October 23, 2005

Here's a ... uh ... children's book.

Well, I guess that about explains it... German style. (Via Metafilter.) I'm trying to think how that would have affected me when I was a kid. It's just so damned clear! Wait 'til they ask, hand them the book, and see if they have any questions. I'm sure it will be better than my own insanely botched explanation. Or my mother's nuttily over-simplified version, in its entirety: "You know how men and women are physically built."

32 comments:

Allah said...

If I recall correctly, the male figure in the illustrations for "The Joy of Sex" also had curly hair and a beard. What's up with that? Why do all the men in sex manuals end up looking like Bob Ross?

And may I just add: whoa.

Allah said...

Also, re: that last link, am I the only one who thought of Kuato from "Total Recall"?

I'll stop now.

EddieP said...

A lot better than the way we had to figure it out a half century or more ago. In some ways the good old days weren't. The Europeans have never taught that there was anything shameful about ones body. They also have a wise approach to children and alcohol.

John Thacker said...

The Europeans have never taught that there was anything shameful about ones body.

Like most statements containing "never" and referring "the Europeans" as a monolithic bloc, this is blatantly untrue. This actually might be one of the least true things I've ever read, but is the epitome of a particularly blinkered outlook on life.

I'm constantly astonished at how people who know so little about Europe feel the need to project their imagination onto it, pretending that it's perfect and matches their ideal, or how they extrapolate from one location in Europe or some anecdote, and imagine that all of Europe or all "the Europeans" are the same. How many people know, for example, that Prohibition was hardly just a US phenomenon, with Canda (1901 to 1948 in Prince Edward Island, and for shorter periods in other locations in Canada, basically mid 10s to the 20s, same as other countries), Russia (1914 to 1925, called "sukhoy zakon"), Iceland (1915 to 1922, though beer was still prohibited until 1989), Norway (1916 to 1927 for hard liquor, wine and beer also including starting in 1917), and Finland (1919 to 1932, called "kieltolaki") also having alcohol Prohibition around the same time as the US. How many know that the Dutch constitution enshrines the right for people to send their children to religious schools using public money, and enshrines the right of those sectarian schools to deny enrollment to those not sharing the religion? I hear so many sweeping statements about civil liberties or police procedure, about how public health insurance functions (in France and Norway, the answer is user fees, often higher than the out-of-pocket costs for insurance here-- which is a good thing), and everything else that is borne of ignorance and fantasizing about Europe.

It could be worse, of course. It could be as bad as the ignorance of non-European, non-English speaking countries, including things like people having no idea that Japan has the death penalty.

Robert said...

I like the kid pulling himself from the womb with both hands.

If that had happened at my wife's last delivery, I think we all would have kind of freaked out.

Mark said...

Oh gross!

Ann Althouse said...

Allah: I was going to bring up that horrible "Joy of Sex" guy myself. Why does a guy like that seem to represent the male for illustrators of sex manuals? I've drawn a lot of naked men (in life drawing classes), and, in my opinion, a beard is very undesirable, because it separates the face from the rest of the body. It really limits the composition. For a clothed man, this isn't an issue. The worst male models are in the dandelion format: they have big hair and beards -- a large round fuzzball of a head -- and thin, undifferentiated bodies -- stems.

L. Ron Halfelven said...

Hey, isn't that Cartman's mom?

wildaboutharrie said...

"I've drawn a lot of naked men (in life drawing classes)"

Um...I sit behind you in Contracts...

OddD said...

A lot better than the way we had to figure it out a half century or more ago.

Go back much before half-a-century, and we witnessed the process (with animals) on the farm. A lot more realistically.

Today you can see both sex and pregnancy as realistically as you please--but never in the same context.

Undecided said...

Professor:

How are you going to explain the drawings in the podcast? Can you speak with a Dr. Ruth-like German accent? I'm looking forward to it!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Paul Zrimsek: It looks just like the picture of Cartman's mom in 'Crack Whore Magazine'.

That reminds me: I want some cheesy-poofs and PIE.

wildaboutharrie said...

Whoops! New to your site, I thought you were a law student. (blush). OK Professor, but I SAW the naked dudes in your lecture notes!

Anyhow, I'm torn about that book. Much better than the one my mother threw at me (while running away) that started with horses and ended with a Q&A ("Well [insert child's name here], wet dreams are nothing to be ashamed of...")

But what's wrong with learning it piecemeal? I mean, does it all have to be laid out (as it were), soup to nuts?

EddieP said...

John Thacker

I stand corrected about the use of the word never and a monolithic approach to any group. However, it has been my experience in 15 years of regular business travel throughout Western Europe, that sex and alcohol are approached in a much more sane manner than either topic here in the states. Especially with children. Regards

Allah said...

