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Feb 11 2012

The Context that Justifies “Cunt”

Penn Jillette is a douchebag. We knew that, we know that, and some of us argue that it’s one of the main ways he’s risen to stardom in our community. Myself included. So it wasn’t a real surprise to any of us that, with his steadfast defense of showing women as tit-and-ass buffets, and his stalwart support of Mallorie Nasrallah’s open letter to the skeptic community, that Penn would find nothing wrong with calling a woman a cunt for the crime of not amusing him. But why? What context justifies this?

Lindy West posted about this year’s Superbowl ads and the takeaway lessons these ads give the average viewer. Penn did not watch the ads, but thought the article was unfunny, and therefore felt justified to post on his friend Emily’s Facebook wall that she was “a remarkably stupid cunt”. He evidently did not feel it necessary to view the ads to suss out why Lindy was annoyed by them, but felt qualified to comment on her post nonetheless.

Some skeptic communities, Freethought Blogs included, said “that’s totally fucked up.” We took Penn to task for being a douchebag, and the Offense Brigade, the winged monkeys who flit about our community and swoop in to defend sexism and misogynist behaviour, could be heard echoing about the hills with their cries of “context!” before they even descended upon Jen’s blog. Penn’s friend Emily, and Penn’s wife Emily Jillette (separate people evidently), both defended Penn as being in no way a sexist, and characterized this as a hit job about a remark taken out of context. The “context crowd” offered so many different contexts where it’s supposedly justified to say “cunt” that Jen was able to build a Bingo card out of them.

But despite all the defense offered, and the number of times “context” was brought up, nobody’s actually offered the context in which Penn’s use of the word is actually somehow acceptable.

So, knowing the following facts, what is the context here?

1) Lindy West, Emily, and Penn Jillette are all American
2) The word “cunt” applied to a woman in America is a sexist slur, used in exactly the same vein as calling a black person a “nigger”
3) Lindy’s crime was of not amusing Penn Jillette
4) Facebook is not a private messaging system — anyone with Penn on their friends list would see his posting on Emily’s wall on their own timelines
5) Penn is not a woman, and could therefore not have been owning the slur

Bear in mind also that when Michael Richards called a black person a “nigger” for heckling him at a stand-up routine, his career imploded. For the crime of failing to amuse Richards, for the crime of trying to show him up, he used a racist slur and thereby committed career suicide. Why is sexism okay, in that Penn Jillette is still around, but racism is not, in that Richards can’t get a job for the life of him?

I await your justifications, and do hope you’ll take into account all of the above.

Take your time.

118 comments

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  1. 1
    michaeld

    I don’t think it was really justified of penn. I’m also not terribly surprised given it was penn and it would have been better to explain why something wasn’t funny at least. But really commenting on bad humor is pretty darn low on the entertainment scale especially given how subjective it can be. The whole thing was really best left alone.

    As to justifications in general the only one that I can really get behind would fall under N4 if everyone involved enjoys that kind of thing. Otherwise best to just stay clear of it.

    Also on swearing in general I personally find a very conservative use of them to be amusing. I’ve gotten the strangest reactions from people over a simple f-bomb because I use them sparingly and that makes it all worth while.

    Anyway since I haven’t commented on any of this yet those are my thoughts. Sorry I couldn’t be more antagonistic.

  2. 2
    Callum James Hackett

    Oh dear, this again…

    Can I just start by saying that I don’t think it’s fair for people who condemned Penn to call all defenders misogynists, and it’s not fair for those who didn’t condemn Penn to call everyone else rabid feminists. Let’s get things into perspective – we’re a skeptical community, and one thing none of us should be doing is setting up all potential opposition as ideological and worthless in order to set up our own position as irrefutable.

    If you begin a conversation with, “if you don’t agree with me, you’re a misogynist”, the conversation is screwed from the start, and you’re going to dodge arguments and questions that might make both sides consider a new perspective. This fingers-in-your-ears approach is only exacerbated by those childish bingo cards. Yes, most, even all, of the arguments on the card were bogus, but making a card in the first place is symbolic of saying, “everyone who doesn’t agree is a moron”, in which case you might as well close the comments and claim that your post is definitive and not up for debate.

    So, putting our calm, rational hats on just for a second, I’ll point out that I was a defender of context on Jen’s blog, but NOT a defender of Penn. I thought Penn was completely out of line, and though I’m not familiar enough with American culture, I accept that his use was sexist and should be condemned.

    Having said that, MY problem was that people then entered a tirade stating that “cunt” is sexist and inappropriate in all possible contexts. That isn’t true, and it’s evidenced by the various connotations that “cunt” has around the world. Forgive me for bringing up the ‘invalid’ British defence, but seeing as I’m not defending Penn with it, I think I’m making a reasonable point – in SOME cultures, “cunt” is NOT a sexist word, and so you mustn’t jump to conclusions of misogyny without finding out the necessary context. Again, Penn was WRONG, but the word itself is not intrinsically bad.

    Some people stated that the word IS intrinsically bad because its offence is dependant on its reference to women. Once again, this has ceased to be the case in some cultures. Anyone can give you the dictionary definition of “cunt”, but the connotations in daily use can be gender free (again, not with Penn). This is why, for example, “hysterical” is not considered a sexist word, despite the fact that its basis is a slur against women for being over emotional because they possess a womb (notice the shared root with “hysterectomy”). Words change.

    So, Penn was wrong, but the word isn’t intrinsically bad in all places at all times. If you want to call me a misogynist for that statement, then I think all possibility for rational conversation is out the window.

  3. 3
    Jason Thibeault

    And as I said over in that thread at Jen’s, to you Callum, context is important in justifying every individual use of the word, but absolutely not in this specific case, because the context is readily apparent, as I’ve pointed out in the above post.

    I’m trying, by this post, to uncouple the need to justify SOME contexts, with the context of this specific use. Since you believe Penn’s use was not justified, and people understanding the context suggest it constitutes a slur, why are you so intent on trying to recouple this incident with contexts where it’s “fine just fine”?

    We can have a rational conversation about it. All you have to do is stop thinking this is “about you”.

  4. 4
    Jason Thibeault

    Additionally, could you provide some contexts where it’s okay for a white man to call a black man a “nigger”, if you know of any? Understand that in North America, the word “cunt” has all the baggage that the word “nigger” does.

  5. 5
    julian

    I’ve been trying to get at this from every angle I can think (the intimacy of friends, the expected privacy of communicating with another, the minimized potential damage, ectectect) but I can’t think of a reason Penn Jillette would be right in calling Lindy West an “unfunny cunt.”

    As for is he a misogynist? I think it’s entirely fair to call it misogynistic and that he has definitely been influenced by misogyny (as have I. I doubt anyone here hasn’t.) but calling him a misogynist is a bit to much for me. I tend to balk at describing people as being a bigot but am less picking about describing their actions as such.

  6. 6
    Stephanie Zvan

    Yawn. Of course, every time someone pops up to say, “Oh, it’s not sexist in XYZ country”, someone else–from that country–points out that, yeah, it is. So why do you keep repeating that?

  7. 7
    julian

    Additionally, could you provide some contexts where it’s okay for a white man to call a black man a “nigger”, if you know of any?

    Don’t know any for American Whites but if you expand it include Hispanics and, well, the Spanish, I know a pair of Puerto Ricans and a Spaniard who us ‘nigga’ like you might use ‘dude’ or ‘guy.’ Their black friends are comfortable with it but, then again, they all have thick (and I wish I knew a better way of saying this) ghetto accents.

  8. 8
    Natalie Reed

    I actually had a dream last night that I accidentally said “nigga” in a joking context and everyone got pissed off with me.

    Don’t read too much into it.

    Anyway, the thing is that racism IS still acceptable. Things like the Richards scandal, where we can use the most extreme, obvious variations of it to point and laugh at “the racist” and thereby absolve our collective responsibility for ongoing social inequity, allow us to actually continue treating the subtler, “coded” forms of racism -like “food stamp president”- as acceptable.

    Penn Jillette still has a career. Newt Gingrich still has a career. Rick Santorum stil has a career. Robert Floyd still has a career. Let’s not pretend only one kind of bigotry is being tolerated. They’re all tolerated very differently yes, but all so much the same.

  9. 9
    peicurmudgeon

    Sexist and misogynist undoubtedly. I can’t think of any othe remplanation. Has Penn tryed to weasel his way out of this yet? Perhaps it is too much top hope for an apology.

  10. 10
    Callum James Hackett

    I don’t have a problem with any of your arguments and conclusions, Jason, and I’m not trying to force an association between Penn and other less contentious uses of the word “cunt”; I’m just trying to point out that the debate so far has been riddled with hyperbole and misleading statements about the nature of the word, claiming that it’s unchangeable and the same across all cultures.

    I’ve got no problem with people railing against Penn; but that’s not everything people have been talking about, and it certainly wasn’t me who started it!

  11. 11
    Stephanie Zvan

    I’m just trying to point out that the debate so far has been riddled with hyperbole and misleading statements about the nature of the word, claiming that it’s unchangeable and the same across all cultures.

    Unchangeable and the same? Who said that? Where? What I’ve seen is people saying it’s still sexist wherever it’s being used.

  12. 12
    Marshall

    Jason, I just wanted to stop by here and let you know that your link in Jen’s bingo card thread is broken, so you likely are not going to get the cross-blog asshole traffic required to make this thread properly maddening/instructive.

  13. 13
    Tim Buterbaugh

    A post damning Penn Jillette for calling someone a name loses a lot of credibility when the first sentence defines him as a douchebag and the second sentence states that this is a known fact, apparently beyond contestation.

