Archive for the ‘Taboo language and slurs’ Category

Chocolate-covered amidst the statuary

September 21, 2019

Today’s Zippy takes us to the shore of Lake Erie, in the roadside realm of Dolly Dimples (but, startlingly, it will end with the minstrel-show character Rastus and the Cream of Wheat box; you never know where things will go these days):

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DD is actually selling chocolates, statuary, and tchotchkes, not hamburgers. Her head is indeed unrealistically gigantic, but even with this selling point she’s probably not going to leave Silver Lake NY to pursue a failed movie career in L.A. (note the whimsical tense-aspect-mood semantics of intending to pursue a failed career).

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The Dickson Poon School of Law

July 24, 2019

(As you might guess from the title, this posting treats several English expressions of varying degrees of offensiveness, so some readers might want to avoid it.)

A message from Gadi Niram a month ago:

I can’t get past the name of this school: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/law
The Dickson Poon School of Law in the University of London

— and wondering if poon doesn’t have the meaning in BrE that it does in AmE. (And then there’s the dick in Dickson.)

Briefly, the answer is: no, the lexical item poon ‘vagina, pussy’ is largely unknown in BrE. But it is an estimable Chinese name, especially in Hong Kong. If they had known about the crude offensiveness of poon in AmE, Dickson Poon’s family might have chosen another variant of their name in English, say Pan. Or maybe not; they might have decided that it’s their family’s English name and they’re proud of it. (I will compare it to the Hindi surname often spelling Dikshit in English.)

Then there’s the question of why the University of London has anything named after Dickson Poon. That’s where I’ll start.

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The boys of Boris Beauville

July 22, 2019

(An politico-sexual riff, with steamy underwear photos, on BoJo, the MP for Bone Juice and South Blowjob and the Man Who Would Be PM; you should be able to tell from this description that this posting is not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Passed on to me on Facebook by Dean Calbreath on 7/20, a link to a Business Insider article, “Boris Johnson called gay men ‘tank-topped bumboys’ and black people ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles'”, by Adam Bienkov on 7/12/19.

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Three Pride moments

July 11, 2019

Pride Month is past, and so is the Fourth of July (US Independence Day), but my postings on these celebrations will go on for some time. Today, three images for Pride: the art of the flag; penguins at work; and the M&S sandwich.

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Let’s have a kiki … in me

April 21, 2019

(Men’s bodies, clicks, mansex, dactyls, homowear, eggcorns, street talk, and more. Not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

The Daily Jocks mailing of the 15th, with a studiedly homo-smouldering ad for crop tops from the fetish-wear company Barcode Berlin. Plus a foul derangement of (heavily enjambed) dactyls as a caption.

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Kiko the crop-top kid,
Impudent pussy boy,
Butch faggy target for
Amorous arrows — a

mazing for festivals,
Parties with gangbangers,
Mid-drifting kikis with
Quatrains of dactyls

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Annals of cultural cluelessness

April 8, 2019

The grand old city of Baltimore has been suffering mightily in recent times, and now there’s an old-school scandal to add to the roster of municipal woes. Mayor Catherine Pugh has published a set of “Healthy Holly” children’s books, ostensibly to show kids the way to a better life through exercise and diet. From the Washington Post story “Critical Carlos reads ‘Healthy Holly’: Inside the children’s book that has landed Baltimore’s mayor in a political scandal” by Carlos Lozada on the 5th:


(#1) “Copies of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s self-published “Healthy Holly” illustrated paperbacks for children. On April 1 Pugh announced an indefinite leave of absence, just as a scandal intensifies over what critics call a “self-dealing” book-sales arrangement. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)”

There’s the political story, which appears to involve an elaborate influence-trading scheme. There’s the books themselves, which “Critical Carlos” and his three critical children savage in Lozada’s Sun book review as examples of the very worst sort of stilted writing for children. And there’s the title Fruits Come in Colors Like the Rainbow, which, with a stunningly tin ear for English in its various sociocultural contexts, disregards alternative understandings of the noun fruits, the verb come, and the rainbow as a cultural symbol.

I’m mostly after the title here. But it’s all connected.

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News for carnivorous penises

March 30, 2019

(No actual penises, but some decidedly peniform plants and lots of intimate anatomical references, sometimes in street language; urethras abound. So clearly not to everyone’s taste.)

It began with a Facebook posting by Jens Fiederer, with a photo of the Botanical Penis of Doom, from the Thailand-Secrets site:


(#1) Cheng Kam Wor: “This is a pitcher plant of the genus Nepenthes sp. The glans-like top is actually a lid for the bottom pitcher structure. A carnivorous plant like the Venus flytrap!”

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Pushing the boulder up the hill

March 24, 2019

This week’s inspiring words on the social progress front, from Gloria Ladson-Billings, circulated on Facebook by H. Sami Alim on the 22nd:

I know that I am 4 generations out of chattel slavery, 3 generations out of sharecropping, 2 out of legalized apartheid, and I’m an endowed university professor. Not because I’m great, but because people kept on pushing the boulder up the hill.

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Low back issues

March 20, 2019

… in a One Big Happy cartoon (in auditorium) and in the title of a 1998 movie (the nickname Paulie): in American English, unrounded [ɑ] for rounded [ɔ], collapsing the distinction between the phonemes /a/ in cot and /ɔ/ in caught.


(#1) Discomfort in the low back region: Polly on the left, Paulie on the right

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The cable gremlins

March 7, 2019

(A version of things I posted on Facebook earlier today about my life, with glancing allusions to various phenomena of social life. Posted here to have a more permanent and accessible record, on WordPress. There will be a little bit of linguistics.)


(#1) (Not an accurate portrayal of Xfinity/Comcast staff)

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