December 15, 2019

Women are, apparently, the great sanitizing machine. We're the culture's laundry, where everything gets clean.

I'm trying to read "The Year Women Got ‘Horny’/Women reclaimed a word once the province of crass boys and men who are boys" by Tracie Egan Morrissey in the NYT.
Phonetically speaking, 'horny' is ugly. It lends itself to a nasal sound that’s comically inelegant. 'Horny' has benefited... from that same so-bad-it’s-good rationality."'I used to hate the word,' Sophia Benoit said. 'I used to think it was so disgusting.' Ms. Benoit writes a column for GQ about the sexiest things that men did during the month, called 'Horny on Main,' which on the internet means posting sexually charged content to your main social media account, as opposed to posting on a separate, and likely secret, account that was created for that purpose... 'But I love it now, because I think we, especially women, have reclaimed it and made it not gross,' Ms. Benoit said
Well, of course, when it's about women, it's not gross.
Twenty-five years ago, William Safire wrote about 'horny” for his etymology column in The New York Times Magazine, noting that a “horn is hard; it is shaft-shaped; since the 15th century, it has been used as a symbol for the male’s erect sex organ.”
Let's go read that old Safire column, because there had to be a reason why the subject came up — something in the news that half-century ago. Aha!
Toward the end of "Meet the Press"... we were discussing Whitewatergate. David Broder of The Washington Post took issue with my suspicions of heavy financial scandal ahead. "If you told me that Bill Clinton was very horny or very ambitious," Mr. Broder opined over the NBC network, "I would have no trouble believing it. If you told me that he was money-hungry and was cutting corners for money, I'd say that doesn't sound like the Bill Clinton I know."

When the show ended, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and columnist looked around and innocently asked, "Can you use a word like horny on television?"... In my opinion, no... Instead of "if you told me he was horny," try "if you told me he played around a lot." (In formal newspaper writing, of course, you could not use play around, except in a quotation; you would have to use terms like promiscuous or the fuzzier, less judgmental sexually active, or if referring to a specific state, sexually aroused.
So it was about Bill Clinton, and having just spoken of the notion of women as the cultural washing machine, I must note the havoc caused in America when that man, Mr. Clinton, sullied a woman's dress and she chose not to clean it.

By the way, that Safire article is from February 6, 1994 — and that was 4 years before the name Monica Lewinsky first appeared in the NYT... in an editorial called "A Crisis From Petty Sources" (January 28, 1998):
There is a general reluctance to have the private life of any President become a matter of public inquiry. In some quarters there is a willingness to believe that Kenneth Starr, the Whitewater Independent Counsel, has a vendetta against this President and that the far right's backing of Paula Jones is designed to destroy his Presidency. Yet the political good will that normally flows toward the White House is constantly being blocked in Mr. Clinton's case by reports -- unproven, but disturbingly persistent -- of unrestrained personal behavior and of fund-raising that flouted the law. More seriously, this Administration repeatedly forces its supporters to choose between loyalty and respect for the law.

Those are Clinton Administration themes established long before the charges that Mr. Clinton had a sexual relationship with a White House intern then 21 years old, Monica Lewinsky, and later instructed her to lie about it in a sworn deposition. Mr. Clinton has denied the charges, and on the surface they seem so tawdry, the alleged impropriety so avoidable by a mature leader, that it is hard to comprehend their potential impact.....

It is not the legality of anyone's sexual behavior that is at issue here. The legal questions before Mr. Starr are obstruction of justice, perjury and suborning of perjury....
ADDED: On publishing this post, I realize that my post title is a rhyming couplet. Ragged poetry. I wouldn't have done that on purpose, but I won't change it, even though I have an idea for a better title. I'm thinking of the famous Nixon quote:  "Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal."



I'm thinking, for my alternative post title: "Well, when women do it, that means that it is not gross."

55 comments:

rhhardin said...

