The home page for author Eric J. Juneau

Where’s the Other Side of the Abortion Debate? (a.k.a. why media uses the ‘pull-out method’ when it comes to abortion)

abortion parenting adoption crossroads

It’s time to talk about abortion. And as a straight white male, I feel the most qualified.

I’m pro-choice, so if you already know nothing’s gonna change your mind, better skip this article. It would be a waste of your time.

My base line is that I have no right to make decisions about procedures I know nothing about and can never experience. Men may have a say, but women need to design the rules. Men don’t get more than that until something makes them obliged to share the consequences of a baby.

I’m in favor of giving women choices, but for some reason people think “pro-choice” equates to “pro-death”. Pro-choice means don’t make a blanket ruling for all women everywhere. It means each woman gets to make that choice for themselves. It means they make that call. If the government or conservative Christians want to influence that decision, they’ll have to go up to each woman individually. Having the right to choose is different than actually making that choice, but that’s not how they paint it. They make it sound like every pregnant woman is going to get one.

Even though legal abortion has always been favored by Americans, the government — state, federal, local, whatever — has been pretending that they don’t. States make laws that, while still legal, make it nearly impossible to get one. They do anything they can to paint Planned Parenthood as an dead baby factory. Pass laws that require physical exams or waiting periods (read: chances to talk you out of it) or a hard cut-off date that’s so close to when pregnancy can be first detected it gives almost no opportunity. I don’t get why. What money is in it for them (besides lobbyists, but they can’t be contributing that much, can they?)

First of all, it’s unfortunate that the term we have to use is “abortion”. That’s such a ugly sounding word. a BOOR SHUN. That B is what really makes it misophonic. Some doctors use “termination”, but that’s not better. Makes you think of The Terminator. You may be laughing but words are influential, as I’ve mentioned before. I believe it’s the reason Blu-Ray conquered HD-DVD. They’ve done studies that show men and women react to neutrally-spoken out-of-context words. And it’s the reason we say “faucet” and not “spigot”. I’m not saying everything’s solved if, instead of “abortion” we say “fleebydeeby”, but much of the debate is bounded in rationalism vs. emotionalism.

homer simpson flanders crabgrass fence
“There’s nothing wrong with crabgrass. It just has a bad name, that’s all. Everyone would love it if it had a cute name like ‘elf grass.’”

And I’m not discounting emotionalism. It is a valid method of reasoning and criticism. Something doesn’t feel right. You don’t know why, but it feels wrong to put this knife into that guy. I probably shouldn’t do it. Lindsay Ellis put it better in her recent “Q & A”.

At the end of the day your feelings are your feelings. Feelings are not rational. You can rationalize them by having supporting evidence. But at the end of the day, if you have a criticism, it’s probably because you had an emotional reaction. Finding words and supporting evidence and being able to articulate why you feel that emotional reaction is the best you can do. And I think the worst people can do is have an emotional reaction and not really explore it and not really put words to it, not really articulate why they feel the way they feel. Either that or just delude themselves, which is also really popular these days.

The problem is that people don’t understand what motivates them, why they are feeling the way they feel. That’s why emotionalist arguments seem empty — the evidence to prove or persuade is purely personal (I did not mean to put so many p‘s in there). So the provocateurs end up yelling and screaming, balling their fists like babies, and blaming and shaming.

But what emotionalism does have is art and this leads to my thesis. Even though the majority of people are in favor of abortion, mainstream media ducks the issue completely. By skirting or avoiding confrontation with the issue (so they can make all audiences happy), one side gets more exposure than the other.

This trope is called Good Girls Avoid Abortion. If a story brings up the issue, it’s always with a negative connotation. It’s always the worse of two bad choices. It overshadows any other plot, becoming the theme, which is oversimplified into “quick and easy” versus “long and difficult… but rewarding?” And since so many stories are about “doing what’s right vs. doing what’s easy” (Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc.) it gives unfair advantage.

It’s the bad girls (read: sluts) who get them and the douchebags who suggest them. Although, really, it’s the writers standing on both sides of the fence. Having the break room cake and eating it too. And adoption, though probably the best choice, is rarely invoked because viewers always expect it as a future plot twist, like Morgan Le Fay coming back to kill King Arthur. Of course, the writers aren’t the one who has to carry the baby to term. They’re not risking the health of the older woman or raising it at nineteen with no money. Why don’t you go be homeless and live with your kid in a women’s shelter?

abortion movie

In movies, if the issue comes up, that’s all the plot is about. There’s never a side character or side story about it. Except in the case of Dirty Dancing, but it’s still for the benefit of the main characters. A background dancer (one of the dirtier ones, I wager) has one in her home where the conductor takes her money, performs poorly, then leaves. That requires Baby to fetch her father (a doctor) for help. It’s a whole big turning point where bonds of trust are forged and hearts are warmed. Baby shows that she’s not just a condescending aristocrat, and so on and on.

dirty dancing abortion

But it portrays abortion as this scary back alley thing where some guy will shove a knitting needle up your ass. Which it was, back in this time, pre-Roe vs. Wade. But for a lot of women, this is their first exposure to the potential reality of getting an abortion. And it’s quite negative.

Then there’s the big ones like Juno and Knocked up. At first, titular Juno thinks she’s just going to “nip that thing in the bud” as she says, not doing any favors to imagery. But on the way, she has one pitiful protestor to ignore until she mentions the baby has fingernails. Of course, being so quirky and twee, that’s what makes her turn around. Not the heartbeat or anything like that. The best part is fetuses don’t have fingernails at that age of development, so the whole plot is based on misinformation, like Lucy.

juno protestor

Thankfully, Juno opts to put the baby up for adoption. But it’s open adoption — meaning she gets to choose the parents and throw out certain decisions as if she’s going to be the parent. As if she’s going to be the one getting up at 3 o’clock in the morning when it’s crying. Most of the story is about her relationship with the adoptive parents and the conflict it creates. But at least, in the end, no one changes their mind at the last minute. My problem is that the abortion thing had to be in there at all. It doesn’t affect the plot, and it’s still treated as the worst choice.

