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July 20, 2011

The Persistence of Jerkdom
Posted by Patrick at 10:55 PM *

From The Unofficial Apple Weblog, a widely-respected news-and-comment site discussing Apple products, this gem:

And may I point out that the latest top-end $3,700 iMac, with its 3.4 GHz Quad-Core i7, 16 GB RAM (not to mention its lovely 27” display) makes many of the entry-point Mac Pros (no, I’m not talking about the $16,900 fully loaded 64 GB double-6 core Westmere version) look like little girls.
From the comment section:
Ian Wright: Erica, why use little girls as an object of scorn? It’s sickening.
mblaydoe@mac.com: Don’t be such a little girl
Alastair Moore: Oh get a damn sense of humor!
Gee, I wonder why tech blogs are still, even in 2011, regarded as cesspools?
Comments on The Persistence of Jerkdom:
#2 ::: HissyStitch ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 11:36 PM:

The hallmark of jerkdom: blame and heap scorn upon others who are hurt by what you say.

Jerk: "(offensive statement)"
Regular person: "Please don't say that. That really offends me."
Jerk: "OMG, how dare you be offended! It was just a joke! You're such a jerk!"

#3 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 11:38 PM:

I'm heartened, slightly, that the person calling the jerks out had a male handle/name.

I'm disheartened that the world is such that I find it surprising.

#4 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 11:51 PM:

... and disheartened further to notice that the author of the original comment has a female handle and identifies as female in her linked bio.

#5 ::: NeilN ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:03 AM:

The author of the article in question is a well-known and well-respected female geek in the Mac world who, I doubt, needs lessons in political correctness.

#6 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 05:04 AM:

I don't know...I can kind of see this one. I mean, little girls are necessarily going to be less powerful than the implied alternative*, right?

I agree that the responses to "I find that offensive!" are just jerky, though.

Disclosure: I am an adult male IT worker, and therefore it's entirely possible that I and my attitude are actually part of the problem here.


* I'm reading this as the top end iMac being presented as a big macho man, or at least as an adult, in comparison.

#7 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 06:49 AM:

#6 Russ, first of all thanks for recognizing that your position in life matters when it comes to dealing with this sort of stuff.

It's a death by 1000 paper cuts kind of thing. Phrases like that peppered around really brings home to women (little girls included) that they're seen as weak and less capable. Each instance doesn't do too much but it's both a symptom of and a contributor to a wider culture where there's a constant uphill struggle to be taken seriously and respected when you happen to be born female.

It's like, with that one there to carry your analogy through (macho man vs little girl) it's not the idiom to call them little boys and be all oh these servers are just little boys compared to that other one! No the language slots into going one step further and calling them little *girls*.

Even though really kids are kids and there's not much physical strength difference between say 8 year old boys and girls.

So it all ties into sexist narratives and language shaped by them. That's why I find it offensive to see a comparison like that. The responders to the original complaint aren't exactly making it better.

#8 ::: marc sobel ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 09:09 AM:

Gedankenexperiment: What about the following phases
- little puppies
- little kittens
- toddlers
- blastocysts
- baby dinosaurs
- kindergardeners
- dot matrix printers

#9 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 09:28 AM:

Since none of those have a sex specified, and are all things that are legitimately low-powered, I think they'd be better.

#10 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 09:29 AM:

*Sigh*

Why not just have said "toys"? Would have worked just as well and been non-sexist.

#11 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:43 AM:

Russ@6: * I'm reading this as the top end iMac being presented as a big macho man, or at least as an adult, in comparison.

It's basically lazy-journalist-follow-on from the earlier line, "It's as if minis are now big enough, old enough, and strong enough to tag along with the big boys when they go out to play ball", I'd say. Big boys, big boys, where can I go from there? Oh, I know!

#12 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:20 AM:

Feels kind of like a tempest in a teacup kind of thing. Considering the author of the quote is a woman, and as NeilN@5 noted very well respected.

If anything the whole line is awkward and poorly written.

#13 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:40 AM:

NeilN @#5, Larry @ #12:

The fact that the writer is a woman does not excuse the sexism of defaulting to 'little girl' to mean 'much less powerful'. Internalized misogyny is a thing, after all.

But focusing on that completely ignores the other issue: the jerkfacedness of the comments after someone objected to her comparison, which take the careless sexism of that comparison and ramp it right up to blatant nastiness. I'm really baffled that both of you missed that point completely.

#14 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:13 PM:

Renatus@13 If anything I am looking at it in the context of the post. I've seen real jerky posts, these two are nothing like it. You want real jerks? Check out Rebecca Watson and the Elevator Guy. that is a much bigger and worse example. I think in the scale of things this is nothing.

What I see in the exchange is a careless, awkward comment. Someone getting offended and then trolled. It's not about misogyny here. It's minor trolling at best definitely not nasty just kind of jerky.

#15 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:18 PM:

Larry @ 14: What I see in the exchange is a careless, awkward comment. Someone getting offended and then trolled. It's not about misogyny here.

I'm a something of a loss, then, to see what is careless and awkward. Absent misogyny, it would be a fairly unexceptionable comment dealing with power differentials.

#16 ::: Dave DuPlantis ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:33 PM:

I think it's easy for a man to dismiss as insignificant, because after all, we don't deal with offhand comments like that all the time ... in fact, some of us make them. (Some make a lot of those comments; I don't, but I make more than I should.)

I feel like that's what Sica @ #7 is pointing out. It's an unnecessary reference. A much better one would have been to say that the Mac Pros "look like Mac Classics." It's presumably the same point, but it's relevant, and it doesn't involve a verbal punch to women who are reading the article.

That's kind of how I imagine that a woman looks at those comments. It's like someone punching me in the arm every time I walk by. It isn't the pain of the hit itself, but the fact that it happens over and over, and in the same spot on my arm ... to the point where I begin to flinch when I see someone coming, whether or not they're also going to hit me, and if they do, I don't feel the hit itself, but the pain from all the other punches that continue to make my arm sore.

Of course that's still not the same as actually experiencing it, but it's the best I can do.

The trolls are totally unsurprising, but disappointing nonetheless.

#17 ::: CLP ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:36 PM:

Larry@14: I agree that the blatant misogyny directed at Rebecca Watson was much worse than the misogyny in this incident. Still, that doesn't mean that this incident wasn't bad or isn't worthy of comment. This wasn't an isolated incident, but something that is experienced repeatedly, and has a serious impact on women's experiences.

#18 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:41 PM:

Dave @ #16, your description fits my experience very well. The dynamic is similar to some forms of bullying: no individual incident seems significant in itself-but repeated many times a day over a lifetime it has a sort of grinding effect.

Also, a question to the thread at large: when have you ever heard "like a little girl" used as a compliment?

#19 ::: Ann The Mad ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:44 PM:

(delurks)

A friend of mine once carelessly used the phrase "throwing like a little girl" while practicing baseball skills with his 8-year-old daughter.

Once he saw the expresion on the little girl's face, he made the best recovery I've ever seen:

"Try it again! You can do it! Let's see you throw like a big strong woman!"

#20 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:54 PM:

Larry @ #14:

So because someone has it worse, that makes this minor and not worth examining? It's pretty weird you'd use Rebecca Watson's situation as your reason as to why, considering that's exactly what Dawkins did to her.

As someone who was once a little girl, I don't think you have a leg to stand on.

Dave @ #16: You nailed it.

#21 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:13 PM:

Dave DuPlantis@16: It's like someone punching me in the arm every time I walk by.

Exactly. Or like being flicked on an old bruise. The person doing the flicking may not even be aware that the bruise exists (not all bruises are immediately obvious, and some of them are idiosyncratic or downright obscure), and may in fact be engaging in nothing more than what they think is casual social interaction, but the person on the receiving end has an entirely different experience.

For example, I can be guaranteed to bristle up whenever I reach the point in an airline traveler's ritual litany of complaint where they start going on about the parent with the crying baby and/or the active toddler. That's when I snarl at whoever's listening, "Do you really honestly believe that any person traveling by air with two small children is doing it for the giddy hedonistic pleasure of the experience?"