    Other than that, the rest of your post is completely wrong as well. The Michael Richards incident was alarming because he said something completely out of character. It had little to do with offending the black community. He offended the PC crowd – a much worse offense in this country. That is what destroyed his career. Penn Jillette calling a woman a stupid cunt doesn’t even make the top 100 of his controversial remarks.

    Also, speaking of context, you’re not even reading his quote in context. You are reading this:

    “a remarkably stupid CUNT”

    instead of this:

    “a remarkably STUPID cunt”

    He wasn’t calling her a cunt, he was calling her stupid (and unfunny). I don’t know Penn personally, but from what I know of him, these are the two unpardonable sins in his world. He just used “cunt” in place of “woman”. If it had been a man, he would have used “dick” or “asshole” or some other variation that a man wouldn’t like to be called.

    And, like it or not, women (and PC thugs) need to get over the word “cunt” because you are the ones giving it power. It is a derogatory term for vagina. Penn could have also used twat, slit, three-holer, etc. (though surprisingly, not “pussy”) and accomplished the same thing.

    It is exactly the same thing as calling a man a dick or a tool(both of which are perfectly acceptable on network TV). The cold hard reality of it is that Penn is the one who is NOT being sexist. He is treating that woman EXACTLY the same way he would treat a man. Isn’t that the goal of feminism?

  14. 14
    Marshall

    “a remarkably stupid CUNT”

    instead of this:

    “a remarkably STUPID cunt”

    Oh, I see. We were reading it as though he was emphasizing ‘cunt’, which COULD (although I would disagree) be written off as being directed only at his intended target, when we SHOULD have been reading it as though he was emphasizing ‘stupid’, which would mean that he simply uses ‘cunt’ as a synonym for women, and is simply pointing out that this particular ‘cunt’ is stupid.

    Yeah, that makes EVERYTHING better.

    He just used “cunt” in place of “woman”.

    Oh, good, now you can’t go back and claim that’s not what you meant. So since you’re arguing that he’s using ‘cunt’ as a synonym for women, WHY exactly shouldn’t we think he’s a misogynist asshole?

    And, like it or not, women (and PC thugs) need to get over the word “cunt” because you are the ones giving it power. It is a derogatory term for vagina. Penn could have also used twat, slit, three-holer, etc. (though surprisingly, not “pussy”) and accomplished the same thing.

    PC thugs, that’s cute. I like to reserve ‘thugs’ for people who actually cause harm to society, but I SUPPOSE you could use it to refer to people asking you to be more careful about the way you phrase things, right? Also, had he used, for example, ‘twat’, as you said yourself he would be using it as a synonym for women, so what exactly is your point?

    It is exactly the same thing as calling a man a dick or a tool(both of which are perfectly acceptable on network TV). The cold hard reality of it is that Penn is the one who is NOT being sexist. He is treating that woman EXACTLY the same way he would treat a man. Isn’t that the goal of feminism

    No, it is NOT the same thing as calling a man a ‘dick’, because as you said yourself he wasn’t calling a woman a ‘cunt’, he was calling ALL women ‘cunts’ and pointing out that this particular ‘cunt’ was stupid. Can you give me an example of him using ‘dick’ as a synonym for men? Because if you can’t, I’m calling bullshit on your assertion that he’s treating women and men equally.

    Seriously, not only did you not defend his use of the word ‘cunt’ in referring to a woman, you actually made it worse by suggesting that he was referring to ALL women as ‘cunts’. Way to go, man. Way to go.

  15. 15
    Jason Thibeault

    I wasn’t aware that “douchebag” was a sexist slur, Tim. Perhaps you’d care to enlighten me as to how that is so?

  16. 16
    Chiroptera

    Tim Buterbaugh, #13: It is exactly the same thing as calling a man a dick or a tool(both of which are perfectly acceptable on network TV).

    Except the only people who find the term “dick” demeaning are blog trolls trying to derail a thread with irrelevant false equivalences.

    That actually makes it totally different.

  17. 17
    'Tis Himself

    Tim Buterbaugh #13

    A post damning Penn Jillette for calling someone a name loses a lot of credibility when the first sentence defines him as a douchebag and the second sentence states that this is a known fact, apparently beyond contestation.

    Having seen Jillette in various venues and situations, I think douchebag is a reasonable description of him. I strongly suspect if someone asked him, he’d agree that he’s a douchebag.

  18. 18
    Jason Thibeault

    I agree with ‘Tis Himself @17. Do the words “and then there’s this asshole” ring anyone’s bells by chance?

  19. 19
    Ace of Sevens

    Additionally, could you provide some contexts where it’s okay for a white man to call a black man a “nigger”, if you know of any?

    There’ Geroge Carlin’s routine about why it’s okay for Richard Pryor to say “nigger.”

  20. 20
    Nepenthe

    Some claim that “douchebag” is a sexist slur because it refers to a women’s sanitary device and relies on the supposed ickiness of female parts for it’s punch.

    I think it’s a perfect word for Jillette and similar folk, though. You see, a “douchebag” is a tool that hurts women. And a “douchebag” is a tool who hurts women. Perfect!

  21. 21
    John Greg

    Maybe you all should listen to your elders and their once-upon-a-times. These were saner days, before you all became the defense brigade. Before you all decided that women cannot handle adult language. Before the echo chamber was reinforced with titanium. Before the higher minds of FfTB bequeathed simple pithy words with magical, almost religious superpowers heretofore unimagined. It is just a word, people, just a fucking word. Time you all grew up a little bit and graduated from your emotional Orwellian kindergarten.

    Watson defending Penn for being an asshole, because it didn’t cross her ideological once-upon-a-times: http://skepchick.org/2006/04/mother-theresa-was-a-hag-deal-with-it/

    Myers defending Penn for being an asshole, because it didn’t cross his ideological once-upon-a-times: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/08/bring_me_the_heads_of_penn_and.php

    A word is only as powerful as the power you bequeath it. What makes the word cunt so powerful, to some thin-skinned folks, is precisely the bloody (that’s a nasty swear word in England, dontcha know) hysterical rage that you pseudo-feminists are throwing at it.

    Seriously, some of you folks really need to get out in the world a bit, read some literature, experience some history, some reality, some real-world language for a change. Take a short course in adult English, or perhaps even etymology, maybe even a sociology seminar or three.

    Go on, learn something concrete and meaningful about language and diction before you wax all ragey-red hysterical about something about which you are so much in the dark.

    Lastly, it wouldn’t do any of you any harm to focus all this blinding rage on something more meaningful than bad words and pink bunnies. There is a world full of hurt out there, even in your own tidy little protestant back yards. Why not try doing something meaningful for a change rather than focussing all this juvenile rage on such empty ephemera.

  22. 22
    Aratina Cage

    All this apologia for being hateful toward women is getting to me. Today I was skimming over some blog post and I mistook the word crud for cunt on first read.

    Anyway, because you ask,

    I wasn’t aware that “douchebag” was a sexist slur, Tim. Perhaps you’d care to enlighten me as to how that is so?

    Here is one argument for why douchebag is a sexist slur itself: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/10/sarah_palin_ignorant_and_antis.php#comment-1188647

    Basically, because it (or the nozzle it is attached to at least) is something that women insert inside themselves is the reason it is found to be disgusting, not because it is in and of itself a disgusting thing. Notice that comment #861 further down on that thread reports how douchebag was historically used as a term of contempt for women, whether it makes sense for it to be one or not.

    Whether you choose to be swayed by that argument over the argument that douching is harmful or that there is a profound sense of misogyny behind the very idea of douching as a way to freshen up is up to you, of course.

  23. 23
    Aratina Cage

    It would be nice, also, to see one thread about cunt and other misogynistic epithets be entirely devoid of John (and I don’t mean pimp or toilet when I say John) Greg and his Sommers-borne malarkey.

  24. 24
    John Greg

    The Cage said:

    “It would be nice, also, to see one thread about cunt and other misogynistic epithets be entirely devoid of John (and I don’t mean pimp or toilet when I say John) Greg and his Sommers-borne malarkey.”

    Yar. It’s unpleasant work dealing with disagreement, isn’t it?

  25. 25
    Chiroptera

    John Greg, #21: Maybe you all should listen to your elders and their once-upon-a-times. These were saner days, before you all became the defense brigade.

    By “saner times” do you mean when blacks couldn’t vote and women went to college mainly to find husbands?

    -

    Lastly, it wouldn’t do any of you any harm to focus all this blinding rage on something more meaningful than bad words and pink bunnies. There is a world full of hurt out there, even in your own tidy little protestant back yards. Why not try doing something meaningful for a change rather than focussing all this juvenile rage on such empty ephemera.

    So says the guy writing in the comments section of a blog on the internet about an argument taking place on the internet.

  26. 26
    John Greg

    Chiroptera said:

    “By ‘saner times’ do you mean when blacks couldn’t vote and women went to college mainly to find husbands?”

    Don’t be stupid. I specifically listed what I meant by “saner times”.

    “So says the guy writing in the comments section of a blog on the internet about an argument taking place on the internet.”

    Again, don’t be stupid. I am not talking about not arguing. I am talking about the subject, the content, the focus of the endless rage.

    There are many far more important things than teh bad werdz and pink bunnies that we can all rage and roll about and argue until the cows come home. We all love good arguments, but they should at least have some teeth.

  27. 27
    Aratina Cage

    Yar. It’s unpleasant work dealing with disagreement, isn’t it? –John (and I don’t mean lover who was just dumped when I write John) Greg

    It’s not that you disagree, it’s that you’re recycling conservative talking points from your Sommers bible and babbling unfounded nonsense and being contrarian for the sake of it which makes you unpleasant. Like saying that people here are coming from a “pseudo-feminist” position or that “it’s just a word”. Or implying that one cannot have their consciousness raised about misogynistic epithets such as the epithets hag and cunt.