Knocked Up is even worse. Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl have a drunken one-night-stand. He “almost” uses a condom, but she says something about hurrying up that he misinterprets and now we get a movie poster with nothing but Seth Rogen’s stupid face.

knocked up poster seth rogen

Why why why would you ever keep a baby created from that kind of situation. This man has no job, no money, no ambitions beyond getting stoned and possibly being interested in thinking about making a website with clips of celebrity nudity. Meanwhile Heigl has a career she cares about and is trying to build up. She has nothing religious holding her back and no reason to think she couldn’t have a family in the future. The only people who suggest abortion are the assholes. Almost the exact same thing happens in Look Who’s Talking. (Although I don’t know how old Kirstie Alley is supposed to be in that. 22? 32? 42? She looks as old as my Mom. But the guy she’s fucking looks like a grandpa.)

kirstie alley look who's talking
Also what’s the deal with that cubicle wall?

It gets worse in science fiction. It’s not so much the wrong time or few resources (in the future, they just stick babies in one of those Buy n’ Large daycares where robots look after them). But where the big problem is risk to the mother’s health, they still refuse to terminate the pregnancy. She’s going to have that baby or die trying. In The Fly, Geena Davis has sex with post-accident pre-brundlefly Jeff Goldblum. Even after she knows her baby won’t be human, she still wants to carry it to term (thus, we get The Fly II, where she dies in childbirth. Good call.)

There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where there’s an alien species who wants to know what humans are. And I guess way to learn it is to do it. So it impregnates the sexy one with itself. Of course, the crew doesn’t know this, they think she just became spontaneously pregnant. Worse yet, the fetus is gestating wildly fast. Fast enough it could kill her. I mean, like, nine months in a few days. So total alien, totally unwanted, and totally threatening. But NOPE, gonna keep it. This is Star Trek — the galaxy’s all about ethics and morality and human futurism.

data pregnant troi star trek
And don’t forget the comic relief where the Spock stand-in has to help deliver.

In Twilight, Bella is vomiting blood and suffering a broken spine. Just gestating is actively . Labor might kill her and the baby in the process. And she STILL won’t consider termination. Better to die a noble warrior’s death than have that sinful abortion. What else would you expect from a Mormon.

bella pregnant twilight
“Yes, nurse, this patient looks suitably healthy to deliver a baby in hard labor.”

TV shows always have at least one episode where a main character faces a surprise pregnancy (either real or false). More times than not, they keep it. It’s just too much of a gimme for writers. A pregnancy gives you nine months to write jokes about swelling feet or food cravings. Then it provides a natural climax for the season finale. And if it’s enough to pull you out of the ratings slump that provoked this plot in the first place, you’ve got all those baby hijinx situations for next season. You’d be a fool not to snatch that low-hanging fruit, no matter how undesired or consequential the pregnancy would be for the woman. Half the time it’s because the actress got pregnant in real life, so why not take that flag and raise it?

Teen soaps are prime breeding ground (pardon the pun) for this. In Switched at Birth, we have Lily who has an unwanted pregnancy. She just broke up with the father. They are both 21. He is unemployed and she’s working at Krispy Kreme or some place. And an amniocentisis shows the fetus will have Downs’ Syndrome. Everyone tells her she should end the pregnancy… except for one person. And that’s the person who changes her mind. Of course, you’d figure this is the conclusion they come up with, given this is a family drama on the Freeform used-to-be-The-Family-Channel network.

But I’m from a previous generation, so I don’t know much about these new-fangled shows. Still, the trope was plenty present in my time. In Beverly Hills 90210, the quintessential teen drama, Andrea, a.k.a. the one with the glasses (so you know she’s a good girl) gets the treatment. Her whole deal is that she’s just started dating the father, she’s eighteen, she’s a freshman in college. She doesn’t want a baby. She’s not in any ideal situation for a family and since she has glasses, she’s rational, so she decides to get an abortion. But she gets the “change mind at last second” twist because we can’t have Andrea be bad.

Meanwhile, in Party of Five, a sister melodrama on Fox, Neve Campbell’s character got the “one-and-done” episode where a convenient miscarriage lets her avoid a decision. God decided just to “nip that in the bud there”. The aforementioned BH90210 had the same thing happen to Kelly.

Now onto sitcoms. Oh, sure, we can occasionally bring up this “dark” subject in a comedy, but very rarely. Wouldn’t want to stopper the laughs from “Malcolm in the Middle”. This is a case of “actress got pregnant so we have to write it in somehow”. And ignores that A) this woman has to be at least in her late 40’s B) they are slightly above the poverty line, mostly because C) they already have four boys — one had to be sent to military school and the three others are headed the same way. I mean in the “set the house on fire, can’t be left alone” sense. Like real life first-season Bart Simpsons. But nope, the family never considers it, even though it’s clearly a valid* option.

*Note, I’m not saying the “right” option. In these cases, there is no such thing as a right or wrong decision, just what appears to be best at the time, which is a matter of rationalism vs. emotionalism. More on that later.

Similar events happen in Roseanne, Frasier, and Friends. All unmarried women. All in mid-life. All with excellent careers. All with fathers unwilling to be a parent. Roseanne’s the only one “edgy” enough to have some character development attached to it. But in the end, the baby is kept, despite the consequences.

murphy brown title card

And Murphy Brown started it all. I guess you have to be really old to remember, but there was a hyped controversy thanks to Dan Quayle. Remember Dan Quayle? Remember when he was the only elected official we had to worry about? Those were the days. God, I’d suck someone’s dick to have Dan Quayle back.

Anyway, he made a big stink when he cited Murphy Brown as the cause or result of the degradation of family values (I’m not sure which he was siding with) what with them unmarried womens raising a child without the man-beast. Candice Bergen, to her credit, didn’t stay silent. She wrote the single-ness and baby-ness into the next episode with vigor and gusto (which sounds like a pasta dish) motif-ing that families come in all shapes and sizes — no one has better or worse “values”.

These are all shows you know. They all have abortion brought up. No one is ready to have a child. But none of them choose that choice. There’s plenty more egregious examples on the trope page. I had no idea anime had so many. No matter where you think “life begins”, no one can argue with “don’t do anything and you can’t be wrong”.

But my point is, the exhibition is one-sided. It’s not that these plots exist, it’s “where are the other sides”? Where are the women who choose abortion? Why not show their journey? It’s not like there isn’t plenty of conflict to exploit. Why not show the problems with finding a clinic? Or navigating the onslaught of protestors and harassers? The expense?

The only place I’ve seen it ever was in G.L.O.W. (on Netflix), which doesn’t treat it as a plot point, not a character moment, not as a mistake. It’s just an event and no one speaks of it ever. It seems like they show it just to show it. But sometimes, that’s how it is in the real world — no pathos or circumstance.

