Re: My Very Own Personal Racist Relative

1

My solution is to ignore. But then I've never had to deal with this on a long-term, sustained basis.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 8:34 PM
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Why do you think a response is merited?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 8:38 PM
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Let me put that another way: what would you realistically hope to accomplish with a response? What would you be willing to risk in responding? And would you be responding for yourself or for him?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 8:39 PM
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Political correctness. My closest family members collectively believe in it in practice if not in theory, and so most other relatives and family friends generally keep their mouths shut around us and when they don't they expect to get a harsh reaction. This only applies to the more overt stuff, mild, coded shit generally gets ignored.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 8:41 PM
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I'm not sure how to answer the question, but my coypu extermination screen play is so going to have a vaguely racist, but you know deep down he doesn't mean it, pipe fitter visiting from the U.S.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 8:43 PM
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3. My step-grandmother refused to speak to a formerly very close first cousin for many years after he made a 'one silver lining to the occupation' type comment on their first meeting after the war.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 8:44 PM
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7

Delete, delete, delete. There's no upside to responding.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 8:45 PM
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8

I might have trouble responding to questions in this thread since I am suddenly without a proper computer. Gramps has been chastised previously with the result that he becomes aware his views are thought ill off and he moderates tone. In person, I mean.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 8:46 PM
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"Can I ask you a favor -- and don't take this the wrong way -- I've had problems with my mailbox filling up and not accepting any more mail (it's hard to explain; technical) so do you mind not forwarding any more CRAZY RACIST BULLSHIT?"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 8:47 PM
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10

I think there's some value to a cranky response--you're not going to change anyone's mind, but you can let them know that racist shit will get them snapped at, which may reduce the amount expressed. If you can hit a note of eyerollingly annoyed, rather than entertainingly irate, I think that's ideal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 8:51 PM
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I respond because it's the only way to get it to stop. Now my racist relatives usually start to say something and then someone tuts, "Not in front of AWB--she's sensitive." Hasn't happened via email yet, but I have refused to FB-friend a cousin whose wall, on inspection, is entirely ALLCAPS screeds about blacks and Jews.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 8:51 PM
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whose wall, on inspection, is entirely ALLCAPS screeds about blacks and Jews.

Well sure, but negative screeds?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 8:53 PM
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How does any of you comment from a mobile device? This is annoying.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 9:04 PM
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14

More annoying that the weakness of our nation's borders.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 9:06 PM
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Is there some software you can get that locks your grandfather's keyboard?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 9:07 PM
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How have other people handled this situation?

We don't let our crazy relatives have our email address--that's how we handle the situation. But now that he does have your address, I agree with some of the others: at this point you are unlikely to change his mind or his behavior. So the next best solution is to delete his emails when you see them, to be polite to the old geezer at holidays, and to comfort yourself with the knowledge that he'll probably be dead soon enough anyway and then the emails will stop.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 9:20 PM
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THE BLACKS AND JEWS ARE ACTUALLY PRETTY OK IN MY BOOK.


Posted by: OPINIONATED NOT-RACIST COUSIN | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 9:37 PM
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If a gmail account is the unfortunate recipient, is there a way of filtering the forwards into a folder where they can be unseen/deleted at one's leisure?


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 10:02 PM
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19

The Missus has the answer to your problem. In these situations, she sends an e-mail reply with one word: "Unsubscribe."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 10:03 PM
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People are rational beings, and Habermas teaches us that dialogue is important. You CAN and SHOULD engage in reasoned, detailed counterargument with your uncle to convince him of the errors of his ways. Anything else is, frankly, somewhat racist itself, as is much of the defeatist advice here.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 10:11 PM
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How have other people handled this situation?

I have very rarely seen or talked to most of my extended family for 25 years. Mostly when they are passing through, and then it is only perfunctory politeness. I don't answer the phone and don't get emails.

Been a half dozen funerals and twice as many weddings I didn't attend.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 10:27 PM
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I checked about a month ago, and my original hometown is still as much a sundown town as it was 50 years ago. Say 50k with 2% black, sandwiched (5 miles, can't tell the lines for the stripmalls and shops) between two cities of 200k that are 50% black.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 10:32 PM
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Some were Klan members, all were Reagan voters.

We are not talking burning crosses in front yards, we are talking burning houses. Although the houses were not for sale to blacks of jews or hispanics anyway. As bad as it can get.

OTOH, I didn't grow up with a lot of bigoted talk, never had much reason, since there weren't any of those kind of people around.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 10:44 PM
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Overall I think 7 is best, but if he does respond to verbal chastisement as per 8, that would probably be the best forum to do it in.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 11:03 PM
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Racists are actually super-ultra-sensitive about being called what they are. Drives them up the fucking wall, because they think of themselves as "realists" and "honest" folk. So, you could tell him he's a racist. The downside is he won't speak to you for a few years. The upside is he might actually start thinking, on the sly, about whether you have a point. That shit does happen.

Alternatively, you could play possum, ambush him and then roast and eat him while chanting the glories of your pagan deities. There's a certain cathartic quality to that approach.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 12:29 AM
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Same thing happened here. Crazy uncle forwards unsavory political emails for months to family email list. An in-law is the first to respond, replying "to all," calling out the falsehoods in the content and the bias in the source of the email. Crazy uncle responds in evasive, disingenuous ways, at which point siblings get involved and call him out on the evasiveness and bad faith. Several exchanges in, one sibling remarks "As heated as this all is, it's kind of nice for everyone to be talking to each other like this?" Crazy uncle didn't end up changing his mind, and got let off the hook allowing him to save face, but everybody got to vent, nobody went overboard, things turned out okay, and there hasn't been another forward yet.

Confrontation can be done constructively, it's just really difficult for everyone to keep their cool. In my family's case, I think we just got lucky.


Posted by: weston | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 2:47 AM
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I respond. Almost always.

If it is something easily snopes, I link the snopes and typically ask, "Dont you wonder why people send you such crazy, easily-proven false crap?!?!"

If it is something racist, I tell them how I feel.

I'm usually happy that Ive done it, and often someone else chimes in.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 5:05 AM
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28

So, how about something like, "Love you as a grandpa though I do, I'm not a receptive audience for the racist e-mails you're forwarding of late. Do me a favor and omit me from the recipients list of any future racist e-mails you forward. Non-racist e-mails remain quite welcome and encouraged."

Also: reply-all or not? It's tempting to do so.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 7:56 AM
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29

"Reply all" is kind of like calling out grandpa in a crowd. I wouldn't do that if I wanted to keep the "love you as a grandpa" part from being overwhelmed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 8:46 AM
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You know, I would 'reply all', and I'd be testier than 28. Something more along the lines of "Jesus, Grandpa, don't send me that sort of thing. It's embarrassing reading it -- makes you sound like a racist." I almost think that makes it less stressy than the 'more than sorrow than in anger' tone; if he gets mad about it you have someplace to back down without abandoning the critique: "Sorry, I shouldn't have snapped at you like that, Gramps, you're the best Grandad a drummer ever had. But still, don't send me anymore stuff like that, please?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 8:52 AM
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I'm lucky in that I don't much like the second cousin who sends me this shit, so I just bit her head off and snapped "Do not send me this racist Obama-conspiracy bullshit again."

She sent a weepy apology. But she's a weird one for lots of reasons, so I already had the upper hand in the exchange.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:09 AM
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32

LB, what's the point of publicly humiliating gramps?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:15 AM
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33

My mother used to get all this insane shit from her brother-in-law. At first, she'd forward it all to me for debunking and then she'd forward my debunking to his entire email list. But we both grew tired of this, so she replied all with some variation of "Look -- that asshole Bush was president for 8 years and I didn't send you emails about all of the actual horrible things he was doing (and I could have done that every day for 8 years), so quit sending me made-up racist bullshit about Obama."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:19 AM
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34

I have found gentle, but persistent, ridicule to be the best strategy with my occasionally way-over-the-line father-in-law. But that is relationship dependent and works better in person.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:28 AM
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32: I can see the benefit. It might encourage others on the list to also ask to be removed (though they are, no doubt, going through the same dilemma), convince the ones who were going to say something really harsh and hurtful that something moderate has already been done, and make sure that everyone on the email list realizes this is not a "safe space" for racist bullshit.

I've started getting paranoid around groups of white heterosexual people, because it seems like it's only a matter of time before someone starts making hilarious "ironic" racist comments or talking about how scary trannies are because they might try to rape you in a bathroom. White taxi drivers like to think I make a safe space for them, too--let's talk about how negros and hispanics and jews are ruining the city! It's nothing I say or do; I just look like a boring midwestern white girl who must hate everyone. I should get a T-shirt.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:54 AM
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36

It isn't just white cab drivers who think that a white fare is time to make with the racism.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:57 AM
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37

35: What if every boring midwestern girl who hated everyone asked for a t-shirt? How would that work?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 10:00 AM
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38

I haven't had too many experiences with non-white cab drivers kissing up to me by assuming I'm racist, but I guess it has happened. Cleveland was the worst; I probably had 10 cab drivers in a row stun me into silence with lectures on how negros are destroying the city. Finally, I got a woman cab driver and we got to talking. I mentioned my previous experiences with her company, and apparently she filed a complaint on my behalf and those guys were fired.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 10:00 AM
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39

Whoa -- accidentally posted too early. I almost never have white cabbies (although the last one I did have, that I can remember, was a Bulgarian immigrant who was very concerned that "they" would riot if Obama didn't win -- this was during the primaries; he was wanted HRC), but it isn't uncommon for cabbies of every flavor to try to involve me in their strange stereotypes of the various races and creeds and ethnicities of which the city is composed.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 10:04 AM
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40

I guess it seems appropriate to react in public to something said in public (as said above, it's helpful for anyone else who's bothered as well), and testy actually seems gentler to me than sorrowful. Testy is how you react to rude/insane things loved ones say that aren't a huge deal; sorrowful is for big serious problems.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 10:08 AM
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Obama-conspiracy bullshit

It's weird that my gramps is managing to walk a line that's racist without being objectively anti-Obama or anti-Dem, both of whom he without a doubt voted for (the group of people he hates most of all is Republicans) and will undoubtedly vote for again. Let's have a sampling of a recent e-mail, shall we?

