Posted in 1980s, Music

“Without your match, there is no flame”

Image used solely to illustrate subject for an album review, and consistent with fair use doctrine

Released 14 June 1982, All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes was the first of Pete’s solo albums I bought (on 21 November 2001), after exhausting The Who’s studio output. It’s amazing to think back on how nervous I was about dipping my toe into his solo catalogue!

Pete has been my favorite bandmember since February 1994, long before I became a serious fan, because I felt a soul connection to him from the first time I read about him. All these years, he’s remained my fave rave, unlike how I’ve had three different favorite Beatles. But solo work was uncharted territory, as much as I adored his voice and everything else about him.

What if I hated it or just couldn’t get into it? I had to start with an album I’d heard overwhelmingly positive things about on my estrogen Who lists instead of something only completists or hardcore fans would want.

For a long time, I was extremely conservative re: my musical tastes, preferring a small group of favorite artists over a huge, constantly-changing list. If I weren’t familiar with an artist, I’d be so nervous about committing to an entire album beyond greatest hits or songs I already knew from the radio.

And then I listened to Chinese Eyes, and was so impressed I proceeded to buy Pete’s entire solo catalogue within about a year and a half. The one album I couldn’t find in used record stores, White City, I got on eBay.

Chinese Eyes reached #17 in New Zealand, #26 in the U.S., #32 in the U.K., #33 in Norway, and #41 in Australia. Always one for brutal honesty, Pete later said he should’ve won a Stupid Title of the Year Award for this album. I can only imagine the baying mob coming to cancel him if he released it today!

Pete also released a companion video, featuring music videos of seven of the eleven songs. Unlike the record, the video was out of print for years. Pete put the videos up on his website in 2000, and they’re now available all over the Web.

Some of the themes in these songs crop up in Horse’s Neck, a rather strange short story collection Pete published in 1985.

Most critics excoriated this album, calling it pretentious, overthought, intricately meaningless, “an ambitious failure,” overindulgent, “a mess of contradictions,” convoluted, “nearly impenetrable,” and a whole host of other negative appellations.

Committed fans, however, have always loved it. I chose this as my first of Pete’s solo albums because it was so highly recommended by other ladies in the fan community. And speaking of ladies…

When Pete officially started his solo career in 1980, with Empty Glass, he was quite surprised to pick up a huge amount of two new kinds of fans—women and gay men. While he never stopped doing more traditional hard rock songs, going solo gave him free range to do a lot more songs channelling his sensitive, gender-atypical side.

Can you really picture Roger belting out a song like “And I Moved,” “Somebody Saved Me,” “Stop Hurting People,” or “Was There Life”? Even in The Who, Pete tended to sing the more tender, sensitive songs like “Sunrise,” “Blue, Red, and Grey,” “Our Love Was,” and “Cut My Hair.”

Pete had to do these songs solo instead of giving them to the band. They’re so deeply personal, only he could’ve done them justice. Despite priding myself on being so gender-defiant, I’m with the majority of female fans (both of The Who and Pete’s solo career) who adore songs guy fans typically trash.

Track listing, with stars by the bonus tracks on the 2006 reissue:

“Stop Hurting People”
“The Sea Refuses No River”
“Face Dances, Pt. #2” (#15 and #105 on two different U.S. Billboard charts)
“Exquisitely Bored”
“Stardom in Acton”
“Uniforms (Corps d’Esprit)”
“North Country Girl” (written by Bob Dylan)
“Somebody Saved Me” (also a bonus track on the reissue of Face Dances, as a live Who performance)
“Slit Skirts” (probably the best-known song)
“Man Watching”*
“Dance It Away”*

My favorite songs are “Stop Hurting People,” Uniforms,” “Somebody Saved Me,” and “North Country Girl.” Unusually for my collection, this album was made in my lifetime!

Posted in Books, Censorship, Gender

The literary Stasi pounces again

Warning: Any nasty comments will be deleted and the commenters blacklisted. This ain’t one of your echo chambers and safe spaces on Tumblr. History, like science, only cares about facts, not your feelings and sense of validation.

Dr. James Miranda Steuart Barry, née Margaret Ann Bulkley
ca. 1789–25 July 1865

Another week, another book for the Woke Stasi to burn pre-publication. This time, they’ve set their teeth and claws upon E.J. Levy’s The Cape Doctor, which just sold to Little Brown. This is Ms. Levy’s first novel, coming after the 2012 story collection Love, In Theory. Her new novel is about a pioneering doctor who spent the last 56 years of her life posing as a man.