You ever watch politicians? They either declare themselves “pro-life” or don’t bring it up at all. Being pro-choice makes more rational sense, but it feels like the arguments fall on deaf ears becaue the opposition will only hear of sanctity and morals. Justification rooted in faith and belief rather than proof. But they keep being crazy about it, citing facts that aren’t true and using “shock and awe” tactics.

When you’re thinking about any moral issue, you have to ask your five questions:

1) Will it do harm or provide care? (This isn’t an “either/or” but an overall. You have to cut someone open to get that cancerous tumor out.)
2) Will it be fair to all involved? Or at least be reciprocal? (Meaning is it square for all sides. Or “does the punishment fit the crime”?)
3) Does it maintain loyalty?
4) Does it respect authority and/or tradition?
5) Does it violate what is sacred? Is it abhorrent? (by this, we mean “disliked because of immorality”)

So you see both pro-choice and pro-life have a grip. It’s 1 & 2 versus 4 & 5. (3 doesn’t seem to apply to either side.) Any of them could be correct. There is no such thing as “wrong” on this topic. Abortion provides care, but it feels wrong. And sanctity & tradition, while valid, have also been used to justify segregation, anti-semitism, and white nationalism. People who argue for values are the same ones who turn out to be Roy Moore or Anthony Weiner or Denver “Bigfoot Erotica” Riggleman

referee foul logical argument fallacy

Okay, that’s fair. But you should declare an “appeal to emotion” for the other side.

referee foul logical argument fallacy
Those penalties offset. First down.

Thank you. And keep this in mind: An argument is when you are trying to determine WHO is right. A conversation is when you are trying to determine WHAT is right.

This blog was inspired by this article.

A Straight White Male’s Unnecessary Reaction to “Cat Person”

Felicia capcom darkstalkers

Here it is. The short story that everyone’s talking about lately. Mark your calendars. It’s a momentous occasion when a short story raises anyone’s hackles. Actually, it’s a momentous occasion when someone reads a short story. This one doesn’t even have any robots or murder in it. But it does have sex and female perspective, which seems common with a lot of short stories that garner controversy (“The Yellow Wallpaper”, “The Story of an Hour”, “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall”, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”)

Short summary: Margot, a twenty-year-old college student, goes on a date with Robert, a thirty-six year old socially awkward hipster she meets at a movie theater. They text a bit, she wonders what he’s thinking, how her actions are interpreted, how to interpret his, etc. Typical overanalyzing & overthinking. They have bad sex one night. Margot doesn’t know how to tell him she’s not interested. He texts her repeatedly with questions. She doesn’t answer. He calls her a whore. Story ends.

Also not the cat person we’re talking about, thank God

THE GUY

Thankfully, I am not one of the men who sees himself in the Robert. Except maybe the sex. He’s having trouble keeping it up because he’s nervous — this doesn’t happen to him very often (the having of the sex). And all his knowledge comes from porno, which involves dirty talk and frequent position-switching and rough stuff. It all looks great on film but doesn’t translate in real life (because when you have sex in real life, it’s not for a viewing audience, it’s for yourself).

The guy reminds me of the WoW griefer in South Park’s “Make Love, Not Warcraft”. Slumped shoulders means he spends a lot of time on the computer. He demonstrates little ability to interact socially, especially with women, but he’s great on text. These are things I do have in common. When I was dating my wife, she fell in love with me more via AIM chat, not so much in real life. I was more talkative and funnier in text, because then I could gather my thoughts and didn’t have to worry about timing or body language. That’s why video chat has never and will never take off.

But as you see, I grew out of it. No way does our sympatico personalities excuse his behavior. This is what I was like fifteen years ago, not now. Not at the same age Robert’s at. Speaking as a thirty-six year old, having sex with a twenty-year-old sounds gross to me. I’m not one of those older men who’s like “ooh, young virginal flesh, yum, yum.” There’s so much porno dedicated to “eighteen and horny”, but they just look small, confused, and inexperienced. Too young looking and I’m like “that’s too close to my daughter”.

(Irrelevant side note: I’m still mystified by how Gianna Michaels and Faye Reagan are the same age. Genetic diversity is amazing. And you can tell by looking which one shows up under “MILF” tags and which one shows in “pretty young teens”)

Also thinly veiled excuse

The reason the story is reaching so many people is that it’s so real. Like those other stories I mentioned, this is a modern “horror” story in disguise. In fact, it’s being mistaken as an essay or feature (because it’s in The New Yorker). I could totally believe this happened in real life. Especially the ending. I read psycho-texts like this on Imgur all the time (usually funny posts when they get a wrong number and keep obliviously texting and getting angrier). Some guy feels entitled after a few dates, gets ignored, and gets resentful. He’s lived a crappy average life, been given every opportunity and failed at it. Rather than blame themselves, they blame feminism or gold-diggers.

THE GIRL

Margot seems to be trying to convince herself that she likes this guy. Is she really so devoid of prospects as a twenty-year-old co-ed? (Not according to the websites I visit late at night 😼 ) Maybe there’s a subtlety here that I can’t wrap my head around, that of casual encounters. Might be something after my time or I’m incapable of grokking it.

But my point is more of the relationship takes place in Margot’s head than real life. She fills in the blanks when his reactions are confusing or off-putting, instead of taking them at face value. She fills the gaps with what she wants to happen. Even when having sex, she turns herself on by thinking of what he’s thinking. This is a classic mistake of believing there’s more complexity in the room than there is. That’s the whole point of the story — trying to figure out who Robert is through incomplete information. That’s why the story ends when she gets it.

Oversimplified, but still largely true

Thankfully, at the end of it all, she’s not scarred by the experience. And even as it’s going on, she’s thinking how she’s going to look back at it and laugh. Sadly, this is a best case scenario for the presented circumstances.

Here’s a pro-tip. If you are dating a man, and you’re getting a vibe that he’s like a skittish bear or a horse that needs to be calmed down, that’s a red flag. You want a human being, not a pet.

I question why Margot does not end this cleanly. Should we be more focused on her reluctance to give him any sort of response? I won’t say this is a character flaw because, in today’s society, it’s understandable. Every time a woman goes on a date with someone she doesn’t know well, she’s entering the lion’s den. She jokes about whether or not he’s going to murder her, but it’s only half a joke. That’s something men still need to grok about women. Women have a lot more to lose on the dating scene.

