Shared posts

03 Oct 00:00


Despite it being imaginary, I already have SUCH a strong opinion on the cord-switch firing incident.
29 Mar 14:00

An Interview with Steve Silberman, Author of NeuroTribes

by Emily Brooks

"As a society, it’s time we woke up from our collective illusion that autism is a puzzle that’s going to be solved by a medical breakthrough that’s perpetually just around the corner. Autistic people have been here for millennia, but it’s only in the last few years that we’ve been able to see them clearly. Now we have the opportunity to focus our resources on giving them what they need."

Read more An Interview with Steve Silberman, Author of NeuroTribes at The Toast.

20 Sep 16:56

Parenting by the Books: ‘On The Banks of Plum Creek’

by Sarah Blackwood

When a doll is more than just a doll

Recently my five-year-old son caused me to revisit one of the most painful scenes of childhood literature: when Ma forces Laura to give away her beloved rag doll, Charlotte, in On the Banks of Plum Creek. To briefly recap for those few who do not have the scene burned into their psyches: the Ingalls’ neighbors, the Nelsons, come visiting, and their awful toddler Anna demands to bring the doll home with her. Ma forces the exchange, only for Laura to discover days later that Anna has discarded the beloved toy in a freezing puddle of water. When we got to the moment where Laura comes upon darling abandoned Charlotte in that puddle, my son welled up with tears.

I asked him what he was feeling: what did he think about Ma making Laura give another child her beloved doll? “Ma is mean,” was his emphatic reply, as he clutched his own lovey, a little square of fabric covered in tags, to his chest. And with this interpretation, he joined a long line of readers who agree: Ma’s directive is over-the-top generosity at best, cruelty at worst. She is wrong to make such a demand of her child. As I reread the book this time, though, a huge neon finger appeared above my own lifelong complaint about Ma’s thoughtlessness over the doll. Flashing red at me, it begged me to reconsider.

The reason we don’t like Ma here is not so much that she fails to empathize with her child, but that she stands in the way of what Laura wants: to be possessive and individually sated, rather than socialized. Our fantasy is that society’s needs and the individual’s desires aren’t opposed to one another; Plum Creek not only reminds us that they are, but also that, historically, mothers have borne the brunt of navigating the abyss between the individual and the social. And that further! mothers do this work all while navigating their own desires and taking care of social systems that only precariously ensure their survival.

The drama of Charlotte the Doll shows how our culture crafts mothers into socializing and civilizing forces and then calls them killjoys for doing the work of managing the derangements of individual desire. Our desires — to possess, to act as if unencumbered by others, to be selfish and sated — more often than not hurt others. This isn’t news to Ma Ingalls, a woman repeatedly brought to the brink of death and starvation by Pa’s cheerful belief that what he wants for himself — light out for the territories! take this land for my own! no town in sight! — harms no one. Ma is the person across eight books with the most intimate access to the cruelty inherent to individual desire, and a pretty deep understanding of what might happen if those desires were given free reign (total social breakdown!), and we sit back and call her a bitch. Let us inquire into this.

The clearest explanation for why Ma would ask Laura to give her beloved doll away is a version of socialization that subordinates the self to others. “We must not think only of ourselves. Think how happy you’ve made Anna,” Ma asks Laura to consider. Put this way, Ma’s request feels like good, or at least recognizable, parenting and like some of the justifications I’ve offered my own kids for why they should share or take turns with toys.

Today’s “sharing” might be the weaksauce version of the nineteenth century’s “giving,” but both are ways that humans try to assuage the force that individual desires can wield. My house is full to bursting of conflicting desires: I want a minute to myself, the five-year-old wants ice cream, the three-year-old wants his little hands to work better. The end result is often everyone sitting in a huddle together wailing and gnashing. We all want so much, so differently, and those desires rarely align.

This is a bleak vision, underscored by the even bleaker passage in Plum Creek where Ma finally notices what losing Charlotte has done to Laura: “[Laura] did not cry, but she felt crying inside her because Charlotte was gone. Pa was not there, and Charlotte’s box was empty. The wind went howling by the eaves. Everything was empty and cold” (232). Ma apologizes; she hadn’t known that Laura felt so deeply about the doll. Together they stitch up the rescued doll that Ma gives Laura a pass for “stealing” back, and the episode ends on a creative, rather than destructive, note.

But I want to pause here to note the detail that exacerbates the conflict between Ma and Laura over Charlotte the Doll in the first place: Pa is gone. He’d walked on foot hundreds of miles to earn money helping with a harvest elsewhere because the Ingalls’s crops were decimated by a plague of grasshoppers. Ma and the girls don’t know where he is and when he’s coming back.

To put it another way, winter is fucking coming and it’s not that the doll becomes a trivial concern in such circumstances, but that it becomes intensely meaningful for both mother and child under these conditions of scarcity. The doll, then, is safety and home for a child whose sense of safety and home is eroded with each day her father fails to return. But for Ma, the doll is also an item to barter for good will from a neighbor woman under whose (meager) protection she might find herself, should her husband fail to come home. Is it right for Ma to demand this sacrifice of her daughter? Probably not. Is it likely related to her own womanly and motherly instinct for survival? Definitely. Have generations of readers read her as a bitch for acknowledging that we have to labor daily in a hundred small ways to take care of society unless we want to starve? C’mon.

A doll is never just a doll, ask Freud or Ferrante, or Esther Summerson who so creepily buries hers in Bleak House. The Little House series abounds in dolls: Ma’s little china shepherdess, Nellie’s china doll, Mary’s rag doll Nettie. Dolls and loveys are opportunities to practice love, to transfer the overwhelming drives a young child feels toward a parent to something outside the immediate family system. They offer ways to navigate relationships with other children and caregivers, or to mark life stages or even class status.

They also allow children to practice cruelty. Consider the troubling end of Little House on the Prairie, a book that tracks the Ingalls’s lives while they live on Osage land in Kansas. (We’d thankfully skipped this relentlessly racist and colonialist book at my son’s request.) During the entirety of LHOP, Pa has been promising Laura that she would be able to “see a papoose,” as if a “papoose” were a sort of doll one could buy at a store or see in a museum. Laura finally gets her chance as her family lines up to watch the exiled Osage process pass their homestead. Laura sees a mother with a young child in a basket, and utters one of the only loudly voiced demands she’ll make across eight books: “Get me that little Indian baby.”

Like the horrid Anna Nelson who bawled and cried until she got her way, who ripped precious paper dolls in half and discarded beloved rag dolls in the freezing cold: Laura, too, is an acquisitive, bad-acting horror, ravaged by the currents of the broken and cruel world in which she lives, and she wants what she wants.

Parenting provides amazingly unfiltered access to states of desire because children are so good at expressing theirs and at thwarting our own. The daily labor of parenting requires navigating those desires without looking at them too intently: we are not meant to give children most of what they want and we simply cannot inquire too deeply into how many of our own desires are going unmet. The work of socialization has to be done, but the force of the desires that it tames doesn’t exactly dissipate. We might not ever know exactly what Ma Ingalls wanted, but we do know that she intimately understood the power of want, and how combustible social and familial experiments are in the face of that power.

“Mommy,” my son said as he softly caressed my face one day during nap time, “I want to poke my fingers into your skull.” I’m not looking for recognition for not always giving him what he wants. Rather, I’m taking my own notes on how close we always are to going up in flames of our own making, and whispering a little thank you to Ma Ingalls for always being there with a bucket of cold water.

Parenting by the Books” is a series about parenting and classic literary texts.

Sarah Blackwood is editor and co-founder of Avidly and associate professor of English at Pace University.

Parenting by the Books: ‘On The Banks of Plum Creek’ was originally published in The Hairpin on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Read the responses to this story on Medium.

23 Sep 07:00

Bi Visibility Day: We Can't Be Your Trustees... Yet

by (Jen)
Last month at a Superbia event for Manchester Pride there was a question from the floor to a panel I was on.  We were pressed for time toward the end of the event so I didn't get a chance to speak, but the questioner asked, and I paraphrase: I'm the trustee of an LGBT charity, when we put out calls for volunteers to take on this or that role what we get coming forward is a bunch of white, cis, gay, men. Why?

Well, it is an interesting question. Why don't all those people from other backgrounds come forward? Why - to pick the topical strand for today - aren't the bisexuals (and so on) stepping up?  Or the unspoken side question: why do the people who do step up not mention their bisexuality?

This is one of the big challenges for bisexual organising, too.  We know, and Bi Visibility Day events and materials work hard to remind us, how things are different for bis.  Not in the "double your chances of a date on a Friday night" kind of a way.  If only.  No, in the way that our mental health statistics are worse than those of gay and straight people.  Our experience of being victims of domestic violence and other abuse are worse too.  Economically, we earn less than gay, straight and lesbian people.  We might be in the closet at work with all the negative consequences that has; but we might be in the closet at home too.

Now these are terrible facts and figures: issues where a lot of work is needed to change the way our world works.  But I know what you are thinking - the vacancy on your board of trustees isn't going to wait for that to happen.

But those facts should be telling you things about the pool of people of whom most of your bisexual volunteers, bisexual organisers, bisexual group steering committees, are made up.

Those statistics aren't just there to frighten us. They ARE us.

So when you ask: can we have a bisexual person with free time, great qualifications and experience in these demanding roles from which they will have skills that our charity's board needs, and why aren't they coming forward?

Those people you would be looking to are the people who didn't get those promotions because of how biphobia limits their career.  That lower income means they're worried whether they can afford to come to all your meetings and fundraising shin-digs.

Those people you would be looking to are the people who don't get to be out and proud because it upsets their non-bi partner if they "keep going on" about being bisexual.

Those people you would be looking to are the people who don't "look the part" perhaps because the intersectional identities they have mean they don't have the right professional look-and-feel that you warm to, or whose bisexuality you are oblivious to because they tick some other box. 
Those people you would be looking to are the people who have those mental health challenges you have read the statistics about and who aren't sure your organisation would be tolerant when their health meant they needed to take some time out. Who use up their mental and social energy holding down that job and don't have the extra to spare that you need, because they are weaving their way through a gay-straight world.

This is not meant to be a counsel of despair, though it does read that way.  And I know some will be saying: there are plenty of burned-out or fighting-health-issues gay and straight people.  Yes there are, far too many.  But like for like, more of the bis are dealing with those problems.

We can change this.

Well, you and your organisation can change this.

I'd love to see more mentoring and support rolled out for bi people.  Don't ask for a new treasurer or chief exec; invite the groups who never get represented on your boards to shadow and be mentored by the person already doing it.  They may wind up volunteering for some other organisation instead: so be it.

We can't do it on our own. But we would benefit from it, and so would you.  Let's have a programme across business and the heavyweight end of the voluntary sector to give the bis who should be on your boards the skills and authority they need to take their seat at the table.  Who's up for it?
23 Sep 07:30

Bi Visibility Day: Why We Can't Be Your Role Models

by (Jen)
Role models. They're on my mind for one reason or another right now.  

For a long time I've been talking about biphobia.  Back in the mid 1990s, as I have surely written here before, someone asked me to define biphobia for them.  They wanted a snappy soundbite: treating bisexuals as lesser or something like that.

Instead I talked about four flavours of biphobia.

There's institutional biphobia. The way organisations work can marginalise bi people. You have an LGBT group, and it holds gendered meetings... the bi attendee wonders whether they can bring their other-gendered partner along to a social. When they let off steam about their relationship it gets less sympathy than if only they were dating someone of the same sex. Slowly they are squeezed out and leave. This can be more calculated too: the LGBT organisation that will give you support about relationship problems, provided you're in a same-sex relationship.  The big sign on the wall promising to challenge homophobia, that assumes biphobia to just be the lite version, a subset of the big bad.

Next there's internalised biphobia. This one's a big challenge for our communities and organising. Yougov reckoned last year that 23% of people were... well, somewhere between straight and gay. Just 2% owned the label "bisexual". So ten times as many people who could call themselves bi didn't, as did.  Whether an internal narrative of I'm not bi enough or I don't want to be one of 'those bisexuals', people shy away from the word that perhaps best describes their atttractions.

Then, that biphobia which is analagous to heterophobia; we get this chiefly in the gay community. "Just here as a tourist", they'll say.  Or warn you off dating bis as "they'll always leave you for a member of the opposite sex". This isn't the main thrust of this thought piece so I shall move on...

There's that which is analagous to homophobia. For women, that the sex they have with other women is less 'real' than sex with men.  For men, that having slept with another man makes you dirty, undesireable. There is probably still a bit of taint from the fear of bi men that was raised during the 1980s there.

The last two though have a curious overlap, in the way that homophobia-like and heterophobia-like patterns operate too often in our relationships.

I used to hear it from the couple next door. They've moved now, and most of the time their relationship seemed calm and happy, but when things kicked off... well, usually you can't make out the details through a thick pile of bricks, but every so often "At least I know which -----ing gender I'm attracted to" yelled from one of them to the other gave a remarkably good clue as to what they had been arguing about this time.