From: "David LaBonte" My wife, Rosemary, wrote a wonderful letter to the editor of the OC Register which, of course, was not printed. So, I decided to "print" it myself by sending it out on the Internet. Pass it along if you feel so inclined. Written in response to a series of letters to the editor in the Orange County Register:

Dear Editor:

So many letter writers have based their arguments on how this land is made up of immigrants.

Ernie Lujan for one, suggests we should tear down the Statue of Liberty because the people now in question aren't being treated the same as those who passed through Ellis Island and other ports of entry.

Maybe we should turn to our history books and point out to people like Mr. Lujan why today's American is not willing to accept this new kind of immigrant any longer. Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the United States, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in New York and be documented. Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new American households and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home. They had waved good bye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity.

Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father fought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany , Italy, France and Japan . None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan . They were defending the United States of America as one people.

When we liberated France , no one in those villages were looking for the French-American or the German American or the Irish American. The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country's flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl.

And here we are with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes the entitlement card and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country. I'm sorry, that's not what being an American is all about. I believe that the immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900's deserve better than that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life. I think they would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags.

And for that suggestion about taking down the Statue of Liberty, it happens to mean a lot to the citizens who are voting on the immigration bill. I wouldn't start talking about dismantling the United States just yet.

(signed)

Rosemary LaBonte

KEEP THIS LETTER MOVING. FOR THE WRONG THINGS TO PREVAIL THE RIGHTFUL MAJORITY NEEDS TO REMAIN COMPLACENT AND QUIET!! LET THIS NEVER HAPPEN!!

(Apologies for super-duper long comment + weird formatting.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 10:15 AM
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42

It's since moved on to rather unsavory racist crap about the recent Arizona legislation.

I do pretty well at avoiding political discussion at work*, but yesterday afternoon I ended up in a disturbing discussion with an immigrant Arab(Lebanese)-American colleague on the Arizona developments. We were talking iPads, Kindles etc. and he showed me his Kindle on which he had a Milton Friedman book open. I could not resist getting in a dig, and he allowed that his son had pushed him to read it and disavowed Friedman's politics, but then non sequiturously added that what really did tick him off was having to listen to "push 2 for Spanish" and that Arizona had it right. He followed with his version of the letter in 41--no one had allowed *him* to do anything in Arabic (he first came to the US for college) and on from there. A weird conversation with a person I had always otherwise gotten along with, and whom I've occasionally had to preemptively defend against some stupid stereotypes from the truly troglodytic.

*Other than with a few "safe" people, although a pretty good-sized group commandeered a conference room to watch the inauguration.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 10:49 AM
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43

Was the title of this post intended to plant an earworm? 'Cause, dang, stuck in my head.

As for the topic, I just accept that he's my dad and I can't change him.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:24 AM
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44

43.1: Nope. What song, anyway?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:26 AM
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45

The email in 41 follows a template dating back at least to the 1980s and the English only laws/constitutional amendments that were sort of a forerunner of the current anti-immigrant stuff.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:34 AM
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46

Thee Johnny Cash song.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:37 AM
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47

Until Di answers 44, I'm assuming it's the "Plastic Jesus" song, as that's the one I've managed to get stuck in my head while trying to figure out what song she meant.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:37 AM
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48

47 posted without seeing 46, which I can't listen to right now anyway.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:38 AM
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49

e


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:38 AM
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50

Personal Jesus, is what I thought she was thinking of.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:40 AM
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45: Arizona was at the front lines of that movement as well, of course.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:41 AM
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50: Yeah, that is what I assumed as well.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:44 AM
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53

The Johnny Cash song by Depeche Mode.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:45 AM
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54

I wonder if my head did some weird voodoo to jump from "Personal Jesus" to "Plastic Jesus", because I'm 99% sure I couldn't have named that Depeche Mode song, but I am familiar with the song.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:48 AM
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55

Your own
Personal
Racist

Someone to make you frown
Someone not brown

Your own
Personal
Racist

Someone to send you mail
Someone who's pale


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:50 AM
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55. Nice.

Speaking of pale, Marilyn Manson has covered it too.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:52 AM
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57
In 1919, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote,

Oh wikipedia, what has happened to you?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 12:06 PM
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58

My Plastic Jesus can eat fifty eggs.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 12:10 PM
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59

Oh wikipedia, what has happened to you?

Well, for starters, someone moved the location my search bar, a move that has provoked mild annoyance in at least one person.


Posted by: Wikipedia | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 12:22 PM
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60

Hmmm, I was thinking of "Your Racist Friend" by TMBG.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 12:26 PM
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Who wants to edit 59? I think we need to add an "of".


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 12:29 PM
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Is there really someone who thinks "Personal Jesus" is a Johnny Cash song? Holy crap.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 12:33 PM
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Speaking of wikipedia, how about some MS Paint oil-spill graphics!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 12:36 PM
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Robots!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 12:37 PM
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65

43 et al: Rhesus also works.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 12:50 PM
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There are probably many people who didn't hear Depeche Mode's release before they heard Cash's cover. Also, there are probably people who think it was original to Marilyn Manson.

I'd bet there are some people who think NIN's Hurt was original to JC.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:09 PM
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67

How does one never come across Violator?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:16 PM
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Someone to send you mail
Someone who's pale

Well played.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:17 PM
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I went through my Depeche Mode and The Cure phase rather late, about five years after Violator came out, and, like everyone else who loved DM and TC in high school, still cringe with shame whenever I hear any of those songs and remember how much I looooved them. See also: Bright Eyes phase, 2002.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:22 PM
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I didn't know what DM album PJ was from, but I do know I've heard it thousands of times.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:25 PM
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Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country's flag and waving it to represent who they were.

Yeah, seriously.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:30 PM
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I don't think I can change someone's mind, so I make copious use of automatic filtering of forwards from certain senders. If this type of communication comes up in person, I act like they just belched and look embarrassed for them while saying I don't see it that way. Then I change the subject.


Posted by: Frostbite | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:36 PM
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50 gets it right, of course. And 55 kicks it up a notch.

BTW, you should all know that I am a very big person and made an appearance at the First Communion. It was a bit tearful, as I do so miss that sweet little girl. But I did not attend the reception because I am only so big of a person and I so do not miss her parents.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:43 PM
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72: How to you deal with gassy racists?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:44 PM
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75

So Johnny Cash covering Depeche Mode is NOT as good as Johnny Cash covering Nine-inch Nails.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:48 PM
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Bam!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:50 PM
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and, like everyone else who loved DM and TC in high school, still cringe with shame whenever I hear any of those songs and remember how much I looooved them

Shame?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:55 PM
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78

||
18 1/2 minute 7 hour gap in black boxes from the BP rig
|>


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:56 PM
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That was me.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:57 PM
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78: "We could just let the thing blow and blame it on environmentalists, ... but that would be wrong."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 1:59 PM
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They also might plug the leak with golf balls and other debris -- a "junk shot."

I keep seeing this in news reports, but has anyone seen an explanation of why golf balls in particular?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 2:07 PM
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Also, if you hadn't heard already, the Deepwater Horizon rig flew a flag of convenience:

The Deepwater Horizon vessel originally sailed under the flag of Panama in 2001 and switched to Marshall Islands in 2004. Representatives of the Marshall Islands testified this afternoon about their oversight of the rig and the 2,200 other vessels that fly their flag around the world.

The Pacific small island nation has less stringent requirements than the United States [...].

What patriots!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 2:28 PM
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Best explanation that I have seen:

Golf balls are being considered because they are made of extremely high density rubber which can withstand the pressures but stay resilient so as to form a seal. They grind them up into random sizes because that gives them the best chance to block a hole. .
Apparently the technique has been used before to stop ground-level blowouts. Too bad Red Adair is no longer with us--although it would probably be out of his depth (literally) as well. I'm sure somewhere in BP someone is muttering to themselves that the ferocity of this blowout means it was really good find.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 2:32 PM
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83.last: And working on the PR/lobbying campaign to allow them (or more likely someone they sell it to) to continue to develop it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 2:36 PM
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85

35 and 40 make good sense. Thanks.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 3:09 PM
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41 Isn't your grandfather a Pole from Chicago? I remember wandering around some Polish neighbourhood there twenty years ago. No English spoken, Polish flags and Black Madonnas everywhere. And there were tons of Polish illegal immigrants coming in up through the mid nineties. That's why Poles still can't get in without a visa, unlike pretty much everyone else in the EU.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 4:36 PM
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I put in a email filter that looks for and trashes anything that starts with "fwd:" in mail sent from my nuttiest friend from olden college days. That's been working quite well.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 4:39 PM
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Isn't your grandfather a Pole from Chicago

This is technically a step-grandfather but for all intents and purposes he's the only maternal granpa I ever knew. And he's 100% Irish-to-the-core (his mother still lived in the old country but he was born here). Irish-to-the-core as in still gets Sinn Féin newsletters and stuff. So it's, like, extra baffling.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 4:41 PM
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89

With all respect to my own ancestors, how is an Irish racist more baffling than a Polish racist?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 4:48 PM
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89: It's baffling that he can send that e-mail with an Irish nationalist magazine sitting next to him on the table and not see the contradiction.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 6:31 PM
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91

Well, see, the Irish are white...


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 6:36 PM
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92

Several of the racists I know are pureblood Irish.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 6:37 PM
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The Census taker came by today. (I finally got counted!) The list of options for race was interesting in that it listed several Asian nationalities as separate races, which I believe is new this year.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 6:38 PM
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90: It happens. I've wondered at times whether our older relatives who become excited by these kinds of email forwarding campaigns are just, well, excited to be part of something political and emphatic. Or perhaps it's that they're not very used to hearing or seeing Very Strong Opinions, in their own personal email inbox.

That sounds dismissive, as though I'm infantilizing our elders. But I do think there's an excitement factor among a certain generation. My mother increasingly forwarded emails that were similarly contrary to some of her otherwise expressed views. I couldn't tell whether she was losing it, or what.

And then there's Teo's observation in 91.

When you get older, you kind of have two choices: shrug and stop trying to keep up with the newfangled ways, or fight against them, whether or not you know exactly why.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 6:48 PM
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90: Once you type it out, it kind of makes sense. But that line of thinking would have never occurred to me before now. Most of the people I grew-up around were the second or third generation born in the U.S., so that might be part of it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 6:58 PM
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94.last: Can you give me a number for when I have to make the choice?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 6:59 PM
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96: Yeah, I know. My 94 was pretty glib. I'm really just trying to figure it out. It is truly baffling when people start to do this kind of thing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 7:02 PM
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97: I was being relatively earnest in 96. It's not like I have not noticed the pattern.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 7:08 PM
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Stanley, I don't know if you've decided on an approach, or have decided to drop or ignore the whole matter, but would it be constructive at all to write (privately, not Reply to All): Grandpa, I don't understand why the pride of Latino immigrants in their home country is very different from Irish pride and interest in the home country. People can have pride and ties and interest in their home country and still be Americans, it seems to me.

