Sticks and Stones

When I was six, I went into elementary school. I understand this is a common trauma we inflict on our kids. As trauma goes, it was probably lighter than going to a “real school” because this was a village school, and they didn’t really pay much attention if you were an hour or so late, provided you kept up with the work.

I had an advantage because I could read and a huge disadvantage because I couldn’t write with a quill pen, having learned to write with a ball point.

I remember those early days of school as utter boredom – when the teacher was explaining the sound words made – combined with extreme terror, when she actually wanted to look at my notebook, which was a collection of interesting blots. (I later developed the ability to drop a blot at will. Very useful in dictation as my spelling was even more wretched than it is now.)

Another moment stands out from my early days in school. I’d early on realized the dialect of Portuguese I spoke wasn’t exactly… the common one, not even in the village. Mom was raised in a slum and still speaks oddly. But even at home, we had words we used… Take “retrete” for instance. I suppose it’s from the French for retreat, but that’s how we referred to the bathroom. It’s not an uncommon word but neither is it a delicate one. It’s most often associated with “outhouse.”

So, the first time I stood up and raised my hand asked to go to the “retrete” the entire class laughed aloud, and my teacher informed me the school didn’t have them, it had “casas de banho” – bathrooms, out back.

(Curiously, though both were outside the building, likely for the same reason – because the tech at the time had trouble piercing three foot thick stone walls – grandma’s was a bathroom, with a shower, a sink and a toilet, while the school’s vaunted bathroom was an outhouse, of the format beloved throughout the Middle east, with a hole in the middle of the floor, and no running water. After my first look at them (do you know how good elementary school students are at aiming?) I risked utis by holding it in until I got home.)

There were other instances of this – innocently using a word that made them all jeer and point.

Weirdly I survived intact. I didn’t like it. I really didn’t like it. It annoyed me no end. BUT I survived it, learned to use the words they expected, and eventually became one of the “accepted leaders of recess” where I de-facto invented LARPGs based on whatever book I’d just read.

Other instances of very hurtful words, when I was too young to build up any protection involved a friend of my dad’s who liked getting in political arguments with me – stupid ones – and tried to end run me and prove how much brighter he was than the eleven year old. Since all his arguments boiled down to “being rich proves I’m superior” (and since he’d gotten rich on some morally dubious speculation game) it shouldn’t have been hard to demolish, but I was a kid, and got confused having an adult argue with me. So then he’d call me a dummy and a communist (!) and say that I only had book learning and nothing more. (Again, I was eleven. Yes, the man had issues. Yes, they eventually caught up with him.)

I used to dread his visits. (There were other reasons too, but we won’t go into that.) But, you know what, I survived his jeering put downs remarkably unscathed.

Add to that that I was the youngest – the much youngest. My brother was the next youngest, at ten years older, and the next after that was four years older than him – of a very large extended family that ran in a pack. It should be normal/make sense for my cousins to realize I was younger and pull punches. But since in the structure of the family I was an “equal” – i.e. same generation – they didn’t pull punches. Some of their good natured (mostly) teasing stuck and I really thought I was stupid for a long time.

Is this an extended whine? Does it mean that I was hurt – hurt, I tell you – and that I suffered like no one else ever has?

I very much doubt it. We’ve now found out self-esteem education is basically a crock. Believing you’re great without having the achievements to back it up doesn’t make you supercalifragilisticespialidosous. It makes you a brittle and touchy person.

Well, I had anti-self-esteem education, through a variety of factors.  It didn’t hurt — much.  Not long term.

Sure some of it sticks – but it’s due to other things, actually, like the long slog to break into print, and how I was treated for a long time afterwards – and when I go into a new group, I’m awkward and timid (some of that might be innate, mind.)  And I have trouble er… making a big deal of my accomplishments. And I HATE being called names.

But for the first, it has given me unusual flexibility. Since elementary, I’ve learned to pick up dialects and see how people behave, and hit the right note. If I’d never had to adapt, I probably wouldn’t know. As for bragging about my accomplishments, yes, it’s cost me in an age when tooting your own horn (as in the publishing I came into. Publishers believed it when writers said how wonderful they were. No, really.) was effective. Now… it’s not so important. I’d rather have achievements than the touting of them. Both, sure, if possible, but if others can do the touting, yay. (Hey, I have come to terms with the fact I’ll have to do some of that myself. Yes. But I’d rather be writing.)

And as for not liking to be called names… really… which of us loves it?

My weird reaction – and it’s a problem mostly when I get beta critiques – is that because of my cousins and because they were so much better/brighter than I (being older), my first reaction when someone says “you did this wrong” is to believe them. It takes me time away and a lot of thought to get past that and say “no, this is right, this is wrong.” It is as damaging as thinking all my words are sacred – but different.

