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  1. Reclamation project gone awry  at  PunkAssBlog.com

    [...] y (punkass) Marc Faletti November 29th, 2006

    Piny explains why ignorant, petulant firedoglake writers can’t just fling the “c&# [...]

  2. Amber
    Amber November 29, 2006 at 8:22 am |

    Thank you for putting this so clearly. I’m sending someone over here that doesn’t understand the reclamation thing either. It drives me up the wall.

  3. Tapetum
    Tapetum November 29, 2006 at 8:37 am |

    Nicely illustrated, piny. With any luck perhaps some of the clueless will catch on.

  4. Esme
    Esme November 29, 2006 at 9:01 am |

    *claps*

  5. Mike the Mad Biologist
    Mike the Mad Biologist November 29, 2006 at 9:08 am |

    Great post. I’ve always thought that Trex is, to use a gender neutral term, a pompous asshole.

  6. RKMK
    RKMK November 29, 2006 at 9:11 am |

    THANK YOU.

  7. Robert M.
    Robert M. November 29, 2006 at 9:26 am |

    I’ve been on the fence about FDL for a while (pretty much since Jane and ReddHedd started taking on less talented bloggers, particularly the odious TRex), but this latest episode clinches it.

    FDL, you’re on notice.

  8. j0lt
    j0lt November 29, 2006 at 9:34 am |

    Perfect explication. Thank you.

  9. Nomie
    Nomie November 29, 2006 at 9:46 am |

    Very well put, and clarified a lot of my own muddle-headed thinking. (The only time “cunt” is okay by me is in Trainspotting, because wee Robert Carlyle screaming “DOSS CUNT” is hilarious. But it’s a movie about Scottish heroin addicts, not a serious discussion of politics.)

    Assberet!

  10. Nomie
    Nomie November 29, 2006 at 9:48 am |

    Er, not that I’m calling you an assberet, piny. The word is just so perfect it makes me joyful. I will probably be going around saying “assberet” all day and grinning.

  11. zuzu
    zuzu November 29, 2006 at 9:51 am |

    Bravo!

    I’m giggling like a fiend about “assberet,” mind you, but this is just about the clearest explanation of reclamation I’ve ever seen.

  12. Tom W.
    Tom W. November 29, 2006 at 10:38 am |

    Great post, very well-argued. Hope those guys read it and really think about it, without just claiming you’re not “punk” enough…

  13. johanna
    johanna November 29, 2006 at 11:18 am |

    right the fuck on, piny. you said just what I was thinking, but far more eloquently.

    and +12 points for use of “assberet.”

  14. Revena
    Revena November 29, 2006 at 11:30 am |

    Very well-said, piny. Thank you for writing this one.

  15. evil fizz
    evil fizz November 29, 2006 at 11:35 am | *

    Don’t mind me. I’ll just be clapping for the next several hours over here.

    I tried reading FDL for a while, but between this and the normal background levels of mouth-frothing, I can’t.

  16. Tessa
    Tessa November 29, 2006 at 11:37 am |

    For the win, piny! I’ve always thought that people who claim not to understand the distinction are either disingenuous, or deeply, deeply stupid (and I usually give them the chance to pick which, too).

  17. Thomas
    Thomas November 29, 2006 at 11:38 am |

    Robert Carlyle screaming “DOSS CUNT” is hilarious.

    But Carlyle’s character, Francis Begbie, is not set up for any admiration. His needless violence and thin skin make him the butt of jokes. He is, in fact, an internal criticism by Irvine Welsh of the Scottish “hard man.”

  18. Jennifer
    Jennifer November 29, 2006 at 11:39 am |

    Thank you piny for another very well constructed, well articulated post. You rock. I would so make out with you.

  19. Silver Owl
    Silver Owl November 29, 2006 at 11:44 am |

    I have no problem reading FDL. I read both FDL and Feministe on a daily basis. I don’t always agree with everyone there and I do not always everyone here either.

    A corporate whore is a person who does anything and everything for corporations. In return they get perks, monetary compensation for them or someone in their family. Men have traditionally been the corporate whores with their greed. Women are not exempt from this behavior merely because they are women.

  20. Jill
    Jill November 29, 2006 at 11:48 am |

    I *heart* piny.

