What’s Been On My Mind This Week

Question Mark1. The results of a scientific survey were published this week in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, and the conclusion drawn was that lesbians have more orgasms than heterosexual or bisexual women (whereas the occurrence rate of orgasm for men did not vary much across spectrum of sexual orientation). This article in the Guardian was one of many that ran in response to the publication of the survey results though, without access to further data (including frequency of sexual activity etc.), it’s difficult for them to be adding anything meaningful to the debate. There are far too many holes in the Guardian article to dissect it here; perhaps that’s a post for another day. I can’t say I’m surprised that it’s currently the most popular on the ‘Comment is Free’ section of the website though.

2. I’ve included a few links over the past couple of weeks to the ongoing trans/cis debate and the use of language and labels to describe gender and sexuality. This week singer and activist CN Lester posted this on their blog, about why the word ‘cis’ is necessary, even in a world where they would outlaw labels. Well worth a read.

3. Moving from sex and gender to politics (though of course the latter cannot be separated from the former), there was an interesting article in Politico asking whether Hillary Clinton can fix Obama’s ‘mess’, looking particularly at what the article calls his ‘disengagement’ in foreign policy.

4. Events in Missouri have been making the headlines this week, and there was a good piece in the Financial Times about America’s ‘tortured racial past’, and there was another in Bloomberg about the problems posed by militarised police. There was also a fascinating piece in the New Republic about the black community’s ‘self-flagellation’.

5. The Indian economist Amartya Sen has written a feature for the New Republic in which he argues that we, in our obsession with global warming – are ignoring two other vital areas of environmental analysis.

6. The New Statesman ran a feature this week about the Labour Party’s election machine and its preparations for 2015, including (allegedly) its most powerful weapon: its digital campaign team.

7. I love London – I don’t think I could live anywhere else in the world – and yet I wasn’t particularly surprised to hear that it features high in Europe’s list of least ‘liveable’ cities. I enjoyed reading this piece in the Observer, in which two journalists debate the positive and negative aspects of the city.

8. I’ve been up in Edinburgh again this weekend for the Fringe Festival. This time, as opposed to the first weekend in August when I was also in the city, there was much more talk of the forthcoming referendum. I recently came across this feature in the New Statesman by author and historian Tom Holland, who explores what England and Scotland have in common.

9. I’ve literally just started reading the new novel by Michael Cunningham. I love Cunningham’s work, particularly The Hours (one of the few books, in my opinion, to be made into a great film) and Specimen Days (I love Walt Whitman). His latest novel is The Snow Queen, which is set in Brooklyn and is about the lives of two brothers. It’s described as being about their search for transcendence, and I hope Cunningham’s prose is as subtle and beautiful as I remember it.

10. I haven’t really been listening to anything new that I feel worth mentioning this week. However, I have just seen Grace Savage‘s beatboxing show at the Edinburgh Festival, and, if you aren’t already aware of her, or what beatboxing is, I recommend you watch some of the videos on her website immediately.

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Categories: On My Mind . . .

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