June 3, 2023

Sunrise — 5:12, 5:32.



"Careless Whisper" on 100 instruments.

"During a three-part special examining the crimes of the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer that aired last November on 'Dr. Phil,' Phil McGraw, the host of the daytime talk show...

"... played a TikTok video of a 27-year-old woman named Stanzi Potenza as evidence that true-crime fandom had gone too far. In the video, Ms. Potenza said she was so obsessed with Netflix’s 'Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story' that she stayed home from work in diapers to binge the series uninterrupted. As it turns out, Ms. Potenza had made a video satirizing true-crime obsessives and Dr. Phil mistook it as sincere...."

From "Welcome to CringeTok, Where Being Insufferable Can Be Lucrative/On TikTok, cringe comedy creators are gaining large followings and brand deals by impersonating terrible people" (NYT).

What's the news here? That comic actors are doing funny clips on TikTok or that Dr. Phil and his staff are incredibly dumb? Or is it the term "cringe"?! I'm glad to see Potenza and other comic actors like her getting promoted in places like the NYT. It's a little cheap to scoff at a Dr. Phil mistake. But the article mainly goes on to explain "cringe," which I find irksome (for some reason):
As a concept, cringe is deceptively hard to describe. As a content category, cringe is vast.... Cringe is not any one thing, but you know it when you see it....

Is this even a category?! If you can't describe it, consider the possibility that there is no "it." Don't coyly pose as the one who "knows" it on sight.

"In a reversal of its election integrity policy, YouTube will leave up content that says fraud, errors or glitches occurred in the 2020 presidential election and other U.S. elections...."

I'm guessing the key words are "other U.S. elections." Too hard to treat 2020 as different from 2016 and 2004 and 2000 and whatever may be about to happen in 2024. It's crazy to say people can't talk about it, but that is what YouTube has been doing.

Let's read on:

"Streisand effect" is what I said when I saw these 2 stories featured at Memeorandum this morning.



And I now see it's what Elon Musk was saying last night:
I watched the video yesterday, and I'm laughing at "the vicious and intellectually dull Matt Walsh." Walsh is using a style of deadpan interviewing that disarms interviewees because they might assume he's intellectually dull, but that's not an intellectually dull thing to do. It's intellectually dull to think it's intellectually dull.

June 2, 2023

Sunrise — 5:16, 5:17, 5:25, 5:27.





"That’s great, but when am I going to be fully exonerated, I’m at least as innocent as he is."

I went over to Truth Social to grab the code for that embed. It was hard to find because the man is "truth"ing up a storm today. I'll just grab 2 more:

"Not long ago, it would have been embarrassing for adults to admit that they found avant-garde painting too difficult and preferred the comforts of story time."

"What Gadsby did was give the audience permission — moral permission — to turn their backs on what challenged them, and to ennoble a preference for comfort and kitsch."

This is a review of a Brooklyn Museum art exhibition called "It’s Pablo-matic: Picasso According to Hannah Gadsby." Gadsby is a standup comedian who has lambasted Picasso for being a sexist. The show has a smattering of works by Picasso juxtaposed with various works by women that are presented as telling women's "stories," with inscriptions on the wall like "I want my story to be heard” and “entirely new stories”:

Cave of the toad.


This morning at 5:15.

"DeSantis has enough disadvantages right now. He must therefore exploit whatever substantial advantages he has over Trump..."

"... one of which is his potential to serve up to a full eight years in office fighting woke culture and leading a 'great American comeback' with the vim and vigor of a man who will be 46 years old on Election Day."

Writes Myra Adams in an opinion column at The Hill titled "'Give me an eight!' DeSantis must tout his constitutional advantage over Trump."

I'm seeing this "8 years" argument all over the place this morning. I chose to quote this particular column because of the idea that DeSantis "must" make this argument. All political candidates try to use whatever good arguments they have, and the "8 years" argument is a good one for DeSantis. Myra Adams seems to be straining to make him seem desperate, like he's resorting to this argument for lack of other arguments.

By the way, it's interesting to watch Trump counter the "8 years" argument. Don't worry. If he gets back in office, he'll only be there for 4 years, max. 

"I asked Sean not to joke about it. I said, 'Honestly, I don’t think it looks good for you or for anybody to joke about it. You can speak about it if you want, but I don’t think you should joke about it.'"

Said Donald Trump, quoted in "Trump says he told Hannity not to joke about Biden’s cognitive ability" (The Hill).