  28. 28
    ashleybone

    And still not one of the justifiers has addressed the context question honestly.

  29. 29
    julian

    It’s unpleasant work dealing with disagreement, isn’t it?

    No, it’s just really unpleasant dealing with you.

    You could, John Greg, try making an argument. An honest argument that wasn’t your standard holier-than-thou-I’m-such-a-fucking-intellectual gibberish.

  30. 30
    Chiroptera

    John Greg, #26: Again, don’t be stupid. I am not talking about not arguing. I am talking about the subject, the content, the focus of the endless rage.

    You must think I’m stupid if you don’t think I’m smart enough to scroll upwards to check what you had actually wrote.

    On the other hand, the old “you misread my post — I meant to say utter gibberish” trick was just so crazy it might have worked!

  31. 31
    charles

    It has always been quite obvious to me that “douchebag” should be an offensive term to the same people who are offended by “bitch”, “cunt”, and whatever other words we’re not supposed to use (and could one of you authorities on BAD WERDZ please compile a complete list, for future reference?). Despite the various protestations about “douchebag” (the object) being something that is “harmful to women”, the word itself is generally associated with female genitalia, so if you call a disgusting person a “douchebag” you are implying that you think female genitalia are disgusting.

    Funny how PZ Myers didn’t voice any objection to Jillette calling Mother Teresa a “cunt” a couple years ago, isn’t it? Apparently it’s ok when the person saying it is on HIS side…

  32. 32
    Concentratedwater, OM

    @29:

    your standard holier-than-thou-I’m-such-a-fucking-intellectual gibberish.

    That sentence actually forms part of the FfTB contract for writers, I hear. Comes right after the words “I promise to write only…”.

  33. 33
    Jason Thibeault

    Sold to women as necessary because it would take away all that icky girl-ick from their icky girl-genitals, but empirically harmful to them. Douching is bad for women, but isn’t sold exclusively to them. Seems like the metaphor fits very nicely, with regard to douchebags like Penn Jillette and, evidently, John Greg and charles.

  34. 34
    Tristan

    A “douchebag” is a bag full of liquid that is squirted into a woman’s vagina. I always assumed that calling a guy a douchebag was basically saying “you’re nothing more than a useless bag of semen.”

  35. 35
    Chiroptera

    charles, #31: …the word itself is generally associated with female genitalia, so if you call a disgusting person a “douchebag” you are implying that you think female genitalia are disgusting.

    Was that meant to be a serious attempt at logic?

    I have to ask because I know people who really do make arguments like this.

    If not, it is a hilarious parody. Just, uh, which side are you parodying?

  36. 36
    julian

    I always assumed that calling a guy a douchebag was basically saying “you’re nothing more than a useless bag of semen.”

    I honestly do not believe our experiences with the word douchebag could possibly be so different you would get that meaning from it.

    Also, at least pretend to address the topic of the post. I know that’s near impossible for you but at least try this time.

  37. 37
    John Greg

    The Cage said:

    “Or implying that one cannot have their consciousness raised about misogynistic epithets such as the epithets hag and cunt.”

    Good Heavens! Is hag a baddy now too? Better give Jen McCreight an angry raised consciousness call on that one, eh?

    Anyway, consciousness raising is a two way street, isn’t it?

  38. 38
    Kevin

    I don’t think there’s any context that justifies the use of the word. It’”s demeaning and we should endeavor to treat people better than that.

    But it is true that Penn and Teller branded Mother Teresa’s order of nuns as “fucking cunts” a couple years back, and PZ didn’t have anything to say about the usage of it in that instance.

    Could he have had a change of heart? Has his consciousness been raised since then? Perhaps. That would explain the difference of opinion.

    In the skeptical community, we should, in fact, be open to people changing their minds when presented with new evidence. If PZ’s consciousness was raised with regards to the word “cunt” between 2009 and now, he’s doing the thing we’re all supposed to do when we realize our original position has problems: changing it.

  39. 39
    John Greg

    So, the following was once PeeZus’s position on the issue of policing words (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/yeah_so_ive_been_doing_this_fo.php#more):

    Blanch, you delicate souls, blanch. Somebody else finally gets it.

    ‘I’d like to suggest a very simple strategy for American liberals: Get mean. Stop policing the language and start using it to hurt our enemies. American liberals are so busy purging their speech of any words that might offend anyone that they have no notion of using language to cause some salutary pain.(http://www.alternet.org/media/80507?page=1)’

    “I wish I knew where Americans got this idea that being a liberal meant being Mr and Mrs Milquetoast.”

    Does anyone know, or care for that matter, if that is still PeeZus’s position? Or has he changed, yet again, his mind on this matter?

    And so, if that is still his position, I am curious, are you all in somewhat uniform disgreement with His Royal Higness on this issue? Yes? No?

  40. 40
    julian

    What the fuck do you care what someone may have believed x years ago, John Greg? Aren’t you a skeptic? Why the fuck would a skeptic WANT to reprimand someone for changing their mind?

    If you disagree with the reasons for it that would be one thing, but here you are playing the same fucking idiotic “flip-flop” game politicians do like it’s some great blemish against someone’s argument or beliefs. If you have a case to make, make it and quit pretending you’ve got a 2 minute soundbite with Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

    Christ! That kind of shit just pisses me off.

    btw, Prof. Myers doesn’t care if his language is offensive to some people or certain groups. He is, by his own admittance, trying to offend those groups and cause them to be alienated. He knows the power language can have better than you all who pretend words like nigger, cunt and faggot have no impact on others.

  41. 41
    Tristan

    Ahh, the old argument from lack of imagination, so favoured by creationists everywhere:

    Person A: P
    Person B: ~P
    Person A: But I can’t imagine ~P
    Person A: Therefore P.

    Way to demonstrate your skeptical credentials there, julian.

  42. 42
    Chiroptera

    julian, #40: He is, by his own admittance, trying to offend those groups and cause them to be alienated.

    Which comes to the essential point.

    No one (or at least very few people) are saying that you should never use offensive language or to be afraid to offend others.

    But who you choose to offend (or whose feelings in the matter you feel you can completely disregard) says a lot about whose side you’re really on.

  43. 43
    Chiroptera

    PS That was the general “you”; I wasn’t commenting on julian’s behavior specifically.

  44. 44
    Jason Thibeault

    I’m perfectly capable of telling you folks — John Greg, charles, and now Tristan — exactly what I think of you, without saying anything to degrade any group of unprivileged folks.

    I can call you bigoted, mean-spirited sophists who aren’t afraid to stretch the truth, or even lie, to make the case that certain people are calling out as bad behaviour certain behaviours that you yourselves enjoy far too much. I can call you ponces, pseudointellectual assholes, possessing of precious little actual worldly knowledge except how to offend, and so steeped in your various antifeminist dogmas that you can’t come to common ground with anyone to argue honestly about it. I can call you arrogant and foolish bloviators. I can even go so far as to call you assholes.

    And I did it without using a single ethnic or gendered slur.

    Gee, I think that’s what PZ suggested back in 2009. Funny, that.

  45. 45
    julian

    Tristan, the argument isn’t “I can’t imagine not P.” It’s “I have encountered P often. I don’t believe our experience with P could be that different.”

  46. 46
    Tristan

    Come to think of it, my experience of why “cunt” is considered such a bad word is completely at odds with yours, too. The accepted wisdom here seems to be that “cunt” is the worst of all possible insults because the people that use it consider it to be the worst of all possible body parts – making them misogynist by definition.

    However, the way I was taught is that you don’t use “cunt” because doing so places cunts (an inherently feminine body part) on the same level as assholes (dirty and nasty) and dicks (nasty and aggressive) – and you just don’t do that to girls. Girls are clean, and nice, and sweet, and should be protected from that sort of shit.

    In other words, in my experience the “cunt” taboo always seemed to me to be rooted in the chivalrous, patronising, ” girls can’t stand up for themselves” form of patriarchy – the form of patriarchy whose proponents would actually consider themselves to be feminists. The form that seems rampant around here.

    But of course, I’m wrong. That goes without saying.

  47. 47
    peicurmudgeon

    What a mess that was.

    Sexist and misogynist undoubtedly. I can’t think of any other explanation. Has Penn tried to weasel his way out of this yet? Perhaps it is too much to hope for an apology.

  48. 48
    Chiroptera

    Tristan, #46: In other words, in my experience the “cunt” taboo always seemed to me to be rooted in the chivalrous, patronising, ” girls can’t stand up for themselves” form of patriarchy – the form of patriarchy whose proponents would actually consider themselves to be feminists. The form that seems rampant around here.

    Around here among whom? As I’ve been looking around Free Thought Blogs, I see women who are standing up for themselves and men who are standing by them.

    The only ones who are patronizing women are the ones telling the women what they are supposed to feel, namely the “it’s only a word” crowd.

  49. 49
    julian

    For the love of Talos…

    Can you form one post that doesn’t contradict itself or forms one solid coherent idea?

  50. 50
    Jason Thibeault

    Talos worship is a bannable offense.

  51. 51
    Tristan

    Around here among whom? As I’ve been looking around Free Thought Blogs, I see women who are standing up for themselves and men who are standing by them.

    I see something similar. I see women standing up for themselves – except only in the context of “the use of the word cunt is an attack on all women”. I also see lots of men leaping to support them.

