Pharyngula

As a member of the global liberal conspiracy, it is my obligation to occasionally toss out something disgustingly prurient to lead you all into the path of corruption. Here is my contribution today.

i-c00e26f2171310bcbf74a204c21b913c-oralsex.jpeg

That’s it; a rather dry entry from the New Oxford American Dictionary. Are you aroused yet? Are you frantically closing the screen because it is so NSFW? Are you becoming a communist or a lesbian or a gay man or a Democrat now?

A moronic mother in Menifee, California discovered a similar entry in her child’s school dictionary and must have felt the first twinges of conversion to a werewolf or liberal or something — she was actually just confused, and was baffled by the unfamiliar situation of encountering a calmly stated fact — and did the usual conservatard squawk of protest to the school district. No big deal; anyone can complain about anything.

Unfortunately, the Menifee Union School District reacted stupidly: they yanked all copies of the dictionary from the shelves of all the schools in the district.

Moronic Menifee mom must feel so proud, I’m sure she’s suffused with a deep sense of accomplishment, and she’s probably scanning all of her children’s books right now for another word she can use to make the administrators dance to her tune. She has become a problem. But she’s a minor one compared to the cowards and idiots running that school district.

Menifee, hang your head in shame. Or better yet, could the sensible parents living in that district charge on down to the offices and fucking howl in protest? Don’t sit back and take it. Don’t shrug your shoulders and move on. Get in the faces of these administrators and make them fear for their jobs.

And that’s true everywhere. NO COMPLACENCY. When some dimwit with a delicate sense of propriety can get offended over a dictionary entry, why aren’t you getting offended at a bureaucracy that is censoring simple, straightforward factual information from your schools?

You don’t want your schools to end up like Texas’. Their school board is right now in the process of banning books from the curriculum willy-nilly. For instance, communism is evil, and that’s all the kiddies need to know about it; any text that might actually inform and explain the historical facts about communism are to be expunged, so they can better produce a generation of graduates who are proudly ignorant about everything they hate.

Stupid mothers are a problem. Craven administrators are a bigger problem. But when you’ve got a curriculum set by odious ideologues like Terri Leo, who would ban an author’s name wholesale because she read a title like Ethical Marxism (no, she hasn’t actually read the book, of course), you’re in a whole wide new world of pain, in which your local school has become a temple to ignorance.

We aren’t going to take it anymore. Howl. Be a proud lesbian Democrat liberal communist socialist (even if you’re a Republican heterosexual shop owner) werewolf and get out there and make noise. When a dumb parent can squeak and make administrators jump, we’re fools not to roar.

Comments

  1. #1 sqlrob
    January 26, 2010

    I am offended by that definition, offended I tell you.

    69 isn’t oral sex?

  2. #2 GrahamH
    January 26, 2010

    As a Brit all I can say that it will be a shame if kids are denied the illicit fun in looking up ‘naughty’ words in the dictionary.

  3. #3 Antiochus Epiphanes
    January 26, 2010

    1. Had it been a Catholic school, every student would have been taught about oral sex already.

    2. Re: Texas SBOE. Goddamnit.

  4. #4 alysonmiers
    January 26, 2010

    Knowledge is offensive to people like this, I notice. It’s only particular knowledge, however: when was the last time you heard about someone protesting dictionaries because they contained entries like genocide, torture, rape, famine, war, and faith-based initiatives?

  5. #5 Gyeong Hwa Pak, the Pikachu of Anthropology
    January 26, 2010

    Sounds like TSBOE wants to reinstate the Index of Forbiden Books.

  6. #6 history punk
    January 26, 2010

    Every kid or group of kids goes through a phase where they search out all the bad words in a dictionary. They usually do it once for English and then again when studying a foreign language. if the Comstock wannabes were smart, they’d ignore it unless brought up in the class room and the kids would move on to something else. Now, they’ll all fixate on it and debate what other words are in there, why its evil, and why this mom is a bitch.

  7. #7 Holytape
    January 26, 2010

    To quote the hitchhikers guide..

    “To summarize the summary of the summary…People are a problem.”

    So are there any dictionaries allowed in the district? Because I offended by the word “onomatopoeia,” and I would like to see it banned as well. I don’t really know what it means, but it sounds dirty. I also don’t like the words “bang,” “bonk,” “bing,” “bong” and “thump.” So many bad words, so much free time.

    Sasquatch Jesus

  8. #8 Feynmaniac
    January 26, 2010

    As pointed out on the eternal thread:

    “It’s just not age appropriate,” said Cadmus, adding that this is the first time a book has been removed from classrooms throughout the district.

    “It’s hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we’ll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature,” Cadmus said.

  9. #9 Maslab
    January 26, 2010

    It’s like the illness thing. Slightly dirtier houses generally have healthier kids with a stronger immune system.

    I wonder what will happen to the mother once he starts “going out in to the wild,” so to speak.

  10. #10 MaxH
    January 26, 2010

    That is so ridiculous I can barely stand it. Damn right, make some noise! Make a ton of noise!

    Banning dictionaries. Huh.

    Yep, dumbest thing I’ve heard all month. (Had to think about Congress just to make sure).

  11. #11 Gus Snarp
    January 26, 2010

    I fondly remember looking up bad words in the school library’s dictionary. Especially the big unabridged one. But the thing is, we had to know what the bad words were before we could look them up, then it was just a giggle at the fact that this word was in a book at school. Of course, that’s probably why I grew up to be a socialist closet homo.

  12. #12 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    I know how to deal with this problem. It is time to ban all books that contain the letters a, e, l, o, r, s and x. That way, the book cannot be shredded down to its letters and recombined to accidently spell out the offending word. After all, humans would never think of doing such unnatural acts unless it is spelled out for them.

  13. #13 cypress
    January 26, 2010

    Censorship is just bizarre. I got an iPod for Yule and, having seen a very cool video on line, wanted the Harvey Danger version of Flagpole Sitta. It was on the Scooby Doo 2 soundtrack. (Yes, it?s a good album)
    So even though the songs on there aren?t kids songs, someone had to sanitize it anyway, much to my annoyance.
    Why? Because they blanked out the words ?God damn,? even though the earlier lyrics which are sexually suggestive, are untouched. And the words before God Damn are kinda iffy. It?s something I?d have thought crazy people would object to. People are really fucked up.

    “put me in the hospital for nerves
    and then they had to commit me
    you told them all I was crazy
    they cut off my legs now I?m an amputee, god damn you”

    “fingertips have memories
    mine can’t forget the curves of your body
    and when I feel a bit naughty
    I run it up the flagpole and see who salutes”

  14. #14 Steve LaBonne
    January 26, 2010

    The fucking dictionary. I guess we’ve reached the reductio ad absurdum of conservatard censorship mania.

  15. #15 Givesgoodemail
    January 26, 2010

    Speaking of howling: this.

    Stupid mother.
    Stupid school administrators.
    Stupid multi-billionaires.

  16. #16 Gus Snarp
    January 26, 2010

    I envision a “restricted” section a la Harry Potter, with heavy iron bars and an elaborate oversized padlock. To gain access you have to be at least in 5th grade and have a note from your parents that it’s OK for you to look up words in the dictionary.

  17. #17 Brownian, OM
    January 26, 2010

    I’m sorry, but how long do we have to play at engaging with these people before we take the inevitable step, say “fuck it”, and start using these people for food?

  18. #18 daveau
    January 26, 2010

    Don’t forget National Geographic Magazine for those of us who went to grade school in the 60s. Maybe someone can invent a time machine, then they can go back and have that pulled off the shelves, too.

    I know she’s just trying to protect her kid, but putting him/her in a plastic bubble isn’t going to work.

  19. #19 kox.tom
    January 26, 2010

    Why was this mommy looking up “oral sex” in the first place?

  20. #20 alextangent
    January 26, 2010

    Farenheit 451 comes to mind. Bradbury;

    There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist / Unitarian, Irish / Italian / Octogenarian / Zen Buddhist / Zionist / Seventh-day Adventist / Women’s Lib / Republican / Mattachine / FourSquareGospel feel it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse?.Fire-Captain Beatty, in my novel Fahrenheit 451, described how the books were burned first by the minorities, each ripping a page or a paragraph from this book, then that, until the day came when the books were empty and the minds shut and the library closed forever.

    The list grows ever longer…

  21. #21 Carlie
    January 26, 2010

    I used our family dictionary to find out what all the naughty words meant. I’m sure my parents preferred that to my asking them outright.

  22. #22 cypress
    January 26, 2010

    My mom’s old dictionary at our house defined a spaceship as “an imaginary vehicle used to travel outside the Earth’s atmosphere.”
    No dirty words, though.

  23. #23 tsg
    January 26, 2010

    Two great lines come to mind:

    “Mommy, what’s a blowjob?”
    “You’re mother doesn’t know, son.”

    and

    “You’re in more dire need of a blowjob than any man in history.”

    Modify that to fit this woman as you see fit. I can’t manage to do it without wrecking the meter.

  24. #24 NiChrome
    January 26, 2010

    They better remove the alphabet from the walls because those letters can be combined to make some very, very naughty words!

  25. #25 mingfrommongo
    January 26, 2010

    sqlrob – way to go, now they’ll be banning math books that ask 23×3=?

    I’m down with being a lesbian liberal socialist werewolf, but nothing can make me sign up to be a Democrat.

    Givesgoodemail – thanks for the link. Fuck Bill Gates.

  26. #26 Joel
    January 26, 2010

    I learned the fancier Greek and Latin terms for various interpersonal combinatorics courtesy of a retired Air Force lieutenant general while enrolled in college ROTC.

    No, I will not be sharing the details or the circumstances, beyond the amusing (in retrospect) and absurd situation of a general asking me various supposedly gender-neutral “yes/no” questions and me answering whether I had experienced such acts first-hand.

    It was emotionally gruelling, yet revealing. And really, there are very few experiences in life quite like having a general try to maintain composure while giving a colloquial definition of “cunnilingus” to a scared 20-year old ROTC cadet, with four other military officers present. (And no, I wasn’t that sheltered…I knew the act, just not the official terminology.)

  27. #27 https://me.yahoo.com/a/WBCXGoQqscQFMpp4WiEB3k6971jq_wQ5nA--#975ee
    January 26, 2010

    Un-fricking-believable! Come on school board, have some damn balls with this idiocy! Are you going to ban dictionaries that have the words murder, death, rape etc too?

  28. #28 lagunatic
    January 26, 2010

    What’s going to happen when she looks up “rim shot”?

  29. #29 tsg
    January 26, 2010

    You’re mother doesn’t know, son.”

    <facepalm>

  30. #30 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 26, 2010

    I’m sorry, but how long do we have to play at engaging with these people before we take the inevitable step, say “fuck it”, and start using these people for food?

    While as the old saying goes “any bacon is good bacon”, I have found in my vast experience that the smarter the animal the better the bacon.

    My guess is their bacon sucks.

  31. #31 KaneHau
    January 26, 2010

    While we’re at it… we should ban ALPHABET SOUP… I would hate for my child to accidentally see ‘sex’ spelled out while they are trying to eat (wouldn’t that truly be ORAL SEX?).

    Literacy is so old-fashioned anyway. I think it is time for a truly illiterate generation – let’s just ban all dictionaries and encyclopedias throughout the nation! That will show those tweedy uppity professors a thing or two!

  32. #32 Celtic_Evolution
    January 26, 2010

    Slightly OT, but related somewhat… here in Central NY some kids were punished by a local public Middle School for joining a Facebook group that was critical of a teacher at the school.

    Might have even used BAD WORDS… shock, horror… detention. Does a school really have the right to police kids for behavior outside of school? And it wasn’t just the kids who created the group… it was anyone who even joined it.

  33. #33 billseymour
    January 26, 2010

    In 7th-grade English, we read The Merchant of Venice. Not surprisingly, one of us found “Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow; when I am absent, then lie with my wife.”

    Never mind that the line was spoken to the speaker’s wife; the books were soon collected and eventually returned with the whole scene ripped out. Too late, of course; but that hardly mattered. (*facepalm*)

  34. #34 co
    January 26, 2010

    #28:

    Ba-dum-tish!

  35. #35 Celtic_Evolution
    January 26, 2010

    Oh, and in reference to my #32… of course there’s a poll.

    Because that’s the best way of deciding these issues, ya know…

  36. #36 SEF
    January 26, 2010

    @ kox.tom #19:

    Why was this mommy looking up “oral sex” in the first place?

    Allegedly it was the child who “stumbled upon” the term. However, if they had really been looking it up deliberately (especially given that it’s also allegedly “hard to sit and read the dictionary”), and if it’s really regarded as so hopelessly inappropriate for that age group, then perhaps it’s the parents whom the school board or social workers should be investigating rather than the dictionary.

  37. #37 JJ
    January 26, 2010

    inform and explain the historical facts about communism are to be expunged, so they can better produce a generation of graduates who are proudly ignorant about everything they hate.

    Ahh, but lest we learn from our follies of the past we are doomed to repeat them

    So, in 50 years Texas will be a communist state, I mean, they are already a red state, right?

  38. #38 Free Lunch
    January 26, 2010

    Dear Prudish Mother:

    Do you really think your children are so stupid that they will never be able to discover things that millions have discovered on their own without resort to the dictionary?

  39. #39 charley
    January 26, 2010

    For those too lazy to read the article, the Texas BOE banned the well-known childrens book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do I See? because the author has the same name as as the author of Ethical Marxism.

  40. #40 https://me.yahoo.com/a/oCTtWpcLos1AluG7TfWegM5e0gCBvNv_LcRvaWc-#66f0b
    January 26, 2010

    Well I can’t get Movable type to send me a confirmation email, so i’ll just use yahoo. . . It’s amazing that anyone would be so idiotic as to just ban something because they don’t like the title, without even reading the text. That old “don’t judge a book by its cover” thing is apparently overrated.

  41. #41 Culturemorph
    January 26, 2010

    Stupid/ignorant fathers are a problem too. I should know. I have one. (I have to admit that his wife is worse though).

  42. #42 Philippe
    January 26, 2010

    My youngest daughter is in grade 3. Every student got handed out a dictionnary in September to use for school project. Once the students had their dictionnary on their desks, the teacher told them to all go to page ###. On that page and the one adjacent to it, there is 2 very detailed drawing (what is called a plate in english I believe) of a naked female body and a naked male body. She told them all to get a real good look, and then that now that they’d all seen it and giggled about, can we please move on and use the dictionnary as a tool without further foolishness.

    I applauded when my daughter told me about it that evening.

    Menifee Mom probably would have a stroke…

  43. #43 Tulse
    January 26, 2010

    I also don’t like the words “bang,” “bonk,” “bing,” “bong” and “thump.”

    What? Those are fine, woody words. I want to see them ban all those tinny words, like “litterbin” and “antelope”.

  44. #44 Alverant
    January 26, 2010

    You know I bet I can use that mother’s same logic to get her bible banned. Do you think she’d go for it?

  45. #45 Celtic_Evolution
    January 26, 2010

    the Texas BOE banned the well-known childrens book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do I See? because the author has the same name as as the author of Ethical Marxism.

    Well… using that splendid logic, I suppose Dr. Seuss is screwed…

    Fucking Texas…

  46. #46 Givesgoodemail
    January 26, 2010

    This sort of thing happens all the damned time in our overly-litiginous society.
    Whiny icky parents bitch.
    Teachers jump because the principal won’t support them.
    Principals jump because administrators won’t support them.
    Administrators jump because the school board won’t support them.
    School boards jump because 1) it’s no skin off their collective nose if dictionaries are available, and 2) they’re anxious to keep their (usually) elected positions.

  47. #47 musicant
    January 26, 2010

    Evidently the Menifee Union School District is annoyed: clicking on their link returns the message “The web site you are accessing has experienced an unexpected error. Please contact the website administrator.”

    Oh what a shame! We’ve hurt their tender feelings!

  48. #48 Spareboy
    January 26, 2010

    Beware of words! They mean things!!!

  49. #49 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Charley, I am aware of this. That is also why I think the the late Billy Martin should be removed from the baseball record books. Think of the damage that Marxist baseball playing brown bears having oral sex can have on the children.

  50. #50 Feynmaniac
    January 26, 2010

    What do the authors of the children’s book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and a 2008 book called Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation have in common?

    Both are named Bill Martin

    Colbert must be notified about these Ursidox Marxists!!! We should have seen this connection between these two godless killing machines.

  51. #51 alareth
    January 26, 2010

    I recall back in the 80′s there was a group trying to get the American Heritage dictionary banned from schools because it contained the definitions for penis and vagina

  52. #52 biogirl
    January 26, 2010

    Crazy!

    When I first heard the F-word, I asked my grandpa what it meant – he spelled it for me and told me to look it up in the dictionary. Saved him from explaining it! I hope parents in India don’t hear about this Menifee mom.

  53. #53 raven
    January 26, 2010

    Well, I’m confused.

    Why don’t they just black out the bad words with a marker pen or razor cut them out?

    Censorship is an ancient and well known procedure.

    I assume the kids have no access to home dictionaries, the public library, their peer group, Catholic priests, or THE INTERNET.

    Kids being kids, I’m sure censorship will work well and none of them will wonder what all the blacked out words in the dictionary were.

    PS When I was in grade school, the library got a book on human anatomy. There was a section on the reproductive system. After a few months it was gone, having been cut out and the surrounding pages glued together. Some parent evidently thought anatomical diagrams were too something or other for grade school kids.

  54. #54 tsg
    January 26, 2010

    When I first heard the F-word, I asked my grandpa what it meant

    My son recently asked my wife what “fuck” meant. Without missing a beat, she said, “it means daddy hit his head again.”

  55. #55 Fred The Hun
    January 26, 2010

    Brownian @17,

    I’m sorry, but how long do we have to play at engaging with these people before we take the inevitable step, say “fuck it”, and start using these people for food?

    I think I’d rather use them as fish bait and catch something more edible. Then again, I’m not sure what you’d catch with something that is orders of magnitude stupider than a worm…

  56. #56 gizmoiscariot
    January 26, 2010

    I wish I could say “Yay! He mentioned my home town.” I just wish it wasn’t for something totally and completely stupid.

  57. #57 Becky
    January 26, 2010

    I seem to recall that looking up naughty words in the dictionary was a pass time of mine in third grade.

    OH they have a poll:

    Should parents have the power to censor books at school?

    Right now No is only at 88%

  58. #58 Cappy
    January 26, 2010

    I remember junior high, sitting around giggling at the entry in the dictionary for “fart”. That was explicit as that edition got.

  59. #59 David Marjanovi?
    January 26, 2010

    Should parents have the power to censor books at school?
    88% no!
    6% leaning no
    2% leaning yes
    3% yes!
    2768 votes

  60. #60 deriamis
    January 26, 2010

    You don’t want your schools to end up like Texas’.

    I’m sure that, as a Texan, in some idiot’s opinion I should take umbrage to that slight. But I happen to agree with the sentiment. Now that California is out of the market for textbooks, you can also thank Texas for choosing your kid’s schoolbooks, too. What a lovely state I live in! /sarcasm

  61. #61 arensb
    January 26, 2010

    There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.

    There. Now they can also yank the Bible

  62. #62 David Marjanovi?
    January 26, 2010

    Also?

    Should all children study a second language?
    2% no!
    1% leaning no
    6% leaning yes
    91% yes!
    233 votes

    We can get this to 99.999 % “yes!”. :-)

  63. #63 Newfie
    January 26, 2010

    You know I bet I can use that mother’s same logic to get her bible banned. Do you think she’d go for it?

    There are plenty of passages in that book that would offend the sensibilities of plenty of parents, if they ever read the damn thing. But a campaign highlighting a bunch of those exact phrases would show them just how hypocritical they are. Say, 50 or more signs with individual ‘choice’ passages, citing chapter and verse.

  64. #64 Louis
    January 26, 2010

    I can’t remember the comedian who said it (I think it was Ed Byrne), but it’s dictionary related:

    When heckled with “Under ‘Stupid’ in the dictionary there’s a picture of you” a comedian replied “I’m stupid? You’re the one who had to look up ‘stupid’ in the dictionary. And what sort of dictionary has pictures?”

    Which brings me to the topic: perhaps this dictionary had pictures. If so, maybe the mom wanted it banned in case her husband saw it and asked unfortunate questions.

    Louis

  65. #65 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnTAiIRbRIpbzIZTtwLDKEdcE21mgEUtpI
    January 26, 2010

    The next time you’re wondering why the rest of the world things you’re all a bunch of ignorant red-necks? Yeah it’s things like this.

    Menifee Mom probably would have a stroke…

    Well that’s one way to solve the problem…

  66. #66 silaren
    January 26, 2010

    As with all other information regarding sex, it’s very important for children to learn it from their peers, where they will get completely accurate information, such as the fact that it is impossible to get pregnant on your “first time”. </sarcasm>

  67. #67 realinterrobang
    January 26, 2010

    I think we should all have a singalong:

    Sodomy…
    Fellatio…
    Cunnilingus…
    Pederasty…
    Father, why do these words sound so nasty?

    Masturbation…
    Can be fun
    Join the holy orgy
    Kama Sutra
    Everyo-o-o-o-o-ne!

  68. #68 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 26, 2010

    The next time you’re wondering why the rest of the world things you’re all a bunch of ignorant red-necks? Yeah it’s things like this.

    Good for the rest of the world for not being able to understand heterogeneous populations.

  69. #69 synackaon.myopenid.com
    January 26, 2010

    Wow. Since when did stating what something is become an issue?

    What a moronic fear-mongering bunch of cunts at that district.

  70. #70 Paul
    January 26, 2010

    @15

    Q: Looking at health efforts in Africa, such as HIV prevention and treatment, are you concerned about the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill, and have you spoken to anyone there about it?

    A: The spread of AIDS is a huge problem and obviously we’re very involved. I talk in my letter about the great success with this male circumcision effort, and preventative drug trials. There’s a tendency to think in the U.S. just because a law says something that it’s a big deal. In Africa if you want to talk about how to save lives, it’s not just laws that count. There’s a stigma no matter what that law says, for sex workers, men having sex with men, that’s always been a problem for AIDS. It relates to groups that aren’t that visible. AIDS itself is subject to incredible stigma. Open involvement is a helpful thing. I wouldn’t overly focus on that. In terms of how many people are dying in Africa, it’s not about the law on the books; it’s about getting the message out and the new tools.

    WTF. What matters is “getting the message out” where the message is “Gays cause HIV, kill them and the problem will go away”, nevermind that heterosexual transmission is a much bigger deal in Uganda. But no, killing HIV positive gays because they are dangerous is the proper message, instead of killing HIV positive men who rape women/teens/toddlers. Or telling people that using condoms will not send them to hell (and are not intentionally punctured), and really should be utilized. What’s important is that a message is being sent. It doesn’t matter what the law sends, as long as it sends an anti-HIV message.

    Fuck Bill Gates.

  71. #71 mattheath
    January 26, 2010

    So, did the Texas Board of Education fuck up hilariously the very first time they decided to ban an author’s works based on his or her irrelevant political views? Or have they been quietly blacklisting actual Marxist children’s writers (like Michael Rosen, say) for years, without making the news?

  72. #72 godisnotgreat
    January 26, 2010

    Yet I’m sure the same mom probably sends her kids to Sunday school… evidently she didn’t read the damn bible.
    This is from just Genesis 19 (New International Version):

    5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

    6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

    33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

    No Oral sex, though

  73. #73 raven
    January 26, 2010

    New Mexico led the states with the highest teenage pregnancy rate with nine percent, followed by Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Mississippi.

    New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota had the lowest rates of teen pregnancies.

    Texas is 4th highest this year in teen pregnancies.

    Teen pregnancy is a key statistic because it is highly correlated and causal with life long poverty.

    Oh well, it is only kid’s lives and money. Glad I don’t live in Texas.

  74. #74 Stogoe
    January 26, 2010

    @FredTheHun:

    I think I’d rather use them as fish bait and catch something more edible. Then again, I’m not sure what you’d catch with something that is orders of magnitude stupider than a worm…

    You know, I’d had an idea about starting a bear farm…

  75. #75 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Paul; what?

  76. #76 lose_the_woo
    January 26, 2010

    What’s a dictionary?

  77. #77 Carlie
    January 26, 2010

    What a moronic fear-mongering bunch of cunts at that district.

    *Grits teeth* Not going there today. No time.

  78. #78 eddie
    January 26, 2010

    Kid:- Look, mom! I found Pastor Roberts in the dictionary!
    Mom:- Hey! That wasn’t in any of his sermons.
    Kid:- That’s what we did after sunday school.

  79. #80 lose_the_woo
    January 26, 2010

    What a moronic fear-mongering bunch of cunts at that district.

    I think cock-suckers would have fit that sentence better in light of the topic.

  80. #81 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Carlie, I know. It gets rather fucking tedious.

  81. #82 Bill Dauphin, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Cappy (@58):

    I remember junior high, sitting around giggling at the entry in the dictionary for “fart”.

    Yah, the big “podium” dictionary in my junior high library defined fart as “a small explosion between the legs,” which we all thought was hilarious (not to mention a wee bit frightening).

    That was explicit as that edition got.

    Yup, ours too… though it didn’t stop us from trying to think of new and different “dirty” words to check for. We may ultimately have stretched our profane vocabularies more because of what wasn’t in that dictionary than because of what was.

    That was also the library whose stereotypical prim, grey-haired librarian (with the stereotypically prim, grey-haired name of Maude Cloakey) refused to stock Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress on the grounds that it was “full of far-out sex” (the raciest thing actually portrayed in the book is a kiss… although it does include various forms of group marriage, however chastely the nitty gritty of same is described) even though she already had the so-called free-love manifesto Stranger in a Strange Land on the shelves.

    Who says libraries are rational places, eh?

  82. #83 Carlie
    January 26, 2010

    Oh, why not. My cunt happens to be quite well-read and eminently reasonable, and bristles indignantly at the comparison to a bunch of idiotic pearl-clutching semi-literate martinets.

  83. #84 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Yes but can your cunt speak?

  84. #85 Brownian, OM
    January 26, 2010

    @Rev BDC and Fred the Hun:

    While as the old saying goes “any bacon is good bacon”, I have found in my vast experience that the smarter the animal the better the bacon.

    My guess is their bacon sucks.