"Mimi and Fluffy refused to use a litter box for weeks, but Tredwell couldn’t open the windows for fresh air, lest the cats escape."

"The cats threw up, shredded the furniture, and clawed her face while she slept. She was allowed to let them roam with expensive G.P.S. tracking collars, but the cats ran away from her when she tried to steer them away from lark territory. She gave Mimi and Fluffy to her mom, who lived outside the lockdown zone, but they disappeared and turned up at Tredwell’s door two days later. When she was finally allowed to let them out again, on September 1st, they disappeared for another three days. Many residents of Walldorf started to think that efforts to enforce the lockdown went too far. 'There were people running around taking pictures, trying to gather information about the cats'.... When I visited Tredwell at her home, she seemed exasperated. 'I’m vegetarian,' she said. 'I’m really trying to take care of my carbon footprint. And now I’m getting treated like I’m a bad person.'"

From "The Cat Lockdown That Divided a German Town/Cats in Walldorf, Germany, can’t go outside when crested larks are breeding. Is it cruelty or conservation?" (The New Yorker).

June 1, 2023

Sunrise — 5:14, 5:23 , 5:49 .




"But because most death investigators do not collect data on sexuality or gender identity, no one knows how many gay and transgender people die by suicide each year in the United States..."

It says in "No One Knows How Many L.G.B.T.Q. Americans Die by Suicide/Death investigators in Utah are among a handful of groups trying to learn how many gay and transgender people die by suicide in the United States" (NYT).

So often we hear policy arguments based on the likelihood that transgender people will commit suicide as — as if the number is well known (and as if we also know why they commit suicide).

"Clay is the opposite of the cellphone. This stuff is real, takes up space, it’s dirty. There’s just this physicality..."

"... that is very different from what we experience six or eight hours a day sitting in front of a computer."

What are you doing these days to get your fair share of physicality"?

I know it's not very physicalistic of me, but I looked up "physicality" in the OED. The relevant meaning is #3: "The awareness of the body or of bodily sensation; a bodily function or experience." And: "the quality of being physically demanding; physical intensity; strong physical presence or appeal." Here are the quotes to orient you:

"Here we have hot springs with really hot water; we have active volcanoes; we have sneaker waves on beaches..."

"... we have strong winds. We somehow think that we’re invincible when we’re on vacation, but we still have to use our common sense."

She's trying, politely, to deal with Iceland's problem of too many tourists. They get 2 million a year, and they only have 388,000 actual residents.

But what's a "sneaker wave"? It made me think of the mystery of the sneakers containing severed feet that were washing up on the coast of the Salish Sea. Remember that news story from 2021? It started happening after 2007 because of a change in sneaker design that made them more buoyant. There have always been corpses in the sea — from misadventures and suicides and so forth — and the sea creatures have been feeding on them all along — with special attention to the tender, delectable ankles — so submerged severed feet inside shoes was nothing new. They just weren't floating up on shore in the pre-buoyancy days.

But that's not what going on in Iceland. "Sneaker waves" have nothing to do with footwear or severed feet. They're just sneaky waves: 

A pleasant landing.

"None of this is new behaviour, it has been exacerbated by technology but it is not new behaviour. Sharing consensual imagery..."

"... was the norm when I was growing up, the difference was it was a disposal camera. Whereas now it’s 'aye, alright I’ll do it,' and you click that button and you think 'I wish I hadn’t done it.'"

Said Daljeet Dagon, programme manager at Barnardo’s Scotland, quoted in "Young people sharing indecent pictures online has ‘become the norm’" (London Times).

She said "teenagers are 'pestered again and again and again' to share pictures with many believing it is '“better to get it over and done with.'"

A "disposal camera" is,  I presume, what we called a "disposable camera," that is, a type of film camera, a type associated with the 1980s and 90s. Because you needed to get the pictures developed and printed, you had time to think about whether you really wanted to share them. Regret is just not the same these days. I wonder how today's young people will live with their old mistakes years from now.

May 31, 2023

Sunrise — 5:20, 5:20, 5:21.




"The sliding doors of a supermarket open into a dilemma: Though one may find comfort in the grocery store’s order and abundance..."

