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September 06, 2013

Bad Panda Sex

It's Friday, peoples, and while other bloggers stubbornly focus on unimportant distractions like whether or not we should bomb Syria into the Stone Age, the Benghazi kerfuffle, lingering income inequality, or IRS stalking of 501c3s of the Reich leaning kind potential terrorist cells planning a pre-emptive strike on 1600 Pennsylvania, this blog will not allow itself to be distracted from covering Stories That Really Matter.

That's right - we're talking about the scourge of reproductive incompetence:

A female giant panda unambiguously signals her approaching receptivity to mating. She wanders over a wide territory and scent-marks stones, the ground, and other surfaces with a waxy, hormone-rich secretion from a gland under her tail. She walks through water, to spread her scent farther. Her main vocalization changes from a throaty whinny to a high-pitched chirp, which one zookeeper translated for me as “I’m here! I’m here! My time is coming!” She masturbates, and when she encounters an adult male at the critical moment she lumbers toward him, rear end first, and lifts her tail.

Still, things don’t always work out. David Wildt, the head of the Center for Species Survival at the National Zoo, in Washington, D.C., told me, “Some pandas know how to have sex, and some don’t.” The pair at the National Zoo—Tian Tian (male) and Mei Xiang (female)—don’t. They have been together at the zoo since 2000, but until last week they had produced just two cubs, both by artificial insemination, and one of these had died. At the end of last week, Mei Xiang gave birth for a third time, live on one of the zoo’s panda Webcams.

The latest arrival is also the product of artificial insemination. As Wildt described it to me, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang are simply “reproductively incompetent.” A key difficulty is that Mei Xiang places herself in what he called “pancake position”—flat on her stomach, legs outstretched—and Tian Tian isn’t assertive enough to lift her off the ground. Rather than mounting from behind or pulling her toward his lap, he steps onto her back and stands there like a man who has just opened a large box from Ikea and has no idea what to do next. . . .

Silly humans. Tian Tian isn't incompetent. He's terrified.

Ignoring Mei Xiang's overtures is an entirely rational decision in these post-feminist times when males can be carted off to jail without so much as a trial for failing to secure unambiguous consent before forcing their unwelcome sexual advances upon the distaff half of the species.

Lose the panda porn and the Viagra: there's no aphrodisiac more potent than a SmartPhone and a Facebook account.

Posted by Cassandra at September 6, 2013 07:17 AM

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Comments

...an entirely rational decision in these post-feminist times when males can be carted off to jail without so much as a trial for failing to secure unambiguous consent before forcing their unwelcome sexual advances upon the distaff half of the species.

Apropos of which, I've been waiting for the right moment to introduce you to this video. :)

Posted by: Grim at September 6, 2013 09:00 AM

I'm not sure whether that video is funnier with the sound on, or the sound off :p

I'm voting for sound off - there's a joke in there somewhere that I won't make.

It's an odd mix of very deft satire and cringeworthy excess. I loved the role reversal part but then they went and ruined it with the idiotic references to emasculation. It's hard to persuade people when you're threatening to castrate them.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 6, 2013 09:35 AM

Overlooked in this case is not all males are dogs and not all females comely. Sure, that smacks of lookism but more likely that than 'incompetence' and 'terror'.

A qipao, slits up the side, and high high heels works on me – but ease up on the musk.

Posted by: George Pal at September 6, 2013 10:35 AM

Sure, that smacks of lookism but more likely that than 'incompetence' and 'terror'.

Well, I didn't actually mean the male was literally terrified. That was an indirect swipe at an old Taranto column where he attributed 15 year old boys not wanting to have indiscriminate sex to their being terrified of feminists :p

Posted by: Cass at September 6, 2013 10:54 AM

"Her main vocalization changes from a throaty whinny to a high-pitched chirp . . . ."

I'm puzzled. That's always worked for me.

Posted by: Texan99 at September 6, 2013 11:10 AM

"...Mei Xiang places herself in what he called “pancake position”—flat on her stomach, legs outstretched..."

You'd think that being relatively close to J Street this wouldn't be a mystery....Mei Xiang is obviously Jewish.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at September 6, 2013 11:54 AM

It's an odd mix of very deft satire and cringeworthy excess.,,, t's hard to persuade people when you're threatening to castrate them.