These zealots once again are behaving like babies throwing a tantrum. Ms. Levy’s crime? Correctly sexing Dr. Barry as a woman and using feminine pronouns. These bullies are screaming “He! He! He! He! He! He! He! Him! Him! His! How dare you misgender him! He was a man! Man! Man! Man! Transphobe! Bigot! I don’t feel safe! You’re committing literal violence! I’m complaining to Little Brown, and I hope they drop your so-called book!”

“TERF” is misogynistic hate speech, the latest version of “Burn the witch!”

Dr. Barry was raped as a teenager and bore a child. She declared she’d be a soldier if she were a boy, but was trained as a governess.

Instead, several of her brother James’s progressive, influential friends came up with a plan for her to attend the University of Edinburgh’s med school. In late 1809, she reinvented herself as James Barry, and never lived as Margaret Bulkley again.

She didn’t make a very convincing man, leading many to believe she was prepubescent. The University Senate tried to block her applications for final exams, but powerful friends intervened, and she got her MD in 1812.

Dr. Barry joined the army as a surgeon, and rose to become Inspector General (like a Brigadier General). In 1816, she was posted to Cape Town, South Africa, where she significantly improved quality of life and performed one of the first C-sections where both mother and child survived.

Dr. Barry later worked in Mauritius, Jamaica, St. Helena, the West Indies, Malta, Corfu, the Crimea, and Canada, before retiring to London. Her true sex was only discovered after death. The army sealed all records of her for 100 years.

Many women in history posed as men to do things they were legally, socially, culturally barred from. The only way women could become doctors, serve in the military, travel freely, live independently, attend most universities, etc., was to reinvent themselves as men. They were not transsexuals!

The TRAs piling on Ms. Levy harp on about how Dr. Barry could’ve “easily” been one of the women fighting to become doctors and receive higher education in that era, or go to one of the rare countries where women were allowed to practise medicine, instead of posing as a man. This shows such historical ignorance.

There were NO women’s med schools till 1848, and precious few women legitimately trained as doctors. Those rare few faced lots of discrimination. Also, how would Dr. Barry have financed this trip abroad, where would she have lived, how would she have found employment? Who chooses lifelong exile?

These people have no grasp of just how few rights women had prior to the modern era, and how women who went against the grain were treated. Women who read novels could be arrested if their fathers ordered it! There weren’t even any public ladies’ bathrooms till the late 19th century, and there was enormous opposition, since they enabled women to have lives outside hearth and home.

So of course Dr. Barry kept up the charade the rest of her life. Who invests 50+ years into a deception, only to turn around and unravel everything at the end? Women weren’t allowed to own property, so her will would’ve been null and void if authorities knew her true sex. Anyone with knowledge of her deception would’ve been arrested.

So how dare Woko Haram turn around and accuse Ms. Levy of being the one erasing Dr. Barry’s identity and disrespecting the dead! They’re the ones insisting this incredible woman was really a man!

We can’t apply modern concepts to historical people and situations. Dr. Barry lived as a man to be a doctor, not because she felt “trapped in the wrong body” or believed herself to be a transman.

I’m looking forward to reading The Cape Doctor, and hope Ms. Levy doesn’t roll over and cancel publication like Amélie Wen Zhao did with Blood Heir.

UPDATE: Sadly, they caved to the irrational lynch mob.

Posted in 1920s, Movies, Rudy Valentino, Silent film

Rudolph Valentino Week, Part V (Reception and legacy)


It can be hard for a contemporary person to fully grasp just what a social, historical, and cultural watershed Rudy’s popularity was in the 1920s. These days, there are so many graphic movies, songs, music videos (which apparently still exist), and books, coupled with a detachment from anything more than few decades old. The idea that women would faint in the aisles of a movie theatre or find a silent film without sex erotic strikes many people as laughable.

Some overgrown mean girl on a message board I left years ago once haughtily insisted that if women were truly fainting in the aisles when they saw The Sheik, their corsets must’ve been laced too tightly or they had no idea of what real sexiness actually was. Just because YOU, as a 21st century person, can’t fathom the mindset of a 1920s woman doesn’t mean they were a bunch of ninnies or suffering from tight corsets!

