Author Topic: TWAM


  • London's hard-boiled black'n'white sweetie
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2021 »
Their time will come

Do not speak to the driver or obscure their vision
when the bus is moving.
From Shelley to Bowie - it's all been done before.
Blakey was a blokey.

Oh the curse of gender - they cures me of it.
Not that I was ever ill.

Happy birthday to me
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2021 »
I've come a long way to spin in my grave: An Open Letter to the Fawcett Society

Beyond belief
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2021 »
Here are some clarifications trending on Twitter!

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to put the ram in the rama lama ding dong

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to take all the best chips off your plate

- It's important to emphasise that this does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to walk behind you shouting, 'Left! Right! Left! Right!'"

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to break into a museum and draw moustaches on all portraits

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to redecorate your house if she doesn't like your wallpaper

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to make rabbit ears behind you during a group photo

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to give away the ending of a novel just when you've started reading it

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to use '10 items or less' when she really means 'fewer'

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to split infinitives, misuse apostrophes, or do anything else to piss off the other L. Truss

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to poke a badger with a spoon

- It is important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to eat egg sandwiches and crisps noisily in the quiet carriage of a train on a hot summer's day

- It is important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to punch all the cakes in the supermarket and run away

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to use "staycation" when what she really means is a perfectly ordinary holiday within the UK

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to park on the zigzags at school pickup time, and say, "it's ok, I’ve got my hazards on"

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to put empty milk carton back in the fridge

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to keep tickling the Dalai Lama long after he's begged her to stop

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to look up a Scotsman's kilt

- The ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to steal your bicycle and run down Owen Jones with it

- It's important to emphasise that the ruling does NOT give Maya Forstater the right to dress Owen Jones up as an elf, and pop him on her mantelpiece at Christmastime

This will be decided on at the tribunal.


  • London's hard-boiled black'n'white sweetie
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2021 »
In between

Did you need to make 100 replies?
Some so clever, some so snide
We are becoming infantile
If this is how we ride

#69 was not required?
Since childhood she's been wired
For 'they' to be adopted
As the wild card word

Language makes us think
it's a road with kinks
Built in. Let's not be stilted
But please let's lilt it

Shape of mind, words we find
Crafted lines defined
To answer every blind error
With more and better

Rabbits have 3 kinds you know
In between as well as buck and doe
For the human few with this state too
It was just cut right through

Belonging to this or that
Is a false comfort  - you twat!
You are offended - so counter
With borrowed toilet humour

You dip my logic and emotion
Into a flaming filthy ocean
If you can't make a good point
Without leaning to affront

A reply
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2021 »
Affrontery or effrontery
is my first thought

Snide does not sound great
any way you cut it
words mean things, different things
slyly disparaging is apt in this case
I thought the list of little worth
but clearly worth enough
for the challenge of point by point
firstish thing that came to mind
not all Worthy, but all honest
part Rorschach
you have made of it and me what you will
fair enough.

Of gender I have been swimming in other people's thoughts
my own are these:
I am sam I am

I like this name in part because it is either
(it was chosen for me by a woman not my mother)
I am a man but not bothered
even while being bothered;
fucking with reality bothers me
nastiness by nasty people bothers me
æffrontery is a case-by-case basis
life is too brutally short in my book
for hackles so easily tickled to attention
but we've all got our own hackles
to deal with.

Twat tossed at whomever
doesn't elevate the bar.
For example.

I like your honesty.

Shall I admit
your poem went right by me
on first reading
(my pleasure at a contribution
temporarily blinding me to the actual contribution)?
Is that sort of honesty
Helpful or Hindrance?
H1: "In wot universe."
H2: "The defense rests."
- Doesn't everyone have a constant courtroom in their head?
A battle of wit against dimwit, the bicameral mind
fully realised?

The company has been nice
long solitude has inoculated me to losing it
(sez the drama queen in me)
fingers crossed not
but landmines I can do without.
Accommodation can be made
we'll see what we see.
I'm out here for all to see
bit by byte by bit by bite
more all the time
it could be landmines remain for you
blowing all to smithereens retroactively
all part of the getting to know you phase

Give me 10 minutes and I'll come up with 10 different endings
This will do for now
Only locked in on reply

« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2021 »
Well hello.

I am Humbug's P.A. and thought it would be a little off to embark on prose debate here in his name.

I came rather late to the web arena - really only got hooked up in 2008 - and even later to its twisted paths of gender identity crises. I only started to seek and respond to the topic online after someone I knew began to transition. I talked with good people about my and other perspectives on this life-changing process before ever coming out virtually. This is important I think. Though some of us still hold different views we did find some synthesis or at least understanding, and are still talking.

