Comments

  1. Philip Legge says

    I was thinking of revisiting some of the threads the last time you brought up the epithet question back on butterfliesandwheels.org to see how quickly one would get a “CUNTO!” Fairly quickly I think, especially as ENGLAND is more or less a free square, the way these debates run.

  2. Philip Legge says

    Actually, for the sake of proving this idea, I just went through last year’s Invitation to a dialogue as my example.

    This thread took a while to get started, because contrarily to a lot of places, people offered a lot of thoughtful comments rather than going all stops out with the usual fallacies, but things really got started thanks to poster #86.

    #23: N, row 3, ENGLAND! (But actually, this square should really read, ENGLAND or SCOTLAND, as #23 uses this exact argument, but citing the latter.)
    #44: C, row 3, It’s not sexist if I didn’t intend it to be (To be fair, this is hedged around rather neatly.)
    #58: T, row 4, Language can’t hurt you (“Sticks and stones”)
    #66: C, row 1, Men are called it too (Citing Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It, who is an equal opportunity vulgarian.)
    #81: C, row 4, But the real definition is female genitalia (Very lightly touched on in a long, otherwise good comment)
    #86: O, row 3, Words only have the power YOU give it! (Almost exactly word for word! And thoroughly backed up. Scary.)
    #93: N, row 1, It only affects the woman being called it
    #105: O, row 2, Freedom of speech (… “means you probably should get used to it”, unquote. Same guy as #86 BTW.)
    #107: U, row 4, You’re overly sensitive (#86 refuses to be drawn into C, row 5 though: Yes, I do say fag / nigger / etc too!)
    #137: O, row 1, It’s not worse than (word that isn’t a slur)
    #154: C, row 3 (again), It’s not sexist if I didn’t intend it to be (subset of a stronger proposition: the word cannot be defined by the listener.)
    #174, my God goodness: O1, then U3, then N3 (England and Scotland!), N1, U2, U4, T3, C3. And C5 to finish.

    CUNTO!

    On the other hand: there were comments that explicitly critiqued certain bingo squares, and why they were wrong, for example:
    #70 & #94: U, row 5, I’m a woman and think it’s fine
    #78: N, row 1 (see above)
    #80: U, row 1, It’s not sexist in private conversation
    #82, C, row 2, There is more important sexism to fight (“Pick your battles” — but this is our battles.)
    #88: Addresses both C, row 4, & N, row 1 (see above)
    #99: C, row 5
    #170 & #172: T, row 5, It has no historical baggage.

    And that thread went on for another two hundred comments after reaching a bingo at comment 174, so I really didn’t feel like seeing whether all 25 squares ended up being used or critiqued.

  3. Steersman says

    I was putting some, though fortunately not all, of my money on U3 which Matthew Smith helpfully critiques as follows (nice quote of Anatole too):

    U3: (“Dick / Dickhead”) In some contexts slurs can be used to refer to people. It is more tolerable to use a slur to refer to a member of a person of privilege, than to someone who lacks privilege. (This is the essence of the Anatole France quote “The law, in its infinite majesty, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in streets, and to steal their bread.”) It may be proper to call Newt Gingrich a dick; it is not proper to call Callista Gingrich a cunt.

    Although one might reasonably wonder, I think anyway, if it is “proper to call Newt Gingrich a dick” because he is a person of privilege then is it is also proper to call Leona Helmsley a cunt because by this she certainly seemed to be claiming the “rights” of privilege as well?

    Helmsley’s fate was sealed when a former housekeeper testified during the trial that she had heard Helmsley say: “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes…”, a saying that became notorious and was identified with her for the rest of her life.

    Although maybe some might insist that she should only be targeted with the “dick” even if that does not give due consideration of and respect to her sex.

    Decisions, decisions, decisions; how to decide in the face of such problematic, convoluted and byzantine arcana? [The Trinity is child’s play in comparison.] Particularly when one has been living in a refrigerator for the last 40 years … :-) Someone needs to write an updated Guide for the Etymologically Perplexed, Ms. McCreight’s bingo card providing a, no doubt, useful road map ….

