Archive for the ‘Language and the body’ Category

Abs of the week

August 19, 2014

… plus a kilt and an implied (sort of) apology:

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Parts of the body: the handout

June 9, 2014

I discover that I never posted the handout for my 2012 Stanford Semantics Festival talk, “Parts of the Body”. Here it is, somewhat belatedly (and with somewhat awkward formatting):

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An epicene protest

May 13, 2014

In a bizarre response to the winning of the Eurovision Song Contest by a bearded drag queen, Conchita Wurst singing “Rise Like a Phoenix” (reported in almost every media outlet), some Russian men have taken to shaving off their beards (if they had them). The position seems to be that Wurst’s beard so poisons beards as a symbol of masculinity that real men have no way to protest except by going beardless. (The idea here seems to some degree to be similar to the position that same-sex marriage diminishes and debases opposite-sex marriage — except that in the Wurst case, the threat comes from a single case: just one, though admittedly very visible, bearded man in a dress.)

The result is paradoxical.

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bitchtits

February 15, 2014

(The title provides a warning for the sensitive.)

On the 11th on Facebook, Greg Parkinson commented on steroid-induced gynecomastia, with this image:

 

Tom Kirkland followed up with:

What surprises me is … how large the fan base for bitchtits [is].

(introducing the slang bitchtits for gynecomastia; bitchtits would be doubly unsuitable for the New York Times, which treats both parts of the compound as taboo, unacceptable in print; also note the syntax).

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Cod loins

December 7, 2013

From Ellen Seebacher on Facebook, this puzzling ad:

  (#1)

Cod loins?

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Posture photos

November 9, 2013

From Chris Ambidge yesterday, an Ivy League nude posture photo — an image from an odd moment in American collegiate history. Here’s the photo with the naughty bits fuzzed over:

From Wikipedia:

The Ivy League nude posture photos were taken in the 1940s through the 1970s of all incoming freshmen at certain Ivy League and Seven Sisters colleges (as well as Swarthmore), ostensibly to gauge the rate and severity of rickets, scoliosis, and lordosis in the population. Harvard had its own such program by the 1980s. The larger project was run by William Herbert Sheldon and Earnest Albert Hooton, who may have been using the data to support their theory on body types and social hierarchy. What remained of the images were transferred to the Smithsonian and most were destroyed between 1995 and 2001.

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Zippy on the brain

October 22, 2013

Yesterday’s Zippy:

Neurology is different in Dingburg.

Then there’s the name Pons Varoli.

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Sexual -zillas

September 17, 2013

Scrolled past in the avalanche of spam this morning, a penis enlargement ad that promised to give me Cockzilla. Surprisingly, I hadn’t noticed this use of the libfix -zilla (from Godzilla) before — but it’s all over porn, straight and gay. And it’s spawned Blackzilla and Whitezilla, in which the cock is silent (but understood).

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cherry

August 30, 2013

Some time ago on Facebook, several posters ended up chatting about the vocabulary for talking about a gay man’s anal virginity. The term cherry plays a central role in this vocabulary domain — taken over, like some other sexual vocabulary, from reference to women and their sexuality.

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Brief mention: a genital portmanteau

August 29, 2013

Via Ellen Seebacher, a link to a HuffPo piece on

Cliteracy 101: Artist Sophia Wallace Wants You To Know The Truth About The Clitoris

Yes: clitoris + literacy.

Sophia Wallace isn’t the first to coin the word, but she’s made it into a big campaign.


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