Woofin’ and Beefin’

I used to work with a young lady that described someone else’s belligerence as “woofin’ and beefin’.”  I love that language.  But I do want to avoid fights with others in the neighborhood.  I’ve already had a pretty negative interaction with one other blogger on this network and decided to just drop out of that scene instead of pressing it.  I made my feelings on the general topic clear here (my islamophobia post), but will not address that specific conversation or go back there again.

Likewise, I have been affiliated with and linked to people who have had some rough interactions with another prominent skeptic blog site.  I agree with their point of view completely, but I don’t want to say anything negative about specific other people in the progressive atheo-skepti-sphere, from my little corner.  That is to say, if I have a problem that I feel compelled to address, I’ll do as before and avoid naming names and getting into specific exchanges.  But I will post my feelings on the subject in general.

I hope that doesn’t seem too passive-aggressive or cowardly* to the people who need advocates the most. If it becomes a problem for any of you, let me know how you feel.

*Per a thoughtful suggestion, I might stop using this word on my blog. I’ll have to change the mouse-over text on the tab for the site if I do. Still thinking about it.



  1. permanganater says

    I think that’s pretty diplomatic. And you can’t be accused of ignoring the elephant in the room.

    Once small gripe: If you would reconsider the use of the word ‘cowardly’, that would be appreciated. I’m pretty timid IRL (and can struggle to be forthright online) and too many times I’ve encountered ‘cowardly’ used as a smear against timid people like me. To that extent I consider it an ableist and silencing expression. YMMV, but I feel I have to be honest and raise it.

    Loving the blog so far. Big Fan. Long may it continue.

  2. Great American Satan says

    Thanks for following, and that’s a good point. I know a lot of good people wouldn’t have the gumption to say anything to anyone anywhere. In fact, perma-lurking might be a sign of good character as often as it is a symptom of unfortunate self-esteem.

    Now. Someone on WHtM suggested Antisocial Injustice Coward as a good term for the opposite number of Social Justice Warriors, and I’ve run with it so far. I’d like to have a good antonym for SJWs, but avoid ableism. I’ve considered “antisocial” itself might be ableist since it’s part of the name of a personality disorder.

    Any thoughts on a good replacement?

  3. permanganater says

    I punched ‘coward’ into the thesaurus and was spoiled for choice – until I considered which words might be problemtic for others – and there was a surprising amount. This is actually quite hard when you try to do it right (and not just for yourself).

    I’ll take this one as a question on notice and come back later with hopully a more constructive response/suggestion.

  4. Great American Satan says

    Maybe I’ll come up with something too.

    One thing that’s annoying about conservatives is how much of their outlook is motivated by fear while they puff chests and pretend it isn’t. I’m tempted to call it cowardly when a homophobe threatens people with violence, things of that nature. Next time that temptation comes up I’ll put some more effort into this.

  5. says

    I hope that doesn’t seem too passive-aggressive or cowardly* to the people who need advocates the most. If it becomes a problem for any of you, let me know how you feel.

    I don’t personally think that it is a problem. Passive support that speaks on issues and not personalities is support and not every person is cut out for confrontation. Even people like me that can do confrontation still need to have non-confrontational methods and I also take a break from being confrontational from time to time.

    Would you be willing to expand on that with respect to how careless use of the word can be a problem? I find the word coward to be valuable, but I try to have standards for when it is appropriate to use it and every other insulting characterization in my arsenal. I try to only use it on people that are being confrontational, assertive or rude but are also avoiding something specific in an argument. There has to be some behavioral inconsistency present that makes the characterization relevant. Otherwise I try to avoid applying it to people who are not being assertive or who tend to be timid.

    I like adding new contextual elements to how and when I get into conflicts and how they functionally work when I can.

  6. Great American Satan says

    I’ll field that of permanganater isn’t feeling up to it, but I’ll wait a while to see if they want to say anything. On the topic in general, I’ll say we are free to have different standards about this. I’m still reserving the right to cuss a blue streak at jerks, but Caroline over here prefers not use name-calling at all, and I can see her point. Maybe I’ll even move in that direction ultimately, but I’m pretty far from that at the moment.

  7. permanganater says

    GAS, thanks.

    Brony @9.

    My complaint is specific to ‘coward’. The etymology of the word is harmless enough but for me encountering it is reliably unpleasant. As I said above, I’m timid IRL, and I developed an aversion to ‘coward’ due to it being used a bludgeon on me when I’ve been faltering in my support, defence or advocacy of a position; and in that connection it is unquestionably ableist. I had a particularly aggressive boss at one point who repeatedly characterised my lack of forthrightness as cowardly.

    I don’t seek to proscribe it’s use beyond my mild suggestion to GAS, and my acknowledgment others may have different views (‘YMMV’).

    I don’t have any issue with stupid, ignoramus, dolt, or their synonyms, as in those cases usage has transcended their bight, but I don’t begrudge the right of others to object to their use.

    My pet linguistic peeve is the tourettic (tourettic not ableist in this context) use of ‘fucking’ as an adverb. Anyone who feels the compulsion to invoke the male penetrative act to complete the full force of their argument needs to take a long hard look at themselves, IMHO. My advice, however, is be careful where you suggest moderating it’s use; doing so can call down allegations of ‘tone []ing’ or the like.

    (Full disclosure – I have used ‘coward’ and ‘fucking’ in the past but am trying to do better on both fronts).

  8. Great American Satan says

    While we’re talking preferences, I’d lose “male” from the penetrative sex act, because anyone can penetrate one way or another, but more importantly because it can be seen as equating gender and genital configuration. Tho I agree fucking is mostly considered about penetrative sex, except in its most abstracted form, and some folks are bound to feel very uncomfortable around people using it for that reason. So it goes…

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