  4. Fin says

    I find the England one a little bit weird, because in my experience, it’s the Scots who use the word most often.

    The other thing is, I most often encounter the word as a swear, rather than an epithet – i.e. just saying a naughty word because you’ve stubbed your toe or whatever – I have seen plenty of that justification for using it, although it’s absent from the card.

  5. says

    It’s interesting watching people get pedantic over “ENGLAND!” Yes, “Great Britain” or “United Kingdom” would probably be more accurate, but people often do use England as their argument, and there is a common tendency to refer just to England when people really mean either Great Britain or the United Kingdom.
    But more importantly, “ENGLAND!” is funnier than “GREAT BRITAIN!” or “THE UNITED KINGDOM!” or “ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, OR POSSIBLY WALES AND MAYBE EVEN IRELAND!” would be.

  6. Rieux says

    Steersman @3 re U3:

    Although one might reasonably wonder, I think anyway, if it is “proper to call Newt Gingrich a dick” because he is a person of privilege then is it is also proper to call Leona Helmsley a cunt because by this she certainly seemed to be claiming the “rights” of privilege as well?

    Helmsley obviously had class privilege coming out of her ears, but surely Smith’s point is that “dick” is arguably acceptable (or at least relatively so) because the group to which it refers—men—are a privileged in-group. Hells yeah, Helmsley was privileged in several ways, class being perhaps the most in-your-face prominent one, but she wasn’t privileged by virtue of her sex (or gender expression), so “cunt” remains far more offensive than “dick” even when the former is used to refer to her in particular.

    I don’t think it’s terribly useful to keep track of some kind of Sum Total Privilege that each person possesses, and I’m pretty certain that’s not what Smith was referring to in his response to the U3 excuse. He was just pointing out that epithets directed at characteristics that are associated with a privileged status are very different animals, and have very different impact, than epithets directed at characteristics that are associated with a non-privileged status.

    If there were some kind of hostile epithet for “rich person” (is there?), slinging it at Leona Helmsley would have been comparable to calling Newt Gingrich a dick. But given that “cunt” (and “bitch” and whatnot) are all about femaleness and not economic class, it really doesn’t matter much whether the person at whom it’s slung possesses privilege on class grounds, or really on any grounds.

    (As a companion note to Smith’s response to U3, I’d point out that a certain prominent atheist’s use of the epithet “dick” got a lot of us pretty riled up a little while ago. Following Smith’s logic, of course, things would have been much worse if Phil Plait had used “cunt” rather than “dick,” but even as it was he made plenty of people rather unhappy, including me. So “dick” isn’t necessarily all that inoffensive. And I’d argue somewhat fervently that that particular episode had huge overtones of privilege, though not so much (I thought) male privilege.)

  7. Steersman says

    Rieux (#8),

    I don’t think it’s terribly useful to keep track of some kind of Sum Total Privilege that each person possesses …

    I think we all have a fairly well-developed and finely tuned sense of privilege to begin with – to a greater or lesser extent. I expect it’s really a case of an awareness of various pecking orders, a question of who’s the alpha male and who the alpha female. And which of course depends significantly on the culture and societies in question. And it plays out in a great variety of ways, some less pathological than others, for example the somewhat paradigmatic case of a Simon Legree of a boss intimidating some guy at work who goes home and gives the wife a shot who in turn kicks the dog – who bites the mailman.

    And I expect it has some manifestations or bearing on the nature of insults: perfectly ok, in the eyes of some in any case, to verbally attack or criticize or ridicule some person who is a member of a set or class that is oppressing oneself and others sharing the same or lower class, but generally bad form – bullying or hypocrisy – to be doing the same to others lower in the pecking order. We are, of course, supposed to be an egalitarian society and that is generally the case as far as civil rights are concerned, but in the nitty-gritty arenas where we battle for our lives that isn’t always or entirely the case.

    Definitely a problematic aspect of society, what words and actions are taboos, what words and actions are sacred and profane, although a decidedly interesting one.