    I think I’d rather use them as fish bait and catch something more edible. Then again, I’m not sure what you’d catch with something that is orders of magnitude stupider than a worm…

    Fine. They can be livestock feed, fertiliser, boxcar ballast, whatever. I don’t care. I’m getting sick and tired of having these dumbfucks dictate the terms under which we all live. In sports we don’t pretend both teams actually won or that the slowest runner and the fastest runner finished at the same time, so why in the hell should we pretend that some trog whose deepest, most meaningful thought to date is that the ShamWow probably doesn’t live up to the hype has an opinion on the governance of her world that’s in any way equal to mine?

    It doesn’t have to be permanent, nor amount to any sort of totalitarian oligarchy. All that’s required is some basic test of competency other than having functional reproductive organs before you can have a book banned or vote on a referendum or for a politician. “Okay, so you want The Handmaid’s Tale removed from the school library because it contains profane language? Sounds good. But first: a train leaves Union Station and heads east…”

  85. #86 MutantJedi
    January 26, 2010

    I wrote an iPhone application. It was a Chinese/English dictionary. The Apple Fuckwads rejected it because it had the words in English and Chinese for fuck. Fuck those fuckwads. It is a fucking dictionary. So… fuck shit cunt and so on should be included in it. ???????????????????????????????

    Anyhow. The prudish fuckwits at Apple rejected my dictionary because it had the word “fuck” in it. I just discovered that I can’t write “?” (fuck) or “?” (cunt) on my Mac. It’s not that I use those words a lot. Just that the corporation is telling me what I can write or what can be in a dictionary. It is stupid.

  86. #87 Qwerty
    January 26, 2010

    The mother obviously doesn’t want her daughter to know what she does with dad to make him smile on Saturday morning when he comes downstairs for breakfast.

  87. #88 bbgunn071679
    January 26, 2010

    I always rather enjoyed that the definition for ‘cunnilingus’ immediately preceded the definition for ‘cunning’ in my 1985 version of Merriam-Webster.

    Cunning – “Dexterous or crafty in the use of special resources (as skill or knowledge) in attaining an end.”

  88. #89 Kausik Datta
    January 26, 2010

    Brownian:

    I’m sorry, but how long do we have to play at engaging with these people before we take the inevitable step, say “fuck it”, and start using these people for food?

    Why, exactly, do you want to give yourself indigestion and flatulence?

    biogirl:

    I hope parents in India don’t hear about this Menifee mom.

    I’m curious. What’s the connexion with parents in India?

  89. #90 tsg
    January 26, 2010

    … what she does with dad to make him smile on Saturday morning when he comes downstairs for breakfast.

    I bet a dollar she doesn’t.

  90. #91 Pierce R. Butler
    January 26, 2010

    I know of no way to test this hypothesis, but does anybody here disagree with the suggestion that the students of the Menifee Union School District have probably spent more time perusing dictionaries since last weekend than ever before?

  91. #92 Rey Fox
    January 26, 2010

    You had me at “werewolf”.

  92. #93 Paul
    January 26, 2010

    Janine: there’s a link in 15. It refers to an interview with Bill Gates. Apologies for the blockquote fail in 70; the A: is Bill Gates talking about how the law in Uganda doesn’t matter, all that matters is HIV/AIDS awareness.

  93. #94 claw
    January 26, 2010

    Stories like this are why I am glad to live in Eastern Canada because one of the first things you see when you walk into a library around here is a sign that says something to the effect of:

    “it is not the library’s job or purpose to censor information and literature.”

  94. #95 Ray Moscow
    January 26, 2010

    Gus mentioned this in #79 already, but here’s the NPR poll: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/01/oral_sex_dictionary_school_rem.html?ft=1&f=103943429

    Go vote.

  95. #96 frog, Inc.
    January 26, 2010

    This is the kind of thing I think about when people say that comparing our world today to 1984 is hyperbolic. We’re going to remove words from the language to save the children! They can’t think of it if there’s no word to describe it!

    Feh.

  96. #97 Thorne
    January 26, 2010

    I’m sorry, but how long do we have to play at engaging with these people before we take the inevitable step, say “fuck it”, and start using these people for food?

    Don’t think they would taste too well. All those stress hormones from editing dictionaries makes the meat dry and tasteless. Kind of like those people themselves.

  97. #98 Truman Grandy
    January 26, 2010

    When words are outlawed, only outlaws will be literate.

  98. #99 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Paul and givesgoodemail, there has been threads about the kill the gays bill in Uganda. And it can always be discussed in the undead thread. And if Gates is actually saying that, I have to agree with both of you; fuck Bill Gates. He is supposed to be a humanitarian?

  99. #100 TheCalmOne
    January 26, 2010

    Carlie and Janine: you would prefer that people didn’t employ the pejorative usage of “cunt”? You don’t own the word. Nobody does, and nobody has the right to tell other people how to use or how not to use words. That would be verging on, well, censorship…

    Do you think we should stop using “prick” pejoratively?

  100. #101 Maslab
    January 26, 2010

    “Do you think we should stop using “prick” pejoratively?”

    You can say you pricked your finger, just don’t say you fingered your prick.

  101. #102 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Why yes, because I use use the word prick indiscriminately. Just ask all of the people I have insulted over these past few months.

  102. #103 frog, Inc.
    January 26, 2010

    TheCalmOne:

    You know the difference between shouldn’t and can’t don’t you? It’s the difference between opprobrium and censorship.

    One doesn’t “verge” on the other. I’m telling you you’re not using the word “verge” properly. That’s not censorship — that’s a public judgment.

    I think you shouldn’t post at all. Once again, simply a judgment. I’m not censoring you — I’m advising you in that case.

    I bet you use ad hominem to refer to insults as well…

  103. #104 Paul
    January 26, 2010

    Paul and givesgoodemail, there has been threads about the kill the gays bill in Uganda. And it can always be discussed in the undead thread. And if Gates is actually saying that, I have to agree with both of you; fuck Bill Gates. He is supposed to be a humanitarian?

    I know, I’ve discussed it there. I only posted here since givesgoodemail mentioned it here, and I was somewhat dismayed that nobody seemed to have noted it. I figured I’d just discuss it where it was brought up and keep the endless thread slightly less depressing. This post/thread was already depressing.

  104. #105 aratina cage of the OM
    January 26, 2010

    Nobody does, and nobody has the right to tell other people how to use or how not to use words. That would be verging on, well, censorship…

    We get it already: you think it is disparaging to call others the names of female parts as if there is something wrong with femininity. Good for you. Now fuck off with the misogyny.

  105. #106 Benjamin Geiger
    January 26, 2010

    aratina cage @ #105:

    I note you never addressed his point: why aren’t you (or most people) as upset at “prick” being used pejoratively, as if there is something wrong with masculinity?

  106. #107 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Want to know when we have proof the free speech reigns supreme at this blog? When start using nigger, spic and kike to refer to people. Care to go for it, CalmOne? Please, free us from censorship.

  107. #108 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Benjamin Geiger, fuck that shit. I want TheCalmOne to address my alleged of the word prick as an insult.

  108. #109 PZ Myers
    January 26, 2010

    You can use those words now. But we all know how racist scum will be regarded: with scorn, contempt, and disgust.

    Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you get a free pass from the consequences.

  109. #110 frog, Inc.
    January 26, 2010

    Yes, Benjamin — it’s just terribly inconsistent that Janine, etc, don’t spend as much time worrying about !Kung San bias against Scandinavians as they do agitating against white supremacy.

    Janine, why aren’t you even handed against the waves of heterophobia and oppression of Poles by Cambodians? You’re just an identity politicker, ain’t ya?

  110. #111 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    January 26, 2010

    The parents are saying that they want age-appropriate dictionaries–that is, expurgated.

    I for one have a problem with this. It means that we’ll raise a generation of kids who can’t use dirty words properly. I’m serious…sort of. I had a friend in High School who was so naive and innocent that one blushed to mention breathing, let alone any other bodily function. Anyway, somehow she got it in her head that when one of her friends did something silly, she’d call her a dildo–as in, “Nice move, dildo!” OK, now how do you explain that she has just called her friend a fuckstick without making her sexually aware?!?

    I wasn’t there when she got clued in, but I kind of always wished I had been…

  111. #112 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlBA3hrVU1VwvVX0GFiyZ6qDkn2fC4Wq48
    January 26, 2010

    I suggest out-moroning the morons. People should have as many books banned from the library as possible, beginning, of course, with all reference books, dictionaries and encyclopedias, as some bad or inappropriate words may be found within their pages. Of course, the bible should be first to be taken out too, with all those stories of sex and violence. When the shelves of the libraries are almost completely empty, some people might start thinking that they did something wrong.

  112. #113 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Yeah, frog,Inc. You have me nailed.

    ‘snicker’

    CalmOne and Benjamin, read into what PZ said. There is no censorship nor the desire to use it. But if one uses those words, your motives will be questioned.

  113. #114 bbgunn071679
    January 26, 2010

    I wonder if this CA school district was overly concerned about the potential cost of fighting the inevitable lawsuit this woman (funded by fundies, of course) would have filed to remove the dicitionary?

    I also wonder if parents who do not favor such censorship could file a lawsuit to restore the dictionaries to the libraries on the grounds that these books, funded with taxpayer money, are a critical educational resource for their children?

    Anyway, it would be interesting to sit through all the ‘oral’ arguments.

  114. #115 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    January 26, 2010

    You know, there’s some awful racy tales in the Bibble that might not be quite so age appropriate…

  115. #116 Carlie
    January 26, 2010

    Believe it or not, I don’t use the word “prick” as a pejorative, nor “dick” nor “cocksucker”. I guess I’m just all about the menz.

  116. #117 https://me.yahoo.com/wmdkitty#83021
    January 26, 2010

    *facepalm*

  117. #118 HappyHax0r
    January 26, 2010

    @#42

    Menifee Mom probably would have a stroke…

    Heh, her progeny probably had one too, but that’s besides the point.

    Or maybe not, maybe if she had a stroke every once in a while she wouldn’t be so dog-damn up-tight ;).

  118. #119 mattheath
    January 26, 2010

    Based on how the conversation has continued, I suspect it doesn’t apply here, but all the same I’ll give the standard warning about arguments over “cunt” as an insult on the internet. It doesn’t have the same connotations in other English-speaking countries that it seems to in the US. In my (English) experience “cunt” is used as a strong version of “bastard”: without any implication of femaleness or femininity and usually about a man. I think it works like “You stupid fuck”: completely divorced from the literal meaning and using only the shock of a taboo word to make it insulting.

    The fact that “cunt” is the most taboo word in the first place probably says something about sexism in itself, but when someone uses it there is reasonable doubt that their apparent misogyny is a “translation” area.

    Also, unless they actually want to be misunderstood, I think it’s probably best that Brits (and Irish, and Aussies) act as if it was as taboo as it is to Americans.

  119. #120 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    But… But… Carlie? How dare you complain about someone using the word “cunt” when other people use the word “prick”! That makes you a hypocrite and a proponent of censorship.

  120. #121 Benjamin Geiger
    January 26, 2010

    Ergh. I think I may have overstated my case.

    I’m not in favor of indiscriminate use of pejoratives that demean third parties. If that’s how I came across, then I apologize.

    But the perceived double standard is concerning. It’s not that I take any offense to being referred to by my genitals; it’s that it’s okay to refer to men by our genitals but not okay to refer to women by theirs. And all of the same arguments (ie, “it’s demeaning to reduce a person to their genitals”) apply to both genders, so that doesn’t explain why one is offensive and the other isn’t.

    PS: Janine, he wasn’t accusing you of using the term ‘prick’ to refer to men. He was accusing you of standing idly by while others used the term, not jumping in with the kind of vehemence you show here.

  121. #122 aratina cage of the OM
    January 26, 2010

    why aren’t you (or most people) as upset at “prick” being used pejoratively, as if there is something wrong with masculinity?

    Benjamin Geiger, nobody used “prick” that way on this thread yet AFAICT so I don’t know why the question even came up, and that wasn’t TheCalmOne’s real point anyway. But enough on that from me…

    I agree with SEF #36 that this banning says a lot about the family of the child whose mother complained. Imagine the public humiliation her child is going through now all because that parent couldn’t keep it a private moment.

  122. #123 https://me.yahoo.com/a/CzFCXWQ.u_iduyqlcEwnx.iEMAfz#56dd4
    January 26, 2010

    Genitals of one partner? Just one? Freakin’ prudes.

  123. #124 Gregory Greenwood
    January 26, 2010

    proud lesbian Democrat liberal communist socialist werewolf.

    We need to make that tv show. Now.

  124. #125 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Benjamin, I answered TheCalmOne’s question;

    Do you think we should stop using “prick” pejoratively?

    when I jokingly pointed out how I use it all of the time. You seemed to have missed it.

  125. #126 graygaffer
    January 26, 2010

    “When a dumb parent can squeak and make administrators jump, we’re fools not to roar”

    Oh yes! Wonderful phrase!

    For me as a kid, I found more prurient material in the Bible than the dictionary, since it was in context. Maybe I should have my buddy (with kids in school) squeak about this?

    My Grandparent was an English teacher. She add, alongside her OED, Dictionary of Slang and unusual words. OED did not include f**k (in those days) but it did have that adjunct which did.

    Nobody complained.

  126. #127 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    We need to make that tv show. Now.

    Could this be a quickie sequel of Wolfman starring Rachel Maddow?

  127. #128 eddie
    January 26, 2010

    This is turning silly. I won’t join in. I won’t.

    Oh, OK. I will. To point out that the idiots that think freedom = brutally enforced niceness are just as idiotic as those who equate strong expression against a power imbalance with the strong expression of that power imbalance.

    The descendant’s of slaves are not racist for hating the descendants of slave owners.

  128. #129 cypress
    January 26, 2010

    I remember when I was a little girl and asked my mom what ‘hooker’ meant. She just confused me more. She said it’s a “lady who sells her services for money.”

  129. #130 Bill Dauphin, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Janine:

    But… But… Carlie? How dare you complain about someone using the word “cunt” when other people use the word “prick”! That makes you a hypocrite and a proponent of censorship.

    Or maybe it just makes her a pussy… umm… er… oops, sorry….

    ;^)

  130. #131 Paul
    January 26, 2010

    Oh, OK. I will. To point out that the idiots that think freedom = brutally enforced niceness are just as idiotic as those who equate strong expression against a power imbalance with the strong expression of that power imbalance.

    Nobody’s advocating brutally enforced niceness. They’re just pointing out that if you act like a racist/misogynist*, you will be treated (and criticized) accordingly.

    *This includes word choice, especially when instead of taking into account offense caused you simply point out it’s a free country and you can say whatever you want and they’re socialists for not nodding their heads and agreeing and cheering for you for refusing to bow to the PC Police.

  131. #132 Brownian, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Stories like this are why I am glad to live in Eastern Canada because one of the first things you see when you walk into a library around here is a sign that says something to the effect of:

    “it is not the library’s job or purpose to censor information and literature.”

    That may be the case, but you can bet your bottom dollar the librarians regularly hear about Harry Potter from the uptight Christian breeders. (A friend of mine has done her time as both a refgrunt and children’s hour book reader.

    Here’s a link to freedomtoread.ca’s list of challenged books and magazines in Canada.

  132. #133 Newfie
    January 26, 2010

    mattheath#119 wrote

    It doesn’t have the same connotations in other English-speaking countries that it seems to in the US. In my (English) experience “cunt” is used as a strong version of “bastard”: without any implication of femaleness or femininity and usually about a man. I think it works like “You stupid fuck”: completely divorced from the literal meaning and using only the shock of a taboo word to make it insulting.

    This is exactly it.
    I guess we are obligated to conform to the American point of view here, as to not upset their sensibilities. Maybe they could provide a list of words that are ‘mericun friendly. Poor little precious lilies, taking offence where none was intended does seem a little childish.. just like the moronic mother in Menifee. Can’t escape your culture, I guess. Even if you don’t agree with it. The urge to be offended is just too great in the culture where the default answer is: Sue the pants of them! for any slight.

  133. #134 Smoggy Batzrubble OM4Jesus
    January 26, 2010

    Dear Atheists,

    Like a fly to a ripening corpse, I can never resist buzzing on in when the language gets salty. Indeed, nothing makes me happier than a bit of bovver over the names we give our fleshy parts and meaty holes. While some might offer a poststructuralist disquisition on the arbitrary relationship between signifier and signified in an attempt to defuse the inevitable cunt controversy, my own lips are sealed on the matter. The only phrases I find truly offensive are those that employ “religious morality” to straitjacket natural and inevitable desires and demonize fellow humans whose parts respond to a different spark. Sex impels us and compels us…it’s why we can’t stop talking about it, laughing about it, making art about it, and trying to deprive others of it. Sex is money, sex sells…wanking is life’s last free pleasure.

    Where was I going with this? Oh yes…let’s put aside the problem of ‘cunts’ and ‘pricks’ and have a fight about the truly offensive word: ‘pejorative’. Then lets remember Chaucer, Robbie Burns and a host of others who poured their linguistic creativity into attempts to create new and more poetic names for the organs that made us who we are. I’m talking about

    meatsticks, pork swords, the honey pot,
    the man in the boat, the elusive G spot,
    the sideways smile, the clit, the slit,
    the perfect sag of a mature tit,

    the hole, the tongue, the taste of cum,
    the salty rime on a lover’s bum
    labia in many different shapes
    testes plump, or small like grapes

    big cocks, small cocks, red cocks, blue,
    the mouth, the groin, the anus too,
    it isn’t words that make things bad,
    but minds in chains that drive us mad

    so let us love our cunts and pricks
    and shock the small-town Jesus hicks
    by naming all things without fear,
    like ‘oral sex’ and that big gay bear

    who is my most beloved bubba
    the pervert you know as floyd rubber
    who in the past abused my bum
    until he found pastors were more fun.

  134. #135 eddie
    January 26, 2010

    eddie @128:
    “This is turning silly…”

    eddie psychic prediction FAIL. It was up around TheCalmOne’s questioning Janine, MOFMA, OM, but then it got kinda sensible, all in the time I took to type that comment.

  135. #136 eddie
    January 26, 2010

    Also, Paul:
    “Nobody’s advocating brutally enforced niceness.”

    Not here, although The CalmOne was approaching it, but this is exactly what the TBoE issue is about.

  136. #137 Carlie
    January 26, 2010

    Or maybe it just makes her a pussy… umm… er… oops, sorry….

    Depends on how you mean it. ;)

    That makes you a hypocrite and a proponent of censorship.

    Wait, I have the power to restrict random commenter’s posts through the internet and force them not to say things? Mwoooo-ah-ha-ha! What shall I do with this awesome ability?*

    *Heading over to Mooney’s for awhile, brb.

  137. #138 Stimbo
    January 26, 2010

    This is all very reminiscent of the (possibly apocryphal) story of the lady who congratulated Dr Johnson for not including any dirty words in his Dictionary; whereupon he congratulated her for looking them up.

  138. #139 Bill Dauphin, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Newfie (@133) and mattheath (@119):

    I agree that it’s true that some profanities have evolved to the point where their use as expletives has virtually nothing to do with their literal meanings. In U.S. English, shit and fuck are in that category (except when the context makes it clear the literal meaning is intended), as is son of a bitch (but not, I don’t think, bitch itself); I disagree that any of the common pejoratives formed on names for genitals is in that category. In particular, genital slang is so fundamentally, intimately linked to gender that it’s hard to imagine its use ever truly being functionally gender-neutral.

    I accept mattheath’s assertion that cunt is functionally gender-neutral in the UK as a sincere statement… but I can’t help wondering whether I would agree with that assessment if I were in a position to observe the term’s usage “in the wild.” Regardless, that word’s use (esp. by a male) in an American context cannot fail to be perceived as misogynistic, regardless of the speaker’s intent.

    Regarding your “obligat[ion] to conform to the American point of view,” well… notwithstanding the happy fact that we have a large contingent of international regulars, this is the blog of an American professor working at an American university, and it’s published in an American context and read mostly by Americans. As such, it’s hardly surprising that the linguistic norm here is American English. That’s not some sort of nefarious cultural imperialism; it’s just normal. What else would expect us to do but speak/write our mother tongue in the way that seems normal to us?

    If this were a UK-based blog, I would be grateful to be warned if something that seemed normal to me was in fact offensive in a way I didn’t expect… and having been so warned, I would try to avoid that usage. Not because I’d feel dominated by the British borg, but just out of simple human courtesy. What’s your deal?

  139. #140 Carlie
    January 26, 2010

    I will say that although I disagree with the use of gender-based insults because of their cumulative effect of perpetuating a culture of gender-based inequality, I would never advocate removing them from the fucking dictionary.

    (Or any other dictionary, for that matter.)

  140. #141 aratina cage of the OM
    January 26, 2010

    I would just like to point this out because I think it fits very nicely with Bill Dauphin’s post and it was something I learned last time we had this discussion: definition of “Newfie”.

  141. #142 Bone Oboe
    January 26, 2010

    Menifee, CA. Follow Newport Rd. on the Google Map East to get the picture; it’s essentially a tumor of housing developments shoe-horned in between two freeways. It’s hot, dusty and smells of cow shit in the summer time, horrific traffic as the roads were never intended to support a sprawling suburban sty.

    I know this ’cause I used to live in Lake Elsinore, just west, which was hot and smelled of rotting fish when the algae bloomed in the eponymous Lake robbed it of it’s oxygen and the lake’s fish type denizens died in the O2 lean water and washed up on the shores by the bull-dozer bucket full.
    The water got to looking like a swirly of olive drab and forest green latex paint…horrible looking and Innsmouth smelling. After about 5 repetitions, the city got it’s shit together and installed aerators in the lake.

  142. #143 Bill Dauphin, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Carlie:

    Depends on how you mean it. ;)

    Only in the nicest way, m’dear; what else?

  143. #144 frog, Inc.
    January 26, 2010

    BG: But the perceived double standard is concerning. It’s not that I take any offense to being referred to by my genitals; it’s that it’s okay to refer to men by our genitals but not okay to refer to women by theirs. And all of the same arguments (ie, “it’s demeaning to reduce a person to their genitals”) apply to both genders, so that doesn’t explain why one is offensive and the other isn’t.

    Oh no! A Double Standard! Maybe women are trying to keep the men down — make them feel unwelcome. So very, very scary.

    It’s really simple, BG. There are no countries run by feminazi dykes keeping the menz down. The closest I can think of is small feminist parties in Scandinavian trying to get rid of urinals. And there’s always the odd elderly female professor who uses her position to get back at the males who made her life hell back in the 70s by attacking a few boys. Compare to the still not rare men who assume that women aren’t quite as bright as men — you can find important voices at Harvard that still push that old fantasy (some who even made it into the Obama administration).

    In almost all the world, either men rule, or men ruled until a couple of generations ago. Even suffrage only became common for women in the post-WWII era.

    In short, quit your whining. Even if women all got together and became really, really mean to men, there’s no real threat. Women have a justifiable reason to be a bit “sensitive”.

    Come back when there’s a woman in the cabinet who has publicly stated that boys aren’t as smart as girls, and I’ll be ready to hear you out.

    False equivalence shows a very simplistic mind. This is as bad as fearing that the Negroes are taking over.

    This isn’t a logic game, kid. It’s about real people who’ve had to put up with real shit, not freshmen philosophy problems.

  144. #145 Paul
    January 26, 2010

    If this were a UK-based blog, I would be grateful to be warned if something that seemed normal to me was in fact offensive in a way I didn’t expect… and having been so warned, I would try to avoid that usage. Not because I’d feel dominated by the British borg, but just out of simple human courtesy. What’s your deal?

    I wouldn’t lump Newfie and Matt together. Matt was just notifying people that based on his experience, the term has different connotations in English. He stated explicitly that it would be best to avoid misunderstandings by acting as if the term were as taboo as Americans do when speaking with Americans. I see him around other blogs, and he seems to be a good all-around guy.

    Newfie, on the other hand, has gone on insane anti-PC rants in the past. The guy gets unhinged in topics like this. Don’t bother trying to get through regarding simple human courtesy. Last time I saw that, he lashed around trying to offend everyone in the thread as much as possible. Better to just let him sit there and hate everyone else for caring about how their words are read by others instead of going it alone and tossing off the horrible PC shackles.

  145. #146 The True Scotsman
    January 26, 2010

    Smart people argue. Dumb people censor.

  146. #147 Newfie
    January 26, 2010

    Cunt-ish – has different meanings, but here it means: Withholding, being selfish
    Prick-ish – Being unnecessarily mean

    Here Bill: “Life’s a bitch, and then you die.” “Ain’t that a bitch?”

  147. #148 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 26, 2010

    Smart people argue. Dumb people censor.

    Smart people understand the difference between censorship and being held responsible for your actions.

  148. #149 https://me.yahoo.com/a/NxE_lE0Lh_9JksaAqRedu6R7Vg--#bf6f6
    January 26, 2010

    It’s good Menifee Mother wasn’t reading a couple of sections before The Other C-Word or she might have encountered anilingus (the word, not the act).

    This one time, when I was just a young lad in school, I walked into the classroom and a bunch of the other kids were pointing at a page in the dictionary under the A’s, passing it around and giggling. Oh, wait. If my mental image of that memory is correct it was in speech class, which I took when I was a junior in high school. And yes, it wasn’t long before I had my turn holding the devil book and giggling too.

    It must have had a deleterious effect on me because it was later during the same semester that I delivered a “persuasive” speech with the title “Why you should be an atheist.”

  149. #150 Armand K.
    January 26, 2010

    I’m sure she’s suffused with a deep sense of accomplishment, and she’s probably scanning all of her children’s books right now for another word she can use to make the administrators dance to her tune.

    And in the mean time, she probably is the partisan of teaching the Bible in school. If they would only hold their “holy” book at the same standards of purity! But that would mean throwing away a good part of it, wouldn’t it?

    Bowdler would have been filled with joy to know he’ll have such dignified followers almost two centuries after his death!

    I wish I could say it’s the first time I see something like this. I can’t. I actually grew up with dictionaries and books “purified” in exactly this manner as a matter of national policy–in (then-officially) communist Romania. One of the countries that had no AIDS, no gays, no substance abuse issues, no poverty, no “dirty” language and, overall, no problems whatsoever—all by divine presidential fiat.

