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Rii
27-10-2011, 06:38 PM
I just wanted to pull on a particular thread from that messy ball of yarn on the front page.

Cocksucker is an insult because the act of sucking cock is understood to be submissive and demeaning. The cultural imagery supporting this interpretation is pervasive, from the 'money shot' in porn to blow job metaphors. Underlying that are the power-through-height dynamics buried so deeply in our evolutionary make-up that it's unlikely they will ever be eradicated, and which manifest themselves in everything from sexual relations to career prospects to architecture. The insult is usually directed at men because sucking cock is a woman's job and the worst insult that one can direct towards a man in most cultures is to suggest that he is in some way woman-like.

The use of cocksucker as an insult isn't just homophobic, it's patriarchal and misogynist as well.

Keep
27-10-2011, 06:55 PM
Agreed.


That thread is a mess but it's good that so many people are challenging the worst expressions of privilege in it. Kudos, RPS.

Joseph-Sulphur
27-10-2011, 06:55 PM
...

Is this some kind of joke?

Nalano
27-10-2011, 06:58 PM
...

Is this some kind of joke?

No. The thread on the main page is full of the basest of wrongness the internet can offer: "The people spouting all these offensive terms are innocent to the offense they are allegedly causing. It's the fault of homosexuals and liberals that they're offended!"

Stating the obvious, as Rii has done, sometimes needs to be done.

Snargelfargen
27-10-2011, 07:11 PM
Yeah there's no doubt that it's an offensive term. The funny thing looking at the comments is that people are getting surprised by this.

I'm going to copy part of my post here, just to pre-empt the inevitable comments...

Here’s how it works. You (or blizzard or whomever) is allowed to say WHATEVER they want, and it can be sexist, racist, homophobic or whatever. That’s fine. Just be aware that anybody has the right to call you out on it. That’s what is happening here.



When you argue for free speech, be aware that you are also arguing for people's rights to respond to what you say, and to call you a dumbass if you say something offensive.

Nalano
27-10-2011, 07:34 PM
What I found funny was the article's use of the word "peculiar."

Having played WoW for over four years, nothing of what these guys said sounded out of the ordinary to me, because the general decorum on trade or barrens chat is that of a middle school lunchroom. I suppose what's 'peculiar' about it is that Blizzard appears to be condoning it by allowing them to play at BlizzCon. However, by allowing similar talk to go on for years (belittling, trolling, bullying, et cetera are okay so long as you don't curse) they've always condoned it.

I guess there's still the "what kind of monster have we wrought?" feeling when realizing you've manufactured the PC equivalent of Xbox Live.

Rii
27-10-2011, 07:46 PM
When you argue for free speech, be aware that you are also arguing for people's rights to respond to what you say, and to call you a dumbass if you say something offensive.

A remarkable number of people seem to be unclear on this point. Seems like a failing in civics education to me.

I do have some sympathy for the idea that terms like 'homophobia', 'privilege', etc. are used to chill dissent. It's difficult to sympathise too much when there never seems to be any shortage of folks willing to heroically brave the PC thought police in service of bigots everywhere, but still. There're a lot of ideas compressed into those words and as useful and often reasonably applied as that shorthand is, it can also allow for the uncritical burial at sea of ideas that one doesn't like. And ultimately, that doesn't serve anyone.

Snargelfargen
27-10-2011, 07:53 PM
What I found funny was the article's use of the word "peculiar."

Haha, well the title would have been pretty confusing if they had used "queer" instead.

Kadayi
27-10-2011, 07:55 PM
I agreed with the gist, but I disagree with misogynist being thrown in there. Misogyny is 'hatred of women' and that's a very distinct thing from 'sexism', and it's important to distinguish between the two.

Nalano
27-10-2011, 07:58 PM
It's a liberal hangup to get caught up demonstrating one's tolerance to intolerance.

I also don't accept that, because these particular idiots "may not" have been explicitly directing their language towards homosexuals, that their language can be construed as anything but offensive to homosexuals, if for no other reason than that nobody is innocent to the connotations of those words and nobody says those words in regular speech except suburban American teenagers.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but suburban teenagers have never been known for being particularly friendly towards homosexuals. Hell, the whole It Gets Better (http://www.itgetsbetter.org/) project is directed towards homosexual teens in closed, suburban enclaves because they could not escape the intolerance and homophobia until their majority and independence.