    I also *heart* the word “assberet,” and will try to incorporate it into my conversations today.

  21. Jill
    Jill November 29, 2006 at 11:49 am |

    A corporate whore is a person who does anything and everything for corporations. In return they get perks, monetary compensation for them or someone in their family. Men have traditionally been the corporate whores with their greed. Women are not exempt from this behavior merely because they are women.

    …I think someone missed the point.

  22. zuzu
    zuzu November 29, 2006 at 11:49 am |

    Tell me, Silver Owl, what relationship does face-wiping have with corporate whoredom?

    It’s not the term “corporate whore” that’s objectionable. That’s developed its own meaning over time, and people understand that it means that someone is corrupt and bought out. But rather than focus on the corruption aspect of the term, Pachacutec played up the sex angle — and apparently got great delight in portraying a member of Congress on her knees, with jizz on her face, being dominated by corporations in the form of a man ejaculating on her.

  23. Silver Owl
    Silver Owl November 29, 2006 at 12:01 pm |

    I’m fine with Pachacutec taking the lumps for sinking over board into crap. It’s earned, but the comments attacking the whole FDL board is silly.

    Jill, I’m not a child for you to try and correct. I’m fine with you disagreeing with me, but I’ve never been patronizing to you. I expect the same in return.

  24. evil fizz
    evil fizz November 29, 2006 at 12:28 pm | *

    Jill, I’m not a child for you to try and correct. I’m fine with you disagreeing with me, but I’ve never been patronizing to you. I expect the same in return.

    Because saying you missed the point is clearly so, so patronizing. As zuzu points out, it’s not that women are exempt from being corrupt money-grubbers. It’s that the writers have cheerfully equated that corruption with being sexually degraded in some pretty vile ways. Being a corporate whore rarely involves a facial.

  25. elektrodot
    elektrodot November 29, 2006 at 12:32 pm |

    ive never read the other website your referencing but i just wanted to say “cunt” has never bothered me. neither has any other slang for vagina when used for (trying to be) insulting. mostly because my response to that has always been “um, yea thats a part of my anatomy to which i feel no animosity towards so…how is that insulting?” and the person using said “insult” generally doesnt know what to say and walks away, hopefully with new feelings regarding using that as an insult :)

  26. House of Mayhem
    House of Mayhem November 29, 2006 at 12:57 pm |

    Scottish “hard man.”

    “…or tha so-called hard cunt.”
    “Na cunt leaves here ’til we find oot what cunt did et!”

    Reading “Trainspotting” always gives me a headache. Love the movie tho. Francis Begbie. heh.

  27. Heraclitus
    Heraclitus November 29, 2006 at 1:29 pm |

    Excelllent post, piny (and not only because of “assberet”).

    I have a question you or someone else may want to say something about. What about when negative stereotypes or words tradtionally associated with women are applied to men? Obviously, one man telling another, “I’m going to beat your bitch ass” doesn’t sound very ironic. But what if a male boss pitches a fit and rants against his subordinates, and they reply, after he’s left, “Must be that time of month,” or “Geez…what a bitch.” Does this sort of thing help underscore double standards, or just reinforce images of women as too emotional, etc.?

  28. RKMK
    RKMK November 29, 2006 at 1:43 pm |

    mostly because my response to that has always been “um, yea thats a part of my anatomy to which i feel no animosity towards so…how is that insulting?”

    Because when someone decides to throw that at you, the implication is that your entire worth as a human being has been reduced to being something that men use to ejaculate; you are not a person, you are merely a worthless, disposable subhuman that exists solely for male entertainment and release.

  29. ACG
    ACG November 29, 2006 at 1:44 pm |

    When words like “cunt” and “pussy” have been thrown my way, I’ve tried to point out that the vagina is actually one of the strongest and most elastic bodily organs, and that considering the pain women regularly endure during childbirth (from which they’re given all of two days to recover, on average), using slang for the vagina to indicate weakness or timidity is kind of ridiculous. I further point out that, if we’re going to be using genitalia for that purpose, “scrotum” sounds like a much better euphemism for a weak person, and that maybe we’d best avoid gender-specific slurs entirely. But usually I just get head-shaking and confused looks.

