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October 14, 2011

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Turning the thread sharply in a different direction....

I thought one of the most interesting news items this week was this:
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/canada-arrest-george-w-bush-visits-next-week-145732842.html

I doubt Canada will sieze the moment. But just the fact that it is being discussed is fascinating. And it reinforces the comment that I recall someone making to John Yoo several years ago: "Don't even think about traveling to Europe ever again. because you will likely get arrested for war crimes as a result of what you have done." Yoo is reported to have been shocked.

Sorta like "that's so gay." I cut that out years ago. I never meant anything by it, but it's a crappy thing to say when you think about it for, like, 5 seconds.

I'm working on "b*tch." It's useage is quite similar to the use of "gay" as an insult, really, and it's even more ubiquitous. I don't tend to use it online, but it still comes out of my mouth IRL sometimes. Like I said, workin' on it.

You will have to pry f*ck and sh*t from my cold, dead, vocal cords, though. ;)

WJ - I'd have a moment of "woohoo" but imagine the nationalistic sh*tstorm that would set off here. Imagine the conspiracy theories about Obama orchestrating it with those soshulist Canadians (while he would, no doubt, actually be demanding Bush's release and such). It would be an utter mess, and I don't see how it would force our country to actually face up to the crimes that were committed. The only option is for us to hold our own accountable. We've passed, at least for now.

The only option is for us to hold our own accountable.

I agree that it would be the best option, but I'm not sure it's the only one.

I very seriously doubt that CA will arrest GW Bush. By 'very seriously doubt', I mean I expect to be abducted by aliens and whisked away to some small planet orbiting Sirius the Dog Star before CA will arrest GW Bush.

But CA is not the only country in the world.

And call me small-minded vindictive and judgemental, but I would, literally, throw a party if John Yoo was arrested for war crimes while vacationing abroad. I would hand out cigars on Main St. Confetti would be involved.

It would, seriously, restore some small portion of my faith in the basic decency of the human race.

Regarding bad words, I have somehow become so inured to the casual use of the standard repertoire of profanisms that I don't even notice anymore when I am using them.

It's actually a problem for me (and my wife) because I catch myself offering a hearty and approving "f**k you!!" when, for instance, somebody does some everyday thing especially well.

Like, pours me a good latte at Starbucks, or gets an 'A' on their report card.

I blame Miles Davis. But, it's on me to be attentive to context.

All of that said, in the context of a place like ObWi, I think it's helpful if we don't call each other, personally, bad names.

It's just f**king rude.

Rob, it would be a sh*tstorm indeed. I'm thinking demands for a fence along the northern border, too. Hmmm, wonder if it would be insane enough cause states like Montana and North Dakota to go Democratic next election....

Still, it would be amusing, if unsurprising, to hear the Conservative Canadian PM described as a "socialist." Unsurprising, because most conservaties in any other country would be regarded as far left by Republicans these days.

Thought experiment: which parties (or politicians) in other nations do you think conservative Republicans would actually regard as "real conservatives"? Sort of shocking, isn't it? Especially when you look at the kind of racist and xenophobic garbage those parties publicly embrace.

Sorta like "that's so gay."

Coming from my regional, socioeconomic, subcultural frame of reference, that's something that was imbedded in my natural choice of idioms, along with "retarded." I don't really blame 14-year-old me for speaking that way too much, but it's not really acceptable for 43-year-old me.

Life is a learning process, after all.

"Bitch" applied to non-women got an interesting treatment in Swingers. (script)

or embedded...

Feel free to call me a socialist any time. Thanks.

I doubt Canada will sieze the moment

Oh, we've seized the moment, alright:

Canada brushed off a call by Amnesty International Wednesday to arrest former U.S. President George W. Bush for human rights abuse, saying the organization was engaging in cheap stunts.

Amnesty said Bush - due to attend an event in Surrey on Oct. 20 - had authorized the use of torture techniques such as waterboarding during his time as president, which ran from 2001 to 2009.

But the Conservative government in Ottawa made it clear there was no chance officials would arrest Bush, who has made at least two trips to Canada since his second four-year term in office ended.

"Amnesty International cherrypicks cases to publicize based on ideology. This kind of stunt helps explain why so many respected human rights advocates have abandoned Amnesty International," Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said.

Kenney noted in an email that in the past, Amnesty had not asked for Canada to bar former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, even though the rights organization itself said he had presided over "arbitrary arrests, detention, and criminal prosecution."

Newsflash: Canada stopped being cool years ago ("cherrypicks cases to publicize based on ideology" -- that is f*cking RICH, Jay-Jay. Srsly.).

More re: Jason Kenney & ideological cherry picking:

Kenney tried to keep [controversial former Brit MP George] Galloway out of Canada, arguing that the politician provided financial support to Hamas.

However, Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley ruled that the government was more motivated to keep Galloway out of Canada because of its “antipathy to his political views than with any real concern that he had engaged in terrorism or was a member of a terrorist organization".

I repeat: "cherrypicks cases to publicize based on ideology" -- that is f*cking RICH, Jay-Jay.

I think it's probably a mistake to excise a key component of son if a bitch.

I think it's probably a mistake to excise a key component of son if a bitch.

Are you missing a comma after "son" or something? :-)

Have I mentioned I dislike mobile interface?

Slarti, if God intended us to use mobile phone number pads for typing, he wouldn't have bothered to give us 10 fingers!

Lech Walesa is going to visit Occupy America in New York.

Take George Carlin's seven unmentionables and add the words "Lech" and "Walesa" and you have the nine filthy words banned at Redrum by Schmoe Lame and Farouk Foroukensen ,,, starting now.