    Know what I also see? Women speaking up to say “I’m a woman, and I don’t feel attacked or demeaned by someone using the word cunt.” Then I see the former group of women telling the latter, in no uncertain terms, to STFD and STFU – that they’re absolutely demeaned by cunt, but they’re just too stupid/brainwashed/self-hating/gender-traitorous to realise and/or admit it. I see the menfolk here piling on. What I don’t see is any semblance of rational discussion.

  52. 52
    julian

    Here’s something I don’t see, Tristan actually responding or trying to meet the challenges posed by other posters.

  53. 53
    Tim Buterbaugh

    Marshall #14

    You are incorrect. Penn is not calling all women “cunts”, he is calling the one specific woman he is mad at a “cunt”. He is not being misogynistic, he is being an asshole. They are two different things.

    When an asshole is mad at someone, in the heat of the moment they will call the other person names which are offensive. That is their goal:

    “You bald fuck!”
    “You fat bastard!”
    “You dickhead”
    “You prick”

    That doesn’t mean that they hate bald people, or fat people. It means that the person they were mad at had those traits. Women have vaginas, so he called her a cunt. If a guy isn’t fat or bald, you go with dick.

    I’m not defending Penn – it is a despicable word – but it is absolutely wrong to imply that it equates to sexism.

  54. 54
    'Tis Himself

    We gnu atheists keep saying that if there’s evidence for a god then we’ll start believing in a god. If some god could arrange for John Greg to make a post that wasn’t smug, arrogant and patronizing, then I would definitely have to consider worshiping that god. Because without divine intervention, there’s no way John Greg cannot be smug, arrogant and patronizing.

  55. 55
    Marshall

    Know what I also see? Women speaking up to say “I’m a woman, and I don’t feel attacked or demeaned by someone using the word cunt.” Then I see the former group of women telling the latter, in no uncertain terms, to STFD and STFU – that they’re absolutely demeaned by cunt, but they’re just too stupid/brainwashed/self-hating/gender-traitorous to realise and/or admit it. I see the menfolk here piling on. What I don’t see is any semblance of rational discussion.

    Utter bullshit. Please post quotes, because I have never seen that and I’ve been reading FtB since it came into existence and many of the blogs currently on it before that. What you may have seen is women saying that because they don’t personally feel demeaned by ‘cunt’ that nobody else should either and then having it pointed out that they don’t get to make that determination for all women, but that’s entirely different, isn’t it?

    Come to think of it, my experience of why “cunt” is considered such a bad word is completely at odds with yours, too. The accepted wisdom here seems to be that “cunt” is the worst of all possible insults because the people that use it consider it to be the worst of all possible body parts – making them misogynist by definition.

    Well I’m sorry you manufactured that ridiculous straw-perception of the ‘accepted wisdom’ around here, but no, that isn’t it. Nobody said ‘cunt’ is the ‘worst of all possible insults’ and nobody said that it’s because they consider it to refer to ‘the worst of all possible body parts’. What you might have seen is people pointing out that because ‘cunt’ is a pejorative term for female genitalia it carries with it the connotation that female genitalia are somehow bad, and thus it is misogynistic in the connotations it carries with it.

    Since the things you’ve said are either terrible strawpeople you’ve built deliberately, or you’ve failed massively at actually understanding what people have been saying, I recommend you go back and read for comprehension. I really want to write this all off as a lack of understanding, because it certainly seems that way, but whether it is or isn’t you can’t just attack straw versions of people’s arguments.

  56. 56
    Marshall

    You are incorrect. Penn is not calling all women “cunts”, he is calling the one specific woman he is mad at a “cunt”. He is not being misogynistic, he is being an asshole. They are two different things.

    Hey, that reminds me of something…

    He just used “cunt” in place of “woman”.

    Oh yeah, I thought that might happen. Please, explain how using ‘cunt’ as a synonym for ‘woman’ is not misogynistic.

  57. 57
    Tim Buterbaugh

    Maybe I have the wrong impression of feminism. Isn’t it supposed to mean that we don’t treat women specially? That they are equal?

    If this story was about Penn Jillette calling a man a stupid and unfunny prick, would you have written this blog post?

    The argument could be made that you being sexist in having to come to the rescue to defend poor, weak women who obviously aren’t smart enough to stand up for themselves.

  58. 58
    Marshall

    The argument could be made that you being sexist in having to come to the rescue to defend poor, weak women who obviously aren’t smart enough to stand up for themselves.

    Oh it could, but it would be just as bad an argument as the one you made above that you have yet to defend. I’m not coming to anyone’s ‘defense’, I’m responding to arguments you made.

    Seriously, how is using ‘cunt’ as a synonym for ‘woman’ not misogynistic? Really, answer the question, don’t dodge it, don’t try to change the subject, answer the question.

  59. 59
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    I only ever use “cunt” when it’s used as an example, or I’m directly referencing the word. Oh, and when I’m quoting George Carlin’s “Seven Words”, of course.

    Other than that, I, personally, don’t particularly care if someone uses that particular word or not. YMMV.

  60. 60
    Chiroptera

    Tim Buterbaugh, #57: Maybe I have the wrong impression of feminism. Isn’t it supposed to mean that we don’t treat women specially? That they are equal?

    Well, I could have the wrong idea of feminism, but to me feminism is the recognition that currently women don’t have an equal place in society, that the structures the maintain women in an inferior position run deep and are often hidden, that it will take a lot of work in restructuring the basic institutions and culture before every human being can live in equality and dignity, and that many of these structures include our own beliefs and attitudes, even when we may not recognize it.

    And it is possible that when we are oblivious to how the words we use maintain the unequal power structures in society, we end up helping the continuation of the hidden assumptions that maintain the traditions and institutions of inequality.

  61. 61
    John Greg

    julian said:

    “What the fuck do you care what someone may have believed x years ago, John Greg?”

    I don’t.

    “Aren’t you a skeptic?”

    Yes, I like to think so, hence my questioning of most of the ideological ranting and rhetoric that I see on FfTB blogs (and elsewhere, including, quelle surprise, ERV).

    “Why the fuck would a skeptic WANT to reprimand someone for changing their mind?”

    I don’t. I was simply asking a question.

    “… the power language can have better than you all who pretend words like nigger, cunt and faggot have no impact on others.”

    I am not referring to words such as nigger or faggot. But more to the point is your statement regarding words. Words, of and by themselves, are powerless. It is the context and intent that gives a word its power. By itself, i.e., without context and intent, a word is fundamentally powerless and does almost nothing.

    Jason said:

    “I can call you bigoted, mean-spirited sophists who aren’t afraid to stretch the truth, or even lie, to make the case that certain people are calling out as bad behaviour certain behaviours that you yourselves enjoy far too much.”

    Jason I present you with a formal request that you show me an instance, just one instance, of where I have lied about anything — and for that matter, I request you show one instance, just one, of where I have used the word cunt (or nigger, or faggot, or any of your sundry sexist bad words), in an intentionally harmful way. You can’t, can you. I would also like you to present me with evidence of my bigotry.

    As to mean-spirited sophist, hell, I can’t argue against that in good faith, now can I.

    Ciroptera said:

    “Around here among whom? As I’ve been looking around Free Thought Blogs, I see women who are standing up for themselves and men who are standing by them.”

    Well, yes, but you discount all those women who stand up for themselves and insist that the word cunt is harmless, don’t you? One of the great features of editorial censorship, deletion, and banning, as practiced in most FfTB blogs, is that it provides folks like you with the opportunity to cry “Show me the evidence” when you know full well that the evidence has been deleted and is therefore not to be found. Vive la freedom.

    ‘Tis Himself said:

    “Because without divine intervention, there’s no way John Greg cannot be smug, arrogant and patronizing.”

    God’s teeth, s’truth.

    Marshall said:

    “Utter bullshit. Please post quotes, because I have never seen that and I’ve been reading FtB since it came into existence and many of the blogs currently on it before that.”

    Some linkies for Marshall:

    Tee Corinne (author of the book, Cunt Coloring Book):

    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tee_Corinne) (http://www.lastgasp.com/d/1120/)

    Dictional Anaylsis:

    (http://jezebel.com/300003/why-is-the-word-cunt-still-such-a-big-deal)

    Inga Musico:

    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inga_Muscio)

    Marshall also said:

    “Oh yeah, I thought that might happen. Please, explain how using ‘cunt’ as a synonym for ‘woman’ is not misogynistic.”

    Because, you silly little hymen … erps, human, “woman” is singular. It is neither global, nor generic, nor all-encompassing.

    Tim Buterbaugh said:

    “If this story was about Penn Jillette calling a man a stupid and unfunny prick, would you have written this blog post?”

    Absolutely not. It would not have warranted even a passing note. Jason explained on one of his other blog posts a few weeks ago why masculine/male gender epithets are completely harmless, tons of fun, and when judiciously applied quite appropriate, whereas feminine/female gender epithets are bad, bad, bad mojo and proof of indefensible horribleness.

  62. 62
    John Greg

    Chiroptera said:

    “… it will take a lot of work in restructuring the basic institutions and culture before every human being can live in equality and dignity….”

    Except, of course, MRAs, gender traitors, Sommers sophists, theists, non-skeptics, and … well, the list is almost endless, isn’t it, batman.

  63. 63
    John Greg

    Can we agree on this:

    Most heterosexual (is that word allowed?) males, and most homosexual (is that word allowed?) females (is that word allowed?) love cunts, being as they are juicy, lubricious, likerish (is that word allowed?) delights non pareil (is that word allowed?) and beautious and bequeathed with a pungent pithy reek of profound yet mundane pleasure wholly unconstrained.

    (Which is a damned sight more than I can say for the grannies herein.)

    Run rampant ye old world word police, but never shall you restrain or constrain the thinking mind and the expressive heart.