    The thing is, me not being insulted by “cunt” doesn’t make it any better for anyone other woman, because “cunt” is used as an insult. It would be like me getting hit with a baseball bat and pretending it didn’t hurt; my attacker might abandon the bat as his weapon of choice, or he might decide that it’s okay to hit people with bats, because obviously it doesn’t hurt. I don’t really mind being insulted for my own personal qualities, because hey, sticks and stones, but I will not stand to be insulted on the basis of my gender. That’s not just an insult to me, it’s an insult to every woman, and it’s a sign of what’s really going on inside the insulter’s head.

  30. FDL’s Trex is at it again. « Dark Sun
    FDL’s Trex is at it again. « Dark Sun November 29, 2006 at 1:58 pm |

    [...] ch once again, discussion regarding this is not occuring in the comments at FDL but at two other blogs. 12 Comments [...]

  31. lizzie bee
    lizzie bee November 29, 2006 at 1:59 pm |

    I have a question you or someone else may want to say something about. What about when negative stereotypes or words tradtionally associated with women are applied to men? Obviously, one man telling another, “I’m going to beat your bitch ass” doesn’t sound very ironic. But what if a male boss pitches a fit and rants against his subordinates, and they reply, after he’s left, “Must be that time of month,” or “Geez…what a bitch.” Does this sort of thing help underscore double standards, or just reinforce images of women as too emotional, etc.?

    I think that, generally speaking, this is the prime way of reinforcing the patriarchal image of the over-emotional, irrational woman. The idea is to dismiss either the man’s strength or his concerns, and the chief way of dismissing something in the patriarchy is to associate it with women. But it’s clever, isn’t it, the way they try to tell us it’s just “leveling the field.” Assberets.

  32. lizzie bee
    lizzie bee November 29, 2006 at 2:01 pm |

    Er, I should clarify:

    “I’m going to beat your bitch ass” is trying to dismiss the man’s strength, while “Must be that time of the month” is dismissing the boss’s perceived concerns. Either way, the surest sign that something doesn’t matter is that it looks like something “only women” do (patriarchally speaking).

  33. Sunrunner
    Sunrunner November 29, 2006 at 2:13 pm |

    The thing about using sexist and racist invectives as insults is that the point is to say that one’s opponent is “wrong” because they are being likened to being “weak.” It is the rhetoric of a bully: only the strong are worthy.

    You can see this tone throughout much of what Jane Hamsher, TRex, and Pach write, as well as when right-wingers insult those who “care” (stereotypically a feminine activity) about others as “bleeding heart liberals.

    Calling a male politician a whore does not pack the same level of punch when it is directed at a man as it does a woman, but it is meant to insult him by comparing him to a weak woman, much like the way in which men who are victims of prison rape are refered to with feminine pronouns.

    It is worth noting that this sort of thing is not new at FDL: take a look at these two posts by Jane Hamsher written back in the day when FDL was just another blog.

  34. anon
    anon November 29, 2006 at 2:19 pm |

    That last paragraph was just sublime. And this is why I’ve absolutely detested FDL for a while now. It’s just the lefty equivalent of Ann Coulter; both of which we can do very well without, thankyouverymuch…

  35. Betsy
    Betsy November 29, 2006 at 2:46 pm |

    Bravo!

  36. Frumious B
    Frumious B November 29, 2006 at 3:27 pm |

    #27:

    Natch, calling a man a cunt is an insult of the worst kind b/c it removes his masculinity and replaces it with dirty, girly bits. Sorta the way putting panties on the heads of detainees is equivalent to chaining them to the bed and whipping them. The horror, those girly parts…

  37. Heraclitus
    Heraclitus November 29, 2006 at 4:03 pm |

    Just to clarify my question above: I realize that using misogynistic slurs to emasculate a dude isn’t ironic or subversive. But I’m wondering about situations where a man may be called the same thing a woman would be if she behaved in the same way. Workers speculate, for instance, that their pissy boss is on his period. Does this help to underline a double-standard, to show that identical behavior by men and women are often described in different ways? Or does it just reinforce the “women are irrational” bit?

  38. Blue
    Blue November 29, 2006 at 4:04 pm |

    “Assberet” fills me with joy, too.

