Yeah, It Is Crazy

You probably already know this, but it is kind of important to reiterate it, because you know how things are, but no, it’s not you. It’s them.

And by them in this case you should understand the broad system of “normal life”, of institutions and…. Structures? I’m looking for a word that subsumes everything from your local grocery store, to your local bank, from your church to your local zoo. These are not institutions, right? These are just things that support life. And yep, they’ve all lost the plot. They’re all running around with their pants on their heads making funky rabbit noises.

First a confession: No, none of this is new. But yes, it’s never been this disconnected from reality on this level.

Second another confession: I used to laugh at Heinlein’s theory of “semantic insanity” when it came to the “crazy years” in his future world history. Mostly because I was young and stupid, and thought he was being outre as to meanings.

But no, he was largely right. The divorce of words from their plain and traditional meanings, and the accruing of new meanings, some of which are invented by a particular group who refuses to believe that this has nothing to do with what the word means to the rest of the world can only be described as outright insanity.

If you add to it the bizarre belief (on the left, really) that the rest of the population is communicating in an arcane code, you see how none of this makes any sense and never did.

So, let’s being at the beginning. Back when I was taking linguistics, (yes, we had to chisel the words on rocks with slightly harder rocks, and light the caves with mammoth grease so we could see to chisel, and yes, I’ve slept many times since then, and besides I learned linguistics in Portuguese, so the lingo is probably all wrong. Deal) we were taught denotative* and connotative* meanings. And yes, also that meanings of words change over time (DUH.)

For instance you can say “dog” and denote the animal we’re all familiar with, from Malamute to Poodle. (Though what you actually “see” is the symbol for dog, which can mean all of those, which is why for any aspiring writers out there, it’s better to say chihuahua than “dog.” Mostly because what your readers internalized as dog might be a malamute, and that’s what they see in their heads. Which is going to catch them surprise when the creature yaps and jumps on the character’s lap in the next line.)

On the other hand, when we say “dog” depending on the culture, it can mean anything from treachery or baseness to faithfulness and devotion. “He looked at her with dog like eyes” would therefore mean something completely different if the culture’s experience is a pampered animal, practically part of the family who will die to defend you, even if he’s 5 pounds of yap and claws, or an animal who is almost a wolf, feral, living wild, and spying any chance to grab a morsel from your fireside. (As a rule, cultures with the first view are far more desirable to live in. And not just because food tends to be more abundant, but because it’s more likely good won’t be returned with bad. Don’t believe me? Look at history.) That’s the denotation, the meaning that is understood and caught in the air, as it were. It is by the way mostly instinctive, and comes at you without having to think about it, depending on context.

And yep, meaning changes with time. For instance, Matrona in Portuguese refers not to a married woman of virtue, as the Roman Matron, but to a slovenly and careless housekeeper. It probably changed due to ironic humor. “Oh, she’s a pattern matron,that one. The beds not made and the children all have lice.” If it was used often enough, the kids might not have realized it was ironic.

Or it could have changed because stranded matrons, at the fall of the empire, either enslaved by the conquerors or having lost their slaves, had no clue how to keep house.

More importantly, I only recently realized that the word “Tosco/a” in Portuguese came from the Roman slang/diminutive for Etruscan (same place we get Tuscany.) This is of some interest — though not burning — since if I look at frescos, it’s easy to see I have “etruscan features” (or to be more exact mouth, mostly.) Well, tosco/a means rudimentary or primitive (which makes sense) and as a connotation “insane or goofy” which does not. (I believe it was either acquired by aggregation with tolo which means crazy, or because sometimes people who do crude and hasty work are goofy or crazy.

This is all normal language, and normal meanings.

So…. How do we arrive at semantic insanity?

Well…. by dissociating words from their plain meanings for a group of people or for the whole population.

See some of my examples above: this is not unusual when a population is conquered. The new language of the conquerors, and their meanings for the things happening around them are superimposed on the language of the conquered.

It takes a better person than I to explain that in detail, and at any rate, I never studied that specialized process. In fact, I don’t know if there is a sub-specialty to study that process in meanings, not just sounds. It should exist, mind you, but study of linguistics is one of those things that is treated like a soft science instead of a hard one, and has therefore got infected with …. insanity.

Let’s just say that language — as a rule — changes slowly and organically. It only changes relatively fast when there’s an invasion, and the former language is sternly suppressed.

Even then it’s not likely to be instant or change by decree. It can’t. The brain structures that acquire language do so before full maturation of the brain.

Yes, this is why I still have an accent. Whatever Bette Middler thinks (for given meanings of the word) having an accent after decades of speaking/being fluent in a language is not some sign of intellectual failing (nor even moral failing.) It is simply that the sounds you’re able to make and/or hear are set by the time you’re five. They’re more plastic than we thought, just as the brain structures for shifting what’s your native language seem to be more plastic, at least in certain individuals (Contra Maria Montessori’s belief that you could never learn a language after 3 and have it be your “native” language, I have reason to believe my brain has replaced Portuguese with English. I will give you that changing countries and working in a field that uses language might make me somewhat of an exception. But when afflicted with an issue that was making me “lose” language, I lost all the others including largely Portuguese before English was touched. No, I don’t know if anyone has studied this.) If Dan and I had understood each other at 18 and I’d stayed here instead of going back for college, it’s entirely possible I’d now have lost my accent. OTOH despite the fact that I’ve now spoken English almost exclusively for 1 and 1/3 times the years I spoke Portuguese as my primary language, I still pray and do multiplication tables in Portuguese. (Counting has shifted to English in the last year or so. No idea why.)

So when you have an entire captive culture, you’re not going to change language instantly. For one if the grammatical structures are very different, they will cross-polinate, aggregate, and you end up with some form of patois. The distance from the conquering land and how many conquerors are present will dictate whether their children even speak the same language their parents did, or the patois of the defeated, perhaps with a little more knowledge of the original tongue than the children of the defeated. In three to four generations, it all comes out in the wash, and you have either a new dialect or a new language, depending on how hard it was hit.

I’ve said in the past that the left behaves more like a conquering culture. They are in fact an occupying culture, having taken over the institutions of learning and eradicating the history and culture of the defeated (or in this case infested) culture, in favor of their own. Since this happened around the end of WWII, it is not in any way a new thing.

The newer thing is the destruction of our language. It might also be new in the historical sense, because they’re not proffering a new language: they’re taking the meanings of our language and associating other meanings, often either pejorative, or a result of their paranoia. (It’s hard to be a conqueror when you never conquered anything. You just infiltrated it. And it’s particularly hard when people laugh at you. Which btw, probably explains a lot of the riots and crazy cakes on the streets. They’re sure what they were taught is not only true, but makes them “smarter” than those who believe the unsullied history and facts before the infiltration. They were told/signaled that believing this would bring them recognition and power, not massive student loans and unemployment. And they keep hitting that button and demanding the pellet. And they’re angry.)

If you tell them the words don’t mean what they think they mean they yell at you that the meaning of words change. Which is true, just not the way they say. (And we’re not at home to claims that Shakespeare used “they” in the singular. Shakespeare did a lot of things to make rhythm and rhyme, as do all poets. Taking those as pattern for normal language use will drive you insane. Or even Shanananana and Doobiedoobiedooh.)

But to make things worse, their alteration of the language is not into a new language with set meanings, but into an insane wilderness of shifting meanings, which respond to nothing but internal paranoia.

You see, they are absolutely sure we’re communicating behind their backs. We have to be, because, you know, if we weren’t how could we all doubt them in the exact same way?

Hence the whole concept of “dog whistles.” These deranged, unmedicated paranoiacs driving the concept, believe that we all somehow get together and communicate a code. Anyone with any military or covert experience, or who played as such as kids, know this makes no sense for millions of people.

No, seriously. Getting the six kids I played spy with to remember a code was hard enough.

But they believe we somehow communicate these codes, or learned them at our mother’s knee or something. Even those of us whose mothers speak a different language. Oh, I probably shouldn’t be surprised. These are after all the same people who believe men over history conspired to keep women down and erase women warriors from history. Because, you know, all men meet at ten pm down at the male lodge to coordinate plans.

Part of this is actually an illuminating look into how they work. (And how they got so crazy.)

For instance if I write the sentence “poor people benefit more from being made to work for whatever poverty relief is available than from simply being handed money” they will immediately claim it is racist.

How can it be racist, you ask, when no races are mentioned? Well the cue is in the things they say without realizing they’re massively racist, in which they associate non-white with poor. While that might be true in certain parts of the country, it is certainly not true everywhere. And it isn’t ALWAYS true. The image of the poor in my head is actually the people who lived next to us in the village, had a kid a year and treated them all as stray dogs, thrown into the street to find food. Most of the money going into the house — probably insufficient at any rate — was used for alcohol. So, giving them relief without at least requiring they go clean was probably a fool’s errand. Which, yes, doubtless, informed my beliefs. Though I’ve seen nothing much to counter them when it comes to chronic poverty.

Their race was exactly the same as the rest of the village, though honestly like a lot of the underclass in Portugal they ran to lighter haired/eyed. (Blond I would have said, but trust me, in the limited gene pool it’s a penguin sex thing. “Only they would know the difference.”) Also “poor” was a matter of how they used what they had, since money in the village was almost optional and most people grew their own food in addition to trading services for food or whatever. Or didn’t. My family mostly did. Theirs mostly didn’t.

Anyway, that is my early imprinting of “poor” So when I say something like that I mean “the poor” either in goods or in their use of them but the idiot left hears “other races.”

This was abundantly illustrated by Joe Biden saying “Poor children are just as smart as white children.” And btw, if there’s is a difference in performance across races I believe it is because of this nonsense. It is not good for people to have it assumed that they are being held down against their will, that it is their destiny to be poor and under-perform and that there is no escape.

That bizarre connotation in the left’s head, and the fact they control schooling is 99% of what is holding minorities down. Not systemic racism in the sense the left talks about it, but the left’s systemic racism, infecting their language, their assumptions and the institutions and processes they control.

So in other words, their semantic insanity is creating the thing they claim to be trying to fix.

The covidiocy shouldn’t surprise me in this environment. Not when by the 90s most “how to write books” were infected with “political correctness” (A horrible Maoist concept and aobut as effective as backyard steel furnaces.) and went on about how to avoid “sexism” in your writing, by you know, refusing to use words like mail man or cleaning lady. As if by changing the word it changed the fact that most of those professions tend in fact to be filled by people of those sexes. (More outrageous was the elimination of “actress.” Sorry, but acting is a physical medium and what physical form you have does influence it. Authoress by contrast had dropped out of the language organically, once female writers stopped being a novelty. Using it was either in fun or to tag the speaker as really old fashioned.)

When you can’t discuss things in terms that are universally understood you get things like the covidiocy, and the destruction of Western civilization in response to a different form of the common cold.

Because the media can use terms that spin people up, without having to EVER explain what they mean by them. It’s really easy to whip up panic with exaggerated language, when people haven’t been taught to ask things like “But what do “new cases”mean, precisely?”

And it’s — if you notice a diminution in traffic recently — what can cause this blog to be denounced as “racist”, “promoting hatred” and “calling for violence,” and shadow banned by internet providers.

This after a week in which race was not mentioned — though one of the usual circle of blogs calling for violence and almost certainly financed by enemies of the US linked one of my articles and a bunch of common internet shit gibbons came over to call me and commenters various racist slurs in the comments. They were not approved, of course. Not even because of the slurs, or because they are almost transparently in the service of our enemies, but because they’re extremely boring, the pattern of the comment being “slur racist or not followed by threat of violence.” — and in which I called for calm and for at least giving the electoral process a chance so we might perhaps AVOID violence.

Also during week in which, on the one personal post, I pointed out that I have trouble hating and can’t really say I hate anyone. In my personal interactions with people, I usually find excuses for them. And with people like politicians and common internet shit gibbons, hating them is like hating a snake for being a snake. They are what they are, and hating them for it is pointless.

Anyway, in the long run the left cannot remake the language or keep control of it. Human language will not change in ways that are contrary to reality. Yes, you can teach kids that “piss” means “banana pudding” but over time the connotation will simply change. What emerges will be a new patois, granted, but it won’t stay what they wish.

This btw explains how “poor” became “disadvantaged” which was supposed to mean it was no fault of their own. But yeah, people don’t buy that. Disadvantaged is now fast acquiring all the denotation of “poor” and will soon mean “shiftless.” Just like vagrant became homeless, and now homeless has all the bad denotations again. Because except for the insane fringes of the left, which have never managed to deprogram from their indoctrination, people tend to believe their lying eyes.

On top of that, the left can’t decide what they want words to mean. Because the heads of the movement are both clinically insane, including paranoiac, and utterly power-hungry, they change words and meanings routinely, and what was okay last week now becomes horrible and a dog whistle.

If conquerors behaved like that, the people would have shrugged and gone back to using their own native language.

So, in the end they cannot win. But yes, they’re going to try. And they’re going to make things very unpleasant for the lot of us while they try. Because you know, it’s impossible to conduct daily life when language is forbidden/violated/made to mean different things.

If there’s one thing worse than being gaslighted, it’s being gaslighted by people who keep changing the story.

So, it’s not you. It’s them.

And they don’t mind utterly destroying every institution. Their semantic insanity extends to not understanding that “natural man” doesn’t mean you can have your soy latte every morning.

It is our very difficult duty to make sure we bring this about and keep civilization despite their efforts. A lot of this starts with circumventing them and ignoring them. This includes laughing at them.

Yes, it is far more difficult when they command so many of the instruments we use for communication. Not because they created them, but because they infected the mechanisms. Which happened because by and large they’re far more social and collectivist. (It figures.)

But hey, if it were easy it wouldn’t need us, right?

If I say that yes, there might very well be violence — there already is violence, but I mean violence might get met with violence — and it might be widespread, though it’s more likely to be “eruptions” i.e. localized and limited in time, am I promoting violence? In whose mind? Except of course the clinically insane?

Looking at the sky and saying “There might be rain later” is only calling for rain if you’re an idiot.

At any rate, we don’t have a good enough umbrella should it turn into a deluge. And there is really no way to build an ark, much less gather two of anything we wish to keep. Should that come, we’re as pocked as the idiots who believe they can all live like noble savages.

So fight semantic insanity. Using words according to their meanings is not “rude.” It’s what we must do to survive as a society.

And as for those who keep trying to change the language by decree, tell them they’re not conquerors, we’re not occupied, and we have not yet begun to fight.

* This post has been edited. Normally I wouldn’t have bothered correcting the text. But in a post on semantics, I SHOULD NOT have reversed denotation and connotation. Unfortunately, the new incarnation of WP no longer lets me do strike through text to indicate correction. ARGH.
They’re not even specialized terms. I’ve just been editing a lot, and not sleeping much, and brain glitched. Sorry.

316 thoughts on “Yeah, It Is Crazy

      1. Nope and Wonko is insane. 😈

        Oh, I looked him up so I know the individual in question. 😉

  1. I wonder if part of what’s driving them into semantic insanity is the collision between philosophies that argue there is no such thing as fundamental truths, with a reality that seems to insist that there are?

    Of you believe that there are no foundational truths, I could see how running into the effects of one would convince people that everyone not them must be in some sort of giant conspiracy. After all, how else could they *all* come to the idea that the sun rises in the east?

    1. It started with the fall of the USSR. Reality disappointed them and they’ve been trying to create a new one since. But none of them even knows what reality looks like, which makes it difficult.

      1. They took successive hits through the period from the end of the Vietnam War through the collapse of the USSR. THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO was published in 1973, and an English translation in 1974 made it hard for them to ignore (gods know they tried), The ‘Killing Fields’ genocide was exposed in 1978-79, and attempt to somehow blame it on the US were never very convincing, even to the Left. The Election of Reagan was a bitter blow. And, of course, the fall of The Berlin Wall and subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union was a real kick in the fork. By Bubba Clinton’s first term, they were well off kilter and have never really touched reality since.

  2. Myself, I think condescension towards anyone spouting leftist nonsense is indicated. I’m here using “condescension” in this sense:

    The act of condescending; the act of voluntarily stooping or inclining to an equality with an inferior; a waiving of claims due to one’s rank or position; affability on the part of a superior; complaisance.

    When we laugh at them or tell them they’re adorable when they puff themselves up and pretend to be all tough and serious, and they then call us condescending and arrogant (“Marked by or arising from a feeling or assumption of one’s superiority toward others”), our proper rejoinder should be, “OF COURSE we’re condescending toward you; it’s the only way we can talk to you. And of course we’re arrogant toward you when you spew such obvious and unbelievable nonsense as you chant constantly; you only illustrate your inferiority to normal people.”

    1. OF COURSE we’re condescending toward you; it’s the only way we can talk to you. And of course we’re arrogant toward you …

      “I’m just British, and well, you’re not”

    1. Actually, the code is called reality. This is why they think that we conspire to all say the same thing. They do not have the concept of reality, so we must be meeting to make it up instead of just seeing what is there.

      1. Bit of both, I expect. Yes, they have given up on reality, but they have also eschewed actual language for an ever-shifting jargon. Moreover they have incorporated so many obsessions into their shared fantasy, with so many variations on the core jargon, that they are having difficulty communicating with each-other.

        1. Stipulative definitions being enforced is the problem. One can stipulate oneself into opposite land and then All things are possible because words have lost their meaning.

          I remember seeing someone years ago on the TV saying black people can’t be racist only prejudiced. I thought that was absurd. Now of course it’s on its way to becoming the law of the land. It seems to have started in an Article in the Socialist Worker back in the 80’s

          It’s a very Marxist thing and, no surprise, a thing of classrooms.

          As our hostess says, the left are not the masters unless we allow the to be. They are parasites on a healthy body. To me, Trump’s great virtue is not accepting their frame of reference in language, thinking, or act. The official opposition in DC has swallowed the whole damned thing, which is why they’re so useless.

          1. When I was growing up in Hawaii, back before statehood, it was well known that Samoans were legally incapable of murder. Since they could not plan ahead, the worst they could do was manslaughter.

  3. The words that I use for my internal example of “changing the word doesn’t remove the stigma” are the various words that have been chosen over the decades to mean “very not smart”. These days, I think the phrase is “mentally incompetent”. But just over the last several decades, there have probably been close to a dozen different terms. In each case, a new term is picked to remove the stigma associated with the old words. The new term gets picked up and used as the powers that be want, but that just means that it quickly permeates culture. And in just a few years, kids are using it as an epithet on the playground. It’s at that point when the powes that be decide that they need to come up with a new term to describe the exact same thing.

    1. And some of that is driven by their obsessive need to be Select. No matter what, They mustn’t be Bourgeois, so if a term they invented begins to be used by The Commoners, then They must invent a new one.

    2. “Special.” As in “rides the short bus.” I remember when “special” became a school-yard pejorative back in the late 1980s. (There’s also the Southern matron “special,” which predates school-yard, and is always said with a slight hesitation before the word. It ranks down there with “nice” as not-a-compliment.)

  4. I have a very strong suspicion that the use of “homeless” wasn’t just part of the cycle of euphemization.

    Rather, the usual suspects noticed that if they deliberately euphemized “vagrant/bum” as “homeless”, then they could inflate the statistics with people who weren’t bums, but who were temporarily unhoused due to loss of job, moving, etc. So we got screaming headlines about “100,000 homeless!!!” (to invent some numbers for sake of an example) when if you looked at the data about 60,000 of those got a new place to live in a month or two. So they could inflate the “problem” that they were agitating for money to “solve” (i.e. graft), and most people would never know the difference.

    The same thing happened with “sexual assault”. The term started back in the ’70s as the TV-news-friendly euphemism for “forcible rape”. But “assault” by itself means “unwanted physical harm or contact or threat of same”, so if activists used that definition and tacked on “sexual” as the motive, they could claim that a college boy touching a girl’s butt was a “sexual” “assault”. They weren’t lying precisely, but now they could massively inflate the numbers for “sexual assault” knowing full well that the public — conditioned by their understanding of the old euphemism — would think that meant “epidemic of rape on campus”, and would give kudos and money and power to the people who created that sleight-of-hand.

    1. And they expanded it even further to “sexual assault or harassment” for poundmetoo. -_-

      “Four out of five women will experience sexual assault or harassment at some point,” the Very Serious Ad will say, “including rape, and unwanted touching.” And I raise my eyebrow and go “That few?” Like, srs.

      (Not as bad as the ad I kept hearing for a while saying however many Afghan women underwent rape, kidnapping(I think?), or “other human rights violations.” And if you want that sentence to mean a blessed thing… *sigh*)

      1. How dare you completely ignore the traumatic experience of undergoing The Male Gaze!

        That’s even worse than lascivious looks.

        1. traumatic experience of undergoing The Male Gaze!

          Is that the Gaze where they look right through you because you have a face like a boot, the figure of a demented pear, or are a gimpy old coot? Or is it the one where they look at you as if they *actually* thought they had a shot at sexual congress with you while being a fat old loser dude?

          I keep losing track.

          1. It depends on the male. Some guys, it is the look that happens when he is pondering the possible effect of Sue Storm Richards placing one of her force field bubbles in Dr. Doom’s carotid artery and expanding it — while just happening to have his eyes pointed toward a gal’s bust. Some guys it is the look they get while wondering what happens if her brother farts while in Human Torch form … while his eyes happen to be pointed toward some woman’s ankle.

            And yes, sometimes a guy looking at a gal’s bust is mentally undressing her, trying to figure out the construction of her bra and how it could be improved.

          2. Embrace the power of AND! Plus one or two more because they can’t leave any out by which a man can escape their abuse.

            1. Ugly, self-confident, and pleasant gets more favorable male attention than your SJW with more natural endowments. Indeed, it is possible that SJW women exist simply to make men understand the power of inner beauty, vs. SJW inner ugly making outer beauty into outer ugly, within six months.

    2. One that pets my peeve is ‘Alcohol-related Motor Vehicle Accident’. Most people will hear that and think, ‘drunk driving crash’, and indeed that is included in the A-RMVA satistics. But so is the incident in which one gets into a fender bender while your buddy is sleeping one off in the back seat, or when the sorry sloshed sap stumbles into the street too close for completely sober you to stop before hitting him. Etc., etc., et ad nauseam cetera.

      1. But so is the incident in which one gets into a fender bender while your buddy is sleeping one off in the back seat, or when the sorry sloshed sap stumbles into the street too close for completely sober you to stop before hitting him.

        Last time I looked at the stats, they had started including being hit by a bicycle when you are drunk as an alcohol related traffic accident, and adding in fatalities where there’d been an accident involved brought fatalities up.
        The raw numbers had been dropping since the 70s, you see…..

      2. I recall reading, somewhere, that the shift from BAC .15 to .08 was fatally flawed in that the devices used to test BAC (breathalyzers and such) were not sufficiently accurate to measure that low. There has apparently been a long running legal battle to make the government and/or the companies that make the things reveal details of their functions and calibration, with both governments and the companies fighting bitterly to keep that from happening. Maybe there’s nothing to it, but OTOH, maybe the whole thing is a hollow wreck.

        It’s nothing much to me personally. I don’t drink (gout, not moral superiority).

        1. Re that: Yeah, the legal limit for being a drunk driver drops from .15 to .08 BAC. MADD press release screams MORE PEOPLE DRIVING DRUNK!

        2. Kinda sorta related to BAC meters: I wonder what they’re going to use to determine when you’re too stoned to drive, what with all the legalization going on. The governmental debates about this are going to be EPICALLY BORING.

    3. To the homeless definition used for stats. I was thinking about this just the other day. Because I keep hearing stories of people who “experienced homelessness” for some certain period of their lives. Then when you hear the entire story, it’s that they were couch-surfing at friend’s places for a few months. By that measure, I can claim I “experienced homelessness” for a part of one summer in college. I was couch-surfing until the prof for whom some of us were house-sitting over the summer, left for his summer home. There was about a 2 month gap between the end of our semester and when the family left. Sadly, I never considered myself homeless…I missed out on getting all my benefits! Hey! Wait!

      Sigh.

      1. I was “homeless” several times.

        There were periods of unemployment where I had to move back into my parents home.

        I wasn’t living in my “home” (as in an apartment that I paid for or a house that I was renting).

        I was living in “somebody else’s house”.

        I was so glad when it was decided that I could get Social Security Disability.

        I was still living in “their” house but I had money of my own which I could use to help out with the bills.

        1. Oh, I forgot about that! About two years after I graduated from college, I lived with my parents for a couple of months. That’s two times I’ve experienced homelessness! Whur’s mah money?

          1. I was “homeless” when I moved to Texas. BIL had me working from 5:30am to 4-5-6 or later pm 6 days a week, and for some reason finding a rental when everyone is open from 8-5 m-f is a bit rough when you finish “early” at 4:30 and have a 2 hour drive to get back into town. I finally got a place then had to inform him moving my stuff from Louisiana wasn’t an afternoon job and a Saturday and a Monday were being used to get my schtuph.
            to some forms of the definition I was “homeless” the 20 years I lived in Louisiana

            1. ’81/’82 we had a co-worker friend who was “homeless”. ’81 was the year everyone hired in ’79 only worked 5 months, around 150 people were laid off, a lot of people with 10 or more years on the job. The co-worker gave up his apartment & stored his stuff in our basement family room. He then couch surfed various places while he looked for work. Ended up working for a different outfit, same job, in Medford Oregon spring of ’82. Hubby got on with them too. I headed down to look for housing (OMG NOOOOOOOOOO), not fun when you have a German Shepard and 4 cats. Also, we were going to have to sell our house. Hubby got hired back by the old outfit (because people ahead of him were miffed they got laid off after 10 years that they didn’t go back, whatever). He was the last one hired back. Employee count went from 279 to 180 …

      2. Heck, on that basis, I can claim to have “experienced” homelessness every time I did a permanent change of station. (PCS in mil-speak) Seriously, I was without a “home” for weeks at a time, between the time that my personal household goods were collected from one rental, until delivered, weeks or months later, when I had procured another rental unit to situate them in.
        Me to my daughter: “Yes, we have a home, sweetie – we just park it in different places!”
        To the casual parties asking , “Where are ya’ll from?” Me: “Originally, or this week?”

      3. I was “Homeless” most of one summer, until I was able to rent a room from a local. The housing just wasn’t there for seasonal help that last summer (also convinced me to change Districts). In turn I “couched” surfed: 2 weeks at the old (condemned) seasonal bunkhouse. Two weeks in (folks) old canvas tent in someone’s backyard, technically I paid for the privilege of using the house shower/bathroom and space in the extra refrigerator. That stopped when their well started being limited. Back to the seasonal bunkhouse.

        The spring before I was “homeless” during classes. Technically I was living at home (parents) because I couldn’t get housing for college, 40 mile commute. Then I wrecked my car & I had no transportation. So friends let me stay at their place during the week. Once the car was replaced, I still stayed with them a few nights rather than commute everyday. They did get paid.

        “Sadly, I never considered myself homeless…I missed out on getting all my benefits! Hey! Wait!”

        #MeToo!

        1. I remember a story alleging that one of the first “homeless advocates,” was asked how many homeless there were and since he had no idea, he threw out the first number he thought of. Which is why we had “7,000,000 homeless! ” during the Reagan Administration.

      4. Michael Flynn was homeless as a child. And didn’t even realize. He thought that they were just living at their grandparents’

  5. I find advertising quite useful here–that is, you’ve got a whole field widely accepted as being untrustworthy and full of lies, and yet disallowed from actually *lying* to you. So you get to ask–what do they *mean* when they say top brand? Why does it matter if it’s the best mid-range widget in Pen and Quill magazine–are you familiar with that publication? What the heck is an EcoBoost, and does it matter that they’re the only manufacturer that uses it?

    And then, well… apply these same principals to the news. Or speeches. Or memes.

    It gets obvious *fast* when the words don’t mean anything….

    …not that I’ve been able to convince anyone else this way yet, but hope springs eternal. Useful framework for my own processes, anyway.

    1. I remember when I learned that “Retsyn” — the ingredient that made Certs unique — was merely the manufacturer’s trademarked brand of vegetable oil.

      OTOH, Brawndo has electrolytes!

  6. I am pretty certain that the fury of the BLM partisans and the angry campus activists of color are because they were deeply and hideously disappointed by Barry Obama. Here they must have assumed that after his election, Black Americans had arrived … but he actually did diddly-squat for them, other than make them feel good about themselves. They looked around at the so-called political Black leadership (Like Mad Maxine Walters and the rest of the Congressional Black Caucus) and it must have begun to dawn on a good number of Black Americans that all their so-called leaders had done was to enrich themselves. Their own lives had not gotten any better at all. All that affirmative action did for college-aged Black kids was send to top-tier schools where they couldn’t even begin to compete. All that half a century of welfare has done has been to wreck Black families. Urban thug culture has damaged any potential that a lot of Black kids might have had. So they look around, realizing how they have been used, screwed and abused … and whose’ fault is it? Simpler to displace that anger, and aim it outwards at the larger society.

    1. From what I’ve seen, only a fairly small slice of the BLM rioters have actually been black. Most of them seem to be the vanilla ISIS crew instead. That said, that crew does consist largely of a population that has been sold a bill of sale it’s entire life, and is seriously looking at the prospect of going from upper class to homeless vagrants in less than the span of a generation, and have no idea why, so a certain amount of envious rage should be anticipated from them.

      1. If they would turn just a little of that rage against the educational system that charged the lots of money for degrees of varying uselessness, I would have much more sympathy for them.

        I grew up in Academia, or at least on its fringes. I was shielded from a good deal of its growing idiocy by the fact that my Father was a Professor AND an 18th Century Liberal. However, I got to watch the proliferation of ‘studies’ programs that were divorced from History because they were even more dung-filled than Progressive poisoned History. I made the mistake of getting into a nearly as useless program, and dropped out in a year less because I was smart than because I was lucky.

        But society has told high school kids for generations that they have to Get A Degree, and the scam artists in higher education are happy to come up with fascinating hogwash to put bottoms on seats, and keep the gravy train rolling along. I keep bringing him up, but that poor shmoo from the Occupy protests who owed $30k for his Masters degree in Puppetry stuck in my mind and my craw. He was so brainwashed by your gotta get a degree that it apparently never occurred to him to hitchhike out to LA and get a job running errands for Jim Henson Studios, and work his way in from the side. That USED to be one of the ways everyone knew about Getting Into Show Biz. I bet it still works, too.

        My Father knew he was a luxury good, and was a little astonished at the growth of his compensation. Far too many of his colleagues and their younger converts believe that This Is How It Always Will Be. Higher Education is due for a big shake-up, and I kinda wonder what’s going to be standing at the end.

        And that’s running in parallel to the Fascist Left political idiocy that festers on most campuses.

        1. Back in the 90s when I worked in the auto industry, I was for a while in the foundry that made the engine blocks for all GM and quite a few Chrysler engines. We had an apprentice program, four years working, (making union wages mind you) and you had a journeyman toolmaker ticket, and an Associate degree in IE. Our journeyman toolmakers AVERAGED over $100K a year – in 1995! We could not keep the program filled. Interested, qualified high school seniors (good math skills required) were routinely talked out of signing up by high school guidance councilors. “You will never get anywhere without a degree”. This by people whose degree got them less then half of what these kids could be making with no debt, long before the college grads had paid off their loans.

          1. Log Scaler’s until 2000’s were required to have a Forestry degree (Associate or Bachelor), and be at least 21 years old (don’t know why the age requirement). By the late ’80s into the ’90s that degree requirement essentially meant that only with Bachelor degree because the Forestry Associate programs had disappeared (in the PNW at least & since this job type is only found in the PNW …). Pay has dropped accordingly (pay is demand based, not education required based).

            Now the degree requirement has been dropped. Don’t know why. Degree supposedly insured knowing species identification, cruising/log scaling calculations, grading, practices, and wood rot identification by sight. (Not getting enough candidates that way now?) Company just had to further refine in training.

            These days they won’t see anything other than 2nd growth Douglas Fir, Hemlock, or Alder. Maybe a Spruce or Cedar, occasionally. They won’t see a #1 mill or anything peeler quality. Odds are defects are limited to logging breakage, which should have been removed before showing up in the log yard. Determining E VS W side scale is a matter of correct setting on the computer, which then directs based on the setting.

          2. We could not keep the program filled. Interested, qualified high school seniors (good math skills required) were routinely talked out of signing up by high school guidance councilors. “You will never get anywhere without a degree”.

            I was a failure, a waste of my intelligence, and a traitor to my sex…for going into the Navy in Aviation Electronics.

            This was after I’d already been given the same spiel for saying that what I wanted to be in life was a good mom. (Not an acceptable goal.)

            *grumbles* My parents supported me when I basically told the…individuals… to shove it, but damn I wish they’d done a bit more proactive parenting.

            1. Oh, I was a sex traitor for not going into something with math and engineering. Or something. Nobody who actually knew me wanted me going into anything electronic or mechanical, or requiring much in the way of physical dexterity, so I ignored them and didn’t really pay attention to them. (Sorta like most of my math classes, actually.)

              For my sins, I now have to do a lot of mechanical fiddly stuff at work. And volume estimation. And pretty much everything else I’m not good at. But now I substitute bruises and experience for lack of basic aptitude.

          3. … degree got them less then half of what these kids could be making with no debt, long before the college grads had paid off their loans.

            People often fail to grasp the concept of opportunity cost as a college expense: you could have been earning a paycheck while accumulating skills and seniority instead of learning to parrot bulldreck. Over four or more years, that adds up.

            College, of course, costs far more than mere tuition. Student activity fees, texts and various associated costs (e.g., lab fees) can easily double the bill — and that’s before you add in the premium for livig in a dorm and having to buy the meal plan.

            But the opportunity cost is great if you go into a trade rather than learning to ask, “Do you want room for milk?”

      2. And most of the blue-checkmarked dancing bears are… How shall I put this? I have family darker than these people and none of us considers ourselves black.

        I still can’t get over that Colin Kaperwhatsit is supposed to be black. I was mentally picturing a Marshawn Lynch until I finally saw a picture of this guy.

        Bunch of grifters.

        1. Marshawn Lynch!!

          THAT is the Seahawk with decent brains– thank you, I have been trying to remember his name for the last several days, ever since RushBabe49 posted a picture of a…uh, unusual…house, and I was finding something nice to say about the Seahawks.

          (AKA “Beast Mode,” AKA “I am here because I contractually obligated” to the presser. Someone gave him GOOD advice about how they will want to destroy him, given a chance.)

          ***********

          For Kappa dude– I honestly can’t picture his face anymore, someone shared a meme about how he’s a real life Al Bundy and now I swear I can only “see” Al Bundy with one of those white-guy ‘fros.

    2. Even worse, after Obama left office, #orangemanbad’s policies actually improved things for blacks and Hispanics. Talk about cognitive dissonance!

  7. There’s a reason why I hate it when people use language badly-however they use it.

    Communication between people are difficult enough as-is. I just got into an argument online-with a friend, no less-that my enjoying of the pretty girls in KPop makes me a borderline creepy pedophile incel guy. My explanations just seemed to her like I was digging yourself deeper into trouble, and I was annoyed by the instant assumptions made there. And, this was between people that theoretically like each other.

    But, the people we’re fighting and dealing with? It’s all a con job-and the first goal of any good con game is for the mark to start agreeing with the con man, even grudgingly. Once you do, they can lead you around by the nose anywhere.

    Our opposition changes the rules of the game and will keep changing them so that they can win. Because, they only have to win once. Once they do, they’re going to make it harder for anyone to go back, so they can win the next battle.

    Don’t let them use language badly. Fight for every word, even if English has all the purity of a dockside whore (but, she has more integrity than most of our foes).

    1. And this is why a typical abuser’s tactic is to verbally beat you about the head with something – anything – that seems utterly trivial, until you give in and agree to get them to shut up.

      Then they escalate from there.

      1. And, since I’m a boy, finishing the argument with a punch to a girl gets me in trouble.

        I really, really wish I had the sort of girlfriend that if someone female (and it’s usually female) pulled this kind of stunt on me, her response would not be a cat fight. It would be a cat ambush and slaughter.

        1. I’ve been known to go after those commenters on FB…my usual first opening salvo is “C’mon. You can’t tell me you haven’t stared at a nice male ass!” If challenged with “That’s different!” My next line is “How? You’re still sexually objectifying somebody.” It degenerates from there.

          1. I know. You look, I look, we all look and enjoy. And understand the difference between fantasy and reality.

            (Insert 50,000+ word rant about women that obsess over Fifty Shades of Grey, Twilight, or yaoi hentai yet complain about my fantasies.)

            1. Oh, I admit that my fantasy life is MOST unwholesome. But I keep it to myself. As for porn, I ask, how would driving it underground do anything other than remove what protections exist for the women who do it?

              1. My fantasy life isn’t bad, and I know exactly where it should stay.

                But, this gets into a really nasty theory about feminists that I’ve been stewing in my brain for a while. Especially third/fourth wave feminists, but second wave are probably guilty as well.

                1. Modern Feminism is driven, at least in large part, by the necessity of keeping the idea that women are victims alive, left a lot of feminists be thrown out of ‘work’.

                  1. A POV that I haven’t quite considered-that if they “fixed everything,” they would be out of work and they have no other real skills or abilities.

                    I’ve also thought that quite a few Modern Feminist Women know that they will never have it all, especially sexually (i.e. they want Christian Grey, not most “male feminists” that are actually looking at them). If they can’t have it all, clearly nobody can have anything, so they can be happy with everyone in the same misery they’re in.

                    And, since sexual shaming is the easiest thing to do in female whisper networks…

                    1. I have seen a number of opinion pieces arguing that the main reason that Amy Coney Barrett drives is that she represents the idea that women can have it all, but they cannot get it being harridans.

                    2. A VERY interesting POV idea. If I was to take it further? That ACB’s success has been in cooperating with people, creating a structure of support and allowing them to distribute labor and form.

                      Structures of support do not have as a default setting autocratic or oligarchical, they have to be a level of cooperative. But, to the harridan, cooperation means they lose a level of control, and they need that control-as absolute and total as is possible for humans to have.

                      Seeing ACB there, not doing what they did and winning…the slap in the face is such that you either have to reassess what you did or destroy what hurt you. And, most people will choose “destroy” as their first option, even the destruction of ignorance and dismissal.

                    3. Look, in some times and places, the married women would make sure that the open prostitutes were not getting public honors felt due to married women.

                      What happens with the sexual revolution? Well, all of a sudden ‘loose women’ are no longer to be ostracized. Does that make the ‘enforce conformance to norms’ behavior go away?

                      I submit that it does not.

                      I further submit that non-zero women were damaged by the ‘norms’ of the sexual revolution, and feel a moral obligation to suppress the sex-after-marriage, many children, career-performance-is-not-worth-solitude-in-old-age, traditionally religious women. Even or especially if those women have chosen traditional values in part because they would be damaged by the mores of the sexual revolution.

                      If I were a woman, decent chance that I would be the type to find ‘many sexual partners’ a harmful experience. I’m pretty sure I’m of that type as a man, so…

                    4. You can apply Booker T Washington across racial and gender lines:

                      “There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”
                      ― Booker T. Washington

                    5. Booker T Washington’s statement is one that I keep in mind when watching any kind of person that is in the charity business. I know that if I set up a charity on the scale of March of Dimes or such, it would be “work for a cure, then find the next massively intractable disease and go on from there,” hard-coded into the documents of creation. And, the organization’s purpose is the cause, not raising money for the cause.

                    6. Bob,

                      Regarding prostitutes and norms, I have a couple of thoughts:

                      * The major winners of the ‘Sexual Revolution’ were STDs and sexual predators (not the horrific violent rape kind, just the narcissistic opportunists). One of the major ills of the Gay community is that when the straights started getting over the first heady rush and returning to concepts like ‘lounge lizard’, the Gays didn’t, and many of the low level predators don’t care which sex they prey on, since they are only in a relationship with themselves. I know personally; my Lady’s (thankfully) late Uncle was one. He presented as Gay, but his actually orientation was oxygen thief.

                      * The current ‘Human Trafficking’ hysteria is nothing more than the old, Victorian/Edwardian White Slavery panic with the vin number filed off. And the White Slavery panics were fundamentally about Respectable Women worried that if men could BUY sex, their leverage would be gone. Now apply that to a generation or three of Misandrist (but not necessarily Lesbian) Feminists Who want to control men, and are at least dimly aware that since they have the personality of a weasel on crack, if men don’t need to come to them for sex they’d better just start accumulating cats right now.

                    7. Wait for the days when you can get gynoids and robot sex dolls that do everything a man wants in a female relationship (not just sex, but working emotional comfort, an ideal to reach for and work to, and a reason to be something other than the lowest common denominator), you’re going to see where most women are going to shake out-

                      The dumb women are going to try and stop this, but King Canute trying to stop the sea would have been much more practical. The market will find a way to supply if there’s a demand, and by removing the last vestiges of fear and guilt in going outside of “safe” women, the demand will be larger.

                      The smart women will start trying to figure out how to leverage what things they can do for men and work hard on emphasizing them.

                      The smartest women are going to start working on figuring out how to maximize all of their advantages and develop additional toolsets that gynoids will not have immediate access to.

                    8. On the STD/Gay front, I talked to some old-school gay men (you can admire them for the courage to be different in a time when that was truly dangerous for life and career and personal safety), and read a few of the books of people big in the ’70s and ’80s. Because most STDs at the time were easily curable, having one in the gay community became a badge of honor, not shame. And, because of the lower number of people interested in homosexual relationships, even in larger cities, there was a “take what you can get” attitude…which made it really easy for abusers to get in because they were almost always very superficially charming.

                      Abusers getting into any community is hard to deal with. It’s even harder in “alternate” communities because there’s fewer norms that can keep them out. (See the SF/F fandom, and some incidents lately and locally when the “old guard” of a community left and was replaced by genuine “male feminists”-who used the community as a hunting ground.)

                    9. On the STDs vs HIV issue: they thought they were playing for funsies and learned they were playing for keeps.

                    10. Yeah, this feels like I’m on to something.

                      I imagine I’m female in the sixties. The pill and antibiotics have reduced unwanted pregancy, and disease as reasons not to provide ‘services’ on demand. If I am not a Christian, and trying to fit in socially be showing that, doesn’t this leave me little ‘excuse’ to tell users and predators ‘no’, thus potentially resulting in me being damaged?

                      It would explain the focus on sex ed in schools. The women of that time, who came out of those experiences, might really dislike the idea of little girls growing up without being damaged in any great way. The feminism might not be the motivation, the feminism might be the excuse.

                      If this is true, expect a very nasty hearing; Female senators might be among the more damaged semi-functional women, and might be carrying the strongest grudges.

                      The males of the Kleenexian school of thought on women would have a common interest with these other females, which would explain why they both espouse feminism.

                    11. Hm…that does start sounding right. Especially the sex-ed thing-before that, in most cases, they learned either by watching their parents or similar. Or when they got married. Or by some really BAD dime store novels.

                      And, the hatred of the semi-functional women in power would make sense to me as well. There’s something here, I think-a working hypothesis, at least.

                    12. Sex trafficking is a thing, and very often it is about slavery under the color of “I will find you a good job in America” (or Europe, or the UK). There’s a lot of it going on, it’s not pretty, and it still happens illegally in jurisdictions with legal prostitution and legal bordellos.

                      There were a lot of traveling illegal bordello-semis coming up from Mexico, for example, with kids of both sexes from the waybacks who couldn’t speak English or Spanish, and only knew their tribal languages. Some of them were crippled, and some of them were deaf or blind. They thought they were going to become nannies or farmworkers or work in restaurants, but what really happened is that they got used as prostitutes without getting fed or watered much, and every so often they’d get rid of a body.

                      The bordellos would stop at truckstops and quietly advertise their services. The whole thing was going on for years, until some trucker who thought he was going to have sex with adult women found out he’d been assigned a little kid from close to his native place.

                      There’s also a lot of non-sex trafficking, like the guy from Africa who brought over a lot of remote male relatives to help in his business, but didn’t actually pay them or treat them like they were relatives. Again, they didn’t speak English or have passports, even though they’d come over legally (because their “uncle” had their passports), but the only way the state of Ohio found out about it was that one of the kids figured out how to ask for help.

                      But of course, a lot of SJW women allow the SJW men in their lives to treat them as lower than latrine products, and then they complain about non-SJW men somehow being the oppressors. Because projection.

                    13. Also the sewing “shops” busted in LA when the Trump admin started tracing some of the “kids” who had been released to “relatives” in the US. And the enslaved barely-teen boys on a remote farm in… Arizona?… where last time I heard they’d found several of the bodies, were looking for more, but those who were alive when they got there were still alive. Also “released to family.”

                      ‘s how they found out about the “you will tell the Americans that is your cousin picking you up, or your family is dead” tactic being used by the coyotes bringing in illegals. Has been known to be used by the cartels for drug smuggling for years. (“Plata o plomo”– silver or lead, it’s an upgraded carrot and stick. With the illegals they find out that the carrot is a lie.)

                      Thank you; I was having trouble organizing a reasonable response.
                      There was a recent attempt to create a hysteria about kidnapped-American-kids type human trafficking, which fell apart when there was that big bust of, what was it, 35 kids who were saved? In the big, yearly child pr0n investigation/strike. Plus, most of the human trafficking is the kind you point out.

                    14. Yes, but most feminists don’t think those women…well, count. These abused people can’t do anything for them, even offer things for great photo-ops. Most of them want to come to America in some way or form, or they had no other option in where they were from and this was it for them.

                      (It is an organized criminal enterprise, but not the massive global conspiracy thing that I think some activists create to be able to easily dismiss the problem or use it as an excuse to bash on people.)

                    15. The sad thing is that it turned out that a couple of the sex-trafficked girls and boys who were recovered in the big rescue operations in various states this summer were actually sold into prostitution by their parents. (Because meth.)

                    16. Though there are also a lot of stories of kids kidnapped throughout Latin America. Which btw is why I think kids should be separated. Even if with their real parents. By dragging them through the desert the parents already proved they’re not GOOD parents.
                      So make them work to recover their kids, same as when they take kids from parents in the US.

                2. Is your theory related to the realization that the vast majority of what they’re pushing is what progressively nastier types of using males would desire in a target?

              2. Ah. Man, the rationalizing animal. If we ban slavery… we’ll just drive the traffickers underground. Bah.

                Figure out whether you ought to be doing a thing. Go from there. No excuses.

            2. I’m consistent … Ewwwww

              A little mystery please – cover it up please … unless, mine, as In the guy I married. A little mystery when reading too. Sure it is obvious what is going to happen. Keep it behind the scene, fade away, to the next sequence, I don’t need a play by play.

              I have not read either Fifty Shades of Gray, or Twilight. Never heard of the 3rd, … and I don’t want to know.

              1. You hang out anywhere near the anime community, you’ll run into yaoi fans (usually if not often female, young, and will have shipping wars for the sole reason of lots of angry gay boy sex). I’ve developed an issue with them because I was stuck listening to a group of them at a restaurant for con, and they are willing to bend, fold, and mutilate (figuratively and literally) characters to get them to fit their ship.

                1. Oh, shipping characters who wouldn’t do that on a bad bet is old. Way back in the ‘80’s a bi man told me that he and his Gay friends considered Kirk/Spock fanfic hysterically funny. It was (mostly, and then, don’t know about now) written by women who had NO idea how Gay sex worked.

                    1. Nor could they accept the idea Spock didn’t want anybody, he considered emotional entanglements of all kinds highly illogical.

                    1. And how is that different fro the male of the species having elaborate dominance fantasies, while knowing godsdamned well that real women don’t act like that and the surreal women who might violate the ‘don’t stick it in the crazy’ rule because if they aren’t dangerously broken, they are tiresomely broken.

                    2. Usually, most guys are not spewing out their fantasies over the world like a fire-hose on “high” to large communities that will support and raise the creators of these things up even higher and higher.

                      (And, God yes, never stick you dick in crazy. Or in a cake. I’ve had more of the “tiresomely broken” ones than the “dangerous broken” ones in my few (i.e. less than four) experience. The tiresomely broken are…sad, in massive retrospect. Wishing they could find a good therapist. The one dangerous one…thank GOD I got out before I thought it was really love and not desperation.)

                    3. I think Yaoi is basically for girls what the harem romance LN genres are for boys.

                      If there is no female character, and one is a timid girl or woman, there is romance involving interesting targets, but it is so distant from reality that it cannot be threatening or intimidating. There is no talk of the expectations that might exist for a real woman. The males are idealized and in important ways behave nothing like real males.

                      If there is no one female character, and one is a timid boy or man, there is romance involving interesting targets, but it is so distant from reality that it cannot be threatening or intimidating. There is no talk of the risks of investing in a single person. The females are idealized and in important ways behave nothing like real females.

                      Even where there is no sex, it is a little like porn in function, and readers without the qualities that make the target audience interested don’t get why they are willing to suspend disbelief.

                    4. I can agree…for the most part.

                      The problem is that I’ve had enough (i.e. more than two series read-girlfriend at the time) exposure to the popular titles of the yaoi market, and an amazing amount of them have very predatory relationships from older boys/men onto younger, more effeminate boys/men. Quite a few are “younger boy has stage fright”-type plots, but more than a few are brushing up against Stockholm Syndrome-type abuse reactions. If not crossing that boundary line. The older, aggressive male is almost always right, or at least not wrong, and often can be very easily forgiven by the younger male.

                      The harem romance novels tend to have two big defining characteristics-first is that the male protagonist is usually clueless in some massive way or form. I can think of at least a dozen titles where the male lead had varying degrees of clueless coming in, even if they had other competences. (Rozario+Vampire-Tsukune Aono didn’t know he was going to a school for youkui and that the student body would kill him if they found out he was an ordinary human-if he was lucky. Haruhi Suzumiya-Kyon thinks that Haruhi is a massive chuunibyou, except he learns that several factions with Culture-level power think she might actually be the most important thing in the universe-and how interesting she becomes increases exponentially when she spends time with Kyon. Hanaukyō Maid Tai-Taro doesn’t learn that he’s the heir of a extremely powerful family, with a grandfather of odd tastes (and plans for his grandson) until literally after his grandfather’s funeral and he’s tossed in the deep end hard.)

                      The second thing is that there is no doubt in the protagonist and the girls that there is some kind of attraction. It might be a very strong friendship, it might be “if it’s you, it’s okay,” it might be lust, it might even be genuine love. But, the protagonist (or at least the audience) knows there’s something there. Which, if you’re fourteen or fifteen and linoleum makes you hard-let alone those mysterious and strange things called girls-having that fear of rejection gone, even from a semi-omniscience reader perspective means that even set-backs are tolerable. And, even the crazy females are crazy for a reason, and one that can even be figured out.

                      That the two genres have different appeal bases makes sense to me.

            1. I remember a comedienne (though not her name) from back in the Eighties declaring her hero was [woman who owned the Los Angeles Rams] for her ability to stand i the owners’ box during practices and declare, “I own every tight end on that field.”

        2. Oh, don’t feel left out, trust me. You can’t finish it with a punch if you’re a girl, either – you get labeled as the problem, because they’re so charming.

          …Charm is a verb. It’s something someone does to you.

          1. ^^^This^^^

            The best you can hope for is that your lady friend can manage the Teacher Voice.

            ….hey, they may hate my guts, but when I’m angry enough to do that they aren’t hassling my husband anymore.

            (He, on the other hand, is very good at Looming Significantly in a manner that tends to freak out the maliciously charming.)

            1. My mother could summon Teacher Voice at will. I can only do it when deeply and genuinely *pissed*. I mourn this disparity on a regular basis.

              1. Imaginos1892 – Dang it! Stop that. Now I’ve got that in my head.

                I know what Foxier is talking about. Mom has a carrying voice. Her voice carries if she whispers. She raises it, without screaming and screeching. It is BOOM and wide eyed “Where’d that come from?”/”What the …?”

                The effect on someone not expecting it is priceless. Having experienced it, also cringing. OTOH I’m partially immune, now (better be after almost 64 years). Between this and cue the waterworks, she is a formidable weapon without being physical. She’s almost 86. She gets away with it. She’s always gotten away with this.

                Me? I did not inherit mom’s abilities. I try it. I get patted on the head, essentially.

                1. I’ve coached any number of women in how to develop a command voice. Most men learn it from their father, though the current generation does seem to have too many tenors who uptalk.

                  Drop the pitch and don’t ever whine. Men have an on/off switch that goes off when we hear whining. Evolution

              2. My elder Daughter is an 8th grade teacher and can summon what we call “The Dog Command” voice at need. Doesn’t seem to work as well with High school folks. There’s a lot of variants of it. Had a teacher who was had been a Marine Drill Instructor. If he moved to the command voice even the Headmaster of the school jumped to it…

          2. Yes, but if you’re a girl and you’re getting into this, it’s no longer abusive but a cat fight and I can sell tickets to a cat fight.

            (HEH)

            Seriously, too many women use their powers of charm and bosoms for evil-or at least petty-reasons.

          3. As one of those punching girls, you do not get to finish a round of nasty verbal taunts with physical assault because that is a *crime*.

            I do not know who did a number on your head, but if you cannot master your temper when you are provoked, you *are* a problem. To yourself, and everyone around you. That is not a girl thing or a boy thing, that is a human thing.

            Even as a girl, if you throw those punches within an ordered, male frame: no sucker punches, nothing that causes permanent harm, you don’t get pissy when you eat pavement, you can get away with it – with your peers. The authorities will still make you and your co-belligerent pay a price. (as they should).

            “there is nothing so strong as anger, except that which holds it in.”

              1. I was reading an early 20th century self-defense book. It described a young woman who was attacked as she was out walking. All she had was a walking stick. Instead of using it as a cudgel (traditional), she used it as a rapier. Did lethal damage to the guy. Apparently she managed to tear cardiac muscle and the like.

                The prepared mind is the most lethal weapon available.

              2. To take a detour to serious– if it’s time for me to bring physical violence to the table, then killing the target is an acceptable option.

                I realize guys are– or can be– different; I realize there are cultural norms involved as well (for example, norms related to slapping or throwing things).

                But if I have to resort to violence, I will be stopping you, not using it as a glorified objection.

                1. Well, yes. That was the traditional reason why “ladies do not use physical violence except as a last resort” and “gentlemen do not use physical violence on ladies.” Because girl vs. girl is mean and dirty and deadly, and not at all like a man’s hierarchy challenge fight. Man vs. woman is a horrible mismatch of capabilities and conceptual ideas about fighting. So it’s better if ladies never have to fight anyone, male or female.

                  1. “Wars are ugly when women fight.”

                    ************

                    Am now realizing that “catfights” are rather like yaoi— it’s a man’s hierarchy challenge fight but with girls switched in.

                    Still don’t get the appeal, but that’s no news.

                  2. My father had an old WWII handbook containing the dirtiest fighting tricks known to man-and woman-kind. My brother and I used to practice some of the moves on each other, carefully and sometimes in the swimming pool, since some of them at full-strength would have crippled the opponent. Dad also taught us how to break a hand-hold on a wrist or arm, levering your arm against the thumb.

                    My brother JP, who was late to get his teenage growth, looked small and weedy, well into junior high school. On one memorable occasion (which made his reputation for good and all) he was attacked on the baseball field, by a bully who made a frontal run at him. My brother stepped back a couple of steps, just as the bully made contact – and fell backwards, just as the bully attacked. Bully got flipped entirely over my brothers’ head and landed with a violent slam on the ground, in full view of the entire gym class.
                    OMG! JP knows judo! (and many other Japanese words) My brother wisely kept silent that this had been entirely accidental and inadvertent, and was never bothered again. Me, I was savagely verbal, and usually in front of a crowd. I got threatened now and again, but none of the threateners actually had the nerve to deliver.

            1. Perhaps that would work with New Soviet Persons in a brave new world, but all that would accomplish in the Real World(tm) is falling even lower in the pecking order and multiplying your problems.

              Not fighting is the same as losing. Your new position will be reinforced by all the others who view themselves as higher than you. Which means they’ll stomp the shit out of you as often as necessary until you fall into line. It works the same as a troupe of monkeys deciding who’s boss.

              The only way to maintain any autonomy is to show you’re willing to escalate the conflict as high as necessary, as often as they’re willing to try, and never, ever back down. Eventually you’ll become an outsider, and generally avoided. They’ll still put pressure on just to see if you’ve weakened, but that’s what monkeys do; it’s not personal.

            2. I’m not sure what scenario you’re picturing, so I will elaborate.

              I was almost never subjected to just a round of nasty verbal taunts. That was always the wind-up to being cornered by the latest playground mob. The taunts were the signal for everyone else to gather and start hitting.

              My only option to escape being buried under a pile of rabid bodies was to get past them into a teacher’s sight first. Any way I had to.

              1. Yep. That.
                Also the ‘violence is wrong’ only means that you appeal to teacher. Which if — as increasingly often — teacher is on the side of bullies, because bullies are “protected” (often girls) just means that you’re going to get destroyed. I’ve seen young people destroyed.
                In my time I fought a lot, mostly because I was a target a lot. After a while I started fighting for other targets.
                All we WANTED was to be left alone.

                1. Exactly. The bullies were the locals, male and female, whose parents had money. My parents had moved in, and were often, shall we say, strapped. And I was smart, Odd, smaller than average, and had been skipped ahead a grade on top of that.

                  As far as the teachers were concerned, if they didn’t see it, it didn’t happen. If they weren’t looking right at me as the blow hit, they didn’t see it. If there was visible damage they couldn’t pass off, I must have started it.

                  If a certain small town grade school ever catches on fire, I’m making sure I have an alibi.

                    1. Oof. *Nod* I still think one of the first things that put me on the “target” list was bringing in the animal encyclopedia entry on crayfish parasites for show and tell. I thought it was interesting….

                  1. It never got _that_ bad when I was in school, but that’s because about half of the adults watching the playground did their job, and more than half of the kids were not particularly interested in hitting me. And it only happened a couple of times before the whole thing turned into a Big Deal among the adults (not that anybody told me about it for years and years).

                    OTOH, I have to say that with my temper and with having brothers, I was never particularly traumatized by the actual “surrounded by boys punching me” thing (although it never got anywhere near the numbers and damage you are describing). I was just unhappy that other people whom I’d thought were friends did not help me. Being free to punch others, even if ineffectually, was sorta freeing, and it didn’t go on long enough for the berzerk to either run out, or get really effective (I was a clean fighter, alas).

                    However, I am full of Dramatic Intensity of Emotion and natural messiness, and not all the adults were total crud, so apparently I must have looked really pathetic and pity-worthy afterward. Also I wrote an essay afterward, and it was also full of Dramatic Intensity. But mostly, I think it was because one of the mothers was doing something else near the playground and saw the second poundfest happen, and she was in Scouts with my parents and a lot of the other parents, and I think strings got pulled and heads were rolled.

                    (But unfortunately, I really am just guessing, because I still can’t pull the full story out of anyone.)

                    Of course I was pretty much a pariah after that, but I was a pariah who wasn’t getting beaten up.

                    1. OTOH, I think your bullies deserve a replay of that great scene where the armed Narnian kids use the flats of their swords on the backsides of various schoolkids who deserve it.

              2. …. my mother would’ve eaten them alive, and dad would’ve been standing there, looking at quiet and easy to appeal to, until some moron tried the ‘control your wife’ thing and found out he was waiting to see if there was anything he needed to add.

                I’m still not sure how our neighbors talked her out of calling the police when their son was assaulted (head slammed in his car door) on school grounds, although I am still sure she should’ve. (Instead, mom “happened” to make a few pointed comments about justifiable homicide in cases of physical assault, and who would go to jail in such instances, and it stopped.)

                They made it extremely clear that nobody had a right to harm us, to the point that citified chicken-dancing to prep a battle space turned out extremely badly.
                Basically, I don’t assume someone swinging at my head is going to miss. Part of that is because my brain doesn’t identify a difference between a human doing so, and an animal or just J Random Branch, part of it is that we were never taught that there are people/groups who somehow have a right to do you harm and you just have to take it.

                Even while I feel sorry for the feral kids– I feel more sorry for their targets. Even a feral kid knows they are doing something wrong.

                1. I would I’d had your parents. Mine only made a noise when I got a broken arm out of the mess – and then proceeded to antagonize the whole school system getting it paid.

                  I honestly did not have one person I could trust behind my back until college.

                  Anyone who assumes “oh, of course someone will intercede before anyone gets too badly hurt, they’re just kids” – I don’t know what planet they’re from.

        3. And, since I’m a boy, finishing the argument with a punch to a girl gets me in trouble.

          Young man, that is as it should be. My finishing an argument with a child with a punch gets me trouble. Well.. It should, but pseudo-victim privilege is real. If I have the right diversity Pokemon, I get to punch toddlers. Honk.Honk.

          Never mind. In a well-ordered world, guys get more grief for punching gals because while the ladies start more domestic assaults, guys send more gals to the hospital. And in return, we wouldn’t ask you to risk your lives fighting fires or wars with some puny 5’5′ chick who cannot handle a fire hose without killing you, much less have your back if you needed to be hauled up a ladder.

          Honk.

          1. “You have been a homicide detective for how long, and you still expect life to be fair?”-Major Crimes had some of the best lines. In a sane world, the 5’5″ girl would realize that trying to get that kind of job would get her and the people she was trying to protect killed quickly.

      2. Maybe that’s why they generally leave me alone. I don’t give in. I don’t stay calm, either. I use words like “balderdash” (which seems to intimidate them, go figure), and tear their ‘argument’ to shreds any way I can ( not usually all that hard). I reply to assertions that I’m a White Supremacist (or whatever the magic word,of the week is) by saying things like “Fine. I’m a whatever. Now, engage my argument and deal with the facts on the ground, or admit that you can’t.”. I’m loud, and articulate, and bloody hard to intimidate.

    2. Communication between people are difficult enough as-is. I just got into an argument online-with a friend, no less-that my enjoying of the pretty girls in KPop makes me a borderline creepy pedophile incel guy. My explanations just seemed to her like I was digging yourself deeper into trouble, and I was annoyed by the instant assumptions made there. And, this was between people that theoretically like each other.

      *sympathy*

      The assumption of motivations thing is usually a big, red flag that you’re not dealing with logic, here. You’re unlikely to reason them out of it bcause they weren’t reasoned in.

      There are some exceptions, but….

      1. In some cases, it could be fear, I have to agree with that. Most of the time, it isn’t logical but emotional and women have those tie-ins of fear of being replaced by someone younger in the reproductive queue.

        1. They tend to also have the fear response of being prey, having once been young and stupid themselves.

          An awful lot of pedophiles seem to have less interest in the physical development of their target than in them being vulnerable for use.

  8. Here’s a short bit from one of my stories, about someone being introduced to English for the first time, trying to understand Political Correctness:

    “I wondered about that,” she said emphatically. “Are there really words we are not allowed to use?”

    His mouth took a wry twist and he acknowledged, “Yeah, there’s a whole list of words that have been declared too derogatory and offensive to speak. Words about race, and sex, and religion, and ‘alternative lifestyles’ that ‘offend’ somebody or other. New words get added all the time, too, so a word that’s fine today might be banned next week.”

    She was disappointed to have her suspicions confirmed. “I have learned a lot about language since yesterday, and that does not make sense to me. Words are only labels, symbols we use to represent thoughts and ideas. Words have no significance of their own, and convey no meaning except what is understood by the listener. None of them meant anything to me, at first. It seems to me, to ban words would not accomplish anything.”

    “You’re right. Somebody finds some word ‘offensive’ and a lot of outrage ensues, it gets put on the ban list, and everybody’s happy — except the concept the word stands for didn’t go away. People are still going to talk about it, so another word, or a couple of other words, get drafted and sent to the front.”

    He held her gaze until she nodded slightly, with a little sound that meant ‘I get it, keep going’.

    “The new word necessarily has the same meaning as the old word, quickly acquires the same connotations, and before long becomes verbum non grata itself. Yet Another new word is pressed into service, and the cycle repeats. Like — people with extremely dark skin. Originally they were called by the simple, descriptive term Negroes. That was corrupted to…another word, which was pretty much universally recognized as a malicious insult. Other terms came and went, like dark, darky, and colored people, and then for a long time it settled on black, until that fell out of favor. For a while it was African-American, but that didn’t really work when talking about people from other countries. The latest fad is to lump together everybody not designated as white under ‘people of color’ which is misleading because light pinkish-tan is also a color.”

    “But ‘colored people’ is still considered offensive?”

    “Yeah, a couple of steps less so than…that other word. It’s a term that was used a lot, during a bad period in our history.”

    “Even though it’s just the same words?”

    “Those obsessed with such things seem to be very good at not noticing stuff like that,” he observed in a very dry tone.

  9. To: Most Mischievous Mistress of Mayhem
    From: Evil League of Evil Faceless Minion #6969

    Re: New Temporal Incursion

    I am hap… gla… able to report to you that there has been another successful operation of the Temporal Apparatus for Data Acquisition (Project TADA!). This sampling seems to be from a mere two days in the future.

    :::Begin Recovered Text:::

    September 30, 2020

    A New Right Wing Conspiracy After the First Debate

    Following the first national debate between Donald Trump and Former Vice-President Joseph Biden, a new conspiracy theory has been put forth by extremists of the GOP and right wing movements. It hinges on two completely innocuous moments from last night’s events.

    First, there is a small bandage visible near former Vice-President’s left ear. While the Biden camp has explained that this was due to a quick out-patient procedure to deal with a skin lesion, many on the right immediately speculated that it was covering a receiver of some sort, feeding the candidate information or answers.

    It was then connected to an answer given by Vice-President Biden near the one hour point of the debate.

    When asked about the civil protests across the country, Biden answered “Of course the people are loud, of course they are angry. They have things to be angry about. Say this part louder. Everyone should be angry. Louder Joe. We all should be out there protesting. Now pound the podium. No, Joe, pound your podium now. Get really loud.”

    While Republicans, including some in Trump’s camp, immediately pounce on this as a sign of the former Vice-President being fed an answer, Democrats simply explained that Biden was speaking to the public.

    “It’s an expression,” a campaign spokesman said. “How many times to you hear Americans referred to as ‘average Joes’? Ane he was TELLING them to pound their table, their ‘podium’ if you will. Like in the movie ‘Network’. The former Vice-President is a huge fan of Paddy Chayefsky’s work.”

    Despite this simple and direct explanation, right wing commentators continue to seize on this as “proof” of untoward behavior from Trump’s opponent. It truly shows how desperate they are to cling to power.

    :::End Recovered Text:::

    I will of course, keep you updated as to Project TADA!’s results.

    Two housekeeping questions:

    First, has the liquor delivery man been granted clearance? While it is more convenient to have him bring directly to the lab especially given the size of the Director’s orders, it seems like there might be a security issue.

    Second, and related, would it be possible to have our operations moved to a satellite facility. It seems the general ELE workforce has become aware of the reports from our experiment and now whenever the team goes to the cafeteria for lunch, people throw food at us.

    Your most humble and obedient servant,

    Faceless Minion #6969

    1. I was gonna call her on that too, although I built and use my backyard smelter for brass, copper and aluminum, none the less, I melted quite a few cast iron pots therein before I wised up and bought clay crucibles. 😉

      1. All I’ve done is aluminum so far. I haven’t made the step up to a cupola for iron yet, but I have my nose pressed against the window and dreams of all the things I could cast with it…

    2. I keep looking at the amount of so-called dirt that sticks to my shop magnet when I try to snag lost nails. I have the distinct impression that the local pumice has a very high iron content.

      I’ve heard of 8″ diameter cupolas for iron and/or bronze; I wonder if one can go a hair smaller. I need to take a look at Bessemer Converter specs, too. Not going to go high tech…

    3. Well, I haven’t used a *steel* furnace in… a while… but there are various and sundry other projects gathering dust that have quite a bit of iron content in ’em. It’s not the smelting that I’m interested in, per se. It’s a side project, if anything, amongst *many*.

  10. I may be off-base here, but I suspect ‘actress’ became a thing when women actually started taking on roles. IIRC in Will. S.’s time all roles, even female ones, were usually portrayed by male actors, if only because the acting profession enjoyed even lower status than um, ‘the oldest profession’ (though a certain level of acting may be demonstrated in that as well).

    1. Um…. no. Off base to a great extent.
      Actress MIGHT have come into being in the 1800s, though I think they just called it “on the stage.”
      BUT it stayed in use till a decade ago, because it makes sense. An actor and an actress are not interchangeable.(Unlike, largely, writers)

      1. I once saw the term “waitron” to be used to replace both “waiter” and “waitress.” I never saw that in practice though for various reasons my soon-to-be-ex and I used the term “servers” as our all-encompassing word to talk about staff at a restaurant. Those that weren’t hosts, hostesses, and bussers, anyway.

        1. Julian May used that term in IIRC her novel “Intervention”.

          It puzzled me for a second when I say it but the context explained it.

        2. “Waitron” sounds like either a robot or some sort of subatomic particle. Presumably one that conveys food rather than charge, energy, or force.

      2. True. The thing created has to stand or fall on its own, whether or not a vagina had a hand in it. As it were.

        But some words like Aviatrix and aviator are just fun because vive la difference!

  11. Hum, hum Hum, hum, hum.

    Good essay Sarah. I sent the link to a friend in Japan that deeply involved with linguistics. Just as I feel one learns more about their own country and culture when visiting in a foreign clime (Things that are so common, in our own, world, that we just take for granted and never ever even notice, suddenly pop out and are visible, open to study and understanding when viewed from a distance and compared to a different culture.) I suspect the same is true for academic disciplines. Hence politics aside, I’m sure she’ll enjoy your insights on language.

    Having known may foreign couples that moved here to the US over the years, I’ve an impression that, generally, the wives usually have far less, or none, of their native accent left than the husbands. This has led me to suspect perhaps women have a better ear than men for the small audible nuances. Just a thought.

    Accents: Over 60 years ago when I was studying Russian in College, my professor took to calling me Mr. O’Nile, instead of O”Neil, in response to my accent when speaking Russian. Shucky darn, if that happened to a student today, they’d probably be awarded with a free class pass to the crayon and teddy bear room to recover from the horror of it all.

      1. Understood. I was just passing along an observation based on my own experience. I suspect there may be a grain of truth in my, very tentative, conclusion based also on my own tin ear, though more likely the tiny data base (Couples in America both born in other countries that I’ve know well.) doesn’t reflect the universe at large.

        1. I don’t have a specific accent. (Don’t think I do anyway.) But one thing I’ve noticed, about me at least, plop me down in a location for more than a few days (Canada, Back East, Down Deep South) and I start mimicking the local accent. Not to the extent of a native. But clearly adding it. It isn’t mocking. It just happens. I have to work at not doing that. Drop it just as fast once home … but still.

          Not the only one from the PNW to notice this trend when traveling from this region; as in not the only one who does it. My husband & son don’t (well hubby is from southern CA, but son was born & raised where I was).

          1. Ayup. Born and raised in Oregon, adopt accents like no-ones business. Of course – Masshole father and Irish grandparents may have helped.

            1. I’m not particularly well traveled. But it happened the few times I have gone somewhere not local. Also happens if I’m around someone else who has an accent. Not good to help them lose their accent 🙂

              Glad to read that someone else thinks native born Oregonian’s have this super power 🙂

          2. I have at least three accents, or modes. First. professional. Standard Mid-Atlantic With NY influences. Second – Informal. Edipucated, non rhotic Northeastern, Third with people from the neighborhood Old school NYC: dis, dat, dese, and dose. I sound like a baritone bugs bunny. People who only know me professionally get a shock when they hear me speak to (e.g.,) a cop or fireman or when I fall into the Wall St patois and say f-ck every other word.

            I once did simultaneous Glasgow to a Brooklyn translating because I was the only one who spoke both languages and people I worked with in England used to write down expressions from the Sopranos for me to translate.

            1. I learned to talk in Texas, originally, but I make extensive use of the midwestern “ope” because of my decades in that part of the world.

              I didn’t even realize it was a thing until I saw Charlie Berens’s videos on the subject.

          3. I was an Air Force brat, born in California, then lived in Japan, South Carolina, and Texas before my dad retired. Of course, all of my friends were the same, especially when we lived on base, and they came from all over the US. So I picked up a chameleon accent – after I live somewhere for a while, I start to sound like the locals.

      2. Mom did not come to the U.S. until she was 17 – but! She grew up (cradle language) in both Portuguese and German. And she learned English, Latin and French growing up because Grandma and Grandpa might not be able to afford shoes, but they were educated.

        Her accent (now) is pure middle American.

        On the other hand, her Portuguese, even today, unlike her parents’s is hick. Like.. In America having a “hillbilly” accent. Her sister was my “tdjia”.

        It’s funny what sticks and what doesn’t.

        1. I speak German with a Bavarian/Austrian accent, enough so that I get mistaken for a native speaker. My native English accent is odd, because the pronunciation is sort of Midwest neutral to Southern, but my idioms are Texas or archaic Back-borderers.

        2. Up to 20 people might lose their accents. Hence my saying if Dan and I had figured it out at 18 I’d probably have lost my accent. (I also spoke at the time… 5 languages? Including German. But I went back. well, water under that bridge.)

          1. Oooh! I remember one study they did because both sides were insisting that no, really, either everybody in X language category….

            Long story short, they discovered some folks pick up accents like nothing, some folks never lose theirs (“Irish Mary” in my mom’s home town was born in the US, to newish from Ireland family, and at 90 still sounded like central casting for downtown Belfast.) and it doesn’t seem to be connected to skill at learning the language, unless you basically define not having an accent as meaning skill.

            And that there’s a huge middle so squishy that you can make an argument for both sides being normal!

            So you can see why that didn’t get spread very far– people are complicated, it messed up a lot of very tidy theories that depended on being able to say those not conforming were just being perverse.

            **************

            Only faintly related:
            My husband is hilarious, if he’s had a drink or two he starts talking like the people around him, on accident.

            1. I collected “English accent” from … not certain, really. English grandparents, listening to a lot of BBC programs, being an major in English, spending a long summer in England and trying to talk so that people would **** understand us!
              At the beginning of that summer – “Oh, where in America are you from?”
              Middle of the summer, after about two months without any other Americans in earshot. “Oh, are you are American or Canadian?” End of that summer : “You don’t have much of an accent for an American…”
              I still sound … rather Transatlantic. It’s got me voice jobs, because it does stand out.
              Weirdly, on radio, I am wholly generic American.

    1. About 35 years ago on this southern boy’s first trip across the pond, I was intrigued when hearing an Irish accent coming from an asian immigrant selling stuff on the street in a small Irish village. I’m pretty certain that makes me now and forever a racist.

      1. I was always amused, when talking to (mostly) Vietnamese immigrants, hearing the ghost of an accent when they spoke English – they retained the regional accent of whomever they had learned English from.
        Ages later, another AFKN broadcaster and I scored a gig, doing English-language tapes for a Korean producer of English-educational tapes. We were so careful, in pronouncing everything correctly – it was what the producer was paying us for, after all.
        One of my other regular (and very profitable gigs) was as advisor/editor at KBS for their English-language simulcast of the 9 PM news. An amusing experience – and about the only employer ever impressed by my BA in English.

        1. One of my friends commented about the English dub of a particular anime series way back when. I never saw it myself, and can’t remember what the show was, but apparently the voice actors doing the dub were Aussies.

          Vietnamese sometimes have a French accent when speaking European languages, for obvious reasons. That can catch people by surprise.

          1. I recall being amused to discover that the DVD of Mad Max offered it dubbed in English or with the original Aussie dialogue track.

          2. A small cousin, being raised by her parents of upstate New York extraction in North Carolina, spoke with a southern accent only when reading aloud.

        2. There’s a young-ish priest who does a lot of geeky podcasts (had to look him up, he still does!) who is Dutch.

          He had a full-blown English accent because he learned English from watching Dr. Who obsessively; testing his more recent stuff, it’s smoothed out some…but there’s still a ghost. (and it’s still adorable)

      2. I visited England from Saudi in December 81. What got me the most was on the TV not being able to tell the persons color on the TV and also in the people I heard. I am sure an Englishman maybe could have told but I didn’t have a clue. In the US NOW it has become somewhat harder, mainly because so many Whites have begun talking black and some Blacks have started talking standard.

      3. Wait until you go to Arkansas, and a pretty Cambodian or Laotian girl speaks to you in an accent that sounds like she’s an extra on “Hee Haw.”

        1. I confess watching Bobby Jindal talk makes me giggle.

          He’s got a heavy accent but it is so much the wrong accent.

  12. And yep, meaning changes with time. For instance, Matrona in Portuguese refers not to a married woman of virtue, as the Roman Matron, but to a slovenly and careless housekeeper. It probably changed due to ironic humor.

    I like how “sanguine”:”cheerfully optimistic” changed with time. From “Sanguis” the Latin word for “blood” and for a long time the word meant “bloodthirsty.” But then it got mixed in with the Greek theory of the “four humors” related to health and personality.

    – Black Bile secreted by the spleen (It Says HereTM) in excess made a person Melancholoric, depressive.
    – Yellow Bile in excess made a person Choloric, angry and aggressive
    – Phlegm (note humoric “phlegm” is not what we know as phlegm but instead is supposedly a pituitary secretion) in excess made folk “phlegmatic”, apathetic.
    – And blood made people “sanguine,” cheerful, optimistic, and social.

    And so the meaning of “sanguine” changed from “bloodthirsty” to “cheerful and optimistic.”

    Flip side. In my life, I have watched the “polite” label for someone who has significant recent (as in historic) ancestry from sub-Saharan Africa change from “negro,” to “colored,” to “black,” to “Afro-American,” back to “black,” and then to “African American.” The changes were basically forced in an attempt to separate the attitudes people had toward those folk with significant sub-Saharan African ancestry by simply changing the label. It didn’t work. the new label simply ended up carrying the same attitude connotations. You have to change the attitudes first otherwise changing the label does nothing. And we actually were making good progress on changing those attitudes, at least before the first of those changes and on after, at least until recently. Some people, whose power and influence depends on racial divisions, seem bound and determined to undo all that progress. In any case, the constant label swapping did not help and may actually have hurt.

    Now, mind you, the first of those changes probably was valid since the particularly vile racial slur is simply a contraction of that first “polite” term. Putting a greater distance between the polite term and the slur had some justice to it. (But then we get people complaining about the black crayons in a set that have bilingual color labels–English and Spanish.)

    1. I’ve heard (but never researched and confirmed) that the change to “black” during the Civil Rights Era was done as an attempt to address discrimination based on skin tone within the black community. It’s known that some blacks with a lighter skin tone tend to have a more negative view of those with a darker skin tone (note that blacks aren’t the only group that have this unfortunate view). According to what I was told, calling the members of the ethnicity ‘black’ was meant to combat this form of prejudice by assigning the group as a whole the darkest possible shade.

      1. ” It’s known that some blacks with a lighter skin tone tend to have a more negative view of those with a darker skin tone”

        And vice versa; darker skinned blacks viewed lighter skinned ones as “passing as white” to avoid discrimination. It’s one of the origins of the phrase “acting white”.

    2. I rather disagree with your last paragraph, if anything it should reflect badly on Scotch Irish southerners that couldn’t correctly pronounce negro.

      The ‘vile ethnic slur’ was, in my opinion losing it’s power in the sixties and seventies when comedians were including it in their routines just as Mick, Polak and other such, back in the day, fighting words, became harmless with the advent of Irish, polish, etc., joke books (The other day I asked a 2nd generation American of Italian decent Blackhawk pilot if he knew what sound the main rotor and the tail rotor make. He laughed when I told him.). Once we laugh at each other it’s rather hard to feel superior or angry. Ain’t gonna happen today though, except in one on one situations, laughter is forbidden unless expressly, explicitly, ordered.

      1. Or it was Southerners of all types (though usually upper class) who were attempting to pronounce the Latin word “niger”, dark / black. See also Nigeria.

      2. According to the Webster’s Encyclopedia Dictionary (1994) the horrible, never to be spoken (except by the anointed) term means more or less “worthless human being” as well as its racial meaning. I suspect that it was deliberately misused by scum in the early part of the last century which gave it the racial meaning.

      3. Lenny Bruce had a great routine about that word in the JFK administration, suggesting a) they had to keep LBJ locked away for two years trying to teach him how to pronounce “negro.” He also suggested JFK use the word repeatedly and routinely to inure people to any negative association. One of Richard Pryor’s most famous albums used that word in its title, “That [N-word]’s Crazy.”

        It’s just a word. If Black folk want it barred from the lexicon I have a long list of words they might want to eschew. A classmate of the Daughtorial Unit got into trouble at school when he used the n-word in response to a trio of guys who’s addressed him as “Kike.” Apparently not all bad words are treated with equal seriousness by officials.

  13. “Because, you know, all men meet at ten pm down at the male lodge to coordinate plans.”

    Sssshhhhhh!

    1. Oh, come off it man. We know when we’re busted.

      That does not mean that the pub will be *closed,* mind. Just that the sneaky-footing shall henceforth be a regularly scheduled activity, enshrined with all the honor and dignity it deserves.

      1. Please remember the, Eddie Murphy – White Like Me – SNL – comedy about him putting on White Face and going out in NY as a White Man.

        1. I remember reading a about a female reporter back in the mid-Sixties who’d infiltrated a “Men’s Smoker” after wrapping her bust tightly in an Ace bandage.

          She declared it among the most boring gatherings she’d ever attended.

  14. On “dog whistles”. It would take a great deal of communication and coordination to set up such “code words”, such “dog whistles”, to establish their meaning, and make sure everybody those establishing wished to inform with them knew that meaning. It would be one thing if it were a tiny, tiny group being given a set of “code words” to communicate specific items (“Jean has a long mustache”) but to spread that information through all adherents of a political philosophy? If you could do that, you wouldn’t need the dog whistles. The communications to set up the dog whistles could simply be used to convey whatever it was the “dog whistles” were being set up to convey.

    1. It’s all handled by the Libertarian-Authoritarian Information Complex. The way they disguised “fascism” as “freedom” is truly remarkable.

    2. The Progressives don’t seem to have any problems doing it but we aren’t in Mental lockstep like they are. If they don’t know the proper words to use then they loose their place and are cast into the outer DARK. I guess more incentive.

      1. The difference is the Progressives (what an ironic term) aren’t using their various “code words” to clandestinely communicate ideas. They’re using them to very publicly denounce anyone who doesn’t march in lockstep with said ideas.

        It’s a totally different dynamic to what they are claiming the non-left is doing with their “dog whistles.”

    3. Odd enough when you point out that belief in such a code is normally diagnosed as paranoia, most of them have no response.

    4. Oh, but setting up dog whistles is EASY. We wait until the Left loudly announces what they are, and thereby let them do all the work.

      (It’s amazing the effort they will put into making themselves miserable)

    5. Allow me a counter-proposal from SJW-central: projection.

      My peers have a whole specialized vocabulary that means one thing to the woke, and another to the normies. How this vocabulary is created and disseminated… I’m not sure. A few years ago I would have confidently stated: Big Academy + Big Hollywood. Now…

      The dissident crew (not sure “right” is correct term) have a similar modus operandi. You’ve seen references to (((the people who saved our abortion rights))) or some such, no? How did that get to be a dog whistle for “it’s the Jooooooooooooos”? We all know what ” jogger” means, yes? (The construction works. I’d love [ ] = fake. As in Kamala Harris, the [Black] V.P. candidate.But I digress) How does something like that gain traction?

      I’ll tell you *why* it works. In the a supreme Soviet Amerika we all have to speak sideways. The commies just got there first.

        1. Oh, that was a stupid anti-Semitic alt-right thing. They made a browser that would transform triple parentheses into the word Jew, or something equally creepy.

          If you’re going to pick pejorative codewords, you should leave the Internet sign for “hugs” alone, yeah? But noooooo.

          I think everybody but the anti-Semitic alt-right, and their leftist sockpuppets, have forgotten it by now.

        2. Jews can be worse than blacks because not only is everything a dog whistle, it’s also NOT a dog whistle because of the heavy anti-Semitism.

          (Though the place where you could post “Jews” but had to post some kind of circumlocation like [singular of Jews] was interesting. More than one [singular of Jews] found it offensive.)

  15. Oooh, I’ve been meaning to look up the proper terms for all the stuff that isn’t individuals or the government!

    *dig* *dig dig* *dig dig dig*

    K! They are “intermediate organizations” or “mediating structures.”

    It’s important because– like Sarah says here– that’s what supports life. It’s like a bunch of blankets and layers and they’re different for everyone, and we NEED them.

    This link is a book promo, but it’s got a very basic primer on at least one of the theories involved:
    http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/brumley_charles1_jan05.asp

    Now back to actually reading!

  16. “And there is really no way to build an arc, much less gather two of anything we wish to keep.”

    Just *two*? *looks at the neatly organized backup tools, spares, extras, pantry, cans, tins, sundry, and suchlike*

    Also. If there’s to be an ark, or and arc, or anything like, I hereby demand it be going to other worlds. Reduce cost to orbit and watch the odds, the strange, the adventurous, and the entrepreneurial scamper off to the stars!

  17. During the late 50s San Diego High students formed 3 large groups — “Chicanos” (Mexicans), “Paddies” (Whites) and “Bloods” (Blacks). There were also large numbers of Portuguese and Filipinos.

    Being one of the 2 Paddies in a large R&B band (The Kingsmen) I grew up using these terms inoffensively. The Trinidadian band leader taught us how to hide our English language from outsiders. In 1969 I was as surprised as they were that I could understand the people of Belize!

    1. La Jolla High here…in the mid-70s we got a lot of busing from SD High…and Lincoln High. Led to a lot of fights at football games. Interestingly between the black kids who were bused to La Jolla and the black kids who weren’t.

      1. La Jolla High sounds familiar. Don’t think hubs & siblings went there. They lived in Lemon Grove. I’ve heard some interesting stories about the boy’s skipping the parental route when dealing with their sister’s bullies. Or at least the older brother. He’d have been in Jr High when his older sister was being picked on in HS. Hubs, the younger one would have been 6, so he was not involved. As BIL puts it, he marched over to HS, got the bullies to admit they were picking on his older sister. He didn’t start the physical altercation, but as he stated it, he finished it. He’s not particularly a big person as an adult. He would have definitely been smaller than the bullies then. Let’s just say, sis wasn’t picked on anymore. He & the younger sister, were only a year apart, so while she was picked on for being late to class, having to leave class, it just took shaming her bullies (teachers, & students because of teachers). She is a T1D. I think they did end up getting their mother involved (accidentally) when BIL was chastised by the assistant principle for accusing a teacher for trying to kill his sister. Their mother, a nurse, plus the school nurses, … well lets just say BIL wasn’t wrong.

        Hubs is significantly younger than his next sibling that most the problems were solved before he got there, close enough that the “lessons” weren’t forgotten, so he didn’t get any teasing or bullying. OTOH roll call first day of HS (after all his siblings had graduated one or more years prior), every class went like this “M P?”, “Here”, pause, “Any relation to S P?”, “yes”, pause, “I don’t want any trouble from you.” Every. Class. Didn’t help that hubs helped BIL do most of his HS homework despite being 5 years younger.

  18. Well the cue is in the things they say without realizing they’re massively racist

    It has been reported that one of the traits of pedophiles child molesters is that they think everybody shares, at least subconsciously, their interest in prepubescent kids. Their belief is that they are superior for having had the courage to act on their desires while others, holding the same desires, lack the courage, the honesty to acknowledge and act on them.

    That this is complete self-aggrandizing nonsense is irrelevant to them. “You’d do the same,” is their feeble argument.

    Similarly, this is at the core of a great deal of the communication problems between men and women. Testosterone affects urges differently than does estrogen yet both sexes tend to project their hormonal experience onto the other. This is not a good thing to do.

    1. It’s almost as if understanding that people are really different; that those differences have consequences, and that adults were required to make mature, reasoned, and fair judgments about the same for any kind of civil society to prosper. Or that gaming the frictions those differences cause are a great shortcut to profit and power if the soi disant adults skip out on their duties.

    2. It’s okay for men to have experience of a broad spectrum of how people of both sexes think. But.

      Men who actually act and talk like women all the time are creepy. It’s one of the creepiest things in fanfic or inexperienced writers. (Gay men in real life usually do not act and talk like women, even if they are trying. And fictional straight men definitely should not!)

      1. Yes. There was a mystery, alas from Prime Crime where I kept seeing the main character as a small girl, though he was a tall man, supposedly. And, oh, dear, he acted like a teen girl.
        ALSO of course they had English law confused with French ancien-regime. So the book when against the wall.

  19. in the long run the left cannot remake the language or keep control of it.

    During my not quite seventy years on this planet I have observed the terminology for the melanin-endowed evolve from “n-word” (mildly offensive), colored (the “C” in NAACP), Negro, black, African-American, back to Black and soon, I guess, Wakandan.

    Their problem being that changing the terms does not change the underlying feelings. Similarly, shouting “Fudge!” or “Gol-durn!” is merely a painting over of the terms really intended. Calling quadriplegics “differently abled” instead of “crippled” does not get them out of their wheelchairs. The label is NOT the object, and a turd by any other name smells just as fou.

    But playing those semantic games is far, far easier than addressing underlying issues.

    1. “Similarly, shouting “Fudge!” or “Gol-durn!” is merely a painting over of the terms really intended.”

      Not “merely” – use of these and similar terms allows a person to reserve some Big Guns for Big Effect.

    2. Similarly, shouting “Fudge!” or “Gol-durn!” is merely a painting over of the terms really intended.

      This one I’d have to disagree on– the intent is shifted by a desire to not harm others.

      Basically, it’s the impulse that the PC police try to weaponize, showing up organically.

      1. Yup. And what is it we call the dark mirror of virtues? Ah yes, that old, outdated, doubleplus un-good word.

        Sin.

        *shakes head*

        I get it, I really do. It isn’t modern. But Western culture was built with a deliberate foundation in Christianity, right along with the English common law and suchlike. It is useful even to the atheist to understand vice and virtue, moral and immoral behavior. Religion (all of ’em, near as I can tell), for all its seeming faults, provides for things thou shalt and things thou shalt not.

        Most of the many armies and campaigns sent ideologically against the West have this in common. Destroying Western culture is bloody hard though, it seems. It just eats up what it likes, burps a bit, and carries on. You were Irish, or Italian before you were American? Want to drag up those old hatreds and cling to those dividing things that make you special? Congratulations, America has good beer and good food, and a few charming accents a few generations on. *excuse us, that was tasty*

        So to change it to meet the newest utopian of the day, everything that’s good must be bad. Nuclear families, meritocracy, hard work, showing up on time, common courtesy, common *sense,* Christianity, a nation of laws and not men, speaking of men- men and women being men and women (same as since the dawn of mankind), basic mathematics, keeping your word (or oath, be it of office or service), charity towards those in need, punishing the guilty when legally caught and arrested, respect for self and property, and yea, verily, the right to life and property itself.

        Funny how those things, along with capitalism (people trading things with each other, freely) have created the best nation on earth- and that is precisely what is wrong with it, according to some.

        And the best reason of all to do all those things is that it makes some fools absolutely lose their ever loving minds. Happy families especially seem to make ’em mad. That’s an obvious tell you’re on the wrong side, in my book.

        It so happens that, every now and again, some poor soul gets loose of that mind devouring cult and realizes things. That it’s okay to be happy and not in impotent wrath and tears, afraid of stepping out of line. That people on the American side of the divide think it is okay to be who you are, so long as you harm none else. That being different is pretty neat, too. We got anime to be practically mainstream, let alone comic books, and where was that thirty years ago? *burp* America wins again.

      2. Basically, it’s the impulse that the PC police try to weaponize, showing up organically.

        Showing up organically and more importantly, voluntarily. I shift my language depending on my audience.

  20. If I say that yes, there might very well be violence … am I promoting violence?

    Yes – in the sense that there is only violence when we resist their beatdowns.

  21. “This btw explains how “poor” became ‘disadvantaged’ which was supposed to mean it was no fault of their own. But yeah, people don’t buy that. Disadvantaged is now fast acquiring all the denotation of ‘poor’ and will soon mean ‘shiftless.'”
    Yes, similar to the devolution of moron to retard (for mentally retarded), to special, et al. You can’t escape the connotation for long no matter how many times you change the word. All you can do is ruin a perfectally good word like special.

    1. Having been through the fringes of the ‘hand out’ machinery in two States (unemployment, which, godsdamnit, I was owed), I always hesitate to characterize the Urban Poor as lazy. Should they get jobs? Yes. But they hear (and read, if they can) all the time how easy they have it, and the fact is that dealing with that bureaucracy is exhausting and eats up your time even when you have a car. So, a lot of them must think “If this is EASY, how much worse must working be!”.

      Also, of course, they have been trained out of effort by the bedamned schools.

      *spit*

      Now, the hobby protesters, little white nobodies, who live with Mom, and have degrees nobody in their right mind would get, THOSE strike me as work-shy bums.

      1. cspschofield, your experience is like mine, but what I saw was, if you are honest, the bureaucracy puts you through hell to get benefits. If you’re willing to lie and cheat on the other hand, it’s easy, and nobody’s likely to catch you.

      2. Being on the dole is also a treadmill hell all its own. Get a job, at pay scarcely above your stipend and you lose your benefits, rendering your personal economy worse off. Hold the job long enough to start getting some raises and benefits and the economy hits a bump and guess who was last hired and first fired?

        Now you’ve lost your salary, meager as it was, lost your benefits, piddling as they were, and have to re-apply for the dole, which can take weeks to get approved and meanwhile you ain’t collecting benefits again. A couple trips through this laugh-house and you stop seeing much sense to taking a job (one on the books, at any rate.)

        1. I remember reading a Reason article, back in the late ‘80’s before the Reason well started being. Hoked with intellectual duckweed, proportions to show that the money spent on preventing welfare fraud (and making the lives of those actually entitled that much harder) dwarfed the expense of an actual FOUND welfare fraud.

          It echoed for me a passage from (I think) one of C. Northcote Parkinson’s books about an efficiency study of a five and dime chain (Woolworths?) showing that if they assumed that the customers, sales staff, and store managers were honest, and shrink would be more than paid for by saving in anti-shrink measures.

            1. Exactly. Successfully prosecuting welfare fraud keeps it smaller than the obvious cost of enforcement. Stop enforcing, and it will balloon to dozens, even hundreds of times what you ‘save’ by not enforcing. When crime pays, you get a lot of it.

          1. That assumes fraud is static.

            An online discussion of a Heroes for Hire comic where Doctor Doom hadn’t paid his bill, and Power Man went to make him, garnered the complaint that the airfare alone was more than the bill, and the response that making Doctor Doom pay up would pay for itself in easing collections.

      3. (unemployment, which, godsdamnit, I was owed),

        Agreed.

        They’d do more to help the truly in need by converting the *@#$@ thing to an account that’s handed to the employee in a lump sum when/if he’s terminated, which would also make long-term employees more valuable. (You don’t have to pay in to their X weeks unemployment if you already did.)

        1. (unemployment, which, godsdamnit, I was owed),


          Our first job out of college was a career that we were warned we would be laid off every year for the first 10 years (then the owl happened*). Someone made a point of helping first year layoff went smooth, when it happened. We got really good at it. Sign up PIA before going online. But the big deal was we were guarantied to be called back to work so didn’t have to look for work to get benefits. Boy was that fun to educate a newby at the unemployment office. Son still runs into this. But his employer arranges the layoff process for employees when it happens (in building trades). Right now that isn’t a problem.

          * What we didn’t plan on was my career change. Plus hubby got layoff notices every year of his 35 year career in that business, working for the same company. Became the norm. He started out as the lower 10 employees & ended up still in the lower half by the time he retired, but then they went from 290 employees to 30 to 40. Also by latter years he was taking “voluntary layoff” for two weeks to keep younger employees working. Act of god layoffs also occurred (they’re on Act of God layoffs now, Fires).

          When IP shutdown locally, they brought in the unemployment office to us. It’s only been 6 years since I’d applied, basics I had down. But extra benefits we had then were different. But there were a lot of employees who’d gone to work out of college and never been laid off. Bit of a shock for them.

    2. Disadvantaged is ***SO*** 2010. The words in current use are either “underprivileged” or “marginalized”

      When I asked at a staff meeting whether our commitment to the “marginalized” included the alt right, hilarity ensued. (I nearly went with MAPs but chickened out).

  22. Sarah, you always say so much, I feel I need to do several comments on different parts of the subject you bring up. So…on with the show!

    I love your description, “…English has all the purity of a dockside whore…”. Yes, but that makes it so much fun! Why do we have different words for food and the animals food comes from? Because 1066 and all that. The Anglo-Saxon peasants raised the cattle, and the French nobility ate the beef. Peasants raised the pigs, nobility ate the pork. And so on. And then there’s the sarcasm trick that turns a word into its opposite–homely and cute for instance.

  23. As to accents, some of us have an ear and enough mouthscular (totally a word!) flexibility to mimic the accent correctly. Different skill from learning a language. My high school German teacher had a flawless American accent, despite arriving in New York City as an adult after the war with no English at all. He probably also had a flawless Russian accent. Despite it all, he pointed out to us, that he still had holes in his English vocabulary. To demonstrate he opened the dictionary at random and found the word “charm” which he was unaware of. We all laughed in disbelief, but his point was that, despite passing for native in conversation, his vocabulary was still small compared to those of us native speakers.

    1. The fact I have mid range hearing loss gave me a mild (very mild) accent in Portuguese as well.
      I’d gladly pay a speech coach to get rid of the accent, but I’ve never found one.

      1. One of my linguistics professors (Ph.D) was born in Germany and came to the US I think in his late teens, early 20s. He spoke fluent English with a thick German accent.

        He would tell us that he could either think about what he was saying or how he was saying it, but not both at the same time.

        1. Interesting, my Hochdeutsch accent came naturally although I was never fluent enough to engage in conversation. Reading and writing yes, but I was translating in my head to converse instead of using the limited vocabulary I actually knew. A common problem among school learners.

    2. he opened the dictionary at random and found the word ‘charm’ which he was unaware of.

      I’d have taken it as demonstrating Germans are charmless.

  24. On changing meanings of words.

    C. S. Lewis talked about the change in the meaning of “gentleman”.

    It originally meant “a person of the landed gentry class” (basically the lowest level of the English nobility).

    Then people started saying that it should just mean “nice person” which of course made it hard to use the term in the original meaning.

    IE You want to say that a man is a member of the “landed gentry class”, you’d have to first explain what “gentleman” meant in the context you were talking about.

    Oh, interestingly in one Lord Peter story, a young maid was talking about Lord Peter’s policeman friend calling a “gentleman”. An older maid (or the housekeeper) explained that he (the policeman) was well-mannered but wasn’t a real gentleman (member of the gentry class). 😀

    1. Gentleman changed over time – to a man who acted correctly and politely and English gentleman. It lost the landed gentry class and became part of the upper class. Educated, polite, correct acting, etc. It healed that for many years but so many that might have upheld that died in WWI and the common man became the norm. I still try for being a gentleman, not because I think I’m better but because I believe that I should act better. Of course I believe in Chivalry and other old fashion ideas. Just because I fail sometimes doesn’t mean I am wrong to try.

  25. Be he ne’er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition. I can’t find the exact reference but Sir Bernard Burke, Ulster King of Arms and Burke’s Peerage, remarked that being the descendant of a soldier at Agincourt was sufficient grounds to establish the right to a coat of arms in the herald’s visitations of 1530.

    1. Joan of Arc’s fathers and brothers were ennobled in 1429, along with her, for her services to the French crown. They were given arms and the surname of “Du Lys.” The grant of nobility gave nobility to all descendants of the family, both male and female, so that female descendants of the D’Arc/Du Lys family could pass nobility along when they married. This privilege was taken away in June 1614; only people in the family who were already registered as nobility were counted as noble, and females could not transmit nobility anymore.

      Some later members of the family registered the war cries of “La Pucelle!” and “Les Lys!”

    1. Yes, and the euphemism treadmill can run in both directions. Polite terms can become insults after being spoken with enough sneer, and derogatory terms can be taken up as badges of honor.

  26. Re: learning a language after 3 and having it be a “native” language, my parents went to France when I was 4. So still early childhood and not a great counterexample to Signorina Montessori’s theory, but it’s the one I have. I picked up French like a native, with a French accent, and I can still speak it today perfectly well, though I missed out on a lot of adult vocabulary (by which I mean political, scientific, and economic vocabulary, not swearing) by leaving France at age 14 to go to high school & college in America. I distinctly remember waking up one time in college and thinking, “Hey, that dream was in French!” I don’t remember the dream, but I do remember realizing that I still had native-speaker fluency of French or I wouldn’t have dreamed in it.

    1. Which reminds me — I have found greater success in pronouncing foreign languages, such as French, when I remember to smoosh my face into imitations of native speakers, such as by pouting/pursing my lips. Trying to speak French with an English face works poorly, but donning a French face, even if but a poor masque, vastly improves the effect (so long as nobody is watching.

      1. One of my husband’s co-workers went to some kind of gov’t language training class to do Russian… in the 80s.

        Their teacher literally hauled them all to the bar, every day, snagged a couple of pitchers of beer. Because you can get the words to come out right if you’ve had a beer or two and keep sipping while you practice.

        When that practice was discontinued, the failure rate when through the roof and it took a LOT longer to train people.

        1. Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA? Yeah, they had native speakers as teachers, and the native speakers gave them drinking training, choir training, and drinking after performing as a choir at a Russian expatriate dinner party training. I mean, it wasn’t a party school and they weren’t turning people into alcoholics or anything, but drinking is a big part of the culture.

          Also, the important tip that after you drink a lot of vodka, you MUST NOT fall asleep. Just stay up and stay awake eating and drinking water, until it passes off. This came in handy on my parents’ Russian river cruise, with the little old lady on an island stop who made vodka, and insisted on the Russian-speaking American sitting and drinking with her. My dad ended up drinking loads more than the other tourists, but he was okay the next day for breakfast because he didn’t fall asleep. Them, not so much.

  27. Actually, it’s backwards. Denotation is the dictionary definition and connotation is the emotional meaning associated with it. (I assume that you learned the terms in Portuguese and flipped them by accident.)

    Therefore, “logical” has a strong positive connotation, while “illogical” has a strong negative connotation, though “intuitive” is also positive, even though the thesaurus might group it with “illogical.” Also note that words like “damp” and “moist” theoretically mean the same thing, but you’re going to get different reactions from them depending on the context.

      1. I flip them all the time, and despite my touch-typing late-night combox-stylings I am a walking-talking English language thesaurus who has wossname’s guide to the vulgar tongue as bedside reading.

        It’s like calling out all your kids names (wrongly) until you get the right one. They’re too close together. This is not (or not necessarily) a second-language thing.

  28. “Hurtful,” is another progressive weapon. Used to mean, “Ow! That hurt!” Now it means, “You said something I don’t like, and you should apologize to me at once and do my will!” As in, “it’s very hurtful to me that you don’t remember to use my chosen pronoun. If you really cared about me (and weren’t a closet homophobe) you’d remember to use it.” Passive aggressive grammar, passive-aggressive technique. Drives me buggy.

      1. I thought the answer to that was exclaiming, “I am deeply wounded that you would employ such false and invidious a game! It is hurtful, hurtful that you would attempt to manipulate the kind feelings of so many others for naught more than minor gain”

  29. They’re [Our institutions] are all running around with their pants on their heads making funky rabbit noises.

    Worse, the ones that are not are at risk of being snitched out and destroyed.

    Mine own dear institution has gone full magic-craft-project* obsessive but I cannot get them to wash their freaking hands. Touch the *”%$ mask – even if it was doing what you assume it does – then touch a shared workspace, or worse, something going out to the public, and hey, presto! Bacterial and/or viral inoculation. If it weren’t all a charade, it would be terrifying as well as infuriating.

    (*In which cotton becomes a semi-permeable membrane with molecular pumps! Amazing one-way action!)

    As to the words: preach it sister! Give not one inch.

  30. I have a half-formed theory that written English is a native language for some native English speakers and a foreign language for many others. Tells for being a “native English reader” would include having learned to read while very young, being a fluent reader without any memory of having struggled or put any effort into it, and knowing how to read and spell words that one doesn’t know how to properly pronounce.

  31. In the late 1930s, a young French army captain named Andre Beaufre was appointed to work on the General Staff. He was initially thrilled to be in such exalted company…but:

    “I saw very quickly that our seniors were primarily concerned with forms of drafting. Every memorandum had to be perfect, written in a concise, impersonal style, and conforming to a logical and faultless plan–but so abstract that it had to be read several times before one could find out what it was about…”I have the honour to inform you that I have decided…I envisage…I attach some importance to the fact that…” Actually no one decided more than the barest minimum, and what indeed was decided was pretty trivial.”

    There is an awful lot of this in American society today, and one of the reasons why Trump is so disliked the many is that he doesn’t follow the ‘forms of drafting’ (forms of speech, in this case) that are expected among those who consider themselves both educated and exalted.

    1. I’ve been reading a bunch of medical research papers lately. Almost all of them are essentially meaningless; no conclusions are drawn, no facts presented, just gobbledeygook and references to other papers which, when tracked down, are more of the same. Even things that I would have thought were basic medicine always seem to come down to smoke and mirrors.

      1. I suspect that, to some degree, all Higher Learning has always been this way. A few genuine researchers and scholars amid a large body of drones principally interested in maintaining their cushy position.

        1. “I suspect that, to some degree, all Higher Learning has always been this way”…but there are now a *lot* more people in academia than there used to be…and many of them, inevitably, have neither a real gift for research nor a great amount of creativity. So…just take the approved keywords and put them together in some randomly new way.

          There is more than a little of this in business, as well. My LinkedIn feed generally has some posts by people who are trying to present themselves as with-it business intellectuals, even though actual *ideas* are not evident.

        2. When the government hands out money for research, it’s all going to be corrupted.
          Yes, I know it’s hard to get money otherwise, etc. I don’t have an answer. But government money means politics, make work, etc.

  32. Scientific American had a good article on creole and patois evolution about 20 some years ago, before they became overly politicized.

  33. The image of the poor in my head is actually the people who lived next to us in the village,

    I’m sure they would tell me that my image of the poor is heavily Hispanic.

    My image of poor the colonias you can see across the river outside Juarez, Mexico from I-10 in El Paso, Texas.

    Or could, 30+ years ago.

    Those were shanty towns built out of found material, including cardboard taken from dumpsters and bailers outside stores on the American side.

    Yes, I’m aware very little of the poor in the US live like that. You know why? Because both in terms of humanity world wide and humanity over the course of its existence the number of Americans who are poor rounds to zero. Yes, homeless in tents in California might qualify as poor even by historical and international standard, but how much of that is proof of what handouts and no expectations do to people?

      1. Debate was crap, as we all knew was coming. Chris Wallace did more debating Trump than Biden. Biden blatantly obviously had the questions beforehand, and well rehearsed answers. Couldn’t answer Trump’s off-the-cuff comments but rarely.

        Biden was more coherent than expected, if you’ve been following his gaffs recently. Probably warped his day/night schedule to match the debate, with his calling a “lid” early these past week or so.

        Trump got cut off, well, attempted, whenever he got on something he was strong on. Economy. Riots. “Moving on!” To climate change, to wash that horrible taste of truth out,. Biden lost the plot more and more as the night went on.

        If you missed the debate, good. That’s time not wasted. Even if it was staring at the wall drooling, it was less wasteful.

        Of course I might be biased there.

        We had many old hoary things brought up that are long debunked so bad the camp counselor sent them home last year:

        The fine people hoax.
        Trump’s taxes.
        And so on.

        By the end, Joe’s battery looked to be on it’s last legs. Squinting, getting quieter, whispery-wheezing, while they turned his mike up to compensate (or so it appeared). Trump sounded like he was just getting worked up to start again.

        All in all, a typical democrat run debate, albeit with Trump in there interrupting- “nobody comes to your rallies, Joe” and doing his thing. Would have been better with Joe Rogan or Sharyl Attkison, or Tucker Carlson.

      2. If you needed debate info I wouldn’t have helped. I delibrate avoid them, have since at least 2004.

        They are so staged and fake if anyone says their vote changed (even to agree with mine) based on the debates I think less of them.

    1. Up past the turn-off to the college, you still can see across the river– most of the houses are upgraded, I would guess since the fence was put in. Some of them even have antennas or dishes on the roof! Lots of found material type upgrades, but most of the houses you can see before the city gets in the way now have actual cheap-apartment-complex type adobe looking buildings, now.

      From memory, two years ago.

        1. Well, before the new Mexican president got in place, the general level was much nicer.
          Crime started to go up, and shortly before we left the progtards were working hard to make sure that the barrier fence was left open and people were encouraged to cross– which caused a huge spike in crimes on both sides, you can look at the recorded murder rates and/or missing person reports to get an idea.

          Our old parish was involved in a lot of outreach. We had, I kid you not, a Social Justice warrior priest who was completely sincere and tried to apply the principles honestly. (No wonder he had so much white hair.) Worked like a dog, didn’t double check claims for honesty worth a crud, but a miracle in that he was a non-malicious antagonist. Towards the end, he even figured out how dang much of the work they did was going straight to the cartels, even if he did still come down on the side of “but I have to help this poor little kid.”

          A lot of their less-stupid stuff was building houses, I would guess on the same places that use to have purely found-materials houses.

          Considering the utter lack of resources for proper upkeep, they are kept fairly well.

          1. I have to admit one relief when my father passed in 2012 was I no longer had to have a plan to evacuate him if the border went to hell. My BIL figured we’d need to fly in, obtain something like a Suburban so he could lay down most of the trip to State College. When I was there for his funeral I did NOT go downtown or drive the border highway. I knew stray bullets had been coming across (a tradition that dated to at least the early 1900s when Pancho Villa took Juarez and American’s watching from train cars on the border would get randomly shot).

            I’m very glad within a year my mother moved to CS to be close to her grandchildren.

            When I went back in the 2000s I couldn’t recognize it. The area around Hanks had looked like typical US suburbia when I went to HS. By 2000 it looked like the lower valley in terms of business and general culture. No extra crime or anything, but it felt more Mexico than US.

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