The washing machine is so conceived that, having been filled with a heap of ignoble tissue, the inner emotion, the boiling indignation that it feels from this, when channelled to the upper part of its being, falls back down on the heap of ignoble tissue turning its stomach - more or less perpetually - it being a process that should end up with a purification.

So here we are at the heart of the mystery. The sun is setting on this Monday evening. Oh housewives! And you, near the end of your study, how tired your backs are! But after grinding away all day long like this look at what clean and proper arms you have, your pure hands, worn by the most moving toil!

Certainly the linen, once it went into the washing machine, had already been cleansed, roughly. The machine did not come into contact with filthiness as such, with snot, for example dried out, filthy, and clinging to the handkerchiefs.

It is still a fact, however, that the machine experiences an idea or a diffuse feeling of filthiness about the things inside of itself, which, through emotions, boilings, and efforts, it manages to overcome - in separating the tissue : so much so that, when rinsed in a catastrophe of fresh water, these will come to seem extremely white.

And here, in effect, is the miracle:

A thousand white flags are suddenly unfurled - attesting not to defeat, but to victory - and are not just, perhaps, the sign of corporal propriety among the inhabitants of the neighborhood.

- Francis Ponge (excerpts cited by Derrida)

Big Mike said...

If by horny women you mean women who are very eager, positively desperate, to get laid, then the text of “Lysistrata” tells us that the phenomenon is not new, nor confined to coastal cities in the US of A.

Shouting Thomas said...

My guess is that the word "horny" refers to the devil's goat horns.

It is the devil that tempts us to be horny.

Ralph L said...

Lloyd George was known as "the Goat" because of his horniness.

Ralph L said...

If you told me that he was money-hungry and was cutting corners for money, I'd say that doesn't sound like the Bill Clinton I know.

We heard that a lot in the 90's, even after the fund-raising scandals for the '96 campaign. Hillary must have been behind it all.

AllenS said...

As far as BJ Clinton is concerned, you know what they say: "if you not getting it at home..."

MayBee said...

So there was a time *women* thought the word horny was gross and only applied to men? Tell me, when was this time? I don't recall living through it.

rhhardin said...

The goat-footed balloon man whistles far and wee.

MayBee said...

If Sophia Benoit thought this, I am going to guess she grew up reading women's magazines and being taught then men have no feelings or emotions other than to want sex, and women's emotions will be used against them so men can have sex.

Sydney said...

Whenever I hear the word “horny” I hear an old Howard Stern clip he used to play over and over with a woman saying “Me so horny” in an Asian accent, which in turn triggers a mental image of a prostitute calling out a window to sailors on the street. Not sure why I get that image, but I do. So, I associate the word with prostitutes and women of easy virtue.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

25 years is a quarter century, not a half century.

Sally327 said...

"Me so horny...me love you longtime..."

Not me, of course, I'm quoting because I see the word 'horny' and I hear the Vietnamese hooker from Full Metal Jacket in my head. I find it comical that young women are using that word now as a liberated expression of sexual desire. Okey dokey then.


Rory said...

The most important part of a washing machine is the agitator.

rhhardin said...

I always read it as a front-loader, though in 30s France who knows what they had.

Skeptical Voter said...

Would Hillary Clinton cut a corner to pick up a quarter on a sidewalk, you betcha. Would Hillary sell a big chunk of her country's uranium supply to get several million dollars----and on and on.

Poor old Bill--while he was out being horny with anything with a skirt, Hillary was busy making money. He's hardly the breadwinner in the house.

Leland said...

Ok boomers.

n.n said...

Horny is a crude semantic reference to phallus.

Ralph L said...

The most important part of a washing machine is the agitator.

No, it's the water shut-off valve.

MayBee said...

Sydney- you probably get that image in your head because the clip originally came from the movie Full Metal Jacket, where a Vietnamese street walker is saying it. Probably saw the clip somewhere without it registering.

rehajm said...

