February 12, 2016

"My boys wanted to know, 'What was the word? What was the word?' I said, 'I can’t tell you.' I had to make something up."

Said Marco Rubio, quoted in a NYT article titled "Bruised Marco Rubio Gets Personal and Aggressive," which says:
Mr. Rubio expressed disgust with Mr. Trump’s use of obscene language earlier this week, describing how his two young sons had watched a news clip of Mr. Trump insulting Senator Ted Cruz on the eve of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.
Does the newspaper have to go all in with the drama? "Obscene language"?! The word was "pussy," and Donald Trump didn't even really use it — if we observe the use-mention distinction — because he was quoting someone else (and even chiding that person, saying he never wants to hear that word from her again).

This is ridiculous drama. When you call someone a "pussy" to mean that they are timid, you are referring to the little animal, the kitty cat. It's like calling someone a mouse. It shouldn't even be regarded as a bad word. It's true that "pussy" can be used to refer to a woman's genitalia, but so can "box" and "snatch." As George Carlin said in his famous "Seven Dirty Words" routine:
Now the word twat is an interesting word. Twat! Yeh, right in the twat. Twat is an interesting word because it's the only one I know of, the only slang word applying to the, a part of the sexual anatomy that doesn't have another meaning to it. Like, ah, snatch, box and pussy all have other meanings, man. Even in a Walt Disney movie, you can say, We're going to snatch that pussy and put him in a box and bring him on the airplane.  Everybody loves it. The twat stands alone, man, as it should.
Now, when Donald Trump calls somebody a twat, let me know. In public, I mean. And I'll show a brief flutter of outrage. In private, they're all free to call each other twats. And pricks. Because I'm for gender equality.

Bonus George Carlin joke: "Yes, you can prick your finger, but don't finger your prick. No, no."

And by the way, this post gets the civility bullshit tag. I hope you understand the restrictive use of the civility bullshit tag. It's for political speech calling for more civility. My working theory is it's always bullshit. In this case, with Rubio, it obviously is. I'm also giving this my using children in politics tag. I don't like it.

167 comments:

Mattman26 said...

I'm with you in the big scheme of things here, but I would quibble with the idea that "pussy" in the timid sense is a clear reference to the feline, rather than that other thing!

buwaya said...

Desperation.
And incredible pettiness.

Bob Ellison said...

No, it is not about a kitty-cat.

Limited blogger said...

Don't these idiots realize all this outrageous outrage only makes the Donald stronger? If they don't yet they will, I guess.

holdfast said...

"When you call someone a "pussy" to mean that they are timid, you are referring to the little animal, the kitty cat."

Seriously? Are you high? There's no possible way it means anything other than than outer part of the female reproductive organ.

Also, isn't Carlin aware of another word - one starting with "C"? I think that in American parlance that's more nuclear than any of the others - on par with the full form of MoFo. Oddly, the Brits drop the C word rather casually, though the pronunciation is rather like coooont.

Gahrie said...

When you call someone a "pussy" to mean that they are timid, you are referring to the little animal, the kitty cat.

Althouse, I hate to be the one to break it to you...but when we call someone a pussy, we are not referring to an animal.

Limited blogger said...

You know what Marco's timid explanation of what Trump said makes him? Yes it does.

holdfast said...

O.P.P. by Naughty by Nature


OPP, how can I explain it
I'll take you frame by frame it
To have y'all jumpin' shall we singin' it
O is for Other, P is for People scratchin' temple
The last P, well, that's not that simple
It's sorta like another way to call a cat a kitten
It's five little letters that are missin' here
You get on occasion at the other party
As a game 'n it seems I gotta start to explainin'
Bust it
You ever had a girl and met her on a nice hello

You get her name and number and then you feelin' real mellow
You get home, wait a day, she's what you want to know about
Then you call up and it's her girlfriend or her cousin's house
It's not a front, F to the are to the O to the N to the T
It's just her boyfriend's at her house (Boy, that's what is scary)
It's OPP, time other people's what you get it
There's no room for relationship there's just room to hit it
How many brothers out there know just what I'm gettin' at
Who thinks it's wrong 'cause I'm splittin' and co-hittin' at
Well if you do, that's OPP and you're not down with it
But if you don't, here's your membership

Bay Area Guy said...

"Civility Bullshit" is an excellent tag. I would suggest adding a "Trivial Bullshit" tag too, which is apt for this particular story.

Freder Frederson said...

When you call someone a "pussy" to mean that they are timid, you are referring to the little animal, the kitty cat.

In your world maybe. But I always took it to mean that it was a more extreme and crude version of calling someone a "girl".

Freder Frederson said...

Yeah, and Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever was about a disease you can catch from cats.

Curious George said...

Doesn't mean cat. Means women.

SayAahh said...

Kitchen pass = Pussy pass.

Christopher B said...

The Devil better get his long johns out .. Freder said something I agreed with.

Tom said...

When guys call another guy a "pussy", he means vagina. I've been a guy for 41 years and played football and was in a fraternity. I'm not saying I'm an expert but I'm probably an expert on this particular insult.

Btw, I'm actually glad you thought the opposite because it's always fun to read George Carlin quotes. And above all that, your working theory of civility bullshit is strong. Thank you for not pussyfooting around...

chickelit said...

Trump is forever getting in trouble for things he didn't say but which were inferred: The Megyn Kelly bleeding incident, for example.

chickelit said...

"Pussy" also means 'fraidy-cat. Why pick on the mighty feline?

buwaya said...

'coño' is the Spanish equivalent, but used far more often and much more indiscriminately.
The late great President Quezon was well known for his very liberal use of 'coño', and a great deal else besides.
My entire subculture of Philippine mestizos is defined by the use of this word. We are "konyos" in Manila slang. It comes of being descended from a gang of peasants.

chickelit said...

Trump should call Jeb Bush a "fredo-cat" just for the pun of it. It also sounds kinda "hep"

Christopher B said...

