Google ngram: slut, bitch, whore

My latest Ngram experiment: I wanted to see if these words were more or less common in writing back in the day. It looks like “bitch” has seen a surge in popularity recently while “slut” and “whore” have fallen out of favor.

This seems like a terrible sign of the times until you add “lady”, “woman” and “girl” to the mix. We find that those words have been and are waaaaay more popular.
It’s interesting that, 200 years ago, “lady” was used just as often as “woman”; but, since about 1840, “woman” has become increasingly the preferred term. Google defines woman as “an adult human female.” It defines lady as “a woman (used as a polite or old-fashioned form of reference)” or “a woman of superior social position, especially one of noble birth.” So, basically, the word “lady” is considered an archaic honorific. This seems kind of weird to me. I mean, people use the word “lady” all the time. But then Google ngrams use databases of books and articles, while the word “lady” is often used in conversation, in song lyrics and in movies (e.g., Beyonce’s All the Single Ladies).

But I digress.

I’m all out of give-a-shit: the difference between giving a shit and giving a shit about pretending to give a shit

Bow Ties Blue and Red Fucking AnarchistI bought Sarah Knight’s The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck the other day. It was one of those caffeinated-out-of-your-mind-while-wandering-around-Barnes-&-Noble kind of decisions. I’ve read about half of it now and have to say that it’s something of a primer. The reality is that, as Knight herself attests, she’s something of a #zerofucksgiven newb. I meanwhile have been giving zero fucks for most of my life. While a funny book that imparts advice many people really need to hear; as a primer, Knight’s book misses much of the nuance involved in not giving a fuck. So I’ve dedicated this blog post  to one of those nuances. Continue reading I’m all out of give-a-shit: the difference between giving a shit and giving a shit about pretending to give a shit

Jakob E. Wagner, Wisconsin Antigo High School prom shooter, and the Tragedy Troll

Jakob E. Wagner's Instagram Profile
Jakob E. Wagner’s Instagram Profile

Jakob E. Wagner, of Antigo Wisconsin, shot two people at the Antigo High School prom this past Saturday night. His motive is still unknown. Chances are, by the time it is known, the national media will have moved on. After all, a so-called “mass shooting” where the only fatality was the shooter is hardly big news. But, while the news media might have the attention span of a 3 year old on crack, the internet rarely forgets; and its bottom-feeders are usually the last to move on.

Continue reading Jakob E. Wagner, Wisconsin Antigo High School prom shooter, and the Tragedy Troll

Rise of the professional troll

Jaime Cochran aka @asshurtmacfags
Jaime Cochran, aka @asshurtmacfags, on HuffPost Live in 2012

I’d never heard of professional trolls until I watched a Kali Muscle video on YouTube recently. After his antics ended, YouTube made its usual “you might also like” suggestions. I clicked on one purporting to be about how nobody should take Kali’s exercise advice. But the video wasn’t about that. It was just some twenty-something guy doing a voice-over to a video by the person I’d just watched, talking shit, making a lot of ad hominem remarks, but saying nothing instructive or constructive–basically, a shitty imitation of MST3K  schtick. I’d stumbled upon a professional troll. Continue reading Rise of the professional troll

Good Christian, good Muslim, good person?

What makes a good Christian or Muslim or Jew?
What makes a good Xtian/Muslim/Jew?

In day-to-day conversations, both virtual and face-to-face, I frequently hear people refer to the concept of the “good Christian” or “good Jew” or “good Muslim” or whathaveyou. They are usually referring to themselves and the person with whom they are speaking. Sometimes they use terms like “christlike” or “godly” or some variant of those. And it always bothers me when people talk like this.

It bothers me because these terms mean so many different things to different people. They are amorphous. They can mean anything and, throughout history, often have. When one makes reference to the “good Christian”, what they are really referring to is a shared idea peculiar to a certain group of people in a certain place at a certain point in time with similar experiences, similar religious beliefs, similar political leanings, etc. Continue reading Good Christian, good Muslim, good person?

Socrates & Daedalus in the Platonic dialogues

Daedalus with Icarus
Daedalus fashioning wings for himself and his son, Íkaros, so they might escape the Labyrinth Daedalus had constructed

In Book VII of Plato’s Politeia, at 540c, Glaucon declares that, with his words, Socrates’ has “made the rulers consummately beautiful (καλόν) men…just like a sculptor.” Earlier in Book VII, at 529e, Socrates refers to the works of Dædalus as worthy of study. As stated in footnote 135 of Sachs’ translation of the Republic, Plato mentions Daedalus (Δαίδαλος) several times in his dialogues: at 97d in Meno and at 11c in Euthyphro. In Texts on Socrates, West also identifies 121a of Alcibiades I (p.55, n.33). In reading these various texts*, I noticed recurring references to Daedalus, and it made me wonder: Are these references random or do they form a logical pattern of some sort?

Continue reading Socrates & Daedalus in the Platonic dialogues

The American Revolution in 7 languages – a wiki study

For a long time, I’ve wanted to do a project where I collect world history books from various nations and compare their portrayal of the same events. Unfortunately, I don’t really have access to history books from around the globe; and, even if i did, I wouldn’t be able to translate them. So, for now, I’m settling for doing what I’m calling a wiki study: I’m comparing the intro section of a Wikipedia article as it appears in several languages. For my first foray into wikistudies, I’ve chosen the American Revolution. Enjoy.
Continue reading The American Revolution in 7 languages – a wiki study