The perversity of the brain

So here it is, Wednesday evening (when I write these to be published Thursday morning) again, and after spending most of the week fizzing with an assortment of what could best be described as “stuff”, my brain has gone completely blank. About the only reason I know it’s not switched off is that there’s still some background noise rumbling around in there. Mostly to do with “aww cyooot” whenever I see any of our little fuzzy imps (the cats, damn it. I might be part demon but the Husband and I have NOT spawned).

It’s not like there’s a shortage of good things to write about, either. SFWA is continuing to demonstrate its complete irrelevance and the Fainting Feminists of B Cups and Glittery Feminist Hoo Haa infamy continue to pontificate (I believe there is now an exclusive club of SFWA Rabid Weasels – AND they’re selling t-shirts. I’m jealous. I don’t even rate ‘mildly irritating weasel’. I’ve been slack. Must pick up my game in that oh-so-abundant free time I like to think I have), but I need to have at least some of the snark-neurons on-line to do them justice. Or even reasonably entertaining injustice. Hmph.

So. It’s an interesting thing, this blankness. It happens to me a lot, not just when I open WordPress to let my genius pour forth (what do you mean? This IS the Mad Genius Club. I’m mad and I’m a genius. Of course I belong). I’ll be trundling along in the middle of something and when someone asks me about it do you think I can summon anything to say? Of course not. The moment I have to stop doing and start talking about it the knowledge flees the stainless steel lint trap of my mind and goes to hide in dark corners until it’s safe to come out. Naturally I don’t get a say in when it’s safe to come out.

There are times when I wonder if being able to think at the page would help, then I remember all the other things going through my mind at any given time and the odd phase shifts and… well. Suffice to say it would not be a good idea to give anything stream of consciousness access in there. There are things there that scare me, and I’m what people like Sarah use to scare trolls. Apparently when the full snark comes online it’s pretty impressive. I just think of it as normal: that’s my standard mode of operations unless I’m actively trying to be nice.

Okay, part of this is simply being Australian – I grew up on a flavor of English that is as close to entirely contextual as you can get. Tone of voice, who you’re talking to (the shared knowledge thingy), and a bunch of other factors mean that to me a word often does mean what I want it to mean. It’s all in how it’s used. Naturally, this means my first readers (hi there) have to tell me when I forget myself and get too Australian on them. American is a flavor of English that’s about as four-square as it gets. You folks want to give a word a meaning and nail that meaning to it for all eternity. (Incidentally, this is why PC might have infested Australia’s wannabe elites, but the average Aussie is still just as un-PC as it’s possible to get. When people use what would in the US be horribly offensive racial terms as affectionate nicknames and insults depending on who they’re talking to and what they’re talking about, the typical PC frame-shifting doesn’t work too well. You can’t destabilize something that’s already based off quicksand). From what I’ve seen the PC bullshit has taken away perfectly serviceable language because Americans tend to keep to the official meaning of the word and not use it elsewhere. Australian… take the officially sanctioned PC terms and turn them into insults. When some twit tried to claim that it was “racist” to ask for black coffee and people should ask for coffee without milk, within days I was hearing comments about people who “didn’t have much milk” (said people were earning the comments by their bad behavior).

(SFX: long pause. Reread a bit of what I just wrote. Oh dear. That didn’t turn out well.) I think I should call it quits before I write something really warped. I did say it’s not a good thing for me to go stream of consciousness. Now you all know why.

Let us all devoutly hope that the snark will be back online for next week. It at least has the virtue of being somewhat entertaining.

30 thoughts on “The perversity of the brain

  1. Ah, c’mon, Kate. you were doing great. Of course, you do owe me a keyboard after reading your comment about coffee — my coffee without milk, my very hot coffee, just went everywhere. It wasn’t ladylike — oops, I said the “L” word — nor was it pretty. But it was appropriate, as were the curse words that followed. I thought I’d heard just about all the PC crap there was, but that was a new one.

    And, no, I will not ask for my coffee without milk or cream. I’m not politically correct and proud of that lack.

    1. My grandfather tells the story of a … “melanin blessed” steward in the Air Force during Vietnam. When taking coffee orders for the pilots and engineers, he would ask, “Do you want your coffee like this?” holding out his hands with his palms up, “Or this?” turning them palms down.

