One thing will never end, the endless thread goes on

This is my last day in California, and you people have filled up the cosmic thread I started here. You know there's only one sentiment I can express here, and the words to this song are just perfect.

On the day I went away... goodbye...
Was all I had to say... now I...
I want to come again and stay... Oh my my...
Smile, and that will mean that I may

Cause I've seen blue skies, through the tears
In my eyes
And I realise.. I'm going home.

Everywhere it's been the same... feeling...
Like I'm outside in the rain... wheeling...
Free, to try and find a game... dealing...
Cards for sorrow, cards for pain

Cause I've seen blue skies through the tears
In my eyes
And I realise.. I'm going home.

I'm going home, I'm going home.

My mascara is running. I can't go on. You'll all have to keep chattering away for me.

More like this

Y'all know that I'm an advocate of kids being able to get their science on. It's great when they can do this is school, under the guidance of knowledgable and enthusiastic teachers. But sometimes the teachers are ... not so knowledgable, or not so enthusiastic. Even when they are both, sometimes…
I was on the TSA’s no-fly list up until six months back. Apparently "John Lynch" was a suspected terrorist - if so, he probably was in the Irish Republican Army in the 1980’s and thus receiving funding from a good number of patriotic Americans on the east coast during that time. It meant I could…
As it says in the good book: Junkies down in Brooklyn are going crazy They're laughing just like hungry dogs in the street Policemen are hiding behind the skirts of little girls Their eyes have turned the color of frozen meat No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no Joan Crawford has risen…
I hadn't seen this Onion report before -- "Millions and Millions Dead" -- from a decade ago, although I have referred to this report -- "World Death Rate Holding Steady at 100 percent" -- before (in an old post). I am thus forced to repost the graphic about world death rates, but to pair it with…

This is the thread that never ends.
It just goes on and on my friend.

By PaleGreenPants (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Dammit! I was trying to sneak that one over a thousand before you got up.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

And here we had no idea you were just a sweet transvestite...

@ Janine #2:

Then you should have had the relevant locals in California lace PZ's bed-time cocoa (or whatever).

I'm going to whine just a little bit. No, I take that back, I'm going to whine a whole lot.

On June 18th is the start of the biannual Newport (Rhode Island) to Bermuda sail boat race. This race usually takes four days, then there's several days spent racing around Bermuda and another four or five days to bring the boat back home. I've been in the race every other year since 1978. I started out as a wincher and deck hand and worked my way to watch captain and navigator. In a previous thread I linked to a picture of me at the helm of a boat at the start of the 2000 race. I've been in the overall winning boat once, second place overall twice, and first place in class twice (not counting the overall win).

Earlier this morning I saw my cardiologist. He doesn't think I should do the Newport to Bermuda Race ever again. My wife agrees with him.

Damn I hate getting old!

In June I'll be doing some serious sulking.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

whoa...close call. Had this all formatted and ready to go in the groovy subThread and would have lost it if I hadn't checked before posting. So here is some trans-subThread continuity:

Hoookay, catching up on a long subThread, Marjanovi[fancy c]-style:

re: vampires with canine fangs. The original cinematic depiction of a vampire (1921) had serious incisors. AFAIK Lugosi's Dracula started the canine-fangs thing. Really an entirely different concept of the vampire.

re: the Ross sisters: holy...freakin...shit. SfO's mind would boggle.

Bill Dauphin @#822: Thank you! for posting one of my all-time favorites. Best Dylan cover Evar? If only I had seen your post last night when I was stoned enough to really dig the vid.
oo! Then SC with the '88 Miracle...(Bobby was such a rockstar)
AND Iko Iko [pedant's spelling] from Anaheim '87! I was there...somewhere. Stadium shows suck. That was the tour with Dylan.

its form points to a process very different from today's Darwinian evolution

This, in turn, would eventually have given way to a third stage of evolution in which genetic transfer became mostly vertical

This bothers me. The idea of rampant horizontal gene transfer (HGT) early in the history of life is very cool and has all kinds of very cool implications and is strongly supported by ever-increasing evidence, but I really do NOT see how it's a challenge to "Darwinian evolution" in any way. Vertical GT (i.e., replication/reproduction) was always happening. And it was always differential, meaning that natural selection was always at work. HGT only provided another mechanism by which new genetic variation can be introduced into populations' gene pools, which variation then can be sorted out by ordinary vertical/Darwinian mechanisms.
Too much spin!!!

it might be possible to map this behavior to that of some modern birds and thus indirectly provide evidence that birds and dinosaurs are behaviorally linked.

Not far-fetched at all. If they were in fact T. rex eggs, then your interpretation seems probable. Extended parental care is found today in both birds and crocodilians, and via phylogenetic bracketing it is most parsimonious to infer that all dinosaurs (and pterosaurs) had it too (parallels the recent discussion of flow-through lungs). And there is plenty of fossil evidence supporting that hypothesis for a few dinosaur species.

the fun-loving 60s rolled over into the sordid, depressing 70s

For the quintessential dissertaion on this topic, see Thompson, H.S. (1972).

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I was counting on them to over serve PZ and keep him up late.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

*breaks vinyl LP in half in front of pedantic audiophile*

By Amelia 386sx E… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Like Sven (@7), I had this all ready to go on the other thread and almost lost it. Lucky for y'all (<snark>), I was able to rescue it from the aether, and I present it now for your enjoyment and delight:

I'd probably be a lousy surfer, because I always seem to be a bit "behind the wave" of conversation around here, but regarding the prepositions-at-the-end-of-a-sentence thing, I agree that the blanket prohibition is apocryphal (the prohibition against splitting infinitives is another example of one of those schoolmarmish "rules" that isn't really a rule, BTW), there are cases where putting a preposition at the end of a sentence is at least bad writing, if not an outright error. For example...

That's where I sleep at.

In cases like this, the problem with the preposition at the end of the sentence is not that it shouldn't be at the end of the sentence but that it shouldn't be in the sentence: where I sleep is a perfectly adequate phrase; the at is unnecessary.

It can also be awkward, if not flatly wrong, to split up at which. For instance, I would write...

That's the spot at which I crashed.

...or...

That's the spot I crashed at.

...but probably not...

That's the spot which I crashed at.

Now, we could argue about whether these comments reflect actual correctness or, instead, editorial judgments about quality... but IMHO it doesn't matter: Writing that's awkward or ineffective should be avoided, regardless of its formal correctness. I like to think of myself as a grammar geek, but in fact I'm all about making the point using whatever structures and styles work to do so.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I dunno if there are any audiophile's out there, but if there are, I got a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell ya.

By Amelia 386sx E… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Sorry to hear that, 'Tis. :(

"When I said 'we' I meant my most beautiful sister and myself."

They may not let you on the spaceship.

By v.rosenzweig (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Damnit, PZ, your timing was infernally perfect! Just right to give me the "Comments not allowed" reply after I had filled the Leave a Comment box. I clicked "Submit" and was given the finger.

Miki Z on the previous thread:

Lynna,
     How long before BYU tells Daniels to give back his degree, do you think? Part of my childhood was spent on the BYU campus when both of my parents were students there. There is absolutely the feeling that it's okay to let loose around members with things that would not be said in front of non-members.
     When I got engaged my family all felt the need to call me and tell me how relieved they were that I wasn't gay, how worried they had been for me, how hard they had been praying, how awkward it had been to be around me. A few suggested that maybe getting married would clear up the 'gay confusion' I had been having. It took a careless aunt for me to find out that they thought my uncontrolled seizures were a mark and warning from God.
     It didn't even occur to me to mention that my fiancee was notwhite (there's only whites and notwhites, after all). "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" was much more kindly scripted.

Jeeeezuss christ! Every time I think I have plumbed the depths of the cruelty inherent in mormondom, I find there is more. Sheesh. Seizures, and gay assumptions or assumptions of gaydom, and signs from god? God needs to take more care with his signs. If God does want you to be gay, he should manage without the seizures.

And what do they care if you are gay? Oh, the horror, right? Even thinking it required 24-hour hard praying.

Chad Hardy was excommunicated and his diploma surgically removed for simply creating calendars of shirtless mormon hunks. And this was before he featured the Mormon Muffins in all their bosomy, yeasty glory. So, yes, I think Daniel is in danger of excommunication and diploma-deflowering.

But they'll never get the BYU letter jacket back.

Of course, you should apologize for making your mormon relatives feel awkward around you. Not.

Mormons do say some odd things if they mistake you for one of them. Casting folks into Outer Darkness is one I've heard. The Us v. Them language gets a lot stronger.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I dunno if there are any audiophile's out there

not me!
I mean, I don't mind crystalline highs and gut-rumbling lows, and it's not like I'm a big fan of hiss, noise, and distortion, But I find that if the music is good enough I don't really even notice.

I've subscribed to Downbeat for many years, and for a few months there they had an audiophile column in which this guy would presume to review high-end CD players. He claimed to hear all kinds of subtle differences, and even claimed that a CD player's sound improved as it got "burned in."

woo, woo, woo

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Also, why, oh why, oh why do I keep mispelling 'etymology'? At least I stopped mixing it up with Entomology when I was about 10. That would be really embarrassing...

Those words bug me too.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

'Tis (@6):

Bummer, dude. I'm not a sailor myself, but sailing is something I dream about, and I envy those who get to do it. I stumbled across the Newport-to-Bermuda race on the web a couple years while looking for something else, and it looks like just an unspeakably cool thing to do. I'm so sorry you have lost that part of your life.

Is there nothing to be done? Diet? Exercise? Transplant surgery? A new cardiologist? (I'm assuming a new wife is not it the cards!) Is the problem the degree of exertion involved in sailing, or just the remoteness from emergency care when you're on the open sea?

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

My mascara is running.

Well you shouldn't use one which has all those little legs attached. Your squiddly sister Ursula knew how to keep her cosmetics under control.

Aratina:
"You don't appear to know any words that would strip you of your humanity or any words that make your very existence the butt of jokes..."

This is the best yet. After I have said clearly that the words I and others have used are such words. I have used them appropriately in context while others seem to see them as gratuitous insults. It'd be OK to criticise such insults if they weren't hypocritically flinging insults back. What I have argued is that it's wrong to censor. That is the clear message I took from the various prior discussions of this.
I'm not forcing anyone to take me seriously, but, if you must criticise, please criticise what I do say rather than what I don't. You know that is a strawman.

私 (watakushi)、私 (watashi)
Both written with the same character??? That's cruel.

Yes, both written with the same character. The written formalities are different from the spoken ones, so there's only ambiguity here when reading aloud, not when reading for meaning. Reading aloud is hard. A recent encouragement of parents to their children to study their reading is "Don't be a Taro". This refers to Taro Aso (麻生太郎) the previous Prime Minister who was well known for his difficulty in reading aloud. The opposition took the opportunity several times to have him read things in the parliament in order to embarrass him.

我 survives meaning 'self' in several compound words and as a prefix with the same meaning (as a prefix it can also demonstrate familiarity and contempt).

私 almost always means 'private' when it's in a compound word. 私立高校 (shiritsu-koukou) is private high school, for instance.

politeness level / humility level (orthogonal concepts in Japanese)

politeness depends on the relation between speaker and listener, humility on the relation between speaker and subject. It's possible to be talking very casually about someone to whom you show deference (a boss, a teacher, a grandparent, etc.) or to be talking very politely about a friend, child, etc.

When you're both polite and humble, some of the verbs are replaced. Elevators tend to speak this way, using the verb 参る (mairu) instead of 来る (kuru, to come) and 行 (iku, to go).

Up to date.

As noted, the previous subThread, although advertised as "mellow" and "groovy" was in fact frenetic. Almost 1000 comments in only 3 1/2 days? Out of hand and off the charts.
I am working up some forecasts and they are already frightening me.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Still freaking out at comment 955.

Fornication Under Command of the King

:-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

Too bad that can't be true. X-D

I think that the eggs were T rex eggs

No T. rex eggs are known. Eggs from China have, however, been attributed to close relatives.

the sordid, depressing 70s

They've been called "an epoch characterized by brutal ugliness". I concur.

But look on the bright side: it means that two threads from now, Ronald Reagan will ride in to save the day!

In his bright white clothes… X-D

'f*g' is a colloquialism for cigarette; and, of course, 'fanny' does not refer to the same part of the anatomy in the UK as it does in the USA, so the term 'fanny pack' may lead to some raised eyebrows.

And next time you want to say "to look for" in Czech or Slovak, don't use the Polish word.

re: vampires with canine fangs. The original cinematic depiction of a vampire (1921) had serious incisors.

Indeed. I submit you didn't follow the links I posted. :-)

It can also be awkward, if not flatly wrong, to split up at which. For instance, I would write...

I'd just write "that's the spot where I crashed" had I ever crashed anywhere.

(Disclaimer: I've done almost no driving.)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

@David from the last thread

and I remember how newfie once insisted that bitch (or was it whore even?) was gender-neutral in Newfoundland and truth machine spent a hundred comments on how he just couldn't believe that.

Newfie was well-aware that the term was not gender-neutral to everyone. He's really one of the worse examples you could pick, as I noted when I linked to the thread in question from the previous unending thread. He is no different than eddie has been the last day or two, just deliberately not getting what we are saying and throwing "cunt" around to prove they won't give in to the evil censorship machine (which nobody was proposing in the first place).

On the other hand, I can readily attest that bitch was gender-neutral to me until somewhere in high school. I had no idea the referent was gendered. But instead of insisting I should be able to use it in any situation without being called on sexist implications by people who have no idea what referent I have in mind, I simply pick more fitting/descriptive/clear terms now. There is no excuse for Newfie/eddie style meltdowns. It's unsightly and shows a complete lack of introspection.

Yes, I know, that's not what you wanted to hear. I still think my criticism is valid. No-one has even tried to honestly argue against them. Pretending I'm saying something else doesn't cut it as anyone can read the original comments.

Should I conclude that the creo-bashing is all you can do? (Argument-wise. The science and tunes are still wonderful.) That's too easy. I want more of a challenge. I'd hoped for better from OMs aplenty. I'm sadly disappointed.

On the day I went away... goodbye...
Was all I had to say... now I...
I want to come again and stay... Oh my my...
Smile, and that will mean that I may I'm gay

Cause I've seen blue skies this movie, through the tears
In my eyes way too many times
And I realise.. I'm going home fucking stoned.

[Where's your rash, Frankie?]
Everywhere it's been the same... feeling...
[What's it like when you cum?]
Like I'm outside in the rain... wheeling...
Free, to try and find a game... dealing...
Cards for sorrow, cards for pain

Cause I've seen blue skies through the tears
In my eyes
And I realise.. I'm going home fucking stoned.

I'm going home, I'm going home.

Man, now I want to go to a RHPC again.

I submit you didn't follow the links I posted

ah, no, just clicked the first. Second was cryptic.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

politeness depends on the relation between speaker and listener, humility on the relation between speaker and subject. It's possible to be talking very casually about someone to whom you show deference (a boss, a teacher, a grandparent, etc.) or to be talking very politely about a friend, child, etc.

OIC. Thanks.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Thanks, SC and Bill, for your sympathy.

I have stable angina caused by coronary artery disease. It's controlled by diet and medicine but it can lead to a heart attack. The doctor thinks it's not a good idea for me to be several days away from medical treatment "just in case."

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I mean, I don't mind crystalline highs and gut-rumbling lows, and it's not like I'm a big fan of hiss, noise, and distortion, But I find that if the music is good enough I don't really even notice.

Nothing wrong with wanting it to sound good. (I think before "finalizing" their mixes, the pros will take their mixes and play it in their cars and on cheap speakers and stuff to make sure everything sounds good on any system they are played.)

But yeah, there is the audio equivalent of homeopaths out there spending good money on the most ridiculous contraptions that don't actually do nothin.

By Amelia 386sx E… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Earlier this morning I saw my cardiologist. He doesn't think I should do the Newport to Bermuda Race ever again. My wife agrees with him. Damn I hate getting old!

That just fucking sucks, 'Tis.
Start losing weight and see if you can forestall the inevitable for one more year.

Maybe it's a good thing to be so poor that I don't know what's wrong with me. I will not be prevented from dying with a rock hammer in my hand.

Microraptor proves ancient origin of bird flight

"The controversy was that these animals couldn't spread their hind-wings to glide," said Burnham. "But we've been able to articulate the bones in their hip socket to show that they could fly."
By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

from the "mellow thread", eddie -

I have never claimed criticism = censorship. I have responded to criticism and got told to shut up and go away. That part is censorship. If you object, take it up with them.

Pure, unmitigated BULLSHIT, and a lame attempt at redirection.

You were told to fuck off. And then you decided immediately to redirect by trying to compare "fuck" to "cunt" you disingenuous piece of shit. If you think you're being censored every time you say something stupid and are told to fuck off, you very likely lead a very tragically censored life.

Nobody here even once tried to "censor" you. And your attempt at trying to paint it that way is pretty pathetic.

You said something stupid. You continue to defend it with stupidity. Fuck off.

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Second was cryptic.

It referred, obliquely, to this, IIRC.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Two more factors in the increasing rate of posting on the never-ending thread(s):

1. Having a target. Things were slower when no-one was even counting. Things speed up a bit when people are trying to reach a thread "new-page" (and are willing to post any old nonsense to get there).

2. Having no topic. The original thread(s) had a moderately well-defined topic. So, mostly only people who had something to say on that topic would post on the thread. (Eg not having seen / heard / read or whatever verb is appropriate "The Watchmen", I stayed out of things.) As an officially Open Thread, the never-ending thread attracts much of the random stuff which previously went onto other threads-of-the-day as off-topic posts.

I will not be prevented from dying with a rock hammer in my hand.

Keep holding the hammer!
– Klingon proverb

"The controversy was that these animals couldn't spread their hind-wings to glide," said Burnham. "But we've been able to articulate the bones in their hip socket to show that they could fly."

That I want to see. At the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in 2008, they simply took the thighbones out of the hip sockets and placed them next to the hip bones again, leaving no space for the very muscles that would have pulled the legs up… ouch, ouch, ouch.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

This is the best yet. After I have said clearly that the words I and others have used are such words. I have used them appropriately in context while others seem to see them as gratuitous insults. It'd be OK to criticise such insults if they weren't hypocritically flinging insults back.

So you have nothin? You don't belong to or identify with any discriminated-against minority group and don't know what it is like, right?

What I have argued is that it's wrong to censor. That is the clear message I took from the various prior discussions of this.

Is being told to go away an act of censorship? Hey eddie *knock knock knock*, why don't we invite Stormfront on over to the neverending thread?

I'm not forcing anyone to take me seriously, but, if you must criticise, please criticise what I do say rather than what I don't. You know that is a strawman.

You said:

Codes in the context of football refers to the distinction between rugby football and association football (that some utter cunt decided to abbreviate as 'soccer'). [emphasis added]

It is now a matter of public record. Is your last name Blankenhorn?

By aratina cage o… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Anastomosation doesn't seem to be a factor. The topic of the other thread petered out very quickly.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Gregory Greenwood: (in the last subthread)-

It seems pretty unambiguous to me that the word is a pretty nasty slur with distinct misogynist undertones. I think that it is best avoided... (On a side note, I cannot imagine what kind of misogynist moron first came up with the idea of using the [to my mind, at least] rather wonderful female genitalia as an insult.)

Oh, absolutely. Ditto to all that. But to me, our misogynistic moron seems to have been a reproductive organ-ist! Why, there are so many other perfectly legitimate organs to be used as swear-words or words of abuse! For example, "eddie is such a bile-duct, full of bilious bitterness..."

Janine: Please assure me that you accepted my apology for calling ulcer on your gastric mucosa in the last subthread (even if you did not notice it, I still felt bad).

Gregory Greenwood -

a bonnet is the same as a hood unless you are actually referring to headware; a boot is the equivilent equivalent of a trunk; lorry is a term for a heavy goods vehicle; a truck is akin to a lorry and not an abbreviation of 'pickup truck'; 'f*g' is a colloquialism for cigarette; and, of course, 'fanny' does not refer to the same part of the anatomy in the UK as it does in the USA, so the term 'fanny pack' may lead to some raised eyebrows.

Having been educated in India, the English that we learnt was essentially British, and I have grown up with 'bonnet', 'boot', 'footpath' or 'pavement' (the American sidewalk), 'lorry', and so forth. We were also taught US and UK-variants of spellings of various words, as well as chiefly Brit system of grammar. Your comments brought back a wave of nostalgia.

By Kausik Datta (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

That seriously blows, 'Tis. I can only imagine your disappointment, and echo Lynna's sentiment that there might be something you can do to persuade them that one more year would be worth trying for. (On the other hand, I'm sure I'm not the only one around here who would be very sorry if you weren't able to comment any longer, so stay safe.)

Perhaps the silver lining is that you won't be tempting fate by sailing into the dreaded Bermuda Triangle!

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

'Tis,

Aging sucks. I turn 50 next month. You know, I can still do everything I used to do. It just hurts a whole lot more, and I take forever to heal. Take care of the ticker.

By a_ray_in_dilbe… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Here's hoping the financially troubled Salt Lake Tribune is not bought by mormons. We need journalist Robert Kirby to keep the numbers straight. In Crunching Zion's numbers Kirby hits several high notes, including these:

We're back. After more than a decade of decline, LDS population numbers in Utah have rebounded. We're not talking a small percentage either.
     It's more like teensy or, itty bitty, or, as the story penned by my esteemed Tribune colleague Matt Canham put it, "miniscule." Some might even refer to the increase by a mathematical form of measurement known as "imaginary."
     In 2009, the percentage of Mormons in Utah rose by 0.0005 percent....No one -- including the people doing the counting -- is exactly sure how the extra 0.0005 percent of Mormons was arrived at. Demographers say tax records, church attendance and "other" sources. Maybe they noticed a bump in ice cream sales....
     Far from prying eyes, Mormons got busy with polygamy. Forty years later, while the average American family consisted of 3.8 children, in Utah it was 16.5 offspring -- per wife.
     But even with related population enhancement programs such as the Perpetual Immigration Fund, missionary work and frequent but impromptu "apostate hunts," Utah was never more than 89.049001 percent LDS....
     But Mormon numbers really tanked in 1896. The outlawing of polygamy made it impossible to keep up with migration. Non-Mormons began arriving in Utah faster than we could reproduce. When it comes to boosting your numbers, there's only so much one man and one woman can do.
     Even with the shorter life expectancy rates of non-Mormons -- thanks in part to abortion [sarcasm], smoking, drunk driving, and the generally debilitating effects of liberal politics -- it wasn't long before the balance of power shifted.
     Today, Zion is a measly 60.4 percent LDS. But tomorrow, with the way things are going, who knows? It could be 60.401 percent.

Even with only 60.4 percent of the population, white mormon dudes are still 85 percent of the elected officials.
Still, it's not exactly the "church growing by leaps and bounds" is it?

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Kausik Datta, the first time I read that, I did not take it as an insult. It was a play of making insults out of body parts. I laughed. There is no need to apologize. Do not feel bad about it.

Now if we were in disagreement over an issue, I still would have laughed because you were showing some creativity.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Second was cryptic.
It referred, obliquely,...

No, I meant 'cryptic' in the ecological sense: camouflaged. I didn't see it. Two one-word links posted in juxtaposition looks exactly like a single two-word link. What I meant.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

'Tis @40: Wow, I love that song. I just fucking love it.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Yeah 'Tis, that's depressing and difficult to adjust to.

By aratina cage o… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Trivia about Rocky Horror:

It takes place on the date of Nixon's resignation--the speech is playing on the radio as they are driving near the castle. Also, the newspaper is the Cleaveland Plain Dealer with headline NIXON RESIGNS!

Why, yes, I have seen it before. Why do you ask?

By a_ray_in_dilbe… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

'Tis, sorry to hear that your doctor recommends against the sail boat race. Bummer.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

'Tis, Bummer, man. I'm in/out of the same boat. Used to spend months in my sailing sleep-aboard sea kayak. For me the show stopper is a sleep disorder. At least it doesn't hurt. Physically.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

oh for fucks sake, do we really need to explain everything to you like to a 5-year-old, eddie?

no one gives a flying fuck about profanities. what matters is whether the words you use to insult people are words that de-humanize. so "frog" is not a profanity, but it dehumanizes the french, so you'll get your ass kicked for using it around here. "cunt" is a profanity AND dehumanizing to women, so you're also going to get your ass kicked for it. "fuck" on the other hand is a perfectly respectable old English word (can't remember if the origin is latin or germanic, though) that has merely descended into profanity with time. it doesn't dehumanize anyone, regardless of what the anti-fuck propaganda you've so clearly swallowed has to say about it.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

The doctor thinks it's not a good idea for me to be several days away from medical treatment "just in case."

Aw, that's it? "Just in case"? Fuckin dox.
Live, man! Seize the carp! Take your aspirin, bring a little nitro along, and get a new doctor.

(now the wife's agreement is a harder problem...)

p.s. you probably know that Crosby is an inveterate sailor

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I still get tripped up on familial nouns (which differ by age and whether it is the speaker's family) and politeness level / humility level (orthogonal concepts in Japanese).

I tend to replace those things with English equivalent if I can, but often I cannot.

On the plus side, I speak the only language [citation needed] in that family group that isn't tonal. Well, most of the Mon-Khmer languages have poorly developed tonality anyways with exception to the Vietic languages.

By Gyeong Hwa Pak… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hey there, 'Tis.

It's a bummer you can't sail any more, but you have wonderful memories to enjoy and Mrs. Tis would probably like to keep you around for awhile. Your doctor is right. If you have a heart attack, that first half hour is critical. When the husbeast had his, he did a faceplant right in front of me and the emergency squad, which arrived in less than 10 minutes, said he would have died from from his left ventricular descending blockage (otherwise known as "the widowmaker"), without immediate aid. Husbeast also sailed in a smaller class than yours in the Governor's cup in Maryland. Twice. The second time was so exciting with the spinnaker up and a tail wind blowing them down the Chesapeake at, no lie, 14 knots. The swells would pick up the boat and they could surf them on the downside. After that he retired, saying there was no sailing experience that could ever top that and he was not going to look for it. Now that he is slowly becoming paralyzed, he has no regrets, and speaks fondly, if somtimes wistfully, about his (and ours) sailing days. Treasure your memories.

By leepicton (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Arantia Cage:

why don't we invite Stormfront on over to the neverending thread?