She gives herself two options — either a cut-and-dried rejection via text or an Irish exit. Let’s take a look at that golden oldie from 1996, up forty-two big notches to number eleven “Popular” by Nada Surf

Don’t put off breaking up when you know you want to. Prolonging the situation only makes it worse. Tell him honestly, simply, kindly, but firmly. Don’t make a big production, don’t make up an elaborate story. This will help you avoid a big tear-jerking scene. If you want to date other people, say so. Be prepared for the boy to feel hurt and rejected. Even if you’ve gone together for only a short time and haven’t been too serious, there’s still a feeling of rejection when someone says she prefers the company of others to your exclusive company. But if you’re honest and direct and avoid making a flowery emotional speech when you break the news, the boy will respect you for your frankness and, honestly, he’ll appreciate the kind of straightfoward manner in which you told him your decision, unless he’s a real jerk or a crybaby.

Timeless wisdom from the age of Nirvana.

THE SEX

Women have the right to change their mind at any time. It would be better if they do it sooner than later, but still… Impolite or not, no one has any obligation to continue an activity they don’t want to. I can understand why you wouldn’t want to lead someone on then stop.

But there’s a difference when it comes to something as intimate as sex.

People are dancing around the consent factor in the sex scene. Margot could have said no at any time, but didn’t. This makes people confused as to whether or not the sex was consensual. It can be argued what makes refusal or negative consent, but you have to do something if you’re not under any threat. You have to make some kind of flag that says any reasonable person would understand as “I want to stop”. (Assuming that you can. If you do not have the ability to do so, like if you’re unconscious, it’s an automatic no.) Enthusiastic consent is a great idea, but it’s not legally binding. She may have been drunk, but that doesn’t mean you lose your volition (as court cases involving “Girls Gone Wild” have proven).

And you can’t tell a guy after he’s taken his shirt off that you don’t want to have sex anymore. That’ll destroy him. That’s when Margot’s turning point occurs. Even Ann Landers would agree with me there. Pro-tip: fake a sudden sickness. Say you drank so much you’re sick, or the dinner turned on you.

Possible casting for “Cat Person: The Movie”

CONCLUSION

Someone needs to write a story from the cat’s point of view.

The Sliding Scale of Infidelity

sex doll couch video games

I was talking about this with my wife the other day. Apparently there is some new sex robot that can replicate emotions and give responses. I’m sure it’s not much better than a furby. But it reminded me that we are facing a paradigm shift in technology + sex and it’s going to go common soon.

I can’t remember where I read it, but there’s a quote that says “As soon as a new technology is invented, people will figure out a way to use it for sex”. It happened with paintings, the telephone, the video tape, and so on. I don’t know if the same debates occurred back then, but I know that today’s technology allows to get into some very gray area regarding infidelity.

Case in point, there’s a scene in Bad Moms (2016 starring Mila Kunis) where the husband is on the computer masturbating. The wife thinks it’s just porn, but he’s webcamming with another girl. I don’t know if this is a camgirl or a normal citizen. It’s someone he’s established rapport with, that much is known.

The wife (and mine) considered this cheating. But no fluids were exchanged. They were never in the same room together. In fact, they had never met IRL and lived in different states.

To be clear, I’m not saying this ISN’T cheating. I’m saying it’s an interesting debate. I understand both sides of the issue. On one hand, feelings were hurt. On the other hand, how different is this than pornography or strippers? To what degree of intimacy was exchanged?

And that’s just today. I don’t know what it was like in the past days–I guess women didn’t feel like they had voice enough to protest their husbands sexual escapades. But now that we’ve got stronger women PLUS accelerating technology, a hand must be raised.

And it’s interesting that this “accelerated technology” is pretty much devoted to giving humans artificial experiences. I grew up in a time when the greatest advance in VR was A) that thing at the State Fair where you shoot dragons or your friend in Blockoland or B) Virtual Boy.

Right now, sex dolls are still tossed in the uncanny valley, but eventually, they will make a human-passable gynoid. Is a nearly human gynoid worse or better than watching a camgirl?

When I try and evaluate “am I masturbating or am I having an affair?” I think of it on a scale from 0 (monogamous, no fear of betrayal) to 10 (you’ve been unfaithful to me, I want a divorce). Here are some things that are going to have to be placed on that scale:

  • A full-size sex doll with no electronics or moving parts
  • A sex doll that can have a face projected onto it (any face you want)
  • A sex doll with moving parts and electronics (meant to be as close to a human as possible)
  • A non-humanoid robot that can give a handjob
  • Virtual reality porn
  • Virtual reality porn with a peripheral
  • Virtual reality porn with a haptic suit
  • A sex game on a Kinect (or perhaps virtual sex on the Kinect)
  • Attaching a fleshlight to an iPad.
  • Anything you can make with a 3-D printer
  • Interacting one-on-one with a camgirl (compare to getting a lap dance with a stripper)
  • Interacting one-on-one with someone on ChatRoulette

  • Using a remotely-operated sex toy (they’ve got everything from kissing simulators to virtual vajayjays).
  • Putting on Google Glasses and face-swapping your partner with someone else.

To me, none of these sound terribly appealing. Maybe the most likely one I’d get is something VR for the cell phone. Nothing too expensive. I’ve got kids, I’ve got to hide it, you know. I can’t put on a haptic suit every time. But the thing about VR is it does feel a leetle beet too much like having sex with someone who’s not my wife. Also, someone could walk in and I’d never know it.

For me personally, I think a big part comes from “is there a human on the other end or not”? Although this is not an end-all/be-all. Men can fall in love with a non-feeling object. We’re living in a world where people marry their pillows, for God’s sake.

Ultimately, it comes down to what’s okay between you and your spouse. And these days that may not be so cut and dried. So that means some uncomfortable communications are going to have to occur, and it’s better they occur sooner than later.

Unenthusiastic is Hard to Type

this kid is not enthusiastic

It’s still hard to stay enthusiastic about writing.  I’m still writing, so it’s not like I stopped.  But what I’m writing now doesn’t require me to bring my “A game”.  It’s fan fiction, so it’s nice to write with no pressure.  But I haven’t sold a short story since (goes to look up answer) since July 2014.  A whole year and nothing.  Did the market change and no one told me?  My acceptance rate is down to 3.3%.  Guess I had my peak year.

