Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2011 June 23

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June 23[edit]

Late 80s fantasy novel depicting a eunuch's erection[edit]

I'm looking for a book of the fantasy genre that was published in the late 80s. There is a scene where a giant - perhaps the guardian of a palace - who is also a eunuch is given an erection by the protagonist through some kind of spell. The other detail I have is that the novel, at the beginning, is set in our contemporary world, where the protagonist lives and is from. The cover features the young man with a sword.

Any help finding the title and author of this fantasy novel would be appreciated. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Philippe Laurichesse (talkcontribs) 04:40, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Google Books finds this snippet: The Nebula awards: Issue 24. Michael Bishop, Science Fiction Writers of America - 1990 - 302 pages. "She can stiffen eunuchs, homosexuals, men with knives at their jugulars. Lifting her robe, she lowers herself onto Ham's erection, enjoying his pleasureless passion, reveling in her impalement. A few minutes of graceful undulation, ..." There's also Eunuchs in popular culture. (talk) 11:52, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Note that Michael Bishop was the Editor of the 1990-published anthology Nebula Awards 24 (as well as volumes 23 and 25), so the actual story containing that passage was (almost certainly) written by someone else. Regrettably, I don't have the volume so can't say who. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 13:02, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
We don't need to look in the book to narrow it down. According to Google books, the phrase "she can stiffen eunuchs", which I assume is pretty unique, appears in the Nebula Awards vol 24 (p 52), Bible Stories for Adults (p 13), and Full Spectrum. Bible Stories for Adults is a collection entirely by James Morrow, so the story in question must be Bible Stories For Adults, No 17: The Deluge, which is the only James Morrow story in the Nebula collection.
However, this may not actually be the story sought by the OP. The era is right (late 80s) and the subject is right, but the story seems to be about Noah's Ark and the Flood, and I'm not sure how that fits with the other story details provided by the OP. gnfnrf (talk) 18:08, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I should mention further, when I was faced with identifying a science fiction story and the Reference Desk couldn't help, someone referred me to the newsgroup rec.arts.sf.written (accessible through google groups), where they make a game of identifying stories based on the flimsiest of recollections. However, I am not sure if they do fantasy, so you might want to ask first. gnfnrf (talk) 18:17, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Within the active SF & Fantasy fan community, the large majority read both SF and Fantasy (and SF is taken to be short for SF&F in some contexts), and not a few authors write both, so a question about a story likely to be fantasy would, I'm fairly sure, not be unwelcome there.
Nice sleuthing, Gnfnrf, by the way. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 16:54, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
I know genre fiction gets lumped together all the time, but people on the internet can be very picky, so I wanted to give fair warning. gnfnrf (talk) 23:53, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
There seems to be an assumption that a eunuch is incapable of achieving an erection. The articles on castration and eunuchs only mention a reduced sex drive and infertility, but I saw nowhere a blanket statement that they could not have an erection. Castrati who sang in Rome for the Church were reputed to be active sexually with women. Edison (talk) 15:06, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
There are plenty of videos that one can, or so I'm told, download from certain websites (which I naturally would never dream of visiting), which confirm Edison's statement... Tevildo (talk) 15:32, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

OP here. Thanks for all the replies. I will try asking my question at rec.arts.sf.written.

The Slattery Report on Alaska[edit]

Hi, does anyone know where I could read the Slattery Report online? Thanks, ╟─TreasuryTagRegional Counting Officer─╢ 10:17, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

yellow fleet compensation[edit]

Were the owners of the ships of the Yellow Fleet (which did not contain any Yellow Submarines) ever compensated for the imprisonment of their ships? Googlemeister (talk) 13:26, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

The USA and Egypt agreed compensation for SS African Glen in 1976[1]. Egypt agreed to pay US$ 10,000,000 to cover various claims for damages suffered by US nationals from 1967-70. A less reputable source says compensation of 1.4 million GBP was paid for damage to Port Invercargill, one of the British ships affected[2]. A search of newspaper archives may throw up information on the other ships involved. --Colapeninsula (talk) 16:33, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Catholic Marriage After Rejected Annulment[edit]

