Posts tagged ‘sex’

July 26, 2010

Find of prehistoric “tool” gets Swedish scientists aroused

WHAT A MONTH THIS has been for archeologists! First, a British team celebrated the discovery of a second vast Neolithic site just 900 meters from Stonehenge. Then, over the weekend, Swedish scientists announced the discovery of what may be one of the world’s very first “boners.” The twelve centimeter long and two centimeter thick phallus carved of antler was found at a Neolithic site near the banks of Sweden’s Göta Canal. Whatever the eventual scientific consequences of the find, one thing is for sure: It has pricked its finders’ imaginations like nothing else they have turned up in recent years.  

As archaeologist Sara Gummesson described the 6,000 year-old discovery on the expedition’s blog, “First I thought it was just a carved horn…

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July 22, 2010

The summer camp from hell

How an idyllic island retreat became Lord of the Flies redux

IT LOOKS AS IF William Golding of Lord of the Flies fame was an optimist. What happens when you send a group of poorly-supervised teenagers to a North Sea island and let them fend for themselves? A youth club from the German town of Osnabrück found out earlier this month. While the investigation into the ensuing crime will take weeks, the wounds will likely last a lifetime.

It should have been a wonderful experience. This year, the Municipal Sports League of the western German town of Osnabrück…

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July 16, 2010

Bishop’s resignation shifts attention to Protestant abuse

AFTER FOLLOWING THE NEWS stories of the past few months, you might have gained the impression that the Catholic Church is in essence a giant pedophile club. But this perception is unfair – not because it is untrue, but because it insinuates that Catholics have a monopoly on systemic child abuse. In fact, hierarchical religions of all kinds attract pedophiles to their ranks, including the Catholics’ main Central European competitor, Protestantism. A high-level resignation today once more casts a sombre light on what increasingly appears to be organized religion’s “original sin.”…

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April 19, 2010

“My heart is pure”: Bishop Mixa confronts an abusive past

Bishop Walter Mixa

ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE ONCE wrote that the most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it begins to reform. While it’s unclear whether the Catholic Church’s sluggish response to the current child molestation scandal represents a reform process of any kind, there is no doubt that this badly-supervised organization is indeed entering a dangerous moment in its history. Take the case of German bishop Walter Mixa, who is himself facing child abuse charges of a different kind that may open the Church up to a tsunami of public embarrassment and costly lawsuits.

Walter Mixa, the Bishop of the Bavarian town of Augsburg and Germany’s high profile “military bishop” responsible for the pastoral care of the German armed forces, is the sort of clergyman the German press loves…

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December 7, 2009

Berlin newspaper erects provocative new artwork

Peter Lenk's sculpture "Friede sei mit dir"

IT’S STORIES LIKE THIS that drive home just how different Europe and America can be from one another. On 15 November, 2009 the left-wing German newspaper Die Tageszeitung (“taz” for short) unveiled a provocative artwork by sculptor Peter Lenk on the wall of its Kreuzberg headquarters featuring a naked man with a five-story, fifty-two foot tall porcelain male member that narrows into a cobra head at the tip. And the man depicted in the installation is not just any man, but Kai Diekmann, chief editor of the right-wing Bildzeitung, whose highrise headquarters is within spitting distance – with an unobstructed view of the artwork.

To understand what could motivate such such a bizarrely counterintuitive image you first need to know something about the German press. Diekmann’s Bildzeitung, founded by publishing tycoon Axel Springer in  1952, is Europe’s largest-circulation newspaper, selling three millions copies daily across forty-four countries. The Bild tabloid is to German newspapers what Fox News is to American TV. Decades before anyone in the US had ever heard of Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, Bild was already out there rousing the rabble with anti-communist horror stories, faux populist outrage about the latest public sex or finance scandal, lurid celebrity gossip, a lavish full-color sports section and, its most popular feature, a daily topless photo of a buxom blonde model on the back page. While it has gained a lot of competition in recent years through cable TV and the Internet, its role in fomenting anti-student outrage in the late 1960s and early 1970s remains legendary…

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October 29, 2009

A sexual revolution: Dr. Sommer’s advice column turns forty

Goldstein 3

THE TERM “SEXUAL REVOLUTION” has become such a cliché in recent decades that it is hard to imagine that it ever had a tangible meaning. And yet, the transformation of global sexual mores that picked up steam in the 1960s really did transform society in ways we are still trying to understand. But how did it get started? Despite the theoretical writings of Sigmund Freud and the prophets of free love, this social and cultural earthquake frequently had humble beginnings. In Central Europe, for example, the true sexual revolution was touched off by the teenage sex advice column of Dr. Sommer, which is marking its fortieth anniversary this month.

When Europe was “moral”

Today it is difficult to conceive that the hedonistic Europe consistently denounced by the American Right – who delight in pointing their fingers at the excesses of the likes of Roman Polanski or at the “green” brothels of Berlin – was once as straight-laced as the Oral Roberts University campus, at least in the way it brought up its youth…

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October 2, 2009

Condom Kaiser: The tragic fate of inventor Julius Fromm

Fromms Act - The world's first brand-name latex condom

Fromms Act - The world's first brand-name latex condom

VIRTUALLY EVERYBODY USES THEM from time to time, but few people are aware of the uplifting and ultimately heart-breaking story that lies behind the world’s most widespread – if not always most loved – contraceptive device: the seamless latex condom.

A new book is about to correct this shortcoming in the English-speaking world. Fromms: How Julius Fromm’s Condom Empire Fell to the Nazis by historian Götz Aly and Spiegel editor Michael Sontheimer is scheduled to appear in American bookshops later this month (the original German-language version appeared in 2007). Aly and Sontheimer have written not just a biography of a man and his revolutionary creation, but also of an era: the rise of a new Jewish middle class in central Europe around 1900 and its subsequent “Aryanization” and extermination at the hands of the Nazi Party.

Humble beginnings

Julius Fromm was born in 1883 as Israel From to a poor eastern Jewish family in the Polish shtetl of Konin, which at that time belonged to the Russian Empire. A decade later the family of eight fled the poverty and hopelessness of anti-Semitic Russia to Germany’s boomtown capital, Berlin. There the family settled in the “Scheunenviertel,” the city’s predominantly Jewish immigrant slum near Alexanderplatz, where they eked out an existence rolling cigarettes at home and selling them in local bars. …

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September 16, 2009

Banana sex cult highlights New Guinea’s “cargo” religions

ARE SOME RELIGIONS MORE bizarre than others, or are their eccentricities merely in the eye of the beholder? A recent scandal surrounding a sex cult in the Republic of Papua New Guinea puts this question to the test.

 

New Guinea goes bananas

According to an article in the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier dated September 11, 2009, police have broken up an animistic cult in Morobe Province in the east of the country. For the past four months, a charismatic leader and his followers had been engaging in full frontal nudity and sexual intercourse in public places and had been terrorizing the local population into joining in. Workers at nearby industrial sites reported widescale nakedness in nearby towns. When a local official, who had been imprisoned by the cult members and threatened with death for over a month, escaped and reported these goings on to the authorities, the police came onto the scene and hauled in some of the leaders. According to a later report from the London Telegraph, the unclothed cult leader was surrounded in his hut last Saturday, but then took off for the woods with seven stark naked companions, using his two wives as human shields. They are all still at large.

Why would anyone go along with such a thing? It seems that the area where these events took place is located far from government administration. Public services in this desperately poor region are virtually non-existent. That was the cult leader’s big chance…

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