In every generation, the concept of shocking, sexy, vulgar, violent, radical, etc., changes. No one exists in a vacuum.


The Sheik was based on a trashy 1919 bestseller by Edith Maud Hull (writing as E.M. Hull). Women loved both the book and film because it was a forbidden romance. The only kind of sex a so-called “respectable woman” could fantasize about was rape, since it wasn’t sex she sought out. Women were expected to stay 10000% virgin until marriage, not enjoy or initiate sex, only endure sex as something done for the man’s benefit, not have affairs, not get caught alone with a man outside of marriage (no matter how innocent the situation), basically be asexual, celibate, ignorant flowers.

Women loved the story of Ahmed and Diana because that kind of excitement and passion was missing in their own lives. They loved the idea of a strange man driven wild with desire for them, so much so he’d kidnap and ravish her. I’m very uncomfortable with people who insist rape fantasies are inherently unhealthy and unfeminist.

In a true fantasy, you’re always in total control, and things go exactly the way you’d like. These women didn’t really want to be beaten up and raped so brutally they feared all their bones had been broken. It was about what it represented, not truly wanting to get kidnapped, beaten, and raped. We can’t police strangers’ fantasies!

The film also significantly tones down Ahmed’s actions to make him a more sympathetic character, and the fate of Diana’s virginity is rather open-ended.


Before Rudy, American women had only seen stereotypically masculine, clean-cut actors like Wallace Reid, Thomas Meighan, and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. While I love those actors too, they represented a much different type of man. Rudy showed women an image of manliness they hadn’t known existed, a guy who harnessed sensitivity, beauty, grace, charm, wit, intelligence, physical strength, thoughtfulness, attention to his appearance. He also wore a slave bracelet.

Rudy was also dark-featured. Though he was actually half French (from his maternal line), he was blessed with dark Italian good looks and terra-cotta skin. He was an exotic, dark, foreign lover, an exciting change of pace from the stereotypical all-American boy next door they were socialized to want. That made the powers that be very uncomfortable, since it challenged the status quo.


American men began emulating Rudy’s slicked-back hair and attention to his physical appearance. This made the powers that be even more terrified, fearing for the future of “American manhood.” Back in Italy, it was normal for men to display emotions, show gentleness and tenderness, write romantic poetry, cultivate gardens, and wear jewelry. Those weren’t considered signs of a weak, effeminate man or a gay guy. It was the Italian version of normal.

Basically, it let both sexes know there were options beyond what they’d been socialized to see as the only acceptable way. Though the word “gender” was still predominantly only a grammatical term during this era, Rudy’s nonconformism was a perfect example of breaking down gendered stereotypes. Since gender is a social and cultural construct, there’s no one right way to be a “real” man or woman.


To this day, the name Valentino is synonymous with a handsome, suave seducer of women.

Lower right quadrant, perforated abdominal ulcers are called Valentino’s syndrome, since that’s what led to Rudy’s agonizing death.

The Valentino crypt is said to be notoriously haunted. Many visitors have reported feeling a cold spot, and seeing strange light show up in photographs. A lot of female visitors have also reported feeling phantom kisses.

Posted in Gender

The gender-industrial complex, Part XII (What is to be done?)

Warning: Any hateful, threatening, abusive comments will be deleted and the commenters blacklisted. If you can’t bear a critical look at the media narrative you’ve absorbed, you’ve got a lot to learn about maturity and the importance of listening to other voices.

What exactly can we do to fight back against this tidal wave which arose within the last five years, when there are so few questioning, skeptical, critical voices in the media and anyone who dares not go along with it is denounced as some horrible bigot?

1. Deliver your message respectfully, cite valid sources, and bring up science and history. You’ll notice I haven’t once, over this series, used words like tranny, she-male, he-she, or laydeeface. I’m not about disrespecting other people, even when they use hateful language like “cis scum” and “TERF.” Never fight fire with fire. When people see you’re not just some rube with a computer ranting away, but someone delivering a message articulately, they’ll be more likely to listen and pay attention.