And just leave it at that. See what he says. Is that workable?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 7:18 PM
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98: Well, you don't have to make the choice, exactly, do you?

I think I see that kind of shift in people around age 60 or 70. Not in all people, obviously. But for those who seem to make it, it seems to be around then.

I see the signs in myself already, and I'm a couple of decades away from that age: but I see myself *disapproving* of things. I don't like all this hot-sexy-chick flashing of the body thing that all the girls are doing these days. Vajazzle, or whatever it's called? Seriously? I recognize that I'm totally out of touch with current ways, but there it is. I do hope I'm not going to call for legislation against it, however!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 7:29 PM
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Well, you don't have to make the choice, exactly, do you?

Certainly you don't have to make the choice to not like newer immigrants, but I don't think you can expect to keep up in every or even most areas as you get older. Subjectively, once you are sufficiently removed from "younger" there isn't a good way to tell if young people suck or it you cannot understand young people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 7:56 PM
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Subjectively, once you are sufficiently removed from "younger" there isn't a good way to tell if young people suck or it you cannot understand young people.

Their music sucks, certainly.

That is a joke! I am joking!

But, yeah.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 8:04 PM
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I don't like all this hot-sexy-chick flashing of the body thing

Oh, you know, it's really not that different from naked hippies in a lake.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 8:10 PM
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103: Yes it is it is it is!

Okay, I know. I think. But no: it's really not the same.

See? This is where you get the strange disconnect; I know I should find it not much different, and yet it really is.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 8:19 PM
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But, eventually you find yourself saying something like "Cher wasn't that different from Lady Gaga." Then you decide you can't be bothered to fight the feeling of disconnect.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 8:26 PM
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I think Lady Gaga is significantly more awesome than Cher, Madonna, Britney Spears, or anyone else in my lifetime that has played that particular role in the pop ecosystem. (Granted, it is not a role I pay much attention to.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 8:30 PM
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I am unsure whether Apo meant 103, like, sincerely.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 8:34 PM
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I think Lady Gaga is significantly more awesome than Cher, Madonna, Britney Spears

Sure, but she's seen all of them. It's like saying your average physics Ph.D. is smarter than Newton because they understand relativity.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 8:34 PM
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Also, the lyrics to "Bad Romance" were just stupid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 8:40 PM
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I'll consider Lady Gaga more interesting than Cher the day she manages to put a few reasonably decent acting credits on her resume.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 8:47 PM
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108: Despite everything Thomas Kuhn wrote, I still think science enjoys a kind of linear progression you can't find in pop divas.

What do we find if we dig beneath the 80s to find more ancestors too this role? Dusty Springfield? Diana Ross?

I think we can't ignore race here. Given the way the media is, this is a white girl's role. The scandal mongering doesn't work the same way when it happens to black people.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:00 PM
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109: what part of "Ra ra, o ah ah. Ra ma, oh ma ma. Ga ga, oh la la" do you not find compelling?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:04 PM
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My local PBS TV station is trying to induce me to gove them money by airing Styx with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra of CLeveland. (Plus somehow I might win a guitar autographed by the band but I did not understand howe that worked,, and for $90 gift can get the DVD-- Return to Paradise 2-CD set for $100 gift (maybe one CD for $200)). Fools! I can sit here on my couch and watch this shit for free. Renegade!!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:07 PM
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111.middle: Nancy Sinatra?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:08 PM
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"Ra ra, o ah ah. Ra ma, oh ma ma. Ga ga, oh la la"

That part isn't bad. The actual words make less sense.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:08 PM
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I can sit here on my couch and watch this shit for free.

Yes, but why would you?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:08 PM
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Lady Gaga's interview on Oprah really swayed me into the "she's something special" camp. Humble. Extremely positive on her fans being comfortable just being themselves. And chops to boot? Sold.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:09 PM
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116: Because I CAN!! Do not mock me , Ranger Rick.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:12 PM
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Contemporary Youth Orchestra AND Chorus!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:13 PM
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117: Katy Perry has better chops, if "chops" is a euphemism. If "chops" is song-writing ability or something, then nevermind.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:17 PM
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117: That interview is interesting. I've always been pretty impressed by her, and seeing the way she talks about what she does really just confirms that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:17 PM
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I do find it odd to realize that she's younger than me, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:18 PM
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Now it's on to the "swamp pop R&B teenage idol" Jimmy Clanton singing "Venus in Blue Jeans". THis very performance. They're simply giving it away.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:21 PM
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122: That feeling may begin to happen a lot, I should warn you.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:21 PM
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100: I see myself *disapproving* of things.

I see myself not caring about the things the kids think are neat, cool, hot, or whatever the current phrase is. I can remember when lots of that stuff was important to me though, so I don't disapprove of much of it.

I know damn well having the latest iGadget will NOT change the essentials of my life nor theirs and I also know I'll never convince any of them of that.

As for kiddie displays of sexuality, it's cyclical. Burkas will be the next big thing at the Beverly Center mall as soon as someone suggests they should be illegal.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:25 PM
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Given the way the media is, this is a white girl's role.

The role of pop diva? African-American pop divas from Billie Holiday to Beyonce might disagree.

I'll consider Lady Gaga more interesting than Cher the day she manages to put a few reasonably decent acting credits on her resume.

By this metric she may need to acquire a Representative husband and a lesbian daughter, too.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 9:33 PM
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124: Yeah, I know. It's just kind of new to me at this point.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 10:07 PM
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122: But, but, you're like a fetus. That means she's an embryo, or something.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 10:14 PM
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128: I know, right?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 10:17 PM
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I started having these age realizations when I started following tennis during college. Now, I find everyone's younger than I am. Keats was 26 when he died. Emily Brontë was my age when she died; so was Percy Shelley. What have I done? Of course, by my age, Samuel Johnson had only written Irene and was a total failure at everything.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 10:25 PM
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There's some Tom Lehrer comment (on one of the recordings of his live performances back in the 50s or 60s) where he says something along the lines of: It's sobering to realize that when Mozart was my age, he'd been dead for a couple of years.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 10:55 PM
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131: Intro to "Alma"Intro to "Alma"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:06 PM
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One of those two, anyway.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-10 11:07 PM
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130: At the very least, you've done better at the not dying part.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:09 AM
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128: Lady Gaga was apparently a highschool acquaintance of my boss's 23-year old son, and is reported to have been a pleasant, sensible child at that time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:56 AM
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You guys! We're not talking about Lady Gaga anymore. Now we're talking about Janelle Monae!
(Who was at A/M//DA one year after my sister)


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 7:04 AM
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135: She went to Sacred Heart! Now that is an outfit!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:03 AM
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125: I see myself not caring about the things the kids think are neat, cool, hot, or whatever the current phrase is. I can remember when lots of that stuff was important to me though, so I don't disapprove of much of it.

Good point. I'm feeling foolish for the "disapproval" remark, but the truth is that there may be just an in-between age (40s?) during which you -- I -- am still relating enough to youthful trends that I apparently take it slightly personally when those trends go in directions in which I'm unwilling to follow.

I'm obviously still feeling this out.

Case in point: last night the local wine store was having its usual Saturday night wine tasting, but this time the table was manned attended by two 20-ish women wearing very short shorts and high heels. (Turns out it was a Coors Lite tasting, for some inexplicable reason.) And I was just like, "Oh, please. I can't get out of here fast enough. Are you ladies really hard up for cash or something? Do you not see anything wrong here? Are you not rather uncomfortable with this job?"

Eh. I suck, I know.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:35 AM
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138: Beer companies have been hiring women to wear skimpy outfits and push samples of their products for decades. The event at the store was no reflection on the youth of today or fashion or anything. That's just how beer is marketed.

When I was just out of college, there was a rumor going around that beer companies were actually paying women to do the same sort of thing more covertly. The women would go to bars and get guys to buy them drinks. They would then order the company's product and talk at length about how it was their favorite. I don't know if this actually happened.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:51 AM
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And yes, the young women probably needed the money. If you have a thick skin for strangers who perv on you and think they are being cute, the work probably isn't so bad.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:51 AM
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139.2: I know somebody who did that for a while.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:02 AM
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139, 141: You shall be fishers of men, said the Lord Adolph Coors.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:05 AM
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139.1: I know. It was a problematic example; I was mostly interested in how disapproving I was. I don't like to see that in myself. Maybe I'm just secretly conservative or something. But that's not true!

More generally, I find it difficult to tease apart the growing-older aspect from generational differences in the various waves of feminism. Growing older as a woman is for many of us inextricable from general aging. I hypothesize.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:06 AM
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|| Wowee. My insane country just refused entry to Chomsky. Anyone up for harboring refugees when we finish our transition to fascism/theocracy? |>


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:21 AM
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I sort of love it when young people dress slutty. I really can't pull it off; I hate catcalls and stares, and I despise being hit on at parties and bars. Last night I got the business from some guy trying out his do-gooder creds as an opening line, and I just went cold. I suck at life, though.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:23 AM
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I sort of love it when young people dress slutty.

Why?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:27 AM
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Liquor companies also hire attractive young men to go to bars and pitch their products. Usually, they bring young hot women with them too.

Clubs do this all the time.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:29 AM
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I dunno. Young people have pretty bodies, and if they want attention, they're welcome to it. Less for me!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:29 AM
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It isn't a sign of getting older; I've been disapproving of skimpy outfits since I was 16! There may have been a brief window at about 20-21 when I did not disapprove of high heels and miniskirts, but surely that was an aberration.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:40 AM
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Oh, I'm much more conflicted over it. I project that the girls sense of worth hinges on their sex appeal, and that the pursuit of male validation makes (some of them) completely unhappy. And that the whole game is rigged to funnel girls towards that pursuit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:41 AM
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Hm. 148 might be the better attitude than the one I've discovered in myself lately, which makes me uncomfortable.

On the other hand, a person doesn't have to dress slutty in order to get attention for a pretty body. OR DOES ONE?

