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ADVENTURES IN LINGUISTIC SENSITIVITY

“No one should ever refer to another person, even privately, as the political equivalent of a for-profit sex worker.”

When necessary, one should make the necessary clarification that the other person behaves in the manner of a non-profit sex worker. Seriously, “it’s not polite to call ladies whores” is a fairly simple sentence to type.

15 Comments

  1. Katie wrote:

    This oddly reminds me of a Demetri Martin stand-up bit:

    “There’s a saying that goes ‘People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.’ Okay. How about ‘Nobody should throw stones.’ That’s crappy behavior. My policy is: ‘No stone throwing regardless of housing situation.’”

    Monday, October 11, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink
  2. Sam wrote:

    The problem with non-profit sex work is that the administrators wind up getting most of the bj’s.

    Monday, October 11, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Permalink
  3. AMC wrote:

    Ooh, fun! I have more simple sentences!

    “No means no, even if you really want to, there is another person in the sexual equation, and it’s their body.”
    “No hitting your significant other, unless in self-defense. Actually, no hitting ANYone unless in self-defense, m’kay?”
    “Men can pick up clothes too!”
    “Edward Cullen is not an example of a good and/or realistic boyfriend OR a vampire. He is a pansy wood nymph, that other wood nymphs mock. Now go watch Spike video’s until your mind clears.”

    Monday, October 11, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Permalink
  4. Sady wrote:

    @AMC: Probably not cool to call folks “pansies,” even if you don’t like them and they are fictional. Just a word of warning, there.

    Monday, October 11, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Permalink
  5. Eric Johns wrote:

    @Sady: Yeah, it’s a bit… problematic…

    Monday, October 11, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Permalink
  6. Taybeh Chaser wrote:

    Yeah, I think they meant “a watered-down vampire character” and that’s what they should’ve said.

    Monday, October 11, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Permalink
  7. Dymara wrote:

    Far from it, Taybeh; the original phrasing was dripping in scorn for feminine men and femininity in general.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 12:42 am | Permalink
  8. Taybeh Chaser wrote:

    Dymara, I realize that. I was trying clumsily and indirectly to point out that people so frequently use phrases like that as shorthand for watered-down-ness or weakness, and that they should either use more accurate phrasing, or admit outright that they conflate boring, weak characters with femininity. Sorry I wasn’t clear.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 2:36 am | Permalink
  9. AMC wrote:

    @Sady
    @Tymara
    I was quoting the character Spike from Buffy. Perhaps I should have said “nancy-boy?” I can assure you in neither situation is it about disdain for feminine men, since that really isn’t the issue with Cullen’s character. It’s about disdain for how pathetic he is in general. And how much better Spike is.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 9:33 am | Permalink
  10. Catherine wrote:

    I wonder why Lane chose such an obscure 19th-century instance to open his column. Just from having recently read American Lion, it seems the word “whore” was tossed around a LOT in mid-19th-century politics. (I’m looking at you, John Quincy Adams!) It’s definitely not a case of Even In Polite Old-Timey-Times, Woman-Denigrating Language Was Also Used in Rare Circumstances.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  11. Sady wrote:

    @AMC: Neither “pansy” or “nancy boy” are appropriate in this forum. Or in general. Both are homophobic slurs. No matter how much you like a character who said them once.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 9:53 am | Permalink
  12. Sooz wrote:

    AMC: The problem with Cullen is not his mannerisms or whatev, which is what “pansy” and “nancy boy” really refer to- fellas who act “too feminine.”

    The problem with Cullen is that he is an abusive asshole.

    Hope this helps.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 10:37 am | Permalink
  13. Hth wrote:

    “Be a better person than Spike” is good life advice.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Permalink
  14. Mejoff wrote:

    AMC could add “using ‘gay’ or any varient thereof as a perjorative is not ever cool or funny” to the list?

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 5:19 am | Permalink
  15. Nick wrote:

    How about:
    using whore as an insult is always wrong, even if you’re insulting a promiscuous banana in your bowl of fruit. why? because using whore as an insult is offensive not just to the person being insulted, but to sexworkers, implying that what they are doing it wrong.

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 5:05 am | Permalink