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Sam Brownback: #heblowsalot.

Youth today. Sometimes they do great things.

A teenage girl in a high school group called Youth in Government uses her fancy new tweeting phone to exercise her constitutionally-protected right to call a governor a butthead. (Or, to be more specific, to say that he “sucked” and to create the hashtag #heblowsalot.) Her perceptive abilities proved accurate, when said Gov. Sam Brownback reveals that he uses taxpayer dollars to gather evidence that teenagers are making fun of him on Twitter, and to use that evidence to get them in trouble at school. Because the butthead quotient in this story wasn’t high enough already, the school responded to Brownback’s sniveling about adolescents with political opinions by attempting to force the teenage girl in question to write a letter of apology to Gov. Brownback. The teenager in question, Emma Sullivan, 18, responded by demonstrating her superior understanding of the basic principles of democracy by refusing, and instead causing the easily perturbed governor even more consternation by asking for a sit-down meeting to ask direct questions of the governor, furthering demonstrating no doubt to him that everything started to go wrong with this country when they let women have the vote.

Although, really, this kind of blows my mind. Here’s what oily, stupid Republicans do with their state resources.

Brownback’s office, which monitors social media for postings containing the governor’s name, saw Sullivan’s post and contacted the Youth in Government program.

Sullivan received a scolding at school and was ordered to send Brownback an apology letter. She said Prinicipal Karl R. Krawitz even suggested talking points for the letter she was supposed to turn in Monday.

While we’re all laughing at Governor Crybaby, you might also take a moment to write (politely!) to Principal Krawitz and let him know that his craven obedience to a ridiculous, anti-democratic order from Brownback makes him a lapdog and toady. Praise your students when they show initiative, and demonstrate that they understand free speech far better than you do!


Brownback has blinked. That’ll teach him a lesson: never play chicken with a teenager. Those youngsters think they’re immortal.

Comments

  1. NitricAcid says

    The governor should expect a Monty Python apology. “We would like to apologize for the profanity in that last skit. Honestly, we’re so fucking sorry.”

  2. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Sam Brownback: #heblowsalot.

    So, homophobic imagery is alright as long as it goes against a wannabe theocrat?

  3. sc_2b532274835c88f405421bce9a136ab0 says

    Schools are very, very accustomed to punishing speech, and very, very accustomed to forcing children to engage in speech they don’t wish to. Actually, they’re very accustomed to being authoritarian generally.

  4. says

    The tweet itself is not so great (and by that I just mean that it wasn’t an especially well-crafted insult to Brownback), but her actions and statements afterward have been. This ABC story refers to her as a “stubborn teenager who insisted on her right to free speech,” which I found hilarious. As if the First Amendment is a technicality that got in the way of Brownback and Krawitz taking this impudent brat behind the shed and beating her with a switch for her lip. The girl needs to learn some respect!

    Emma’s got a bully pulpit now, should she choose to use it. She says she wants to be politically active…this is a good way to start, even if it wasn’t what she had originally intended.

  5. Gregory Greenwood says

    The world is in the grip of a severe finacial crisis, America’s national deficit is titanic (just ask the Chinese government that owns most of the US debt), and what mony is available is wasted on costly (in terms of more than mere dollars) and pointless wars, and Governor Brownback is wasting public money on this?

    The Republicans really do have the most spectacular lack of priorities.

  6. Glodson says

    Good for that young woman. She’s sticking to her guns, I like that.

    But, wow, the governor has a hissy fit over twitter, and the principal actually rolls over for the guy? That’s sad. I hope this blows up even harder in the face of the governor. Hell, I hope he grants her the chance to ask a few questions, face to face.

  7. First Approximation says

    Looks like the good guys won:

    Tweeting Kansas Teen Gets Apology from Gov. Brownback, Her Following Soars

    “My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms,” Brownback said in a statement.

    Confronted with a stubborn teenager who insisted on her right to free speech, the school district earlier today dropped its request that Sullivan write an apology and said it will leave that decision up to her. The district also fought back against accusations that it was stifling her freedom of speech.
    “The district acknowledges a student’s right to freedom of speech and expression is constitutionally protected. The district has not censored Miss Sullivan nor infringed upon her freedom of speech,” said a statement. “She is not required to write a letter of apology to the Governor. Whether and to whom any apologies are issued will be left to the individuals involved.”

  8. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    …Brownback has now apologized to her, blaming his staff for over-reacting…

    It is so good to have lackeys to toss under the bus.

  9. Gregory Greenwood says

    Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM @ 3;

    So, homophobic imagery is alright as long as it goes against a wannabe theocrat?

    If the school authorities came down on the teenager for the caual homophobia then they would have a point, but they don’t seem to care about that – all they are interested in is making sure that she shows suitable deference to her supposed ‘betters’…

    That said, you’re right. Homophobia is never acceptable, whoever the target happens to be.

  10. rad_pumpkin says

    There are a lot of unsubstantiated rumors that SAM BROWNBACK RAPED AND MURDERED A GIRL IN 1990. Please note that there is no reason to suspect that SAM BROWNBACK RAPED AND MURDERED A GIRL IN 1990. It is quite unfortunate that unfounded claims such as SAM BROWNBACK RAPED AND MURDERED A GIRL IN 1990 are so pervasive in our time, as they lead to the creation of viscous rumors. Let me be perfectly clear: nobody is seriously suggesting that SAM BROWNBACK RAPED AND MURDERED A GIRL IN 1990, simply because there is no evidence to point to this. Of course, there has also not been any official denial on Mr. Brownback’s part, so it is possible that SAM BROWNBACK RAPED AND MURDERED A GIRL IN 1990. Again, I’m not making the claim that SAM BROWNBACK RAPED AND MURDERED A GIRL IN 1990, I am merely point out that this claim exists.

  11. Mattir says

    I think the Mattir Family Homeschool of Anarchy will include some letter writing this week. Bwahahaha!

  12. says

    Sullivan decided not to write the letter of apology that the principal ordered her to, stating it would have been insincere. She also did not remove the offending tweet, as the principal had instructed her to. Brownback’s people brought this to the principal’s attention, but it was the principal that chose to act on it. Chose to order her to write letters of apology and censor herself. So while I hate that my tax dollars are going to crap like Brownback’s staff scouring twitter for signs of dissent, I also think that this principal is as guilty as anybody in this story, or more so, and very much a disgrace to the education community.

    And to think, we actually had a decent Democrat governor before this asshat.

  13. Anteprepro says

    Really? A politician demanding an apology, and a principal trying to force someone to apologize for insulting a politician? If we required apologies every time a politician was insulted, Fox News would have the most boring 12 hour block of television each day before they bring up the standard liars and bloviators to call everyone to the left of Mussolini the list of epitaphs that Limbaugh is supporting for that month. Fucking figures that it’s a Republican trying to squeeze an apology out of the uppity young woman who dared to insult him. Would love to see a Democrat pull the same shit on the slimy, smarmy, lying Young Republicans Clubs at the variety of colleges where they lurk, sputtering in rage as their alternate realities and various biases are not sufficiently represented in campus newspapers. Because, quite frankly, those slimeballs generally need to apologize, and learn the value of not being an asshole. Various talk radio hosts, Fox News pundits, conservative columnists. All of them have at least one thing to apologize for. Many of them at have at least one for every day they’ve been employed. How about asking for apologies from those liars and clowns given mainstream clout, rather than bullying a random teenage girl because she said an insult on Twitter?

    But, anyway, glad to hear that Brownback was the one who ultimately apologized, and that principal is now going to have to deal with the embarrassment of being shown clearly as a mindless political tool. A victory, for now.

  14. flakko says

    “So, homophobic imagery is alright as long as it goes against a wannabe theocrat?”

    Lighten up and leave the pearl-clutching to the theocrats.

  15. Sili says

    Brownback?

    I thought brownbacking referred to teenagers having anal sex to protect their virginities. Why anyone take that as a name? What’s next? Someone calling their kid Santorum?

  16. aka Mediancat says

    – is it confirmed that “blows” is exclusively a reference to oral sex, though? I’d think it’s equally possible it might be on the order of “blows chunks,” instead.

    That asked, brava to Emma Sullivan for sticking up for herself against a politician who really ought to have better things to do with his day.

  17. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Lighten up and leave the pearl-clutching to the theocrats.

    Flakko, this is not pearl clutching. If one cannot point out the bad behavior of allies, one cannot point out the same in your foes.

    That is homophobic and deserves to be pointed out, not ignored.

  18. rad_pumpkin says

    @Sili,
    Not quite. Brownbacking has a second definition, according to Urbandictionary:

    A method of removing excrement from the penis after anal sex, by wiping the feces on the back of the other person.

    See “santorum” on “google”
    What one may do with the mixture of lube and fecal matter
    that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex.
    After anal sex I had to brownback Sam from Kansas, because my cock was covering in shit.

    Strange…I wonder if that definition existed before reddit got wind of this story…

  19. TonyJ says

    Sam Brownback: #heblowsalot.

    So, homophobic imagery is alright as long as it goes against a wannabe theocrat?

    Since when is “[something] blows” homophobic? What about “sucks”? Is that homophobic too now?

  20. HappyHax0r says

    I’m sorry but this doesn’t seem much like an apology to me: “My staff over-reacted”.

    It seems to me like he’s apologizing for the actions of his staff but making sure everyone knows that he wasn’t stupid enough to be complicit. I have a hard time believing he had no idea that a letter was being sent to that toady of a school principal.

    Basically he got caught acting like an ass and now he shirks the responsibility of his reactions on to that of his staff and then apologizes for basically “not having a better handle on his staff”.

    At least that’s the way I read it.

  21. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Since when is “[something] blows” homophobic? What about “sucks”? Is that homophobic too now?

    When it is combined with “suck” and is meant as an insult, damn straight it is!

  22. NitricAcid says

    @Sili #20- I think you’re thinking of “saddlebacking”.

    “Blowing” is hardly restricted to homosexual relationships. As I interpret the term, a man can blow a woman just as easily as he can a man, and vice versa. Or s/he can blow chunks, or blow goats.

    Do you also believe that it’s homophobic to say that something sucks?

  23. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    For what it’s worth, Janine, it doesn’t read as homophobic to me. I’m not disputing your characterization, or telling you not to speak up. Only pointing out that for some (including me, a gay guy pretty well attuned to these things) the terms “blow” and “sucks” have lost any associative connection to homophobic denigration. Truth be told I don’t even remember ever having that association from the minute I learned the term “that sucks.”

    No, I’m not saying my reading is the only one, or that you’re “wrong.”

  24. TonyJ says

    When it is combined with “suck” and is meant as an insult, damn straight it is!

    So when I tell someone that they suck, that is always a reference to oral sex? Really?

  25. Crow says

    Wow. You can find offense in anything, huh?


    The word “suck” should not be used very often. It is sometimes considered vulgar or improper.

    Originally, it was a mild insult, putting someone down. It came from the idea of piercing a hole (or two at either end) of an uncooked egg, and then sucking or blowing the raw egg outside of the shell, without cracking the shell. Thus the empty eggshell could then be used in some craft activity.

    Since no one liked the idea of having to eat an uncooked egg (Yukk!!), “Go suck an egg!” became a popular slang insult, similar to ” Go fly a kite!”

  26. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM

    This must be like some of that Cohen humor: I don’t get why it’s funny, but am far more bothered that you would bother to defend it.

    Saying this teenage gorl is being “homophobic” is like saying a Prof. Higgins in “My Fair Lady” was being sacrilegious when he damned his tea.

    I mean, you must have a fucking OCEAN of self-righteousness you need to empty via some finger-sized hole in a dike to bother with this.

    Again, I don’t follow you, obtuse as I am at the moment. Are you serious, or one of those rarest of all creatures, a real “Political-Correctness” goon?

  27. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Do you also believe that it’s homophobic to say that something sucks?

    And now I am repeating myself. When combined with #heblowsalot and meant as an insult, it is homophobic.

  28. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    TonyJ says:
    28 November 2011 at 2:37 pm

    When it is combined with “suck” and is meant as an insult, damn straight it is!

    So when I tell someone that they suck, that is always a reference to oral sex? Really?

    TonyJ, thank you for showing that you cannot read for context.

  29. barbarienne says

    It’s not just that teenagers think think they’re immortal. Frankly, if an 18YO high school student can get a rise out of a state governor over a fucking tweet, then she jolly well is powerful (if not actually immortal).

    Here’s an equation:

    Social clout = intellectual clout + personal visibility (fame) + political clout

    Let this be a lesson to all politicians everywhere: Being seen getting into a pissing contest with a teenager causes people to draw the obvious conclusion that you and the teenager are in the same social weight-class. Given your disparity in political clout and personal visibility, we draw the obvious conclusion that the teenager greatly surpasses you in intellectual clout.

  30. says

    I thought when sucking was combined with blowing, the results canceled each other out. So if Brownback both sucks and blows, he’s really doing nothing (which would be preferable, because when he’s doing something it’s often harmful).