Dirty, filthy, smelly, hippie commie are swear words that are still good to go.

I have doubts that the US would invade the Netherlands to free Yoo. Bush/Cheney might be a different cup of Jack Daniels (real men don't drink fermented leaves).
---
As far as dirty words go, I find it absurd that US media often are not even allowed to use them in quotes even if the words are the actual story (see Perry's hunting reserve, Cheney using vice-presidential language, Biden using the same word as an emphasizer* etc.).
I do not say that offensive words should be used in the media on a regular base but this quote ban is imo both ridiculous and even potentially harmful. As for use, I'd actually prefer politicians to drop the pseudo-civility and to call a spade a sent-by-deity-to-a-place-of-high-temperatures shovel if appropriate. I will stop short of condoning hits in the face for egregious lies in combination with a smug mien.
---
What an irony that the judge's name was Mosley ;-)

*as in "big [beep] deal"

I spent about 5 days with the Occupy Wall Street Know Nothings. I wonder when they are going to whip out their Death to Intellectuals signs. They refused to listen to me. Who was I to think my ideas were better than theirs? This is the Breakfast Club Revolution. Ordinary, dedicated, hardworking parents aren't fooled, while the left seems to have been brainsucked. The general opinion was that if any of these occupiers approached their daughters, they would get an order of protection.

I dare people to go down there as an ordinary person, not one getting them on TV, and see how you enjoy being ignored.

I am Katherine Hawkins's mother. As an experiment I mentioned "extraordinary rendition to 150 people actually living there. Ten knew what it means.

Maybe the left needs to take a year's vacation and hang out with kids. It might help to visualize it as the Breakfast Club picketing Katherine's high school valedictory speech. They seem to have contempt for elders. I was actually told if I really believed in revolution my daughters would be here. I am quite sure they would not listen to Katherine.

I tweet @OccupyLibraries. My web site is the Koch Hawkins Library where you will meet Katherine's astonishing big sister.

I actually know about 50 people at Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Boston and Occupy SF, ranging in age from their 20s to their 60s, and I get firsthand reports from them every day. The above is … not accurate. However unfortunate people not knowing about "extraordinary rendition" might be, one might want to reflect on the purpose of these demonstrations and why Wall Street is the focal point, and focus less on one's own daughter and her apparent excellence, if one were to want a more accurate picture of what is going on.

So on the "things that make me want to scream" thread there was a, IMO, way over intellectual, way overly sensitive reaction to my use of the word "bitch".

Some people on this blog are hyper alert for an opportunity to point out anything that appears to violate some liberal arts version of a) womens' rights and b) gender neutrality.

Everyone knows that a "bitch" is a reference to a woman who is uptight, gratuitously in your face nasty , egotistical and who often goes out of her way to make life miserable for those who do not bend to her will and wants you to know, without shame, that she enjoys it; prides herself on it really.

It is a feminine trait predominantly because the "bitch", as a woman, knows she can largely get away with throwing her attitude all over the place because she will not be subject to unofficial sanctions that a male, displaying similar traits, would be (like a good ass kicking from male peers) and often because she is protected by the law in that regard as well as others.

When a male is described as being a "bitch" it is because he is, indeed, displaying these same feminine characteristics.

I find the protests of some here to use of the term as mysoginistic to be wierd faux "enlightenment". I know plenty of women that refer to other women as "bitches" when the target of the term habitually displays the characteristics I described. I also know women that will refer to whiney weasely back stabbing males as being "bitches" as well. I even know women who refer to themselves as being "bitchy" when they have acted in such in a manner (e.g. "I was such a bitch to him/her").

Just offhand, I'd guess that Katherine Hawkins is a name that should be memorable, particularly to those of us who have been reading OW since its inception.

I don't blame a proud parent for being proud.

Katherine Hawkins is a name that should be memorable, particularly to those of us who have been reading OW since its inception.

It actually is not, at least not for those of us who were not front pagers. Katherine never signed her posts or comments using her last name.

I don't blame a proud parent for being proud.

Can we blame her for not making any sense at all?

Katherine never signed her posts or comments using her last name.

I believe she once linked to an article written by one Katherine Hawkins, which I assumed that she herself wrote. But memory is fuzzy, and I might be completely wrong.

Can we blame her for not making any sense at all?

You can do anything you like, subject to certain rules. And you don't even need my permission!

Avedis,
it was clear that you weren't using the word to refer to anyone here or anyone in the conversation, it was just an attempt to make yourself seem edgy because you were able to stand up to some policeman giving you a ticket. I don't think that trying to make yourself sound tough in comments is a ban worthy problem, but more like something you need to work out for yourself. However, if you keep going around trying to prove how tough you are and end up denigrating people within the conversation (on the principal that you raise your status by lowering the other person's), you will get banned.

When a male is described as being a "bitch" it is because he is, indeed, displaying these same feminine characteristics.

Another reason for calling someone 'bitch' is to assert your dominance over them. Normally with a sexual flavor in the mix, either explicitly or as a kind of implication.

As in, "I made that MF'er my bitch!"

Used in that way, it can be applied to either gender, but is considered to be particularly demeaning to males. Which speaks volumes in and of itself.

Used in that way, it says less about the behavior of the person so named, and more about the relationship between the namer and the namee. As asserted by the namer.

In particular, who's the boss / who's stronger / who's dominant / who's 'on top'.

It's not uncommon for folks to be put off by that particular usage, nor hard to understand why.

As an experiment I mentioned "extraordinary rendition to 150 people actually living there. Ten knew what it means.

It's great that you went down there, and it's too bad your experience was so negative.