Lexicographer Susie Dent did a video guide to swear words that’s on YouTube. No horny that I can see but BOLLOCKS is there but one time Rachel Riley had to card out HORNY on Countdown, which is also youtubeable...

Sydney said...

Maybee and Sally327- Thanks for bringing my subconscious to the conscious. I did see that movie but can’t remember anything about it. That clip must have stuck with me.

Sally327 said...

"I did see that movie but can’t remember anything about it."

Maybe because I've seen it a bunch of times I'm amazed by that! I think it's worth seeing again if you're of a mind to. I saw it originally in a drive-in (do those exist anymore?) and on TV since then. It's held up well, although a little dated and far more unsubtle in its messaging from what I remember thinking when I first saw it.

It has some great scenes.

tcrosse said...

I love Norma Loquendi.

Meade said...

Me so soup.

Josephbleau said...

My best recollection from FMJ is Gunnery Sgt Hartman yelling “You run my obstacle course like old people fu*k!” A stretch of horniness.

Jeff Brokaw said...

I’ll take the bait but rather than go read what the daft NYT dipshit says, I’ll ask the commenters here.

Women surely have used actual words to describe the state of mind that men are crass enough to call “horny”... what words would those be?

My guess is “horny”. Prove me wrong.

Wince said...

"If you told me that he was money-hungry and was cutting corners for money, I'd say that doesn't sound like the Bill Clinton I know."

Enter Hillary to "launder" the funds.

holdfast said...

That “Me so horny. Me love you long time” Is of course from the classic movie Full Metal Jacket. And in the early days of music sampling it was used as a central piece of the song of the same name by bad boy rappers 2Live Crew. Those of us born in the 70s who grew up in the 80s might remember that their album was actually banned in some places. I remember going to the record shop and having to buy it from under the counter with a knowing look from the counter attendant.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kiJkKM6u81o&app=m&persist_app=1

holdfast said...

Honestly, the term seems incredibly old fashion these days. Like it really is something out of the 80s or 90s. The last major cultural reference I can think of is Austin Powers, Mike Myers’ parody British spy, who said “Do I make you horny, baby?”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ec_n2YTdA24

Seeing Red said...

Horny?

My generation was horny.

This current generation is nuts.

They’re either horny or lawyered up.

Howard said...

San Fernando Valley ranch girls were always horny back in the day. You really have to up your game to compete with a horse.

Guildofcannonballs said...

This is a link talking about EVERYTHING you want.

Mark said...

Would Hillary Clinton cut a corner to pick up a quarter on a sidewalk, you betcha.

Would Hillary try to take a charitable gift tax deduction for donating old used underwear?

Meanwhile, Bill had already degraded the office when (before the 92 election if I recall) he welcomed a voter's question, "Boxers or briefs?"

Saint Croix said...

Instead of "if you told me he was horny," try "if you told me he played around a lot." (In formal newspaper writing, of course, you could not use play around, except in a quotation; you would have to use terms like promiscuous or the fuzzier, less judgmental sexually active, or if referring to a specific state, sexually aroused.

That's really bad journalism. Does she not know what "horny" means?

"Plays around" is not even in the same ballpark as "horny." She's trying to make it seem more innocent. And in doing so she says that a verb describing an action (plays around) is the same thing as an adjective (horny), which is simply the modern, updated version of lustful.

Plays around is more innocent because it references a much vaguer and wider scope of activities. It could theoretically mean that you flirt with a lot of people, or that you're not a serious person.

While promiscuous or adulterer is a way more serious word choice, neither of those is a good word to describe horny, which is an internal state, possibly a sin, but one that says nothing about whether you give in to temptation or resist it.

Horrible journalism. And implicitly it is a lame attempt to defend Bill Clinton.

tcrosse said...

Old joke:
Monica Lewinsky goes to the dry cleaners with a dress. Dry cleaning guy is way in back.
"Yoo hoo! It's me, Miss Lewinsky. I have a dress to be laundered."
"Come again?"
"No, it's gravy this time."

