Well, I'm not sure the New York Times was consciously trying to trivialise me, but the effect of it is to put everything in the same category as the gossip you read in the magazines you pick up at supermarket counters. I was asked, for example, why I thought there were so many euphemisms for genitalia. It's not a serious question. Whatever the purpose of such a tone is, the effect is to make it appear that anyone who departs from orthodox political doctrine is in some ways laughable.
People who think with their epidermis or their genitalia or their clan are the problem to begin with. One does not banish this specter by invoking it. If I would not vote against someone on the grounds of 'race' or 'gender' alone, then by the exact same token I would not cast a vote in his or her favor for the identical reason. Yet see how this obvious question makes fairly intelligent people say the most alarmingly stupid things.
I lunged, low and quick, and drove about a foot of cold steel into his danglies. Hey, I don't care what kind of fearie or mortal or hideous creature you are. If you've got danglies, and can loose them, that's the kind of sight that makes you reconsider the possible genitalia-related ramifications of your actions real damned quick.
Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose, keep in touch (or don't), care about birthdays, waste and lose time, brush their teeth, feel nostalgia, scrub stains, have religions and political parties and laws, wear keepsakes, apologize years after an offense, whisper, fear themselves, interpret dreams, hide their genitalia, shave, bury time capsules, and can choose not to eat something for reasons of conscience. The justifications for eating animals and for not eating them are often identical: we are not them.
Jonathan Safran Foer
Physicians do not systematically prescribe placebos to their patients. Hence they have no way of comparing the effects of the drugs they prescribe to placebos. When they prescribe a treatment and it works, their natural tendency is to attribute the cure to the treatment. But there are thousands of treatments that have worked in clinical practice throughout history. Powdered stone worked. So did lizard's blood, and crocodile dung, and pig's teeth and dolphin's genitalia and frog's sperm. Patients have been given just about every ingestible - though often indigestible - substance imaginable. They have been 'purged, puked, poisoned, sweated, and shocked', and if these treatments did not kill them, they may have made them better.
Many governments employ torture but this was the first time that the element of Saturnalia and pornography in the process had been made so clear to me. If you care to imagine what any inadequate or cruel man might do, given unlimited power over a woman, then anything that you can bring yourself to suspect was what became routine in ESMA, the Navy Mechanics School that became the headquarters of the business. I talked to Dr. Emilio Mignone, a distinguished physician whose daughter Monica had disappeared into the precincts of that hellish place. What do you find to say to a doctor and a humanitarian who has been gutted by the image of a starving rat being introduced to his daughter's genitalia? Like hell itself the school was endorsed and blessed by priests, in case any stray consciences needed to be stilled.
I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion... Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity... Until Dawkins has trained in the shops of Paris and Milan, until he has learned to tell the difference between a ruffled flounce and a puffy pantaloon, we should all pretend he has not spoken out against the Emperor's taste. His training in biology may give him the ability to recognize dangling genitalia when he sees it, but it has not taught him the proper appreciation of Imaginary Fabrics.
All right, then, ' she snapped, 'do as you please! Perhaps afterward we could manage a coherent discussion.' Twisting beneath him, she flopped onto her stomach. Christopher went still. After a long hesitation, she heard him ask in a far more normal voice, 'What are you doing?' 'I'm making it easier for you, ' came her defiant reply. 'Go on, start ravishing.' Another silence. Then, 'Why are you facing downward?' 'Because that's how it's done.' Beatrix twisted to look at him over her shoulder. A twinge of uncertainty caused her to ask, 'Isn't it?' His face was blank. 'Has no one ever told you?' 'No, but I've read about it.' Christopher rolled off her, relieving her of his weight. He wore an odd expression as he asked, 'From what books?' 'Veterinary manuals. And of course, I've observed the squirrels in springtime, and farm animals and-' She was interrupted as Christopher cleared his throat loudly, and again. Darting a confused glance at him, she realized that he was trying to choke back amusement. Beatrix began to feel indignant. Her first time in a bed with a man, and he was laughing. 'Look here, ' she said in a businesslike manner, 'I've read about the mating habits of over two dozen species, and with the exception of snails, whose genitalia is on their necks, they all-' She broke off and frowned. 'Why are you laughing at me? Christopher had collapsed, overcome with hilarity. As he lifted his head and saw her affronted expression, he struggled manfully with another outburst. 'Beatrix. I'm... I'm not laughing at you.' 'You are!' 'No I'm not. It's just... ' He swiped a tear from the corner of his eye, and a few more chuckles escaped. 'Squirrels... ' 'Well, it may be humorous to you, but it's a very serious matter to the squirrels.