Rii
27-10-2011, 08:01 PM
I agreed with the gist, but I disagree with misogynist being thrown in there. Misogyny is 'hatred of women' and that's a very distinct thing from 'sexism', and it's important to distinguish between the two.

I agree that sexism, patriarchy, and misogyny are distinct concepts. But I think the contempt for one's sexual partner underlying the use of 'cocksucker' as an insult is enough to qualify as misogyny.

Kadayi
27-10-2011, 08:06 PM
I agree that sexism, patriarchy, and misogyny are distinct concepts. But I think the contempt for one's sexual partner underlying the use of 'cocksucker' as an insult is enough to qualify as misogyny.

No because you're still attaching a sexual aspect to things, misogyny as a concept transcends that, by passing it off as part of your argument, you're muddying it with sexism.

Nalano
27-10-2011, 08:09 PM
No because you're still attaching a sexual aspect to things, misogyny as a concept transcends that, by passing it off as part of your argument, you're muddying it with sexism.

Then what would you consider a proper display of contempt for women such as to justify the term 'misogyny?'

Snargelfargen
27-10-2011, 08:10 PM
It's a liberal hangup to get caught up demonstrating one's tolerance to intolerance.

Fair enough, but I think the most important thing is to engage in a dialogue with these intolerant people. The only way to get through to somebody is to provide rational arguments and hope some of it gets through. Education, basically. We really aren't trying to win anything.

I always make a point of engaging with the worst comments, because anything that makes them think about their viewpoint is a good thing. Shutting them out just perpetuates the problem. And yeah, nobody ever admits they are wrong on the internet. But some of those proud people do go to bed and wake up the next day with a changed opinion.
I am often guilty of this.

Althea
27-10-2011, 08:11 PM
But I think the contempt for one's sexual partner underlying the use of 'cocksucker' as an insult is enough to qualify as misogyny.
But it's usually used to refer to men, not women. I've never heard a woman call another a "cocksucker", but I've heard plenty of men use it between each other. I've heard terms like "Pussy-licker", but never worked out how that's particularly insulting, and there's also "ass kisser" for your good ol' generic insults.

Not that it's necessarily homophobic either, because some women do have penises. But largely it implies homosexual acts, and in a negative manner, therefore it can be homophobic.

I think you're taking it too far. The guy in question is a homophobic prick, yeah, but you didn't need to bring the "BRING DOWN T3H PATRIARCHY" points into it. It's hardly a "submissive" or "demeaning" act either, and I bet you could easily find a bunch of men and women out there who will find it the complete opposite. Yes, it can be a "submissive" or "demeaning" act, but that goes for any sexual act. It can be "dominant" and "empowering" too.

Nalano
27-10-2011, 08:13 PM
Fair enough, but I think the most important thing is to engage in a dialogue with these intolerant people.

There's a reason bigotry takes a few generations to die out: Bigots do not change their views. You cannot convince a bigot to think, because a bigot is a bigot specifically because he does not think.

You do not turn him to your views. You wait for him to die.

golden_worm
27-10-2011, 08:16 PM
But should we let Mr.T off, because he left out the "cock"?

Kadayi
27-10-2011, 08:21 PM
Then what would you consider a proper display of contempt for women such as to justify the term 'misogyny?'

One that doesn't rely upon sex as a starting point. If you want an example of a living breathing misogynist, go look at Jim Fleming.

Snargelfargen
27-10-2011, 08:25 PM
So if you don't believe people's opinions can change, why are you posting at all?

By no means am I saying that any bigot out there can be "saved", but people's beliefs can and will change, and it has a lot to do with the outspoken opinions and viewpoints of the people they encounter daily. It is a slow, painful, embarrasing and imperfect process, but it happens.

If you refuse to engage with bigots, then you are a part of the problem. Education doesn't stop when you get out of high school. People continue to learn and grow and gah! I can't believe this is up for discussion!

Edit: this in response to Nalano

Nalano
27-10-2011, 08:38 PM
So if you don't believe people's opinions can change, why are you posting at all?