    Excellent explanation of reclamation, Piny!

  39. Sunrunner
    Sunrunner November 29, 2006 at 4:11 pm |

    Yes, it does support the “women are irrational” bit. Because underlines the assumption that women are biologically wired for irrationality, that any woman who has a bad moment, or even comes close to showing irritation is simply being her biological “self.” To assume that women who show any emotion are PMSing–and that any man who behaves similarly must be deficient in that god-among-hormones testosterone marginalizes not only women but a feminine perspective.

    By, which it is not cool to refer to a woman’s monthly cycle to dis or marginalize or ridicule either a man or a woman who is not behaving in a stereptypical (read rational) manner.

    Plus the fact that it is a myth that men are any less prone to moods and feelings than women, and acting out on them in ways that are not easy to deal with.

  40. zuzu
    zuzu November 29, 2006 at 4:14 pm |

    Heraclitus, it’s bad because it’s designed to feminize the man, and as we know, the worst thing a man can be called is a woman.

  41. Heraclitus
    Heraclitus November 29, 2006 at 4:15 pm |

    The reason I aks is because of the conversation here a month or so ago about whether men act “cattily.” I think that they clearly do, and not just “effeminate” men. Men frequently harbor irrational and overly emotional dislikes and hostilities towards other men based on their own insecurities, and use the same means as women (cliquishness, gossip, back-biting, etc.) to act on these dislikes. Recognizing this, or dropping the pretence that women are somehow unique in doing this, would, among other things, spare us all the sexist smirking about Pelosi’s opposition to Jane Harman as chair of the House Intelligence Committee. I’m just wondering if applying traditional sexist stereotypes and language to men who are behaving in the way described by this language (e.g., “catty”) helps, or if it essentially just says, “Dude, you’re actin’ like a chick.”

  42. Sunrunner
    Sunrunner November 29, 2006 at 4:41 pm |

    ‘or if it essentially just says, “Dude, you’re actin’ like a chick.””

    Yes it does. And it says that “chicks” are essentially out of their minds.

    This is a sane statement: “Men frequently harbor irrational and overly emotional dislikes and hostilities towards other men based on their own insecurities,” but then you loose the thread when you say that they “use the same means as women” instead of just finishing the statement (without saying they are acting like “chicks” which they are not since they are behaving in a way that men “frequently” do) by saying they use “cliquishness, gossip, backbiting. etc.”

    It is possible to point a person’s bad behavior without likening to them to a group of others who are percieved to be inferior. If someone is being a gossip-mongering, tempermental asshole, just call it what it is and leave it at that.

  43. Hawise
    Hawise November 29, 2006 at 4:54 pm |

    Heraclitus- I have never found that using traditionally feminized slurs on men helps. For the most part they just give me a blank look. Instead, I try to use comparisons to an overpayed sports star. ‘You are acting like a Miradona.’ or ‘I have seen better behaviour from Bonds on steroids.’ It requires paying attention to some sports news but usually works.

  44. mythago
    mythago November 29, 2006 at 4:56 pm |

    He wore an asssss…berry beret
    The kind you find in a second-hand store

    Okay, I really am all better now. Honest.

    I can’t be the only one who snerked at TRex’s pompous crap about how GAY MEN use the c-word. Uh, so gay men are just like women? Gay men can’t be sexist? Gay men have cunts? What is he trying to get at here?

  45. Sunrunner
    Sunrunner November 29, 2006 at 5:33 pm |

    The thing that TRex and others don’t get that a gay white man is still a White Man. Or just a man, and for that reason has likely internalized many tacitly sexist assumptions, just as many white people have internalized a tacitly racist perspective, even though he may really believe–on a conscious level–that sexism and racism is wrong. Unfortunately many of these attitudes are often displayed in angry humor.

  46. Regina
    Regina November 29, 2006 at 5:34 pm |

    Wow, that is so completely ass. What a butthead.

  47. Hawise
    Hawise November 29, 2006 at 5:34 pm |

    “The argument is also, as I understand it, that, wittingly or not, I deployed all of this language and imagery purposely not only to attack and demean …that in fact this was my agenda, and not really anything to do with progressive versus corporatist, anti-populist politics.”