In the same way when someone says “you just said the most stupid thing in the world” I check my work, automatically, because, hey, maybe I did. But I’m unfortunately (of course unfortunately – because if you stop checking you could spin into the nut zone) getting used to the idea that in fact when I get called names by someone on twitter who disagrees with me politically and whose entire rebuttal is “Aahhhhh she’s so stupid.” Or of course “She makes me sick, I want to change my gender.” they don’t in fact have anything to contribute and their opinions are worth as much as monkey flinging poo. Less, actually, since monkeys at least make their area more sanitary, while these people might do otherwise.

So, what is this in the name of? I found myself in the comment section of one of Brad Torgersen’s post, (I think) where a woman was maintaining that saying things about her, even expressed in a polite way, was “an attack.” More specifically to say that she was ignorant of history and being immature was “an attack.” (Even though both were demonstrably true, and people were using examples.)

I found the idea jaw-droppingly insane. Someone might be completely wrong in what they say of you – I’ve been called both stupid and ignorant, and ignorant in my particular areas of knowledge, such as when the precious flower who took offense to my SFWA post said I was a “typical American” who’d “never been out of the country.” I found this annoying, but also very funny, because… well… No contact with reality.

Another example of lack of contact with reality was when someone who used to comment here told us all that in A Few Good Men only the gay guys and women were good. Thereby relegating the uber-father of the plot, Sam, and Mr. Long to “bad guy status” which annoyed me because I couldn’t imagine how someone could have read that book and got that. But it was also funny, because… how could someone have read my book and got that? (And at least two gay guys are not good.  Well, three.  The gay couple who pulls a gun on them, and Royce, though Royce isn’t bad, he just annoys Luce.)

I don’t read my reviews, as a rule, but when I do, I’m often very amused by both good and bad reviews that refer to a completely different novel. For instance, my first book got a five star review from someone who said it was “Silverdawn’s book. Silverdawn is the best character.” The only problem is that I didn’t then, and I don’t now have a character named Silverdawn.

Now, the reviews that are “true” and critical (even those that are good overall, but hit on one of the flaws of the book) hurt. Badly. This is why I don’t read them, because they can stop an entire book for six months, because I will obsess.

Look, I know my books have flaws. All books have flaws. It’s just at the point of writing them, I didn’t know how to do it better and (we can argue but it’s true) it’s better to put out a few flawed books than to work at the same book thirty yers and never finish. So, Darkship Thieves is really three novellas, and one of the transitions is shaky. Is it a bad book? No. I had to read it recently to get the mind back in the universe, and it’s good (I can say this as it’s far enough it no longer feels mine, if that makes sense) but it is still three novellas crammed into a book and the first transition (the time in Eden until the spaceship theft) is shaky. No more shaky than some Heinlein transitions, but if I were doing it now, I’d know better how to do it.

Older books, like the Magical British Empire (first book, author’s edition, being edited) are more problematic, as I had pacing problems. I knew I had them then, I just didn’t know how to solve them. Now I know how to, but I get very confused on how to integrate the new patches with the old.

Still, what I mean is, I know they have flaws and having them pointed out hurts, because I either don’t know how to fix them, or it’s much too late to do so.

BUT do they hurt me – I mean leave scars at the level of the soul? Oh, for crying out loud. No. would I prefer not hearing them? Sure. Nothing but praise would be great, thank you.  (Can we arrange that?  Yes?) BUT hearing that my writing started out very slow paced has yet to kill me.

Being called to account for things I’ve done (like when I rebutted an article and called the author Michael instead of Mark) is humiliating but not scarring.

And being called things I’m not – neo-nazi, really? Because Nazis want to make governments miniscule and leave people alone. Yep. Little known fact, Hitler really wanted the state to not intrude in private lives, and left the free market unfettered. Oh, wait, no he didn’t. He arrested people for private behavior (and genetics) and eliminated vast swaths of his country’s population while confiscating their wealth and choosing winners and losers in the economic arena. Sorry, guys. I don’t see what that has to do with small l libertarian me – certainly doesn’t scar me for life. Depending on how ridiculous they are they might make me laugh. Sometimes, if I think that’s what the general public will hear, it will make me worry about sales. BUT scar me for life? Oh, please.

Guys, I’ve been in real fights. I’ve had guns pointed at me. The first time was kind of scarring, but the others are a blur. And unless people were shot near me (or trampled to death in one case, as the crowd panicked. I didn’t see it, but knowing I was there, and it could have been me, if mom hadn’t grabbed me and flattened me against the building doesn’t help) it left no lasting scars.