    He was just pointing out that epithets directed at characteristics that are associated with a privileged status are very different animals ….

    Generally agree as suggested by my previous comments. However, my general argument or features of it is that if there are some cases in which the abuse of various privileges – however defined – of some men justifies gendered epithets then if there are cases where some women similarly possess and abuse similar levels of privilege then it becomes rather difficult to argue that they should not be on the receiving end of the same type of epithets. Several of the characters from Mean Girls seem likely candidates as are, from recollection, one or more young women who were the source of some rather vicious and malicious attacks on Jessica Ahlquist: seems that the “c-word” might have been entirely appropriate, in the dictionary sense of “a mean or obnoxious person”, and suggestive of the view that that was apparently their only redeeming quality as they sure weren’t going to make it on personality, intelligence, compassion or empathy.

    If there were some kind of hostile epithet for “rich person” (is there?) …

    Scrooge?

    I’d point out that a certain prominent atheist’s use of the epithet “dick” got a lot of us pretty riled up a little while ago.

    Out of curiosity, that would be who? While one’s credibility is enhanced if one is even-handed in one’s criticisms of gendered insults, it also seems that there are cases – in both situations – where they may be justified, if only for being a method of censure by society that is short of legal varieties. As Eric MacDonald put it:

    This is not that epithets are appropriate from time to time, and when a bunch of men are acting like pricks, then it’s time to tell them so. And while I don’t like this language any more than I like the language of assholes, there are times when some dismissive language is in order.

  8. says

    Oh dear god Steersman will you give it the fuck up? No it’s not ok or necessary or useful to call girls who gave Jessica Ahlquist a hard time “cunts.”

    I’ve had many long detailed discussions of this subject here and especially at ur-B&W. I did an extended point-counterpoint on it last summer, which is an article at ur-B&W. I really don’t want to host you endlessly defending calling a woman a cunt. I really don’t want to host your recycling of the “‘cunt’ means ‘mean female’ so it’s fine to call a female it if she’s mean” argument.

  9. says

    With respect to privilege and alphas, it seems to me that “dick” (or “prick”) is indeed frequently used with reference to inappropriate or excessive alpha-male type behaviour (often with grudging admiration – similarly, saying that someone (male or female) has “balls”). “Cunt”, on the other hand, seems to me to be a diminution of its target – “bitch” is generally the epithet used for alpha females (or females accused of attempting alpha-male behaviour).

    (Note that I am neither supporting nor defending the practice of using *any* of these terms.)

  10. Steersman says

    Ophelia Benson (#10),

    Oh dear god Steersman will you give it the fuck up?

    Ok. But a quick question and a fact because, well, “inaccuracy is SO annoying.”

    Since searches aren’t always that productive, do you, perchance, have a link to your “extended point-counterpoint” discussions? Thanks if so.

    And, if you are of a mind to be tilting at windmills then you might want to petition Harper Collins – good luck with that – to have them excise a particular definition for that word from their dictionary, that is:

    3. Offensive slang, a mean or obnoxious person

    That you wish to use or depart from another definition or usage is no obligation on anyone else that they have to agree with you. Particularly when there are some credible reasons for that position

  11. says

    3. Offensive slang, a mean or obnoxious person

    Steersman:
    Yes, some people use the word “cunt” as an general insult. Note that the definition says that it considered offensive. Similarly, some people use “gay” and/or “homo” as a general insult. Do you also defend that usage?

  12. Steersman says

    Theo Bromine (#13),

    Yes, some people use the word “cunt” as a general insult.

    But I think that is a rather egregious conflation, a logical fallacy of the first order, which should be condemned in no uncertain terms. The definition I used refers to one person, not the entire sex. It seems largely, if not entirely and totally, analogous to “rapist”: that word refers to the actions of one man and in no way, at least in most civilized circles, leads one to think that the use of the word is condemning all men.

    On the other hand, “gay” and “homo” seem to be trying, in some cases anyway, to condemn or insult all members of a set or group: there’s no qualifying phrase, that I know of, that differentiates between members of the group on the basis of a particular type of, supposedly, reprehensible behaviour. Entirely different from the case above where the word or definition is referring to one individual.

