The N.F.L. allows (pretty, young) female reporters into its
locker rooms. Question: Does the W.N.B.A. allow (handsome, young) male
reporters into its locker rooms? Follow-up: What would happen if it did?
many male sports reporters fit both criteria: "handsome" and
"young"? Really, does the perceived attractiveness of the reporter
matter here? It seems that the key issue is one of gender, not one of fitting
subjective definitions of "pretty" or "handsome."
judge by the to-do going on in the press today (Tuesday, September 14th, 2010)
regarding a "pretty" and "young" female reporter who was
"sexually harassed" by (perhaps naked) male athletes (whom, she
says, she tried not to notice), it matters a lot. Not to me, in particular, but
apparently to Women's Rights organizations.
Please note that the adjectives "pretty," "handsome," and
"young" are in parenthesis because they are subordinate to the
adjectives "female" and "male," which are primary and
sexes, not "genders." There are no reporters (so far as I know) who
have been neutered.
did, I can picture some WNBA players being just as bad.
If they did, I would consider changing my profession.
I know you're a poet, Tom, but what's your profession? Not an older one, I hope.
The oldest and the filthiest, the practice of law.
I feel your
I want you
both to stay away from my horror. My horrorscope is shrinking every day. I
cannot share what horror I have left.
So, just to add a
strange thought into this...If a (pretty, young) female reporter went into the
W.N.B.A locker room and received the same sort of catcalls, would we have the
same to-do in the press? I agree with Paul Austin -- I can picture some WNBA
players acting the same — some for females, some for males.
I also agree that she is
exercising her right to free speech, but if she dresses suggestively, she's
going to get comments!"Harassment"?Not
What lack of good judgment (or perhaps prurient preoccupation)
would induce a pretty young woman to enter an N.F.L. locker room? If men will
be men, certainly jocks will be jocks. Why would there be any illusion about
know. I'll take it up with my Men's Rights organization. Are you a member?
feel more comfortable in a men's wrongs society, mostly related to my
politically incorrect, macho-tainted opinion of pretty young reporters stupid
enough to enter N.F.L. locker rooms. Did they think they were entering a
Host a Dining for a Cause fundraiser at your local Ninety
Nine Restaurant and when your supporters dine at the Ninety Nine on the date of
your event, we'll donate 15% of sales (excluding tax/gratuity) back to your
organization. It's that easy!
Thank you for your
offer, Ninety Nine Restaurant E-Club. Would it be appropriate for my Men’s
Rights organization to apply?
Turco to Bennerup:
don't know if Ninety-Nine Restaurants would host a Men's Wrongs Society event.
They probably wouldn't host a Men's Rights Society event, either. I doubt that
it would be Politically Correct, although Women's Rights Societies obviously
agree. How about you and me joining
together to make a "Two Wrongs Make a Right Society"? On the other hand, maybe it should be
called "Two Lefts Make a Right Society." The former sounds too righteous and I'm too leftish to
Is there an erotic sonnet in all this? IF so, please fire it off
to me and/or Moira Egan for Hot Sonnets, our upcoming anthology. Who
knows — if it's really hot and really good — it could still make it into the
a friend, Wesli Court, who will begin working on it immediately. Okay, here it is:
HARASSMENT EMBARRASSMENT 2010
losing to Baltimore the Jets lose again: A Courtwright sonnet
The day when Inez Sainz
came marching in
To tackle the Jets’ steamy
And get an interview on
herself ”the hottest sports reporter
The players were abloom,
Sweaty and florid, showing
a lot of skin.
She tried hard not to
notice they had shed
Their shorts and towels — at least that’s what she said.
But it was hard to miss
each whistle, call,
And all the balls the
coaches threw to land
Not far from where she
stood. Then quarterback
Mark Sanchez arrived; he took
up the slack
And handled her like a
pro. She played the hand
She had been dealt, but
swore she’d never crawl.
Love this, Lew. And we
watched here in Rome as half-time talk even covered the lovely Mexican
reporter. In fact it's all over the Italian news. Indeed.
Within the next couple of
days, we will be sending out some Hot Sonnets news. Hold tight! But don't get into too much
Hoo hah!! You nailed it,
Wes! You took the words right out of my mouth, Moira!!Lew, I'm so glad I took your advice to
look at Facebook today. Salivacious, sez I, wishing that that were actually a word.
