Today is Lunar New Year — and tomorrow is the religious holiday Shrove Tuesday, widely known in the U.S. (not just in New Orleans) as Mardi Gras ‘fat Tuesday’ (for the consumption of rich and fatty foods, before Ash Wednesday inaugurates Lent, a period of fasting and prayer) and a number of other names (more below). The name Mardi Gras has now been fixed on by a number of charitable organzations as the basis for the punning name Mardi Bras or Mardi Bras and Boxers (using the name of the women’s undergarment, the bra), money-raising events of many kinds held on Mardi Gras. Here’s an announcement for one in McKinney TX:
Today is Super Bowl Sunday, but tomorrow is a real holiday: the Lunar New Year, ushering in the Year of the Monkey (next week we get a Valentine’s Sunday then for Americans on Monday, Presidents Day). A Canadian $15 silver coin for the occasion:
Then, as reported yesterday by David Mack on BuzzFeed, a Chinese designer in San Francisco set out to honor the holiday with a piece of art, which didn’t come out quite as he intended:
The Saturday (February 6th) Rhymes With Orange:
Ah, a noodle bar — one in which the customer picks a type of pasta and a type of sauce. There are in fact such places, though they seem not to be called noodle bars.
(There’s linguistic content here, but also considerable discussion of men’s bodies and man-man sexual acts, so this is not for kids or the sexually modest. For the rest of you, the man-man stuff includes some pretty extreme practices — not illustrated, but nevertheless described, and some will find this material distressing, though there’s not a whole lot of it. Just a warning.)
On Super Bowl 50, a gay gangbang, language play in porn, and the careening career of gay pornstar Dayton O’Connor, all of this inspired by an ad today under the header “C1R Locker Room Super Bowl Pass”, with two stills from the Channel 1 Releasing gay porn flick Gridiron Gang Bang: a locker room scene and a rear shot of Dylan O’Connor in football gear. The logo for the game:
And DO on display:
From the NYT Magazine on Sunday January 31st, “How ‘-Phobic’ Became a Weapon in the Identity Wars” by Amanda Hess, with this photo “Slot Machine” by Javier Jaén:
It started, innocently enough, at Hooters. A waitress who goes by Zola got to talking with a diner named Jessica. The two bonded over a shared romantic philosophy (each had a ‘‘sugar daddy’’ at home) and career focus (each moonlighted as an exotic dancer), and when Jessica invited Zola on a road trip to Florida to strip at some local clubs, Zola strapped in. Little did Zola know, she was hurtling toward the center of a backwater psychodrama in which she would face off against a series of pimps, johns, kidnappers, one very weepy white boy and Jessica herself, who had pulled her new friend into this nonconsensual weekend tour of the underground sex trade.
At least that’s how Zola told it in a tweet-storm last fall (though aspects of the account have since been disputed). When her story went viral, big media outlets picked it up, and the retellings brought a significantly more banal showdown — this one between journalists, sex-worker advocates and Twitter commentators. By posting Zola’s tweets — alongside photos of Jessica, clues leading to her personal Instagram profile and a throwaway joke about ‘‘hoes’’ — the women’s website Jezebel seemed to ‘‘mock someone for being a sex worker and further compromise their safety,’’ the writer and activist Lux Alptraum argued in a tweet. The treatment struck Alptraum as ‘‘whorephobic.’’ And that word struck Erin Gloria Ryan, then a Jezebel editor, as over the top: ‘‘lol ‘whorephobic,’ ’’ she replied. ‘‘Nobody’s afraid of anyone here, Lux.’’
In the NYT yesterday, “Bob Elliott, Half of the Deadpan Bob and Ray Comedy Team, Dies at 92” by Peter Keepnews & Richard Severo (with a companion piece, “Recalling Bob and Ray, Who Paved the Way for Today’s Deadpan Humor” by Jason Zinoman):
Bob Elliott, who as half of the comedy team Bob and Ray purveyed a distinctively low-key brand of humor on radio and television for more than 40 years, died on Tuesday at his home in Cundy’s Harbor, Me. He was 92.
His death was confirmed by his son Chris Elliott, the actor and comedian, who said his father had had throat cancer.
Mr. Elliott and his partner, Ray Goulding — Bob was the more soft-spoken one, Ray the deep-voiced and more often blustery one — were unusual among two-person comedy teams. Rather than one of them always playing it straight and the other handling the jokes, they took turns being the straight man.
The pair early in their career:
Back on December 27th, Doug Harris sent me this example (crucial bit boldfaced), from that day’s Daily Beast, in the article “U.S. Health Care Is Failing My Patients: From chronic conditions to mental health, our system is failing patients and doctors alike” by Farah Khan:
(1) Substance abuse, easily one of the most widespread mental health problems in this country, has yet to be adequately addressed by the current health care system. Rehab services are far and few between for patients who are addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Formally, this looks like what’s known in the speech errors business as a word reversal (Vicky Fromkin’s preferred term), word exchange (my preferred term), word metathesis, or (more colorfully) word-level spoonerism: the conventional form of the boldfaced expression is few and far between. There’s no question that such reversals or exchanges do occur as inadvertent speech errors, but there are reasons for thinking that (1) is not in fact an inadvertent error, but is more like a classical malapropism, in which the speaker or hearer produces exactly what they intended, but their production doesn’t accord with the practices of the larger community. And there’s a third possibility: that the practices of the larger community have changed to such an extent that it can no longer be claimed that (1) is clearly not in accord with them.
