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.
Last edited by Rii; 27-10-2011 at 08:33 PM.
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.
A brave heart and a courteous tongue. They shall carry thee far through the jungle, manling.
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!
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.
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.
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 is one of the best sites on the internets) and most of it predates even contemporary pretensions of equality.
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.
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:
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.
Last edited by Rii; 29-10-2011 at 01:57 PM.
All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those that loved me, and alone.
sorry what's all this about cocksucking?
a grumpy dude with a PHD in videogame debating
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.
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.
It's political correctness gone mad!