    Somewhat unrelated:

    That’s it; a rather dry entry from the New Oxford American Dictionary. [The Merriam-Webster has even 'fuck' in it!] Are you aroused yet? [Huh?!] Are you frantically closing the screen because it is so NSFW? [No. Because it's dirty. Coffee all over it.] Are you becoming a communist [had quite enough with those!] or a lesbian [impossible, I'm afraid] or a gay man [too late for that] or a Democrat now?

  150. #151 Newfie
    January 26, 2010

    Newfie, on the other hand, has gone on insane anti-PC rants in the past.

    Naw… it’s more anti-hyprocrisy. People taking offence at words where none was intended, and in the next thread they are using colourful words themselves to describe their feelings on Christians or Wackaloons. Then it’s perfectly fine.

    But feel free to describe my posts rants how you see fit. Humour is lost on some, sorry you don’t get it.

  151. #152 Bill Dauphin, OM
    January 26, 2010

    I wouldn’t lump Newfie and Matt together.

    Fair enough; I should’ve directed various parts of my comments more specifically at one or the other.

    Newfie:

    Here Bill: “Life’s a bitch, and then you die.” “Ain’t that a bitch?”

    There’s a long conversation to be had (or re-had) about whether bitch can reasonably be used in a truly gender-neutral sense… but I don’t propose to have that conversation today. My larger point remains undimmed by your cheek.

  152. #153 Walton
    January 26, 2010

    I think it’s important not to conflate the issues of offence and free speech. Yes, in a free society, everyone has the right to say “c**t”, “bitch” and “prick” as much as they like, without fear of government censorship. But equally, other people have a right to express their distaste and offence for these terms. Freedom of speech does not entail a right not to be criticised for your choice of words.

    I just don’t see why it’s ever necessary to call anyone a “c**t”. Leaving aside the issue of whether it’s necessarily misogynistic (which, as Matt Heath says, depends on cultural context and dialect), it just doesn’t add any useful information to a sentence. “X is true, you c**t” is not any more meaningful or persuasive a statement than “X is true”. It doesn’t contribute to the argument. I realise I’m coming perilously close to being accused of “tone trolling” again – and like most people here, I use profanity when I so wish to make a rhetorical point – but we’ve established that a lot of people are especially offended, for a variety of reasons, by the word “c**t”. And since it doesn’t add anything to a sentence that couldn’t be equally effectively communicated by other words, why use it?

  153. #154 Armand K.
    January 26, 2010

    Re: Gyeong Hwa Pak, #5

    Sounds like TSBOE wants to reinstate the Index of Forbiden Books.

    You know, the Catholic Church never really gave up the Index librorum prohibitorum. In the words of it current supreme leader (then only Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the modern name of the Holy Office, a.k.a. Holy Inquisition), the Index retains as moral force, and any good who reads books on that list endangers his immortal soul. Well, something to that effect.

  154. #155 Carlie
    January 26, 2010

    People taking offence at words where none was intended,

    Not to speak for anyone else, but I don’t care in the slightest whether offense was intended, and I don’t take offense in the way I think you are conceptualizing it. I am working from the framework that the common use of disparaging terms about one gender (regardless of intent) contributes to the continuing devaluing of that gender within a culture. Although it is a small thing in comparison to other ways in which a gender (or group) can be devalued, it is still a background drip into the ocean of ways to “other” and belittle that gender. It is also an incredibly easy thing to change, so (to continue the analogy), if it is a trivial matter to turn off one faucet that feeds into that ocean, why not do it? The only options available to rationalize continuing to run the spout once it has been pointed out are to claim that the ocean itself does not exist (frequently used by those floating on a boat of privilege on top of it) or to admit that one doesn’t care about those drowning in it.

    and in the next thread they are using colourful words themselves to describe their feelings on Christians or Wackaloons. Then it’s perfectly fine.

    Ah, but check the colorful words used. If you actually cross-reference the posts, you’ll find that by and large the people who don’t care for gender-specific insults find many other ways to insult people that don’t resort to those terms.

  155. #156 frog, Inc.
    January 26, 2010

    Is there someone new who’s using the handle “Walton”?

  156. #157 MetzO'Magic
    January 26, 2010

    Suppose just for a second that kids are finding these words in the bible, and need a dictionary to find out what they mean. How they gonna do that now?

    Won’t anybody think of the children!

  157. #158 Carlie
    January 26, 2010

    Suppose just for a second that kids are finding these words in the bible, and need a dictionary to find out what they mean. How they gonna do that now?

    I think those people are of the opinion that the only important word in the bible is “obey”, and they’ve drilled that concept into their children long before they got to school.

  158. #159 MetzO'Magic
    January 26, 2010

    Is there someone new who’s using the handle “Walton”?

    *Sigh* Looks like Walton forgot to take his meds again.

  159. #160 mattheath
    January 26, 2010

    @Bill Dauphin: To be clear, I totally agree that it’s reasonable to expect American rules of conduct on an American site. I only brought it up because it’s not rare that a Brit or Aussie starts a flamewar by honestly not knowing how the word “cunt” is taken over there and it’s useful to be aware of that.

    I also don’t dismiss the possibility that I may be blind to some misogyny because of male privilege. I’d need some convincing in this case though. It’s not that it’s exactly gender-neutral; usage of “cunt” follows that of “bastard” in England. It’s actually *rare* that either would be used against a woman because woman-specific insults like “bitch” take their place (nobody’s trying say there isn’t misogyny in British profanity).

  160. #161 Gyeong Hwa Pak, the Pikachu of Anthropology
    January 26, 2010

    Armand K #154
    There were many encyclopædias and dictionaries on that list. Are you saying that the Vatican still believes every time one visits Wikipedia or refers to Webster, one risks damnation?

  161. #162 Paul
    January 26, 2010

    @151

    Truth Machine, and CJO are both fangirl, feminazi cunts. Stupid, angry dimwitted, twats. Looking to take offence wherever the fuck they can find it. They add nothing to the discourse, and just seem to be standing up for some fucking whiny bitch, who had her parade rained on. Boo fucking hoo.

    Many more examples in the initial thread, I don’t want to take up too much space here. Not quite humour. Don’t blame me that you can’t make a point without attempting a Refuge in Audacity. Edgy works for some people, but it’s dishonest to deliberately invoke charged, gendered, slanderous insults and then claim it’s “just humour”. Especially when it was obviously not just a joke in context.

  162. #163 momkat
    January 26, 2010

    My kids knew growing up that they could ask me anything and I would give them a truthful answer. When my daughter was nine, out of the blue she said “Mom, what does masturbate mean?” I gulped and began “well, honey, it has to do with sex” but before I could get any further she stopped me and said “that’s ok, I’m too young for this” and left on her merry way. Later in her teens I asked her if she remembered asking that. She laughed and said “Mom, those are just words when you’re nine. I think I meant “masticate”.

  163. #164 Doktor Zoom
    January 26, 2010

    re Bill Dauphin @82, I remember hearing as a kid that “the dictionary” defined “fart” that way (“a minor explosion between the legs”), but so far haven’t been able to actually find such a dictionary–and the Google is only bringing up anecdotal evidence. This is the sort of thing I just might waste some serious time researching…

  164. #165 MetzO'Magic
    January 26, 2010

    On the subject of the ‘c’ word, I can attest to what Matt says. I’ve been in Ireland for 25 years now, and I’ve even heard *women call men that*.

    Having said that, I would never use it in print, and probably not even in speech unless it inadvertently slipped out. Probably has to do with my NJ upbringing, but it’s also demeaning. No reason for it, when “You stupid fuck!” serves just as well. In fact, in Ireland some people use fuck as every other word in a sentence without even breaking stride.

  165. #166 Newfie
    January 26, 2010

    the people who don’t care for gender-specific insults find many other ways to insult people that don’t resort to those terms.

    The point matt was making, and that I agreed with, is that some of these words have evolved into non-gender specific insults in most parts of the English speaking world.
    Maybe we should just give up and drop our ‘superfluous’ U’s for y’all too, and the rest of the English speaking world should conform to speak “American”. Assimilation FTW!!!

  166. #167 frog, Inc.
    January 26, 2010

    Just to summarize:

    newfie@133: Poor little precious lilies, taking offence where none was intended does seem a little childish..

    newfie@paul: .. are both fangirl, feminazi cunts. Stupid, angry dimwitted, twats. … and just seem to be standing up for some fucking whiny bitch

    Analysis would be beside the point.

  167. #168 Pacal
    January 26, 2010

    Somebodies has probably mentioned this already but I can’t resist.

    “And then the oral sex!!!”

  168. #169 BdN
    January 26, 2010

    You know, the Catholic Church never really gave up the Index librorum prohibitorum

    About 15 years ago, I attended a high school run by Catholics. I was searching for novels in the database (cards in those old days) and though I could find information about Dostoevsky, Gide and others, the books were not to be found in the library. I had to ask one of my teachers to get them out of locked room where they had been hidden for the last 40 years…

  169. #170 Newfie
    January 26, 2010

    Especially when it was obviously not just a joke in context.

    I really went over the top there, didn’t I? Shame that only a few saw the intentionality and purpose of that, but that’s the price for an out of town audience sometimes.

  170. #171 Doug
    January 26, 2010

    Mommy should have been referred to Jesus and Mo. I’m positive her mind would have been put at ease (or returned to the molecules whence it came).

    http://www.jesusandmo.net/2007/01/30/oral/

  171. #172 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Brave, brave Newfie, fighting american cultural imperialism. Sorry, love, but if people were to use racial or gendered insults from non american idioms(That I was aware of.), I would say so.

  172. #173 CunningLingus
    January 26, 2010

    I imagine my position on the subject is obvious ;)

  173. #174 Tulse
    January 26, 2010

    People who use the word “cunt” are pricks.

  174. #175 Walton
    January 26, 2010

    Is there someone new who’s using the handle “Walton”?

    No, I am the same Walton I’ve always been. I am, however, remarkably inconsistent.

  175. #176 BdN
    January 26, 2010

    The point matt was making, and that I agreed with, is that some of these words have evolved into non-gender specific insults in most parts of the English speaking world.

    So if people lost track of the origin of it or if the ones being insulted in the first placed started using it, maybe because they internalized it, it is alright ?

    Of course, the fact that you call yourself “newfie” is telling in this case…

  176. #177 SirBedevere
    January 26, 2010

    Given their reason for outrage, these people might indeed go about banning books from the curriculum “willy-nilly”.

    In fact, “willy-nilly” might be the name for the law they try to get passed to this end…

  177. #178 frog, Inc.
    January 26, 2010

    newfie: I really went over the top there, didn’t I? Shame that only a few saw the intentionality and purpose of that, but that’s the price for an out of town audience sometimes.

    Yes, and I’ve had white folks tell me that nigger isn’t racist, that their intent is to simply describe a set of despicable behaviors. Usually, they’re not as sophisticated as you — they don’t go on to say that it’s “evolved to be race-neutral”. And kike just means that you’re stingy — it’s just a historical coincidence that it used to refer to Jews, or that others use it to refer to Jews…

    You really are an idiot, aren’t you? Now, I won’t use a Newfie reference here, and pretend that I mean it as a traditional Canadian way to refer to stupidity that has evolved to be culturally neutral, rather than as an ethnic slur. That would be compounding a direct insult with an insult to the intelligence of every last reader hear.

  178. #179 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    No, I am the same Walton I’ve always been. I am, however, remarkably inconsistent.

    I am large, I contain multitudes.

  179. #180 Newfie
    January 26, 2010

    Just having some fun with language, Janine..and Yank Bashing is almost a national sport.

    Now then. This is really something to get upset about.

  180. #181 AnneH
    January 26, 2010

    A significant correction: It’s the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary that is the issue.
    The school district purchased the collegiate level dictionaries specifically

    to allow advanced readers in the fourth and fifth grades to look up words that they didn’t know

    (source http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_W_dictionary23.466f8d4.html )

    So, the ignorant people of Menifee are making sure the bright and curious students are denied the opportunity to learn. As a substitute teacher, I know how difficult it is to get most children to pick up a dictionary. (They’d rather look it up online.) It frustrates me that Menifee is squelching a rare impulse of children to research something because they are curious and want to know more about it.

  181. #182 timrowledge
    January 26, 2010

    There is no censorship nor the desire to use it. But if one uses those words, your motives will be questioned.

    Not to mention how some very stupid people will get all riled up by the correct use of an unrelated word that simply sounds faintly like one they dislike. Remember the huge brouhaha about ‘niggardly’ a few years back?

  182. #183 Draken
    January 26, 2010

    Ok, hands up everybody who, when they first got their hands on a mandatory translation dictionary for high school, didn’t start to look up the translations of all the naughty words? Fuck (v): ficken, baiser, Cunt (s): Scheide, salope, etc.

    I see no hands. Good. You would have been sincerely handicapped on your forthcoming summer holidays not knowing these basics.

  183. #184 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Timrowledge, no matter what, there are going to be stupid people who will take offense. That kerfuffle over niggardly is as stupid as people who goes out of there way to not say hello because of hell.

    Did anyone ever get the e-mail about how the word picnic was derived from pick-a-nig?

  184. #185 frog, Inc.
    January 26, 2010

    bdN: So if people lost track of the origin of it or if the ones being insulted in the first placed started using it, maybe because they internalized it, it is alright ?

    I’d agree that it’s alright — if that were the case. If Newfie, or whoever, didn’t know the way it would be interpreted, or if they were in a community were it would be “interpreted” correctly, then there’d be no issue. The history is, strictly, unimportant, except in context.

    But it’s clearly not the case. The analogy here is of a South American white guy calling someone a nigger because, in Spanish, calling someone “mi negro” is an endearment. It’s the “I’m a moron” defense, which only works if you can plausibly claim that, in fact, you are a moron.

    Or calling someone a “stupid Newfie” in Newfoundland after living there for years, and then getting all upset that people took it the “wrong way” — because when you grew up in Alabama, it actually was a derived from the French “neuf” and meant a stupid greenhorn.

  185. #186 Doktor Zoom
    January 26, 2010

    Draken @ 183, I was especially amused a few years ago when one of my students at Osaka University asked me, “is this true?” about an entry on obscenities in his English-Japanese dictionary. It asserted that the “most offensive words in English” were…and then listed George Carlin’s “seven dirty words,” in the same order as Carlin used them in his routine. Photocopied the page, but darned if I know where that went.

  186. #187 frog, Inc.
    January 26, 2010

    Walton: No, I am the same Walton I’ve always been. I am, however, remarkably inconsistent.

    Kudos then. I’m always glad to be surprised — keep it up!

  187. #188 ChrisD
    January 26, 2010

    If I use the word ‘cunt’ to refer to someone as a thing I’d like to thrash about vigorously and pound on with an average sized club then is that misogyny? Or perversion?

  188. #189 Newfie
    January 26, 2010

    How about the brou-haha over Harry Reid’s statement about Obama’s form of speech? (Doesn’t speak with a Negro Dialect)- referring to Obama’s electibility.
    Who were the people taking offence to that, and for what reason where they feigning offence? This is the kind of thing that pisses me off. They were never offended, they just wanted everybody to think that they were offended, for the sole reason of scoring political points. No consideration at all for Mr. Reid, who recommended Obama to run in the first place. His form of speech and his intent were beside the point.

  189. #190 BdN
    January 26, 2010

    I’d agree that it’s alright — if that were the case. [...] The history is, strictly, unimportant, except in context.

    I could agree with this but on a rather long-term scale. I wouldn’t mind much for someone using an insult coming from Proto-Indo-European or even Latin and nobody remembered. I cannot really talk about “cunt” but in French, we have the word “con” which has almost the same meaning (even though they probably don’t have the same etymology). Many people are unaware of it’s origin and don’t know what it really means. But anyone who has read a book written prior to 1950 knows it. I’m ambivalent about the fact nobody should use it as an insult anymore but I don’t think it’s not a problem neither.

  190. #191 Antiochus Epiphanes
    January 26, 2010

    #131: Let’s leave the lilies out of it.
    #167: Calling people “lilies” is hardly a gender specific insult because 1) Lilies are wonderful and brighten any garden, centerpiece, or woodland glade and 2) The genus Lilium is composed entirely of hermaphrodites.

  191. #192 Gregory Greenwood
    January 26, 2010

    Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM @ 127;

    Could this be a quickie sequel of Wolfman starring Rachel Maddow?

    We should sell that idea to Hollywood. We would make a killing. I mean, lesbian werewolves? What’s not to love?! We already know that lesbian vampires can be successful at the box office, after all.

    While I am about it, I would just like to say that, while I am a fully paid up child of (sadly these days, not very) perfidious Albion, I have always considered c**t to be a gendered insult with undertones of misogyny. It is sometimes applied to a man as a means to call into question his perceived ‘masculinity’, so elements of homophobia are present as well. It is a term that I myself strictly avoid using. Having said this, I accept that I have a rather low threshold for any kind of profanity in my own posts, so I may not be the best judge of how appropriate this term is. It is not my place to seek to control the form of words adopted by others.

    My point is that, contrary to some earlier comments, it is not the case that this insult is universally considered to be ungendered within the UK.

  192. #193 AnneH
    January 26, 2010

    woohoo! More clarification on the original article!
    http://www.swrnn.com/southwest-riverside/2010-01-25/news/controversy-growing-over-menifee-district-decision-to-remove-dictionary

    The money quote (Yes, I’m aware of the porn origin of that phrase. Since this thread has been severely hijacked by arguments over usage and meaning, my choice of words is deliberate.)

    Cadmus said it was not just one parent that complained, but that there was a growing parent concern at Oak Meadows Elementary over the explicit term, which it turns out was not contained in the dictionary; though other words that might be considered age-inappropriate were found.

    You read that right. Dictionaries were removed for complaints about words that were not actually in said dictionaries.

  193. #194 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Some years ago I had an argument on the old “NPR Your Turn” website about Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Someone claimed it was a racist book because one of the main characters was Nigger Jim. I pointed out that Jim is the only mature adult in the book. Among other things he forces Huck to face the consequences of his actions. Twain actually wrote a strong anti-racist book. Too bad some people latch onto one word and fail to notice the real lesson of the book.

  194. #195 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Yeah, that Huck decides he would rather go to hell because he will not turn Jim over to the authorities is besides the point.

  195. #196 frog, Inc.
    January 26, 2010

    Newfie: How about the brou-haha over Harry Reid’s statement about Obama’s form of speech? (Doesn’t speak with a Negro Dialect)- referring to Obama’s electibility.

    You don’t see the difference there? In that case, most of the people taking the “offense” weren’t black and hadn’t been involved in the conversation even peripherally. Even in other contexts, it’s rarely taken as a strong slur — at most, it’s seen as associated with a racist culture, but the word itself was the “high register” in that context.

    It was transparently a political attack.

    The obvious “interpretation” was that Obama’s ability to code-switch was a political advantage for him. It had no racist substance — other than a statement that racism still is relevant in American politics — and was a ill-felicitous use of an archaic term.

    If the response by you to your use of cunt was — sorry, I was using a regionalism (i.e., I’m ignorant) — well, no one would have followed up the attack. It was the continued use of terms that had been clearly explained as to their implications in context. It’s because you insist that you get to dictate to the community what you “mean”.

    I’m now heading off to Newfoundland to explain to the stupid Newfies that they shouldn’t find stupid Newfie offensive — that in my neck of the woods, it’s “stupid neufie”, referring to ignorant newbies. I hope that they’re not so stupid that they don’t get it and take me out behind the bar to teach me a lesson.

  196. #197 Bill Dauphin, OM
    January 26, 2010

    How about the brou-haha over Harry Reid’s statement about Obama’s form of speech? (Doesn’t speak with a Negro Dialect)- referring to Obama’s electibility.

    Reid’s comments were actually a fairly accurate analysis of the dynamics of race in American electoral politics. Negro is old-fashioned and out of favor, but it is not now, nor has it ever been, a racist slur (except in the sense that almost any word can be made a slur in context). Colored, Negro, Afro-American, African-American, and Black is a (roughly) time-ordered sequence of politically correct ways of referring to Americans of African descent; note that the first two terms are immortalized in the names of institutionally pro-Black organizations: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Negro College Fund (remember “a mind is a terrible thing to waste”?).

    Excepting Republican hackChair Michael Steele, I have yet to hear any prominent African-American commentator say they were offended by Reid’s comment.

    Who were the people taking offence to that, and for what reason where they feigning offence?

    Well, duh…. Prominent white (with the exception of the aforementioned Steele) Republican hacks, many of them vulnerable to charges of racism themselves, who hate the president, Reid, and everything they stand for, and will seize on any excuse to criticize them, no matter how absurd or duplicitous.

  197. #198 TheCalmOne
    January 26, 2010

    I am Australian (good morning!) and can support the comments about non-US usage of “cunt”. It is used here, by men and women, as a stronger alternative for, say, “bastard” or “arsehole”, with no gender-specific intention at all. Having said that, I hardly use the word myself, preferring bastard, arsehole, wanker, prick or turkey (but only when I’m driving). I have been trying to bring back “drongo” with little success, unfortunately. The last time I used “cunt” was A few weeks ago when I referred to an ex boss as a miserable cunt.

    I do apologise if anyone interpreted my original post as mysogynistic. I was completely taken aback by this initially, until I realised there was a cultural difference involved. Also – I accept being pulled up on my breathless leap from opprobrium to censorship. Fair point.

  198. #199 Newfie
    January 26, 2010

    If the response by you to your use of cunt was — sorry, I was using a regionalism (i.e., I’m ignorant) — well, no one would have followed up the attack. It was the continued use of terms that had been clearly explained as to their implications in context. It’s because you insist that you get to dictate to the community what you “mean”.

    .

    Frog has different meanings to it. Should you be expected to not use that word in France? Even when referring to an amphibian?

    I stated the meaning and usage of the ‘c’ word here. My wife used it referring to me not too long ago, after I ate the last of the ice cream. Should other females be upset with her?

    And I just asked her this same question about the usage of the word. She agrees that it’s gender neutral here.. and said, “I’d rather be called a c**t than a b**ch”.

    Some ‘bad’ words become acceptable over time, and other ‘good’ words become unacceptable over time. And geographically, evolution happens more quickly in some place than others, I guess that applies to language.

    “Newfie” btw, has become acceptable in the vernacular to refer to a Newfoundlander. Very few would take offence to it. It wasn’t at one time, but it is now. Anyone who would take offence now, would be of the same ilk as those Republicans taking offence at Mr. Reid’s statement. And I’d be the first one to defend your use of it here to some idiot who decided to take offence.

  199. #200 Paul
    January 26, 2010

    @199

    It’s so good we have you here to be the arbiter of which words have become acceptable. If we didn’t have your statement that you and/or your wife don’t find certain words objectionable anymore, we might have to think about how other people might take the things we say.

    You’re a saint.

  200. #201 Miki Z
    January 26, 2010

    ?Removing a book should be based solely on its educational value, not on whether a few parents think it is a good or bad thing,? Bertin said. ?On that theory, you would only have ?Dick and Jane? left in the library.?Oops, better remove that one, too.

  201. #202 frog, Inc.
    January 26, 2010

    newfie: Frog has different meanings to it. Should you be expected to not use that word in France? Even when referring to an amphibian?

    Now you’re being disingenuous. You aren’t a 15th century man referring to female genitalia, or a member of an obscure community who uses “frog” to refer to all foreigners in a neutral manner and is complete ignorant of it’s standard usage in England.

    You’re more like a kid who says in front of a french kid “Look at that Stupid Frog” and then claims he was referring to the amphibian while he giggles to himself.

    It’s YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to at least attempt to understand the implications of your words in context. You know the inferences that will be made — your insistence on continuing to make statements that will be interpreted in a certain manner, when there are perfectly good ways to make yourself understood, can only lead me to infer that you intend them despite your protestations.

    Some ‘bad’ words become acceptable over time, and other ‘good’ words become unacceptable over time. And geographically, evolution happens more quickly in some place than others, I guess that applies to language.

    Yes. Apply that lesson. Using a “bad” word when you know it is a “bad” word makes it fair for the other conversants to claim that you are using it as part of an attack. Under some conditions, for a man to call another man a bastard is fairly innocuous; in others, it’s a claim against their mother’s honor and will lead to a duel. If the first man is a foreigner, he can fairly expect to get latitude the first time.

    Here, you perfectly well know the implications — ergo, your “joke” combining cunt with a series of clearly misogynist phrases. After that little demo, claiming that you “mean” something different is a claim that you are either stupid, or a liar.

    When PZ killed the cracker — he intended to offend Catholics. No one disputed that — even though it meant something completely different to him than it did to them! That was the point of the affair — to demand the right to offend.

    But did PZ whine that traditional Catholics wouldn’t invite him over to dinner? That they misunderstood him?

  202. #203 Newfie
    January 26, 2010

    You know the inferences that will be made

    No, it’s more “where” the inferences will be made, and then being expected to conform to that in an international venue.

    Of course, us English speaking, foreigners could always point out whenever an American uses a word or phrase that we locally find offensive too, so that y’all can know to not use it when we’re around… but that would be almost nonstop then, when you think about it, eh?

  203. #204 Newfie
    January 26, 2010

    And as I take my leave to watch the latest Kids in the Hall episode on CBC(guaranteed to offend many).. I’ll leave you with Albania and Burma.

  204. #205 TheCalmOne
    January 26, 2010

    I can’t believe no one has posted this yet:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTifRi3qDkU&

    (Derek and Clive – “This Bloke Came Up To Me”)

  205. #206 Carlie
    January 26, 2010

    Frog has different meanings to it. Should you be expected to not use that word in France? Even when referring to an amphibian?

    That’s a disingenuous comparison, because one is pejorative and one is neutral. You’re trying to say that there’s some magic difference between calling someone a cunt to call them a bad person, and calling them a cunt to…call them a bad person. When both usages are negative and insulting, you really can’t argue that the word has somehow become neutral in one of those instances.

  206. #207 Cathy
    January 26, 2010

    I was at a writer’s conference once, and children’s author Bruce Coville proudly announced how many of his books had been banned from city and school libraries in states such as Texas, and (working from memory) he said the reason that was given in the newspaper for one particular banning was that parents complained that his book featured several pagan symbols such as the color green.

    Yep, according to the newspaper, his book was banned because it mentioned the color green!