Somewhat ironically, Stormfront is heavily censored. They want to maintain a family friendly atmosphere. Word.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

And here I thought I was recovering from having Rocky Horror songs stuck in my head. Thanks ever so much, PZ.

I remember... doing the Time Warp... drinking those moments when...

Paul:
"He is no different than eddie has been the last day or two, just deliberately not getting what we are saying and throwing "cunt" around to prove they won't give in to the evil censorship machine (which nobody was proposing in the first place)."

It's very clear what people have been saying. What you are saying seems to not address any argument I have made. At least SC straight up admitted that they don't accept 'fuck' is just as offensive as 'cunt'. I contend that they are equally offensive, and equally gendered; as the evidence presented supports. Fair enough that we disagree. I have never said they or anyone else should shut up and go away, or that 'this is _our_ community. play by _my_ rules'.

OMs continue to attack me for positions I don't hold or, absurdly, for positions that others hold, I will have to keep trying to make myself clear. Your "censorship (which nobody was proposing)", to paraphrase, is simply dishonest.

can't remember if the origin is latin or germanic, though

Oh, Anglo-Saxon all the way. You can hear the germanicism every time it's uttered; perhaps the quintessential A-S word.

I have not looked into any etymology theories, but it's always been pretty obvious to me that it's semi-onomatopoetic, just like the Yiddish "shtup."

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

'Tis (@30):

The doctor thinks it's not a good idea for me to be several days away from medical treatment "just in case."

Ah, I was afraid it was the remoteness thing. I don't suppose there's any chance of recruiting your cardiologist to crew for you? Or perhaps finding a boat full of cardiologists to skipper? Or is it more a matter of facilities/equipment than access to a doctor?

Re #40: I can't/don't hit YouTube links from work, so I can only guess. Don't groan, but what's coming to mind is Jimmy Buffet: "The Captain and the Kid," perhaps? Maybe (given the aging theme) "A Pirate Looks at 40"?

Mother, mother ocean,
I have heard your call.
I've wanted to sail
Upon your waters
Since I was three feet tall.
You've seen it all;
You've seen it all.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

MrFire, that was just sick and wrong.

Do you mean about the comment @953? I don't know if you were truly pissed off at me, but if so, please don't be - I was just being sarcastic.

If it was about comment 959, I apologize for any offence caused. In my mind, it was just a silly story we could all laugh at. But I'll take my lumps if you think it was too crass.

Hmmm... per Sven's comment...

p.s. you probably know that Crosby is an inveterate sailor

...I'm guessing that my previous guess (@62) was wrong. New guess: "Wooden Ships," CSN? If so, I second Lynna:

Wow, I love that song. I just fucking love it.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Sorry about that MrFire, I meant that to be funny with a serious edge. And it was to #953, you stuck an other comment in while I was putting my statement together.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

can't remember if the origin is latin or germanic, though

Well, as I'm sure you know, there's German ficken, so if it's Latin, it came in really early, and I can't imagine from what.

On the plus side, I speak the only language [citation needed] in that family group that isn't tonal. Well, most of the Mon-Khmer languages have poorly developed tonality anyways with exception to the Vietic languages.

I wanted to look it up, but I'm too lazy…

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Attn: Baltimore Pharyngula Fans

Tomorrow's the day for the first gathering of the Baltimore Pharyngula Fans group. (That's Friday, 1/28 for those of you who tend to lose track of such things.)

Brewer's Art, approx. 5:30-8:30 PM. Look for the Sign of the Squid. Or for the folks eating babies.

By bastion of sass (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Thanks for the link, Jadehawk.

Debbie Myers, general manager of the Science Channel, said the cable station has maintained a balance of 5 percent science content and 95 percent mind-numbing drivel over the past few years, and that this was as far as they were willing to go.

...Officials also noted that the cable channel greatly values the 18- to 45-year-old demographic of louts, clods, and empty-headed dumb fucks.

That's you, eddie!

'this is _our_ community. play by _my_ rulesDon't be surprised if violating its norms for no good reason pisses people off'

FTFY

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I contend that [fuck and cunt] are equally offensive, and equally gendered

On what basis?

By aratina cage o… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Well, as I'm sure you know, there's

Though the vowel correspondence is mysterious. To me anyway.

I'm off to play in the snow.

This is close to the level where the tears of envy would break through.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Jadehawk, OM @53. That's an actual argument. At last! Not sure I disagree. I will read up on what you think I misunderstand of the etymology.

Blind Squirrel, FCD:
"Somewhat ironically, Stormfront is heavily censored."
It's only ironic if you knee-jerk assume you're the good guys. Aratina and others seem to think so. Observation indicates otherwise.

Aratina:
"So you have nothin? You don't belong to or identify with any discriminated-against minority group and don't know what it is like, right?"
I'm a member of at least three oppressed (to varying degrees, only one of which I think I can do much about) minorities; covering politics, ethnicity and disability.
Difference is: I don't pretend that banning words does anything to help. In fact, such behaviour is giving support to the oppressors. That's what _they_ do, as we seen clearly in the other thread. I thought you guys would get that, but it seems too uncomfortable; like holding up a mirror.

Yawn, Eddie still hasn't figured out that we don't give a shit about is inane and wrong opinions. That show a deep lack of intelligence, cogency, and demonstrates his over inflated ego. Eddie: 1) admit you are wrong. 2) apologize for taking up our time. 3) retire from Pharyngula for a couple of days. When you get back, follow the unofficial code of word usage.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

leepicton #56

It's a bummer you can't sail any more

I can still sail. I just won't be doing any more long distance racing.

My father taught me how to sail when I was 8. The day I stop sailing is the day I start to die.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm a member of at least three oppressed (to varying degrees, only one of which I think I can do much about) minorities; covering politics, ethnicity and disability.

And how would you feel if we were to think nothing of using a word that deliberately insults your politics, ethnicity, or disability? Would you enjoy reading the comments if we casually used words here that made you feel like an outsider? That is, to us the words would be like fun insults but to you they would be you.

By aratina cage o… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

no one gives a flying fuck about profanities. what matters is whether the words you use to insult people are words that de-humanize. so "frog" is not a profanity, but it dehumanizes the french, so you'll get your ass kicked for using it around here.

Now that's just silly. I agree with you that Eddie is behaving like an idiot, and that the word "c**t" is offensive. But calling a Frenchman a "Frog" is certainly not a seriously offensive epithet. It might have been so in the eighteenth century, but today it would never be used as more than a joke insult. It's no more serious than an Australian referring to me as a "pom".

'Tis, thanks for the link @40. I haven't heard that song in years. Hearing it now finally motivated me to look up the meaning of "sailing a reach before a following sea" which has had this land-lubber puzzled for decades.

By boygenius (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Aratina @70:
"On what basis?"

On the basis of the long history of gender inequality. I accept the current usage to be gender neutral, but that is a recent development. I said earlier that it referred to 'something a man does _to_ a woman. Has all that misogyny not happened, or did the word evolve in isolation? Other people were demanding an awareness of historic context and I was trying to meet that demand consistently.

Jeeeezuss christ! Every time I think I have plumbed the depths of the cruelty inherent in mormondom, I find there is more. Sheesh. Seizures, and gay assumptions or assumptions of gaydom, and signs from god? God needs to take more care with his signs. If God does want you to be gay, he should manage without the seizures.

They took this interpretation from scripture. Since I have complex partial seizures, and they weren't diagnosed until well into adulthood, I lost a lot of time to amnesia and did not know why. The story of how to get prayers answered is that you ask and God will blank out your mind if the idea is wicked or wrong. So obviously I must have been having some seriously wicked thoughts.

Oops. If my family had not insisted on this, maybe I could have gotten medical help a decade earlier.

Chad Hardy was excommunicated and his diploma surgically removed for simply creating calendars of shirtless mormon hunks. And this was before he featured the Mormon Muffins in all their bosomy, yeasty glory. So, yes, I think Daniel is in danger of excommunication and diploma-deflowering.

Yes, this is what I was thinking about. I'm glad my degrees are from public universities.

Mormons do say some odd things if they mistake you for one of them. Casting folks into Outer Darkness is one I've heard. The Us v. Them language gets a lot stronger.

Which is ironic, because when I was growing up, the only folks at risk of Outer Darkness were the apostate apostles. Non-Mormons simply didn't have enough information to fulfill the requirements to get there.

Walton (@78):

But calling a Frenchman a "Frog" is certainly not a seriously offensive epithet.

I wonder? Is it more like calling an American (by which I mean someone from the U.S., as opposed to all the other occupants of the Americas) a Yank (i.e., breezily casual, but not particularly offensive), or is it more like calling an Italian (or Italian-American) a wop or a dago (which will put you at risk for physical conflict if you do it in meatspace)? And I couldn't even begin to guess whether (or to what degree) a Canadian would find Canuck offensive.

But the larger point, made at the Shakesville post linked in the previous subThread, is that if you have to ask yourself the question, you should presume that it's offensive and behave accordingly. That doesn't necessarily mean hyperintense self-censorship; it only means be prepared to own the consequences of what you say.

And if somebody tells you they're offended by something (eddie), don't argue with them. None of us gets to choose what somebody else is offended by.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

It might have been so in the eighteenth century, but today it would never be used as more than a joke insult.

Actually, the context in which I've heard it is in hockey, referring to French-Canadian players. Whether there is active discrimation against F-Cs in the sport now I have no idea, but being called that by other players can't be fun and people have responded angrily.

And I couldn't even begin to guess whether (or to what degree) a Canadian would find Canuck offensive.

Might depend on which Canadian.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

That was a weird coincidence. The hockey thing, I mean.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Arrgh! This clue...

Hearing it now finally motivated me to look up the meaning of "sailing a reach before a following sea"

...invalidates my previous guess (@64), but I don't recognize the line. I guess I'll just have to wait 'til this evening, when I can check the link for myself.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Ah, I was afraid it was the remoteness thing. I don't suppose there's any chance of recruiting your cardiologist to crew for you? Or perhaps finding a boat full of cardiologists to skipper? Or is it more a matter of facilities/equipment than access to a doctor?

My guess would be the facilities/equipment thing. Even if you took along a portable defribrillator, I'd think you'd still want an ICU to follow it up. (I would, anyway). Not to mention clot buster drugs and the skill to administer it.

But, still, Tis', he's not saying you can't sail, just not this race.

And I couldn't even begin to guess whether (or to what degree) a Canadian would find Canuck offensive.

I was quite surprised the first time I encountered a Canadian offended by this. The Vancouver Canucks is a major league hockey team, even. Still, I just apologized and we moved on with no harm. I guess I could have explained to them how wrong they were to try and censor me, but why? "Canadian" gets the job done too.

#32 Lynna OM said:

I will not be prevented from dying with a rock hammer in my hand.

Sounds like an excellent idea. Means I'd have a way to get attention if they put me in the coffin too early - not enough room to get a good swing on a sledge unfortunately ...

Bill, I'll tell you if you'd like...

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Bill,

I wonder? Is it more like calling an American (by which I mean someone from the U.S., as opposed to all the other occupants of the Americas) a Yank (i.e., breezily casual, but not particularly offensive), or is it more like calling an Italian (or Italian-American) a wop or a dago (which will put you at risk for physical conflict if you do it in meatspace)?

In my experience, much closer to the former than the latter. The epithet "Frog" is very rarely even used at all any more, and I've never known any French person to be offended by it.

I hasten to add that there are plenty of other pejorative terms for European nationalities which I would never use. For example, I, as a Briton, would consider it offensive to call a German a "Kraut" - if nothing else, because the term is associated with two brutal wars we fought with them. It's all about historical context.

And if somebody tells you they're offended by something (eddie), don't argue with them. None of us gets to choose what somebody else is offended by.

I agree with that. If a French person turns up here and expresses their deep offence at the word "frog", then I will gladly apologise and retract my comments. But to my knowledge, no one here has actually expressed personal offence at the term; it was simply being used as a rhetorical example.

SC,

Actually, the context in which I've heard it is in hockey, referring to French-Canadian players. Whether there is active discrimation against F-Cs in the sport now I have no idea, but being called that by other players can't be fun and people have responded angrily.

Fair enough. The word might be considered more offensive by French-Canadians than by the European French; as we've established, the offensiveness of a given epithet depends very much on cultural context and local history. If this proves to be the case, then, again, I apologise to anyone who is offended by it.

The story of how to get prayers answered is that you ask and God will blank out your mind if the idea is wicked or wrong.

And where does that idea come from???

(Also, it's blockquteo day. Best typo so far.)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Janine @801 in the previous thread:

Howard Zinn died today.

:( :( :(

I can directly point to Peoples History as the foundation of my current socio/political worldview. Oh, well. At least he had a good long innings.

To add insult to injury, J.D. Salinger died today as well.

By boygenius (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Sven (@84):

Yah, I thought about the hockey team just after I hit Submit... but then again, a word's use as a sports team nickname doesn't necessarily mean it's not offensive. After all, the... umm, gridiron team in my nation's capital is called the Redskins.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

eddie@80:

I said earlier that [fuck] referred to 'something a man does _to_ a woman.

Even if you had historical evidence for that, it would not matter today. The sexual definition does not describe some act that only people with penises can do. It takes two to tango (gender is irrelevant).

By aratina cage o… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Looking at my post at #91, I posted it too soon without hitting "Preview", and have realised that some of it is not very well-phrased. Given the sensitivity of the subject matter, I'd like to reiterate that I mean no offence - to the French, Germans or anyone else - and my discussion of these epithets is intended to be, so far as possible, purely academic.

And I would also like to clarify that I totally disagree with Eddie; I've said on many occasions that I don't support the use of the word "c**t". We've established that a lot of people find it deeply offensive; that offensiveness may depend to some extent on cultural context and the speaker's variant of English, but that doesn't excuse people from the duty to consider the impact of their words. And considering that "c**t" is rarely used as anything other than a gratuitous insult, I don't see why anyone would "need" to use it. It's not helpful to go out of one's way to abuse and insult others for no reason, just to proclaim "look how un-PC and controversial I can be!"

Salamanders and newts take great offense at being called "frogs," whereas toads are used to it and don't really care that much. Oh, one might pee on you if you're holding it at the time, but that's about it, and they usually do that anyway.

While on the subject, ,i>never refer to a caecilian as a "worm." I did that once.

Once.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

What's everyone's take on the word "loaf"

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Sorry about that MrFire, I meant that to be funny with a serious edge.

*wipes brow*

I was kinda thinking you did, but since eddie turned the thread into a tinderbox, I just wanted to wave my white flag high and clear :)

a word's use as a sports team nickname doesn't necessarily mean it's not offensive

That's for sure.

*almost resists temptation to make up a team like the Queensland Quims or something like that only funnier and more ofensive*

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Slightly different....

The UK doctor who was one of the chief critics of MMR vaccines has been disciplined by the UK General Medical Council.

They said that Dr. Andrew Wakefield "showed a 'callous disregard' for children's suffering and abused his position of trust.

They also said he acted dishonestly and was misleading and irresponsible.

I guess that sometimes the woo-meisters do get their comeuppance.

MMR Debate

Aratina:
"And how would you feel if we were to think nothing of using a word that deliberately insults your politics, ethnicity, or disability?"

I had already answered that when I said I don't believe banning words helps I remember being bullied at primary school for not having 20-20 vision and I have never demanded the word 'speccy' be removed from the dictionary. No. The resolution was to address the behaviour and attitudes of the bullies (who didn't really care what issue they used).

More trivially, I have on this site, if not pharyngula, reacted to the use of the word 'sinister', by pointing out that it basically means left-handed. ( The historic context to that includes accusations of witchcraft, even murders of children, as well as my personal experience of being made to act normal.)
I even think I asked the person not to use that word, but never went ape-shit or wanted it removed from the dictionary or asked for it's use to be a cause for banning.

Rev. BDC #98;

I enjoy pinching them off regularly.

By boygenius (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

On a whole new level of offensiveness, I have just watched a Channel 4 (UK) report from Afghanistan.
It included footage of women who have set themselves on fire to escape abusive husbands. The burns unit doctor interviewed said the cases were reaching his hospital at a rate of 5 a week. They are often prevented from seeking early medical care by the families 'as punishment'.
Sometimes I'm ashamed of my sex.

I even think I asked the person not to use that word, but never went ape-shit or wanted it removed from the dictionary or asked for it's use to be a cause for banning.

Keep digging, dude. I've stayed out of the wordwars but please do note that, of the four alternative reactions listed, the last 3 are strawmen. Strawfigures.

You were asked not to use the word in question (you are not a dictionary, right? it can stay in there) in the way you used it, and any calls for your banning resulted from your stupid and interminable reaction to that request.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I even think I asked the person not to use that word,

OK, that was funny.

#53 Jadehawk OM

Origin of "fuck"?

Oxford English Dictionary (Concise): 16th century, unknown origin.

Collins: 16th century, Germanic. Classified by Collins to be Taboo.

IANAE (I Am Not An Etymologist) but it sounds more likely to be Germanic (but who knows what its ultimate origin was).

First 100 comments in this subThread were in just under 3 hours. This is madness.

20534 or something like that

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Difference is: I don't pretend that banning words does anything to help.

Nor does anyone else. This is why I keep calling you on conflating criticism with censorship. You're either accusing people here of censorship when they tell you you're a lout for using certain terms, or you're attacking a strawman. You can pick which, I suppose, but neither is flattering. People judge you by your word choice. Film at 11.

Walton, you know that even if you asterisk out letters in a word we still know what you're saying, right? What's the point? You're obviously using the term "cunt" for illustrative purposes, as opposed to using it to denigrate someone. There's no need for the AIM style self-censorship.

While on the subject, ,i>never refer to a caecilian as a "worm." I did that once.

Once.

My mother hung me on a hook once...

Once.

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

eddie @103:

I remember being bullied at primary school for not having 20-20 vision and I have never demanded the word 'speccy' be removed from the dictionary.

Hrm. I didn't know that one but there is also "four-eyes".

So let's swap it up with what you wrote:

with speccy:
Codes in the context of football refers to the distinction between rugby football and association football (that some utter speccy decided to abbreviate as 'soccer').

with sinister

Codes in the context of football refers to the distinction between rugby football and association football (that some utterly sinister person decided to abbreviate as 'soccer').

Your reaction?

By aratina cage o… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

If this proves to be the case, then, again, I apologise to anyone who is offended by it.

And so let the "thread of apologies" thus re-commence...

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm sorry

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I so much want to sockpuppet eddie right now. For fun. It would be fun.

but wrong

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

First 100 comments in this subThread were in just under 3 hours. This is madness.

Did anyone ever calculate, or at least estimate, how much PZ earns from us per comment?

I want to see how many reward points I need to get into atheist heaven.

boygenius,

Hearing it now finally motivated me to look up the meaning of "sailing a reach before a following sea"

I was in the middle of writing a description of the points of sail, complete with diagram when I realized that if people want to know then they can look it up themselves.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rev. BigDumbChimp #115

I'm sorry

Okay, you're forgiven. Just don't do it any more.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Great diagram; thanks, 'Tis. I instantly know 200% more about sailing than I did before.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

"Frogs"

Used by British soldiers to describe all Frenchmen in Napoleonic times. The French called us, "Rossbeefs".

Both sides used others terms, of course ...

Another term for French light infantry skirmishers was voltigeurs or (literally) "vaulters". Possibly super-frogs??

Did anyone ever calculate, or at least estimate, how much PZ earns from us per comment?

Whatever it is, I'd like to request that the portion from mine on The Thread be donated to the Lynna Diagnostic Fund.

me too

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

#111 & 74

Yes - I saw that after I had posted my comment. Sorry.

Glad you can do short-distance sailing. I'm sure we can find a garden pond close by for you to practice on.

I know only too well how these heart things can slow one down and stop things you've always seemed able to do.

All the best!! Be safe.

Alan

Bill Dauphin, OM #94:

a word's use as a sports team nickname doesn't necessarily mean it's not offensive. After all, the... umm, gridiron team in my nation's capital is called the Redskins.

I'm reminded of the controversy over the University of North Dakota's mascot "The Fighting Sioux". ("Sioux" being a name given to the Lakota/Dakota tribe by their enemies, meaning "snake".) Ralph Englestad (known Nazi sympathizer) donated $100 million to build a new hockey arena. By the time the project was halfway completed, Native American groups on campus were gaining ground in their fight to have the mascot changed. Good old Ralph (who is from my hometown, unfortunately) put his foot down and proclaimed that if the mascot was changed, he would let the half completed project rot where it stood.

Needless to say, they are still the UND Fighting Sioux. But, they do have a beautiful hockey arena.

By boygenius (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Lynna Diagnostic Fund

Wait, what's happened to Lynna?

And so let the "thread of apologies" thus re-commence...

I'm sorry; so sorry!1,2

1 I'm taking a risk on the clip, as I'm unable to preview it at work. In Google terms, "I feel lucky."

2 The Brenda Lee song was the one I was looking for, but in the process of searching for it, I was flummoxed by the number of songs containing the phrase "I'm sorry" in their title or most familiar line. John Denver apologizing for "the way thing are in China," anyone? ;^)

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

(*sigh*)
I coulda sworn my brain was up and running, but I guess maybe I need to up my coffee dosage. The best I can make out is that eddie is making some variant of the "You don't have the right not to be offended" argument.

Elsewhere:
Chmee, I'd like to tell you who my husband is, but I understand it's all Real Names over there, and I'm not sure he'd appreciate being caught blinking into the headlights.

'Tis, maybe somewhere there's an MD interested in sailing this race? (She asked, secure in her ignorance of what crewing in such an even entails.)

"Loaf" applies to bread, or in earlier times, sugar. It may also be preceded by "meat". Post-processed bread, sugar, meat, etc., are not "loaves". They're turds. There's a difference.

Kel:

Wait, what's happened to Lynna?

AFAIK, she still doesn't quite know, hence the need for a diagnostic fund. She told us about what seems like it might have been a transient ischemic event (TIE), but she needs scans (CT? MRI? I forget) to confirm, and was wondering how to make same happen w/o health insurance.

Lynna, quite seriously, would donations be useful? My checkbook (well, Quicken, actually) stands ready....

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Oh, and me three.

me too

Me three.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

'Tis Himself

Maybe you could get onto the staff in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, where they have mock battles in big model boats (20 feet long). Many of these are now remote controlled but you may be able to get on board a dreadnought or a giant liner and sail out into battle armed only with fireworks and the cheers of the patriotic crowd!

http://www.peasholmpark.com/content/view/9/9/

http://www.anglolang.co.uk/info_peasholm.html

... the smallest manned navy in the world!

Post-processed bread, sugar, meat, etc., are not "loaves". They're turds. There's a difference.

Thanks, that clears up some long-standing confusion about one of Jesus's alleged miracles.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

boygenius:

Yes, I knew about the UND controversy; I'm actually a UND graduate (MS, Space Studies, 2003)... though I only spent a week on campus (I was a distance-learning student) and didn't know all the details.

I was actually under the impression that the local "Sioux" tribes didn't object to the nickname, and the impetus for change was all down to a top-down directive from the NCAA... but perhaps I was a victim of spin on that score?

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

The logical result of the recent SCOTUS decision re corporations.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

It feels good to be generous with someone else's money. :)

Seriously, though, I can't donate anything myself till my next paycheck, and that has to go to PIH. But it would be nice if we had some sort of commenter emergency fund or something. (Big donors could get a t-shirt or book or whatever...)

Whatever it is, I'd like to request that the portion from mine on The Thread be donated to the Lynna Diagnostic Fund.

hell yeah

Lynna, quite seriously, would donations be useful? My checkbook (well, Quicken, actually) stands ready....

Same here.

By the way, Bill Dauphin...you seem to be quite clued in to the details of the healthcare debate. Can you recommend any particular sources to go learn about it? Or has your knowledge accrued over years of tiresome and dedicated research?

*crosses fingers and hopes for cheat sheet option*

Sven DiMilo @

[re "fuck" ]
I have not looked into any etymology theories, but it's always been pretty obvious to me that it's semi-onomatopoetic

You're doing it wrong.

Ha!
Mickey on The Beam.
Takes one back...

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

The best I can make out is that eddie is making some variant of the "You don't have the right not to be offended" argument.

Also, the "it doesn't offend me, therefor it's not offensive" argument... followed by the "here are some other curse words that are equally offensive, in my opinion, if you trace back the U.L.E. (Urban Legend Etymolgy).. therefor you can't call me a misogynist asshole for calling someone a "cunt", cause saying "fuck" is, like, the same thing" defense.

Oh... and also "stop oppressing me and censoring me by telling me to fuck off and go away!".

I will give him credit for originality, anyhow...

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

You're doing it wrong.

O RLY?

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Yes, I knew about the UND controversy

Am I the only one who read this as the 'Undie' controversy, and immediately thought about the would-be "undiebomber"?

*facepalm* followed by a *headdesk* - there, I am okay now. Hoo-boy.

By Kausik Datta (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Sven:

O RLY?

T AITZ?
Psst... Need a lawyer?

P.S. Is there a way to beat the 'You have commented too often/ too recently' error message thingy?

By Kausik Datta (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Is there a way to beat the 'You have commented too often/ too recently' error message thingy?

*shrug*
wait.

Spam title of the day:

Virilying Your Bulge

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

aratina cage of the OM | January 28, 2010 3:15 PM:

So let's swap it up with what you wrote:

with speccy:

Codes in the context of football refers to the distinction between rugby football and association football (that some utter speccy decided to abbreviate as 'soccer').

with sinister

Codes in the context of football refers to the distinction between rugby football and association football (that some utterly sinister person decided to abbreviate as 'soccer').

Your reaction?

What's the big deal? It just means left-handed.

[re "fuck" ] I have not looked into any etymology theories, but it's always been pretty obvious to me that it's semi-onomatopoetic

You're doing it wrong.

I thought about making a similar joke... then thought a bit more, trying to remember what porn sounds like (other than the cheesy music, I mean), and decided Sven was right!

BTW, WRT the LDF: I should clarify that I'm not in a position to offer Large Sums of Money©, but I would happily make a modest donation to the cause... or to the proposed Commenter Emergency Fund for future needs.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Is there a way to beat the 'You have commented too often/ too recently' error message thingy?

Take a hand grenade, pull the pin out, let the fuse ignite, and sit on it. It'll take a few seconds, but then you'll never have to worry about commenting too often again.

</snark !-- or go have a cup of coffee -->

That was a weird coincidence. The hockey thing, I mean.

