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  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through BuildingDetroit.com, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial

    We don’t know about you, but usually Nancy Whiskey and Long John Silver’s aren’t two concepts we’d place in the same sentence. However, the international fast food fish fry conglomerate made a nod to the Detroit dive in their latest YouTube commercial. LJS is offering free fish fries on Saturday, August 2, which is the promotion the commercial is attempting to deliver. But, we think we’ll just go to Nancy Whiskey instead.

    The post Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women

    We came across an interesting item this week: Apparently, a music festival with the name “Michfest” is quietly oriented as a “Women-Only Festival Exclusively for ‘Women Born Women.’” It seems a strange decision to us. If you wanted to have a women-only music festival, why not simply proclaim loud and clear that it is for all sorts of women? But if you really wanted to become a lightning rod for criticisms about transphobia, organizers have found the perfect way to present their festival. Now, we know that defenders of non-cisgender folks have it tough. The strides made by gays and lesbians (and bisexuals) in the last 20 years have been decisive and dramatic. But the people who put the ‘T’ in LGBT have reason to be especially defensive, facing a hostile culture and even some disdain from people who should be their natural allies. That said, sometimes that defensiveness can cause some activists to go overboard; when we interviewed Dan Savage a couple years ago, he recalled his “glitter bombing” and said it was due to the “the narcissism of small differences,” adding that “if you’re playing the game of who is the most victimized, attacking your real enemies doesn’t prove you’re most victimized, claiming you […]

    The post Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Savage Love

All in the Family

Incest fantasy, momma’s boy, wheelchair fun

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Q:

 I’m a straight guy in my early 30s with an amazing girlfriend of two years. A few months ago, I felt open enough to share my taboo fantasy: father-daughter incest. My GF, to my delight, not only understands the fantasy but enjoys participating in it! Quickly: I have zero interest in this kind of thing actually happening. I understand the kind of damage that sexual abuse can do and has done to many, many women, and I would never pursue something like this in real life. Now the problem: We’ve added the “wrinkle” of me talking to another man on the phone while my GF fellates me. The man — a stranger, someone we found online — has been led to believe that I am being fellated by my daughter while we speak. Of course, he can hear the noises associated with said activity while he and I are talking. We do not in any way lead these guys to believe that they have a chance to meet us. We want to enjoy our sexual fantasies, but we worry that we could be inadvertently encouraging someone to make their fantasies a reality. Any advice? —No Acronym Seems To Yodel

A:

 The incest fetishists you meet in chat rooms and get on the phone? For all they know, you could be alone in a room stirring a jar of mayonnaise with a slotted spoon. And for all you know, NASTY, the incest fetishists you’re meeting in chat rooms could be police officers looking to bust men who are actually raping their daughters. Just sayin’.

As for your problem, NASTY, most people with incest fantasies insist that they’re not turned on by the idea of having sex with their actual parents, siblings or children. Incest scenarios turn them on abstractly, but they have zero interest in their own siblings or parents or children specifically. That can’t be true for all incest fetishists — statistically speaking — but any incest fetishists who’re turned on by the thought of actually fucking their sibs, parents or children would have a motive — or the good sense to lie.

But let’s set your specific fantasy aside for the moment—which is an upsetting one for most people to contemplate (because ick), particularly those who were sexually abused by family members (because rape) — and focus on the underlying question: Does exploring something taboo through fantasy make someone likelier to go and do that thing in real life?

The evidence we’ve got about porn points to no.

“Perhaps the most serious accusation against pornography is that it incites sexual aggression,” Melinda Wenner Moyer wrote in the July 2011 issue of Scientific American (“The Sunny Side of Smut”). “But not only do rape statistics suggest otherwise, some experts believe the consumption of pornography may actually reduce the desire to rape by offering a safe, private outlet for deviant sexual desires.”

What you’re producing for the men you get on the phone is a kind of pornography, NASTY, and Moyer demonstrates that the wider availability of Internet pornography has correlated strongly with falling rates of sexual violence — and incest between an adult and a minor is sexual violence.

“Within the U.S., the states with the least Internet access between 1980 and 2000 — and therefore the least access to Internet pornography — experienced a 53 percent increase in rape incidence, whereas the states with the most access experienced a 27 percent drop in the number of reported rapes, according to a paper published in 2006 by Anthony D’Amato, a law professor at Northwestern University,” Moyer writes. “It is important to note that these associations are just that — associations. They do not prove that pornography is the cause of the observed crime reductions. Nevertheless, the trends ‘just don’t fit with the theory that rape and sexual assault are in part influenced by pornography,’ [Professor Christopher J.] Ferguson [of Texas A&M] explains. ‘At this point, I think we can say the evidence just isn’t there, and it is time to retire this belief.’”

The complicating factor here, of course, is that you’re leading these men to believe that you’re actually doing it, i.e., the noises they’re hearing are your daughter blowing you and not you stirring a jar of mayo. So will the men you talk to want to rape their daughters in real life because you’ve led them to believe that you’re raping your daughter? Hard to say… and even harder to get data on. But the people doing taboo shit in porn are actually doing it, and the data suggests that watching others do it, i.e., living vicariously through porn performers (who are sometimes faking it, but still), leads to fewer people acting on taboo desires in real life, not more.

Q: I’m a 40-year-old gay man who has his life fairly together (career, home, etc.). But I’ve never had a LTR. I’ve dated this guy “D” three times, and I broke it off three times. I feel like such an ass. I’m attracted to D, he is sweet, hot, and funny, but he’s obviously gay. I worry that my mom might not like him — she has made snide comments about obviously gay guys “advertising it” — and I am very close to my mom. D and I have started hanging out again, and we are having fun. He is not mad at me. The plan is to just hang out, and I just don’t know WTF I am doing. Should I just see how things go?               —Messed Up Dude

A:

 Let me see if I’ve got this straight, MUD: You like D, you’re into D, and D is sweet and hot and funny. But you’ve dumped D three times because your mommy wouldn’t approve, and you’re really close to your mommy … and you’re worried that D is the gay stereotype in this relationship?

Q:

 I am a 23-year-old female devotee of disabled men. I have a strong desire to be with men with all types of disabilities, but I mostly gravitate toward severe CP and quadriplegics. But my passions in life involve travel, sports, my bike, camping, overseas disaster aid, and a whole load of other things that are made either difficult or impossible when you can’t walk. I have always dated able-bodied men as a result. I would feel guilty fucking a disabled guy — I would see an “expiration date” on our relationship. Would it be wrong for me to seek out disabled guys just for sex? I don’t feel guilt for my sexuality being what it is, but I do feel guilty when I think about using disabled men for sex. —Some Chick Who Likes Wheels

A:

 Maybe you should let disabled men decide for themselves if they want to be used for sex. Some won’t mind, SCWLW, just as some gay guys don’t mind being used for sex by bisexual or closeted guys who aren’t interested in dating other men, just fucking them. Disabled adults are adults, and they’re free to make their own choices. So long as they’re making informed choices — so long as you’re not misleading anyone to get into his pants or up on his wheels — you’re not doing anything wrong.

On this week’s Savage Lovecast,Dan talks with a former stripper about her lurking shame. Also, hear an interview with Daniel Bergner, author of the book What Do Women Want?, about what women want, all at savagelovecast.com.

 

Find Dan Savage’s weekly podcast every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage. Reach him at mail@savagelove.net or @fakedansavage on Twitter.

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