  64. 64
    Marshall

    A POMPOUS WINDBAG APPEARS!

    I request you show one instance, just one, of where I have used the word cunt (or nigger, or faggot, or any of your sundry sexist bad words), in an intentionally harmful way. You can’t, can you. I would also like you to present me with evidence of my bigotry.

    IT’S CONFUSED!

    Because, you silly little hymen … erps, human, “woman” is singular. It is neither global, nor generic, nor all-encompassing.

    POMPOUS WINDBAG ATTACKS POMPOUS WINDBAG

    IT’S SUPER EFFECTIVE!

    Context is important here too, and if I have to explain why ‘hymen’ in this context isn’t really appropriate, you’ll just have to wait until I have a greater stockpile of PATIENCE POTIONS on hand.

    Go back to your cave, troll.

  65. 65
    Aratina Cage

    Good Heavens! Is hag a baddy now too? Better give Jen McCreight an angry raised consciousness call on that one, eh? –John (no, not bathroom) Greg

    You do know that Blag Hag is a play on the term fag hag which is used endearingly by gay men and their best friends who are women, don’t you? And for that matter, I don’t think I’ve ever heard fag hag used disparagingly against a woman unlike hag by itself. And anyway, a troll beat you to that remark by miles on Jen’s own blog. You really need to put down Sommers and start thinking more critically.

  66. 66
    Forbidden Snowflake

    I request you show one instance, just one, of where I have used the word cunt (or nigger, or faggot, or any of your sundry sexist bad words), in an intentionally harmful way. You can’t, can you.

    That seems superstitious of you, given that they are Just Words ™ and the only thing that gives them power is the “hysterical rage” some “thin-skinned folks” are throwing at them.
    After all, the words “nigger” and “faggot” are singular, and hence cannot be global or generic, and hence aren’t bigoted. Right?

    Words, of and by themselves, are powerless. It is the context and intent that gives a word its power.

    Wait, I thought what gives words their power was the reaction of the silly hysterical people who consider some of them to be slurs. Now it’s “context and intent”, as though words have generally agreed-upon meanings and a speaker can anticipate the impact his words would have! Absurd, I say.

  67. 67
    earl mcbakersfield

    I have never seen such retarded arguments before I started reading FTB.

  68. 68
    John Greg

    Wheeeee!

    What fun it is to enagage circus clowns.

    The Cage says:

    “You do know that Blag Hag is a play on the term fag hag which is used endearingly by gay men and their best friends who are women, don’t you? And for that matter, I don’t think I’ve ever heard fag hag used disparagingly against a woman unlike hag by itself. And anyway, a troll beat you to that remark by miles on Jen’s own blog. You really need to put down Sommers and start thinking more critically.”

    Aha! So, I see, “fag” is okay when used by some people, but not when used by other people, except when used by the people who think it is okay to use it so long as you are not one of the people who should not use it except of course if you are one of the people who can use it except when you can’t because you are no longer but once were or at least surreptitiously may once be at some obscure time or other one of the people who can or can not use it except when you are one of the people who can not or can use it or otherwise not the only way it can be but or might be could be should be would be but, um, er, ah, and yes, but, well, erp ….

    Should, would, could not “cunt” have the same rules applied? Or does that particular combination of four wholly innocent wee little letters drive you to such vigorous distraction that your rationality falls out of your empty ears?

    Cage, you are a very funny piece of inclement weather.

    Forbidden Snowflake, you realy, really, reallly do need to attend some remedial English course, or logic course, or summat like that. Your post is beyond ludicrous. Perhaps a solid round of reading of the Dick and Jane series of books of profundity might help to expand your limited horizons. Poor fool. I weep for your lack of an overburdening supposition of reason.

  69. 69
    Marshall

    I have never seen such retarded arguments before I started reading FTB.

    Do you believe that we only get one life and that we should try to be good to ourselves and to others? I do. I’m all for strong rhetoric, and blasphemy, and profanity, and even being a complete asshole if it’s required, particularly when there ARE ideas in this world that do harm to people. That a person can be made to feel reduced to one derogatory word purely through careless usage on the part of another human is not a difficult thing to see. Not if you actually try to actively empathize with people.

    Can you imagine living in a society where scorn and derision are heaped upon you simply for being whatever you are, reinforced by social structures that tell others that they are superior to you in all the ways that matter? Can you imagine what that would be like? To have your entire identity and social stature summed up in one or a few words, each with connotations that dismiss you as being inferior to others?

    Not if you haven’t lived it. I have, in some ways, but not in many others that make my personal helping of scorn and hate seem insignificant in comparison. So suppose that there is a non-zero chance that someone could be made to feel that small simply by careless usage on your part of a really rather small number of words for which there are better, less dismissive alternatives. Do you really want to take the risk that you will make someone, possibly even someone you are addressing directly, feel that way just so you can casually throw around words that aren’t even particularly useful to begin with? Not if you truly empathize with people. Not if you really want to make your life and the lives of others better.

    But the expectation is that people are ‘offended’ when you throw these words around, or that they’re just too sensitive and get sad when people use words they don’t like, or they’ll equate your very real and very tangible artificially lowered stature in society expressed as a single short utterance with words like ‘shit’ or ‘fuck’, words that are harmless entirely and really do only have the power that we give them. But what I mostly feel is anger. Anger when these words are turned on me, and angry when these words are turned on others. Because it isn’t necessary. You could have very easily expressed the exact same sentiment without using a word that represents and reinforces the prejudice, ignorance, fear, hatred, and condescension that people throw at mentally disabled individuals on a constant and consistent basis. Are you really so fucking attached to that stupid and useless word that you would be so unsympathetic to your fellow humans JUST to be able to continue saying it? Then fuck you, in my opinion. If you are so attached to these ridiculous words that you would ignore the way they’re used to demean and minimize people simply because of who they are, why the fuck do I want you around?

    It’s really simple: I will call you an asshole, I will joke about and mock your ideas, I will attack the things you say with full force, I will insult you if required, but I will almost NEVER result to personal attacks, and I won’t demean people who live through experiences that I can’t possibly imagine through the careless use of words that serve no purpose. If you do, don’t be surprised if I get angry, and don’t be surprised if I call you out for it, because apparently that’s what is going to be required for people to stop casually and passively demeaning people.

  70. 70
    Aratina Cage

    @John (not the crapper) Greg

    Aha! So, I see, “fag” is okay when used by some people, but not when used by other people, except when used by the people who think it is okay to use it so long as you are not one of the people who should not use it except of course if you are one of the people who can use it except when you can’t because you are no longer but once were or at least surreptitiously may once be at some obscure time or other one of the people who can or can not use it except when you are one of the people who can not or can use it or otherwise not the only way it can be but or might be could be should be would be but, um, er, ah, and yes, but, well, erp ….

    Yes, “erp” indeed! Were you trying to say something intelligible? Maybe a mime act would work better for you.

    But I think I kind of see where you were going with that rambling. The word fag is a lot like nigger in whether it is a slur or not. You first have to consider how it was used because it really doesn’t matter who uses it when it is meant to disparage someone. But when it isn’t outright meant to disparage someone, then considering who said it is important because some people might not realize it is a slur and need to be corrected about their usage of it. And of course, if you can create an artificial environment where fag takes on the meaning of rude, noisy biker and loses its homophobic meaning completely, then good for you.

    Should, would, could not “cunt” have the same rules applied? Or does that particular combination of four wholly innocent wee little letters drive you to such vigorous distraction that your rationality falls out of your empty ears?

    I think the same usage guidelines should apply–that is, if you don’t want to hurt people by using the word cunt et al. I do approve of efforts to make people ashamed of using those terms as slurs, too. Hurting people by verbally attacking their biological self is an act of dehumanization; we’ve already seen where that gets us (slavery/war/torture/genocide) and so it’s not something we should strive for.

    What’s the matter? Didn’t Sommers cover all this in her books?

  71. 71
    John Greg

    Cage said:

    “Hurting people by verbally attacking their biological self is an act of dehumanization….”

    Oh for crying out loud, grow up and grab a taste of reality. To paraphrase whomever, stop policing the language and start using it for something meaningful. Milquetoast pseudo-feminists are becoming so busy purging their speech of any words that might offend anyone (except chosen enemies who are free targets for any form of dehumanization that is convenient) that they have no notion of using language to be profound, meaningful, pithy, or useful.

    Marshall, stop whinging about imaginary assaults and fabricated dystopias; grab a life and stop contradicting yourself; join the rest of us in the real world.

  72. 72
    Marshall

    Whatever, John. I’m actively choosing to make a pretty damn small and unobtrusive change in the way I speak and write to avoid disparaging people for what they ARE in a society that has too much of that going on as it is. You’re childishly refusing to do this and mocking those who do while providing no valid reason to find your self-important excuse making to be anything other than selfish and uncaring expressions of someone convinced that his lack of consideration for others makes him superior to the rest of us. I really could not give less of a shit what you think at this point.

  73. 73
    jon

    so, a woman can call a man a dick, and a man can not call a woman a cunt?

    that’s sexist.

  74. 74
    Tim Buterbaugh

    Chiroptera #60

    I agree that women have not yet achieved an equal place at the table. In fact, I agree with everything in your post. But they will never achieve it as long as they allow a simple word to derail them (and their supporters). Everyone needs

    Men who call women cunts are just assholes. An asshole will call anyone any name they can think of to piss the other person off. Those people don’t count. They are not the problem.