  207. #208 Peter H
    January 26, 2010

    Recall the thread opened with the call for lots of noise, growling? And how many years has it been since the first volume in the Doctor Doolittle series was expurgated? How much noise and growling over that? How many actually realize Doctor Doolittle was “cleansed”? (There’s a seeming infinitude of examples, some referenced above.)

    When I looked, the NPR poll linked to above was 96 – 4 in favor of barbecuing the offending school board. Tastes like chicken, I’m told.

  208. #209 frog, Inc.
    January 26, 2010

    newfie: but that would be almost nonstop then, when you think about it, eh?

    You really think so? It’s usually not that hard. Somehow Spanish speakers manage to get along, even though Spanish is even more nationally fragmented than English is, with many multinational venues.

    Interculture politeness really isn’t that challenging. Usually a community forms a consensus pretty quickly about what they’ll pick and choose out of the national cultures at that particular venue.

    You act as if it’s such a call out to not use words that have a dual gendered and insult reference.

    It’s called politeness. It’s not the challenge you make it out to be. If a Christian asks me not to say “Dear Zombie-Jesus” around them, I may snigger, but I’d stop using that particular phrase. Slavery is a bad metaphor around African Americans in general; that’s a Godwin. These all seem pretty damn obvious, particularly after contact. Don’t say “You’re as fuckin’ Nazi” to a Jew. How hard is this?

    This isn’t over-sensitivity. Over sensitivity is when matters of substance are taboo — when you can’t even discuss certain ideas in any form.

  209. #210 zpmorgan
    January 26, 2010

    What will it take to put an urban dictionary in every classroom?

  210. #211 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 26, 2010

    Of course, us English speaking, foreigners could always point out whenever an American uses a word or phrase that we locally find offensive too, so that y’all can know to not use it when we’re around… but that would be almost nonstop then, when you think about it, eh?

    Yeah, I got no sympathy for ya buddy, having been to Mexico as a Castilian Spanish Speaker.

  211. #212 Antiochus Epiphanes
    January 26, 2010

    Maybe I’m taking crazy pills here. If you call someone a cunt, you mean to offend, whether you mean a bastard or more literally a vagina? Further, by choosing such a provocative word, you mean to offend people who hear the insult but are not the target of it. Isn’t that half the fucking fun of calling someone a cunt?

  212. #213 Peter H
    January 26, 2010

    Stepping back from any particular terminology marginally offensive to someone, somewhere, somehow, this thread seems to have lost the greater picture: The two states of California and Texas can easily direct and dictate the public school textbook / reference book publishing criteria for the entire nation. After the nutso pseudoscience and pseudo-philosophy, there is the publishing elephant in the sitting room. Publishers are not angels nor Zen masters; they go where the dollars flow; they may turn out to be the ultimate in intellectual pimps. The incident giving rise to this thread is only one more of a rising tide of troubling symptoms of a pernicious, frightening and potentially culture-destroying pathogen..

  213. #214 timrowledge
    January 26, 2010

    That kerfuffle over niggardly is as stupid as people who goes out of there way to not say hello because of hell.

    Aargh! Janine, please tell me that isn’t a real example or I may have to go and scream in the cellar. What next? Discussing a trip to the country is offensive? Perhaps we should just ban all forms of communication to be safe. Sigh.

  214. #215 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 26, 2010

    boobies.

    there, I said it.

  215. #216 tomh
    January 26, 2010

    The two states of California and Texas can easily direct and dictate the public school textbook / reference book publishing criteria for the entire nation.

    True for Texas, which buys textbooks statewide, but in California each school district makes their own decisions about textbooks, which erases any clout California might have.

  216. #217 Ibis3
    January 26, 2010

    I’m a little late to this discussion, but for the sake of the record:

    The use of cunt as an insult is misogynist, period. It (and it’s close cousin ‘twat’) has a connotation that goes beyond that of similar insults using words referring to male genitalia. If you have a hard time wrapping your mind around that, compare, say, ‘cracker’ with ‘nigger’. Both bad, but one calls to mind a lynch mob, the other doesn’t.

    The historical (and present-day) context is not the same. Women have historically been for all intents and purposes the property of men. They are still largely objectified & reduced to sexual objects for men’s gratification. In other words, women are not minds, not persons with rights, *just* cunts. Then you make that a double insult: cunt/woman is equated with something nasty (while twat is equated with stupidity).

    Historically, men haven’t had the same problem with objectification. When you call someone a dick or a prick, it connotes that the person is “thinking with or acting from his genitals, rather than his brain”. It assumes a man is more than his penis.

    Every time I read someone being called a cunt or twat, I feel that person is denigrating *me*, as I’m sure I would feel similarly if I were black and the word “nigger” were used as frequently as an insult as “cunt” and “twat” are.

    All that said, those words should be in the dictionary and those dictionaries should be available to elementary students in Menifee.

  217. #218 naughty savage
    January 27, 2010

    Ah, my favorite character is an atheist werewolf…

    http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/eBook26014.htm

  218. #219 Cowcakes
    January 27, 2010

    Well I sure hope she also gets the Bible removed from the library. Look at this filth:

    “Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt. For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.” (Ezekiel 23: 19-21)

    “and lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of stallions.” (Ezekiel 23: 21, NRSV)

    Looks like old Ezy was right into the beastiality

  219. #220 Militant Agnostic
    January 27, 2010

    They had better get rid of the atlases as well so their delicate children do not discover the town of Dildo in Newfoundland.

  220. #221 Jadehawk, OM
    January 27, 2010

    They had better get rid of the atlases as well so their delicate children do not discover the town of Dildo in Newfoundland.

    just wait until they discover this town :-p

  221. #222 bbgunn071679
    January 27, 2010

    When I told my wife this story, I literally doubled over in laughter at her response. Without hesitation, she blurted out, “Somebody needs to shove a boner in her [Menifee mom's] mouth and tell her to shut the hell up.”

    My wife… I REALLY love her.

  222. #223 candy beans
    January 27, 2010

    what a frustrating and appalling situation, made more so by the school district’s cowardice. My efforts to use any of the email addresses posted on the district’s website failed repeatedly. Ugh. I do not want to spent 44 cents to remind these asshats how idiotic they are.

  223. #224 Blondin
    January 27, 2010

    When I was in high school somebody put stickers (I think they came from a Mad magazine) in a whole bunch of books in the school library that said, ?Hey gang, all the dirty bits are on pages?? and then proceeded to list the page numbers of any particularly naughty bits.

    I remember finding one in a dictionary that listed the page numbers for ?fuck?, ?prick?, etc and another in a book called ?Strange Fruit? (about interracial romance) listing some rape scenes. It was worth checking them every once in a while to see if anybody had added any more references.

    I overheard the librarian telling somebody that he knew they were there and he was leaving them there because it indicated that some people were actually reading some books they might not have opened otherwise. Good on ya, Boris, where ever you are now.

  224. #225 https://me.yahoo.com/a/znAfKWYGnfs.gdD.2HZSzJTWp.7v20eZeg8-#97a20
    January 27, 2010
  225. #226 Kausik Datta
    January 27, 2010

    Ibis3: I couldn’t agree with you more. And this topic has been at the center of many a heated debate right here at Pharyngula. Perhaps Jadehawk, Janine and SC (our fiery OM-threesome) can shed further light on this.

    But I have a slightly different take on this. I strongly feel that words themselves don’t have any power. We, human beings, give them power through connotations – the power to cause harm, hurt, emotional turmoil and so forth. And by the same logic, I think if we consciously cease empowering these words as words of abuse, they will be robbed of their harmful potential.

    My favorite case-in-point is the word ‘nigger’. My people, my Indian forebears, have often been called by ‘nigger’, ‘darky’, ‘brownie’, and other such racial epithets during the 100-odd years of British rule (200 years if considering the East India Company). Once the British Raj withdrew in 1947, gradually these words lost their connotations and were relegated to mere lexical entries. Nowadays, anybody using them in India seems ridiculous, anachronistic and insane.

    When I came to the US, I understood that this word still had painful connotations associated with it, and therefore, was very surprised to find that while one group was expressly forbidden to use it (since it represents a vile racial slur), another group was freely using it as a self-description. It struck me as incongruous, which is why I initially supported the campaign (led by Al Sharpton and others) to ban the ‘N-word’ from popular parlance.

    But I have since come to realize that banning a word (or a book, or a cartoon, or a movie) doesn’t solve the issue, rather stokes it. If a word is offensive, there must be a conscious effort to disregard it, thereby pushing it into disuse and obsolescence.

    I don’t know if anyone else here would agree with me, though.

  226. #227 https://me.yahoo.com/a/znAfKWYGnfs.gdD.2HZSzJTWp.7v20eZeg8-#97a20
    January 27, 2010

    “Menifee Mom” was mentioned in a short article in The Californian.

    [The parent who lodged the original complaint to Oak Meadows' principal said she reviewed the book for what she felt were inappropriate words after her 9-year-old son asked her about a vulgarity he said friends found in the dictionary.

    She said she was especially disturbed by the description of how to perform oral sex.]

    Here’s a link to the article: http://nctimes.com/news/local/menifee/article_21f753ca-bd75-5c36-a82e-0b6738535001.html

  227. #228 Carlie
    January 27, 2010

    . I strongly feel that words themselves don’t have any power. We, human beings, give them power through connotations – the power to cause harm, hurt, emotional turmoil and so forth. And by the same logic, I think if we consciously cease empowering these words as words of abuse, they will be robbed of their harmful potential.

    But the only way to cease empowering words as abusive is to stop using them as abusive words. How else could it be done? Reclaiming words involves using them to mean something different than the original meaning, and only gains steam when the majority begin to use it that way. Trying to use a word in the same sense as the original (e.g. insulting) while claiming to be robbing it of its original intent (also insulting) and while the majority of people also use it in its original intent (insulting) simply doesn’t work – it just adds to the reinforcement that it is that kind of word.

    (I am now thinking of Rita calling Michael a pussy in Arrested Development – there’s an example of a usage that is DIFFERENT than the original use as an insult.)

  228. #229 https://me.yahoo.com/a/znAfKWYGnfs.gdD.2HZSzJTWp.7v20eZeg8-#97a20
    January 27, 2010

    Now that they are returning the dictionaries to the shelves (including an alternate version so parents have a choice between the two), NPR has a new poll for you. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/01/update_dictionaries_will_be_re.html

  229. #230 ScottW
    January 27, 2010
  230. #231 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 27, 2010

    But I have since come to realize that banning a word (or a book, or a cartoon, or a movie) doesn’t solve the issue, rather stokes it. If a word is offensive, there must be a conscious effort to disregard it, thereby pushing it into disuse and obsolescence.

    Kausik Datta, I agree that words in themselves do not have power nor meaning. If it were others wise, language would have no need to change and would be static. The meaning of words is dependent upon the society it is used. (You do know that there are americans who call people like you sand nigger. They do the same for people of arabic and persian descent. It makes no difference to them, you are not white.)

    I agree that words should not be banned and I have a very simple reason; self preservation. Just because a word is banned does not mean that the beliefs go away. I would rather that people feel free to express their homophobic, misogynistic or racists beliefs if they hold them. That way I know whom I should avoid, I know who is a threat to me. That way I know that I have to keep my guard up.

    For example. the Phelps clan and those groups that show up at LGBT events informing us that we are going to hell. I want them to be in the open. I want to know that they are there. Having this hatred going underground so that it is just a stealth operation leads to s false sense of security. I want to and need to know that there are people who want to do me harm. The banning of words gets in the way of this.

    As you pointed out, words can lose their sting. And that comes from changing the situations, not from eliminating words.

    Therefore, I do not want to shut up someone like dendy. I want him to keep on ranting, even after he gets his inevitable banning. I want him to keep ranting on his blogs. My hope is that society changes enough that he finds himself isolated and powerless. The is because most other people know who he is, what he stands for and finds him to be regressive.

    I hope my mini rant was coherent.

  231. #232 jefrir
    January 27, 2010

    Another British reader here, and I disagree that “cunt” is somehow acceptable or gender-neutral here. Its use as an insult may well be gender-neutral, but it still has its plain meaning to refer to female genitalia, and this is what makes it mysogynistic.

  232. #233 Miki Z
    January 27, 2010

    We own both the Merriam-Webster collegiate dictionary and the McGraw Hill student dictionary, and the MW dictionary seems to be superior in both number of words defined and clarity of definition.

  233. #234 Kausik Datta
    January 27, 2010

    Carlie:

    But the only way to cease empowering words as abusive is to stop using them as abusive words. How else could it be done?

    Of course. You are right that it is one way. But perhaps, simultaneously, we could stop taking offence at these words, and say, just ignore them? Just a thought.

    I am from India, and have very dark, brown skin. I have been more than once called ‘Paki’ in NY city. Once, when I was alone, I just turned around and said, “You are rude and ignorant. Get real, man. This is the twentieth century.” The other times I was with my wife, and we ignored it and went our way, knowing that scum shall always be scum.

    Echoing Walton here a bit:

    I just don’t see why it’s ever necessary to call anyone a “c**t”.

    Absolutely. Very sensible. Besides, I don’t understand this fascination with using body parts as abusive words. Perhaps I should start abusing others with ‘spleen’, ‘bile duct’, or [gasp!] ‘vas deferens’!!

  234. #235 Kausik Datta
    January 27, 2010

    Janine, MOFMA, OM:

    I hope my mini rant was coherent.

    Every bit of it. You have my respect for your position.

    Just because a word is banned does not mean that the beliefs go away.

    Alas, this is too true. But I still think that if an individual does not react to a word or words of abuse hurled at him/her, it denies the abuser the satisfaction of having harmed or hurt another individual. In the short term, isn’t that important?

  235. #236 Carlie
    January 27, 2010

    I have been more than once called ‘Paki’ in NY city. Once, when I was alone, I just turned around and said, “You are rude and ignorant. Get real, man. This is the twentieth century.”

    Which is exactly the way some of us react to those kinds of statements online – by calling the person out for using them. Like in this thread.

    The other times I was with my wife, and we ignored it and went our way,

    That can work in meatspace if done obviously enough – pointedly ignoring someone is a fairly powerful social statement. But in writing on the internets, not rejecting a statement looks more like tacit approval. It can happen in the real world as well – if your grandma keeps talking about “the blacks” every Thanskgiving, and everyone just sits in uncomfortable silence and doesn’t say anything about it, she’s likely to keep on doing it every year.

  236. #237 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 27, 2010

    Alas, this is too true. But I still think that if an individual does not react to a word or words of abuse hurled at him/her, it denies the abuser the satisfaction of having harmed or hurt another individual. In the short term, isn’t that important?

    In real life, I do not want to give these people the satisfaction of getting upset. I smile and wave when I go by. Obviously, when I am online, it is a different story. But these are different dynamics, in real life, they are looking for a negative reaction. It validates their hate. But online, silence is consent.

    As for body parts based insults, how about I have your stack of pancreas right here, bud!?

    Carlie, relatives will tone down their racial epitaphs a bit when I am around because they do not like it when I glare at them. I am a big meanie. But the bit about the “blacks” reminds me of one of my more uncomfortable moments working as a cashier at a convenience store. The old man I was ringing up kept going on about those jungles bunnies. I just kept my mouth closed out of fear that I would yell at the idiot if I opened my mouth. Instead, I just glared at him.

  237. #238 frog, Inc.
    January 27, 2010

    Janine:

    In some places, plain old shaming works. Not getting angry, but shaking your head sadly at them.

    People really, really hate it when they feel you’re looking down at them. A motherly approach is often the strongest — that brings up all kinds of childhood issues if they’re male, but makes it impossible for them to respond.

  238. #239 Kausik Datta
    January 27, 2010

    Janine:

    …racial epitaphs…

    Freudian slip – the finest example of, hands down. I wish as a society we could bury these racially-motivated ignominies forever. Someday…

    these are different dynamics, in real life, they are looking for a negative reaction. It validates their hate. But online, silence is consent.

    I am slowly coming to realize this sad fact, too. (Part of the reason why I recently decided to be a lot more vocal atheist and pseudoscience decrier than I usually am)

    I have your stack of pancreas right here, bud!?

    Festering ulcer on your gastric mucosa, too!
    *shocks self*
    No, Janine. I didn’t mean that. Live long and prosper!

  239. #240 mick.long
    January 27, 2010

    One wonders if they apply the same rigorous standards to everything they do! (shudders)

  240. #241 Newfie
    January 27, 2010

    So, how does the cursing/epitaphs work in French? The nouns all have masculine and feminine pronouns. Lots to take offence with there. Better make sure that ‘rock’ in sentence, “He’s as dumb as a rock.”, has a masculine pronoun lest poor ‘ol Pierre get smacked around and called a misogynist.

    yup, “Une roche”.

  241. #242 Kausik Datta
    January 27, 2010

    So, how does the cursing/epitaphs epithets work in French?

    Sorry, had to fix! Please don’t mind.

  242. #243 Newfie
    January 27, 2010

    I left out a “the” also. Thanks, dude. :)

  243. #244 frog, Inc.
    January 27, 2010

    newfie: “he nouns all have masculine and feminine pronouns.”

    I guess you don’t normally speak a romance language, do you? If you speak a language with gender, you know that grammatical “gender” has nothing to do with sexual gender, except when the object itself has a gender — and not even always then. See Mark Twain and “That Awful German Language” — “In German, a young lady has no sex, while a turnip has”.

    It’s just about matching sound patterns.

    That’s not the case you’re talking about. “La piedra” is feminine only in the sense that it is “bella” not “bello”. No one thinks that a rock is female — just that matching adjectives end with “a”. Unlike say a vagina or penis — which regardless of their “gender” are semantically linked to a sex.

    In short, you’re talking nonsense. What we’re talking about is gendered referents — not mere sound patterns. Really, try harder.

    Oh, and by the way:
    Better make sure that ‘rock’ in sentence, “He’s as dumb as a rock.”, has a masculine pronoun lest poor ‘ol Pierre get smacked around and called a misogynist.
    isn’t what you meant. The pronoun in the sentence refers to Pierre — if you use “Elle” instead of “Il” just means you’re not referring to Pierre at all. You meant the article – “une” vs. “un”.

  244. #245 Carlie
    January 27, 2010

    Not to beat a dead horse, but this just popped up today, and is a wickedly good summary of the issues surrounding phrasing and changing of original meanings.

  245. #246 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 27, 2010

    Carlie, thanks for the link. Very timely. Guess that I will have to bookmark it. Just one thing. You forgot to point out if the dead horse is a stallion or a mare.

  246. #247 Newfie
    January 27, 2010

    Thanks for the link, Carlie. I enjoyed the read. I really mean that.

    But, I disagree with her conclusion. I’m of the opinion, “don’t look to take offence where none was intended.. pointing it out is fine, nice to know the cultural norms around the world. But don’t expect me to conform to your culture. You can’t take my language and culture from me.”

    Now, that said.. In meatspace, when in Rome, I can behave just fine.
    but the internets ain’t Rome, and as soon that other realize that, they’ll stop nitpicking about connotations of words, and the need to point it out on message boards.

    and there’s always the fun, when you don’t include winkies and smilies, that some will always project their own interpretation of your intent.

    - give me ambiguity, or give me something else

  247. #248 frog, Inc.
    January 28, 2010

    newfie: don’t look to take offence where none was intended

    And there’s the problem. How do I know what you intend? I can take into account what you claim to intend, but that’s insufficient, particularly on the internets (and such disembodied communications).

    In meatspace, I know you. Therefore, I can take into account your particular history. But in other media — books, newspapers, internets, TV — I don’t know you. I have to depend to a much greater extent on the community concensus of what words mean.

    You just don’t seem to get that. You want us to read your mind — and then assume that everyone else can properly read your mind, since it’s part of an ongoing conversation. Why should I even bother? Why are you wasting other people’s time, forcing everyone to adapt to you?

    You’ve got it all backwards. In personal relationships, the problem of communication is pretty simple — I know what you mean, you know what I mean, we don’t have to care about what other people mean or might “take” what we say. There’s all kinds of jokes I can make with my family that would be terribly offensive in the public sphere — because we know the entire context.

    You’re trying to apply those rules to public forums, to anonymous and semi-anonymous relationships. That’s nonsense. I don’t give a fuck about what you claim to intend, since I have no basis to confirm or deny it. I’m not your intimate — stop being so damn presumptuous and behaving as if you were long buddies with people you barely know.

    You’re right that the internet isn’t meatspace. I’m figuring that you’re probably pretty young — the facebook generation that treats complete strangers more intimately than meatspace people. I think that entire culture is severely deformed. That’s where the confusion lies, I think, in an upside down definition (a perverse definition) of social distance.

  248. #249 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    You’re right that the internet isn’t meatspace. I’m figuring that you’re probably pretty young — the facebook generation that treats complete strangers more intimately than meatspace people. I think that entire culture is severely deformed. That’s where the confusion lies, I think, in an upside down definition (a perverse definition) of social distance.

    I’m middle aged, frog. But I’ve been around the internets. That could be it too. Others just stick to certain types of interaction online, like Science and Tech blogs, and some of us have been in epic flame wars in other weird and wonderful places and enjoy some back and forth banter and discussion without taking any of it too serious, or projecting intent.
    Nobody seems to stay anybody’s hand with the godbots on this blog, do they?

  249. #250 Paul
    January 28, 2010

    Nobody seems to stay anybody’s hand with the godbots on this blog, do they?

    That’s because those who are insulting the godbots don’t refer to them as “feminazi cunts”. Nobody would have been on your case if you weren’t continuously insisting on the right to say similar things without being called on it.

  250. #251 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    Paul, you obviously missed my point and what I was trying to accomplish. Instead, you feel the need to insult me, and proved the point that I was trying to make. Congratulations.
    If you’re that stupid, stay quiet and just be thought the fool, mmkay?

  251. #252 Paul
    January 28, 2010

    We had this argument months ago. When you’re the only person who doesn’t get your point, or your point is not supported by your behavior, perhaps you might want to think about why you fail so poorly at getting it across.

  252. #253 Paul
    January 28, 2010

    …the only person who doesn’tgets your point…

  253. #254 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    Paul.. think what you will ok? I can’t do anything about that. But please, piss off. I’m not about to explain it to you for the umpteenth time. You don’t get it, even when it’s been dumbed down to your level, so move along somewhere else.

  254. #255 frog, Inc.
    January 28, 2010

    newfie: But I’ve been around the internets. That could be it too. Others just stick to certain types of interaction online, like Science and Tech blogs, and some of us have been in epic flame wars in other weird and wonderful places and enjoy some back and forth banter and discussion without taking any of it too serious, or projecting intent.

    You’re always “projecting intent”. That’s what communication is. You just have an issue with forum. You’re applying rules from checkers while playing dominoes, and getting upset that someone keeps on telling you to stop moving your dominoes and capturing other peoples blocks.

    I don’t see how you don’t get it. It’s like folks who get upset that Pharyngula is “harsh”. There isn’t a universal set of rules — there are Pharyngula rules, 4chan rules, and “My Little Pony Website” rules.

    It’s not hypocrisy, it’s avoiding tripping over the well-lighted and labeled step.

  255. #256 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    I was wrongly arrested and severely beaten in a cell, and suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Thus, the word “cell” is deeply offensive to me. Please don’t use that word. I can’t make you stop using it, but I will point it out each time you do, and make sure to let you know that offends me. The fact that you’re using it in the biological sense matters not.. I still find the word offensive.

    Now, that would be a tad much to ask on biologist’s blog, wouldn’t it? And the above is not a factual statement, just a hypothetical.

  256. #257 frog, Inc.
    January 28, 2010

    newfie: Now, that would be a tad much to ask on biologist’s blog, wouldn’t it? And the above is not a factual statement, just a hypothetical.

    That’s the key part 1. It’s a biological blog.

    Key part 2 is that it’s idiosyncratic. That’s a unique quality of one person, not a general property of communication. If I were speaking just with you — it’s a different matter.

    Key part 3 is that it’s not offensive to you — you don’t reasonable take it as a put down of you — but that it’s disturbing to you. Those are very distinct qualities.

    Wrong on all counts again. But take another bat at it.

  257. #258 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    Ya, not the best example, but the point is, I wouldn’t take offence unless I was really looking to. Which I think some are doing, regardless of the original intent in which the author used it. Some say “don’t use it”, some say “it’s perfectly acceptable.. if somewhat crude.” That would be enough for me in an international venue. But for some, it isn’t. I realize the power of words, but others have to realize they don’t always mean the same thing for everyone else. My view is that it looks childish, nitpicking and whiny. But that is my view, based on my culture and upbringing.

    But, we are all different. I’m not gonna convince a die hard xtian that Jesus was a constructed fictional character based on previous fictional characters, even if I show them all the evidence, and take them through it step by step. They’re more likely to just take offence at me questioning their strong held beliefs, and not take in any of the information that I’m giving them. Much like Paul here. Digging up, or having saved that old post of mine, where I went over the top and yelled “fire” in a crowded theatre for effect… the explanation and intent matters not, he’s fixated on the word, and doesn’t hear anything afterwards.

  258. #259 Paul
    January 28, 2010

    Digging up, or having saved that old post of mine, where I went over the top and yelled “fire” in a crowded theatre for effect… the explanation and intent matters not, he’s fixated on the word, and doesn’t hear anything afterwards.

    I spent 15 seconds to link the actual thread so people could see for themselves the entire trail of comments where you showed yourself to be unhinged. If I was just “fixated on the word” I would not have provided context.

    I could give a fuck about language use, I just find people who argue as disingenuously as you do to be sickening.

  259. #260 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    fine, Paul. Again.. piss off. Believe what you want. You’re not worth the effort of my typing a response, and this is the last one you’ll get. You don’t understand, and you’re not going to. I’m not a special ed teacher.

  260. #261 ScottW
    January 28, 2010

    Back on topic!

    http://www.newsplex.com/home/headlines/82944032.html

    “A version of Anne Frank’s diary that contains sexual references has been pulled from public schools in Culpeper. The book prompted a complaint from a parent. The school system will use an alternate version of the diary.”

  261. #262 Paul
    January 28, 2010

    fine, Paul. Again.. piss off. Believe what you want. You’re not worth the effort of my typing a response, and this is the last one you’ll get. You don’t understand, and you’re not going to. I’m not a special ed teacher.

    I had stopped replying to you until you decided to misrepresent me here. I have no issue with ignoring your tripe as long as you don’t reference me in a misleading or deceptive manner.