"... its high stakes can also provoke anxiety—after all, this is the place where we trade hard-earned money for sustenance. 'Everything was fine, would continue to be fine, would eventually get even better as long as the supermarket did not slip,' Don DeLillo’s narrator Jack Gladney observes in White Noise, commenting on the structure that supermarkets, with their rows of neatly ordered products, impose on his chaotic life. Thirty years later, Halle Butler’s protagonist in the novel Jillian enters a gourmet grocery store on a whim.... The prices are so out of her budget that she has to give herself a pep talk before buying anything. 'I mean, I work all the time,' she mutters. 'This is why I work, isn’t it? I’m a hard worker. I can buy this cheese. It’s just cheese, I guess.' But it’s not just cheese...."

"For so long, they’ve been told things like ‘Oh, this is just emotional eating’ or ‘You’re out of control’ or ‘It’s because you have no willpower’ or ‘Gluttony’s a sin,’ or whatever these things are that people explain it away, without realizing that they have a treatable condition."

Said Cynthia Bulik, the founding director of the University of North Carolina’s Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, quoted in "The Most Common Eating Disorder in the U.S. Is Also the Least Understood/Binge eating disorder entered the diagnostic manual on mental health conditions 10 years ago. It’s still getting overlooked" (NYT).

"Binge eating disorder" only became an official disorder 10 years ago.  "At the time, the diagnosis was fairly controversial... Some thought that it was 'pathologizing normality'... and did not understand how it was different from ordinary overeating."

Did you participate in "No Mow May"?

Tell me if you contributed more to the glorious enterprise of not mowing than we did:


"The 18% of Americans who are satisfied with the state of the nation today is about half of the 35% historical average."

"Gallup has measured national satisfaction since 1979. The lowest reading was 7% in October 2008 during the height of the financial crisis. The high point was 71% in February 1999 during the dot-com boom and after the Senate acquitted President Bill Clinton in his impeachment trial. Currently, 33% of Democrats, 18% of independents and 4% of Republicans are satisfied."
The question asked is: "In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?"

ADDED: This is the 70,000th post on this blog.

The alien's documentary about what gives meaning to the life of the humans.

I love the work of Baron Ryan, and I looked him up to see what he might be doing. The main thing I found though was from 2014, when he was 17: "Nixa Boy Scout Earns All 139 Badges."

Is Tara Reade part of Russian disinformation?

"Self-identified libertarians have always been tiny in number—a handful of economists, political activists, technologists, and true believers."

"But, in the decades after Ronald Reagan was elected President, they came to exert enormous political influence, in part because their prescription of prosperity through deregulation appeared to be working, and in part because they provided conservatism with a long-term agenda and a vision of a better future. To the usual right-wing mixture of social traditionalism and hierarchical nationalism, the libertarians had added an especially American sort of optimism: if the government would only step back and allow the market to organize society, we would truly flourish.... Had you written a history of the libertarian movement fifteen years ago, it would have been a tale of improbable success. A small cadre of intellectually intense oddballs who inhabited a Manhattanish atmosphere of late-night living-room debates and barbed book reviews had somehow managed to impose their beliefs on a political party, then the country.... Ever since the George W. Bush Administration, the libertarian movement, as such, has been disintegrating...."

Writes Benjamin Wallace-Wells, in "The Long Afterlife of Libertarianism/As a movement, it has imploded. As a credo, it’s here to stay" (The New Yorker).

Scientists are working on the use of ultrasound to induce a state of "torpor" — which may some day work on humans.

We are informed as if it's good news — "It’s something humans have long fantasized about for ourselves" — in "Ultrasound Pulses to Brain Send Mice Into a Hibernation-Like State/Experiments offer an intriguing hint at technology that could induce torpor in humans in the future" (NYT). 

We're reminded that "Science fiction writers tend to imagine a mysterious technology that keeps humans in stasis, able to survive centuries of silence before emerging into a new life."

No mention of the potential of ultrasound as a weapon here on good old Earth.

Have you ever fantasized about sound waves reducing you to a state of torpor?

"Senior cords seem to have first appeared at Purdue University in Indiana in the early 1900s, according to an archivist at the university..."

"... and evolved to become a sort of wearable yearbook for college and high school seniors in the state. The students would use corduroy clothes — typically pants and skirts in cream or yellow — as canvases that were illustrated with favorite activities, sweethearts’ initials and other personal details. The practice continued for decades before it started to die out in the 1970s. In 2018, about two years after Ms. Bode Aujla started her ready-to-wear brand Bode, which includes pieces made with antique materials and historical techniques like quilting, she started selling custom senior cords in an attempt to revive the tradition...."