    The hidden structures that hold women in an inferior position would never utter the word “cunt”. They will use their holy books and history to do it. They will profess that they love women and fully support them, but god simply made them subordinate to man, and they will maintain that they cannot defy god’s holy word. Much the same way that they use bullshit like “love the sinner, hate the sin” with gay people. They will never treat a gay person with respect. However, you’ll likely never hear them calling anyone a fag or a dyke.

    In the business world, it is the old boy’s clubs that don’t view women as equal (but at the same time, they also don’t view any minority as equal). Again, you will never hear one of them use the word “cunt” in public.

    These are the real enemies of women, not “douchebags” like Penn Jillette.

  75. 75
    Callum James Hackett

    I’m surprised some people are making the lazy argument that words only have as much damage as you give them – what a load of shit. Yes, a word is just a unit of sound, but it’s the cultural significance and underlying meaning of a word that’s important. If a slur could be taken to mean, “I hate you and everyone like you and think your kind should be obliterated from the species”, you can’t just refuse to accept that meaning.

    Anyway, I’m surprised I only just remembered this now: Larry David sympathises http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E_7q4hzWFc

  76. 76
    Tim Buterbaugh

    Marshall #56 and #58

    “Seriously, how is using ‘cunt’ as a synonym for ‘woman’ not misogynistic? Really, answer the question, don’t dodge it, don’t try to change the subject, answer the question.”

    (Sorry that I don’t know the hotkeys to do a proper quotation from a prior post. If someone would like to share them, I would appreciate it.)

    Here is my answer:

    Misogyny is the hatred of women (or girls). All of them. Penn called one specific woman a cunt. Not all of them, one of them.

    Misogyny: Women are worthless cunts with no redeeming value.

    Not Misogyny: That cunt just flipped me off!

    Tasteless, moronic, childish, mean? Yes. Misogyny? No.

  77. 77
    julian

    The hidden structures that hold women in an inferior position would never utter the word “cunt”.

    What bullshit.

    Pro-lifers, those who insist on abstinence only education, men who “protect” the “honor” of women, they all readily and eagerly demean women through the language they use. They call them harlots, whores, cunts, bitches, feminists and do so often to contrast them from ‘good’ women.

    They’ve always done it and continue to do it today.

  78. 78
    Stephanie Zvan

    Misogyny: Women are worthless cunts with no redeeming value.

    Not Misogyny: That cunt just flipped me off!

    See? If you reduce women to their genitalia–but only one at a time–it becomes magically different!

    And no, misogyny is not “hatred”. Don’t confuse etymology with meaning.

  79. 79
    Aratina Cage

    Oh for crying out loud, grow up and grab a taste of reality. To paraphrase whomever, stop policing the language and start using it for something meaningful. Milquetoast pseudo-feminists are becoming so busy purging their speech of any words that might offend anyone (except chosen enemies who are free targets for any form of dehumanization that is convenient) that they have no notion of using language to be profound, meaningful, pithy, or useful.

    A vapid response, as was to be expected. Offending people isn’t a problem and not at all what I was addressing. One wonders if you read what I wrote at all or just typed out pre-formed buzzwords and talking points.

  80. 80
    Tim Buterbaugh

    Julian #77

    Pro-lifers fall into the category of assholes who don’t count. I agree that they commonly call women whores and harlots – often on giant billboards. They also routinely issue death threats against people who disagree with them. They also rejoice at the thought of someone literally burning in the fires of hell for all eternity and call that “god’s love”. They are lunatics. And many of them are women.

    I put them in the same category as the Westboro Baptist Church.

  81. 81
    Aratina Cage

    Pro-lifers fall into the category of assholes who don’t count.

    Perhaps you meant the Cheneys and Roves and Nixons and Limbaughs and Murdocks, etc. of the world then? (This is me laughing at you.)

  82. 82
    Psychotic Atheist

    The word ‘cunt’ is certainly a potent swear word, it is therefore also an interesting one.

    There is asymmetry in how it is applied to the sexes. It is considered much worse to call a woman a ‘cunt’, than to call a man one. Calling a woman a ‘cunt’ is not only vulgar but it’s also completely without class, as well as the aforementioned tones of misogyny.

    There are contexts in which ‘cunt’ loses some of its power, and that is primarily in positive swearing.

    Positive swearing, as I mean it, is to use ‘cunt’ as certain Americans have been known to use ‘guy’ or ‘dude’, or ‘bastard’ – that is almost affectionately. For example: “Any of you cunts seen my keys?”, “, “You’re a funny cunt, you are.”. Its clearly offensive language, which means language that offends some people, but its meaning in context is to be somewhat neutral. It is not implying the person is bad because they are a cunt, thus not making the implication that being a cunt is bad. This is generally only acceptable in any way between those who are very familiar and it is mutually agreed to be acceptable and safe to call each other nasty names.

    The second circumstance that I can think of is if it used by a to refer to genitalia. This seems less offensive than calling someone ‘a cunt’, and although it maintains much of its power it loses some in this case. Not everybody will like using it to describe there own genitalia, but I certainly wouldn’t argue with a woman that likes to use it especially referring to her own parts.

    ‘Cunt’ isn’t universally regarded by feminists as a terrible word. There are feminists who are perfectly comfortable with the word in its own right. As an outspoken feminist, Germaine Greer gives her view on the word:

    http://youtu.be/GDJutaFuVD0

    To me, the ‘C’ Word is far less contentious {than Vagina}

    She is of course, defending its use as a label for female genitalia. There are after all, a lot of other words for ‘cunt’, but many of them are also taboo. I don’t think she likes it being used as an insult – as she says in, The Female Eunuch, (On men):,

    They still say “fuck you” as a venomous insult; they still find “cunt” the most degrading epithet outside the dictionary.

    Though I understand that there are many who dislike the word in its own right and that if you are one of those people you will feel offended whatever the context. It is these people that I’m sure caused some nervousness for English speaking Sports Commentators who have had to comment on people with names such as such as Stefan Kuntz.

    And finally, although I basically dislike the word in most contexts, I do like the exclamation ‘Juno’s Cunt!’, made famous by HBO’s Rome, which I think is no more contentious than ‘Fuck’. I think I’ve written that word more often than I’ll write it for the rest of the year.

  83. 83
    Tim Buterbaugh

    Stephanie Zvan #78
    I think you are the one confusing etymology with meaning. The meaning of misogyny is the hatred of women. Look it up in any dictionary.

  84. 84
    PermanentStaycation

    I believe this is highly relevant and adds significant perspective http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTifRi3qDkU

  85. 85
    Tim Buterbaugh

    Atarina #81

    And have you ever heard the Cheneys and Roves and Nixons and Limbaughs and Murdocks, etc. use the word “cunt”?

    Please refrain from wasting our time responding to a post that you obviously don’t understand or didn’t take the time to read. Don’t you have a spelling test or something you should be studying for?

  86. 86
    Aratina Cage

    Positive swearing, as I mean it, is to use ‘cunt’ as certain Americans have been known to use ‘guy’ or ‘dude’, or ‘bastard’ – that is almost affectionately.

    This is why England is the free space on CUNTO. Invariably, when someone disparages a woman as a cunt, people pop up to defend England at all costs against their right to say cunt and mean friend. But that is not the usage that is problematic. It’s not what sparked this conversation. The same goes for the people slopping over here from ERV right now; they aren’t calling you-know-who a cunt or twat because they are friends with her or because they have affection for her. So let’s not forget that we are not talking about using the word cunt to mean BFF.

  87. 87
    Aratina Cage

    The hidden structures that hold women in an inferior position would never utter the word “cunt”.

    Pro-lifers fall into the category of assholes who don’t count.

    OK, Tim, then who counts? LOL.

  88. 88
    Psychotic Atheist

    @Aratina Cage

    This is why England is the free space on CUNTO. Invariably, when someone disparages a woman as a cunt, people pop up to defend England at all costs against their right to say cunt and mean friend. But that is not the usage that is problematic.

    I believe my very point was that there was some uses which were less problematic than others. Did you not catch that? I was providing some contexts within which ‘cunt’ need not be cause for feminist concern. I choose not to try and even find a context in which calling a woman a ‘…stupid cunt’ is acceptable in all but the most familiar of exchanges.

  89. 89
    Chiroptera

    jon, #73: so, a woman can call a man a dick, and a man can not call a woman a cunt?

    that’s sexist.

    Actually, a good sign that your sexist is if you really thing those two things are exactly the same.

  90. 90
    Aratina Cage

    Did you not catch that?

    I didn’t say you were wrong. I said that that usage is trotted out every time to excuse away the usage of cunt et al as misogynistic epithets. It’s really simple actually: unless you are using cunt affectionately or to refer to genitalia, then don’t use it without acknowledging the misogyny you are simultaneously espousing.

  91. 91
    CommanderTuvok

    I want Lousy Canuck to dress down PZ.

    ‘PZ not having a problem with ‘cunt,’ and making fun of Bill Donohue for freaking out over its use.’ (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/08/bring_me_the_heads_of_penn_and.php)

    I want Lousy Canuck to dress down Skepchick.

    ‘Watson defending Penn saying that it was his style of ‘humor’ and ‘Mother Theresa was a hag. Deal with it.’ (http://skepchick.org/2006/04/mother-theresa-was-a-hag-deal-with-it/)

    Now lets have less of the hypocrisy from “your side”, and stop attempting to define context on YOUR terms so that you are free to abuse certain werdz, and other are not.

  92. 92
    Aratina Cage

    I want Lousy Canuck to dress down PZ.

    Why do I get the feeling that Commander Tuvok is “andyet” from that 2009 thread?

    I want Lousy Canuck to dress down Skepchick.

    No one here is defending what Rebecca Watson wrote in that 2006 post. It was misogynistic. But guess what? None of that excuses disparagingly calling women (one or more) cunts et al!