    I am willing to concede that he had a brainfart- a truly obnoxious, noxious, odious brain fart. I will concede that this cloud of fetid gas had unlikely repercussions in the closed world of the blogoshere. I think that he should admit to being the source and then we can open some windows and let the fresh air in.

  48. Regina
    Regina November 29, 2006 at 5:38 pm |

    Previous was in response to #46, and was maybe too flip.

    But where can you even start with someone who is capable of taking, “gee, could we maybe stop with the occasional misogyny?” and take it to mean (in a nutshelll) “I am demeaning all women on purpose and have never done or said anything good or substantive EVAR”??? That is just so buck-wild.

  49. mythago
    mythago November 29, 2006 at 5:46 pm |

    The thing that TRex and others don’t get that a gay white man is still a White Man.

    What they don’t WANT to get (*cough* Kos *cough*) is that being Progressive doesn’t mean one is magically free of all negative thoughts or biases, and that one does not get a free pass to express those biases.

  50. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost November 29, 2006 at 5:48 pm |

    The thing is, me not being insulted by “cunt” doesn’t make it any better for anyone other woman, because “cunt” is used as an insult. It would be like me getting hit with a baseball bat and pretending it didn’t hurt; my attacker might abandon the bat as his weapon of choice, or he might decide that it’s okay to hit people with bats, because obviously it doesn’t hurt.

    And that’s the point of,and power in, reclamation. Reclamation, when done right, turns the baseball bat into a Nerf bat. The only people who can effective reclaima term are the ones against whom it’s used. Once it’s been effectively reclaimed, they can then choose to extend it to people who’ve demonstrated that they’re cool. In the Lesbian/Feminist circles I ran in when I lived in Montreal, they had completely reclaimed “dyke”. I don’t think I ever heard any of them refer to another as a “Lesbian”. I could have used “dyke” without offending anyone because they knew I was hip. I didn’t, but I could have.

    Just watch for the next time a commenter who hasn’t established their trans-ally cred refers to piny as a “tranny”.

    Regina: Butthead? Man. You never hear that anymore, and I almost did a spit-take with my hot apple cider when I read it. Props.

  51. Regina
    Regina November 29, 2006 at 5:55 pm |

    I think the part that’s driving me crazy is (yet again) the push to make it All About Them. They get called out for patently misogynist framing of an argument, and take it to, “Me! Me! How dare you accuse ME! You are attacking ME and calling ME a bad person! ME!!!” Me me I I me, I I me I I, ad nauseum.

    Oy.

  52. Beth
    Beth November 29, 2006 at 5:56 pm |

    To Heraclitus (and anyone, really), I recommend reading “Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism” by Suzanne Pharr, which nicely delves into the way men are trained to despise being associated with anything feminine, beginning in childhood (note: “sissy” boy = bad thing, “tomboy” girl = kind of an admirable thing, so feminine = bad, masculine = good). Thus, using traditionally female insults for men is meant to make it extra-super insulting, by inferring that not only is he acting in a bad way but (horror of horrors) a feminine way.

  53. mythago
    mythago November 29, 2006 at 6:17 pm |

    Reclamation, when done right, turns the baseball bat into a Nerf bat.

    The issue here isn’t whether it hurts; it’s that the guy swinging the bat tried to hit somebody with it. “Oh, he missed” or “but I am immune to baseball bats” or “unbeknownst to him, it was a Nerf bat!” don’t take away his intent.

  54. W. Kiernan
    W. Kiernan November 29, 2006 at 6:45 pm |

    I don’t even like referring to Adolf Coulter as a “cunt.” That damn word’s beyond reclamation, I think. Whenever you call any woman that word, no matter what the context it’s going to be read first and foremost as an insult against her, not because she’s politically or personally objectionable but just for the fact that she is a woman. Now the literal referent, that’s another matter, but invariably, whenever that word is bandied about the metaphorical abuse value totally submerges the literal meaning.

    Everyone knows it’s such an insult to shout out about a woman’s cunt, just as it’s always an insult to tell anybody “get fucked.” Yet being literal there’s hardly anything everybody wants more all the time than to get fucked. And non-figurative cunts, as we all know, are not only healthy and nutritious but also wonderfully delicious. Which is too bad, oh if only people were more literal-minded, all this metaphorical interpretation all the time only increases the store of hostility in the world, etc., etc., but that’s just the way it is.

