Linkage: roasting Naomi Wolf on fry

Excellent post on language: a feminist guide making a few important points to Naomi Wolf in response to a recent article in which she restates the tired and tiresome old trope that certain features of the vernacular are “damaging” to speakers—in this case, young women—and that they need to stop using them for their own good. The money shot, perfectly expressing what I try to tell people on what may well be an equally tiresome basis:

It misses the point that negative attitudes to the language of subordinate groups are just manifestations of a more general prejudice against the groups themselves.

Have a read: A response to Naomi Wolf.

Got a fair amount of vocal fry myself, by the way. Never been suggested to me that my voice imperils my status.

Brown, S. & Brown, G. (2015) A preliminary investigation into the gustatory pleasures of the “Tim‎‑‎Tam Slam”

Abstract

Anecdotal data suggest that the “Tim-Tam Slam,” a novel consumption method combining confection and heated beverages originating in the southern hemisphere, may be efficacious in bringing about a positive sensory response. Tests were conducted and recorded to assess these anecdotal claims.

Subjects

Subjects (n = 2) were matched for age (40;0), height (169±0.5cm), and DNA overlap (100%). Subjects originated from the northern hemisphere; one had been tranposed to the Tim-Tam’s native environment for a preliminary period of six months, and was undergoing habituation. The latter was transposed to the field specifically for the purposes of this experiment.

Materials

The materials used were:

  1. two Tim-Tam biscuits (variety: original); and
  2. a freshly-made cup of tea (variety: English Breakfast).

Some preliminary notes upon materials are required.

Tim-Tams

Tim-Tams are a biscuit confection originating in the southern hemisphere, though closely related to the northern hemisphere product Penguins. Both comprise a binary biscuitty structure (BBS), with the separate sections conjoined via a gooey inner bit (GIB). The gooey–biscuitty core is then entirely encased in a caramel exoskeleton.

Subjects independently assessed Tim-Tams prior to the experiment. They were found to compare favourably with their northern hemisphere relative, with the following noticeable differences:

  1. the Tim-Tam was observed to possess a pleasanter crunch in the BBS;
  2. the Tim-Tam additionally presented a higher caramelly quotient (CQ) than the Penguin, rendering initial appreciation higher, though leading to potential sickliness upon repeated consumption; and
  3. the Tim-Tam packaging was noted to be absent in euphonic verbal humour.

Tea

Tea is a hot infusion comprising “the taste of dried leaves in boiled water […] with milk squirted out of a cow” (Adams, 1980).

Subjects, though of English heritage, were correctly disposed to consider tea to be the very piss of the Devil.

Method

The method of performing the Tim-Tam Slam is widely attested in the grey literature. Opposing corners are exscinded from the exoskeletal portion to expose a small amount of the GIB. The subject places one amputated corner within the beverage and uses the Tim-Tam in the manner of a straw, drawing fluid up through the GIB until it is felt to enter the oral cavity. At this point, the subject withdraws the Tim-Tam, inverts it, and ingests it.

Results

Subject 1

Subject 2

Discussion

Subject 1 clearly demonstrated a conventional, though extreme, adverse response to the process. Subject reported that “It just takes like tea. Warm, mushy tea.”

Subject 2 demonstrated an equally adverse response, though somewhat less conventional as his neurons freaked the fuck out and put him into a state referred to in less rigorous literature than this as “cataplexy.” Whilst the cataplectic response may be triggered by pleasure, in this instance subject reported the trigger to be “mingingness.”

At this stage, both participants exercised their right to withdraw from the trial.

Mid-life carousal

mid-life carousal (phr.) the substitution of shameless hedonism for existential panic, occurring roughly at the forty-year mark.

I entered my fifth decade a couple of days ago, and this is traditionally considered a period during which I should be purchasing a fast car, leaving my wife, or undertaking an unnecessarily strenuous and counterproductive gym regime. Lacking a driving licence or spouse, and already spending far too much of my gym time dicking around with the weights when I should be burning calories, I would not be able to manifest the usual symptoms of mid-life crisisery were I thus inclined, but I find that I do not have these urges anyway. The inevitability of nothingness and consequent futility of all life notwithstanding, I am largely of a cheerful and optimistic disposition, and I see the trivial fact that we live with a base-ten counting system as a poor justification for existential panic. So forty has been an excuse for a party, and little more.

As the particular combination of nucleotides that first came into existence forty years and nine months ago‎—‎and with any luck will continue replicating themselves for another forty years or so‎—‎rather unusually produced two independent organisms, I came over to Australia, where the other half of my DNA’s biomass is busily self-replicating, with the express and simple purpose of enjoyably poisoning a few million of the rather more sophisticatedly-specialized of its replicatory protein factories.

That is, we drank an awful lot of Grenache.

Did we take stock of our lives, compare our achievements and failures, evaluate our aspirations, and make plans for the future?

No, we drank some more Grenache.

Did we rake over the groundwork of our thorough-going atheism in attempt to find a chink through which we could convince ourselves of the possibility of eternity, or speculate on the moral status of our immortal souls?

No, but I think the next bottle was a Pinot.

It is true that we had a serious conversation about our responsibilities towards inter-generational justice, specifically around the nature of environmentally-responsible behaviour and issues concerning economic security and taxation, but this is geekily normal fare for us. We also had another bottle of Grenache.

I feel, though, it would be unreasonable of me to not take this moment to branch out, experience, try something new. And so, in honour of the country in which we have caroused ourselves into our respective second halves, I have bought today a packet of Tim-Tams and some teabags. We had a rather fine posh lunch with the first bottle of Grenache on Wednesday: but I understand that this is nothing compared with the gustatory revelation that we will be undergoing later today.

Watch this space for a report.

  1. This is actually a myth: alcohol does not kill your neurons, and only usage on a level that even I cannot endorse will cause permanent damage to them.