  31. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    I mean, you must have a fucking OCEAN of self-righteousness you need to empty via some finger-sized hole in a dike to bother with this.

    Again, I don’t follow you, obtuse as I am at the moment. Are you serious, or one of those rarest of all creatures, a real “Political-Correctness” goon??

    I make a point about a person using homophobic imagery and now I am accused of being a PC goon.

    So it is good to stand up to the homophobes until such time that it is just self righteousness.

  32. dysperdis says

    TonyJ @25: When it’s used to encourage the idea that men who perform fellatio are automatically inferior to their heterosexual peers? Yes, yes it is.

  33. rad_pumpkin says

    Janine,
    please don’t be so quick to jump to conclusions. Yes, there is a certain homophobic connotation to both “suck” and “heblowsalot.” But please remember that we’re dealing with a high school student here. These words, especially in this context, are just shorthand for “Brownback is pathetic.”

  34. TonyJ says

    And now I am repeating myself. When combined with #heblowsalot and meant as an insult, it is homophobic.

    No, it’s not.

    #heblowsalot of goats

    Is that homophobic?

  35. truthspeaker says

    Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says:
    28 November 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I make a point about a person using what I allege to be homophobic imagery and now I am accused of being a PC goon.

    fixed that for you

  36. Mattir says

    Blowing is something done to produce hot air, which, as far as I’ve observed, is more likely to come from Christian politicians than out-and-happy gay men.

  37. chigau (本当) says

    When I first learned about “sucks” as a bad thing, the full saying was “sucks the hind tit”. It refered to being in an unfortunate situation or being a loser.
    i.e. being the runt of the litter and getting the worst deal.
    “blows” was always “blows chunks”.

  38. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    No, it’s not.

    #heblowsalot of goats

    Is that homophobic?

    So you had to drag in a theoretical goat in order to show this is not homophobic?

  39. you_monster says

    Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM,
    Stop being so dang PC. Next you will be telling us that the N-word is racist, or that c*nt is sexist. Sheesh.

  40. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    From my understanding, “blows” refers to fellatio. So “he blows” means “he performs fellatio” which would be homosexual activity. “Blows” has a negative connotation when used in general conversation. So yes, “he blows a lot” is homophobic.

  41. TonyJ says

    TonyJ @25: When it’s used to encourage the idea that men who perform fellatio are automatically inferior to their heterosexual peers? Yes, yes it is.

    And if I use it equally between males and females?

    “The whole GOP sucks. They all suck so much that they’ve gone from suck to blow.”

  42. nealstarkey says

    Thanks crow, I was doing the etymology for Jeanie too. Suck as a negative connotation was around far before it became associated with fellatio.

    One dictionary actually has suck and blow being associated with bad and good horn playing in Jazz.

    @imthegenieicandoanything lol +1

    I think the important thing is, did she mean it in a homosexual way? Maybe you are right and there is some history there, but is it anywhere near her calling him a fag or some equally derogatory term?

    #hesucksdonkeyballs

    does that fix it? or is there inherent discrimination against donkeys?

  43. TonyJ says

    So you had to drag in a theoretical goat in order to show this is not homophobic?

    The first time I heard the term ‘blows’, it was combined with ‘goats’. So yes, I did.

  44. Martin says

    It’s good to notice prejudice of any kind. None of us are perfect when it comes to that. We all carry the prejudice of ourselves and our parents. With the obvious double meaning it’s a poor choice.

    After reading the article I doubt she meant blows in a homophobic way. Especially this

    Sullivan has responded to this situation with a decent amount of restraint on the adolescent clumsiness, calling Brownback’s bluff (his office claims to merely be policing her tone and not her content, as if tone didn’t also enjoy the protections of the First Amendment) by asking for a respectful dialogue where she addresses her criticisms of his office for cutting arts funding in Kansas.

    indicates to me that the blows part is about his policies, not his sexual preferences.

    I don’t know the exact reason for the tweet at the moment she sent it, but I’m willing to give an 18 year old the benefit of doubt.

    can we get back on topic now?

  45. ironflange says

    It always amuses me to see the reactions of politicians who get their feelings hurt. Any of them who get upset by a little insult, a little criticism, has picked the wrong line of work.

  46. says

    A student shouldn’t have to explain the Bill of Rights of our constitution to a high school principal. Kansas should be ashamed of its governor and Principal Krawitz should be fired.

    It should be no surprise that Brownback, like most Republican tards, is a science denier. Brownback called evolution an atheistic theology posing as science.

  47. flakko says

    Janine, in order for a word or phrase to be derogatory, there must be intention behind it. “Blows” and “sucks” are simple parts of American colloquialism, and when used as such do not contain any sort of homophobic connotations. Saying “that blows” or “that sucks” does not carry with it the associated meaning of two men performing oral sex. The origin of this expression may have (probably not, though), but that is long past and is not even a consideration, especially to an 18 year old girl. The main point here is to choose our battles.

  48. barbarienne says

    Is “he blows” homophobic, but “she blows” not?

    If we assume the imagery is that of human-on-human fellatio (rather than eggs, goats, etc.), then both are sexist, in that they imply that persons with penises can be knelt to.

    I’m having a little trouble seeing where the specifically homophobic connotation is.

    ——–

    In other news, I, as an American, am tickled by the British idiom “we kept our peckers up,” which has nothing whatsoever to do with penises.

  49. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I think “blows” and “sucks” are sufficiently removed from homophobic connotations that it’s not worth going out of my way to find substitutes for them in my every day language. However, I can make sure I use them in ways that make it clear that I’m not using either as a metaphor for oral sex between two men.

    Although I don’t fully agree with Janine about the conclusion that she reached vis-a-vis the homophobic imagery, I really don’t get the overblown reaction to her sharing her opinion. Disagree? Fine, then say so. But don’t act like her simple act of sharing her impression and her opinion is oppressing you. Get off it already.

  50. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Janine.

    Get a grip.

    If there is any sign of homophobia, I’ll condemn it – or more likely try to make it look silly – right away.

    You’re simply insisting you are right and that7s the end of it.

    You are indeed very close to concer-trolling PCness, and that’s something as addicting as heroin or Creationism, so do what you wish, but don7t expect not to be ridculed, or ignored, for it.

    Whatever point you thought you were making dies about five of your comments before, so STOP DIGGING!

    G’day.

  51. you_monster says

    And if I use it equally between males and females?

    Then it is still homophobic. If you use the word “c*nt” as an insult, against a male or female, it is still sexist because you are implying a derogatory association between the person you are insulting and a sexed body part.

    Janine, in order for a word or phrase to be derogatory, there must be intention behind it.

    You don’t understand how communication works.

  52. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    It’s, well, I was going to say astonishing, but it isn’t really. Sullivan goes off to a Youth Governance (!) conference for school, exercises her civil liberties in the mildest possible way (boo-hoo bad/rude/mean/disrespectful-to-authority), and gets lectured and ordered to apologize for her political speech by the school principal.

    It doesn’t matter that Brownback and the principal backed down. What matters is that they found this an acceptable response and had to be reminded of constitutional basics. It’s like GelatoGuy. Don’t care whether he apologized; very worried about the cast of mind that leads to such actions in the first place.

  53. TonyJ says

    AAAAAaaaaAAAAAAaaAAAAAAAaargh. Closing laptop. Gonna go read some papers for a while.

    Good idea

  54. Crow says

    I hope PZ didn’t think this thread would be about politics or freedom of speech or something like that. He should know better than that…

  55. henryporter says

    She should have told the principal, “We need to look forward, not back. We both agree we shouldn’t criminalize policy differences, don’t we?”

  56. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Can we just stop the derail? Please? Just stop. No matter whether you agree or disagree. Please

  57. echidna says

    From my understanding, “blows” refers to fellatio.

    In my understanding, that’s not at all clear unless the specific term is “blowjob”. Blows (at least in Australia) has a long tradition of being associated with wind (there she blows; we have a lot of sea-faring jargon still lingering), unless it’s to do with explosions. “Blows” on its own used on a person would mean an empty windbag.

    I’ve heard the word blow used for explosion mainly in the context of turbines and furnaces, and in a sexual context as orgasm.

    Janine, I’m sorry, but I just don’t see a homosexual connection.

  58. Carlie says

    With all the times I’ve seen “First amendment!” used wrongly (like for blog comments and the like), this is one time when it is clearly, unequivocally, absolutely a case of first amendment rights. Amazing. Brownback should be forced to take a high school civics class.

  59. Sean Boyd says

    flakko, the precise usage was he blows a lot, as can be seen in the title of this post. Not this, or it, but he. As such, it is a reference to oral sex between men. And, as it’s clearly used in a pejorative sense, it is homophobic. This is not complicated.

    It’s conceivable, even likely, that Ms. Sullivan didn’t think at all about this when she used this particular phrasing. I think this is language she’s just used to hearing and using, and I’ll bet she’s never really considered its meaning before. In which case, and in particular because she’s still fairly young, this is a teachable moment for her. She showed a great deal of courage in standing up to authority as she did. It would be great if she could take an additional lesson out of this, that it’s not necessary to use bigotry to make a point.

  60. echidna says

    Human Ape,
    Thanks for the link. Brownback really is an idiot. According to him, science is ok as long as it doesn’t conflict with religion. Then, science would need to defer.

    Similarly, I guess, free speech is fine as long as teenagers defer to him.

  61. says

    Really, someone thinks this is homophobic? Most young (intelligent)people today doesnt even think that stupid way… Its an insult. that all it is. Fucking calm down.

  62. echidna says

    I refuse to accept that “He blows a lot” is necessarily a reference to oral sex between men. The natural meaning, to me, would be that he blows a lot of hot air – as in speaks a lot of rubbish.

  63. KG says

    So if Brownback both sucks and blows, he’s really doing nothing

    I’d guess you’ve never had to wrestle with a malfunctioning vacuum cleaner.

  64. you_monster says

    Josh, Official SpokesGay,

    For what it’s worth, Janine, it doesn’t read as homophobic to me. I’m not disputing your characterization, or telling you not to speak up. Only pointing out that for some (including me, a gay guy pretty well attuned to these things) the terms “blow” and “sucks” have lost any associative connection to homophobic denigration.

    SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu,

    I think “blows” and “sucks” are sufficiently removed from homophobic connotations that it’s not worth going out of my way to find substitutes for them in my every day language.

    I am surprise to hear this argument being used here. People use this argument as justification for using the insults “c*nt” and “bitch” all the time, and get trounced for it. I’m sure that “suck” and “blow” do strike some as homophobic, and it takes almost no effort at all to use a substitute insult. Even if that derogatory connotation exists only in the minds of a small minority, it is still worth it to use a more creative, non-objectionable insult.
    HumanApe,

    It should be no surprise that Brownback, like most Republican tards, is a science denier

    This is unquestionably offensive.

    Can we just stop the derail? Please? Just stop. No matter whether you agree or disagree. Please

    I am surprised at this as well. You may not consider “suck” or “blow” homophobic*, but calling out perceived bigoted language is a necessary derail.

    *and I do really respect your perspective on these matters

  65. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says:

    And now I am repeating myself. When combined with #heblowsalot and meant as an insult, it is homophobic.

    I truly am wondering what drugs you have taken in your life to damage your brain so deeply. (Disclaimer: ‘drugs’ does not refer to date rape pharmecuticals, ‘taken’ does not refer to rape, and ‘deeply’ in the above context is not refering to the level of penetration).

    “Blows” and “sucks” are simple parts of American colloquialism, and when used as such do not contain any sort of homophobic connotations. Saying “that blows” or “that sucks” does not carry with it the associated meaning of two men performing oral sex.

    *applause* THIS! Exactly right!

    Janine if you are not American I’ll take back my disparaging remarks, but if you are one, you are very very very stupid. You’re having such a ridiculously absurd reaction here that I hope you are just trolling everyone.

  66. isilzhaveni says

    @ #3, Jainie–

    Sam Brownback: #heblowsalot.

    So, homophobic imagery is alright as long as it goes against a wannabe theocrat?

    Perhaps it wasn’t homophobic imagery, she could have meant it as blowhard (windbag), a typical label used for politicians.

    Blowhard: a person who talks too much and who has strong opinions that other people dislike.

  67. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    In any case, I am glad that a-hole Brownback had to back down so quickly. He is pathetic on so many levels – I can understand the staff looking for social mentions of him from time to time, I guess, even though it is a waste of money, but demanding an apology? WTF? It’s like they don’t live in America, where politicians get crapped on every single fucking day. Unreal.

  68. EvoMonkey says

    As such, it is a reference to oral sex between men. And, as it’s clearly used in a pejorative sense, it is homophobic. This is not complicated.

    I not so sure. What about the word “blowhard” – as in “A person who talks too much or too loudly, especially in a boastful or self-important manner.”

    Many people also use the verb “to blow” in this sense without any sexual connotation.

    I don’t see the hashtag #heblowsalot as conclusively homophobic.