The past few months have been a coincidental phase for me. Recently, it occurred to me, for no apparent reason, to check to see if Sade was coming out with anything new. So I googled it, and her new album

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKM3ibAmFOo

had been announced two hours earlier. Spooky.

BTW, has anyone else read this?:

http://www.angelynngrant.com/nabokov.html

Read it a long time ago, but it's always stuck with me.

Until about halfway through, I didn't realize that the shows they're mocking actually exist!

I know. I had to google "Chunkin Punkin."

Now that I'm home and can do the YouTube thing:

@40: "Southern Cross"... of course!

me@128: I swear I thought that was going to be Brenda Lee! But my humiliating error is worth to have gotten the Samurai Pizza Cats (@148)

SC@140: Cool. And I was so sure that was going to turn out to be Bowie; forgive me for imagining you'd be that predictable?

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

More trivially, I have on this site, if not pharyngula, reacted to the use of the word 'sinister', by pointing out that it basically means left-handed. ( The historic context to that includes accusations of witchcraft, even murders of children, as well as my personal experience of being made to act normal.)

The enormous difference being that left-handed people are not oppressed for being left-handed any more. Women are still discriminated against in hundreds of ways for being women. If you try to throw any "post-sexist society" shit out there, you will be laughed out of the thread.

What's the big deal? It just means left-handed. -llewelly

eddie said he points this out to people who use "sinister" to mean "bad" presumably because he is left-handed. So, recognizing that some people are old enough to have been abused, mocked, and punished for naturally using their left-hand while growing up, I wondered how eddie would react to someone using the word "sinister" instead of "cunt" as a casual slur. eddie previously said:

I have on this site, if not pharyngula, reacted to the use of the word 'sinister', by pointing out that it basically means left-handed. ( The historic context to that includes accusations of witchcraft, even murders of children, as well as my personal experience of being made to act normal.)

Treating left-handedness as an evil obviously disturbs eddie enough that he will call others out on it. I hope the replacement of "cunt" with "sinister" in eddie's own statement awakens something in him so that he sees the wisdom in choosing to forgo needlessly misogynistic language in the future.

By aratina cage o… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

The past few months have been a coincidental phase for me.

I hesitate to ask what you've been coincident with. The universe is still wobbling from side-to-side from the last time, and the neighbouring ones are starting to complain.

I just now read a sad story in the NY Times Magazine preview, about how a young boy from Alabama, raised in a mixed Muslim-Christian household, charismatic and intelligent even at a young age, gradually become entrenched in fundamentalist Islam and eventually ended up as a jihadist leader in Somalia with close ties to Al Qaeda. The shocked and grief-stricken parents and a sister now await the news of his death, amidst regular federal enquiries and (the state being Alabama) regular calls for the father to be waterboarded.

I was immediately reminded of the John Lennon song, "Imagine": those fucking idiots around us - who continue to believe that religion is for the good, that there is a merciful god and that god has a purpose - are delusional morons with eyes and ears tightly shut.

By Kausik Datta (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Watch your mouth, part 2: reappropriation and cooption.

Let's say a person of privilege uses a term or idiom (perhaps with no intent to offend at all) and a member of the non-privileged class says that it is offensive to them, and the privileged speaker responds with something like: "That term has come into common use and isn't offensive anymore".
I believe that they are enforcing their privilege.
I believe that they are reiterating the following message (usually, completely unconsciously):
"I have the power. I own the language. Your experience does not count, and the fact that you are offended is of no consequence, because you have no power."

*gradually become became entrenched...
I really need to use the Preview button.

By Kausik Datta (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

MrFire (@139):

Re healthcare reform, I hope I haven't overstated my qualifications: I'm far more of an advocate than an expert. That said, here is my congressman's informational page, "created a resource for you to gain more information about this bill, the changes it makes, and what it means to you and your family." Of course, this info relates specifically to the House bill (HR 3962; you can download a PDF summary here); here is an informational page about the Senate bill as passed, with links to the text, a summary, section-by-section analysis, and other explainers.

Enjoy!

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Looking at my post at #91, I posted it too soon without hitting "Preview", and have realised that some of it is not very well-phrased.

It was all obvious. Stop apologising. :-)

Well, duh! Like we didn't all know that?

Having numbers, plus a link to push in the faces of Internet Tough Homophobes, is always a good thing.

Rush Limbaugh writes an opinion piece for The Onion.

That's how to do it.

Until about halfway through, I didn't realize that the shows they're mocking actually exist!

...

:-o

...

What the fuck.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Walton,

I agree with that. If a French person turns up here and expresses their deep offence at the word "frog", then I will gladly apologise and retract my comments.

I'm deeply offended.

Just kiddin'.

I just love frog legs. Just simply sauteed with a bit of garlic and parsley and a small dash of lemon juice. The best place I've eaten them was a restaurant in Pont de Vaux, Le Raisin, in the departement de l'ain (100km north of Lyon).

Les Grenouilles Fraîches Sautées Comme en Dombes, Beurre de Bresse Persilladé

disclaimer : I have no commercial interests in that restaurant.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I just said this to Newfie in the other thread; I'll repeat it here on behalf of Eddie:

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? Why are you so deeply invested in that one particular word? Why does that word mean so much to you?

Rush Limbaugh writes an opinion piece for The Onion.

That's how to do it.

Reminds me a little too much of The Fisher King.

PZ, will you please ban hery?

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Teh CO doesn't read this shit.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

The universe is still wobbling from side-to-side from the last time, and the neighbouring ones are starting to complain.

I thought that was because of these guys

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I know. I had to google "Chunkin Punkin."

Don't hold this against me folks, but I do chuck pumpkins with a giant trebuchet.

But I only do it once a year.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Miki Z (#855)

I generally stick with boku for casual conversation and watashi for business situations. ore is beer drinking language.

If you wanted to sound like a cartoon character, you could also use 俺様 (ore-sama), おいら (oira), or 拙者 (sessha). Amusingly, one of the characters I've come across that uses "oira" is also a cat.

(#20)

The written formalities are different from the spoken ones, so there's only ambiguity here when reading aloud, not when reading for meaning. Reading aloud is hard.

Strangely, I can read aloud at a higher level than I can understand. Which is, to my shame, is absurdly low given how many years I've been "studying" Japanese.

By the way, I'm surprised you haven't taken the opportunity to point out how certain archaic second person pronouns (temae, kisama) are used as insults in Japanese. And then there's the third person pronoun "aitsu." I have a bad habit of actually using that last one in conversations, which Japanese people tend to find a little shocking. Though, it's not like I'd be less crude in English in the same situation.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Walton (#874)

That said, there are some grammar rules which English-speakers simply ignore most of the time: for instance, the prohibition on placing a preposition at the end of a sentence.

Well, if that rule along with the supposed crime of splitting an infinitive hadn't been entirely made up by a Latin- and Greek-loving twit of a bishop in 1762, maybe it would be worth following.

~*~*~*~*~*~

aratina cage (#950)

WTF is a "consensual homosexual"?

Needlessly redundant?

~*~*~*~*~*~

David Marjanović (#969)

Both written with the same character??? That's cruel.

Haha, that's pretty tame. The character for the number one has over ten different possible pronunciations, only some of which depend on what it's paired with. Written Japanese makes English spelling seem reasonable.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Carlie (#156)

If you try to throw any "post-sexist society" shit out there, you will be laughed out of the thread.

No kidding.

~*~*~*~*~*~

blf (#161)

The word left is from Old English lyft meaning "weak, foolish" and may predate sinister.

And in the mouths of Republicans, that's what it's come to mean all over again.

BS:

Don't hold this against me folks, but I do chuck pumpkins with a giant trebuchet.

Hold it against you?? I think it's effin' cool!

CAN HAZ PIKCHERS PLZ?

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Blind Squirrel, our Queen Of The Sluts also has a love of trebuchets.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Welcome back my friends, to the show (thread) that never ends, we're so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside.

Don't hold this against me folks, but I do chuck pumpkins with a giant trebuchet.

But I only do it once a year.

I don't think the problem is the activity itself, but that they have a show about it on the "Science" Channel. I actually thought The Onion was just making that up. I'm also beginning to wonder whether Idiocracy was a documentary.

The sad part is that real science is actually quite interesting.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Blind Squirrel, our Queen Of The Sluts also has a love of trebuchets.

[myth]The trebuchet out in back of the Pharyngula Saloon and Internet Cafe has two uses. 1) For Patricia to send hops to the Rev. BDC across the country. 2) To be load with the by-product of the Pullet Patrol™ egg production, and sent to various trolls like Dandy.[/myth]

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I wish to apologize for saying "Poopy darn". ®

By Amelia 386sx E… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

The trebuchet out in back of the Pharyngula Saloon and Internet Cafe has two uses.

Well, there's another use, but I've been told we aren't supposed to talk about the orgies.

Anything for you folks.
My project for this year is a kid powered traction treb. The big one is dangerous; it stores a lot of potential energy. At night we get wasted and throw chicken wire bags of burning charcoal. Oh, the trails.

Btw, I am not pictured.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

By the way, I'm surprised you haven't taken the opportunity to point out how certain archaic second person pronouns (temae, kisama) are used as insults in Japanese. And then there's the third person pronoun "aitsu." I have a bad habit of actually using that last one in conversations, which Japanese people tend to find a little shocking. Though, it's not like I'd be less crude in English in the same situation.

I'm not actually all that familiar with insults in Japanese. I'm not sure that any of my day-to-day contacts are in the under-50 crowd, though their kids and grandkids are. I stick with あなた様 for second person unfamiliar (with either 〜さん or 〜先生 for those I know), which probably gives you a pretty good idea of the company I keep and how little I go out socially.

'"Precisely the same" said Mr Badger. The Professor made the same remark in his last illness when (his mind wandering) he insisted on keeping his little hammer under the pillow, and chipping at the countenances of the attendants.'

Bleak House

Charles Dickens

By airbowline (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I don't think the problem is the activity itself, but that they have a show about it on the "Science" Channel. I actually thought The Onion was just making that up. I'm also beginning to wonder whether Idiocracy was a documentary.

The sad part is that real science is actually quite interesting.

But it is pretty cool engineering, and a lot of the shows on the Science channel are really more engineering than science ("How it's made" and its several variants come to mind) And the show about Punkin Chunkin did cover the engineering of these devices, it wasn't just watching pumpkins get splattered out in a field.

SC (@185):

Thank you for that. I'd forgotten what a cool show that was! "It's not the thing you fling; it's the fling itself!"

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

In a similar vein to flinging random objects, hopefully everyone has experienced the fun of Will It Blend?

I still miss Scotti.

Definitely better than the loud young thing they got to replace Kari on her maternity leave...

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Blind Squirrel: You wouldn't be part of Yankee Siege by any chance? (there aren't that many giant trebuchet's around). Visited the N.H. home of Yankee Siege back in fall of 2008 and watched a few throws. It is one thing to watch on TV but to stand next to one of those monsters is really impressive.

The interesting thing about catapults is: they don't work! You don't see any on utube or the History Channel do you? I know, I know, negative evidence but still, wouldn't you suppose some one would have made one by now?
I know someone who made one; it didn't work.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

since we're still on the subject of insults that demean people, I'd like to throw the suggestion out there to stop using the term "mouth-breather" to signify extremely low intelligence. My shoddily constructed nose and I would be grateful.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

SteveM: Nope, Just a freelance Buckskinner, Flint napper and primitive skills instructor.
BTW the trebs on the YouTube video are inefficient because their counterweight doesn't rotate.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Miki Z (#183)

I'm not actually all that familiar with insults in Japanese. I'm not sure that any of my day-to-day contacts are in the under-50 crowd, though their kids and grandkids are.

You don't watch TV or read novels, comics, magazines, etc., either?! Crazy. If I lived there, I'd probably buy more books and comics than I could read in a lifetime even if I was 100% fluent. I'm sort of stupid that way.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Carlie (#186)

It is associated with this article, which is fantastic.

Reading the discussion thread to that article made me wonder something. Why the fuck do Christians say abortion is killing innocent babies? Isn't the whole point of their retarded religion that babies aren't born innocent? That they inherit sin they can only cleanse themselves of by growing up and accepting Jesus? If they would stick with protesting abortion because it's killing a sinner before it can repent or whatever, at least that would be consistent.

Bill Dauphin OM: Awesome, thanks!

The interesting thing about catapults is: they don't work! You don't see any on utube or the History Channel do you? I know, I know, negative evidence but still, wouldn't you suppose some one would have made one by now?
I know someone who made one; it didn't work.

In Civ4, the trebuchet is more powerful than the catapult. It also reduces the city's defenses more quickly.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Oops! Sorry Blind Squirrel. A brainfart turned into a ministarfart. I mentally replaced catapult with trebuchet. Maybe it is time for me to go to bed.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

In Civ4, the trebuchet is more powerful than the catapult. It also reduces the city's defenses more quickly.

Is that a video game? I am uninformed about such things.
Oh, and for maximum efficiency, the treb must be mounted on wheels and free to roll.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

eading the discussion thread to that article made me wonder something. Why the fuck do Christians say abortion is killing innocent babies? Isn't the whole point of their retarded religion that babies aren't born innocent? That they inherit sin they can only cleanse themselves of by growing up and accepting Jesus?

Ah, I think I can clear this one up. You see, fetuses are innocent. It isn't until they pass through the dirty nasty cunt during childbirth that they become sullied with the evil of original sin.

Or something like that.

I'm not apologising if Starfart finds me using startfart insulting. He bloody ASKED for it. Idiot.

I find the general rule is that if I'm to use a profanity (what ME-never!) that has some form of sexual or body part connotation it better be either gender neutral or applicable to both genders. My warped little protocol world of swearing is thus exampled such:

cunt- bad
prick- bad
douche/bag/nozzle/whatever- bad
fuck- good
aresehole/wipe/whatever- excellent
assclam- the kickarse of all swear words and I eternally thank SC OM for enlightening me to it's existence.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Assclam, I agree. I love it. I been dropping that one since SC whipped it out.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

douche/bag/nozzle/whatever- bad

A couple of months ago, I was reading a feminist blog (I don't remember which one, sadly) that argued that "douche" &/or "douche bag" are perfect insults because they are so (physically) harmful to women. Therefore, you'd be comparing one bad thing to another bad thing. Or something like that.

I like this justification, but mainly 'cos I like to use "douche bag" (and occasionally "-nozzle") in everyday conversation.

By OurDeadSelves (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

One of the things I can thank Pharyngula for is an expanded vocabulary of non-gendered insults - including (but not limited to) asshat, assclown, pissant, cumstain and - my personal favourite - fucking clown shoe.

By WowbaggerOM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Our thread's resilience reminds me of this scene from The Thing.

Hey, it's an awesome scene, I had to find some lame excuse to insert it.

"pissant": gendered. Ants are haplodiploid and all the ones you ever see are females.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

aratina cage of the OM | January 28, 2010 5:01 PM:

eddie said he points this out to people who use "sinister" to mean "bad" presumably because he is left-handed ...

Thank you, aratina. I was trying to be funny. Since nobody laughed, I apologize. After reading about 10 or 12 of eddie's comments, I concluded he was an ignoramus, an idiot, prone to making sexist remarks, and eager to look stupid defending his sexist remarks. At that point I stopped reading his comments. I see from your comment there is no reason to stop ignoring eddie.

MrFire: Also a bit of a guy movie. No females at all, only a female voice for the computer. (Adrienne Barbeau)

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Carlie (#203)

You see, fetuses are innocent. It isn't until they pass through the dirty nasty cunt during childbirth that they become sullied with the evil of original sin.

Really, or are you just making up a retarded-fundie-logic type excuse as a riff on their misogyny?

And what about a test tube baby implanted via some other opening than the vagina and delivered via c-section? Would it be free of sin? Mwahaha.

A. Noyd - more like an educated guess based on my upbringing as a fundie and my tangential knowledge from Catholic friends. Sin is placed squarely on the shoulders of Eve, and I've heard many a platitude about how being "born of a woman" is what makes humanity sinful. It's also pointed out a lot how special it was that Jesus had no sin even though he was also born of a woman - the emphasis is always on birth as some kind of defining moment. (all together now: Birth as a demarcation in identifying what a human is, where have we heard that before? HMMMMMMMM...)

Thank you, aratina. I was trying to be funny. Since nobody laughed, I apologize.

Oh goody! I get to apologize too that means. I'm sorry for being too serious and missing the humor, llewelly.

By aratina cage o… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Carlie | January 28, 2010 9:37 PM:

Sin is placed squarely on the shoulders of Eve, and I've heard many a platitude about how being "born of a woman" is what makes humanity sinful.

Yet another problem science will solve, as PZ has explained.

No problem, Aratina (January 28, 2010 9:43 PM).

Carlie (#214)

It's also pointed out a lot how special it was that Jesus had no sin even though he was also born of a woman - the emphasis is always on birth as some kind of defining moment.

Well, I dunno how Protestants get around it, but Catholics have the whole Immaculate Conception deal these days, right? Mary, including her vajayjay, was somehow original-sin-free from gamete-meets-gamete. And remained that way while being born. In fact, that she had to be conceived without sin would indicate that, for Catholics at least, sin starts no later than conception.

Oh, and according to Wikipedia, Mormons don't have the same naughty fetus issues because they make original sin as confusing as they make everything else. Kids are born with an eight year get-out-of-sin-free card.

~*~*~*~*~*~

llewelly (#216)

Yet another problem science will solve, as PZ has explained.

Awesome. Thanks for linking that.

MrFire: Also a bit of a guy movie. No females at all, only a female voice for the computer. (Adrienne Barbeau)

Yes, very true. And I believe the only line of dialogue directed at her is "you cheatin' bitch", by Kurt Russell's character (after she beats him at chess, and he responds by pouring his whiskey into her grill. Lovely metaphor, huh?).

After far as other Carpenter movies are concerned, I think Adrienne Barbeau had a better role in The Fog, but I haven't seen it in ages.

Oh, and according to Wikipedia, Mormons don't have the same naughty fetus issues because they make original sin as confusing as they make everything else. Kids are born with an eight year get-out-of-sin-free card.

Yep, this is absolutely what they believe. It's not 8 years specifically, it's the "age of accountability", when children can tell good and bad apart. They believe (or, at least, it used to be taught) that even Jesus did things which may have been considered "wrong" when he was a baby. There's a line about "grace to grace" in the Bible they cite.

They also believe that ensuring that one soul gets to heaven will get you to heaven yourself. This led me to conclude that either my parents didn't love me or they didn't have much faith. As 8 approached I went to bed every night hoping to be murdered so I could go straight to heaven. For a faithful Mormon parent, the logical thing to do is murder your children before they are accountable. You ensure their heaven and yours.

This led me very quickly to atheism.

And since you asked earlier, no, I don't really read in Japanese or watch much television in any language. I sometimes watch an hour or two of television, but not often.

Immaculate Conception refers to Mary's birth, not Jesus'.

Katrina: he knows. Read more carefully.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Sorry, Sven. I blame the limoncello.

Katrina: Now I get it. The Danny DeVito connection, right?

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Blind Squirrel:

No. Four years of living in Naples. Just finished making a batch yesterday. Product testing, you know?

Katrina: That will teach me to go with the most parsimonious explanation.
From Wiki: Limoncello gained a measure of notoriety in America on 29 November, 2006, when actor Danny DeVito appeared on the television show The View apparently still drunk from consuming limoncello the night before with his friend George Clooney. Said DeVito, "I knew it was the last seven limoncellos that was going to get me."

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

BS:

I remember seeing that episode. We were actually in Italy at the time. We thought it was hysterical. Why? Limoncello is made from the purest grain alcohol you can get. The higher the proof, the better it turns out. Drinking seven (the LAST seven!!) shots of limoncello is like drinking 4 or 5 shots of Everclear.

That was the most parsimonious explanation, though, and a good guess. My fault for not posting here very often. I'll try to do better in future. B-)

About the Rush Limbaugh Onion piece....Unfortunately, I have recently learned just how painfull it is when a family member completes a suicide. (well, devistating, really) I would like Rush to shut up too....but not by suicide. It's not funny anymore.

Sorry for the downer. :(

Disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever been a fan of The View. I was working out at the gym, and it was on the television there. I was a captive audience.

Miki Z (#220)

For a faithful Mormon parent, the logical thing to do is murder your children before they are accountable. You ensure their heaven and yours.

Sorry if that caused you real anguish to think about as a kid. But, man, I love these horrible but logical consequences of their dogmas that religious people overlook or try to avoid.

And since you asked earlier, no, I don't really read in Japanese or watch much television in any language. I sometimes watch an hour or two of television, but not often.

The only reason I'm any sort of fluent in Japanese is because I love reading and love comics. Reading comics in Japanese is sort of the ultimate fulfillment of that. My love of Japan itself started as the typical nerdish "OMG, manga is awesome, so Japan must be awesome!!!!" thing (I cringe to recall it) but I've been there several times now and like it for what it is. Too bad I have neither a four year degree nor the inclination to teach English or I might be living there myself. Luckily, Seattle has a Kinokuniya. Mmm, books.

~*~*~*~*~

Sven DiMilo (#222)

Katrina: he knows. Read more carefully.

Thanks. And I'm a she. Not that it especially matters, but it could lead to confusion if I don't point that out. Stupid English and its stupid gender-specific third person pronouns.

Sin is placed squarely on the shoulders of Eve, and I've heard many a platitude about how being "born of a woman" is what makes humanity sinful.

Well, then I suppose I can safely tell Catholics to go fuck themselves, can't I?*

I've been there several times now and like it for what it is.

How'd you get past what appears to me to be raging misogyny? I mean, I like their media, but I can't imagine actually walking there.

Apropos to The Onion piece earlier... I poked it at a friend. My friend informed me that The Science Channel is real, and that every show on that piece is as well. I curled up with a stuffed animal and wept.

*Really? I'm the first person to catch that pun? Really?

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

*Really? I'm the first person to catch that pun? Really?

*awkward silence continues*

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom (#232)

How'd you get past what appears to me to be raging misogyny? I mean, I like their media, but I can't imagine actually walking there.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I don't like all parts of Japan. The misogyny is terrible. That people can and do smoke almost anywhere sucks, too. But I'm not in love with some image I got out of comic books. I certainly appreciate the way religion in Japan is pervasive but non-intrusive. It's laid out like a buffet. Sample the various dishes. Take as much or little as you want. Mix and match. Participate for the cultural significance while declining belief, if you like. Distort it, sex it up, or mock it in fiction. Just don't bother your neighbors with it.

Deiloh: That was impressive. They got funding to mess around in Hawaii for 20 years! I was in the wrong business.
The part about the squid was cool too.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

And I'm a she.

my bad. apologies.

windy: that Jumalhämärä shit was muy bueno. "Almost like some blackened Finnish Grateful Dead" nails it.

You like that? Try this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSE6dSz3uLI

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

re #233: May I Kw*k?
I knew Maggie Ngai (briefly) in grad school.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

May I just tell you all that I've decided to pay for all Pharyngulites to attend a week long party in Paris.

I've just checked my email and apparently I have won the British lottery for the third time this week and the Swedish lottery once. As soon as I provide an extensive list of personal details to the "lottery board" I'll have my money and we'll party like thieves!

I'm a rich bastard now.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Bride of Shrek,

Should we send you our details so you can book accommodations? Not everyone wants to deal with accomodationists.

Watch out, though -- I've heard that some of these lottery emails are scams. Be sure to reply to all of them so that you don't miss the real ones.

BoS, this is most welcome news.
May I suggest...mmm...Cancun?

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I saw TRHPC at the moonlight cinema (outdoors, at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens) on Monday night - hilarious fun. Next time I have to get hold of the full audience script so I can participate more in the yelling stuff out and throwing shit in the air bits.

By WowbaggerOM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Are the children asleep? Good.

The proposed Australian Government clampdown on smut just got a whole lot broader, as news emerged of a ban on small breasts

Senator Joyce claimed that publications featuring small-breasted women were encouraging paedophilia.

The result of this campaign is now visible in the decisions being made by the Australian Classification Board, which is beginning to apply RC (refused classification) categories to such material, as opposed to the previous X-rating. According to Fiona Patten, Convenor of the Australian Sex Party: "We are starting to see depictions of women in their late 20s being banned because they have an A cup size.

NOT THE ONION!!!

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I grew up north of Cairns so when I was a early 20 something we used to go to TRHPC at the old Capri theatre ( which no doubt doesn't exist anymore), EVERY goddamn Friday night. Looking back I wonder we never used to bore of it but we didn't. Hilarity ensued every time and we had a ball. My personal "dress-up" was a pre-Franked Janet ( ie pencil skirt, jacket and hair parted in the middle pulled back with clips). I used to chuck off the jacket to display a 50's pointy bra which I would then sit in for the rest of the night). My girlfriend at the time made an awesome Magenta and by husband at the time used to go as Rocky ( which quite frankly wasn't exactly a stretch) Of course you had to attend with all required props ( popcorn, torches, newspapaers, toast etc).

I still know every bloody word to the script.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Blind Squirrel

Senator Joyce is a weirdo nutbag who comes up with this sort of shit on a regular basis.

He can bite my gorgeous (apparently acceptable) D cups.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Bride of Shrek: It's just that he's going after my own personal fetish! One of many, anyway. (disclaimer: small breasts, not paedophilia.)

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Senator Joyce claimed that publications featuring small-breasted women were encouraging paedophilia.

Thanks, Australian Senator Jackass. It's good to know that I'm only sexually appealing to pedophiles. /sarcasm

Just 'cause you only like big breasts doesn't make men who like the smaller variety sexual deviants. Where do these people come up with this shit?

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm rethinking the use of "sexual deviants" in my post a #248. That phrase has been used too much against people who participate in legal, consensual sex acts to be appropriate here. I'm trying to think of a better turn of phrase, but one's not coming to me right now.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

the article Blind Squirrel FCD linked:

"We are starting to see depictions of women in their late 20s being banned because they have an A cup size."

That's horrible. Lots of healthy adult women have an A cup size. It's disgusting to imply that they can only be attractive to pedophiles. It's also dishonest; there are so many of these women you can't walk down a city street without seeing them.

Pygmy Loris | January 29, 2010 2:54 AM:

Where do these people come up with this shit?:

From the article:

"It may be an unintended consequence of the Senator’s actions but they are largely responsible for the sharp increase in breast size in Australian adult magazines of late."

Ok, that made me laugh, but seriously, I think it's just a dishonest attempt to leverage the outrage of the more irrational members of the "protect the children" crowd.