Am I some kind of special? Oh, please. Life goes on in places where people witness – daily – some sort of horror that’s much worse than any words could be. People who live in Israel and have endured random rocket attacks for years don’t curl in the fetal position and refuse to go on with life.

People in terrible places – like during the civil war in Lebanon or in Detroit today or… — don’t just get scarred for life and become quivering bowls of jelly unable to function.

No, this ability to be “destroyed by words” exists only in the most sheltered of places: academia, the confines of a certain type of NYC publishing, the circles of radical chic when your “speaking truth to power” ultimately amounts to echoing the received wisdom everyone around you echoes.

In a way these people screaming that, oh, when Larry makes fun of them it’s an “aggression” remind me of hyper protected and very young upper class Victorian girls. Or of royalty who were never corrected and never allowed to hear they were wrong. Or perhaps of certain members of the more prudish cults. We used to know a family who was so hyper religious they had decided that THINKING about sin was a sin, even in the sense of knowing sin existed was a sin. So their fourteen year old had never heard the WORD “rape” and didn’t know what it was. They didn’t know anyone in the present day committed murder. The parents protected them from the news (this is one of those worst cases of homeschooling.)

I’m sure that when those poor kids left the house and heard how the world really was it shattered their minds. A similar situation is supposed to have led to the Buddha’s enlightenment.

So when I hear people complain that they were – sniffle, sob – called a name and it destroyed their entire self image/conception of the world/view of men/you name it, my thought is that they too were raised in cult-like protection, and likely the cult was of their own personality. In the misguided idea that building up their self-esteem made them strong, parents and teachers cooperated in making them hot-house plants.

Look, no one likes being called names, being out of step, feeling stupid. I don’t anymore than anyone else does. And I’m not going to say it makes you stronger.

But in a way it does. Being told you’re not right, or you’re not brilliant, or even that you’re fat might not make you stronger. I know – and the rest of you know – it hurts. But it causes no lasting damage. Not if you are a properly functioning adult.  And you learn to accept that the universe doesn’t revolve around your belly button and sometimes you’re wrong or doing something wrong.

It might hurt like hell, particularly if there’s a grain of truth in it. And if you’re subjected to nothing but that morning noon and night, it will leave traces (particularly if you’re a child) but that takes an intimate, family abusive situation. Not a passing stranger saying “you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny.” (This was fairly normal in Portugal from what I call “three guys outside the tavern” – they thought it was a conversation-opener.)

But don’t go thinking you’ve been “assaulted” or that the person who disagreed with you or beat you at a game (apparently an article now disappeared accused people who beat girls at games of “rape.” No, seriously, and if I can find the cache, I’ll link it.) or even made fun of you for no reason is an ogre and monstrous. They might be right, they might be stupid themselves, or they might lack in social skills. Only in one of those instances should their words even begin to concern you.

So if the worst thing that ever happened to you was being told that your cozy, comfortable worldview was wrong or that some of us disagreed with it, and this led to a shattering of your world and to declaring Larry Correia an evil villain who “hates women” (Oh, please) and Kate and I “the world’s worst people” perhaps you’ve been too sheltered. Perhaps you should join humanity and consider that people who lived through wars famines and plagues had it worse than you. And yet they went on to function fully and to find in themselves nuggets of hope, love and charity which they left us in their work and in the children they reared and who reared our ancestors.

Maybe sticks and stones can break your bones, but words won’t ever hurt you.

Just a thought. And I know it’s crazy. But maybe if you let those who oppose you speak, and meet them in the open marketplace of ideas without seeking to silence them or calling them names, you might find your perfect theories have some holes. Or they’ll find theirs do.

But this requires not screaming assault when the other side gives half as good as they get.  This requires not feeding your own paranoia with talk of patriarchy and microaggressions.  It requires considering that perhaps maybe that thing in your belly button is just lint, and not the answer to the essence of life.

I know, I know. It’s a crazy idea. But it might just work.

148 thoughts on “Sticks and Stones

  1. I often have a strong desire to show those complaining about aggression, what real aggression is.

    1. Yeah; there’s this meme going around called “microaggressions,” which are basically aggressions so small you need a microscope to see them.

      1. what it really means is that the perpetually offended can claim “aggression” at the most trivial incidents.

        Of course my kids have got in the act: “Your slice of meat is bigger than mine. I’ve been micro-aggressed!”

        1. It’s just a real-life application of Larry Correia’s Internet Arguing Checklist. It’s Step 2, to be specific: Make Shit Up.

  2. Oh and today is primary election day in several states, if it is in yours, get out there and vote people.

      1. Y’know? I was thinking about this, and realized I gave a trigger warning to my boyfriend-now-husband long before “trigger warnings” existed. As in “hey, here’s this word connected to old and far-away nasties, I can’t promise I’ll react rationally if you use it in serious conversation, so heads up”. I told him this because it affected his business with me, but it never went past the two of us because oddly enough, I had this idea that expecting THE WHOLE DAMN WORLD to avoid using a moderately-common word might be just a leetle bit entitled.