#22 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:14 PM:

Ann The Mad @ 19:

When I was in 8th grade, my gym teacher (female) tried to motivate our class by using the phrase "You play like a bunch of girls!" This was not a coed class. We all stopped (it was hot, we were playing softball outside, and none of us were motivated) and stared at her before someone finally said what we all were thinking: "We are a bunch of girls!"

marc sobel @ 8: I like the suggestion of "dot-matrix printer", and shall attempt to use it wherever feasible.

#23 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:20 PM:

I am especially bemused by the comparison to the Rebecca Watson wankstorm since that was really kicked into gear by Richard Dawkin's dismissal of her experience by comparing it with FMG, forced marriage, and being made to wear the burkha.

The commonalities between this episode and the RW one are many, but primary among them are internalized misogyny and the tendency of comment threads to magnify jerkishness.

#24 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:29 PM:

When I was in elementary school, it was a compliment to tell a little girl that she (insert physical activity of your choice) like a boy, and an insult to tell a little boy or girl that they (insert physical activity of your choice) like a girl. And what I learned was that since I was a girl, I shouldn't ever try to do anything physical, because it was destined to be a failure.

As an adult who's still struggling with getting back into even basic reasonable levels of physical activity to remain healthy, yeah, "like a little girl" used as an insult REALLY BOTHERS ME. Even if a woman is the one saying it.

#25 ::: IreneD ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 02:48 PM:

@ Fragano #10:

"Why not just have said "toys"? Would have worked just as well and been non-sexist."

QFT.

#26 ::: CLP ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 03:15 PM:

JESR@23: I lost a lot of respect for Richard Dawkins due to his reaction, especially when he compared Rebecca Watson's discomfort with being annoyed by someone chewing gum. In general, the reaction to Watson has been a real eye-opener for me; I had no idea so many men thought it was okay to make women feel uncomfortable.

#27 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 03:18 PM:

Also, a question to the thread at large: when have you ever heard "like a little girl" used as a compliment?

When it has to do with looks or hair.

#28 ::: SarahS ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 03:51 PM:

I enjoy responding to comments such as, "You X like a girl" with a wide-eyed and delighted "Thank you!!"

It's fun to make people explain why I'm supposed to be insulted.

#29 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 04:39 PM:

CLP, #17: Exactly. Moreover, the casual acceptance of all those little things is a large part of what makes the bigger, nastier incidents happen. It's a little like trademark infringement, in the sense that if you don't take note of minor transgressions, then you have no recourse against big, blatant ones.

#30 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 04:49 PM:

The referenced article violates the very first of Orwell's Rules for Writing:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
#31 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 05:24 PM:

Debra Doyle@21: The "crying baby" analogy is... *really* useful. Brings home the idea you're trying to express to a whole lot of people who might not otherwise get it. (Why, yes, I *have* gotten phone calls at two in the morning from the landlord, complaining about how my crying baby is keeping the people upstairs awake.)

#32 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 05:46 PM:

Lee@21: It's a little like trademark infringement

Someone better go and sit on the fellow who's called Patrick a spoiled little girl, then.

I'm not sure confrontation (which started when the first objector finished with "It's sickening") is the way to go from a hearts and minds POV, but I'll be happy to be proved wrong.

#33 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 05:47 PM:

Eh, Lee@29, I mean.

#34 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 06:14 PM:

Adrian @32 talks about confrontation: Please reread the posts about how this kind of insult is like being poked on a bruise by everyone you meet, and then stop concern-trolling us.

#35 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 06:31 PM:

Janis Ian did a song about being told as kid she couldn't play baseball cos she couldn't throw like a man. 'Play Like A Girl', it's called. It's pretty awesome. Chorus goes

Now all over this big wide world
I play like a girl
From the California lights to the Serengeti nights
I play like a girl

#36 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 06:36 PM:

Texanne@34: I've read them, and I will be happy to be proved wrong. I quite enjoy confrontation.

The problem here is that although "feminazi" is a silly conflation Limbaugh himself admits was a troll, "feminist thought/language/humo(u)r police" has a lot more meat on it, and it can put people's (mainly guys', yes) backs up. You can do it on your own forum because you'll have the moderators behind you. Elsewhere you might find yourself swimming upstream.

However, you shouldn't be wasting your time arguing with a concern troll when there's real work to be done out there!

#37 ::: Ann The Mad ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:01 PM:

Singing Wren @22

Your experience shows that no matter who says it, the gender binary is so entrenched that when the basis for comparison is unspoken, "like a girl" inevitably reads as "not like a boy."

That's the thing that impressed me about my friend's approach; explicitly reframing the contrast not as girl/boy but as girl/woman made a lot of difference

Little girls may not throw well, but that's not because they're little girls -- it's because they're little girls. "Big strong women" can presumably throw just fine, and being a big strong woman who can throw is presumably a good thing to be.

(HLN: In my experience, at least some little girls throw extremely well. My daughter and her friends were outside waiting for me when I got home from work. With fiendish grins. And water balloons.)

#38 ::: cofax ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:03 PM:

Adrian @36:
You can do it on your own forum because you'll have the moderators behind you. Elsewhere you might find yourself swimming upstream.

The point of making this kind of argument is not to convince the other people in the thread, who have clearly already decided to be jackasses. A non-confrontational stance won't convince a sexist jerk to be less sexist, no matter what he (or she) claims.

The point is to convince the audience, so that maybe next time they'll use some other phrase to mean "weak".

And you know what? That does work.

#39 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:31 PM:

Adrian Smith @36: And making that effort cofax @37 referred to -- it's work. And it's good work. It's work you might be tired of doing, or tired of seeing. Doesn't mean it's good to say it's not work.

#40 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 08:50 PM:

Adrian, 36: ...you're right, I do have better things to do than pay attention to you. Thanks for the reminder!

#41 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 08:55 PM:

Cofax@38: A non-confrontational stance won't convince a sexist jerk to be less sexist, no matter what he (or she) claims.

This seems like an essentialist view of jerkdom. I think it's usually a performance.

The point is to convince the audience, so that maybe next time they'll use some other phrase to mean "weak".

And you know what? That does work.

Oh, sometimes, doubtless. But the ones who are being confirmed in their prejudices could be slipping off your radar. Hard it is to get statistics on lurkers.

Tom Whitmore@39: Doesn't mean it's good to say it's not work.

It's not particularly good to say I said it wasn't work, either.

#42 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 09:46 PM:

TexAnne @ 40... By the way, how is it going with the Closet of Doom?

#43 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 09:51 PM:

Adrian Smith @41 -- I acknowledge your slight backdown.

#44 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:23 PM:

Serge, 42 (oho! quelle coïncidence!): It's hot and I'm cranky, but I made some progress today.

#45 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:23 PM:

'look like little girls'
Cute?

#46 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 12:06 AM:

Adrian Smith, #36: "I quite enjoy confrontation."

Bye.

#47 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 12:25 AM:

Adrian Smith, according to the "view all by" function, has been a commenter here since 2007. He should've known better.

#48 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:53 AM:

Ann the Mad @37 - My daughter and her friends were outside waiting for me when I got home from work. With fiendish grins. And water balloons.

It pretty much always makes me happy to see parents and children who have the kind of relationships where that sort of thing would be an option. (When I was a kid, I'd never have even considered....)

On throwing like a girl - other than typical gender differences in upper-body strength and aggressiveness, a lot of it also has to do with whether you've actually learned to do the complex body mechanics it takes to make a baseball go fast and far, which involves pretty much everything from your toes on up, not just your arms. Nobody ever really taught me that as a kid - I eventually picked up some of the concepts as an adult, but gym teachers tended to teach more like "watch, do it like this" or "throw harder!" (wow, thanks!) and maybe a bit on focusing on the target and practicing a lot, and as a not very athletic kid I didn't play much baseball, especially because it involved things like hitting a little ball that was moving through the air real fast and running a lot. I'm guessing that girls mostly don't play baseball much more now than when I was a kid? Maybe the fact that lots of them now play soccer will help overcome some of those "you're not as good as boys are at the stuff you never learned" barriers.