The web is a very different set of beasts though. The idea I wanted to express is that I early (before the age of 5) concluded that gender is a social construct and decided that I wanted no part of its building. It seemed obvious to me that 'girlish' or 'boyish' stereotypes were holding back everyone from women engineers to men childcarers. Being an androgenous person I naturally felt some solidarity with hermaphrodite people (as known then - now we would say intersex, though this doesn't quite express the full 'both sexes' meaning) and felt and still feel that we need the pronoun 'they' not only for people of neither or both sexes but also for changing in as organic way as possible the language of gender distinction - hence Humbug's line, 'Do not speak to the driver or obscure their vision.' I learned to read largely from notices on buses and the sides of breakfast cereal packets, and this was my hoped for edit to the usual sexist script both for realism and simplicity.

I am now called a 'cis' woman, and am told to accept this even though I have no particular gender characteristics, which I find contradictory. I engaged with libertarian socialists on a global discussion forum and with bloggers - both trans-activists and feminists who were to varying degrees trans-exclusionary about this problem of definition. Nowhere did I find a debate that did not descend towards farce. Feminists have offended trans people, some trans people have responded with further nastiness, petulance has appeared on all sides and the whole thing has become pitiful.

There is much of interest in this forum. I am particularly impressed by the Barra Kerr piece. Maya Forstater's case is an imporrtant one and the 'Open Letter to the Fawcett Society' is valuable reading.

However posting very low-grade videos lampooning Owen Jones or Eddie Izzard is indulgent in a way that defuses the strengths of the good points made. I think I read somewhere that the editor is not a proponent of memes - moving-picture memes are no step up.

Affrontery is deliberate, effrontery is shameless offence.

I asked a couple of things in a private message and got answers that welcomed my dissent but didn't answer the questions - so,

Could you please take more care to critique without the descent towards antagonism (dis)courtesy(sic) of youtube? I can tolerate a bit of farce but would really enjoy intelligence worthy of inviting my friends to share.

Do you think there is a case for 'they' as a gender-free pronoun, or will you dismiss it along with the list of more artificial he/she alternatives? Conveying plurality is even rather apt with 'they' and it is already a term in common parlance.

If my use via Humbug of 'twat' in a poem offended you I apologise. I do feel, perhaps erroneously, that poetic license is a bigger thing than youtube parody rights. Please think of it as a acronym.


« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2021 »
They say nature abhors a vacuum, though birthday boy Blaise Pascal had contrary words on the subject. There is a need for contemplative essays, peer-reviewed studies, and no-holds-barred lampooning, all. I feel surprisingly strongly about the latter: just as fiction can touch truths non-fiction can't reach, so can the apparently unserious unsettle serious falsehoods.

I’d agree that an argument based on memes is not the bedrock of a solid discussion. Then again, at some point I stopped reckoning on having any discussions here. Thus the state of this thread, a magpie’s collection of conversation starters including videos. Self-indulgence is certainly a risk in such an environment. Without delving into specifics, I think reasonable people can come to different conclusions as to their merit. That said, it is helpful to know what to avoid in conversations you may start.

(I'm not aware of having taken a particular stand against memes unless drive-by eye-rolling at the saccharin counts, though am happy to be corrected. Likes and bountiful smileys on the other hand…

The only thing that distinguishes some of what I get up to from memehood is lack of wide circulation.)

Then there’s TWAT. Back in junior high I took a French class, and with it a Frenchie name: Antoine. Thanks to a bully this quickly turned into Antwat. I can still remember the look on my father's face when I told him, dewily innocent of TWATs and perhaps thinking the nickname a softening in the bully’s treatment of me. A lifelong aversion could’ve been born then and there, but I actually am not at all offended; I also use it on occasion, when absolutely necessary.

It’s not in my nature to deliberately offend those undeserving of it, but as you know, offence happens. It isn't something I could start apologising for as there would be no end, or promise to studiously avoid as a beginning. I can only trust that people look at me, at context, back at me if necessary, and credit me with a heart.

Thanks for sharing your story with a fellow cereal box consumer, which is not to diminish any additional burdens you may have had (it's unclear to me). You were much more aware of gender than I was at such a tender age.

I don't accept 'cis' either, perhaps for different reasons than you. To me it is terminology from a religion to which I do not subscribe.

My own relationships have not fallen into the standard male/female divide in that I've never been close to my tribe of males. As a teenager I took to hanging out with the girls. Playing clarinet in band further ensured this would happen. (Woody Allen et al never came up.) One of my defining crisis was when I was set before a tribunal of sorts and judged as effeminate, or at the very least weird, and cast out of the company of the very girls I admired.