Thank you!Best time I've had in
front of the teenyweeny screen in ages. Warmest (hottest?) regards!
Might this be sexual harassment in shorts?
Yes, but not short subjects.
reporter whose social gender role is visually indeterminate (as, in this
hypothetical case, is that person's biological sex) enters a locker room, does
that person still get catcalled for being there?
question! Hypothetically speaking, I don't know. Maybe such journalists should
enter locker rooms disguised as neutered mascots of some sort. It's
miss-steerious to me.
Here's what you did for me this AM—mused me to write what may serve as my part of the front matter for Moira's and my Hot Sonnets anthology to which you have contributed so well. Thanks, very much,
P.S. Line. 2: "hold" or "wield"?
MY DEAR OLD SONNET
My dear old Sonnet, mother of my muse,
how can so small a creature hold such power?
You nag me: “Tidy up! Waste not! It’s now or
never, just get it done! So what’s to lose?
A dozen lines plus two, some rhymes, in booze-
talk that amounts to half a pint. An hour
or less. Try singing an octave in the shower!
(Of course, be careful of the words you choose.)”
And yet I know this sawed-off biddy loves me.
Loves me as much when I’m running hot and wild
and wicked as when my breathing’s measured, mild.
She doesn’t look askance when I talk dirty
and loves the men who say they like it. She
knows without routine I can’t be free.
dropping, dropping, / Hear the pennies fall, / Every one for Jesus, / He will get them all.” We used to sing this song in the Sunday school of the church in Meriden, Connecticut, where my father was minister for seventeen years in the ‘forties and early ‘fifties of the twentieth century. I got to thinking of it when, in late July of 2010 I received a book in the mail that I hadn’t ordered. I opened the package while I was at the post office in Dresden, Maine, where I have a mailbox. I stared at the cover, opened it to see if it were inscribed because I do often receive books from friends and other writers as gifts, but I didn’t know the author of this one, Dave Hunt, and the book wasn’t signed, nor was there a review slip enclosed. I couldn’t imagine why Mr. Hunt had sent it to me because it was a religious book and I haven’t had anything to do with religion in decades, nor had I written on the subject, except that in 2009 I had published a book of history — written almost forty years before it appeared in print — titled Satan’s Scourge: A Narrative of the Age of Witchcraft in England and New England 1580-1697. Perhaps, I thought, that was it, but I hadn’t really dealt with the subject of religion per se in that book.
I thought that must be it, though. I recalled that when my book came out I had been interviewed by Deirdre Fleming in the Portland Sunday Telegram and I had made a few remarks there — one passage in particular — that might have caused someone to send me this book. I had said, “That was the age when the system in America and in the world, really, was shifting from what we consider sympathetic magic to science, as for instance the shift from astrology to astronomy. It's a fascinating period. This changeover from magic to science is what the Salem witch-hunt was all about. It was the last big clash between science and sympathetic magic.”
Ms. Fleming had asked me then, “What can we learn from that period?” I had replied, “There are lots of things we can learn — for instance, the way that witches could be saved in New England in the 17th century was if they confessed to being witches. If you read the whole book, all the accused witches who weren’t hanged in Salem confessed to being witches, and of course, they weren't witches. But some refused to confess, and they weren't witches either. They were hanged. That should tell us something about the ethics of torture. You also learn something about belief and the difference between belief and reality.”
“Are those things relevant today?” Ms. Fleming had asked. I replied, “We had a big witch hunt while I was in the Navy in the 1950s — it was called McCarthyism. That was a witch hunt. It is the same thing, exactly. You can learn a lot about human nature. We do repeat history. We're doomed to repeat. We never seem to learn. And there are so many mysterious things that no human being is ever probably going to get to the bottom of, such as “black holes” and “the big bang.” Well, if people have open minds, perhaps they can get their minds around such things, and then believe them.
“But believing them is just taking them on faith,” I continued. “Some people take it on faith that there was an initial explosion that created the universe. Other people say God created it, but how do they know that? They take it on faith. The big question is, if God created the universe, who created God? And if there was an initial “big bang,” what came before the big bang? One of these two things is based on science, and the other is based on religion, but both of them are totally mysterious, and people believe in both.”
