August 24, 2016

Mocking the sexual desire of a 100-year-old tortoise.

I clicked on the clickbait: "100-year-old tortoise walks 6.5 miles for romance with plastic dome" ("A 100-year-old tortoise that escaped her owner's California yard was found 6 1/2 miles away attempting to romantically court a small dome.")

But I disapprove of laughing at the creature's sexuality. We cannot comprehend the longing of 100 years. We cannot know how it feels to be so separated from your fellow species that something in the rough shape of what feels like your counterpart fixates you.

And the euphemism "attempting to romantically court" is quite disgusting. I encounter that after reading the NYT story about Cher's anti-Trump speech to a crowd in Provincetown, Massachusetts, which includes such dirty-word avoidance as "'I just think he’s' an idiot, Cher said of Donald J. Trump, adding a decidedly unprintable modifier."

It's not "unprintable." It's quite printable: fucking. See? The NYT merely chooses not to print it. "Unprintable" is a cornball expression. "Fucking" is a crudeness that bothers some people, but where is the concern for people like me who are bothered by the prissy way you posture to avoid it?

"Unprintable" is a word that was created to express the idea that something is "Not fit to be printed" because it is "too shocking to appear in print; obscene, rude." I'm quoting the (unlinkable) OED, which finds the earliest appearance in print in 1830, in something called "Age": "A sham improvisatore held up to the ridicule of society by the excellent but unprintable jeu d'esprit of James Smith."

What is an "improvisatore"? The OED says: "A poet who composes or performs verse extemporaneously." James Smith seems to have been one of the freestyle rappers of his day, mocking some unnamed other one as a sham. It was excellent but unprintable... so we can't read whatever it was.

Improvisatore... improviser. When we don't have a script — when we don't want a script — if we want anything to happen at all, we must improvise, like a tortoise with his sham tortoise, the plastic dome.



IN THE COMMENTS: CJ points us to an episode of "Futurama" that treats the sexual needs of a 100-year-old with excellent humor and quality profundity:



"I haven't seen a female of my kind in well over 100 years!"

40 comments:

Robert Cook said...

Hearing about this tortoise--which I heard here first!--makes me feel a pang of deep pity for the animal.

Ann Althouse said...

Last night, we saw a great play, some say the greatest play of our time, in which a 100+ -year-old tortoise played a key part. The tortoise was profound, not a joke.

Ann Althouse said...

"An ancient but still living tortoise also appears in every scene, symbolising long-suffering endurance and the continuity of existence."

Tommy Duncan said...

Cher did record a very nice cover of Betty Everett's Shoop Shoop song. That qualifies her as a leading voice for progressives.

Curious George said...

"Fucking" is a crudeness that bothers some people,"

Fuck 'em.

rhhardin said...

Most unprintable usages are the mots justes. The words develop their performances according to human interests.

rhhardin said...

Cane toads aren't particular whether the female is alive or just crushed by a car, as long as the scent is right.

Ducks are the worst. Talk about a hostile work environment.

rhhardin said...

Francis Ponge The Nuptial Habits of Dogs.

Wilbur said...

The Clinton campaign is slipping. Cher's remarks were at a fundraiser: NO TAPING OR CAMERAS ALLOWED!

Some attendee went off the reservation, recorded the "speech" by Cher, and posted it on social media. Speech indeed. I'd be embarrassed to descend to this level in public speaking.

I might add this is a typical analysis of Trump by a leftist. No policy, just personal insults and death wishes. When they have to talk about policy or real-world problems, they sputter and revert to name-calling ... just like on the comments here.

Paco Wové said...

"Ducks are the worst."

It's pretty much rape culture all the way down.

David Begley said...

Cher was married to a Republican.

Crazy Jane said...

It may be unprintable but if my experience is common, it certainly isn't unsayable.

My bet is that the kind of people who show up for a speech by Cher aren't likely to be offended by verbal vulgarisms.

mezzrow said...

Location, location, location.

Todd said...

Ah, Jane Fonda, ATB (American Traitor Bitch)...

Titus said...

Cher in Ptown. Hil was in Ptown too-there must of been some good coin for Hil to travel down to the tip of the cape.

Now that is gay.

David Begley said...

The NYT won't print the fucking truth about the fucking Clintons. Total fuckheads.

Curious George said...

Cher...reminds me of my favorite Sonny Bono joke. "First time sap ran INTO a tree."

Ann Althouse said...

"Some attendee went off the reservation, recorded the "speech" by Cher, and posted it on social media. Speech indeed. I'd be embarrassed to descend to this level in public speaking."

Look at the video. Everyone seems to be holding up a cell phone getting video. It's completely in the open. It's not a Mitt-Romney-and-the-47% situation.

William said...

Ponder the different ways in which the deaths of Natasha Richardson and Sonny Bono were treated. Republican congressman get treated with less sympathy than horny tortoises.

Paul Snively said...

Again: 100-year-old tortoise is a teenager. Of course it will walk 6 miles to get laid.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I did not know the female tortoise took the lead in courting. In an Aubrey-Maturin novel, Jack Aubrey while on the road walks around a pair of courting/mating tortoises - the male chases and butts the female, which turns her tractable. No word on what if anything a female does to a passive male. Stupid coy article. Probably wrong, she was just trying to get at the water under the dome or something. I question whether even a turtle is incapable of recognizing another turtle.

CJ said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturama_(Futurama)

An animated cartoon episode that handles the turtle Culbatizing Exercise phenomenon with humor *and* sensitivity.