My Catholic father has been divorced two times, with an annulment after the first but not the second. His annulment attempts for his second marriage were rejected twice. He recently got married for a third time by a local Catholic priest. He was privately and discreetly married in a Catholic church, and received the sacrament of marriage. It never has made any sense to me how this was possible, as it doesn't seem like a single priest should be able make a decision above the rest of the church, but it seems like this was done. Does anybody have any information about whether or not the Catholic Church really allows this type of thing? Thanks. (talk) 13:30, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Nicole Kidman had a very high-profile second wedding, in a Catholic ceremony (in a chapel named after a cardinal, no less). I've never seen anything about any church annulment of her first marriage, to Tom Cruise. They simply obtained a civil divorce. According to standard church teaching, they would still be considered married to each other to this day, and Keith Urban would have no standing at all. But apparently the rules were bent. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 13:45, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
She didn't actually need a formal annulment (Declaration of Nullity) since she was previously married in the Church of Scientology so it was obvious her marriage was never valid under the Catholic faith [3] [4] [5] [6]. The general idea is described at Annulment (Catholic Church)#Lack of Canonical Form. Nil Einne (talk) 14:29, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) It happens sometimes that individual priests do things the Church hierarchy would not approve of. There are certainly cases of Catholic priests blessing same-sex unions, for example. If they get caught, they can lose their job as a pastor, but they don't always get caught, and some bishops are willing to turn a blind eye to it as long as it remains discreet. Pais (talk) 13:48, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't believe a Catholic priest can lose his job as a Pastor.Wikiweek (talk) 15:00, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Here's a case of a priest "being removed from a leadership position", which I guess isn't the same thing as being fired as a pastor. But the point is they can be removed from positions where they might "do damage". Pais (talk) 15:08, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I've always assumed Pastor was more of a job title than Priest, which is more about who the person is (Catholicism teaches that being ordained as a priest leaves an indelible mark on the soul, just as Baptism does, and so cannot be reversed). However, being a Pastor, which I'm taking as more of the job of being a parish priest surely we should have a more specific page for this to redirect to?, is certainly something that a Catholic priest can lose. They can be removed, as Pais says, from positions where they might "do damage", which can mean taking away any pastoral role from them. This is not the same as them stopping being a priest. (talk) 17:31, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I meant that if someone is a 'pastor' you are not a Catholic Priest, but one of another Christian denomination. See more. Wikiweek (talk) 19:29, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Pastor: "Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican churches typically refer to their local church leaders as "parish priests". The term pastor may be used, in a more casual way, particularly in North America." Rmhermen (talk) 20:12, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. Further, one can see it used in the Code of Canon Law, in the links I gave below, to mean the person (ordained person) with pastoral responsibility (if I've understood correctly), which is not always the parish priest. I do not think that can be taken as casual use. (talk) 21:19, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
To clarify, in my comment above, I intended "pastor" as a synonym for "parish priest". Pais (talk) 07:24, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
As distinct from the stuff pizzas and macaroni are made from.  :) -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 08:51, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

OP here, thanks for the input so far. Just to clarify, the second marriage (that was not annulled) was through the Catholic Church. I guess my primary question is: Although this new 'marriage' was by a Catholic priest, would the Catholic Church as a whole recognize recognize it if the previous one was not annulled? (talk) 17:40, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Logic (and canon law) says NO. If your father's second marriage was a Catholic marriage/ceremony and it wasn't officially annulled later then your father's third marriage is unlawful in the eyes of the church (as a whole). Please notice that we are not lawyers but only amateurs. If you truly want to be sure ask the priest who made the third marriage. Flamarande (talk) 17:55, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
"Can. 1066 Before a marriage is celebrated, it must be evident that nothing stands in the way of its valid and licit celebration." [7]
We have to be clear that there is a difference between valid and licit (unlawful usually means illicit rather than invalid). This is important as a sacrament can be administered illicitly (against the Canon Law) and still be valid, although it would constitute a sin on the part of those who knowingly partook. However, if there is no annulment for the second marriage, the Church considers that marriage valid and hence it is simply not possible for him to remarry. The third marriage could perhaps be called 'invalid' here, or even a nonsense: it simply cannot exist from a Catholic perspective, because he is already married.
"Can. 1085 §1. A person bound by the bond of a prior marriage, even if it was not consummated, invalidly attempts marriage.
"§2. Even if the prior marriage is invalid or dissolved for any reason, it is not on that account permitted to contract another before the nullity or dissolution of the prior marriage is established legitimately and certainly." [8]
But these things can be deceptively complicated: I agree with Flamarande that you should talk to the priest. It might well be that this ceremony wasn't an attempt at actual, valid, sacramental, Catholic marriage, but was simply a blessing ceremony of some sort (which would also be illicit). Or the parties may have lied to the priest, and he didn't investigate properly: "Can. 1069 All the faithful are obliged to reveal any impediments they know about to the pastor or local ordinary before the celebration of the marriage.", in which case (see Can.1085) he has invalidly attempted marriage. Or it might be that something else has happened that you didn't hear about. (talk) 19:07, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

American attitude towards Japanese during WW2[edit]

I recall reading in a Wikipedia article that, towards the end of WW2, something like ten percent of Americans were in favor of the complete eradication of the Japanese people. I haven't been able to find the article, however. Can anyone provide a source? Or am I mistaken about my claim? (talk) 19:16, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