Because I like to hear myself speak.*

I work in a high school. You want people to become free thinkers? You start young.

You've touched upon what I've always said was the solution: Education. Universal, compulsory education. That our public school system is failing so hard - due to lack of prioritization, lack of funding, entrenched rote methodologies, and a whole host of other ills - speaks very ill to our country's future. I place the blame of our current political climate squarely at the feet of our flagging educational system, and I place the blame of that squarely at the feet of the Republican party, which has been systematically destroying good governance as we know it for the better part of forty years.

*No, really, the reason I post is because of catharsis. I've never convinced anybody who wasn't already inclined to be convinced. I gravitate towards places where I end up preaching to the choir, like here. People get set in their ways very early in life. It is my view that the only method worth dealing with a societal, systematic form of racism or any other bigotry is to give up on the current generation and start working on the next.

Snargelfargen
27-10-2011, 08:59 PM
Because I like to hear myself speak.*

I work in a high school. You want people to become free thinkers? You start young.



Heh, I only have the energy to reply to a couple of the comment threads, I can't imagine how much it must take to do it over an entire day, 5 days a week.
I agree completely that education is the key.

Nalano
27-10-2011, 09:08 PM
Heh, I only have the energy to reply to a couple of the comment threads, I can't imagine how much it must take to do it over an entire day, 5 days a week.

I wonder the same about people who still run the MMO grind treadmill.

Rii
27-10-2011, 09:13 PM
It's hardly a "submissive" or "demeaning" act either

I'm not talking about the act. I'm talking about the associations we have with it. And everyone is aware of those associations because they're deeply embedded in the cultural consciousness. Same as if you were to hand someone a list of characteristics (e.g. caring, disciplined, etc.) divided into two columns and ask them to identify which column is male and which female. Everyone knows the answer regardless of any explicit beliefs to the contrary that they may hold.

Why is it 'suck my dick' and not 'get on me'? Indeed the former is often said by heterosexual males to other males, which suggests that power, not sex, is the foremost association with the act: it's about the other assuming the inferior, submissive, female role.

Keep
27-10-2011, 09:59 PM
Why is it 'suck my dick' and not 'get on me'? Indeed the former is often said by heterosexual males to other males, which suggests that power, not sex, is the foremost association with the act: it's about the other assuming the inferior, submissive, female role.

This makes me think of something a friend was telling me about Saudi Arabia. He said that because getting any time alone with a girl was so hard, the locals treated gay sex as an acceptable alternative. No bad connotations, no notion of "homosexuality". BUT, whether you were the bottom or the top was regarded as significant in terms of maintaining your masculinity.
I think prison culture and Greco-Roman ideals knit with that idea too. It's power.

Hell, even how English forces you to phrase the idea of wanting to suck someone's else cock - "Let me suck your cock" - shows the power dynamic. Compared to the command "Suck my cock" it's weak, submissive.

Ian
28-10-2011, 10:40 AM
And yeah, nobody ever admits they are wrong on the internet.

It's worse than that. Even in non-sexually/emotionally/politically/morally charged conversation and even in places with relatively intelligent forum-dwellers as RPS, it's difficult enough to even get people to acknowledge an opinion other than theirs is even valid. Take MMOs as a prime example that most people have an opinion on. People who don't like them invariably refuse to hear any defence of them without labelling it as bleating, and people who adore them won't hear any criticism of them without branding it as hate-everything elitism. Even with people who are clearly intelligent, the majority of internet discussion is people just shouting their opinions at each until everyone gets bored/depressed.


But some of those proud people do go to bed and wake up the next day with a changed opinion.

Do they, though? I can't speak for comments threads as I don't have any real set memory/opinion of more than a few comments thread-ers, but I've been on a few forums in my time and if anybody's opinion has been changed by another member I've very rarely seen them admit it.


This makes me think of something a friend was telling me about Saudi Arabia. He said that because getting any time alone with a girl was so hard, the locals treated gay sex as an acceptable alternative.

Wait, seriously? I know I've read before that in (some, at least) Islamic countries or cultures it's considered completely normal for young boys or young men to have homosexual thoughts and that it's just acting upon them that's the issue.