Additionally, there is, or historically was, a category of language known as 'vulgar'. Not formal obscenities but language that marked a person of little education who also put little reflection into their speech. Not country witticisms, either, but rough coarse words.

And no, there is no 'use-mention' distinction. There's no need to repeat the word if it the quote is common knowledge. That's just blanket license to use the old "They all say..." plausible deniability routine.

Jason said...

Agree with others.

"Pussy" = "woman," in this context.

Diamondhead said...

Oh, please. If it means kitty-cat, why did Donald Trump "chide" the woman who said it? Trump clearly holds to the same definition as Rubio, and yet here you chide Rubio for it. Everyone knows what it means, and a more dignified candidate would have ignored it rather than first asking her to yell it out and then gleefully repeating it.

Michael K said...

Complaining about vulgar language in a pussy-like fashion is not something that is not a good idea for Rubio.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Unless someone says 'pussycat' or 'puss', I don't think of a cat, really. 'Pussy' is for questioning masculinity.

Sebastian said...

"Donald Trump didn't even really use it — if we observe the use-mention distinction — because he was quoting someone else" Yeah, right. If you use your mention of other people's use, then you are a user. It just depends on how you do things with words.

Krumhorn said...

While I agree with our hostess about the civility bullshit and using children in politics (Rubio's star is fading in my galaxy), I'm pretty certain that we're not referring to Tabby. We're talking about the fuzzer when we call someone a pussy. Which is very peculiar when you come to think of it, because why would the holiest of holies be regarded as an epithet? A disparagement? It's the same mystery associated with calling someone a c**ks***er. How can that be a bad thing when any male would be more than happy to date one? Or even marry one!

Of course, we all know that once married, our wives are not c**ks***ers....

-Krumhorn

Freder Frederson said...

It just occurred to me that even though the same part of the female anatomy, when used as an insult, the "c" word and "pussy" mean entirely different things. The "c" word is almost exclusively used to describe a particularly unpleasant woman.

Tank said...

The word Trump should be using for most of his competition on the Rep side is "Cuck" or "Cuckservative." But, Cuck is better.

Jeb! - Mamma's Boy Cuck.

Marco - Robot Cuck.

Kasich - Gnat Cuck.

Carson - Cuckoo Cuck.

Henry said...

At least we know that Trump wasn't referring to a large, paddle-tailed rodent.

buwaya said...

And, may I add, in the Hispanosphere white Cubans were well known for vulgarity.
This goes back quite a long time.
Rubio should embrace his roots.

rhhardin said...

Dated joke

Stewardess: Would you like coffee or tea?

Guy: I'll have some of your TWA tea.

Paul said...

Trump's clearly gone too far this time! He's going down for this!

Just saw his polling numbers went up six points since New Hampshire but hey, 56% of Republicans hate him according to the resident geniuses around here.

rhhardin said...

Cnut, a Scandinavian woman.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Your kids can't handle the word "pussy?" What are they, a couple-a pussies?

Kidding, but how Rubio thinks this makes him look good is beyond me. Better to say something like "I know I'm not the most flamboyant candidate out there and I realize a more vulgar style is sometimes fun to watch, but I'm serious about my campaign and I'm serious about working hard for the American people, so I'm more careful with my language and demeanor and I think that's something the voters will appreciate. Other candidates obviously disagree! I tell my campaign workers to remember that serious doesn't mean somber and we should be having a good time spreading our optimism about this nation's future, but to never forget that we're professionals and we owe the voters our best in everything--manners included."

pdug said...

And when I call someone a Dick it means I think they're a undercover detective, here to break up my craps game.

rhhardin said...

All that's vulgar about the words is that they're registered as vulgar, and they serve the purpose that goes with being vulgar, which is to speak without waiting for permission.

Words registered as vulgar are a feature of an expressive language, not a bug.

Curious George said...

"Krumhorn said...
It's the same mystery associated with calling someone a c**ks***er. How can that be a bad thing when any male would be more than happy to date one? Or even marry one!

Of course, we all know that once married, our wives are not c**ks***ers....

-Krumhorn"

You must be joking, right?

Ken B said...

"In your world maybe. But I always took it to mean that it was a more extreme and crude version of calling someone a "girl".

Indeed. Althouse is out to lunch here. It's like thinking "god hates fags" is an anti-smoking slogan. Is cock-sucker about roosters?

So this pretty much destroys AA's entire argument.

whswhs said...

The only word? I wasn't aware of an alternate meaning for "cunt," which I'm used to thinking of as a ruder word for the same thing (and which, I think, is a cognate of Latin cunnus, for which vagina, "sheath," is a polite euphemism).

On the other hand, though "pussy" certainly can mean "cat," it has almost entirely fallen out of use in that meaning. I've always understood its use to insult someone to be a form of synecdoche: "You have no more courage than a woman." Which of course is also insulting to women in two different ways. The meaning of a word is not necessarily its etymological origin.

rhhardin said...

I remember a Chinese student who put in an essay on the Scotch Ballads `The ballad must be simple and vulgar'. Most of the essay was spent in laborious praise of the Scotch ballads, which he felt to be required on him, but I gathered that he felt they were like popular works in China which a proud scholar would despise. That is, he knew the word had two meanings, and wanted to use it to drop an insinuation. The mistake was, therefore, an extremely marginal one ; it was merely that he took `of the common people' to be the head sense, under which `coarse' could insuinuate itself as an Implication (equated to the head sense, perhaps). But this is a definite mistake ; whatever the political or literary views of the reader, he will feel that there has been a ridiculous collapse of an attempt at tact.

- Wm. Empson

Sammy Finkelman said...

It was Donald Trump who hinted there was something wrong with the word.

You might think he had an (expletive deleted) loose.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Rubip spent some time as a Mormon so maybe he might think maybe there's something wrong with using the word that way that he doesn't know.