  69. rad_pumpkin says

    Oh for fuck’s sake…please don’t let this turn into a fight over whether or not “blows” and/or “suck” constitute homophobic bigotry. I still have nightmares about those goddamn bunnies…

    Look, words do not have inherent meaning. Different groups of people use words differently. I never used “suck” as a homosexual insult, but rather as something pathetic or lacking, for example, the lecture sucked. Blows…same thing, really. Something about sticks, breaking, bones, words, never, hurt…

    There’s a really good South Park episode over just why it is stupid to get offended over the mere fact that a word is being used, despite not knowing the context or intent. Look it up, “The F Word.”

  70. isilzhaveni says

    @ #51, OM–

    From my understanding, “blows” refers to fellatio. So “he blows” means “he performs fellatio” which would be homosexual activity. “Blows” has a negative connotation when used in general conversation. So yes, “he blows a lot” is homophobic.

    Or as in “He blows hot air.” She had been listening to the guy talk so “blows hot air” could fit.

  71. says

    I thought we were going to have a stimulating conversation about censorship and politics here in my part of the Bible Belt. Ah well. I guess instead I’ll try to get some work done.

  72. chigau (本当) says

    Once upon a time, in Canada, I worked (part-time) for the Provincial Government.
    A co-worker found some bit of behavior of hir Elected Representative (ER) to be inappropriate, so xe wrote a letter.
    The ER was also the Minister in charge of our Department.
    The ER contacted our direct boss and asked to see co-worker’s confidential file.
    Our boss complied.
    There are lickspittal weasels everywhere, at all times.

  73. naturalcynic says

    To further derail the thread:
    To those of the vietnam War era, it was expressed by American soldiers who really didn’t want to be there as “In Vietnam, the wind doesn’t blow, it sucks”

    and for Emma Sullivan: Right On!

  74. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    OT

    [@SallyStrange – There’s an email in your yahoo account.]

    Thanks for the reminder!

    Back on-topic: I’m psyched for this young woman, the fact that she got validated by the national media for being right when her principal was so incredibly wrong must feel awesome.

  75. Don Quijote says

    May I say that as a European whose second language is English, when I read “heblowsalot” I immediately thought it was a new way of calling somebody a “blowhard” as in “blowhard politician”.

    Anyway, well done to Emma Sullivan.

  76. ChasCPeterson says

    People use this argument as justification for using the insults “c*nt” and “bitch” all the time, and get trounced for it.

    It’s true.
    ‘That word doesn’t have those connotations for me so I see no need to modify my behavior for you‘ is regularly rejected as a valid argument by some of the very people who are deploying it here.
    This will not be lost on the gotcha-collectors over at That Other Blog.

    Want to know what I think?

    no?

    fair enough

  77. Janet says

    Could be the title of a new sitcom: ‘Governor Crybaby and Principal Kiss-Ass.’ First episode: Gov and Principal get their comeuppance when they learn about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights!

  78. Sean Boyd says

    First episode: Gov and Principal get their comeuppance when they learn about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights!

    And the second episode. And the third. And the….

  79. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    Chas says:

    That word doesn’t have those connotations for me so I see no need to modify my behavior for you‘ is regularly rejected as a valid argument by some of the very people who are deploying it here.

    Of course, there are limits to that. If only one in ten million people think a word has a certain connotation when used a certain way, we should take them seriously why? For example, Black Friday is RACIST! When using black in reference to shopping, it means black people are cheap and/or poor, since that day is when they shop. Chas you better modify your behavior!!!!! /sarcasm

    *jumps up and down, shakes head and flails limbs around.* Alright. All out of my system. Done with this definitional silliness. Have fun fighting about it guys.

  80. says

    @janine
    Just because the word blows sound like blowjob doesn’t mean they mean they have the same connotation. So what, the phrase “he blew my mind” is homophobic? I have never heard of phrases like “that blows” being associated with oral sex. I usually agree with insults like “pussy”, since the association is there, but not on this one.

    @Human Ape
    Get the hell off your high horse. You are as despicable as the fundies and repulicans you disparage.

  81. echidna says

    ‘That word doesn’t have those connotations for me so I see no need to modify my behavior for you‘ is regularly rejected as a valid argument by some of the very people who are deploying it here.

    Let’s take the word “bitch”. When applied to a human, it is clearly an insult. When applied to a dog, it takes its older meaning, and is not an insult at all. It is perfectly appropriate to use it in the context of dogs without invoking any offense to women. The word “cunt” really has only one traditional meaning, and if used as an insult, is automatically sexist. There is no other context.

    Another example: the word “irrational” – the insult referring to mental illness does nothing to its meaning within mathematics.

    The word “blow” when applied to a politician traditionally means windbag. When applied to machines it means explosion, where it takes its colloquial sexual use from, I imagine. The context implies windbag, not homophobia. To even see ambiguity is a stretch, I think, unless other things Emily said provide a clearer context.

  82. you_monster says

    Sherriene Jones-Sontag, the governor’s spokeswoman, told The Star previously that Sullivan’s message wasn’t respectful and that it takes mutual respect to “really have a constructive dialogue.”

    I didn’t realize only “respectful” speech was protected.

  83. Richard Smith says

    All this talk about blow and suck in colloquial use reminds me of a joke, the punchline if which is, “Blow is just a figure of speech!!”

  84. echidna says

    it takes mutual respect to “really have a constructive dialogue.”

    As if Brownback has any respect for a teenage girl.

  85. d cwilson says

    Sam Brownback: #heblowsalot.

    So, homophobic imagery is alright as long as it goes against a wannabe theocrat?

    1. Saying somebody “blows” isn’t necessary a homophobic reference, any more than saying they “suck”?

    2. This isn’t about the quality of her remark. I don’t know anyone who thinks her Tweet is an example of brilliant commentary. This is about her right as a citizen to express herself. It’s called freedom of speech, something neither Brownback nor her principal seem to get.

  86. Sean Boyd says

    I didn’t realize only “respectful” speech was protected.

    I’m certain that the fundie wing of the Republican party can explain that the Founding Fathers only meant for “respectful” speech to be protected.

  87. Ing says

    I still have nightmares about those goddamn bunnies…

    ~Bunnies aren’t just cute like everyone supposes! They got those cotton tails and twitchy little noses! And what’s with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for anyway!? Bunnies! Bunnies YEAH IT COULD BE BUNNIES!

    Or maybe midgits~

  88. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    I have decided to back away from this thread. Except for this. WishfulThinkingRulesAll, even the regulars who disagree with me know that I do not troll. Thought the jury is still out on jury. And I lean towards troll when it comes to you.

    Fuck you, WishfulThinkingRulesAll.

  89. d cwilson says

    All this handwringing about whether “he blows” is homophobic amazes me. For over 20 years, I’ve been hearing people uses phrases like “this blows” in exactly the same context as they would say, “this sucks”. Nearly directly refers to the act of fellatio. To me, it’s always been just another slang term for “this is stupid”.

  90. TonyJ says

    I am really happy to see that this woman was not intimidated by Governor Jerkface or by the lapdog school officials into writing a letter of apology for her Twitter posting.

  91. KG says

    Bunnies aren’t just cute like everyone supposes!

    Cute? Bunnies eat their own shit. How cute is that?

  92. TonyJ says

    Sherriene Jones-Sontag, the governor’s spokeswoman, told The Star previously that Sullivan’s message wasn’t respectful and that it takes mutual respect to “really have a constructive dialogue.”

    Respect is earned, and Brownback’s brand of fundamentalism is not worthy of respect.

  93. Qwerty says

    A quote from her mother:

    “‘She wasn’t speaking to the 3,000 followers she has now,’ Julie Sullivan said. ‘She was talking to 65 friends. And also it’s the speech they use today. It’s more attention grabbing. I raised my kids to be independent, to be strong, to be free thinkers. If she wants to tweet her opinion about Gov. Brownback, I say for her to go for it and I stand totally behind her.'”

    Nice to see her mother raised an independant thinker.

  94. Ing says

    Cute? Bunnies eat their own shit. How cute is that?

    So do rats but their virtues are sung of in the Endless Mead Hall

  95. peterh says

    PZ,

    Your teapot is gonna blow from all these tempests it’s having to accommodate.

    Some like popcorn, some like gelato.

  96. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says:

    I have decided to back away from this thread. Except for this. WishfulThinkingRulesAll, even the regulars who disagree with me know that I do not troll. Thought the jury is still out on jury. And I lean towards troll when it comes to you.

    Oy, singling me out? Ok…

    1) You neglected to say if you were American or not. I assume you are, as you would readily say you weren’t because then people would think you are less of an imbecile for getting this wrong.

    2) Glad to know you are serious here, although, wait a minute, isn’t that what a troll would say? :o I’m still pulling for trolling, because hey, I’m an optimist (I’d rather have an a-hole than a moron on my side).

    Fuck you, WishfulThinkingRulesAll.

    Sure, whatever. But why run away from the thread? You didn’t say why. Dozens of people, including me, gave very reasonable rebuttals to your position (see my referenece to Black Friday), did you find any of them compelling? Have you changed your mind? Or do you find them all shit? I guess this will forever remain a mystery.

  97. says

    Sigh. Why is it never possible for someone to point out how a turn of phrase/choice in imagery could be interpreted to have sexist/racist/homophobic undertones without having the “Shut up you over-reactive @$!@!!” reactions triggered? Seems like Gregory Greenwood at #12 and Josh at #29 were the only ones who had anything resembling a reasonable response to Janine’s first mention of it before the whole thing went off the rails.

    For what it’s worth, the response of Gov. Brownback and his staff should be used as a prime example of tone trolling and how one might try to use a position of authority to bully a dissenter into silence. The entire objection was to the student’s use of the phrase “sucks” as “disrespectful.” Never mind that had Sullivan instead said “Gov. Brownback’s policies are misguided, small-minded and wrong” she would have been expressing the same sentiment behind her statement that “He sucks.” Nope, the substance of her position wasn’t what mattered, it was her choice in language, using the vernacular that is typical for people in her age group. No attempt was made by the governor’s office to refute the student’s opinion based on the governor’s own merits. Instead, the attempt was made to force an apology from someone in a position of very little power to apologize for the affront. Kudos to Sullivan for refusing to issue an insincere apology just to satisfy social conventions, and instead offering to speak with the governor personally about her opinions, giving him a chance to refute her positions.

    @Ing #111: It’s because bunnies are monsters that have BIG POINTY TEETH!

  98. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    WishfulThinkingRulesAll, I have not changed my mind. Also, reasonable now a word I would use for you.

    I just do not want to be part of the derail that I have started.

    And fuck you.

  99. David Marjanović, OM says

    Well, well. Looks like even Kansas is not in Kansas anymore.

    I hope PZ didn’t think this thread would be about politics or freedom of speech or something like that. He should know better than that…

    Well… seriously… there simply isn’t much to say about politics or freedom of speech in connection with this incident. The topic drift doesn’t prevent any discussion that would otherwise happen. :-|

    Or is anyone in this Echo Chamber™ willing to defend Brownback or the principal? ;-)

    Blows (at least in Australia) has a long tradition of being associated with wind (there she blows)

    That’s a whale, not the wind. It’s from whaling. Whales were spotted by their blasts.

  100. echidna says

    Janine:

    even the regulars who disagree with me know that I do not troll.

    Quite right. I think my argument with this comes down to a notion of the privilege of the dominant culture to assert different meanings for common words, and then expect other cultures to change their usage accordingly.

  101. says

    For instance the entry for “suck” says

    Meaning “do fellatio” is first recorded 1928. Slang sense of “be contemptible” first attested 1971 (the underlying notion is of fellatio).

    and for “blow” it doesn’t mention the slang meaning, only that it is attested in 1933 for fellatio as well.

    I think the problem here is that these are verbs, while nouns usually refer to people and other entities, so a reference to a specific group of people is often quite clear.

    But a verb is much more fleeting as it were. Referring to actions, and a clear link to a specific group of people might not as easily established. People disagree with their judgements about this.
    Echidna’s argument about “blowing hot air” wrt politicians is an interesting one. Though when googling “politicians blow a lot”, ALL googits have it construed transitively, as in “blow a lot of hot air”. Are you saying that the hash tag can be construed in that way? Shouldn’t it then have been #heblowsalotofhotair ? (though it would be awfully long).

    However, when searching for “he blows a lot” -brownback, there are also no hits for an intransitive use either. I just might not be familiar with that construction, but is “he blows a lot” a normally construed sentence, or is it Twitterese?

  102. sandiseattle says

    chigau @ 64: I think its an admin thing. but you could try the color html tag and see if if works.

  103. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    Janine says:

    I just do not want to be part of the derail that I have started.

    Even if that is only partially true (the other part being your “argument” got completely smacked down hard by everyone), I salute you. Better for all to focus on Brownshit and his lack of understanding of free speech.

  104. echidna says

    That’s a whale, not the wind. It’s from whaling. Whales were spotted by their blasts.

    True. Back to the “explosion” meaning. I do associate the word “blowing” with sailing (my dad converted an old fishing boat into a sailing, er, craft, and we spent a lot of time on the water when the wind was high.

