Weekly Open Thread with scarf-wearing dogs

Our hosts this week are these two very happy dogs sharing a scarf. Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the week.

two greyhounds sitting happily for the photographer, they are sharing a scarf wrapped around their shoulders

Scarf by lucathegalga, on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

So, what have you been up to? What would you rather be up to? What’s been awesome/awful?
Reading? Watching? Making? Meeting?
What has [insert awesome inspiration/fave fansquee/guilty pleasure/dastardly ne’er-do-well/threat to all civilised life on the planet du jour] been up to?


* Netiquette footnotes:
* There is no off-topic on the Weekly Open Thread, but consider whether your comment would be on-topic on any recent thread and thus better belongs there.
* If your comment touches on topics known to generally result in thread-jacking, you will be expected to take the discussion to #spillover instead of overshadowing the social/circuit-breaking aspects of this thread.


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About tigtog

tigtog blogs a lot elsewhere, but here on Feministe she mostly does the tech support and feeds the giraffe. tigtog tweets in irregular flurries @vivsmythe.
This entry was posted in Life, Politics, Popular Culture, The Cultural Canon and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Weekly Open Thread with scarf-wearing dogs

  1. Tyris says:

    [Content note: discussion of people wishing rape on other people.]

    We’ve been doing a little internal discussion about language over the past week. Specifically, about “fuck,” when placed in certain specific phrases like “fuck you” and “get fucked.” More so than in “fuck off” (which doesn’t really make any grammatical sense) or “go fuck yourself,” it seems to imply a high degree of nonconsensuality.

    To put that more bluntly, “fuck you” seems to map very well on to “I hope you get raped,” because of its total lack of consideration as to whether or not the subject wants to be fucked.

    And yet, it’s regularly used by people who wouldn’t dream of wishing rape on other people. Hell, we’ve seen it appear in the comments sections on this very site, without arousing counter-comment (whereas “I hope you get cancer” very much did). What are we missing here? What’s the key that renders it non-rapey?

    We’ve got to be wrong about this, because no way can we be the first to notice. If anyone can shed some light as to exactly how, that would be great. Unfortunately, this doesn’t Google well.

    • Alexandra says:

      A number of years ago, I got a bit upset about this point. I have since made peace with the fact that “get fucked” and a number of other variants imply nonconsent, and also the fact that “fuck” is in many ways divorced from its original, sexual sense. I mean, in the phrase “clusterfuck”, are we really thinking about sex? How about “fucked up” and FUBAR? How about when we use “fucking” as an adjective, ie, “That fucking sucks”?

      Similarly, “shit” is used both to refer to excrement and as a general-purpose word synonymous to “stuff”. See also: crap.

      So, yes, there are some words and phrases I try (and usually fail) to avoid, like “motherfucker” and any use of “fuck” that implies nonconsensual sexual violence (“I’m going to fuck you up”, eg). But I also understand that “fuck” is a pretty general expletive.

      • Ally S says:

        I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • So, yes, there are some words and phrases I try (and usually fail) to avoid, like “motherfucker” and any use of “fuck” that implies nonconsensual sexual violence (“I’m going to fuck you up”, eg). But I also understand that “fuck” is a pretty general expletive.

        My take, too (and I avoid “fuck you up” very religiously, as it strikes me as the only rapey thing of the bunch). I mean, when I say “well, fuck this whole situation”, I’m not exactly speaking of my desire to have my conversational partner materialise an event or state of being into physical form and proceed to earnestly attempt intercourse with it. Nor, at the point when I’m telling someone to fuck off, am I expressing a sincere desire for them to have a healthy and fulfilling masturbatory experience.

        Weirdly enough, I found that “to hell with” etc, which I used before, got way more pushback from religious folks.

        Also, yes, I hear the regional stuff about incest and rape that Angie’s talking about, but sorry not sorry, I’m not from there and I shouldn’t have to judge myself by there. I don’t feel the pressing need to tell everyone here how their words have a different colloquial meaning in India, so, you know, whatever. (For instance, (being/having/getting)”jolly” in Tamil-English speakers I’ve met usually indicates experiencing a thing that’s fun/exciting/happy-making, but I wasn’t going to stick to my guns on that on discovering that it’s more generally sexual in the majority of the commentariat.) Unless someone can tell me that was exactly how “fuck” was used in medieval England (which iirc is where/when the word originated), as opposed to the more common meaning of “plough”, I’m not really interested in being sensitive to the finer nuances of language in some American backwater, any more than I expect everyone here to coddle my Tamil-based use of some English words.

        • You don’t have to be sensitive to it but I wouldn’t advise depending on the original/medieval meaning of the word to decide your word-use.