Henry said...

It's interesting that both Cruz and Rubio have decided to call out Trump on profanity. They seem to think that will peel off some of his favorability among Republican primary voters. They are NOT calling him out on sexism, as the left has done, despite the opportunity. I remember that my mother's biggest disappointment from the Watergate scandal was finding out how vulgar Nixon was in private conversation. Cruz and Rubio are after the great-grandmother vote.

I don't get all that offended by profanity. But I think do the way Trump flips into insult mode is fairly weird (and often sexist). I don't think it's scott-adams-master-persuader-weird. The guy seems to have some vileness triggers peculiar to himself.

Richard Dolan said...

"My working theory is it's always bullshit."

Well, it was in the NYTimes, and that's what they want you to think about Rubio. And Rubio is surely right that having a president with a bit of class and sense of the dignity due the office wouldn't be a bad thing. Those who seek the office ought to start now in trying to do that -- as they say, you play as you practice.

Bob Boyd said...

Heard a caller on Rush Limbaugh saying "Pussy" is a contraction of pusillanimous.
I hadn't heard that before, but it makes sense.

pu·sil·lan·i·mous
ˌpyo͞osəˈlanəməs/Submit
adjective
showing a lack of courage or determination; timid.
synonyms: timid, timorous, cowardly, fearful, faint-hearted, lily-livered, spineless, craven, shrinking; More

rhhardin said...

It's like calling someone a mouse.

Then there's mouse pussy.

Bay Area Guy said...

As I recall, from the public schoolyards of California in the 70's, calling someone a "pussy" was a signal that it was time to put aside words, and put up your dukes for a fight.

"You gonna let him call you a pussy?" was a refrain by your peers to get it on.

No, I did not like to fight (never had the anger). But, the social mores of the day, required it about 1 or 2 times a year.

It was a manly thing -- girls like Althouse wouldn't understand:)

MikeR said...

I really have no clue what Althouse is complaining about. Politicians in America don't normally curse at each other, and most of us think that's a good thing.
Rubio didn't bring his kids on a show and have them testify. He's explaining _what most of us understand already_ - that most public events do not and should not include cursing, and kids is one of the reasons why.

Michael K said...

"how Rubio thinks this makes him look good is beyond me."

I don't understand it, either.

Maybe he is getting campaign advice from pussies.

Oh, and I had too many "nots" in my comment earlier.

Fabi said...

Hawaii, you're a pussy. Cat. Pussy cat. I said pussy cat!

Simon said...

Christopher B said...
“Additionally, there is, or historically was, a category of language known as 'vulgar'. Not formal obscenities but language that marked a person of little education who also put little reflection into their speech. Not country witticisms, either, but rough coarse words.”

Vulgar = things pertaining to the common man, from lat. vulgarism, “common.” It’s very appropriate for Trump, the crass populist; my mom would have admonished him for being “so common.”

As to vaginae as an insult, I would defer to the wisdom of Betty White: “Why do people say ‘grow some balls’? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”

Original Mike said...

"and Donald Trump didn't even really use it — if we observe the use-mention distinction — because he was quoting someone else"

He used it, hell, he reveled in it, and used the use-mention distinction as plausible deniability. Not that I think it's a big deal. I don't.

Limited blogger said...

"Oh, and I had too many "nots" in my comment earlier."

I thought you did that on purpose to make it harder for me to figure out what you meant. I think I understood.

Diamondhead said...

The word Trump should be using for most of his competition on the Rep side is "Cuck" or "Cuckservative."

And the word for Trump supporter is "sucker."

n.n said...

Pussy simultaneously refers to a behavioral trait and a feature of female physiology. It is both descriptive and vulgar. As with many dual-use words, it clearly should be banned. Don't say it. Don't repeat it. Even under penalty of perjury. Certainly not in polite company. Thanks urban dictionary and opportunistic movements.

Scott McGlasson said...

When you call someone a "pussy" to mean that they are timid, you are referring to the little animal, the kitty cat.

Late to the party, but when this word has been used around me, from adolescence through today, it's never been in reference to a young cat. In the words of Lawrence, the next door neighbor from Office Space, "I believe you'd get your ass kicked for saying something like that."

Tank said...

Diamondhead said...

The word Trump should be using for most of his competition on the Rep side is "Cuck" or "Cuckservative."

And the word for Trump supporter is "sucker."


Maybe, but how would that apply to them more than supporters for any of the other candidates. They all pretty much suck Cuck.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

This is ridiculous. It's an obscenity.

Go up to someone and call them this name. See what happens.

It's one thing to argue that we're too PC; it's another to say anything goes. Being against using obscenities in public is not being PC.

It's called acting like an adult.

As to Rubio's response; who cares? The real silly argument here is by Althouse.

When Althouse is good she's really smart and witty and interesting; but when she's bad she's awful. Dare I say the girl with the curls?

Fernandinande said...

Tom Jones sings "Cat Pussy".

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Smilin' Jack said...

Twat is an interesting word because it's the only one I know of, the only slang word applying to the, a part of the sexual anatomy that doesn't have another meaning to it.

From www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/twat:

Primary Meanings of
twat

1. n a man who is a stupid incompetent fool
2. n obscene terms for female genitals

Nonapod said...

Remember, there are 3 types of people in this world!(warning: profanity).

Diamondhead said...

Maybe, but how would that apply to them more than supporters for any of the other candidates. They all pretty much suck Cuck.

Maybe Trump supporters are also too dumb to realize that he won't win without the voters who currently support candidates other than Trump. Probably why it's not smart for him to go around calling those candidates pussies.

BDNYC said...

I think itt all comes from old English word for cat.

1. Vagina. There is nothing about the female genitalia that looks like a cat. I believe men took to calling their women "pussy" or "puss" as a term of endearment. (What's new, pussycat?) From there it morphed into sex slang for vagina. It isn't used negatively, in my experience.