        What I want to know is, if racism is so all-pervading and pernicious, while so many discussions are supposed to be prefaced with “tw: racism”, how are all these fragile blossoms even getting out of bed in the morning??

    1. Trigger warning: The universe is an uncaring b*tch and doesn’t give two sh*ts about you or how you feel. It doesn’t matter if you meant to do it, if you drop that axe/misuse that knife/etc. people will be hurt/things will break.

          1. It’s yet another creation of a Dead White European Male oppression. And even worse, it uses math and logic to enhance the Power of the Patriarchy. Really.

  3. Now, Sarah, you can never win all the arguments if the other side speaks up! I mean, what a blow to self-generated deity complex opposition brings!
    Omniscience requires submission. (well, in some ‘minds’)

  4. Other instances of very hurtful words, when I was too young to build up any protection involved a friend of my dad’s who liked getting in political arguments with me – stupid ones – and tried to end run me and prove how much brighter he was than the eleven year old.

    Supposedly, this is because you are “threatening.” It’s a fight they know they can win, but that they can feel proud about having won– like a bar fight where someone hits the biggest dude there over the back of the head, before it starts.

    I don’t get it, and you’ve probably figured it out already, but eh.

  5. I went through some similar stuff (minus the gunplay) in small-town life as a kid. I was pretty unpopular in school, got into a few fights. Shockingly, I survived.
    I told my wife the best way to build self-esteem is to make sure your kids are actually being prepared to be self-reliant and independent. My kids are great readers, they’re learning martial arts and firearms, they’ll be learning archery soon, and car and home repair. Plus they are learning gardening and sewing from their mom, and they can already clean the house and do laundry. They’re not even ten yet.
    I’m afraid the intelligentsia are going to brand me as both abusive AND subversive. 😉

    1. I used to pay the kids to clean the house. WAY cheaper than a cleaning lady ($10 a week for two) and they didn’t get an allowance (no money for nothing.) Then they got busy at college and discovered summer jobs and writing stuff for pay and… ah well.

      1. I can’t wait for the day when some teenage boy asks a daughter what she’s doing this weekend, and she replies, “Live-fire tactical house-breaching drills with my dad.”

          1. If some girl had ever said anything even remotely like that to me, I would have fallen on my knees and begged her to marry me on the spot!

            1. Darn! Now I’m going to have to re-think my plans!
              On the other hand, if their mother has any influence, they’ll probably say, “I’ll get married AFTER you’re a missionary for a couple of years like Mom and Dad!”
              If a boy can shoot, fight and has deep and serious religious commitments and still impresses my daughters, I guess I won’t have any real objections. [RECLINES CHAIR, SMUGLY GRINS].

              Yup, I’m DEFINITELY a social subversive. And I’m taking the commandment to multiply seriously. 😀

  6. I found the idea jaw-droppingly insane. Someone might be completely wrong in what they say of you – I’ve been called both stupid and ignorant, and ignorant in my particular areas of knowledge, such as when the precious flower who took offense to my SFWA post said I was a “typical American” who’d “never been out of the country.” I found this annoying, but also very funny, because… well… No contact with reality.


    Was surprised to find myself in a vicious online argument once (I’d previously cordially gotten along with the blog owner – something else that had gone down the memory hole) where I ended up being called a middle schooler/immature kid/etc because of a posting habit (using physical action descriptives such as *shrug*) I’d acquired in the pre-internet BBS days of the early 80’s.

    Of course this was part of a “I don’t believe you’re an adult/taught kids” attack that actually asked me to prove readily observable facts like the power tools available in shop classes and the complexity of the machinery therein, or that we teach high school graduates to operate complex weaponry AND how to make moreal/ethical shoot/don’t shoot decisions. And have for decades.

    In short, I didn’t use language and display the “everyone knows” and language markers expected by an academic of “smart people”, and was thus an ignorant redneck.

    I’d ignored the “gender is a social construct” attitude (among others) there because at least the blogger seemed willing to bring up non-PC topics, but that outright denial of reality, followed by taking part of one of my comments and jailhouse lawyering it in a context completely irrelevant to the point being made to write an entirely new post to demonstrate to her readership how idiotic the person arguing against her was made me decide further time there was a waste.

    1. I’m frequently amused (and irritated) to find people who actually expect casual written communication (on the internet!) is indicative of credentialing or innate intelligence. *sigh* (*snort*)

      Many internet contacts are entirely virtual, and adopting various mechanisms to imbue online correspondence with personality are a natural progression of the medium (and a very old artifact of the same medium, re: BBS). This is not a professional venue, no peer reviewing in progress, no standards of publication in evidence… Their cues are worthless and they don’t know how to signal their extra-special, wonderful intelligence without ’em. And they don’t know how to evaluate content in their absence.

      This last bit has led many a poor fool to chew some shoe leather by stepping out on a credentialed assumption and finding the underpinnings to be a bit weak.

      1. Well, if you’re a forensic linguist, you can probably tell a lot about people from casual written Internet communication. Of course, Miss Marple would probably be able to give you deep personal advice. 🙂

        But seriously, you can tell a lot about intelligence and styles of intelligence from casual notes. Misspellings and grammar mistakes or casual slang are not what is going to tell you somebody’s lacking in the mental kilowatts, but the sort of mistakes people make are pretty revealing about their neural style. You could probably do even some diagnosis of actual neural problems, if you were canny. And sadly, I know exactly what a Usenet post from someone going into diabetic coma is like. (May she rest in peace, and don’t ever disappear from work in DC in the summer because nobody will notice you’re gone and everybody will assume you’re on vacation. Even if people call your work and tell them something’s wrong.)

        But if someone is the kind of person who has a stick up his/her butt, her/his nose is too far out of joint to read with comprehension, much less to play forensic linguist on the internet.

        1. I know I’ve learned about my own mental work from reading my posts– and even then, “mad as hell” reads a lot like “is trying to be very precise to avoid offense,” because they’ve got the same goal. I start using very precise words, often big ones, because I want to be very, very exact and I don’t trust the other person to just figure it out– I start speaking very carefully.

          It’s sort of like how I don’t tease people I am angry with, but I also don’t tease people when I’m not sure if they’ll be OK with it. Polite and enraged are oddly similar. 😀

  7. There is a city in California that wants to have a law against bullying that will apply to children from five to eighteen years old. It would be against anything that threatened another child. Are they kidding? Do you know how many five year old’s will be put in jail (or fined) for a word or even for being bigger than the other kids? STUPID.

            1. Last I heard (it’s been a bit) California was doing it’s best to remove homeschooling as an option. don’t know how that may have played out in the interim.

  8. One way of avoiding being hurt by name-calling is to admit to the names ahead of time.For example: I’ve said in conversation, “Of course, I’m a racist; I’m Caucasian, for Heaven’s sake!”

    (I am also male, heterosexual, a combat veteran, and an enrolled Republican. That means I’m sexist/patriarchal, homophobic, blood thirsty and bigoted. So what?)

    Ben Hartley

    1. The problem with that is in this new world where the accusation is all that is needed, calling someone racist is not just a moral judgment, but a legal one with the intent of having the power of the state act serve as a spite stick.

        1. But are you a gender and race traitor because you’re one half of the Worst Person in the World, or are you one half of the Worst Person in the World because you’re a gender and race traitor?

          1. Those are different names for the same thing, just as 2+2 is another name for 4.

  9. I think a lot of these leftists are so compulsive about “triggers” because the left is such a vicious social environment. People say really horrible things, and their leftist hearers aren’t allowed to take that wrong because it’s progressive; in the same way, a lot of leftist men do incredibly sexist or sexual assault things without repercussions. So the anger at their “friends” gets projected onto people who really aren’t doing much harm, or even who aren’t insulting them.

    It’s astounding how often you can just assume that someone on the left who pretends to be happy is actually the butt of all their “friends.”

    Just for the record, Sarah — if I ever mention something about spelling or grammar, I’m just being my compulsive self. There’s nothing stupid or unvirtuous about spelling errors. Of course, I need to tell this to myself, because I kept looking at “recipit” and starting to write “recieve”. So apparently my brain thinks the rule is “I before E except after C, unless I’m looking right at an I.”

    1. That’s been tested in the lab. If you give people a chance to do “good” things, like buy green products, they are more likely to lie and cheat in a game for money played afterward.

      They’re Good. They’re SJWs. That means they don’t need to engage in routine, quotidian goodness like being polite and just and honest — they’ve already done their good deeds for the day by being leftist.

      1. If only there was some way to avoid this quirk of human nature, like– I don’t know, some kind of a rule about “don’t let your left hand know what the right is doing” when you are doing good works….

        1. I wish there were a term more catchy than “positional good”. Sounds all newspeaky and bland. Something with the punch of shcadenfreude or “pre-adaption”. Concept is spot-on, but it is far too…far too.

          1. Great to be back. I’d been busy for quite a bit, but I’ll be posting a bit more regularly from now on.

  10. We’ve now found out self-esteem education is basically a crock. Believing you’re great without having the achievements to back it up doesn’t make you supercalifragilisticespialidosous. It makes you a brittle and touchy person.

    … and very, very bad at dealing with either competent disagreement or serious opposition. Worse, it leads to a foolhardy contempt for actual danger, since the person with groundless “self-esteem” has never actually had to fight for anything.

    1. I once worked for a a very successful person. He once told me, and I took it to heart, that the only reason he was considered very successful was he made a good decision more times than a bad one. He clarified that by saying more means greater than 50 %; and he figured that he was in the 55-60% bracket.

      1. shhh. Same with books. You can write some howlers, if the balance of your books is decent. Almost every writer I admire has done this: Heinlein, Pratchett…
        More importantly, you can have some ridiculous missteps in a book, if the sum total is better than average. People forgive one or two stumbles. Those that don’t, weren’t going to read you, anyway.

    2. Trigger alert: country music reference ahead. 😉

      This often ends up with what Hank Williams, Jr. Used to refer to as an “attitude adjustment.”

  11. So often people with this special sensitivity to “attacks” don’t perceive their own attacks as attacks at all. Because of course they’re just “truth”. Confirmation bias is everything. I’m not sure which comments you’re referring to, but the woman who was so offended by the “attacks” on the binary gender blogger felt free to expect, in her own blog, that conservative science fiction would be “insulting degrading boring schlock”. The mind boggles at the cognitive dissonance.

    It’s all tribalism. People in *my* tribe are good people. People in that other tribe over there are not quite human. Or racist misognynistic patriarchal cisnormative… whatever 🙂 The funny part is their really silly belief that somehow their prejudices just prove that they are above prejudice. *snicker*

  12. When I was in middle school, a teacher asked me a several questions directly. I answered back, calling him sir: “Yes, sir.” “No sir.” After about the third time I answered in this way, he burst out laughing and made fun of me in front of the entire class. I was mortified, but I never forgot that one should never show respect or deference to a Yankee… and that one should never depend on them to behave like gentlemen.

    1. The rules for showing respect are basically a game. He hadn’t learned yours. Some Yankees are more adaptive, more secure, more able to be gentlemen.

      1. Of course, when I grew up I slowly realized that Southerners never say anything directly. It’s always subtle hints, misdirection, metaphor, and innuendo. Anyone unfamiliar with how things work would assume we’re all liars. To us it’s just manners…!

        1. DROVE ME INSANE. And it’s worse, because it’s the same thing in the North of Portugal and it drove me insane there too.

          BTW, yankees and yankees. My husband is from Connecticut, but he’d completely have got the “sir” — of course, then again his mom is southern by ancestry, so…

          1. tbh, I don’t understand why there’s such a resistance to the ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ thing. Or, for the matter, polite verbal respect. It took a lot of training for me to call my parents-in-law by name only since they prefer it that way.

            1. Not sure I understand it either. On the other hand, I found it “funny” to be called “Mr. Paul” by children who had been raised to call adults “Mr., Mrs., Miss”. They heard their parents call me Paul (not by my last name) so they called me “Mr. Paul”.

              Oh, I saw no reason to try to tell them to call me “Paul”. Partially because I was “just an adult” to them and partially because I saw no reason to attempt to over-ride what their parents taught them to do.

        2. Bless your heart….. 🙂

          Actually, southerners are pretty direct and honest (maybe it seems that way because I spent a fair amount of my childhood there) but you DO have to figure your way around polite. And the variations of tone and how they affect “I’ll get right on that.”

    2. If I’d answered an adult without using “yes, sir” or “no, ma’am” when I was in elementary school I would have gotten hail columbia for being disrespectful. And that was in responding to anglo, hispanic, black or nisei adults at school. (Well, they might correct me quietly, I’d get hail columbia from my father or grandmother.) And the anglos came from California to Oregon to Texas to Michigan to Maine.

      That was in southern California in the late ’50s. I understand things have changed a bit since then.

      1. I think the issue wasn’t the place the adult came from, but the age group of the adult. A certain kind of boomer hated that. I KNEW I was going to hate a teacher when I got two things “Call me–” First name. And “You’ll teach me more than I’ll teach you.”

        1. If I’ll teach you more than you’ll teach me, then obviously I don’t need to be here. Can I go home now? Or at least to the library? That way my time won’t be a complete and utter waste that your statement makes me think it will be.

        2. “I’m not Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Smith is my mother.”
          “If you say so, Mrs. Smith.”


          Maybe there’s a reason I didn’t get along with authority, even though I always test out as “authoritarian”. Coupling “excessive” manners with back-talking — that is, I’m kinda thoughtless and actually TOLD THEM when they were so wrong they couldn’t even see right from where they stood, out of a long standing delusion that folks actually want to be correct instead of feel good– and it all makes sense now….

