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Archive for the ‘Words’ Category

Unspeakable

When one studies primitive cultures, one finds they always believe that words have magic power, for example the idea of a True Name, or not speaking the name of God aloud, or whispering certain words so as not to tempt evil spirits, or the idea that the very act of writing is a form of magic; consider that the Egyptian Thoth was among the greatest gods because he invented writing, and the Germanic Odin was said to have crucified himself to induce the vision that led to the discovery of writing.  We really haven’t changed much.  Take offensive words, for example; any reasonably-polite person will avoid words that he believes might offend his listeners, but many people nowadays are so terrified of the magical power of words that they avoid using a “bad” word even in the context of discussing the word itself rather than using it offensively.  And so we are forced to endure endless kindergarten formulations such as “the F word”, “the N word”, “the R word” (which I encountered for the first time this week), etc, as though the speaker or writer thought even spelling the word in question would summon Voldemort or Hastur the Unspeakable.  But such asininities are ultimately futile; I mean, is there any English-speaking adult who doesn’t recognize “f***” as “fuck”?  Of course not; the bowdlerized form merely becomes a synonym for the unholy combination of sounds.  This is what is called the “euphemism treadmill”; any euphemism eventually becomes the semantic equivalent of the Forbidden Word in the brains of listeners, so that it, too becomes contaminated and must be replaced with a new euphemism.  The process only stops when the negative associations do, and there is no shortcut.  It’s why I use old, new, clinical, and vulgar terms for whores mostly interchangeably; slapping a nice label on a stigmatized group doesn’t make oppressive laws and ugly propaganda go away.  For example, though many reporters are now using “sex worker” instead of “prostitute”, they might as well use the latter because the way they use it (ie the tone, accompanying adjectives, infantilizing statements about us, etc) is no different. The words aren’t the problem; bigotry, hate, and evil laws are.  It’s the same for every oppressed minority group, and subjecting someone to the fucking Inquisition because sinful sounds slipped forth from his larynx will change nothing except to make the world a poorer, uglier, nastier place.  So please, stop wasting your damned energy policing other people’s speech, and start using it to speak against policing others.

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Anti-sex, pro-censorship gangs want to be called “abolitionist” because it lets them pretend their racist schemes are a continuation of the 19th-century campaign against chattel slavery.  But in actuality, they are a continuation of the 19th-century campaign to harass, spy upon, inflict state violence upon, and generally destroy the lives of people who did things the prohibitionists (whose movement was rooted in US evangelical Protestantism) disapproved of, such as alcohol, extramarital sex of any kind (including masturbation, homosexuality, and sexual imagery), abortion, interracial fraternization, etc, etc.  Only the most deranged of this warped cult of busybodies actually believe they can “abolish” human nature; what most of them really want is a permanent government-backed war on human nature, AKA Prohibition.  Prohibitionists not only live in a fantasy world, but demand that the rest of us live in it with them.  And they want the state to restrict the liberties of those they fantasize about, and enact violence on those who refuse to pretend their fantasies are real.  Supporters of Prohibition are properly called Prohibitionists, not “abolitionists”.  Words mean things; call prohibitionists what they are, not what they pretend to be.

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How is it that the US mass media can simultaneously fret about the fraction of people who are obese, and proclaim foods or activities that promote a lower body mass to be “healthy”, yet simultaneously claim that, for women at least, obesity is “healthy”?  It’s because the word “healthy” is not, and has not been for decades, a semantically neutral one.  “Healthy” is one of the modern signifiers of moral purity, and “unhealthy” = “sinful” (as openly proclaimed on the packaging of both “decadent” and “guilt-free” desserts).  So even though obesity is objectively sub-optimal for “wellness” by medical standards, using that word in front of the Great Unwashed signifies a moral judgment on the overweight person.  In order to conform to the current rules of “wokeness”, media must proclaim that obesity is “healthy” when what they actually mean is, “Obese people are not lesser humans, and it isn’t your job to shame them for being fat.  It’s their business, not yours”.  In the popular media, “wellness” isn’t an objective word but a declaration of moral fitness, a judgement on a person’s character.  It would certainly be a lot better for society as a whole to stop pretending that illness is due to divine retribution for an “unhealthy” (read: sinful) “lifestyle” (a word long used by crypto-moralists to judge others, especially queers and sex workers).  But given the considerable energy US culture has invested in that myth (cf preachers who blame hurricanes on same-sex marriage, and busybodies who cast shame on, or even call the cops on, people for visiting their friends against politicians’ “orders”), that’s unlikely to happen anytime before the collapse of the Empire.