And then, yeah, a lot of it's people being jerks, and I've heard the phrase "screaming/crying like a little girl" much more often in the last few years.

#49 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:20 AM:

(delurks)

I read a fairly recent story in which the little girl started screaming as soon as the ‘event’ started happening. It wasn’t until it got really bad when her brother (and mother) started screaming. The father never uttered a sound, except for a manly grunt.

The characters up to this point made me go as soon as I hit it, ‘Um, no, the brother would have screamed before her.’

It came to mind as soon as I read this thread because the author was female and I think it was just a matter of her not thinking – bad stuffs happening, there are kids, right let’s get the little girl screaming. At the end the little girl is back into character enough to be the only one to think quickly enough to get help.

This will probably feel less relevant now I’ve written it but it did immediately jump into my head.

(A strange thread to choose to delurk, perhaps, but paranoia about having lurked for too long and therefore finding myself stuck to the woodwork meant I typed my response for once instead of just thinking it.)

#50 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:39 AM:

Tamlyn @ 49... let’s get the little girl screaming

Reminds me of Spielberg's "War of th Worlds".
Girls scream. Men act manly. Girls scream. Young men strive to be manly. Girls scream.

#51 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:55 AM:

Sica@7

Well, thank you for starting your response with a compliment, and for taking the time to expand the point.

I'll back off to saying that I don't think this is a particularly heinous example of the genre; but this is Patrick's blog and if this is the example he wants to highlight then fair enough*. Possibly the fact that this was a relatively mild instance tossed off without though by a female journalist was part of the point. Or possibly it's the jerky comments following he wanted to highlight. Likely both, I guess.

(I'm mostly saying anything at all here because I don't have anything to argue with in your comment, but wanted to let you know that I'd taken it in).

Ann The Mad@37

Just as a data point: I'm a reasonably fit big man, and I can't throw for toffee.

* One things I've learned from BoingBoing comments is how to recognise classic strategies for shutting down speech - I am deliberately trying to avoid the "There Are Worse Things In The World, So Why Are We Talking About This?" trope here.

#52 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 06:21 AM:

Russ, I guess one way to think about it [and what do I know, I'm a man, but here goes] is that being subject to these kinds of insults is like not really having enough to eat, all the time. Every day, you just don't have quite enough to feel good, every meal is just a little short. And maybe that wouldn't be so bad, because you know that somewhere else there's someone with no food at all. But next to you, down the street, in the hallway, in the store, is someone eating a big burger [a Big Macho with extra Privilege!], and enjoying it, and letting you watch them enjoy it, without ever offering to share a bite. And it really isn't clear why they get the burger and you don't - you work just as hard, you have the same qualifications, but you are the one with the nagging empty feeling in your stomach, all the time.

And it diminishes you, and you don't deserve to be diminished. And when you mention that someone is hogging all the food, and you get told that the current distribution of burgers is just nature's way, and you should be grateful you're not starving in Africa, that diminishes you too, and maybe it embitters you. But maybe it's right to be embittered, and maybe it'd be right to one day shove that burger up someone's ass. Except that would be a waste of good food... ;-) [Actusally here I think the analogy goes up its own ass, but thanks for following along...]

#53 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 08:43 AM:

SarahS @ #28: I really like that strategy. I'm going to remember that for when it comes up again. It hasn't for a long time, but that doesn't mean anything, really.

alex @ #52: That's also a great analogy. It does feel like that, which is why it makes the 'but other people have it so much worse than you' silencing so very, very irritating.

#54 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 11:22 AM:

Tamlyn, #49: The point at which I realized how badly ClassicTrek was dated was re-watching "Shore Leave" in the early 80s. Okay, they sent down a female security guard with the landing party. And what does she do for the entire episode? Scream, cry, faint. I'm thinking, "And this they put on a STARSHIP?"

How sad that 30 years later so many of the same outdated stereotypes are still active.

Russ, #52: It's by pointing out the little things that people start to realize just how pervasive the mindset is. And until they start noticing that, they can't change it -- because the little things support the big things, and trying to change the big things won't be very successful as long as all the little enablers are still in place.

#55 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 12:12 PM:

Maybe, on TV, you need somebody to react as obviously-terrified to provide the corroborative detail intended to lend verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing special effects shot. In a book, you have internal dialogue so that a character can feel fear without having to be made helpless by it.

But it's sort of nice to have all the horrified men acting passive and intimidated until the girl pulls a Browning from her handbag.

#56 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 01:41 PM:

throwing like a girl is a nasty little feedback system. Girls often throw poorly, because they were never taught how to throw. And what would be the point of trying to teach a girl to throw, since every knows that girls can't. After all, that's why the phrase throwing like a girl exists.

#57 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:13 PM:

Renatus wrote: "The fact that the writer is a woman does not excuse the sexism of defaulting to 'little girl' to mean 'much less powerful'. "

I suspect Erica, the original writer, meant "little girl" to mean something like a 3 year old or thereabouts, rather than using "little girl" to mean "any girl". (An example of the latter would be a creep hitting on a college-age woman by saying "Hey little girl, can I buy you a drink".)

I think it's empirically demonstrable that little 3 year old girls are not as powerful as an adult male or female. So would a 3 year old boy, but the author used the word 'girl'.

Seems to me calling this sexism is stupid. Hell, you're basically saying it's wrong for a woman to mention her own gender in her writing as she sees fit.

Hell, maybe she has a daughter, and has some prominent memory of an amusing event where the daughter as a toddler attempted some feat of strength, with predictable results. Which led to the use of "little girl" in the comparison, consciously or unconsciously.

But nooo. Let's assume she's just an asshole.

#58 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:18 PM:

"Also, a question to the thread at large: when have you ever heard "like a little girl" used as a compliment?"

I don't think I've ever heard "like a little boy" used as a compliment.

Like a boy, yes. Like a man, yes. Like a little boy? No. Even little boys don't want to be called little boys, because they think that means someone even younger.

Being told "act your age" usually doesn't happen when you've been acting older and more mature, it happens when you're acting younger.

#59 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:21 PM:

Ooh, a privilege troll!

#60 ::: jon H ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:31 PM:

"Ooh, a privilege troll!"

Ooh! A wannabe authoritarian censor! I bet it just *kills* you that you can't force everyone to think the same way you do. With all your clutching you must go through many strands of pearls.

#61 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:39 PM:

I might agree with you, Jon H, except that the entire article is strongly gendered. And it's so easy to replace "boy" or "girl" with "kid" -- except that she started with "the big boys" and wanted to strengthen the contrast by using "girl". She believes doing that strengthens her analogy -- that's what I'd point to as an evil of the system, and a continual pecking at female self-esteem.

#62 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:44 PM:

Jon H @ #57:

I get the impression you didn't really read the entire thread, but found a convenient thing to bounce off of for your own point of informing us how this isn't really sexism (with a side order of 'I think it is you who will find you are sexist'). you points have been addressed, repeatedly, but it will take you stopping to think and consider them in relation to your objection--

Which is more than a little disingenuous. 'Like a little girl' is a common idiom for 'weaker'; 'like a little boy' is not (run each phrase through Google and see for yourself).

Equally disingenuous is oversimplifying our arguments that casual sexism is gross to 'calling her an asshole'. Really? Really?

#63 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:46 PM:

Good grief jon, you're way out on a limb here. Reel it in before you get swatted by the banhammer like Adrian.

Also, I have heard comparisons to little boys used at least neutrally, ranging to complimentarily; ordinarily in reference to the sense of wonder. "He stared at the [insert techno gadget and/or mode of transport here] like a little boy at a firetruck" isn't insulting. "He's kept that little-boy sense of wonder" is something I've ONLY heard as a compliment. Have you really never heard such things?

#64 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:52 PM:

If I had a string of pearls to clutch, I'd use them like a feather boa.

#65 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 03:15 PM:

Jon H:

1. Rediscover civility immediately.

2. Consider the excellent feedback that Tom, Renatus, and Xopher have given you. This thread may provide some useful parallax.

3. Figure out why alex and John have just started popping corn. Reference to Adrian's experience is recommended.

I have already dealt with one privileged* twit this week, in real life. That is my full allotment.