One thing to consider is that maybe 'extraordinary rendition' is not really what's motivating them to show up.

Not saying that's good bad or indifferent, it simply may be that your agenda and theirs were not aligned.

If I say Jes's name three times, will she appear?

I know plenty of women that refer to other women as "bitches" when the target of the term habitually displays the characteristics I described

I know plenty of black people who call ech other "n*ggers" - why don't you give that a whirl and see where it gets you?

You may also want to look into the term "false consciousness," although you don't strike me as the educable type, so maybe not. It's usage and history would be lost on you.

The very idea that the word "b*tch," when used to refer to anything but a female canine, is anything besides misogynist; and serves any purpose that "jerk" or "asshole" does not, aside from the purposes LJ and russell point out, is simply ridiculous.

LJ. Actually is was merely an attempt to express how I felt and feel. Period.

I am not trying to appear as anything other than what I am. If you think that is some tough guy persona, then that is your your issue; not mine.

I had the pleasure of having a currently serving US Navy Sailor over for drinks last Friday with some other folks. He is involved with intelligence op.s and has boarded ships for anti-terrorism and anti-arms smuggling intradiction. I don't remember exactly the thread of the conversation, but some how it led me to ask the question, "I mean, seriously, who really wants to get into a gun fight?". I was remembering what that was like and not too fondly. He raised his hand to signal volunteering, gladly, for such a mission. His demeanor did not betray the gesture. I believed him.

That is a tough guy.

Yes. There actually are people like that in this world. More than you might realize. You just don't want to acknowledge them, let alone talk to them. They don't fit into your world view.

Me? Not all that tough. I am the voice of moderation.

Phil, it is all about nuance. Bitch nicely captures an a connotative and emotive je ne sais qua that jerk and asshole circumvent.

Yeah, there is a feminine component to that nuance, but that is just the point. Non?

I am not trying to appear as anything other than what I am. If you think that is some tough guy persona, then that is your your issue; not mine.

Like I said, I don't think it is ban-worthy, and if you feel that you have no control over how you present yourself, that's your problem, not mine. But if your inability to alter the way you present itself crosses the line as it did when I gave you the last warning, you will be banned. Simple, n'est-ce pas?

You just don't want to acknowledge them, let alone talk to them. They don't fit into your world view.

This is called 'mind-reading'.

There are all kinds of tough people in the world. Some carry guns, some don't.

"Everyone knows that a "bitch" is a reference to a woman who is uptight, gratuitously in your face nasty , egotistical and who often goes out of her way to make life miserable for those who do not bend to her will and wants you to know, without shame, that she enjoys it; prides herself on it really.

It is a feminine trait predominantly because the "bitch", as a woman, knows she can largely get away with throwing her attitude all over the place because she will not be subject to unofficial sanctions that a male, displaying similar traits, would be (like a good ass kicking from male peers) and often because she is protected by the law in that regard as well as others.

When a male is described as being a "bitch" it is because he is, indeed, displaying these same feminine characteristics."

This strikes me as a really extraordinary piece of text.

I didn't notice avedis's original use of the word 'bitch". I read his comments but that word got right past me. But the paragraphs quoted just reek of insecurity. A bitch is, apparently, a female bully who can getaway with it because supposedly the law protects her. A man gets called "bitch" when he has the female characteristic 0f being a bully.

No.

"Bitch" is used toward woman in all sorts of situations. It is used to belittle, to retaliate, to provoke, as a sort of generic name-calling word...it's one of the first words that comes to mind when someone wants to same something mean to or about a woman. Sometimes it is used in reference to a mean woman but women get called bitches when they are lying on the floor bleeding with a mouth full of broken teeth. Its a generic one size fits all mean things to say about a female, like bastard is a standard mean way to describe a man. The difference is that the original meaning of bitch is a term for a female, but, according to the original meaning, a bastard could be either gender.

Women aren't mean because the law protects them and poor men are unable to defend themselves. Some women are mean and some aren't and some are just mean when sleep deprived or drunk and some never are. Women, believe it or not, are people. Women did not get all uppity and attitudinal because the doesn't allow men to keep us in our place.

Men do not get called bitches for displaying female characreristics, particulallry not for dislpaying "uptight, gratuitously in your face nasty , egotistical" behavior which avedis seems to think is uniquely feminine. That kind of behavior in a man is viewed as hyper masculine, masculinity gone bad. Macho. Drill sargents behave like that. Football coaches. It's the stereotype of the bad boss, the Wall Street excutive, the CEO. People like that get called names but "bitch" isn't one of them.

"Bitch" is used toward a man to belittle him, to express superiority. It's the verbal equivalent of one male dog dry humping another male dog to show dominance.

Bitch nicely captures an a connotative and emotive je ne sais qua that jerk and asshole circumvent.

First of all, it's "quoi," not "qua." If you're going to be pretentious and/or condescending, whatever you were shooting for, you might want to brush up on your first year high school French.

Second, I know exactly what it's intended to connote: "I do not like women who are my social, professional or intellectual superiors and need a word with which I can reassert the dominance that is mine by right of being male. And, if necessary, I will use it against a man who is trying to dominate me as well."

Or, what Laura said.

May I just say: I find "bitch" unseemly when used as a noun. But I'm not sure I can give it up as a verb.

I don't think I have ever used the word (on ObWi or elsewhere) except in the phrase "bitch and moan". Almost always, it has been to describe how manly, studly, sturdy, patriotic conservatives react to the mildest suggestion that maybe rich Americans ought to pay a bit more tax. It is a term of art, at this point.