2. Stop using ridiculous language the transactivists have made up in the last few years. It just validates their cult-like narrative to call yourself “cisgender” or talk about “transmisogyny,” when no one outside of a very small group actually uses such words. For that matter, we should also call a double mastectomy what it really is, not use the euphemism “top surgery.”

woman adult

3. Defend yourself when you’re baselessly accused of “transphobia.” Actual transphobia would be bullying someone (real bullying, not making them use a gender-neutral bathroom), refusing to hire someone or rent them an apartment based only on being trans, using mocking slur words, or firing someone who starts transitioning.

4. Leave skeptical comments on news stories and YouTube videos, whether they’re nationwide or just local. The more people who publicly question this trend, the more encouraged others will be to break their silence and start speaking out too.

5. Let kids go back to just being kids! I grew up in a world where boys and girls played with all sorts of toys, and a girl playing with trucks and dressing in blue or a boy playing with dolls and growing long hair wasn’t seen as a reason to alert parents and send the kid off to a gender therapist. Left alone, at least 80% of children eventually grow out of dysphoria, and many who persist in gender-atypicality turn out gay.

6. If you’re part of the LGB community (which I’m not), try to steer organizations and news outlets dominated by the T back onto their original track. Perhaps you can ask why your campus gay-straight alliance has almost nothing but trans-themed activities, or write a letter to PFLAG asking where all the support for GLB youth went.

men in dresses

7. If your child announces s/he’s the opposite sex, or wants to be the opposite sex, start a healthy dialogue by asking why s/he wants to change sex, and what s/he thinks being the opposite sex is all about. Children notoriously have an immature view of the world, minus years of life experience and cognitive development. For this reason, we don’t let children vote, drive, get married, live independently, work, or have mortgages either. Many times, they hear an adult word or concept and mistakenly apply their childish understanding of the world to it, like thinking sex must mean French kissing.

8. Don’t discount legitimate dysphoria among teens and twentysomethings. Many girls don’t have a very healthy, loving attitude towards their bodies because the popular media doesn’t exactly positively celebrate things like menstruation and giving birth, and there’s the very real fear of rape and sexual harassment simply for having a female body. A sensitive young man can also experience dysphoria and a confused attitude towards his sexuality, such as is on display in these three letters to Scarleteen:

“I worry that because I’m a man, I am going to sexually abuse someone”

“Is intercourse a violence or a violation?”

“Am I less of a man for waiting?”

9. If you’re gender-nonconforming like I am, celebrate that and serve as a positive role model to children and young people. I might, for example, tell a little boy I love his toy fire truck and say I loved playing with toy cars and trucks when I was his age. If he expresses surprise a girl would play with trucks, I’d tell him all toys are for both boys and girls, even if many people think only boys are allowed to play with trucks.

10. Question these stories being reported so uncritically by the media. Once you start digging below the surface and questioning things, you’ll be blown away by what you’ll discover.

toys meme

11. Stop rigidly stereotyping children, dammit! Give them all sorts of toys and costumes, stop making them play in different teams or stand in different lines, let them all participate in the same activities, don’t make a big deal out of it if Johnny has painted nails or Jane sports a buzz cut. So many of these alleged transkids are a direct result of adults refusing to let them play with certain toys or like certain colors.

13. Don’t let your minor child make irreversible, adult medical decisions, and find a legit (preferably older) psychiatrist instead of some SJW gender therapist!

14. Get acquainted with the gender-critical blogosphere! Some of the informative blogs I’ve learnt from include:

Transgender Reality: What Trans People Are Really Saying Online
Stop Trans Chauvinism (a blog of reblogs)
Peak Trans Moment
4th Wave Now
The dirt from Dirt
Truth About Transition
Redress Alert
GenderCritical Reddit
Third Way Trans
Rejecting the Gender Cult
TERF Is a Slur
The Truth About Autogynephilia
Transgender Trend: Parents Questioning the Trans Narrative

Posted in Gender

The gender-industrial complex, Part VI (Teens and twentysomethings)

Warning: Any hateful, threatening, abusive comments will be deleted and the commenters blacklisted. This ain’t one of your YouTube, Reddit, and Tumblr hangouts, where no skepticism is allowed. I’m genuinely concerned for the young people involved in this disproportionately exploding trend, in numbers completely unsupported by honest scientific and historical investigation.

During our teens and early twenties, our brains are still developing. Modern evidence of neuroplasticity says the brain doesn’t fully finish developing until about age 25. We’re such different people at 25 than we were at 21, 18, 15, 12. Not only that, but because of neuroplasticity, we’re more highly suggestible at younger ages. It’s why kids are so susceptible to commercials and why adolescents succumb to peer pressure. In the age of Internet and mass social media, it’s now easier for ideas to be planted.


