Pornography

We are hearing more discussion about pornography lately in the media. Discussion is always a Good Thing™ and I personally think we don’t talk about sex enough in an open, honest and healthy way. I’ve been listening to the SmartSex podcast and the Foreplay podcast lately and they are definitely creating positive discussions and I recommend them both.

I hear a lot of good insights on the subject of pornography but I also keep hearing some that are more simplistic than is useful or plain wrong. They are:

  1. Life imitates pornography. This is not true. It’s just like watching normal movies – you can watch people shooting at each other and never once think you should go out and shoot someone. I don’t think porn causes people to, for example, cum on each other’s faces. Porn is arguably an art form, like cinema, and as such it is understood that is it not depicting reality. It is depicting fantasy. The people participating in it are actors. It is highly contrived and has very little in common with reality. We know this.
  2. Pornography is not sex ed. This is true to some extent but, again, see #1. I doubt that young people who are getting interested in sex see porn as a how-to manual. On the other hand, I have personally learned things from porn. I had never been given the privilege of having sex with an actual women when I discovered porn and I did learn about their bodies, to some extent, from porn. While a lot of what goes on in porn is extreme and unrealistic in terms of normal human behavior, there is also a lot of porn that is just consensual men and/or women having normal sex. This sort of erotica predates photography and probably predates recorded history.
  3. Pornography is causing problems in relationships. I’m sure this is true in some cases and the opposite of true in other cases. But I reject the notion that porn causes people (specifically men, in most conversations) to be desensitized such that they can no longer be aroused through normal sex with their partner. It is more likely, in my opinion, that men are expending their sexual energy on porn because they don’t know when their spouse will be willing and able. With men, as is well known, there is a recovery period necessary between sexual activities resulting in happy endings. Bad timing, especially if a couple is not open about masturbation, could seem like an inability to be aroused.
  4. Porn makes us judge our partners more harshly. Some think that the idealized nature of porn means that they will seem unattractive by comparison. They also feel like there are new expectations to do more things, hornier things or weird positions. Or that they must now pretend to enjoy having their partner cum on their face. I don’t believe any of this is true. Speaking for myself and most men  and women I know, we have better sex than the people in pornography because we are in love with our partners. There is no dissatisfaction in my brain when I am with my lover. I think porn probably makes most men (speaking as a man) desire their partner more.

I do not pretend there is no downside in porn. Women are overly sexualized by society in general and harmed by men at a rate that is shocking and horrifying. These travesties have been problems before the Internet and before modern pornography. Using pornography as a scapegoat for criminally-minded misogyny won’t solve anything.

People are interested in sex. This is a fact. Pornography augments the sex lives of a majority of people in this country. This is also a fact. Any deep societal flaws that come from porn ultimately come from all of us, not just from pornographers.

 

 

 

Pornography

Ingrid Michaelson

I was recently on Minnesota Public Radio as part of a roundtable discussing music and how listening to it has changed over the years. It was hosted by the awesome and brilliant Kerri Miller and my co-roundtablers were singer/songwriter Chastity Brown and gospel singer, Jovonta Patton. I was really impressed with both Chastity and Jovonta. They had great insights into the music they love and were very open-minded during the conversation.

MPR had asked us to bring in 2 songs each and there was virtually no constraints as to what we brought in or why. It was overwhelming to try to think of the 2 most important songs in my life so instead I bookended my life with a song from Kiss : Destroyer, the first record I had ever bought and a song from Ingrid Michaelson, the latest record I’ve purchased.

Kiss wrote a few good rock and roll songs and there is no question they influenced the music business. But musically they are certainly not in my Top 10.

The other song I played was Hell No by Ingrid Michaelson. This was the first single from her latest record (as of this writing) It Doesn’t Have To Make Sense.

Musically speaking I adore Ingrid Michaelson. She is an incredible songwriter and perfect singer. Some of my favorites songs are Sort Of, Turn To Stone, Over You, Time Machine, Hell No, Keep Breathing, Do It Now and Soldier.

