Dr. Susan Block

In the Chatroom

34 Comments

  1. Oscar F. Hills, M.D.
    10 · 8 · 07 @ 11:13 pm

    I enjoyed your bonobo piece re Parker. I’m especially glad that you are there to prevent the right from taking them from us lefties! We’ve had them for decades and we should keep them. There are plenty of nasty and aggressive brutes in nature for them, without the b’s.Oscar F. Hills, M.D.Associate Clinical Professor, PsychiatryYale University School of Medicine

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  2. lawrence begley, jr.
    08 · 18 · 07 @ 5:18 pm

    this is in response to amal jasentuliyana’s comment: ian parker’s new yorker article does not “clarify” anything. in fact, it gives uninformed readers the wrong impression about bonobos. also, orangutans are wonderful creatures, and very close to us, but not as close as gorillas or common chimps or bonobos. dr susan, though you come off as “wild and crazy” (in a good way), you’ve got your facts straight. good for you.

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  3. amal jasentuliyana
    08 · 15 · 07 @ 1:27 am

    a late response to your article in counterpunch about the New Yorker story about bonobos: Parker’s story may not debunk existing science, but it does clarify it. His article alludes to how the left has adopted bonobo’s as a poster-species, and he coins the saying “if chimps are from Hobbes, bonobos are from Rouseau”, but beyond that he doesn’t criticize the assumption that bonobo behavior can somehow illuminate human behavior. (Personally I think it’s a tenuous connection). What he does is to point out that most exsiting bonobo research has been done either on captive animals (where incidents of violence have beenobserved) or under artificial circumstances with abundant food. What’s missing, and what he reports on, are studies of bonobos whose behavioral ecology hasn’t been manipulated by researchers.You’re right to point out the subtlety of the article. Parker begins by illustrating a bunch of do-gooders trying to raise money for “hippy chimp” conservation. He concludes by a sobering quote from a scientist that bonobo habitat will be wiped-out in 100 years. Any initial critique of the do-gooders is tempered by the fact that at least they are trying to be part of the solution.Right wingers and left wingers are both deluded if they think that bonobo biology can justify their ideologies of human nature. Only study of humans can do that. And what’s manifest is that we humans are very content to let millions of other humans, as well as our closest living primate relatives die-off by our own hands. bonobos we’re not.

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  4. Dr. Betty Dodson
    08 · 11 · 07 @ 12:25 am

    Hey Suzy, I loved your response. Give ’em hell girl. BADbettydodson.com

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  5. Cee Bee
    08 · 10 · 07 @ 5:50 pm

    Because of you, I have become a bonobo buff. I had never heard of them before I caught your show, and now I love bonobos! The New Yorker article was awful and depressing and just plain wrong. I just read Frans de Waal’s rebuttal to Ian Parker in eSkeptic, and he quotes your blog. Good for you! De Waal’s article is great, but your blog brings up all the important points that he made, and you wrote yours first. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got some ideas from you, or at least some encouragement. You are the Bonobo Queen!

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  6. Ayn Carrillo-Gailey
    08 · 10 · 07 @ 5:48 pm

    Great! I also quoted your explanation of fetishes in the current issue of Tu Ciudad, which is on newsstands, Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc this month. It is the sex issue.

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  7. Curt Bonnem
    08 · 10 · 07 @ 4:47 pm

    That’s awesome Suzy. Great article, too. Good for you and De Waal combating the ignorance and fear perpetuated by the right!

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  8. Glenn Campbell
    08 · 8 · 07 @ 8:37 pm

    you are doing the GOOD work!i love dr. suzyglenn

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  9. Dr. John R. Grehan
    08 · 8 · 07 @ 7:25 pm

    Regarding the article “Bonobo Bashing in the New Yorker” it needs to be pointed out that bonobo sexuality is in many respect quite unlike humans so the often made comparison with humans seems a bit misplaced, particularly given the fact that orangutans sexuality is more similar to humans in certain unique ways. The orangutan similarity also potentially highly significant for understanding human origins and evolution because orangutans share far more uniquely in common with humans than any other primate and this unique similarity suggests that orangutans, not chimpanzees, bonobos, or gorillas, are our nearest living relative. This relationship is also consistent with the fossil record for hominids which look more like orangutans than chimpanzees. Unfortunately no one in the popular media dares touch this subject.Dr. John R. GrehanDirector of Science and CollectionsBuffalo Museum of Science1020 Humboldt ParkwayBuffalo, NY 14211-1193email: jgrehan@sciencebuff.org

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  10. Denise Whitman
    08 · 2 · 07 @ 3:15 pm

    Your blog was sent to me as an antidote for that horrible New Yorker article. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for speaking bonobo truth to New Yorker power. Your blog has saved me from the depths of depression, not over the idea that the bonobos are not really “nice” which Parker vainly attempts to put forth (he has no case), but over the idea that the New Yorker has sunk to record lows with this piece. You rock, Dr. Susan. You are the Bonobo Queen!