I can probably learn to do without it. But if I do force myself to drop it, it will be to accommodate the sensitivities of the women, not the conservatives, who read ObWi.

--TP

"Bitch" is used toward a man to belittle him, to express superiority. It's the verbal equivalent of one male dog dry humping another male dog to show dominance.

That goes for calling a man "bitch", but not so much for saying a man is acting like a bitch (esp. a little bitch). The implication there is IMO a bit nastier version of the first, and has the effect of demeaning the behavior of the accused as well as the accused's character. In both cases, however, the idea is the same: the man is not abiding by his proper gender role; i.e., assertive, aggressive, and strong. A man called a bitch is a man called passive, submissive, and weak. He is being called a woman, and how dare he be that way, the little pussy! A woman called a bitch is obviously not being called passive, submissive, or weak; to the contrary, she's being accused of being egotistical (assertive; avedis's "uptight" would work here as well, though I must say his using that term at all in this context is telling about the connotations being attached to the word), nasty (aggressive), and unreasonably, shamelessly confident (strong), and how dare she be that way! Which is to say, as with the male, the overarching transgression is that she's not respecting her place in the social hierarchy by adopting her proper gender role. That's always been my experience of the term's usage, anyway.

Phil, Quelque fois, les doigts sont plus vite que le servo ou vice versa.

My French is just fine, thank you. I just don't type well as should be obvious. A brain hand disconnect in that regard.

Any how, this" I know exactly what it's intended to connote: "I do not like women who are my social, professional or intellectual superiors and need a word with which I can reassert the dominance that is mine by right of being male. And, if necessary, I will use it against a man who is trying to dominate me as well." is interesting from somone who claims to eschew - dare I say, bitches about (the Tony P. useage) - "mind reading".

How about you, instead, just take my explanation of my take on useage of the word at face value?

Dana Carson is absolutely not my - or any other bipedal's - intellectual superior. The only time you have ever seen me use the word "bitch" is in reference to him. How you derive this completely other connotation is beyond me. Perhaps that is how the voices in your head employ the word? Just asking. It had to come from some where.

Whatever, dude. You've already been schooled by the actual women here on what their experience of hearing the word "b*tch" has been, and it doesn't conform at all to "[your] explanation of [your] take on useage of the word."

Perhaps your usage is sui generis, which would be par for the course with you, but that has no bearing whatsoever on anything external to you.

Let's make it easy: There are lots of ObWi posters besides you who have daughters. Let's take a poll and ask them all how many of your teeth you'd need to have replaced if you were ever, under any circumstances, to call their daughters (or, for the fun of it, their sons) a "b*tch."

Laura:

'People like that get called names but "bitch" isn't one of them.'

Quit calling people "bastards"! ;)

Indeed. In fact, whatever happened to all of the bastards, like Dana Carson?

I hated it when Hillary Clinton, or any other woman was and is referred to as a "bitch" in certain quarters, particularly by bastards of both genders who mistake mean and petty for being assertive, aggressive, and strong.

And that goes for Hillary Clinton, too, the bastard.

Now, a pussy, to my mind, is your run-of-mill tough guy or gal bastard who just got knocked to the ground and kicked in the short ribs, either verbally or physically, for running rough-shod over their fellow humans.

Which is to say, a pussy, to me, by any other name, is a bully who talks and behaves towards others like a bastard but can't handle being treated in the same manner.

Not "pussy" in the gender sense, but "pussy" in the sense of "see, because you are a bully, you just used the word "pussy" (or "bitch") in the gender sense ..... meaning: you think you can ride roughshod over me because I appear to be a nice person, as most men and women are, but what you didn't figure into your misogynist worldview is that I'm actually a motherf*cker ... (leave our mothers out of this, those aren't the mothers I mean; I mean 'mother', for the moment, in the context of this conversation/fistfight we're having, in the pejorative way YOU might use the word "mother", just so we're both on the same page while I kick your a*s) .... who you mistook for, to use your terminology, a "pussy".

I think Slart calls it martial arts, which is quieter and more efficient.

Take Wayne LaPierre (if you'll pardon MY French), for example, please!

Now, we can both be bastards and decide who is the bigger, tougher one, but whaddaya say instead we both be nice and work it out, and if you think that means we're both going to be women about it, well, you're right, for the most part, and that's a good thing.

Unless you mean, by women, those bastards Imelda Marcos, Indira Gandhi, Michelle Malkin, and Eric Cantor.

Because then, you'd better grow a pair and run out and find an Irishman because we're all going to fight.

A little late to the party here, but:

russell: All of that said, in the context of a place like ObWi, I think it's helpful if we don't call each other, personally, bad names.

Which is pretty much where I'd draw the line.

avedis: Bitch nicely captures an a connotative and emotive je ne sais qua that jerk and asshole circumvent.

I'm not really on board with some of the earlier rationalizations avedis posted, and I certainly don't subscribe to some of the more odious things he's said on this thread--but I can't disagree with this, to a point. I tend to take a dim view of linguistic revisionism for the sake of political correctness. But I draw a fairly nontrivial distinction between insults like "bitch" or "retarded" and slurs like "n*gger" or calling something "gay".

The distinction is between 1) insults which derive their idiomatic meaning, unaltered, from some inherently negative quality that already exists in the concept described by the root word, and 2) slurs which derive their offensiveness from imbuing a value-neutral concept or class of person with contempt by using them as a basis for a negative comparison.

"Bitch" and "female human" are not synonymous. The term "bitch", when used in reference to a person rather than a dog, refers to a very specific and objectively negative pattern of behavior. If you use "bitch" in this way, you are not asserting that the person is behaving like a woman and that is bad, you are asserting that the person is behaving unpleasantly and/or aggressively in a very specific way. It is not a sexist insult, it is a charge that the person is behaving badly.