I haven’t been attending to things properly, so I missed a gay Christmas gift from singer-songwriter and underwear model Steve Grand (discussed on this blog back on 7/11/13). a sweet and sexy cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” (lots of kissing, snuggling in bed). A still from the video, which you can watch here:
Despite my well-known interest in penises — in the actual body-parts, in phallic symbols, and in terms for the penis (starting from the basic slang vocabulary cock and dick and going on from there) — I occasionally feel obliged to point out that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and quite often an expression with /kak/ in it has nothing to do with penises. That last observation is my topic for this posting.
Another item from 2006, this time a posting by Jerry Zee to the OUTiL (OUT in Linguistics) mailing list on 5/2/06 (lightly edited):
I’m an undergrad at Stanford [in Cultural and Social Anthropology and in Linguistics, graduated in 2007], involved in the queer Asian American community here, and was wondering if anyone had noticed the word “downe” – I believe it comes from Filipino American communities and is expanding, I think – for now I think it’s either a Bay Area, Hawaii, or California thing –- I wrote a silly little paper on the site for an anthropology class last year.
My perceptions of the term are that it’s a departure from ‘gay’, which in a lot of ways gets defined in terms of white mainstream gay culture, and it’s also a lot more expansive than gay – it’s like ‘queer’ in that sense, minus the political overtones that ‘queer’ carries. Also, used kind of like a password when the speakers are trying to be discreet in more open environments – “Are you downe?” comes across as pretty innocuous to someone who’s not in the know. And for now, it feels like a very Asian and a very NorCal thing to identify as.
Here’s what urbandictionary has to say:
1. Downe *91* up, *4* down
A person who identifies as homosexual, gay, bisexual, or queer. Frequently used within Filipino American and Asian American GLBT communities. (Origns: California? or Hawaii?)
“Are you downe?”
by alwayzfione Feb 3, 2004
2. Downe *7* thumbs up
Derived from the definition of “downlow” which was taken from the African-American Community. Brought in by the Filipino/Asian-American Male & Female LGBT community. Reinvented into the word “DownE” with a capital “E” expressed during the hype of the raving/exstacy scene which began to popularize in the early 90’s. Giving those who are on the “downlow” a more open environment (i.e. E-parties.) Those using the term “DownE” also used it to seperate themselves from society’s stereotype of a Gay Asian Male, as well as Gay Asian Female. As a means of communication. The internet played a major role in the growth in popularity for the word “Downe.” With websites such as Downelink.com, the definition of “downe” is constantly changing. A good thing or a bad thing, take it as you will. From my opinion, the definition can’t be found on any dictionary. Define it for yourself. Whether it be just another term for being Gay, Lesbian, Etc. or make it mean more to you than just a label.
Do you remember the downe scene back in 96? Now thats taking it way back to it’s roots.
by Downe O.G. Cali Nov 3, 2005
3. Downe *3* thumbs up
origin: california; definition: identifying oneself as being gay, bi, confused, questioning, experimenting, ambiguous, or simply wanting to get laid one way or the other.
“are you downe?”, “you downe to screw?”
by jaypee so cali Nov 20, 2005
[AZ note: nothing more of significance on UD since then, as far as I can see]
My response to OUTiL 5/2/06:
On May 2, 2006, at 4:31 PM, Jerry Zee wrote: “…also, used kind of like a password when the speakers are trying to be discreet in more open environments – “are you downe?” comes across as pretty innocuous to someone who’s not in the know…”
So it’s pronounced like “down”, not “downy”.
Earlier slang “down to V / for N” ‘be available/enthusiastic to V / for N’ seems to have influenced some of the reported usages.
The connection to “downlow” is plausible, but it would be nice to have some documentation of early uses, or at least memories for them. (I know, somebody’s going to say that all that E wiped out those memories.)
On the downelink.com site:
Flirt. Chat. Meet. ♥︎
The next generation of downelink is launching here soon!
downelink is the hottest destination for LGBTQ social networking. Connect with likeminded individuals, and be free to be who you are.
If you would like to join us for the relaunch of this tried and true brand, please join the mailing list.
And then on the site Are You Downe? Exploring a Social Movement among Gay Asian Youth, the most recent posting is from 4/28/09. The postings there give a picture of the downe community in the Bay Area and L.A. (for men, at least) as a place for young Asian men interested in other young Asian men (with various self-identifications as to sexuality) to party together, hook up, and find a boyfriend (one popular guy found dozens within a few years). The community (which was, of course, pretty small) seems to have largely dissolved. (Postings on the site also include some wrenching stories about coming out to an Asian American family.)
Meanwhile, Jerry has studied in China and at UC Berkeley and is now a
postdoctoral fellow in Science and Technology Studies at UC Davis, where he lists his areas of study as: environment, anthropology, meteorology, atmosphere, governing, China, East Asia. Also — joyous news — he now has a husband.