One of the blogs I regularly read is Transgender Reality: What Trans People Are Really Saying Online. It’s shocking to see all this evidence of minors being groomed and gaslighted, even when they started out saying they didn’t have any issues with their bodies or the fact that they’re a certain sex. For example, a normal, healthy teen boy who’s not very stereotypically masculine can go from just questioning his identity to hating his body and being desperate for estrogen and surgery within a few months. Another post regarded a 16-year-old girl who was told to buy her 18-year-old brother women’s underwear so he’d stop stealing hers, or he’d totally commit suicide. The “transition or die” narrative is heavily pushed.

Look at some of the “evidence” of transsexualism on display among young men on YouTube, Reddit, and Tumblr:

Not liking math and science
Having long hair
Hating sports
Liking pink
Preferring female to male company
Wearing makeup from time to time
Being sensitive
Enjoying shopping
Never liking stereotypical “boy toys” and preferring dolls and tea sets
Being very good at liberal arts subjects
Being afraid of spiders
Never getting into schoolyard fights
Having a lot of stuffed animals
Taking dance
Trying on a mother or sister’s clothes


Some “evidence” provided by young women:

Loving sports
Loving Pokémon and Dragonball Z
Crying when forced to wear a dress to junior high graduation
Hating ballet class
Always wearing pants
Having short hair
Being very good at math and science
Being assertive and aggressive
Getting in schoolyard fights
Hating housework
Never wearing makeup
Hating pink
Being a so-called “tomboy”
Being uncomfortable with growing breasts and getting a period
Preferring male characters in movies and books
Having more male than female friends
Liking superheroes instead of Disney princesses

It’s pretty freaking insulting to both sexes to define what a real man or woman is by a collection of sexist stereotypes! Since I’ve never been a girly-girl, I’ve sometimes been asked if I’m sure I’m really not a guy or if I’m not missing a chromosome. I’ve also sometimes been told I should’ve been born a man. My great-grandpap Ben even used to say I was built like a football player and had a boy’s body wasted on a girl. But guess what, I’ve never had any desire to radically alter my body just because my interests and behavior are more stereotypically masculine than feminine! I really enjoy serving as an example of gender-nonconformity.


Like many young women, I was rather uncomfortable by the onset of puberty. I was dragged kicking and screaming into wearing a bra in sixth grade, and I was so ashamed and secretive of menarche, my mother had to find out from a call by the school nurse. (I don’t even know how the nurse found out when I told no one!) For years, this shame and secrecy continued, so strongly I couldn’t even bring myself to say the words “period” or “menstruation.” I was too scared to tell my gym teachers I couldn’t go swimming on my 13th birthday because of my period, so I hid in the locker room closet while everyone was in the pool.

And guess what, I now have a much healthier, celebratory attitude towards this beautiful, natural process. Learning about the Jewish laws of taharat hamishpacha (family purity) when I was 18 really helped, as did my later discovery of reusable menstrual products. In hindsight, I don’t consider this dysphoria at all, but rather a fear and shame I absorbed from a media and popular culture which don’t exactly have the greatest respect for women’s bodies. A woman or girl with an unusually large chest can be whistled at or groped, and so many ads for sanitary products act like it’s the most embarrassing, disgusting thing ever if anyone finds out a woman’s on her period.


Thankfully, I grew up in the Eighties and Nineties, when kids were allowed to just be normal kids, before the constant Internet onslaught. So many of these confused young people admit they binge-watched YouTube videos for a few weeks, in addition to going on Tumblr and Reddit. Frequently, they rename themselves some currently trendy name, just like a certain person from a notorious attention whore family did. It’s deplorable and morally reprehensible how they use the “transition or suicide” line to guilt their parents into getting them packers, binders, and drugs underage.

The brain doesn’t finish developing till about age 25. There’s zero logical reason to allow a minor, or even someone who’s only a few years into adulthood, to make such irreversible medical decisions. I honestly take someone’s transsexual identity a lot more seriously if this person is well into adulthood and has been dealing with true feelings of dysphoria for an entire lifetime, and didn’t just declare this identity out of the blue at age 15 or 21.