Get it while it lasts, ladies and gentlemen, here and now: pretty body! Hear ye, hear ye!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:42 AM
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It's kind of hysterical to take a Manhattan Long Island RailRoad train at about 9 pm on a Friday night, though. The girls are wearing heels higher than anything I ever see native New Yorkers wearing. They just look sort of handicapped, but they're clearly so excited and proud about their dress-up clothes.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:44 AM
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Manhattan-bound, I mean.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:44 AM
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150 is often true, but it's a systemic problem, not something worth hating some chick in a bar for. (Don't hate the player; hate the game?) I'll cop to being totally hateful toward someone who is behaving in a hateful way, but I think it's harder to tell based on clothing than one might think.

151.last is my guess about skimpy clothing. It just says "I am cool with you staring at my butt." It doesn't excuse rape or harassment, of course. But it does say that the wearer is not going to be freaked out if you don't maintain eye contact.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:50 AM
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Pretend 151.2 was grammatically correct.

For 150: Right. And that's not particularly new. What I think I've been suggesting might be new(ish) is that young women don't consider advertising themselves as sexual objects very problematic.

I'm really just rehearsing the arguments between second- and third-wave feminists, and then post-feminists (whatever that is, exactly).


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:52 AM
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152: I've even seen that on the F coming from south Brooklyn. Five girls in vagina-length skin-tight dresses and 8-inch heels. There's always one girl with them who is wearing something in a muted color and looks more comfortable.

JM, were you on the PATH with me and Bave that night at 2am when those girls in what appeared to be fetish gear, but wasn't, got on to head into the city? That freaked me out a little because I was trying to figure out whom they were trying to pick up. At 2am the pickings start to get really slim and really drunk.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:54 AM
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My brother did the give-cigarettes-away-in-bars thing for awhile. Apparently, the money was pretty good, and he was a good employee as he doesn't drink (and they didn't care if he was high). That gig wasn't about sex appeal, but he was supposed to "buddy up" with everyone. He had to move what seemed like ridiculous amounts per night, too. Something like ten cartons (=100 packs).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:54 AM
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Five girls in vagina-length skin-tight dresses and 8-inch heels.

My friend Jeaneen used to call this "just long enough to cover the tampon string."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:57 AM
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The thing I hate far more than slut gear is child clothing. In a few weeks I'm going back to teaching at a school I haven't been at in a while, and while I like the students, I'd say a third of the girls wear stuff that looks like oversized play rompers for kindergarten girls, all pink and heartsy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:58 AM
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I think so, Bear. I remember thinking that they were setting out on the late side!

The girls coming in from LI tend to be dressed in the kind of stuff you see celebrities photographed wearing in paparazzi shots in People. High, high heels, faux-casual, tons of makeup, big shiny hair, CLEAVAGE OMIGOD. They are on the train for at least an hour to get into the city, and God only knows how they're going to get from Penn Station to wherever they're going in those damned ankle-breaker heels.

I always feel a little bad for them because it's so obvious that they're going to stand out as bridge-and-tunnellers. The door-tenders will be snobbish; the taxis will overcharge them.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:00 PM
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159: This makes me insane. Along with pigtails and 75 of those tiny plastic drugstore barettes. (That's actually the look that @vit@l r0nnel rocks in the Derrida documentary.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:01 PM
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But even my sympathy for these young people is tinged with bitter envy: they're excited! so much to look forward to! So I try to look down on them as yokels to compensate, obviously.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:02 PM
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oversized play rompers for kindergarten girls, all pink and heartsy.

You know who look super-creepy in this? Pregnant women.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:04 PM
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The girls are wearing heels higher than anything I ever see native New Yorkers wearing. They just look sort of handicapped, but they're clearly so excited and proud about their dress-up clothes.

This also perfectly describes Lady Gaga (or her public persona - if you told me that off camera she always wore paint spattered jeans and fruit of the loom Ts, I wouldn't blink). So isn't there an element of emulation here as well as all the rest?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:05 PM
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I think those BnT girls are pretty happy being themselves, and they sort of look down on the bone-thin, make-up-less, untanned Manhattanites, and the T-shirted Brooklynites in comfortable shoes. They don't get why we don't make more of an effort, and I guess we don't because it's easy to take the city for granted. Also, when you live here, you get used to being looked at, all the time, by everyone, and the thrill or feeling of validation wears off around the 20th time someone offers to fuck you while you're in your laundry-day clothes.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:07 PM
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164: Which is why I have little patience for Lady Gaga. I don't care how much she has to say about her art.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:12 PM
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I've mentioned several times here, I think, having seen a show on MTV a while back that followed around three girls from Staten Island. Two of the girls were trying to get jobs in the city and kept getting turned down because they were too tan, wore too much makeup, and had the wrong accent. But one of the girls was really happy to be from SI. She didn't understand why people think Manhattan's so great; everyone there looks unhealthy, they don't take care of their looks, all they care about is career. She wanted to meet a really hot guy--you know, tan, spiky hair, real muscley but with a belly, wears untucked button-down shirts and necklaces. You know, a hot guy.

It was interesting. At the outer-borough college mentioned above, students don't go to Manhattan, like, ever, and have a similar sense of what a "hot guy" is--clean-shaven, lots of hair product, very tan. Most of my male friends who teach there are beardy hipsters, and the students gossip behind their backs about how they really need to get their life together, start taking care of themselves.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:17 PM
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Also, since I've become querulous: when do women stop becoming "girls"?

Seriously.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:22 PM
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High, high heels, faux-casual, tons of makeup, big shiny hair, CLEAVAGE

When will women learn that they needn't bother with anything but the last item.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:24 PM
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Or perhaps it's: when do they stop being "girls"?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:24 PM
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I figure "girls" is self-identifying. I tend to refer to the women at the women's college where I teach as women, because that's how they act, and they want to be taken seriously. I self-identify differently in different situations. Some people are welcome to call me a girl. It's affectionate and playful, and I didn't get much of time to be a girl in that sense when I was little. It's not about being literally childlike as an adult, but it tends, IME, to come from people whose respect I don't covet as much as their love.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:29 PM
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...or maybe, people whose respect I can take for granted? If the d-bag I work with called me a girl I'd punch him in the nuts. But there's something kind of sweet about being called a girl by my friends.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:31 PM
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161: I dunno, I can think of several women over 40 I know who look good in pig tails. Our friend Amy for one. Also, one of the women who teaches Joey's class at the nature center. And a couple profs from Stuffwhitepeople Like University.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:32 PM
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I grew up with 2G feminist friends and I find it awkward to describe anybody past menarche as a "girl". So I've tried to re-train myself into the '"girls" is self-identifying' headspace. But I still find it uncomfortable.

(Now that I'm officially old, I can comfortably describe anybody 40 years younger than me as a girl or a boy without hesitation.)


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:37 PM
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171 is fair. Okay. I have a quibble about it, obviously, but that is a fair answer.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:39 PM
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I can comfortably describe anybody 40 years younger than me as a girl or a boy without hesitation.

My dad will talk about "that kid they just hired" (for example) and it will be somebody nearly 40.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:40 PM
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I can comfortably describe anybody 40 years younger than me as a girl or a boy without hesitation.

Just be careful if you're ever talking to a black dude in the Southern US.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:43 PM
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I used to have more of a hangup about it. But then I started wondering why I had so very much investment in making sure, at every single second, that everyone was thinking of me as a dignified grown-up intellectual WOMAN. Sometimes it's gratifying to let someone hug and kiss you and call you "my sweet baby girl."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:45 PM
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I sort of love it when young people dress slutty. I really can't pull it off; I hate catcalls and stares, and I despise being hit on at parties and bars.

Is there anyone who both despises being hit on, and can pull off dressing slutty? Part of "pulling it off" is a sense of liberation, confidence, self-actualization perhaps.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:45 PM
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Is there anyone who both despises being hit on, and can pull off dressing slutty?

Yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:46 PM
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Per 174, and this has been discussed here before, yeah: those of us from the 2G (second-wave) feminist generation find "girl" really, really weird, at least for anyone past 17 or so.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:50 PM
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I'm always getting in trouble for calling adult women "scooter".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:53 PM
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Per 174, and this has been discussed here before, yeah: those of us from the 2G (second-wave) feminist generation find "girl" really, really weird, at least for anyone past 17 or so.

With the replacement of "men" by "guys", we can't have women sounding more mature than guys by being called "women". Therefore a new less snooty word has to replace "women". It is usually be "girls" but occasionally it is, which I find surprising, "females".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:57 PM
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Dolls, Ned. Dolls.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:59 PM
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Therefore a new less snooty word has to replace "women". It is usually be "girls" but occasionally it is, which I find surprising, "females" . . . laydeez.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:59 PM
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Part of "pulling it off" is a sense of liberation, confidence, self-actualization perhaps.

I think the "pulling it off" in this case is being willing to be hit on, massively.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:59 PM
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Yeah, I wish it weren't one of those things that makes 2G feminists think younger women are anti-feminist or post-feminist. Part of what we're asking for is not only the right to be respected titans of industry and politics and academia, but also the right to be human beings with feelings and desires. Another big issue for some of us is that all women are human beings, not just the intellectual, powerful, sane, hyperrational ones. I spent way too much of my time worrying about becoming the smartest, most commanding, respectable person I could be. All I ever heard as a kid was that crying is weak, anger is weak, desire is weak. Did that protect me from domestic abuse? Hell no. Did it turn me into someone my parents like? Of course not. It made me into someone completely tortured by the prospect of seeming weak or, god forbid, feminine. Whatever this 2G thing has become (because surely it's evolved in the past 30 years) it's turned into something misogynistic.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 12:59 PM
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"Females" was, apparently, a common term in the late 18th century, that highpoint of gender equality. Fuck that noise.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:00 PM
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I think the "pulling it off" in this case is being willing to be hit on, massively.

Nope.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:01 PM
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This also perfectly describes Lady Gaga (or her public persona - if you told me that off camera she always wore paint spattered jeans and fruit of the loom Ts, I wouldn't blink).

You seriously cannot tell the difference between Lady Gaga's crazed outré fashion and suburban slutwear?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:01 PM
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I will stand with you against "females." Totally gross.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:02 PM
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"Women" is "snooty"!

I declare this blog closed. For repairs.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:03 PM
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I will stand with you against "females." Totally gross.