  55. freya
    freya November 29, 2006 at 7:24 pm |

    To piny in #45: Thanks, I’ve been trying to get my head around how to say that all day. It was really bugging me. Quite the double standard.

    Some of what annoys about all of this is that I encounter more blatant misogynistic language online (on supposedly liberal sites) than in my daily life (here in redder-than-red Bama). I get that some of it is just the online anonymity effect, but still… ouch. It would be nice for it to become unacceptable. And I think calling TRex and other “irreproachables” out about it is part of making that happen.

  56. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe November 29, 2006 at 7:49 pm |

    What I don’t understand is why this guy was so vehement about Tauscher in the first place. Is he a big fan of Alcee Hastings, or is he just such a purist about the war that anyone who supported it at any time deserves the most vile language he can uncork?

  57. Lauren
    Lauren November 29, 2006 at 8:05 pm |

    If these assberets think punk rock is nothing more than feigning shocking behavior and offensiveness for a just-so audience…

    …well, they need to expand their music catalogues to include something previous to 1998. Punk rock my ass.

  58. roula
    roula November 29, 2006 at 9:42 pm |

    oh i am so glad to read this. gonna link to it i think.

    thanks.

  59. PhoenixRising
    PhoenixRising November 29, 2006 at 11:02 pm |

    Mythago, you need to post a warning with that.

    I laughed so damn hard that I woke up my kid.

    Ass..berry…beret. Wish i had a picture, oh wait I do it’s here in my twisted mind where I can well imagine it. TRex in the Prince video, like a scene from my youth if I’d taken some of the drugs the cool kids offered me…

  60. ACG
    ACG November 29, 2006 at 11:14 pm |

    The issue here isn’t whether it hurts; it’s that the guy swinging the bat tried to hit somebody with it. “Oh, he missed” or “but I am immune to baseball bats” or “unbeknownst to him, it was a Nerf bat!” don’t take away his intent.

    Mythago, that’s exactly what I was talking about. It brings to mind Margaret Cho’s bit about the term “fag hag.” After reading her take on it, I realized that being one isn’t a bad thing at all, and I became proud to identify myself as such. But when a friend tossed it out at me, he had to be firmly corrected: because when he said it, he didn’t mean it as a good thing, and he needed to be educated on why he didn’t need to use that as an insult (and why he didn’t need to be insulting me, his friend). The problem wasn’t that I objected to being a hag; the problem was that when he called me one, he was using it as a weapon to try to hurt me.

  61. Matt Browner-Hamlin
    Matt Browner-Hamlin November 29, 2006 at 11:38 pm |

    I left this on zuzu’s post too, but don’t want your readers to miss it. Feel free to delete it…

    FDL has another post on Tom’s critique of language and the comment thread is open there. Perhaps people would like to join the discussion — TRex, Pachacutec, Jane Hamsher and Christy Hardin Smith are all there. So you can raise all of these comments with them..

    Here’s the link.

  62. exangelena
    exangelena November 30, 2006 at 12:31 am |

    As I recall, (unfortunately don’t have a link – maybe you guys do?) months ago Jill had an absolutely hilarious post about lefties who attacked some right-wing blogger for being homophobic by calling him a faggot …

  63. RKMK
    RKMK November 30, 2006 at 12:48 am |

    Hmm.

    While I basically think that people who launch these kinds of attacks, drawing false conclusions based on a superficial analysis of their respective works that consists entirely of the posts in question and engaging in gender- or race-baiting as a way to get their point across (or draw attention to themselves) are either shallow analysts, bad faith artists or both…

    Oh, yeah, that certainly sets an inviting tone to discuss the issue at hand. Whatever. I’d never heard of FDL before this little kerfluffle, and nothing I’ve witnessed since has been at all impressive – overwhelmingly childish and defensive, as well as offensive. Pass.

  64. Penny
    Penny November 30, 2006 at 5:42 am |

    Fantastic Piny. That’ll get me through the day.

