So why does Cracked CONSTANTLY push Feminist propaganda so hard? And let's not bullshit ourselves. You do. Just yesterday you published five articles. Two specifically referenced either Feminism or Feminist backed statistics. Conversely whenever you cover anything related to the opposition you not only mislead about their views... you straight up fucking lie about them and people let you get away with it because you're a "humor magazine". So I'm wondering why you propagandize *so hard*. Why?
Because we’re true believers!
Let me take this moment to say how Cracked could have gone another direction 7 or 8 years ago, a more Maximy, Booby Gallery of the Day direction if not for the steadfast resistance of David Wong and Jack O’Brien. I barely acknowledge the side that opposes feminism, but Wong goes out of his way to understand people who are mad at feminists, and he writes about those views with more sensitivity and understanding that I could ever muster.
To sum up: We don’t have an explicit agenda but if one comes across, It’s not one I’m ashamed of.
“In 2009, an exhaustive study published by sociologists at Princeton Uinversity found that when measured on an all-things-being-equal basis, Asian Americans were required to score at least 140 points higher than whites on standardized tests, in order to qualify for admission into top universities.”—Discrimination against the Chinese in America (via miumiumiao)
I’ve been doing some research […] and I’ve found some of the most amazing untranslatable words in the non-American speaking world. Here they are, in no spectacular order.
This is one of the first words I learned about as an untranslatable word. It’s spoken by using an ancient and primitive language from Chile, in Tierra del Fuego. (Tierra del Fuego, by the way, means “Fire, Having Land/Earth/Dirt, Which Land/Earth/Dirt Is Being This Land/Earth/Dirt”.) The word, mamihlapinatapei, is unfortunately untranslatable.
This is a Russian word. It means… uhhh… it’s sort of like… hm. Well it’s a cool meaning, but you have to know Russian to understand it.
The Inuits only have one word for this, and therefore although we can’t know what this word means, we do know that iktsuarpok is neither important nor familiar to the Inuits, otherwise they would have 231 words for it.
This Yiddish word is often used next to schlemiel, both of them meaning something related to each other. The meaning is something close to… uhhhh… dammit this article is hard to write.
No idea. Looks Spanish.
You might recognize this word, but there is no English translation of it. It is similar to a and an but it has a nuanced meaning that those two words just don’t quite capture.
Scots talk funny, don’t they?
Germans use this word. You might notice it has the word panik in it which is close to English panic but those other parts mean some other sorts of things.
In Japanese culture, you have… there are these… ummm… It rhymes with itself. Like that other untranslatable word Oingo Boingo.
This Old English word used to be English when English wasn’t yet old. Once it became old, hwæt became impossible to use.
Not even speakers of Portuguese from Portugal can understand this word. Only speakers of Portuguese from Brazil know what it means.
12. L’appel du vide
There’s no single English word that captures the full meaning of this French phrase. The French have one translation of it that they have shared with us (the call of the void), but they have recently given it another more interesting meaning that they are keeping from us.
This weird German word roughly translates into the English word, schadenfreude.
So it turns out you can be dyslexic in one language but not another, depending on the kind of linguistic processing problem you have. For example, if you have trouble with phonemes, if can be hard to learn alphabetic writing systems like English, but easier to learn logographic writing systems like Chinese. China has dyslexic people obvs, but they seem to have different stuff going on in their brain than English dyslexic people. Huh.
okay so!! NOT EXACTLY. as i understand it anyway but like i’ve been reading about this for like three hours as opposed to years or anything
idk i got carried away and now i’m a pedantic jackass, i’m sorry
Requesting your thoughts on language: In the recent movie "Guardians of the Galaxy," there is a character who's native language is completely literal. I was wondering if it would be possible for a language like that to develop naturally or if it would have to be the result of a concerted effort by a society to make their language unambiguous and literal. Thoughts?
But these are aliens, so this question is impossible to answer.
There are languages like that on Earth already! Lojban is an attempt to build an unambiguous language, or at least, a language built on predicate logic. Since metaphors in language are ambiguous (It is the east, and Juliet is the sun? Wait, how precisely IS Juliet the sun? Is she a mass of incandescent gas?), you’d expect you could use a language like Lojban to speak unambiguously, especially if you avoided all metaphors.
(CLARIFICATION: Lojban is syntactically unambiguous (ie: word order), not semantically unambiguous (ie: word meaning). I’m proposing you use a syntactically-unambiguous language as semantically unambiguously as possible to approximate unambiguous communication. )
One reason metaphors creep in everywhere is that they’re so insanely useful. If I say someone is trash, you instantly know what I think about them. One word, but it carries with it everything I (or rather, you) think about garbage! Metaphors are too useful not to gonna creep into whatever language you build, because one day someone is gonna look at someone else and say “this awful person reminds me of garbage in all but the literal ways, and I’d like to express that in an evocative and efficient way.”
AN ASIDE: it sucks that this character in Guardians who says everything literally calls another character a whore. It’s a stupid line that doesn’t even make sense for the character, because everything he says is literal and she has not been having sex for money.
Okay, a bit more on why I’m so down on gendered pronouns!
WHAT’S A PRONOUN?
Pronouns are words like he, she, them, it, etc. They’re words that take the place of…
They used to be the default singular pronoun until British grammarians in the 1850s campaigned to make “he” the default. And it’s a lot easier to get traction on a thing that already exists than something new. language requires understanding by the listener too, which is why everyone inventing new linguistic flourishes in a decentralized movement ends up poorly, with insider speakers frustrated by lack of being understood and outsider listeners weirded out and recalcitrant.
