Archive for the ‘Taboo language and slurs’ Category

Stick to your own kind

September 13, 2021

(There are passages in the middle of this of extraordinarily crude obscenity, which should be exposed and reviled, not hidden away. I offer this warning, but no apology.)

Over rice pudding (that characteristic, iconic dish of American roadside eateries), a confrontation between Zippy the Pinhead and a Roundhead enforcer of law and order, a mysterious Masked Man attired all in white (someone much resembling the Lone Ranger, defender of American goodness, power, and purity), over Zippy’s citizenship status and his freedom of action — a confrontation set in the Village Diner in a mythical Wild West (an establishment much resembling a diner of that name in Millerton NY):


(#1) The standoff at the Village Diner

Claim A

ZP: Pinheads are Wild West citizens, free to move about the territory as they wish.

MM: Not at all. Pinheads are alien interlopers, who must be interned in camps we call circuses, with their own kind, in locations reserved for them, away from real citizens.

Claim B

ZP: Some Pinheads are clever and wise, some are silly, ornamental, and entertaining, but they are all harmless. In any case, Pinheads are entitled to dress and act as they wish (within reasonable limits set by fair and just laws).

MM: Not on the street in front of respectable citizens, they aren’t. They’re deranged, dirty, and dangerous — scarcely distinguishable from wild animals. My duty as the protector of American values is to rope them up and drag them to the camps. In fact, I would prefer to shoot the hell out of the sonsofbitches, but current bleeding-heart laws tie my hands and prevent me from giving them the punishment they deserve.

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Dim views

August 14, 2021

It starts with this Nat Rodgers composition, given to me by my little family because it features a penguin (one of my totem animals) along with text:


(#1) A penguin who takes a dim view of those who look down on others, and suggests an aggressive counter-measure

Rodgers does artwork in a number of series, on several wildly different themes. The theme here is vexation — the dim views — and its response, typically either aggressive or contemptuous.

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Buzzcut 4: books and epithets

July 30, 2021

The last in the series of pairings of my new buzzcut with impudent gay t-shirts new to my wardrobe (earlier: BIG FAG on a pink shirt, rainbow FAGGOT in block letters, and, yesterday, a rainbow tyrannosaurus):


(#1) Posed in front of part of the Zwicky GSU (Grammar, Style, & Usage) collection, now housed in my condo, where the piano used to be, and supported by my indoor walker (which sports new purple walker balls, not illustrated here)

The t-shirt is a new version — bigger, bolder, more intense — than my first GAY AS FUCK shirt, below, which has worn over time until the colors are muted and delicate and the fabric is pleasantly soft. I see fatal holes in its near future.


(#2) Catalogue photo, not of me. With an (entertaining) asterisking strategy for taboo avoidance, unlike the flat-out FUCK of #1

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Today’s garment faggotry

July 28, 2021

Yesterday’s posting — “Big Fag in a buzzcut” — had a photo both impromptu and soulful, plus that cheeky, rather unsettling slogan. Today’s photo is posed and more magisterial (though still amiable), and the slogan is the plain rainbow “Faggot”:


(#1) “I am Professor Faggot and I’m a hell of a lot queerer than you imagined, so put aside your contempt, listen up, and I’ll guide you through things” (photo by Kim Darnell)

Below the fold, some material that’s not appropriate for kids or the sexually modest.

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The St. Patrick’s Day spriticide

March 21, 2021

The event: the leprechaun has been murdered, with a porcelain figure. How to describe the event as concisely as possible? Today’s Rhymes with Orange strip shows us a police detective who can do it in three words. (And it’s been set to music!)

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Don’t ask!

January 31, 2021

Today’s morning name, but it comes with crucial context. The Don’t ask! in question is not the neutral use of the negative imperative, advising the addressee not to ask someone about something (Don’t ask them about the ducks in the kitchen; that just makes them crazy), but instead is a formula of Yiddish-influenced English, normally used only by (American) Jews (or gentiles culturally close to this community), when someone has in fact just asked about the matter in question (the tsuris tsores ‘troubles’); the speaker doesn’t go on to avoid this sensitive matter, but instead embraces it, launching into kvetching ‘complaining’ about it.

The formula Don’t ask!  then serves as an announcement — a kind of alarm bell, if you will — that the speaker is about to go off on a (perhaps extended) kvetch.

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euphemism ‘replacement expression’

January 26, 2021

In preparing yesterday’s posting “Garment vocabulary”, on the purported Victorian tabooing of the word trousers, I looked at the actual tabooing of the word breast (because of sociocultural anxiety over the female bodypart), even in reference to a type of chicken meat (from the breast of the bird), and found a small number of euphemisms for the female bodypart: bosom, bust (and for some people, also chest). Not a big haul, so I thought to do a search on “euphemism for breast” — and found long lists of vulgarities (mostly used by men), nothing like my idea of a euphemism, and nothing like the definition of euphemism in standard dictionaries.

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Garment vocabulary

January 25, 2021

What do you call an outer garment covering the body from the waist to the ankles, with a separate part for each leg? The referentially and socioculturally least restricted lexical item for this purpose, in both AmE and BrE, is the plural noun trousers. (The gloss in my first sentence is in fact the definition of trousers given, without restriction, in NOAD.)

It’s then remarkable that the Quite Interesting Twitter account maintained on 8/14/18 that

The Victorians thought the word ‘trousers’ so vulgar and rude that they used euphemisms such as ‘sit-upons’, ‘inexpressibles’, ‘unutterables’ and ‘unwhisperables’ instead.

The result of such an attitude would have been that there was literally no everyday expression to refer to such a garment — even one originating as a euphemism but naturalized as ordinary vocabulary — as has been the case for white meat as a replacement for (chicken) breast, for some speakers, and in many other cases.

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Hola Queridx

August 28, 2020

Back on 3/4 on Facebook, from Peruvian linguist Ernesto Cuba, with a photo of him

[Cuba phrase] con mi queridx Iván Villanueva Jordán, traductor queer … lingüistica marica


(#1) Ernesto (right) with his Peruvian student Iván (who’s studied drag queens in Lima)

(Google at the time didn’t try to translate queridx but translated lingüistica marica as ‘faggot linguistics’)

Cuba’s queridx posting led me to discover Dario Cocimano’s song “Hola Queridx” from his 2018 Digno album —

(#2)

— and so to query Cuba about the linguistic usages involved.

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Zippy philaconfusion

August 9, 2020

(There will be a brief dip into a mansex-steamy Tom of Finland drawing, which might offend some readers.)

Today’s Zippy, in which philandering and philately are confounded:

(#1)

Word confusions are very common; sometimes they are momentary failures to retrieve the intended word; sometimes they are misapprehensions about the target. Zerbina’s error is apparently of the first type, but she nevertheless has a complaint about Zippy’s attentions to her, though the cause isn’t philandering but philately.

The two words share an etymological component, the phil(a)- (originally ‘love’) part, seen also in philosophy, philodendron, pedophilia, Philadelphia, and much more. But this is scarcely obvious to modern speakers of English.

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