  65. Lesley
    Lesley November 30, 2006 at 7:39 am |

    I always have trouble wrapping my head around the cognitive dissonance of someone making the argument that they’re using a word in a reclamatory fashion when they’ve used it as an insult. Insults are meant to hurt their target. You can’t use a word to hurt someone and then somehow claim you’re only trying to make the word non-hurtful. It’s mind-boggling. Which leads me to believe that TRex is either one of the most clueless individuals around or doesn’t want to give up his male privilege. I don’t believe the former.

  66. Erin
    Erin November 30, 2006 at 9:09 am |

    Piny, this post should be essential progressive blogosphere reading. Thank you for doing the work it took to set it up so elegantly.

  67. demit
    demit November 30, 2006 at 9:52 am |

    Excellent post and thread. Excellent, excellent, excellent. Halfway through that thread on FDL I came over here, and I have never seen such a perfect explication of why and when the use of words like cunt is repulsive. Thanks, piny. Great writing!

    FDL is degenerating. It has added a rolling-in-mud aspect to its persona and is quickly becoming second-rate. The posters there can’t see it, instead they revel in their ‘smashmouthing’ and think it is brave and daring and an actual ‘tool’ with which to fight Republicans. Example of ‘lively debate': TRex shouting BACK THE FUCK OFF.

    What they think they are gaining, in edginess, they are sacrificing in substance. My finger hovers over the cursor to drag FDL to the trash.

    At least they sent me here, though, so that’s good. Some good reading here, in the post and the comments. My comliments.

  68. Donna
    Donna November 30, 2006 at 10:07 am |

    RKMK @ 65,

    Uh huh, over at FDL commenter statitician said this, Jane Hamsher, you constructed your post very cleverly. You raise Tom W.’s central point – that Pach and TRex produced anti-feminist posts, which he contends is bad strategy – and then dispense with him yourself in the first paragraph. Then you establish the straw men of incivility and vulgarity – much less egregious offenses – and impugn the motives of your critics. Predictably, your faithful hordes tilt angrily at the pathetic little straw men you have erected – it’s not much of a challenge to knock them down, and you offer a safe thing for those with grievances to criticize. Now you get to claim that “yes, we do so allow debate at FDL,” and who will notice that 90% of it ran in the channels you prepared? The statistician notices, for sure, but not many others. I salute your masterful manipulation, Madam.

    You can tell Jane didn’t want a real debate by the way that she worded that post, anyone who disagrees and thinks that Pach and TRex are misogynists are merely arguing in bad faith or have reading comprehension probs, after all.

    I think if a man says he reserves those words for women they disagree with then that means it could be any woman. Watch your step women, or you could be a cunt, or cum guzzling whore, too if TRex or Pach decide you aren’t toeing the line.

  69. Nick Kiddle
    Nick Kiddle November 30, 2006 at 12:05 pm |

    Im trying to come up with a use of “cunt” that might be considered reclamative, and all I’m getting is the genital meaning. On the one hand, it doesn’t work the same way as the examples piny gave, but on the other hand I don’t see it as misogynistic to describe myself (occasionally with pride) as having a cunt. What do other people think?

  70. Caren
    Caren November 30, 2006 at 1:08 pm |

    Example of ‘lively debate’: TRex shouting BACK THE FUCK OFF.

    More than that, his “Back the fuck off” was supposedly in response to people denying him his first amendment right to say “cunt”.

    He’s free to use any language he wants. But when he uses a word like “cunt” in a misogynist (and I don’t think there’s another way) fashion, then he’s going to get called on it. And he should be able to deal with being called on what he posts with more than a “BACK THE FUCK OFF! IT’S MY FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT TO BE AN ASSBERET!” as if that somehow was a rebuttal to pointing out “cunt” is a loaded word.

    That’s not debate. That’s begging the question.

    And I love your analysis, piny.

  71. HopeSpringsATurtle
    HopeSpringsATurtle November 30, 2006 at 2:10 pm |

    I too, love your well thought out analysis piny. Well done. Having these various discussions around the progressive blogosphere feels like spring cleaning. I love ths strong females voices in sweet chorus to the oft-overlooked sexism so apparent on the left as well as the right. Perhaps we won’t have to reinvent the wheel, again.