  262. #263 ScottW
    January 28, 2010

    Both of you… go to your rooms.

  263. #264 Kausik Datta
    January 28, 2010

    Look, Newfie:

    I was wrongly arrested and severely beaten in a cell, and suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Thus, the word “cell” is deeply offensive to me. Please don’t use that word.

    Are you seriously comparing the use of the word ‘cell’ (even if it has negative connotations for you) with the word ‘cunt’? Way to do False Equivalences! Many of the commenters have repeatedly pointed out (to eddie) that the opprobrious use of gender-specific words of abuse is demeaning and unwelcome; what is the point in repeating it ad nauseam, and defending its unabashed usage in this forum?

  264. #265 Carlie
    January 28, 2010

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I am amazed at the amount of energy and devotion some people will put into trying to prove that it’s ok for them to use their favorite slur and that no one should ever mind that they use it or ask that they use a different word or look at them funny when they do. Why so attached to a word? After all, you’re arguing that words have no inherent power, right? Then what’s the big deal about not using a particular one?

  265. #266 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    Back on topic!

    BURN THE BOOKS!

    These people need to be told to just take their kids out of the public school and homeschool them themselves.

  266. #267 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 28, 2010

    I was wrongly arrested and severely beaten in a cell, and suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Thus, the word “cell” is deeply offensive to me. Please don’t use that word.

    I like to stay out of these “discussions” about word usage, but in the context of what is being discussed here that is just stupid.

  267. #268 frog, Inc.
    January 28, 2010

    newfie: … I wouldn’t take offence unless I was really looking to. Which I think some are doing, regardless of the original intent in which the author used it.

    You don’t see why some people are “looking to take offense”? Why they may be a wee tad suspicious of people’s claimed intent? In this case men who use language that they’ve often directly and personally experienced as part of an on-going exercise in domination?

    Do you really think you wouldn’t take offense if some trust fund baby from Harvard called you a stupid fucking hick, and then claimed that “hick” wasn’t a reference to your background in Newfoundland — that buddies at Harvard always joke each other that way?

  268. #269 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    Why so attached to a word?

    It’s not the attachment, it’s the censorship by mob rule, without complete thought. Like the dictionary removal, and now the Diary of Anne Frank removal, and some people’s opinion on the C word in this thread.

  269. #270 CJO
    January 28, 2010

    “complete thought” = proper respect for male privilege.

  270. #271 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    “complete thought” = proper respect for male privilege.

    projection

  271. #272 Paul
    January 28, 2010

    it’s the censorship

    You keep using that word…

  272. #273 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 28, 2010

    projection

    No, the truth. If there is no reason to use an objectionable word, why use it? If you don’t like our usage, go elsewhere. Civilized people do not unnecessary offend others. Saying that word gives offense. Not saying it shouldn’t do anything to you.

  273. #274 SC OM
    January 28, 2010

    So, how does the cursing/epitaphs work in French? The nouns all have masculine and feminine pronouns. Lots to take offence with there.

    I love when people pull this shit. Of course, there’s no sexism or misogyny in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese,… Language among the speakers of these (Catholic-influenced) languages isn’t contentious or political at all. Right.

    “You can’t take my language and culture from me.”

    - proud citizen of Assholia

  274. #275 CJO
    January 28, 2010

    projection

    I got bingo!

  275. #276 SC OM
    January 28, 2010

    The nouns all have masculine and feminine pronouns.

    FFS.

  276. #277 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 28, 2010

    They can take away my life but they cannot take away my use of the word cunt!

  277. #278 Paul
    January 28, 2010

    They can take away my life but they cannot take away suggest that my use of the word cunt is uncouth and unfitting as a way to refer to someone in public discussion!

    FTFY. It’s a bit wordy, but really the point of contention (or at least, it would be if he stopped with the censorship strawman).

  278. #279 Carlie
    January 28, 2010

    It’s not the attachment, it’s the censorship by mob rule, without complete thought.

    That you would even make the claim of “without complete thought” given the dozens of posts that lay out in excruciating detail what issues various people have with the word indicates that you have paid absolutely no attention to anything anyone has written.

    “complete thought” = proper respect for male privilege.

    Exactly.

    Like the dictionary removal, and now the Diary of Anne Frank removal

    Paging Mr. Godwin.

    They can take away my life but they cannot take away my use of the word cunt!

    I remember that scene in Braveheart, with Mel Gibson riding in front of the troops yelling “Cuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnntttttt!!!!!!”

  279. #280 Bill Dauphin, OM
    January 28, 2010

    Janine:

    They can take away my life but they cannot take away my use of the word cunt!

    I think what you mean to say is “They can have my cunt when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!

    <RunningForCover>

  280. #281 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 28, 2010

    This is a Chicago centric joke but damn if it still doesn’t make me laugh.

    Q) Name three streets that rhymes with vagina.

    A) Paulina, Regina and Lunt.

  281. #282 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 28, 2010

    Bill, that is that loudest laugh I have had in a while! I have tears! Thankyouthankyouthankyou!

  282. #283 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    They can take away my life but they cannot take away my use of the word cunt!

    so, even though the word has taken on a different meaning throughout the English speaking world, no matter what the use, or it’s meaning, you’ll take offence to it? A female using it to describe a male’s selfish behaviour (as is it’s meaning here) is still offensive? If it becomes noun for an object in the future (say a type of shoe), and used everywhere but the US, still offensive? “Check out the new pair of cunts, they were on sale.”
    AFAIK, the N word has but one meaning, a derogatory term for a black person. In the future, it could become a completely acceptable term for something else, and used in the vernacular, as the C word has in some places. A completely different word than its origin.

  283. #284 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 28, 2010

    Newfie, you sound as incoherent as Eddie on this topic. It is not a complement. You have issues. I suggest profession help.

  284. #285 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    A) Paulina, Regina and Lunt..

    ha! gonna have to remember that one for my trip to Chicago in the spring.

  285. #286 Carlie
    January 28, 2010

    so, even though the word has taken on a different meaning throughout the English speaking world,

    Bullshit.

  286. #287 Bill Dauphin, OM
    January 28, 2010

    Janine (@282):

    Whew! I was hopingafraid I might be punished!

  287. #288 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    Bullshit.

    well, I guess that I’m a liar, and everybody who uses it here as the definition that I gave, must be a figment of my imagination. How many times have you visited our island, Carlie? Have you talked to any other people from here to back up your assertion, or are you actually bullshitting in this instance?

  288. #289 Bill Dauphin, OM
    January 28, 2010

    Newfie, you sound as incoherent as Eddie on this topic.

    Say, it occurs to me: Has anyone actually seen Newfie and eddie together? <ChinScratch>

  289. #290 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 28, 2010

    Newfie, you do you want to deliberately insult other regulars? Answer that question. Because that is what unrestrained language does. It unnecessarily insults your friends, neighbors, and regulars here.

  290. #291 BdN
    January 28, 2010

    So, how does the cursing/epitaphs work in French? The nouns all have masculine and feminine pronouns. Lots to take offence with there.

    Hmmm, as I wrote above, we have the equivalent of “cunt” and THERE ARE people who take offense because of the same logic. Same for “salope” and others. And it is the same logic behind “retard” or, in French (“Canadian” French), “mongol”, “attardé”, “trisomique”, “tapette”, “fif”, etc. As far as I know, there is only one insult referring to male attributes and it is not used by that many people nor it’s exact meaning very clear. Over here, cursing is mainly done by using religion-related words.

  291. #292 Carlie
    January 28, 2010

    Newfie, I will type very slowly so maybe you can follow.

    A cunt is a word for women’s genetalia.

    Someone may want to insult another person for many distinct reasons.

    These reasons may include wanting to point out selfish behavior, or rude behavior, or uncouth behavior, or wimpy behavior, and so on.

    Using the word cunt as the insult is saying that such behavior is so bad, the person may as well be a woman’s genitalia.

    This is insulting to women, and contributes to the already-prevailing attitude that women are worth less than men.

    You cannot claim that the word now means something else entirely when A) a very large percentage of people who use it are still using it with that meaning and B) women are still considered to be worth less than men. Reclamation doesn’t work that way. In fact, at this stage of reclamation, you trying to do so is doing nothing but reinforcing the original definition.

    Oh, wait, I started typing fast at the end there. But that’s ok. It really isn’t worth my time to try in the first place (hence the single word “bullshit”), because your claim that no one has thought about this as much as you have indicates that you pay no attention to what anyone else has to say anyway.

  292. #293 Carlie
    January 28, 2010

    And in any case, no one is forcing you not to say cunt. Just don’t complain that when you keep on saying it, after you’ve blithely discarded all of the explanation you have been given of why objections exist to it, that people then refer to you as a misogynistic asshole.

  293. #294 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    Newfie, you do you want to deliberately insult other regulars?

    I was defending the original usage of a term in this thread as a non gender pejorative. Post #69.
    Others feel that it is a misogynist term, no matter the usage. I disagree with that position because of the evolution of the word, and believe that they were being as reactionary as the school district that removed the dictionaries. “To hell what anybody else thinks and has to say, we want it gone.” And from other’s posts, it seems to mostly be an American reaction.
    Is that difficult? I understand the reaction, but those who react that way are unable to see the other side. Sorry, but sometimes people need a mirror held up in front of them.

  294. #295 Sven DiMilo
    January 28, 2010

    well, I guess that I’m a liar, and everybody who uses it here as the definition that I gave, must be a figment of my imagination.

    You said it was used the way you like to use it “throughout the English-speaking world,” dumbass, which is manifestly untrue.

  295. #296 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 28, 2010

    Sorry, but sometimes people need a mirror held up in front of them.

    Yes, we are holding the mirror up for you to see. You can be unnecessarily offensive. You shouldn’t in a polite society. Not our problem, but rather yours. Deal with it elsewhere.

  296. #297 ScottW
    January 28, 2010

    Where did all the adults go?

  297. #298 WowbaggerOM
    January 28, 2010

    I disagree with that position because of the evolution of the word, and believe that they were being as reactionary as the school district that removed the dictionaries. “To hell what anybody else thinks and has to say, we want it gone.”

    But people here aren’t objecting to the word itself; if I use the word ‘cunt’ in a post where it isn’t used as an insult then no-one’s going to bat an eyelid. It’s the implication that there’s something inherently bad about cunts that people object to.

    There are plenty of other words that don’t remind slightly more than half the members of the human race that for the greater proportion of the past – and, for many, the entirety of the present – they’ve been considered second-class citizens and treated accordingly.

  298. #299 Bill Dauphin, OM
    January 28, 2010

    Apropos of what’s apparently become the main topic of this thread….

    My daughter was the stage manager for a recent student production of The History Boys at Yale, and we went to see it last Sunday. Next to the name of each member of the cast and crew in the program was a quote, all beginning “History is….” The director (a young woman) used as her quote “History is cunt-struck,” which struck me as odd, and more than a little cheeky (esp. given that her mother was in the audience for the performance we attended). But all was revealed (so to speak) when it turned out that it was based on a line from the play, in which a (female) teacher describes a sex-crazed (male) student as “cunt-struck.”

    This anecdote has been brought to you by the letters C, U, N, and T.

  299. #300 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    You said it was used the way you like to use it “throughout the English-speaking world,” dumbass, which is manifestly untrue.

    I never said that, Sven. I said that it has taken on different meaning in the English speaking world than its original use. The Brits may have other uses than Aussies, or Irish. And I gave the definition that it’s used in conversation here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Really. In everyday conversation, and it isn’t so much a pejorative here anymore, as just a concise word to describe behaviour. I’m not making this up.
    Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

  300. #301 SC OM
    January 28, 2010

    I would love it if each time the word appeared in a post it automatically appeared instead as a request for donations and link to, say, RAWA, or MADRE, or a women’s legal advocacy organization…

  301. #302 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 28, 2010

    In everyday conversation, and it isn’t so much a pejorative here anymore, as just a concise word to describe behaviour.

    Newfie, it is irrelevant what your local usage is. We have regulars from all over the world. If they (plural) tell you to stop using a word, do so. You local usage isn’t worth your effort to defend it. If you accidentally use it, apologize and move on…

  302. #303 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    Now, we call ocean perch, “Conners” here.
    Anybody want to tell me that I’m wrong?

  303. #305 frog, Inc.
    January 28, 2010

    newfie: It’s not the attachment, it’s the censorship by mob rule, without complete thought.

    Translation: Fuck off, all of you.

    If you think it’s “mob rule” — why do you converse here? It makes no sense at all. It seems that there’s a well thought out consensus — that you have no supporters at all — and yet you keep at it.

    It’s crazy. Mob rule is when an insane group disregards a minority and uses violence against them. Calling consensus building “mob rule” is crazy. Continuing to argue with a mob, if you really believed that, would be crazy.

    Ergo, all you can be saying is “Fuck off you lot. I could care less what you think.”

    I’d say that’s a fucking authoritarian attitude — the Libertarian kind of bullshit that says all power to me in the name of freedom.

    I don’t really see where you come off with the attitude. There’s only one authoritarian on PZ’s blog — which would be PZ. And yet, I’ve never seen him take the attitude that he dictates the community rules to others. Shit, he even takes polls on what trolls to expel!

    And this is coming from someone who has pissed everyone here off, from time to time — not a meek joiner, but a truly obnoxious poster. But I would never call my disagreements with most people — “censorship by mob rule”.

  304. #306 SC OM
    January 28, 2010

    From my link:

    …as if giving up the use of the word cunt is some kind of creative apocalypse. I?ve got news for you: If you feel like self-censoring to forego the use of misogynist language is a compromise of your integrity, you don?t have much integrity to begin with.

  305. #307 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    Newfie, it is irrelevant what your local usage is. We have regulars from all over the world. If they (plural) tell you to stop using a word, do so. You local usage isn’t worth your effort to defend it. If you accidentally use it, apologize and move on…

    so.. I’m being told what to do? Is that official?
    I, and others, defend a person’s usage of pejorative, directed at an indistinguished school board, and it’s decision, people project their own interpretation of the person’s intent, it gets heatedly discussed, and then you get to tell me what to do?
    Have I got that right?

  306. #308 frog, Inc.
    January 28, 2010

    newfie: so.. I’m being told what to do? Is that official?

    What a stupid comment. Of course Nerd is telling you what to do. You, of course, are free to continue doing what you want, unless PZ bans you (since this is his forum).

    You can tell Nerd what to do and say. Nerd will ignore you, most likely.

    You’re acting paranoid, as if someone could reach across the internet and beat you. I think you have issues way beyond some language usage — a persecution complex. It’s not a clever rhetorical trick — even if you claim to be an old hand at the flaming business. It’s whiny.

    Have you checked whether Obama’s birth-certificate is real?

  307. #309 WowbaggerOM
    January 28, 2010

    Have I got that right?

    No, you have not. Feel free to use the word ‘cunt’ whenever you like and as often as you like – cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt – just don’t use it in a perjorative way because doing so is misogynistic.

  308. #310 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    From my link:

    thanks, I appreciate that others see it different, I really do. I’m not blind on the issue. I’ve got a different opinion on this issue. Period. We’re not going to agree, but that’s what makes this whole exercise interesting, informative, and entertaining. I defended somebody and a viewpoint that I agree with, strongly, passionately, and tongue in cheek, and humorously (not that everybody in the room gets said humour, but that’s the internets).
    I’ll defend our local seal industry even more strongly, but I understand the view point of those opposed to it. I just disagree with view point, and the issue is much more important to me.

    But most of us here are on the same side of most issues, and that’s cool.
    Time to move on and let the tread die, it’s not going to go anywhere but piss some of you off.

  309. #311 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 28, 2010

    I’m being told what to do? Is that official?

    Stupid question. The only one here who can tell you what to do is PZ. I am only telling you what you need to do to behave nicely in a multi-cultural/multi-sexual orientation/multi-political blog. Your choice, but if you decide to deliberately piss people off, don’t complain, and take your lumps like an adult. Such behavior has been lacking to date.

  310. #312 SC OM
    January 28, 2010

    We’re not going to agree, but that’s what makes this whole exercise interesting, informative, and entertaining.

    Another assclam. Piss the hell off.

  311. #313 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    but the free psychoanalysis is always entertaining too. ya’ll know so much about people you don’t know, too funny.

  312. #314 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    Another assclam

    uh-oh.. you know what clam is another word for, right? you’re in trouble now, mister

  313. #315 SC OM
    January 28, 2010

    uh-oh.. you know what clam is another word for, right? you’re in trouble now, mister

    *eyeroll*

    Weren’t you moving on? Move on.

  314. #316 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 28, 2010

    Buttweasel.

  315. #317 Newfie
    January 28, 2010

    it was too good, you made my point for me :) *moves on*

  316. #318 SC OM
    January 28, 2010

    it was too good, you made my point for me :)

    If your point was that you’re an ass, then yes.

  317. #319 Sven DiMilo
    January 28, 2010

    I never said that, Sven.

    my bad

  318. #320 frog, Inc.
    January 28, 2010

    newfie: but the free psychoanalysis is always entertaining too. ya’ll know so much about people you don’t know, too funny.

    You’re acting paranoid

    I thought it bared repeating. It’s funny in ways you don’t seem to grasp.

  319. #321 SC OM
    January 28, 2010

    it was too good, you made my point for me

    I would actually love to know what point this was. Surely none that he’s made (and I use the term loosely) here.

  320. #322 BdN
    January 28, 2010

    it was too good, you made my point for me :) *moves on*

    Your point was that clam is depreciative ???

  321. #323 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    I would actually love to know what point this was.

    A clam is a word for women’s genetalia.

    Someone may want to insult another person for many distinct reasons.

    Using the word clam as the insult is saying that such behavior is so bad, the person may as well be a woman’s genitalia.

    This is insulting to women, and contributes to the already-prevailing attitude that women are worth less than men.

    You cannot claim that the word now means something else entirely when A) a very large percentage of people who use it are still using it with that meaning and B) women are still considered to be worth less than men. Reclamation doesn’t work that way. In fact, at this stage of reclamation, you trying to do so is doing nothing but reinforcing the original definition.

    You used a word for female bits as a pejorative, SC. After proselytizing against it. Sure, it doesn’t have the same sonic punch as the other word, and is a bit bland in comparison, but female bits is female bits.

    I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.

  322. #324 Carlie
    January 29, 2010

    Nuh-uh, Newfie. The overwhelming majority use of the word “clam” is as a mollusc; very few people use it as slang for genitals. Think of it as a general sidewalk test: if you ask people on the street what the actual definition of a cunt is, they’re all going straight for the definition as a woman’s parts. Ask them what a clam is, and they’ll all define it as a mollusc, except maybe one in a couple hundred who happens to be a 16 year old boy who has just learned that as a slang term and giggles when he says it.

  323. #325 aratina cage of the OM
    January 29, 2010

    Where are you getting that definition from, Newfie? (It looks like copypasta.)

  324. #326 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    The overwhelming majority use of the word “clam” is as a mollusc; very few people use it as slang for genitals.

    you need to get out in the world more… Quim.. Quiff, Beaver.. English is a beautiful language. American English is a dumbed down bastardization of English. You can’t even say Zed, FFS.

  325. #327 John Morales
    January 29, 2010

    A clam is a word for women’s genetalia.

    Huh? In some small sub-culture, mayhaps¹.

    Clam.
    Clam.
    “clam is”.

    Ah. I find it in the “urban dictionary”.
    (Aratina, that’s where the copypasta comes from, I’m guessing – it matches definition 2, down to the misspelling.)

    I’m guessing it’s about as common an usage as “map of Tasmania” for the pubic female region is.
    Just not as clever.

    ¹ In Scientology circles, it’s got quite a different meaning.

  326. #328 aratina cage of the OM
    January 29, 2010

    Point being, Newfie, you are really reaching.

    “Clam” has no connotation of female genitalia without a little hint-hint, nudge-nudge, wink-wink between fellow pervs (and as we saw with the last mollusk entry on Pharyngula, clams can even represent male genitalia). That is not true for “beaver”, “cunt”, “quim”, etc. (and “quiff” is more akin to “slut”). It sure is a beautiful language (and how smug of you to say American English is a bastardization), so why do you want to debase it?

  327. #329 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 29, 2010

    I’ve heard of female genitalia referred to as the “bearded clam.”

  328. #330 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    Shouldn’t matter, It’s a word for female genitalia, just as the rest. If used in the pejorative, the reaction should be the same. Otherwise, it’s being nitpicky about one word only that means the exact same thing. Thus, hypocritical.

  329. #331 aratina cage of the OM
    January 29, 2010

    Thanks John Morales. Funny thing, look at the entry on Urban Dictionary for “assclam” and it is clear that it has nothing to do with female genitalia. So Newfie is self-refuting.

  330. #332 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    Now we’re using UD as dictionary? I can post any meaning of any word I wish, and have on a few occasions. Come on, that’s weak.

  331. #333 aratina cage of the OM
    January 29, 2010

    Huh? That’s what you did.

  332. #334 Carlie
    January 29, 2010

    Newfie’s copy-paste was from one of my posts, with “cunt” replaced by “clam”. He thought he was being clever.

    No, newfie, it is not “just like the rest”. Cunt is a word that was originally created to refer to female genitals, not a word that was and is in common overwhelming use as something else entirely but co-opted by a few juveniles who like to take any words in existence, add a wink, and claim they’re talking about sex.

  333. #335 John Morales
    January 29, 2010

    Newfie, Clam FAQ.

    Thus, hypocritical.

    You’re remarkably obtuse, as this disingenuous accusation amply demonstrates.

    hypocrisy : 1. The claim or pretense of holding beliefs, feelings, standards, qualities, opinions or virtues that one does not actually possess.

  334. #336 John Morales
    January 29, 2010

    Ah, thanks Carlie. Must’ve been coincidental.

  335. #337 aratina cage of the OM
    January 29, 2010

    I am so confused. Did you or did you not use Urban Dictionary, Newfie? If you did, then you have owned yourself. Otherwise, the standard dictionary entry for “clam” does not list it having a meaning of female genitals, but each of the other words you listed (except “quiff”) would.

  336. #338 SC OM
    January 29, 2010

    Shouldn’t matter, It’s a word for female genitalia, just as the rest. If used in the pejorative, the reaction should be the same. Otherwise, it’s being nitpicky about one word only that means the exact same thing. Thus, hypocritical.

    Can people really be as graspingly stupid as Newfie and eddie? I mean, seriously.

    The sad thing is that Newfie has possibly ruined this fun word, which had all the misogyny of asshat or assclown. I’m sure no one who’s used it or heard it connected it with female genitalia, but now Newfie, in his desperate reaching to excuse his bad behavior, has made a link (“heh, heh. She said ‘clam’. heh, heh”). Jerk.

  337. #339 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    But SC didn’t intend for it to refer to the female genitalia, so it’s ok, I guess. Right? Either he didn’t know, or didn’t think much about it, or didn’t care… and it doesn’t really mean much in America, so all is good. Kinda like another word that doesn’t mean so much in other places.

  338. #340 John Morales
    January 29, 2010

    The sad thing is that Newfie has possibly ruined this fun word, which had all the misogyny of asshat or assclown.

    Grrr.

    That does it.

    For the first time ever on this blog, I shall employ a vulgarism: Newfie has shown himself to be a scrote.

  339. #341 Antiochus Epiphanes
    January 29, 2010

    Not more of this.

  340. #342 SC OM
    January 29, 2010

    But SC didn’t intend for it to refer to the female genitalia, so it’s ok, I guess. Right? Either he didn’t know, or didn’t think much about it, or didn’t care… and it doesn’t really mean much in America,* so all is good. Kinda like another word that doesn’t mean so much in other places.

    First, I am female, you jackass. Second, Carlie and others have explained this to you. Your dishonesty and disingenuousness are obvious to everyone. Third, I just said that now that you’ve made some grasping connection to female genitalia, even though it doesn’t exist in anyone’s use of the word, it probably means I won’t use it anymore, for fear that someone, somewhere, could possibly read it with that connotation. Because I try to be a decent person.

    *It does mean much. It fucking means clam. In this word, it’s just a funny ending.

  341. #343 Carlie
    January 29, 2010

    Oo, I have a substitution – how about geoass? Pronounced as in an earlier PZ post, one could read it as “gooeyass”, thus same basic definition as assclam without the words. It also sounds funny.

  342. #344 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 29, 2010

    For the first time ever on this blog, I shall employ a vulgarism: Newfie has shown himself to be a scrote.

    When John Morales decides that a vulgarism is justified, he shows himself to be the intelligent, educated gentleman he is. He uses a proper, dignified vulgarism.

  343. #345 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    I liked the definition of assclam on UD, SC. It’s a fun word. Don’t stop on my account.

  344. #346 SC OM
    January 29, 2010

    I liked the definition of assclam on UD, SC. It’s a fun word. Don’t stop on my account.

    Will you fuck off, already?

  345. #347 Rorschach
    January 29, 2010

    All this talk about cunts clams makes me horny hungry.

  346. #348 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    This was an old thread where I was having a discussion with others when you decided to come in and post at #274, and take swipes at me. Am I in other threads taking swipes at you? No. Nobody is forcing you to stay in this thread. Sorry if you don’t like the way the rest of the world speaks. That’s your problem. But like a typical head strong Yank, the world has to conform to your idea of how things should be, or they are wrong. Yes, typical. Make no wonder y’all can’t get a decent health care system. Too much nitpicking, and getting butt hurt over every little thing. Go find somebody to sue, that’s the American way, right? Get butt hurt and sue.

  347. #349 Knockgoats
    January 29, 2010

    Clam up, Newfie.

  348. #350 SC OM
    January 29, 2010

    Is a starfart brewing?

    If so, I’ll have to miss it, as I’m on my way out in a few minutes. Have a good one, everybody.

  349. #351 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    Hey Nick. Things going good?
    Do these guys always get so wound up and serious? Seems like most are missing the humour, and not enjoying the game they decided to take part in, and just want to call other names, or pull the old quotemining, and ignoring context with fingers in ears.
    Serious people are so sad… always have to try prove themselves right, and can’t agree to disagree, so they result to the name calling… pity.

  350. #352 Carlie
    January 29, 2010

    Is a starfart brewing?

    It does indeed appear that Newfie is starting to randomly spew – if he gets poked a few more times we might get lucky and have another show.