It's a common thread of bi experience too; running bi outreach stalls at events there's always someone who comes over looking interested and friendly but is then pulled away by a partner; sometimes with a breezy "he used to be bisexual before he met me".

On its own this is a problem, but in the workplace it has an added dimension.  Suppose your employee, Sam, has been dating a woman for months and breaks up with her, and after a few weeks is now dating a man. Work colleagues give Sam a ribbing about switching teams, being confused, greedy or what have you. It goes on a bit too long for "good-natured banter" and Sam complains.

"Aha!" the LGBT Staff Network eager-beaver in HR thinks. "A bisexual for us to recruit! We need bi role models!"

But the staffer you offer support to may not be able to be your out bisexual, even though they are on the recieving end of biphobia and even though they brought it to HR to deal with: quite possibly Sam's new partner knows nothing about their previous dalliances with women.  Or indeed, whenever that part of Sam's life gets mentioned, the crockery starts flying.

People who always date people of the same sexual orientation as themselves are rarely made to feel bad about their sexual orientation by their partner.  For bis, most of our "dating pool" are not bi: most of the people who might fancy us identify as straight or lesbian/gay. The closet door may be being pushed shut by the person who is most important to us in our lives. And some of us have at the back of our mind that even if that is not the case now, it might have been different in the past, and might be different in the future.

Which means that, when you seek out bi role models, it's that bit harder for us to stand up than for our lesbian and gay counterparts.


This is the second blog post around a "we can't..." theme. Don't get me wrong. We can. It is a slightly provocative title about why bi people are under-represented.
23 Sep 18:18

Mental health and bisexuality

by (Jen)
It was a pleasure to be interviewed by Chicago Now about bisexuality and mental health issues as well as the wider Bi Visibility Day vibe this week. 

They asked some good questions about bisexual life, and I hope I gave some good answers!

Pop over here to find the piece.
24 Sep 17:51


by Mark Liberman

Lisa Feldman Barrett, "Hillary Clinton's 'Angry' Face", NYT 9/23/2016:

When Hillary Clinton participated in a televised forum on national security and military issues this month, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, tweeted that she was “angry and defensive the entire time — no smile and uncomfortable.” Mrs. Clinton, evidently undaunted by Mr. Priebus’s opinion on when she should and shouldn’t smile, tweeted back, “Actually, that’s just what taking the office of president seriously looks like.”

The implication of Mr. Priebus’s comment was a familiar one: A woman making stern-looking facial movements must be angry or upset. A man who looks the same, on the other hand, is focusing on the important matters at hand.

Prof. Barrett, who is co-director of the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory at Northeastern, cites a paper from her lab that demonstrates differences in the perceptual attribution of dispositional vs. situational reasons for emotions expressed by men and women — "She’s emotional. He’s having a bad day: Attributional explanations for emotion stereotypes", Emotion 2009:

People believe that women are the more emotional sex. This belief stems less from what men and women actually do than from the explanations given for their behaviors. In 2 studies, participants who were given situational information about the causes of emotional expression in target faces nonetheless more frequently judged feminine targets depicting emotions as “emotional” (i.e., a dispositional attribution for the emotional behavior), whereas they more frequently judged masculine targets as “having a bad day” (i.e., a situational attribution for the emotional behavior). These findings help explain the pervasive belief that women are more emotional when compared with men, even when the scientific veracity of this belief is questionable.

But her NYT Sunday Review piece focuses not on the perception of the reason for the emotion (disposition vs. situation) but on the emotion itself (anger vs. serious attention). That double standard also does seem to exist, though I don't know whether there's supporting research. In any case, this all naturally raises the question of how theories of  emotion perception or emotion attribution apply to Mike Pence:

That seems exactly correct, although "about to introduce legislation to outlaw the X-Men" is unfortunately not one of the categories of emotion attribution (whether of situation or of disposition) likely to be used in a peer-reviewable research paper.

Update — Smiles are also subject to variable interpretation:

Update #2 — Anna Waters, "How could sexism hurt Clinton in the debates? These female high school debaters know", Washington Post 9/23/2016.

26 Aug 15:59

The Insidious Symbolism of Boy and Girl Bikes

by Lisa Wade, PhD

Flashback Friday.

In the U.S. men’s and women’s bikes are built differently, with women’s bikes lacking the bar that goes from the handlebar to just below the seat. The bar is a matter of tradition.  According to Andrea at Bike City Recyclery, when women began riding bikes in the 1800s, they were required to wear heavy skirts.  The low bar allowed them to mount the bikes “modestly” and was a space for their skirts to go.  Back then, bikes also had “clothes-guards” that would keep women’s skirts from being caught up in the mechanics of the bike.  This picture is from the 1890s:

Today most women riding a bike do not wear heavy skirts and clothes-guards are rare, but the low bar persists.  This ad from 1971 assures parents that  “girl bikes” can be converted to “boy bikes” and vice versa. The upper bar is purely “decorative,” but boys apparently must have it.

Selected text:

A popular 16-inch beginner’s bike. Top bar removes easily to convert it from a boy’s to a girl’s bike in minutes… The perfect first bike that’s built to last from child to child.

This goes to show how strongly we invest in purely symbolic gender differentiation.  There is no need for a high bar and there is no need to differentiate bikes by gender in this way. We could do away with the bar distinction in the same way that we did away with the clothes-guard. But the bar is a highly visible signal that we are committed to a gender binary (men and women are “opposite” sexes). It is some men and the defenders of masculinity who are most opposed to this because collapsing the gender differentiation means collapsing a devalued category into a valued category. For individuals who embrace the valued category, this is a disaster. A male-coded bike frame is just one small way to preserve both the distinction and the hierarchy.

Originally posted in 2010.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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07 Sep 14:22

Botox, Gender, and the Emotional Lobotomy

by Dana Berkowitz PhD

Botox has forever transformed the primordial battleground against aging. Since the FDA approved it for cosmetic use in 2002, eleven million Americans have used it. Over 90 percent of them are women.

In my forthcoming book, Botox Nation, I argue that one of the reasons Botox is so appealing to women is because the wrinkles that Botox is designed to “fix,” those disconcerting creases between our brows, are precisely those lines that we use to express negative emotions: angry, bitchy, irritated.  Botox is injected into the corrugator supercilii muscles, the facial muscles that allow us to pull our eyebrows together and push them down.  By paralyzing these muscles, Botox prevents this brow-lowering action, and in so doing, inhibits our ability to scowl, an expression we use to project to the world that we are aggravated or pissed off.