  105. shouldbeworking says

    I sent the principal a nice email basically any time he doesn’t want a well-spoken, articulate and thinking student in his school, my school would love to have her come up to my class in Edmonton.

    I don’t have enough time to read all the posts. What’s with the bunnies? Is it wabi it season already? Yumm, I luv me some rabbit stew or haussenpfeffer.

  106. Anna says

    I am a student at Shawnee Mission East and a classmate of Emma’s. I would like to clarify that she was never “ordered” to write a letter. There was absolutely no ultimatum. Dr. Krawitz simply encouraged her to write a letter of apology for being so rude. I don’t agree with Brownback’s policies, but I agree that what she said was incredibly rude and led to a very poor representation of our school.
    This was not a teenager leading a crusade for recognition of First Amendment Rights; this was a teenager saying what most teenagers say in regards to politicians when they are not fully aware of their policies.

  107. says

    As if Brownback has any respect for a teenage girl.

    This is a good point. In fact, Brownback tends to show disrespect to females in general. Young or old, doesn’t matter. Ditto for homosexuals.

    In his patriarchal view of society, he deserves respect (whether he has earned it or not), women are automatically kept out of most power-wielding positions, and anything even remotely associated with homosexuality is a sin.

    Brownback is associated with C Street, also known as The Family. A bunch of ultra-conservative males live in house on C Street in Washington DC. From there, they consider themselves to be doing God’s work when they back a politician from Uganda who is pushing a kill-the-gays bill, when they take reproductive rights away from women, and when they try to restrict the voting rights of students and poor people. The men at C Street also believe that God himself put them in positions of power, and that God also chooses the leaders of other countries: it is, therefore, okay to get into bed with psychopathic dictators because they are God’s choice.

    http://www.nashvillescene.com/pitw/archives/2010/04/09/zach-wamp-living-large-on-c-street

    Here’s part of his record on women’s rights:

    Brownback, an anti-abortion Republican, has already signed into law several anti-abortion measures passed this year.

    The measure he approved Wednesday prohibits insurance companies from offering abortion coverage as part of their general health plans unless the procedure is necessary to save the woman’s life. Starting in July, individuals and employers who want abortion coverage would have to buy additional policies that cover only abortion.

    In addition, the law also states that no state or federally administered health-insurance exchange in Kansas established under the federal health care overhaul law can offer coverage for abortions, other than to save a woman’s life.

    http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/may/26/brownback-criticized-signing-abortion-bill-opponen/

    Brownbacks crusade against the arts resulted in significant loss of funds for the State of Kansas:

    The Mid-America Arts Alliance concluded [August, 2011] that Gov. Sam Brownback’s elimination of direct state investment in the Kansas Arts Commission rendered the state ineligible at this time for grants from the alliance….

    Until this year, the state invested about $700,000 annually in KAC and the agency used that to leverage $1.3 million in grants from NEA and the alliance. The decision by the Brownback administration left Kansas as the first state to end public arts funding….

    In other words, the teenage girl who took Brownback to task for his regressive policies was entirely correct to do so.

    More on Brownback’s fight to kill the arts in Kansas:

    Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has officially prevailed in his six-month fight to strip Kansas communities of their arts funding. By using the line-item veto in the state’s 2012 budget, Brownback cut funding for the Kansas Arts Commission — and made history of a dubious sort. Kansas is now the only state in the nation without an arts agency.

    Brownback says that the arts should be supported with private dollars, and not with state funds. He’s living in make-believe world where reality does not apply.

    I hope women and artists vote the guy out of power.

    As for him blaming his staff for overreacting, that’s cowardly. Not worthy of a so-called christian warrior, Mr. Brownback.

  108. David Marjanović, OM says

    not this sour old apple juice again

    Where I come from, it’s a basic staple drink.

    (Stinks horribly, though, and I don’t like acid even if it’s “the acid of the land”; I’ve never tried it.)

  109. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    WishfulThinkingRulesAll, I just want to inform you that you are a condescending assclown. You have not proven me wrong. I have not been smacked down. I just do not want to continue derailing this thread.

    Get it through your fucking thick skull, a person can be correct and still make use of questionable imagery.

    Also, this is not a zero sum game. One cane be opposed to a wannabe theocrat like Brownback and still point out what can be dispensed with.

    Now fucking respect my wish and let me leave this.

    And fuck you.

  110. shouldbeworking says

    David, OM. What does the sour apple juice taste like if you let it ferment a while. Perhaps with a touch of distillation? I teach physics, but certain aspects of chemistry are rather fun.

  111. echidna says

    Anna, thanks for posting. I’d like you to consider the relative power of the people involved. When a principal asks for a student to write an apology, this is much stronger than if a fellow student asked. It’s not required that an ultimatum be given in this situation.

    Similarly, if the Governor’s office contacted the school over this, then that is definitely abuse of power.

    Emily might not have had free speech in mind when she tweeted – in fact it seems like a fairly thoughtless tweet that really wasn’t meant to be taken seriously by anyone. It is the reaction of the Governor’s office that makes it a free speech issue.

  112. David Marjanović, OM says

    haussenpfeffer

    Hasenpfeffer, “hare pepper”.

    Dr. Krawitz simply encouraged her to write a letter of apology for being so rude. I don’t agree with Brownback’s policies, but I agree that what she said was incredibly rude and led to a very poor representation of our school.
    This was not a teenager leading a crusade for recognition of First Amendment Rights; this was a teenager saying what most teenagers say in regards to politicians when they are not fully aware of their policies.

    Oho! I sit corrected! Someone does try to defend at lesat the principal!

    1) I have real trouble imagining a non-binding encouragement by a principal.
    2) “Incredibly”? An everyday insult is “incredibly rude”? You don’t believe that yourself.
    3) The principal ought to have laughed at Brownback(‘s office) for demanding an apology to a fucking tweet. Are they that insecure? If they can’t stand the slightest amount of heat, they really should stay out of the political kitchen.
    4) Guess what. As the comment right after yours shows, we’re informed of Brownback’s policies in detail, and therefore we agree with your classmate (except for concerns about the exact wording). Have you got any evidence she’s “not fully aware of” Brownback’s policies”?

  113. David Marjanović, OM says

    David, OM. What does the sour apple juice taste like if you let it ferment a while.

    It is fermented. I though that’s what “sour” means.

    Perhaps with a touch of distillation?

    Nobody does that. Probably it’s been tried and nobody liked the result. And I don’t like alcohol in the first place :-)

  114. echidna says

    Oh, I read this

    This was not a teenager leading a crusade for recognition of First Amendment Rights; this was a teenager saying what most teenagers say in regards to politicians when they are not fully aware of their policies.

    as being ambiguous.

    Is it the teenager who is not aware of the politician’s policies, and therefore insulting him from a position of ignorance?

    Or is the politician himself unaware of the implications of his own policies? Given the stupidity of expecting science to defer to religion, this is quite possible.

  115. Don Quijote says

    @ Anna:

    Could you please explain how it is that you are aware of Brownback’s policies and Emma is not.

    An apology is not an apology if is not sincere and Emma indicated this.

    Calling somebody out for their bullshit is not rude and nobody cares if you think it is.

    You think it was a poor representation of your school but if you read this thread, you will find that most people here think that at least your school has somebody with a spine.

    Could you please explain how you know there was no ultimatum behind the “encouragment” to write a letter.

  116. says

    “There she blows!” er, no. “THERE she blows!” Dammit, still not right…hmmmm…[swigs some rum, sucks a lime] “THARR she blows!” Arrr, shiver me timbers, that be better me hearties.

    What? I’m just practicing for my Aussie citizenship test. Now, if I could just remember which ship Captain Bradman commanded I’d be set. ;)

  117. echidna says

    I think that’s Carribean slang you have there, Coelecanth.

    As for which ship the Don commanded, I’d better look that up….

  118. EvoMonkey says

    I don’t agree with Brownback’s policies, but I agree that what she said was incredibly rude and led to a very poor representation of our school.

    Anna, I don’t see how Emma’s tweet led to a very poor representation of your school. Your principal did that by “encouraging” Emma to write an apology.

    If I were the principal or a teacher, I would have encourage the students to write letters (offensive or supportive) to the governor about the incident or any of his policies. This may not have been about First Amendment rights initially, but it became about that rather quickly due to the heavyhanded tactics of your governor and his staff.

  119. you_monster says

    I apologize for returning to the derail topic, I won’t again after this. I just wanted to repudiate a comment I made earlier at #86*. I reject my own arguments and should have thought more about what I said. I won’t distract more than just saying that.

    *all except HumanApe’s use of “tard” – that was obviously ableist.

  120. Sean Boyd says

    Anna,

    I would like to clarify that she was never “ordered” to write a letter. There was absolutely no ultimatum. Dr. Krawitz simply encouraged her to write a letter of apology for being so rude.

    After being told by her principal that what she did was unacceptable and an embarrassment. So this wasn’t a simple request to pretty-please make up with the Guv.

    I don’t agree with Brownback’s policies, but I agree that what she said was incredibly rude and led to a very poor representation of our school.

    She didn’t make the statement as a representative of your school. She made it as a private citizen. It has no reflection whatsoever on your school. And your agreement with Brownback’s policies has nothing to do with what she said.

    This was not a teenager leading a crusade for recognition of First Amendment Rights; this was a teenager saying what most teenagers say in regards to politicians when they are not fully aware of their policies.

    No one is claiming that she made this statement as part of a free speech crusade, and it’s dishonest to assert this is so. If you had read the responses to this post, you would find there is a fair amount of disagreement regarding the quality of her tweet. What has raised the ire of almost everyone here, though, is that the Governor’s office pays staffers to seek out this type of commentary, and these staffers in turn pressure school officials to force students back in line. And that the principal fell into line like a lickspittle toady.

    Actually, Anna, it seems that Emma is reasonably, if not “fully”, aware, of who Sam Brownback actually is.

  121. shouldbeworking says

    I am thankful that principal would oppose any political interference in the education of the students in my school and the legitimate exercise of their rights. Most politicians wouldn’t last long if they were thinskinned. Kansas must be a kinder, gentler place than the typical rethuglican place.

    David OM. When I was last in Germany, I was given a small glass of sour apple juice, I didn’t taste any alcohol. It just tasted sour. Then my host brought out schnapps and then I forget what happened.

  122. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    @Anna,

    How is it that you know exactly what the principal said to Emma? How do you know the terms of the conversation? Were you there for the meeting at the principal’s office? Unlikely. Did the principal break confidentiality and make a morning announcement about what he’d said to a fellow classmate? Unlikely. Is Emma a friend of yours? Highly unlikely.

    You’re not telling the truth about something and I wonder why people are missing that.

  123. shouldbeworking says

    If the tweet was made on the school’s equipment or network, would the school be responsible under Kansas law? There are something’s I, as a teacher in Alberta can’t do on the school’s equipment. But it sounds like she was doing this as part of a school-sanctioned activity. So why did the principal not stand up for the student’s right to free speech? In Alberta, any communication between the student and the principals is protected information, I can’t imagine it could be any different in Kansas.

    The taxpayers pay for staffers to hunt down dissent on the inter tubes? Are the rethuglicans the party of small government or Big Brother?

  124. echidna says

    Josh@152,
    I was just trying to imagine what sort of student stands up for the principal and a politician ahead of a friend.

    Either its not a student at all, or one who is slavish to authority. Either way, not very likely to be a friend.

  125. echidna says

    Then my host brought out schnapps and then I forget what happened.

    Nice to hear that you have good non-memories of schnapps.

  126. Ichthyic says

    Comment by PZ Myers blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    When a blogger realizes he no longer is stimulated by the comments of the people who follow his blog, and the commenters themselves react negatively to the blogger not being stimulated by their comments….

  127. EvoMonkey says

    Are the rethuglicans the party of small government or Big Brother?

    You hit the irony nail on the head about Rethuglicans – they cry “big government” intrusion about regulations, taxes, “persecution” of Christians and enforcement of policies they don’t like and then they spin a 180 and cry for unbridled support of defense, homeland security, censorship and the Patriot Act.

  128. Ichthyic says

    It is fermented. I though that’s what “sour” means.

    not necessarily;

    “soured” could imply fermented, however there are also very tart apples like Granny Smiths that are made into juice as well.

    In fact, I’m drinking a soda made from granny smiths right now.

    it’s bloody confusing though. I used to think “cider” always meant it was fermented, but even that isn’t the case. Though I’ve never seen alcoholic apple juice, only “cider”.

    and then of course, there’s “sour mash”, which is a step in producing whiskey (and a few other alcoholic beverages)…

    confused yet?

  129. Aquaria says

    What’s the over/under that Anna is actually a staffer for Brownbeck, or a professional conservatard troll?

  130. says

    I’ve just been informed with great gravitas that Sir Donald Bradman was the commanding officer of HMS Sillymidoff. I begin to suspect that my in-laws don’t like me. They had the same expressions when they assured me that mulesing would be fun.

  131. shouldbeworking says

    Yes, I am confused, so confused I am goingto go home with all my marking and have a nice tall eggnog mixed with some sort of beverage made from sugar cane. I hope it won’t be sour. Then maybe do the marking?

