There must be a word for making a fool of yourself to get attention

It should also start with a “K”. You may have heard that James Damore is continuing to discredit himself further with some weird musings on Twitter.

Here are some internal title names for the Klan. Still cool?


You can call yourself whatever you want. But let’s not forget that the KKK is all about terror, bigotry, and murder, and all the cool names in the world won’t change that.

Damore also has an explanation for why people join the KKK. It’s not racism. It’s not even ‘economic insecurity’. It’s because they want to be called a Klokard.

Jebus. The question is no longer about why Damore was fired from Google, it’s how did he get the job there in the first place?

Also, is he aware that there are pages and pages and pages on the web that are all about how stupid some of the names and creatures in D&D are?

I still don’t have a good word for Damore, so I’m going to have to invent one. Klaggart. Or maybe Klook.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    The Swedish Word “klantarschel” might also be a good choice for mr. damore.

    Re. Calling people out for crap they say, Slate has an article about how Republicans are clutching their pearls because Kimmel called out a liar for lying, as if he was a *common* liar instead of a priviliged not-liar-by-being-powerful-and-rich.
    “Jimmy Kimmel Tears Into Everyone Who Came After Him for Speaking Out About Health Care, and It’s Glorious”

  2. handsomemrtoad says

    Trivia question:

    Can you name the original “Sherlock Holmes” story which involved the KKK?

  3. jenhagen says

    There’s “klootzak” in dutch, literally meaning something like nutsack but used to mean “asshole”. Seems appropriate.

  4. jerthebarbarian says

    hadsomemrtoad @2

    I was feeling really smug because I was sure it was ‘Sign of the Four’, but not so smug that I didn’t check myself first and find out I was wrong. (Though I know why I thought it was ‘Sign of the Four’ – I remembered the right story, but with the wrong name.)

  5. cartomancer says

    Here’s a thought – if you like dressing up in elaborate costumes and calling yourself exotic made-up titles, there are plenty of fantasy and sci-fi gatherings where people go to do this. Much less racism there too!

  6. imback says

    The Five Orange Pips involves the KKK. It’s one of the stories where Holmes totally fails to help his client.

  7. says

    Thinking of Klan names as cool is definitely the best strategy to scare people away from joining it. Thanks for the advice, Damore!

  8. Chaos Engineer says

    Wow. Somebody needs to go back to middle school to learn about nuance.

    The original question is flawed – “Grand Wizard” is a dumb title, and I say this as a D&D player whose current title is “Priest of the Unconquered Sun”. But there are related questions we can ask. I’d go with:

    “Is ‘The Birth of a Nation’ a good movie?”
    – Yes
    – No
    – Well, it’s horribly racist – not just by modern standards, but by the looser standards of 1915, the year it was made. But it was innovative and has historical significance, so it’s worth studying in that context.

    Follow-up question: “If a college Media Studies program drops “Birth of a Nation” from the curriculum and replaces it with “Blazing Saddles”, would that push people to join the KKK?
    – Yes.
    – No, don’t be stupid.

  9. asclepias says

    Two wizards with two connotations. When I think ‘wizard’ as in ‘Lord of the Rings’, I think of strength, judgment, and consideration. When I think ‘wizard’ as in ‘grand wizard’, the word it immediately transforms into for me is ‘wizened’. So, weak, ineffectual, and frail is what I think of when I hear about the KKK wizard. So, no, not really cool at all. It annoys me that a group of men so sullied that term.

  10. mnb0 says

    Klootzak doesn’t really suit – it applies to people who can’t behave properly. I propose “sufkop”, which is something like dumbhead. I guess English native speakers will find it easier to pronouce Sufkop as well.

  11. Dunc says

    As a Brit, can I propose that the answer to the question posed in the post title should be “faraging”?

  12. multitool says

    I read somewhere that a lot of Klan vocabulary was lifted from 19th century college fraternaties, Kappa Alpha especially.