Also the bit about not using pronouns at all/using only the proper noun sounding like a robot (sounding impromper) makes as much sense as using they as a singlular sounding improper—it’s only because we’ve been told that. Using only proper nouns caught on as a trope in fictional media where robots are involved, so we (who have seen such media) believe that even though we do not live in a world where AI’d robots doing that is a reality. Someone living without a TV would probably not pose that objection to it.
Pronouns are words like he, she, them, it, etc. They’re words that take the place of people, so we can say “Ryan sauntered into the beachhouse. His pecs were so interesting! He always suspected as much” instead of “Ryan sauntered into the beachhouse. Ryan’s pecs were so interesting! Ryan always suspected as much”.
They are useful when you don’t want to sound like a robot.
WHAT’S A GENDERED PRONOUN?
A pronoun that tells you what the gender of the person is! He and she are two of them. They is genderless, while it suggests (to many people) a lack of humanity, and with it a lack of gender (as distinct from just not having it specified). One person might get mad if you call them “it”. Another person might get mad if you call their pets “it”.
DON’T WE ALREADY HAVE GENDER-FREE PRONOUNS?
Aha, caught me there, didn’t you? I said “One person might get mad if you call them ‘it’”, and them there is a genderless plural pronoun being used on individual, can’t we use them and they and other versions as gender-free pronouns? Couldn’t their pecs be interesting, even if there’s just one person there? Because they probably are.
Interesting, I mean.
(Hugh Jackman’s pecs, found while searching for “cool pecs”) (okay it was a Google Alert for “cool pecs”) (okay it was a Google Alert for “cool pecs +wolverine hopefully??”)
And yeah, we could. But we don’t. A lot of style guides recommend “him/her” (and, to make it more equal, making every second one “her/him” to mix it up). But that’s messy, ugly, hard to say and impossible to say often (“Ryan sauntered into the beachhouse. His or her pecs were so interesting! She or he always suspected as much”) and puts us right back to sounding like robots. Not to mention how it completely breaks down when someone who ISN’T situated in the gender binary has pecs we want to talk about.
I have a book on dog training that randomly chooses “his” or “her” every time a dog pronoun is needed. I get the idea, but the final result is a quantum dog that changes genders during a single trick. It’s distracting. It’s messy. It’s a crude hack using tools (good ol’ gendered pronouns) that were broken in the first place. And so pointless! Nobody cares about these dog’s genders. The book ITSELF doesn’t even care. It just wants to teach me how to make my dog lie down and sit pretty but it can’t do that without getting mired down in imaginary dog gender identities.
We can do better.
And here’s where I get HARDLINE RADICAL: using them a gender-free pronoun is fine and dandy, and inventing new pronouns is great, but I don’t believe we can stop there.
We need to kill the gendered pronouns.
GENDERED PRONOUNS ARE BORING AND STUPID AND WE SHOULD MURDER THEM.
(A stock photo of a body outline. I say, could this stock photo be purchased on some manner of online stock photo website? If only this could be clarified somehow??)
Here’s a sentence:
She had no more choices left. Except one. Grinning wildly, she initiated the Omega Device.
Here’s what English says about that sentence:
The most important thing to know about anyone in the world is their gender, and I need to know it the second you tell me about someone.
"She initiated the Omega Device" tells you what I wanted it to (the Omega device has been initiated by someone, and Shit is about to Go Down, Omega-Wise) but it also tells you a woman is doing it. But no big deal, right? Who cares if we have to talk about gender when talking about Omega Devices and The People Who Initiate Them? It adds colour to the scene! Now everyone can imagine a smokin-hot babe with that Omega Device, instead of a smokin-hot hunk, and rest easy knowing their imagination is correct. What’s the problem, right? We’re getting extra information about the scene for free!
But it’s not! There’s an opportunity cost. We could be bake in literally any other fact we can imagine into our languages. We could have pronouns where, instead of someone’s gender, they told you their mood. Their bone density. Heck, we could have pronouns that tell you their HOPES AND DREAMS. We could live in a world of pronouns that indicate a speaker’s certainty that the person being referred to is ACTUALLY that person, and not a robot duplicate, and we could have a different pronoun to suggest that while the person may not be a robot duplicate, we haven’t entirely ruled out illegal clone. These are crazy suggestions, but that’s the point: anything is possible in language! We invented it! And we can reinvent whatever we want!
He’s me, Ryan. Man! Don’t you wish “he” there told you something even marginally more useful than gender identity, like at least my Facebook relationship status? OH WELL, GUESS YOU’LL NEVER KNOW
And yet we’ve settled on gender.
And it is settling. It’s settling for irrelevant, for boring, for pointless. Is gender really so important to us English speakers that it is, quite literally, all we can talk about? Kill it. Kill it, and build a language with pronouns that do better.
And while we’re at it, let’s not forget to build in a full set of neutral pronouns, pronouns that say “this person or animal or object’s gender/age/android status is irrelevant here, so WHO FRIGGIN’ CARES”. Because there will be times, I promise, when we won’t want to talk about androids, the same way there are times now where we don’t want to talk about gender, but we’re forced to because that’s the language we’ve settled on. Settled for.
And then, finally and at last, we could all stop obsessing about what genders real and imaginary people are like it’s the most important thing in the world. Because it’s really not.
Especially when there could be illegal cloning going on, and the Omega Device has just been initiated.