As a young man I moved from rural Ohio to NYC and found myself pursued in a way I didn't then find flattering. A small town boy in Greenwich Village with hetero tastes can very easily skirt homophobia and worse. Let's just say it was a close-run thing. I'm a big believer in learning from mistakes (preferably the mistakes of others).

Later I was to marry a woman with a traditionally male vocation, though anyone who knows the history of computing will be aware women were in it from the get-go. Over the years she was frequently the only female in the room.

Although our relationship isn't what I would classify as far outside norms, nor has it been entirely traditional.

Even my pandemic moptop [RIP] brought back an old preference. Fortunately we're past the silliness slightly before my era of dibs on long hair. The coiffeur who recently lopped it off triggered my own unease by saying it was proper rock star hair. Blame summer and too much of a good thing constantly getting in my eyes.

I don't know to what extent my experiences shaped my current view on the gender wars. It stands to reason they did.

It sounds as if you have much more real life experience navigating these waters, and I respect that. I would, however, dispute that the two ‘sides’ are even roughly equivalent in the nastiness meted out, at least online.

There is a desperate need for well run salons. Mumsnet, which at times I have outright loathed and still mostly regard as not far short of malign as a tool of conformity and outlet for simmering aggression (as a counterpoint to its motherload of useful experience to draw upon), has in its feminist board hosted more than a few discussions of a quality that have left me awestruck; so much so that it almost seems pointless to keep casting about for more and better. Still, better is surely possible, not least because their moderation can be bewildering, and anyone beholden to advertisers is already compromised.

I would love to host thoughtful discussions here, but the prospect is unlikely at best, even were you to give me a passing grade to your friends.

I can appreciate not wanting to be placed in a gender box, and as a default he, have personally suffered no linguistic unease. Do I think there is a case for ‘they’ as a gender-free pronoun? I suppose it depends how awkward the construction, and the situation. I don’t believe language can or should be compelled, however compelling the argument, absent a much stronger case of harm to a great number of people.

Notwithstanding what I would maintain is an unearned reputation for pugnacity (how often the one in the middle of a brawl is not the true offender), and a voracious appetite for hoovering up then emptying bags of links and quotes and memes of sufficient variety to confound anyone trying to get an exact bead on my taste, as mentioned upthread I do value civility. As I hope I’ve proved by now.

A flaw in my process* often renders me unable to post without a host of further edits as I continue to examine the angles and interrogate myself about my own truthfulness. Eventually this settles down; it definitely stops if there's a reply except for clarification or grammar or harmless flourish. The nature of this site means it's not traditionally been a problem in the slightest. Should that change, I'll try my best to move on after the final full stop.

My most common name for TextEdit files is Edit, followed by enlightening labels such as Further Edit, Final?, Final final, etc. This very 'colophon' will cease to exist if my last judgement is a resounding "Nobody cares, sam."

*This was first posted at approximately 23.50 last night, after starting in a notebook in a Sainsbury's parking lot in the early afternoon. Here it is 8.31 the morning after and I'm still whittling. I admire people who get it exactly right the first time, assuming they exist.

« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2021 »
I haven't broached this subject online in a long time. My previous efforts were not very positive experiences, but I am trying again. Yesterday I feared to have settled for farce. I am really sorry on many levels that my efforts have been clumsy so far - I suppose emotion has clouded my reactions. Hopefully interesting denouement is still out there somewhere.

By the way, Ernestine is one of my names. It is the handle I have used on to discuss gender issues amongst other things, and it implies getting serious, so I thought it honest enough to use it here, but you know my other names so I guess I should have mentioned this more explicitly.

Poetry seems again to be the way I have expressed my gist more effectively than prose, perhaps unsurprisingly. I didn't intend a nasty insult with the word 'twat' - in my world it is a fairly gentle word to use with folk on familiar terms. You and I have talked already about many things with humour and felt some common ground so I thought you would take it with light affection, cutting both ways, rather than as a pejorative term.

Also please pardon me for the potted definitions of a/effrontery. I had had to look them up and this was more for my own and perhaps the wider audience's regard.

It is usually difficult to be honest and entirely courteous simultaneously.

Talking amongst people who simply agree is ultimately less satisfactory than ironing out or defining differences. You have spent a lot of time on the gender business - thanks, and let's spend a little more.