  132. Ichthyic says

    This was not a teenager leading a crusade for recognition of First Amendment Rights; this was a teenager saying what most teenagers say in regards to politicians when they are not fully aware of their policies.

    saying he blowsalot has nothing to do with fighting for first amendment rights.

    taking the responsibility and risk for refusing to apologize on demand for it though, IS fighting for YOUR first amendment rights.

    so, while the comment wasn’t worth of notice, the ridiculous reaction on the part of the governor and YOUR principal most certainly was.

    you should be PROUD of the way she reacted to that pressure, and instead be thinking about whether YOU would be brave enough to do the same.

  133. Ichthyic says

    In fact, I’m drinking a soda made from granny smiths right now.

    this would make more sense if I hadn’t forgotten to add:

    It’s called “Sour apple soda”

  134. says

    1. Good for Emma. Brownback was being a shithead, but we expect that from someone like him.

    2. Yes, “sucks” and “blows” were originally homophobic. Over the last thirty years, both terms have lost nearly all of that loading, to the point where “sucks” was pretty much completely sanitized by about 1992. In addition, “blows” happens to fortuitiously also refer to vomit, as in “blowing chunks.” Note that “douche”, now being increasingly recognized as a bad idea in the literal sense, is starting to move in that direction as well. That’s language change for you.

  135. Ichthyic says

    to the point where “sucks” was pretty much completely sanitized by about 1992

    strange. we were using it in a non sexualized context long before that in California; at least 15 years.

    I am curious as to why you picked the exact year 1992 though.

    what happened in that year in your neck o the woods?

  136. echidna says

    This was not a teenager leading a crusade for recognition of First Amendment Rights

    But it certainly is now, as Ichthyic points out. These are some of Emma’s last few tweets:

    I’ve decided not to write the letter but I hope this opens the door for average citizens to voice their opinion & to be heard! #goingstrong

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” -Gandhi

    I knew this day would come, but I didnt know itd be today #makingheadlines

  137. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says:

    WishfulThinkingRulesAll, I just want to inform you that you are a condescending assclown. You have not proven me wrong. I have not been smacked down. I just do not want to continue derailing this thread.

    Get it through your fucking thick skull, a person can be correct and still make use of questionable imagery.

    Also, this is not a zero sum game. One cane be opposed to a wannabe theocrat like Brownback and still point out what can be dispensed with.

    Now fucking respect my wish and let me leave this.

    And fuck you.

    WTF!? LET YOU LEAVE THIS? Do I have magic mind control powers or something? I SALUTED you for bailing out, so as not to derail the thread. I also suspected you did not want to deal with everyone arguing against you, but that’s the only other thing I said in my post. Over and done with. Everyone can move on. Except then you just had to write the nonsense I quoted above. Why the FUCK would you reply again, and act like you are compelled to do it? Don’t reply again, or just stick to talking about Brownback. No one is forcing you to do anything and it smacks of magical delusional thinking to claim otherwise. The End.

  138. d cwilson says

    Dr. Krawitz simply encouraged her to write a letter of apology for being so rude.

    Yes, because whenever someone who holds the authority on whether or not a student may graduate this year or even continue attending school, “encouragement” is something that is purely optional.

    This was not a teenager leading a crusade for recognition of First Amendment Rights; this was a teenager saying what most teenagers say in regards to politicians when they are not fully aware of their policies.

    So? First Amendment rights are not contingent on the speaker’s intent. The fact that she was rude in her statement does not make it okay to censor her or try to intimidate her from speaking out again.

  139. says

    Ichthyic:

    That was the first time I ever heard the word uttered on MTV, give or take a year or two. When that happened, I knew it had become safe.

    I would make an exception for “Disco Sucks”, though — when the disco crash happened, it was a much more severe insult with definite homophobic connotations (and the term was probably picked specifically for that reason, given disco’s core demographics), and therefore the phrase is loaded in ways that the word alone isn’t.

  140. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    1. I laugh with dark-hearted glee at the conundrum the principal is in, and at the fuckwittery of the governor.

    2. I propose that we should consider filing many politicians under the term “professional windbag.”

    3. I’d give Emma’s teacher a nice, fat holiday bonus. Or maybe two bonuses: one now, the other can be the Christmas bonus. Clearly s/he did the job very well. (I just wish I could be this damn open about such things in my own workplace…)

    4. Major kudos to Emma’s mom. Not everyone has the guts to stand behind their child when it comes to moments like this. And if it’s illustrating the truth, even better.

  141. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    In fact, I’m drinking a soda made from granny smiths right now.

    this would make more sense if I hadn’t forgotten to add:

    It’s called “Sour apple soda”

    Oh, we’ll hang Jeff Davis to a sour apple tree

    Oh, we’ll hang Jeff Davis to a sour apple tree

    Oh, we’ll hang Jeff Davis to a sour apple tree

    And the Truth goes marchin’ on….

  142. echidna says

    What’s the over/under that Anna is actually a staffer for Brownbeck, or a professional conservatard troll?

    I think a conservatard troll would have posted more than once. The idea that Anna is a staffer makes sense, especially with the slur that Emma didn’t really understand Brownback’s policies.

  143. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    Then my host brought out schnapps and then I forget what happened.

    Must’ve been some good schnapps, then.

  144. says

    2. Yes, “sucks” and “blows” were originally homophobic. Over the last thirty years, both terms have lost nearly all of that loading, to the point where “sucks” was pretty much completely sanitized by about 1992

    I was in high school in the late 90s, and this is not true.

    Of course, pretty much everything that highschoolers say and do is homophobic; even the school cafeterias serve homophobia on Fridays.

  145. Ichthyic says

    No one is forcing you to do anything

    like nobody forced you to post about Andy on a totally different thread where it hadn’t even been mentioned.

    you hypocritical shit.

  146. machintelligence says

    It sounds like the sour apple cider might have been allowed to ferment aerobically all the way to vinegar (acetic acid) which would taste pretty sour.

  147. QueQuoi says

    /delurk
    Saw this on the local news while home visiting for the holiday, Emma’s story tickled me to no end. If Shawnee Mission East is still anything like when I went there 20 years ago, then I am even more impressed by her and by her family’s reaction.

  148. says

    As for Anna, and who she/he might be, I’m voting for a member of Brownback’s staff.

    The vocabulary, syntax, and veiled slur in this sentence: “This was not a teenager leading a crusade for recognition of First Amendment Rights; this was a teenager saying what most teenagers say in regards to politicians when they are not fully aware of their policies” all lead me to believe it was written by a worker bee in the propaganda hive.

  149. says

    Anna,

    I am a student at Shawnee Mission East and a classmate of Emma’s. I would like to clarify that she was never “ordered” to write a letter. There was absolutely no ultimatum. Dr. Krawitz simply encouraged her to write a letter of apology for being so rude.

    If this is accurate, it’s slightly mitigating, but still an abuse of Krawitz’s power.

    I’m still impressed with Emma’s decision not to cave in to his “encouragement.”

    I don’t agree with Brownback’s policies, but I agree that what she said was incredibly rude and led to a very poor representation of our school.

    Yes, but only because the remark was homophobic.

    Let’s be clear: if she’d said the governor is a piece of shit and a failed excuse for a human being, that would have been perfect. I’d be cheering without reservation.

    This was not a teenager leading a crusade for recognition of First Amendment Rights; this was a teenager saying what most teenagers say in regards to politicians when they are not fully aware of their policies.

    So what?

    Here’s the cool thing about the First Amendment:

    It’s still the law even when you’re not campaigning for it!

  150. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    Ichthyic says:

    like nobody forced you to post about Andy on a totally different thread where it hadn’t even been mentioned.

    you hypocritical shit.

    I am only going to say this once, because I am not an imbecile like some of you are: Ichthyic, you dumb fuck, I never claimed that other posters were forcing me to post, as if I had no will of my own. That is what Janine essentially claimed. That’s batshit crazy talk right there. It is even more crazy because reasonable people and probably most of the unreasonable people, would have seen finality in my comment where I saluted her for bowing out. But she had to go off and claim I had magical power over her or something. Totally looney tunes man.

    PS – Who the fuck is Andy? You know what, don’t answer that. I don’t care. Back to the regularly scheduled programming.

  151. robro says

    So glad governor butthead figured out that this was a no win situation for him.

    And what’s this about “suck” and “blow” being homophobic imagery. I didn’t realize that hets don’t “blow” and “suck”. Were we not allowed to do that? I guess I missed that rule.

  152. NitricAcid says

    “Cider” for some reason, is a term that gets applied to a) fermented apple juice, b) unfiltered apple juice, and c) hot spiced apple juice. I have a fondness for the first (and proper) usage, not so much for the other two.

  153. says

    WishfulThinkingRulesAll, it’s about time for you to shut the fuck up.

    +++++
    robro

    And what’s this about “suck” and “blow” being homophobic imagery. I didn’t realize that hets don’t “blow” and “suck”. Were we not allowed to do that?

    It’s homophobic when applied to a man.

  154. says

    this was a teenager saying what most teenagers say in regards to politicians when they are not fully aware of their policies

    If politicians want to be automatically accorded respect, they’re going to need to do a lot more than ask nicely. That bridge was burned long ago. What anyone with half a brain, whether teenager or adult, says in regard to politicians is generally nastier than that they’re blowhards, or even that they do too much blow.

  155. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    PS – Who the fuck is Andy? You know what, don’t answer that. I don’t care.

    Yes you do care tone troll. Andy is GelatoGuy. Who will not have is pseudo apology accepted…

  156. echidna says

    2. Yes, “sucks” and “blows” were originally homophobic.

    I’m sorry, I can’t let this pass. They are not originally homophobic. They may have taken on that idiomatic meaning somewhere along the line in the US, and elsewhere perhaps, but that is not their original meaning. Emma may have been using that idiom, I don’t know.

    “Blow” is a very old word. It’s seen in all sorts of contexts, including flowers blooming, air being moved by breath or wind, explosions and even penile erections, all of this centuries ago, most of these extant.

    Suck, on the other hand, has a much more focused meaning, but what is being sucked is a matter of context.

    I claim that the assertion that these old, established words are homophobic in origin is not only false, but asserting cultural privilege.

  157. Aquaria says

    The vocabulary, syntax, and veiled slur in this sentence: “This was not a teenager leading a crusade for recognition of First Amendment Rights; this was a teenager saying what most teenagers say in regards to politicians when they are not fully aware of their policies” all lead me to believe it was written by a worker bee in the propaganda hive.

    The wording of the entire post stinks to Andromeda.

    Brownback shill–no doubt about it.

  158. says

    the origin of the word really doesn’t have any impact on it’s current meaning.

    I don’t think suck and blow are homophobic, but they are generally sex negative insults. IMO at least they’re also lower ranked than cunt/fag/dyke and racial slurs and are bellow my personal ‘give-a-shit meter’ (not that anyone elses O is any less valid I suppose).

    I generally here accept requests on limiting language on the board even if I don’t limit in RL, but this might be at the point where it’s getting chaffing. But I don’t really see the argument despite ‘I don’t think it’s that bad’ which is countered by ‘IMO it is’ which can only be responded with “you’re too sensitive then’. Though I think a far better case can be made for inherent no-noness in slurs rather than this.

    Anyway, just rambling.

  159. says

    https://mobile.twitter.com/talesin/status/141334185846652928

    +++++

    I don’t think suck and blow are homophobic, but they are generally sex negative insults.

    Contradiction. If you acknowledge that they are sex-negative insults, then they are homophobic when applied to a man. They sure as hell don’t mean he blows women.

    but this might be at the point where it’s getting chaffing.

    Click on any of the links I’ve provided in this thread.

  160. Ichthyic says

    If you acknowledge that they are sex-negative insults, then they are homophobic when applied to a man.

    I think they meant sex-neutral instead of sex-negative.

  161. Ichthyic says

    I never claimed that other posters were forcing me to post

    talk about getting his ass on backwards!

    IDIOT, that was the point.

    nobody is forcing you to be the asshole you are, and derail every thread you pop your corpulent head into.

    fuck off.

  162. tfkreference says

    NitricAcid, your comment @1 summed up the issue brilliantly.

    As for Anna, I’ll bet on the governor’s office. Who else would be googling for this story and ending up here–much less defending their principal’s reputation so calmly amidst the blow/suck discussion (though I’d be pleasantly surprised to find out that Pharyngula has a high school Republican readership).

    As for the blow/suck discussion, it seems to overlook the sexually submissive (read: female) position that these insults imply, whether homophobic or not, a position that is implied as well by “fuck you” (which has been delivered by those on both sides of this argument).

    In American English, we get screwed, we get the shaft, we get fucked, we get hosed (when I was in college in the early ’80s, hosing meant fucking, and a stud was a hose-monster and a slut was a hose-bag–unless she was gorgeous and clearly confident in her sexuality, in which case she could be a hose-monster, too–how’s that for equality[/snark]).