Michael said...

I graduated from high school in 1963 and girls were using the word "horny" then with respect to each other or even themselves. There isn't as much new under the sun as younger people think.

n.n said...

"The most important part of a washing machine is the agitator."

No, it's the water shut-off valve.


If you don't have an agitator, you can't have clean clothes. How can you have clean clothes if you don't have an agitator. w/a Pink Floyd

Earnest Prole said...

Among other things,Trump’s impeachment is tit-for-tat, game-theory payback for Clinton’s.

Michael K said...

If you told me that he was money-hungry and was cutting corners for money, I'd say that doesn't sound like the Bill Clinton I know."

He learned, probably from "Travel Office Hillary."

walter said...

Do I Make You Horny Baby? Do I Make You Randy?

Sebastian said...

"Well, when women do it, that means that it is not gross."

Ladies: not only is it not gross, it's pretty great, especially when you do it.

Thanks, and be sure to do it more, if only for the sake of being not-gross.

Darrell said...

In Britain, they have been talking about getting the horn for at least a thousand years. And they do mean erection. Women even use it for a stiffening clitoris.

Churchy LaFemme: said...

A local radio station used to have an ongoing bumper-spot feature about "Words that sound sexier in an English accent" -- specifically a posh female English accent. I remember "Naughty" & "Dirty". I'm pretty sure "Horny" would be much improved by that treatment as well.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

out: scruples

in: throuples

the great sanitizers are eating Tide pods

narciso said...

re bombshell, it's as grand guignol, as jay roach's previous project, game change or as I like to call it 'julianne's bender' now Megyn wouldn't have a career if not for ailes intervention, something she must have discovered when they jettisoned from the today shows sans parachute,

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skookum John said...

San Fernando Valley ranch girls were always horny back in the day. You really have to up your game to compete with a horse.

All horsey girls are complete lunatics, as everyone knows. Having spent time in the company of both kinds, however, I can assure you that the barrel-racing, pole-bending, goat-roping ranch girls from flyover country are a lot more grounded than the equestrienne types from Westchester and Beverly Hills who do their dressage and show-jumping on $25,000 horses that Daddy bought them after he divorced Mummy.

The ranch girl has robust appetites and will take you to her bed, but as a rule, she's a one-man woman who is always straightforwardly on the lookout for the guy that will buy her a ranchette and settle down with her so she can start popping out little cowboys and cowgirls. The pampered show-jumper has no such long-term goal in mind, only mindless gratification, with equanimitous disregard whether she is getting her jollies with you, her girlfriend, the stable hand, designer drugs, or the horse itself. (English flat saddles have pressure points in certain spots that seem to be deliberately designed and placed. Those made by the Stubben company have a reputation for being particularly sensual for the female rider.)

Douglas B. Levene said...

Methinks that the NYT reporter never listened to Liz Phair.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Some people get horny whenever they see the moon on the shore.

Or read Copper Vision by Marianne Moore.

Or even when they see a piano leg touching the floor.

There is no accounting for what gets some people all jacked up.

John Henry

12/15/19, 5:26 PM Delete

tcrosse said...

Some people get horny whenever they see the moon on the shore.

Or kiss a frog with a Lincoln log.

Big Mike said...

If you told me that Bill Clinton was very horny or very ambitious," Mr. Broder opined over the NBC network, "I would have no trouble believing it. If you told me that he was money-hungry and was cutting corners for money, I'd say that doesn't sound like the Bill Clinton I know."

David Broder always was a fool, wasn't he?

Maillard Reactionary said...

"Women are, apparently, the great sanitizing machine..."

You mean they're not?

Nichevo said...

Phidippus said...
"Women are, apparently, the great sanitizing machine..."

You mean they're not?


As a rule, the 🚺 tends to smell worse than the 🚹. Women get quite irate when you observe this, however.

Bilwick said...

Unfortunately, when it comes to being a voting bloc, most women seem to be horny for the State.