          Most slurs have innocent origins. The hatred and hang-ups of society quickly twists neutral/positive words’ meaning into something else. I heard the term “cognitively disabled” used as an insult not too long ago. It’s a term that’s been created to get away from the negative connations/slur use of the R word, and sadly, it will probably shift to being used as a slur itself eventually.

        • You don’t have to be sensitive to it but I wouldn’t advise depending on the original/medieval meaning of the word to decide your word-use.

          I’m not depending on the medieval use (though “plough off” would probably be hilarious tbh), I’m depending on current use. While I’ve no doubt that Angie’s region might use “fucked up” to mean “raised in an incestuous family”, that’s not the general understanding of the word, and I never heard of such a usage before today, nor would I use it in that meaning myself, as an incest survivor. And frankly, considering I’m not going to ever go to that region (being in the US, even just in DC, the one time I was, was pretty creepifying for me), I don’t feel the need to take that one variant into account in my daily language use. It’s probably callous, but I’m frankly all out of fucks about it.

          And I could make lengthy posts about swearing as a post-fundamentalist identity marker, but I don’t want to get into that here.

        • Just to be sure…you are aware that ‘to plough/plow’ someone already means to have sex with them, right?

          (Not trying to be condescending in the slightest; I just don’t know how widely-used that alternate meaning is)

        • Just to be sure…you are aware that ‘to plough/plow’ someone already means to have sex with them, right?

          LOL, seriously? I mean, I think I read it in the Bible or something, but I wasn’t sure it was a thing anyone said for realz in the last century at least….

        • Fat Steve says:

          LOL, seriously? I mean, I think I read it in the Bible or something, but I wasn’t sure it was a thing anyone said for realz in the last century at least….

          I don’t use it myself but have heard it in tv/movies)

        • tigtog says:

          I’m mostly with mac: I take care how and to whom I say “fuck” phrases, but I’m not going to stop saying it altogether. It would be downright unAustralian, for a start (on Friday night I was out at a pub listening to a live band, and they sang a song around which Aussies have developed a unique tradition – during the chorus, the singer goes “Am I ever gonna see your face again?” and the crowd chants back “No Way. Get Fucked. Fuck Off.” – this band was very good, it was halfway through the final set, and the whole pub including the bar staff was chanting this at top volume with great big smiles on their faces). Particularly for me, since I tend to sound a bit “posh” to most Aussie ears after my years of living with a Brit partner, saying “fuck” with the nonchalance of common use is a tension-breaker when meeting new people – it reassures them that I’m not going to be uncomfortable with typically robust Aussie slang, so they can relax on that front.

          I’m also with mac on (being/having/getting) “jolly” – in my experience of quite a few varieties of Commonwealth English, it’s roughly equivalent to “get your kicks” – a common phrase that can be used as a euphemism for sex/kink but can also be used for any other activity which makes one feel happy. In boarding school parlance, a “jolly” is a day out away from everyday concerns (“we’re off for a jolly today, gels”). Tech gurus talk about the reason they still work despite being filthy rich as being because they get their jollies by solving problems. I suspect that the coping-through-understatement usage of the phrase that shows up in some Brit-Eng dramas where police and profilers discuss the modus operandi of serial killers etc may have distorted some non-Brit perceptions of its more common usage in the originating culture.

          tl;dr – I rarely write “fuck”, but I do say it quite often, and I will continue doing so in venues/forums where people are comfortable with it, and more rarely for cut-through emphasis when needed.

        • Radiant Sophia says:

          My social circles don’t really use “fuck” in slang. We use “shit”, “crap”, “asshole”, “butthole”, etc. Given the amount of time that one could overhear these in a random conversation, it would appear we are obsessed.

        • rain says:

          I wasn’t sure it was a thing anyone said for realz in the last century at least….

          Heh, am I mixing you up with someone else or did you recently move to Canada? If so, in the July 11th Globe and Mail, in response to a letter writer asking where Public Safety Minister Vic Toews was (Lac-Megantic explosion), someone quipped:
          “Too busy plowing babysitters would be my guess.”
          Linkie explaining remark here

        • Heh, am I mixing you up with someone else or did you recently move to Canada? If so, in the July 11th Globe and Mail

          Aaaand this is why I need to read all of the actual news more religiously instead of picking and choosing my sections quite as much. >.>

        • Fat Steve says:

          Aaaand this is why I need to read all of the actual news more religiously instead of picking and choosing my sections quite as much. >.>

          I wouldn’t worry about it too much, mac. Accuracy is overrated.

