Althouse | category: insults



an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"Now, some of Trump’s longtime advisers are even urging him to continuously make reference to the size of DeSantis’ penis..."

"... telling him such insults could stick with GOP primary voters and mess with his rival’s head, two sources with knowledge of the matter tell Rolling Stone. Trump’s team discussed having Trump refer to the Florida governor as 'Tiny D,' Bloomberg reported in March. While some understood it as a shot at DeSantis’ height, the sobriquet was specifically intended to suggest diminutive genitalia, four people familiar with the topic say. 'He’s also short but … yes of course it’s about his penis, that’s why we’re doing it,' says a source involved in the effort to get the former president to use the line of attack against DeSantis."

From "Oh-So-Mature Trump Aides Want Him to Focus on DeSantis’ Penis/The 2024 GOP primary is headed for the dumbest places imaginable" (Rolling Stone).

Over in New York Magazine, there's an article called "Donald Trump’s Nasty Ron DeSantis Nicknames, Ranked," and "Tiny D" is listed as #3 (after "Meatball Ron" and "Rob"):

Feedback: “Tiny D” represents DeSantisis’s “pro–toxic masculinity culture wars” coming back to bite him, as Jezebel put it. At around five-eight to five-ten, the governor is kind of short for a presidential candidate, and he’s been wearing high heels to cover this up. So “Tiny D” could be read as an attack on DeSantis’s height, his insecurities, and his effeminate footwear choices.

Also, it sounds like Trump is saying his dick is small....

“Tiny D” isn’t a slam dunk, in my view, but it’s workable. And it is a nice callback to Trump’s roots (i.e., assuring 2016 GOP primary voters that “there’s no problem” with his penis size).

A man from a place called Dildo has taken a photograph that turns everyone into a comedian.

A man from a place called Dildo has taken a photograph that turns everyone into a comedian.

Link to CBC.

And, yes, Dildo is a real place. I looked it up. It's on the island of Newfoundland. Wikipedia:
The place name "Dildo" is attested in this area since at least 1711, though how this came to be is unknown. The origin of the word "dildo" itself is obscure. It was once used to reference a phallus-shaped pin stuck in the edging of a row boat to act as a pivot for the oar (also known as a "thole pin" or "dole pin"). It was used as early as the 16th century for a cylindrical object such as a dildo glass (test tube), for a phallus-shaped sex toy, as an insult for a "contemptuous or reviling" male, and as a refrain in ballads..... 
Social scientist William Baillie Hamilton notes that Captain James Cook and his assistant Michael Lane, who mapped Newfoundland in the 1760s, often displayed a sense of humour in the place names they chose, and were not above selecting names that might "offend over-sensitive" readers....
The OED entry for the word "dildo" says the origin is unknown and finds its oldest use as an interjection — as syllables sung rhythmically (similar to "hey diddle diddle"):

1590 R. Greene Neuer too Late ii. sig. K2 Dildido dildido, Oh loue, oh loue, I feele thy rage romble below and aboue...

I'm going to assume "loue... loue" is "love... love" — not "Louie, Louie," much as I do love the idea of someone in the 16th century singing "Louie, Louie."

Later delightful quotes:

1656 S. Holland Don Zara i. vi. 57 That Gods may view, With a Dildo-doe, What we bake, and what we brew.
?1675–96 New made Medly compos'd out of Sundry Songs (single sheet) Old Obadiah sings Ave Maria, sing Lulla-by-Baby, with a Dildo....
1838 R. Southey Doctor V. 165 A story strange I will you tell..Of a woman that danced upon the rope, And so did her husband too: With a dildo, dildo, dildo, With a dildo, dildo, dee.

For the "object shaped like an erect penis," the oldest quote is from 1597, and the best quote is:

a1631 J. Donne Poems (1669) 67 She..Whom Dildoes, Bedstaves, or a velvet Glass Would be as loath to touch as Joseph was.