Blind Squirrel via llewelly:

"We are starting to see depictions of women in their late 20s being banned because they have an A cup size."

What the fuck? My wife has an A cup size and two years ago was carded by an administrator at a high school for being in the halls without a pass.

My wife was 32 then. She's a school social worker.

Senator Jackass would have an epic fit over the nude photos of my wife in the dresser.

Help Wanted
-----

Officer - Breast Size Enforcement Division

Patrol all areas of the internet. Monitor Closed Circuit Televisions, perimeter alarm system, duress alarms, and firewall safety system. Lock websites when required. Conduct daily physical nipple inspections. Respond to accidents, contact EMS or administer first aid/CPR as required. Assist perverts/employees during emergency situations. Notify appropriate individuals in the event of accidents, attacks, small breasts, or other incidents. Call for outside assistance if necessary. Complete incident reports to document all small breast related incidents. Handle all interruptions and complaints. Escort any unwelcome persons from Australia without interrupting the orderly flow of big breasted pornography operation. Report to scenes of trouser accidents/thefts. Call for assistance using proper code responses. Complete an Erection Loss Prevention shift summary/daily activity report. Maintain confidentiality of all reports/documents; release emissions only to authorized individuals. Conduct investigations and gather evidence. Conduct interviews at relevant parties. Protect company asses. Welcome and acknowledge all site guests according to company standards; anticipate and address guests' service needs; thank guests with genuine appreciation. Develop and maintain positive working relationships with others; support team to reach common goals. Perform other reasonable job duties as requested by Supervisors.

While I don't doubt that paedophilia and child porn are real problems, the hysteria about them is just ridiculous. Some of the media here in the UK (particularly the Daily Mail) seem to be intent on making everyone believe that all Britain's children are under constant threat from a rising swarm of "sexual deviants". And it's working. Go on any British news site and read the comments from visitors, and you'll see a long string of badly-spelled rants from readers arguing that "sex offenders" should be hanged/castrated/left to rot in dungeons. The fear, hostility and hate is just mind-boggling - just more evidence that people are stupid and easily manipulated.

In reality, there are comparatively few people who abuse young children, and those who do so are mostly mentally ill and acting under an irresistible impulse. They need treatment, not "punishment". But many other cases of so-called "sex offences" involve, say, a 17-year-old sleeping with a 15-year-old - which, while probably not a good idea, is not paedophilia or child abuse, or anything close to it. (Ed Brayton has documented several cases where teenage relationships have led to young men being placed on the sex offenders' register for life, causing them lifelong social stigma and unemployment.) I'm not arguing that the age of consent should necessarily be lowered, but I think we need a more reasonable, proportionate attitude to what constitutes a "sex offence".

So too with porn. I don't condone the exploitative commercial porn industry, but I also believe in freedom of expression, and I strongly oppose the idea of any government censoring the internet (or any other expressive medium) in order to prevent people from watching porn. The Australian government's plans are ludicrous authoritarian bullshit (which is something the ALP certainly has in common with many other "Labour" parties around the world). "Won't somebody think of teh kiddies!!!1!!!" is not a valid pretext for depriving citizens of their essential liberties.

Miki, this is Oz; "Awareness of Occupational Health Safety and Welfare and Equal Opportunity responsibilities and commitment to their implementation"¹ is a mandatory requirement for any Government work. Sheesh.

--

¹ Wording may vary, but never this requirement.

By John Morales (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Walton, it's the Australian Labor Party, and if you think that they're more authoritarian than the Opposition, you're in la-la land.

By John Morales (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

"Awareness of Occupational Health Safety and Welfare and Equal Opportunity responsibilities and commitment to their implementation

I'm still trying to figure out what this means. Is it something like "acknowledge the law against government discrimination"? I wasn't sure 'EMS' would be recognized in Oz, either.

Ah yes, the "age of accountability". A lot of Protestants use this, too. They claim that a person has to knowingly accept God's gift of eternal life in order to go to Heaven, and that it's a conscious decision to do so. This is all well and good, except then anyone who is mentally incapable of doing so or is too young to do so would go straight to Hell, and that's kind of icky to think of God sending all those babies and mentally challenged people to Hell. So to make God a nice guy again, they built in the accountability thing. I don't think the age is set in any Protestant denomination, but it's generally described as the time at which a person knows right from wrong enough to deliberately choose to do something wrong. Generally it's thought of as around 3-4 when telling kids in Sunday School they'll go to Hell if they don't accept Jesus, but then magically if a child around 6-7 dies they claim the child wasn't "there" yet and of course went to Heaven.

Yes, the mormons have an exception for the mentally handicapped as well, and for miscarriages. "Some souls were so valiant in the pre-existence that they aren't required to suffer the pain of life."

It's a perverse system: those who don't know the Word of God are better off, so let's make sure as many people as possible know! Spread the Good News!

I used to have very detailed nightmares about this as a young child. I was gradually being turned into a suffering monster by giant bees who came and read magic spells that transformed the listener. When the transformation was complete, the new monsters became the masters. (The insight that this recurring nightmare, which I started having at around 4, so perfectly described religion did not come to me until later.)

Carlie #209

You see, fetuses are innocent. It isn't until they pass through the dirty nasty cunt during childbirth that they become sullied with the evil of original sin.

Then I'm safe, since I was, to slightly misquote Billy Shakespeare's phrase, "from my mother's womb untimely ripped." Those of us born via Calpurnian* sections have an automatic get out of sin free card.

*Nod to John Varley.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Himself, honking shame it ain't a Get Out Of Sin Entirely card.

By John Morales (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Sorry to tell you, 'Tis - those born in that manner were deliberately circumventing the will of God for childbirth, so they get a double-dose of original sin off of the doctor's evil white-gloved hands.

And if the doctor was a woman, it's a quadruple dose - you get the original sin, doubled for having a fake easy childbirth, doubled again for the deliverer being a woman who should have been home taking care of her own family instead of having a job outside the house.

Heretic, damned of Darwin, do you expect me to believe such mendacious lies? You said specifically that it was passage through the birth canal that transmitted original sin to the infant. Since I didn't go out that way, I'm home free.

You're just jealous because your mother wasn't farsighted enough to have you born the proper, artificial way.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Joking aside, Leviticus 12:1-5 is revealing.

1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Say to the Israelites: 'A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. 5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

By John Morales (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hey, it's not me making the rules, it's God. Don't blame the messenger.

You think they made a special "Congratulations! 33 days of Unclean" calendar...like as a gift for the new mother? See every day would be represented by a small chamber covered by a paper flap, and behind the flap you could put candy (or maybe raisins or dates or manna or whatever.

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

See every day would be represented by a small chamber covered by a paper flap, and behind the flap you could put candy (or maybe raisins or dates or manna or whatever.

Or a small, bitter unripe olive, to remind the woman how much her life sucks.

Worst boring movie: A.I. Artificial Intelligence

By Amelia 386sx E… (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Incorrigible?

The embedded gayness estimate is interestingly high.

Hey, it's not me making the rules, it's God.

Carlie, we're discussing theology. It's all pure opinion and sophistry. Plus if we can't find a scriptural reference for our opinion, then we can fall back on the tried and true method theologians have used for centuries called "making shit up."

Haven't you noticed that whenever some religious guy says "God talks to me and this is what he's saying" that God's prejudices exactly mirror the religious guy's prejudices?

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Plus if we can't find a scriptural reference for our opinion, then we can fall back on the tried and true method theologians have used for centuries called "making shit up."

Well, duh. Where do you think I got it from? Divine revelation straight to my ears from God's mouth. ;)

(But the first part about when you're born being the moment sin enters really is something I was taught implicitly, if not in those outright words.)

re: breast size/paedophila fear-mongering:
The only good thing is that the next generation will not have to worry about their parents dragging out the 'naked baby on the bearskin rug' photo the first time they meet the new girl/boyfriend, because if you take nekkid photos of your offspring, these days, you are liable to get arrested as a pervert.

Thanks to the online Oxford Dictionary, here is the definitive etymology of fuck (they only provide etymology for the verb, not noun). Sorry the formatting has been lost.

[Probably cognate with Dutch fokken to mock (15th cent.), to strike (1591), to fool, gull (1623), to beget children (1637), to have sexual intercourse with (1657), to grow, cultivate (1772), Norwegian regional fukka to copulate, Swedish regional fokka to copulate (compare Swedish regional fock penis), further etymology uncertain: perhaps < an Indo-European root meaning ‘to strike’ also shown by classical Latin pugnus fist (see PUGNACIOUS adj.). Perhaps compare Old Icelandic fjúka to be driven on, tossed by the wind, feykja to blow, drive away, Middle High German fochen to hiss, to blow. Perhaps compare also Middle High German ficken to rub, early modern German ficken to rub, itch, scratch, German ficken to have sexual intercourse with (1558), German regional ficken to rub, to make short fast movements, to hit with rods, although the exact nature of any relationship is unclear.
On the suggested Indo-European etymology (and for a suggestion that the word was probably a strong verb during its earlier history in English) see especially R. Lass ‘Four letters in search of an etymology’ in Diachronica 12 (1995) 99-111.
It seems certain that the word was current (in transitive use) before the early 16th cent., although the only surviving attestation shows a Latin inflectional ending in a Latin-English macaronic text: see quot. a1500 and note at sense 1b. See discussion at FUCKER n. on various supposed (but very doubtful) earlier occurrences of the word in surnames. However, if the bird name WINDFUCKER n. (also FUCKWIND n.) is ultimately related, it is interesting to note an occurrence of the surname Ric' Wyndfuk', Ric' Wyndfuck' de Wodehous' (1287 in documents related to Sherwood Forest) which may show another form of the bird name. Use in a sense ‘to strike’ could perhaps also be reflected by the surname Fuckebegger' (1287); perhaps compare the Anglo-Norman surname Butevilein (literally ‘strike the churl or wretch’), found in the 12th and 13th centuries. For discussion of a possible (although not certain) occurrence of FUCKING n. in a field name fockynggroue recorded in a Bristol charter of c1373 see R. Coates ‘Fockynggroue in Bristol’ in N. & Q. 252 (2007) 373-6.
Many alternative theories have been suggested as to the origin of this word. Explanations as an acronym are often suggested, but are obviously much later rationalizations.
Despite widespread use over a long period and in many sections of society, fuck remains (and has been for centuries) one of the English words most avoided as taboo. Until relatively recently it rarely appeared in print, and there are still a number of euphemistic ways of referring to it (compare e.g. EFF v., FECK v.2, F-WORD n., F-WORD v.); ferk in quot. 1680 at sense 1c probably likewise shows a deliberately altered spelling. It is also frequently written with asterisks, dashes, etc., to represent suppressed letters, so as to avoid the charge of obscenity. Modern quotations for the term before the 1960s typically come from private sources or from texts which were privately printed, especially on the mainland of Europe. Bailey (1721) included the word (defined ‘Foeminam Subagitare’), but not Johnson (1755), Webster (1828), and later 19th- and early 20th-cent. dictionaries. Partridge (1937) included the word as ‘f*ck’, noting that ‘the efforts of James Joyce and D. H. Lawrence have not restored it to its orig. dignified status [in dictionaries]’. A gradual relaxation in the interpretation of obscenity laws in the U.K. followed the unsuccessful prosecution in 1960 of Penguin Books Ltd. (under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959) for the publication in the London edition of D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover (see, for example, quot. 1928 at sense 1b). The first modern dictionary of general English to include an entry for the verb fuck was G. N. Garmonsway's Penguin English Dictionary of 1965.]

By neon-elf.myope… (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Dust @228: My sincerest condolences.

Hey, just found out that today is Thomas Paine/Freethinker's Day. Everybody go be godless reactionaries!

Has anyone mentioned yet that JD Salinger has died ?

And I notice that newfie got his in the "Stop sitting there" thread.
I blame David Marjanovic.

:D

By Rorschach (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Senator Joyce claimed that publications featuring small-breasted women were encouraging paedophilia.

What's next Barnaby ? Having sex with women under 50 kg just compensation for pedophile urges ? Going down on a shaved lady just replacement for wanting to suck that neighbor's daughter clitty ?
Give me a fucking break LOL.

And to turn this around, according to that logic fucking the neighbor's daughter is groovy as long as she's got a D cup ?
What a nutcase.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Well, duh. Where do you think I got it from? Divine revelation straight to my ears from God's mouth. ;)

Aah but see we know you're lying here. God would never lower himself by talking to a woman.

SEF @ 943 in the previous (cosmic) thread:

CGEL is wrong in its examples.

I'm not convinced. (Too bad I don't have GCEL handy to see how they justify their claims---I admit you make a good argument, but I think there's something else going on that matters.

It is longer than a foot.

... is clearly a reduced form of "It is longer than a foot is [long]"!

That is not clear to me, because of the preposition-like nature of relational phrases.

I suspect that "Is longer than a foot" is actually parsed according to a different transformation that respects the semantics of relations.

Off the top of my head, I'd guess that "X is Aer than Y" phrases fairly immediately get transformed to something resembling "X exceeds Y (in A)".

So when somebody says "Jim is taller than me," it's typically heard like "Jim exceeds me (in height)". You wouldn't say "Jim exceeds I," so you don't say "Jim is taller than I," either. It sounds wrong, unless you've had it drilled into you that it's "correct," and practiced hearing it the other way.

Whenever you have a simple grammatical rule but almost every native speaker has a hard time with it, that suggests that the actual syntactic phenomenon just isn't that simple.

My particular story above may be entirely wrong, but I strongly suspect something special is going on in how we parse relational phrases, and the simple rule does not apply.

It does seem that a lot of linguists think that "than" phrases are more like prepositions than not. The general idea is that you wouldn't say "on I" or "at I", so you don't say "than I" either. You say "on me," "at me" or "than me."

Either way, it's pretty clear that "than me" is just ineradicable. It's universal in informal speech, and very common even in formal speech; it's Standard English, and has been for a long time. I doubt any amount of prescriptive grammarizing can make a serious dent in it. Trying to say that "than I" is more correct is tilting at linguistic windmills.

(BTW, I agree with your argument that it would be nice if we could keep things simple and regular---it would avoid certain occasional ambiguous cases. I just think it's going against the grain of the natural syntax of English, and we have to live with it. Native English speakers can't all (or almost all) be wrong.)

Aah but see we know you're lying here. God would never lower himself by talking to a woman.

Damn. I was hoping no one would think of that.

Worst movie in history: The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938

By Amelia 386sx E… (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Whatever it is, I'd like to request that the portion from mine on The Thread be donated to the Lynna Diagnostic Fund.
hell yeah
Lynna, quite seriously, would donations be useful? My checkbook (well, Quicken, actually) stands ready....
Holy Crap ... in a good way! I see that while I was out trying to make some money, all sorts of good-hearted folks were planning to help. I should be too proud to refuse help, that being what my taciturn father taught, but I do need help. And pride can take a back seat for awhile.

I'll look into this some more. For one thing, we need more facts. I'll have to pick up the actual diagnostic orders from my doctor. The phone calls I've made to providers of the diagnostic tests have been frustrating, with costs ranging all over the place depending on "if this, then that" situations. I have to narrow the parameters.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@59

OMs continue to attack me...

Just wanted to repeat that for fun. Attack of the OMs!

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

And Lynna, feel free to post your symptoms in more detail, might give me a better idea of what went on and what costly tests are really necessary...
I'm off to bed , but will check in the morning.

OMs continue to attack me...

The interesting factoid here being that killfiling seems to only apply to one particular thread at a time.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

'Tis @74

can still sail. I just won't be doing any more long distance racing.
My father taught me how to sail when I was 8. The day I stop sailing is the day I start to die.

I was glad to see this 'Tis. Lots 'o shorter trips then. So be it.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Sven @77

New, bold predictions from the International Journal of Thread Studies just released.

I don't know why I love those graphs so much, Sven, but I do. They tickle me. BTW, I too would love to be able to bandy "hockey stick" around in reference to Endless Thread growth.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Why the fuck do Christians say abortion is killing innocent babies?

Because they've got a better-developed sense of morals than their own god, especially if they're Catholic (see comment 218).

Either that, or comment 203, but the latter would mean that comment 212 describes a way to Heaven (and we can't have that, can we), and it also wouldn't square with the concept (sorry for the pun) of immaculate conception.

and - my personal favourite - fucking clown shoe.

Ridiculously porphyritic granitoid!

SQUID article:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127223616.htm

Cool, cool.

And to think that we have a Vibrio species of our own… Vibrio cholerae… I think this counts as further evidence for Giant Squid Theory. Praise be unto the FSM, for we are not the ones made in His image.

I've just checked my email and apparently I have won the British lottery for the third time this week and the Swedish lottery once.

Sounds like half of my daily lottery winnings. I'm on a mailing list that has been advertizing my address daily, unconcealed, for the last almost 10 years (and the listowners can't do anything about that because they don't own the software or the archives).

Where do these people come up with this shit?

From not knowing that not everyone has their exact preferences… they want to think they're normal… no, it's from not knowing anything and not thinking the rest through.

Conduct daily physical nipple inspections.

Heh. Reminds me of the "security checks" in brothels that the (up to then) chief of the Viennese branch of the xenophobe party conducted a few years ago (before that party split in two)… using a credit card linked to the party's account. He said what he did were "security checks".

which is something the ALP certainly has in common with many other "Labour" parties around the world

Austria's Social Democratic Party is for allowing adoption by gay couples*, drawing outrage from the conservatives.

Of course, it doesn't call itself "Labo(u)r". :^)

* …for which the word "marriage" must not be used, but a large part of the rest of the differences is going to disappear soon.

"Awareness of Occupational Health Safety and Welfare and Equal Opportunity responsibilities and commitment to their implementation"

Wow. That sounds like Rinderkennzeichnungs- und Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.

this recurring nightmare, which I started having at around 4

Am I feeling sick?

I think I am.

or maybe raisins or dates or manna or whatever

Or raisin dates even!

Incorrigible?

It mentions bacon. :-)

But it also mentions…

neuro-linguistic programming expert

<yawn> Professional pseudoscientist. As it says in the comments…

I was interested until you cited an 'NLP expert', who reads Allan and Barbara Pease's science-free drivel on men and women, as some kind of authority.

I've flushed better experts down the toilet.

Steve Wichett knows about all the naughty things husbands get up to. He also knows the fundamental reason why men lie to their wives: “It’s a strategy to avoid pain and punishment.”

Duuuuuuuuuh!!!

Makes me even angrier than Walton apologising. :^)

“Men need it because it gives them a partner with the emotional intelligence they know they lack,”

B-)

“Shopping’s another good one. I always use Waitrose because my wife gets cross that it’s so expensive. And although it isn’t true to say I buy things deliberately to annoy her, it’s definitely a good incentive. The other day I found this statuette on eBay, commissioned for a competition in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, of a female athlete raising her arm in an Olympic salute, which also looks quite Nazi. There’s a swastika stamped on the bottom. It was only £200, and it’s now in our sitting room, but my wife hates it. She says it’s a total waste of money and that everyone will think we’re Nazis.”

It's not emotional intelligence this guy lacks.

Journalist and author Rod Liddle, himself a reformed roué, says: “I reckon 90 per cent of married men – if they could be guaranteed to get away with it – would have affairs.” And as far as desire is concerned, he is probably right. “God, I’d just love to have some completely meaningless sex with some gorgeous girl I’d met on a business trip,” admits Simon.

<scratching head>

“I didn’t have sex with a man until I was 34. At the time, my wife was pregnant with our first child. Before that I’d had girlfriends, and enjoyed the sex, though not as much as I did with men.”

The surprising bit – and Barry should know – was just how many married men out there are secretly gay. “And I don’t mean bisexual. Hardly any men are. They’re just gay men in denial or living a lie,” he says.

If by "bisexual" he means "3, not 4, on the Kinsey scale"… :-| I mean, he's not 6 on it.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Everybody go be godless reactrevolutionaries!

...right? ;)

Rorschach @285, Thanks. Here's what I gave to my doctor in the way of summary:

I had what I am tentatively calling a transient ischemic attack on Friday, January 15th, between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
     When I finally got my brain back online enough to figure out that something wasn't quite right, I conducted some odd tests, including checking my browsing history and the emails I sent earlier in the day in order to pinpoint my last coherent moment, and to guess how long I was ... confused. Best guess: I was confused for about three-four hours.
     At some point, I realized that trying to determine the coherency of my brain, using my possibly incoherent brain to do so, did not make sense. I don't know how long it took me realize this, but I'm guessing 1/2 to 1 hour.
     I made sure I could smile, had equal strength in both hands, etc. I remembered to take an aspirin, though the thought to take the aspirin had to occur about three times (guessing here) before I took it. [Later, I found out that a single full-dose aspirin may not have been a good idea if I was bleeding in my brain, as opposed to having a clot in my brain.]
     I also, illogically, called my daughter, who is in Manhattan and nowhere near close enough to help me. She told me to call my brother Steve, who does live nearby. "Oh, yeah," I thought, "that makes more sense." Steve called your office, and answered the questions of the doctor on call (Dr. Stoddard, I think) over the phone. I was almost back to normal by then so luckily I didn't have to go to the emergency room and spend thousands of dollars I don't have.
     Apart from the mail on my kitchen table, my mind seems to have filled in about three hours of lost time. I now remember getting the mail, but the actual items still look "foreign" to me. This cuts down the lost time to about only one hour.
     I experienced a tendency to cry at the slightest provocation, had a headache (though not a debilitatingly bad headache, just steady), was sweating more than usual, and thought that I smelled different. I experienced fatigue for several days, plus a craving for oranges. I drove my truck successfully threee days after the Lynna-is-offline event.
     The only medications I'm taking are 10 mg/day of Zetia; a generic substitute for Estratest called Esterf (1.25/2.5 mg/day); and Osteo Bi-Flex joint shield. I have resumed taking a single, low-dose, 81 mg buffered aspirin per day, per Doctor Stoddard's suggestion.

Rorschach, one of the "if this, then that" scenarios for imaging is "contrast or no contrast" -- one of the questions I need to answer.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Reminds me of the "security checks" in brothels

Or of the even more extreme claim made on a recent QI programme - that some country's driving test included a gynaecological exam for women!

Duuuuuuuuuh!!!

Yes, it's just so incredibly insightful.

Miki Z @81:

They took this interpretation from scripture. Since I have complex partial seizures, and they weren't diagnosed until well into adulthood, I lost a lot of time to amnesia and did not know why. The story of how to get prayers answered is that you ask and God will blank out your mind if the idea is wicked or wrong. So obviously I must have been having some seriously wicked thoughts. Oops. If my family had not insisted on this, maybe I could have gotten medical help a decade earlier.

Man! The details I've forgotten from my admittedly spotty study of the scriptures... I'll bet Patricia would have gotten that reference. It's just one more way to be wrong.

I've always been appalled by how much time people waste studying scriptures to determine both the "truth" and a path for their lives (not for history or literature or human psychology purposes). They could have spent all that time learning something useful.

As for my overhearing the "Cast into Outer Darkness" conversation (whispered, but still with the initial caps :-)) -- that was mormons talking about apostate mormons. I was in my Sister Lynna outfit for ease of access to Temple Square, where I was going to take photos, but ended up not doing so thanks to FBI-like security guards. I took a break in a local restaurant and was waiting with others to be seated by the hostess. Some young boys (about 15 years old, I'd guess) were talking about how nice it would be to get married in the spring when the flowers around the temple were at their best. Fucking weird.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

And not a single blockqutoe [heh] failure in it! Hahaaa! <mad cackling> It's almost as if I weren't tired at all!

and for a suggestion that the word was probably a strong verb during its earlier history in English

Fick, fack, fuck?

Well! This would solve the mystery I mentioned yesterday! ^_^ ^_^ ^_^

I should mention, however, that the German one is a weak verb, completely regular.

‘Four letters in search of an etymology’

:-D

Diachronica is one of the top journals of phylogenetics in linguistics historical linguistics. And I hate paywalls, even though the online archive doesn't go back to 1995.

And I notice that newfie got his in the "Stop sitting there" thread.

I blame David Marjanovic.

I'll visit that thread again to find out what you mean…

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Alan B @89, I hadn't thought about having a sledge inside a coffin. Your mind takes some interesting turns, doesn't it? You're right though, there's not enough room to swing a sledge inside a coffin, so one had better stick with the rock hammer. Maybe put a chisel in your pocket for good measure. Small crowbar?

You and I are going to need some beefed-up coffin bearers.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

(It's always risky to reply to the first post you see in the morning without first reading the 30+ others that have also accumulated in the thread, but I feel compelled to take the chance.)

Pygmy Loris (@249):

I'm rethinking the use of "sexual deviants" in my post a #248. That phrase has been used too much against people who participate in legal, consensual sex acts to be appropriate here.

I wholeheartedly agree. Deviant is probably an accurate term for men (like me, I might add) who prefer A-cup breasts over C-cups, in the sense that we probably do deviate from some statistical norm of men's preferences (however, by the same logic, guys who like stripper-huge enhanced DDs or bigger are also "deviants"... but I digress). Similarly, gay and kinky people are "deviants" if we assume (as I suspect is true) that the statistical norm is straight, vanilla sex.

The problem is that people don't use the word to indicate divergence from a statistical measure; instead, they use it to mark divergence from an arbitrary moral standard. The word is ambiguous: It's not understood to mean what it does mean, and it's used to mean something it doesn't mean. Hence, I agree we shouldn't continue to use it... at all.

I'm trying to think of a better turn of phrase, but one's not coming to me right now.

I suggest that we say, instead, that people are sexually diverse. Diversity has a positive rather than negative connotation (for most people, that is, and the RWAs who sneer at the word are beyond hope anyway), and it refers to relative differences, rather than divergence from some fixed norm (whether statistical, moral, or otherwise), making it less presumptuous regarding what sort of sex is good.

Now on to the underlying issue of the specious suggestion that a preference for small breasts (or shaven genitals, or petite bodies, which are often included in this line of argument) somehow suggests that a man is an incipient pedophile, which is one of my huge pet peeves.

The whole question of preference for physical attributes or types is fraught with social peril, because even discussing it leaves one open to claims of objectification. Can we begin by agreeing that all of us make aesthetic1 judgments about the people who occupy our sexual focus, and for those of us who are straight, that means we makes aesthetic judgments about members of the opposite sex? That may inherently involve some degree of objectification, but it's just a fact of life for self-aware, sexually dimorphous animals. S'alright?