2. Scaredy-cat. Small kitty cats are weak, ineffectual and cowardly. They raise their backs and hiss when they hear a loud sound. They scatter and hide under beds when strange guests are in the house. As youtube has proven, they even fear cucumbers. So when a man thinks another man lacks courage, he calls him a pussy. Or a scaredy-cat.

I suppose it has become a bit of a gendered insult because of the two different meanings. It shouldn't be like that. Clearly Trump and Rubio (and many others) think that the pussy insult (scaredy-cat) derives from the sex slang for vagina.

BDNYC said...

That said, Rubio was smart to take this position. Enough people disagree with Althouse that if Rubio had reacted differently he would have opened himself to harsh criticism. You know, that old Republican War on Women nonsense.

The only smart thing for a politician to do is to denounce the word.

Mac McConnell said...

I cunt understand twat you pussies are discussing.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, I have had this conversation here before. I could look up the old posts. I don't want to go all the way back into this.

But... to keep it short... "pussy" became a reference to the female genitalia because of thinking of it in a sweet way, as a furry little kitty.

The use of the word to mean weak and timid comes from the same place: resemblance to a kitty.

This all happened long before you frat boys were born.

Because you have seen the overlap, you got to combining the 2 things, so it has come to mean that to you.

It's like when you say something "sucks" and you imagine fellatio.

"Sucks" in that sense comes from "sucking wind" -- emptiness. It has nothing to do with oral sex. But once you think it does, the image becomes part of what is in your mind when you say it.

If someone else says it, and you want to condemn them, you have an obligation to straighten out the crossed connections.

Ann Althouse said...

Rubio was watching a show with his kids where the word was referred to as another word for cat. Rubio said: "The commentator said it was another word for cat."

All he had to say to his children is: "The word is pussy. You know: a pussy cat." He could add: "Some people use that word in a mean way. It's not a good name to call somebody, even though pussy cats are really nice."

Ann Althouse said...

By the way, we often call a person a "pussycat."

It means he's super-tame.

What if Trump started saying "Cruz is a pussycat compared to me. He's not strong on fighting ISIS"?

Ann Althouse said...

As for you men who find it so offensive to be compared to a female?

One my say of a woman: She has balls. It's a compliment.

Why is: He's a pussy -- if it means female -- supposed to be bad?

Sexist.

jr565 said...

"This is ridiculous drama. When you call someone a "pussy" to mean that they are timid, you are referring to the little animal, the kitty cat."

its also like calling someone a fag. But if you do, the gay mafia will call you a homophobe.

jr565 said...

Michael K wrote:
"how Rubio thinks this makes him look good is beyond me."

I don't understand it, either.

Maybe he is getting campaign advice from pussies

Well look at how far Trump went to NOT say the word. Was he, himself, then a bit of a pussy?

pdug said...

You have committed the etymological fallacy, plus illegitimate totality transfer.

"When you call someone a "pussy" to mean that they are timid, you are referring to the little animal, the kitty cat"

Since the speaker and the hearer know the reference is genital, then they are not 'referring' to the cat.

In any case, if you're right, double entendre is even rendered impossible?

jr565 said...

Hillary is a cunt. If she has any complaints that she is a pussy. And also, a cunt.

Anglelyne said...

Richard Dolan: Well, it was in the NYTimes, and that's what they want you to think about Rubio.

I think that some of us can come to the conclusion that Rubio is full of it, without the help of the NYT.

And Rubio is surely right that having a president with a bit of class and sense of the dignity due the office wouldn't be a bad thing.

Indeed, it would be nice to see candidates "with a bit of class and a sense of the dignity due to the office". But refraining from coarse language in public speaking is an aspect of dignitas only when joined to weightier attributes. Rubio lacks substance and "presence", and so playing this card isn't going to work for him. If he had these qualities, he wouldn't have dignified the incident with a public response, whatever lesson he may have imparted to his sons about it, privately.

What current public figure does possess these attributes? Our public culture is wholly infantilized. The adults left the room a long time ago. In such an atmosphere, which is more likely to signal weight, "personal dignity", to the observing public -- honest and unapologetic vulgarity, or the transparently phony, overgrown schoolyard snitch tone now universally adopted by striving pols and media hacks?

Ann Althouse said...

""Civility Bullshit" is an excellent t ag. I would suggest adding a "Trivial Bullshit" tag too, which is apt for this particular story."

That represents a misinterpretation of civility bullshit, which is bullshit about civility. If a post is about something trivial, you could bullshit about how it's trivial and that would be triviality bullshit, but the post itself isn't bullshit even if it's trivial. It would only be an example of triviality, not insicere blathering on the topic of triviality.

This bugs me because I have been trying for years to get people to see the restrictive meaning of the civility bullshit tag.

pdug said...

We say of a woman she HAS balls. We don't say of a woman she IS balls.

We say of a man he is a pussy, we don't say he has a pussy.

Men can be compared to women, but its vulgar to compare anyone to a gendered body part, or a less noble body part, like an ass or something.

Biblical tangent: 1 Corinthians 12:23

n.n said...

There are many words and concepts that have been appropriated by special interests and popular culture with ulterior motives. Pussy was not the first nor will it be the last. The urban dictionary documents this progression.

Tank said...

Diamondhead said...

Maybe, but how would that apply to them more than supporters for any of the other candidates. They all pretty much suck Cuck.

Maybe Trump supporters are also too dumb to realize that he won't win without the voters who currently support candidates other than Trump. Probably why it's not smart for him to go around calling those candidates pussies.


Is it anything like calling people "suckers" or "too dumb" ???

Or is it different than that?

Ann Althouse said...

"As I recall, from the public schoolyards of California in the 70's, calling someone a "pussy" was a signal that it was time to put aside words, and put up your dukes for a fight. "You gonna let him call you a pussy?" was a refrain by your peers to get it on."