  351. #353 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 29, 2010

    I’ve never understood the need for some people to deliberate bait others, like Newfie is doing. That is behavior one might expect to see in elementary school children who don’t know any better, but it is expected to go away once a person matures and interacts with society.

    I agree, an implosion appears imminent.

  352. #354 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    “I’ve never understood the need for some people to deliberate bait others, like Newfie is doing.”

    Yet, it fascinates you. Otherwise, you would have moved on long ago, eh?
    Bait isn’t the word your looking for, btw. Even though it may seem like that to you. Everybody’s guesses, or projections of their biases have been way off the mark, but they can’t be convinced of that. Their minds are made up, and group-think has solidified it for them.
    I’m a little disappointed, actually. I expected much better, but I look at things differently than most. My mind wasn’t made up in advance, and still nothing concrete.. but I’m much closer than anyone else.

  353. #355 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 29, 2010

    Buttweasel

    I felt this word needed to be repeated just for the sake of repeating it.

    That is all.

  354. #356 SEF
    January 29, 2010

    @ Rev. BigDumbChimp #355:

    Unfortunately, as an insult it’s still not some harmless joke. I recall coming across mention (within the last year or so but no idea where – perhaps here?!) of people who did insert small critters anally.

  355. #357 SEF
    January 29, 2010

    Then, of course, there’s the candiru

  356. #358 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 29, 2010

    Unfortunately, as an insult it’s still not some harmless joke. I recall coming across mention (within the last year or so but no idea where – perhaps here?!) of people who did insert small critters anally.

    I’m pretty sure the insult would be Butthamster if that was the case.

  357. #359 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    Carlie, SC.. honest question, and I’ll answer the reverse. What would it take to not grit your teeth and take offense at the usage in post @69, if at all?

  358. #360 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 29, 2010

    Carlie, SC.. honest question, and I’ll answer the reverse. What would it take to not grit your teeth and take offense at the usage in post @69, if at all?

    So, you are saying that you have been dishonest up to this point?

    The person who commented at #69 is a buttweasel.

  359. #361 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    “So, you are saying that you have been dishonest up to this point?”

    No, I haven’t been. But I do know what would change my opinion.

  360. #362 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    and thanks for the comic sans, Janine. I’m touched. :)

  361. #363 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 29, 2010

    Newfie, I think you got the wrong post number.

  362. #364 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    nope, the number was correct in my browser.

  363. #365 David Marjanovi?
    January 29, 2010

    In particular, genital slang is so fundamentally, intimately linked to gender that it’s hard to imagine its use ever truly being functionally gender-neutral.

    It does happen, but rarely. French con is the only example I know of. As mentioned in comment 190, it once meant “cunt” (and is of course a direct descendant of Latin cunnus as in cunnilingus). Today it’s not only a noun, but also an adjective (c’est con ? “that’s stupid” ? is a very common comment), and refers exclusively to stupid male persons. Stupid female persons are referred to using the newly created feminine form (again both noun and adjective), conne, which would be completely and utterly absurd if people still had the original meaning in mind. An act of stupidity is une connerie?

    I’m perfectly willing to believe that this kind of thing has happened in some Englishes. But to use a word when you know you will be misunderstood, c’est complètement con. I’m looking at you, Newfie.

    Cunt (s): Scheide

    Nowhere near on the same stylistic level. Scheide shares a common ancestor with sheath; it’s a literal translation of vagina and, well, an anatomical term.

    I’ll leave you with Albania and Burma.

    It’s not “C”. It’s “°C”, pronounced “degrees Celsius”. I bet you have that symbol on your keyboard.

    Also, Albania and Liberia are not quite the same thing. Complete lack of knowledge of geography is a stereotype heaped on UnSAnians, and you’re not supposed to be one?

    just wait until they discover this town :-p

    The sign keeps getting stolen by British tourists and has to be replaced all the time. Last time I read about it, the new sign was extra-fortified?

    I’m of the opinion, “don’t look to take offence where none was intended.. pointing it out is fine, nice to know the cultural norms around the world. But don’t expect me to conform to your culture. You can’t take my language and culture from me.”

    Ooh, are we being oppressed today.

  364. #366 Sven DiMilo
    January 29, 2010

    still digging, newf?
    I’m sorry, but you’re in the wrong here IMO.

    now back to the more interesting aspects of this thread:

    A “buttweasel” is what you hire when your hamster (wasn’t it originally “gerbil”?) gets stuck. Hope this helps.

    Reviving “assclam”:
    rectal bivalve?
    anal geoduck?

    eh, I’m sticking with “poopyhead”

  365. #367 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    I wasn’t using the word David, I was defending its use in a non gender pejorative.

    Ya, Sven. I came in for an argument, and found myself in the abuse room, across the hall. ;)

  366. #368 Sven DiMilo
    January 29, 2010

    Stirring the pot:

    I submit that it was no coincidence that Linnaeus named a common clam Venus and its family Veneridae.

  367. #369 David Marjanovi?
    January 29, 2010

    Then, of course, there’s the candiru …

    ?which gives a whole new meaning to the good old Hungarian insult menj a faszba.

  368. #370 David Marjanovi?
    January 29, 2010

    I wasn’t using the word David, I was defending its use in a non gender pejorative.

    (It’s true you weren’t using the word “David”? oh, you meant to put a comma in there.)

    I’m saying you can’t defend it in an international arena like teh intarwebz. You come across as a troll who consciously wants to annoy people.

  369. #371 SEF
    January 29, 2010

    menj a faszba

    That’s the norm for hyenas!

  370. #372 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    I’m saying you can’t defend it in an international arena like teh intarwebz.

    aha, but I have. Jury’s still out, but the verdict isn’t looking good for my side. Good thing I didn’t go into law.
    And a good troll wouldn’t confine himself or herself to one old thread and the one or two topics at hand. I’ll be able to leave it all here, others won’t. I’ll put money on that.

  371. #373 Carlie
    January 29, 2010

    What would it take to not grit your teeth and take offense at the usage in post @69, if at all?

    That’s easy: for women to not be treated by society at large as second-class citizens who it is insulting to be compared to.

  372. #374 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    That’s easy: for women to not be treated by society at large as second-class citizens who it is insulting to be compared to.

    Good answer, your view can be changed. And I agree with your statement. I’d like to see that also. It’s better than it was, but it could, should, and will be much better, unless something happens and the trend line on that drastically changes.. and only religion will impede that, I think.

    It’s not a word that I use often*, but when I do, it’s the local definition that I gave: Intentional Selfishness, non gendered. Or dropping something heavy on my own foot. If it wasn’t acceptable locally, I’d never use it in the pejorative. Defending the indefensible isn’t what I was going for, I wanted the conversation. Sometimes you have to shove it people’s faces for them to really grasp an idea and think about it, even if a consensus isn’t reached.

    *quote mined regurgitated out of context posts aside. I knew I’d take the hits for that too. But it produced some good conversation and understanding, and I’ve made a couple of good friends offsite because of that thread too. Some people actually do get me. :)

    And agreement can be just so tediously dull.. dull..dull..dull. Thanks for participating, and keeping it interesting.

    Apologies to those waiting for an implosion… maybe I’ll dream up a good one some other time for your viewing pleasure.

    Now, if I’ve done my job, some are laughing, some are pissed, and still more are shaking their heads. Good thread IMO.

    Later Gators… peace

  373. #375 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 29, 2010

    A “buttweasel” is what you hire when your hamster (wasn’t it originally “gerbil”?) gets stuck. Hope this helps.

    Buttgerbil

    yes I’m easily amused

  374. #376 BdN
    January 29, 2010

    Today it’s not only a noun, but also an adjective

    And an adverb : connement.

    Today it’s not only a noun, but also an adjective (c’est con ? “that’s stupid” ? is a very common comment), and refers exclusively to stupid male persons. Stupid female persons are referred to using the newly created feminine form (again both noun and adjective), conne, which would be completely and utterly absurd if people still had the original meaning in mind.

    In fact, there are other derivatives specific to males and females, for example connard and connasse.

    And it’s not completely true that con “refers exclusively to stupid male persons” and females always “referred to using the newly created feminine form”. I you watch French movies or read French novels, and I’m pretty sure you do, you’ll notice that it happens more frequently than we think that someone tells a woman T’es con. And that’s partly why I think the transition phase is still not completely over.

  375. #377 Carlie
    January 29, 2010

    Good answer, your view can be changed.

    I wouldn’t say my view would be changed; I would still have the overall belief that words that are charged with a huge history of oppression and “othering” about a group that is still suffering from that kind of devaluation are better off not being used because such usage helps keep the status quo. It would just be that in a world where women are treated the same as men, words referring to women in a derogatory sense wouldn’t fit in that category any more.

  376. #378 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    Ok, the wife just sat down beside me, and purposely let go a fart*, and I said to her, “You fucking cunt!” (she’s had a semi interest in this thread) We both busted out laughing. I filled her in a bit on the happenings, and when she got up to leave, she crop dusted me again!!! ha!
    I said, “You fucking dirty cunt!!” … she had to sit down for a minute, she was laughing so hard.

    *damn fuckin’ nasty ones too… if it makes any feel better.

    No, you can’t have her.

  377. #379 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    words referring to women in a derogatory sense wouldn’t fit in that category any more.

    yup.. and the remnants would become jokes.. as they have been here. we’re pretty progressive for a little rock out in the middle of the ocean.

  378. #380 CherryBombSim
    January 29, 2010

    “But when you’ve got a curriculum set by odious ideologues like Terri Leo, who would ban an author’s name wholesale because she read a title like Ethical Marxism (no, she hasn’t actually read the book, of course)”

    It’s even worse than it sounds here. The actual book that was removed from the approved list was a children’s book written by someone who MERELY HAPPENED TO HAVE THE SAME NAME as a different person who wrote a book titled “Ethical Marxism.”

  379. #381 SC OM
    January 29, 2010

    but I look at things differently than most.

    No, you don’t. You look at things like an asshole, because you are an asshole. A dime-a-dozen jerk who thinks it’s entertaining to bicker with people in groups that face prejudice and discrimination every day, including that embodied in language. People in the US are telling you that that is a vicious slur here. We’ve pointed you to other articles about it, and could link to numerous threads where the same exact stupidass arguments you’re attempting have been made by people far more intelligent and honest than you.

    It’s not a word that I use often*, but when I do, it’s the local definition that I gave: Intentional Selfishness, non gendered.

    You’re not in a local context. People have said basically “That is a really nasty and misogynistic word in the US and many other places” and you continue to try to bait them. You’re such a scumbag. It encourages bigots who think this is a blog hospitable to misogyny (as was starting to happen at RD.net until he nipped it in the bud recently…possibly). It can drive women away, which is the last thing I want, and frankly I’m sick enough of this that if PZ doesn’t do something about it I’m probably not going to be around here much more. I’m sick of these conversations with assholes who find it entertaining to dismiss people who are fighting against demeaning and dehumanizing language. You have to be a despicable person to find this amusing.

    If it wasn’t acceptable locally,

    I find all of these claims about local use questionable, btw. When Louis tried to pull it months ago, other people showed up to say he was misrepresenting the situation.

    I’d never use it in the pejorative. Defending the indefensible isn’t what I was going for, I wanted the conversation.

    And we didn’t. No one arguing about this with you is doing so because it’s fun; we’re doing it because we care about inequality and we care about this blog. We’re sick of having to argue about this. Act like a human being.

    Sometimes you have to shove it people’s faces for them to really grasp an idea and think about it, even if a consensus isn’t reached.

    And agreement can be just so tediously dull.. dull..dull..dull. Thanks for participating, and keeping it interesting.

    It’s not interesting to anyone else. You haven’t made anyone think anything other than that you’re an asshole with no character, and no advertisement for Newfoundland, I might add. Like I said, we’ve heard it all before. All of it. It’s stupid, grasping, callous, creationist in its predictability, and annoying. I’m not doing these discussions anymore, and if it continues to pop up, I’ll have to go.

    Now, if I’ve done my job, some are laughing, some are pissed, and still more are shaking their heads. Good thread IMO.

    Fuck you.

    Oh, and:

    Ok, the wife just sat down beside me, and purposely let go a fart*, and I said to her, “You fucking cunt!” (she’s had a semi interest in this thread) We both busted out laughing. I filled her in a bit on the happenings, and when she got up to leave, she crop dusted me again!!! ha!
    I said, “You fucking dirty cunt!!” … she had to sit down for a minute, she was laughing so hard.

    *damn fuckin’ nasty ones too… if it makes any feel better.

    You sound like a charming couple, and very well matched. And Bingo.

  380. #382 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 29, 2010

    He has beaten that horse so hard and so long that he has stripped the flesh off the bones.

    SC, don’t even make that threat. This blog will be a lesser place if you are gone.

  381. #383 Sven DiMilo
    January 29, 2010

    And Bingo

    wait, my card doesn’t have a square with “spouse farts” on it–no fair!

    If I were Overlord, I’d establish permanent threads for annoying recurring conversations like this and direct everybody who cares over there at the first sign of an upcrop. I might even arrange to move comments from one thread to the dedicated one (sort of like the Bathroom Wall at the Panda’s Thiunb forum). Might take a bit of policing, but it’s such a drag when one oblivious ego can ruin a perfectly good thread with the exact same conversation that has been had at least 4 times recently.

  382. #384 John Morales
    January 29, 2010

    SC, what Janine said.

    If such as that specimen causes you to leave, it’s a ‘victory’ to them, and a sad day for us.

  383. #385 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 29, 2010

    Yawn, Newfie will never get it. He thinks he is being cute, edgy, and not politically correct. All he is showing is that he is a loser clown who purposely baits his neighbors and social group, and ignores social mores. Even an socially inept guy like me soon learned the difference between what is said publicly in mixed company, and what is said at home with the guys over brewskis. Newfie appears to have arrested his social development at about 12 years old.

  384. #386 Sven DiMilo
    January 29, 2010

    sorry about that typo–I hurt my thiunb earlier

  385. #387 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 29, 2010

    Should thiunb become a Pharyngula meme like sniny?

  386. #388 SC OM
    January 29, 2010

    wait, my card doesn’t have a square with “spouse farts” on it–no fair!

    Now, see, this is what makes it hard to leave. :)

    If I were Overlord, I’d establish permanent threads for annoying recurring conversations like this and direct everybody who cares over there at the first sign of an upcrop.

    But that wouldn’t really address the problem. And I care that it’s appearing on regular threads, while I don’t want to have the argument over and over, on any thread. If people were regularly using racist or homophobic slurs, I can’t imagine that anyone would be proposing this as a solution. And I don’t want that responsibility – I fucking hate these discussions. Like I said, if the situation is that I just have to keep seeing it and either being angry/worried in silence or getting involved in one of these marathons with yet another asshole, I’d rather not. I don’t want to be anywhere where my sex is routinely disparaged and it falls on me to do something about it.

  387. #389 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    Upon review, we have an implosion… check that.. explosion… clean up on aisle five.

    Obviously, SC couldn’t answer the question honestly the same way that Carlie did so concisely.
    He could never accept the word, even if everybody else in the world used it daily. That’s devotion.
    He blowed up good.. he blowed up REAL good.

    have a beer and chill out, man.

  388. #390 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 29, 2010

    SC, I said what I wanted to say to newfie weeks ago and became content to just taking pot shots. That is because he had nothing new to say and his only aim was to provoke. Carlie put him in his place also.

    I love it when you have a head of steam going and are letting some deserving troll have. I wish I was as articulate and as quick with my responses. But you should know, you are not alone here. Don’t allow an assclam who admits to provoking let you think otherwise. In other words, you need to learn how to pick your battles. The lands that newfie lives in has been spread with salt a while ago.

  389. #391 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    More psychoanalysis from Nerd..

  390. #392 Sven DiMilo
    January 29, 2010

    yeah.

  391. #393 Walton
    January 29, 2010

    Ok, the wife just sat down beside me, and purposely let go a fart

    This is a lie. Women simply do not do things like that. Ever. It is one of those things that does not happen. :-)

  392. #394 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    I fucking hate these discussions.

    yet, you’re still hanging around like the rest. think of it as new ammo, or honing your skills, or having some chuckles on a Friday night..you’ll use it elsewhere, man.. take a positive out of the whole exercise, and shot of bourbon.

  393. #395 David Marjanovi?
    January 29, 2010

    Hey, Newfie, why are you still calling SC “he”? She corrected you on that 47 comments ago.

    Are you trolling?

    Or are you commenting faster than you can read?

  394. #396 Sven DiMilo
    January 29, 2010

    Newfie, SC is a woman, she’s sincere and serious here, and she not bantering with you.

    Why can’t you take what she and the others are saying seriously?

    You’re being a dick [gendered insult chosen specifically]. Shut up. Thanks.

  395. #397 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    Dave humour meter is on zero… still. *sigh*

  396. #398 John Morales
    January 29, 2010

    Sigh. Of course it’s trolling:

    He blowed up good.. he blowed up REAL good.

    The Newfie-thing still hasn’t worked out that SC is a woman, so I’m hardly surprised that the concept that terminology carries connotations and can subliminally perpetuate and reinforce prejudicial stereotypes is too abstract for its understanding. Though it thinks words are merely words, its malicious cunning still recognises it can satisfy its primitive urges by taunts which have previously evinced a reaction.

  397. #399 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    trolling? great fishing term.. right up my ally, so to speak.

    I’m cuttin’ bait at the wharf, and the conners are eatin’ it up… it’s fascinating actually. I haven’t even untied the boat from the slip yet.

  398. #400 David Marjanovi?
    January 29, 2010

    By now it’s 52 comments ? comment 394 (with “man” in it) wasn’t posted yet when I wrote mine.

    I you watch French movies or read French novels, and I’m pretty sure you do,

    Nope. :-) I just work on my thesis (in English) and procrastinate on Pharyngula (in English).

    you’ll notice that it happens more frequently than we think that someone tells a woman T’es con. And that’s partly why I think the transition phase is still not completely over.

    Good argument, I didn’t know that.

  399. #401 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 29, 2010

    Newfie is just trolling. He has posted nothing but ignorance, attitude, and inanity. One would think he could present an adult rationalization for unnecessarily and deliberately pissing off people. Oh, that’s, right, mature and socially responsible people don’t do that…

  400. #402 Carlie
    January 29, 2010

    Obviously, SC couldn’t answer the question honestly the same way that Carlie did so concisely.
    He could never accept the word, even if everybody else in the world used it daily.

    Whoa whoa whoa, no. That is most definitely not what I said. It doesn’t matter if everybody else in the world uses it daily, and it doesn’t matter if a certain percentage of them “think” they are using it differently. What I said is that it wouldn’t matter if women weren’t treated like second-class citizens whose parts are worthy to be used as insults. That is a different thing entirely. Simply trying to change the word usage isn’t enough; the oppressed group has to no longer be in a position to be hurt by it and no one even thinks to make that original connection any more.

    And I also think that SC is an incredibly valuable contributor. I’ve seen far too many people get burned out and have to leave blogs for the sake of their own emotional welfare after being beaten down too much, and I don’t want that to happen here to her.

  401. #403 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    The Newfie-thing still hasn’t worked out that SC is a woman

    slap it in the face with a caplin, and they’re still as stunned as me arse. not only can’t it follow it a thread, it thinks me ‘atarded.

  402. #404 SC OM
    January 29, 2010

    But you should know, you are not alone here.

    I know. Sorry if I implied that I think I’m a lone soldier here (or the best in the unit). Hell, I wasn’t even the one to take issue on these recent threads. I don’t think anyone should have to do it. I’m just personally fucking sick of these assholes, and ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away.

  403. #405 David Marjanovi?
    January 29, 2010

    So, Newfie admits that his idea of fun is to deliberately annoy people, and further admits explicitly to trolling (even though he confuses it with trawling).

    Buh-bye. As soon as PZ notices, you’re toast.

  404. #406 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    Newfie is just trolling. He has posted nothing but ignorance, attitude, and inanity.

    or, one could just easily ctrl+f for Nerd, then click the down button and watch ‘unhinged’.. and ‘bloviate’.

  405. #407 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 29, 2010

    Newfie, you’ve made your point. You’ve proved that you can piss people off by acting like an ignorant, blowhard asshole. You did an excellent job of playing an ignorant, blowhard asshole. Congratulations. Now shut the fuck up. You don’t have to provide any more evidence you’re an ignorant, blowhard asshole.

  406. #408 SC OM
    January 29, 2010

    Thanks, everyone, for your kind words. Carlie is exactly right (as always :)): I’m feeling burned out – not in a general way but on this. Whether I could leave voluntarily… Hmmm. I guess it’s doubtful. No, I’m not proud.
    :)

    ***

    He seems to me to be coming awfully close to admitting to trolling at this point.

  407. #409 Rorschach
    January 29, 2010

    We have actually had informative and interesting discussions about this topic in the past.
    This one ain’t one of them, because of the shitstirring troll.

  408. #410 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    And I also think that SC is an incredibly valuable contributor.

    I think so also. I’ve learned much.
    but he’s a bit touchy, eh?

  409. #411 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 29, 2010

    but he’s a bit touchy, eh?

    I already told you we don’t need any further evidence you’re an ignorant, blowhard asshole. You’ve made your point too many times already.

  410. #412 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 29, 2010

    Damn but that becomes less funny everytime he does that. I have elementary aged nephews that would be embarrassed to use newfie’s taunting style.

    Turn off your computer and fart at your wife.

  411. #413 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    He seems to me to be coming awfully close to admitting to trolling at this point.

    but still they remain.
    I’m versed on many topics, guys.. but I think you should stay away from humour. Sorry, but y’all are really sucking at the humour. I’m just target practice for your mob mentality, whether you realize it or not.
    Baseball: good
    Golf: better, great course here guys.. let me know if you’re in the area.
    Physics: I’m there
    Chemistry: On yer fuckin’ heels.
    Biology: A bit weak there.. but this site and the links, kick it.
    Religion/Atheism.. yup, same page.
    Arts: Y’all aint much on the arts.. fuckin’ nerds… get smack upside the head with a cod fish, and you’re looking to sue somebody.
    Tech: Above average… geekish/kinda.. but not geeked out on new tech.. a few years behind the cutting edge.
    Politics: No holds barred~!

    And bowling… I’ma kick SC’s arse as ten pin.. where does he live? I got game, yo!

  412. #414 Carlie
    January 29, 2010

    Based on everything, but especially #410, I will be adopting a different tactic for any remainder of this discussion.

    I was in my local bookstore today and saw an endcap display for one of the worst writers of all time, John Ringo. This reminded me of the gold standard in “book reviews of the vilest stuff ever written”, about the books of said John Ringo (warning: triggering violence/rape exerpts abound). The writer of the review repeatedly gets to the point where, confronted with so much wrongness in a single sentence, he is reduced to simply sputtering OH NO JOHN RINGO NO.

    So from now on, I’m simply responding with OH NO NEWFIE NO.

  413. #415 Carlie
    January 29, 2010

    Here is the fanlore wiki entry on said review, for the short summary and avoidance of having to read any triggering Ringo text.

  414. #416 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    guy #1 at the 9:00 PM show: You suck!

    guy #1 at the 10:00 PM show: You suck!

    guy #1 at the 11:00 PM show: You suck!

    guy #1 at the 12:00 AM show: You suck!

    MC at the 12:00 AM show: guy #1 is a sucker for punishment.

  415. #417 Sven DiMilo
    January 29, 2010

    he confuses it with trawling

    WOTI. “Trolling” means angling (with a rod or pole huh huh huh) from a moving boat. It’s almost certainly the origin of the internet term (as in “trolling for angry responses”).

    Sorry, but y’all are really sucking at the humour.

    *shakes head*
    Dude. Pissing people off on purpose is only funny to you. Watch the solipsism, eh?

  416. #418 aratina cage of the OM
    January 29, 2010

    Ok, the wife just sat down beside me, and purposely let go a fart*, and I said to her, “You fucking cunt!” (she’s had a semi interest in this thread) We both busted out laughing. I filled her in a bit on the happenings, and when she got up to leave, she crop dusted me again!!! ha!

    *throws up a little in my mouth*

    OK… That scene could have come right out of a Terrance and Phillip episode.

  417. #419 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    So from now on, I’m simply responding with OH NO NEWFIE NO.

    I was giving honest props there.. really.

    So from now on, I’m simply responding with OH NO NEWFIE NO.

    EASY GO, DOWN YOU GO, OH NEWFIE OH!

    don’t read into it, I’m happily married, eh?

  418. #420 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    Sven.. trolling is to locate the fish… trawling is to haul them in.
    Salt water, man.. not fresh. But great angling here.. I can hook you up.

  419. #421 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 29, 2010

    Yawn, Newfie is a real toad, isn’t he. PZ, please consider banning his misogynous ass.

  420. #422 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    Yawn, Newfie is a real toad, isn’t he. PZ, please consider banning his misogynous ass.

    you missed a question mark. I think that’s a pwnd in your circles. it makes your comment invalid or some shit.. fix that up, so that I can respond properly. you’re confusin’ the shit.

  421. #423 SC OM
    January 29, 2010

    Carlie,

    Thank you for that link. It was just what I needed.

    It’s alternately guilty pleasure fun and OH JOHN RINGO NO, but it never hits GHOST’s level of JESUS CHRIST IT’S A LION GET IN THE CAR.

  422. #424 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 29, 2010

    Yawn, still not addressing his issues. Nothing but a bannable troll…

  423. #425 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    Yawn, still not addressing his issues. Nothing but a bannable troll.

    yes.. I’ve backed away from every thing here, I’m so shy.. I get it from Mom’s side.
    What’s the question, sugartits? I do have other commitments, eh? Spit it out, man.. or swallow, and then speak.. matters not to me.

    /damn.. some sexism there, eh?

  424. #426 WowbaggerOM
    January 29, 2010

    Comment by Newfie blocked. [unkill]?[show comment]

    Ah, that’s better.

  425. #427 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 29, 2010

    Well I followed a link from Carlie’s link to The Feminist SFWiki and found this.