OK, with that out of the way, here's the deal: I don't like small breasts and petite, shaven bodies because I secretly sexualize children (as this Australian AssclamSenator seems to think is universally the case); I like those things because I generally like curves better than angles; smooth, gentle curves better that sharp curves; clean, unadorned surfaces better than busy, highly decorated surfaces; and subtle, delicate shapes better than bold, aggressive shapes. This a consistent aesthetic that I apply to all the things I make aesthetic judgments about: fashion, jewelry, art, architecture, even what cars and airplanes I consider beautiful (alright, alright... don't judge me for thinking cars and airplanes are beautiful). In the final analysis, it's not about what I want to have sex with; it's about what I like to look at. That overlaps with my sexuality; it does not define it2.

I guess this all might get filed under TMI; sorry about that. It's just that I've been hearing this "Guys who like [small breasts/shaven genitals/small women] are latent child molesters" meme for far too long, and it cheeses me off more than a little bit!

1 Please don't ask me why I spell this word aesthetic but don't spell pedophile as paedophile. I'm inconsistent; deal with it! ;^)

2 In fact, not one of my actual sexual partners has closely conformed to my theoretical aesthetic ideal. It seems that what I like to look at has very little to do with the people I have chosen to involve myself with.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink
threee

Self-referential spelling :-)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Everybody go be godless reactrevolutionaries!

...right? ;)

(grumpy) Yes. I don't even have the excuse of it being a first-of-the-morning post to explain the error.

A.Noyd:

But, man, I love these horrible but logical consequences of their dogmas that religious people overlook or try to avoid.

Yep. And when the kid asks one of these questions, they say, "When you're older, you'll understand", which is short for, "When you're older, you'll understand that you shouldn't ask these questions".

Lynna:
Let us know when you can get a cost estimate. I ain't got much spare cash, but I'm sure I could kick a bit into the hat.

John Morales (@256):

Walton, it's the Australian Labor Party, and if you think that they're more authoritarian than the Opposition, you're in la-la land.

I defer to you WRT Australian politics, about which I know nothing (except that there is an actual Australian Sex Party), but I don't find much else to disagree with in Walton's comments @254: Like him, I'm concerned that pedophilia and child pornography, though real problems, have been opportunistically overhyped by those whose real agenda is to demonize a much wider range of (perfectly acceptable) sexual behavior; like him, I despise the criminalization of normal teenage sexuality; and like him, I oppose most, if not all, attempts to censor adult content on teh intertoooobz.

Is it just me, or is there not frequently a disconnect between the ideas Walton espouses and the political parties and institutions he identifies with? Walton, kiddo, I think there might be a tiny bit of denial going on. ;^)

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

SC,OM @153: Nabokov is one of my all-time favorites, all-time because I first read his prose in high school and he's one of the few authors I return to for a jolt of literary delight. You can't beat him for economical, but telling details. From your link:

...it gave her a kind of soft shock, a mixture of compassion and wonder, to notice that one of the passengers,
a girl with dark hair and grubby red toenails...

It's the "grubby red toenails" that draw you in.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink
OMs continue to attack me...

Just wanted to repeat that for fun. Attack of the OMs!

I'm enjoying the image of a bunch of lentil-eating, sandal-wearing hippies chanting furiously and angrily:

OMmmmmmmm!! 7:^/

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

MikiZ, have you ever read the book Running From the Devil by Steve Kissing? I think you might like it.

So might everyone else - it's a memoir about how he grew up having seizures but thought they were caused by Satan, and his attempts to be good with God to make them go away. And somehow with such a downer topic, the book itself is hilarious.

Bill Dauphin,

I guess this all might get filed under TMI; sorry about that. It's just that I've been hearing this "Guys who like [small breasts/shaven genitals/small women] are latent child molesters" meme for far too long, and it cheeses me off more than a little bit!

Isn't the internet designed for TMI ;) Anyway, I think you have some good points. One more thing I would say is that small breasts are still breasts.

The thing that pissed me off the most about this is the implication that women with small breasts aren't really adults, and the only reason an adult would be interested in them is because the woman resembles a child. Being a small woman with a youthful face already means that I have to deal with people treating me like a child*. I really don't need people trying to codify my body as too child-like to be sexually appealing.

*One of the things I love about the internet is that people can't see me, so I don't have to deal with the often subconscious urge to treat me like a precocious child rather than an adult.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink
threee

Self-referential spelling :-)

Or perhaps just Pythonesque Inquisitional spelling?

Our threee chief weapons....

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

(grumpy) Yes. I don't even have the excuse of it being a first-of-the-morning post to explain the error.

I have the advantage of being a Morning PersonTM. However, unlike, for example, David Machineović, I have no stamina. So watch for my typefarts later in the day and rub my face in it!

In the meantime, this being the Pharyngula backroom bar, how about I get you the beverage of your choice, in a swimming pool-sized glass?

the implication that women with small breasts aren't really adults, and the only reason an adult would be interested in them is because the woman resembles a child.

It also carries the implication that large-breasted (or whatever passes for normal) women are only interesting for their breasts. The whole notion intrinsically objectifies women (down to specific parts) instead of regarding them as individuals in their own rights.

Pygmy Loris (@303):

Is it totally horrible that the more you say about yourself, the more I'd like to see a picture of you?

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Bill,

Can we begin by agreeing that all of us make aesthetic judgments about the people who occupy our sexual focus, and for those of us who are straight, that means we makes aesthetic judgments about members of the opposite sex?

I tend to make aesthetic judgements about most things, men, women, dogs, teapots, carrots... They don't all occupy my sexual focus though.
Joke appart, as a straight man, don't you make aesthetic judgments about other men ?

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

, guys who like stripper-huge enhanced DDs

Ouch. There are people defending the natural-ness of A cups in this thread, but the natural DDs get accused of being "stripper-huge"? Seems a little harsh.

We all know that women are just immature versions of the true adult human. The only way we can know that a woman is not an adolescent male is the size of her breasts. Is she has merely an A cup, how can one tell if she is an adult at all.

Blah, this is the same type of insane troll logic that claims that watching any type of porn make you gay.

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Frankly, my personal attraction is to smaller breasted women.

I guess need help now.

And so does my wife.

It never ceases to amaze me to what lengths people will go to over react and display their stupidity.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

He can bite my gorgeous (apparently acceptable) D cups.

No FAIR! (size irrelevant)

the bird name WINDFUCKER n. (also FUCKWIND n.)

wtf? I must know what kind of bird earned such an excellent monicker.

I was in my Sister Lynna outfit

*imagination shifts gears*

the specious suggestion that a preference for small breasts (or shaven genitals, or petite bodies, which are often included in this line of argument) somehow suggests that a man is an incipient pedophile

I'm with you here, Bill, in more ways than one, but I have to admit thaqt the whole vulva-shaving phenomenon gives me pause. Apart (partly) from the fact that it's not my preference for lookng at, playing with, or snuffling around in, I can't help being a bit squicked about the implied denial of physiological maturity involved. *shrug* My issue?

Self-referential spelling

that was a win

Or perhaps just Pythonesque Inquisitional spelling?

also pretty good

I'm enjoying the image of a bunch of lentil-eating, sandal-wearing hippies

surely not all OMs resemble me so closely...?

watching any type of porn make you gay.

lol wut?

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Ouch. There are people defending the natural-ness of A cups in this thread, but the natural DDs get accused of being "stripper-huge"? Seems a little harsh.

No, he said "stripper-huge enhanced DD", [emphasis mine] which to me makes a huge (so to speak) difference. There is a significant difference between a natural DD and an "enhanced" DD. The latter usually looking like exactly what they are: large bags of saline under over-stretched skin that look hard as bowling balls. Really rather horrifying actually.

(I am not saying all enhancements are obvious and/or horrifying, it is just the outrageously extreme ones which I think was meant by the phrase "stripper-huge enhanced DD")

Neg (@308):

I didn't mean to suggest that people who occupy our sexual focus are the only thing we make aesthetic judgments about. I was just trying to innoculate the sexual aesthetic judgments I was about to talk about against charges of objectification.

...as a straight man, don't you make aesthetic judgments about other men ?

Sure, but the judgement I make is almost never "wow, that's beautiful" and really most sincerely never "wow, that's hot." And no, that's not some methinks-he-doth-protest-too-much attempt to deny my own latent homosexuality: I'm philosophically as gay-friendly a straight man as you could hope to meet, and I'd be happy to report myself as super-zero on the Kinsey scale if it were so... but the plain fact is that I've never felt the slightest sexual attraction to another male.

As I said in my first post on this, I have a consistent aesthetic that generally prefers shapes most people would characterize as a feminine rather than masculine. In fact, I sometimes wonder about the relationship between my aesthetics and my sexuality: Do I prefer "feminine" shapes because I'm straight, or is it my preference for feminine shapes that makes me straight? More likely, there's no direct causal relationship, of course, but the question has caused more than one chin-stroke on my part.

Of course, I can look at male bodies critically, admiring their physical developement and athleticism (aside: I'm not saying athletic bodies are better than others; I'm just a sports fan) or trying to imagine whether straight women or gay men would find them attractive... but the personal aesthetic judgment I make is virtually always "does nothing for me; sorry."

guys who like stripper-huge enhanced DDs

Ouch. There are people defending the natural-ness of A cups in this thread, but the natural DDs get accused of being "stripper-huge"?

First, I wasn't talking about natural DDs (hence the word enhanced). But more to the point, I wasn't characterizing the breasts themselves. Instead, I was characterizing a certain species of male preference (hence, "guys who like...") for exaggerated breasts. No denigration of large breasts was intended: My whole point was that the universe of diverse sexual/aesthetic preferences is "all good."

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

I must know what kind of bird earned such an excellent monicker.

Teh Google knows all; tells all.

It's the kestrel.
Perfect!

However, catch the utter stupidity of the last sentence in the following 'kipedia paragraph:

Up until the end of the 19th century, one of the currently archaic names for the kestrel was the "windfucker", at the time still considered common. When the term "fuck" became profane, this name has been removed from the dictionaries (including Oxford and Weber). Today, no such word exists in the English language.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Steve #312 - It's a Kestrel, a wind-beater, a wind-fucker, a wind-hover.
"Fuck" is just a C16/17th euphemism (meaning beat/strike). I wonderm what was the really naughty word they couldn't say, and need to soften it up by saying "fuck" instead?

By Ring Tailed Lemurian (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@184

"Precisely the same" said Mr Badger. "The Professor made the same remark in his last illness when (his mind wandering) he insisted on keeping his little hammer under the pillow, and chipping at the countenances of the attendants."
Bleak House, Charles Dickens

lol. excellent. From this description, I deduce that I should keep my rock hammer under my pillow, at the ready, so to speak.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

In fact, I sometimes wonder about the relationship between my aesthetics and my sexuality: Do I prefer "feminine" shapes because I'm straight, or is it my preference for feminine shapes that makes me straight?

Correlation is not causation...

More likely, there's no direct causal relationship, of course

...but you already know that.

thanks, RTL, on behalf of "Steve" [insert smiley-thing]

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Regarding the poll that Carlie linked to @186: This is another Jesus Fucking Christ moment. The poll, currently running above 60% "yes", asks if NBC should air an anti-abortion ad from a homophobic organization during the Super Bowl -- but they don't word it that way. The poll question does make the connection to Focus on the Family. Ugh. Should be running 80% "no" by now. Beer, yes, cars and computers, yes ... but fundie death cult lies, no.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

unless we're still on the week of "starfart", in which case "windfucker" can be the word o' next week.

Or, better, we can start the word-week on Friday.

problem solved

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Is it just me, or is there not frequently a disconnect between the ideas Walton espouses and the political parties and institutions he identifies with? Walton, kiddo, I think there might be a tiny bit of denial going on. ;^)

I've noticed this as well. Many of Walton's socio-political preferences would make his an ordinary, common or garden liburl here in the US. He's still a free market capitalist (although not a laissez faire marketeer) but his other expressed views make him seem like a wild-eyed moderate.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Sven (@312):

I have to admit that the whole vulva-shaving phenomenon gives me pause. Apart (partly) from the fact that it's not my preference for lookng at, playing with, or snuffling around in, I can't help being a bit squicked about the implied denial of physiological maturity involved. *shrug* My issue?

I dunno. Aside from diapering my infant daughter, I've never actually seen a prepubescent vulva (I guess I wasn't very adventurous when I was prepubescent myself), and that association never even occured to me before I heard someone make the accusation (in a discussion about porn, IIRC). To me, shaven genitals don't look immature; they just look smooth.

I'm enjoying the image of a bunch of lentil-eating, sandal-wearing hippies

surely not all OMs resemble me so closely...?

I was actually riffing on the idea of pronouncing OM as a word. I had in mind an episode in one of Spider Robinson's novels in which some hippies living in a backwoods Canadian commune come into conflict because some of them treat their communal ommmm as music, and start improvising, while others think there's, like, too much ego in doing that, man. ;^)

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Since we're playing sexual attraction TMI, before I met my wife I was attracted to well rounded, full breasted women (similar to what I suppose the Australian senator's ideal is). My wife is a petite, slim woman who before she was pregnant was so small breasted that she rarely wore a bra.

It took a while before I felt physically attracted to her but I was intellectually and emotionally attracted right from the first meeting.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Paul W. #280 (referring to #943 and #925 in the previous thread):

I'm not convinced.

But, tellingly, you've failed to come up with any valid reason why you're not convinced. Merely being made uncomfortable by something just puts you in the same position as creationists who don't like where the evidence leads and suspect there must be a trick somewhere because they're unwilling to give up their preciously held misconceptions.

So when somebody says "Jim is taller than me," it's typically heard like "Jim exceeds me (in height)". You wouldn't say "Jim exceeds I," so you don't say "Jim is taller than I," either.

That's specious. There are plenty of constructions in English where the same general meaning can be conveyed by completely different words using different standard formats. It is wrong to say that because construction A takes a particular form that construction B should too. It's usually the opposite which is the truth when not dealing with simple synonyms.

And, yes, one would say "Jim is taller than I [am]" (for certain values of Jim and I!).

You didn't address the other example I refuted at all.

Incidentally, the next two CGEL examples you gave were no better. Barring faulty reporting on your part, I have to conclude that the CGEL experts/"authorities" are idiots - as is anyone foolish enough to believe them without noticing for themselves that they were talking rubbish.

"He's poorer than poor." would be short for "He's poorer than poor is." - referring to some nominally agreed definition of "poor" (there's more than one in use in the UK). However, it's mostly just a bit of pretentious poetic exaggeration anyway rather than something sensible.

"I saw no one other than Bob." - doesn't even qualify for consideration because it uses a name rather than a pronoun (hence no information of subject vs object is available).

Bill, apparently there is more to this "immature vulva" look than just shaving. BBC reported on a growing phenomenon of surgical procedures to make a woman look more "youthful" there. Usually by reducing the size of the labia so that everything stays nicely "tucked in". I'm sure the incidence of this is probably exagerrated but still, the fact it exists at all is a little disturbing.

Well, obvious blockquote fail, courtesy of me, in comment 283. I trust everyone figured it out. Nevertheless, I apologize. [Goes in search of biggest coffee cup in the house.]

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Is 'Tis Himself's sailboat a windfucker?

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

SteveM (@328):

Bill, apparently there is more to this "immature vulva" look than just shaving. BBC reported on a growing phenomenon of surgical procedures to make a woman look more "youthful" there.

youthful ≠ childlike

Lots of women (and men) have cosmetic surgery of all kinds to look more "youthful"; it doesn't follow that they're trying to look like children or appeal to pedophiles. I'm not a big fan of cosmetic surgery myself (even when the look it's trying to create is one I find aesthetically pleasing), but I recognize all people's authority over their own bodies; if somebody wants to look younger badly enough to accept the risk and pain of surgery, who am I to say them nay?

On the other hand... if this surgery really is intended to make grown women resemble children sexually, I agree it's pretty disturbing.

On the gripping hand... the thing that's bad about pedophilia is that it victimizes actual children. Fetishizing adults who look like children is disconcertingly reminiscent of pedophilia, but is it logically any more objectionable than any other fetish? If we accept (as I do) that consensual adult pain play is distinct from actual violence, why would we not accept that consensual adult age play is distinct from actual pedophilia?

The whole issue is nettlesome, I admit... but still, I insist that my preference for smooth, soft skin over coarse hair has nothing to do with perceptions of age or maturity.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

I've noticed this as well. Many of Walton's socio-political preferences would make his an ordinary, common or garden liburl here in the US. He's still a free market capitalist (although not a laissez faire marketeer) but his other expressed views make him seem like a wild-eyed moderate.

I've been thinking about this a lot, since the similar discussion on the Joe Basel thread. I'm a socio-cultural liberal, in that I support gay marriage and gay adoption, gender equality, secularism, and other "liberal" stances on socio-cultural issues. I take a broadly free-market libertarian outlook on economic issues, but I'm not a radical libertarian, and I recognise the need for areas of regulation (for instance, to protect the environment and natural resources) and for a welfare safety-net. I also strongly support freedom of speech and other civil liberties, as well as the legalisation of recreational drugs, and I oppose authoritarian penal policies and the over-use of imprisonment.

Basically, I think I'm in a fairly similar position to Andrew Sullivan - who self-identifies as a conservative, but has repudiated much of the modern American right. Apart from his continuing attachment to Roman Catholicism (even though he disagrees with the Vatican's teaching on most issues), I agree with Sullivan on the majority of issues. So that certainly makes me a "liberal" compared to the mainstream of the Republican Party today, but I can probably still identify as a British Tory without too much ideological dissonance.

Fundamentally, my ideas about politics have become more and more complex and nuanced over time; and I've gradually realised that, since reality is complex and doesn't always make perfect sense, trying to fit it into a perfectly coherent ideological prism doesn't really work. So I don't think there's a magic ideological descriptor which perfectly fits all the ideas I currently hold.

It's the "grubby red toenails" that draw you in.

Or repulse you with the fury of a thousand demons. What is this, Squirrel fetish day?

Is it totally horrible that the more you say about yourself, the more I'd like to see a picture of you?

Get in line, Bill

Frankly, my personal attraction is to smaller breasted women.

Damn, but we are coming out of the woodwork today. Should we start a club?

I'm with you here, Bill, in more ways than one, but I have to admit thaqt the whole vulva-shaving phenomenon gives me pause.

Two words: razor stubble.

I'm enjoying the image of a bunch of lentil-eating, sandal-wearing hippies

Started another batch of sprouts yesterday.

The latter usually looking like exactly what they are: large bags of saline under over-stretched skin that look hard as bowling balls.

A friend of mine said you can hear them slosh.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

ok, once more on the grammar issue. I think it would do the English-speaking world a lot of good if the form "than I" was universally accepted as the correct one, because it is far more precise*. However, since English speakers seem to have some sort of prejudice against language precision, it will most likely not happen that way.

------

*as I explained to my boyfriend, there's a world of difference between the phrase "you like your plants more than I" and the phrase "you like your plants more than me": agreeing with one of them is ok, agreeing with the other will get him strangled and the plants fed to the chickens :-p

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Since we're playing sexual attraction TMI

I realized some time ago that my preference for breast size adapts to the breast size of my current partner. (Adapted, rather, as I have no plans to swap out my wife.)

When I was with a woman with DD-sized breasts, I was all hot for large breasts, and so on correspondingly down through the sizes.

There was some adaptation lag, but not much.

I also realized that I never initially became attracted to a woman based on her breast size. My teenage self would never have believed it.

@ Jadehawk #335:

As per my explanation of the example at the end of post #943 in the previous thread, it matters a lot whether one is contrasting the subject or the object when reducing several statements down to just one!

(a) You like your plants. I like your plants. You like your plants more than I [do].

(b) You like your plants. You like me. You like your plants more than [you do] me.

Both involve the loss of words which would otherwise make the distinction even clearer. You can't do without those words if you aren't using pronouns but a name.

(c) You like your plants. You like Bob. You like your plants more than Bob.

... doesn't tell you (or even hint at) whether it was intended to be "more than Bob does" or "more than you do Bob".

Another example - but one which shows how the other type of contrast works in one of the previously disputed example:

(a) You are more tall than I [am].

(b) You are more tall than [you are] wide.

The first version is contrasting you and I as subjects, not "tall" with "me" as descriptions (where "me" ought to be obviously ridiculous but for some reason isn't for many of you). The second version is contrasting two attributes - not subjects having different values of the same attribute.

This is a story that could be spun several ways: good news for 141 orphans from Haiti, or bad news for 141 orphans kidnapped by mormons, or good news for some of them and bad for others.

Stephen Studdert, mormon Head Cheese (Stake President, LDS Mission Presidents, etc.) and former member of Ronald Reagan's White House staff, chartered a jet in Utah and flew to Haiti to rescue some orphans.

ABC 4 News has learned Stephen Studdert, the task force leader, went immediately into negotiations with both U.S. and Haitian officials on the fate of orphans from the Foyer de Sion Orphanage -- 70 of whom already have adoptive parents waiting for them in the United States.
     These negotiations continued through the early morning hours of Friday while the task force's charter jet remained on the runway at the Port au Prince airport in violation of rules requiring relief aircraft to depart within 90 minutes of arrival.
     Studdert ...has extensive experience with the United Nations and serves as an advisor to the Under Secretary of the United Nations....
     Studdert started the task force with a call to all former L.D.S. missionaries who served in Haiti to return in the aftermath of the earthquake to serve again, this time as volunteer interpreters.

Stephen Studdert is the guy who wrote a recent article in which he conflated mormon dogma with libertarianism, restoring the USA to its rightful Christian Nation status, etc. All familiar, right? Reminds me of gubernatorial candidate Rammell:

Our Imperiled National Promise: [excerpts follow]...
more deeply concerning to me, and should be to you, is the accelerating global abandonment of Jesus Christ by the President of the United States. President Obama has said to foreign nations: “We're no longer a Christian nation" and we are “a secular nation.”
     Such an historic presidential departure should be beyond comprehension. Since our national beginning, America 's leaders have boldly declared our dependence on our Lord.
     The Mayflower Compact , authored by Governor William Bradford in 1620, declares “Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith,..."
     Patrick Henry, known by his contemporaries as the Orator of the Revolution , said : “It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
     Our sixth president, John Quincy Adams...
     They're not alone; every American president throughout our national history has thus proclaimed. Until now.
     From the very advent of this dispensation, Prophets too have unequivocally declared America to be a nation of Christ....
President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “God our Eternal Father will watch over this nation and all of the civilized world who look to Him . He has declared, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord ".
     Elder L. Tom Perry gave counsel during our American Bicentennial in 1976 which is prophetically applicable to the circumstances of today: “... The adversary knows all too well that a weak America will literally stop this building process and thwart the work of God.”
     It is time you and I – as Americans and especially as Latter-day Saints –awake from our silent slumber and require our national leaders to return from crooked paths. Our personal, family, religious, and national promise depends on it.

I don't trust a guy that thinks like that to rescue anyone. And what is he doing serving as an advisor in the U.N.? It's all a little odd, and a little arrogant -- arrogant while claiming to be humble.

I loved what Steve Studdert said last night to the group, “If there is anyone here with an ego—Go home now. If you are a complainer—go home now.” The overall feeling here on this plane is humility.
By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

as I explained to my boyfriend, there's a world of difference between the phrase "you like your plants more than I" and the phrase "you like your plants more than me": agreeing with one of them is ok, agreeing with the other will get him strangled and the plants fed to the chickens :-p

Great example, Jadehawk! That clears it up for me.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Lynna, the Haiti story definitely goes into the "mormons are monsters" file. Note that their airplane was blocking the airport, thus preventing plains with real help to get to Haiti.

I also don't like the concept of "emergency adoptions", but that's a complex and long-winded topic in and of itself. in this particular instance it's extra vile because it's proselytizing via adoption.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm enjoying the image of a bunch of lentil-eating, sandal-wearing hippies

I find it hilarious that I read this while contemplating whether or not to have the lentil soup I have in the freezer here at work for lunch.

Justb tought I throw this little tidbit out for someone to chew on...

Culpeper County public school officials have decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank's diary, one of the most enduring symbols of the atrocities of the Nazi regime, after a parent complained that the book includes sexually explicit material and homosexual themes.

Got it. Nazi Atrocities are OK for the kids to hear about but not the emerging sexual desires of a pubescent 13 year old. Oh, not to mention teh evil gays, much worse than genocide I imagine...

By Fred The Hun (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

planes, not plains

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Enough Moments of Mormon Madness, let's have some Scientology madness. John Morales brought this up on the "tell it to someone in power"/cunt thread; if the part about clams is too tedious, skip over it and get yourself the part on Piltdown Man. And laugh. And laugh. And laugh…

as a straight man, don't you make aesthetic judgments about other men ?

Well… only when they're drastically ugly (and very few are).

Thanks to the mass media, I have some idea of which kinds of male face are considered handsome in the published opinion, but those tend to be the very ones that make my sister puke, so… no, I can't even pretend to be able to tell when a man is handsome. On the other hand, my sister melts over Viggo-Mortensen-as-Aragorn, and I just sit there and scratch my head because I can't figure out what's remarkable about him…

However, there seems to be a cultural expectation on women to be able to tell when a woman is pretty. Has been weirding me out since forever.

surely not all OMs resemble me so closely...?

I do of course wear sandals when the weather permits it (I think there's photographic evidence out there, Jadehawk can tell you more), but I don't like lentils at all. And I don't look like a hippie… OK, I don't have a hairstyle, but I still have a hair length. :-)

Do I prefer "feminine" shapes because I'm straight, or is it my preference for feminine shapes that makes me straight?

I think the metaphor about "feminine shapes" you make is a coincidence (…though more research is needed… who volunteers for a statistically significant sample?).

Given the evidence for partial heritability of sexual orientation and for other prenatal influences on it, I bet on the former when it's about feminine shapes of people. (If, indeed, there is a difference between the two options.)

…That makes it all the more confusing that other people's beauty, as a property of the face, can be noticed long before one's own puberty, while sexiness, a property of part of the rest of the body, cannot, yet the two tend to coincide gender-wise nonetheless.

"Fuck" is just a C16/17th euphemism (meaning beat/strike).

I don't think it's that late, but it's very common worldwide for such words to be derived from a metaphor about repeated back-and-forth movement.

It took a while before I felt physically attracted to her but I was intellectually and emotionally attracted right from the first meeting.