From "A Senior Tradition You Might Not Know About/Senior cords, which feature hand-drawn details, first appeared on campuses in Indiana. Now there are high-fashion takes" (NYT).

"Last fall, the actor Jeff Goldblum appeared on the 'Today' show in a Bode senior cord suit that featured illustrations of a Pittsburgh Steelers pennant, pancakes and a 'Jurassic Park' logo. Earlier this year, Indiana University bought a senior cord jacket from the brand, and Bode sent along matching pants as well.... After [a] Vogue issue with [Harry] Styles, Ms. Bode Aujla said, her brand got requests to make other pieces with similar illustrations. But Bode avoids replicating drawings. Each piece, Ms. Bode Aujla said, 'is someone’s personal cord.'"

"'Sybil' is part of a long American parade of books about psychologically distressed women, preceded in the 1960s by 'I Never Promised You a Rose Garden' and 'The Bell Jar'..."

"... followed in the 1990s — the cloak coming off — by the confessionals 'Girl, Interrupted' and 'Prozac Nation.' It haunted teenage girls (and surely some boys) from their bedroom shelves, with its distinctive covers of a face divided as if the shards of a broken mirror, or fractured into jigsaw-puzzle pieces.... The book is a historical curiosity and a cautionary tale of mass cultural delusion that makes one wonder what current voguish diagnoses — witness the 'TikTok tics' — might warrant closer interrogation...."

May 30, 2023

Sunrise — 5:19, 5:23, 5:25.




"At the Bryan prison camp, inmates are generally required to wake up at 6 a.m.... Each is required to keep her space clean, and inmates typically wear clothing colored pastel green, gray or white."

It says in "Elizabeth Holmes, disgraced Theranos founder, reports to prison/The onetime tech superstar began serving an 11-year sentence for carrying out a massive blood-testing fraud" (WaPo).

"I’m still kind of in a daze a bit but I feel very good.... I feel very surrounded by protection and safety.... I just didn’t want to walk home and walk into a cage or be killed..."

"... which is basically my two choices.... [The decision to defect to Russia] was very difficult. I’m not an impulsive person. I really take my time and sort of analyse data points, and from what I could see based on the cases and based on what was happening and sort of the push for them to not want me to testify, I felt that while [the 2024] election is gearing up and there’s so much at stake, I’m almost better off here and just being safe. My dream is to live in both places, but it may be that I only live in this place and that’s OK.... To my Russian brothers and sisters, I’m sorry right now that American elites are choosing to have such an aggressive stance. Just know that most American citizens do want to be friends and hope that we can have unity again. I am enjoying my time in Moscow, and I feel very at home."

"... No cultural moment lasts forever. Yesterday's fanatics realise they joined the wrong mob. ..."

Golden Alexander.


Open thread in the comments.

For a longer view of the swath of Golden Alexander at my sunrise vantage point, see the 4th photo in the set posted last night.

And I like the way I think I'm just photographing a flower and then — looking at what I've got on the computer screen — I find so many insects hidden — woven! — about. Here, in this tiny segment, I find 4 insects:

"Nearly half (45%) of Republican voters – including those who lean toward the GOP – say Trump is definitely the strongest candidate..."

"... to beat President Joe Biden in 2024, and another 18% think he is probably the strongest candidate. Just one-third of GOP voters say another Republican would definitely (13%) or probably (19%) be a stronger candidate than Trump. Among voters who name Trump as their top-of-mind preference for the GOP presidential nomination, 74% say he is definitely the strongest candidate the party can put up against Biden and 21% say he probably is. Among those who express support for another candidate or have no choice at this stage, nearly 4 in 10 still feel Trump is either definitely (23%) or probably (16%) the strongest nominee the GOP can field. Only 22% of this group says the strongest Republican contender would definitely be someone other than Trump and 33% say it would probably be another candidate."


"The worst airlines treat passengers as an encumbrance, and today the same has become true of many restaurants."

"For three-plus years we’ve valorized plucky, resourceful restaurants and heroic staffers for staying the course, only to find, in many cases, they’re now delivering unhappy experiences and terrible value without apology. My wife and I were recently seated in a once-favorite city pub where the cost of a casual lunch, with beers and service charges, has careened toward $100. After scanning the QR and peering at the online menu for 30 minutes but being entirely ignored by the waitstaff, we finally gave up and walked out - and the host was angry with US. Restaurants are vital but this you-are-fortunate-to-be-seated-here-at-any-price attitude has to change."