          (Best one was when a teacher actually pulled the BS move of scolding me for wearing green on Saint Patrick’s day, accusing me of endorsing the Troubles. I pointed out that I am Catholic, and Irish, and she is Catholic and Protestant wearing orange— so she is actually taking a day of well recognized celebration to attack one side of the “Troubles” in support of the side her natural sympathies lay with, followed by a lecture on what the green-white-orange flag stood for. Thank God it was a two teacher class and the other teacher was laughing his rump off.)

          1. ” I pointed out that I am Catholic, and Irish, and she is Catholic and Protestant wearing orange”

            Catholic and Protestant? *scratches head*

        3. I bet those are the same people that say (with a very superior look, too), “oh we would never tell our Mary what to believe or think. We want her to find her own way.”

          Let’s see… you have all of that life experience. She has none. And you think it’s a brilliant idea to have her figure it all out by trial and error? Really? Arrrrggh!!!

    3. Don’t call me Sir, I’m no officer – I couldn’t be my parents were married before I was born

      1. When I got out of the Army, I got a job as a lab tech at a hospital. One of my duties was drawing blood in the ER.

        One of the RNs there complained to my supervisor that I was being disrespectful My offense: I was calling her “ma’am”, which apparently made her feel old.

      1. I have been (and have seen others be) upbraided more than once for daring to use the term ‘ma’am.’ Apparently it’s popular in some segments of NE society to find offense with this horrible word. And I believe it has spread to the Left Coast as well.

        My response to these — persons — is typically to ignore them, walk away as possible, or give them a calculatedly bland stare. My internal dialogue is somewhat less polite.

        It’s much the same as being harangued for holding a door (more than once). Walk away, through the conveniently open door if possible. Ignore the internal dialogue.

        The internal dialogue is a fair reminder of why we have these little courtesies between people in civilized societies. That internal fellow, he ain’t always nice.

  13. I guess I’m going to have to stop joking about my husband beating me.

    Gin, poker, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Carcassonne, Arkam Horror. You name it, he’s beat me at it. My kids too. Oh, I try to give as good as I get, but . . . Yeah, there are nights when we have these free for alls, no telling who’s going to beat who . . .

    But with humor becoming so rare, I’ll just shut up about it.

  14. I found out on the first day of kindergarten that I wouldn’t be learning much in school for a while. I went in expecting to keep going with the reading, writing and arithmetic my mom had been teaching me. And we started out working on coloring inside the lines. I’d been doing that forever. To hear my mom tell it I was mortally insulted.

    I learned definitively in 1st grade that school was going to be more about conformity than exploration and learning. By second grade I learned how much damage a teacher can do to a child. Lasting damage. (insert nasty, nasty words about that — teacher — here. Even nastier words for a certain 5th grade…)

    I was odd and I was on the outside and that had it’s consequences.

    But — walking around with rice-paper skin? Unable to face the least opposition or criticism? Needing to silence anybody that might raise the merest correction? *snort*

    I have seen people surviving in conditions and under social structures that are horrifying. Horrifying, with a complete lack of hyperbole. Death, damage and disfigurement just part of the day to day. Subjugation and abuse with no recourse a reality from birth to death.

    When some twit bemoans their sad state, the horrible conditions of their life, the oppression they face every day, and then they reveal their middle-class American existence, and their college degree, and their paying job…

    I feel nothing but contempt. Complete and unrelieved.

    1. But — walking around with rice-paper skin? Unable to face the least opposition or criticism? Needing to silence anybody that might raise the merest correction? *snort*

      In Filipino, they describe such people as having onion-thin skin (balat-sibuyas) because of the ability to peel off a very thin, transparent layer, and the propensity of onions to induce tears for no reason.

      1. Ooo…I like it! Can I, a pale-heterosexual-person-of-penistude, callously appropriate your culture(al phrase)?

        I promise to use it to broaden my horizons and enrich my life, and I’m told that inevitably lessens someone else…

  15. “I’m often very amused…” – yes, because the alternative to crying (at other people’s grotesqueries) is often laughing. And it’s likely to let you be more productive.
    On another note: for some reason, Americans have largely stopped using the word “harm”. It’s quite useful for distinguishing between “severe discomfort” (hurt) and “actually damaged” (harmed). A lot of the academic terms invented in the last few years seem to be ways of claiming the speaker was harmed by something external, and little more of significance than that.

    1. This cannot be sufficiently mocked. Ridicule piled on top of jeering with a dose of sarcasm to taste.

      The rebound from this idiocy is likely to be shocking for some. Might even be triggery.