So that worked even before the Internet. :-) Good to know.

Or repulse you with the fury of a thousand demons. What is this, Squirrel fetish day?

Foot fetish day in the first place?

Two words: razor stubble.

Now that sounds uncomfortable.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Justb tought I throw

Huh?! I meant "just thought I'd"

By Fred The Hun (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

mormons are monsters

Yes: evil, predatory religious nutters.

Sanction (@336):

I realized some time ago that my preference for breast size adapts to the breast size of my current partner.

I've noticed a similar sort of adaptability in my appreciation of whoever my current partner happened to be (and it's not limited to breast size)... but I haven't noticed that extending to my abstract appreciation of third parties. Whatever my current partner is is perfect (aside to my wife, if she's reading: esp. now, honey!), but which pictures I linger over, which passersby inspire a (hopefully discreet) doubletake, and what appeals to me in erotica seems to remain more or less unchanged.

It occurs to me that this whole conversation must have made me sound very dogmatic and narrow in my appreciation of feminine beauty, but nothing could be further from the truth: My "ideal" might be very particular, but my tastes are actually very (you should pardon the word) catholic in scope.

BS (@334):

Get in line, Bill

Relieved as I am not to be the only cyberflirt here, I note with some concern that Pygmy Loris has not posted in this thread since I made the comment you're responding to. PL, I didn't mean to creep you out; I promise I'm harmless!

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

also, "preventing to get" is not English.

my only excuse is that the boyfriend had an early morning shift, and therefore I remain uncaffeinated.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Oh boy - on emergency adoptions of Haitian children, see HERE.

From the post:
Let me try another analogy. Let’s say you live with your child in a house that burns down. You’re dazed, confused, and burned. Your neighbor says, “I think I should take care of your child”. You say, “Thanks for your offer. But my child really needs me now, and I think they wouldn’t sleep well in a strange house. If you could just give us a tent and some food and some bandages so we can camp out while I get better and look into rebuilding, we’ll be OK.” Your neighbor says, “that’s too logistically complicated and I’m concerned about the security situation. I just want your child.” You say, “Thanks again for your concern and I’m grateful for any help you can give me. If you’re so worried about my child, maybe you could let both of us stay in your guestroom for a while? That way my child could be safe and would sleep well too.” Your neighbor says, “No, we have an interdiction-at-sea policy and visa restrictions will not be relaxed. Just give me your child. Actually, nevermind. I don’t even need your permission anymore. I’ll just take them.”

because it is far more precise

Well, as I said: "me" is used for emphasis instead of "I" – same for "him", "her", "them", and historically "you" which has lost its nominative counterpart ye –, and this is very common and overrides all other considerations except the rope. (Or were you going to use your bare hands…?)

Unfortunately I don't know how they solve that problem in Chinese, where this difference doesn't exist – there's no declension at all, just word order. Probably they keep the verb in there.

it matters a lot whether one is contrasting the subject or the object when reducing several statements down to just one!

In (a) and (b), "you" and "I" are both subjects, and "your plants" and "me" are objects. In (c), "you" is a subject, and "your plants" is an object; "Bob" is an object in the second sentence, but ambiguous in the third, unless we're allowed to take the second as context.

You are more tall than

Do you really say "more tall"? Not "taller"? ~:-|

where "me" ought to be obviously ridiculous but for some reason isn't for many of you

It would be in German or Polish or Latin. It's not in – most kinds of? – English.

Got it. Nazi Atrocities are OK for the kids to hear about but not the emerging sexual desires of a pubescent 13 year old.

Are there actually any desires in there? I haven't read that version, but someone in school had it and proceeded to read from an exceedingly detailed, rather anatomical description of the (more or less) external genitalia.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

apropos of nothing...but I live in Paris and I´m sitting in my cosy flat while the wind howls and the rain plummets with a bottle of wine and some good jazz on a Friday night perusing the "THREAD" (still catching up with the "bull session")! WTF! Can I be cured of this addiction?

conflated mormon dogma with libertarianism, restoring the USA to its rightful Christian Nation status, etc.

Wow. So many mutually contradicting positions at once!

Your neighbor says, “No, we have an interdiction-at-sea policy and visa restrictions will not be relaxed. Just give me your child. Actually, nevermind. I don’t even need your permission anymore. I’ll just take them.”

<facepalm>

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

as a straight man

I must admit that, although the word "gay" has lost its original meaning in my mind, the quoted phrase still makes me think of Bud Abbott.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Blind Squirrel, commenting on various:

I'm with you here, Bill, in more ways than one, but I have to admit thaqt the whole vulva-shaving phenomenon gives me pause.

Two words: razor stubble.

I'm enjoying the image of a bunch of lentil-eating, sandal-wearing hippies

Started another batch of sprouts yesterday.

Your second comment would have generated a totally innocent image in my mind, if it hadn't been preceded by the first.

Ils sont fous, les italiens!

Ma, sì. Però i Francesi sono più pazzi. O infatti, pazzissimi.

The rain…?

I, too, am sitting in Paris, and there's no rain. In fact, the cloud cover is opening. Where in Paris are you?

I'll go home before the next rain comes :-)

Can I be cured of this addiction?

What for?

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

SPQR – sono pazzi, questi Romani

(SPQR is still written on Roman gully lids, park benches, and the like.)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

David @ 357
I´m in Chatillon and it was pissing down a few minutes ago but seems to have cut off for the moment.

You´re right, I don´t want to be cured. I like this particular addiction-I learn so much.

Thread derail coming up... (but it's about food and drink, so I hope no one will mind)

Can any doctors, biologists, etc., on the thread advise me as to whether excessive consumption of aspartame is unhealthy? I ask because I'm somewhat addicted to Diet Pepsi; considering that it contains less than one calorie per can (compared to around 130 for full-sugar Pepsi), I can drink lots of it while writing essays, without feeling too guilty.

But I've heard a lot of people claiming that aspartame causes various health problems. Is there any medical basis to this belief, or is it just a pseudoscientific scare / old wives' tale?

The offending passage from the Diary:

There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can't imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

In France, not Paris, within a short walk of The Mediterranean. No rain or wind here, albeit the mistral blew a bunch yesterday and last night (which is perhaps why I lost power this morning?—Its happened before). No jazz either, but did have a few brews earlier. And Teh THREAD… in honour of which, I'm finking about finding my copy of tRHPS and watching… its been quite a whiles since I've last watched it.

Also wondering if pumpkins launched from trebuchets would be effective against Narwhals?

Lynna, OM at 339:

good news for 141 orphans from Haiti, or bad news for 141 orphans kidnapped by mormons, or good news for some of them and bad for others.

Thank you, thank you. I thought I was being petty and an arsehole when I was similarly torn about a piece of news that I read in the New York Times just the other day: A Nebraska family rescued two girls from Haiti. I was genuinely happy for those two little girls, aged 2 and 7, and glad that they could escape the devastation and ruin, and would get a fresh chance to lead a relatively normal life.

Then my eyes fell on this:

“I knew God would find a way to bring them home, but who would have thought like this, through a catastrophic disaster?” said Kristin Heaton, their 49-year-old adoptive mother.

Um... that would be the same heartless, vindictive and imaginary god that brought untold torment and misery to countless people - men, women and children - in the same country, right? And these girls, victims of a 2008 hurricane, were already in the adoption process. So,the god-dude isn't bothered at all by the tens of thousands of children who are believed to have been orphaned in the current quake, and whose fate remains unclear, is he?

I wondered what kind of life those two little kids got themselves into. I rationalized by thinking that at least they have a fresh new chance at life, and when they grow up, perhaps they would be able to wean themselves away from too-much god bothering. But somehow I doubt it; childhood indoctrination is a powerful factor.

By Kausik Datta (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Walton, from the NutraSweet MSDS

A vast database exists regarding the safety of aspartame in man. Oral doses of 75 mg/kg/day to human subjects for 6 months did not produce any clinical signs. The Acceptable Daily intake (ADI) approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is 50 mg/kg/day. The oral LD50 in rats is >5000 mg/kg (practically nontoxic). Inhalation exposure of male and female rhesus monkeys to aspartame at concentrations up to 16 mg/m3, 6 hours per day for 14 consecutive days, did not produce any consistent treatment related effects.

There are anti-artificial sweetener sites out there, and I wouldn't believe much of what they say. Like the creobots, they get an idea in their head, and will twist facts to fit their ideas.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

But I've heard a lot of people claiming that aspartame causes various health problems. Is there any medical basis to this belief, or is it just a pseudoscientific scare / old wives' tale?

IANAMD, but PubMed says it's safe for human consumption.

However, it's Teh Gross. If i feel like having sugar-substitutes, I prefer sucralose. Some people can tell the difference, but to me it tastes like regular sugar. (and ironically, if I had to chose between splenda coke and HFCS coke, I'd take splenda coke just for the taste)

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Walton (@360):

Thread derail coming up...

Pray tell, how does one manage to derail an open thread? ;^)

Can any doctors, biologists, etc.,...

I am none of the above; however...

...advise me as to whether excessive consumption of aspartame is unhealthy?

...I have an interest in this question, and potentially some insight. Mindful of the fact that the plural of anecdote is not evidence (or the converse, which is perhaps more apt in this case), I will note that I have been drinking aspartame-sweetened soda exclusively, and in prodigious quantities, ever since they were first introduced (i.e., >25 years), and I am, despite being a somewhat portly fellow, in generally good health, and free of any health problems that might be attributed to aspartame. I'll be curious to read whatever expert responses you get, but my sense is that the fearmongering around aspartame is just that.

I have heard the claim that "diet soda makes you fat," but I think that claim is more related to how "fake" sweetness affects behavior, rather than asserting any direct effect of aspartame. All I know is that, given the sheer volume of soda I consume, if it were traditional 90 cal/serving sugared soda, I would currently weigh enough to make the Earth wobble. YMMV.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

One other particular thought also struck me while I was reading through this thread (had to catch up since last night): what is (or rather, was) up with this guy, Leviticus? Did he have a walking stick or a pineapple permanently stuck up his arse? I have caught quite a bit of his writings over time, and they were always dripping with misogyny, or more likely, an abject hatred for women. How can anyone follow that shit, that, too, blindly? How and why did his writings ever get included in teh babble? Or am I just kidding myself and his rabid idiocy is perfectly in line with the fundamentals of the Judeo-Christian religious ethos?

By Kausik Datta (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

blf @362
Aaaahhh! the Mediterranean...used to live in Barcelona and am still trying to acclimatize to winter once again. Envy...

Not up on anacronyms for films-what are you going to watch?

I've heard a lot of people claiming that aspartame causes various health problems

There's pretty good reason to suspect that large enough amounts of just about any organic chemical over long enough periods of time are doing your liver (and maybe kidneys) some disservice, but afaik there are no data indicating any health problems linked directly to aspartame (except for those with the genetic disporder PKU).
'kipedia mentions that

a metabolite of aspartame inhibits angiotensin converting enzyme

(all else equal, this will keep your blood pressure down; make sure you eat some salt because you're peeing it out)
and

leptin was "significantly reduced by 34%" after "chronic ingestion of aspartame"

Leptin is an appetite-suppressing hormone, so there is a plausible mechanism there for overeating and consequent weight gain.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Jadehawk (@365):

However, [aspartame is] Teh Gross.

See, I disagree: On the rare occasions when I can't get diet soda and drink sugar-sweetened soda instead, I find it syrupy and cloying. I know aspartame is theoretically many times sweeter than regular sugar, but I find the aspartame-sweetened sodas less sweet... and that, by me, is A Feature, Not a Bug™.

That said, diet soda is the only way I use artificial sweeteners at all. I mostly drink my coffee black, but when I do sweeten it, or when I drink tea, I use real sugar.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Let's consider the worldwide variety of legislations on the age of consent for sexual activity (for males, for females, for homosexuals, for a given age difference, with or without marriage, etc...), the variety is absolutely flabbergasting.

One can only wonder at the amount of irrationality (religious and other supperstitious beliefs, political pressures, etc.) that has been involved in writing those laws. If they were all written exclusively by rational indivduals based on evidence why is there such variation amongst those laws?
Just consider how the lives of two individuals involved in a common sexual activity, that may or may not be unlawful, are going to be impacted by legislations that are to varying degrees based on completely irrational thinking.

How many thousands of such life wrecking cases happen every day on this earth?

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

aspartame has a really vile aftertaste. so does HFCS. I generally avoid both for that reason.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

I can't get diet soda and drink sugar-sweetened soda instead, I find it syrupy and cloying.

are you sure you're talking about sugar-sweetened soda? because really, there's only three types of sugar-sweetened soda in the U.S.: Mexican Coke, Pepsi Throwback, and Jones Soda. Everything else is HFCS, which is indeed sweet and cloying (and has that aftertaste I just mentioned)

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

syrupy and cloying, not sweet and cloying. dammit, I think I need to go and finally caffeinate myself.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Also wondering if pumpkins launched from trebuchets would be effective against Narwhals?

visions of narwhals catching pumpkins on their tusk springs to mind

...perusing the "THREAD" (still catching up with the "bull session")! WTF! Can I be cured of this addiction?

Same "problem" here. I've just spent the whole afternoon catching up with the Hairy horde and the Bull session... and then with this subThread.

I'm now checking Sven's updates. 275 comments/day? Srsly? Don't you people have a life? :P

Anyway, here I am now, doing my part for the "hockey stick" cause. :)

But, tellingly, you've failed to come up with any valid reason why you're not convinced.

I guess we have different ideas about what counts as a valid reason not to be convinced by particulars of a grammar, or even a theory of syntax.

Merely being made uncomfortable by something just puts you in the same position as creationists

Spare me.

who don't like where the evidence leads and suspect there must be a trick somewhere because they're unwilling to give up their preciously held misconceptions.

I explained the basic reason. I said that if the overwhelming bulk of the native speakers of a language intuitively do it one way, when your alleged grammar of English says they should do it another way, there's reason to think that your grammar is wrong---and maybe your entire theory of syntax.

What is your theory of syntax? Head-driven phrase structure grammar? X-bar? Government and Binding? Case grammar?...

Or maybe some type of "parserless" (but not really) cognitive grammar where there's no strong autonomy of syntax, because syntactic and semantic processing are tightly coupled and incrementally interleaved, and syntactic processing depends on semantic context? (E.g., relational statement context.)

(I've invented parsers like that, for artificial languages nowhere near as weird as English, only to find that linguists invented it before me---to handle weird stuff like we're talking about, where at least the applicable grammar rules seem to depend on semantic categories.)

I know just enough about natural-language linguistics not to be convinced by the kind of simple argument you're giving, from an alleged "grammar of English."

Syntacticians---actual scientists of syntax, not grammarians---do not agree on the grammar of English. They don't even agree on a syntactic framework within which to write a correct grammar of English, or, sometimes, on what would count as evidence in weird cases. They argue about that stuff for a living.

The kind of thing we're talking about---where a simple supposed "rule" of grammatical surface structure is almost universally broken, and is difficult for most people to learn to do "right"---is the kind of thing that leads syntacticians not just to change their best guess at the grammar of English, but sometimes to change the underlying syntactic framework within which to express that grammar.

(Why do you think Chomsky has come up with a new theory of transformational grammar about every 10 years since the 60's, and never even tries to write a complete, correct grammar of English?)

Who am I to disagree, and find even seemingly good arguments based on a superficial, allegedly "correct" grammar of English convincing, when they don't seem to fit the facts about how real people actually use language?

So when somebody says "Jim is taller than me," it's typically heard like "Jim exceeds me (in height)". You wouldn't say "Jim exceeds I," so you don't say "Jim is taller than I," either.

Just a reminder... the text quoted above was an admitted just-so story, off the top of my head, about the kind of thing that could complicate the analysis, namely specialized grammar productions (and/or transformations) for relational phrases.

That's specious. There are plenty of constructions in English where the same general meaning can be conveyed by completely different words using different standard formats.

Of course there are. That's part of my point. It's not clear to me that you have exhausted the relevant grammatical surface-structure rules and transformations that could come into play, such that your parse is necessarily the right one. There could be an alternative explanation that also explains why people evidently have trouble doing it your way in practice---because they could parse things your way, but they don't, because some other rule comes into play for that particular kind of construction.

It is wrong to say that because construction A takes a particular form that construction B should too.

Of course. But that applies to what you're saying too---just because we can parse "Jim is taller than I am" your way, and we can parse "Jim is taller than I" the same way, if we're trained to (or maybe have been primed to), that doesn't mean we usually do it that way. It could be parsed by an entirely different rule, as a preposition, with no reduced clause.

That would explain why it sounds funny to most native speakers of English, and they interpret it as hifalutin'-sounding. (I suspect that if nobody ever said there was a rule making "than I" "technically correct," native speakers would instinctively and almost universally judge it as simply ungrammatical in most contexts. And maybe they wouldn't be exactly wrong.)

To show that your parse is the right one, you have to do more than show that it can be parsed your way, by a plausible simple rule---I agreed all along that it can.

You have to show that there isn't another way to parse it that works as well, or if there is, yours is the one that is used in practice, by real people. That is why I'm not convinced, and no number of similar examples will convince me unless you show me not only that your way of doing it is good, but that my general way of doing it can't cope, or is demonstrably unrealistic.

And, yes, one would say "Jim is taller than I [am]" (for certain values of Jim and I!).

Except that it sounds funny, to most people to say "Jim is taller than I," without the am, in most contexts. It sounds like a high-class person on TV, or a low-class person straining to sound high-class. It doesn't sound like the English most native speakers, even educated ones, actually speak. (To many people, it sounds exactly like an affectation, which is a bad sign.)

To me, this all sounds like a typical case of prescriptivism being wrong, and "over-correcting" a real irregularity in the language---that "than I" is parsed differently than "than I am," in more than the obvious way, of filling in a reduced clause---which is there for a fairly good reason that prescriptive grammarians don't understand.

IMO it's likely there's a good reason having to do with semantic categories, and how people understand what's being said, which simple phrase-structure grammars can't capture. (Sometimes those sorts of things aren't actually irregular---they're complicated surface manifestations of deeper regularities that are fairly simple. They only seem irregular if you assume a single-level phrase-structure parse.)

Incidentally, the next two CGEL examples you gave were no better. Barring faulty reporting on your part, I have to conclude that the CGEL experts/"authorities" are idiots - as is anyone foolish enough to believe them without noticing for themselves that they were talking rubbish.

Gee, thanks for calling me an idiot.

I have to suspect that you're suffering from a little Dunning-Kruger Syndrome with respect to professional syntacticians. I really doubt that they're that stupid, so if they do something that surprising, I'd guess that there are refereed journal articles justifying that counterintuitive grammar. (It might still be controversial among the experts---any purported "grammar of English" will be---but if so, we should be slow to assume that their side is wrong, and very slow to guess it's because they're just stupid and can't see obvious rubbish as rubbish.)

I used to hang out with linguists, including syntacticians, and they're generally not stupid about these things. Not even close.

---

Here's some example that may (or may not) shed light on what I'm talking about:

He's taller than I.

He's taller than the somewhat heavier I.

He's taller than the somewhat heavier me.

To me, the first sounds stilted and awkward, but obviously parseable and sensible.

The second one, not so much. It's really, really weird; to me, it just sounds wrong to say "the somewhat heavier I."

The third one sounds a little cumbersome but okay; in particular, the "me" is fine.

(These sentences sound less cumbersome if you precede them with other similar feature comparisions between other people, in some context where that makes sense, before comparing someone to yourself.)

This suggests to me that the intuitively preferred parse of "He's taller than..." is roughly my way, but your way is also possible. When you see He's taller than I" it's only clumsy, rather than obviously wrong, because the I comes right after "than," and you can immediately quickly disambiguate the construction when you see "I".

For the longer sentence, you get a clearer garden path effect... by the time you've read "the much heavier", you've gone far enough down the garden path you've forgotten the ambiguity and are committed to parsing it the more intuitive way.

(It could be something else going on, though. Syntax can get really tricky.)

---

By the way, I agree with your point that if everybody did it your way, we could easily make distinctions that are slightly harder to make given that we say "than me" and expect others to.

I just don't think that's very relevant to how the language actually works.

It's like telling native speakers of a language in which doubled negatives are intepreted as intensified (rather than negated to yield a positive), that they're doing it wrong and would be better off interpreting it our way, and using an explicit negating word like "not" to negate.

That might indeed improve their language, making it more concisely semantically compositional, but it's far too late. That's not how their language works, and they're not going to change it, not never, nohow.

Similarly, English might a little be better if we all learned to say "than I" rather than "than me," and could expect others to---it would allow us to leave out a few words here and there without introducing ambiguity, but it isn't going to happen.

For whatever deep good reason, or just because it's an entrenched grotesque irregularity, "than me" is Standard English. A language where it's not okay to say "than me" might be better, but it's not the English language, and ain't never gonna be.

Jadehawk:

You may be right about HFCS vs. sugar: On those occasions when I drink non-diet soda, I'm afraid I don't study the labels closely. OTOH, I recall feeling the same way about non-diet drinks dating back to the very early days of my diet soda habit... and I don't think HFCS was quite so ubiquitous 25 years ago, was it?

I also hate sweet fruit juices unless the sweetness is offset by tartness (i.e., grapefruit juice and tart lemonade or limeade, but not orange juice, peach nectar, mango juice, etc.)... so I think it's sweetness I'm reacting to.

Probably I've just habituated to the taste/aftertaste of aspartame, but whatever: De gustibus non disputandum, eh?

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

BTW, I think I'm in love with word "spewcifically".

I explained the basic reason. I said that if the overwhelming bulk of the native speakers of a language intuitively do it one way, when your alleged grammar of English says they should do it another way, there's reason to think that your grammar is wrong

what a completely idiotic argument. it is actually possible for the vast majority of people to do something the wrong way, and therefore the correct way to sound wrong even if it isn't.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

are you sure you're talking about sugar-sweetened soda? because really, there's only three types of sugar-sweetened soda in the U.S.: Mexican Coke, Pepsi Throwback, and Jones Soda. Everything else is HFCS, which is indeed sweet and cloying (and has that aftertaste I just mentioned)

I had some sugar-sweetened Dr. Pepper the other day. Looks like more companies are starting to jump on the bandwagon. I think they called it "Retro Dr. Pepper."

BTW, I think I'm in love with word "spewcifically".

Where'd that come from? (I searched the page and found no other occurrence.)

I'm not sure I like it; it's a little close to home. (I can be vewy vewy spewcific.)

Bill Dauphin:

The whole issue is nettlesome, I admit... but still, I insist that my preference for smooth, soft skin over coarse hair has nothing to do with perceptions of age or maturity.

Is this the apology thread? I apologize if I gave the impression of casting any aspersions on your preferences. It was a clumsy segue to the BBC story.

Yes, I understand and agree that youthful .ne. childlike, but in this case I was indeed using "youthful" as a euphemism for childlike which was why I wrote it in "scare quotes". That the look these women in the BBC story are trying for is not just young but pre-pubescent.

Where'd that come from? (I searched the page and found no other occurrence.)

Search this page.

It was mentioned in one of the previous incarnations of The Thread and I just discovered about it today.

Re Paul W @377:

I thought it had already been established earlier that there is no clear agreement on whether "He is taller than I" or "He is taller than me" is "officially" correct. That it comes down to the question of the role "than" is playing in the sentence. Whether it is a preposition or a conjuction. And that in some sentences "...than I" or "...than me" would have very different meanings. Such as "John loves his plants more than I", vs. "John loves his plants more than me". In sentences where the meaning would not be misunderstood, either "me" or "I" could be used, whichever feels more comfortable.

Nerd of Redhead (#364)

There are anti-artificial sweetener sites out there, and I wouldn't believe much of what they say. Like the creobots, they get an idea in their head, and will twist facts to fit their ideas.

I used to be one of 'em. Never bothered to learn the facts, just assumed it was bad because I grew up learning "artificial things are bad and natural ones are good." Later, such beliefs made a handy justification for how I am personally revolted by the taste of artificial sweetners. That they are disgusting is enough of a reason to avoid them. Same goes for second hand smoke--it doesn't have to be "more dangerous than smoking itself" or any sort of danger to me to justifiably hate having to breathe someone's nasty ciggy smoke.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Bill Dauphin (#370)

On the rare occasions when I can't get diet soda and drink sugar-sweetened soda instead, I find it syrupy and cloying. I know aspartame is theoretically many times sweeter than regular sugar, but I find the aspartame-sweetened sodas less sweet...

It's not about the sweetness factor for me. Artificial sweeteners taste like latex or burned tires and linger on the back of my tongue. I haven't found one yet that doesn't scream "not food!" to my senses. It's not the fact that they're artificial, either. According to my nervous system, cilantro is also "not food." Conversely, some edibles are "more than food." Like eggplant, maple sugar, and sesame.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Jadehawk (#380)

what a completely idiotic argument. it is actually possible for the vast majority of people to do something the wrong way, and therefore the correct way to sound wrong even if it isn't.

Not so much in language where majority really does rule. Spoken language is messy, anyways. Written language, at least as we've known it in the last few centuries, is a formalized approximation of spoken language. That's changing due to the internet where we communicate casually in writing and where written language can develop in ways that doesn't depend on um... its "sayability." Some pieces of language that were spawned on the internet end up in spoken languge in modified forms. I actually say "lawl" (derived from "LOL") in meatspace to express mocking laughter. The real arbiter of "wrongness" in language is whether something reliably inhibits successful communication.

[Just back from going to the vending machines to buy a diet soda]

Jadehawk:

I've been staying mostly out of the grammar conversation, despite my "day job" as an editor, because there are clearly others with more passion and more technical training in syntax/linguistics than I. That said...

it is actually possible for the vast majority of people to do something the wrong way, and therefore the correct way to sound wrong even if it isn't.

Mebbe so; mebbe not. It depends on what you think determines the value of wrong. Is it a matter of structural soundness, or is it operationally defined by what people actually do? In engineering or science, an objective error remains an error no matter how ubiquitous it becomes, but is the same really true of language, which is so commingled with both culture and and individual psychology? Or does it not eventually come down to a question of how many Frenchmen can't be wrong?

It's certainly true that words and structures that were at one time unambiguously correct have fallen into disuse over time (e.g., almost nobody uses whom anymore), and other usages that are objectively errors have become accepted (e.g., the substitution of plural pronouns to avoid arbitrarily masculine singular ones is clearly a number-agreement error, but it is now almost universally accepted). The question is, do we call this degradation or evolution?