From the article:

"Reagan... was older than Nixon but had the swagger and ease of a much younger man, marrying the sort of sunny optimism Nixon could never muster..."

"... with the raw appeal to a growing reactionary vote that Nixon craved. Just as Mr. DeSantis, with his wars on critical race theory, 'woke' Disney and Covid restrictions, is trying to outmaneuver Mr. Trump on the cultural terrain that’s always been so vital in Republican primaries, Reagan outshone Nixon with his open disdain for Johnson’s landmark civil rights agenda, the burgeoning antiwar movement and the emerging hippie counterculture. He railed against the 'small minority of beatniks, radicals and filthy-speech advocates' upending California and successfully demoralized Brown, who remarked, shellshocked, after Reagan’s triumph that 'whether we like it or not, the people want separation of the races.' Nixon rebuffed Reagan and the others in one of the last primaries in which delegates and party insiders, rather than the will of voters, played a significant role in determining the nomination."

Brown = Pat Brown, whom Reagan had defeated for Governor of California in 1966. As Governor, Reagan was running in the 1968 presidential primary, so that makes him somewhat analogous to DeSantis, right now.

Obviously, Nixon beat Reagan. But is Trump like Nixon? Barkan says: "Nixon was far more introspective, methodical and policy-minded than Trump." That Nixon sound more like DeSantis. And wouldn't it be easy to say Trump is like Reagan? I picture those 2 smiling and optimistic. 

Goodbye to George Maharis.


I didn't know the background of why Maharis left the show in 1963, and had already composed this blog post when I noticed some additional material, which was new to me. I'll put it below the fold. I just remember the TV show, which — in my memory — is simply about 2 handsome young men in a Corvette. It was on TV in the years when I was 9 to 12 years old.

The possibility that "grandma" has become a slur, to be replaced by neologisms like "Gaga" and "Abba."

It's not that an old man tripped and fell. It's that he was trying so hard to look young, wearing super-tight jeans...

... that he couldn't bend his knees at all, and it took 2 men to hoist him back up: Sorry to use this to embed the clip, which I saw the other day. I think the effort at humor — "Bruce Biden" — distracts at what's funny here, the splinting effect of tight jeans on the legs of a man whose continued wearing of tight jeans is poignant or ridiculous depending on whether you've ever liked Springsteen.

As for tripping and falling, it's part of life, and I would advise you to stop laughing at the trippers and watch where you're going. 

May 29, 2023

Sunrise — 5:20, 5:25, 5:30, 5:31.





Toad of the morning.


"A customer complained that the portion of her scrambled eggs was too small. Her friend admitted to eating said eggs while she was in the bathroom."

"The customer then demanded that we make her new eggs since we placed her plate too close to her friend, causing the friend to be confused as to which was her plate. The friend had ordered a hamburger."

From a TimeOut collection of anecdotes about bad customers at restaurants, quoted at Facebook by jaltcoh.

"The rapidly ballooning field, combined with Mr. Trump’s seemingly unbreakable core of support, represents a grave threat to Mr. DeSantis..."

"... imperiling his ability to consolidate the non-Trump vote, and could mirror the dynamics that powered Mr. Trump’s takeover of the party in 2016. It’s a matter of math: Each new entrant threatens to steal a small piece of Mr. DeSantis’s potential coalition — whether it be Mr. Pence with Iowa evangelicals or Mr. Scott with college-educated suburbanites. And these new candidates are unlikely to eat into Mr. Trump’s votes. The former president’s base — more than 30 percent of Republicans — remains strongly devoted to him."
From "Trump Looks Like He Will Get the 2024 Crowd He Wants/Ron DeSantis entered the presidential race last week along with Tim Scott, with others to follow. For the former president, the more candidates the better" (NYT).

It's a relentless dynamic: The more opposition Trump gets, the more dominant he becomes. His antagonists only dilute themselves. It's a matter of math.

"They’re torturing themselves now, which is kind of fun to see. They’re afraid that their little AIs are going to come for them."

"They’re apocalyptic, and so existential, because they have no connection to real life and how things work. They’re afraid the AIs are going to be as mean to them as they’ve been to us."

Said Doug Rushkoff, quoted in "'They’re afraid their AIs will come for them': Doug Rushkoff on why tech billionaires are in escape mode/The leading intellect on digital culture believes the recent tech reckoning is corrective justice for Silicon Valley barons" (The Guardian).