I haven’t written any new short stories in quite some time either, so maybe that’s part of it.  I’ve been trying to write them, believe me, but they’re not panning out.  I either choke at the ending, or the whole thing needs severe rewrites.  I’ve been working on my very long fan fiction or “Merm-8” or “Defender” or my dwarf novella (which I have no idea how to sell — no one seems to be interested in novellas).

And then I finished “The Martian” by Andy Weir.  According to its notes, it was published online first, then self-published on Amazon, since readers wanted it in an easier format.  Then kept getting traction until it was picked up.  And now it’s a frickin’ movie.

It makes me wonder whether or not it’s easier just to publish something online and let the readers come to me.  But “The Martian” had that something special that other books don’t — a load of whiz-bang engineering and problem-solving and true science.  But also, it never gained traction with agents, so dropping it right into the readers hands was the only way to get their attention, like Amanda Hocking, E.L. James, and John Scalzi.  However, if I do that, do I become untouchable to agents and publishers, because the book/story has already been released online, it’s now said to be “published”.

It’s gotten to the point where I’m thinking about writing erotic fetish fiction.  I recently read this article on Cracked: 5 Secrets I Know About Women (From Writing Their Weird Porn)*.  It mystifies me that people would pay for it when so much is available for free, like on XNXX and LitErotica (sorry, I can’t link those.  I’m at work).  And there are other foibles (being prolific, self-publishing, finding a niche, Amazon’s arbitrary censorship).  Plus it’s been an idle fantasy of mine to write a script to a porn movie.  Like, one of the big budget ones.  The little ones can’t afford to have writers.

I’ve written similar things before (Milk & Honey, The Upgrades, parts of The Centaur Bride).  Whether or not I can write it well — enough to sell — I don’t know.  But I have no taboos or reservations about this kinda thing (lord knows I’ve studied enough materials) …  except that I wouldn’t put my name on it.  I’d use a pseudonym/identity.

And maybe it sounds selfish, but I want to be widely read.  I mean, me, Eric Juneau.  I want to make my mom proud and hold up my book and say, “See, I wrote this?  It can even go in the bookshelf with all your other books.”  I want to have weirdly drawn covers on mass market paperbacks with yellowing pages.  I want to be able to pull my book out of a bookshelf at Barnes & Noble and turn it out as if the booksellers wanted to feature it.  I want my kids to be able to say that daddy is an author.

Man, why’s this gotta be so hard?

*I sincerely doubt the majority of consumers of these books are women.

Does Superman Poop? (NSFW)

superman wonder woman sex in space

So the other day I was driving home from work and thinking about stuff. For some reason that age old problem came to mind – could Superman have sex?

The going theory is that Superman, on Earth, could only have sex with another Kryptonian. If he had sex with an Earth woman, say Lois Lane, he would ejaculate so hard that it would blow her brains out (see image). This is known as the “man of steel, woman of kleenex” problem. (And this is besides the issue of being pregnant with a super-baby that could kick its way out of your uterus).

Some people think that it’s not an issue, because Superman can control his powers. That’s why he doesn’t crush a doorknob every time he walks through a door. He can stop his heart on command (this was in an early comic book, but it’s still canon). On the other hand, the human body is full of involuntary responses. Especially in the heat of passion, can Superman control it that much? Human men can’t.

That got me thinking about his other involuntary responses, like peeing. Surely Superman doesn’t destroy every toilet he goes in. Otherwise it would be like a high-powered pressure washer. Pooping isn’t really a pressure thing, so I don’t think that would be an issue. But does Superman even need to poop?

He does eat, so it’s got to go somewhere. He can stop his heart, so maybe he can stop his metabolism? Or maybe he has super-metabolism, where he uses all parts of the food. His super-power comes from the yellow sun, so he doesn’t need it to live, I don’t think. I don’t think you can starve Superman to death. (I wonder if Lex Luthor’s tried that yet, instead of stupid green kryptonite plan #4,053).

What if it was, like, super-poop? Does poop retain properties of its digester? Maybe it becomes super-dense dark matter like Nibbler’s poop. So if he dropped a deuce, it could fall through all the floors of the Daily Planet. Could you throw the poop at someone and kill them? If you got near the poop, would you gain super powers? Like Superman gets weaker because of green kryptonite. I’m going to leave it at “being near poop” because I don’t like where this line of questioning is heading.

If it’s like normal poop, could you use it to fertilize your garden and grow super corn (a la Spaced Invaders?) Superman could be wasting a valuable natural resource. Forget saving us from tornadoes and aliens. How about a little contribution to our agricultural output? It works for guano. On the other hand, maybe that’s how Ma and Pa Kent were able to keep their tiny little farm alive. I guess it wasn’t because they had a super-son for child labor to tow the plow.

And if it’s the case for Superman, think about all the other superheroes — the Martian Manhunter’s green poop, Wonder Woman’s god-given poop, Venom’s symbiotic poop, Spider-man’s sticky poop, and the Incredible Hulk’s…

I’ve taken this too far, haven’t I?

Girls and Lena Dunham

hbo girls poster

I started watching Girls recently. It’s only ten episodes, not much of a commitment. Everyone seems to be talking about how funny it is or interesting or controversial it is. I really liked Sex & the City and this looked a lot like it.  So I thought I’d check it out.

The concept itself is rather unappealing, or at least one I’ve seen before. They lampshade Sex and the City in the first episode with a background poster. But lampshade hanging doesn’t mean copying is excusable. One can’t help make comparisons when it’s about four twenty-something girls in New York City with very different personalities and their relationships/sex lives. It’s like SATC: The Next Generation.

The problem is everyone is so damn irresponsible with their bohemian lifestyle. It’s like the unappealing parts of rent, where these “arteestes” expect other people to roll over for them because they’re “being real” or “true to life”. In the very first scene, the main character is at dinner with her parents, who tell her that they’re cutting her off. At 24. After she’s been working at an unpaid internship for two years. I’m not sure who I’m supposed to be rooting for.

Another girl has this great, considerate sensitive boyfriend. And all she wants is someone to fuck her raw. It’s like, what chance does that give guys like me? Who actually respect women? Who maybe want to have face-to-face sex because we like looking at you and we love you? That maybe we’re not trying to treat you as some object and reinforce decades and centuries of female oppression? And don’t get me started on the French girl that gets knocked up and then leaves her friends high and dry at the abortion clinic while she has sex with some guy in a bathroom.

So as you can tell, I’m not terribly in love with the show.

But I can’t look away from Lena Dunham. She is just so adorable. I love her face. I love her voice. I love the fact she doesn’t fit in with the other actors. You can tell her talent isn’t in her acting ability (she’s the creator/director/producer). I’m not saying she’s a bad actor, but you can tell her style does not fit with the others. The chemistry is different.

She feels like your cool aunt. One you might have a chance to bang if you both get drunk enough has a lot of stories. In one of the episodes, she gets a penis-pic from her boyfriend/fuck-buddy (who treats her horribly and I want to punch). So she just whips off her shirt in front of the audience, exposing her not-Hollywood breasts/body and takes a hand-bra picture of herself. I thought that was awesome, and so hot. I would love to date a girl that free with herself.

She reminds me of girls I went to college with, with big brown eyes, and a wider torso, and a sly, sincere smile. And she has some cute tattoos of literary stuff, and she doesn’t make a big deal of it (not like her other actor starlets who you can tell are tattoo-less and model-like to ensure their acting career). She reminds me a little of Hannah Hart.

I’m four episodes in now. I’ll probably finish up the season, just to see if there’s anymore of her. If they start focusing too much on the bitch French girl (who I KNOW is going to bang the father of the kids she’s nannying for) or the ungrateful woman who’s relationship is based on sex or the teenybopper virgin who wants everyone to like her — in other words, the unlikeable characters (in other other words, everyone who’s not Lena Dunham), I’ll drop the series.

When Is a Blow Job Not a Blow Job?

the shining bear costume

My wife was in the car with some girls, going out to the bars.  In the middle of the trip, they said they weren’t going to drive her home because they’d be too drunk to drive.  And the driver wouldn’t drive her back to her car (despite being only four minutes away from it).  She begrudgingly told them she needed to take a sober cab home.  One of the girls said (jokingly I assume) that if you give the cabbie a blow job, you ride for free.

These girls were about ten years older than my wife, so I’m trying to determine if they are symptoms of an earlier generation.  Of those party girls-turned-cougars.  Taking advantage of their sex, controlling it, being liberated, instead of oppressed like their mothers assumably were.

Or is it society telling them that this is acceptable behavior.  The Snooki’s and sex tapes saying ‘just give the boys sex, they’ll do anything you want’.

I’m having trouble resolving that statement: “if you give the cabbie a blow job, you can ride for free”.  Is that empowering to women, or exploitive?  Is this the stripper and porn star using their assets to make money and exploit men, or are they being exploited, treated as sex robots and objects.

On one hand, using your natural abilities to get what you want, that seems to be empowering.  If you have breasts and a mouth, you have something that 50% of the population doesn’t.  And that 50% of the population tends to have the faculty, the control in the world.  Like they say in My Big Fat Greek Wedding “the husband is the head in the family, but the wife is the neck”.  Women can do that while other men can’t.  A man tries to offer the cabbie a blow job, he’ll get punched (assumably, unless he’s really lucky).

OR is the woman simply selling out, taking advantage of the tendency of men to exploit women?  She’s taking an intimate act and making it cheap. Prostituting herself for favors.  Is that the mindset of these women?  That’s it’s okay to use sex to get what you want?  That’s okay to act like an object if it’s gets you the upper hand?

Well, I’ll tell you this.  I would not want my daughters to make a joke like that and think that it’s funny.  It’s misogynistic to thing that way.  It may gain something in the short term, but in the long term, how does it affect your mental state?  Your self-esteem?  Is this all you are?  A mouth?

Get Your Hands Off Bradley Manning’s Pronouns!

ask about my pronoun preference button

In this, I am afraid of saying something wrong and misogynist and insensitive, but I have too much conviction on this.

So the big news this Wikileaks trial concluded with this thing out of left field that Bradley Manning wants to be Chelsea Manning. He wants to be a girl, and identified as such. And all I can think is this:

It’s a ridiculous turn of events, to be sure. Unexpected to say the least. But the aftermath of it is that journalists and press have to decide how to react.  Whether to refer to Bradley Manning as Chelsea Manning, and him as her and he as she. Because he says he’s a woman.  NPR in particular came under the gun by choosing to stick to its style guidelines.

I try to be sensitive. I try to think about the perspective of the other person. I think of what I would do if my daughter came to me with the same problem. I’m pretty sure one of my co-workers was not always a woman, but she’s awesome to work with, and I don’t care one whit about her personal past/identity. I believe in LGBT rights, but it’s usually the G and L that get the attention. I have no problem with anything they want to do, as long as it doesn’t affect me.

But now this affects me.  It results in Bradley Manning wanting people to change the rules just for him. And what bothers me is that my favorite sci-fi authors are crying “No! You must respect his… I mean, her wishes. Lo, that we had a pronoun to refer to the trans of gendered. Don’t be ignorant and disrespectful to these people. Don’t deliberately disregard someone’s preferences.” And arguments with sci-fi authors never end in changed minds.

“I am Chelsea. I am a female.” If you want to believe that, that’s fine, but now you’re insisting that I change the rules of grammar and diction for you. That’s like forcing everyone in a school not to eat peanuts because one kid is allergic. Why do we all have to change? Why do we all have to suffer because of one person?

If English scholars want to introduce some new pronoun to describe these people, go ahead. I’ll use it. But the fact is, we don’t. The dictionary translates “he” as meaning “the male one”. Male means “a man or boy” or “an individual that produces motile gametes (i.e. sperm) that fertilize the eggs of a female”. Seems cut and dried there. “He” refers to boys. Boys produce sperm. Bradley Manning produces sperm. Therefore, he’s a he.

Once he undergoes surgery and gets the lady parts, I have no problem referring to him as a her. Even though she won’t strictly adhere to the definitions set herein.  I do believe that transgender people have a lot of shit they have to eat.  They suffer tremendous in lieu of our straight, white male privilege.  But sympathy doesn’t solve a problem.

Think about this scenario. A man goes to the DMV and fills out his application for a license. The associate looks at it.