I don't find this offensive. I realize some do, but I do not feel morally compelled to regard their misinterpretation with any authority. Unless they are actually behaving like a "bitch", they are not a subject of comparison.

On the other hand, I am very uncomfortable with the use of "bitch" to feminize male opponents or assert dominance, because the insult derives not from an assertion of antisocial behavior, but from the equation of femininity with submission and the implication that it is bad for a man to have feminine qualities. This insults all women--and men, for that matter--by implication.

Contrast this with "[that's] gay". The insult derives its meaning and power not from any inherently negative quality of homosexuality, but solely from the implication that "gayness" is bad and that therefore the thing being compared to it is bad. Even a supposedly "innocuous" use of this idiom with no offensive intent behind it is still offensive, because the entire meaning of the idiom derives from the assumption that there is something inherently bad about being gay.

Phil: Second, I know exactly what it's intended to connote: "I do not like women who are my social, professional or intellectual superiors and need a word with which I can reassert the dominance that is mine by right of being male.

No, you really don't know anything of the sort. But that's a pretty spectacular bit of mindreading.

There's plenty of garbage to be criticized in what avedis has actually posted. There's no need to go making stuff up.

See, Herman Cain made the transition from bully/bastard to pussy/comedian almost overnight.

Yesterday, he said his mysterious advisers (the guy who built the chain-link fence around Cain's pepperoni stash) advocated building a electrified fence along the Mexican border that would kill people entering the country.

Today, upon being told by one wag that it would be better for the country if HE, Cain, was treated to being dipped in batter and fried to death, Cain whimpered that he was kidding and what he really meant was that he would stand along the border like a comedian and tell jokes to those trying to enter illegally to clean his pizza parlors in the middle of the night.

"They'd die laughing," Cain explained. "I'd just be killing them out there."

The term "bitch", when used in reference to a person rather than a dog, refers to a very specific and objectively negative pattern of behavior.

"Objectively negative?" Really? Objectively negative like, as Laura points out above, getting hit by an abusive partner? Or maybe being insufficiently compliant towards a potential assaulter? That sort of "objectively negative?"

If you use "bitch" in this way, you are not asserting that the person is behaving like a woman and that is bad, you are asserting that the person is behaving unpleasantly and/or aggressively in a very specific way.

Indeed -- you are asserting that the person is not conforming to cultural stereotypes of acceptable "womanly" behavior, which you prove by your next statement:

It is not a sexist insult, it is a charge that the person is behaving badly.

Of course it's a sexist insult. You wouldn't call a man who was behaving "unpleasantly and/or aggressively in a very specific way" a "bitch," would you?

right, catsy. I agree with you (except where you say that I contributed odious things).

"You wouldn't call a man who was behaving "unpleasantly and/or aggressively in a very specific way" a "bitch," would you?"

That's the point, Phil. I did do exactly that and so do many others.

Re-read what catsy wrote. I makes sense if you keep an open mind.

If I said "all women are bitches". Followed by "Officer Carson is a bitch (though biologically male)". With the addendum, "Men are not bitches" You could conclude, therefore, that I am saying Carson is a woman not a man and probably also that being a woman is, to me, lower status or some how bad, and then you would have a point.

I have never, nor would I ever, state that all women are bitches. I do not believe anything so awful and ridiculous. Nor do I think that feminity is a bad thing, per se.

The only very short peg you can try to hang your hat on is that bitch is a feminine characteristic and that by using it refer to Carson (a male) I am saying that he is feminine and that therefore I am using, obtusely, feminity as an insult.

However, that is merely your subject intrpretation. One you want to read into things for some reason I am loath to contemplate. As stated I do not see feminity as a bad thing. I do see specific feminine behavior (i.e.bitchyness) as bad. So I am assigning to Carson a specific characteristic that happens to be feminine because it best captures the nuances of his attitude and behavior.

Had he not been standing there with his hands on his hips impotently running his mouth and had, instead, started beating me his night stick or punching me out and then actually arrested me, I wouldn't have used the term "bitch", but probably would have referred to him as "asshole" or "fascist bastard" or something like that. His behavior would have had a more male nuance.

If carson was a different sort of person - a better sort - and he, say, displayed characteristics such as empathy, sensitivity, compassion, perhaps artistic ability, traits typically considered to be more feminine and positive I might say that Carson possessed a good balance of yin and yang; which would mean that he is feminine to some extent and that would be a positive, in my eyes.

Maybe part of the problem here is a failure to appreciate that men and women really are different and it is ok to recognize that difference. It's what makes the world go 'round. Vive la difference.

Phil: Objectively negative like, as Laura points out above, getting hit by an abusive partner?

No. Read what I actually wrote instead of making up your own (insultingly wrong) interpretations.

Or maybe being insufficiently compliant towards a potential assaulter?

No. Read what I actually wrote instead of making up your own (insultingly wrong) interpretations.

That sort of "objectively negative?

No, this sort of "objectively negative":

Catsy: the person is behaving unpleasantly and/or aggressively in a very specific way.

It is a very particular kind of irrational, abrasive antisocial behavior. It is distinct from being a "dick", which tends to connote being mean for the sake of being mean. It is distinct from being a "jerk", which is a mild and generic catch-all for all sorts of impolite behavior.

If the noun form confuses you, perhaps the adjective "bitchy" will better communicate the kind of behavior in question. As in: "man, you're getting awfully bitchy. Is your blood sugar low?" Or: "he's always bitchy/a bitch before he's had his coffee."