And how. It makes my teeth itch and my spleen ache.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:03 PM
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183 was not entirely serious. For example, I didn't actually mean "We can't have..." in the sense that I would endorse eradicating the practice by any means necessary.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:06 PM
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What's weirder is dudes who call their girlfriends "the female". Like, "can't come to the bar, got plans with the female." Why not go all the way and call her DESIGNATED COPULATION UNIT PRIME?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:07 PM
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What happened to the days of "the old lady", or even "the ball and chain"? Give some deference to her status as an adult with agency!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:08 PM
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My bitch?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:10 PM
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The ol' battle-ax! Who says women can't kick ass?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:10 PM
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Speaking of heels that their wearers cannot manage comfortably, I would like to report that I can't quite understand why the wardrobe people working on Iron Man 2 kept putting Gwyneth Paltrow in those Louboutins if she was going to teeter around in them like that.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:10 PM
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187. This, for sure. Which is why we have to keep learning. In 196x 'girl' was exclusively patronising and dismissive. And I think that the whole thinking behind 'the personal is political' tried to address women's right to be whoever the fuck they wanted.

I find it appalling that you think this has become misogynistic, but I wonder if it's possible that European women find it less so because the socialist feminist perspective is still (in spite of everything) more visible this side of the water. We do NOT want a generation of people who think that women have to aspire to being Margaret Thatcher or Carly Fiorina.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:11 PM
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To be safe, I'll stick with "brah" for men and "lady-brah" for women.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:14 PM
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"Dude" and "chick-dude" here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:15 PM
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I've become aware that using the word "douchebag" as an insult is a slur against female anatomy. Back to calling douchebags "dicks", I guess.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:16 PM
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201: With special dispensation for some musical artists, who can be "lady-brah-brah"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:16 PM
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204: not in that dress, girl.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:17 PM
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I think the problem in the conversation is that the 2G feminists start by wringing their hands about Ke$ha or whatever, and younger feminists are all "Fuck you, let the girl have her fun. The real problem is [rape culture, abortion laws, physical abuse, homo- and transphobic violence, health care, the effect of the economy on women's choices, etc.], not whatever pearl-clutching hand-wringing symbolic exercise of the moment you're going through." And what the 2G feminists often seem to hear from that is "OMG don't you love Ke$ha's boots? Beer is awesome, and so is getting blackout raped at parties."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:19 PM
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187: Whatever this 2G thing has become (because surely it's evolved in the past 30 years) it's turned into something misogynistic.

AWB, there's a lot packed in to that comment that I don't think is warranted by this thread, anyway. I will say that I'm a 2G feminist, just generationally, and no way, no how, do I support the notions that, as you say, crying is weak, anger is weak, desire is weak.

No way. Those things are coded feminine, which is wrong in the first place, as men experience them as well. They're all fine, normal parts of the human experience. I at least would not be trying to deny them to anyone.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:19 PM
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195: I rather like the sound of that. "I've got the house to myself today, because Designated Copulation Unit Prime has taken Designated Copulation Products Alpha and Beta to the zoo."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:21 PM
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Yeah, all those 2g feminists are totally old and out of touch. Let's face it—that's not very many gs.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:22 PM
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I like beer. Because I'm third wave.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:22 PM
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206 is right on. I've seldom seen it stated so well.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:22 PM
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I think the problem in the conversation is that the 2G feminists start by wringing their hands about Ke$ha or whatever, and younger feminists are all "Fuck you, let the girl have her fun. The real problem is [rape culture, abortion laws, physical abuse, homo- and transphobic violence, health care, the effect of the economy on women's choices, etc.], not whatever pearl-clutching hand-wringing symbolic exercise of the moment you're going through." And what the 2G feminists often seem to hear from that is "OMG don't you love Ke$ha's boots? Beer is awesome, and so is getting blackout raped at parties."

There's also the problem that in any such dialogue, a lot of people, because of their vestigial sense of manners, will be opposed to the side that starts addressing the other side with "Fuck you".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:23 PM
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What's weirder is dudes who call their girlfriends "the female". Like, "can't come to the bar, got plans with the female." Why not go all the way and call her DESIGNATED COPULATION UNIT PRIME?

I don't see that this is any stranger than "herself".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:26 PM
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"Fuck you"

Gotta call 'em something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:27 PM
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It's what I say to about half the posts on Sociological Images. It can be a great blog, but most of the time, it's like, good Christ, don't you ladies have anything more important to worry about than whether you disapprove of some young woman's life choices?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:27 PM
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206=yes. (Add to that, "They voted for Obama because they want him to be their abusive boyfriend.")


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:28 PM
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214: Gotta call 'em something.

Vestigial virgins.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:29 PM
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216 confuses me. Whose description of who else is that supposed to be an unfair caricature of?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:30 PM
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218: Sorry -- it was a more-common-than-one-would-like subject for 2G women during the 2008 campaign to write that 3G women supported Obama because he was cute they had daddy issues.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:33 PM
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210: For the record, it was the first generation feminists who were prohibitionists. Feminists have been allowed to like beer since at least the publication of The Second Sex.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:38 PM
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Sure, beer, but appletinis?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:40 PM
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I see that the standard characterization of 2G women does not match my own understanding.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:41 PM
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220: In America, this is true. American feminism of the 1880's and 1890's took a very different form from the New Woman stuff in England.

I know Frances Willard wouldn't like me very much, but since she's not alive to call me a drunken slut, I can admire her.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:41 PM
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I promise I'm not trying to pick on you, parsi; I guess I just feel the need to stand up for the rights of young women to wear slutty clothes and crave attention and validation. I don't think that my terror of attention and validation has served me very well.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:46 PM
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224: Likewise, I feel the need to stand up for the rights of older women to fully agree that rape culture, abortion laws, physical abuse, homo- and transphobic violence, health care, the effect of the economy on women's choices, etc., are indeed extraordinarily important.

Don't worry about picking on me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:53 PM
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I don't see that this is any stranger than "herself".

Doesn't herself have a name?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:55 PM
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PRONOUNS ARE EVER AND EVERYWHERE DEMEANING

GRANNY


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 1:59 PM
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227: Opinionated Oudemia's Mum: Who's this "she"?!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:02 PM
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228. My opinionated mother's version was, "Who's she? The cat's mother?"


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:08 PM
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|| No more masturbating to Ronnie James Dio. |>


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:14 PM
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Nobody bleeds for the dancer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:18 PM
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138: Forties? My youngest is about to hit forty and isn't liking it much. She and her cohort refer to each other as "girls" and don the super-slut outfits for nights on the town. However, that town isn't on either coast and might well be caught in one of those space-time anomalies so beloved of Star Trek writers. I'll have to ask her about this.

You might well be right; I think I was more judgmental about that sort of thing in my forties and fifties and now I'm mostly amused by how important all of this stuff is to the people involved with it. Getting older does have some positives, there's a great deal to be amused by.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:28 PM
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Things that are annoying:

1. Hearing a woman over 16 be referred to as a "girl." This has made me angry for at least, oh, 20 years. I understand that some people like and feel comfortable with this as a self-reference, and in really small social groups where it's universally embraced, it doesn't bother me.

But everywhere else in the world I hate it, and I especially hate being told I am overreacting. My preferred conversation-ender is to raise my eyebrows and say "Would you refer to [man's name] as a boy?" This works regardless of the races involved, if by "works" you mean "establishes me as a humorless person."

2. Spending disproportionately more time on vocabulary and rhetoric rather than effects. I don't complain to restaurants that have tacky, sexist bathroom-name designations. It's not a good use of time. (Although maybe now I should link Safe2Pee.)

3. Being the youngest person in a group of people who laugh heartily when a principal explains that the way she got 2,000 students to meet the class-selection deadline was to get on the loudspeaker and tell them that if they didn't choose their classes, the boys would all be automatically enrolled in ballet, and the girls in weight training. Ha HA! Isn't that hilarious! And depressing, when you are in a group of supposedly liberal people who are presently on a supposedly progressive mission. Bah.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:36 PM
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But everywhere else in the world I hate it, and I especially hate being told I am overreacting. My preferred conversation-ender is to raise my eyebrows and say "Would you refer to [man's name] as a boy?" This works regardless of the races involved, if by "works" you mean "establishes me as a humorless person.".

Not "boy". "Guy".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:37 PM
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I can think of several grown men I've called boys. But this is different from the annoying situation of hearing someone refer to a grown person as "girl" like "that girl who works in the office" or "that girl who teaches Renaissance poetry."

I do tend to think of some of my male students as boys. They're like 18 and barely have facial hair.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:42 PM
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I use "guy" as a not-entirely-gender-neutral term for both genders, *IF* I am in a group of people I know well enough. This is an imperfect solution.

And I reject the idea that "guy" is the natural opposite to the world "girl." It's *an* opposite, but so is "boy." Saying that just gives cover to the people who want to use "girl" in a demeaning way.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:42 PM
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Clearly the natural opposite of "guy" is "gal."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:43 PM
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...galz.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:44 PM
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And I reject the idea that "guy" is the natural opposite to the world "girl."

Context context context. Certainly, 'girl' is sometimes used offensively. But there are lots of words that are offensive in some contexts and not in others.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:45 PM
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This song, for example, is probably not actually about sexual fantasies about infant children.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:50 PM
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Wow, that song could do with about 100% less Sean Paul. Ugh.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:53 PM
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Yes, I don't disagree with 239. It's more about my 233.2. -- having a global rule such as "Err on the side of NOT using 'girl'" is a timesaver that allows for focus on things that have an even greater impact on people's lives.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 2:54 PM
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182 is good. Or bad. Anyway, funny.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 3:03 PM
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Being brought up by a 2G feminist mother I've never been comfortable using 'girl' of adult women, but I know lots of adult women who happily apply the term to themselves. The one that used to bother me but now I tune it out is female friends who talk about 'boys'. That was a new one on me when I went to university and it took a while to get used to. Even at 21 it seemed infantile.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 3:34 PM
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"girl" is like the n-word. Its different when they call themselves that.

I had a thought while mowing the lawn. I take it that the last gasp of second wave feminism was the McDworkinite anti-pornography campaign of the 80s. (The first gasp of third wave feminism was thus the Riot Grrl movement of the early 90s).