Kerri Miller wasn’t too impressed with either of my songs, which I thought made good radio. (But what do I know? Nothing.) I have been meaning to point out to Kerri that Ingrid has much more compelling songs, even though I am a big fan of Hell No. I think Sort Of is one of the most simple, amazing and well-crafted songs ever. But her catalog is diverse  and I hope you check her out.

I used to work for Prince. I’ve met famous people. I’m not scared of famous people. But I’ve also learned part of what we feel as fans is infatuation. Prince hated the word “fan” because it comes from the word “fanatic”, which is generally not used affectionately. The sense that an artist is a soul mate is not real, just like that mushy feeling you get when you watch romantic comedies is not real. While I’m 100% convinced that Ingrid Michaelson and I would be best friends (and just a reminder, Ms. Michaelson, I am happily married), that’s not the relationship we have. I’m cool with that. The dark side of “fandom” is you start to put expectations on an artist. You want them to look a certain way or not change in certain ways but do change in others. It hurts us, the listeners and fans of musicians, when we no longer accept and admire but start to demand things.

So shine on you crazy diamond. We’ll be listening.

PS – I have a couple of lyric corrections for you. In Sort Of clearly you meant to say “the truth entails” and in Into You you meant to say “just a girl in a tomb”.

PSS – I apologize for the above PS.

 

Ingrid Michaelson

The Lolife Podcast No. 79: Repeal the 2nd Amendment

In the wake of the Orlando mass murder, a crime enabled by the murderer’s legal purchase of an AR-15, high-capacity clips and ammunition, we would be idiotic not to debate what we should do, as a nation, to prevent future mass murders with guns.

In this podcast I explore the idea that the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution is no longer relevant and in fact creates a fictional rallying cry for people who think that guns offer protection. In fact, guns are a hazard that kill more people in the US than automobiles. The world of automobiles is highly regulated. The world of guns is less regulated than Sudafed™. This is due to a culture that ignores the realities of 21st century America and puts fictional hero scenarios above the reality that accidents, suicides and homicides are a thousand times more common than life-saving actions by armed citizenry.

A post-2nd Amendment world could still allow for hunters, target shooters, collectors and people who truly require personal protection to have guns. We would simply restrict gun ownership to people who demonstrate they are responsible, trained and have the aptitude and background to own, handle and store guns safely. We would only “take guns away” from people who cannot demonstrate these attributes. Law-abiding gun owners should have no problem with a highly regulated gun market and should agree with the goal of reducing the availability of guns to people without the training and aptitude we collectively require.

The notion that you can defend yourself against the US Government is demonstrably false. The notion that guns protect you is false. The people you love are the most likely victims of the gun you own, through accidents, suicide, domestic violence and homicide. The least likely thing your gun will do is protect you.

Can we put away the failed strategies of inaction and rhetoric? Let’s look at the facts and meaningfully address a senseless hazard made ubiquitous by a bankrupt ideology of the Old West.

Listen now: No. 79: Repeal the 2nd Amendment

More podcasts: The Lolife Podcast

 

The Lolife Podcast No. 79: Repeal the 2nd Amendment

Songs and Sounds

I’m not sure what the best way is to share music these days…

You can find my band from a previous life raintribe and our record Ancient Spacemen on iTunes.  CD Baby also has our little known 2nd record chantmoansingwhisperscream. I put new song ideas up on Soundcloud sometimes, such as my new one Another Day Without YouWhen I record  songs I am sometimes thinking about who  I wish would record it. I wrote Goodbye thinking of Taylor Swift, for some reason. Another Day Without You I was thinking about Ingrid Michaelson, whom I adore, musically speaking.

I produced, recorded and mixed 3 records with Tea and Sympathy and I still play guitar with them occasionally in Minneapolis. All of their records are fantastic, in my opinion, and Alicia Corbett is a Minneapolis treasure. You can find the latest release, Things Like This on iTunes.