9781479825264_Full.jpg (200×300)

Sociologists have long speculated about the meaning of human faces for social interaction. In the 1950s, Erving Goffman developed the concept of facework to refer to the ways that human faces act as a template to invoke, process, and manage emotions. A core feature of our physical identity, our faces provide expressive information about our selves and how we want our identities to be perceived by others.

Given that our faces are mediums for processing and negotiating social interaction, it makes sense that Botox’s effect on facial expression would be particularly enticing to women, who from early childhood are taught to project cheerfulness and to disguise unhappiness. Male politicians and CEOs, for example, are expected to look pissed off, stern, and annoyed. However, when Hillary Clinton displays these same expressions, she is chastised for being unladylike, as undeserving of the male gaze, and criticized for disrupting the normative gender order. Women more so than men are penalized for looking speculative, judgmental, angry, or cross.

Nothing demonstrates this more than the recent viral pop-cultural idioms “resting bitch face.” For those unfamiliar with the not so subtly sexist phrase, “resting bitch face,” according to the popular site Urban Dictionary, is “a person, usually a girl, who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless, without meaning to.” This same site defines its etymological predecessor, “bitchy resting face,” as “a bitchy alternative to the usual blank look most people have. This is a condition affecting the facial muscles, suffered by millions of women worldwide. People suffering from bitchy resting face (BRF) have the tendency look hostile and/or judgmental at rest.”

Resting bitch face and its linguistic cousin is nowhere near gender neutral. There is no name for men’s serious, pensive, and reserved expressions because we allow men these feelings. When a man looks severe, serious, or grumpy, we assume it is for good reason. But women are always expected to be smiling, aesthetically pleasing, and compliant. To do otherwise would be to fail to subordinate our own emotions to those of others, and this would upset the gendered status quo.

This is what the sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild calls “emotion labor,” a type of impression management, which involves manipulating one’s feelings to transmit a certain impression. In her now-classic study on flight attendants, Hochschild documented how part of the occupational script was for flight attendants to create and maintain the façade of positive appearance, revealing the highly gendered ways we police social performance. The facework involved in projecting cheerfulness and always smiling requires energy and, as any woman is well aware, can become exhausting. Hochschild recognized this and saw emotion work as a form of exploitation that could lead to psychological distress. She also predicted that showing dissimilar emotions from those genuinely felt would lead to the alienation from one’s feelings.

Enter Botox—a product that can seemingly liberate the face from its resting bitch state, producing a flattening of affect where the act of appearing introspective, inquisitive, perplexed, contemplative, or pissed off can be effaced and prevented from leaving a lasting impression. One reason Botox may be especially appealing to women is that it can potentially relieve them from having to work so hard to police their expressions.

Even more insidiously, Botox may actually change how women feel. Scientists have long suggested that facial expressions, like frowning or smiling, can influence emotion by contributing to a range of bodily changes that in turn produce subjective feelings. This theory, known in psychology as the “facial feedback hypothesis,” proposes that expression intensifies emotion, whereas suppression softens it. It follows that blocking negative expressions with Botox injections should offer some protection against negative feelings. A study confirmed the hypothesis.

Taken together, this works point to some of the principal attractions of Botox for women. Functioning as an emotional lobotomy of sorts, Botox can emancipate women from having to vigilantly police their facial expressions and actually reduce the negative feelings that produce them, all while simultaneously offsetting the psychological distress of alienation.

Dana Berkowitz is a professor of sociology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rogue where she teaches about gender, sexuality, families, and qualitative methods. Her book, Botox Nation: Changing the Face of America, will be out in January and can be pre-ordered now.

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09 Sep 14:38

“The Potawatomis Didn’t Have a Word for Global Business Center”?

by Adrienne Keene EdD

Flashback Friday.

I was waiting for my connecting flight at Chicago O’Hare, and spotted this advertisement on the opposite side of our gate. It reads:

“Chicago is the Potawatomi word for onion field. Apparently, the Potawatomis didn’t have a word for global business center.”

This is an example of the use of Indigenous language and imagery that many people wouldn’t think twice about, or find any inherent issues with. But let’s look at this a little deeper:

  • The use of past tense. It’s not “The Potawatomis don’t have a word for…” it’s “The Potawatomis didn’t…” Implying that the Potawatomi no longer exist or are using their language.
  • The implication that “Indians” and “Global Business Center” aren’t in congruence. Which is assuming that Natives are static, unchanging, and unable to be modern and contemporary. “Potawatomi” and “Onion Field” are fine together, because American society associates Indians with the natural world, plants, animals, etc. But there is definitely not an association between “Potawatomi” and “Global Business”.

But, in reality, of course Potawotomis still exist today, are still speaking their language, and do have a word for Global Business Center (or multiple words…).

Language is constantly evolving, adapting to new technology (remember when google wasn’t a verb?) and community changes.  I remember reading a long time ago in one of my Native studies classes about the Navajo Nation convening a committee to discuss how one would say things like “computer” or “ipod” in Navajo language, in an effort to preserve language and culture and promote the use of Navajo language among the younger generation.

In fact, here’s an awesome video of a guy describing his ipod in Navajo, complete with concepts like “downloading” (there are subtitles/translations):

Native peoples have been trading and communicating “globally” for centuries, long before the arrival of Europeans. To imply that they wouldn’t have the ability to describe a “Global Business Center” reeks of a colonialist perspective (we must “civilize” the savage! show him the ways of capitalism and personal property, for they know not of society!).

Thanks, Chicago, for giving me one more reason to strongly dislike your airport.

Originally posted in 2010.

Adrienne Keene, EdD is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is now a postdoctoral fellow in Native American studies at Brown University. She blogs at Native Appropriations, where this post originally appeared. You can follow her on Twitter.

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09 Sep 21:04

Regrets, I’ve had a few …

by Fred Clark
A few short blocks from the Christian Coalition's Road to Victory conference there was a movie theater, with a line of movie-goers that stretched down the block. But this wasn't just any movie and this wasn't just any line. It was opening night for "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar," and we were in Dupont Circle.
06 Sep 20:06

Donald Trump’s one idea: The only thing that matters in this election

by Fred Clark
That big idea is this: Some people are legitimate Americans and other people -- regardless of citizenship -- are illegitimate and not really real Americans at all. That is the big idea that drove Trump's initial foray into national politics as the King of the Birthers. And that is the idea that shapes his every policy, statement, agenda and decision as a candidate. On any subject, Donald Trump's position will be the one that affirms the legitimacy of white Americans while denying the legitimacy of everyone else. And if any subject is not in some way directly linked to that big idea, the he's too bored to bother with it.
07 Sep 00:00


The New Worlds Mission is already trying to get funding for this, but NASA sponsored their proposal, so it will be hard to catch the telescope people by surprise with it.
08 Sep 08:31

Paper cut to the heart

by Mark Liberman

Merriam-Webster's twitter account has been offering good usage advice, for example

This particular tweet led to an exchange that went viral.

First, a series of complaints about M-W failing in its parental duties:

And then M-W's response:

The responses to the response are almost all pro-M-W, and of course include a wide selection of mic drop, shade-throwing, and sick burn memes. One example among many:

Buzzfeed has it: "People Can’t Get Over The Dictionary’s — Yes, The Dictionary’s — Savage Clapback (“This needs to go down in the dictionary as an example of ownership.”) Buzzfeed's URL puns on another recent meme:

Other reaction:

Luis Gomez, "PSA: Don't troll Merriram-Webster's Twitter account", San Diego Union-Tribune 9/7/2016
Sammy Nichols, "Don't pick a fight with Merriam-Webster on Twitter. You will lose.", Esquire 9/7/2016
Hope Schreiber, "The Dictionary Clapped Back At This Hater’s Twitter Rant And It Was Epic", Elite News 9/7/2016

Update — Gabriel Roth responds: "No One Cares How I Feel, According to Merriam-Webster", Slate 9/8/2016.

12 Aug 18:34

Simone Manuel tears vs. Simone Biles tears

by Silvia Killingsworth

(I cry a lot I guess.)

Continue reading on The Hairpin »

06 Sep 11:08


by Mark Liberman

Ray Norris, "Why old theories on Indigenous counting just won’t go away", The Conversation 9/5/2016:

Last year researchers Kevin Zhou and Claire Bowern, from Yale University, argued in a paper that Aboriginal number systems vary, and could extend beyond ten, but still didn’t extend past 20, in conflict with the evidence I’ve mentioned above.  

As a physicist, I am fascinated by the fact that the authors of this paper didn’t engage with the contrary evidence. They simply didn’t mention it. Why?  

Although my training is in astrophysics, I have for the last few years studied Aboriginal Astronomy, on the boundary between the physical sciences and the humanities, and I am beginning to understand a major difference in approach between the sciences and the humanities.

There was some conversation about this article on Claire Bowern's FaceBook page, including these comments:

There needs to be a special term for when a physicist "explains" something

Physisplaining, I would say. Ack, this is bad. So you publish a peer-reviewed article on something, and he writes something more like a blog post saying how his kind of science is the only real kind of science, and all those wishy-washy things that call themselves science don't bother looking at the data. "In humanities, the data is often much more dependent on the skills and interpretation of the researcher." Sure.

There's a doubly special kind of physicsmansplaining that talks about disputing your point with data but doesn't present any data.

"I have a vaguely remembered anecdote that thoroughly refutes you foolish humanities types"

Phys-splaining. Keeps the monosyllabic prosody of the model.

But the best comment, in my opinion, was the link to an old SMBC strip from 3/21/2012, which we noted back when it appeared:

We've had occasion from time to time to comment on similar episodes, e.g. "Word string frequency distributions", 2/3/2013 — though that example involved dubious interpretations of large bodies of undigested data, rather than arrogant inference from half-remembered anecdotes, and therefore would be more appropriately critiqued by this xkcd strip, also noted in a comment on Claire's FaceBook post:

Mouseover title: "If you need some help with the math, let me know, but that should be enough to get you started! Huh? No, I don't need to read your thesis, I can imagine roughly what it says."

19 Aug 15:55

Are You a Round or a Pointy?

by Rosa Lyster

Andrew, you don't need to bother with the rest of this, but I think you will like the first few paragraphs about the dogs. :)

All personalities can be classified by this label that explains everything.

Anne Boleyn was a Pointy. Jane Seymour was a ROUND.

This game is called Round or Pointy, and it’s one best understood by way of illustrative examples (a bit like Molly Lambert’s White Swan/Black Swan). When I was growing up, we had these two dogs. Lucy and Ozzie. I used to tell people they were named after Oscar and Lucinda, but this was a lie. They were just Lucy and Ozzie. We got Lucy first. She was a mediumish, brownish dog with an incredibly long tongue and very clickety toenails. Her mom was a Staffordshire terrier, I think, and her dad was a German shepherd. A lot of Collie in there, as well. Lucy was potent. She was very smart, and very focused. She was very into rocks, and she’d carry them around in her mouth for many hours and attempt to give them to guests. Here, please, take it. This rock is especially for you. Her vicious-looking teeth were eventually worn to nubs.

Apart from the rocks, her main focus was my dad. She was demented about him. She used to just follow him around the house and sort of stare at him like how I imagine the Lady of Shallot would stare at someone she had a crush on. It wasn’t that she loved my dad, understand, it was that she was in love with him. When my mum spoke to Lucy, she’d refer to my dad as The Master. It got so she’d just say “Luuuuuuuuucy, The Maaaaaaaster is coming home soon,” and Lucy would start wagging her tail so hard it left whip marks on your legs. Lucy always seemed like she was one day going to open her mouth and just deliver a long, well-structured monologue. It was a crime that she couldn’t speak. She clearly had so, so much to say. I sometimes used to look at her and think Shit, is it possible that this animal is actually a person who got changed into a dog from a spell? Is she the victim of a witch’s curse? I will feel very guilty, if so. Lucy, of course, was a Pointy.

And then there was Ozzie. Beautiful straight-up Golden Retriever Ozzie. The sweetest and most sincerely happy dog I think I ever knew. If Lucy was pretty sure deep down that she was actually a bewitched person, I don’t think Ozzie even ever figured out he was a dog. He was just this sunny consciousness moving through the world, licking your face too much. He liked swimming a lot, and my best memory of Ozzie is him hurling himself off a jetty like a champion. Lucy wouldn’t jump off the jetty unless she was sure my dad was coming with. It’s not that Ozzie was indifferent to us, it was more that he had his own things going on. He had his own likes and dislikes, his own preoccupations, and they had nothing to do with us. Is it weird to call a dog enigmatic? Well, tough. He came to us fully formed. He liked us very much, but he did not need us. All he really needed was himself. He was the Roundest dog in town.