"Dildo" as a way to insult a person is as fresh today as it was in the 1600s:

1638 J. Ford Fancies iv. 54 The page a milke liverd Dildo....
2001 N. Weinstock As long as she needs Me 144 Marcy, get that dildo to wait another minute, will you? Get him some coffee. Spill water on him.

For a while, "dildo" was useful to refer to "A downward-hanging sausage curl on a wig."

1868 J. C. M. Bellew Poets' Corner 144 In Charles II.'s reign..the love-lock, or curl, was introduced, hanging from the nape of the neck between the shoulders. This was called the dildo, or pole-lock.

John Barth worked it into "The Sot-Weed Factor" (1960): "His wig was a campaigner, full but not extremely long, its tight curls terminating before either shoulder in pendulous corkscrewed dildos." Do people still read John Barth? It used to seem important. Post-modernism.

ADDED: I've quoted Wikipedia saying that "dildo" is "an insult for a 'contemptuous or reviling' male." That's miswritten. Surely, they meant to say it's an insult used to revile or express contempt for a man! The footnote there is to the OED, and the OED says "Originally as a general term of abuse for a boy or young man. In later use: a stupid, inept, or ridiculous person."

"It may be taken as a nonsensical remark from the person in his dotage who is not at all capable of taking the responsibility... an old man with no future, as it is too much for him to serve out two-year remainder of his office term."

Things conflated by Majorie Taylor Greene.

Now, here's an appropriate use of the word "conflate."

The “pedophile” slur, a companion of the term “groomer,” is regularly applied by Republicans and right-wing media figures to Democrats and others who stand up for transgender rights, including gender-affirming treatment for adolescents. Greene cheerfully flaunted this use of the term on “60 Minutes,” which left [Lesley] Stahl utterly flummoxed: 
Greene: Democrats support, even Joe Biden, the president himself, supports children being sexualized and having transgender surgeries. Sexualizing children is what pedophiles do to children. 
Stahl: Wow. Okay. But my question really is, can’t you fight for what you believe in without all that name-calling and without the personal attacks? 
Greene: Well, I would ask the same question to the other side … 
Not only did Greene casually conflate “sexualizing children” with transgender care, but she also is being despicably dishonest by reducing gender-affirming care to “surgeries.” Yet this conflation of support for trans youth with pedophilia slipped by, unrebutted, to a national audience. No wonder Greene told Semafor she was pleased with how the interview went.

Lesley Stahl initiated the topic and seemed to have thought that Greene would be flummoxed.* Was Stahl utterly unprepared for Greene to have an answer to the question why she'd used that word? Did CBS folk not game it out? It seems obvious to me that one predictable move was what Greene did: define "pedophile" broadly so that it's not limited to persons who have or desire to have sex with children.

It's like the way feminists refer to a "rape culture." It's not just about the malefactors who commit the specific crime, but about a larger system of creating risks and desires and vulnerability. Greene concisely stated the bold concept that sexualizing children is pedophilia.

Stahl should have been prepared for this. Perhaps she doesn't have what it takes to ask follow up questions. She reacted like a know-nothing: "Wow. Okay." And then she changed the subject to the general question whether name-calling — saying things like "pedophile" — is bad form! That's practically admitting Greene's epithet was accurate and then inquiring whether it should be avoided because it's mean!

And yet maybe Stahl made the right choice in not inquiring into why it's acceptable to conflate pedophilia and the sexualizing of children or whether what Democrats support deserves to be called the "sexualizing of children" or what transgender surgery has to do with sexualization. Majorie Taylor Greene gives forthright, strong answers, and Stahl would need to be sharp and articulate. She didn't even try.

Here's the full interview.


* As I've noted on more than one occasion, "flummox" is my favorite word.

"The right to be rude to people in public has been upheld as a fundamental legal one by a supreme court in the United States."