  72. RKMK
    RKMK November 30, 2006 at 2:49 pm |

    Donna @ 71 – I just dared to actually wade into the 400+ comment mess, and saw that, along with the subsequent snooty dismissal of the point. My eyes practically rolled out of my head at all the derision of the “pearl-clutchers” – yes, we’re fucking pissed off because you used a “bad word”; that is – in sum and in total – the encapsulation of the issue at hand. Right. And people walked out of Michael Richards’ show because they were too delicate to handle “profanity.” Whatever.

    No, I don’t think I’ll be venturing back FDL-way anytime soon. Christy seems very level-headed, but the rest…

    HopeSpringsATurtle – I appreciated your comments over in the FDL thread. Also, your name makes me smile every time I read it. Hee.

  73. arielladrake
    arielladrake November 30, 2006 at 5:23 pm |

    Nick Kiddle @ 72

    I agree with using ‘cunt’ as a word to actually, well, refer to my genitalia. Largely because the etymology of the word ‘vagina’ really freaking bugs me, and I think cunt has the kind of punchiness and powerful sound that seems fitting.

  74. Is It a Serious Study? « Abstract Nonsense

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  75. Kai
    Kai November 30, 2006 at 9:21 pm |

    Great takedown of the “reclaiming” defense, piny.

    Before you can turn venom into medicine, there are certain things you’ve got to do, certain processes and procedures that must be completed, certain guidelines that must be followed, certain precautions that must be taken. Lacking those controls, venom isn’t medicine, it’s still venom.

  76. Camels Through the Eye of a Needler « The Anti-Essentialist Conundrum

    [...] t. I really did.) Another incident at FireDogLake prompted these phenomenal analyses from piny and zuzu of Feministe of pejoratives and their sometimes le [...]

  77. Praxiteles
    Praxiteles December 1, 2006 at 5:08 pm |

    Feministe and Tom W. FTW.

    FDL’s bloggers and commentators and mods (oh, my!) rushing over to Tom W’s blog to whine “We didn’t meeeean THAT!” and “OMG YOU CAN’T SAY THAT!” is pathetic.

  78. Jill
    Jill December 1, 2006 at 7:19 pm | *

    I agree with using ‘cunt’ as a word to actually, well, refer to my genitalia. Largely because the etymology of the word ‘vagina’ really freaking bugs me, and I think cunt has the kind of punchiness and powerful sound that seems fitting.

    I use “giney-town,” personally.

  79. sylviasrevenge
    sylviasrevenge December 1, 2006 at 8:26 pm |

    I’m a big advocate of “va-jay-jay.” I don’t know why.

    I want to take you to…GINEY-TOWN!

    (I had to do it once.)

  80. Karen M
    Karen M December 1, 2006 at 8:52 pm |

    Too many sites, too many links, too many threads. I need a map for this brouhaha. If only I had some org.chart software… ;~)

    I know I read this post yesterday (?) but then went to Zuzu’s without checking out the comments here first, or stopping to say thank you for this great piece of writing.

    Perhaps FDL needs an alternative name, one where the D stands for diaspora. Apparently, there’s a huge readership that they have alienated. I am no longer alone!!!

  81. Tise
    Tise December 2, 2006 at 8:11 pm |

    Good point.

    I did not realize this whole reclaimation-of-a-word thing was so confusing. On what planet is it “reclaiming” a word to use it the same way it’s always been used, with the same nastiness… What, just because you’re gay makes it alright??? Wow, he seriously thought that? I can’t believe you had to write this post. ugh.

    Appropriate ways to reclaim “cunt” might, for example, involve enthusiastic declarations of affection for that particular body part during times of sweaty nakedness with someone you love (or just get dirty with). Personally, I rather enjoy tossing it around in that context. Seems easy enough to understand the difference between that though, and hurling it at a Congresswoman you despise.

  82. {the right tools for the job}  at  The Republic of Dogs

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  83. belledame222
    belledame222 December 4, 2006 at 4:28 pm |

    Watch your step women, or you could be a cunt, or cum guzzling whore, too if TRex or Pach decide you aren’t toeing the line.

    well, for that matter, so could they be, if their hetmasters decide -they- aren’t toeing the line. which, i suspect they know all too very well.

    Yes indeed, Rexy, they like you, they REALLY like you. Now: fetch!

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