    Ringo is the author of a bajillion books, including fantasy and military SF. The novels (oh, yes, there is more than one) we’ll be considering are from the PALADIN OF SHADOWS series. These are modern-day action thrillers in which — well, let’s look at GHOST, the first novel in the series. The story begins with our hero, Mike Harmon, a accidentally witnessing the abduction of a college coed. He witnesses it because he just happens to be lurking in the shadows and watching the coeds himself. This is Mike’s recreation. Why? Well:

    He knew that at heart, he was a rapist. And that meant he hated rapists more than any “normal” human being. They purely pissed him off. He’d spent his entire sexually adult life fighting the urge to not use his inconsiderable strength to possess and take instead of woo and cajole. He’d fought his demons to a standstill again and again when it would have been so easy to give in. He’d had one truly screwed up bitch get completely naked, with him naked and erect between her legs, and she still couldn’t say “yes.” And he’d just said: “that’s okay” and walked away with an amazing case of blue balls. When men gave in to that dark side, it made him even more angry then listening to leftist bitches scream about “western civilization” and how it was so fucked up.

    Ladies and gentlemen, *our hero.*

    OH JOHN RINGO NO,indeed.

  426. #428 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 29, 2010

    Comment by Newfie blocked. [unkill]?[show comment]

    When they get that stoopid, that is the only option. Newfie, you join Heddle….

  427. #429 SC OM
    January 29, 2010

    When they get that stoopid, that is the only option. Newfie, you join Heddle….

    It’s a scary situation when I feel an urge to stand up for heddle. Yikes.

  428. #430 John Morales
    January 29, 2010

    Nuffie’s recent attempted sardonicism is feeble, and fails to disguise its earlier seriousness.

  429. #431 Carlie
    January 29, 2010

    The John Ringo meme got popular enough that the review author made OH JOHN RINGO NO t-shirts and sent all the proceeds to the Helen Bamber Foundation.

  430. #432 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 29, 2010

    It’s a scary situation when I feel an urge to stand up for heddle. Yikes.

    I killfiled Heddle because it became obvious a while back he simply could not look at his religion with his scientific mind, and I got tired of hearing his religious mind repeat itself, and its inane justifications. Apparently he really hasn’t said anything new…

  431. #433 WowbaggerOM
    January 29, 2010

    I echo SC’s reaction. heddle may be woo-soaked and slipperier than an eel loose in a lubricant tank, but he’s not an idiot.

    Newfie, on the other hand, is a grade-A moron.

  432. #434 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    SC and I would have some great arguments on various political topics..but then I’d have to send the dude to a cool gay bar.. I know the spot for him… he’d hug me for the honour. Janine and I would hustle a few hunderd off his mark in some 9 ball.. I’ve got the feeling that Janine can shoot some stick… and I’m not going to back down from that position, until she tells me that she really sucks at bowling.

  433. #435 Carlie
    January 29, 2010

    Remember the discussion a few hours ago about when the starfart would happen? There it is.

  434. #436 Sven DiMilo
    January 29, 2010

    Comment by Newfie blocked. [unkill]?[show comment]

  435. #437 Newfie
    January 29, 2010

    When they get that stoopid, that is the only option. Newfie, you join Heddle….

    Heddles is hard to avoid, did you see them coming? bring out the docs.. fuck the hiding shit, man.

  436. #438 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 29, 2010

    Comment by Newfie blocked. [unkill]?[show comment]

  437. #439 Walton
    January 30, 2010

    I don’t really understand the purpose of killfile.

    There are only two people who ever post here whose posts are genuinely not worth reading and do not contain any useful content: Mabus (who is quite obviously mentally ill, so he has an excuse) and “Global Warming is a Scam” (who just repeats the same post over and over and flings abuse at people). Both of them are banned, and their posts regularly get deleted.

    But everyone else says something, at least occasionally, which is interesting or worthwhile or which I can learn something from. This applies whatever I think of them as a person. truth machine and I don’t really see eye-to-eye, for instance; but I will be the first to admit that he’s posted plenty of things which were intelligent and worth reading, and which made me think and reconsider my own opinions. I’d say the same of everyone on Pharyngula I’ve ever had an argument with, including some of those who have been banned. In short, I find almost everyone’s posts to be worth reading, and I don’t understand why you’d want to block anyone out voluntarily.

  438. #440 John Morales
    January 30, 2010

    Walton, I too don’t use a killfile (though I at times tune dreck comments out and scroll down to the next), but perhaps some people find certain posters irksome and prefer not to have their Pharyngula experience soured. Perhaps others suffer from acute SIWOTI syndrome, and would rather avoid stimulus that triggers it.

    There are many things people do (or opinions they hold, or needs they have) that I don’t understand, but I do understand that everyone is different.

    (Your fascination with politics comes to mind! ;) )

  439. #441 Walton
    January 30, 2010

    I have a feeling Newfie was drunk during the latter part of this thread.

  440. #442 Rorschach
    January 30, 2010

    I have a feeling Newfie was drunk during the latter part of this thread.

    Something in the water here today, that’s for sure.

  441. #443 Newfie
    January 30, 2010

    it was a Friday nite, after all. I wasn’t feeling any pain.

  442. #444 Louis
    January 31, 2010

    @ SC #381:

    Erm, I think you’re being remarkably unfair to me as it happens.

    Do me one tiny favour: please read this post not as something adversarial (although parts of it might come across that way because I do feel aggrieved at what I see as being misrepresented/misunderstood, whether or not I actually was), and grant me the opportunity to correct that impression and to learn where I might have gone wrong, if indeed I have. If you could do this as a more collegial dialogue I’d be very grateful, mainly because I think I need to learn something and I’d relish the opportunity to correct myself if needs be and any misunderstandings if they exist. Thanks.

    First, the argument I was making was of a markedly different kind to that that Newfie is making. Not only that, and we all know the fallaciousness of arguments from consequences, even if my argument were correct (and I’m not certain it was/is) it would have markedly different consequences to Newfie’s. I think that was a distraction that caused more sound and fury than was needed.

    Second, like it or not, regardless of what anyone (myself included) on the web says or not, the unfortunate fact is that words (I wasn’t focussed on a word, I was focussed on a particular argument being advanced being poor) are used differently in different cultural contexts. Hardly a controversial claim. Nor was anything I said exclusive. Of course the use of certain words is and can be a mechanism of oppression, and supportive of oppression. It doesn’t follow that it automatically is in all contexts and with all usages.

    I found it ironic then, and find it so now, that you privilege (and I *mean* that word) a claim by someone posing as a woman (you have no knowledge of whether they are or not) that was at odds with what I was saying simply because they claimed to be female. Now, of course, I equally don’t know if the person who made that claim is female or not, and I equally don’t know if it was a sock puppet etc or not. This is the web, stranger things have happened. I prefer that the quality of argument, rather than someone’s assumed or real identity, is what determines the argument’s validity. You took the word of a claimed woman (tbh the poster in question most likely is a woman, most likely isn’t a sock puppet) and priviliged it over that of a man. I have no personal objection to this in the sense of being offended etc, I just think it detracted from the conversation, and the argument, as a whole. BTW this doesn’t in any way invalidate the claim that poster made, nor is it intended too.

    I wasn’t then, and will never make regarding this subject, an absolutist case that requires no usage of certain words to be indicative of misogyny. I freely admit, then and now, that in many cases they are, and if one individual wants to hold the opinion that all instances and usages are indicative of misogyny then that’s their right. It doesn’t follow automatically that everyone therefore has to also hold that opinion in the absence of evidence/reason. It was the extension of the personal claim (which I don’t disagree with btw) to the general claim that I was taking issue with.

    It was also the extension of specific claims (which again I don’t disagree with) to general claims that I disagreed with. I was saying little more controversial that “context matters” and that there are many different contexts that can be taken into account. I was certainly not making the argument Newfie is making (badly imo) that because usage somewhere is ok in one context(and this isn’t fully established I grant you) that that usage is ok elsewhere in other contexts. In fact I would strongly argue against that claim!

    As I happily noted on that thread, use of these words can be indicative of misogyny, I don’t agree that anyone can claim they always are in absence of consideration of the context. I also, if you remember, sympathised entirely with women who have to develop heuristics to weed out potential scumbags, and in their experience, men who use these words in certain ways usually = scumbag.

    However, and I make no apology for this, I wasn’t criticising people’s heuristics, I was disagreeing with a form of, what I perhaps wrongly saw as, intellectual argument. I freely grant now, as I did then, that this may have no practical impact on how women behave. It might, it might not, that’s an entirely separate thing. I also freely admit it certainly isn’t my (or indeed any one individual or group’s) place to dictate to, or act as if they speak for, a group or other individual.

    Also, discussing something on the internet in an abstract fashion doesn’t equate to dictating policy to women, nor does it equate to a lack of interest or support for the very real and unpleasant discrimination that women face. All I was, and am, interested in as far as this discussion goes is bouncing some ideas about and learning. Full stop. Like many of us with SIWOTI syndrome, I saw a claim I thought was WOTI and took issue. It might be that *I* am WOTI, in which case I’ll cheerfully hold my hands up. You’d be amazed how uncheerfully I will not hold my hands up to misunderstandings/misrepresenations, red herrings and goalpost shifts (to name but a few).

    Whether the argument I made was sound or not (and I’ve given the matter a lot of thought and not yet made up my mind, maybe that’s *MY* limitation, help me break through it. Maybe it’s not.) I was arguing in good faith. What you are basically insinuating here is that I wasn’t arguing in good faith, which to be honest, given absolutely no evidence to support that insinuation (even given your standard misquotes and misrepresentations…or perhaps I’ll be generous and call them my miscommunications and your misunderstandings due to my poor communication skills and us talking at cross purposes…when you are determined to demonise someone) is a seriously underhanded move on your part. To be blunt, you are way out of line with your comment.

    I was not going to be dragged into this nonsense again because I’ve learned that, whether I’m right or wrong (and I’d be overjoyed to be wrong by the way), this is a tough subject to converse clearly about. I don’t blame anyone but me for this by the way. My own thoughts on the matter are not fully formed, and I realise that it’s an emotive and difficult topic for everyone concerned, and that I don’t always get my point across clearly.

    I’d actually like a sensible conversation about this because I went away from that conversation and had a good long think about a few things and came up with some unpleasant revelations about my past behaviour. So off I trotted to the bookshop and picked up a couple of books, and I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss things. If you think I’m arguing in bad faith and want to resort to your usual name calling/demonisations, then that’s fine, but it isn’t representative of reality. If you want to give someone who is on a learning curve a chance, then I’d welcome the opportunity.

    The ball is in your court. This post might not seem to you like much of an olive branch, but I assure you it is. Olive branches, last time I looked, don’t have to be made of complete capitualtion! ;-) I hope that you’ll take the opportunity to help me learn, if that’s what I need to do, and that we can have a meaningful, conversation in good faith. Perhaps you might dispense with your “bingo card” attitude towards me.

    BTW, I’d be dead pleased if anyone else (Carlie, Janine, anyone) would help me out too. But SC made the comment so this was directed to her.

    Louis

  443. #445 Louis
    January 31, 2010

    Oh and I soooooo wanted to use the Godfather III quote:

    “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in”

    Seriously, SC, I *am* arguing in good faith. I have no interest in maintaining misogynist behaviour if that’s what I’m doing. I’m interested in learning. I don’t think it’s wrong of me to ask for a little good humour, a little consideration and a little attempt at bridging the understanding divide whilst doing so. I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive no matter how serious the discussion is. To reference another SciBlogs drama, I don’t think I am excluding anyone from any conversation by asking them not to piss on the carpet and to help me not to piss on the carpet too! lol

    In the hope of an informative dialogue.

    Louis

  444. #446 Louis
    January 31, 2010

    Oh fuck…And I forgot…

    Of course SC I will do my level best to grant you all the above courtesies and more. I didn’t mean to imply a one way street.

    Have I successfully closed off all avenues of my potential miscommunications causing a riot yet?*

    Louis

    *This is a joke at my own expense btw, not anyone else’s.

  445. #447 Knockgoats
    January 31, 2010

    I am large, I contain multitudes. – Janine, MOFMA, OM

    Now why did Walt Whitman want to tell everyone he was obese and full of parasites”?

  446. #448 Knockgoats
    January 31, 2010

    well, I guess that I’m a liar – Newfie

    That’s about the first thing you’ve got right in the thread (up to that point, which is as far as I’ve read). It is just crap to claim that “cunt” in British English is not a misogynist insult, often deliberately used in that way. There may be social groups for which that is not the case, but in general, the claim is clearly false: the word fully retains its sexual connotation, and at the same time is both intended and perceived to be at least as insulting as any other term when applied to another person in anger.

  447. #449 Jadehawk, OM
    January 31, 2010

    Louis, the reason a woman’s word on whether a word is misogynist counts more is simply because there really is such a thing as (straight, white, male, pick all that apply) privilege. If you’re not IN the group being denigrated, you are very likely not able to perceive whether something is denigrating or not; all you can do is accept that it is so when the relevant demographic tells you so. And this goes on the internet as well; we’ll just have to take the risk of being trolled at, because being conned by a troll is less bad than perpetuating the denigration of a group of people.

    Also, as to the word use itself: there is virtually no context in which the words n*gger and k*ke are not denigrating. The word c*nt isn’t any different except insofar as outright sexism is still more “acceptable” in our culture than outright racism and antisemitism. Therefore, the use of ANY of them in ANY context is denigrating; it is so do varying degrees, however.

  448. #450 Louis
    January 31, 2010

    Jadehawk #449,

    I really, really get that. I understand that privilege exists, I understand why I as a male (let’s stick with just one thing for a moment!) might not notice my privilege/my lack of awareness of someone else’s oppression. Please take that as a given. I don’t for a second disagree with one iota of my privilege or my potential lack of clue! Or indeed anyone else’s.

    Oh and I agree about the being trolled vs denigration thing btw. I mentioned it because, well, it could be used as an argument of convenience, a weak one at that. I think that there are better arguments to be made against misogyny. Admittedly this is based on my own very limited reading on the topic of feminism. However, this goes back to the issue of heuristics/tactics that women adopt in the face of misogyny/a misogynistic society. It’s a bit of a red herring with regards to what I was originally trying to discuss and I really am not interested in dictating/advising, or appearing to dictate or advise etc, what someone else should be doing in the face of discrimination. Like I said, for me it was an intellectual/argument form SIWOTI instance. I saw what I thought was a poor argument being made, and still do. This, I freely admit, could well be due to *MY* limitations and lack of understanding. It may well be me that’s WOTI and I’ll take my lumps accordingly. Forgive me if I’m a dim pupil! I got bugger all sleep last night!

    I understand that an *individual* woman’s opinion on whether they consider a specific usage of a specific word is misogynistic or not is inviolable. I disagree that this individual woman’s individual opinion is automatically and logically extendable to all women. That is making the individual the spokesperson for the group. That is a spectacularly weak position because it is open to rebuttal by an individual woman (i.e. member of the group) who does not agree. So if we toddle off and find this mythical woman who doesn’t think as you appear to, we find ourselves in a bad position: i.e. potentially relying on someone’s word as to whether or not something is misogynistic. That’s a massive can of worms! I also think that the adoption of the group’s identity by one individual is a very daft thing to do. We rightly hammer Heddle and the like when they claim to speak for christians, or the one true christianity, I think the same applies here: the set of people defined as “women” (for example) is vastly too diverse in nature and experience for an individual to speak for them, or claim to.

    As I note below, I’ve been on the recieving end of a heap load of racial abuse my whole life, I really don’t think that grants me the right to speak for any specific group. It at best grants me insight into how other people might experience prejudice and perhaps how society functions to inculcate prejudicebased on my personal experience of course. It doesn’t elevate my claims, validate my arguments or protect me from being a bigot myself. Other things have to do those jobs. This is where I get frustrated with the “privilege” argument. I don’t deny my/any group’s privilege nor potential to insulate me/them from understanding and empathy. Nor do I deny the ability of privilege to perpetuate a huge swathe of social imbalance and ills. What I do argue with is the insinuation that anyone’s claim or argument is somehow made better or made true by virtue of what group they belong to. I don’t think my arguments against racism and racial privilege are made true because I have been subject to racial oppression. I don’t think any claim I make is more necessarily and automatically more worthy than someone else’s who hasn’t experienced that same racial oppression. I think the two are independent of each other. In fact it’s immediately obvious that this is the case, otherwise those straight, white males everyone is so fond of might actually have a point. And we all know they don’t!

    It’s this extension of “experience of bigotry” to “automatic validity of arguments against bigotry” that is a non-sequitur. It’s like science, there isn’t male science and female science, or black science and white science. There’s science. Yes there may be temporary trends and ideologies that persist within a culture of scientists that are due to identity politics, but the science itself is independent of the scientist. And yes the discovery of scientific data can even be inhibited by those cultures (I think of the exclusion of women in science as a travesty by the way, the “boys’s club” mentality immediately deprives the scientific world of the best scientist for the job as it were, on the basis that she lacks a cock. That is the epitome of daft!). Newton’s laws, for example, are not different for me and Newton because I am blacker than Newton was. So what I disagree with is the extension of the subjective personal automatically to the objective general.

    All I was ever trying to argue is that someone’s misogyny can be established after a better examination of the context in some circumstances. Again, this doesn’t negate or argue against individual women’s heuristics for scumbag detection, it’s a purely academic exercise. As explained above, this doesn’t mean that all I’m interested in is mental masturbation at the expense of the reality of women’s issue. It means that this is what I am interested in for the purposes of this conversation on this thread (and the older one). I am in no way trying to retain the use of any word, I don’t fucking use them, I have options! I was merely taking issue with what I saw as a poorly formed argument. It’s that argumental form that caused my SIWOTI gland to twitch, nothing more.

    The n and k words* you mention, you’re bang on as far as I can tell, and I’d agree with you that sexism is generally more acceptable than racism, here in the UK too (Aside: I think a lot of the misunderstandings are caused by different cultural backgrounds tbh. I’ll expand on that if necessary).

    Let’s get things a little clearer, I am arguing shades of grey, not black and white. If someone calls a woman a c word etc, yes I think the chances of this not being outright misogyny are spectacularly low, nil in fact (esp in the USA given the cultural context). Just like calling a jewish person a k word, a black person an n word are examples of racism beyond reasonable doubt etc etc etc. I also agree that in many instances using the c word to describe anyone is at best tacit, culturally learned/inculcated misogyny, usually it’s worse than this.

    I think, as you appear to too based on your last sentence, correct me if I’m wrong, that we’re probably on the same page in that regard. Where I differ is I think there are genuine instances where certain words are used that aren’t so immediately obvious when the context is taken into account, and it’s those outliers that I mentioned. Yes, I realise that I am discussing the fractions at the edge, and yes I realise that some might think this can give comfort to misogynists. Obviously I don’t intend that it should, and equally obviously I disagree that it can reasonably and logically be seen to do so, otherwise I wouldn’t be making that argument!

    I think there’s a sliding scale of bigotry, where I personally place words on that scale is undeniably going to be influenced by my aculturaltion, personal privilege and biases. What I am trying to aim towards is a more objective, less open to personal bias, understanding of where words might fit on that scale. This is why I said on the previous thread that I don’t agree that, for example, “twat” is automatically an indication of misogyny, cultural or otherwise. For example, and you’ll have to take my word for this until I can find you a reference, the word “twat” is used in some UK subcultures as a verb meaning “hit”, as in “get out there and twat it” or “I gave him a good twatting”. And before anyone claims this is some idosyncratic minority use, it really isn’t. Even if it were, amount of usage doesn’t defeat the central point I was trying to make about HOW language evolves. Lanaguage does evolve, in part, from these minor usages and subcultures. Anyway, the point of mentioning that was that the word there is being used in a more positive context that would take some serious stretching to drag back to “female genitalia” and invidious comparisons thereof. Not always, and by no means universally, the word “twat” is a softish swearword in the UK. However, that said I competely accept that this might well be the case because of inherent cultural misogyny. I don’t think it always is because I think the definition has shifted sufficiently far from the original to merit a little more understanding of context before leaping for a conclusion of misogyny. That was the sum total of my original objection. It evolved as these things do!

    Taking a less exceptional position on the bigotry spectrum, we frequently use words like “idiot”, “moron”. We frequently see people denegrating the supposed mental health of othr posters by saying things like “so and so is off his/her meds again” or “so and so is crazy”. It’s pretty amazingly rare that we see anyone jumping up and down about the discrimination this entails towards the mentally ill, a vilified minority if there ever was one. Just to be clear I don’t mention this as a “oppression olympics” trade off, there is a linguistic point here.

    The “linguistic distance” between using a word like idiot, which used to have a specific meaning to do with mental ability and illness, and modern usage is uncontroversially and obviously greater than that of the c word or twat (used it above, no need for coyness) or the b word etc. It isn’t immediately obvious that use of these words is an example of discrimination against the mentally ill/handicapped, the context has to be taken into account. These words are on the “less grey” end of the spectrum of bigotry than words used as sexual and racial epithets. They are there precisely because they have evolved so far, their usage by minority populations has expanded so that what was once a minority use is now more common. Less controversial words like “nice” as a descriptor are probably better, and less emotive, illutrators of the principle than those words. To be clear I am NOT equating the use of the c word with the use of the word “nice”. All I am trying to do is illustrate that after a certain “linguistic distance” has built up, the difference in word meaning is sufficient to call into question any immediate leap to a conclusion about the user of a word. How often, for example, do we have misunderstandings here because someone though a word was being used one way when it was being used another? Very often! Granted the c word is not one of those more ambiguosu ones, but I hope you see the point I’m trying to make.

    Obviously I don’t agree that because a word once had one meaning it is irrevokably tied to that meaning forever. I don’t think, for example, gay people are uniquely and specially happy (sorry couldn’t resist that comedy one!). Maybe I’m not being clear, maybe that’s my problem and no one else’s, so I’ll try a different example:

    This from Jefrir @ 232 called something to mind:

    Another British reader here, and I disagree that “cunt” is somehow acceptable or gender-neutral here. Its use as an insult may well be gender-neutral, but it still has its plain meaning to refer to female genitalia, and this is what makes it mysogynistic.

    Ok, first and foremost I don’t at all disagree that the c word is till used extensively to refer to female genitals, and that invidious comparisons made to female genitals are inherently misogynistic. I also don’t claim that, despite the greying of its use in the UK and elsewhere that the c word is miraculously without link to the definition as female genitalia and thus misogyny. Greying doesn’t equate to miracle whiteness! What I’m trying to argue is that these shades of grey exist, context is required to distinguish between them, and not all worda are equal. Anyway let me make some substitutions in that passage for another to try to make my sleep deprived case:

    Another British reader here, and I disagree that “theory” is somehow acceptable or guess-neutral here. Its use as a description of a scientific body of work may well be guess-neutral, but it still has its plain meaning to refer to a guess, and this is what makes it evolutionary theory a guess.

    Ok, so maybe this doesn’t work well, but I hope it’s obvious what I’m trying to illustrate. When we argue with creationists we often see then adhere to the colloquial definition and usage of the word “theory” and ignore the scientific definition and usage. Maybe the c word is a bad example for this model, but all I am trying to say is not that its use has completely shifted but that it is in some contexts shifting. Granted, on our spectrum of bigotry, the c word is much closer to the very, very dark grey end with the n word. Other words will have shifted/be shigting to different degrees. Maybe “twat” is a more shifted word than the c word in certain contexts.

    I apologise for going on so long, but, probably stupidly, I am trying to generate understanding not conflict and that tends to make me wordier (oh fuck!) as I think of rabbit runs to sprint down chasing potential problems. I freely appreciate that I might have got this allllllll wrong, but what irked me so on the older thread was that more often than not I wasn’t getting my point across for whatever reason, and for SC to pull the same stunt here is, I think, more than slightly off kilter. Anyway, in the interest of my learning and encouraging mutual understanding I am at least trying to work this out! Forgive my excesses.

    Louis

    *I hate the coyness here btw, I think it gives the words unjust power, but this was a major distraction last time, so to avoid it I’ll play along, under protest. Perhaps it might help to note at this point that I am not white and have had a spectacular amount fo similar epithets chucked my way. I’m not very sensitive about it partly because I’ve rarely met any racist who has managed to get any aspect of my very mixed ethnicity right! lol

  449. #451 SC OM
    January 31, 2010

    Louis,

    No. Just no. We’ve had this entire discussion before, and from what little I’ve read of your lengthy posts here you appear to be misrepresenting it. Here are three of many threads in which this has been discussed at great length:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/10/sarah_palin_ignorant_and_antis.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/03/islam_hates_women.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/06/an_outing.php

    The second is the one with the endless discussion with Louis. There it is for anyone to read, and you, louis, may want to read it again now that you have some distance and more knowledge, and see if the arguments being made aren’t something other than you remember. I am not misrepresenting what you did on that thread.

    Louis, I don’t dislike you, and often find you quite charming and funny. I don’t think you’re being dishonest. I do think you’re often stubbornly ignorant and more concerned with the conversation and your personal growth and justification than with trying to understand other people’s experiences and positions. I have dozens of students right now and I’m not interested in replaying this discussion yet again. I would be happy if someone else is (though they should go into it with the awareness that your posts are typically extremely long).

  450. #452 Jadehawk, OM
    January 31, 2010

    Louis, the part you’re missing is that this isn’t simply a question of some women saying its degrading, and others saying it isn’t. You’re right that no one can speak for all women as to what personally denigrates them. This conversation isn’t about that though. The individual testimony really only exists to illustrate that those words can and do affect women that way.

    The arguments itself are really about the effect of common usage of these words society in general, and the group that’s being denigrated. Language does shape the way we think (Orwell wrote about this in 1984), and I don’t think this is even worth debating right now. What is being discussed is whether “cunt” has lost its sexist meaning; it hasn’t, and can’t because it describes sexed body part. Any “shades of grey” that may exist in how sexist and misogynist the word is all move within the sexist and misogynist range, never outside of it. And prolific use of such “slightly” (this is debatable, but let’s stick with it for the sake of the argument) sexist words accumulates to a language that puts women down. It’s an aggregate effect of being surrounded by words that do that, even if the effect of a single one use might not do much damage. The experiences of individual women who experience this wearing down are an important part of this argument though, because it’s hard to see from the outside what effects having to defend oneself against everyday language can have. I myself have for example never experienced this consciously until I moved to North Dakota, because the level at which this language existed was so much stronger than what I was previously used to. But in hindsight, the same effects exist in other situations but is so mild that I did not consciously notice it.