Now one of the more interesting elements of the 80s anti-porn movement was an effort to form a coalition between feminists and conservative Christians on the pornography issue. This effort was doomed to fail for all sorts of reasons, but one factor was probably just the polarization of American politics in general. These days, it is almost unheard of to see someone liberal on some issues and conservative on others. So (t take an example I heard on the radio yesterday) if you know a person's position on, say, off-shore oil drilling, you also have a good sense of their position on gay rights, even though these issues have nothing to do with each other.

So here's the hypothesis: The polarization of American politics was one factor that ended the second wave of feminism.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 3:52 PM
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The first gasp of third wave feminism was thus the Riot Grrl movement of the early 90s.

I thought the first gasp of third-wave feminism was all the feminists that opposed the McKinnon/Dworkin anti-pr0n crusade. Who were right, incidentally, when they said that it would just give the state ammo to come after queer culture.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 3:59 PM
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re: 245

Possibly, but that'd be very specifically American, I suppose. I used to work for a religious college in Oxford, in a non-academic job, and it'd be quite common for people I spoke to there to have quite conservative views on Christian doctrine, fairly socially conservative views on abortion and some other issues, and quite strongly anti-imperialist and pro-egalitarian views on foreign policy and economics.* So that sort of liberal/conservative hybrid is alive and well elsewhere.

* not that it should really be that shocking, given what's actually _in_ the New Testament ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 4:01 PM
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Yeah, there was more overlap than I was acknowledging.

Also, IIRC, only the McKinnon part of the McKinnon/Dworkin crusade favored empowering the state.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 4:04 PM
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248: I might be totally wrong, but I thought they worked together with Canadian parliament on an anti-pr0n law that passed? And then the cops started intercepting shipments to gay bookstores.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 4:11 PM
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Around that time, our church put up a bunch of Stop Pornography posters with haunting pictures of terrified-looking girl-children peering at the camera from some dark room, possibly a basement dungeon.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 4:14 PM
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No, McKinnon worked on that solo, and it led to Dworkin's books being seized at the border, so she wasn't quite being hoisted by her own petard. I remember there was some discussion of this when Dworkin passed away.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 4:15 PM
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250: Like those c. 1992 Calvin Klein ads!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 4:17 PM
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ttaM at 244: Being brought up by a 2G feminist mother

Funny, I think of you as being not an awful lot younger than I am, but child-birthing ages do range enough that I guess I can still be 2G even though I'm too young to have been your mother.

Which is to say that throughout this conversation I've been aware that I'm right on the cusp of second- and third-wave feminism. As with questions of being part of the baby boom, where I'm also right at the end, I just wound up with sensibilities aligned toward the previous age.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 4:42 PM
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I just realized that my underpants are labeled Girl underpants, despite the fact that I do not wear a Girl size. I thought Girl was a technical term in clothing sizes? I am a Girl 3?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 4:56 PM
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You'll always be a Girl 1 in my heart, AWB.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:00 PM
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They are from American Apparel, so I might in fact have never been a Real Feminist at all.

Thank you, nosflow, dear baby boy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:03 PM
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English just needs an equivalent to the Polish 'dziewczyna' for a person of the XX persuasion from around their mid/late teens through mid/late twenties. The word for 'girl' is 'dziewczynka', a diminutive of 'dziewczyna'.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:10 PM
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I propose we just borrow the Polish word "dziewczyna."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:12 PM
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NeB! You two-timing bastard! You told me *I* was Girl 1! [*sob*!]


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:16 PM
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Because my life needs more unpronouncable consonant clusters?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:17 PM
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I think of "girl" as very context-specific. Probably most of the "girls" on the train would be "women" in their jobs.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:17 PM
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So what would the hyper-foreign version (it's pronounced more or less 'djevchina')


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:17 PM
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The dziewczynas got teraz!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:21 PM
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262: What, oh non-hyper-foreigner, is the way to pronounce 'dj?'


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:21 PM
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Like the j in jam only with a little bit more d in front of it.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:25 PM
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Once I was an undergraduate trying to decide if I should take a different language in college. Some wise drunk said, "Stick with Spanish because all the sounds make sense."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:28 PM
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266: And then you said, "Mom, I'm fine! Go back home."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:30 PM
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Yes, but briefly, I was semi-fluent in Spanish.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:31 PM
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You should have learned Polish. It's pronounced just the way it's spelled and has a regular stress system. Plus it's so useful.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:35 PM
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269: Spanish is also pronounced the way it is spelled and it doesn't have 'dj' in it. I've been trying to say that, but I cannot stop myself from putting a vowel in between.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:38 PM
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I cannot stop myself from putting a vowel in between.

Try just pronouncing it like j.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:40 PM
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Spanish is also pronounced the way it is spelled and it doesn't have 'dj' in it.

Not true. "DJ" in Spanish is pronounced "dee-yay" and refers to a person who spins records.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:41 PM
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271: That I can handle. Just like "knight" except with different letters.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:42 PM
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I don't know enough about Polish to know if it has any sound that's spelled "dj" but if I'm reading him correctly I believe teraz was using that to explain how to pronounce "dzi."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:43 PM
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That is, "dziewchyna" is apparently pronounced something like "jevchina."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 5:43 PM
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re: 253

I don't know how old you are, but I was born in the (early) 70s. My mum was only 18, though, so there is that birth-age thing going on. We always had various 'women's movement' books on the shelf growing up, although I suppose more fiction (The Women's Room, etc), than theory.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 6:00 PM
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The Women's Room

I can vividly recall this book's cover. The Ladies' Women's Room.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 6:07 PM
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276: That makes your mum about 10 years older than me, maybe a bit more. It's just sometimes surprising to me that I identify more with the previous generation than I do with my own. Except. That I'm in an in-between generation in the first place, having been born in 1964.

Pretty much all the people I know who are my age (mid-forties) identify more with their older age bracket than with their younger. That may be selection bias on my part, but I'm not sure: there's a noticeable difference from friends who are a mere 5 years or so younger.

Anyway. This doesn't really generalize, and is of limited interest. It's something that happened for those of us born around that time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 6:23 PM
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I'll add that my own mum was born in 1938. She didn't have The Women's Room lying around. But I'm realizing, yeah, I actually had a second mum, who was more my spiritual mother, who I think must have encouraged these 2G sensibilities in me (though I'm sad to know that they're so deprecated). I didn't get them from my own nuclear family, anyway.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 6:42 PM
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245

... These days, it is almost unheard of to see someone liberal on some issues and conservative on others. ...

This is only true for committed partisans who feel compelled to toe the party line. Lots of people have split views but they tend to be less politically active (and hence less noticeable) in part because neither party represents them very well.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 7:04 PM
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244: but I know lots of adult women who happily apply the term to themselves

You know what Has To Stop? Right Now? This twee custom of young women hailing each other, especially on the internet, but also in person, with the phrase "Hey lady". Is there a Polish word for "being raised in a 1.5G feminist household, hearing that phrase makes me throw up in my mouth a little"? Because their ought to be.

That's no lady, that's my wife!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 7:28 PM
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Lots of people have split views but they tend to be less politically active (and hence less noticeable) in part because neither party represents them very well.

This is somewhat true, and somewhat not true, in my experience. There are people with split views on small or medium-sized issues, but the definition of "small" has shrunk. Issues that used to be one of a palatte of someone's beliefs have definitely gotten more polarized over the past 10 years.

Veterans' healthcare, gambling, K-12 textbooks, affordable housing, CHIP, immigration -- it's not that these issues didn't have staunch partisans a decade ago, but as rob says above, it didn't used to be so reliably possible to predict someone's stance on a whole host of unrelated issues based on a single opinion. These days I get a copy of the Fisher House newsletter in the mail, and in addition to pages of highlights about wounded soldiers and their families, there's a piece on Sarah Palin.

In other news, it turns out that if you try to make black-bean salad without a key ingredient, you can substitute celery and sunflower seeds and it turns out just fine.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 7:39 PM
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"Hey lady" doesn't really set off anything in particular for me. The general hail along those lines ("Hey girl!" or "Hey girlfriend!") is a cultural thing that I don't do myself, but I don't have any throwing up in my mouth about it.

? Is there a reference I'm missing?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 7:43 PM
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This twee custom of young women hailing each other, especially on the internet, but also in person, with the phrase "Hey lady".

I do this.* Probably more in person or on the phone than on the internet. Is the tweeness you perceive in the delivery or in the words themselves?

*Except for with my sister; we've adopted the semi-ironic "Yo bitch."


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 7:49 PM
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282.last: Sunflower seeds do for a lot of things! I just threw a handful in taboulli, which is actually not taboulli but grain salad (bulghur wheat) with garlic, red onions, red and yellow peppers, yellow squash, um, tomatoes and cucumbers and feta cheese. This was pretty much everything fresh in the house. Tossed in a vinaigrette. A handful of sunflower seeds improves matters.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 7:57 PM
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I don't complain to restaurants that have tacky, sexist bathroom-name designations

Which reminds me of a place in Montana, I can't remember where, with bathrooms labeled 'pistols' and 'holsters'.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:12 PM
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In other news, it turns out that if you try to make black-bean salad without a key ingredient, you can substitute celery and sunflower seeds and it turns out just fine.

Unless the key ingredient is … black beans!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:16 PM
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There is a raw food vegan joint in NYC that designates mens' and women's rooms with, I think, a cucumber and a tomato. This doesn't seem like parallel structure to me.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:16 PM
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When I open a bar the restrooms will be indicated by a graceful painting of a sunset and a photograph of an alert Meerkat, respectively.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:21 PM
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286: I can remember long ago once place had "De-Cockus" and "De-Bush." (Neb, I'm merely a conduit for this spelling.)

I can also remember, in what is my closest pass to a guest spot on Benny Hill, using the (otherwise empty) women's restroom at a bar because the men's door was open and blocked the 'Wo'.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:23 PM
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281 I use the word lady all the time in spite of having a feminist mom, but perhaps because of growing up speaking Polish, where the word for lady (pani) is also 'Ms/Mrs' and the formal 'you' for a woman. I also use 'sir' and ma'am when speaking to complete strangers, e.g. in a store. Would it surprise if I said that I miss having a polite/informal distinction in English?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:26 PM
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290: In the case of the cuke and the tomato, I think I went in the wrong one, because they just seemed like random pix to me. But they were both single occupant bathrooms, so it didn't much matter.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:26 PM
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Two bathrooms, one unmarked, one marked with "IT'S MOLE!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:28 PM
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When I open a bar the restrooms will be single-occupancy, but the doors will still be adorned with confusing sigils having no obvious relation to gender even when both are present as contrasts. Such as … a mug and an old-fashioned glass.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:28 PM
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On one a speaker cabinet, on the other headphones.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:29 PM
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294: How about a screw and a nail?