    While there may be cases where one might reasonably condemn all members of a set or group – all rapists for example – one has to be, I think, very careful and precise and cognizant of just exactly what is being said or asserted.

  13. Philip Legge, coolest of the bunch says

    Steersman, which bit of Ophelia’s post at #10 did you fail to grasp?

    Was it the word “give”, or the word “up”?

    Or were you confused that in evident frustration, Ophelia placed the words “the fuck” inbetween for emphasis?

    (If you feel like responding to this at your customary tedious length, then I will be forced to quote Conrade, or perhaps Leonato from Much Ado About Nothing.)

  14. says

    Steersman, I think you missed my point (or I am missing yours).

    Some people use “cunt” as a general insult for a person they do not like (with or without regard to the target’s gender). It is my assertion (and that of others) that this usage is not only insulting to the direct target, but also is a collateral insult to people in possession of female genitalia.

    Some people use “gay” as a general insult for a person (or sometimes a behaviour) they don’t like, often without knowing the sexuality of the target. Similarly, this usage is not only insulting to the target, but is a collateral insult to homosexuals.

    How are these 2 cases not analogous?

  15. says

    Steersman – yes I could provide the link but I would have to look it up; you could do that yourself.

    Meanwhile: my point was: you don’t have anything new to offer on this subject. You seem to think you do, but you don’t. You’re not saying anything that hasn’t been said (including and especially on my two B&W sites) before, a million times.

    I really do want you to drop it. I quite frankly do not believe that you would insist on defending the word “nigger” ad nauseam to and on the blog of a black person, and your insistence on trying to convince me that the word “cunt” doesn’t insult women is annoying (to put it mildly). I don’t want to put you in moderation, because as far as I remember you’ve made interesting comments in the past, but these are just grating beyond belief, and I will put you in mod if you don’t stop.

    Or maybe I will anyway, because the Kaginesque style is…awful.

  16. Steersman says

    Theo Bromine (#16),

    How are these 2 cases not analogous?

    Those two cases you described are analogous. But those were not the same two cases that I was describing.

  17. Steersman says

    Ophelia Benson (#17),

    You’re not saying anything that hasn’t been said (including and especially on my two B&W sites) before, a million times.

    And it was said, probably, a million times that slavery was wrong before it was made illegal. Not necessarily the same but no guarantee that it is not. But I’ll take a look at those arguments and posts.

    Or maybe I will anyway, because the Kaginesque style is…awful.

    Well, excuuuse me. Not everyone is privileged enough to have had the opportunity to know the intricacies of Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing. But thanks for the heads-up: practice makes perfect; god grant us the grace to see ourselves as others see us ….

  18. says

    Oh for fuck’s sake – you said that at Eric’s, too – you tried to pretend it was “privileged” of me to have an informed opinion on “Hamlet.” It’s not privileged at all, it’s a product of intense self-education at age 40, when I was working seasonally as a laborer. You first tried to put me down for not realizing (you thought) that the line came from “Hamlet” and then when that didn’t work you tried the opposite tack.

    I don’t think the Kaginesque style is your normal one, but you seem to have adopted it in doubling down on this “argument.”

    It’s so grotesque. What principle is at stake that makes it so important to deny that sexist epithets are sexist epithets? What is lost if people just don’t engage in certain kinds of vicious name-calling? What is the worry if it’s socially taboo to call people ugly or fat or cunts or niggers or faggots? And how can you possibly compare that to slavery? Do you seriously think that “don’t call women cunts” is comparable to slavery?

  19. Philip Legge, coolest of the bunch says

    Crikey. I’ve rarely seen such a demonstration of being a patronising, chauvinist git as Steersman’s efforts on Eric’s blog. I mean, obviously you think that somehow that spectacle proved your point, but are you actually proud of such a gormless display? (Rhetorical question, don’t answer. Obviously you are, or you wouldn’t have linked to that thread.)