I don't know know whether to be afraid of AI. I observe from a distance and occasionally dip into it whimsically, like this:


Clearly, AI can't keep up with me, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't worry. The whole world is drifting somewhere I won't understand.

ADDED: Having tried Bard, I gave ChatGPT a chance:

"The law... calls for life imprisonment for anyone who engages in gay sex...."

"The law also decrees the death penalty for anyone convicted of 'aggravated homosexuality,' a term defined as acts of same-sex relations with children or disabled people, those carried out under threat or while someone is unconscious.... [There is also] a prison term of up to 20 years for anyone who promotes homosexuality, a vague provision that activists fear could be used to target agencies supporting L.G.B.T.Q. people, including those providing lifesaving AIDS treatment.... [O]ver the past few years, political leaders, along with domestic and international religious organizations, began ramping up anti-gay campaigns and warning about what they call a threat to family values. Politicians also began making baseless claims about a plot to promote gay activities and lure children in schools to homosexuality.... Some analysts said the law was meant to scapegoat gay people and distract the public from mounting domestic challenges, including rising unemployment and skyrocketing food prices...."

May 28, 2023

Sunrise sequence — 5:09 to 5:23.







Screen Grab of the Morning.

"I’ve been married for just over a year, and the ritual from single life that I miss the most is dining out alone."

"Sitting solo at the bar is one of my favorite pastimes. My husband initially assumed it was a sign of a rift between us. He is learning otherwise. This year, I made a New Year’s resolution to have a standing solo dinner date. On my first night out without my husband, I took myself to a charming Italian bistro in Fort Greene...."

A New Year’s resolution to have a standing solo dinner date. It's one thing to be willing to eat alone in a restaurant when the circumstances arise, quite another to especially enjoy it, but it's a real step up from that to characterize what you are doing as a "date." There's no need to set a date if you don't have to coordinate with someone else, and the word "date" seems to romanticize the occasion....

I took myself to a charming Italian....

Ron DeSantis does not wear women's suits.

"Dr. Ash’s old-world affect tilts and curdles, his mien shifting from twinkly 'Mad Men' gentility to something cooler and more menacing."

I'm slogging through a review of a book I would never read: "A Cabin in the Woods, Intermittent Wi-Fi and a Dead Landline/In Megan Abbott’s new novel, 'Beware the Woman,' a romantic dramedy morphs into horror" (NYT).

I'm only reading this review because Meade texted me the link. My response:


I'm only blogging this because, having ended up in "Jabberwocky," I took the occasion to check my memory — do I still have it memorized? — and wanted to ask those of you have memorized it, if you have found that there is one word that is the stubborn last holdout. For me, the word is "whiffling." If you're not like me, and it's not "whiffling," then I bet it's "uffish." 

But if you're ever trapped in a cabin in the woods and a monstrous man is trying to kill you, look around — try to find something vorpal.

The wrong masculinity.

The photo, the headline, and the caption say it all, don't you think? Must we go on to read this thing? I've come this far without reading it. Why are we called to loathe this man, Josh Hawley, as he "gestures toward a crowd of Donald Trump supporters"? 

Well, Josh Hawley wrote a book called "Manhood," so he's asking for it and I'll give you a little of what French has to say:

"Toxic masculinity. Fragile masculinity. Like most pop-sociological truisms that gain traction on social media, these are great buzzwords but they fail to grapple..."

"... with nuance.... 'The Male Gazed,' by the queer Colombian writer and film critic Manuel Betancourt, is a smart, refreshing essay collection.... Take one of the collection’s most compelling essays, 'Wrestling Heartthrobs,' which shows the author 'wrestling' with his attraction to the high school jock archetype, especially Mario Lopez’s singlet-clad character, A.C. Slater, in 'Saved by the Bell.' 'The image of the wrestler, even one as charming and unassuming as that of Slater, can’t help but conjure up both aggression and eroticism; the male body so revealed is both a come-on and a threat,' Betancourt writes. 'It is manhood distilled.'... Betancourt later dons a singlet himself, literally stepping into his high school fantasies so he can harness their carnal powers to appeal to other men and to become, if only on an aesthetic level, one of those jocks who excited him. His outfit is a celebration and a self-flagellation all in one."

Grappling with nuance.

ADDED: This made me think of the famous nude wrestling scene in the 1969 movie "Women in Love."