Or a beaver and a cat?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:30 PM
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I'm guessing that the ingredient Witt was missing from the black bean salad was corn. Not to go all Standpipe on everyone, but I admit I was thinking about it.

mens' and women's rooms with, I think, a cucumber and a tomato. This doesn't seem like parallel structure to me

No.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:30 PM
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Not Kobe! and Mutombo!?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:30 PM
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294 hella pwned by 289.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:30 PM
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On one, a piece of buttered toast. On the other, a knife.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:31 PM
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Kettlebells and dumbbells.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:31 PM
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Orphans and layabouts.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:31 PM
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294 hella pwned by 289.

s/pwn/inspir/

If I saw the alert meerkat and a setting sun, I would have no doubt which was for women and which for men.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:32 PM
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300: That one's no good.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:35 PM
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You could have pointed that out, teo, without recourse to sub-par internet comics.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:36 PM
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An apple and an orange.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:37 PM
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"Hey lady"

Is this delivered in full Jerry Lewis mode?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:37 PM
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On one, two dollars. On the other, three dollars.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:37 PM
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A blue ♀, and a pink ♂. With eyelashes.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:39 PM
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On one, a stapler, on the other, a staple remover.

On one, a file folder, on the other, a stack of papers.

(You can tell I'm at a desk.)

On one, a pair of socks. On the other, a pair of feet.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:39 PM
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On one, a two-dollar bill; on the other, two one-dollar bills.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:39 PM
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On one a differential equation. On the other a poem.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:39 PM
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311: nice.

On one, the front of a truck. On the other, the back of a truck.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:40 PM
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OK, I think 309 is a really good idea. If I ever own two bathrooms those signs will be going on them.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:41 PM
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On one, a file folder, on the other, a stack of papers.

On one, a pair of socks. On the other, a pair of feet.

Nothing suggesting a thing-to-be-inserted/thing-to-be-inserted-into pair will really be adequately cnfusing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:41 PM
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An Ewok and a Wookiie!*

How is this spelled? I remember it is complicated.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:42 PM
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315 was edited to remove unbearable pretentiosity, but not to correct spelling.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:43 PM
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Wookiee, apparently.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:43 PM
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to remove unbearable pretentiosity

Actually to remove an error.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:45 PM
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There has to be a bar that has already done a zombie and a ninja.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:46 PM
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319: Inconcievable!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:47 PM
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oudemia might remember the sea food restaurant in Annapolis that had the bathrooms marked "Inboard" and "Outboard."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:47 PM
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In Cleveland, the Leather Stallion bar has the women's restroom sign over the exit. Haw haw.

No, really. If I had to pee, I had to ask the strippers if I could share their dressing room.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:48 PM
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An apple and an orange.

Actually, this wins. Though this: On one a speaker cabinet, on the other headphones was what initially intrigued me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:49 PM
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309: I cannot be the only person who can never remember this. I've tried mneumonics, even.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:53 PM
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Of course, if you actually tried something like this, you'd just have a bunch of angry patrons.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:53 PM
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"Hey lady" doesn't really set off anything in particular for me.

It makes me think of Jerry Lewis.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:54 PM
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284: What really irritates me is that the "Hey lady!" meme has been picked up by lots of women that I respect, who are clearly using it with a high degree of irony, although not, I think, with regard to its tweeness, if that makes sense.

It's not the Jerry Lewis "Hey lady!" which would be totally cool. It's like the "-ey" is extended just a bit, while the "L-" is sort of sharpened. Very occasionally it is offered as "Hey, pretty lady", with the sense (I think) that it's serving as a foreshortened "OMG, that skirt is sooo cute on you!"

Parsimon: you may not have encountered it if you don't spend a lot of time around 25-35 y.o. educated, middle-class white women. While I have seen it used (rather self-consciously) to hail a trans woman, it's very much limited (in my social circles) to the demographic delineated above.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:55 PM
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305: I am aware.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:55 PM
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326: Right, but they'd be angry at something you could fix easily.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:56 PM
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325: maybe the extra "u" in there is fucking with your system.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:56 PM
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I can't for the life of me figure out what has Natilo bothered.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:57 PM
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Witt has a hydraulic memory.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:57 PM
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325: You're not. Is "mneumonics" supposed to be like mental pictures? So wait. The arrow is for the penis? And the cross is for the vagina? I don't know, it seems arbitrary, and I may have it backwards.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:58 PM
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Early-to mid-70s, in an old-school lesbian bar, the facilities were indicated: Ladies and Women. The room marked Ladies had hairspray and perfume by the wash basins, the room named Women did not.


Posted by: Abigail Adams | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 8:59 PM
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At work, our non-gender-specific bathrooms are marked "Most/y S!t (sta//s)" and "Stand or S!t (sta//s and ur!na/s)"

I like to refer to the process that ensues when a new patron has to choose between the two as "restroom roulette". Occasionally, the staff will try to wind up (or, might we not say: "take the piss") annoying patrons by being deliberately unhelpful when they are trying to figure out which is which. I do not support this behavior, but I guess it is sorta defensible.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:00 PM
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"mnemonics", parsley. We are familiar with them. It is true, the one that rises up and points is for dudes (though it does not represent the penis). They derive from astronomical symbols for Mars (men) and Venus (women).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:00 PM
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334: Women give birth, so they get the plus sign. Men shoot people, so they get an arrow. (Actually, Wiki says it has to do with Venus and Mars, so the arrow reasoning is basically accurate.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:00 PM
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the room named Women did not.

Of course not. The women would bring their own favored scents.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:01 PM
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pwned for double-checking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:02 PM
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332 gets it right. I wonder if this horrible poem can do anything to explain it.

I associate 25- to 35-year-old women using the word "lady" a lot with the rrriot grrrl movement and bisexual hipsters in general. E.g. Mr. Lady Records and that Bratmobile album.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:02 PM
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340: Yes. I know. Sorry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:02 PM
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332: Mostly the tweeness, also partly the unnecessary reliance on the word "lady".


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:03 PM
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337: I was being polite. I wasn't sure if Witt was referring to something spelled differently that I hadn't heard of.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:03 PM
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Context is a bitch.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:04 PM
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343: still baffled.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:05 PM
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341: that is surprisingly horrible.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:06 PM
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340: Nope, not from riot grrrl. Just the opposite. Mostly people who are only vaguely political. Mostly straight.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:06 PM
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I could swear there was some compound word starting with "Lady" that was associated with Kill Rock Stars somehow. But all I can think of is "Ladycore" and that's not it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:09 PM
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The word "lady" should be spoken like the Commodores. You could say it like "Lady! (You bring me up)" or like "(Three times a) Laaaady."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:09 PM
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The Mars and Venus symbols apparently represent a shield/spear and and mirror, respectively.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:09 PM
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Vaguely related: Condom ad in run-up to a Brazil-Argentina soccer match. Rejoinder from Brazil after they won.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:10 PM
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Fuck, that was to 341.

Here's the thing, it doesn't seem to be about foregrounding gendered expressions to undermine their power or something like that. It's about reclaiming the unreclaimable. Like shooting yourself in the head before the cops can do it for you. Interpellating people in this really unpleasant way that often seems to be about building solidarity around the very fact that you aren't in solidarity with the person hailed. But unconsciously. It's like ideology, basically. A camera obscura. Free Mumia!*

*With one of equal or greater value.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:11 PM
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352: there were a lot of those, I thought?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:11 PM
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346 to 353.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:12 PM
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Free Mumia!*

You got that from the horrible poem, didn't you.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:13 PM
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352: Could be. But if so, I was not aware (and am not sure how broadly or narrowly to interpret "those").


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:15 PM
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#349. Maybe you're thinking of Le Tigre's "From the desk of Mr. Lady."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:16 PM
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Yes, but I was already familiar with the phrase from other contexts. And the addendum is or was a common graffito in Philly, according to my sources.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:16 PM
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Now we move on to Topic Two.

Outside of social contexts, would a woman rather be addressed in the vocative, in private, by a lover, as "lady", "woman", or "girl"? "Woman" codes low-SES, as Parenthetical would say. "Lady" could be all right but this horrible poem shows us how it can go badly, badly wrong. I think none is the correct answer, but "Girl" could be the choice as long as it doesn't become habitual.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:21 PM
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What makes "lady" unreclaimable?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:22 PM
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360: I stick with "Pony".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:22 PM
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363

The answer is "babe".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:22 PM
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Or "honeybunch".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:24 PM
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No, I want to limit it to those three options, as they are not in any way complimentary, merely neutral descriptors that could be used dispassionately in the third person, and see if any of them are acceptable. Not "babydoll" or "dollface" or "dream-rabbit" or anything like that.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:26 PM
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I think it's either "Darlin'" or "Liebchen."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:27 PM
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"Girl" codes as Smoove B.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:28 PM
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"my dearest little cola-war."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:28 PM
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Ned should use "Ma'am".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:28 PM
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Yes, the answer is "babe" or "honey" or "sweetheart".

I'm pretty bummed out to hear that "Free Mumia" is now deprecated or has been thrown to the winds. Not that I run around saying it, because I'm not well versed about Mumia, but it was an honored thing, I thought.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:29 PM
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Ned should use "Ma'am".

Only if his lover is married, though.

Best to stick with "Ms.".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:30 PM
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Or "Mistress," depending.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:31 PM
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Unbelievable. I knew that looked wrong. Standards are slipping around here. People used to be a lot more mean about spelling errors.

360: To quote Blume: context, context, context. If the relationship is on solid footing, the endearments or pet names basically don't matter -- which is to say, it's highly specific to the couple, and one person's preferences might change in a different relationship.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:35 PM
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In some contexts it might even be appropriate for the womgirlady's lover to address her by her name.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:36 PM
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370: It's a Philly thing, as I understand it. A commentary on the [attempted] cooptation of the Free Mumia movement by various demagogic factions. Most of the people who would get the joke nationally are staunch supporters of Mumia.

Here in Mpls. I saw a "Free Chairman Gonzalo"*
"*With any purchase" set of graffiti back in the early 1990s, but that was clearly anarchist vs. statist-communist stuff. Back then we had multiple alphabet-soup communist groups, so it could have been Trots vs. Stalinists or Maoists (although the Stalinists were mostly too old for graffiti at that point, and now they are mostly too dead.)


