Amazon Filters Out Queer/Sex Books

Not books about queer sex per se, although I’m sure those are included, but books about sexuality and/or queer topics, have lost their rankings at Mine included.

As Mark Probst reported, they are removing the rankings of these books exactly so they do not appear in “some searches and best seller lists.”

My Husband Betty was often categorized either in sexuality sections or in LGBT sections, but She’s Not the Man I Married is classified as a Gender Studies book.

This is bullshit. already gets crap ratings on the T with HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. When you see a book you like is missing its sales rank, that’s probably why: they’re filtering LGBT books out of their lists. Aside from being a bad business decision, it’s discriminatory and – well, just stupid for booksellers to be censoring their lists.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: When you find a book  that doesn’t have a sales rank, please send Amazon a message using the feedback page provided – scroll down toward the end of the page, & look for a Feedback box shaded light blue.

& GOOGLEBOMB: link to this page that redefines “amazon rank” more accurately.

Word A Day

I love my Word A Day calendar. You rip off a page every day & get a new word — they’re not often new to me, but my vocabulary has definitely improved since I got into this habit. What I do is recycle pages of words I already use regularly AND words that I don’t think I’ll ever use or are too silly or specialized.

The others I leave in a stack on my desk and whenever I’m waiting – for a download, an upload, or for a game to load – I read them over & write sentences using them in my head.

Here’s some recent favorites:

  1. blandish – to coax with flattery
  2. abusage – improper use of words
  3. tyro – novice
  4. henotheism – worship of one god without disbelief in others
  5. deliquesce – to become fluid or soft with aging, as in mushrooms

An undgrad and gender studies tyro’s abusage was an attempt to blandish me into giving him a perfect grade on his paper, but instead I corrected him by explaining it’s nauseated, not nauseous.

(10 points to anyone who can use henotheism and deliquesce in one sentence that actually makes sense!)

I know you can get them emailed to you, but I kind of love the flash cards feeling of the word-per-page design.

Clerics Encourage Gay Deaths in Baghdad

Apparently we left “thou shalt not kill homosexuals” out of the civics textbooks we gave the Iraqis when we “taught” them democracy.

Homosexuality is prohibited almost everywhere in the Middle East, but conditions have become especially dangerous for gays and lesbians in Iraq since the rise of religious militias after U.S.-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein six years ago.

Fuck this. The word “cleric” used to be such a cool word, and more & more it just seems to be mean “self-righteous, mob-creating fuckhead.” I really don’t think that whole “Thou Shalt Not Kill” directive is that hard to understand. There’s no asterisk, no caveat.

Buy Books!

Some reports on book sales in this economy are none too cheery: GalleyCat reports on Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, and Random House.

Know who publishes the books you love the most and make sure you check out their catalogs and buy their books. Publishers need brand loyalty as much as the next retailer.

Of course I’m published by Seal Press, who rock. Their current Yes Means Yes, edited by Jessica Valenti and featuring a piece by Julia Serano, looks particularly ground-breaking.

Agile Gene Splitting

“Similarity is the shadow of difference. Two things are similar by virtue of their difference from another, or different by virtue of one’s similarity to a third. So it is with individuals. A short man is different from a tall man, but two men seem similar if contrasted with a woman. So it is with species. A man and a woman may be very different, but by comparison with a chimpanzee, it is their similarities that strike the eye – the hairless skin, the upright stance, the prominent nose. A chimpanzee, in turn, is similar to a human being when contrasted with a dog: the face, the hands, the 32 teeth, and so on. And a dog is like a person to the extend that both are unlike a fish. Difference is the shadow of similarity.”

Gorgeous, eh? It’s the first paragraph of Matt Ridley’s The Agile Gene, a book I’m currently teaching in Lawrence University’s Freshman Studies program.

It articulates in a new way the old adage about lumpers & splitters, or hedgehogs & foxes, but then it adds what I’d call a postmodern spin: lumpers can’t be lumpers unless there are eras when splitters hold sway.

Best of Cramps / Happy Valentine

Since people have asked, here’s a few of the best Cramps songs… okay, my favorites. & The last one is just – well, why not?

Get a playlist!

I have to dedicate the 4th song to my dad. He was driving me somewhere – probably to a shop called Slipped Disc where I bought a ton of music when I was a teenager – and he was humming along with this track until he stopped and said, “is that really what they’re saying?” and promptly changed the station. (For the record, Slipped Disc sold all the great 80s punk & new wave I loved, including all the other crap that went with being a fan: calendars, buttons, patches, picture discs, t-shirts, books… all of that stuff. For anyone who’s been to Record Runner in the West Village, Slipped Disc was kinda like that. With a lot of metalheads.)

So Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Make yourself a cocktail, put on those big fuzzy slippers & dance to these tracks. Round out the evening by watching some godawful B-movie. Eat some cheese out of a can. Really, it’s good for you, once in a while.

Out Damn Spot

I almost feel like it’s Christmas Eve I’m so excited. Watching the coverage on MSNBC is like a reunion after this long electoral season, but wow is it exciting! Those cheerleaders yesterday were adorable. Kind of mind-blowing.

There’s a story about a guy who gets a toothache while Jesus is dying on the cross; he’s not directly involved at all, just a guy going about his day who’s aggravated by the pain in his mouth. I read it in a remarkable compilation, edited by Borges, in The Book of Fantasy. It’s what I thought of when I saw the news about Cheney in the wheelchair; I know it’s a minor injury, but the symbolism is a little rich. Now we just need Rove on crutches.

I’m so excited but I’m also a little overwhelmed with relief that Rove’s Boys are finally out.


Okay, then.

I am packed for six months for me & the boys: six pieces of luggage, three boxes, two crates, two backpacks, and one laundry thingy. Plus Betty’s stuff, the cats in one carrier, & some other odds & ends (litterbox, cat food). Good thing we rented an SUV, no?

We also cleaned the apt for the catsitter.

The worst thing about being Helen Boyd just now is knowing I have to bring a ton of my books because no one else will have copies – like Esther Newton’s Camp & Rottnek’s Tomboys & Sissies. The books are one crate, and one of the boxes is photocopies of handouts of other chapters & essays on gender.

But other than that, I’m ready. Just have to pack the computer & the cats tomorrow. We leave at 10am.


How exciting is this? A book called Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History.

Random page quotes:

“The link between childhood tomboyism and adult homosexuality might seem to have eradicated this code of conduct from American literature and culture, but the late 1950s and the decade of the 1960s actually witness the release of a considerable number of tomboy-themed novels and films.”

I suppose this is what makes me a freak, but I’m going to devour this one. Yay! Tomboys!