----
* You probably need a definition of this term that won't throw you on the defensive. Let me spoon-feed you just this one thing, then. Privilege is the assumption that your perspective and experience are universal and correct. It's usually something experienced by people whose gender (for instance) does not get used as an insult. It causes people not to realize how others may be hurt by things that they themselves don't mind, or that said hurt people have a right to be bothered.

#66 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 03:34 PM:

Curse those authoritarians, censoring my speech by freely stating their opinions about me in public forums! Don't they realize that the very definition of liberty is them shutting up forever?

#67 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 03:55 PM:

Now, heresiarch, you know that we're all wallowing helplessly in the throes of groupthink. But hopefully he can condescend to address us in terms that our fragile intellects can comprehend, and thus lead us out of our dire and foetid ignorance.

Jon, one useful exercise would be to provide a few verbs for sentence (A) that make it as insulting as the sentences in group (B). Explain how they are just as insulting. This will require a deep and clear understanding of the negative stereotypes in the reference set, of course.

(A) Abi, you _____ like a boy.

(B) Jon, you throw like a girl.
Jon, you hit like a girl.
Jon, you cry like a girl.
Jon, you play video games like a girl.

#68 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 04:00 PM:

I was going to argue with your comment, abi, but then the groupthink kicked in.

YES YOU ARE RIGHT GO ON

#70 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 04:13 PM:

The way I think of repeated individually-small insults is in terms of the "Russian handshake"[1] game that we played as children.

Each put a pencil between your middle and ring fingers, and shake hands--repeatedly. The first one to refuse loses.

It's a bit like wind sprints: the first 10 aren't that bad.


1) Supposedly modeled on an interrogation method used by the KGB.

#71 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 04:16 PM:

WHEREAS I am assured that "little girl" is no more derogatory than "little boy", and
WHEREAS I am therefore to believe that it is the diminutive rather than the gender that is derogatory,
THEREFORE I will heretofore use a randomly selected term for a person alongside "little" to denote contempt.

Heresiarch, you argue like a little chiropractor. When Jon comes back with his devastating and convincing critique of your position, I expect to hear you squealing like a little antiquarian. It's because you're weak, weak like a little ornithologist.

#72 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 04:48 PM:

John... Heresiarch... C'mon on...

#73 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 04:51 PM:

Oops. No 'on' after 'C'mon'.

#74 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 04:52 PM:

"like a little ornithologist" will be my go-to sneering expression of contempt from now on.

#75 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:01 PM:

"Abi, you smell like a boy"? :-)

#76 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:23 PM:

Serge:

Either take me to task along with Heresiarch, or neither of us.

Personally, I think someone who watched Adrian's run earlier in the thread and went on to do what Jon just did needs a slightly clearer statement that he argues like a little plumber. And if he didn't, then he deserves our opprobrium for that.

He can still salvage the situation. All it takes is that he lumberjack up and figure out that he was wrong. It might require him to acquire a slightly more nuanced view of the world, but that's neither impossible nor unhealthy.

I'm open to arguments that we should do things differently. But the option where I let someone with an 8-bit understanding of 64-bit social systems lecture me on something that I'm at the sharp end of and he isn't? Off the table.

#77 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:25 PM:

Xopher @75:

Stung! The exception that proves the rule! But is it as insulting? I mean, boys will be boys and all that.

#78 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:28 PM:

Come to think of it, I'm not sure that 'you smell like a boy' to a female is as insulting as 'you smell like a girl' is to a male. But you pushed my "hey you self-styled linguist, come up with an example" button.

#79 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:34 PM:

Antiquarian? ANTIQUARIAN!? I'll have you know I squeal like little philologist, thankyouverymuch. You, madam, issue insults like a little ichthyomancer.

[Suggestions for (A): lactate, menstruate, give birth]

#80 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:49 PM:

abi, #76: someone with an 8-bit understanding of 64-bit social systems

IHNC, IJWTS how deeply I admire this metaphor. It will be added to my own vocabulary.

#81 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:59 PM:

I recommend The Frailty Myth-- it's a discussion of women and sports. It's a little annoying because of a background assumption that everyone would like to be an athlete, but the history (of the Victorian ideal of upper class women as basically immobile and its consequences) and science are fascinating. Who knew so much research has been put into how people learn to throw?

As has been said upthread, "throwing like a girl" is actually "throwing like someone who's inexperienced at throwing".

#82 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 06:14 PM:

None of you then, Abi...

#83 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 06:20 PM:

heresiarch, 79: Hey, *I'm* a philologist, you little cabinetmaker!

#84 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 07:32 PM:

Abi: someone with an 8-bit understanding of 64-bit social systems

Amen to Lee #80, that line's an instant classic!

#85 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 07:43 PM:

abi, Xopher: I think you'd have to put the modifier "teenage" along with "boy" to make "smell" equally insulting.

FWIW, I also thought "smell" before getting to Xopher's comment.

#86 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 09:36 PM:

Rikibeth, 85: I would prefer not to pick on teenagers, who in the main have a very hard row to hoe. I propose instead "You smell like someone who bathed in Axe Spray."

#87 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 10:13 PM:

"Abi, you dance like a boy." No, that doesn't have the same sting.

Ah, here it is. "Abi, you dance like a straight boy."

#88 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 10:17 PM:

TexAnne @ 86... Not eau de mouffette?

#89 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 10:53 PM:

Jon H @57: Seems to me calling this sexism is stupid.

Seems to me calling this stupid is sexist.

Let's assume she's just an asshole.

Wanna guess what we're assuming about you?

(Yeah, I know, I'm late, Abi's already scared him off. That's what I get for going outside and melting. Frankly, I'd've banned Jon H at ct #60.)

#90 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 10:54 PM:

Abi @67, does he get extra points if he sings it like Bob Dylan?

#91 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 11:05 PM:

Conceit: Avram as the Pillar of Severity and abi as the Pillar of Mercy.

#92 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 11:20 PM:

Re: Xopher @ 75 and Rikibeth @ 85, "You smell like a boy" was also the first thing I came up with--and I haven't been able to come up with anything else. Which irks me, because I normally have an expansive vocabulary and a decent level of imagination. "You knit/crochet/sew like a boy"? Except that leads me to my mom's story about meeting Rosie Grier while they were sitting in an airport waiting area pending boarding of their mutual plane, and the fact they wound up talking about needlepoint because Rosie was, as it happened, doing needlepoint.

And I'm not 100% sure that makes any kind of point, but I do like the idea of my mom swapping needlepoint tips with Rosie... :)

#93 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 11:24 PM:

Me @ 92: Rosey. Not Rosie. Egad.

#94 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 11:58 PM:

Syd: I do like the idea of my mom swapping needlepoint tips with Rosey

Author of Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men.

I bet he sews like a boy.

#95 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:11 AM:

94
One of the neighbors, when I was a kid, sewed clothes for his family.

#96 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:12 AM:

Xopher @91, is that a fancy way of saying "bad cop" and "good cop"?

#97 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:14 AM:

Allan Beatty @ 87:

As a rather aging straight boy, I must sadly admit that I resemble that remark. But I have been known to sew occasionally.

abi, I would also like to remark on just how much I admire someone with an 8-bit understanding of 64-bit social systems.

#98 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:49 AM:
(A) Abi, you _____ like a boy.

"might"

#99 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:55 AM:

I just thought of one variety of "you _____ like a boy" that is generally intended to be a serious insult when it's deployed...

"look"

#100 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:03 AM:

Y'know, what we need here is the secret recipe that'll make it really macho to be feminist. I'm sure it's out there somewhere, perhaps at the end of this line of reasoning:

Real men aren't afraid
Real men aren't afraid of women
Real men aren't afraid of strong women

...?

Of course 'real men' is a horribly normative statement, but it's a teaching tool here, right?

#101 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:15 AM:

Abi@67, my first attempt was along the lines of "you order people around like a four-year-old boy." (Very specifically four, usually they're over it by the time they're five, maybe girls act that way at that age too but I've mostly noticed it in boys.) However, Xopher's response totally outclasses mine; closest I can get is "you have cooties like a boy."