        • rain says:

          Well, to drift even further, I wouldn’t recommend the G&M for getting your news; it’s taken a hard turn to the right. I scan their headlines and then look up the article elsewhere. Even the ostensibly more-conservative National Post will sometimes be more even-handed.

        • rain says:

          . . . besides, it’s not likely that the use of the word plow would be a news item :-)

    • I’m not comfortable with the way the term is used either. I don’t think it can be so easily divorced from it’s sexual connotations.

      You can say shit or fuck (or any expletive really) is general but in the end they usually have a general meaning and a literal, specfic one. I don’t think it’s wise to ignore why a word with a certain literal meaning has come into use as a general expletive.

      Shit gets to being general without much being problematic. There are a lot of sound factual reasons to have an aversion/dislike of shit. That’s why it’s little surprise that the place shit emerges from (the asshole) is an expletive as well. (Doesn’t mean I don’t consider the term to be bodyshaming–I do.)

      Many of the others slurs relate to sexual behavior as well, steeped in misogyny or heteronormativity/gender normativity. After that insults shame based on ableism and intelligence (even going into attacking what we perceive as “too smart” in a display of anti-intellectualism, as well as the obvious attacks on those we deem mentally un-normal or unintelligent enough).

      To me, the use of the term “fuck” as an expletive is both sex-negative and rife with coercive overtones.

      The truth of the matter seems, to me, to be that the term is just too beloved and widely-used to be given up by the socially progressive. There seems to be a feel that they’ve given up enough words based on their problematic origin/overtones, and they deserve some kind of free pass for this one, the most widely-used of and most-expletive (in society’s eyes) of them all.

      Many even going so far as to call it a tone argument or ridiculous if anyone questions the use of this word.

      • Angie unduplicated says:

        I always take the approach that any man who uses “fuck” as an insult knows that his fucking is a curse to hetero womankind. Rape culture? No doubt. “Fucked up” is another situation. The phrase “(S/he) was jerked up instead of raised up” is an unfortunatel common comment on childrearing practices in this region. “Fucked up” is the third option here, and refers to the behavioral endproduct of an incestuous family, whether by birth or by rape.

    • Aydan says:

      I’ve noticed this too– actually, it was the comments section here where I first started to think about it– and I’m glad I’m not the only one.

      To put that more bluntly, “fuck you” seems to map very well on to “I hope you get raped,” because of its total lack of consideration as to whether or not the subject wants to be fucked.

      Yes, this. And it’s not just about the sexual connotation. For me, there’s a grammatical difference. I don’t normally hear sex described as something you do to someone– “sex” isn’t a popular verb. We usually say something like “have sex with ____.” But fucking is something you do to someone. If you say you’re fucking with someone, that usually means you’re messing with them.

      I know it’s not a rigorous distinction– we also say “make love to,” for example. But it does make me uncomfortable and I’m glad you brought it up.

      • But fucking is something you do to someone.

        I…don’t agree. As far as I can tell, within my own circles of friends/online friends, novels etc ( though I don’t know many conservative people :P) I’ve heard “we’re fucking” and so on as often as I’ve heard “he’s fucking her” or “she’s fucking him”. Also, I find that “X fucking Y” form is used usually when the persons are more connected to Y; as in, when speaking of my friend’s fuckbuddy, he’s the person she’s fucking. Not because dude’s being raped in her kinky dungeon of torture, but because she’s the one I personally know.

        And this may be weird and personal rather than something that’s applicable generally, I dunno, but I find the notion that (consensual) fucking is something done TO someone (implying an active/passive dichotomy) to be really uncomfortably androcentric.

        • Aydan says:

          Hmm, I think I should have been more clear (though maybe I communicated this just fine?)– those aren’t my personal opinions on the meaning of the word, just what I perceive as common use. (I do know a lot of conservative people, but most of them are older than me, and wouldn’t dream of using such language in front of my young innocent virgin ears, so I can’t clarify on that point. :p) I do definitely hear “fuck” as a transitive verb a lot more than “sex” (“I’m fucking him” vs. “I’m sexing him”), which I think is one reason why “fuck you” et al have this particular unpleasant connotation in my head.

          Even though I often hear it used as something you do to someone, it’s never struck me as particularly androcentric, mostly because… you don’t have to have any particular combination of sex organs or body parts to be able to actively perform sex acts on/with someone? But I definitely pick up on the passive connotation, and that’s part of my discomfort with it.

        • I find the notion that (consensual) fucking is something done TO someone (implying an active/passive dichotomy) to be really uncomfortably androcentric.