Cheers,

M.

Songs and Sounds

Google Keeps Innovating

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Google released some major computational capabilities today:

Google takes Cloud Machine Learning service mainstream

This is truly cutting-edge technology that brings the power of “the cloud” to our fingertips in ways it was hard to even imagine a score ago. Have you seen, for example, the Google Translate app? You can put it in camera mode and it will instantly translate any text in range of the camera, in real-time. All of the processing power is “in the cloud” meaning it is layered, scalable and distributed physically and geographically. Until we get a few orders of magnitude better with handheld technology, you can’t expect your smartphone to crunch these kinds of numbers. This is one example of one application of the huge investment Google has made in the Google Cloud Platform. I’m a big fan of Wolfram Alpha. I think it is one of the greatest computer accomplishments ever. But this stuff is close. Google keeps delivering.

It’s hard not to see Google’s business model looming behind things these days but that is ultimately a Good Thing™. Some of their work is released as open source and most of it is available for developers to tinker with for free. They should be getting paid for their innovation when it is leverage by for-profit developers. I hope they keep access available for tinkerers and social data warriors.

What do you think?

Google Keeps Innovating

Recent Writing

I wrote a piece over at Badger Hill Brewing called “Approximately 10 No-Bullshit Things You Can Do To Be Happier in 2016 (and beyond!)“. Do them. Every day.

I also wrote something for Minnesota Business Magazine, thanks to my friend and business partner Nancy Lyons. I wanted to say life partner but that would confuse you! It’s called “Women, Men and the Workplace“.

I like writing stuff about stuff. Let me know if some stuff of yours needs writing on it.

Recent Writing

Comments on the book Lone Survivor

I ripped through Marcus Luttrell’s book Lone Survivor in a couple of days. It was fascinating and captivating. I’m amazed at what people go through to become Navy SEALS and part of me wishes I had decided many moons ago to pursue that occupation, one that I see as the most serious and demanding there is. The book goes on to give a very detailed and personal account of Operation Redwing, a disastrous mission in Afghanistan that left 19 service men dead and a single survivor, as the name suggests.

There are a couple of main themes in the book as I implied above: the rigorous training of the SEALS, the life of a professional warrior, the brotherhood of the service, the complexities of the Rules of Engagement (ROE) and the unbelievable chaos of a mission gone very wrong. I congratulate Petty Officer Lutrell on his service to our country, his bravery and professionalism in the execution of that service and for writing a very honest and chilling account of the operation.

Where he goes wrong has been oft-commented in the reviews I’ve seen: his blame of the ROE on “liberals”. I personally am totally willing to trust highly trained professionals like the Navy SEALS to make decisions in the field. I don’t think that alleviates those professionals from being accountable for their decisions. It is clear from the language expressed in the book that Luttrell has nothing but contempt for the local people. The fact that he was saved by these local people is ironic. I personally would gladly trade the lives of 3 Afghan shepherds for the lives of 19 US Special Forces. The problem is: you can’t know that in advance. There have probably been a lot of shepherds killed who posed no threat, who held the same good will towards the US as the people who saved Luttrell. Others have probably been spared with no ill outcomes. Hindsight on one disastrous mission is not in any way proof that the ROE are unreasonable.

Here I am, a liberal, who basically agrees with Luttrell, being blamed for creating the situation that he survived. Yet he says that all of the members of the team had doubts about the mission. Why were those doubts not acted upon? Why did they not have a communications plan, a drone or plane keeping them in contact? Why didn’t they have a plan in case they were spotted by locals? Why wasn’t the Quick Reaction Force  (QRF) ready for insertion? Why didn’t they have a plan to insert them in the safest possible way?

I know hindsight is 20/20 and I know I have no business second guessing the Navy SEALS. Nothing goes right all the time. This was bad luck, somehow, and I personally hold Luttrell and his entire team blameless. They did the best they could and I doubt anyone could have done better. We’ll never know.