    2. I have been know to say I want my coffee additive free because that covers both sugar as well as milk

        1. I once seen a drunk tell the ‘melanin blessed’ waitress, “I like my coffee the same way I like my women.” I about fell out of my chair when she looked at him and said, “I’m sorry, we don’t serve high-fat Irish coffee.”

        2. Of course not! Although I really don’t want to know what kinked coffee is like.

          1. It’s gay. Which is an insult my kids used as teenagers, and implying nothing sexual. I think it meant, roughly, “trying to be cute, achieving stupid.”

            1. Ah, yes. What my generation in Australia called “dorky” (if they were being nice), “being a nige” (from Nigel – although why Nigel I don’t know) if they weren’t. Completely different from skegs (surfers or people who look like it), bogans or bevans (people who wear ugg boots in summer and have mullets).

  2. Some of us in the good ole Red, White, and Blue had the good fortune to grow up in times or places where PC was practially unheard of. I didn’t even hear, let alone understand,what “Politically Correct” was until I was in high school. And it was highly hilarious in my then decidedly un-PC household.

    “So it’s not okay to call black people black?” -Me
    “Not according to your teachers, no. So be very careful when talking about your first cousins. And your aunt, she’s ‘Asian American’ now. And your grandmother, and so on.” -Mom
    “But cousin Amber’s not black, she’s more of a cinnamon brown, and she can’t even find Africa on a globe.” -Me

    As for snark, I think it just needs a little inspiration. Just open your eyes, look for the stupid, and the snark will come. At least that’s how I’ve always seen it…

    1. The snark will recover, I’m sure. One thing that’s not in short supply is teh stoopid, and that always makes the snark happy.

  3. (Trying to decide if I’m brave enough to wear a T-shirt that says “Just say no to the glittering feminist hoo-haw” to campus this fall.)

  4. At a certain point, the PC becomes so self-parodying that there’s nothing left to snark. I got into a very earnest and polite discussion with a campus activist (back in the days before it would have gotten me expelled) about terminology. I inquired if, since she was a person of color, that made me a person of pinkness. No, I was a European-American. But I wasn’t born in Europe, so shouldn’t I be a native American? Oh no, no, that would never do. She go so wrapped up in the discussion that she totally missed that the rest of the class were sitting behind us and stifling their laughter as best they could, even the Students of Color.

  5. Sigh. I can’t be one of the Rabid Weasels of SFWA because I have no desire to join it. I shall settle for being an author instead.

    1. I wonder if they’d let us be Wannabe Rabid Weasels? But not of SFWA. SFWA can suck a portion of anatomy I don’t actually possess.

      1. I have that body part and I don’t want SWFA to be anywhere near it. God only knows what I’d get. [Very Big Evil Grin]

  6. You know, Kate, you’d have to lay it on thick at first, to be sure American readers “got it” but an Aussie character reacting . . . linguistically . . . to a US PC infested Lefty could be amusing in a story or book. Or perhaps, an Alien Species.

  7. The use of horribly offensive racial terms as affectionate nicknames is not entirely un-American, you just have to get out in the UnPC areas to hear it. I recall a very large black man (now dead) who went by the CB handle of, The Green-eyed [unprintable racial slur]* as well as a native American who went by the nickname of Buck. Naming people by their national origin is common, growing up my dad used to go hunt with ‘the Samoan and the Rabbi’ once or twice a year, if I ever knew their names I have long forgotten them, and I know I never knew the name of ‘the German’ that was one of my dad’s best friends, friends. Swede Nelson was a friend of mine, and my cousin lives across the street from ‘the Russians’ and he introduced me as, “this is Rusky … and his son …”

    *the fact that I can’t even type the word when it used in an example and totally non-derogatory due to fears of PC conniptions and trolling; while all the four-letter ‘dirty’ words can used without fear of negative consequences is highly irritating.

    1. Yep, it is irritating – and as an aussie… It’s nothing to talk about having dinner at “the chink up the road” (aka the local Chinese restaurant). And there’s a near-legendary exchange between a Greek immigrant and his Aussie co-worker and friend:

      “Where’ve ya been, mate?”
      “Oh, I got da bloody Australian.”
      “You get sick, you got da bloody Wog. I get sick, I got da bloody Australian.”
      Aussie worker cracks up, followed shortly afterwards by his mate.

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