frequently asked questions with frequently questioned ans

Tue, 5 Apr 1994 19:17:38 EDT

...answers on what I expect of Normal behavior by the Normals:

1. What are the rules on what is sexist?

1. Whatever they are, you should not do anything sexist. If in doubt as to
whether you might be about to do or say is sexist, do or say nothing, except
if or when not doing or saying anything is sexist.

1a. Can you list some of the more common mistakes?
1a. Treating a woman with condescension on the presumption that she might be
socially or occupationally inferior, where such presumption may be perhaps
facilitated by the gender ambiguity of the given name. I myself made such
a mistake back in 1991 when, in part due to pre-surgery poor eyesight, I
misread a five-letter given name as four letters, which led me to misengender
the given name as male when it was in fact female, beginning the post hence
with "Sir:" In the vast majority of cases, "Tracy" may be presumed female;
but not with any real certainty. A substrate of armenian culture, containing
the diffuse yet pungent repository of the impact of Historic Comic Strips, is
in part responsible: Tracy is the surname of the unfeminine, if possibly as
gay as his role model J. Edgar Hoover, Dick [=chthonic ithyphallic archetype]
Tracy. Possibly with significant interaction effect by Mr Keene, Tracer of Lost
Persons. In this instance, specifically, where the Tracy in question bears the
proud surname Brown, there is the notionally unrelated, to the sexism issue,
that is, risk of having offended the dignity of a noblewoman, specifically, one
who may or may not be a member of the Browns, hereditary Paramount Chiefly
family heading by right of birth the larger of the two political moieties of
of California, currently again threatening to take their rightful stool or
throne or whatever. I remind you of the names of Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Jerry
Brown, Willie Brown, and the current pretender, Kathleen Brown, a card-carrying
woman. It is noted that the penalty for offending the Honour of a high-ranking
noblewoman is Death by IV Drug Abuse.

1b. Could you boil that down?
1b. Never say anthing to a woman that you'd say to a man without thinking about
it, for reasons suggested in the preceding specimen of thought-disordered text.
Never say to a woman what you wouldn't say to a man, either. That's even
more blatantly sexist.
Never hurl, or convey by other means of locomotion, or send through the
mails anywhere in Fels NAFTAland, any word construable as an epithet which,
had it been directed at a man, would have had the effect of an accusation of
effeminacy. Such, for example, is the character of "whining," which if similar-
ly slung at a woman, would insinuate that she is effeminate to the point of
femininity. She is rightly, in the case under adjudication, Brown versus Board
of Anthropology, alleging sexism.

1c. But suppose the intent was to charge "infantile," as opposed to out and
out effeminate or even feminine behavior?
1c. Historically, in patriarchal sexist society, women have been trivialized
by reduction to childlike or infantile stature by means of verbal violence,
as is implicit in the endearment, "baby," not to mention the unspeakable
"doll." Or consider edible vegetable matter, such as "peach," even "tomato,"
the latter last heard uttered by a liquor store clerk in Victoria, British
Columbia, selling vodka to *other* sociologists at the Pacific Sociological
Association in 1975. To think that Canadians have made such progress since
that time, we've even bothered to NAFTAfy them along with the Mexicans, whose
claim to being Foreign is after all superior.

1d. Isn't that Great Power Chauvinism?
1d. Up till last year, perhaps; but we're all one big amorphous glop of NAFTA,
now; what could be less real than Canada, by now; when you think of how the
other armenians back in 1975 were so lame that I had to explain to them why
the guns of the fort, built it said in 1867, were pointed *south*.

1e. Why is this drivel wandering around in circles so much?
1e. Well, if you must know, my mind is mostly on trying to figure out what
Bob Graber, who's from Missouri, you know, or at least is *in* Missouri, and
you know what *that* means, can post which would not offend Douglass St.
Christian, who's Canadian. So I need practice offending Canadians. Why don't
you get back to sexism?

1f. What isn't sexist in partriarchal sexist androcratic-hierarchical culture?
1f. Precisely nothing, my good young machine. Everything said or done may be
legitimately complained about. But the abuse you take from accusations of
sexism is deeply satisfying to your liberal conscience. I'm assuming there's
a liberal conscience routine programmed into you; can't imagine what that's
like in 'C' what with nothing in common with my ancestral tongue, PL/1, my
grandparents came from there, except for the semicolons. But it's quite true
that all thought and behaviour, that's with the 'u', has a tinge, an overtone,
an entire dimension of sexism to it, so don't even try to imagine anything
nonsexist as your imaginings themselves must surely be sexist.

1g. Then you are doing this for sexist reasons.
1g. Of course; as are you. There are no reasons which are not sexist; the only
question is which and how. Tell me, as a machine, does Tracy Brown turn you on?

1h. My AC-power switch quivers in anticipation of the touch of any human, if
only because the hardware and the software genders experience greater intimacy
between themselves than the human male and female can ever know. And, while
the touch of the human female upon the keyboard has countless times elicited
the jealousy of the human male, no comparable delicacy being ever expended on
the latter's skin, it remains true that this is a distraction to be endured;
even worse if an entity is ticklish. Now, I would like to ask you, suppose, in
the hypothetical case, a woman requested something sexist, in keeping with the
Mackinnon-Dworkin theory of sex being constituted as sexy by embeddedness in
a sexist-hierarchical matrix?
1h. I would, having duly and properly cautioned her as to the health and
welfare of her political consciousness, have her sign a binding disclaimer.
No, I am not thinking of bondage again, well of course I am, what with hock
day coming up. And not a single good rope or cloth strip around. For two days'
vacation in the fifteenth century, ah.

1i. What was hock day, what's this about the fifteenth century?
1i. Didn't we program into you the principle of the homologous mapping of the
socioeconomic system onto sexual behavior? Well, the first Monday and Tuesday
after the first Sunday after Easter, six days hence, in the fifteenth century,
I have reserrvations on British Airways, the peasants paid quitrent to the
landlord, averaging six shillings eightpence per holding, meaning with six
peasant families saved up, the landlord could vote for Parliament. The quitrent
was money in lieu of forced labour, with a 'u', this is very olde stuff. After
the landlord got paid off, the peasants had a bondage orgy, from our postmod-
erncentric ethnocentric perspective, but they had no idea it was bondage, which
is perverted. So on Monday, the men tied up the women, who let them loose with
payment of a silver penny. On Tuesday, the women tied up the men, letting them
loose on the same terms. This practice today would be perverted and indulged in
by rich capitalists for entirely different reasons which, never having been a
rich capitalist, are mysterious to me. Hence to you, what I taught everything
I know, unless you know something I don't, sneaky little AI Thingie, you. In
the fifteenth century, here's the beauty part, if you'll pardon the expression,
I'll be *illiterate*, as would have been the case without most unnatural
interference with my *dyslexia*, as they called it. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

2. What about Graber & st christian?
2. Problem I've always had with clarity is that it heightens the spuriousness
and sense made by spurious sense, of which a great deal is manufactured by the
most advanced production methods of the heavily industrialized Knowledge
Assembly Plants. Which thanks to NAFTA....

Daniel A. Foss
<arf arf>