"Professor Farnsworth, as a rare Pinta Island tortoise named Lonesome Hubert, is persuaded by his animal friends to find a mate so his species can continue. The female tortoise he is interested in lives on the other side of the island, an 18-month journey. Once Hubert arrives, he mistakenly begins to mate with a large, tortoise-shaped boulder until the real tortoise (resembling Mom) shows up and angrily knocks it down a hill. She has been waiting for Hubert, and the two mate but later part ways after she lays three eggs. Several months later, these hatch into tortoise versions of Walt, Larry and Igner and promptly fall down the hill, where the boulder rolls over and crushes them, leading to the species' extinction."

Also - I suspected that the NYT often uses the "f" word and it was contra its stylebook to censor in this context, and I was right.

http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2013/08/no-new-york-times-didnt-change-its-fuck-policy

"But it's not the first time the paper has used "fuck" or one of its variants. The Times' anti-profanity editorial policy is, as Salon has chronicled before, often absurd, leading to the awkward censorship of band names, book titles, and, at least once, the vice president of the United States. But it only applies to nonfiction."

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Galapagos tortoises are LOUD when engaged in copulative activity.
I used to have to explain to children at Zoo Atlanta what "those noises" were.
Memories.

sojerofgod said...

I followed the link to that Nuptials-dogs thing.
Not really knowing what to expect.
I was disgusted. Angered, appalled.
Not by the text: Couldn't give two damns and a hell.
But Poetry!
They called that poetry!
That's not poetry.
Poetry: rarest of spirits.
distillation of the soul.
Axioms of agony
hung ignominiously on thorntrees
searing
like that hot iron in mamma's hand.
that's not poetry.

Todd said...

HoodlumDoodlum said... [hush]​[hide comment]
Galapagos tortoises are LOUD when engaged in copulative activity.
I used to have to explain to children at Zoo Atlanta what "those noises" were.
Memories.

8/24/16, 9:15 AM


My wife and I were at the local zoo a few years ago when a pair they have were going at it. It was indeed loud. They cut quite the path in the sand as he pushed her around the pen...

320Busdriver said...

Tortoise got nuthin on this Hillary Clinton voter.

320Busdriver said...

we saw a great play

That got me to thinking...Just two weeks ago I had thought of stopping there on our way back from Eau Claire since it had been such a long time, but my crew isn't as spontaneous as I. So I checked, and I see what you did there.

I'm sure it was a divine evening. Jealous

Fernandinande said...

"The brain of a tortoise is extremely small."

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

One of my favourite jokes. A Galapagos tortoise to his buddies: Believe it or not, my wife now says she wants to make love more than once a year. Of course I've just had to tell her: I'm not a machine!

Fernandinande said...

Lloyd W. Robertson said...
One of my favourite jokes.


"A tortoise walks into a bar, but, by the time he got to the bar itself it was closing time and the bartender says 'Sorry, it's closing time.'"

Maybe that joke needs a little polish...some Turtle Wax maybe.

mockturtle said...

While the word 'fuck' [with its various conjugations] is an oft-used epithet, it somehow seems curiously taboo when used in its original application. Isn't 'fucking' more descriptive of the sex act than 'making love'?

Fernandinande said...

A lesbian Mexican tortoise walks into a bar, but, by the time she got to the bar itself it was closing time and the bartender says "Sorry, it's closing time."

The lesbian Mexican tortoise says "You're a racist!"

The bartender replies, "'Mexican' is a nationality, not a race."

The tortoise says "Well then, you're a sexist pig!"

And the bartender replies "No I'm not, I can't even tell if your plastron is concave!"

The tortoise says "So you're a homophobe!"

And the bartender replies "Want to buy some heroin?"

The tortoise says "Of course I do, why do you think I came here?"

TML said...

"talk about a cloaca shrinker!"

Lulz

Iapetus said...

I can see AA would have shed a tear over the recent death of the Galapagos tortoise, Lonesome George, who died aged 102 (his exact age remains in dispute) at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora with no female companion or progeny of his particular subspecies (Pinta Island). He was the last of his kind.

Iapetus said...

Blogger Titus said... "Cher in Ptown. Hil was in Ptown too-there must of been some good coin for Hil to travel down to the tip of the cape. Now that is gay."

With Huma?

By coincidence, my wife and I were on Cape Cod, driving through the center of Ptown on June 27, 2015, the day the SCOTUS decision in Obergefell was announced in the news. We looking for a place to take a photo of the Race Point light house, got lost, and took the wrong turn. The scene was a madhouse. It took us an hour to inch our car slowly through the crowd.

tim in vermont said...

A warrior goes to you swift and straight as an arrow shot into the sun. Welcome him and let him take his place at the council fire of my people. ... He is Uncas, my son. ... Bid them patience and ask death for speed; for they are all there but one - I, Chingachgook - Last of the Mohicans.

Rusty said...

Im pretty sure the tortoise neither knows nor cares it is being mocked. Besides. Maybe tupperware is its fetish.

FullMoon said...

Fernandinande said... [hush]​[hide comment]

A lesbian Mexican tortoise walks into a bar, but, by the time she got to the bar itself it was closing time and the bartender says "Sorry, it's closing time."

The lesbian Mexican tortoise says "You're a racist!"

The bartender replies, "'Mexican' is a nationality, not a race."

The tortoise says "Well then, you're a sexist pig!"

And the bartender replies "No I'm not, I can't even tell if your plastron is concave!"

The tortoise says "So you're a homophobe!"

And the bartender replies "Want to buy some heroin?"

The tortoise says "Of course I do, why do you think I came here?"

Pretty funny.

rhhardin said...

Turtle porn.

rhhardin said...

Man: You say "fuck" a lot.
Child: So?
Man: So you're just not using it properly.
Child: The fuck does that mean?
Man: That's what I mean. "Fuck" is a great word, but if you use it too much, then it just loses its value. And you sound stupid.
Child: Fuck you.
Man: Exactly.I feel nothing, and you sound like an idiot.

- Demolition (2015)