There's a different category of responses that are fairly offensive but not in the way your question intended - "throw", "think", "play video games", "[do some other task requiring skill or intelligence that obviously girls don't have]" - and different speakers might intend them either as compliments or as insults. (And it least the ones who intend it to be a compliment would probably get that they had done something wrong, even if they didn't understand what it was.) And saying that you _dress_ like a boy could be in either category - either insulting your skill in dressing, or saying you dress butch with the implication that you should act feminine and straight.

And that's different from saying "you're dressed like a boy", which is saying that you made the wrong choice for this occasion, like showing up in jeans and dumpy shirt for what the speaker expected to be a dressed-up night out clubbing, or for a friend's 7-year-old daughter's Disney(tm) Princess(tm) birthday party, unless you're dressed as The Prince (or The Prince's Sidekick, or The Cute Stableboy (who might actually be The Prince in disguise)), in which case it's an unexpected but possibly acceptable choice, depending on how much she's bought in to the Princess Thing.

You're probably old enough for this one to be understandable but young enough for it not to make sense for someone your age to have actually said it, but does "You type like a boy!" count at all? I went to high school in the early 70s, when it was no longer quite expected that a college-bound girl needed to learn typing for a possible future job as a secretary, but a non-college-bound girl still should, and it was strongly recommended that you learn to type papers for college, but if you had Skillz you could still make money in college typing up theses and research for grad students, and computers were just starting to show up. (I spent most of a two-week typing mini-course unlearning the habits I'd picked up on Teletypes and keypunches. And "like a boy" didn't include boys like my piano-player classmate who had to slow down to 90wpm on electric typewriters but could go a lot faster on a real Underwood.)

#102 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:34 AM:

Alex@100, if you keep adding ...s to that, you'll end up out on the Minnesota prairie, where the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all the children are above average, and if that sounds arithmetically impossible, you've got to realize that character is more important than specific skills like mathematics, and living where it's cold in the winter and you have to fight giant mosquitoes all summer builds character, so that's the right place to be. (And that would obviously be way off topic, but I started listening to Prairie Home Companion back when my friends' above-average daughter Abigail was just a little girl, gosh, she must be in her thirties by now, and time just flies buy when you move to somewhere that doesn't have snow every winter to make you keep track of it.)

#103 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 04:29 AM:

TexAnne @40: ::toothy grin::

#104 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 04:47 AM:

Lee @54: There was a PBS broadcast of some British thing that I caught the tail end of ... oh ... back in the '80s or '90s, I'd guess. I wish I knew what it was, because I'd like to watch it through.

Anyway, it was set in Victorian England, and it had a husband responding to the wife's situation [family crisis?] with something along the lines of, "I want you to come back, so I can gather you up, like a little injured bird, and hold you in my hands, and protect you..."

And her responding to this with something like, "No. No, actually, thank you. I think I'd rather stand on my own and be strong. Thanks, but goodbye," and turning around and walking out the door.

And him standing there looking after her, all hurt and bewildered.

For such a brief clip, it really had a big impact on me—the whole "learned (cultivated) helplessness" thing. Seriously creepy, really.

#105 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 04:56 AM:

I was the classic unathletic kid, and I was in grade school during the '60s, when the Army boot-camp model of PE was still being practiced. Needless to say, I didn't do well, and my primary experience of team sports was one of boredom, failure, and humiliation (which is one of the reasons I avoid even thinking about sports to this day).

My mother, bless her soul, tried to be supportive. However, she hailed (obviously) from an even earlier generation and, despite having lived through WWII (and been in the Navy, training pilots, fercrissake!) still subscribed to a lot of the old ideas about such things. Her means of being supportive tended to run to, "Well, you know, a girl's arms are designed more for holding a baby than throwing things."

I actually figured out, almost by accident, how to throw with reasonable accuracy: aim with your elbow, as if your arm was an atl-atl. Given the difference that simple insight made, it was obvious that throwing was a skill, with learnable tricks. Not some mystical Innate Ability.

I can see the positive intent in her message, but it still makes me want to retch.

#106 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 04:59 AM:

"You ____ like a boy"

I was once on the receiving end of that, with the verb "stir".

It was in high school chemistry, and the experiment in progress involved some vigorous hand mixing of a thick goopy mixture.

Not nearly as insulting as the equivalent "like a girl" insults, and also presupposes that all girls cook.

#107 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 05:25 AM:

Xopher @91:

There's a fair argument that, to someone who cares about their standing in this community, what I did was not merciful. Serge certainly didn't think so, and if Jon and Adrian were to compare notes, I suspect the conclusion would be that Adrian escaped more lightly.

On the other hand, anyone far enough into this community to have standing they care about is expected to understand the first rule of holes.

#108 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 05:32 AM:

Bill Stewart @101:

When I run your various options through my offense-o-meter, either the current version (41.5) or earlier releases I have backed up, none of them come out as insulting the way "throw like a girl" or "cry like a girl" do.

They say you don't fit the model, but not you're hopeless.

Perhaps the typing thing has changed a lot, but even there, I don't get pinged with a "social stigma" feeling. We've gone from "only typists need this" to "everyone does it but not everyone was taught how." I have never seen any kind of shame in any comments about people's typing ability; indeed, there's often an inverse pride in how badly people do it.

Which is what one would expect from a "womanly" skill that men end up doing out of necessity. See also: cooking, sewing, childcare*.

-----
* Yes, childcare. Think of the "charming" trope of the dad who can't change a diaper. Think of Arnold Schwartzenegger in Kindergarten Cop, running out with all the children in their first fire drill.

#109 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 07:59 AM:

Well, there's got to be a human equivalent of "hfryrff nf gvgf ba n ohyy", but 1) I don't know it and 2) I'd probably not post it here if I did.

#110 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:08 AM:

SamChevre @109:

There may well be, but you need to ask yourself whether, outwith an audience of Minotaurs*, it would have the same impact.

This is about in-species deprecation.

----
* or other audiences that are simultaneously bovine and human

#111 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:14 AM:

An important point about the "professional slags" like sewing, cooking, etc. is that whether they're considered "womanly" (in any given time or place) depends directly on how much prestige or wealth could be gotten from them.

Consider the history of "seamstresses" vs. "tailors" (discussed previously on ML, probably multiple times), or household cooking (no job title) vs. "cuisine" with its "chefs".

#112 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:44 AM:

Bill, #101: I graduated from high school in 1973, and I remember hearing that women who wanted any career other than secretary should make a point of NOT learning to type, because once men found out you could do that, you'd be stuck in the secretarial pool for life. I also remember hearing advice to the effect of "If they stick you with typing up the minutes because you were the only woman in the meeting, tell them once that you can't type, and then cheerfully agree -- and do it SO BADLY that they'll never ask you again!"

The typing skills I have were all acquired in the course of my programming jobs, a couple of which involved entering text.

#113 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:58 AM:

I didn't have a chance to say so yesterday, but Xopher, abi, heresiarch; your comments reinforced why I like it here so much (the back-and-forth between abi and heresiarch really had me chuckling).

I'm also admiring abi's 8-bit understanding of 64-bit social systems. Wow. Just... wow, that's beautiful.

#114 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:25 PM:

Abi @ 107...

My comment was the result of my misunderstanding some other posts, and that colored my perception of what followed, but not of what you wrote. Frankly my contribution to this thread was a reminder that we need Heaven to protect us from (bleep) amateurs - especially those with pretensions at moderation. As for your not being merciful, that never even occurred to me. Besides, you have nothing on Princess Aura's dad. :-)

#115 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:44 PM:

Serge @114:

Making Light explicitly values and encourages backseat moderation, even of the moderators themselves. I think the only front-pager I never pushed back on before my own apocolocyntosis apotheosis is Avram. Well, and Mike, of course.

Do you overreact sometimes? Yes. So do I. So do all of us, one way or another, as is our bent. Doesn't mean you don't have the right to express your opinion. We all need our consciences, internal and external.