    Perhaps you need a new pseudonym…

    Leonato. Neighbours, you are tedious.
    Dogberry. It pleases your worship to say so, but we are the poor duke’s officers: but, truly, for mine own part, if I were as tedious as a king, I could find in my heart to bestow it all of your worship.
    Leonato. All thy tediousness on me! ha!

  20. Steersman says

    Ophelia Benson (#22),

    It’s not privileged at all; it’s a product of intense self-education at age 40 …

    Good for you; I was over 30 before I finished my formal education – a late start or rather a restart – and the “self” part has been ongoing ever since. Though I guess I still have a way to go with my style in essays of one sort or another ….

    But privilege isn’t a consequence of how or when acquired. Otherwise the fact that Leona Helmsley started off as the daughter of a hatmaker would have got her off the hook for her comments about “the little people”.

    You first tried to put me down for not realizing (you thought) that the line came from “Hamlet” and then when that didn’t work you tried the opposite tack.

    Sorry if you thought that was an insult. I did say “…then you should know, as you no doubt already do, that it is a paraphrase of Shakespeare …” I had no idea what the extent of your knowledge was in that area and I can’t see that it is reasonable to be raking me over the coals for covering both bases.

    What principle is at stake that makes it so important to deny that sexist epithets are sexist epithets?

    But I am not at all denying that “sexist epithets are sexist epithets” and have, as a matter of fact, condemned them in no uncertain terms. I’m trying to argue that not every use of the word qualifies as such.

    Do you seriously think that “don’t call women cunts” is comparable to slavery?

    Not at all. Just trying to point out that there have been a great many dogmatic assertions made over the years – and backed-up by all sorts of threats and intimidations, implied and executed – that have turned out to be anything but the case. Repeating something that isn’t true has never, as far as I know, caused it to become true – whether it’s repeated ten times or ten million. If it was the case that it did then Sputnik would have found the Earth at the center of the universe.

    What is the worry if it’s socially taboo to call people ugly or fat or cunts or niggers or faggots?

    Good question. And on which there are a great many good, if not entirely conclusive, arguments. But one thought-provoking statement in the Wikipedia article on the topic leaped out at me as being particularly relevant:

    Also, Sigmund Freud provided an analysis of taboo behaviors, highlighting strong unconscious motivations driving such prohibitions. In this system, described in his collections of essays “Totem and Taboo”, Freud postulates a link between forbidden behaviors and the sanctification of objects to certain kinship groups.

    But I think the question of and response to the “sanctification of objects” was answered rather well by Kenan Malik:

    The importance of blasphemy is in providing a language of power. To decree certain views, certain ideas, certain practices, even certain thoughts, as taboo is to demand that certain forms of power cannot be contested.

    Condemnations or criticisms leveled at people through the use of various epithets simply because they are members of some group frequently only have some power to offend or hurt because of some sanctification taking place somewhere along the line, the unreasonable elevation of one attribute above another. Muslims wouldn’t be so incensed at Jesus and Mo if that were not the case. Nor would homosexuals be so incensed at “faggot” if society were not trying to elevate heterosexuality far above what is justified. Seems to me that insisting on those taboos only contributes to maintaining some rather odious status quos.

  21. Steersman says

    Philip Legge (#15),

    … but are you actually proud of such a gormless display? …. Perhaps you need a new pseudonym …

    I’m cut to the quick; ask of me tomorrow and you will find me a grave man.

    I would suggest you take a close look at the article on the ad hominem logical fallacy. For starters ….

  22. Philip Legge, coolest of the bunch says

    That would be the mistake of making an argument out of an ad hominem; but I’m not in fact engaging with your argument at all. I’m insulting you: you’re a pretentious, tedious bore who won’t take the obvious clue. That much is plainly evident, regardless.

  23. Steersman says

    Philip Legge (#27),

    I’m insulting you: you’re a pretentious, tedious bore ….

    Sticks and stones. Insults tend to be the last resort of the inept or those with attention spans too short to follow an argument and produce a cogent counter-argument.