I don't think they were trying to persuade anyone. :) This was a preaching-to-the-choir bit. As a parody of what I gather was an originally offensive song, I thought it was just funny.

It does illustrate your point about reproductive competence, though. They may be better than pandas at figuring out the physical act, but they belong to a species in which reproduction also has a social component they apparently can't begin to imagine how to get right.

More and more, I find I regard these things with pity instead of partisanship. How nice to be older, and have learned a few things!

Posted by: Grim at September 6, 2013 02:10 PM

To clarify: "It does illustrate your point about reproductive competence, though. They...

The "it" and the "they" here is unclear. I mean by it the phenomenon of these songs, both the original and the parody; and the "they" are the whole bunch of young people involved, blithely strutting around, proclaiming the truth, and unaware of how impossible it will be to build something on the truth they think they know. It's as true for the one song as the other.

Posted by: Grim at September 6, 2013 02:15 PM

Taranto wrote that! And folks think Tian Tian obtuse.

Posted by: George Pal at September 6, 2013 03:28 PM

As a parody of what I gather was an originally offensive song, I thought it was just funny.

I agree that the video was very clever, and extremely well done. I thought the guys in the underwear part was very effective.

But it was very hard to watch. As amusing as the whole role reversal thing was, it doesn't appeal to a good place in anyone. I don't actually enjoy seeing guys treated that way, even in a parody video. I don't really care whether they consented to be shown that way or not (but then I've never really understood the argument that it's OK to demean women if they agree to it either).

At the risk of being accused of being humorless, both videos disturbed me and I think that sort of thing ought to disturb people.

I realize this will sound unbearably quaint and Pollyannaish, but when I see the way men and women treat each other in media and popular culture, I find myself torn between anger and grief. I have no wish to tell other people how to think or how to live, but so much of popular culture leaves me feeling like an unwelcome visitor on an alien planet.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 7, 2013 10:01 AM

One thing that struck me in the video was that all my life I've seen women being treated disrespectfully (often with their active help), but most of the time - with the exception of porn - there's no malice or hatred.

It's more like, "These people aren't even human so I can do whatever I like to them." The disrespect isn't personal, or even necessarily intentional. It just that so many men don't seem to think there's anything about women that merits their respect or consideration. That's so hard for me to understand, because the men I know aren't like that.

This parody had a strong undercurrent of anger to it, though. It's more, "You do this to us all the time - how do you like being treated that way?"

That's a question I can't imagine occurring to the men who conjure up "art" that demeans women.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 7, 2013 10:06 AM

"I thought the guys in the underwear part was very effective."

Lord, please, place your arm around my shoulders and pull my hands from the keyboard.
Thank you.
Amen.
0>;~}

Posted by: Evil Twin at September 7, 2013 11:51 AM

What?

WHAT??? :)

I meant effective satire, obviously. What did you *think* I meant?

Posted by: Bending over to remove someone's mind from the gutter... at September 7, 2013 12:23 PM

Hello?? Evil Twin.....

Posted by: Evil Twin at September 7, 2013 12:57 PM

And, yanno, it's not like I was disagreeing with you......for a change.
heh
0>;~}

Posted by: Evil Twin at September 7, 2013 12:58 PM

And, yanno, it's not like I was disagreeing with you......for a change.

Dang. I *thought* I sensed a disturbance in the Force....

Posted by: Cassandra at September 7, 2013 02:56 PM

Wow.

I go on vacation and the place descends to a den of fornication...

...and fails.


We are sad pandas.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at September 10, 2013 02:37 PM

Which begs the questions:
Are we sad because we failed? (In which case, we should try, try again until we succeed and are therefore happy, yes??)
Or did we fail because we are sad?

Inquiring minds, yanno....
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at September 11, 2013 01:11 PM

I would say that it's a vicious spiral heading down the drain. But apparently, we can't find the hole.

Posted by: Forever Alone Panda at September 11, 2013 01:56 PM

"But apparently, we can't find the hole.

That sounds painful.

Posted by: Evil Twin at September 11, 2013 02:08 PM

No one makes me laugh like you guys. Oh, and we missed you, Mr. Panda :p

Posted by: Cassandra at September 11, 2013 02:44 PM

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