Yeah, exactly like "chicken."

"Chicken," meaning coward, also has some of the idea of comparing the person to a girl.

Not much genitalia involved.

The offense is about being timid, girlish in character. There's not much about the genitals that is entailed. It's the woman's mind that is the source of the offense to a man. The female genitals are not weak or overly pacifist.

Sebastian said...

"Why is: He's a pussy -- if it means female -- supposed to be bad? Sexist." Doubleplusungood. We get it.

Donald Caster, Ohio Innocence Project said...

Reading this blog, I often think that Althouse posts should be followed by a survey where readers can choose whether they think the content of the post is a thought experiment, or whether Althouse actually believes the content of the post.

For this one, my answer would be thought experiment.

n.n said...

Didn't Trump report someone's speech and discourage its use?

This is why we have abortion rites and dysfunctional relationships. People are too pu... timid to have a discussion. Holder was right. #CecileTheCannibal is America's choice.

This was so much easier when there was bipartisan support to dump the Tea Party.

Original Mike said...

"Hillary is a cunt. If she has any complaints that she is a pussy. And also, a cunt."

Hillary Clinton is many things, but she is not a pussy.

Nonapod said...

The use of the word to mean weak and timid comes from the same place: resemblance to a kitty.

This all happened long before you frat boys were born.


I've no doubt that you're right, but to be fair, the meanings of specific words are fluid. It's not the origin of the word that matters to most speakers, it's the commonly held meaning. Rightly or wrongly there's a large group of people (probably a majority) who infer the more vulgar meaning from the words usage.

To be clear, I don't care too much about this controversy. I already know that Trump is a classless bore and I couldn't care less about Rubio's delicate sensibilities being so upset that he has to make a big deal about it. It's all so unimportant except as another example of the declining state of political discourse in this country.

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http://www.gizanow.com/
الجيزة الآن - جريدة اسبوعية
تقدم لك جريدة الجيزة الآن كل الاخبار من الجيزة ومن مختلف محافظات مصر من اخبار سياسية واخبار عربية وعالمية ومتابعة كل ما يختص بالرياضة المحلية والرياضة العالمية ونقدم لك اخبار التكنولوجيا العالمية وما توصل إلية العلم الحديث وتقدم الجيزة الآن اخبار الفن والمسلسلات والافلام وماتوصلت الية هوليود وبوليود والسينما العربية ونقدم لقراءنا احدث المقالات والاراء والنقد من كافة انحاء العالم وايضا نقدم لكم بعض القصص القصيرة واختصارات لكتب علي حلقات متميزة وتري معنا احدث السيارات العالمية والمحلية وما توصل الية علم السيارات وتتابع الجيزة الآن اخبار الحوادث لحظة بلحظة مع اخبار الاقتصاد والإقتصاديين وتتميز الجيزة الآن في تقديم احدث البرامج التعليمية ومتابعة المناهج التعليمية الابتدائية والاعدادية والثانوية العامة وتقدم لكم الجيزة الآن موقعها حلوتي الذي يقدم لكم كل ما تحتاجة النساء , حواء , والحوامل الذي نتخصص فية خارج موقع الجيزة الآن الاخباري.

grimson said...

Are women ever called pussies in the same derogatory sense as men (meaning chicken or coward, according to AA)?

Diamondhead said...

Is it anything like calling people "suckers" or "too dumb" ???

Yeah, there's a pretty clear difference. I said Trump probably shouldn't say things like that. Some guy on the internet doesn't have the same impact on other candidate's voters.

John Henry said...

Ann says:

In private, they're all free to call each other twats. And pricks. Because I'm for gender equality.

So you would have no problem with Hilary calling Donald Trump a "prick". Right?

Would you be OK with Trump calling Hilary a cunt?

Gender equality and all that. Assuming it was in private.

John Henry

BDNYC said...

And what about the gender of the person who shouted "Cruz is a pussy"? Does her being a woman affect the analysis? Is it like the n-word with black people?

John Henry said...

Re whether I am a robot or not, look at this picture and decide. One is me and one is a robot.

You decide which is which.

John Henry

sydney said...

I thought it was short for "pussy-whipped."

traditionalguy said...

Women are never called pussies. That would be like calling them Women-Women. Pussy means a man that acts in hard situations scared like a small girl or a scardy cat.

Calling Cruz a beaver would have been more appropriate. Beavers sneak in at night and fell your trees and haul them off to Canada.



Beldar said...

Prof. Althouse wrote, "When you call someone a "pussy" to mean that they are timid, you are referring to the little animal, the kitty cat. It's like calling someone a mouse."

It's actually kind of sweet and endearing that you're so clueless about vulgar insults in the real world. During the Super Bowl, I guarantee you that there were trash-talkers who were calling one another "pussies." And I guarantee you that not a single person making or hearing that taunt thought it referred to anything feline, nor to mere meekness.

It's a sexually charged term when used as an insult. This isn't about the animal kingdom. And anyway, cats are predators, they aren't bunnies.

MayBee said...

If it were about a cat, it wouldn't be vulgar.

John Henry said...

Blogger buwaya said...

'coño' is the Spanish equivalent, but used far more often and much more indiscriminately.

Like English, every country uses Spanish differently.

Here in PR coño is not considered a polite word, and can be used to refer to ladyparts.

It is more frequently used as an exclamation such as "Coño!" when you hit your finger with a hammer. Or "Coño hermano! Me alegro verte"

Don't recall ever hearing it here in PR but there is also the Gypsy's Curse:

"Que te encuentra un coño a su medida" ("May you find a cunt that fits you.") The idea being that it is likely to belong to a woman that wants nothing to do with you and will thus drive you absolutely nuts.

Harry Crews wrote a whole book about it.

I can also tell you from, from the days when I was first learning Spanish, that there is an enormous difference between "cono" and "coño"
Also between "Cubano caliente" (Hot sandwich)and "Cubana caliente" (Hot Cuban girl) Especially when loudly called out in a noisy sandwich stand. I speak from experience.

