Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Words’ Category

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.

Read Full Post »

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).

Read Full Post »

People who define sex work as the selling of a body, or who say sex isn’t work, are telling you a lot about their own sex lives.  I mean, think about it; what does it say to you for a person to claim they believe sex consists of a woman lying passively in bed like a doll while a man “accesses her body cavities”?  What would you conclude about the sexual experiences of a person who claimed to believe that sex required no labor at all from the woman, but was simply done to her, with the man as the only active party in the transaction?  And yet, when I made this simple point last week, I was inundated with angry responses from prohibitionists trying to “explain” that I was wrong (and a misogynist, natch) because sex really does involve a woman lying there like a cadaver, with a man “masturbating into her orifices”.  I got similar responses from almost a score of prohibitionists, who thus boosted my tweets while amply proving my point over and over again (even after I suggested they stop digging).  Too bad the general public is just as ignorant as they are and are therefore unable to see through their embarrassing self-exposure as easily as those of us in the demimonde can. 

Read Full Post »

I’ve noticed in the past year a dramatic increase in the number of politicians using the phrase “hold accountable”; it has become a moralistic shibboleth meaning something like “persecute using a moralistic excuse.”  The phrase appears to have crept into the greater government ecosystem by way of “sex trafficking” hysteria, considering it has been used by sociopaths pushing the Swedish model for quite a while now (“we have to starve & evict women in order to hold sex buyers accountable”, or however they would express that), and that most of the uses I saw prior to just a few months ago were in sex-related cases.  But recently, it exploded into more general use, with politicians of both major parties pompously bloviating about how they’re going to hold some person or entity “accountable”.  And that would be just dandy if they were talking about other politicians or their thugs and toadies, but they’re not; they’re using it to mean citizens and private companies.  In other words, politicians (the rulers) are calling for citizens (the ruled) to be “held accountable”.  This is some serious Looking-Glass thinking:  in a republic, politician (and cops, and others with power) are “accountable” to the citizens, not vice versa.  Being prosecuted for a crime is NOT a matter of “accountability”; that’s not what the word means.  “Accountability” is that which is owed by someone claiming to represent another to the person he supposedly represents; eg, my lawyer is accountable to me in legal matters where he represents my interests.  We do not live in a feudal system (yet); “accountability” is not something imposed by rulers on the ruled, but on representatives by the people they (supposedly) represent.  Nobody who does not claim to be acting for “the government” or “the people” is “accountable” to any politician; they’re just trying to confuse you about who owes what to whom.

Read Full Post »

A few days after the whole “thot audit” nonsense, another (though much smaller) silly season erupted on Twitter.  But while the former was comprised mostly of misogynist incel and PUA-type whore haters, the latter was comprised mostly of misogynistic married whore-haters who are seemingly terrified of the idea that their daughters might grow up to have pragmatic views about sex.  And while the “thot audit” yahoos proudly and openly advertised themselves as copsuckers and badge-lickers, the “Would you want your daughter to do it?” busybodies mostly claimed to have libertarian ideas about decriminalization and so pretended that their concern about sex work is that it’s “dangerous” and/or not “empowering”.  The hypocrisy of the “dangerous” argument is clearly revealed by the fact that these men don’t pontificate about how women shouldn’t join the cops or military; somehow danger is only an issue when sex is involved.  And nobody seems all too concerned about whether being a waitress, cashier, or manicurist is “empowering”; again, “empowerment” only magically becomes an issue when sex is involved.  The basic issue here is that busybodies with creepy sexual fantasies about women feel qualified to judge work they’ve never done and know nothing about on airy-fairy criteria like “empowerment”; this is why we have prohibition.  The only kind of “empowerment” that a job is required to provide is economic empowerment, in other words, the amount of economic power it provides relative to other jobs.  And despite the “pimp” and “slavery” masturbatory fantasies of prohibitionists, sex work compares very well indeed in comparison to other jobs which require no formal education, licensing, etc.  But that’s not the only problem with the concept of “empowerment”; as I wrote in “Politicizing the Personal” over 7 years ago:

…To “empower” someone is to grant her power; it automatically implies A) that she hasn’t got any in the first place, and B) that such power is the speaker’s to give.  Using the word in an active sense (“we need to empower women”) establishes the speaker or his organization as the intrinsic superior and benefactor of the person or persons so “empowered”, and using the word in a passive sense (“an empowered woman”) robs the person so “empowered” of agency, reducing her to the passive recipient of someone else’s benevolence just as people were imagined to be “granted” rights by a king in archaic political theory…

In short, merely bringing up the word in a discussion about women automatically places the speaker at a vantage point above the person he’s speaking about, like a scientist discussing some species of newt.  Nobody uses the word “empowered” when talking about men’s employment, and nobody should be using it to talk about women’s either.

Read Full Post »

A phrase that means nothing isn’t a useful term for serious adults; it’s a fad for the immature and silly.  –  “Meaningless

Imagine if you will how a master mechanic might react if he saw you using a wrench to pound in nails, or stepping on the handle of a large screwdriver you were using as a pry bar.  If he were of an unusually calm disposition he might just watch you for a while, shaking his head, before making some comment like, “That might go faster if you used the right tool,” or “Would you like me to show you how to do that?”  And if he were both patient and wise he might let you injure yourself first before commenting, so that you’d be more likely to listen.  But if he were as high-strung as I am, he might quickly lose patience with you, push you out of the way and do the job properly (possibly after striking you repeatedly about the head and neck with the abused tool).  As I wrote in “Nasty Words”,

As a writer, words are my tools, and I cherish them and baby them the way a good mechanic cares for the tools of his trade.  And just as a good mechanic always uses the right tool for the job rather than trying to make do with whatever happens to be nearby, so I insist on using the right word…and just as some mechanics are annoyed by seeing others misuse or abuse their tools, so am I annoyed by the misuse or abuse of words…

That column was about the rampant misuse of the word “vagina” to mean not only any part of a woman’s sexual anatomy, but also as a vulgar substitute for non-anatomical uses of the slang word “pussy”.  I’ve also written about my distaste for the improperly-constructed and imprecisely-used term “homophobia” (which actually means “fear of sameness or monotony”; an attack or word has no feelings and therefore cannot be “phobic” of anything); my rejection of those who want to ban things hiding behind the prefix “pro-“; the powerful annoyance I have for the word “privilege” as it is commonly used today; my deep revulsion for the word “deserve” (“the visible part of an iceberg of moral odiousness floating unseen below the social waterline”); my intolerance for “fair” (both word and concept); and the complete meaninglessness of the faddish shibboleth “human trafficking”.  As you’ve probably guessed, today I’m going to unload both barrels on another such term, the meaningless tech buzzword “disrupt”.

First, let’s start with the actual definition of the word: to interrupt the normal progress of something by causing a disturbance or problem; or, to destroy something’s structure (as in “cellular disruption”).  If you consult a bunch of dictionaries you’ll discover that there is no positive usage of this word; it always refers to a destructive process.  Of course, that could be desirable if the thing one wants to disrupt is itself destructive or evil, such as a police operation or the schemes of a politician.  And yet somehow tech-worshipers of the sort who believe in “The Singularity” seem to have assigned a positive meaning to it, and believe that people will react positively when told that the techie wants to “disrupt their industry” (even though even Urban Dictionary admits that the term is a mere buzzword with no specific definition).  I recently blasted a reader who sent me an email hawking some website which claimed it was dedicated to “disrupting the oldest profession”, and while I realized later that he was merely forwarding the email rather than writing it, I have to marvel at the deep cluelessness of a marketing department in the modern US which fails to comprehend that no sex worker is going to react well to someone claiming they want to “disrupt” our profession at a time when the government and countless prohibitionist NGOs are working very hard at doing exactly that by censorship, persecution, surveillance, entrapment schemes, raids and other such tactics.  Attention, tech idiots: I know y’all don’t live in the real world, but sex workers are sick and tired of violent thugs and evil control freaks trying to disrupt our profession (and almost that sick and tired of clueless amateurs trying to “disrupt” it in the app-developer sense).  Here’s some free marketing advice:  When trying to market your product to adults, it’s probably best to avoid adolescent slang, and when marketing to people outside your little circle-jerk it’s probably best to avoid jargon that’s going to sound negative to normal people.  Words mean things, and you’ll avoid offending potential clients if you remember that.

Read Full Post »

It never surprises me when some new expression like “big dick energy” surfaces, because men all over the world are obsessed with their penises and wont to ascribe magical powers to them.  And I don’t just mean stupid, brutish men either; even reasonably intelligent, sophisticated men seem to believe deep down that their phalluses are mighty weapons which contain their “manhood” and have the ability to damage women’s bodies and destroy our souls.  And because the great majority of men believe in this idiocy, it’s unsurprising that many women do as well.

Take the myth that a lot of sex causes vaginal looseness, for example; barely a month passes that some lackwit advertises his deep insecurity online with a post or tweet claiming that whores, sluts and other “loose women” (see that word?) eventually develop extra-roomy vaginas due to frequent sex.  Of course, this is completely idiotic; the vaginal walls are made of muscle, and when muscles are exercised they grow stronger, not flabbier.  Furthermore, the dudes who believe in this silly myth seem to imagine that only penetration by different penises can cause this supposed loosening; frequent sex with the same penis causes no such damage, presumably because of some kind of mystical key-like effect.  Well-meaning guys worry that their penises might hurt a woman, and even some MDs who should obviously know better have wasted their valuable time experimenting on sex worker volunteers to develop a therapy to “restore tone” to vaginal muscles.  Well, I hate to break this to y’all, but no matter how big you think your cock is, it’s NOT AS BIG AS A BABY’S HEAD.  It’s not a large amount of sex (with one penis, multiple penises, scads of different penises or even a sex-toy-store’s worth of dildoes) which causes a woman to loosen; it’s complications of childbirth.  And if a woman has never had a baby, the only other thing that can affect tightness of those muscles is learning to relax.  Most virgins aren’t somewhat tighter than experienced women because their muscles aren’t yet “worn out” (which is not a thing); they’re tighter because they’re nervous or scared from all the talk about how much it’s going to hurt, or because they’ve been conditioned that “good girls” don’t do that.  And once they learn to relax they revert to their normal level of tightness.  It’s not due to “stretching” or “overuse”; it’s due to getting over fear of the Dangerous Dick, and if a woman you’re fucking is too loose for you, it’s not because her pussy is too big; it’s because your dick is too small.

If this were the only silly myth about the destructive power of the Almighty Phallus, we could just laugh it off and mock the dudes who absurdly advertise their deep ignorance by attempting to lecture women on Twitter about the havoc wrought on their twats by daring to admit more than one dong in a lifetime.  But there’s a much more dangerous notion, based in the idea that penises ejaculate ectoplasm in addition to semen, and can therefore damage women’s souls:

The dominant cultural narrative is that both men and women can get over just about any personal tragedy – financial ruin, the loss of a limb or a loved one, persecution by governmental authorities, etc – except rape, which if it doesn’t leave a woman a psychological wreck is supposed to at least cast a dark pall over the rest of her life…this [misogynistic] doctrine…portrays the penis as some sort of semi-divine instrument capable of destroying a helpless woman’s entire life at the whim of the man to whom it is attached… this absurd mythology…is so pervasive…that a rape victim who fails to behave according to the approved script may not be believed…

Really, guys; come in out of the Bronze Age.  I understand that y’all get a lot of pleasure from your cocks, and that y’all only have enough blood to run one head at a time.  But the big one gives you the power to understand that however much you may enjoy the little one, it’s just a boneless organ, not a magic sword.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »