Seasons of Steyn
A few years back, I wrote about how The Joke, Milan Kundera's great novel of the pitfalls of ideologically unsound gags in Communist Eastern Europe, now applied far more to those of us in the western world. So, for Valentine's Day, a reminder to the menfolk out there never to fall for that old favorite from the small ads and dating agencies - the woman looking for a man with a "good sense of humor":
In 2011, Surgery News, the official journal of the American College of Surgeons, published a piece by its editor-in-chief, Lazar Greenfield, examining research into the benefits to women of . . . well, let Dr. Greenfield explain it:
They found ingredients in semen that include mood enhancers like estrone, cortisol, prolactin, oxytocin, and serotonin; a sleep enhancer, melatonin; and, of course, sperm, which makes up only 1%-5%. Delivering these compounds into the richly vascularized vagina also turns out to have major salutary effects for the recipient.
As this was the Valentine's issue, Dr. Greenfield concluded on a "light-hearted" note:
Now we know there's a better gift for that day than chocolates.
Oh, my. When the complaints started rolling in from lady doctors, Surgery News withdrew the entire issue. All of it. Gone. Then Dr. Greenfield apologized. Then he resigned as editor. Then he apologized some more. Then he resigned as president-elect of the American College of Surgeons. The New York Times solemnly reported that Dr. Barbara Bass, chairwoman of the department of surgery at Methodist Hospital in Houston, declared she was "glad Dr. Greenfield had resigned." But Dr. Colleen Brophy, professor of surgery at Vanderbilt University, said "the resignation would not end the controversy."
Dr. Greenfield was one of the most eminent men â€” whoops, persons â€” in his profession, and, when it comes to vascularized vaginas, he had the facts on his side. But, like Ludvik, the protagonist of Kundera's novel, he made an ideologically unsound joke, and so his career had to be ended. No apology would cut it, so the thought police were obliged to act: To modify the old line, the operation was a complete success, and the surgeon died.
In The Joke, Ludvik reflects years later on the friends and colleagues who voted to destroy him. I wonder if, in the ruins of his reputation, Dr. Greenfield will come to feel as Kundera's protagonist does:
Since then, whenever I make new acquaintances, men or women with the potential of becoming friends or lovers, I project them back into that time, that hall, and ask myself whether they would have raised their hands; no one has ever passed the test.
Who would have thought all the old absurdist gags of Eastern Europe circa 1948 would transplant themselves to the heart of the West so effortlessly? Indeed, a latter-day Kundera would surely reject as far too obvious a scenario in which lesbians and feminists lean on eunuch males to destroy a man for disrespecting the vascularized vagina by suggesting that semen might have restorative properties.
"Give it to me straight, doc. I can take it"? Not anymore.
February 14, 2014 at 5:20 pm
Happy Valensteyn's Day to readers around the world, with one of the all-time classic love songs...
To all our pals Down Under, we hope you're having a terrific extended Australia Day weekend. Alas, Mark's battle for free speech applies even in the Lucky Country. So here he is, in a special video for the IPA, speaking on behalf of the outrageously treated Andrew Bolt three years ago.
A Happy New Year to you and yours from all of us at SteynOnline
...er, Boxing Day. In Britain and Europe, the holiday without end is just beginning.
We wish you the merriest with a cornucopia of Yuletide delights from the Santa Steyn grotto
A much-requested Steyn essay from the first November 11th after September 11th
I wrote my big piece on Wimbledon for The Sunday Telegraph back during the 1999 competition, and the jokes about the uselessness of the British players were so timeless I merrily recycled them through the ensuing decade. And then Andy Murray came along and ruined them all...
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To celebrate the abolition of Section 13 (see below), here's one of Mark's favorite Canadian songs, which became the first ever Billboard Number One record in the United States.
Mark celebrates the day with the greatest of all songs about fatherhood
Memorial Day in America â€“ or, if you're a real old-timer, Decoration Day, a day for decorating the graves of the Civil War dead. The songs many of those soldiers marched to are still known today, but this one belongs in a category all its own...
Here's what Mark had to say about the latest fad in coercive "awareness-raising" last year...
Wherever you are around the world this December 25th, from New Hampshire to New South Wales, Quebec City to Kuala Lumpur, we wish you the merriest with a cornucopia of Yuletide delights from the Santa Steyn grotto
Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers - and Happy Birthday to us...
Mark profiles the big bird
A Song for the Season by Merle Travis Happy Labor Day, or Labour Day, according to taste. We'll be back with a Song of the Week bonus audio edition later this week, but in the meantime here's labor lyricized at the lower end of the register in a great Merle Travis song. This essay is anthologized in A Song For The Season: I was born one mornin' and the sun didn't shine I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine I loaded 16 tons of number nine coal And the straw boss said, 'Well bless my ...
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