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The censor-morons are loose, and they’re attacking the small targets so their totalitarian masters can expend their energy on big ones like the internet.  –  “The Return of the Censor

Censorship, once condemned by all ethical people, has now become almost universally popular.  From the most totalitarian of governments down to the youngest of adults, it seems everybody without a functional moral compass (which is to say, the great majority) wants to impose their ideas of “right” thinking and “correct” speech on everyone else.  China, of course, is leading the way, with a new Maoist-type campaign to purge schools and libraries of books deemed insufficiently pure, but the West isn’t far behind.  In the UK, cops are knocking on doors to intimidate people who made statements online that the cops didn’t like, and early this month a woman in Melbourne was actually arrested for posting on Facebook about a protest against totalitarian “lockdown” orders imposed by the Victorian government.  In the US, the pandemic is only one of many popular excuses for censorship; others include “hate speech”, criticizing the police, and (for social media platforms) either engaging in censorship on their own or not censoring often enough for the tastes of censors.  I know that last is confusing, so let me state it a different way:  Some politicians and other control freaks want to censor Facebook, Twitter, et al for engaging in censorship themselves, while others want to censor the same entities for not censoring enough.  Yes, it’s complete lunacy, and it isn’t limited to the internet; culture warriors in academia, Hollywood, and even corporate America are firing,expelling, or otherwise ostracizing people for engaging in wrongthink, or even for failing to chant approved party slogans with sufficient enthusiasm.

When I was a librarian, Banned Books Week was little more than an academic exercise; censorship was an intermittent and generally impotent threat proceeding from small numbers of narrow-minded busybodies, which was easily defeated by librarians and other guardians of our shared cultural heritage.  But that was a generation ago, and would-be censors have become numerous, aggressive, well-organized and (most concerningly) popular.  Few of those under 30 even understand what free speech is or why it’s important, and the majority or those over that age imagine all sorts of exceptions that they believe should be reasons to violently suppress speech, ranging from “it hurt my feelings”, to “it was said or written by a dead person who did things considered normal then, but which are now mortal sins”, to “it contains ‘bad’ words”, to the ever-popular “But SEX!”  As I wrote last year, the censor-morons (a term coined by D.H. Lawrence, one of many writers now considered “problematic”) are loose; furthermore, they are multiplying like bacteria and have already infested all the centers of power.  For now, the courts are mostly still defending the rights of those with enough money, resources, and patience to fight “cancellation” through official channels.  But if you will take the time to read all of my essays for this occasion starting in 2012, and working your way up a year at a time to the present, I think you’ll see a very frightening trend.  We are watching the advent of a new dark age, and in such times no light is entirely safe from being snuffed out by zealots, speech-cops and bureaucrats whose ideal model for human society is the anthill.

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Phrases like “essential worker” and “nonessential business” are now being bandied about by the collectivists without any apparent recognition of what such phrases say about their ugly view of humanity.  People are complex individuals who often find comfort in belonging to something larger than themselves; they are not ants or mechanical parts to be reduced to “workers” and declared “essential” or “nonessential” (for the latter read “disposable”) by their owners.  The idea that bureaucrats have the right to make such pronouncements over the lives of individuals, and to dictate that some people are unworthy of being allowed to make a living and feed their families, is a totalitarian abomination.  Even if you accept the extremely shaky premise that it was “necessary” to forcibly cut off some people’s income in order to manage a pandemic, no society which pretends to be “free” has any business sorting human beings into categories as though they were produce.  Rather than subjectively (and such decisions were extremely subjective, varying wildly from state to state and country to country) declaring some people’s businesses, jobs, and needs expendable, governments could instead have established clear, objective criteria to which businesses had to adhere in order to go unharassed.  For example, the plexiglass shields which have now appeared in grocery stores and other “essential” outlets would be equally effective in many other businesses, regardless of whether politicians declared them “essential” or not, and cops have repeatedly demonstrated in the past few weeks that they imagine their busybody interference in the lives of people who are doing mundane things that aren’t remotely unsafe (such as walking with a spouse in a park) to be “essential” despite its potential to expose people to infection (especially when they actually manhandle such people and lock them in the filthy cages which have become breeding grounds for pestilence).  In short, the only people who have demonstrated themselves to be “nonessential” during this crisis are the sociopathic control freaks who imagine that everything they do and say is important, while other people are simply interchangeable objects to be sorted through and either used or discarded.

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[Sex workers] have to pay the rent, they have to eat, so they are forced to continue working.  –  Joep Rottier

Sex Rays

Oh noes, they contaminated public places with their eeeevul sex rays!

On April 21, Arkansas-based clip artist Mayven Doll and her husband took a plea deal…over serious felony charges filed against them back in 2017.  After keeping them in legal limbo for almost three years, this week the prosecutors finally allowed them to plead their felony charges — stemming from a few public sex clips…down to the far more common misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure…[pigs] had downloaded, [masturbated to] and written descriptions of the clips into a request for an arrest warrant and then raided their home…[with a] SWAT [team]…the [warrant] affidavit…wa[s] specifically worded…to invoke three old Arkansas obscenity statues about “hard-core film,” that…are so overly broad that they [crimi]nalize even owning a single commercial porn DVD…a few days after the original prosecutor finished a political campaign that resulted in his election to a newly created judgeship, prosecutors finally agreed to a…plea…deal…

To Molest and Rape

Pigese is designed for obfuscation, but I think this means he violently raped a sex worker:

A Tahoka [Texas cop]…has been arrested and charged with official oppression, prostitution and indecent assault…William Jayce Baker…was on [paid vacation] during the Texas Rangers investigation…

License to Rape (#652)

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

South Dakota [cops’] practice of [rap]ing [people with] catheter[s under the pretense of] obtain[ing] urine samples…violates the U.S. Constitution…federal judge…Roberto Lange…declined to dismiss the case brought by six individuals who sued the cities of Pierre, Wagner and Sisseton, as well as various [rapist cops]…Two [of the] plaintiffs – Gena Alvarez and Aaron Peters – were [raped by]…catheter…[without even the excuse] of…drug crimes.  Alvarez had been…arrested…[for drunk driving and] woke up at the Winner Hospital being held down and [stripped by rapist pig]…Adam Woxland [while his buddy held]…down her legs…

Permanent Record

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

A promising young mechanic at a Honda dealership in Indiana was fired from her job after management learned she was making amateur porn outside of work using the platform OnlyFans.  Kirsten Vaughn…was on track to become the first woman master technician at Don Ayres Honda dealership in Fort Wayne when she was abruptly [sacked]…after…coworkers began watching her videos together at the workplace and then sexually harassing her…Jason Johnston, who handles human resources for the dealership, denied that Vaughn had been fired over her OnlyFans account, and said instead that she had violated company policy…[but] declined to specify which policy…in audio recordings that Vaughn provided…of meetings she had with Johnston and dealership general manager John Watkins, the two men can be heard questioning her about her OnlyFans presence and discussing the harm it could do to the reputation of their business…and…blam[ing] Vaughn for the [behavior] of her coworkers…

Panopticon (#923)

The more extensive the surveillance, the more often this will happen:

Sheffield City Council’s automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) system exposed to the internet 8.6 million records of road journeys made by thousands of people…The…camera system’s internal management dashboard could be accessed by simply entering its IP address into a web browser.  No login details or authentication of any sort was needed to view and search the live system…Britain’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter described the security lapse as “both astonishing and worrying,” and demanded a full probe into the snafu…

Welcome To Our World (#1026)

I’m sure you feel safer now:

Two Texas p[igs staged]…an elaborate sting operation to catch citizens giving salon services for money in their own home.  The cops p[retend]ed [to be real people] needing…a manicure…[after] snitches…[ratted on] a woman who was advertising manicure services on social media…Laredo police a[bduc]ted Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia…and [locked her in a filthy cage]…Brenda Stephany Mata…was [also] a[bduc]ted…after she allegedly offered to do a…[sow’s] lashes.  Just like Castro-Garcia, she was [locked in a filthy cage]…for…trying to feed themselves and their families…

Social Distancing (#1034)

Unsurprisingly, New Zealand treats sex workers like any other workers:

…“The fact that the sex industry in New Zealand has been decriminalised has a lot of advantages, and it proves itself now with this virus issue”…says Joep Rottier, a criminology researcher at Utrecht University…In addition to the emergency wage subsidy, which is available to all New Zealand workers just by providing a national ID number and basic personal information, sex workers are also immediately eligible for job-seekers benefits…

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The government does not have the power to change the dictionary.  –  Justin Pearson

The best parody is very close to the truth; this video (from a dude we’ve seen before) is an excellent example.  The video was provided by Annie Sprinkle, and the links above it by Franklin Harris (“cosplay”), Dave Krueger (“imitation”), Nun Ya (“literal”), and Jesse Walker (everything else).

From the Archives

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Note for new readers:  My blog and Twitter feed are definitely not “safe spaces”, and cannot be made so with “trigger warnings” or “content notes”.  I am fighting a war against government oppression and police brutality, and war is never pretty or safe.  So if reading the truth about authoritarian violence upsets you, I suggest that this topic in general and my oeuvre in particular are simply not for you.  I do not and will not self-censor; if anything I will rephrase bureaucratic & journalistic euphemisms to make the ugly truths they’re trying to hide more visible.  So “confiscate” will be rendered as “steal”.  “Former police offcer” becomes “typical and representative cop”.  “Corrections officer” becomes “screw”.  “Have sex with” becomes “rape”.  “Die in custody” becomes “murdered”.  You get the picture.  If it’s more than you can handle, go in peace and I won’t blame you.  But I cannot and will not “tone it down” to avoid offending the easily-offended, nor will I respond to attempts to police my language with anything but the same lack of respect I respond to attempts by the state to police my behavior in real life.

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For the past two and a half years, Friday columns have generally been light and low-effort for me; many of them are just expanded versions of tweet threads that I felt deserved a more permanent treatment.  Well, last week someone retweeted some of my content from 18 months ago, and I realized it should have that treatment as part of my intermittent series of columns on language.  I’ve written about this in a number of places (two of which I’ve linked below), but never quite this clearly or succinctly.  And so without further ado:

There are 4 separate meanings of “libertarian”:

1) one who opposes authoritarianism
2) a member of a broad movement advocating reduced governmental power
3) a US political party (capitalized)
4) a pejorative used by some “progressives” to mean “anyone I disagree with”

So if you’re in that first category, which many people are, you may be correctly described under (1) while not fitting into (2) or (3).  And (4) is impossible to control, but also no more meaningful than “traitor”, “infidel” or “doodyhead”.  I’m certainly a member of (1); as an anarchist I’m tolerated by (2); I have generally friendly relations with (3); and (4) is meaningless because membership in it is controlled by the whims of the very silly.

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Good grief, reporters, please learn the difference between “size” and “length”.

Asteroid 2000 QW7 is set to pass Earth on September 14 according to research from Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).  Asteroid 2000 QW7 is rather large, estimated to be 290 and 650 meters…making it the size of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world…Luckily, Asteroid 2000 QW7 is keeping its distance, only coming within 0.03564 astronomical units of Earth, which is approximately 3.3 million miles…

Burj Khalifa is very narrow in comparison to its height; an asteroid is not.  And while Burj Khalifa is mostly empty space, an asteroid is solid rock and/or metal.  Burj Khalifa masses a mere half a million tons; the asteroid mentioned in this story has a (very approximate) mass of 340 million tons.  In other words, O deeply scientifically-illiterate reporter, 2000 QW7 is not “the size of Burj Khalifa”; it is in fact well over 600 times its size.  For those who need a more concrete visualization:  The statement “2000 QW7 is the size of Burj Khalifa” is not-dissimilar in accuracy to the statement “A 2019 Honda Accord is the size of the bag of sugar in my cupboard.”

And yet I wonder how these same people can believe in 100,000 “sex trafficked children” being raped dozens of times a day.

Addendum, for those who care about such things:  I approximated the asteroid as a chondrite spheroid 600 m in diameter, small enough to be solid (unlike some small chondrite moons, which appear to have sizeable internal cavities); I approximated its density as 3 grams/cc.  I asked my astronomer friend Mike Siegel to check my numbers, and he came up with very similar ones (though he felt the official estimate of Burj Khalifa’s mass to be a bit high).

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