Howard Lewis Russell talks climate change, racism and historic porn

“Baked in.”

Have you noticed, suddenly, how everything’s become so dismissively “baked-in,” airily waved away as a feather to a wayward hummingbird? Calamities, eternal, are our new linear norm, and shapeshifter Rona’s gone rogue into her even uglier, more deadly wicked doppelganger, Lady Delta. Murderous East Coast flash-flood deluges, western wildfires the size of Dallas — COVID-creep to climate change, there are no mere temporary crises anymore.

The tipping point’s done tipped, and only now has the stark realization begun to dawn upon humanity, in unison, that maybe Henry Ford’s hundred-years-long orgy-fest with fossil fuels not only bet the farm on the wrong horse, but that horse was galloping dead out the gate.

We dithered too long; now it’s too late.

Just as every passing year now edges Earth’s temperature up a fevered tick hotter than the record-breaking year previous, our long game’s charred future beckons just how easily we’re able to serve up our short-term extinction with barely a shrug. “Social-distancing” and “home quarantining” are suddenly just SO last year, as “baked-in” heralds the very newest trending catchphrase to join our New World Order’s post-COVID lexicon, more “herd-immunity” contagious than ever we stand, bidding adieu our lost, sweet Summer of ’21 — kissing its final, epochal, raggedy demise on Sept. 22, a Wednesday, of course. The day of woe: Our sealed doom is now baked-in, just the way we like it, and besting even the survivability equivalency given to, say, an emu’s egg rolling underfoot an elephant’s leg. None, in other words.

From nihilism, to racism, to sexism, let’s just get shakin’ and bakin’ right into it, shall we?

Dear Howard: An elderly woman got on my bus the other day — African-American, frail, very tiny — but as I stood to give her my seat, she spat in my face: “My husband’s dead because of people like you.”

I was so stunned, I jumped off and walked the rest of the way home, assuming it was just another homophobe moment, until I glanced in the mirror and saw I’d accidentally put on a “Make America Great Again” cap that morning. I mean, really?
— Todd

Dear Toady: OK, are you asking me for what reason you really got spat on? Whether a sissy queer like you killed her husband by infecting him with HIV, did he die of catching COVID through an unvaccinated, moronic Trumpite just like you, instead? In my opinion, that your wardrobe even contains a MAGA hat turns you into an alchemic gumbo of walking virulence, glistening deathless as the lacquered hide of a deep-fried warthog’s tusk.

Racism is not hotwired, and many of us are more biased than we realize. The fact you’ve never used the “N” word doesn’t give you sanctuary. Despite biology having proven there are no genetically distinct races, in a white-dominant society fair-skinned people think of themselves as nonracial-neutral, when in fact racial identity is very cocooning, and microaggressions — death by a thousand cuts — are committed against nonwhites daily, continuously, from the very moment a person of color steps outside their door.

Scholar and activist, Peggy McIntosh, describes her privileged, Caucasian lack of awareness as an “invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible, weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.”

Morally decent people never consciously discriminate, but neither can anyone live in a vacuum of higher consciousness separate from the inherited racial, gender or sexually-oriented biases baked in to our society. Shame never works as an effective motivator, apologies notwithstanding. When you know better, you do better.

Dear Howard: I’m working on my doctoral internship. My residency is in addiction — specifically, sexual addiction. My thesis argues that extreme homosexual fetish sex isn’t just paralleled by gay cinema/internet porn, but that trending perversities in the bedroom are led by it. Hence, in the past two decades, all gay movement forward has ultimately stalled out, descending into a detached, narcotized world of sadistic Grindr zombies. Our entire sorry lot’s sole sexual insight nowadays is confined to only what’s been anonymously added within any given past hour to their favorite fetish site.

I’d love to know what was the first full-length, hardcore gay S&M fetish flick ever released in theaters for viewing by the general public? And when? Which company possessed the chutzpah to release the first ever “all bareback” video of the post-AIDS era? Has there even once been any enthusiastically “poz-friendly” mega-star porn bottom ever to retire from the biz minus a meth-addiction or a toe tag? Do you know how many Aarons there are starring on any given porn sleeve? Inventing names to be listed first don’t make your dicks any bigger, guys.

Where does one even start so sizeable an undertaking of research? Seriously, my masturbatory fingers practically have calluses already!
— Pan

Dear Pantomime: Lordy mercy, I sure pity the poor sex addict stuck with you for his mental salvation. You’re asking dear Howard here to provide the lion’s share of your doctoral grunt work for you, you lazy, pompous slut. You’ll find a good starting place for the answers you’re seeking in a Bijou flick, circa 1979, titled Erotikus: History of the Gay Movie, narrated by mesmerizingly robotic smutmonger-extraordinaire, Fred Halsted. This pre-condom gem of yesteryear fills in your historical gaps — everything from how the thong-clad bodybuilder, Charles Atlas, was first to inspire men to kick open their closet doors, to when the first felched-feeding of anal ejaculate was caught on film. Baked in Andy Warhol, a man whom one could always count on to declare the obvious, raved of Erotikus as, quote, “Very erotic.”
Pansy, be sure now to send me an autographed copy of your doctoral barn-burner once it’s finished.

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