The view from under the bus

Here is another reason to dislike Bill Maher.


Bill Maher‏@billmaher
#TheInterview Is that all it takes – an anonymous threat and the numbers 911 – to throw free expression under the bus? #PussyNation

He wouldn’t use #NiggerNation that way. He didn’t, and he wouldn’t. Yet he thinks it’s ok to use #PussyNation that way. (Yes, Jon Stewart also does that [unless he’s stopped], and that sucks too.)


  1. says

    Funny how we use a vulgarism/euphemism for vagina as a slur revolving around someone’s supposed weakness. Yet one of the more painful, and often dangerous, experiences a human being can go through is giving birth to a child, which involves the vagina and other parts one has to be born with to possess. Not only that, but many people are willing to go through it again despite experiencing it before. Oh those people who give birth to child, such wimps!

  2. yazikus says

    That is a really good point. #pussynation should be a rallying call for hardcore, intense people willing to do what it takes to get the job done, despite the pain, suffering and damage it might cause them.

    Once upon a time, when I believed different things about the world and medicine, I had a natural birth. (Well, I did take hypno-birthing classes first). I believed the pain of labor would be ‘rushes’ of ‘energy’, not pain. I thought the intensity would flow through me and I would ride along its powerful wave, serene and powerful. Turns out not so much (for me at least), birthing hurt like, well, like the worst thing I could ever dream of imagining. I was puking with pain every few minutes and it was excruciating. 17 hours of it. Hypno birthing be damned, I think the thinky thing that helped me the most was the mantra from dune about fear. Well, I got the job done, eventually, but my viewpoint changed, to say the least. There was no ‘orgasmic birth’ for me.

    Female reproductive organs are strong as shit. They aren’t weak. They can put up with a lot of pain for a long time. Pussy Nation should never be a negative hashtag. It should be a call for rebellion.

  3. yazikus says

    Wish I could edit to add, this is not to say that people who choose not to do the birthy thing are lacking anything, strength or otherwise. It just changed my perspective.

  4. mofa says

    According to OED, pussy actually comes from the word puss, a well-used name for cats at that time. It was first used to mean cat.

    “cat,” 1726, diminutive of puss (n.1), also used of a rabbit (1715). As a term of endearment for a girl or woman, from 1580s (also used of effeminate men). Pussy willow is from 1869, on notion of “soft and furry.” To play pussy was World War II RAF slang for “to take advantage of cloud cover, jumping from cloud to cloud to shadow a potential victim or avoid recognition.”

    Later in the 19th century, it was used as a slang for “female pudenda”

  5. Albert Bakker says

    I don’t understand any of this. Does anyone actually imagine a collection of disembodied female genitalia when using words like pussynation? It may be because of a poor imagination but I don’t. I can’t. I’m glad of this because I’d hate to be plagued with the images if someone get’s to be called a dick, an asshole or a motherfucker. What about a word like pussyfooting? What would that look like? Cherrypicking I can imagine, but that’s because I play guitar. I wouldn’t ever want to actually do that though.

  6. says

    If it’s used that way it’s unfair to cats.

    (Come on, we know better.)

    If he’d said #wimpynation it’d have conveyed the exact same central message without the implication that weakness is feminine.

  7. says

    Pussyfooting genuinely is about cats, by the way – it’s the cautious tread they use when they’re ready to jump at any second. It’s still a description you’d have to be cautious about using in case you sounded like you were making a double entendre. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to stop and think about not only what your language choices mean, but also what they might be perceived to mean.

  8. Al Dente says

    mofa @9

    To play pussy was World War II RAF slang for “to take advantage of cloud cover, jumping from cloud to cloud to shadow a potential victim or avoid recognition.”

    Later in the 19th century, it was used as a slang for “female pudenda”

    World War II was later than the 18th Century.

  9. brucegorton says

    Brian Murtagh

    I don’t know, Wimpynation in South Africa would probably class as advertising a particularly bad burger joint (Wimpy Burgers only being a half step up on McDonalds).

  10. mofa says

    “mofa @9, and?”

    If you can’t see the point John don’t you trouble yourself…just go about your business.

  11. dmcclean says

    mofa, WWII was in the 20th century. As such it was not before any part of the 19th century. The 19th century ended in 1900, just as the 1st century ended in 100.

  12. Phillip Hallam-Baker says

    Pussy is slang for cat, has been for longer than the other meaning. Probably more comonly used in the UK than the US, one of the pantos here is ‘Puss in Boots’. That is a performance aimed at children.

    Being oversensitive here, calling someone a pussy is calling them a big soft cat.

  13. John Morales says


    Phillip Hallam-Baker @21:

    Pussy is slang for cat, has been for longer than the other meaning.

    You should’ve caught up before commenting.

    (You didn’t get to #9, did ya? 😉 )

  14. chigau (違う) says

    Phillip Hallam-Baker #21
    When Bill Maher calls someone a ‘pussy’, he does not mean ‘big soft cat’.

  15. says


    No. Bill Maher is an American. In the US, “pussy”=female genitalia=coward, weakling, sissy. It’s not ambiguous or debatable here. Bill Maher is not in the UK or Australia, so the claimed meaning in the UK and Australia is not relevant.

  16. says

    Look at this. Where would sexist assholes like Mofa be without plausible deniability? He’s well known for making the exclusion of feminists from his atheist group in Australia a priority. He’s made a project of trolling FTB posts on feminism for some reason. So. Yeah, pussy means cat OR vulva. Theoretically, Bill Maher might have been saying that cowardice is a property of felines rather than women.

    In reality, we know Bill Maher has no qualms about using sexist language. So what purpose does it serve to pop in with an embarrassingly inaccurate lesson on the etymology of the word pussy? Just another instance of gaslighting, as far as I can tell. Of course it’s probably a mistake to try to find rational motivations for something as irrational as the dedicated sexism Mofa evinces. *shrug* I suppose it’s a testament to the power of cultural programming that the type of flailing Mofa is doing in this thread to deny the influence of sexism is not only not transparent to most people, but commonly repeated by them.

  17. John Morales says


    As a linguistic geek, I can’t help but note that ‘pussy’ is also synonymous with ‘purulent’.


  18. Phillip Hallam-Baker says


    I am on a BT broadband connection and it goes wonky every 30 minutes or so due to the unstable nature of the ‘parental controls’ that were installed in response to pressure from Dickless Cameron.

    I must say that I was rather puzzled when BT folded as fast as they did. But it seems there is method to their madness. Deliberately misimplementing the controls so that everyone complains and then they can abandon them ahead of the next general election is pure genius.

  19. Phillip Hallam-Baker says

    BTW we call him that because Cameron insists on a dick-free Internet. It being the male phalus that gets such people in a lather.

    Anyway, enough of this, I am off to watch the Boxing Day face sitting on the village green.

  20. Albert Bakker says

    26# [meta]^2
    ‘Purulent’ sounds a bit Carcassy to me, but songs like “ruptured in purulence” would sound bland if replaced with something uninspiring like “pussy rupture.” It would instantly become a different, much less enjoyable sort of music altogether.

  21. Albert Bakker says

    Yeah, well they can say the P-word. We’ll have to say Pee Riot and hope it won’t devolve into “period” for that might result into some bloodletting eventually.

  22. Uncle Ebeneezer says

    If somebody calls me a total pussycat I usually take that as referring to my cute/soft/cuddly nature. If they just say “pussy” I would take offense. No question about it.

    This is sadly going to be one of the most difficult epithets to remove from common usage. I just had 2 friends use it in the past few days (one in reference to The Interview.) And on basketball courts and football fields boys/men toss it around all the time with very little pushback.

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