          And that’s one reason why I hate “get fucked/fuck you”. Women and gay men are the ones usually percieved as the passive/recieving partner in a heteronormative society, and is it any surprise that “get fucked” is considering insulting but “go fuck someone” isn’t?

    • Funty says:

      Whole point of swearing is that it’s a word that’s still got shock factor.
      So thanks for keeping it fresh by finding a way to still be shocked by it.

      Also, enthusiastic consensual sex isn’t exactly a perfume scented night at the ballet. It’s a bit of a heaving, sweaty mess really. Ask anyone who’s had to clean the sheets after. For the love of fuck, drop the notion that it has to be pretty in order to be good.

      • Ally S says:

        Tyris said nothing about how a particular usage of the word “fuck” has to be “pretty” as you say in order to be acceptable. Nor did ze* imply anywhere that shock factor is a criterion by which ze’s judging the usage of “fuck” in speech; all Tyris said is that ze doesn’t want to use that word in a way that implies nonconsensuality on the listener’s end. If ze only cared about shock factor, I highly doubt ze would even bring up this topic.

        It’s like you didn’t even read the comment you were replying to.

        *Sorry, I forgot your preferred pronouns

    • Tyris says:

      @everyone: You’ve given us some more points to argue over – thanks! (If that reads as insincere, it’s not meant to.) An in-depth response may or may not appear in a future thread, but we’re not too likely to come up with any stunning new insights, so expect “may not.”

      @Ally S: You didn’t forget – we just never officially declared! We’ll answer to almost all pronouns without fuss, but “they” / “them” is preferred due to its number-neutrality.

  2. Ally S says:

    I turned 19 today. Like most of my birthdays, it was rather uneventful; all I did was work most of the day and go to a restaurant with some family members. My older sister got some neat gifts for me, though: The Possibility of Altruism by Thomas Nagel, a charger for my GBASP (best Nintendo handheld IMO), and a brand new MP3 player.

    In other news, UCSC has accepted my final grades and so has maintained its offer of admission for me. So technically I can still attend this year. These days I’m not keen on the idea of going, though. I mean, I want to go some time, hopefully next year, but with the way things are going now, I really will have to be stuck with living with conservative religious roommates and being constantly monitored by family elders like my father. If my father can drive 1800 miles from San Jose, CA to Boulder, CO just to tell my sister that she is forbidden from having a boyfriend, he can certainly visit me frequently if I tell him to leave me alone.

    • Radiant Sophia says:

      Happy birthday A!

    • Donna L says:

      Happy Birthday, Ally! May the coming year bring you both joy and freedom.

    • Willemina says:

      Happy Birthday!

    • Happy birthday! And congratulations on your acceptance, even though your father is bringing it down.

    • Angie unduplicated says:

      Happy birthday! Are you so sure that you will have conservative religious roommates? Surely your dad can’t bribe, inveigle, or threaten the dorm managers. The possibility of a good set of roommates who will act as a buffer or boundary between you and your father could be considered. And, remember, the cost of gas is climbing again. Some potential for more freedom exists here.

      • Ally S says:

        I know that not all Muslims are the same, and I hope I didn’t sound like I was saying the opposite. But my father says that he has to know these people in person and ensure that they are religious by talking to them and closely observing them.

        And if he isn’t satisfied with them, then he’ll ask me to stay at a Muslim host family’s house, which also has to be very religious and conservative.

        His requirements sound absurd, but this is how he has always been. He’s paranoid about me leaving Islam and going astray if I spend long amounts of time with non-Muslims where I’m living. He brings up shit like “But what if they have beer containers in their fridge? What if they have girlfriends? What if they don’t pray five times a day?”

        • Fat Steve says:

          this is how he has always been. He’s paranoid about me leaving Islam and going astray if I spend long amounts of time with non-Muslims where I’m living. He brings up shit like “But what if they have beer containers in their fridge? What if they have girlfriends? What if they don’t pray five times a day?”

          I’d suggest you tell him to what I told my dad at your age but I worry the expression ‘fuck off’ would upset a few people who just posted earlier, upthread ;)

          P.S. Happy Birthday!!!!!!

        • Steve – Aaliyah’s father is violent. Not just emotionally abusive, he’s physically violent, even to strangers.

        • Fat Steve says:

          Steve – Aaliyah’s father is violent. Not just emotionally abusive, he’s physically violent, even to strangers.

          Yeah, I get that, my advice wasn’t serious, and I get that violence is not a subject for joking, so that’s not what I was kidding about. I just figured Ally would get a chuckle out of that comment about me telling my father to f off and how it relates to the previous discussion about the f-word.

        • Steve – oh, gotcha, sorry!