If, after considering your feedback, I still think I'm right, I'll respond and say my piece, and the community will make a call. If I am persuaded I am wrong, I will apologize. If I persist in error, the community and my fellow moderators will take me aside and have a word. In no case will that affect the affection and respect I have for you.

The important thing to remember in this context is one of Teresa's rules for moderation:

3. You own the space. You host the conversation. You don’t own the community.

I am ever mindful of this.

#116 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:27 PM:

Avram 96: Xopher @91, is that a fancy way of saying "bad cop" and "good cop"?

No, not at all, of course not!

Sir.

David 111: An important point about the "professional slags" like sewing, cooking, etc. is that whether they're considered "womanly" (in any given time or place) depends directly on how much prestige or wealth could be gotten from them.

In the Soviet Union, prestige acquires YOU most doctors were women...and it was a low-status job.

#117 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 04:09 PM:

Larry @ 14: You see that you just pulled a Dawkins, and said this is no big deal, because some people have it worse. You do see that, don't you?

#118 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 04:28 PM:

Xopher #116: Hmm. Good point, it can run both ways. (Another example that comes to mind is midwives vs. birthing doctors/obstetricians.)

#119 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 04:50 PM:

And I see others made that point. Moving on.

I always heard it as, "tits on a boar", and it turns out, for some values of value, teats on a boar are useful, to humans, because of what they do to the sows who are sired by said boar (i.e. they tend to have more teats, and so can suckle more piglets).

One presumes this is also useful to the boars. In captivity any boar with less than 13 nipples ends up as bacon.

#120 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:08 PM:

Lee @ 112

It's still often the case, at least at the agency I work for. I used a similar trick when I transitioned to analyst, deliberately deprioritizing anything that involved secretarial work... It got done, and done well, but somehow there was always a very long delay before I had time to focus on anything that "unimportant."

Clerical seems to be a particularly sticky status; I haven't noticed similar difficulty when people transition from analyst to management. Customer service is also sticky, and carries the additional disadvantage that it can follow you for your entire career. I'm not sure if it's coincidence that they are also both low-status and female-dominated, but it certainly feels as if sexism is somehow related to the stickiness.

#121 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:20 PM:

KayTei, 120: Something similar happens to kindergarten teachers; I'm not aware of many who become principals, much less superintendents. See also genre romance and the knitting and needlework industries.

#122 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:30 PM:

Vaguely connected points:

Hitting like a Girl: Next generation.

"Dress yourself like a boy" was the best I could come up with; subtly different than "dress like a boy" to me, but I'll leave it to the judges to rule on that one.

I never learned to run[1]OR to throw a ball. I did learn to play tennis, and realized that a serve works like throwing a ball. I explained to a kid once that you line up your feet where you want the ball to go, (said kid being a child of a single mother) and she said to me "You just taught my son to throw a ball!" It was a very patriachical moment and I suddenly got VERY awkward.

At some point I discovered there was a whole Youtube thing[2] of women shooting guns, either well or badly. The main point of note seemed to be that they were doing it at all. I nearly strained an eyerolling muscle.

[1] I didn't realize there was a technique to running until I saw "Chariots of Fire". Before that I think I ran like a duck. My feet made big slapping sounds.[3]

[2] It's not a conversation, it's not a thread, it's not a community... it's a bunch of things that are sort of alike. Searchstring? Shared concept?

[3] Third children never get taught anything because their parents figure they've already taught all the kids, or the older ones will teach them; I spent a couple minutes one Christmas with a swiss army knife closed-but-not-bleeding on my finger trying to figure out how to get it off without cutting myself. I didn't once consider asking for help for some reason.

#123 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:54 PM:

Sandy B. #122: Before that I think I ran like a duck. My feet made big slapping sounds.

Hmm... by any chance, are your feet pronated? (That means an outward turn, thus "duck-walking".)

#124 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:13 PM:

David Harmon @ 123: Pronation is what my orthopedists call what I have, which is excessive inward rolling of the feet (i.e, my ankles try to touch the ground). The giveaway is that (if not treated with arch supports) the heel of one's shoes are much more worn on the medial sides than on the lateral sides.

I've never heard it used to mean to opposite of "pigeon-toed," although I guess it's possible.

#125 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:39 PM:

Oops, I just double-checked the definition.

It seems that "pronation" refers generically to specific rotations of elbow or (in this case) foot, and there can be under- or over-pronation.

I'm still pretty sure that both my own and one of my sisters' podiatrists used the term to describe our "duck-walk" pattern, but they may well have been oversimplifying or worse. In any case, Sis & I both have orthotics (shoe inserts) to correct our gait. Examining my boots, the heaviest wear is on the lateral sides of the heels. Wikipedia identifies this as underpronation, but again, that's with the inserts (which far predate the boots).

(Also, it's clearly time for me to buy new boots, which I've been putting off for a while. Maybe visit a local podiatrist, too.)

#126 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:44 PM:

Oy, and now I find this OpenHealthNetwork article which defines the term in my original sense. When I do see a podiatrist, I guess I'll quiz them....

#127 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:45 PM:

"OurHealthNetwork", not "OpenHealthNetwork". Signing off for the night; I'm clearly too tired to post right.

#128 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:49 PM:

Jacque: There was a PBS broadcast of some British thing that I caught the tail end of ... oh ... back in the '80s or '90s, I'd guess. I wish I knew what it was, because I'd like to watch it through.

Anyway, it was set in Victorian England, and it had a husband responding to the wife's situation [family crisis?] with something along the lines of, "I want you to come back, so I can gather you up, like a little injured bird, and hold you in my hands, and protect you..."

And her responding to this with something like, "No. No, actually, thank you. I think I'd rather stand on my own and be strong. Thanks, but goodbye," and turning around and walking out the door.

And him standing there looking after her, all hurt and bewildered.

For such a brief clip, it really had a big impact on me—the whole "learned (cultivated) helplessness" thing. Seriously creepy, really.

It sounds like you need to check over Genevieve Valentine's The Catherine Cookson Experience posts. I thought at first you were describing The Wingless Bird, but that one's WWI...

#129 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 12:13 AM:

125
Yeah, walking like a duck. I finally mostly trained myself out of it ('mostly', because when I'm tired, there go the toes pointing off toward far corners).

The running thing was probably running flat-footed instead of up on the balls of your feet - it really does make a difference, when you learn how to do that, and your feet thank you for it.

#130 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 12:30 AM:

Sandy B. @ 122:

It's not a conversation, it's not a thread, it's not a community... it's a bunch of things that are sort of alike. Searchstring? Shared concept?

Semantic cluster?

#131 ::: Ron Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 12:36 AM:

abi @ 76: ... someone with an 8-bit understanding of 64-bit social systems ...

I came all the way over here from Fboogle just to see that metaphor in person. Uphill both ways in the drifts of broken glass. Oh, thank you!

David Harmon @ 111: Consider the history of "seamstresses" vs. "tailors"...

"Typewriters" vs. "typists"—just to go all en pointe about the terms. Seriously, go look up the original term for young men who typed things, along with comparative status. I'm waiting to see what happens vis-a-vis tiny-handed brain surgeons.

I worked so hard at not learning to type when I was a schoolgirl, just to avoid being pigeonholed into certain jobs, that to this day I don't know whether I can't touch-type because of that or because I just never had the capacity to learn it. This was before PCs of course; I retain my talent for typos but fewer of them escape to the public eye now.

I did learn to write in a very compressed style, just because it took so long to do at all. I didn't do first drafts back then, either; I suspect that has driven me into bad habits I retain to this day, like deadline-pushing.

#132 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 03:30 AM:

David Harmon @125: foot supination

I'd also recommend talking to a good Pilates teacher. That was one of the side effects of fixing my neck injury back in '97 or so: cleared up my gait irregularity too. (Gained an inch in height and lost a half a shoe size, while I was at it.) (Sadly, I've since let all that work go; I'm back to walking on the blades of my feet, and am carrying thirty extra pounds as well.)

#133 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 07:37 AM:

Ron Sullivan #131: I didn't have to work at avoiding it... In high school, I failed personal typing! (Mostly because of lack of speed. Every word omitted from the end of the long piece was a point off the final....)