  24. Philip Legge, coolest of the bunch says

    You continue to miss the point, so here’s a big clue.

    My topic of discussion is not about arguing against what you’ve said here or elsewhere, which are very long pieces of boring drivel that I haven’t read, and am not going to read.

    I am pointing out that you have continued to argue when the blogowner asked you not to.

    I am concluding that you’re the inept one here.

  25. Steersman says

    Philip Legge (#29),

    … what you’ve said here or elsewhere, which are very long pieces of boring drivel that I haven’t read, and am not going to read.

    How would you know that if you haven’t read them? Looks like prejudice to me. Not to mention being rather ignorant and not very self-aware.

    I am pointing out that you have continued to argue when the blogowner asked you not to.

    And she asked a few subsequent questions and made a few comments on extraneous issues. Which I thought would be rather rude not to answer – particularly as many of them did not relate to the topic in question. And likewise with the questions of several others including you.

    And just out of curiosity, is that “coolest of the bunch” something that someone else bestowed on you – arise Sir Philip – or was that something you came up with while preening yourself in the mirror?

  26. says

    Steersman – you already quoted – at more length – the passage from Kenan Malik’s talk at the CFI conference on blasphemy two weeks ago, on Eric’s thread. I said he wouldn’t defend the use of sexist epithets and you quite rudely asked how I knew, did I have any privileged information, why was my guess better than yours, etc. Well that talk isn’t the first piece by Kenan Malik that I’ve ever read. I’ve been reading him for years; I published an extract from his book on Rushdie and the fatwa at ur-B&W; we communicate now and then.

    But I am not at all denying that “sexist epithets are sexist epithets” and have, as a matter of fact, condemned them in no uncertain terms. I’m trying to argue that not every use of the word qualifies as such.

    But everybody already knows that. If we didn’t, how could I have used the word multiple times in this very discussion? It’s the use-attribution distinction.

    Ignore the question mark; the question is rhetorical. As Philip points out, I’ve asked/told you to drop it. You’re not telling me anything I haven’t thought of before. You don’t have exciting new insights, you’re just saying things that have been discussed (here and at ur-B&W and elsewhere) many times.

  27. Steersman says

    Ophelia Benson (#31),

    … I said he wouldn’t defend the use of sexist epithets and you quite rudely asked how I knew ….

    So. Asking for evidence is rude. Cool. Who knew? I’m sure there will be much rejoicing in creationist mosques, temples and churches across the land on hearing that.

    It’s the use-attribution distinction.

    Quite true; no argument. The question is who gets to decide which interpretations and uses are verboten.

    You don’t have exciting new insights; you’re just saying things that have been discussed (here and at ur-B&W and elsewhere) many times.

    I wonder why I get the impression that that bears an uncomfortable and problematic resemblance to the Courtier’s Reply. There is, no doubt whatsoever, much to justify feminist arguments. But unfortunately there is also some justification for characterizing some of them as dogma and as so many just-so stories:

    A just-so story, also called the ad hoc fallacy, is a term used in academic anthropology, biological sciences, social sciences, and philosophy. It describes an unverifiable and unfalsifiable narrative explanation for a cultural practice, a biological trait, or behavior of humans or other animals. The use of the term is an implicit criticism that reminds the hearer of the essentially fictional and unprovable nature of such an explanation.

    The acceptance of which explanations frequently bears uncomfortable and problematic resemblances to faith.

  28. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Well, if anyone needed more evidence that Steersman is a liar, and a really terrible one at that, post #32 should do it.

  29. says

    Steersman. You didn’t just ask for evidence – you asked it in a way that assumed I’d simply pulled it out of nowhere.

    Go ahead and wonder why; wonder all you like. But not here. For what I think is the fourth time now: give it up. I am profoundly uninterested in your views on the excessive political correctness of disliking sexist epithets. I’ve heard it all before, and you’re not as mavericky as you think.

    Stop.

  30. Steersman says

    Ok.

    Although I didn’t assume anything or say that you had “pulled that out of nowhere”; what I said was that in the absence of evidence I would have to conclude, “tentatively”, that it was “your own idiosyncratic interpretation”.