Keep
28-10-2011, 03:47 PM
Wait, seriously? I know I've read before that in (some, at least) Islamic countries or cultures it's considered completely normal for young boys or young men to have homosexual thoughts and that it's just acting upon them that's the issue

Well I'm no authority and this is a third-hand source for you, but yeah so my mate said. Grain of salt if you're going to treat it as a Fact I think.

Donjo
28-10-2011, 10:35 PM
It's political correctness gone mad. You can't even get into a bath with an electric fire now in case a gay sees and gets annoyed! And they banned Christmas!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGAOCVwLrXo

deano2099
29-10-2011, 12:46 AM
You can't really argue with bigots and get anywhere, but the preponderance of insults like 'cocksucker', 'whore', 'mong' and even racial epithets in modern culture comes from people using them without any specific prejudice behind them. I honestly don't think most the teenage boys throwing out insults like that online are doing it because they hate gays, blacks or the disabled. They're doing it to get attention or because they don't know any better.

And by calmly pointing out that, actually, some people might be genuinely upset by those words, you can get somewhere.

choconutjoe
29-10-2011, 01:10 AM
If I might pick a minor point of contention and run with it...

The OP is a plausible story of how and why 'cock sucker' came to be an offensive term, but it leaves unanswered the question of what it means to say that a word/term is homophobic or sexist or racist or whatever (I'll just say 'bigoted' for now). I suspect this could be a bigger part of the problem in many cases.

Taken completely literally of course, the meaning of 'word x is bigoted' is absurd. Clearly, words can't picket gay pride parades or inappropriately touch their wordy-secretaries. Obviously that's not what anyone is trying to say, but the speaker's intention is not always obvious. I can think of at least four different things a person could be trying to get at when they describe a word as bigoted:

1. The word is only really used by bigots, to express contempt towards the particular group of people they happen to dislike. If you use this word, we can safely assume you're one of the bigots.

2. The use of word implies that the speaker has some deep-seated prejudices, even if the speaker is not aware of this or attempting to communicate those prejudices consciously.

3. The word carries some powerful negative connotations for certain people, and hearing it provokes a powerful, involuntary reaction. Even if the speaker is honest and adamant that, for them, the word means something entirely different , he/she should be aware of the negative connotations the word carries for others. Common decency recommends that you think twice before using it.

4. The word just means something bigoted. If you use it, you're a bigot too, regardless of context or what your intended meaning was.

(note: this list is not intended to be exhaustive)

The first three are all, in principle, reasonable arguments to make. The fourth is confused gibberish. The problem is, when you write off a word as bigoted, how is anyone to infer which of these points you're trying to make? If a person can't tell whether you're arguing the sensible #2 or the nonsense #4, then there's little reason for them to pay much attention to you.

It's not trivial which of the arguments you make either. Something like 'the n-word' falls clearly under #1, but not #2 or #3, whereas words like 'cock sucker' or 'faggot' will likely fall under #2 or #3. If you accuse someone of #1, when in reality they're closer to #3, then of course they're going to call you a lunatic and move on. If, on the other hand, you accurately accuse them of #3 and they can see that you're right, then maybe they might just pay attention to what you have to say.

(also: that's not to claim that I have some magic formula for beating bigotry, it's just an anecdotal observation of how these things to tend to play out)

I strongly suspect that there are large chunks of the BlizzCon comments thread that be ascribed to communications failures of exactly this type, rather than people failing to understand where terms like 'cock sucker' come from.

siegarettes
29-10-2011, 01:41 AM
I was expecting some really stupid comment from this forum. Spending too much time on lesser game sites.

I do agree on many levels with you as well. And may I just say I love the quality of people RPS attracts.

Rii
29-10-2011, 02:28 PM
I raised this subject in a separate thread because I felt there was much potential for discussion here diverging significantly from the Blizzard/Cannibal Corpse issue.

And of course it's not just 'cocksucker', amongst all the instances of sexual terms being incorporated into broader language, they are almost universally used to communicate relationships of power, and there's no ambiguity about who's on top and who isn't. The (awesome) phrase 'you're in the getting fucked by us business' is not used to communicate the idea that you're in the position of receiving pleasure whilst exerting little to no effort, but rather that your position in an unpleasant one.