  93. 93
    Forbidden Snowflake

    What’s the matter, John? Still upset over that time we had an argument and your hypocrisy got exposed?

    Forbidden Snowflake, you realy, really, reallly do need to attend some remedial English course, or logic course, or summat like that.

    “English, or logic, or something”. Brilliant. Calling people stupid instead of arguing is what I would expect from you, but could you at least try to pretend to have a specific, coherent criticism?

    Your post is beyond ludicrous. Perhaps a solid round of reading of the Dick and Jane series of books of profundity might help to expand your limited horizons. Poor fool. I weep for your lack of an overburdening supposition of reason.

    I love how you go from pretentious moron to condescending buffoon and then to babbling lunatic, all in the space of four sentences.

  94. 94
    John Greg

    Snowy said:

    “I love how you go from pretentious moron to condescending buffoon and then to babbling lunatic, all in the space of four sentences.”

    Well, I have to keep you entertained, don’t I.

    “Calling people stupid instead of arguing is what I would expect from you….”

    Actually, I have presented several arguments throughout this thread, and you know it. Ignoring them for the sake of trying to make weak points is intellectually dishonest.

    Jason, you frequently call me anti-feminist. Could you post some quotes or something like that that actually show me espousing an anti-feminist argument, or anti-feminist position?

    Also, you called me a liar. I repeat my request to have you provide evidence of my actually telling lies, even just one, single, lonely little lie would do.

    C’mon, Jason, wave the pale pipe you are so seemingly mutually proud and ashamed of, and pony up with some evidence of my telling lies.

    And if you cannot post such evidence, because it does not exist, perhaps you could be adult enough to provide a small apology for the slander.

    By-the-by, I promise you that if you can find and post a quote of me telling an actual lie, I will own up to it.

  95. 95
    Ace of Sevens

    Thanks CommanderTuvok. I wish I could have found that post the other day when people were jumping on me for saying PZ’s hordes have been ignoring misogyny when it was directed at Christians. I was upset it took this long to call out the Amazing Atheist when he’s been suing similar tactics on creation women he’s “pwning” for years.

    Not that I agree with you. I was upset people haven’t been doing more to call out misogyny when directed at acceptable targets.

  96. 96
    John Greg

    Callum James Hackett said:

    “I’m surprised some people are making the lazy argument that words only have as much damage as you give them – what a load of shit.”

    It is neither a lazy argument, nor a load of shit. And actually, your argument more than proves my point in that to define how nasty a single word could be, you had to use 17 words to do so.

    You appear to not understand how a word on its own, without context, without intent, means almost nothing.

    Here is a challenge: Prove to us how evil the word cunt is using only one word to do so. You cannot say something like “Well, cunt is bad because….” and then use your one word to explain yourself. Your entire defense must rest upon one word, and one word only.

    C’mon, let’s see you do it.

    “Yes, a word is just a unit of sound, but it’s the cultural significance and underlying meaning of a word that’s important.”

    Yes, but that cultural significance and underlying meaning is defined by context, use, and intent. It is not defined by the word alone. And that is easily proved by the many different contexts in which a word can be used. Using the word cunt in this instance, i.e., expository or explicatory renders it almost devoid of meaning, as also happens with words like faggot, or nigger, and so on. When used in an expository or explicatory sense they are rendered harmless and virtually meaningless. Therefore, that shows you that context and intent are not just of passing fancy, but are fundamental and essential to meaning.

    “If a slur could be taken to mean, ‘I hate you and everyone like you and think your kind should be obliterated from the species’, you can’t just refuse to accept that meaning.”

    Yes, but as I said, it took 17 words for you to define that the word means what you want it to mean. You cannot do so with only one word. Furthermore, to ensure that a slur “be taken to mean, ‘I hate you and everyone like you and think your kind should be obliterated from the species’”, requires that it be specifically understood beforehand that that is precisely the meaning the slur must have, and to do that requires that someone, like yourself, pre-define the slur. Otherwise it is just an empty word.

    Like many FfTB bloggers and commentors, you can repeat as many times as you want that a word is evil of and by itself, but if we abide by the rules of English and linguistics, such repetition does not make you right.

  97. 97
    earl mcbakersfield

    jon, #73: so, a woman can call a man a dick, and a man can not call a woman a cunt?

    that’s sexist.

    Actually, a good sign that your sexist is if you really thing those two things are exactly the same.

    Pretty much: don’t question it, if you do you’re sexist.

    Why is cunt a sexist word? is it because it reduces a female to a single sexual organ? If this is the case as Stephanie Zvan argued, then yes it is exactly the same.

  98. 98
    Aratina Cage

    I wish I could have found that post the other day when people were jumping on me for saying PZ’s hordes have been ignoring misogyny when it was directed at Christians.

    For fuck’s sake, Ace, don’t be a fool and fall for Commander Tuvok’s sniveling drivel. (You must have no idea who Commander Tuvok is, and I assure you that you do not want to know!) Read again what PZ wrote. The topic was Bill Donohue’s child-rape apologia, anti-gay bigotry, and anti-atheist rage, not whether or not Penn was being a sexist pig.

  99. 99
    Marshall

    Thanks CommanderTuvok. I wish I could have found that post the other day when people were jumping on me for saying PZ’s hordes have been ignoring misogyny when it was directed at Christians. I was upset it took this long to call out the Amazing Atheist when he’s been suing similar tactics on creation women he’s “pwning” for years.

    Not that I agree with you. I was upset people haven’t been doing more to call out misogyny when directed at acceptable targets.

    Isn’t it at all possible that people change and grow over time as they learn more about the world around them? I probably wouldn’t have seen the problem in what Penn was saying two years ago, but I certainly do now. There has been an upward trend in calling out misogyny WITHIN atheism over the past few years, because it has become more and more apparent that this is a problem.

    In any event it further highlights Penn’s consistent usage of ‘cunt’ to describe women. The only thing it highlights as far as PZ and the Pharyngula comment regulars is that they’re views and scope of activism have changed and grown over the past few years, which is LAUDABLE in my opinion. Far better than those in this very thread who refuse at every turn to do the same.

  100. 100
    Ace of Sevens

    It doesn’t matter who he is. The post speaks for itself. If PZ had any problem with what was said, he gave no indication. He was, in fact, very supportive. I’m not saying he supports such tactics. He’s never used them himself, but he was willing to overlook the fact the Penn was attacking Mother Teresa using misogynistic tactocs because he was attacking Mother Teresa.

  101. 101
    Marshall

    And of course I wouldn’t spot a typo until after I’ve hit send…

  102. 102
    Ace of Sevens

    @Marshall. I suppose that’s one explanation. Perhaps he only noticed there was a problem when people started doing such things to his friends and would have called it out now.

  103. 103
    Aratina Cage

    It doesn’t matter who he is.

    It matters that a troll is trolling. Like I said, don’t be fooled.

  104. 104
    CommanderTuvok

    So, according to Aratina I am somebody called “andyet” from a thread in 2009. No evidence, of course. Because Aratina is unsure of whether I’m somebody else or not, that makes me a troll? Or is it because I’m one of the escapees from the Siberian gulag? Or commenting on something not approved by the klan?

    Aratina’s response is rather typical of those who don’t want to face the issue, but instead, just close their eyes and pretend no-one else exists outside the Baboon enclosure.

    Good ‘ol rational skeptics, eh?

  105. 105
    Aratina Cage

    Spare me, Tuvok. People can read andyet’s words on that thread and yours wherever you are and see that both are nothing but whining about PZ. If you’re not andyet, you’re cut from the same cloth.

  106. 106
    Marshall

    @Ace
    But everyone fails to realize things before they finally click, and often that can take things hitting a little closer to home.

  107. 107
    Marshall

    Incidentally, Tuvok, you seem to have only shown that others are growing and revising their positions over time. What’s there to dress them down

  108. 108
    Jason Thibeault

    Tuvok’s point, evidently, was that PZ’s and Rebecca’s old positions in those old posts agrees more readily with his current position, and that I should take them to task for things they evidently no longer believe themselves. That I should fixate on what they once espoused as though they are fixed frames of reference by virtue of being available on the internet today, even though they have since evolved their positions. In other words, he doesn’t like what they’ve become, so he wants to fragment the skeptic/feminist community by having me engage in internecene war with people who have changed their minds.

    I’m not particularly interested in these games, especially not after having worked a full day, and where I’m planning on scheduling a couple quick posts for throughout the day tomorrow, where I’m expecting to work a 16+ hour day then too. You pro-cunt-crying trolls can keep trolling for the moment, until I get annoyed enough to throw you all in spam, but you’ll have to make do with my commenters in the meantime — whom I so far largely agree with.

    John: look no further than the very post where you challenged me to find something that you lied about. You were very helpful in providing a lie so proximate to that challenge, so I thank you. While I was moreso referring to your compatriots in general for being… “liberal”… with the truth, you were quite kind in providing me with an example where you are empirically wrong. Allow me to blockquote:

    Jason explained on one of his other blog posts a few weeks ago why masculine/male gender epithets are completely harmless, tons of fun, and when judiciously applied quite appropriate, whereas feminine/female gender epithets are bad, bad, bad mojo and proof of indefensible horribleness.

    I think I know what blog post you’re referring to, given the context, However, please show each clause of that sentence individually. Any that you can’t demonstrate would prove you to be willing to stretch the truth to impugn the motivations of those you have targeted, including Justin Bieber myself.

  109. 109
    Chiroptera

    But despite all the defense offered, and the number of times “context” was brought up, nobody’s actually offered the context in which Penn’s use of the word is actually somehow acceptable.