John Henry

Bill said...

When Trump called Cruz a kitty-cat, he was, as usual, being a total rooster.

John Henry said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...

But... to keep it short... "pussy" became a reference to the female genitalia because of thinking of it in a sweet way, as a furry little kitty.

But in these days of Brazilian waxes, that doesn't work anymore.

Maybe we should start calling them cuintles after the Xoloitzcuintle dog

http://www.dogbreedslist.info/uploads/allimg/dog-pictures/Xoloitzcuintle-3.jpg

John Henry

D. B. Light said...

The terms themselves are not important; what matters is the attempt to portray one's political opponents as not just wrong, but loathsome, despicable, and beneath contempt.

John Henry said...

Forgot the robot link

http://www.packagingdigest.com/automation/13-automation-game-changers-that-ease-engineering-tasks150407

John Henry

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SayAahh said...

Carve one statue.... do they call you a sculptor?
Do one painting..... do they call you an artist?

But suck one cock .....

dreams said...

Its used as a derogatory synonym for a woman. Sorry, but no man likes being insultingly compared to a woman however sexist.

clint said...

The whole point of Rubio's statement (like Trump's) was to get people talking about him.

Politics is increasingly a game of name recognition and fighting over the limited attention span of the voting public.

Ken B said...

Word of the day: synecdoche.

traditionalguy said...

Beware the ultra offended faux Christians who proudly remake morality into Bad Word Police duty.
When you are slandered as no good for using a simple term like "bullshit" in a discussion, then you are under attack by moronic fools. Just shaKe the dust off your feet and leave them. Life is too short.

tds said...

why does he treat his sons like complete pussies? He should tell them, so that they grow to be men

Ken B said...

A plausible etymology is pusillanimous. But Google defines it as a weak, cowardly or effeminate man. This usage is described as vulgar. Most people agree it's vulgar. (It wouldn't be vulgar if it referred to a sweet little purr ball.) So that's what Rubio's reaction is about: my kids ask about Trump's vulgarity. Althouse objects that Rubio did not simply lie to his children about Trump, and what he said, and why people objected to it. That's really her whole beef here: he didn't just lie. I suppose if some opponent called him a cock-sucker, and people were up in arms, and the kids asked what was up Althouse would wonder why he didn't just tell them a lie about chickens.

Steve M. Galbraith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M Jordan said...

I'm surprised that a lexophile like you, Ann, would so obtusely miss the essence of this word encounter. It's the very vulgar meaning of pussy that gives the entire incident its currency, especially, coming as it did, from a woman. A guy calling another a pussy is not calling him a little mouse. He's calling him a sissy, a weakling, a girl-boy.

Legend has it that some glamorous movie star came onto the Johnny Carson Tonight Show carrying a cat which she held and petted in her lap throughout the interview. At one point she said, "Would you like to pet my pussy." Carson responded, "I'd be glad to but you'll have to move the cat."

Bay Area Guy said...

AA smacked me upside the head:

That represents a misinterpretation of civility bullshit, which is bullshit about civility. If a post is about something trivial, you could bullshit about how it's trivial and that would be triviality bullshit, but the post itself isn't bullshit even if it's trivial. It would only be an example of triviality, not insicere blathering on the topic of triviality

Here is my learned and sober response:

I say bullshit. Clearly, you have misinterpreted my interpretation of civility bullshit, which I understand to be an insincere call for civility. On the other hand, "Trivial Bullshit", I respectfully propose, would describe something utterly unimportant that has attracted a disproportionate amount of bullshit attention. There is no "triviality bullshit." The nexus between civility bullshit and the proposed "trivial bullshit" lies in the subtle ontological intersection between the unimportant, and a disingenuous plea for comity over a bullshit claim, when, in fact, the entire topic is bullshit.

Sigivald said...

Pussy Cat and pussy, adjective meaning cowardly or tame [see OED quote in link], have completely different derivations,and are effectively different words.

And neither one is really related to pussy, noun, slang for female genitalia.

The best argument via the OED's usage tracking is that calling a man a pussy is meant to be an insult because housecats are tamed and lazy corruptions of predatory monsters.

It's still a macho-based thing and pretty lame, but it's not the simple "girls are lame and we're calling you a girl because misogyny!!!!" thing too many people think it is.

(The "pusillanimous" link is tempting but ill-supported.)

surfed said...

Reminds me of the Emory college boys back in the day chanting "Toddlin' Twats from Agnes Scott".

Fred Drinkwater said...

Donald Caster:
A long long time ago, Althouse described her blog as "performance art". I always keep that in mind when reading her (and the commenters, natch.)
Speaking of whom, what happened to Chip Ahoy?

The Godfather said...

I haven't read the 100+ comments on this post, but I assume that Althouse has been thoroughly schooled in what "pussy" means when used as a derogatory reference to a man. It's probably out of date these days to use a part of the female anatomy to refer to a womanish or weak man, but that's how it's been used in my 70+ years of guys insulting guys, and that's how Tromp meant it.

While on this subject, I recall an Irish political operative of my acquaintance who referred to some guy he didn't like as a prick. And then he said (imagine the brogue), "No, I lie. I shouldn't call him a prick, because a prick is a part of a man, and he's no part of a man."

Howard said...

Rubio is a pussy, Cruz is a cunt and Trump is a douchebag.

amielalune said...


Chickelit:

You think "fraidy-cat"; I always thought "scaredy-cat." There are some real potty-minds in this place. :)

amielalune said...

P.S. I always kind of liked Rubio, but he is proving to be very much like the Dems in his manufactured "offense" at things that don't really matter. And at stretching the truth a little to make his point. He's apparently learned a little too much from Obama.