The Maya Fortsater ruling has cleared some air, and if I don't say what I think and believe about all this and just stick to less controversial matters then I reckon it would be a cop out. My views on gender transitioning put me beyond the pale in righteous left circles. I grew up and was brought up so nicely in some respects that the stick I got from peers at school and the imagery of marketing didn't inflict me with gender dysphoria. If I blame society for the phenomenon, which I do, I now find myself shot by both sides.

I am conscious that in my last post I described myself as an androgenous person rather than an androgenous woman. I wrote 'woman' first, but edited that because my sex is irrelevant to issue of hermaphrodite people being forced to become male or female. (The one hermaphrodite person I have met specifically describes themself as hermaphrodite by choice. I am aware that the radical left prefers the term intersex.) I prefer to avoid gendered language where feasible. I believe that it has a lot to answer for. Language changes slowly whatever we say. I see good in finding better words.

I am astonished that so many young people prefer to change their bodies, even to the extent of gonad removal, in order to fit an idea of gender. I believe gender is largely a set of ideas. Perhaps for some they are such important ideas that the alteration of physical self is the only way to go.

I hope this forum is a safe enough space to say that I think this is tragic. I'd rather change the world. I hope it's also a safe enough space to say I can't blithely post other, hopefully funnier stuff, when I find some of the stuff here overhits the mark. I still reckon it is a shame to muddy it up with cheaper digs and I feel honour bound to comment on this. It is such cattiness of the virtual fisticuffs between radical feminists and trans-activists that has brought the politics of gender to a place where debate is often futile. Apportioning blame then becomes an end in itself. I have made too many silly but hurtful playground jibes online myself, and I am trying to give that up. I don't want debate to be futile. I like debate and I like the possibility of developing a world where gender really doesn't matter that much.


  • London's hard-boiled black'n'white sweetie
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2021 »
Ooh la la!

By the way Sam I am, fank you fer the luvverly email pictcher ov the frog, even if it wos a toad. It as got me waxin a bit lyrical innit.

Modern Times

Birf control in the water
Babies in the jug
Men in tights
Girls in fights
and bugs under the rug


« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2021 »
You're not the only one who had to look up affrontery. I knew what it meant, more or less, but was unclear on the spelling (as usual). There are plenty of references to it being obsolete, which doesn't much help as olde wordes lodge in the head just as readily as their replacements.

It’s difficult for me to write in a serious vein, which is why I avoid it when possible. It takes forever to say what I want to, what with all the erasing and sighing and mental pacing back and forth, and in the end it often seems like far too many words no matter how many I cut, as more rush in to help coagulate the wound.

I’m glad you’re here and talking, raising the bar for this thread. For what it's worth you’ve also played a role in my ongoing effort to rehabilitate myself from shirker or at least lamenter of any sort of confrontation, to an optimist gearing up for genuinely constructive dialogue, part of the reconstruction being on my own edifice. “Why can’t we all just get along” has long been my plaint, there being no sin in such naivety if it’s for a good cause.

Speaking of which, "I see good in finding better words" is something I can get behind, even if I'm less than enthusiastic about using They for everyone until and even after you see their true selves (that's not a dig).

I very much want this to be a safe space, and not just for me. My definition of that isn't an absence of, to use a popular word, triggers, or unpleasant or disturbing concepts, but a sincere striving for integrity. It includes the freedom to be offensive, as long as it's not merely another arrow for the bows of what are still almost charmingly called trolls.

I am aware of no safe spaces outside of the dubious comforts of a clique. Every single place I've been has had problems that made them, to me at least, ultimately uninhabitable. Mumsnet is a good example. The user is first and foremost part of a vast content machine to funnel ad revenue to Justine.

Then there's Ovarit, which I started referencing not long ago. It's a handy resource. While blessedly free of the sort of disingenuous posters who frequently assault Mumsnet Towers, it goes too far into, well, farce.

Recently someone posted that they wished men simply didn't exist, which stood without rebuttal the last I saw. I can handle that, and might have even enjoyed coming up with a reply were I a member (taking care as it may have come from a place of sexual violence), but their definition of safe space is, as far as I can tell, exclusively female. That's their prerogative and I don't mind one way or the other; my stance on the right of women and men to have their own spaces pretty much demands they be allowed that. But it serves as yet another example of a site that falls short. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, I know…

Ernestine, there is so much more to talk about, and I welcome anyone you care to bring into this and other conversations, especially as it may help take the heat off me to keep taxing my brain; as you can probably guess, I'd rather be captioning and making paper aeroplanes for flights of fancy. Humbug, I’m fresh out of amphibians, so here’s a squirrel I saw earlier today. My stance on them (“crazy bastards”) has softened. We're all just trying to get by as best as we can in this world.