No, you're right, it's in Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki#Depiction, public response and censorship; "A 1944 opinion poll that asked what should be done with Japan found that 13% of the U.S. public were in favor of the extermination of all Japanese: men, women, and children." There are two references, but I can't see either of them online. Alansplodge (talk) 22:21, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks a ton! (talk) 23:45, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Or a megaton. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:24, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
They were an enemy who attacked us. Since the war, they have come to be considered an ally. You wouldn't likely find poll numbers like that in American nowadays. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:58, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
I suspect that 13% is a good measure of the percentage of idiots in the US. If asked right after 9-11, probably around that percent would have wanted to "nuke all the Arabs". StuRat (talk) 03:58, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
No doubt in the name of the Christian values the country holds so dear. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 08:45, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, most likely the Fundamentalist Christians... Dubious Status How's it going? 16:20, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Is there a statistic for the percentage of people who lie or give deliberately stupid/wrong answers in public surveys? --Colapeninsula (talk) 09:00, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
That would be very interesting to see...Dubious Status How's it going? 16:22, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
A general trend I have found is that in a sufficiently large population, you can find around 10% (+/- 5%) of people who agree to just about anything. I wouldn't be surprised if 10% of Americans currently thought that preemptively nuking Iran would be a good idea, or nuking Afghanistan as a way to "withdraw" would be fine.
Anyway, 14% strikes me as rather low given the sentiment of the times in 1944, when knowledge of Japanese atrocities was common and the basic message being broadcast to the American people was that the Japanese were irretrievably locked into a death cult (the term "brainwashing" had not been coined yet, but if it had, it would certainly have been applied). (And, of course, the blatant racism. It makes it a lot easy to say "kill them all" when they don't look like you, one of the few apparently universal human trends. Of course, the Japanese did look like some Americans — but the other Americans had already put those Americans into internment camps. So it goes.) Note that the news about the Bataan Death March had been broken in America for the first time in early 1944. --Mr.98 (talk) 13:11, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
As a counter to the common "hate America" theme of this and like questions, what percentage of the 1944 Japanese population were in favor of the complete eradication of the US population? Edison (talk) 14:55, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
For the record, I didn't intend this to be an anti-American question. I was just thinking about the corrupting effects of propaganda. (talk) 05:47, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Let it not be a self-fulfilling prophecy - for this thread has not deteriorated as others have. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 14:58, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
The WW2 Japanese philosophy seemed to be "those who allow themselves to be defeated deserve to die". With that in mind, at the end of WW2, they may have thought they deserved to die. StuRat (talk) 03:49, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Here's the contemporary Gallup article.[9] I believe the conclusion is slightly exagerrated because all violent responses were lumped together in that one category. Nowadays Gallup also has a one-question poll that tests for idiots (or "general knowledge" as they call it): "As far as you know, does the earth revolve around the sun or does the sun revolve around the earth?" By that measure, 21% of Americans are idiots. That compares well against 26% in Germany and 33 in the UK.[10] --JGGardiner (talk) 17:59, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Newton and Kepler are undoubtedly rolling in their graves. (talk) 20:23, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
But rotating about which axis ? StuRat (talk) 19:23, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
I think the fact that both "Great Britain" and "England" are given as correct answers to the question "From which country did the USA gain independence?" might give a hint as to the accuracy of the article, if not the survey. Tevildo (talk) 00:19, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
In American English there isn't really a problem using the synecdoche "England" to refer to the more specific UK. That's kind of like how you swapped out Gallup's "America" for "USA" even though they can have different meanings but you felt they were interchangeable enough here. --JGGardiner (talk) 07:33, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
In this case, England was used to refer to Great Britain, which was quite correct, as the United Kingdom ("of Great Britain and Ireland" at that stage; it's since been reduced in area but increased in wordiness to "of Great Britain and Northern Ireland") didn't come into existence till 1801, after the USA had won its independence. These days, anyone talking about Great Britain (other than in an historical context as the Gallup article was) had better be referring to a geographical entity (the largest island of the British Isles) and not a political one, or they are misreferring. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 20:00, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
They shouldn't make the general knowledge question multiple-choice, as some will just pick randomly, and get it right that way. Perhaps a US poll could ask "How many states are there in the USA ?", and not provide choices. Also, do they exclude the idiots from the survey results ? This may not always be appropriate, as idiots do vote, so their opinions matter, even if they are idiotic. StuRat (talk) 19:27, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't follow that an opinion held by an idiot is necessarily idiotic. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 21:38, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Shinto sea gods Ryūjin/Watasumi[edit]

Reading the articles regarding shinto sea gods, it's not clear to me whether there's one or three of them. Urashima Taro's tale and Otohime's legend talk about one dragon god who lives in a palace in the Ocean. My confusion comes here: does the god have different denominations or are Ryūjin and Watasumi referring to the same deity?. --Gunt50 (talk) 20:50, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

I think Watatsumi answers the question: Ōwatatsumi, one of the three Watatsumi, was also called Ryūjin. --ColinFine (talk) 19:29, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Ōwatatsumi just means "the great Watatsumi". My reading of the article is that the dragon god Ryūjin is identified as Watatsumi, aka Ōwatatsumi, who is at once a single entity but also identified as (or who becomes) the three Watatsumi gods collectively. As with a lot of mythological traditions, identities (and numbers of identities) are fluid. Ōwatatsumi doesn't seem to be one of the three Watatsumi gods. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 08:31, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Ordnance Survey map font - Ye Olde writing[edit]

Why is the writing on Ordnance Survey maps occasionally in some old-fashioned-looking font? -- (talk) 22:03, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Ancient human buildings, stones, and other sites - for example see at the OS map for Stonehenge. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 22:20, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Technically the Gothic script means "Antiquity, non-Roman". Roman remains have Latin capitals. See OS Landranger® (1:50 000 scale) Map symbols (page 2). Alansplodge (talk) 22:28, 23 June 2011 (UTC)