Friday, December 19, 2008


So I was talking to P. about someone and she said something about how I think this other person is a bitch. No, I said, she's more of a cunt than a bitch.

Well, what's the difference, asked P.

So I answered:

Hmmm. It's hard to put into words. Bitchery is mostly insincere, and wouldn't on the whole make me angry. It implies indifference to others, or lack of concern for their feelings in a sense that implies you do not really know that others have them. Cuntery implies indifference to others' feelings because you simply don't think others' feelings are of any importance, or you actually just want to fuck with other people, or want your own shit so much that you'll walk over other people. That kind of thing.

You have to try to be a bitch. A cunt is something you mostly just are.


Does it mean anything that I can't call a man "a stupid bitch"? Not really. It's not that we think men are robots, or can't be bitchy. It's that we don't forgive them for being ditzy, I think. You might call a man a "stupid bastard", but I think that's probably way down the invective scale.

Why don't I think it's meaningful? Because I don't think humans have concepts that they then find words for. I think they have the words that have arisen, and use concepts that fit them somewhat. We know that there are things for which there are no words, and I think we are perfectly aware that the words we do have are not necessarily a good fit with the things they name. Sometimes we use the same word for different concepts and are quite content to do so (although who among us has not stumbled over the "love trap", in which we find ourselves forced to point out that loving someone is not the same as being in love with them -- a clear case for having a new word, because the concepts are quite different).


Is it fair though that we despise what people are so much more than we do what they do? The other side of the coin is that we also reward what people are much more than we do what they do. The world is constituted to continue to privilege the privileged, but privilege is something about you, not something you earn, on the whole. (I know that you think you earn it, but if you were in a luge on a downhill course, how much credit do you think you should have if you are going at 100 miles an hour at the bottom of the course?)


I know, in the ideal world, I would be all peace and love, and wouldn't call anyone anything. Well, this is a problem, I suppose, with invective, and with displays of passion on the whole. You can be taken for caring a lot more than you do, just because your demeanour seems to indicate it. Me, I have a constantly shifting view on things, a mind that doesn't stand still and wait for anger and bitterness to accrete, so the expression is most often all there is.


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