    In contrast, about the only negative phrase that refers to something that in literal terms goes into a vagina is douche (there are probably others that don’t readily come to my mind). As last year’s catch phrase shows, even calling someone a dick implies strength, or at least resolve–and in any case, its connotations are much more positive than the feminine equivalent.

    Our language is full of metaphors, though most aren’t as graphic, and most (including fuck you)have all but lost their original sense (see Lakoff and Johnson for more examples than you can imagine).

  163. Ichthyic says

    whether homophobic or not, a position that is implied as well by “fuck you” (which has been delivered by those on both sides of this argument).

    you will be prying the word “fuck” from my cold, dead hands.

    using “that sucks” as a sex neutral put down for something bad or useless I can take or leave, though I grew up using it as such.

    but you WILL NOT be taking fuck you from my vocab.

  164. Ichthyic says

    Ichthyic, that appeared to be an observation, not a prescription.

    of course, but I’ve seen where these discussions go of late.

    consider it a pre-emptive strike.

  165. says

    Insulting a woman over sexual behavior is generally misogynistic, yes.

    Then we shorten that to that it’s {misogynistic|homophobic|anti-trans|anti-asexual|whatever} to publicly attribute to an individual {whatever} a sexual act that a plurality of the {whatever} group wouldn’t like having attributed to them (as a group).

    So it’s OK to call a person a “fucker” as long as they aren’t a member of a group that generally doesn’t like to fuck, in which case it’s antifuckerism. Calling a celibate or an asexual a “fucker” is a big insult, presumably, but a bro’d be high-fiving you, “Yeah!”

    And using the word “shit” is probably anticonstipationist because it’s implying that they shit, when they can’t, so that’s sheer insensitivity, right there… Damn! No, wait, I just insulted the damned, didn’t I?

  166. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    WishfulThinkingRulesAll:

    I truly am wondering what drugs you have taken in your life to damage your brain so deeply. (Disclaimer: ‘drugs’ does not refer to date rape pharmecuticals, ‘taken’ does not refer to rape, and ‘deeply’ in the above context is not refering to the level of penetration).

    Forget cupcakes, douchebisquits, and taintmuffins. WTRA is a butter-crusted, fork-fluted santorum meringue pie.

  167. says

    Ranum,

    Calling a celibate or an asexual a “fucker” is a big insult, presumably

    Let’s wait to hear from them before we go presuming.

  168. Charlie Foxtrot says

    Hmmm, he’s a conservative republican in a high office – yeah?
    Is it not entirely possible that he does in fact blow, sometimes suck and even occasionally bite?

    Do we know how many gay right reforms he’s voted against?

  169. you_monster says

    It must be just coincidental that “#heblowsalot” has been generating all those homophobic tweets has has been linking to.

  170. says

    Contradiction. If you acknowledge that they are sex-negative insults, then they are homophobic when applied to a man. They sure as hell don’t mean he blows women.

    No it can be sex-negative without being targeted. Fucker for example doesn’t become a homophobic or misogynist insult when based on the target but it remains a sexualized insult.

  171. Ichthyic says

    Don’t worry, Ichthyic, I wouldn’t dare take the fuck word from anyone–it’s essential, even when it’s not there.

    I always knew I liked the Count the best.

    I do hope they never glitterize him.

    *shakes fist at whoever wrote “Twilight”*

  172. says

    Fucker for example doesn’t become a homophobic or misogynist insult when based on the target but it remains a sexualized insult.

    Okay.

    But people fuck all kinds.

    Straight men do not blow.

  173. says

    It must be just coincidental that “#heblowsalot” has been generating all those homophobic tweets ahs has been linking to.

    The most disappointing part is that I haven’t found a single Faith No More joke:

    #heblowsalot and it’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it

  174. luoanlai says

    At the risk of being slightly on topic can I suggest that it’s not a waste of public money for a politician to monitor social media or have one of his staff monitoring social media.

    Lots of organisations now use social media to interact with their constituents, customers, fans or followers. The first thing all of them should do, if they are doing their job properly, is to find out what people are saying about them. You can call it ‘monitoring’ or you can call it ‘listening’.

    Obviously you are then free to act like a total tool as a result of what you hear, but that doesn’t mean that you were wrong or mis-using funds to listen in the first place.

  175. Ichthyic says

    Lots of organisations now use social media to interact with their constituents, customers, fans or followers

    key word there being INTERACT.

    this was not a means of communication, it was a means of being paranoid and paying someone to encourage your paranoia.

    but that doesn’t mean that you were wrong or mis-using funds to listen in the first place.

    would it be wrong for me to spend your money by paying several people to go through your trash, and find any letters you’ve sent to anyone to see if you ever said anything about me I don’t like?

    Why couldn’t I just ask you what you think of me?

    No, if this governor were doing something legit, he wouldn’t have had his staffers try and pressure the girl into apologizing.

    and, if you believe it was all the staffers’ doing, you’re quite naive.

  176. NelC says

    It seems to me that insults are going to be insulting to somebody. Idiot, moron, Republican: they’re all part, parcel and pubes of everyday rudeness these days, but they all used to mean something beyond the bad feeling communicated by tone of voice verbally, and implied in written words. How long does a word have to have fallen out of technical use before it’s okay to use as an insult?

    And how much attention should we pay to someone who is not part of the group being supposedly marginalised by the use of an insult when they repeatedly assert that is occurring, and how much to a person of that group who says they don’t feel marginalised by it? And what should we make of someone who executes a perfect flounce-and-return, with encore, even if they do bear the Order of Molly?

    I haven’t been paying enough attention to know how WTRA behaves in other threads, or how much bad feeling has been carried over from elsewhere, or care particularly, to tell the truth. But what I see in this thread is someone baldly asserting something that seems not to be well-supported and refusing to acknowledge that their interpretation does not have primacy over anyone else’s point of view, certainly not without supporting evidence. Several people objected, of whom WTRA was only one, and as usual it all descended into name-calling.

    Really, this place is getting like usenet. Instead of just picking away at the list of swear words, why don’t you all just cut to the chase and declare a moratorium on all insults? No more descending into cat fights when the rational argument has run out (or hasn’t started), no more going straight to the insults when replying in a new thread to another regular who said something a little off about you three years ago which they and everybody else has forgotten, no more verbally cutting up anyone who reads like they’re looking at you funny?

    Or… just let insults be insults, without the PC-policing — or tone-trolling by another name. If you want to call each other fecking idjits with shit for brains, then disallowing other insults on the basis that they might offend somebody else seems just a little silly, if not an excuse to kick somebody else around just because they’re not wearing the gang colours properly.

  177. Ichthyic says

    How long does a word have to have fallen out of technical use before it’s okay to use as an insult?

    there are so many variables involved, you can’t possibly expect an answer to that?

    why don’t you all just cut to the chase and declare a moratorium on all insults?

    what fun would that be?

  178. says

    Anna:

    . I don’t agree with Brownback’s policies, but I agree that what she said was incredibly rude and led to a very poor representation of our school.

    Right. Because everyone knows that every tweet from every student represents the official policy of the school.

    Twitter is just that powerful.

  179. you_monster says

    How long does a word have to have fallen out of technical use before it’s okay to use as an insult?

    long enough that its usage doesn’t instigate a plethora of bigoted comments like the ones ahs ॐ has been linking to.

    Or… just let insults be insults, without the PC-policing — or tone-trolling by another name.

    It is not the tone that is wrong, it is the smear of a protected class of individuals.

    I do get that for many “he blows a lot” doesn’t carry homophobic connotations. But it still does to some, as evidenced by ahs ॐ’s links. Knowing that people do interpret it in a bigoted fashion, and spout off their own bigotry as a result, why use it?

  180. luoanlai says

    Ichthyic @ 231.

    I am not naive. My point is simple.

    Listening to your constituents is the guys job, especially if they address a comment to him or make a comment about him. This is not misuse of funds, nor is it abuse of power.

    Eavesdropping is misuse of funds. Rifling through rubbish is misuse of funds.

    Reacting like a total tool to what you hear and wasting time tracking down an 18 year kid to exert pressure on them is also misuse of funds.

    Getting one of your team to pretend be a classmate of the 18 year old kid and post on a blog would also be misuse of funds.

    If the motivation for monitoring social media was based in paranoia his office is still doing the right thing, but for the wrong reason. That’s still not misuse of funds.

  181. Aquaria says

    Listening to your constituents is the guys job, especially if they address a comment to him or make a comment about him. This is not misuse of funds, nor is it abuse of power.

    Uh–Politicians who are listening to their constituents will either ignore an ordinary citizen saying something rude about them, or will ask, “I’d like to know why you feel that way. Let’s talk.”

    For all their faults, that is how mature and rational politicians behave. Sheesh–you expect people to hate you, or you at least try to find some common ground with a potential fucking voter!

    Mature, rational politicians don’t cruise the Internet looking for any mention of themselves to shore up their precious egos or fee-fees–or use what’s said on it to threaten American citizens into bowing and scraping before them.

    You get this…right?

  182. ericpaulsen says

    Ichthyic says: even the school cafeterias serve homophobia on Fridays.

    I thought that was Sloppy Joes.

    Only if you go back for seconds, otherwise it’s just Joes.

  183. Ichthyic says

    Listening to your constituents is the guys job

    do you really think the most efficient way to listen to your constituents is to pay a group of people to LISTEN IN on their random comments?

    really?

    I agree, you’re not naive, you’re an idiot.

  184. Ichthyic says

    oh, and before I forget…

    prediction:

    if it continues posting, there will be continuing and accelerating goalpost moving on the part of luoanlai.

    watch for it.

  185. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I don’t see what’s so outrageous about luoanlai’s position. I mean, “listening in” doesn’t paint it in the most flattering light, but if I were a politician, I would want a staffer tracking mentions of my name on Twitter and Facebook.

  186. Ichthyic says

    I would want a staffer tracking mentions of my name on Twitter and Facebook.

    do you currently track mentions of your name on twitter and facebook?

    what is your motivation for doing so?

    do you think those motivations consistent with being a representative of the people that elected you?

    do you think it an efficient way of communicating with your consitutents?

    do you think hearsay and rumor also efficient ways of learning what people really think?

    If so, my opinion of you just dropped a notch.

  187. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    do you currently track mentions of your name on twitter and facebook?

    No, but then I’m not a politician or a business.

    what is your motivation for doing so?

    To evaluate what kind of impression I’m making on the public. I’d tally the negative vs. the positive ones and analyze the content.

    do you think those motivations consistent with being a representative of the people that elected you?

    Definitely. It’s just another form of feedback.

    do you think it an efficient way of communicating with your consitutents?

    No, it’s an efficient way for them to communicate with me.

    do you think hearsay and rumor also efficient ways of learning what people really think?

    No, but I don’t see how hearsay and rumor are comparable to direct comments about me or my brand on social media.

    If so, my opinion of you just dropped a notch.

  188. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Whoops, forgot to put Ing’s last statement in blockquotes, so I could respond to it.

    If so, my opinion of you just dropped a notch.

    I don’t see why, perhaps because I think the comparison to rifling through someone’s trash is a tad hyperbolic.

    That’s raw data right there. It would probably be useful. Or maybe not, I don’t really know since I’ve never tried it. It would be foolish to ignore it, though.

  189. Ichthyic says

    That’s raw data right there.

    if you count random things people say as data.

    you know who else thought so?

    Nixon.

    No, it’s an efficient way for them to communicate with me.

    no, it isn’t.

    The shit I say about you behind you often has fuck all to do with what I would actually say to you directly.

    I suppose you also support unwarranted wiretaps?

  190. Ichthyic says

    example:

    I twitter that I think Obama is a moron.

    how is that useful to Obama?

    I send an email to Obama, saying I think he’s wrong for promoting public prayer days.

    which is the more valuable communication?

    which should Obama focus spending time and money on processing?

    It IS a misuse of time and money to monitor random noise, and expect to get anything useful out of it, especially given there are many alternatives that are far more efficient.

  191. echidna says

    I can understand monitoring social media. Probably not all that reliable a source of information, but understandable for the insecure politician.

    What was really not OK was hunting the dissenter down to extract an apology, complete with talking points.

  192. echidna says

    Ichthyic,
    I’m not condoning the use of public funds to monitor “random noise”. It’s the totalitarian response that gets me.

  193. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I suppose you also support unwarranted wiretaps?

    Come off it Icthyic. Of course I don’t. How do you make the connection, anyway?

    I twitter that I think Obama is a moron.

    how is that useful to Obama?

    I send an email to Obama, saying I think he’s wrong for promoting public prayer days.

    which is the more valuable communication?

    which should Obama focus spending time and money on processing?

    It IS a misuse of time and money to monitor random noise, and expect to get anything useful out of it, especially given there are many alternatives that are far more efficient.

    You make a good point. Like I said earlier, the data may not be useful at all. I don’t know since I’ve never tried it. But I have seen interesting things done with data culled from Twitter mentions. If the majority of things people say on social media is content-free blather like “Obama is a moron” then yes. It probably is a waste. On the other hand, if there’s a useful amount of comments with substance, like, “I wish Obama would abandon this stupid health plan and just go for a single payer system,” it might be useful.