#134 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 11:12 AM:

David Harmon @ 127: Signing off for the night; I'm clearly too tired to post right.

Well, I said "orthopedist" when I meant "podiatrist," so I think you were doing better than I was.

#135 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 12:57 PM:

"Running flat-footed" sounds about right. I wasted a LOT of kinetic energy in impact, I think.

I'm now contemplating gait irregularities- my feet normally point in slightly different directions and I wear out the outside heel and inside toe. Is this one of those things like "Morton's Foot", a symptom but not a problem?

#136 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 04:56 PM:

[Off-topicness.]
Ron Sullivan #131: I don't know whether I can't touch-type because of that or because I just never had the capacity to learn it. A friend of mine taught me how to learn to touch-type after I'd been using computers for a few years - "You already know where the keys are, so stop looking at them! Look at the screen, which will tell you if you did something wrong and need to fix it." And that worked, though I occasionally have to look for the weird keys if I'm switching keyboards.

#137 ::: individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 06:33 PM:

My grandmother spent many afternoons painstakingly teaching me to throw and catch a ball, because she thought of that ability as a sort of talisman against being bullied for being a nerd / bookworm. It didn't really work; I didn't have a good enough grasp of complicated, hidden social rules to be accepted by the girls, and I didn't have the athletic ability to be accepted by the boys. There's only so much you can make up for asthma and poor coordination by good technique. There were some things I could do: play field hockey and fight, for example. There really is very little sex difference in physical strength among 8-year-olds.

I then moved to an all-girls school at the age of 8, which pretty much killed any physical or athletic skills I might have developed. That school also made a concerted effort to put us off learning how to type or do anything with computers, because they wanted us to do "better" than secretarial work. Thankfully that part of my femininity training didn't stick.

#138 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 06:52 PM:

I'm sure I've mentioned this story before: a friend of mine is proud of her job title. I remember her explanation as "There is no Administrative Assistant of the Navy" but that may be a misquote.

#139 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 10:51 PM:

In 3rd grade I nearly always 'struck out' at math baseball and did poorly in other highly competitive math games while the boys in the class seemed to do much better. When I was older and had to play softball, volleyball and similar sports in PE I found that I was pretty good at them, having exceptional vision and hand/eye coordination. Never got better at math until I was in college and I still have trouble remembering right away what anything times 7 is.

It makes me wonder if I'd have been better at math if the math games we played were less oriented towards aggressive competition at such an early age. Also wonder if I might have been better if I wasn't unconsciously responding to the boys are better than girls at these sort of things attitude that was the norm in the early 60s.

#140 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 07:14 AM:

Dawno #139: Maybe... but in that "later", did you become good at math, or just manage to keep up? People do face different handicaps and obstacles, but they also start with different talents.

The bit about 7's being the hardest lines of the times table matches my own case, and I've heard it from others fairly often. But 8's are often included (for me likewise), which looks like a Clew:

My guess is that the kids are (reasonably) learning the rows in order, and that's where accumulated fatigue/boredom starts actually interfering with the process. (9's, of course, have a shortcut, if only for single digits.) Note also that 7's and 8's would also be harder to get by mentally reading down their "column". ("7x6... um, 12, 18, 24....")

Another idea would involve backup from the "animal" counting mechanism. For humans, that tends to crap out around 7, but individuals do vary.

#141 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 03:58 PM:

Regarding Lee @112...

Last week, I happened to be the first into a meeting room. The second person into the room, a woman I know fairly well, asked if I'd set up the teleconference line yet. I explained that I make a point of "forgetting" to set up the phone in meetings because, as a young chickadee just out of college, I spent time in a very sexist workplace where I got shoved into secretarial roles due to my willingness to take meeting notes, set up teleconferences and other such duties.

The woman I mentioned this to was nonplussed - she'd clearly never been in an office where every female younger than 50 was assumed to be a secretary (and treated poorly). Lucky her.

#142 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 05:56 PM:

Persephone #141: A good reminder that things are getting better over time, even while the yahoos screech from their stables.

#143 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 09:29 PM:

TexAnne, Patrick and others: I would like to apologise for that episode. I allowed a personal hobbyhorse of mine (which needs a pasture elsewhere) to distract me from the fact that I was posting to a private forum, and proceeded to take a dump upon the carpet, a habit I thought I had transcended. I'm not asking to be reinstated as I don't think I could do more than promise to try to avoid further such outbursts.

#144 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 10:02 PM:

Adrian Smith @143 -- trying to avoid them is a start, at least!

#145 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 10:16 PM:

I didn't have a problem with learning my 7's times tables. I just remembered the "Lucky 7" song from Multiplication Rock (the musical animated shorts that were on Saturday morning TV when I was a kid).

Those songs drilled the times tables into my head pretty effectively without my noticing much at first. Though I did notice that the simple multiplication I had the hardest time recalling was 6 times 9; the songs for those two numbers were ones I didn't like very much.

I'm not sure if I can tie this comment back to the overall thread topic very easily, except to note it as an example of how you can pick up a lot (either of skills or attitudes) from the environment around you without noticing particularly. That has its effects over time on boys, and girls... and jerks.

#146 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 07:58 AM:

Adrian, 143: Thank you.

#147 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 04:27 PM:

David @140 - no, I got better but was never much more than average at math (prior to that I was below average except in the early parts of geometry before the algebraic stuff kicked in). I like the rest of your post, very interesting thoughts.

John Mark @145 - oh! how I would have loved the Schoolhouse Rock series when I was younger, but alas they didn't air until I was an adult.

#148 ::: MinaW ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 03:27 AM:

I was too lazy to learn my multiplication tables when I should have; guess I thought it would be hard work. We were in England my 5th grade year, and I had to know them up through 12x12. It took me one afternoon while we were out for a drive to learn them all.

Just realized this might have been because it was a pre-literate learning style. Before, I'd tried to learn by looking at a list. Works better for song lyrics too for me, once I've heard (or read) them correctly, to learn from listening.

My mom taught my youngest brother, almost 10 years younger than me, a bunch of arithmetic shortcuts (to multiply something by 19, multiply by 20 and subtract one of it - easier to do in the head.) When I found out about this, after I was in college, and asked why she hadn't taught them to me, she said "you didn't ask". How could I have asked for things I didn't know existed?

Athletics for girls have changed a lot. In my high school class there was one girl who was athletic, and she was embarrassed about her muscles showing.

#149 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 06:33 AM:

MinaW #148 - When I was teaching kids Maths I learnt loads of shortcuts and techniques and ways of thinking that were of no use to me personally because I learnt how to do it in my head or on paper or with a calculator without having to think about it. One of the challenges when I started was slowing down my solutions so I could show them how to get to the answer.

Also one of the girls in my year at school went on to play for the GB Women's Hockey team. Defending one of her short corners in mixed hockey was not my favourite part of the house competition.

#150 ::: [垃圾邮件被删除] ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 09:23 AM:

[张贴由 187.111.192.2]

#151 ::: Niall McAuley sees Chinese spam at #150 ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 09:32 AM:

Daily concerns, the top one! Article to the force, thanks to share!

Or so says Google Translate, anyhow.

#152 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 09:59 AM:

Chinese, yes. Google(tm) Translate sez, "Daily concerns, the top one! Article to the force, thanks to share!"

#153 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 10:16 AM:

Hyperwords says: "Every day pays attention, goes against one! The article gives the strength, thanks the share!"

Maybe it isn't spam? Maybe it's something like, "Give every day the attention it deserves, don't worry about the next one! Thanks for posting this, it made me feel better."

Maybe?

#154 ::: [垃圾邮件被删除] ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 10:23 AM:

[张贴由 201.219.17.38]

#155 ::: Melissa Singer sees more possible Chinese spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 10:32 AM:

Benefits greatly!

#156 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 11:23 AM:

Let's try this:

欢迎光临!你写诗吗?

#157 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 12:32 PM:

I like your style, Jacque.

#158 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 01:00 PM:

New game!

的垃圾邮件机器人

垃圾邮件机器人写有令状,
上移动,也不禁止锤也不机智
引诱回写出来的半韵
或氟它的球形。

#159 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 01:08 PM:

Jacque @ 157: Even without translating, I could guess what you asked. Well done!