Language tells many stories (which is why etymonline (http://www.etymonline.com/) is one of the best sites on the internets) and most of it predates even contemporary pretensions of equality.


3. The word carries some powerful negative connotations for certain people, and hearing it provokes a powerful, involuntary reaction. Even if the speaker is honest and adamant that, for them, the word means something entirely different , he/she should be aware of the negative connotations the word carries for others. Common decency recommends that you think twice before using it.

This comes closest to my own perspective on the matter, but I think it's a two-way street. Just as A should be aware that certain terms are likely to be offensive to B, B should be aware that A may not intend offence by uttering them. If the two parties engage one another in good faith and with mutual tolerance and understanding, there shouldn't be any difficulties in negotiating whatever challenges arise.

Someone who deliberately chooses to use a word that he knows others find offensive merely on account of some 'ur not the boss of me' sentiment is being a jerk. Similarly, someone who flies into a rage at the innocent utterance of certain words so as to attempt to shame or coerce the unfortunate offender is also being a jerk. Each of these positions can be encouraged or discouraged by the manner in which the issue is broached: insult the offender, force them on the defensive, and they will likely become ever more entrenched in their corner and unwilling to consider alternative perspectives. Broach the issue in a way that leaves them unthreatened, and miracles of good will and harmony can occur in the unlikeliest of places. The nature of communication over the internet makes the hostile polarisation of views very, very easy.


The OP is a plausible story of how and why 'cock sucker' came to be an offensive term, but it leaves unanswered the question of what it means to say that a word/term is homophobic or sexist or racist or whatever

Then there's the issue of whether using words/terms that have problematic roots -- the lack of a gender-neutral pronoun in English and the consequent prevalence of the 'universal he', for example -- actively serves to perpetuate the social structures in which those practices arose.

For my part I suspect the answer is 'probably, a bit.' But as to what if anything is to be done about it I don't know. Most proposed solutions to these issues tend to be rather awkward and self-conscious in practice, although 'Ms.'* seems to have caught on well enough. And in any case I think there's something to be said for preserving the uncomfortable products of the past.

* I enjoy Ambrose Bierce's account of this issue:


MISS, n.
The title with which we brand unmarried women to indicate that they are in the market. Miss, Missis (Mrs.) and Mister (Mr.) are the three most distinctly disagreeable words in the language, in sound and sense. Two are corruptions of Mistress, the other of Master. In the general abolition of social titles in this our country they miraculously escaped to plague us. If we must have them let us be consistent and give one to the unmarried man. I venture to suggest Mush, abbreviated to Mh.

Ian
29-10-2011, 03:05 PM
I honestly don't think most the teenage boys throwing out insults like that online are doing it because they hate gays, blacks or the disabled. They're doing it to get attention or because they don't know any better.

Or because, being teenage boys, they expect everybody to have as much of a disregard for offensive language as they do to the point where they're just another set of words.

Nalano
29-10-2011, 07:26 PM
Or because, being teenage boys, they expect everybody to have as much of a disregard for offensive language as they do to the point where they're just another set of words.

Or because any self-selected group tends to become other-phobic through the inbreeding of their memes.

clippa
06-11-2011, 10:56 PM
sucking cock is a woman's job

I find this a bit offensive, not all women are prostitutes. My mother isn't, for example.
You aren't technically a prostitute if you aren't charging money, so she's back home for christmas :D

DigitalSignalX
06-11-2011, 11:20 PM
http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/1570/horseaz.jpg

Nalano
07-11-2011, 01:08 AM
I find this a bit offensive, not all women are prostitutes. My mother isn't, for example.
You aren't technically a prostitute if you aren't charging money, so she's back home for christmas :D

Are you implying that your mother has never performed fellatio?

Do you know this for sure?

acidtestportfolio
07-11-2011, 10:18 PM
sorry what's all this about cocksucking?

Taidan
08-11-2011, 12:14 AM
sorry what's all this about cocksucking?