    Twitter communication, especially, is public communication. Facebook, not so much. There, I’d probably just keep track of comments on pages about me.

  194. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Ichthyic, that remark about Sally wanting warrantless wiretaps was ridiculous and gratuitously insulting. I hope you re-think that.

  195. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Useful twice in the same sentence… I’m a bit fuzzy-brained. I’m for bed.

  196. says

    Oh come on, twitter is public, and politicians monitor public opinion. I have no problem with that. In ye olden tymes, politicians had minions staffers reading the newspapers every morning at 4am to collect all mentions of them. (*) It’s not the monitoring, it’s the “harassing a teenager” part that’s the problem.

    (*) Actually they still do. More often these days it’s paid clipping services than direct staff.

  197. says

    For whatever my 2-cents are worth, I never even thought of “that blows” or “that sucks” as sexual until *today*, reading the comments *here*. I learned it as “that blows chunks” = that causes me to vomit, it’s disgusting, and “that sucks eggs”, like raw ones for Easter-egg making or something (also gross and generally unpleasant). If I say “it sucks you got hurt today” I certainly am not referring to oral sex.

  198. luoanlai says

    Ichthyic @ 241

    I’m neither naive, nor an idiot.

    I didn’t say that listening to what people say about a politician in social media is the most effective way for that politician to canvas opinion. Clearly it is not and it was quite a leap for you to infer that from my comments.

    However, any politician who didn’t try to use social media to understand what their constituents were feeling would be even more of an idiot than the one in question.

    My point was and remains simple. There were a lot of people suggesting that it was misuse of funds for a politician to monitor (or listen to) social media. I think that’s simply wrong. I think a good politician should be doing that. In this case a bad politician was also doing it.

    As Alethea @ 256 said it’s not the monitoring is the harassing the teenager that’s the problem. That was my point first time, last time and is still my point this time. Maybe it’s not clear to you, but the goalposts remain intact.

    Brownback is clearly a loathesome fuckwit. His team may be listening to his constituents for the wrong reasons. Still not misuse of resources.

  199. says

    I suppose one last point:

    Aren’t pretty much all insults, well, insulting?

    Fucker = implying you have a lot of sex, and either the accompanying moral position where that is bad, or that it is for money. [Deregatory to sex workers, or people who find the classical moral objection antiquated]

    shithead = you have fecal matter instead of a brain [derogatory to anyone who finds fecal matter offensive, or of less computational power than a brain]

    idiot, moron = you have an IQ below a certain level (I believe 70) [ insulting to DD people]

    sucks, blows = apparently this means to many fellatio. Who knew. (see my #257)

    So everyone here that called someone an idiot obviously thinks that it’s OK to degrade developmentally delayed people. And everyone who calls someone a fuck or fucker has real issues with sex, apparently.

    Or maybe society normalizes certain insults to the point where they are intended and usually received as insults in isolation, without the attached connotation. I posit “sucks” and “blows” are undergoing this normalization, and don’t really refer to the sexual reference to most people anymore.

  200. unclefrogy says

    I would think that any politician that did not listen to what “people” were saying in public comments about them is a fool.
    it is no different then having friends report what they hear. I hope no one is advocating that politicians should be more insular and only listen to any formal communication they receive. I can understand this feeling of being spied on but I think that comes from how this particular event unfolded. This was a ridicules over reaching, I think it worked out great at exposing the nasty side of this conservative governor makes them all look bad. Instead of helping him to explain his position better the response was to try to control the person who disagreed and make the negative comments go away pathetic. If anyone thinks that monitoring the internet for public opinion or mood is restricted to only the bad guys they should realize that this is 2011 everyone who has an interest in what the public thinks and feels about them or anything else is looking. Many are looking who do not have a need to know but are looking anyway you can buy information these days or software to look for it or just use Google. It depends on how bad you want to know and what you are looking for.
    I take it as a given that anything I say on the internet is going to be public sooner or later so I act accordingly.

    uncle frogy

  201. echidna says

    Don’t overlook the principal. He asked Emma for a letter of apology, with suggested talking points included.

    Who suggested the talking points? That sounds like something coming from a politicians office, unless it’s standard school parlance that I’m not aware of.

    So the governor tracks the comments of your student, hunts the student down, demands a letter of apology scripted just so (presumably), and the principal tugs his forelock.

    Acquiescing to abuse of power is where the rubber meets the road, whether it’s political, sexual or other abuse that just goes unreported.

  202. Ariaflame says

    Making one comment on the whole sucks/blows thing.

    I’m another that really doesn’t connect them with sex. Certainly not the way teenagers use it.

    They’ll say of a situation, ‘That sucks’ or possibly for emphasis, ‘That sucks rocks’. Or perhaps ‘That blows’ or maybe ‘That totally blows’. And to them it just is a reasonably mild expression of dissatisfaction with that situation.

    Now teenagers like, are like not that great like at nuanced like language, and I can like see, yanno, that they might then map the phrase like ‘that blows’ to ‘he blows’ when they like want to express dissatisfaction with a like person, rather than yanno, a situation.

    /teenspeak off.

    I suggest if you were to tell a teen girl that on saying ‘he blows’ about someone she disapproved of that she was using a homophobic insult you’d get one of those classic teen stares, eyes wide, mouth open, complete incomprehension.

    Anyone know any teens to ask?

  203. Aquaria says

    My point was and remains simple. There were a lot of people suggesting that it was misuse of funds for a politician to monitor (or listen to) social media. I think that’s simply wrong. I think a good politician should be doing that. In this case a bad politician was also doing it.

    1) If you want to know what the public really thinks of you, you don’t go to the Internet for it. Internet forums and polls are utter crap for getting a real gauge on public opinion.

    2) If he’s so concerned about what the people on Twitter think about him, then he could have created a Twitter account followed by a big announcement to the media (he’s only the governor, after all) mentioning that he’s welcoming feedback there. OMFG–who woulda thunk of doing that?!

    Doesn’t that make just a wee bit more sense than a public worker wasting taxpayer funds to cast a net so fucking huge for any mention of a governor that it snags on a twitter (one of billions of twitters!) from some teenager calling that governor an idiot? Seriously: What do you think the chances are that someone in Kansas is calling Brownbeck an idiot–online, no less? I’d put them at about 90%.

    You’d think he would know that by now, as often as he’s been called one.

    Sheesh.

  204. dannysichel says

    Far be it from me to defend Brownback, but it’s really not unreasonable for him to have someone watching for mentions of his name in publicly-available social media (such as, for instance, comments on blog posts! HELLO THERE, EMPLOYEE OF KANSAS GOVERNOR SAM BROWNBACK! ARE YOU ENJOYING YOUR JOB?), in case someone posts a question or comment which can be seriously addressed without going off-message.

    The unreasonable part is the reaction of that employee — and of that employee’s supervisors, however far it went up the chain of command.

    When faced with comments such as the one that Emma Sullivan posted, the appropriate reaction of a political staffer is to sigh, roll one’s eyes, and click ‘next’.

  205. illuminata says

    Sigh. Why is it never possible for someone to point out how a turn of phrase/choice in imagery could be interpreted to have sexist/racist/homophobic undertones without having the “Shut up you over-reactive @$!@!!” reactions triggered?

    Equally interesting is the immediate employment of sexist dogwhistles to shame and silence Janine, while claiming that there’s totes no bigotry here! move along.

    While I agree with Josh in that homophobic connotation isn’t where my mind went first and I honestly don’t see it here, what Janine is saying isn’t wrong – overall. But definitely make sure to accuse her of being a hysterical, irrational, psychotic, language-policing facist junkie, because douchey trolls disagree with her. That’s TOTALLY mature, adult debate, right there, yo.

    On topic:

    If he’s so concerned about what the people on Twitter think about him, then he could have created a Twitter account followed by a big announcement to the media (he’s only the governor, after all) mentioning that he’s welcoming feedback there. OMFG–who woulda thunk of doing that?!

    There’s one flaw in this otherwise useful plan: He’s a politician. A republican politican even. He doesn’t want the public’s feedback, he wants the public’s money, votes and total obedience. Particular this hyperventilating theocrat.

    After all, it was a young woman that insulted him. And brownback being the unhinged misogynist that he is, Kansas is #2 in the Top 10 Worst States to be a Woman.

    I have absolutely no use for Twitter in my life, but I’m seriously considering creating an account just so I post some tasteless jokes on Brownback’s hashtag. Of course, immediate banning would follow but it might be worth it.

  206. Thomathy, now gayer and atheister says

    The Governor is rather stupid and his actions, ‘those of his staff’, sort of illuminate the kind of governorship he thinks he should have, namely a dictatorship. That’s kind of scary. I don’t imagine he was actually sincere in his apology, except in the sense that he’s sorry that this became noticed at all.

    (If this is tl:dr, then read just the last three paragraphs. If you have a problem with the analysis presented there, then read the rest of the post.)

    I have been unable to find a source or an etymology that describes the word ‘suck’ as an insult exclusively directed at gay men or to oral sex. That is, I cannot find a reference for the word ‘suck’ as an homophobic slur.

    From what I have found, and has been my understanding, the word is old and originally of chiefly British use, derived from any variation of ‘sucks’, as in ‘Sucks to you!’ It was, in this use, primarily an insult among children and it had absolutely no sexual connotation. In fact, today, in the dialect continua of English in which I have lived (South Western Ontario and the Golden Horseshoe), the word ‘suck’, so far as I can tell has and has had no sexual connotation. The phrases, ‘This sucks!’ or ‘You suck!’ do not imply oral sex, let alone oral sex between two men, and rather express dissatisfaction with a person or a situation (and also indicate poor performance when used with ‘at’) as derived from any variation on ‘Sucks to you!’

    Of course, ‘suck’ is used as a slang euphemism for oral sex independent of the particular history I describe, but that usage can’t fairly be described as being primary in insults, because it wouldn’t make sense. Very simply put, ‘You suck!’, or any variation, used commonly as described above, is not a reference to oral sex. It may be confused as making a reference to oral sex due to the fact that ‘suck’ is a homophone of a slang euphemism for oral sex (‘Go suck a donkey.’), but that confusion would require a speaker to be unaware of the common, sex-free, usage.

    If there exists a dialect of English wherein ‘suck’ is used primarily as an homophobic slur, it is unique in that regard and isolated.

    As to the word, ‘blow’, it is derived from ‘sucks’ and is used interchangeably. It does and has had, however, an history independent of ‘suck’ as common slang for oral sex. The etymology isn’t clear to me, but that’s not terribly important, since it suffices that it was and is used as slang for oral sex, specifically for the act of making a man ejaculate (blow) by oral sex (a connection between those two uses of ‘blow’ that I hadn’t made until now). Still, I can’t find an indication that it has been used primarily as an homophobic slur.

    ‘Blow’ can also be used as a shortened form of ‘blow chunks’ (a disgusting visual, by the way), but I can’t figure out where it’s commonly used. I think it’s chiefly American, but it’s really not important to this discussion, since it’s use doesn’t make sense in the context of the tweet that sparked this discussion in the first place.

    As far as I’m concerned, and as far as I’ve been able to find, ‘blow’ is used primarily interchangeably with ‘suck’ as described earlier, but is used more often than ‘suck’ when referring to oral sex disparagingly.

    It is not my experience (nor does it seem to be the experience of other posters here, who represent a wide swath of the English dialect continuum), nor does my search indicate, that ‘suck’ and ‘blow’ are used anywhere primarily as homophobic slurs, let alone to refer to oral sex. They are rather most often used to express dissatisfaction or to indicate poor performance and are entirely removed from oral sex despite the fact that they are homophones of slang euphemisms for oral sex.

    I will reiterate that these words are homophones, with separate derivations and etymologies, that all can be used as insults or interjections, but that they are not interchangeable. That is to say that while ‘You blow!’ or ‘You suck!’ and ‘Blow me!’ or ‘Suck me!’ may appear to contain the same words, they do not and the majority of English speakers are, at some level, cognizant of the difference. (Which is to say that few English speakers will confuse ‘You suck!’ as having anything to do with oral sex, instead of understanding it to mean general displeasure.)

    As to the particular use of ‘blow’ in question, I can’t find the original tweet for @heblowsalot to analyse it for any insults it may contain, however, the phrase, ‘He blows a lot.’ is impossible to mistake as not referring to oral sex. Further, ‘blow’ in reference to oral sex, is male centred and human centred. It necessarily follows that ‘He blows a lot.’ is attempting to insult Brownback by saying that he performs a lot of gay male oral sex.

    This is, unfortunately, an homophobic insult. In order to be successful as an insult it must disparage gay men by implying something wrong with gay fellatio that should insult the person at whom it’s directed; there has to be an idea that something is bad about being a gay man in order for the insult to work. Saying, ‘He blows a lot [of] noun.’ would clarify the insult and could potentially not be remotely homophobic (as in, ‘He blow a lot of donkeys.’), but there is no reason to suspect that the original phrase is truncated.