    2. Caution: This course contains adult discussions, grades based on the quality of your work, and responsibility. You may be required to read materials you disagree with, and you will lose participation points if your argument against the author’s reasoning is “patriarchy! Victimhood! Able-ism! Heteronormative cisgendered oppression!”

        1. Please tell my where you teach. I need to go to that school.
          I’m also taking this for when I become a teacher.

        1. I didn’t think Germans were allowed to see or read anything about Nazis, so how does sheeeeee know about it?

          Ah, the badthink. It’s everywhere.

  16. Hmmm…


    Man those libtards are really annoying when they come over hear and call us names.

    1. You know, its really not worth my time to go out there and retaliate. But it might be emotionally satisfying to write a program to do so automatically. Imaging if you will a program that scans the web and utilizes keyword or natural language based processing (we’ll just refer to these as “trigger warnings”) to identify leftist nonsense and post an appropriate response. Maybe it could leverage the automated essay writing code that is in the wild. 🙂

      1. They don’t come here, normally — well, a number do, but I’ve long ago decided I don’t let “just name callers” through. They’re not worth it. — but they do take to twitter to call names and fling poo.

        1. You do a great job filtering things here, but I had a broader search range in mind. There’s so many web sites out there that permit comments and the bulk of what you see on them is leftist (or at least, statist) drivel, even if the site isn’t leftist oriented. And too many of us who disagree don’t have time to seek out their ignorance and contest it, leaving unsuspected youngsters and newbies to see mostly a sea of leftist ideas. Leaving the ideas uncontested makes those ideas seem normal to the unsuspecting, something that the unsuspecting should assimilate and emulate. That scares me.

    1. I don’t know, but if that dog had a fabric shade structure in the yard, that would be a Trigger Awning.

      1. Or if he looked at you with those sad, sad puppy eyes and low-crawled over rubbing his chin and jowls on the grass. wouldn’t that be “Trigger fawning”?

        1. Throws carp at Mike and Bob. Notes she needs A LOT OF PEOPLE killed in Liberte seacity. Yes, a lot of people. Michel Volant, and “We only knew him as Bob” for instance.

            1. Better get him fixed, or you may have to deal with Trigger spawning.

              1. Just don’t let anyone with equinophobia watch any Roy Rogers movies. At least not with their own Trigger warnings.

                1. One wonders if his dam’s vet was able to cope with Trigger aborning.

          1. At least I didn’t point out that if Trigger were, instead of a canine, a phosphorescent male bovine, it would instead be a glow-bull awning.

            I do have some restraint.

  17. apparently an article now disappeared accused people who beat girls at games of “rape.” No, seriously, and if I can find the cache, I’ll link it.

    Please find this link.

    In the mean time, I wonder whether competitve races count such as the Boston Marathon. Which, if so, becomes 26.2 miles of racist* gang rape….

    [I guess if the woman comes first it’s empowering though]

    And I’m just talking about the participants, not the cissexist heterosexist abuse heaped upon those unfortunate slaves of the patriarchy who are kept in purdah in Wellesely college and who are apparently forced to line up and seek embraces from sweaty racists* on pain of err derision from their fellow students.

    PS yes that is the same Wellesley where some got their knickers in a twist about a statue of a man in his Y fronts –

    *people who run races are racists, no?

        1. Also, having read the article, the writer seems to have been a boy who was violently raped, and whose trigger is the word rape, as used in MMO/PVP/ FPS parlance. Included is the special bit about whimpering about the new Tomb Raider ‘rape’ scene (which it wasn’t), Game of Thrones (why the HELL are you watching that if you are triggered by depictions and scenes and mentions of rape?) and a plea that the word ‘rape’ shouldn’t be used the way it is, because ‘it might hurt some people who really were raped.’

          In other words, another version of the trigger warning, and ‘please censor yourself for my sake.’

          What does it make then of the people who refuse to allow themselves to be defined in entirety by their rape (or other trauma)?

          1. What does it make then of the people who refuse to allow themselves to be defined in entirety by their rape (or other trauma)?

            It makes them insignificant. If it’s not worn on your sleeve, and used to beat those about you liberally for their daring to exist in your special story, then it must not have been traumatic for you like it was for… *gack!*

            Sorry, I gotta strangle the little dude in my head who’s even capable of piling that BS so high. My hard won, painstakingly constructed and constantly nurtured empathy sometimes seems to be my only connection to the wider human race. And these mewling twits are threatening to drown that very empathy in contempt. Rotted spines and putrefying brains, the lot of ’em.

          2. It means we don’t count. Because our trauma/suffering/pain obviously wasn’t as great as theirs, so we can’t understand and (at worst) we weren’t really assaulted-assaulted. *spit*

    1. “Bother,” said Pooh, charging the plasgun with an ommmmminous hummmmm….

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