I was going to bring up that horrible "Joy of Sex" guy myself. Why does a guy like that seem to represent the male for illustrators of sex manuals?

Perhaps the male figure in the children's book was an homage to his counterpart in "The Joy of Sex."

Re: the latter, I don't know why they put a beard on him. I suppose facial hair was more in vogue when TJoS was published, so they were simply reflecting the fashion of the times. Or maybe they put the beard on him so that readers would be able to tell at a glance which figure was the male.

Not likely, though. You don't "glance" at the illustrations in that book. You look at them very, very closely.

Troy said...

Will Ferrell also had a hairy swinger professor type schtick on SNL where he talked to his "lover" (his equally aroused wife) in fron t of guests and he would invariably throw out his back and shout at her.

Similar looking to the Joy of Sex guy.... Maybe hairy guys get more action? Any sociological or anthropological studies to back that up?

John(classic) said...

I don't get it. Could we go over it again? And shouldn't there be a stork and some cabbages?

Slocum said...

Funny that people thought the woman looked like Cartman's mom -- I thought the kid with the crowning head looked like Kenny. I was waiting for some horrible disaster to happen to him on the next page.

amba said...

It's even ickier if you can read German. "You can see mother's slit. The slit is called a sheath (Germanic for "vagina," which is Latin for sheath). You can see Father's "little tail," which is called a member. Mother and father love each other very much. They kiss each other. Father's member has gotten big. It stands out stiff. Mother and Father would like very much for Father's member to come into Mother's vagina. It's very nice."

I don't know what's European, but I guess it's very American to find it icky. Precisely because it's so healthy. It goes with Birkenstocks and eating plenty of fiber.

Ann Althouse said...

Slocum: LOL. So the woman's personal lady area looked like Kenny's parka hood? I'll never look at a parka hood the same what again. (I stole the term "personal lady area" from here.)

Amba: Thanks. "Slit"? That's considered pretty crude in English. Funny that it's a respectable term in German!

Ann Althouse said...

The same way again, I mean.

vbspurs said...

The Europeans have never taught that there was anything shameful about ones body.

EddieP, that's just not right, sorry.

I'm "European", too, and all cultures in the Eurosphere have a modicum of modesty and even prudery associated with them.

You cannot be naked on the beaches of Italy, e.g. Old men kick sand on you.

What you see, especially in Nordic cultures, is a love of nature.

This kind of person is called a Naturkind and lauded for his healthiness.

But you try to do the same thing in Romania, or Greece, and see what reaction you get...

Also, forgive me further, but Americans seem to have an idea that all Europeans can be lumped together when referring to culture.

It's to do with your own Heinz57 backgrounds, I think, where you lump together German, Swedish, Russian, Bulgarian, and somehow, think it's all the same -- possibly because of racial reasons...

It's not. Trust me. It's disconcerting to hear such things.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

personal lady area

I like the term 'manregion' but personal lady area just sucks hosepipe.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Everything my kiddies will learn about sex will come from Ai No Korida.

Especially the bit with the boiled egg.

Cheers,
Victoria

JodyTresidder said...

Look, I've held my tongue for so long...could Cheers,Victoria stop with the redundant Cheers,Victoria sign-off?
It just looks mildly unhinged and puts me off reading her. Sorry.

amba said...

"Slit" is the direct English translation of "Schlitz." (I guess you'll never look at your beer the same way again, either!)

Tom said...

I have a neighbor named Schlitz. I'll never be able to look at HIM the same way again.

John Thacker said...

That's considered pretty crude in English. Funny that it's a respectable term in German!

It's an amusing linguistic quirk having to do with the history of English. German words often correspond to various Anglo-Saxon native English words. But the native Anglo-Saxon words tend to be more basic, and in the case of things like this, cruder than the clinical, educated-sounding French, Latinate, and Greek-derived words. How much of this is because the non-native words are inherently euphemistic, and how much because they were used by higher class and more highly educated people, I don't know.

Japanese works similarly, interestingly. Native Japanese words are considered cruder than English or Sino-Japanese words.

Sean E said...

I'm not an Amercian, but that was still quite possibly the most disturbing thing I've seen in my life.

RE: "personal lady area" vs "slit": I prefer the term "vertical smile". Which is why the new V-Smile educational video game for pre-schoolers creeps me out a litte.

The Mommy Blawger said...

I don't know what's European, but I guess it's very American to find it icky. Precisely because it's so healthy. It goes with Birkenstocks and eating plenty of fiber.

Nothing healthy about mom birthing the baby lying flat on her back. If she were a true Birk-wearer, she would be squatting or something.

Rob said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fletch said...

Allah-

I am currently watching "Total Recall" on DVD... and Bob Ross will always rule!