    • GallingGalla says:

      Happy birthday, Ally!

    • Andie says:

      Happy birthday!

    • “But what if they have beer containers in their fridge? What if they have girlfriends? What if they don’t pray five times a day?”

      In the words of the immortal Willy Wonka, “What if my beard were made of green spinach?”

      Happy Birthday, Aaliyah!

    • DouglasG says:

      More freedom to you in the year ahead.

    • GraceGrace says:

      Happy happy birthday!!!!

    • TomSims says:

      Happy Birthday!

    • Ally S says:

      Thanks a lot, everyone! ^_^

  3. Niall says:

    Normally when I’m watching something on YouTube and some sort of commercial or promotional advertisement comes up first, I usually skip over it. But I made an exception to the one I saw this morning. It was a movie trailer for “Fruitvale Station” and it’s based on the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant on New Years eve of 2008 on the Bay Area Rapid Transit. (Note to those who might not know: this story was covered pretty extensively here at Feministe. Check the archives.)

    The trailer looks good and I’ve already made up my mind to go see it. It was a hit at the Sundance film festival. Unfortunately it’s not going to get widespread theatrical release until next November. And I can’t help but wonder if maybe an earlier release might have been planned, but then reconsidered in the aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in killing Trayvon Martin.

    In spite of all that, I’m glad to see the Oscar Grant tragedy coming to the big screen. Maybe his story will reach a wider audience than it otherwise would have.

    • (BFing) Sarah says:

      My spouse and I plan to see it, as well. I’m not really into monitoring movie happenings, but he is and he mentioned that Wallace from The Wire was in it? Love him. I’m sure the movie will make me cry, but that’s not new, lately…

  4. Niall says:

    Oh…and a Happy Birthday to Ally S also!

  5. Andie says:

    I’m on holidays this week! Taking the kiddies to Canada’s wonderland along with my best friend and her kids (think something between Disney and Six Flags), then they boy and I are heading into Northern Ontario to visit my sister and BIL.

    Had my first night karaoke hosting last night. It was a fun night and I managed not to break the equipment. Only had to deal with a couple of belligerent drunks.

  6. Fat Steve says:

    RIP

    Mel Smith (too young)

    Helen Thomas (well…also too young…any age is too young when you think about it.)

  7. Back from Queensland, and here’s the kitty paintings bracelet I bought at the Eumundi Market. I don’t wear bracelets, but this was irresistible.

    A bit of cute: my sister’s dog Laddie. He’s a sweet boy.

  8. anna says:

    Hi. I was wondering, with the acronym STEM meaning science, technology, engineering, mathematics, is that pronounced like the stem of a plant, or with each letter pronounced separately like ess tee eee em?

    Thanks.

    • tigtog says:

      Most people I know pronounce STEM as in plant, so they treat it as an acronym (NASA, BART, UNESCO) rather than as an initialism (IRS, MIT, LSE).

      • Anna says:

        I wonder if it’s different in America though. (You’re Australian, right?)

        • tigtog says:

          Might be. The Americans I’ve met at conferences have said STEM as a word rather than as initials, but perhaps they were following our local custom.

        • Willemina says:

          From the US, graduated in an engineering field, only ever heard STEM pronounced as in a plant part. Now, I’m not from everywhere in the US, so YMMV.

  9. Hannah says:

    Been looking at Master’s Programs/ Secondary Degrees. Which is scary as hell. I’m not a psych major but I’ve been looking into Counselling Psychology as a possible path and I’m just realizing that it’ll tack at least one extra year on to my degree and the whole thing is making me really anxious. I am going to talk it over with my parents and get their advice because I’m basically bouncing between Counselling Psychology, Social Work and Law programs and it’s really scary

  10. If anyone else here watches/used to watch Castle, what did you think of The Human Factor (ep 5.23)? Because the level of erasure of US imperialistic bullshit is making me incandescently furious. A plot-relevant point is that a pilot sent to kill militants noticed that an Afghan couple was honeymooning in the car he was supposed to fire on, and so he didn’t. Considering the reality of the situation, I can’t even begin to comprehend how these fuckers thought this was an appropriate plotline to pursue.

    And then in the end the guy who was killed by a drone turned out to have been murdered by his son and the government was blameless. Because, you know, you can’t accidentally criticise the government in a TV show.

  11. Radfem says:

    Reading about USC getting investigated by the feds for failure to investigate reported rapes

    My personal favorite was the one where the woman wasn’t raped according to the brilliant minds there b/c the rapist didn’t have an orgasm. I think two other So. Cal colleges including Occidental are under investigation too by the Dept. of Education.

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