How easy would it be to tell them that he was calling him a scaredy cat. Even if his instinctive male mind reacted to the word as female genitalia, there is a no-brainer alternative.

chickelit said...

@amielalune: It's probably a regional thing like pop vs. soda or bubbler vs. drinking fountain.

Milwaukie guy said...

I just skimmed this thread so I pardon if I'm repeating.

Pussy is a shortening of the word pusillanimous. It means"lacking courage and resolution : marked by contemptible timidity," [Merriam Webster].

Two hundred plus years ago when fighting men called someone a pussy, it was not about the punnani.

n.n said...

An ass is a donkey of course, stubborn and ill-tempered, but its use should not be repeated nor discouraged in public or even in private -- lest it be recorded and reported by journolists.

MaxedOutMama said...

DramaRubiot!!!! The new incarnation!

n.n said...

Milwaukie guy:

The earliest recorded use of pussy as slang for a woman's vagina is 1879 but possibly earlier. It seems to have suffered the same fate as other words in common use, including "gay", when it was appropriated by a special interest group (perhaps pornographers) or over an uneventful weekend by a group of juvenile boys and girls. The urban dictionary is infamous for recording these types of cultural and linguistic appropriations for personal use that once repeated took over whole civilizations, and reduced their populations to conversing with clicks and whistles, which have also acquired a vulgar connotation.

Birkel said...

Ann Althouse's point has completely changed my understanding of the Bond Girl, Pussy Galore.

Insert eye roll here.

CStanley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Milwaukie guy said...

Describing a man as pusillanimous would have been common in the 18th-century British Army and Navy. "Contemptible timidity" in a frigate captain or regimental colonel would be much commented upon, even in official dispatches. However, useful as pusillanimous is, it is a bit tough to pronounce and harder to spell. Much easier to just call the damned coward a pussy.

Bob Ellison said...

Now, there's "wuss", short for "wussy". The etymology of that word is pretty well understood. But I hear the w-word used more often these days, even on places like TV talk shows. It's not a happy word.

chickelit said...

Birkel said...Ann Althouse's point has completely changed my understanding of the Bond Girl, Pussy Galore.

How about your understanding of Julie Newmar in "Batman" and Racquel Welch on the "Tonight Show"?

n.n said...

Report and discourage without the accompanied malicious use and intent to which our society has grown accustomed.

Milwaukie guy said...

When I was a kid, I asked Grandma if Uncle Dick was ever going to get married. She said, him, he's a big old sissy. I wonder what she meant.

Anyway, I do believe that when Northern newspapers were calling for the head of General George McClellan during the Civil War, he was called pusillanimous. Gen. Ben Butler, too, all the time.

CStanley said...

Unless Rubio made a big deal over this, I feel the criticism of him is way over the top. He's expressing what many parents feel about raising kids in this culture.

And the "use- mention distinction in this case is bullshit because there was no reason for him to have the woman repeat the comment except for him to say it with deniability. In fact by doing this, Trump was actually being a pussy.

Titus said...

I was called a pussy all through my school days in Wisconsin. I knew it meant feminine guy.

Rubio is a pussy and a robot and he is not going to win, which will be awesome.

Rubio should not wear fitted sweaters either-he has a major gut.


tits.

Steven Davis said...

@grimson 2:28PM

I've actually thought about why women hated the c-word so much. I arrived at this conclusion: You can call a man a prick, a dick, a pecker, an asshole, a twat, a pussy, even a douchebag. The full range of male and female anatomy plus a few, but I can't ever remember a woman being called any of those names. There's only two reserved exclusively for women: bitch and the c-word.

Birkel said...

chickelit:

You can step on my quip if it pleases you, however poorly you wish to do so.

Milwaukie guy said...

Call a man a pussy and a woman thinks it's all about them somehow. Typical.

MathMom said...

Nope. You're not calling someone "timid". You are turning up the vulgarity knob to 11.

Bob Ellison said...

This is so off-topic I have no excuse for it: "Sound of Silence" by Disturbed. An amazing vocal performance by a metal guy.

Quaestor said...

How about your understanding of Julie Newmar in "Batman"

My understanding of Julie Newmar never involved my brain. However, I was never that overwhelmed by Rachel Welsh. Granted her shape was inspirational -- if women were ships she'd have been the Cutty Sark -- but her expression was always a bit vacant. Julie was sexier. Period. And Batman was as gay as a three-dollar bill. Prowling the night with a teenaged boy in tow when Catwoman was almost literally begging for some bat-wurst... Hep me, Jeebus!

Quaestor said...

Rubio's complaint about the pussy remark, no matter who said it in what context, proves the characterization is accurate and if anything tame in comparison to what could have been said. On my schoolyard the pussy was the kid who couldn't take the name-calling abuse that boys naturally dole out even to their friends, but instead runs and complains to an authority figure. Non-pussies have an arsenal of comebacks and the willingness to take and give a few punches if it comes to that.

If Rubio had kept the whole thing private between himself and his son, that's fine. The kid asked, and his father explained... sorta. But to try to parlay the incident into a political fulcrum -- that is pussydom defined.

garage mahal said...

I hope you understand the restrictive use of the civility bullshit tag. It's for political speech calling for more civility. My working theory is it's always bullshit.

One is better off having a fistfight, like in the old days, than prescribe to these New Rules of Civility. It's a way to disarm your opponents in a fucked up, warped, "brain science" sort of way. For instance; you can't attack Bernie Sanders on his big ideas or his life long record on issues that you allegedly care about, so you attack their mean awful supporters, drag them off into the weeds, and then steer the debate on your terms . Or worse, you link to a thinkpiece that makes your argument for you. It's all very civil but hides a very insidious undercurrent.

Birkel said...

"garage mahal" thinks nobody can make a cogent argument against socialism.

If "garage mahal" was aiming for droll comedy, he overshot into slapfights with the Three Stooges.

Quaestor said...

