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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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Cowards & penises

January 1st, 2003

Column: Don't Ask

BY LANE BROWNING

Dear D.A.
As political violence has become more prominent and publicized, I find myself really irritated at world leaders whose vocabulary shows so little imagination. Every time there’s a suicide bombing or some kind of “terrorist” event, presidents and prime ministers have to condemn it as a “cowardly” act. Maybe I’m dense, but what’s “cowardly” about flying a plane into a building or detonating oneself on a commuter bus? Isn’t a coward someone who runs away?

I feel the same way you do, but Bill Maher got pilloried for saying it takes more guts to smack into a building than to drop a bomb from miles above. The last two U.S. presidents have been particularly guilty of this repetitive verbal compost. Clinton used “cowardly” in reference to the Oklahoma bombing, the embassy bombings, and the 1995 explosion at the World Trade Center. George W. Bush couldn’t wait to denounce as “cowards” those who destroyed the twin towers in New York and those who punched a hole in the USS Cole. Bush in particular has maybe a three-page thesaurus in his head, but Clinton and other leaders should know better. Call such “activists” monsters, sub-humans, scum, dirt, slime, sickos, demons or even zealots if you wish; use “heinous” sparingly and “cowards” not at all.

Cowards take no risks. Cowardly terrorists make bomb threats — shake their fists or write vitriolic unsigned letters or send anthrax by mail. Cowards don’t chain themselves to silos, lie down in the paths of tanks, jet-ski across the bows of whaling boats, meekly retreat to the back of the bus. Clinton thought it took no guts to create, transport, set and detonate a huge explosive device? Even with the twelve disciples and holy justice on my side I doubt I could do it. Cowardice is irrelevant to the discussion: Bill Clinton implied that courage and morality are fused; they are not. Nor are bravery and sanity. Consider how Evel Knievel made his money, and what bullfighters do.

President Bush and John Ashcroft should call me; I can offer them a buffet of name tags to suit their indignantly histrionic bent. Savages. Barbarians. Bottom feeders. Extremists. “Fiends,” they could snarl, or “handmaidens of the devil.” Better yet, they could can the kneejerk editorializing and stick to (snore) “I assure you we will do everything within our power to bring the individuals responsible to justice.” (If the individual is now a bone shard under a fruit stand, good luck.)

As for William Jefferson Clinton, I’ll reach back a decade to remind him that I was thrilled to support him in 1992, anticipating his erasure of the ban on gays in the military. After the election, well whaddya know? Big yellow stripe ripped down his spine. Things got a little tougher than he’d expected — whoops, too hot in here, bullying Joint Chiefs of Staff, hadn’t figured on that: never mind! He clucked like a barnyard pullet and ducked into the coop. Wimp! I think he and the fuse-lighting brutes in the Middle East and Indonesia could have an interesting debate about their respective definitions of cowardice.

A question is really bugging me. Where do they get the penis for a female-male sex change?
Not Switching

You’re thinking Igor goes to the cemetery and de-sexes a cadaver? No. The phallus is created with a graft. To make a urethra, the surgeon (aka magician) grafts an abdominal skin flap over a catheter. The graft and the surrounding skin are then separated to make a virgin penis. The upper end is inserted into the perineum and the lower end is detached. Et voilà — a penis. Well, a facsimile of a penis. The new fella cannot ejaculate or impregnate, and unless he springs for an implant he cannot get an erection; but he can piss standing up.

The other parts of the surgery, which I guess you already understood, include removal of the breasts and excision of uterus and ovaries. Hormones can be given to stimulate growth of facial hair and lower the voice.

Male-to-female surgery is significantly more common. In a perfect world surgeons would withdraw from a genital bank, using donated parts so transsexuals could simply trade appendages. But then, in a perfect world surgeons would earn more than professional basketball players, too. •

Send your questions to Don’t Ask, care of Black Lamb.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Browning, Don't Ask | Link to this Entry

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