I'll leave it to others to fight that question out, but this much I know: As a purely practical matter, usages that are technically correct but seem wrong to most of the audience are definitely poor communication, whether they're good grammar or not. Anything that makes readers stop and think about the language instead of the point is a distraction that degrades the effectiveness of the communication.

All that said, something like "she is taller than I" doesn't "seem wrong" to me... but then again, I'm one of them dadgum pointy-headed elitists, so what the hell do I know? ;^)

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Paul W. #377:

I guess we have different ideas about what counts as a valid reason

You had nothing! You merely wibbled - after quoting some people who were wrong in a book! Whereas, I not only gave cogent arguments and explanations for why you (and CGEL) were wrong but some examples which actually worked (unlike theirs). Examples which should have been simple enough for any worthwhile person to understand.

Spare me.

No. SIWOTI - namely you (and that was essentially the reason why you were both being wrong and wibbling).

It doesn't sound like the English most native speakers ... actually speak.

So now you want to argue that the majority is necessarily right*, despite the appalling state of education and a long history of them being wrong in pretty much every way possible.

even educated ones

False.

You have to show that there isn't another way to parse it

I did give examples of the other way the condensed statement collection could have come about and why that made you (and others) wrong. I guess your reading comprehension is even worse than I might have hoped. But not everyone is you. Some (a vanishingly small minority?) will have managed to read and think.

professional syntacticians

You think that constitutes proof by authority* - despite their abject failure at their subject (as I demonstrated quite easily).

He's taller than the somewhat heavier I. ... He's taller than the somewhat heavier me.

No, your last one is rubbish too, despite you liking it better.

Long form would be: "He's taller than I am, despite my greater weight."

Condensed form would be: "He's taller but less heavy than I [am]."

That's not how their language works, and they're not going to change it, not never, nohow.

That's just it - they (the ill-educated ones) did change it! They keep changing it. That still doesn't magically make them right. It just makes them more numerous in their wrongness - and someone might eventually document it as being a language shift (eg after enough centuries and the death of all the people who were correct).

An imperial fiat is the sort of thing required to make the wrong count as "right" straight away (as happened in China when an ill-educated emperor mis-simplified some of the characters in his great reform of the written language). The ignoramuses of the world are not the boss of me.

* spot your logical fallacies - which ought to at least give you a bit of a hint that you're still being SIWOTI.

Hmmm.... when I wrote this...

there are clearly others with more passion and more technical training in syntax/linguistics than I. [emphasis added]

...I swear the than I (i.e., as opposed to than me) came out of my fingertips purely naturally, without premeditation or snarky intent.

For whatever that's worth.... ;^)

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ A. Noyd #386:

The real arbiter of "wrongness" in language is whether something reliably inhibits successful communication.

And both I and Jadehawk already demonstrated its wrongness by providing examples of how it does impede reliable communication.

Most of the rest of you are just being creationist-like in your unwillingness to give up your wrongness in the face of the evidence that you are indeed wrong. You are in denial. You are not in possession of any valid refutations that you've been able to present - merely faulty attempts such as the CGEL examples which were refuted and some wibbling and whining.

Y'all (ie not necessarily you as an individual whose post I merely happen to be addressing) should stop whining and flinging logical fallacies around and make a credible, evidence-based case instead.

@ David Marjanović #352:

Do you really say "more tall"? Not "taller"?

Not usually. "More tall" is still a valid option though. It ought to be obvious that I carefully chose it in this case so that I could keep the original disputed example and still show very clearly what the alternative comparison construction would have to be.

Bill Dauphin,

Pygmy Loris (@303):

Is it totally horrible that the more you say about yourself, the more I'd like to see a picture of you?

I'll take it as a compliment on the aesthetics of my body :) However, due to extremely personal life experiences I have revealed here, I'm unlikely to ever admit my RL identity which includes a no pictures policy.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

A. Noyd (@386):

Notwithstanding my earlier declaration that de gustibus non disputandum (which may be all wrong; I never studied Latin, and just picked that phrase up from the aether), this...

According to my nervous system, cilantro is also "not food."

Is just objectively crazy! Cilantro is only just barely less emphatically food! than bacon!

8^)

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

I grew up learning "artificial things are bad and natural ones are good."

Yes. And as everyone knows, all chemicals are bad. You can tell by their names. I mean, think of pentahydroxyhexanal. Doesn't it sound like some nasty chemical your body would be better off without? And I bet it tastes awful too...

what a completely idiotic argument. it is actually possible for the vast majority of people to do something the wrong way, and therefore the correct way to sound wrong even if it isn't.

The real arbiter of "wrongness" in language is whether something reliably inhibits successful communication.

Yeah, here we go! Prescriptive - descriptive FIGHT!!!!

I love these...

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Walton,

I think one of the problems we have here is that in the USA you'd be solidly in the center of the Democratic Party. That is, you're clearly a Marxist, socialist, communist, fascist bent on creating a New World Order TM. Our "conservatives" are residents of Greater Wingnutistan. They're also associated with various forms of bigotry that they defend through "conservative" "thought."

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Fred the Hun @344,

What, they can't use the edited version that Otto Frank released? We read it during middle school, and I found that Anne's story personalized the Holocaust in a way that made it "real" to me.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Pygmy Loris (@391):

I'll take it as a compliment on the aesthetics of my body :)

Definitely that, even sight-unseen, based on the accumulated fragments of self-description.

However, due to extremely personal life experiences I have revealed here, I'm unlikely to ever admit my RL identity which includes a no pictures policy.

Naturally. Even without your special circumstances, I would never ask anyone who posts under a pseudonym to reveal themselves. I had no expectation that you would do so, either; it was just a way of framing the aforementioned compliment.

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink
He's taller than the somewhat heavier I. ... He's taller than the somewhat heavier me.

No, your last one is rubbish too, despite you liking it better.
Long form would be: "He's taller than I am, despite my greater weight."
Condensed form would be: "He's taller but less heavy than I [am]."

FFS. Editing / rewording the sentence is advisable, but does not help to address the issue at hand. That said, I haven't read most of this argument. It's a trivial issue compared to important things like the pluralness of "data".

Most of the rest of you are just being creationist-like in your unwillingness to give up your wrongness in the face of the evidence that you are indeed wrong. You are in denial.

and you, right or wrong, are back in my killfile

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Gah! Much ado about nothing.

The way I see it, language came first, then writing, then (attempted) formalisation, then prescriptiveness.

I'm with Bill on this one; natural language can be considered 'correct' primarily to the extent that it accurately communicates its intent to its intended audience (readership, in this case).

ObRef: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_As_She_Is_Spoke.

(I recommend anyone who likes language and wants a giggle to follow the links to it below the article.)

By John Morales (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Regarding vampire teeth:

I suspect that the move to depict human vampires with sharp canines rather than sharp incisors was part of an attempt to make vampires seem plausibly charismatic/seductive/sexy rather than creepy/freaky/weird.

I infer this as being because long, sharp canines are instinctively associated with domination via aggression (and domination is seen by some as sexy) in primates (and indeed, most mammals), while long sharp incisors are not.

The end result of that trend are the vampires from Twilight, which as far as I can tell do not have fangs (I have not read the books or seen the films, but some quick googles/wikip lookups show nothing).

Why people want to depict bloodsuckers as being charismatic/seductive/sexy is a different question, though.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Bill,

I figured you were just being cute. Don't worry about it.

BTW I disappeared earlier because I was at the library working on a paper. I had to leave the internet disconnected or I wouldn't get anything done.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

All this grammar talk has me thinking.

My exposure to linguistics is entirely in the realm of linguistic anthropology, so my ideas about prescriptive vs. descriptive grammar are largely influenced by that background.

I think that prescriptive grammar is largely about reinforcing status distinctions based on dialect. It's nearly always the higher status dialects that serve as a model for creating prescriptive grammar rules, and people with more extensive education are more likely to be aware of and apply prescriptive rules to their speech and writing.

Take Standard American English, which is entirely influenced by prescriptive rules. Very few people naturally speak this dialect; they have to be trained through direct schooling how to speak it. African American Vernacular English has a few differences in grammatical construction and verb conjugation. Aside from class and status distinctions, there is nothing that makes Standard American English more "right." Both dialects are intelligible to the vast majority of native English speakers. Both are equally capable of conveying concrete and abstract ideas, but one is privileged over the other.

Anyhow, that's my $.02. Your mileage may vary.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ John and Carlie,

Now everyone knows how adorable my family and I are.

Here are some of my more distant kin.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Gah! The sad-eyes!!! MAKE THEM STOP

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

That's just it - they (the ill-educated ones) did change it! They keep changing it. That still doesn't magically make them right. It just makes them more numerous in their wrongness - and someone might eventually document it as being a language shift (eg after enough centuries and the death of all the people who were correct).

Then thou dost agree that by thine own definition, thou are most utterly wrong in that thine own usage is not that of thine most ancient forbears?

The ignoramuses of the world are not the boss of me.

An assertion most laughably ironic in that thy final clause was invented and propagated by those very ignoramuses thou dost pretend to decry.

For shame, sirrah! For shame!

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Another installment in the "toothy goodness for Jadehawk" series. It's the skull of a less extreme relative of Tyrannosaurus (and, BTW, one of two new dinosaur species that were announced today). Click on the picture to see it a bit larger. Most of the teeth are actually missing, but it's easy to imagine the rest, and... it's a tyrannosauroid, so it has awesome teeth anyway! :-)

Ils sont fous, les [I]taliens!

Évidemment, quoi.

Looks scary.

Ma, sì. Però i Francesi sono più pazzi.

<giggling in disbelief>

O infatti, pazzissimi.

<shaking head>

Impressive!

I´m in Chatillon and it was pissing down a few minutes ago but seems to have cut off for the moment.

Hey! I'm in Montrouge now! :-) We should meet, I suppose.

(Before, I was in the natural history museum, which is of course not very close. Here it does look like it rained not long ago.)

I have heard the claim that "diet soda makes you fat,"

Various artificial sweeteners are approved for pig fattening. That's because vertebrates, upon tasting sweet, crank up the sugar metabolism, and when no calories come in, a hunger attack results.

Bees aren't fooled.

I avoid artificial sweeteners whenever... ummmm... I don't drink any of that soda stuff anyway, because I can't stand the gas in the first place =8-)

Aaaahhh! the Mediterranean...used to live in Barcelona and am still trying to acclimatize to winter once again.

"Winter"???

Jadehawk has winter! What we have here is a pathetic autumn! It's not even frozen!

dammit, I think I need to go and finally caffeinate myself.

<facepalm>

Maybe you don't sleep well because of your "shoddily constructed nose"? That appears to be a common phenomenon.

On those occasions when I drink non-diet soda, I'm afraid I don't study the labels closely.

Heh. I'm nerdier than thou! I always read all labels! Want to know the Lithuanian word for "peanuts"? (Looking it up in Wikipedia does not count.)

what a completely idiotic argument. it is actually possible for the vast majority of people to do something the wrong way, and therefore the correct way to sound wrong even if it isn't.

Says who?

Who is the authority that hands down, from on high, how a language is supposed to work...?

almost nobody uses whom anymore

And when they do, they use it almost at random! :o)

the substitution of plural pronouns to avoid arbitrarily masculine singular ones is clearly a number-agreement error, but it is now almost universally accepted

And it has been common for a long time. Lots of famous writers have been using it ever since the fourteenth century.

(I wanted to provide a link, but Language Log isn't accessible at the moment. Search the old posts for "singular they". It's even in the King James Bible... in fact, it's even in the original Hebrew, but I digress...)

That's just it - they (the ill-educated ones) did change it! They keep changing it.

They have been changing it ever since language developed umpteen thousand (or umpteen hundred thousand, who knows) years ago.

The ignoramuses of the world are not the boss of me.

Relax a little.

These are just personal preferences we're talking about. There is no "right" any more than my genome is more correct than yours.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

?

Senatus Populusque Romanus

(I haven't read this all, so I'm probably missing something important.)

@ Owlmirror #407:

Then thou dost agree that by thine own definition

No. Read the rest of it (and think more carefully).

An assertion most laughably ironic

A deliberate in-context joke! Are you quite incapable of recognising those without large amounts of sign-posting (eg smileys, fake tags)?

In particular, that joke was chosen because it also fulfilled the earlier condition of being a piece of modern language which did not inhibit reliable communication - in that its meaning is quite unambiguously comprehensible to most people. Though apparently it's still possible for someone to cluelessly fail to understand just why it was present.

That's because vertebrates, upon tasting sweet, crank up the sugar metabolism, and when no calories come in, a hunger attack results.

As a propsed physiological mechanism that's...lacking any physiology.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

That's just it - they (the ill-educated ones) did change it! They keep changing it. That still doesn't magically make them right. It just makes them more numerous in their wrongness - and someone might eventually document it as being a language shift (eg after enough centuries and the death of all the people who were correct).

It's so wonderful that you condescend to speak English. Since older is always right, I assume you speak Indo-European; English merely being the result of centuries of language shifts as a result of ill-educated people speaking their native language incorrectly.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

forsooth!

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Since older is always right

Someone else who hasn't been paying enough attention to the whole thread context. Or who is dishonest enough to misrepresent it anyway (hardly an uncommon occurrance round here).

SEF,

I admit I haven't read the entire grammar debate. The comment of yours that I quoted though displays an appalling ignorance of language and language evolution. Languages change and diverge. Your views, as expressed in the above mentioned comment, are wrong. You're privileging the high status dialect above others. It's rather amusing. If the majority of native speakers view a particular construction as "right," it means that that construction is "right." Arguing that they are simply ignorant of the proper way to communicate in their native language is tremendously classist.

I don't need the context. I get that you're of the prescriptive group from one comment. It's still laughable. Where does prescriptive grammar come from? If there are alternative constructions, how do you determine which one is "right" and which one is "wrong?"

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

And both I and Jadehawk already demonstrated its wrongness by providing examples of how it does impede reliable communication.

Dude, the lack of grammatical gender in English impedes reliable communication – in English you can only keep track of a single "it", while in German or Polish you can do that with up to three singular nouns when one is "he", another "she", and yet another "it". And yet other languages allow even more.

The lack of a distinction between dative and accusative in English impedes reliable communication – can't think of a convincing example right now, but I've come across several.

And Chinese is even more extreme in all these respects, and the Chinese still understand each other.

It's Dunning-Kruger effect all over.

Y'all (ie not necessarily you as an individual whose post I merely happen to be addressing)

See how wrong it was to give up thou? ;-)

It ought to be obvious that I carefully chose it in this case so that I could keep the original disputed example and still show very clearly what the alternative comparison construction would have to be.

It wasn't obvious, because "taller" would have worked just as well, and because I don't think I've ever encountered "more" with monosyllabic adjectives before... indeed, I was taught that "more" isn't used with them.

But then, I was also taught that disyllabic adjectives the second syllable of which isn't -ly always take "more" to form the comparative, yet commoner and narrower are pretty common in the real world (scientific journals included).

Looks like I wasn't taught the entire amount of variation that occurs within the Standard Englishes.

pentahydroxyhexanal

:-) :-) :-)

I especially like the mix of the two isomers... Thickened bee vomit! Yum! :-)

I think that prescriptive grammar is largely about reinforcing status distinctions based on dialect.

Well, yeah.

Then thou dost agree that by thine own definition, thou are most utterly wrong in that thine own usage is not that of thine most ancient forbears?

Thou art, redeless bastard.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Zounds!

All I'm waiting for now is for Cuttlefish to show up with some bit of trenchant verse in perfect Chaucerian Middle English!

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

the two isomers

<headdesk>

I'll retreat to my bed in shame. I got at least two forms of isomery confused.

Senatus Populusque Romanus

That's what it's intended to mean...

As a propsed physiological mechanism that's...lacking any physiology.

Must be very complicated hormonally. After all, the brain is involved.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Pygmy Loris 415:

I haven't read the entire grammar debate. ... I get that you're of the prescriptive group from one comment.

Which just shows how wrong you were to have that policy of pretending to know what was going on without first reading things properly (ie posting from a position of ignorance) and hence to imagine that you understood matters from one comment. You're wrong. WOTI even.

I don't need the context.

Yes, you do. Otherwise you'll carry on being wrong (and I and anyone else* who has been paying attention will carry on laughing at you and having a low opinion of you for it). But perhaps you prefer a life of wrongness.

* I concede that this may again be a vanishingly small minority because of the way that the majority of people are so often wrong in the same manner.

All I'm waiting for now is for Cuttlefish to show up with some bit of trenchant verse in perfect Chaucerian Middle English!

Unfortunately he'd get half of the rhymes wrong, because he doesn't know how to pronounce it.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ David Marjanović #416:

It wasn't obvious, because "taller" would have worked just as well

Unfortunately, it wouldn't. Look at the context again.

The original sentence construction was "Jim is taller than I/me". The correct form for the intended meaning was subject contrasted with other subject - hence "Jim is taller than I [am [tall]]".

However, in order to introduce the other theoretically possible intention when using "than", viz a contrast of attributes, I couldn't have "Jim is taller than wide" or "Jim is taller than wider". Instead it would have to be "Jim is taller than he is wide" (repeated subject in pronoun form as well as the contrasting attribute) or "Jim is more tall than wide" - where the "more" could apply to both attributes and the "he is" could be omitted (and accurately assumed by a competent audience).

Lynna,

thanks for the posting of what happened.
If there were no one-sided symptoms of weakness in the face/arm/leg at all, a "classic" anterior circulation TIA seems unlikely.
If there was no vertigo/nausea&vomiting/visual problems/gait difficulties as in leaning to one side or falling over, then a posterior circulation problem seems also unlikely.

The things to rule out then would be complex migraine, malignancy, something weird that noone can explain, and what that clever man Knockgoats suggested back when we first heard about this, a transient global amnesia.

So I would suggest a non-contrast CT of the brain, the practice here is to do that first, and if there is anything on the scan that doesn't look right, to proceed with some iv contrast.
Over here such a CT costs about 250 bucks when done during the day.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

I just happened (via Brayton) across a motherlode of some of the most batshit crazy christian craziness I have ever seen.
a tiny taste:

You are frequently reading privileged information throughout this blog. It is the HIDDEN and censored kind of information that the news media is ordered to block out regularly, such as my reports on the GULAG SYSTEM being set up across this nation, the many prisoner boxcars with shackles being prepositioned nationwide, the modern guillotines the military are being trained to operate even as you read this, and much, MUCH more.

there's more; much, MUCH more, if you dare:
http://americanholocaustcoming.blogspot.com/

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Speaking of Cuttlefish, I just checked my blog comments last night and was delighted and honored when I discovered that he had tagged me with a moving meme:

http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2010/01/my-dinner-with-roger.html

I'm thinking, soon to write. When I've finished, I will officially tag some others (though he has "officially" tagged anyone else interested).

Arghh... Sven, please don't encourage me to warp my brain reading insane drivel, when it's the middle of the night and I'm trying (and failing) to write a criminology essay. :-)

Here's more info on the Haitian orphans and orphanage, with additional links to suspect mormons -- info is from ex-mormon, flattopSF:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/haiti-a-week-in-hell-1…
check out where this "Haitian" orphanage is funded and run from:
Foyer de Sion
P.O. Box 81
Buhl, ID 83316

Not to mention who one of their big-time donors is, and where they're located:
Morrell Foundation [one top executive is an Osmond]
14901 S Heritagecrest Way, Suite B
Bluffdale, UT 84065
PHONE: 801.495.3111

Also note that the website [http://foyerdesion.org/index.php] is in ENGLISH ONLY, not FRENCH. Why would that be? Très étrange, n'est-ce pas? Surtout pour un orphelinat dans un pays où tout le monde parle le CRÉOLE et le FRANÇAIS, ni ANGLAIS.

The manager says a van arrived at the orphanage that morning, from a Mormon church in Salt Lake City, and whisked 10 of them away to new lives in the US. But something about the Foyer de Sion doesn't smell quite right: there is no way, even before the quake, it was ever the comfortable place pictured on its website, which is perused by would-be adoptive parents.

Adoption can be a lucrative business, and the Foyer de Sion requires would-be parents to pay fees of almost $20,000 to rescue a child. It isn't entirely clear where this money goes. In the months and years to come, someone must take a long, hard look at Haiti's orphanage industry.

And there's this tale:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/one-in-a-million-the-g…
So when Pascale Mardy says she only had $100.00 in her pocket to buy food for the children, where was the rest of this "American largesse" to the tune of $20,000.00USD per child that this orphanage has been raking in?

And why this:

Newly orphaned children are being handed out for adoption from Pétionville's nearby Mormon Church. Bishop Harry Mardy Mitchell has roughly 700 people in his churchyard, rising to 1,000 at night. Between 20 and 30 are orphaned. He introduced me to two-year-olds Wyclef and Evry, who are due to leave in the next week. "They have had no milk for days, and are living on cookies. They will go to America and become Americans.

Note that Bishop Harry bears the same name (Mardy) as the orphanage manager.

I smell an international baby factory. And Mor[m]ons are part and parcel of it

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

SEF,

Otherwise you'll carry on being wrong (and I and anyone else* who has been paying attention will carry on laughing at you and having a low opinion of you for it). But perhaps you prefer a life of wrongness.

Condescending asshole. From my perspective, you're completely wrong when you say this:

hat's just it - they (the ill-educated ones) did change it! They keep changing it. That still doesn't magically make them right. It just makes them more numerous in their wrongness - and someone might eventually document it as being a language shift (eg after enough centuries and the death of all the people who were correct).

The nature of language is to change through time. I'm an anthropologist, so my perspective is different than that of the prescriptive grammarians. If you wrote something like this on a linguistic anthropology exam, you'd fail. Linguistic anthropology 101: all dialects of a language are equally valid. Whether a particular grammatical construction used by a minority of speakers is "right" is a result of cultural ideas regarding the status of various dialects.

Prescriptive grammar largely relies on the rules of grammar from the highest status dialect at the point in time when the rules were created. It doesn't allow for the natural processes of language evolution. Continuing to adhere to the ridiculous idea that people who do not accept prescriptive grammar are "wrong" is much like being a creationist. The former expect language to remain as it was when the prescriptive rules were first formulated and applied. Anything else is a deviation from that original, perfect language. Creationists, OTOH, argue that the Bible says all animals were vegetarians in the Garden of Eden. Therefore, all meat eating is a deviance from the created condition as a result of the Fall.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

PS to #421:

If I hadn't been trying to stick to the original formats (where the word "more" was being used and then the comparison of tallness) there might have been an example which felt less strange to people habituated to using only -er and -ier forms when those exist at all.

Eg even though the word "saltier" does exist, you possibly wouldn't have balked at "It is more salty than sweet"; and would probably have had no qualms at all about "It is more bitter than sour".

Owlmirror #400

I suspect that the move to depict human vampires with sharp canines rather than sharp incisors was part of an attempt to make vampires seem plausibly charismatic/seductive/sexy rather than creepy/freaky/weird.
I infer this as being because long, sharp canines are instinctively associated with domination via aggression (and domination is seen by some as sexy) in primates (and indeed, most mammals), while long sharp incisors are not.

Another point to consider is that long incisors are commonly associated with rabbits and various rodents like squirrels and beavers. These are not generally considered sexy animals.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Tell me, SEF, if the following sentence is correct, please.

Susan gave Jeremy the book.

Does it fit with prescriptive English grammar?

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Susan gave Jeremy the book.

Incorrect. Should read: Susan gave Jeremy That Look.

what?
different Susan and Jeremy?

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Owlmirror #400

The fangs of the vampires in True Blood are lateral incisors and the vampires are depicted as sexy, but their fangs are retractable. How do retractable fangs figure into the depiction?

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

rabbits ... are not generally considered sexy animals.

??

As in "fuck like bunnies?"

;^)

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Pygmy Loris #427:

The additional context you're still stubbornly missing, in your current bid to be the wrongest on the internet, can be summarised with:

"first do no harm"

"an it harm none, do what thou wilt"

ie, melodramatically, it's the ongoing battle of good vs evil.

Of course a language can be improved by change. The most indisputable example of this is probably the addition of new words for things which didn't previously exist but are now very important. However, it can also be damaged by change - hindering communication and rendering meaning ambiguous or even misunderstood more often than it's understood correctly. That's when a change is for the worse and "wrong".

The change I'm arguing against is wrong in exactly that way; and I've repeatedly shown why this is. Tellingly, your side has come up with nothing valid or even much substantial at all on this one particular instance to support your case that it isn't "wrong". This isn't about the principle you think it is (or would like to pretend it is). It's about the specific instance being harmful or not.

Aside: Similar miscomprehension situations arise all the time. Eg those recent arguments about slang words when used across the internet instead of within a community which has a consistent but different definition. Hence all the people pointing out that it's a bad idea ("wrong") to post such things (after being made aware of the issue).

Also a problem on the internet is the use of sarcasm - because of the lack of clues from tone of voice, facial expression, habits known through long-standing relationship. Ditto in-jokes, where the in-group members are posting them on a wider forum (not one they own exclusively) and then unreasonably whinging at out-group members for effectively not being part of their in-group.

"Jim is more tall than wide" - where the "more" could apply to both attributes

Oh, he's more {tall than wide} – now I understand. That's a case intonation would clear up in spoken language.

How do retractable fangs figure into the depiction?

As adding a bit of mystery – making the vampires more... "interesting" than they seem most of the time.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Posted by: Bill Dauphin, OM Author Profile Page | January 29, 2010 7:53 PM

rabbits ... are not generally considered sexy animals.

??

As in "fuck like bunnies?"

;^)

Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits

By Janine, Mistre… (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

rabbits ... are not generally considered sexy animals

..tell that to Naked Bunny With a Whip.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Of course a language can be improved by change. The most indisputable example of this is probably the addition of new words for things which didn't previously exist but are now very important. However, it can also be damaged by change - hindering communication and rendering meaning ambiguous or even misunderstood more often than it's understood correctly. That's when a change is for the worse and "wrong".

Do you consider the lack of declension for most English nouns to be a change for the worse and "wrong?" There are many people who would argue this is true.

Aside: Similar miscomprehension situations arise all the time. Eg those recent arguments about slang words when used across the internet instead of within a community which has a consistent but different definition. Hence all the people pointing out that it's a bad idea ("wrong") to post such things (after being made aware of the issue).