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  11. Julien Nitzberg
    08 · 2 · 07 @ 3:09 pm

    I read the NY’er article. What a disappointment! The guy didn’t have anything to say and it sounds like he barely glimpsed any bonobos. Obviously the only way he could promote the article was by trying find a revisionist view of the bonobos. You could tell he had to try really hard to justify the expense of his trip to the Congo when he had no story to tell. Yuck! Julien NitzbergTheBeastlyBombing.com P.S. I love your rebuttal. It makes a lot more sense than the NY’er article. Did you get any response from the NY’er writer to it?

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  12. David Rosen
    07 · 30 · 07 @ 6:34 pm

    Susan –Finally had a chance to read Parker’s piece in the New Yorker and I must commend you for your restaint in answering him — you surely embody “the bonobo way.”I felt he was intellectually dishonest — he set out to prove a point (that the bonobo were not what popular sentiment, including your interpretation, makes them out to be) — and couldn’t pull it off. The scholarly research of the empirical experiences of both wild and captive bonobo kept tripping up his intent. So, I guess one has to at least give him a pat on the back for not falsifying the evidence. What’s most troubling, his intellectual dishonesty prevents him from addressing the deeper, underly issue of alternative developmental models that a non-militaristic, non-hierarchial, non-patriarchial mode of association might mean to social formation and human life.Again, good for you. Best,David Rosen

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  13. Magadalene White
    07 · 29 · 07 @ 5:36 pm

    Thank you so much for your strong, no-nonsense defense of the bonobos. It just goes to show: sometimes the New Yorker can be just as fair and balanced as Fox News!

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  14. Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair
    07 · 29 · 07 @ 5:35 pm

    Ian Parker is an English freelance writer without specialist knowledge of Pan troglodytes, though he did explore a mutant of the chimpanzee genus last year in the New Yorker with his profile of Christopher Hitchens.

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  15. Jack in Willow Grove
    07 · 29 · 07 @ 5:02 pm

    I love your HBO show. You are dynamite. Wish I was in LA so I could come to see you and your scene. But know that I support you and your bonobos :)

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  16. Wind
    07 · 29 · 07 @ 4:44 pm

    Hi Dr. Suzy, I thought your review of Ian’s article was pretty right on. He talked to me well over an hour too. It sounds like he missed a good article by leaving so much of our info out. Over all though I thought he was a polite chap. But the article was kind of wordy. I hope you are well and I appreciate the passion that you have for the bonobos. Peace, Wind

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  17. Denyse O'Leary
    07 · 29 · 07 @ 4:01 pm

    Thank you for your excellent and informative blog!

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  18. Sherry Franzen
    07 · 29 · 07 @ 6:35 am

    I read your wonderfully sarcastic piece in Counterpunch, “The New War on Love-Loving Chimps; Bonobo Bashing in the New Yorker”. Thank you! :-) I wonder if you know of Dr. Frances White (University of Oregon Antrhopology Dept.). Coincidentally, I live in Eugene, Oregon, but I became aware of her after viewing NOVA’s hour-long documentary about Bonobos a few months ago. Ms. White did not feed the bonobos, and the research made a point about the abundance of food playing an important role in their peaceful way, especially in comparison to the more warlike chimpanzees. There’s a link to the NOVA program near the bottom of White’s home page:http://www.uoregon.edu/~fwhite/An excerpt from that page follows: Research: I am a primatologist interested in the evolution of non-human and human primate social behavior. My research has included field studies of the bonobos or pygmy chimpanzees of the Lomako Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaïre) and wild and captive studies of lemurs in Madagascar, the Duke University Primate Center (DUPC), NC and on St. Catherine’s Island, GA. Research Interests, Curriculum vitaePublications available as PDF filesSupport of conservation work of the Lomako Forest Bonobo Project is through the Northwest Primate Conservation Society Project news is available at: Lomako Forest Bonobo Project On NOVA at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bonobos/about.html

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  19. Louis Milan
    07 · 28 · 07 @ 10:44 pm

    Dr. Suzy, I admire your work and I have to say you are one of the sexiest doctors I have ever seen! Viva los Bonobos!