    So if you thought ‘wiffenpoof’ was a silly word…

  13. kome says

    “Grand Wizard” can’t be a D&D term that the KKK acknowledges is cool for three reasons. One, because both the KKK, and the term “Grand Wizard” predate D&D by quite some time. So, you know, from a strictly physicals perspective about the arrow of time he is just simply wrong. Two, “Grand Wizard” isn’t even a D&D term at all. Maybe some individual sessions and individual groups use the term for whatever reason, but there is no official WoTC delineation of what constitutes a Grand Wizard in D&D, unlike say, a Cleric of Tymora (where Cleric is a player character class and Tymora is a patron diety) or a Waterdavian (citizen of the city of Waterdeep). Therefore, from semantic perspective he is also wrong. Third, the KKK doesn’t acknowledge D&D as cool in any way. And finally, from a cultural perspective (inasmuch as the KKK represents an element of the larger culture), he is wrong again.

    James Damore is a fake geek boy, and I for one am tired of these kind of fake geek boys acting like they know a damn thing about anything. It makes us real geek boys look worse than the stereotypes about us already suggest. Can we just start calling out fake geek boys and shaming them for trying to claim membership into geekdom when they clearly have no right to the label?

  14. devnll says

    “There must be a word for making a fool of yourself to get attention. It should also start with a “K”.”

    Uhm… Kardashian?

  15. birgerjohansson says

    The Kurgan in Highlander was an asshole, but with physical strength and courage this klant is missing.
    Korkskalle (cork head) ?

  16. monad says

    “Grand wizard” is said to be a reference to Nathan B. Forrest, called the wizard of the saddle. And not for no reason; his skill and eagerness in slaughtering his countrymen is legendary, and easily merits comparison to a powerful and cruel backstabber like Saruman. So I don’t know, I guess there’s some point to it, but most game players know much better titles. Compare the cachet of “Sith lord”, “Lich king”, “supervillain”, or “Führer”.

  17. doubtthat says

    Amusing that this guy turned out to be such a dim-bulb devoid of charisma that he couldn’t even find a place in the Wignut Welfare system that gave Tucker Carlson a prime time slot.

  18. Zeppelin says

    I would suggest German Kotzbrocken, literally “chunk of puke”, meaning a thoroughly, flamboyantly unpleasant person.

  19. jazzlet says

    Dunc as another Brit I’m going to suggest bojoing, after our irresponsible Foreign Secretary, it also has that overtone that you’ll do anything for money and power however sleazy which faraging has, but it’s shorter.

  20. rietpluim says

    I’ve always thought those KKK titles are stupid. I mean… Grand Wizard? Seriously? Can you imagine any real leadership position bearing that title?

  21. markr1957 says

    The Great Klodhopper perhaps?

    a large, heavy shoe.
    a foolish, awkward, or clumsy person.

  22. rietpluim says

    We could hijack “cuck” and spell it differently: kuck. Bonus: the MRA’s won’t like it.

  23. brucegee1962 says

    A sociologist friend told me that there’s some interesting research on why people join and stay in racist groups like the Klan. You’d think that they started off being racist, maybe because they had racist parents or maybe because of something that happened to them, and then they seek out other racists to join. But apparently the research shows that often they aren’t particularly racist when they first start associating with these people, and they get radicalized over time and exposure to racist ideas.

    So yeah, anything that makes these groups sound cool to low-info young people — that’s what they’re shooting for. And I agree, that is one signal we should not boost.

  24. Akira MacKenzie says

    Dude, if you want to be called a “Grand Wizard” without being associated with a white supremacist group, then just play a high-level magic-user in D&D.

  25. blf says

    (This is shortened version of a comment I made last year…)

    The goofy names, or at least the idea of goofy names, seems to be taken from fraternal orders / freemasonry — all the incarnations of the goofballs have been fraternal, albeit not necessarily hierarchical(they feud with each other too much).

    There is a very interesting paper published by the SPLC, Ku Klux Klan — A History of Racism and Violence (6th Edition, 2011) (PDF), which says:

    [… T]he titles for the various offices were to have names as preposterous-sounding as possible, partly for the fun of it and partly to avoid any military or political implications.

    Thus the head of the group was called the Grand Cyclops. His assistant was the Grand Magi. There was to be a Grand Turk to greet all candidates for admission, a Grand Scribe to act as secretary, Night Hawks for messengers and a Lictor to be the guard. […]

  26. bryanfeir says

    There actually is a well-known, existing word that could easily be spelled with a ‘k’ that often involves ‘making a fool of yourself to get attention’…

    But I wouldn’t want to tarnish the reputations of actual clowns by associating them with this know-nothing.

  27. mond says

    Next we will be getting told that National Socialism in Germany in the 1930’s was just some cosplay that got out of hand…

  28. gijoel says

    Nazis are horrible in every way and I don’t support them. But can we acknowledge that stormtropper has a Star Wars coolness to it.


  29. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Why do I always notice this pattern in these kinds of “questions”?

    The ____ is horrible, and I do not support it in any way BUTaren’t the titles cool?

    [emphasis added]

    I always spot the red flag but , waving that the beginning of the sentence is totally a lie.
    Maybe I just be too paranoid, denigrating humble phraseology…but … [see what I did there?]

  30. emergence says

    I think some of those D&D monsters on those lists get a bad rap. Whoever came up with the thought eater was way more creative than a good number of other fantasy writers out there. I also suspect they might be real, given how most right-wingers have been acting lately.

  31. ck, the Irate Lump says

    rietpluim wrote:

    We could hijack “cuck” and spell it differently: kuck. Bonus: the MRA’s won’t like it.

    Or add an ‘l’ and call them “klucks” Their constant use of the word makes them sound like deranged chickens. cuck, cuck, cuckold!

  32. says

    I’m an old-school gamer, and no, no, fucking NO, those titles are not “cool”.

    PS: Please, please get someone working on the notification issue, I’m feeling a bit disconnected over here!

  33. chigau (違う) says

    WMDKitty #43
    At the very top of the page, just under the banner, you should find a
    “Tech Issues” button.
    Click there and go where it leads.
    In The Past, I have used it and sometimes Stuff Has Happened,
    sometimes it’s a bit like … uuhm … tooth under the pillow…
    good luck

  34. blf says

    The “Tech Issues” mechanism, whilst useful and necessary, also suffers from a very common failing: It’s opaque, in terms of contacting whoever, in terms of involvement by others (which additional observations, confirmations, &tc), and in terms of (eventual) feedback. Whilst you do need something like “Tech Issues” for when you cannot use the blogs or there is security matter, in general “Support” should be open. Since this is a blogging-site, that suggests a blog (that’s not an ideal solution, but the current opaqueness is so far from ideal the details are perhaps not relevant?).

    There are several current problems, some long-running, others fairly new, which readers have noticed and, in some cases, have discovered new clews or, at least once in the past, deduced the cause. Passing this information on is difficult as there is no referent. You have to start again, from the beginning each time, both in any frustration-drive self-investigation and then in trying to explain to “Tech Issues”. One person cannot build on — or correct — another person’s work, as it is all opaque.

    Or to put it another way, there is no open community memory (making me tempted to called “Tech Issues” a “memory hole”, but I am pointedly not doing that — as tempting as it is).

  35. chigau (違う) says

    Tech Issues messages are read by and dealt with by the Tech person.
    It’s not a comment thread.
    clue ≠ clew

  36. birgerjohansson says

    The Swedish word for a bagel-like pastry is “kringla”, the word derived from the term describing the twisted shape of the item. Since the schmuck has a non-linear thinking problem, the term would fit nicely.

    The artist who drew and wrote “Wizard of Id” also, briefly drerw the comic strip “Crock” about a mean, corrupt Foreign Legion officer.

  37. throwaway, butcher of tongues, mauler of metaphor says

    We should get all the dictionaries and encyclopaedias on board with changing the pronunciation of Ku Klux Klan to ku klʌks klaʊnz.

  38. blf says

    Tech Issues messages are read by and dealt with by the Tech person.
    It’s not a comment thread.

    Yes. And? Yer point, please.
    What I pointed out is open discussion of problems can be a big help. So there should ALSO a “comment thread”.

    clue ≠ clew

    No, “clew” is an alternative spelling, sometimes classified as archaic, used by, e.g., Doyle in some of the Holmes adventures. For example, Oxford dictionaries:

    4. archaic variant of clue

    I prefer the “clew” spelling as it is identical to the pronunciation.