    And then there’s the problem that as long as such words are “accepted” because they are believed to not do much harm, they are too readily available for use when they’re specifically aimed to do harm and put people down.

    as for the self-censorship, I merely forgot if the words trigger moderation(there was some stormfront flooding a while back, and I don’t remember if PZ did something about it). some other random words trigger it, though. plus, I could have used the HTML tag trick, but simply putting the asterisks there was easier. in hindsight I shouldn’t have done it; you’re right, it does give the words too much power.

    lastly, you’re right that the way we talk on here about mental illnesses is often not very good either; but I personally only have the energy for so many battles.

  451. #453 Louis
    February 1, 2010

    Ok SC,

    You are right in a way, I *am* concerned with learning and personal development around this issue, if only for the simple reason that (as someone who has been on the nasty end of biogtry) I have no desire at all to perpetuate bigotry.

    I’m also concerned that you dragged me into something I’m not involved in and missed the nuance of what I said the first time (and this time apparently). No where, here or there have I said “the c word is ok in the UK therefore it’s ok” in the manner that Newfie has. Simply no where. You’d have to apply bible code style letter picking to my posts to find THAT! ;-) I’ll say it again, all I’ve disagreed with is the absolutist and extendable nature of certain claims.

    These are far from the only things I’m concerned about, but at the risk of post bloat, I’ll agree to not mention EVERYTHING else! Don’t worry I’ll suck it up and take the hit! Thanks for wrangling with me and my looooooooooooong posts anyway. (Stubbornly ignorant? Perhaps a tad harsh, but meh, whatever, you couldn’t resist a good crack ;-) ). Oh and I’m not misrepresenting that thread at all, my argument was from the start about the “crystal ball gazing over other people’s motivations” go and read #678 or #689 for examples of how that evolved. It was misunderstood as having some other motive more than a few times. Mabe that’s my fault for not being clear enough.

    I really want you to come to the UK and experience it! LOL It’s likely though that when I do I’ll find you the politest bunch of rugby players on the sodding island! Just my luck ;-)

    All the best

    Louis

  452. #454 Louis
    February 1, 2010

    Jadehawk:

    Sorry, post bloat again!

    There are two issues here: 1) the issue around privilege and the extension of individual experience beyond that context. 2) the issue around words, linguistic evolution, word use and how that affects individuals and society.

    1) Ok, I’m with you. The problem I have is that “testimony of member of group A” is privileged over “testimony of member of group B” and sometimes “testimony of member of group A is extended to factual claim or general position”, if you say that you aren’t using it that way, then you and I have no disagreement on the matter. I have seen it used that way though. However, I’m going to quote you from #449:

    Louis, the reason a woman’s word on whether a word is misogynist counts more is simply because there really is such a thing as (straight, white, male, pick all that apply) privilege. If you’re not IN the group being denigrated, you are very likely not able to perceive whether something is denigrating or not; all you can do is accept that it is so when the relevant demographic tells you so.

    Bolding mine.

    The relevant demographic isn’t telling me anything. Someone from the relevant demographic is. To me that last sentence reads as if you are elevating the individual’s recounting of their experience (a woman’s word) as if she were speaking for the whole group (the relevant demographic). May be this is my misreading and I need a kick in the knackers. I think if you stuck the word “someone from the” before relevant demographic” then you’d find I don’t disagree with you in any way shape or form. The woman is not the demographic, nor can she speak for it, she is however a member of it.

    To emphasise: As I said above, the individual experiences of individual women are invaluable and inviolable. I am NOT in any way dismissing them, I am disagreeing that they can be extended to more factual or general areas. To use myself as an example again: my experience of racism does not make me either a spokesman for any demographic I fall into, nor does it make me an expert on all things to do with racism. It makes me an expert about my experience of racism and hopefully also grants me insight into other people’s experience of racism and/or prejudice. To extend my experience or my group identity beyond the realm it applies to is a non-sequitur, the validity of any argument or claim I make doesn’t rest on my membership of any group nor does it rest on the nature of my specific experiences UNLESS I am making a claim about those specific experiences.

    2) I think buried in the huge posts above I mention that the c word* has not lost its sexist meaning completely. Has it lost it in some contexts? Debatable. It certainly hasn’t over there in the USA (and I agree with other commenters that to all intents and purposes this blog is USA soil). Has it in some instances here in the UK? Perhaps more so, but still rarely I’d say. It still clearly means “women’s genitals” in the vast majority of its use….

    …..Anyway, I’ve said all this before. Different words fall on different parts of the spectrum of bigotry, the c word is clearly far to the very dark grey end, and not to the lighter grey end like other words. I repeat: nothing in this argument is about one word as far as I’m concerned. I certainly didn’t dive in to defend the use of unplesant sexist terminology. So I think we agree on all you’ve said about that subject. At least I hope so.

    What spurred my comment on the older thread was the argument that “if someone uses word X as an insult, that someone is a misogynist, period!”. It’s THAT claim that I took issue with, not the claim that the c word (for example) is or isn’t sexist. I was arguing that insulting use of (potentially, depends on actual word used) sexist terminology was necessary to determine misogyny on the part of the insulter, but not sufficient. Others were arguing that it was both. I merely said that I didn’t think this could be done without further examination of the context in some, not all, cases. To be honest, I thought I was making an uncontroversial point! LOL

    I am absolutely on board with Orwell and how he and you describe language shaping our thought. As I mentioned above I am fully cognizent that we live in a generally sexist (if not even misogynistic society, as well as a racist etc one), and that the prevalence of these words’ use being can be a measure of the “tolerance health” of that society. Having been on the receiving end of prejudiced language pretty much my whole life, I have a reasonable empathy with someone else who has to suffer it. I agree that the use of such words can be harmful, and are likely indicators of a culture of bigotry. However, this is a move of the goalposts a little because I wasn’t denying that the prevalence of prejudiced language creates and maintains a prejudiced environment, nor was I defending the use of prejudiced language.

    A comment that a word has evolved from it’s original meaning, or is evolving, or is used differently by different sub-groups doesn’t defend the use of the word as a clear example of prejudice. All recognition of that evolution, and especially recognition of HOW words evolve, can achieve is to put a small question mark over any claims of motive on the part of the user. I’ll try to illustrate this better by running down the spectrum of bigotry I described:

    1) a white person calls a black person the n word.

    2) a male person calls a female person the c word.

    3) a male person calls a female person the t word.

    4) a male person calls a male person the t word.

    5) one person calls another person an idiot.

    6) a white person calls a black male person “boy”.

    I’d argue that all of those were instances of the use of prejudiced language. I’d argue that all of those were instances of langauge use that can “wear down” people in precisely the prejudicial manner you meant above.

    In the case of 1) and 6) I’d not hesitate, especially in the USA’s social context, to describe that person as a racist/exhibiting racist behaviour. I’d even be very confident to impute active racist motives to them. Were I in the USA I’d also have no hesitation attributing misogynist motives etc to 2) and 3) as well, and to exactly the same degree as attributing racist motives etc to 1) and 6). Were I in the UK 1) would remain unchanged, still easy to attribute overtly racist motives to the user etc. The same goes for 2). 6) is a complicated one. If the person using it were aware of the (esp USA) history of the use of that term, then it’s 100% racist motivation is clear. However, I think this one is highly situational. A teacher calling a pupil “boy”, when the child is black (regardless of the race of the teacher) is less likely to be an expression of racism outside the USAian context than within it, for example.

    It’s 3), 4), and 5) that, for me are less clear in other contexts. Were we in a UK environment, 3) is still likely to be an expression of misogyny, my 100% confidence crumbles to an all time low of 99.9%! 4) is where my confidence crumbles even lower. 5) is an interesting one. I would be very unlikely to impute motives of prejudice against mentally ill/handicapped people to the user, but I think this is a clear case of a cultural prejudice. In fact I’d stick this example at BOTH ends of the spectrum: individually I think it is an unlikely indicator of prejudice, culturally I think it is a strong indicator of an invidious and often unexamined prejudice.

    Notice though that in every case I have given some context, it’s that context that allows me to determine the bigotry on the part of the user, not merely the magical power of the words used. The reason that more context is needed for some of those examples and not for others is because all those words are evolving in subpopulations of English speakers at different rates. Imputing motives to a user of those words requires a greater understanding of context. Notice also I say nothing about how “acceptable” this makes any of these words. That is a different, but related, question.

    That’s pretty much all I was arguing for on the other thread. Linguistic evolution doesn’t excuse or encourage the use of these words, it does nothing more than cast some doubt onto any claim to know the motives of the user for certain in the absence of considering further context.

    The point of this massive diversion is not to provide some excuse for using these words as insults. I don’t think there is any for all the reasons you mention and more. I think the use of these words is definitely a mechanism by which oppressive cultures/environments arise. This is where I think the conflation of two issues has occured. People have seen me say “I don’t think you can claim this person is automatically X because of use of word Y” and seen that as a defense of the use of these words. I said it before (it was almost entirely missed) there are plenty of good reasons not to use these words, you mention a few of them, and I agree with the lot. The line of “acceptability” is going to be partly dependent on the context of use, and the context of use is going to be dependent on how a specific word is evolving.

    I too lack the energy for many battles (I lack the energy for this one but am banging on anyway), I didn’t want to be drawn back into this one but I feel that I’m being misrepresented and thus have taken the opportunity to clear that up, if possible.

    Cheers

    Louis

    *Fuck it, I sticking with being fucking coy! And if that doesn’t make you laugh as much as it just made me laugh, bollocks to the lot of you! ;-)

  453. #455 Louis
    February 1, 2010

    All typos in the above posts are mine and I own them entirely.

    Louis

  454. #456 Carlie
    February 1, 2010

    Louis, it really isn’t worth trying to convince you of the particulars at this point. It’s all laid out there. Research has been linked to, explanations have been made. If you continue to insist that there is no such thing as a misogynistic word in the face of decades of sociocultural and linguistic research that says otherwise, fine. But would you at least concede that knowing that there is such a huge body of research that points towards misogynistic language contributing to a culture of degradation, knowing that at the very least a significant minority of women who hear such words will wince and be hurt by them as collateral damage to any point you’re trying to make by using the word, knowing that there are dozens of other good substitute words that don’t carry such baggage, that using it anyway is being a jerk?

  455. #457 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 1, 2010

    that using it anyway is being a jerk?

    Which is why he wants to use it. And why he isn’t very respected around here. Boring, insipid arguments.

  456. #458 Walton
    February 1, 2010

    FWIW, I can confirm that “twat”, as used in British English, is a very common profanity and is virtually never used in a gendered sense. Indeed, I was 19 or 20 before I even realised that it originally referred to female genitalia; I don’t think I’ve ever heard a British person use it in such a context. Instead, it’s usually used just as a generic insult (generally towards men) to mean “stupid person”; it can also be used, as Louis says, as a verb to signify being hit hard (e.g. “he twatted me in the face”). It’s an example of a word that’s strayed so far from its origins, in one particular version of English, that it simply no longer has any gendered connotations or overtones of misogyny at all. I’ve heard women use the word (most often towards men) very, very frequently.

    That said – having become aware that the word is deemed more offensive in American English – I would not use it here. I am strongly opposed to misogyny (and have repeatedly spoken out against the use of sexist insults in the past), and if some people feel that it is a misogynistic insult, I have no intention of using it. The fact that a term has different connotations in different versions of English is not, IMO, a valid excuse for continuing to use a term that some consider offensive and demeaning, once this has been pointed out. I may have used it here in the past – I can’t remember – and if this is the case, then I apologise.

  457. #459 Louis
    February 1, 2010

    Carlie,

    I don’t see where I’ve disagreed with any of that. I think if you’d read what I wrote (sorry, I know there’s a lot of it) you’d find I’m not defending the use of any word. I don’t want to use the damned words, I don’t use them!

    {sigh}

    This is what happened last time. You are attributing to me positions I don’t hold because I am arguing about a related issue. No fair!

    I’ve read the links and what have you, and I think they say the same thing I do: the word itself doesn’t contain the misogyny, the context does. Note again: this doesn’t excuse their use. I’m not disagreeing with any research, decades of or otherwise. All I did, am doing, and will do is take issue with a specific absolutist set of claims. Nothing more nothing less.

    Read #455, in there I explicitly say that I agree with you about language use creating a culture of degredation. Let’s get this clear: I have never disagreed with that here or elsewhere ever. It has always been tangential to the argument I was originally making.

    Please try to realise that disagreement with one aspect of a claim does not equate to disagreement with all related claims. Again: I am not defending the use of any word or words.

    Yet again:

    1) I am not defending the use of any word
    2) I agree about the culture of degredation
    3) I am not defending the use of any word (this may look like 1)
    4) I was disagreeing with a specific claim about attributing motives to people using a series of words in the absence of consideration of the context. This is different.

    Please, please, PLEASE read what I have actually written.

    Nerd,

    Thanks as always. Perhaps you’ll do me the honour ofreading what I’ve actually argued rather than what you (seem to) think I’ve argued. As for your respect? Pah, I need that like a fish needs a bicycle.

    Louis

  458. #460 Louis
    February 1, 2010

    Walton,

    I don’t think the t word has lost all of its sexual connotations at all. I think it has partially lost them in some contexts. That’s the difference between white and greyish!

    I don’t think this excuses or permits its use at all (see comments about culture of degradation made by Carlie as for one good reason why), but I think that it means that if you see/hear it used you can’t automatically leap to a diagnosis of misogyny on the part of the user without further examination of the context. That is the sum total of the argument I was originally making, and it is continually being misunderstood/misrepresented as a defense of usage, which it specactualrly obviously is not. Intentionally or otherwise.

    Louis

  459. #461 Louis
    February 1, 2010

    I think, btw, a lot of the problem is because a lot of people here have a lot of experience dealing with apologists for misogyny. Thus they see any disagreement over any point, however unrelated to apologising for/aiding the social persistence of misogyny, as falling into that box.

    I am sincere in my claim not to be either an apologist for, not an aid to, a culture of misogyny. I was originally (although now there are several threads to the argument) taking issue with what I saw as an absolutist linguistic claim. As far as I’m concerned that’s the issue I’m dealing with. I know it has ramifications and side shoots etc, and I’ve mentioned that (again) above in #444. I’d be grateful if people like Carlie would address what I am actually saying rather than treating me like some Newfie clone, which I assuredly am not.

    Louis

  460. #462 Louis
    February 1, 2010

    Fuck it I keep thinking of things!

    I am arguing that context is important in diagnosing individual bigotry. That the word used doesn’t contain the bigotry alone, that bigotry is determined in part by context. This does not in any way negate the fact that words that can be used in bigoted ways contribute to a culture of bigotry. Does that clear it up a bit?

    Louis

  461. #463 Louis
    February 1, 2010

    Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!

    In #462 it should read: “…bigoted and not-obviously bigoted ways contribute…

    Louis

  462. #464 Newfie
    February 1, 2010

    can also be used informally as a derogatory epithet in referring to a person of either sex, but this usage is relatively recent, dating back only as far as the late nineteenth century.

    It would all depend on the speaker’s intent, wouldn’t it?

    “Damn the English language and its evolution, it was ‘created’ and it’s static, end of story.”

  463. #465 Carlie
    February 1, 2010

    Louis, I was addressing what you said.

    I think that it means that if you see/hear it used you can’t automatically leap to a diagnosis of misogyny on the part of the user without further examination of the context.

    It has been said over, and over, and over, and OVER, that when a person is called out on using such a word, they are NOT being told they are a misogynist. I don’t know how that could possibly be said more clearly than it already has been dozens of times. The diagnosis is that the word itself is misogynistic, and its use contributes to misogyny in society. The only time the person themselves can be called misogynistic is if they are using it that way on purpose. For people who are concerned with the overall milieu, it does not matter what the person themselves meant by it, it’s the word use itself that is being rejected. That is where the exhaustion over context comes in – in a society where women are still treated like shit in many ways, there is no appropriate context for the use of words that in any way rely on the definition of women as shit to make sense even if the person using the word is unaware of said origin, because the majority of society is still aware of it.

    The analogy that has been made, again over and over and over, is that if you step on someone’s foot, it doesn’t matter if it was an accident, you have still caused an injury. And if you then continue to tramp around without looking for feet, you are actively contributing to the collective damage of feet in your society.

  464. #466 Stephen Wells
    February 1, 2010

    Newfie, the fact that the word is now applied to insult people of either gender is utterly unrelated to the fact that it’s insulting for a specifically anti-women reason. Now do you see why your link is irrelevant?

  465. #467 Newfie
    February 1, 2010

    Now do you see why your link is irrelevant?

    .. and and African American visiting here would at first be surprised to hear people asking him, “Lovely day, eh b’y?”.. “Where are you from, b’y?”

    He might project his own interpretation, until it was explained to him. But after it was explained, and he still took offense? Are we expected to change our language to suit one visitor? Or, should the person understand what it means, and forget about it?

  466. #468 Carlie
    February 1, 2010

    And to expand on this point:

    In a society where women are still treated like shit in many ways, there is no appropriate context for the use of words that in any way rely on the definition of women as shit to make sense even if the person using the word is unaware of said origin, because the majority of society is still aware of it.

    Given anyone who takes this as a starting point, you will never make any headway by trying to find every conceivable context in which a word based in misogyny is ok to use, because “ok context” involves change in society’s treatment of women itself, not in various alternate definitions of the word. Does everyone take this as a starting point? No. But this is why you won’t get anywhere arguing with anyone who does.

  467. #469 Carlie
    February 1, 2010

    Are we expected to change our language to suit one visitor?

    Quelle horreur!

    When speaking to that visitor, I guess only if you don’t want them to think you’re a jerk, because all the explanation in the world won’t change the fact that their entire life history makes them cringe to hear it.

  468. #470 strange gods before me, OM
    February 1, 2010

    Your host, in both the personal sense and the technical sense, resides in the United States.

    PZ Myers lives in Minnesota.

    The server at scienceblogs.com, 174.143.250.21, sits in Texas.

    When you comment on Pharyngula, you are sending a message to the United States, to be stored on servers owned by United States citizens and rebroadcast from the United States, at the pleasure of a very bearded United States citizen.

  469. #471 Newfie
    February 1, 2010

    because all the explanation in the world won’t change the fact that their entire life history makes them cringe to hear it.

    Local language. Most using it wouldn’t think or know that it would offend. Some of your daily language might offend me, where no offence was intended. One explanation would fix that, and it wouldn’t be an issue.

    But some people are always looking to be offended too.. they don’t usually make for good company.

  470. #472 Newfie
    February 1, 2010

    When you comment on Pharyngula, you are sending a message to the United States, to be stored on servers owned by United States citizens and rebroadcast from the United States, at the pleasure of a very bearded United States citizen.

    So if a couple of Brits are talking to each other here, no local language, and drop all superfluous U’s. Got ya, must speak ‘mericun english only.

  471. #473 Stephen Wells
    February 1, 2010

    And how, newfie, would you explain the use of the word “cunt” as an insult in a way that’s inoffensive to women? Do tell.

  472. #474 strange gods before me, OM
    February 1, 2010

    Come onto a United States citizen’s property and speak British English, we’ll nervously check our cupboards for tea to offer you.

    Come onto a United States citizen’s property and start calling people cunts, you’ll be shown the door.

  473. #475 Carlie
    February 1, 2010

    Fine, Newfie. You feel that your god-given right to use any language you want trumps the generally agreed-upon social rule that making people more comfortable around you is generally a good thing. You are perfectly free to believe that, just don’t try and complain that you’re being oppressed when certain people then avoid your company and/or call you socially inept.

  474. #476 Louis
    February 1, 2010

    Carlie,

    DISCLAIMER: I want to distance myself from Newfie and his arguments. I think he is stirring the pot deliberately. He’ll seize on anything he can as an argument of convenience, IMO. Not an honest move, also IMO.

    AH! I think I see where we’re talking at cross purposes. That quote is referring to the argument I made in the original thread (Islam hates women) that SC was referring to in this thread.

    Again, I **AGREE WITH YOU** that the use of these words contributes to misogyny in society (stamping on feet etc). I am not, absolutely not, defending or advocating their use. The only reason I got involved in the last thread is precisely because someone DID say explicitly “if they use it, they are a misogynist, period”. They did not make the more nuanced argument you are making, and which I do not disagree with. It was that explicit claim of imputing motives that I disagreed with.

    Now the reason I disagree with it (and where I diagree with you about linguistics) is because of the issue of where the bigotry lies. It doesn’t lie in the word because then words could never be reclaimed by any community, they would have magically fixed meanings. When you have words like the c word or the n word you are dealing with words that have not evolved sufficiently (or even at all) in any sense, etymological or cultural, to have that “liguistic distance” I mentioned posts ago. The context and the word use are (almost?) 100% overlapping. For other words this overlap is <100%. The "linguistic distance" allows ONLY doubt about the motives of the user. It doesn't allow, as I've already said several times, doubt about whether or not the use as an insult is unthinkingly an expression of bigotry or whether or not it contributes to a culture of bigotry.

    As for the expansion in #468. Again, for the umpteenth time no argument I have made, nothing I've said and certainly nothing I think is aimed at or does make using these words ok in any sense. Period. Full stop. The lady with the large BMI has sung. You are arguing "argument A", which I **agree** with, someone else (who prompted my SIWOTI syndrome) was arguing "argument B", which I don't agree with. Again: I am not saying that there exist contexts in which it is ok to use these words, far far from it, I am saying that without examination of the context a charge of misogyny cannot automatically be leveled at the user. If this isn’t the argument you or more nuanced individuals are making, (and I don’t for a second think it is) then you and I are not in disagreement on that issue.

    It’s like I said originally, I didn’t think I was making a controversial point. I think several controversial misreadings/miscommunications and misattributions have occurred however. C’est la vie.

    Louis

    P.S. Oh and as for your #469, I agree with you that yes, you do change your behaviour to suit the visitor if you know the visitor is going to be mortified by your words.

  475. #477 Newfie
    February 1, 2010

    As I linked to the wiki article, Stephen.
    If a male here, was calling another guy that, for behaving in a selfish manner, has no sexual connotation, regardless of the word’s origin.
    Words evolve.

    Or you can be a Language Creo, I guess. ;)

  476. #478 Louis
    February 1, 2010

    {Agrees with SGBM}

    {Falls over in shock}
    ;-)

    Louis

  477. #479 Louis
    February 1, 2010

    Oh for fuck’s sake, teach me not to preview:

    #476, 3rd para after the disclaimer, last sentence should be:

    “The context and the word use are (almost?) 100% overlapping. For other words this overlap is of different values.”

    Louis

  478. #480 Carlie
    February 1, 2010

    Louis – ok, I think we probably are on the same page.

    I am saying that without examination of the context a charge of misogyny cannot automatically be leveled at the user. If this isn’t the argument you or more nuanced individuals are making, (and I don’t for a second think it is) then you and I are not in disagreement on that issue.

    Exactly, that’s not the argument that’s being made. The closest I’ve seen is that in moments of exasperation after several go-rounds, someone might fire off “well then you’re a misogynist” referring to someone’s continued insistence on using it anyway, or declaring that sexism isn’t important, and the like, and it might look like that was the initial charge. If anyone here has made that argument I haven’t noticed, and I wouldn’t agree with it.

    If a male here, was calling another guy that, for behaving in a selfish manner, has no sexual connotation, regardless of the word’s origin.

    Then what makes it a bad word meaning selfish, then? Why was that one chosen to represent a negative personality attribute?

  479. #481 strange gods before me, OM
    February 1, 2010

    Then what makes it a bad word meaning selfish, then? Why was that one chosen to represent a negative personality attribute?

    And why does it matter that it’s a man speaking to a man?

  480. #482 Louis
    February 1, 2010

    Carlie,

    Great. Thanks very much. I’ve definitely moved on a lot since the last thread. Some arguments I would make the same way, some I was clearly wrong about and hold my hands up about.

    For example, I did say on the “Islam hate women” thread that there were appropriate insulting uses of the (for example) c word. I now think I was wrong to say that, as I hope is obvious from the foregoing posts on this thread. A lot of what people said sunk in and I went off and did some reading and, dare I say it, “got it” to a greater degree. So with that in mind I definitely owe a few people an apology for some arguments I was making on the older thread. I was wrong about some of them, my bad. If it’s any consolation, I’ve learned a little since then.

    Cheers

    Louis

  481. #483 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 1, 2010

    I see our frat boys still haven’t matured, and are still trying to justify their sophmoric behavior. Boring sophistry. Here’s a clue boys. To be considered men, you need to accept that certain words are not used in polite and mixed company. These words, while maybe acceptable to your peer group of immature frat boys, are insulting to those who have matured beyond the frat boy stage to social adults. And being asked not to use those words, but still attempting to do so, confirms your immature frat boy status since you deliberately insult people by using them. And you refuse to accept the responsibility for your bad behavior, just like frat boys. Let us know when you acheive enlightenment by socially growing up. Then we mature people might take you seriously.

  482. #484 Stephen Wells
    February 1, 2010

    No, Louis! You can’t do that! You know perfectly well that everybody on Pharyngula is closeminded, dogmatic, and utterly inflexible in their world view. If you go changing your mind gracefully on the basis of evidence and reason like this, you’ll totally spoil things.

  483. #485 Carlie
    February 1, 2010

    Louis – I may also have read over everything too quickly and misinterpreted what you were trying to say. It’s been a trying few days in comments, between rape minimizing on the endless thread and war crimes minimizing on the charity thread, so I’m a little touchy, which is nobody’s fault but my own.

  484. #486 Gyeong Hwa Pak, the Pikachu of Anthropology
    February 1, 2010

    I see our frat boys still haven’t matured

    Hey, I take offence to that. lol (not really, as a frat boy, I know we’re not mature.)

  485. #487 Louis
    February 1, 2010

    Stephen,

    Yeah I know it’s bad form. My bad again…fuck you all and the horses you rode in on. Better?

    In all seriousness, thanks, though I’m not sure I managed “graceful”, my habit of post bloat is far from graceful!

    ——

    Carlie,

    No worries at all. I freely concede that I do this and get other people wrong all the time. Also, I wouldn’t blame you for tieing some of the older arguments I made to some of the newer ones on this thread. I was wrong about some things on the older thread (pleeeeeease don’t make me list them all!) and possibly even some of the ones here too. I’m evolving my own understanding of a topic, apologies if it causes others pain. ;-)

    ——

    Nerd,

    If you’ve read what I’ve written on this thread do I still get to be lumped in with the frat boys? If so, can I please get a beer bong? I haven’t had one in ages.

    Louis