    So, there it is, a bit of homophobia goes largely unnoticed and one mention of it is blown entirely out of proportion and the obvious intent of the insult is either glossed over or rationalised away due to some confused etymology and poor analysis. Shame on those regulars here for doing either of those things; you know who you are. Lesson over.

  207. Thomathy, now gayer and atheister says

    Ha! My tag: ‘off-topic, meta-discussion’ was excluded because I used < brackets. Imagine that the text in bold to the end is wrapped in the tag: 'off-topic, meta-discussion'.

  208. Thomathy, now gayer and atheister says

    Ing: I SPEAK FOR THE HIVEMIND GROUPTHINK, my language there was hyperbole. Sorry. I should have made a better effort to avoid it. Clearly, it is possible for the mistake to be made, for people to ‘disagree.’ I’ll maintain, however, since you insinuate that this is merely a disagreement, that reading @heblowsalot not as an homophobic insult is a mistake and I’ve written a long-ish post to clarify that as much as possible. It’s always fun to stretch my linguistic muscles over an aspect of linguistics I don’t often get a chance to write on even as a linguist.

  209. says

    Fucker = implying you have a lot of sex, and either the accompanying moral position where that is bad, or that it is for money. [Deregatory to sex workers, or people who find the classical moral objection antiquated]

    Fucker as an insult probably suggested rapist in its earliest identifiable form.

    I see no evidence whatsoever to indicate that its use since that time has drifted to a meaning of one who has a lot of sex. It seems only to have kept its generally negative tone while losing some connotation, like fuck as an interjection.

    tigerhawkvok’s late 20th century claim, that fucker implies a moral judgement about consensual sex, appears to be a folk etymology.

  210. says

    Fucker is short for motherfucker, mofo.

    That’s probably folk etymology too. The rapist form of fucker probably precedes motherfucker.

  211. says

    I posit “sucks” and “blows” are undergoing this normalization, and don’t really refer to the sexual reference to most people anymore.

    It’s a pretty fucking useless thing to posit when you haven’t clicked on any of the twitter links I’ve provided in this thread.

    Because people right now in November 2011 are taking #heblowsalot as an opportunity to make homophobic attacks on

    :queer men in general (by the child molester trope)
    :Sam Brownback (calling him Brokeback)
    :men who crossdress
    :Herman Cain and advocates of gay marriage (who said 140 characters must lack nuance?)
    :the Koch brothers
    :men who receive anal sex
    :Barney Frank and Barack Obama

    you really can’t claim that the term is not used homophobically.

  212. says

    Thomathy,

    which sources did you use?

    For “suck”, both the fellatio and the “inferior” usage appear only in the 20th century, and for “blow” I think the “inferior” usage is an even more recent development, so many sources don’t have it (though of course they do the fellation usage)

    The Online Eymological Dictionary (which takes its etymologies from printed reference works) has this to say

    O.E. sucan, from PIE root *sug-/*suk- of imitative origin (cf. O.S., O.H.G. sugan, O.N. suga, M.Du. sughen, Du. zuigen, Ger. saugen “to suck;” L. sugere “to suck,” succus “juice, sap;” O.Ir. sugim, Welsh sugno “to suck”). Meaning “do fellatio” is first recorded 1928. Slang sense of “be contemptible” first attested 1971 (the underlying notion is of fellatio). Suck eggs is from 1906. Suck hind tit “be inferior” is Amer.Eng. slang first recorded 1940.

    but unfortunately does not specify where this comes from.

    You said you found it as an old British slur, thus predating the 1971 attestation? Do you have more details? (Wiktionary, another source that doesn’t clearly mention its sources, also has both meanings as first attested in the 20th c.)

    Also I don’t think it’s a case of homophony, but rather polysemy.

  213. says

    Though the expression “suck hind tit” dates from 1940, which might suggest a non-fellatio related origin as well. I think given the fact that “suck” is such a high frequency verb, these several aspects just fell together.

    But as I’ve said before, etymology is really not a valid argument anyways. I haven’t looked at the tweets linked to by ahs, but if they’re really using the expression in that way (and I have no reason to believe that they aren’t) then synchronically speaking yes, there seems to be a homophobic element at least when the subject is a person.

  214. says

    They’ll say of a situation, ‘That sucks’ or possibly for emphasis, ‘That sucks rocks’. Or perhaps ‘That blows’ or maybe ‘That totally blows’.

    Yes.

    And to them it just is a reasonably mild expression of dissatisfaction with that situation.

    No. It is not just that. They also use “that sucks dick” to make the dissatisfaction more explicit. They have all heard of a blowjob.

    I’m not saying that every time a teenager says “he blows” or “he sucks” it’s being used with awareness of this meaning. Had she said “he is a loser and he sucks,” it would be approximately as ambiguous as you’re trying to make it sound.

    She chose exactly two insults and no other: “Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot”

    He sucks, he blows. Nothing else. It would be a remarkable coincidence for just those two insults to occur together randomly.

    Now teenagers like, are like not that great like at nuanced like language,

    Haha! No. We were, and I’m not going to buy into the temptation to proclaim that the teens of one decade later are just so fucking stupid all of a sudden.

  215. Dhorvath, OM says

    Teenagers are good at making fine language distinctions, they can even use words for multiple purposes and communicate with limited vocabulary. Which makes me think they can abandon problematic language in favour of other terms with little to no difficulty.

  216. says

    I haven’t looked at the tweets linked to by ahs, but if they’re really using the expression in that way (and I have no reason to believe that they aren’t) then synchronically speaking yes, there seems to be a homophobic element at least when the subject is a person.

    What my tweets show is that there is often a homophobic element.

    There are some which are far from this. Jokes about the big bad wolf, tornadoes, wind farms. The theme of blaming Brownback for the weather is pretty common. And I did finally find a Faith No More joke, but it wasn’t as good as mine.

    Of course there are some which use the hashtag primarily as a technological means of promoting a favored organization to whoever is searching for that hashtag.

    I’m not counting, but my gut feeling is that the weather jokes are the most common after generic hatred of the governor. The homophobia is not hard to find, though.

  217. says

    They’ll say of a situation, ‘That sucks’ or possibly for emphasis, ‘That sucks rocks’

    Notice how “that sucks rocks” is a recently minced oath for “that sucks cocks.” It’s doubtful that anyone using the former is unaware of the latter.

  218. Thomathy, now gayer and atheister says

    Pelanum, you’re right, it’s polysemy not homophony. I used the online etymology dictionary too as well as general searches for the terms. I found attestation of ‘sucks’ as early as 1913, quoted from a source by the OED and quoted again on a Straight Dope thread (1913 C. MACKENZIE Sinister Street I. I. vii. 98 This kid’s in our army, so sucks!). I didn’t mean by old that it was necessarily early than the 20th century, but it does predate the 1971 attestation as far as I can tell and does not seem to have a sexual connotation.

    I agree that ‘blow’ in the ‘inferior’ usage is even more recent.

    I don’t dispute the fact that it’s obviously being used as an homophobic slur. If that’s how it’s being used, then that’s how it’s being used, if you’ll pardon the circle. And I think I parsed the phrase for comprehension correctly. I don’t like to use etymology as an argument, and I hope it doesn’t seem like I was. Rather, I was trying to illustrate that the words and their meanings are coincidental, that, as you say, ‘these several aspects just fell together.’ There had been some folk etymology earlier in the thread, and I thought I’d clear that up and then present a case that ‘blow’ as used in @heblowsalot is being specifically used as a homophobic slur.

  219. Thomathy, now gayer and atheister says

    ahs ॐ, thanks, again? Those are good examples. Also, note the misogyny in your first and second link.

  220. illuminata says

    So, there it is, a bit of homophobia goes largely unnoticed and one mention of it is blown entirely out of proportion and the obvious intent of the insult is either glossed over or rationalised away due to some confused etymology and poor analysis. Shame on those regulars here for doing either of those things; you know who you are. Lesson over.

    It seemed that the people making the most noise and making the most effort to insult Janine for daring to voice an opinion were not regulars, but one frequent and useless whiny troll and several dudes who love them some sexist dogwhistles that I’ve never seen here before. That some regulars, and apparently PZ himself, jumped on the “lalala can’t hear you” wagon is disappointing. I count myself among them. I didn’t see it that way either. After your post, I’m rethinking it.

  221. tomh says

    @ #230 luoanlai wrote:
    … I suggest that it’s not a waste of public money for a politician to monitor social media or have one of his staff monitoring social media.

    Nonsense, it’s a complete waste. Monitoring social media by a politician for mention of one’s name is simply paranoia and fear. If one truly wants feedback about policies, for instance, there are legitimate ways to do it. Even the White House figured that out and set up a web page where people could sign petitions about various policies. This monitoring of Twitter is simply an updated version of the old Nixon enemies list. Find your enemies and persecute them.

  222. says

    To be clear, I think all of Krawitz’s supporters are high RWA followers, and Krawitz should tell them to halt the rally they have planned, because it will almost certainly become a hate rally against Emma.

    If Krawitz doesn’t do everything he can to halt the rally, then he is a terrible person and should resign.

  223. carlie says

    I’ve always associated “that sucks” with “that sucks rotten eggs”, and “that blows” with “that blows chunks”. However, seeing as apparently there is fairly common usage that is purposely referring to oral sex as a degrading homosexual thing, I’m going to try to refrain from using it in the future because I don’t want other people to think I’m using it in that way.

  224. echidna says

    Thomathy:

    As to the particular use of ‘blow’ in question, I can’t find the original tweet for @heblowsalot to analyse it for any insults it may contain, however, the phrase, ‘He blows a lot.’ is impossible to mistake as not referring to oral sex. Further, ‘blow’ in reference to oral sex, is male centred and human centred. It necessarily follows that ‘He blows a lot.’ is attempting to insult Brownback by saying that he performs a lot of gay male oral sex.

    While I disagree that it is impossible to mistake as not referring to oral sex (politicians blowing hot air seemed the obvious reading to me), I accept that in the US it may be different.

    Since it seems so obvious to some of you, I accept that it is a common homophobic slur in the country in which it was used, and therefore extend my heartfelt apologies to Janine.

  225. Ariaflame says

    @ahs ॐ

    Notice how “that sucks rocks” is a recently minced oath for “that sucks cocks.” It’s doubtful that anyone using the former is unaware of the latter.

    Well it was completely news to me.

    OK, how to put this. I accept that to Janine the tweet in question read as a homophobic slur. I don’t dispute that is how she read it.

    I can also state that I did not read it in such a manner, the thought did not even occur to me.

    Some of this may be due to different language usage between the USA and Australia and the UK where I grew up. Some of this may be due to me not being a normal teen, by USA standards or any other. I had no interest in hooking up with anyone romantically, or any of the things that my ‘peer group’ were into. I was astoundingly pure on the various purity tests that went around until well into my late 20s.

    Whether the teen thought of the sexual connotations when she was writing this tweet I don’t know, though to be honest I’d suspect not, since linking the Governor and sex in your mind is probably up there with linking sex and your parents for teenagers.

    Both suck and blow have a lot of idiomatic uses. (Blow especially. I had to scroll a few times). I do note that the fellatio meaning at least in this dictionary form is for the transitive verb, not for the intransitive.

    I am not asserting that Janine should not have made the connection she did, but I find I still have to argue against the assertion that is the only interpretation that can be made of it.

    In any case all of this debate is interesting but the chances of us actually having any effect on teenagers’ speech patterns is about the same as PZ becoming a fundamentalist christian.

  226. says

    I do note that the fellatio meaning at least in this dictionary form is for the transitive verb, not for the intransitive.

    transitive doesn’t mean an overt object always has to be there.

    a. He’s eating an apple.

    b. He’s eating.

    In many theories, b. doesn’t mean it’s intransitive, just that there is null object which is clear from context.

    Accordingly you could argue

    a. He sucks cock/the hind tit.

    b. He sucks.

    Especially when referring to sexual activities, the context is clear, and there might also be other taboo factors involved here.

    I mean the other

  227. Ariaflame says

    True, it could just be an implied object rather than an overt one. Though this would not be the case in the more general ‘This sucks’ or ‘That blows’ since I’m at a loss to know what the object being sucked or blown is there.

    So yes, it is context based. I have admitted that my knowledge of things sexual was fairly low (no, wasn’t in an abstinence only program, just asexual and mostly not interested for the most part) so it has to be pretty blatant sometimes for me to see it. Though I am gradually spotting more references as time goes on. I just don’t think there was enough context in the tweet to say one way or another.

    Regarding my comments on nuanced language in teenagers. OK, they’re probably not that bad all the time. I admit I was exaggerating slightly. But judging by conversations I hear on the train and in coffee shops, not by a huge deal. But it is true that they may be better able to understand nuanced language than they tend to use among themselves. Maybe. It’s a tricky time given that a lot of rewiring is happening in their brains. It’s not that they are stupid at all, but someone I know who is an ER doctor and has seen a lot of brain damage, says that if she thinks of teenagers as if they were people who had suffered a certain kind of brain damage, suddenly a lot of what they said and did made sense. Luckily it’s a non-permanent condition for most.