"Not the Supreme Court of the United States, admittedly — it really would be astounding if those pompous geriatric arseholes could take a break from sending women’s reproductive rights back to the Stone Age and legislate on something useful — just the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. But it’s still a thing. Even if the court itself is barely more than a provincial Portakabin of self-important windbags I would hesitate to characterise as bog-trotting, gin-soaked hayseeds had they not just loudly decreed that my right to do so is mandated by their constitution.... Rudeness is funny and useful and democratising and classless and easy and brilliant and sexy.... [Rudeness] is letting your mouth and brain go full tilt when you’re pissed off with someone, deliberately eschewing the rules of politeness and gentility to make absolutely clear what you think of them."

A slight qualification emerges: You're "free to say absolutely whatever you like to anyone, as long as he is a rich, white, able-bodied, educationally normal straight bloke of about 53. But don’t worry, I can take it."

"Ever since Trump perfected the template (grandiose, manipulative, easily wounded, unable to tolerate even minor scenarios in which he isn’t deemed central or special)..."

"... the label ['narcissist'] has been steadily spreading to celebrities, shitty boyfriends, and sometimes mothers. #narctokadvice is flooded with pictures of terrible exes whose faces are rubbed out and replaced with Johnny Depp’s. Infinite listicles describe life with a narcissist as a psychological war zone and explain how to spot the signs and fight back: 'How to Argue With a Narcissist' or '5 Ways to Weaken a Narcissist' or 'The 7 Lies We Learn From Our Narcissistic Parents.' On #narctok, the final stage of enlightenment is 'no contact,' meaning forever cutting the narcissist out of your life. Elon Musk is a 'narcissist' or sometimes a 'narcissistic sociopath' or a 'toddler.'... When sociologist Jean Twenge wrote in The Narcissism Epidemic about the epidemic of misery among post-millenials [sic], she mostly blamed cell phones, social media, and the 'culture of selfies' for the shift. Fifteen years later, the teens are still drowning in hopelessness. But calling them narcissists is about as helpful as calling them obese."

Writes Hanna Rosin, in "Narcissist and Proud" (NY Magazine).

"An essay published in Harper’s Bazaar in 1897 refers to fatness as a 'crime' and a 'deformity'..."

"... and argues that a fat woman 'will not be a social success unless she burnt-cork herself, don beads, and then go to that burning clime where women, like pigs, are valued at so much a pound.' People have been pushing back against fat stigma since at least the nineteen-sixties, when activists staged a 'fat-in' at the Sheep Meadow in Central Park. But the desire to achieve thinness by any means necessary—amphetamines, grapefruit diets, SlimFast—remains an almost foundational tenet of female socialization. When I was a preteen, in the heroin-chic nineties, pro-anorexia Web sites proliferated on the Internet; in the early two-thousands, teen girls puked or did obsessive sit-ups or took Hydroxycut in pursuit of abs like Britney Spears’s. In the twenty-tens, even as the Kardashians ostentatiously displayed their curves, they sold Flat Tummy Co. teas—laxatives—and waist trainers...."

"You know, when you’re a certain age, you use the words that you know from when you were a kid or you remember saying, and that’s what I did today, and I shouldn’t have."

"I should’ve thought about it a little longer before I said it, but I didn’t. And I should’ve said ‘cheated,’ but I used another word, and I’m really, really sorry."

Goldberg was disparaging Trump supporters — "people who still believe that he got gy---d somehow in the election" — when she collaterally disparaged Romani people.

The "g" word — used as a verb like that — is highly processed into the language, but it's carrying forward a stereotype, so it shouldn't get by on that ground that it's become disconnected from the original reference. I don't think it's a big deal for someone to have said it, but going forward, you ought to plan to avoid it.

ADDED: Here's the relevant OED entry:
A man from a place called Dildo has taken a photograph that turns everyone into a comedian. "You know, when you’re a certain age, you use the words that you know from when you were a kid or you remember saying, and that’s what I did today, and I shouldn’t have."

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