Do you see? Please tell me you see. Anne Boleyn was a Pointy. Jane Seymour was a ROUND. Princess Di was as Pointy as they come. Who is more Round than Camilla Parker-Bowles? No one, that’s who. Prince William? Pointy. Harry? So round! John Lennon? P.O.I.N.T.Y. Ringo Starr? Round, man. Beyonce is really very Pointy indeed, and I hope I do not need to tell you that Rihanna is a Round. Taylor Swift? Pointy. Channing Tatum is so Round it makes me laugh just thinking about it. Lead singers tend to be Pointy. Bob Marley was a Pointy. Bunny Wailer is basically an orb. Russell from Almost Famous is a classic, classic Round.

Anne Boleyn was a Pointy. Jane Seymour was a ROUND.

Rounds are self-contained. Pointies are whatever the opposite of self-contained is. Rounds are generally lovely and kind, but deep down they do not give a fuck what anyone thinks. Pointies give a hard fuck about what literally everyone who was ever born thinks. Rounds are able to tolerate an uncomfortable silence at a dinner party. Pointies get woozy and frantic at the very idea. Pointies come back from a night out going Did you see that weird conversation those guys were having. Were they having a fight? Why did that woman have such shiny shoes on? Rounds come back from a party going JESUS that was fun.

Rounds are experts at being in the moment. Pointies are essentially incapable of it. Pointies can be very cool, but there is nothing to beat a very cool Round. Pointies quite often wish that they were Rounds. Rounds never want to be anything but themselves. Pointies adore this game. Rounds find it quite tedious.

Rounds are experts at being in the moment. Pointies are essentially incapable of it.

You get degrees of Roundness or Pointiness, naturally. For instance, you’d think Natalie Portman was a High Pointy, but then you get her next to Jonathan Safran Foer and you see that actually she is Medium Pointy at best. Rounds are not easily embarrassed. Pointies blush like they were paid to do it. Rounds are amazing at keeping secrets. Pointies try their best, but there is always just one person that they have to tell. Do you see? Please tell me you see.

Barack Obama is a Pointy, although he has always managed to project a certain Round energy. Underneath though? Pointy. Michelle Obama is a Round, obviously. Wendi Deng is so Pointy it’s unreal. The current president of South Africa is a Round. His predecessor was a Pointy. Hilary Clinton is of course a Pointy. Bill Clinton is almost the platonic ideal of a Round. Rounds are chill. They are at the beach right now, wearing a cool kind of hat.

Hilary Clinton is of course a Pointy. Bill Clinton is almost the platonic ideal of a Round.

Round or Pointy, besides from being very fun, is a good way of figuring out relationships, as well. The ideal combination is a Round and a Pointy. The Pointy is desperately intrigued by the Round, and the Round just sits back and watches the Pointy go. Two Rounds are fine, and they are often more than fine, but they will remain slightly inaccessible to each other for a very long time. Worst is two Pointies. They have SO MUCH FUN at first, they are staring at each other so hard, they are asking each other what they ate for lunch three weeks ago, and it’s all just wall-to-wall good times. They drive each other crazy though. They are contemptuous of boundaries. They fight like two terrible little wolverines. Two Pointies can make it work, but it is essential that they are both aware of their natures. I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is.

I’ve been playing this game for years now, and I am not sick of it yet. As a Pointy, it’s in my nature.

Are You a Round or a Pointy? was originally published in The Hairpin on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Read the responses to this story on Medium.

02 Sep 01:02

Hybrid writing in East Village, New York

by Victor Mair

Tal Kedem saw this sign the other day while walking with his son to a local playground.  It's for a newly opened restaurant on 9th street in New York's East Village.

They have written 木hursday, where "T" is replaced by "木".  That's pronounced "mù" and means "wood; timber; tree").  Aside from the clever blend of scripts, I can't think of any semantic association between mù 木 ("wood; timber; tree") and "Thursday" < "Thor's day", where "Thor" signifies "thunder".

I do not know anything about the cuisine served in the 木hursday restaurant, but it's probably East Asian or Asian fusion, so the owners likely had a good reason for substituting mù 木 ("wood; timber; tree") for "T".  Indeed, they must have been aware of at least some of the information in the following paragraphs, perhaps only the Japanese name for "Thursday".

From the Wikipedia article on the names of the days of the week:

The East Asian naming system of days of the week closely parallels that of the Latin system and is ordered after the "Seven Luminaries" (七曜 qī yào), which consists of the Sun, Moon and the five planets visible to the naked eye.

The Chinese seem to have adopted the seven-day week from the Hellenistic system by the 4th century, although by which route is not entirely clear. It was again transmitted to China in the 8th century by Manichaeans, via the country of Kang (a Central Asian polity near Samarkand). The 4th-century date, according to the Cihai encyclopedia, is due to a reference to Fan Ning (範寧/范宁), an astrologer of the Jin Dynasty. The renewed adoption from Manichaeans in the 8th century (Tang Dynasty) is documented with the writings of the Chinese Buddhist monk Yi Jing and the Ceylonese Buddhist monk Bu Kong.

The Chinese transliteration of the planetary system was soon brought to Japan by the Japanese monk Kobo Daishi; surviving diaries of the Japanese statesman Fujiwara Michinaga show the seven day system in use in Heian Period Japan as early as 1007. In Japan, the seven day system was kept in use (for astrological purposes) until its promotion to a full-fledged (Western-style) calendrical basis during the Meiji era. In China, with the founding of the Republic of China in 1911, Monday through Saturday in China are now named after the luminaries implicitly with the numbers.

Under the system of the Seven Luminaries, the presiding planet for Thursday is Jupiter, which is associated with none other than "wood" 木.  In Japanese this day is designated as Mokuyōbi 木曜日 ("wood luminary day"), in Korean it is called Mogyoil 목요일 木曜日, in Chinese that would be Mùyàorì 木曜日 (now replaced by Xīngqísì 星期四 [lit., "star / planet / heavenly body period four"]), in Tibetan it is Gza' phur bu  གཟའ་ཕུར་བུ། ("Jupiter day"), and in Mongolian this day is modoŋ ödör модон өдөр ("wood day").

So there's a lot more than meets the eye in the hybrid script design of that clever sign for the 木hursday restaurant in East Village.

14 Jul 09:21

Well this is embarassing...

by (Jen)
At some point I'm going to write properly about the Bermondsey byelection. The one with the homophobic campaign and where the Liberals won around which a lot of nonsense has built up.

Supposedly the slogan "(Liberal or Labour) It's A Straight Choice" was a virulently homophobic attack on Tatchell, despite also being used in the immediately previous byelection as well where the candidates were all, from what I can tell, heterosexual. These days Liberals tend to use the phrase "it's a two horse race" for the same effect.

But there's a peculiar silence in Labour ranks about a ghost of Bermondsey this week.  Angela Eagle has launched her bid to replace Corbyn as leader, which would make her the first out-lesbian leader of their party.

Yet in responding to her Jeremy keeps appearing at platforms with this slogan

Um... if deploying the word "straight" was inciteful homophobia in the less enlightened world of 1983, surely that makes it very knowing and inciteful homophobia in the much better educated and informed world of 2016?

I look forward to the people who have laid into Simon Hughes' election campaign over the years doing a similar demolition job on Jezza.  Especially if Angela does not become leader, in which case on the same basis as the myth of Bermondsey it was clearly the prejudice wot won it.
27 Aug 20:02

"Listen. Listening is dangerous. Talking? More so. Things aren’t looking so good for quiet..."

“Listen. Listening is dangerous. Talking? More so. Things aren’t looking so good for quiet existence, either.”

- Aaron Burr
27 Aug 22:01

Eliza: do you think he'll be successful?

Eliza: do you think he'll be successful?
Angelica: At what?
Eliza: at getting his debt plan through?
Angelica: i don't know
Angelica: I think Jefferson will successfully fail to understand Hamilton and possibly successfully shout at Hamilton.
Angelica: Madison I think will probably successfully do something sensible in response to whatever Hamilton demands.
28 Aug 22:01

Hamilton: Rules are made to be broken.

Hamilton: Rules are made to be broken.
Burr: Rules are made to be followed. Nothing is made to be broken.
Laurens: uh, Piñatas.
Mulligan: glow sticks
Angelica: karate boards
Lafayette: spaghetti when you have a small pot
Hamilton: rules
21 Jun 00:00

Sun Bug

by xkcd

Sun Bug

How many fireflies would it take to match the brightness of the Sun?

Luke Doty

Not that many! I mean, it's definitely one of those gigantic numbers with lots of zeroes, but in the grand scheme of things, there aren't as many zeroes as you might expect.

Our first question: Where does firefly light even come from?

Fireflies may look like they're full of glow-in-the-dark goo, but the light they give off actually comes from a thin layer on their surface.[1]You can see some diagrams of the organs here and here. Lots of insects have glowing surface patches, and some of those patches have been studied carefully to calculate their brightness. A 1928 paper on beetles called "headlight bugs"[2]Such a great name. found that their glowing patches, which were a little over a square millimeter in area, emitted about 0.0006 lumens of light. Fireflies have luminous organs (bright patches) that are about the same size as those of headlight bugs,[3]See this paper on some common American fireflies. and their organs tend to have a similar peak brightness per area, so this figure is a good guess for the brightness of a firefly's lantern.

Firefly lights aren't "always-on." They blink on and off, with patterns that vary from species to species and situation to situation. These flashes carry information, some of which you can decode using this delightful chart.[4]You can also use LEDs to mess with firefly patterns, which feels strangely invasive.

To get the brightest light, let's assume we're using a species with a mostly-on duty cycle—like a headlight bug. How does its 0.0006-lumen light output compare to the Sun?

The Sun's brightness is \( 3.8\times10^{28} \) lumens, so by simple division, it would take \( 3\times10^{31} \) of those fireflies to emit the same amount of light. That's a surprisingly small number; adult fireflies weigh about 20 milligrams, which means \( 3\times10^{31} \) fireflies would only weigh about a third as much as Jupiter and 1/3000th as much as the Sun.

In other words, per pound, fireflies are brighter than the Sun. Even though bioluminescence is millions of times less efficient than the Sun's fusion-powered glow, the Sun can't afford to be as bright because it has to last billions of times longer.[5]If you like Fermi problems—and silly equations—there's an interesting route you can take to this answer without doing any research on fireflies or the Sun at all. Instead, you can just plug this equation into Wolfram|Alpha: (5 billion years / (4 hours/day * 3 months)) / (1% * (speed of light)^2 / (3200 calories/pound)).

Let's walk through it: The first half—the numerator—is a guess for the ratio between how long the Sun has to keep glowing compared to how long a firefly does. I took a wild guess that fireflies have to light up for a few hours each night for one summer, while the Sun has to last another five billion years. The second half—the denominator—is a guess as to the ratio between the stored energy in a pound of firefly vs a pound of star. Nuclear fusion converts about 1% of the input matter to energy, so from E=mc2, the stored energy is c2 kg/kg, whereas animal matter (say, butter) is about 3,200 food calories per pound. The result should tell us the ratio between a firefly's brightness per pound and the Sun's. And the answer we get says that the fireflies are a few thousand times brighter—which is roughly what we got from working through it the other way!

It's true that we got lucky with some of our guesses, but since we made errors in both directions, they tended to cancel out. This kind of thing works more often than it seems like it should!

But wait! A mass of fireflies that big would run into problems. Besides the obvious problems with gathering that many animals in one place, the fireflies would block each others' light. The inner fireflies would be hidden behind the outer ones, and the total brightness would be limited.[6]But the light from the core fireflies wouldn't just vanish. After bouncing around a few times, it would be absorbed by neighboring fireflies, which would get warmer. This is sort of like how radiation makes its way out of the Sun's core—but in the case of the fireflies, they'd die from the heat before the process got very far.

Since the only light that matters is the light at the surface, we could imagine arranging the fireflies in a hollow sphere, with their lanterns pointing outward. Or, to make thing simpler, we could imagine a single giant firefly. How big would it need to be?

Since we know our firefly will need to give off about \( 3\times10^{31} \) times as much light as a normal firefly, it will need a glowing patch \( 3\times10^{31} \) times larger. Since surface area is proportional to length squared, our firefly will have a body length \( \sqrt{3\times10^{31}}=5\times10^{15} \) times longer than a normal firefly, which would make it about the size of the Solar System.

Since mass is proportional to length cubed, our firefly would weigh \( \left( 3\times10^{31}\right)^{\tfrac{3}{2}}=1.6\times10^{47} \) times as much as a normal firefly, which works out to about half as much as the entire Milky Way galaxy.

Such a firefly would immediately collapse under its own weight and become a black hole. In fact, given the distribution of galaxies in our universe, there's an upper limit to how large black holes can grow, and this firefly would be bigger than that limit. That means our firefly would become the largest black hole in the universe. It would give off a lot of light as it devoured our galaxy, and then, eventually, it would give off none at all.

Black holes last a long time, but they eventually evaporate through Hawking radiation. When the black hole era of our universe comes to an end, black holes will evaporate one by one, with the smallest evaporating faster. Since our firefly's black hole would be the largest one in the universe, it would be the last to evaporate—a final outpost of irregularity in a universe fading toward heat death.

