The alternative newsweekly industry has just added a new sex columnist! (Dear New York Press, Thanks, because we needed that! — World.) The name is Claudia Lonow, and the pedigree is Hollywood writer/producer/actress and the first Q&A debuted on newsstands and laptops today, with a range of "obscenely informative" questions I scanned while procrastinating. And whoooah boy! I encourage you readers to take a gander because there was a HOLY SHIT QUESTION submitted by a "reader" who had walked in on his wife getting all congugal with her brother. Scandale! (Another question tackled the question of the antibacterial properties of piss with respect to drinking it.) Wait a minute, thought I. If this is Claudia's first sex column, what crazy incestuous love triangle-condemned readers knew in advance to write for her sage wisdom? I emailed the editor who pitched me, David Blum.
"since it was her first column, she solicited questions from friends...that's how these columns tend to start, since it's hard to get questions from readers in advance. in future they'll come from readers," he wrote. So far, so practical. But then he got defensive. "re your "ick" and "ew" comment: i'd say the q's are actually pretty standard for sex-advice columns these days."
To which I replied, sorta jokingly: "INCEST NO STANDARD DO NOT WANT" or something to that effect.
To which he replied, again defensively — and CC-ing another editor this time!:
to Maureen Tkacik
cc Jerry Portwood
date Jan 23, 2008 4:25 PM
subject RE: from David Blum, editor, New York Press
hide details 4:25 PM (1 hour ago)
OF COURSE incest isn't standard. nor does claudia condone it. she VEHEMENTLY opposes it in categorical terms. but as much as we might not like to admit it, incest does exist as a subject (in books, movies, as well as in sex columns) and is a legitimate topic for a sex columnist to address. as is any other topic. i don't plan to be censoring questions just because i don't happen to like the question.
Uh, okay guy: that's a rather honorable hypothetical stance you're taking in favor of freedom of fetish, etc. etc. but sometimes, when I think the sex column industry exists to make me feel like I am a whopping, repressed, inconceivably naive prude, it is good to know that the questions are sometimes made up by TV writers.
That is all.