No idea. At a quick-glance, it looks like some cocksucker somewhere decided to empower some other cocksucker by taking personal offence at the long-standing cultural tradition of using the term "cocksucker" as a general insult, and a bunch of other cocksuckers got their lady-panties in a twist because they felt that the title of "cocksucker" should totally be saved for really special occasions.

Ironically, all that this really achieves is to make terrible people feel really big and important when they look down on other people, be they either hardened homophobes or the types of unthinking passive-aggressive nutjobs that routinely patrol these kinds of threads.

Hmmmm.

I really hope that my usage of the phrase "got their lady-panties in a twist" when clearly referring to those whom are clearly hetero-identifying males does not offend anybody. I would like to unreservedly state at this point that I have nothing but the utmost respect for transgender-identifying persons, as well as bitches everywhere and those who simply find feminine underwear more comfortable or appropriate for whatever reason.

Also:

It's political correctness gone mad!

Rii
08-11-2011, 12:29 AM
political correctness

The straight-faced use of this term is a pretty reliable indicator that the speaker has absolutely nothing useful to say, but they don't usually leave it till the end to say it. =/


Ironically, all that this really achieves is to make terrible people feel really big and important when they look down on other people, be they either hardened homophobes or the types of unthinking passive-aggressive nutjobs that routinely patrol these kinds of threads.

There's certainly someone here just oozing passive-aggressiveness I'll grant you that.

zookeeper
08-11-2011, 12:39 AM
Hmm... this thread does not contain what I'd hoped for.

Taidan
08-11-2011, 12:40 AM
The straight-faced use of this term is a pretty reliable indicator that the speaker has absolutely nothing useful to say, but they don't usually leave it till the end to say it. =/

The assumption that the use of the term was straight-faced, despite being posted not to far underneath the brilliant Stewart Lee's most-excellent demolition of said term is a pretty reliable indicator that a certain somebody is obviously lacking in a sense of humour.


There's certainly someone here just oozing passive-aggressiveness I'll grant you that.

I know you are, but what am I?


impending response

I know you are, but what am I?


impending response

I know you are, but... etc. etc.

Taidan
08-11-2011, 12:50 AM
Hmm... this thread does not contain what I'd hoped for.

Don't worry man, I got ya covered.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_3E5hdedpT0w/SbEZu8_zlrI/AAAAAAAAAdk/2uLtnIjwWo4/s1600-h/5mgk-boota.jpg

(SFW. But maybe not for vegetarians.)

Hanban
08-11-2011, 01:13 AM
That was not SFW for.. well, people with hearts! :(

DigitalSignalX
08-11-2011, 04:27 AM
I'm curious about the context of that image, and notice there doesn't seem to be a single woman watching that performance.

Taidan
08-11-2011, 09:35 AM
I'm curious about the context of that image, and notice there doesn't seem to be a single woman watching that performance.

(A bit of googling later)

It appears to be part of a "Bhoota Khola" (spirit worship) at the "Mittamogaraya Nemotsava", a traditional religious festival that's held in a tiny subregion of south-west India called Tulu Nadu.

Not entirely sure, but it's likely that the reason that you can't see any women in that picture would be because the men and women would be segregated, and are probably sat in a group just out of frame.

I'm curious about the context of your post. Of all of the things that stand out about that picture, why would the apparent absence of women be remarkable in any way?


That was not SFW for.. well, people with hearts! :(

Careful now. You're treading a thin line between acceptable western humour and a slightly distasteful lack of respect for other cultures. ;)

Hanban
08-11-2011, 09:42 AM
I just don't like seeing bleeding cocks!

DigitalSignalX
08-11-2011, 12:47 PM
(A bit of googling later) ...
I'm curious about the context of your post. Of all of the things that stand out about that picture, why would the apparent absence of women be remarkable in any way? ...

Thanks for the info. Other then the obvious focus, I tend to pay attention to composition. The crowd of guys-only stands out immediately, doesn't it to everyone else?

Taidan
08-11-2011, 01:22 PM
In all honesty, I hadn't looked past the cock that was being sucked. But now as you come to mention it...

**Edit**

Just out of interest, just found a video.

(Caution. Video contains scenes of ritual animal sacrifice and, yes, cocksucking.)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWBddottn5M