It is objectively negative for one person to treat another this way, regardless of the genders of the people involved. I may warn people if I'm getting bitchy because I haven't eaten yet or had caffeine, but I'm not about to try to excuse the behavior.

Phil: you are asserting that the person is not conforming to cultural stereotypes of acceptable "womanly" behavior, which you prove by your next statement

Phil, I sure am grateful that you're here to repeatedly explain what I really meant to say, even when it bears no resemblance to what I actually wrote. Otherwise people might have to rely on the plain meaning of the words I used, and who knows what that might lead to?

I'm not even sure why you bother having a conversation with anyone you disagree with--the conversations you have with your imagination are the only thing that seem to get posted.

Of course it's a sexist insult. You wouldn't call a man who was behaving "unpleasantly and/or aggressively in a very specific way" a "bitch," would you?

Yes.

Would, have, do. Same goes for pretty much everyone else in my immediate circles, including my other half--someone who has a hair-trigger when responding to actual sexism.

I'm sure you thought this was a terribly devastating riposte, but all it really does is demonstrate a difficulty understanding that others might use language in a way that doesn't conform to your anecdotal experiences and expectations.

Esquire's Charles Pierce wrote that Eric Cantor "has demonstrated a remarkable ability to combine complete ignorance of practically every major issue with the unctuous personality of a third-string maitre d' at a fourth-string steakhouse."

Which means I can give up referring to Cantor by various dirty words because his mother now smells permanently of elderberries and that's good enough for me.


I've been sitting this one out, but now that I find myself almost entirely in agreement with Catsy, I am in.

Bitch, for example, has a wide variety of contexts, some sexist, some merely descriptive. For example, one context of bitch is of a woman who [seemingly] consents to a submissive, subservient and usually sexual role. This is sexist, in my view, and offensive, because it labels and marginalizes a woman, or women, whose choices in life were not optimal.

Now, in a materially different context, a man engaged in friendly competition with other men, may achieve a win or temporary advantage and declare his opponent to be either his bitch or a bitch. The idea here has nothing to do with women in any but the remotest sense. It is simply a crude way of saying, "Ha, ha, I win". Context here is key, because saying the same thing in competition with a woman would be incredibly insulting and sexist.

Please understand, I read the part about bitch being an inherently derogatory form of referring to women. I simply disagree. Moreover, and this is my main point, whether Phil or anybody else finds fault with the per se use of bitch or any number of other context-sensitive terms, the country as a whole both recognizes women and gays as being on equal footing across the board and yet men and women, gay and straight, use the term bitch both as described by Catsy and to say "ha, ha, I win" and by general acclamation, very, very few find this offensive.

In a lot of ways, society has moved passed getting overly worked up by most terms, so long as the context is not intended to cause offense or marginalize. The N word or using "gay" as a negative descriptor fit that bill.

count, "Now, a pussy, to my mind, is your run-of-mill tough guy or gal bastard who just got knocked to the ground and kicked in the short ribs, either verbally or physically, for running rough-shod over their fellow humans."

Hmmm. I wouldn't call that a pussy. I say it's just a bully who got his just deserts.

A pussy, IMO, would be someone who got bullied by the bastard and then ran away; not fighting back.

Interestingly, in that scenario, the bully would might call the pussy a bitch (as in "my bitch"); though this is more the prison colloquialism as opposed to my use of the word.

Catsy, what I wrote has nothing to do with imaginary people or voices in my head or whatever other fanciful assholery you enjoy amusing yourself with. It has to do with what Laura pointed out above: That, traditionally speaking, "bitch" is a word -- actually, one of a quartet of words, the others of which I hope are obvious and don't need spelling out -- that has been used to hurt and undercut women regardless of their behavior and regardless of the context. (And words for which, tellingly, there are no male-gendered equivalent. At least, not that carry the same overwhelmingly negative connotation.) Despite your no doubt valiant efforts to limit its deployment to particular circumstances, the history of the word is not lightly tossed away.

But I have to say, the spectacle of a whole bunch of men fighting hard for their right to use the word is positively . . . What's the opposite of "heartwarming?"

lmy other half--someone who has a hair-trigger when responding to actual sexism.

I didn't realize we had settled on a single arbiter of what constitutes "actual sexism." Was this an elected position?

"I didn't realize we had settled on a single arbiter of what constitutes "actual sexism." Was this an elected position?"

Maybe it should be an elected position. That would be preferable to your tyranical self appointed life long occupancy of the seat.

I don't know; I've been sitting this out, too, because I couldn't express my thoughts.

Thank the IPU (BBHHH) for Rick Santorum.

This morning when I read that Santorum claimed (on a radio show -- can track down link if desired) that the Democratic base is made up of unwed mothers -- that's why they keep voting for handouts, you see!? -- the clearest way I can express my thoughts/feelings about him is "what a c!nt."*

This is (obviously, one hopes) not to suggest that he is a woman, like a woman, or has anything to do with anyone's private parts, or to imply that such parts are bad, evil, or otherwise objectionable; rather, it is a very offensive word that captures, or mirrors, how offensive I find his statement.

The force of me saying "I find that very, very offensive" -- no matter how many "very"s I append -- is nothing compared to the force of me saying "what a c!nt."

"What a d!ck" isn't as offensive; it's just not. The level of offense of the respective words isn't based on the gender-ness of the word involved, it has to do with the perceived level of rudeness -- and, I am claiming, expressiveness -- of the word.

That said, I wouldn't -- except in the context of this discussion -- ever say this to anyone I didn't already know quite well, and certainly not in an anonymous-ish forum (unless I was trying to sound like a real d!ck).

Clearly there are many issues involved with this. I'm not even claiming it's good. I dp think that it's a concise, effective, unambiguous way to express what I think about Santorum. When/if I say that [no need to retype it] it's pretty fracking clear exactly what I mean. As an occasional generator of prose, that's my only defense.

Perhaps it's indefensible.

/$.02

* Using ObWi SFW profane vowel-elimanator, although it diminishes the force of my argument.

Can I call Dick Cheney a pnssy?
Can I call GW Bush Cheney's b!tch?

Just asking.

Since we're all hanging in the gutter on this thread, just thought I'd burn some some cheap shot free miles.

That would be preferable to your tyranical self appointed life long occupancy of the seat.

LJ:

While it wouldn't be impossible to lift the ban, our primary purpose is a conservative one, keep things as close as possible to the good old days.
As I recall, I repeatedly, many dozens of times, as long as ago as circa 2006, possibly earlier, in Moe's era, said I thought the no-profanity rule made no sense whatever.

I eventually ceased repeating the argument, because it was futile, as I never got a useful response from the then front pagers. I distinctly recall giving up in the Hilzoy era, after endlessly pointing out that the policy made no sense because:

a) no one ever demonstrated that there was such a problem of people being unable to access ObWi at work due to profanity filters;

b) the rule would be pointless anyway, unless prevention could be done nearly absolutely; if not, we'd be in such filters in any case.

Hilzoy, with the greatest of respect, when she responded, merely repeated Moe's claim. And with the greatest of respect, Hilzoy's technical knowledge of such things was next to nil.

My banging on further about it seemed pointless. When I became a front-pager, the issue was certainly not remotely a priority for me, given other administrative issues that were far more problematic IMO.

I don't recall anyone ever since ever giving any evidence to support a technical claim for the ban, beyond the fact that internet filters certainly, obviously, exist and are used in various locales.

Every time the no-profanity rule was subsequently discussed, my recollection is that either the claim about people being unable to read ObWi at work was repeated, or, far more frequently in recent years, people justified it/argued for it on grounds of increased civility.

I was semi-persuaded at times on the latter grounds, and I still do see some value in it at times, and do recognize the argument as a perfectly valid POV, but since the question has been asked, I'd be happy to give up the profanity ban. Were a vote taken to get rid of it by the front pagers, my vote is to get rid of it on the grounds that I've just stated.

In sum:

1) There's no testimony of anyone not being able to read ObWi due to profanity, and no evidence of such.

2) If anyone were able to demonstrate such a problem, I fail to see how an occasionally, even rarely, enforced-only-after-the-fact ban on such words solves, or has ever solved, such a problem.

If there's any evidence for #2, in particular, I invite anyone to present it. If there isn't, I suggest that the notion that the ban is a solution to such a "problem" is purely imaginary.

If it isn't, it's very simple: where's the evidence?

What I *do* support are the continuation of the general rules of not disrupting conversation, etc.

And the argument about whether to preserve the ban on Certain Words for the sake of civility is people are, of course, free to take any position on.

Otherwise I blame myself for having never gotten back to the Group Mind with my long-ago promised draft of revised rules and banning procedures.

I write this not yet having read the comments on this thread.

Show of hands: is there anyone reading this who would be unable to do so if bad words were included?

Not saying we should change the rule, just curious about what the facts are.

Wherever it lands, I'd be in favor of preserving a "don't call other posters bad names" rule. Life's hostile enough, why pay a broadband bill to take abuse?

avedis:

Everyone knows that a "bitch" is a reference to a woman who is uptight, gratuitously in your face nasty , egotistical and who often goes out of her way to make life miserable for those who do not bend to her will and wants you to know, without shame, that she enjoys it; prides herself on it really.
No, everyone doesn't remotely "know" that.

For cripes' sakes, you don't even appear aware of how many variants of English are spoken around the world, let alone how regional dialects and subcultural languages vary: even if we restrict ourselves purely to, say, CONUS, there are endless variations of meaning, including within families, and including your own personal idiolect.

You don't get to legitimately claim that your personal usage is universal; best you can legitimately claim is that there are a significant number of other people, number unknown and uncountable, who more or less use the word similarly to your usage.

Meanwhile, stances of "you should not be offended by what I say because... I SAY SO" aren't a valid argument or position, either.

Stick to "this is how I use the word" (any word) and no one can claim you're wrong.

Whether or not anyone "should" or "shouldn't" be offended by ANYTHING is, meanwhile, subjective, including by time, place, and context.

Meanwhile, "everyone knows" arguments, unsupported by any facts, to support one's personal preferences are apt to be duly subject to ridicule.

Everyone knows that.

Why, everyone knows that David Cameron is a lizard, after all.

Meanwhile, if someone tells you they find something offensive, you can certainly decide that they're foolish, or worse, and you can ignore them.

But they're not apt to respond respectfully, and HOLY F*CK WE JUST HAD ANOTHER EARTHQUAKE, EXCUSE ME.

Um, I beg your pardon, but that was -- this will be updated shortly, but USGS says at the moment at 4.2 magnitude earthquake. (There were two earlier, smaller ones, here in the Bay Area today; one knocked some books and other stuff off my other shelves.)

Now says 4.2. Obviously this will be updated with better results shortly.