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  20. Federico and Ann
    07 · 27 · 07 @ 10:49 pm

    Hi Susan…We’re coming to your party and show next saturday..looking forward to it and to meeting you. Really enjoyed your response to the New Yorker article. You’re surely educating people about these amazing creatures. See you next Sat… you’re a trip!~! Federico and Ann

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  21. Larry Winslow, San Diego, California
    07 · 26 · 07 @ 7:33 pm

    Sometimes even the most noble of rags reeks of journalistic slandering. The Bonobo article in the New Yorker is a prime example. Here are two guys trudging through the steamy wet jungle of the Congo. One is a well-known finger-pointing scientist telling old war stories (Gottfried Hohmann) to a well known journalist (Ian Parker) who could have found these same stories and information by entering a few keywords on the internet. How much could this story have cost the New Yorker? Plenty, I Imagine. But I ask you ladies and gentlemen: where’s the beef? Where’s the news? What we did find out is that jungle-living is not as romantic as it might seem, but we already knew that. So my advice is if you want to take a vacation, come to San Diego where you will also meet Lana, one of my favorite Bonobos and stay at a great hotel by the sea. We’re still with you, Bonobos. Peace, my beloved swingers.

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  22. Sally Coxe, The Bonobo Conservation Initiative
    07 · 26 · 07 @ 6:33 pm

    Thanks! Very nicely done and thanks for the positive plug! I am working on letter to editor. Bonobos forever, indeed! -S. http://www.bonobo.org

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  23. Janice Wilkenson
    07 · 26 · 07 @ 6:31 pm

    I first learned about bonobos from a Counterpunch article you wrote about your mystical encounter with a zoo bonobo named Lana. It was so inspirational, I have never forgotten it. I read the New Yorker piece when it first appeared online Sunday, and thought of you, feeling quite depressed about the whole thing. Hohmann and Parker give the impression that bonobos are really quite violent creatures, after all. But your rebuttal in Counterpunch is so clear-sighted and effective, it has restored my faith in the bonobos, and even us humans. Thank you for that, and please keep writing.

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  24. Dave
    07 · 26 · 07 @ 6:26 pm

    I just talked with Randall Susman at Stonybrook. He thinks it is quite possible that further studies of bonobos in the wild might reveal them to be much more aggressive than current research suggests. But he also finds the supposition that ecological degradation of the bonobo habitat might taint Hohmann’s results very plausible. I also tried to get Gay Reinartz’s opinion, but her assistant said that she will be preoccupied with a conference for the next three days. This is starting to seem like a theological debate.

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  25. Jon Swift, Baltimore MD
    07 · 26 · 07 @ 6:18 pm

    Screw the NEW YORKER! Here’s a letter I just sent them which of course they didn’t publish I’ve been reading the NEW YORKER almost since I learned how to read anything more difficult than Dr. Seuss. I’m now canceling my subscription due to the misinformation about circumcision in Anthony Gottlieb’s review of current books attacking religious belief. Gottlieb managed to pack a truly impressive amount of untruth into one short paragraph. Circumcision is no longer “universal” in “the Jewish community.” I know several young Jewish mothers with perfectly healthy intact sons. (I’d bet money that Gottlieb does, too. Maybe he should have taken an informal survey about this issue among his Jewish acquaintances.) Only 15 to 20 percent, not “nearly one-third of the world’s male population” have been subjected to this painful, needless mutilation. And the rate continues to decrease in the US, despite the lies peddled by Gottlieb and others. According to Gottlieb, circumcised men “may be reassured by the World Health Organization’s recent announcement that it recommends male circumcision as a means of preventing the spread of AIDS.” Or maybe not, since the study of South African men that was a major inspiration for this declaration was so badly flawed that it was rejected for publication by Britain’s prestigious LANCET medical journal. None of the scientists currently pushing US-style circumcision in Africa suggest that circumcision is a substitute for condom use and other safe-sex practices. Instead, it’s supposed to have an additional protective effect. If that’s true, why do many nations where condom use is widespread, but circumcision is virtually nonexistent, have a far lower HIV infection rate than we do in the US? The scientists have failed to answer this question, just as Gottlieb failed to do his homework on an issue whose implications he apparently doesn’t want to confront, the way a responsible journalist would.

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  26. Bonobo Bettina
    07 · 26 · 07 @ 6:02 pm

    Good for you, standing up to the New Yorker which is clearly off the mark on the bonobo situation. Your article has ben reprinted here: http://milwaukeerenaissance.com/ Bonobos/HomePage

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  27. James Godsil
    07 · 26 · 07 @ 5:58 pm

    Had I not fixed my mind on the prize of a neighborhood winning a Nobel Peace Prize, I would have voted for you winning this prize, for awakening the nation(and the world)To the proud meaning of the bonobos. Chimpanzee Man. Bonobo Man. A bonobo man is very different indeed,From a chimpanzee man.A bonobo man sometimesMight give more weigh to ego,But increasingly often, consults eco.That’s what evolution is all aboutChez bonobo man.A chimpanzee man is ego,At best, and too often, diabolicalId.A bonobo man’s heart is for a woman,Usually Mom, but alsoThe gal most like Mom.A bonobo man is quite comfortable,Given his love for Mom or Mom’s successor,With agape for many women,But not for the sex or power of it.Rather…the Soul of it.A chimpanzee man somehow tiltsTowards a need to own a woman,Or women.Power more than pleasureAppears chimpanzee man’sMore thrilling libidinal drive.A bonobo man’s easy faithAnd expectation of plenty,Quite often finds him dreamy…And dreaming.A chimpanzee man assumes scarsity,So is often found clenched teeth grasping,Single minded, not dreamy, nor dreaming,But harsh light focused on “prey.”A chimpanzee man will, in public,Lot’s of public, “pray.”To a harsh deity that enjoysBlood letting sacrifice.A bonobo man might tend his garden,Rather than pray at church.Not so much prey as growth,Growing rather than conquering.The church of a bonobo man,In the permculture cultureIs just as likely his compost pile,Or the river closest to his house.Bonobo men pray for harvest celebrationsWith music and dancing for humans, Animals, plants, earth, wind, rain, sun,For Mother Nature and Father Sky.For a God who’s The Friend.Bonobo Man in Quest of SurvivalOn the Planet Earth, in partnership withThe Bonobos of the Zoos of the WorldAnd the Forests of the Congo

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  28. Jo Jo in the UK
    07 · 26 · 07 @ 5:23 pm

    I’ve been interested in squirting for many years now, but up until now, have tried many different techniques to try and make it happen…. all with no luck, just increasing frustration as I wondered why I couldn’t do it. Then I took a gamble and bought your Squirt Salong, noted the key tips, climbed in my empty bathtub with lots of towels (boy, did I need them) and hey presto! It happened! I thought the whole DVD was great, very erotic and funny too, with lots of great information for couples and so many other hints and tips that I hadn’t expected to receive when I bought it. It really was money VERY well spent! At 35 years old, I’ve learnt something new. Now I can’t wait for my husband to get home to suprise him! Thank you, thank you, thank you! xxx jo jo

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  29. Roberta Synal
    07 · 25 · 07 @ 7:59 pm

    Bravo, Dr. Suzy. I am a long-time friend of Sally Coxe & her dedication to save the Bonobos and the largest rain forest in Africa. Funny, the New Yorker is reknown to present such intellectual appraisals of what’s going on the world but this guy (Ian Parker) totally missed the point.He went in search of whether or not bonobos are “swingers,” which is SO elementary in evaluating the current situation. It really doesn’t matter, at this point, what bonobos do or don’t, but that they are on the brink of becoming extinct … along with Africa’s largest rain forest.It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, in terms of how bonobos may be sigfinicantly superior in inter-personal relations. That was a starting point to draw attention to this species but, in the race for greedy capitalists to ravage third world nations and destroy their natural attributes, folks need to realize that we still have much research to do before we eliminate important history.No one has paid attention to the devastation in the Congo … to the people, to the environment, to the wild life. FOUR million people have been killed — more than WWII — and the so-called global groups have yet to focus on the Congo. This is disgusting and unacceptable. Who will step up to the plate? If the bonobos could speak, they would ask for Peace. Let them be.[And get the frigging gov’t in tune to doing more than destroying the troops in Irag.]PEACE — Roberta

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  30. YUMMY&JAMES
    07 · 25 · 07 @ 7:06 pm

    Dr. Suzy, We are such big fans of you and we watch your TV show whenever we can. We have a lot of love and respect for this lifestyle and have always been interested in it, but you are the one who made us comfortable enough to come out of our shell and live it. We would love to be at A Midsummer Nite’s Wet Dream and hopefully if your not to busy we will get a chance to meet you. Much love and thanks again… YUMMY&JAMES

    Reply

  31. Louis Fine
    07 · 25 · 07 @ 4:18 pm

    Great blog! I admire your work and I have to say you are one of the sexiest doctors I have ever seen! Save the bonobos!

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  32. Michael J
    07 · 25 · 07 @ 8:18 am

    Hmmmm, ethical hedonism and the bonobo way have been an area of divine interest and participation for myself for sometime! It’s great to find you! What a recipe….a great bod, wisdom, tons of life experience and endless energy coupled with a terrific unselfish attitude and intelligence….yeehaw!!! Kisses, Michael

    Reply

  33. Julie Madsen
    07 · 25 · 07 @ 8:15 am

    Hi Dr. Suzy: I was checking out your blog and really thought it was terriffic, especially the part about the Bonobo monkeys. Wish I could come to your show, but I’m in Baltimore. Have a great time, and keep defending the bonobos! xo Julie

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  34. Carlo Filangieri
    07 · 25 · 07 @ 7:25 am

    Fabulous, congratulations, you look great on the front cover of the New Yorker. And this hoe-man and Ivan Parker, as they say in LA “what’s up with that?” Why would they write a piece like that in a world of perma-war?Keep up the great work.Carlo Filangieri, related to Gaetano Filangieri by DNA, hey I’m a Bonobo too :)

    Reply

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