    And I wouldn’t mind hearing an elaboration from Illuminata [#33] as I think it is generally considered good form not to mention civilized that if one makes an explicit accusation – lying for example – then the one making the accusation, with some responsibility on the one hosting it, is obliged to provide some evidence or justification or reason for it.

  31. says

    No, you said more than that. You said quite a lot.

    Stop. “Stop” doesn’t mean say some more. It means stop. You wouldn’t stop when Eric asked you to, you won’t stop when I tell you to – that’s bad manners. Just stop.

  32. Philip Legge, coolest of the bunch says

    It’s funny how certain topics recur with clockwork regularity. And sometimes, even the actors involved are the same as well.

    #37, quote: “I guess free speech is only for one’s friends or fellow travelers.” Looks like an O2.

    #43, quote: “Don’t be such an ignorant cunt.” Umm, would that be an explicit N5?

    #71, quote: “sticks and stones may break my bones ….” T4!

    #72, quote: “Looks to me like “cunt” and “fuck off” and “asshole” are all considered profanity.” I’m going to suggest U2 (though O1 is also a possibility).

    PZ gave Steersman Dogberry his warning at comment #77

    #86, quote: “Nothing in there that I see that says that it is insulting all of the people who have that attribute.” N1!

    PZ banhammered Steersman Dogberry at comment #93

    It really has to be seen to be believed. Time for more Much Ado:

    Dogberry: Come, let them be opinioned.
    Conrade: Off, coxcomb!
    Dogberry: God’s my life! where’s the sexton? let him write down—the prince’s officer, coxcomb.—Come, bind them.——Thou naughty varlet!
    Conrade: Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.
    Dogberry: [… much blathering ensues …] Bring him away. O that I had been writ down an ass!

    PS No preening involved, by the way, just troll baiting.

  33. Steersman says

    I guess “Stop” only means that if you’re not singing in the same key as the rest of the orchestra.

  34. Philip Legge, coolest of the bunch says

    “As a dog Dogberry returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.”

    Here’s the thing, chum: my comments at #1, #2, and #37 are directly on-topic. (I’m happy to confess my other comments were somewhat troll baiting, but you’d already been asked to stop and had ignored the request.) The discussion of identity epithets has been done to death on this very blog in the past, and my comment #2 even gave the interested reader a direct link to the last such time the topic was thrashed out at great length: you were already half a year late to the party.

    Instead, you were the one in this thread who wandered away from the topic and you were the one asked to stop by Ophelia, in comments #10, #17 and #18, #23, #31, #34, #36, and now #41. Maybe the eighth time will be the charm, huh? (Oh, and I take it the different gravatar indicates some small attempt at morphing to avoid being moderated?)

    Your patronising chauvinism had already been on tedious display over at Eric’s blog, whereas you took your vulgarian streak over to Pharyngula but found yourself quickly dungeoned. Perhaps you should have read the ground rules more carefully, the better to sing in tune? (Orchestras often play music in multiple keys at once, by the way, but only bad musicians repeatedly ignore the direction of the conductor.)

    Perhaps you should also consider that insults are best served as precision strikes on a target, as opposed to slurs that denigrate a whole class of people by way of collateral damage. Somehow though I guess you’ll ignore that advice, having demonstrated that your commitment to civility is nothing more than a thin veneer over your mean-spiritedness.

    PS All questions above are rhetorical, in case you thought I would be interested in your answer. I’m really not.

  35. Philip Legge, coolest of the bunch says

    Since searches aren’t always that productive, do you, perchance, have a link to your “extended point-counterpoint” discussions? Thanks if so.

    I forgot to respond to this bit of comment #12. For my part, I had thought the ur-B&W thread, “Invitation to a dialogue”, included a link to the eventual discussion, but there wasn’t an obvious pointer. However the article is easily found, under “articles”; James Sweet and Corwin Sullivan eventually took a stand, and acquitted themselves respectably in a Nuanced Discussion which is more required reading for anyone thinking of derailing further.

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