So, some words have different connotations depending on the cultural milieu. That's universally true, an artifact of language divergence, and indicative of the malleable nature of language as a communication system. Numerous slang words in English are dialect specific, with different meanings in various places e.g. fanny and fag. I get your analogy, but I fail to see how this supports your position. It merely supports the idea that one should be aware of the various meanings a word may have in the dialect of one's interlocutors.

Also a problem on the internet is the use of sarcasm - because of the lack of clues from tone of voice, facial expression, habits known through long-standing relationship. Ditto in-jokes, where the in-group members are posting them on a wider forum (not one they own exclusively) and then unreasonably whinging at out-group members for effectively not being part of their in-group.

So perhaps there should be a standardized dialect with markers for sarcasm that could be used in written communication?

In-group markers such as jokes are part of cultural identities. It is the nature of some in-groups to complain that people outside that group just doesn't get them. Example 1: who hasn't heard a teenager whine that adults "just don't get it" when "it" is anything to do with current youth culture?

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

just doesn't get them.

just *don't* get them.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

And, rather than admit to being wrong (over imagining that it's not necessary to know the context of the discussion and, consequently, in falsely reporting what my overall position is), Pygmy Loris dishonestly resorts (#440) to diversionary tactics (again). Actually bothering to do the reading part would almost certainly improve Pygmy Loris's reading comprehension a great deal - and that of many other posters. (As, of course, would doing the thinking part of the process.)

Says who?

says I. :-p

It simply bugs me when language evolves away from clarity(I wholeheartedly embrace y'all as a plural to you, for the sake of improved clarity), which unfortunately seems to be the direction English prefers to evolve in. I could weep at how many conversations have been derailed by the prolific use of pronouns in ambiguous situations. Plus, I'm personally convinced that fuzzy language promotes fuzzy thinking.

I feel exactly the same way about the loss of unique meanings to phrases and words, especially when they end up with meanings for which there already are other words.

Maybe you don't sleep well because of your "shoddily constructed nose"? That appears to be a common phenomenon.

*shrug* probably, but there's precisely nothing I can do about that.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

This just in - Culpeper County forbids new version of Anne Frank's diary. See lead paragraph from Washington Post article below:

"Culpeper County public school officials have decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank's diary, one of the most enduring symbols of the atrocities of the Nazi regime, after a parent complained that the book includes sexually explicit material and homosexual themes."

This came after a complaint. It didn't say if the person complaining was a Christian, but anyone want to lay odds.

Anyhow, homophobia is alive and well in Virginia.

They need to amend their tourist slogan to:

Virginia is for lovers as long as they are of the opposite sex.

@ #445:

See #344.

I could weep at how many conversations have been derailed by the prolific use of pronouns in ambiguous situations. Plus, I'm personally convinced that fuzzy language promotes fuzzy thinking.

I feel exactly the same way about the loss of unique meanings to phrases and words, especially when they end up with meanings for which there already are other words.

Hear, hear, sister. I realized no one can control language, but the descriptivists drive me up the wall when they pooh-pooh these concerns. Yes, yes, I know, language evolves. But we are allowed to lament the fact that that evolution often leads to less clarity. We are allowed to find that frustrating, and counter-productive. Because it is.

By Josh, Official… (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Thou art, redeless bastard.

Redeless, mayhap... but mine parents were married to each other ere I was conceived, thou cultureless and mannerless lissamphibian.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Am I the only one who finds this argument between Owlmirror and David M very sexy?

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Wow. Prescriptive Sapir-Whorfians.

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

MikiZ, have you ever read the book Running From the Devil by Steve Kissing? I think you might like it.

Thanks, Carlie, I'd never heard of this. I've put it on my list of things to read.

Am I the only one who finds this argument between Owlmirror and David M very sexy?

I, for one, cannot relate to that finding.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

No. Read the rest of it (and think more carefully).

I think, most carefully, that thou art a hypocrite.

A deliberate in-context joke!

Thine bad-tempered humourlessness makes this difficult to believe.

BTW:

(as happened in China when an ill-educated emperor mis-simplified some of the characters in his great reform of the written language)

[citation needed]

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Twelve atheists walk into a bar and...

much happy drinking and affable socializing resulted. No grace was said, no ending prayer offered. Vast quantities of Resurrection Ale, and other beverages were consumed. We had such a good time, we plan to meet on a regular basis, only someplace where we can actually hear each other talk.

When a woman walked in carrying a baby, I thought dinner had finally arrived, but alas, it was raw, and I don't eat still-wiggling babies.

As the earliest contingent of the Baltimore Blaspheming Bastards, AKA the Baltimore Pharyngula Fans group arrived at Brewer's Art for its first gathering, the following dialogue ensued:

Me to hostess #1: We're expecting a group. Not sure how many. If anyone comes in looking for the squid group, we'll be downstairs.

Hostess #1: Squid?

Several BBB's simultaneiously: Yes, squid. S-q-u-i-d, squid.

Hostess #1: Ok-a-a-a-ay.

Later:

Hostess #2, spying our squid sign: Are you some kind of squid fan club or something?

Me: Yes.

Hostess #2: What does your group do?

Me: We just enjoy squid. Also octopuses and cuttlefish. We all read a blog that features squid.

Hostess #2: I like to eat squid. Is that OK, or is that not allowed?

Me: Oh, that's OK. A lot of our members like to eat squid.

Hostess #2, still not sure what to make of us: I'll, er, tell the bartenders where you're seated in case more of your members come in and are looking for you.

By bastion of sass (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

MrFire @ 275,
Thanks, I apprceiate that.

Ha ha! Bastion of sass, that's great!

By Brownian, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

I think, most carefully, that thou art a hypocrite.

Thine bad-tempered humourlessness makes this difficult to believe.

OK, that's it. I was holding it in, but if you're going be all that way about it... Ahem -

My loving Pharyngulites, I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst of heat and cephalopodic battle, to live and die amongst your tentacles.

But not, mark me, to consort or provide succor to those who leave her Majesty's English in dissipation. I think foul scorn upon any who too liberally - that is to say, at all - dare to invade the borders of our realm with the detestable and twee constructions "methinks" and "thou dost protest too much." Attend carefully; they are hereby proclaimed invalid, insufferable and banned.

/adjusts ruff, flounces out, and calls for lemon wedges and garlic butter

By Josh, Official… (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Twelve atheists walked into a bar and had a grand time! There was Resurrection ale, garlic French fries, other tasties and good conversation. Only problem was that the place was so loud and so crowded (we didn't know it was restaurant week), the conversations tended to be more intimate - nice, but didn't allow for general conversations. We decided it was worth doing again. Identifying ourselves as "the squid people" struck me as a suitable in joke that should be perpetuated. So to Brian and Brian from Catonsville, and Kim and Stephen (the soon-to-be new father), and Kevin and Nancy and Dana and Barton and Ray and Friend, and oh dear, I forgot a couple, it was a hoot! For those of you who can remember, friend me on Facebook if you want to keep in touch.

By leepicton (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

The fangs of the vampires in True Blood are lateral incisors and the vampires are depicted as sexy, but their fangs are retractable.

Where do they retract to, anyway?

How do retractable fangs figure into the depiction?

Perhaps as a transitional form between creepy and seductive?

(Whedon's vampires probably fall into the same category.)

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Those who enjoy arguing and thinking about English usage owe it to yourselves to read David Foster Wallace's hugely entertaining essay "Tense Present". It's as strong and funny a defense of prescriptivism as the world is ever likely to see.
I found 2 versions on the internet, one a minimally formatted html version and the other an apparently ginormous pdf from Harper's that never seems to finish downloading but would be much easier to read than the other if it did.

And then, only after you've read the essay, move on to this remarkably humorless descriptivist starfart. Such fun.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

SEF,

I responded to your post because it reeked of classism, elitism, and ethnocentrism. You continue to exude class and educational privilege in your "replies." I'm an anthropologist. The very idea that there are better and worse dialects is anathema in my discipline.

Prescriptive grammar is, quite frankly, an aberration in the evolution of language. It applies to a tiny subset of languages, and largely serves to privilege one class or group over another.

I'm not wrong; I have a different opinion. Get over yourself.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Owlmirror #453:

I think, most carefully, that thou art a hypocrite.

From which I can deduce that you are. You quoted out of context and only pretended to have thought carefully about the bit you (accidentally/deliberately?) missed.

Thine bad-tempered humourlessness makes this difficult to believe.

Your personal incredulity doesn't make it untrue. It just puts you in the same category as creationists who pretend the evidence is other than it is.

On the contrary to your assertion, it is your own visible ongoing failure at honest reading comprehension which makes you miss my various jokes (or your active dishonesty which now makes you pretend to have missed that evidence and/or pretend to have observed well enough at all to have seen it were it there - which it is) and falsely claim my deliberately planted joke as your own found one.

Moreover, had you been paying attention (as you feign to have done), that particular remark would have been extremely notable as not being anything like my normal posting/speech patterns. Which should have been a big clue, to anyone not clueless, that it was there for a specific reason.

Many of my jokes are quite subtle and sophisticated, though; not of the "toilet humour" or similarly low varieties to which you may be accustomed in your own habits and circles.

citation needed

It's an oldish book (not a play nor a film nor an internet website):

"Chinese Characters - Their origin, etymology, history, classification and signification" - Dr.L.Wieger, S.J. (p6)

Towards the year B.C. 213, under the Emperor ... Ch'in-shih-huang who destroyed classical books, ... Li-ssu, his prime minister, ... wrongly interpreted some characters, and fixed them for posterity under a wrong shape.

It's debatable whom one should blame more - the fool or the fool who hired him (who didn't like the old ways and evidently either couldn't or didn't take the trouble to make sure the new stuff was consistent with the intended meanings of the original character components).

(Though this process of making ignorant mistakes and covering up with incorrect inventions was something of an iterative one, already complained about by Confucius in approx. 500 BC.)

Where do they retract to, anyway?

Good question. I have no idea. The books feature the same retractable fangs, though.

Perhaps as a transitional form between creepy and seductive?

(Whedon's vampires probably fall into the same category.)

That's an interesting hypothesis. In True Blood, it's still portrayed as sexy in the context of a sexual encounter. For instance, when Sookie (the female, human lead) has sex with Bill (the male, vampire lead) Bill's fangs will come out. The context makes it seem like an indication of intense arousal. In situations where the vampire is an aggressor against humans the extension of the fangs is portrayed as more menacing.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Many of my jokes are quite subtle and sophisticated, though; not of the "toilet humour" or similarly low varieties to which you may be accustomed in your own habits and circles.

oops. That's what I get for peeking. Back in the killfile.

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Am I the only one who finds this argument between Owlmirror and David M very sexy?

I say they settle this argument like academics.....fill a kiddy pool with jello and have them wrestle in it.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Many of my jokes are quite subtle and sophisticated, though; not of the "toilet humour" or similarly low varieties to which you may be accustomed in your own habits and circles.

did you need to add another bedroom to your house to comfortably accommodate an ego that size?

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Pygmy Loris #462:

is anathema in my discipline

That doesn't make you or your discipline correct in this. Playing the authority card in lieu of a decent argument on the specific issue under consideration just gets you one logical fallacy penalty.

Prescriptive grammar [blah blah blah]

Another dishonest diversion from you. I see what you're doing and I'm not letting you get away with it unremarked (for the benefit of all those who might not have grasped it on their own but do have sufficient wit to see it once it has been pointed out).

I'm not wrong

Yes you are - on the two things I've already repeatedly highlighted (for the hard of thinking). Firstly, you are wrong in claiming you didn't need to know the context (ie to read the thread!). Secondly, you are wrong in pretending to know and hence misrepresenting what my position is on a wider matter (and quite different area of principle) than the specific issue in question.

Attempting to changing the subject of where your wrongness lies is just dishonest of you.

Aside:

You continue to exude class

Oh good. Class - I has it! But not of course in the way you meant.

Get over yourself.

... says the "I'm an anthropologist" authority card player! :-D

Many of my jokes are quite subtle and sophisticated, though; not of the "toilet humour" or similarly low varieties to which you may be accustomed in your own habits and circles.

Were you masturbating to the mirror with your other hand when you were writing that?

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Many of my jokes are quite subtle and sophisticated unfunny, though; not of the "toilet humour" humorous or similarly low hilarous varieties to which you may be accustomed in your own habits and circles.

Fixed it for you.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Sven DiMilo #465 + Jadehawk #467:

The usual snark and insult in lieu of a valid argument or substantive point to make. So very pharyngulite regular.

It's something of a standard offering (perhaps like espresso): don't read, don't think, just post abuse and (of course) expect to get the approval of the local gang of people with the same low standards as you.

You're wrong (on the internet) and too dishonest to admit it. You're incapable of supporting your views properly (because they're wrong!), so you resort to improper tactics instead.

It's rather sad that you don't disgust each other more, given your oft claimed (but feigned) high regard for truth, rational argument, integrity etc etc. Hypocrites.

SEF,

Aside:

You continue to exude class

Oh good. Class - I has it! But not of course in the way you meant.

Way to quote me out of context. The complete sentence was:

You continue to exude class and educational privilege in your "replies."

I didn't quote you out of context; I quoted an entire fucking paragraph.

I didn't say I'm an anthropologist to play the authority card, but to demonstrate the different theoretical tradition I come from. You're being deliberately obtuse. Like I said, my main complaint is the classism that drips from your posts. The context of one comment is all that I needed to critique that. I have subsequently read most of the grammar portion of this thread. None of it changed my initial opinion of you and your alleged point.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

SEF, you moron, I don't even disagree with you on the grammar question. That however doesn't make you any less of a pompous ass whose main argument in everything seems to be that all people who disagree with you must be liars, dimwits and idiots by default.

It's not like this is the first time a mere disagreement devolved into this stubborn asshattery the moment you decided to join.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

PS to #471:

Better add in Feynmaniac #469 + 'Tis Himself #470 to the current batch of the blog's virtual gang-rapist, low-life contingent who are lacking any valid argument to make but who can't resist showing their true nature in this way over and over again.

gang-rapist? really?

this is precisely what I meant. you're incapable of having a discussion without starfarting on all of us.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Aw, is little SEF's ego hurt? Is he feeling all whiny because people aren't giving him all the respect to which he feels entitled? Poor fluffy bunny. Do your testicles hurt too? Or only when you rub liniment on them?

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Jadehawk #473:

by default

Not by default - for specific (and specified!) reasons. See above.

Again with the habitual inaccurate insults and misrepresentations from one of the pharyngulite regulars. You are all so predictable that it probably should be considered a default state but, nonetheless, I (unlike you lot) continue to take the time and trouble to make proper, evidence-based arguments.

to the current batch of the blog's virtual gang-rapist

Wait, what/what/what? (Scooby-Doo double take). Huh?

By Josh, Official… (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rorschach @422: Thanks so much. I appreciate you having taken the time to give me some advice. I did have a brief moment of vertigo, slight dizziness that did not result in a fall. It felt more like standing up too fast after sitting for a long period. But my memory of the slight vertigo is hazy, and IIRC corresponded with my first efforts to prove to myself that I was back online by checking my email history, etc.

Quotes for CT scans, with no contrast, are about $400 so far. I will check some other imaging specialists.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

O joy. Internecine brawling in the echo chamber.

I think I'll go back to my perusal of Sven's linked essay.

By John Morales (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Not by default - for specific (and specified!) reasons.

hardly, considering for example this line:

@ Sven DiMilo #465 + Jadehawk #467:
You're wrong (on the internet) and too dishonest to admit it.

If I was wrong in this discussion, then so are you, since I agreed with you on the grammar question. you just got insulted and decided to assume a bunch of shit that wasn't the case. And again, it's not like this is the first time you're having a tantrum like a spoiled brat over something that started out as a reasoned discussion.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Jadehawk #475:

really?

Out of context quoting from you - carefully omitting the all-important preceding word. Hint the original was an example of something which you should have learned at school. It's called a metaphor.

this is precisely what I meant. you're incapable of having a discussion without starfarting on all of us.

Hypocrite. You're projecting. You really should be more disgusted with yourself - enough perhaps to stop doing it. I've never seen much sign of this happening over the years, though.

@ 'Tis Himself #476:

Devoid of worthwhile content once again.

Better add in Feynmaniac #469 + 'Tis Himself #470 to the current batch of the blog's virtual gang-rapist

Wow, comparing people laughing at your pompous ass to gang rape?! Dude, seriously, STFU.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Lynna,

I forgot to mention this earlier, but your mentioning the cost of the CT scan reminded me. If you need help paying for treatment, add me to the list of people willing to kick in. I don't have much, but I'll send a few dollars your way.

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Lynna,

I forgot to mention this earlier, but your mentioning the cost of the CT scan reminded me. If you need help paying for treatment, add me to the list of people willing to kick in. I don't have much, but I'll send a few dollars your way.

Add me too. It's a sin , in the truest sense of the word, that this is even an issue in the richest damned country in the world.

I don't know if Pharyngulites have found a way to get Lynna donations from us, but if they have, please let me know.

By Josh, Official… (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

dude, calling something "virtual" doesn't make it a vile and out-of-proportion comparison. stop digging, it's fucking pathetic.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

doesn't make it any less of a vile and out-of-proportion comparison.

bloody hell.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Devoid of worthwhile content once again.

I'm just following in your footsteps.

After #435 you stopped making reasonable arguments and started playing asshole. Several of us noticed this and, as is usual for Pharyngula, called you on it. If you don't like us pointing out your smug pomposity, that's your problem, not ours.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Jadehawk #481:

hardly, considering for example this line:

Dishonest out-of-context quoting from you again.*

The bit you so carefully excised from there was the valid argument and substantive points that I made about your own lack of valid argument and substantive points and the wrongness of you being abusive instead (and indeed ganging up to do so as usual!) as evidenced by the carefully referenced posts of yours.

If I was wrong in this discussion, then so are you, since I agreed with you on the grammar question.

Do try to keep up. The context here is not the grammar issue but your poo-flinging and abject failure to make a decent argument (on the "issue" on which you then chose to post next).*

it's not like this is the first time you're having a tantrum like a spoiled brat over something that started out as a reasoned discussion.

Indeed but because this is not such an occasion and neither has there been a previous one! You are the people behaving like brats. I'm the one, in stark contrast, who is behaving well. Again, it is concerning that you are not more disgusted with yourselves and each other.

* Hint: that counts as another piece of wrongness from you.

So, getting tired of watching Newfie vomit all over everything, I wander back over to this thread to find SEF comparing criticism to gang rape and then claiming to be the only one behaving well. I think I'll just go to bed.
(Also in on the Lynna fund)

SEF (#388)

So now you want to argue that the majority is necessarily right, despite the appalling state of education and a long history of them being wrong in pretty much every way possible.

Wrong according to what standard? And I don't see how education has anything to do with anything. Is language somehow not language if it's acquired rather than taught?

(#390)

And both I and Jadehawk already demonstrated its wrongness by providing examples of how it does impede reliable communication.

Do you have studies to back that up for your example? Because otherwise you're just expressing your personal preference. Me, I've never had occasion to even think about the "than I"/"than me" distinction before this. "Than me" is what's natural 100% of the time. Ambiguity can be taken care of with inflection. The fact is, once you reach a maximum of people who don't agree with your idea of propriety, insisting on your preferred rules does more to reliably impede communication.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Bill Dauphin (#392)

Is just objectively crazy! Cilantro is only just barely less emphatically food! than bacon!

Nope, it's objectively somewhere between "soap" and what chewing tinfoil would taste like if pain came in flavors!

~*~*~*~*~*~

Pygmy Loris (#427)

Linguistic anthropology 101: all dialects of a language are equally valid. Whether a particular grammatical construction used by a minority of speakers is "right" is a result of cultural ideas regarding the status of various dialects.

I just want to point out that this is one of those instances where relativity is a fact. (Oh, and good explanations of the linguistics side, by the way.)

(#462)

Prescriptive grammar is, quite frankly, an aberration in the evolution of language.

I think it's useful to maintain at least one prescriptivist grammar for purposes of cross-dialect communication. Right now what we have is an artifact of classism and forces some people more than others to learn rules unfamiliar to them, but the same effect could be achieved minus the inequality and judgment if we really wanted to.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Jadehawk (#444)

It simply bugs me when language evolves away from clarity...which unfortunately seems to be the direction English prefers to evolve in.

But it generally evolves toward clarity at the same time depending on your position within the culture. English, like every language, has always been simultaneously evolving away from and into clarity.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Josh (#447)

But we are allowed to lament the fact that that evolution often leads to less clarity. We are allowed to find that frustrating, and counter-productive. Because it is.

Relative to you, sure. I don't disagree that it's frustrating. It sucks being left behind linguistically. It's just stupid to argue that what one person finds clear is objectively correct and what others find clear that confuses the first person is objectively wrong. (Not saying you're arguing that, but that's what we descriptivists are arguing against.)

~*~*~*~*~*~

By the way, the best example anyone's presented so far of a change in language that could cause confusion for the majority of speakers is Stephen Wells in #918 last thread: "[T]he news is always full of claims that some politician has "strongly refuted" the accusation...when in fact they've only denied it."

Lynna,
While you are waiting to get up the scratch to get tested, you might be able to control the vertigo by taking Antivert. It is over the counter, which I did not know when I ended up in the ER a couple months ago with vertigo that lasted 12 hours until I was desperate for it to stop. The generic is meclizine which they gave me in the ER. Believe it or not, you may even have a form of vertigo that can be cured by someone who knows the technique of snapping your head the correct way. It seems that in some people a buildup of calcium crystals adhering to the delicate bits in the inner ear can be loosened and you may never have another attack. Believe me, I know how horrible such an attack can be and I keep my medicine around, just in case. In the ER, once they rule out stroke, brain bleed, and other neurological accidents, they give you this stuff and send you home, and sure enough, after an anti-nausea injection and this med, I felt quite able to walk out of the ER on my own power, and though I had a day where I felt like shit afterward, I have been OK since. So, try the Antivert, and good luck.

By leepicton (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Jadehawk #486:

stop digging, it's fucking pathetic.

You're still projecting.

@ 'Tis Himself #488:

I'm just following in your footsteps.

Liar. I note your lack of evidence for your claim and, in contrast, all the evidence against it and add in the improbability of you being totally unaware of these things.

After #435 you stopped making reasonable arguments ...

All untrue and a complete misrepresentation of events. Instead, I'm the one who is calling the rest of you on your hypocrisy in these matters.

However, I'm not part of any gang to be able to do this with any show of force (were you to be impressed by such things). I only have the truth on my side (and many lawyers regard that as poor currency at best).

Meanwhile, a subset of the gang of pharyngulite regulars is flooding the thread with their attempts to intimidate me into shutting up - but are really just providing further examples which prove my point about your individual and collective bad behaviour.

Do try to keep up. The context here is not the grammar issue but your poo-flinging and abject failure to make a decent argument (on the "issue" on which you then chose to post next).*

argument about what? that you have a ginormous ego? The quote I pulled, and that others have commented on, was sufficient evidence for that. And until you started getting indignant about that, your pompousness and grammar were the only things in relation to you I have even remarked on. I've no idea what else you imagine this conversation even is about.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Aw shucks, and other indications of embarrassment and pleasure oddly mingling. Pygmy Loris, Josh (Official SpokesGay), Bill D., Mr. Fire, Dania, SC and all others who have offered to help, may the FSM be gentle with you always.

AFAIK there's no formality to this Diagnose Lynna movement. I think we'll just stay in a holding pattern until I've figured out the costs. I still have the carotid artery High Mucky Mucks to talk to again on Monday, plus more negotiating to do with CT scanning emporiums.

I wish my boyfriend were rich. I guess I don't pick 'em for their money. He did bring me more oranges today. Good thing too, since I was down to my last orange and getting anxious.

I found the grammar war amusing. Jadehawk is my choice for Queen of the Battlefield. If I were taller than I am, I wouldn't be me.

By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Mythusmage, Newfie, and now SEF? What got in the water around here?

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Carlie #490:

... comparing criticism to gang rape ...

Another blatant misrepresentation of events from another pharyngulite regular.

There was no valid criticism coming from the gang. Just a mob descent into poo-flinging, bad language, sexual innuendo or abuse of an overtly sexual nature and the like. That's more than enough to prompt the metaphor. Are you going to feign an inability to see the sexual content in the preceding posts (even given the reference numbers already provided)?! Or is expecting you to read what you pretend to be competent to comment on entirely too much to ask of a pharyngulite regular?

I, on the other hand, am making the entirely valid criticism that (in this and other ways) your (plural) behaviour does not follow the model of evidence-based reasoning you claim to laud and espouse. You (plural) are hypocrites.

Joseph's Smith's TIA or Global Amnesia Event? Rorschach and Knockgoats would see some similarities with my recent brain-offline event. All I ended up with was an addiction to oranges, Joe got a whole religion.

One of Steven C. Harper's most vivid memories happened when he was about 14 years old. This is, coincidently, about the same age Joseph Smith was when he had his First Vision.
     Harper's experience greatly changed his life. He was sitting at the breakfast table and talking with his dad about something he had just read in the LDS Church News. He remembers he was eating cold cereal, but he can't tell you what cereal. He remembers sitting to the left of his dad, but he can't remember the clothes he or his dad were wearing. Some details are fuzzy, yet he can remember exact words his father said. Word for word. The experience was significant -- and, he says, he was sacred.
     Joseph Smith's recollection of his First Vision experience in the Sacred Grove has many of the same features as Harper's recollection. Some details Joseph remembered were vivid and concrete. Other details were uncertain.
By Lynna, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

A. Noyd,

I think it's useful to maintain at least one prescriptivist grammar for purposes of cross-dialect communication. Right now what we have is an artifact of classism and forces some people more than others to learn rules unfamiliar to them, but the same effect could be achieved minus the inequality and judgment if we really wanted to.

Now that would be a prescriptive grammar I could get behind!

By Pygmy Loris (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

I note your lack of evidence for your claim and, in contrast, all the evidence against it and add in the improbability of you being totally unaware of these things.

My evidence for the claim that you have a massive ego can be seen in each and every one of your posts after #435.

I didn't get involved in the prescriptive/descriptive language debate because, quite frankly, it's not something that I'm particularly interested in. As long as you folks were having fun discussing language, then I read it much like I skim through the obituaries in the newspaper. But when you got all superior and threw around pomposities like:

Many of my jokes are quite subtle and sophisticated, though; not of the "toilet humour" or similarly low varieties to which you may be accustomed in your own habits and circles.

I couldn't let your overinflated ego go without a pinprick.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink