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Functional Atheist
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May 7 Functional Atheist commented on Savage Love Letter of the Day: The New Girl.
@29 Those who are calling 'fake' aren't failing to wrap their head around a kink like this. They are calling fake because it reads more like a kinky man's erotic fantasy than like a real letter from a woman describing what's really happening with her husband.

So many elements are from erotica. Especially the wife being the instigator of this process, but really, every element, from their ages, to the husband being able to 'pass' so easily when they went dancing as two girlfriends, to the husband's skill at cunnilingus, reads more like an erotic dream, a masturbatory fantasy, than like a 'real' letter.

Which isn't to say that erotica doesn't describe real-life kinks! Obviously it does, or it wouldn't have any readers. So calling the letter fake isn't in any way denying the kinks described...
May 1 Functional Atheist commented on Republicans in Colorado Vote for More Abortions.
I think another bias among conservatives can easily be imputed by this story: a hostility toward evidence-based decision making.

Whether we're discussing climate change, comprehensive sex education, or attempting to contort modern biology to squeeze intelligent design into classrooms, there is a broad and consistent tendency for conservatives to stick their fingers in their ears and chant "La-La-La" when confronted with mounds of inconvenient or uncomfortable evidence.

Conservatives hate science, perhaps even more than they the unmarried, the young, the poor, the uninsured, having sex for pleasure.
Apr 23 Functional Atheist commented on Savage Love Letter of the Day: A Medievalist Schools Dan On Medieval Attitudes Toward Sex.
Fine letter, interesting letter. I agree with the chorus of praise...mostly.

The letter writer did lose me a bit toward the end. Abandoning modern notions of identity? What does that even mean? Humans love to organize, categorize, and we can't wish that away. We're identifying ourselves more readily than ever, and into ever more fine-grained identities, which we share with the world with a plethora of smartphone apps. And I find that comprehensible.

Abandoning identity, on the other hand, sounds vague and precious and fey--a process which attempts to make inscrutability a virtue.

I freely admit I'm a creature of The Enlightenment, and am very old.
Apr 5 Functional Atheist commented on Savage Love Letter of the Day: Help! My Boyfriend Wants to Get Pegged!.
Dan really blew it on this one.

Besides being inaccurate and unhelpful, his attempts at humor ("Dude"?) fell flat.

Comic Book Guy voice: worst answer ever.

Not really. But right up there, err, down there.
Feb 28 Functional Atheist commented on Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One.
Hey, you want to write, write. You want to be in an MFA program? Go for it. Free country and all that good shit.

But you probably are a bad writer. Most people are! Get over yourself. And that MFA program? Most likely a waste of your time and money! But heaven knows there are plenty of ways to waste your time and money, and torturing a writing instructor with your awful prose is small stuff in the scheme of misery-inducing behaviors, so knock yourself out.

And as to the line about those who were abused sometimes deserving more? Obvious hyperbole. He wasn't being literal, he was expressing extreme exasperation.

Sure, a guy this cynical and burnt out shouldn't be a teacher, but didn't y'all notice that he only wrote if AFTER leaving that profession?
Feb 27 Functional Atheist commented on Leonard Nimoy.
@15 Nice references.

I happen to prefer the complete Bones quote: "Its worse than that: he's dead Jim."

As to the mind-meld with the Horta, Spock bellowing "Pain!!!" is indeed a fine example of Star Trek overacting. But in the bigger scheme of things, "Devil in the Dark" is an exceptionally good episode: the setting of a mining colony established by Earthlings was very refreshing and realistic, as was the utterly non-humanoid alien, the hunk of concrete called a Horta (genuine aliens are exceedingly unlikely to look precisely like a human who happens to have brow-ridges or pointy ears or green skin).

For campy and terrible original series Star Trek, "Spock's Brain" is the ultimate episode.
Feb 10 Functional Atheist commented on Savage Love.
This is the most thorough response to a letter to Dan that I can recall.

A fine choice for that honor, really--a worried yet rational Mom as letter writer, the 15 year old son into sadism generally and sadistic porn specifically as the cause of Mom's worry.

Sadism is at the outer limits of ethical sexual practices, abutting the no-go-zone (and of course veering deeply into the no-go-zone if consent is uncertain), so it is probably the topic most in need of this sort of comprehensive response.

Well done, Dan.
Feb 10 Functional Atheist commented on SL Letter of the Day: She Might Be Playing You.
This letter does carry a serious whiff of wish-fulfillment fantasy.

But hey, sometimes wishes come true. Dan is right--sex workers need love too (maybe even more)--so why not date and bone this lovely lady as long as you two adults are happily consenting.

Sure there are risks, but everything has risk.
Feb 4 Functional Atheist commented on Savage Love.
I'm mystified that Dan had so little to say to BIBFAULT that didn't involve cheating.

Thank goodness other comments have pointed out that they should use her vibrator together, and incorporate it into their shared sex life! And while he's down there, watching closely as she uses it on herself, he might also figure out how to use not only the toy, but also perhaps his hands and mouth to get her off.

And that process might get him to loosen the fuck up, and become invested emotionally in helping his wife get off, and thereby see that her interest in 'mild kink' might be a bunch of fun, and golly gee, he might grasp that this whole mutually pleasurable sex thing can be emotionally enriching.

As for TUT, I liked Dan's response. I might have added something about age of consent laws necessarily being arbitrary to some extent. What might be a traumatic sexual experience for one 20 year old might be a fantastic sexual experience for another 15 year old. Individual results may vary, in other words, which is why there isn't a universally agreed upon age of consent--rational and humane jurisdictions have selected different ages.
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Jan 27 Functional Atheist commented on Savage Love.
@9 I think you're imposing that specific counterexample on the general proposition of the letter and response in the column.

That is, the general proposition is that being forced to dispose of all photos of a dead spouse is, on its face, unreasonable.

That's not to say that one can't go through the mental gymnastics of your specific counterexample "The dead spouse's huge portrait is over the bed," to find an exception to the general proposition.

But the general proposition still stands. Assuming an extreme specific situation that nullifies the general proposition is to make an unwarranted assumption.
 

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