    In over 108 comments, did you ever get an answer to this?

  110. 110
    Jason Thibeault

    Chiroptera:

  111. 111
    Stephanie Zvan

    Of course he didn’t, Chiroptera, because that isn’t the point of this crowd showing up here. They haven’t come to talk about anything. They’ve come to make Jason pay attention to them.

    Remember those kids in school, the angrily unpopular ones who would get together in their little hole and whine to each other about how stupid people were to like other kids just because they were into sports or theater or had nice clothes? Remember how those kids would get caught up in their whining and reinforce each other’s opinions until they’d break into other people’s conversations to try to explain, one more time, why and how people were sooo stupid for liking each other? Remember how they never once managed to understand that it was that kind of behavior that made people dislike them, not the clothes or the lack of activities? Remember feeling a little sorry for them since, after all, social marginalization sucks–until you figured out that they kept doing this because they were all such odious people that they couldn’t even take any real pleasure in each other’s company, that they couldn’t make friends even with each other?

    Yeah. That’s this.

  112. 112
    John Greg

    Jason said:

    “… look no further than the very post where you challenged me to find something that you lied about. You were very helpful in providing a lie so proximate to that challenge, so I thank you…. I think I know what blog post you’re referring to, given the context, However, please show each clause of that sentence individually.”

    Yes, I remember the post too, but I do not remember what its title/Heading was, so I cannot find it, so, sorry, but no linkage. Anyway….

    Well, I think calling that a lie is a bit of a thin stretch. I would say that my statement that you “explained on one of [your] other blog posts a few weeks ago why masculine/male gender epithets are completely harmless, tons of fun, and when judiciously applied quite appropriate, whereas feminine/female gender epithets are bad, bad, bad mojo and proof of indefensible horribleness” is more of a slight misrepresentation and a somewhat egregious exaggeration than a lie. But, if you insist, okay, I lied. Nasty evil me.

    If memory serves, that was the post where when asked why “kick in the cunt” was so much worse than “kick in the balls” you provided some indefensible gibberishy nonsense about privilege, and maleness, and so forth. None of which could stand up in a court of sensibility.

    Also, if memory serves — but being an old gray whistle stop, it’s probably more of a disservice — that was also the post in which you included a weird explanation of how individual words can of and by themselves contain magical powers of USA-specific cultural content, broad yet specific meaning, intent, and context, even when all of those were in actual fact missing. That is not a lie but it may be a mistake, or even a misrepresentation. But, as I say, I cannot find that post, so we are both left out in the cold at the moment so far as linkage goes.

    Chiroptera said:

    “In over 108 comments, did you ever get an answer to this?”

    Actually, yes, that question was answered in a variety of ways, beginning in a somewhat tangential way with Callum James Hackett’s comment # 2, and continuing with Tim Buterbaugh’s comment # 13, and so on. But most of the commentors here disagreed with those answers, therefore, apparently, the answers ceased to exist.

  113. 113
    Chiroptera

    John Greg, #112:

    Thanks for pointing these out.

    #2 seems to agree that in Penn’s case, there isn’t context where his use of the word at that time was acceptable. Is that how you read it, too?

    #13 seems to say…oh, dear. Maybe it’s my poor reading comprehension skills, but #13 seems to be saying that it’s acceptable that Penn call that woman a cunt because he wasn’t really calling her a cunt. Is that what you read?

  114. 114
    John Greg

    Chiroptera said:

    “Thanks for pointing these out.

    “#2 seems to agree that in Penn’s case, there isn’t context where his use of the word at that time was acceptable. Is that how you read it, too?”

    Yes, I think so. But I think it is important to keep in mind Hackett’s argument in defending context in general, and Hackett’s other comments regarding skewing the argument beforehand. I think that is relevant because it opens up the possibility, although unstated by Hackett, of the context being acceptable.

    “#13 seems to say…oh, dear. Maybe it’s my poor reading comprehension skills, but #13 seems to be saying that it’s acceptable that Penn call that woman a cunt because he wasn’t really calling her a cunt. Is that what you read?”

    Buterbaugh said:

    “Also, speaking of context, you’re not even reading his quote in context. You are reading this:

    ‘a remarkably stupid CUNT’

    instead of this:

    ‘a remarkably STUPID cunt’

    “He wasn’t calling her a cunt, he was calling her stupid (and unfunny).’

    I might be cutting Buterbaugh some slack, perhaps unwarranted. The way I read that is that what he is arguing is that the emphasis of the comment should be on the adjective stupid, not on the noun cunt.

    I mean, obviously Penn called her a cunt; it’s there in black and white. But as has been argued by several people, context and intent are fundamentally critical in determining one’s reaction to the comment. And that, of course, is where the primary bone of contention lies, and where the primary disagreement is.

    What parts of speech do we give more power to? Verbs, adjectives, nouns? I think that may be a relevant question.

    I also think that Tim’s following comment is a truth, so to speak:

    “And, like it or not, women (and PC thugs) need to get over the word “cunt” because you are the ones giving it power. It is a derogatory term for vagina. Penn could have also used twat, slit, three-holer, etc. (though surprisingly, not “pussy”) and accomplished the same thing.

    “It is exactly the same thing as calling a man a dick or a tool(both of which are perfectly acceptable on network TV). The cold hard reality of it is that Penn is the one who is NOT being sexist. He is treating that woman EXACTLY the same way he would treat a man. Isn’t that the goal of feminism?”

    Despite all the circular reasoning, and often pure gibberish spouted by gender feminists regarding the evilness of the word cunt, I think Buterbaugh is quite right in that comment.

    I am not particularily defending Penn — I don’t happen to like him very much or agree with him about much of anything, or with his combative sensationalistic approach (as I have stated elsewhere, I am more of the school of Daniel Loxton, so to speak, than that of Myers); nonetheless, I am increasingly mystified by this sort of meme where it is generally okay to insult males with any word one chooses, whether a gendered epithet or otherwise, but it is somehow deeply, darkly, verboten to do the same to females. Honestly, I do not get that. Why can we insult men with a vast range of derogatory insults, but not women? When did women become so fragile? Or should we perhaps just stop insulting everyone? What’s the equality calculation on this?

  115. 115
    Marshall

    Well, I think calling that a lie is a bit of a thin stretch. I would say that my statement that you “explained on one of [your] other blog posts a few weeks ago why masculine/male gender epithets are completely harmless, tons of fun, and when judiciously applied quite appropriate, whereas feminine/female gender epithets are bad, bad, bad mojo and proof of indefensible horribleness” is more of a slight misrepresentation and a somewhat egregious exaggeration than a lie. But, if you insist, okay, I lied. Nasty evil me.

    Here’s the statement from Jason you took issue with. Emphasis mine:

    I can call you bigoted, mean-spirited sophists who aren’t afraid to stretch the truth, or even lie, to make the case that certain people are calling out as bad behaviour certain behaviours that you yourselves enjoy far too much.

    So, since you’ve admitted to a “somewhat egregious exaggeration”, which fits well within the scope of the statement YOU cried foul about in two separate posts, why don’t you at least acknowledge your dishonesty instead of just dropping off a disingenuous and flippant “Yeah so”?

    You’ve acted in a condescending and dismissive manner to everyone who disagreed with you from the moment you showed up here. I see you’ve scaled that back now. Funny what changes when someone gets outed as, to all appearances, a dishonest troll.

    So why don’t you either go back and find the quotes necessary to answer Jason’s challenge, or show how ‘cunt’ was justified IN THE CONTEXT IT WAS USED IN BY PENN (No, despite your further efforts to dishonestly twist statements made by others, @2 and @13 do NOT accomplish that), because if you can’t do either of those things then you might as well move along. I for one am tired of your smug fucking attitude.

  116. 116
    NJohnson

    2) The word “cunt” applied to a woman in America is a sexist slur, used in exactly the same vein as calling a black person a “nigger”

    Wow… well number 2 is not a fact and in fact shows far more privilege than I would expect to see on ftb. Cunt has never been used to completely dehumanize a full subset of the human race, where as that is the full purpose as terms such as nigger, fag, spic, etc.

    Up until the 1960s the word was almost never in use, and was certainly not as prevalent as, say, nigger:

    http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=cunt%2Cnigger&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=5&smoothing=3

    The 1960s brought a reduction in censorship, and a simple comparison to the words fuck, shit, piss, motherfucker, and tits (not even deadwood could revive cocksucker) show that the return of the word in fact is much more closely related to words considered taboo:

    http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=fuck%2Cshit%2Cpiss%2Ctits%2Ccunt%2Ccocksucker%2Cmotherfucker&year_start=1940&year_end=2008&corpus=5&smoothing=3

    So if you find cunt offensive let people know. But don’t let your privilege show by comparing it to nigger.

  117. 117
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    @NJohnson — By Carlin, you included all SEVEN!

  118. 118
    SimplyStrange

    @NJohnson
    Fantastic post. Perfectly states the problem with people comparing cunt, which has hardly ever been used to debase women as a class and whose connotations vary widely based on culture, to racial slurs, which have been commonly used for centuries to to describe entire groups of people as subhuman.

  1. 119
    Atheism is not enough (pt 1) » Lousy Canuck

    [...] would be impossible to build a functional society around. And that’s not to mention his own heaping helping of misogyny. But on the topic of deities, he and I could probably break bread [...]

  2. 120
    The 2012 Lousy Year In Review » Lousy Canuck

    [...] TJ Kincaid and was nonplussed. I was further nonplussed by trolls’ inability to justify Penn Jillette’s blatant misogyny over a blog post that he declared “unfunny” and a woman that he declared to be nothing [...]

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