And another thing about the pussy remark. It strikes me that civility bullshit is just a special case of political correctness that conservatives too often give too much credit. Lately we've talked about PC in the context of a Venn diagram with PC domain intersecting Good Manners domain, a proposal that I think has been soundly refuted since there is no polite way to suppress free speech or to intimidate someone into silence, a job fit for a jackbooted brownshirt, and not Miss Manners. On that same diagram CB is entirely a subdomain of PC -- a small circle entirely enclosed in a bigger circle.

PC has infected our democracy so perniciously that absurdities like the assiduous avoidance of criticism of Islam in the same environment where anti-Christian blasphemies are welcome have become commonplace. Part of the Trump revolt is a rejection of PC, which is why the on-going attempts to browbeat him into reticence have so far failed miserably. I look forward to the Clinton-Trump debate where Hillary touts her resumé as Secretary of State and Trump replies with a big fucking "BULLSHIT!"

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero, played by Vincent Pastore, is a fictional character on the HBO TV series The Sopranos. Not to be confused with fellow New Jersey mobster "Little Pussy" Malanga, Big Pussy was one of the men who worked for Tony Soprano and the two were close friends." Wikipedia

Since Trump hasn't rotted his brain with drink and drug, he remembers Vincent Pastore. Trump has a great memory, one of the all-time great memories out there, okay.

Fritz said...

It's hard to imagine someone as sophisticated as Professor Althouse baffled by a simple double entendre.

Quaestor said...

Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero

Buon pensiero means right thinking or approved thinking in Italian, in other words it's Italian for PC. Anybody who approves of political correctness is either a pussy or a BIG PUSSY.

gbarto said...

I agree with Garage that it's a shame some of these things can no longer be settled with a fistfight. Then Marco could have manned up. But I don't know how anyone could think themselves president material if they haven't thought through how to tell the kids that people are going to say mean things about dad that are best ignored.

garage mahal said...

My point had nothing to do with left versus right. The Rules of Civility IS bullshit.

Laura said...

So we can't discuss an activist band in Russia?

DanTheMan said...

AA: Pussy does not mean pussy.
AA: Saying "You suck!" does not mean what you think it means.

Next up: Ann explains the donkey-in-a-trap origin of the term "asshole".

Laslo Spatula said...

It's like when you say something "sucks" and you imagine fellatio.

"Sucks" in that sense comes from "sucking wind" -- emptiness. It has nothing to do with oral sex. But once you think it does, the image becomes part of what is in your mind when you say it."

Althouse has just succumbed to Laslo.

I am Laslo.

David said...

Memo to Mario: the word is probably not new to them if they are six or older.

Memo to Althouse: Pussy references the human female region of joy and sorrow even when used to signify timidity. Guys are not thinking "cat." They are saying "pussy" as in girly, female, not aggressive. It's sexist refrain as well as a mild insult. The perfect guy thing for jocular male company.

In my experience "pussy" is most often used by men as self criticism. A guy will say "you pussy!" to himself when he thinks he has wimped out at something. A pussy self criticism is usually for something just beyond trivial. For real cowardice men will say "coward." Maybe women will say "you pussy" in the way that men do but I don't think I've ever heard it. If they do it's probably women a lot younger than the ones I hang around with.

David said...

"Pussy is a shortening of the word pusillanimous."

It was. Not any more.

David said...

The difference between Reagan on the one hand and Cruz or Rubio on the other is that Reagan was likable. Some people hated him for his politics but usually not his personality. For the real haters politics and personality were the same.

Trump is likable. Not because he is a sweetheart but for his enthusiasm, sense of confidence and positive energy. Rubio and Cruz seem to be tight. Trump's not tight.

David said...

Pussy Riot? One of the great band names ever, even apart from the politics.

Browndog said...

I really wish women would quit trying to intellectualize why men call other men pussies.

It's pretty straight forward.

When men try to figure it out?

....bunch of pussies.

holdfast said...

There's only two reserved exclusively for women: bitch and the c-word.

The NCO corps of the British Army did NOT get that memo.

"Ooy there you dopey cooonts! Whot the fook ar ye don' now?"

Rhythm and Balls said...

My working theory is it's always bullshit. In this case, with Rubio, it obviously is.

I'm glad to hear that. Because when it comes to you prudes (or pretend prudes, or prude panderers), I can almost never tell.

rcommal said...

I see both sides of this, having lived both sides of this, for example but not limited to with regard to my own kid, in living color, a bunch of years ago.

chickelit said...

Oh but now old friends they're acting strange,
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day.

Jonathan Graehl said...

While we're on etymology, I never believed acronym-based theories in times where almost everyone was illiterate: http://www.snopes.com/language/acronyms/fuck.asp

Curious George said...

160 posts? Amazing what a little pussy will do.

Nichevo said...

Birkel said...
"garage mahal" thinks nobody can make a cogent argument against socialism.


Birkel, he is surely referring to Hillary! supporters, who are part of the same hypocrisy and cannot attack common articles of faith in which he excels her, so they go personal/below the belt.

Nichevo said...

Jon G 2/13/16, 1:33 AM

German fick, to pound.

traditionalguy said...

Having fainting spells over calling a man a pussy while we live in a popular culture weaned on National Lampoon and its spin off TV, Saturday Night Live, seems like utter Bull Shit.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

This post has also been tagged pornography.

Jeff Gee said...

"Pussy is a shortening of the word pusillanimous." It was. Not any more.

Exactly. Like AT&T used to stand for "American Telephone and Telegraph," but now it just stands for "AT&T." It's good to know where you come from but it's essential to know where you are.

Nichevo said...

In one of the Lensman books by Edward E. Smith, Kim Kinnison uses the epithet "pussy-gutted tub of lard" to someone he wishes to taunt into a duel. Pretty positive, given his style and the midcentury times, that it was not an obscene reference. You had to work pretty hard to get a damn or a hell out of Doc Smith.