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Quakes/nc71667591.html


Magnitude
4.2
Date-Time
Friday, October 21, 2011 at 03:16:05 UTC
Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 08:16:05 PM at epicenter
Location
37.869°N, 122.252°W
Depth
9.6 km (6.0 miles)
Region
SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, CALIFORNIA
Distances
2 km (1 miles) E (100°) from Berkeley, CA
5 km (3 miles) ESE (123°) from Albany, CA
5 km (3 miles) NE (41°) from Emeryville, CA
8 km (5 miles) NNW (346°) from Oakland, CA
Location Uncertainty
horizontal +/- 0.2 km (0.1 miles); depth +/- 0.4 km (0.2 miles)
Parameters
Nph= 89, Dmin=1 km, Rmss=0.19 sec, Gp= 29°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=3
Source
California Integrated Seismic Net:
USGS Caltech CGS UCB UCSD UNR
Event ID
nc71667591

Gotta go check the rest of the house.

That was a bit scary.

"This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Magnitude
3.9"

This house is generally well-prepared for earthquakes, insofar as an old house can, up to a point. Ditto my room has nothing high standing. The worst that could happen to me upstairs, absent something high magnitude enough to start ripping the house up, would be either a not-that-heavy lamp falling on my head were in bed, or some light paperbacks flying at me.

There's a small stack of hardcovers in the corner unapt to fly far save by fluke, but that's it.

I'd rather not be in the kitchen if something medium-sized hit, though, or in the downstairs hallway lined with books. The shelves are well-secured enough, but the number of books in that hallway could at least give one a good clonk on the head.

The kitchen, which is galley-like, could be dangerous with a lot of flying mugs off the shelves, though, and conceivably some hanging cast-iron. But it's mostly a flock of mugs flying at me in that space that would be the only place I'd really worry about, short of something major enough to cause... more major damage.

Ways you can tell I'm not a Trained Californian: didn't think to run for the doorway, or downstairs and out, until a couple of minutes later.

Oh, and I didn't pee myself. Waited to go to the bathroom until just a minute ago.

The quake that happened this afternoon, I didn't even notice, because I was walking home from therapist visit and grocery shopping, and I tend to walk rather unbalanced these days, anyway. I only realized it was an earthquake when I got home and read everyone around here talking about it on Teh Social Media.

But it explained why I found some books on the floor, the box of tissues, and the flea comb.

My bookstore owner friends wound up with a LOT of book picking up, though.

There was yet another earlier in the day that I also didn't notice.

Okay, that's about as large, though, as I'd like to experience. I'm thrilled enough, thanks. I like roller coasters, but not stuff this unpredictable. I'm just a wimp.

The epicenter was just a couple of miles from me.

Article.

"Update: Aftershock Felt After Earlier Quake
USGS reported an aftershock at 8:16 p.m. after an earlier earthquake at 2:41 p.m.

A 3.9 magnitude aftershock with a depth of 6 miles struck at 8:16 p.m., according to the US Geolocical Survey. It was very close to the earlier quake's location – two miles east of Berkeley.

------

3:00 p.m.

A 4.0 magnitude earthquake shook the Bay Area today at approximately 2:41 p.m., according to the US Geological Survey.

The earthquake's epicenter was two miles east-southeast of Berkeley and three miles northeast of Emmeryville.

All BART trains have been halted or slowed due to the 4.0-magnitude earthquake, a BART employee said. Trains systemwide are stopped or are traveling slowly as train operators conduct track inspections, the employee said. BART does not currently have an estimate for when the trains will resume normal operations.

The earthquake occurred on the same day as the Great California ShakeOut, a statewide drill in which millions of Californians practiced ducking and covering at 10:20 a.m. today.

The irony of an earthquake hitting on the same day as the statewide drill was not lost on Keith Knudsen, deputy director of the USGS Earthquake Science Center in Menlo Park, although he said today's temblor was a standard Hayward Fault Line quake.

He said the temblor was of the typical "strike-slip" variety, in which two sides of the fault slide horizontally, he said. Knudsen said the USGS had not yet recorded any aftershocks, and that there is a roughly 5 percent chance that this afternoon's quake could be a foreshock to a larger seismic event.

Did you feel it?"

Uh, yeah.

And.

"Second 3.9 Earthquake Rattles Nerves, Crockery in Lamorinda
The second earthquake to shake Lamorinda Thursday rumbled through the area at 8:16 p.m.

Two 3.9 earthquakes, both nearly identical in motion and duration, rolled across Lamorinda and the East Bay Thursday -- courtesy of the Hayward Fault.

The first quake shook Lamorinda at 2:41 p.m. and was initially judged to be a 4.2 shaker until it was downgraded after USGS review to a 3.9 after a data review.

Moragans reported a single, sustained shock which lasted for a few seconds. The jolt triggered a rash of alarms and a few calls for help from residents whose windows shattered during the shaker. Many Lamorindans reported a single, sustained rolling jolt of about four seconds duration.

They got a repeat performance at 8:16 p.m. when a second jolt, epicentered virtually on top of the first and also logging in at 3.9, rumbled through the East Bay.

Again, there have been no reports of major damage though cautionary measures were taken as Moraga-Orinda Fire and Contra Costa County Fire stations as fire crews rolled their engines outside to prevent them from being trapped inside by a larger, more destructive aftershock.

BART trains slowed but were not ordered stopped."

Another article elsewhere: "The quake also came almost 22 years to the day after the Loma Prieta earthquake struck the Bay area during the 1989 World Series. The magnitude-6.9 quake killed 63 people, injured almost 3,800 and caused up to $10 billion damage."

Today's were memorable enough, thanks.

And YET I MAINTAINED MY LANGUAGE.

;-)

russell:

Wherever it lands, I'd be in favor of preserving a "don't call other posters bad names" rule.
Definitely agree.

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