We should probably add that to the identification chart, just in case.

16 Aug 13:35

Fabulous Animals

by Kelly Conaboy
30 Jul 11:36

Prescriptivism and terrorism

by Mark Liberman

What ran instead was the strip from 7/27/2002:

For some discussion of the topic, see Josh Zuckerman, "Comic Strip Pulled Over ISIS Reference", NCAC blog 7/28/2016, and Christine Rousselle, "'Pearls Before Swine' Cartoon Mocking NSA Wiretapping Censored", Townhall 7/28/2016.
The cartoonist's Facebook post on the topic is here.

03 Aug 01:54


by Victor Mair

On reddit, under the title "German gift card makers have a precarious grasp of the English language":

The comments on reddit are instructive:

These are actually (reasonably) common German phrases translated literally ie word-for-word into English while still using (to a certain extent) German grammar.

The 'precarious grasp of English' is quite deliberate and quite funny.

'Nur die Harten kommen in den Garten'

'Niemand kann mir das Wasser reichen'

'Butter bei die Fische'

'Hör auf mit der Rumeierei'

Which means that they expect their (German) customers' grasp of English to be so good that they actually understand the joke and find the "bad English" funny. That's the opposite of "precarious grasp".

Here are back translations into German with English explanations:

'Nur die Harten kommen in den Garten'

This is pushing someone to do better; Only the strong go further/ no pain, no gain

'Niemand kann mir das Wasser reichen'

Cannot be equalled; can't hold a candle to me.

'Butter bei die Fische'

This is a silly north German phrase which has no English translation (even the German is wrong). Roughly it means; get to the point, speak clearly.

'Hör auf mit der Rumeierei'

This also isn't particularly common, but can be used to say 'Stop messing about, make a decision'

And here are the German originals rendered more directly into English:

'Nur die Harten kommen in den Garten'

Only the strong will have success

'Niemand kann mir das Wasser reichen'

No one can reach me.

'Butter bei die Fische'

Come on, start allready. Get going.

'Hör auf mit der Rumeierei'

Get it straight.

Another set of English translations:

'Nur die Harten kommen in den Garten'

Only the strong survive.

'Niemand kann mir das Wasser reichen'

No one can beat me (at this particular thing)

'Butter bei die Fische'

Do it right away. (Heard it was used as a way to say: either you pay it right away or I'm not selling you this)

'Hör auf mit der Rumeierei'

Quit fucking around

Some of the reddit commenters point out that "bei" in the third saying is ungrammatical and should be "zum", while others tell us "bei" sounds better as it "rolls off the tongue", and anyway that's just the way they say it in North German dialect.

[h.t. Tim Leonard]

09 Aug 15:28

Rules for Bugs

by Kelly Conaboy
28 Jul 18:01

Eliza: You were jealous of me? But you're the most beautiful, smartest, perfect girl in the world.

Eliza: You were jealous of me? But you're the most beautiful, smartest, perfect girl in the world.
Angelica: Well you're right about all those things. But for some reason when I meet boys they act as if I'm going to do something horrible to them.
23 Jul 16:17

The Egalitarian Appreciation of Strine in Microcosm

by Victor Mair

[This is a guest post by Matthew Robertson]

The 'Today' Interview With Oporto Robbery Heroes

In the United States, regional accents often carry with them negative stereotypes about class, status, intelligence, and more, making Southern versus Northern accents markers of division.

In Australia, it's largely the opposite. Regional vernacular and a broad accent (known as "Strine") is instead a unifier. Australia is, of course, much more culturally homogeneous than the United States — but the cross-class appreciation of the country's own manner of speech is another instance of a deeply entrenched ethos of egalitarianism. The comity and innocent enjoyment of all Australians with their own uneducated, unsophisticated working classes is clear in films like The Castle, or shows like Kath & Kim, among many others.

And it's also presented in microcosm in this video, an interview on the Australian morning program "Today," uploaded early this year.

In it, the well-loved impish breakfast show host, Karl Stefanovic, interviews two Australians, Cane and James, who recently foiled a robbery at an Oporto (Australia's premier Portuguese-style chicken burger fast food restaurant) in Queensland.

When asked what happened, James says in one breath:

“We’d been down at Options Tavern at a stubbies and singlets party, and got dropped off by a mate up the road, and started to walk down the servo to get some noodles and went to jump over a sign on the way, and slipped over and busted my plugga.”

Strine guide:
stubbies – very short, tight cotton shorts, beloved of bricklayers, builders, and other Aussie men
servo – gas station
plugga – thongs or flip-flops (so named because the top component "plugs in" to the foam sole; the term is used primarily in Queensland.)

He's asked to continue the tale:

“I was pretty concerned about me blowout I had, and looked up and saw a white Commodore pull up, two blokes with shirts around their faces, and yeah…sort of thought something was a bit suss. So, better go check it out."

Strine guide:
blowout – typically used for the sudden loss of pressure in a car tire or similar
bloke – male
suss – suspicious

James is asked to continue:

"Umm, grabbed the key out the ignition while they were inside the Oportos, yeah, then, yeah, I dunno, it sorta just unfolded from there. There was no plan; it was just go with it and see what happened."

The robbers hightailed it once they realized their getaway vehicle was forfeit. There's a highly amusing joke about the gym and Jim Beam, Facebook antics, and the busting of a plugga.

On the latter point, James mentions that new pluggas are kindly being provided by his fishing team, "The Mootdangas."

Stefanovic, unable to resist the opportunity for transgressive humor, makes a show of crooking his ear and asks: "What was the name of that team?" Tracy Grimshaw can see what's coming, and grimaces.

"The team moot, Team Mootdanga," James says.

Strine guide:
moot – vagina, pronounced like foot with an 'm'
danga – a small piece of dried excrement stuck to the anal hair of a sheep.
Pronounced 'dang-ah.' Shearer's slang. Also spelled 'danger.'

Everyone on the program bursts out laughing at this obviously risque, not to say disgusting image.

"It doesn't get any better!" Stefanovic declares. "Righto folks, that's our show for the year!"

Amidst all the giggling, James is asked where he works. "Mate, I work at Hinterland Mowers down at Narang."

James' final words on his stopping the robbery are: "Just had to be done. Sort out the right from the wrong." His friend Cane echoes him: "Bloody oath."

[Thanks to Geoff Wade]

19 Jul 10:43


by Mo


Source: Facebook. No citation because irony.