DMV ASSOCIATE: Uh, it says here that you wrote down blond hair.
APPLICANT: That’s right.
DMV ASSOCIATE: But you have brown hair.
APPLICANT: Yes, but I identify as a blond-haired person.
DMV ASSOCIATE: Do you mean you dye your hair? Is blond your natural color?
APPLICANT: No, this is. But I feel like a blond-haired person.
DMV ASSOCIATE: Uh-huh. But you have brown hair.
APPLICANT: I look like I have brown hair, but I’m really blond-haired.
DMV ASSOCIATE: Uh-huh. Do you know it’s illegal to lie on a license application? A government document?
APPLICANT: I’m not lying. I really have blond hair. I feel like I have blond hair, but I was born with brown hair.
DMV ASSOCIATE: And that people are going to use your license to identify you, and when it says you have blond hair despite you physically not, what do you expect to happen?
APPLICANT: I expect… I expect, well, uh…

I believed NPR was right, and it’s a shame they changed their mind so quickly in the cavalcade of negative responses. In journalism, you do have to think about more than the subject’s personal preferences. You have to think about your audience, your copy editors. Everyone knows who C. Montgomery Burns is, but if you start calling him Charles Burns, A) no one’s going to know who you’re talking about, which damages your magazine’s readability B) you’re going to get a hundred complaints and letters from the audience telling you you’re wrong or made a typo, which loses you reputation and readership.

Or imagine this scenario: a man picking up someone at the airport. He’s carrying a sign for JOHNSON, a well-publicized figure. But the driver does not know what he looks like, save a written description from his dispatcher. He approaches someone who seems to be looking for his driver.

LIMO DRIVER: Excuse me, I’m looking for Johnson. Have you seen him? He’s about 5’10”, male.
JOHNSON: That’s me!
LIMO DRIVER: No, no, I’m looking for someone with blond hair.  You have brown hair.
JOHNSON: That’s me. I have brown hair, but I really have blond hair.
LIMO DRIVER: Oh, you color your hair.
JOHNSON: No. See? No roots. I’m just a blond-haired person in a brown-haired person’s body.
LIMO DRIVER: And I think you are either crazy or lying. Goodbye.
JOHNSON: No wait, I’m Johnson! I’m really Johnson.
LIMO DRIVER: You can say whatever you want. I know what I’m looking for.

I know that biology is complicated. Hank Green explains how it is.

Assuming this is fact, that means there are potentially five factors leading to someone’s sexuality. Assuming three options available (male, female, both) for each of those, that’s, like 35 combinations, or 243 variations! (I’m sure my math is bad. But whatever the correction is, it’s a lot). You cannot possible retain that many pronouns to refer to someone.  The point of grammar rules is to clear confusion.

Jim C. Hines makes the argument that his legal name is James, but he prefers to be called Jim. But people with nicknames get called both, don’t they? If you get in a huff about it each time, it’s going to be a long life. Besides, there are established rules for this instance: one is a formal name, one is a familiar name. On legal documents, does he cross out every instance of James and replace it with Jim?

And moreover, he didn’t get to choose the name James in the first place. None of us get to choose the name we’re born with. Oh, sure, you can change later in life… if you want to put up with all the legal documents, fees, and correcting everyone for the rest of your life. But if you just spontaneously started saying “No, my name’s Rolando” when your nametag, license, letters from the post office, bills, all say James, see what happens. Let me know how that goes.

Maybe I don’t want you to use the word “dickish”, because that implies all people with dicks are bad people. Again, let me know how my personal request goes. I’m sure you’re dying to fulfill it.

I’m not saying people should be prevented from changing their names (or other things) but don’t expect the world to change for you, for something you’ve been one way for years and now want change identities. At least not until you’ve taken the action to make it a permanent and consistent.

Yes, it should be this difficult. The point of these rules is to clear confusion. It’s not based on personal preference. You don’t get to declare your own rules for yourself, and tell everyone to follow them. Language is not as simple as “I prefer to be called this”. It’s not a name, it’s a pronoun. A pointer.

It’s like in programming language. If I write String foo = new Integer(“123”);, that’s going to confuse a lot of coders, (assuming it compiles). Not to mention it goes against the intended function of those objects. It’s not only confusing, but at its heart, wrong.

We all want to be something we’re not. I’m not saying that gender reassignment people are sick or crazy. Frankly, I have no idea what they are (and now we come to the part that gets me yelled at). The concept seems weird to me. It’s one thing to be a boy and identify with girl things. It’s another to try and make your body conform to that. If a person feels like they are a one-armed person born inside a two-armed body and wants to amputate his/her arm (which is a real thing) we don’t say “good for you”, we say “you need help” So why is it different with a penis?

(Also, I discovered there’s Species dysmorphia which is a whole kettle of fish I’m not going into)

If, after he goes under gender reassignment, and gets resized, I have no problem referring to Bradley Manning as Chelsea Manning, and he as a she. But think about yourself, how often do you really get to determine what you’re called?  Did Billy the Kid?  Did Che Guevara?  Look up what Pocahontas really means.

Other Reading
The thing that started it all
NPR takes their stand
Jim C. Hines’s article. I still love you, Jim, but I disagree with you on this topic.
NY Times article on the hoopla
Germany says you can call your baby’s gender “undetermined”. Not sure if that means “does not matter” or “wait and see”.
NPR changes their mind

P.S. To those people who are sad and think it’s ridiculous that the government won’t pay for his gender reassignment surgery, honestly. It’s not like he needs it because it threatens his quality of life. It’s not a life-threatening disease or a prosthetic arm. It’s a voluntary surgical procedure, time-consuming, and expensive. And I’d rather not have my taxes pay for it.

New Fan Fiction: The Upgrades (Mega Man/Roll)

mega man family portrait upgrades

I decided to try my hand at writing some erotica again, this time with a lot more edge, a lot more filth, and a lot more offensive material. I present to you “The Upgrades”.

Mega Man asks Dr. Light to make him more biologically complete. Roll finds out and asks for the same. But what will they do when they realize they are the only two robots on Earth with genitalia?

So like Milk and Honey, take note. This is an adult story with lots of adult graphic sex and description. It’s even worse this time because it contains lots of trigger warnings like (spoilers) incest, rape, and BDSM for starters.

Find the full text below the cut, or go to one of these links for different formats.
Microsoft Word (.DOC) format
Plain Text (.TXT) format
HTML format
EPUB Format
MediaMiner.org
FicWad
Adult Fan Fiction

My Top Five Favorite Porn Stars: Internet Edition (A.K.A. The New Guard)

sex button keyboard

I divide my porn actresses into two eras because finally being bold enough to use porn from the Internet (not to mention having a computer strong enough) meant a transition.  Now I was holding a mouse in one hand instead of the remote.  Instead of getting up, putting in a video tape, playing it, then taking out and hiding it again, there were files to bury in obscure directories.  I had to learn how to masturbate vertically instead of horizontally.

It’s so hard to have an identity in porn these days, especially on the Internet. Not only do you have archives of the past to draw upon, every other scene out there is now on an equal level — no more producers or publishers needed.

And I do mean scenes, not movies. There are no movies anymore, just blocks of two to twenty, sometimes forty minutes of sex.  Not to mention its all free.  That means you gotta make enough impact that some website bothers to credit your performance, because the video clip won’t.

But nonetheless, some have figured out a way to do it. They’ve harnessed the Internet into the engine driving their careers, so much that they’ve got mainstream appeal.  Let’s take a look at my favorites from this era.

Faye Reagan

You already know I love stars who break the mold, and here’s Faye Reagan (a.k.a. Faye Valentine). One word: Freckles. In the old days, no porn star would dare show up to set with even the slightest blemish on her porcelain skin. And today’s world of high definition digital pornography only amplifies each discoloration and dent. But Faye proves that no one cares.

And she doesn’t have just a few freckles. She’s a redhead. Her face is covered with them. She’s got the skin of a desert lizard. So you must think she’s got to have something else to make her stand out, like she’s 400 pounds or can stuff a bowling ball in her vagina.  Nope.  Then it must be she has ginormous breasts. What’s that? She’s only a B-cup? Well, maybe she’s tall. What? She’s 5’4″?

Yeah, she’s just an average redhead. Except there’s nothing average about her performance.  She’s great in every scene — solo, male, lesbian, threesome, group. She’s like a flavoring you didn’t know existed, one that compliments everything. Plus she’s a competent actor — a skill which has become even less necessary for plotless videos. With her hazel eyes and fantastic smile, she’s a feast for the senses.

Jenna Haze (Wikipedia)

Jenna Haze is another girl who doesn’t have a large chest, but makes up for it with personality. I first heard of her not from her body or random browsing, but her voice. When I used to do Hentai reviews for another site (a long, long lifetime ago), she was a voice on “Immoral Sisters“. It didn’t entice me to learn more about her, but she started popping up on the front page more and more.  And from the first scene, I knew she was a keeper.

Like Faye, she’s a B-cup and 5’3″, though she looks taller than she really is thanks to her body shape and light weight. She also has the added asset of a great ass and nice skin. I’ve seen her in more butt videos than any other, but she’s always enthusiastic and orgasms frequently.

I consider her analogous to Brittany O’Connell. Both have a girl-next-door look and an unassuming, approachable demeanor (not that I’d ever have the balls to get within five hundred feet). But they’re nymphomaniacs as soon as the door closes or the camera rolls. As she’s demonstrated from a diverse career, she’s commits herself to her job and throws herself into the moment.

Gianna Michaels (Wikipedia)

I was surprised to find she’s actually the same age as Jenna. She looks older than she is, but that gives the expression of experience.

If Jenna Haze is to Brittany O’Connell, then Gianna Michaels is to Jeanna Fine. She has great, huge breasts and enormous ass. I love that she’s so curvy, bouncy, and can play to various roles. Especially the ones where she wears glasses.

Her other quality that makes her special is her ability to laugh during sex. A lot of performers continue playing the role they’re supposed to be in the scene. But Gianna has this unique ability to giggle or joke with her fellow performers. I don’t consider this breaking the fourth wall. I consider it a refreshing dose of reality. It shows she’s having a good time, and it shows that she’s really into the act.

Melissa Milano (a.k.a. Daisy Dukes)

I’m glad I made this list. I thought I’d lost this girl. She just started going under a different name. But I’ll post her as Melissa Milano, since that’s what I knew her as. I’ve only seen her in a few scenes, but she really stood out. She’s spritely, funny, chirpy. Like Gianna, she can laugh at the camera.

She has nice skin, bright brown eyes, and a cute hairstyle. She’s just all-around adorkable. There’s lots of jailbait, Lolita-looking girls out there, but Melissa’s the only one who ever pulls it off without making you feel guilty. She utilizes her stature in her performance, letting herself be carried, tossed around.

She has a small filmography, at least compared to others on these lists. And in some of her later scenes, she’s starting to look drugged out. I hope she bounces back, because she has a lot of potential.

Misti Dawn (Wikipedia)

How could I not put this girl on the list? I do like my alternative girls.  I guess it’s just part of my male genetics, and diversity is the spice of life.  Plus, you can always count on them for energy and interest. But this one shoots to the top of my list thanks to her love of video games. She even has video game tattoos. The big breasts and red hair don’t hurt either.

She started as a Suicide Girl, and jumped into mainstream porn. Now she’s even a director for Machinima.com.  The interesting thing is she seems to take a submissive position in most of her roles. One doesn’t expect that of a girl with such a commanding visual presence. I’m hoping she can get into more diverse castings in the future.

Honorable Mentions

 

Sophia Dee (XVideos)

I’ve only been recently introduced to Sophie Dee and was immediately taken by her bright blue eyes. When I finally got the chance to see her in action, I also delighted in her charming accent and full-figured body. She’s like a British Gianna Michaels or a modern Nici Sterling (but without the twigginess). She also has one of the best breast augmentations I’ve seen, going into dangerous 36F territory.

Stoya (Wikipedia)

I haven’t seen that much of her, but she’s made an impact beyond porn thanks to her outspoken-ness on feminism in porn, her friendship with Neil Gaiman, and her dedication to improving her craft (she went to Europe to learn “sex acrobatics”). She seems like a fascinating girl, and I always like to see women with ambition. Most porn actresses get ahead simply by overwhelming quantity, not cultivated talent. And from what I’ve seen, it looks like she enjoys every second of her job.

Mandy Morbid (Wikipedia)

Speaking of alternative girls, you don’t get much more more alternative than Mandy Morbid.  The name alone is enough to spin your compass.  She has one of the best bodies I’ve ever seen, and I always wonder what she’d look like if she was “normal” (hope that’s not an offensive term), and why she chose to alter her appearance into “pornographic Tank Girl”.  Not that I’m saying she needs to change — she’s a top-notch player.