentionally pregnant at 20, explaining earnestly that it wasn't that she didn't love the father; she just didn't love him enough to marry him. Given that, by at least one estimate, children born out of wedlock live with their fathers for an average of six months, I think we can call this a problem.

And to pull out another whipping-boy: cohabitation. Even leaving aside that couples who cohabit are likelier, if they do marry, to subsequently divorce, cohabitation is a losing bet, especially for women—a fact that unfortunately few of us have wised up to. But it’s simple math: a man’s prime marriageable years last considerably longer than a woman’s. When Diana and Brad shack up for the four years between 25 and 29 and then discover that things “didn’t work out,” Brad hasn’t lost as much time as Diana has. Is it “romantic” to expect her to make the sacrifice/gamble anyway? If romance definitionally includes women getting screwed over—and for a lot of guys, it does (something like 40 percent of people now say they wouldn’t marry someone unless the person agreed to cohabit first)—well, then I suppose that’s romance.

And then there’s oxytocin, the hormone women release immediately after childbirth, while breastfeeding, and during sexual climax, and which is believed to foster attachment. Some believe there’s a hormone men release during sex with exactly the opposite effect: i.e., that triggers commitmentphobic panic. Whether the tales about the latter are true (I unfortunately don’t even remember the name of the damn thing), the fair amount of work done with oxytocin seems to argue that for women, sex and love are much more tightly bound than they are for men. This work then won the prestitious "Duh!" award, since anyone with half a brain could have observed the reality empirically (even if you prefer to word it as “Women are annoying and clingy”). (There is, or was, a saying among prostitutes to the effect of "Men don't pay you to have sex with them. They pay you to leave.") This naturally puts us at an added disadvantage in a culture of courtship-for-sex rather than courtship-for-marriage.

And finally, frankly, one reason people used to marry earlier was—at least in part—because they were horny. The people who spend their time looking at stuff like this have found that married people have more sex than any other group except cohabiting singles. And they sure as hell have more sex than non-cohabiting singles do. Given that, and if your choice is between all the sex you can eat with no real encumbrances (except for the whole dealing-with-the-tears-and-recriminations-and-finding-a-new-apartment thing) and all the sex you can eat with the demands of a lifelong promise—only an idiot, a sentimentalist, or someone with express orders from God or his subsidiaries would go for door no. 2.

I no more want to denigrate romance than Blogadder does. Hell, Maggie writes more passionately about it in the last chapter of this book than an entire bathhouseful of sexual revolutionists could ever dream of doing. Nor am I suggesting that every chick who doesn't marry by 30 will give birth to monstrosities (for some agonizing passages on male-female conflicts of interests, read this), or that any man who doesn't pony up a ring for some woman, any woman, is a freeloading asshole. My point's just that it's naïve to assume romance happens in a vacuum. Like everything else, it flourishes better under some conditions than others. The widespread availability of free milk (or rentable cows) may have little or no effect on Ted's willingness to buy a cow—I know him, he's a good guy—but for a lot of men today, it does ...which was the point of the study.

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:58 PM

      ( 2:34 PM ) The Rat  
UNLIKE OTHER PEOPLE I COULD NAME, Allen St. John has some non-stupid observations about women's sports.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:34 PM

      ( 1:55 PM ) The Rat  
THERE GOES MY LAST REASON TO CONVERT. Effective July 1, smoking is no longer permitted at the Vatican.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:55 PM

      ( 1:16 PM ) The Rat  
POET-BAITING. I seem to recall Mr. McGonagall being well represented in Ross and Kathryn Petras's anthology of very bad poetry. Either way, "poet-baiting" definitely needs to be revived, at least on our college campuses.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:16 PM

      ( 11:38 AM ) The Rat  
JUST MY LUCK. MoMA, one of the three things that make living in Manhattan bearable (the other two are bookstores), is relocating to Queens while the 53rd St. site undergoes a three-year renovation. If you now have to cross water to see things like this, this, and this, console yourself by dropping in tomorrow and Sunday (June 29-30), when admission will be free. Hours: 10 AM to 10 PM.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:38 AM

      ( 11:25 AM ) The Rat  
PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE HUNCHBACK BEHIND THE CURTAIN. A theater company has retitled its production "The Bellringer of Notre Dame" so as not to offend those suffering from scoliosis or spina bifida. While it's true that, as the producer points out, "hunchback" was not in Hugo's original title (Notre-Dame de Paris), I somehow doubt anyone would bother to be so scrupulous in a less PC climate. They claim not to have meddled with the content, but, well, day ain't over yet.

Meanwhile, why not enter Eve's contest?

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:25 AM

      ( 10:35 AM ) The Rat  
THERE'S ONLY ONE "QUEER ISSUE" OF THE VILLAGE VOICE? Haven't had time to read yet, but that is a fun photo on the cover.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:35 AM

      ( 10:22 AM ) The Rat  
In the fight between you and the world back the world.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:22 AM

Thursday, June 27, 2002
      ( 5:39 PM ) The Rat  
THE NAKED AND THE NUDE. I wonder if Rachel Shteir anywhere uses the word bawdy to distinguish between "mere" smut and the kind of thing she seems to be getting at with this forthcoming book. (Link from a friend in Chicago.) I would rant a bit about how our supposedly sexed-up culture has forgotten that intercourse is not intrinsically banal, but a) well, DUH! and b) look, I don't like Wendy Shalit either.

Eric Partridge wrote an amusing study of Shakespeare's bawdy—entitled (wait for it) Shakespeare's Bawdy—which, 54 years later, is still in print. The slang-dictionary genre lives on too, and there is fun to be had in books like this one (let's put it this way, if "going below 14th St."* meant everywhere what it does in some circles, my daily commute would be a hell of a lot more fun than it is), but ultimately Partridge's treatment is more interesting—as is his subject. Likewise I have rattling around somewhere at least one book of dirty jokes from the 1940s that pretty much already contains all the good ones, despite the tireless efforts of Blanche Knott et al. in the decades since; and most of the limericks in this humongous anthology (the largest single-volume collection extant, I think) date from World War II. The unoriginality of the species would seem to be older than just about everything but its concupiscence.

*According to Dalzell, "to perform oral sex on a prostitute" (p. 204).

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:39 PM

      ( 3:44 PM ) The Rat  
They discussed at great length whether marriage was a prejudice or a crime...
Fathers and Children

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:44 PM

A page I'm starting to get the overlords at to stop $#@! bugging me

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