When I got home from the post office I opened the book and read the preface, which was as much of the book as I intended to read. Then I sat down and wrote the author this letter. “Dear Mr. Hunt,” I said,
“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book titled Cosmos, Creator, and Human Destiny. In your ‘Preface’ you say, ‘Anyone who sets out with an honest heart, an inquiring mind, and a sincere desire to find answers to the most important questions one can face in life will recognize a significant few that must be given priority. Does God exist? What is the origin of the universe and of the life found in such abundance on our tiny planet? What is life and what is its purpose?’
“As the son of a Baptist minister I could hardly have failed to run full tilt into these questions as soon as I was taught to speak. But by the time I was twelve years of age I realized that there are some questions that are incapable of being answered by other human beings, no matter how smart they may be. Today I read this in the newspaper, which is the only reasonable response to such books as yours,” and I pasted into the letter a “Peanuts” cartoon I had recently run across. In the first panel Snoopy is sitting beside his full dish and looking at its contents. He says, “Suppertime…is this all there is to my life?” In the second panel he looks away and says, “Is this the sum-total of my existence? Do I really just live to eat? Is that all I’m really good for?” In the third panel he looks back at his dish and says nothing. In the fourth panel he gets up, bends his head to eat and says, “I must think about that some day.”
And then I began to think about the remark I had made in my letter about having lost my father’s faith by the time I was twelve years old and I asked myself, “ Is that true? And when did that process begin?” That’s when I remembered the Sunday school song.
In Meriden in those days there was a big department store down on Colony Street called Upham’s. (Parenthetically, now that I think of it, Charles W. Upham wrote a famous book titled Salem Witchcraft.) I loved to go to Upham’s with my mother because when she paid the clerk her money for a purchased item the clerk took a little iron box and stuck the money in it. Then she put the box into a compartment on a sort of trolley and pushed a button. The trolley took off on a railway of sorts — not a vacuum system of the type to be found at drive-in windows of banks these days. It clattered up and away, along the track that led from the counter up to an office that overlooked the store where a cashier sat behind a glass window where she could see everything that went on below her. She took out the money and the invoice, made change, and sent the trolley on its way back to the clerk and my mother.
That little railway system made a big impression on me.
When we sang about the pennies dropping into the collection basket I imagined, when I was five or six years old, that some such system must be in play so that my Sunday school teacher could get the money to Jesus where he sat up in Heaven carefully watching what we did down here, for the song assured us that Jesus would get all the pennies. I took it on faith that it must be true.
But of course it wasn’t, which I finally figured out, doubtless by the time the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus had also gone by the boards. It was disillusioning to realize that my beloved father and my missionary mother could continue to believe such stories into adulthood and even into old age. I devoutly wished that such stories could be true. Perhaps that’s why I became a writer, for I understood, finally, that although those fantasies might not be true in the real world, they could be possible, if but briefly, in the magic world of the imagination, although ultimately that world must not be confused with the real world where sane people live.
Satan’s Scourge: A
Narrative of the Age of Witchcraft in England and New England 1580-1694by Lewis Turco, www.StarCloudPress.com, 2009, ISBN 978-1-932827, jacketed cloth, $54.95; ISBN
978-1-932842-26-5; trade paperback, $39.95, 808 pages. ORDER FROM BARNES
& NOBLE / ORDER FROM AMAZON.
Sad to think of the
infinite self-deception religion involves. Freud:
"[Religion] is so
patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly
attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals
will never be able to rise above this view of life."
The Virginia Quarterly Review "The Mutable Past," a memoir collected in FANTASEERS, A BOOK OF MEMORIES by Lewis Turco of growing up in the 1950s in Meriden, Connecticut, (Scotsdale AZ: Star Cloud Press, 2005).
The Tower Journal Two short stories, "The Demon in the Tree" and "The Substitute Wife," in the spring 2009 issue of Tower Journal.
The Tower Journal Memoir, “Pookah, The Greatest Cat in the History of the World,” Spring-Summer 2010.
The Michigan Quarterly Review This is the first terzanelle ever published, in "The Michigan Quarterly Review" in 1965. It has been gathered in THE COLLECTED LYRICS OF LEWIS TURCO/WESLI COURT, 1953-2004 (www.StarCloudPress.com).
The Gawain Poet An essay on the putative medieval author of "Gawain and the Green Knight" in the summer 2010 issue of Per Contra.