Treating pregnant women with steroid to prevent lesbianism

You read that right. The researcher is associate dean for clinical research at my university:

Pediatric endocrinologist Maria New, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Florida International University, and her long-time collaborator, psychologist Heino F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg, of Columbia University, have been tracing evidence for the influence of prenatal androgens in sexual orientation. In a paper entitled “Sexual Orientation in Women with Classical or Non-Classical Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia as a Function of Degree of Prenatal Androgen Excess” published in 2008 in Archives of Sexual Behavior, Meyer-Bahlburg and New (with two others) gather evidence of “a dose-response relationship of androgens with sexual orientation” through a study of women with various forms of CAH.

The paragraph that raised my eyebrows:

“CAH women as a group have a lower interest than controls in getting married and performing the traditional child-care/housewife role. As children, they show an unusually low interest in engaging in maternal play with baby dolls, and their interest in caring for infants, the frequency of daydreams or fantasies of pregnancy and motherhood, or the expressed wish of experiencing pregnancy and having children of their own appear to be relatively low in all age groups.”

(H/T The Stranger)

Village of the Damned

Black and white photography as rich as Christian Berger’s in The White Ribbon is as much a triumph of legerdemain as it is of lighting; the imprimatur of black and white in a post-Ted Turner world signals seriousness of intent. Very serious. Michael Haneke is no Judd Apatow. He’s a proselytizer, a thesis writer, a scold. But he’s got good editing reflexes; if he were ponderous the experience would be a mortifyingly slow death. It’s unclear what exactly Haneke wishes to articulate here. Random outbreaks of violence in a German town just before the pistol shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria – well, what else? If Caché, The Piano Teacher, and his two versions of Funny Games proved anything, it’s Haneke’s penchant for collective guilt. The subtleties of pathology interest him less than blaming the forces that shaped it. He’s smart enough not to give it a face or name; he won’t even limn it, which adds to the undercurrent of menace with which his films are imbued – and which has certainly helped their box office. Caché fans gave him a pass because the requirements of his choice of genre (mystery) helped him keep hidden what Henry James would call the figure in the carpet. Audiences can respond to the vague dread and take pride in not knowing what the film was “about.”

The sharp, almost woodcut images in The White Ribbon force Hanenke into more direct expression. His self-control is so powerful that the movie avoids the explicitness I expected from the movie’s fable-like contours; it’s as amorphously hortatory as the rest. Watching Samuel Fuller’s White Dog for the first time a few days ago, I was struck by its resemblances to one of Buñuel Mexican movies: its tone-deaf, emphatic, expository dialogue with acting to match (a simmering Paul Winfield excepted), Manichean ethics, and determination to prove a thesis. It did – scarily. I don’t wish The White Ribbon had been a pulp thriller, but, boy, two and a half hours of scowls and accusations demands too much of Haneke, not to mention the audience. He hasn’t written enough of a movie to sustain the portents of doom. Even Carl Dreyer and Bergman – to whom Haneke’s compositions and conceptions owe a considerable aesthetic debt – brought most of their movies in a reasonable hour and forty. The cast is strong, particularly Leonie Benesch as the nanny. Haneke has assembled quite a menagerie: so many wan, grim Lutheran zombies.