I only wish that Luttrell was a bit less accusatory towards half of the people of this country who supported his missions and his  buddies just as much as the other half. The worst sin we can make is deploying our service men and women without specific, achievable goals. We are duty-bound to scrutinize the violent arm of our country, the one that the Navy SEALS fulfill. I don’t understand why Luttrell seems to disagree with this.

Read the book. It’s a valuable insight into the front lines of Afghanistan. Men like Luttrell deserve our respect.

 

Comments on the book Lone Survivor

New Blog

My blog got hacked by some pimply fucktard with low self-esteem and friends who think he’s a loser. Even his parents hate him. So he took his rage out on my blog. Die in a fire, idiot.

But I’m back! I’ve tried to import my old posts. Let me know problems if you see them. Currently I’m running a default theme but I’ll fix that eventually.

Thank you for reading by blog! Hopefully Google will update all my links eventually.

Cheers,

M.

New Blog

I fucked up

I fucked up. No one died. Life will go on. No one was shattered by it. The only really victim was myself. So as fuck ups go, I can handle it. But it’s still a fuckup.

I am a beer snob in a serious way. I like what I like and I don’t like what I don’t like. This is well-known at the brewery. People bring in all sorts of beer that I hate. I appreciate it. I respect it. I learn from it. But I don’t want to drink it. I make beer myself that I don’t drink. I made a really good lager that was just taking up keg space because I drink ale.

The craft beer revolution was initially the rise of ale in America. Yes, there were exceptions, like Boston Lager, but the main new thing we got out of the craft revolution was really good ale in America. Sierra Nevada is the well-known example and Summit Extra Pale Ale was the beer that brought excellent ale into my home every day.

I am an ale snob. I drink 1 lager for every 1000 ales. I’ve had August Schell a thousand times, almost always against my will and didn’t like it. If Schell Hefeweizen is the best beer on tap, I’m drinking G&T’s.

Add to this the Big 3 who cram lager down our throats constantly. Almost every tap everywhere you go is pale lager beer. The craft revolution is in large part a rejection of pale American lager.

So when I saw Schell post an article about not being listed as craft brewers by the Brewers Association, I was not sympathetic. I thought, “If they were known for making great craft beer it would be obvious and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.” Without too much thought I posted something to the effect of “it’s because you don’t make good craft beer. Make good craft beer”.

A shit storm resulted.

I work at Lucid Brewing. They are the nicest guys in the world. They are friends with every brewer I know. They would never disparage another brewery the way I just had. I realized this when a few hours later I got a very mad tweet from a Schell drinker. And then from a Schell brewer. And then I knew that I had completely fucked up.

Here’s how:

1. Schell does make a lot of craft beer. A lot of people think it is great.
2. Schell is a lot smaller than I thought.
3. The people at Schell are people too.
4. I’m a brewer now and brewers don’t diss each other’s beer.

#1 and #2 were just ignorance. If I wanted to comment on Schell’s craft beer I should have done more research. #3 I just should have known. #4 is something I am new to and struggling with. I hate a lot of beer. I hate sour beers. I hate most porters. There are times I drink a beer and my natural response is “yuck!”.

But every time I taste a beer I don’t like, I assume the person that made it does like it. I’m not saying people are bad at making beer, I’m saying they like to make beer that I don’t like. I never have and never will question the skills of any brewer.

I delete my idiotic Facebook comments so as to not keep fanning flames I never should have started in the first place. Feel free to contact me somewhere else if you want to discuss the actual issue that Jace brought up original in the first place, which I respond to here.

I sincerely apologize to August Schell and the people who like their beer.
Even though my comments are my own, I apologize to Lucid Brewing for their name being brought into this. They had nothing to do with it and, incidentally, they make great beer.

I’m not an asshole. I listen. I learn. I fuckup. I listen again. Thanks for your patience and your friendship and I hope to see you soon.

Cheers,
Michael Koppelman

I fucked up