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:38 PM
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Speaking of ladies, I spent a very silly half hour yesterday trying to track down a suggestion that Margaret Thatcher had been some sort of sex object at some point. The only thing I could really come up with after a bunch of googling was that it must have had to do with spanking.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:40 PM
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374: Indeed, I don't see any reason to do otherwise. But then I basically never use any sort of vocative expression.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:43 PM
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I'm partial to being called "sweets".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:43 PM
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Free Bob Avakian!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:43 PM
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375: Hm. I guess it doesn't surprise me that there'd be an attempted cooptation. Thanks for mentioning it, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:44 PM
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And then I found five dollars.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:44 PM
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363, 364: Honeybabe.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:44 PM
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378, 381: You too!! Sinking to neb's level.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:45 PM
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But then I basically never use any sort of vocative expression.

You know that when you address someone by h/h name, that's a vocative expression, right?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:45 PM
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In some contexts it might even be appropriate for the womgirlady's lover to address her by her name

I've dated more than one girl who did not want to be addressed by name.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:47 PM
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Or maybe you have some fancypants criterion for what counts as a vocative expression. It would figure.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:47 PM
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When "Free Mumia" is a total non sequitur it deserves to be greeted with another non sequitur.

I try to address people vocatively more than I naturally would. If everyone did that, then the necessary establishing scenes in which movie characters have to start each sentence with "Tom, " or "Annabel, " or "Sis, ", so the audience knows who they are, wouldn't seem so forced.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:47 PM
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When freeing Mumia is a non sequitur, only non sequiturs will free Mumia.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:50 PM
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Free Bob Avakian!

Free Willy!


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:50 PM
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You know that when you address someone by h/h name, that's a vocative expression, right?

I do.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:51 PM
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385: Because if you learn her real name, she has to give her baby to the dwarf that taught her to make gold? Or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:53 PM
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So you encounter people blurting out "Free Mumia" at odd moments, willy-nilly, with some frequency? Well, that would become perplexing after a while.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:53 PM
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Free Willy! Said the actress to the bishop.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 9:53 PM
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Because if you learn her real name, she has to give her baby to the dwarf that taught her to make gold?

Heh. No. But I gather some people just don't like hearing their names said out loud.

In a different vein, I shy away from saying eekbeat's name, which is close to "Erica", because she and I have different pronunciations of the Mary/marry/merry vowels, discussed heavily here before.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:02 PM
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But I gather some people just don't like hearing their names said out loud.

Try shouting. And draw a sharp breath between each syllable.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:09 PM
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349:
The "Ladyfest" series of concerts is I think what you're thinking of.

I've used "boyo" from time to time and kept hoping that it would somehow catch on, but no luck.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:14 PM
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Hard to do for people with one-syllable names, though. You've got one shot to get the pronunciation right, and that's it.

While what Stanley's saying is strange on the face of it, I've known at least one man whose one-syllable name I had to work on, along the lines of the Mary/merry/marry distinction. He didn't seem terribly concerned about it, however, so I didn't stop calling him by name.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:20 PM
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398

Some people just don't know how to pronounce their names.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:22 PM
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399

397 to 395.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:23 PM
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400

398: I had that very problem with my last name. Apparently, I say the last vowel wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:25 PM
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401

I've used "boyo"

"Boyo" means, more or less, "penis" to some Spanish speakers.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:27 PM
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402

Everything means penis in some language. I've stopped caring.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:28 PM
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While what Stanley's saying is strange on the face of it

Nothing strange. I just say her name "wrongly" all the time, we have a laugh, and move on.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:30 PM
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Oy. I thought my middle name, Dean, was "Ding" right up until the day I scratched it out for an assignment in elementary school. Never going to live down that nickname.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:30 PM
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Hard to do for people with one-syllable names, though. You've got one shot to get the pronunciation right, and that's it.

For a while I dated someone with a one-syllable name who preferred to be known by a distorted version of it since most native English speakers couldn't pronounce it properly. On occasion I made attempts to pronounce the actual name, but she would make fun of me until I stopped.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:33 PM
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And 398 reminds me that I have known a Ben who, having a certain sort of rural southern-ish accent, pronounced his name something like "Bee-uhn".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:36 PM
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The linked piece in 398 is quite funny. (That is my formal way of saying that I've laughed, out loud, even.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 10:36 PM
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408

Everything means penis in some language.

Refrain from using the Italian toast "cin cin" in the presence of Japanese speakers.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:46 PM
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409

"Aziz" is the Navajo term. My dad used to remark on this whenever Tariq Aziz was in the news.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-16-10 11:58 PM
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410

360: Lady, you fuck like a riot at a British soccer match

WE CANNOT UNREAD THIS.

(Meanwhile, a point about Lady Gaga. So I was in this club in Barcelona, with some Israeli software developers, and everyone's getting into what sounds like an OK-ish mid 90s commercial house track - the sort of thing a very average Leeds DJ of that era would have at the front of their record bag for emergency use. Imagine my surprise to find out that *that's her - this is what the fuss is about*.)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 1:01 AM
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re: 410

Yeah, musically she's not interesting at all. It's catchy dance pop, that's all. The interest is all in the visuals.

As, I think, oudemia said before, she's wearing Roisin Murphy as a suit. Only isn't even a fraction as interesting musically.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 1:15 AM
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Clearly the natural opposite of "guy" is "gal."

Nah, "doll".


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 1:18 AM
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Roisin Murphy. Yes. Good point...


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 1:51 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZkudjJU2UE

Case in point -- this is 10 years old. As is this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwmoMaB6VWc


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 2:03 AM
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By contrast, several people who ought to know better, punching below their weight:

http://vodpod.com/watch/3613157-watch-lady-gaga-elton-john-bruce-springsteen-shirley-bassey-deborah-harry-and-sting-cover-dont-stop-believin?u=towleroad&c=modurbanmedia


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 2:27 AM
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Things to Make and Do is such an unexpectedly *now* title as well. Sheffield - 10 years ahead of the world, for good or ill, as always.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 3:56 AM
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re: 416

After I read Simon Reynolds Rip it Up, I started tracking down some of the 1970s Sheffield stuff on Spotify and elsewhere. It still sounds ahead of the game, nearly 30 years later.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 3:57 AM
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Oh yes, and there's live.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 4:13 AM
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#417. Amen to that. I hunted out that stuff as best I could as a teen in the suburban American south and at the time I imagined the UK as this sort of grim, hip, place where people were making music of the future! on every corner. After I read Reynolds' book (shamelessly mangled in the American edition), I started hunting it out all over again and it still sounds like the future, a weirdly retro future that I can remember.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 6:47 AM
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The Todd Terry remix of "Pure Pleasure Seeker" is so fantastic. I salute any DJ that still has that in their "record" "bag".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 6:53 AM
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Speaking of remixes, Matthew Herbert's remix of Gabriela Cilmi's not-very-interesting Sweet About Me is an absolute blinder.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 7:18 AM
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Oops, I meant Todd Edwards. Too many Todds in dance music.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 7:19 AM
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But "Too Many Todds" sounds like a terrible dude-pop band.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 7:21 AM
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423: better than Better Than Ezra.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 7:23 AM
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This:

http://open.spotify.com/track/3gJuXVZ6eGN2e9fw2PVxLr

for people with Spotify.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 7:28 AM
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291
281 I use the word lady all the time in spite of having a feminist mom, but perhaps because of growing up speaking Polish, where the word for lady (pani) is also 'Ms/Mrs' and the formal 'you' for a woman... Would it surprise if I said that I miss having a polite/informal distinction in English?

It wouldn't surprise me. I don't share this attitude, but I understand it because French is apparently like Polish in this way. "Madame" (standard formal term for an adult woman) equals, literally, "my lady", like something from the Middle Ages. "Mademoiselle" (old-fashioned, but I don't think it's so archaic that it wasn't used in the 20th century, formal term for a young lady, probably teens or maybe early twenties and unmarried) equals, literally, "my damsel", exactly like something really straight from the Middle Ages. "Monsieur" (identical in usage to "mister") equals "my sir".

I don't mind the lack of a polite/informal distinction in English, but I would like a plural/singular and/or masculine/feminine distinction in pronouns. The closest thing English has seems to be "you" versus "y'all", which I don't want to use because fuck the South I'm not from the South so it doesn't roll off my tongue.

325: The circle with a cross under it is a hand mirror. The circle with an arrow diagonally over it is a shield and arrow. I can understand confusion about not recognizing a cross as a part of a hand mirror, I guess.

370: During the dark days of the Bush presidency when the left was trying to protest constantly, I learned to the left's mock message drift and lack of discipline, which is so bad that no matter the nominal topic of a protest - pollution, war, abortion rights, whatever - you can almost always find someone there with a "Free Mumia!" sign.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 10:04 AM
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But "Too Many Todds" sounds like a terrible dude-pop band.

Maybe this is what you're thinking of.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 10:07 AM
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The closest thing English has seems to be "you" versus "y'all", which I don't want to use because fuck the South I'm not from the South so it doesn't roll off my tongue.

Bergen and Union Cos., NJ, Brooklyn, and Staten Island would like to offer you the use of "youse."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 10:07 AM
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427: Ahaha. That is exactly it. They and some band with like "Freddy" (?) in their name were *very, very big* with the Lincoln Park Trixies with whom I used to work.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 10:09 AM
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Youse is also widely used in Scots.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 10:11 AM
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There is also "yinz".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 10:14 AM
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431: Do tell. What about Yary, yerry and yarry?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 10:34 AM
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Bonus literary bathroom sigils: a mirror and a lamp.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 4:06 PM
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431: Everytime I try to use 'yinz' people think I'm mocking them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 4:12 PM
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Some people just don't know how to pronounce their names.

The name of our senior Senator seems to mostly get rendered one way here and a different way on the mainland. My guess is that the name got Anglicized one way among people who immigrated to Hawaii and another way among people who immigrated to the west coast, but I dunno.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-17-10 6:49 PM
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Agree with him. Go one better. Rant about those latinos intent on diluting the purity of the American race, how they'e all crooks and perverts, how we don't need their cheap labor ...


Posted by: AlanDownunder | Link to this comment | 05-18-10 9:02 PM
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