Who could pass up an opportunity like this one? Not I!

我吃过
梅子

在冰箱


你很可能
节能
早餐

请原谅我
他们是美味
那么甜
等冷

#160 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 01:15 PM:

这是永远不会太多。它始终是刚好够用。

#161 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 01:16 PM:

Ha! I recognized that just from its shape!

#162 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 01:53 PM:

(grinning since I likewise recognized Ginger's contribution from its shape) -- "recognizing it from its shape" is a good description of reading and particularly of reading Chinese characters.

#163 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 02:19 PM:

Persephone at 141: OMG can I relate to that! I was the General Secretary at a small non-profit for 22 years; it was essentially a volunteer position. (They did reimburse expenses.) As part of the job, I took minutes at many, many meetings. I am no longer G-S (gave it up 5 years ago), but I am still very involved with the organization, and invariably when there is a meeting and we need minute/note takers, all eyes turn to me, because they are so used to depending on me for that. I always refuse.

#164 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 07:46 AM:

Just now on FB, a friend of mine posted that he had just gotten tickets to see Paul McCartney and is excited about it: "I feel like a little girl!" -- and I wondered how that expression would fit into this discussion. I mean presumably he is not, or not precisely, saying he feels powerless...

#165 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 07:57 AM:

曾经有一个人从楠塔基特
谁保存在一个水桶,他所有的现金。
但他的女儿,名为南,
与一个人跑开
桶,楠塔基特。

#166 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 08:51 AM:

Ran away with a what?

#167 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 11:18 AM:

167 had me confused -- the obvious inference was that 166 was an automatic translation of "The Cow Jumped Over the Moon" -- but it has the wrong number of lines.

#168 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 11:20 AM:

Or, well, the right numer of lines but the wrong shape.

高騙取騙取,
貓的小提琴演奏,
奶牛跳過月亮,
笑的小狗看到這樣工藝,
而菜逃跑用勺子

#169 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 11:24 AM:

(Google Xlat's back-translation of this piece is particularly fetching.)

#170 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 11:50 AM:

Hmm, a google translate loopback conserves my favourite nursery rhyme rather well:

蝙蝠,蝙蝠,我的帽子下
我给你一片培根
当我烤,你想一个蛋糕
除非我非常弄错

#171 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 11:53 AM:

The Modesto Kid #165: I suspect that he may not have encountered the briefer term "squee". (Which may be derived from feminine stereotype, but I for one have no trouble applying it to myself.)

#172 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 11:59 AM:

Niall @171 -- nice! I did not know that one.

#173 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 12:43 PM:

The Modesto Kid #169: I am struck by the fact that the first line is "High fraud fraud".

#174 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 12:45 PM:

Yep -- clearly "diddle" means "perpetrate a fraud upon"; I'm less clear on how they got from "hey" to "high". Possibly when I initially entered the English in I went with "hi diddle diddle".

#175 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 12:45 PM:

Niall McAuley #167: "Man" appears to have dropped out somewhere.

#176 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 12:50 PM:

有一个小伙子从三位一体
谁拿√∞。
但位数
给他的坐立不安;
他放弃了数学和神了。

#177 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 01:30 PM:

@177 Fragano Ledgister

有一个小伙子从三位一体
谁拿√∞。

Square-root infinity? ::blinks::

#178 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 01:46 PM:

Cheryl #178: Indeed!

#179 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 02:21 PM:

TMK, #165: At a guess, he's thinking back to "Beatlemania" and its crowds of screaming teenage girls. But that breaks down if he's not old enough to remember all that. I also agree with David that what he's really describing is SQUEE!

#180 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 02:28 PM:

in honor of my current needlework project:

杰克和吉尔
走到山上
取一桶水。

杰克下跌了下来
并打破了他的王冠
和吉尔来到翻滚后。

It's not quite right . . . .

#181 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 02:29 PM:

Lee: not to mention that little girls today do not generally go squee over Paul McCartney.

#182 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 03:06 PM:

Lee #180, Melissa Singer #182: Wotwithstanding the passing of *THE BEATLES*, I'm quite sure there are pop artists, and movie stars, and even a few authors, whom "the kids today" are squeeing over in fashion indistinguishable from that black-and-white concert footage.

#183 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 07:47 PM:

Niall McAuley @159: I love it. In the fine old spirit of "The wine is still good, but the meat's gone bad," we now have "Fluorine the Globe." Now, is that an instruction, or a name with title? Or perhaps a command to the mad scientist's assistant: "Fluorine! The Globe!" Duh-duh-duunnnhhh!

Ginger: Hah! That one even had a pre-loaded quote in the "From" box.

Fragano Ledgister @166: Wow. That one actually back-translates pretty accurately. Technology is just so damn cool, when it works.

Lee @180: crowds of screaming teenage girls. But that breaks down if he's not old enough to remember all that.

Not so much. Seems to be a rather well-conserved reflex. Confirming David Harmon @183, I actually saw somebody have a squee, right there on the Pearl Street Mall, at (I presume) a celebrity. (I didn't recognize the person at whom she was sqeeing. The person in question just sat there in patient bemusement and endured it until she was done.)

#184 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 12:59 AM:

Robert Pattinson, at his first Comicon after Twilight premeired, described the screaming of the fans as "like something you'd hear at the gates of hell." So, yeah, young (and not so young; there are Twimoms) women do scream at their idols even in these modern days.

(I'm not a fan of Twilight: everything I now about it I learned from Fandom Wank).

#185 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 08:41 AM:

Hey speaking of the Beatles and of time travel: Tomorrow Never Knows.

#186 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 09:24 AM:

Jacque #184: Heh. Sometimes enthusiasm does override politeness, but it doesn't have to. I mean, if I had the chance to meet Neil Gaiman, I'd certainly squee over it, but I'd try not to spill it in his face!

PS: I just realized that I've been mispronouncing Gaiman's name for quite a while. (The correct pronunciation is noted at his Wikipedia page). This is a common hazard for me with words I encounter in print rather than conversation, but I'm embarrassed it took me so long to check. Hopefully in a F2F context I would have been corrected long before I actually reached him. Or if I'd attended a con anytime recently....

#187 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 01:25 PM:

David 187: I just realized that I've been mispronouncing Gaiman's name for quite a while.

More or less like 'gay man', only stressed differently, right?

#188 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 01:32 PM:

Xopher #188: Right -- and I suspect that part of why I got it wrong was reflexive avoidance of that, on the "less embarrassing mistake" principle. (The bigger part, of course, would be my American "ear").

#189 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 01:36 PM:

David Harmon@183: I'm quite sure there are pop artists, and movie stars, and even a few authors, whom "the kids today" are squeeing over in fashion indistinguishable from that black-and-white concert footage.

I have it on good authority (to wit, my younger daughter, who was there) that at the live Glee concert in Boston this summer, there was in fact squeeing, in which she took part. ("I cheered until my voice gave out, and then I just made high-pitched noises," she said, or words to that effect.)

#190 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 02:38 PM:

Oh, no denying that there's plenty of squeeing going on with young people today, but it's not McCartney-directed, generally speaking.

I live w/a 15-yo, and squeeing takes places on a regular basis in my vicinity, mostly when Lady Gaga is visible/audible. Her bff does similar things around Daniel Radcliffe. Of course, my dd, being, well, mine, and therefore unusual in certain respects, also squees at Patrick Stewart and Leonard Nimoy.

#191 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 03:36 PM:

I am grateful to report that I mostly keep my squeeing private. There have been a few occassions when the odd, undignified, squeak has escaped.

I submit that sqeeing is like laughter, though, in that it's one of the things that makes life is worth living.

#192 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2011, 10:52 AM:

The Modesto Kid @ #186:

That's awesome. Thanks for pointing it out.

#193 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 07:17 PM:

real men aren't afraid of strong women who grab them by their limbs and rip them asunder, causing their blood to spout off in all directions at once.

#194 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2011, 08:06 PM:

(raises hand)

I--ah-I'm afraid of that kind of women...

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