Gender vs Genderless Titles

  • Waiter / Waitress
  • Actor / Actress
  • Doctor / Doctress?
  • Lawyer / Lawyess?
  • Nurse / Nurser?
  • Author / Authoress (that one is real)

Why are some titles/occupations gender based and others not? I got to thinking about such things and attempted to derive a pattern.

The only rationale I could come up with is that during the gestation of each of these occupations, if there were both male and female participants, then dual occupational titles were created. This may not hold water, but let’s see…

When did restaurants really come into their own? At the end of the 1800’s? Ergo waiter/waitress. What about film and the occupation of acting? Early 1900’s? Actor/actress.

If this concept holds true then the fact that both men and women starting out in the same field needed different names. Host/hostess? Both were necessary as both came to be when the need arose. How about: prince/princess, barman/barmaid, or steward/stewardess. Were each of those name-pairs created at the same time (because both genders were doing the same job)?

Engineer, doctor, lawyer, surveyor, conductor, tailor, sailor and so and so forth, all were originally male-filled jobs. All got names that only have the one gender.

And then there are the occupations where females originally dominated the position, like nurse, midwife, model. There weren’t male versions of those created when they came to be, women exclusively filled those positions.

These days, new occupation titles are always genderless: programmer, copywriter, consultant, developer, designer, controller.

Gender oriented titles are pretty much gone these days. And if not gone, then frowned upon: “I’m not a stewardess, I’m a flight attendant!”

What do you think?

 

Unexpected Consequences

In addition to apocalyptic scenarios, I also enjoy teasing out the possibilities of action/reaction in society’s macro behaviors. Like Freakonomics taught us, what are the implications to what we’re experiencing and how we’re reacting? Here are a few I’ve heard of and some I’ve dreamed up myself. My favorite is Goldie’s “there’s gonna be a rash of December babies born this year due to the work-from-home mandate.”

Close the borders and…

  • Migrant workers cannot come in to perform the agricultural work needed by 1/3 of the industry.
  • They won’t be there to pick, pack, and purvey the produce we need directly, and the food industry needs to create our canned, bottled and frozen foods.
  • Those same workers won’t be there to perform the planting that will result in crops in four to six months.
  • Close the borders and we eventually starve.

Close the schools and after school programs the daycare facilities and…

  • All the kids now need parents to stay home.
  • Many of those parents are critical service workers: police, healthcare, emergency responders, infrastructure repair.
  • And the kids won’t be staying home, or alone, or away from the elders who live with them. They’ll be out mixing it up with other neighborhood kids, perhaps more so that had they just stayed in school.

Shut down the hospitality industry and…

  • Fifteen million low to medium wage people lose work if not their jobs.
  • Another eight million in the airline industry lose work if not their jobs.

* Suppress spending across the entertainment, sports and restaurant industries and the velocity of money drops through the floor — ending up in a massive recession — one we’ve been expecting for three years.

* Drive the price of oil down below $30/barrel and the booming U.S. shale oil and fracking industry collapses throwing another million workers into the pit.

@ On the bright side, fewer cars on the road means fewer traffic accidents; less air pollution; quicker response to emergency calls (to save an elderly person with COVID symptoms).

* Force everyone to work from home and the homeless go WTF?

@ Fortunately, it’s already second nature to remain socially distant from the homeless.

@ Is there going to be a resurgence of home cooking where millennials learn to make more than Mac-a-cheese and Ramen?

* Too bad Grandma won’t be allowed in the kitchen with those asymptomatic carriers.

* Millions were forced from their homes to live at the whims of the rentier society during the last Great Recession.

@ Although thousands more will end up being force to foreclose during this calamity, at least we know that the rich are just as susceptible to this scourge — so there’s hope a proportionate number will die along with the rest of us.

* Is this the end of the Farmer’s market? Craft fairs? Concerts in the park?

No doubt the unintended and unexpected consequences from this pandemic will continue to play out. How many more can we come up with? I’m sure there are dozens just waiting to be exposed.

  • More marijuana smoking/eating?
  • More alcohol binging?
  • More reviews on movie venues, book venues, products?
  • More online psychologist sessions?
  • More facetime calls with estranged family?
  • More Amazon Prime memberships?
  • More neighbor altercations?
  • More house cleaning?
  • More nookie?
  • More?

Lame Apocalypse

This is not the apocalypse I’ve been hoping for.

In fact, this is no apocalypse at all. This is just people freaking out because this is a NEW way to die, one that nobody has previously experienced. There are still dozens of much more probable ways to die, but we don’t care about those, we know all about those.

It’s the devil we don’t know that instills panic.

Will this devil be worse than suicide? Drug overdoses? Septicemia? Influenza? What about diabetes or auto accidents? Where’s our perspective?

Vanished with the specter of this new addition to our panoply of mortality.

How many apocalyptic authors got that run-on-toilet-paper meme right? None that I’ve read. “Betty, that apocalisp thing they keep talkin’ ’bout on the news is gettin’ mean. Best you go down to the Wal-wart and buy as much damn shit-sheets you can get your hands on.” “Yeah, paper towels’ll do in a pinch.”

With work shut down, with schools closed, with all the banal, mindless pastimes cancelled, how many more of the lower 80% of wage-earners are going to stick a barrel in their mouth, or pop a dozen fentanyl? What will be the fallout from all this draconian “individual distancing” (social distancing — that’s a bloody oxymoron)? Twice as many deaths from the cure than from the cold?

This apocalypse sucks, but it’s all we got. So, I’m enjoying the work-from-home policy—passed down from on high, the extra lunch time, the peaceful time on the toilet (with my hoard of TP), and the new 4:00 PM happy-hour (who’s to know?). I’m no fool though, and so I’m boosting my vitamin-D intake, lots of fluids, and praying that someone will whizz by and breathe me a solid dose of coronavirus cuz’, let’s face it, gotta get busy dying fast or get bored dying slow.

Top 15 Major Causes of Death in the U.S. 2017

Rank Cause of death Number of deaths
1 Heart disease   647,457
2 Malignant neoplasms (tumors)   599,108
3 Accidents (unintentional injuries)   169,936
4 Chronic lower respiratory diseases   160,201
5 Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke)   146,383
6 Alzheimer’s disease   121,404
7 Diabetes   83,564
8 Influenza and pneumonia   55,672
9 Kidney disease   50,633
10 Intentional self-harm (suicide)   47,173
11 Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis   41,743
12 Septicemia   40,922
13 Hypertension (2)   35,316
14 Parkinson’s disease   31,963
15 Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids   20,108
All other causes   561,920
All deaths 2,813,503

 

 

When Shit Happens

How I love it when shit happens.

Despite anyone’s valiant attempts to strive for their personal goals, the world comes along and fucks shit up. Everyone’s shit.

And the realization that nothing you do will amount to anything, or, in Willy Wonka reverse notation, everything you do will amount to nothing, is first and foremost in everyone’s mind as the world comes apart in this /barely/ registered blip of illness called COVID-19.

Holy Hell Folks. 150,000 people die EVERY DAY on this planet. and that 15,000 “extra” dead folks after 2 months of illness is somehow a God-Enacted-Disaster is just so much bunk.

When the stock market tanks I stand up and cheer: screw you, you arrogant Wall Street fucks! (I worked writing trading software for eight years and know how it really works… Traders are assholes and corporations are the scourge of the Earth.)

So, to watch the market plummet TEN PERCENT in one day, Hallelujah, absolution is at hand. Of course, the economy is in good shape: banks, employment, oil prices, interest rates, lack of a war or agricultural calamity — good shape. When this brouhaha bleeds into the history books, the general markets will come screaming back.

But in the interim, gottdamn I love to watch the world squirm, dangling on its own false hooks.

 

Writer’s Log: 2170 Workshop Review

My Writing Workshop was a success.

Two hours, the first one with me power-driving through the strategic and tactical slides. Then an hour of presenting some of the participant’s work and walking through edits I’d made.

No one wanted to go home despite the late hour. Writers, sheesh. They don’t know when to quit.

I solicited some feedback and here was a comprehensive reply:

“Honestly, was very interesting and easy for me to follow. I left the meeting feeling a little burned out because I felt like I learned quite a few really very useful and interesting things. Your expertise on the subject matter was apparent. To me one of the most important aspects was you listed a number of meaningful calls to action to improve our work.

I left the meeting feeling encouraged by the fact that if I work at it, I will continue to improve. providing the calls to action is a really important part of that. It will be important to maintain the progression I think. I wouldn’t have guessed that it was your first time leading a instruction and critique session.

Perhaps something that could add value is to find specific examples of some of the areas of improvement within the our work and talk through some of the edits that you suggest. Of course that would be easier if people didn’t submit 20 minutes before the session started haha.

Overall, very educational, and encouraging. Will look forward to participating in the future.”

Although I didn’t record it (sorry Goldie, George) I’m pretty sure it happened.

Another:

“I thought the workshop was excellent. I appreciated that you tackled the basics. I like the idea of moving on to higher level information, but i think it would be great to do more of a deep dive on some of the basics like dialogue and scenes before we move into strategy. It was nice that you gave feedback to everyone. Maybe next time we could also do a deep dive on one person’s work and have a discussion about it? This might help people to start thinking critically. “

Initially, my nervousness showed. But after I moved through the Takeaways slide, I got into explaining my ideas on each of the big pieces. I noticed that, rather that read the slides, I ignored them, and spoke around the material, providing a parallel take on the bullet points I’d provided. I personally hate when speakers just read the frickin’ slides. (The folks get to access the presentation at their leisure.)

I did use the material I’d created for the basic skills—the tactical. Reading a sentence and assessing why it either works or doesn’t (given all the factors that make up a good sentence: dialog-tags, active/passive, show-v-tell, adverbs, story essential) helps drive home what ‘writing well’ truly means. To me, internalizing these sentence tactics is both the hardest yet critical aspect to good writing. You can have the most fantastical plot, the strongest characters, and the greatest setting, but without having mastered the basics, your story will suck.

Dear Mudge, Monkey Face

MonkeyFacedEel
Monkey-faced eel – not really an eel, but tasty.

OK, Mudge, you claim ambivalence rather than kindness. But at least you’re a polite ambivalent. (And didn’t you recently claim kindness as a goal? Which you retracted, yes, but I think the label stuck.)

As to making a worthwhile point—on any topic—all opinions matter equally, which is, as we’ve determined, not at all. Yours, piled high and reeking, would at least provide philosophic nutrition to worms, weevils and woodlice.

You posted a set of nice lyrics; hard to imagine they weren’t part of some sonnet or modern Shakespearean knockoff. I would point out that simply by acknowledging your appreciation of such a touching piece, you expose a human side that, although you state such sentiment has bled away, I think not.

Our recent conclusion that intelligence correlates with misery garnered numerous counter arguments. Here’s my rebuttal: Although the tally of those miserable on either side of the IQ curve may be equal, the quality and variation of misery on the high side and, were the weight of grief totaled (intensity + complexity + recurrence), our side would tip the scale. (If that’s not a Pyrrhic victory I don’t know what is.)

On the subject of writing about the philosophy of existence, upon reflection I’d say my personal intent is therapy. Vaporous thought is one thing, but persisting one’s ruminations, for me, allows logic to overlay the mystical. I gain perspective this way. Not to mention that rereading such pontifications, later in life, often provides a chuckle or two.

Writing fiction used to be me dreaming on paper. These days, given my blooming narrative enlightenment, attempting to create something of beauty is now my goal. Although also therapeutic, writing is a challenge and when executed well, proof that my faculties are still somewhat intact. In highlight, there’s nothing like being in the *flow*, the slipstream—time fades away, I exist only in the moment, the story. That feeling comes all to rare, but when it does, it’s euphoric. You should try it sometime (grin).

I’ve convinced my “writing class” that they need to deliver 1000 narrative words by the 4th of February. One has complied and I’ve already waded into that one, red pen slashing.  As I edit, I’m reminded of my own neophyte writing those years ago.

“Boy, you sure are brutal.” My first contributor patted me on the shoulder. “But all your comments are spot on.” I’m surprised at how effortlessly I see what needs to be changed. But this is all ground-level stuff. The elevated techniques, levels two and three and beyond, that I’ve mentioned in the Writer’s Log, are much harder to communicate and learn. These core writer’s skills, when they’re missing, stick out like a blue tie at a Drumpf rally.

Time and practice. Starting out, such advice always appears short-sighted, “well, duh.” Only after actually putting in the long duration effort, and then measuring one’s progress by analyzing beginners, can one acknowledge that dogged regimen is the only way to excel—at anything. I started this writing endeavor at age 55. You, just turning a half-century, I wonder what skills you could amass were you to apply such a theory. (Is Vet-Tech still in your cards?)

Concrete ideas are always so much easier to discuss. Can you build a birdhouse from clear plexiglass? Should Lunists & Martians leverage lava tubes as habitat? Would artificial floating ocean islands, SeaSteading, be productive and useful or a waste of resources? It’s fine once in a while, but getting wrapped up in continuous existential conundrums, oy, let’s go fishing for monkey-faced eel or hunting for peyote or something, anything…

Yours,
‘Mole

Dear Mudge, Peanut butter

Dear Mudge,

You, sir, are one of the most enigmatic personalities who swims in these semi-anonymous waters. The net is nothing if not strong opinions voiced with impunity, don’t you think?

I hear your appeal to elevate the word “tribe” to mean actual, honest-to-god, tribes of native humans collected together for survival and cohesion. I hereby relinquish my use of the term for specious purposes (and I have used it frequently over the years). However, as you attempt to convince us that your curmudgeonly ways permeate your actual life, I call foul. As evidence I call forth this very repository of hypocrisy and your comments forthwith. Not even Gandhi himself could be more polite and considerate when addressing some of the just-as-strong opinions voiced here against/about our correspondence.

You sir, are a nice guy.

Regarding your supposition that intellect begets misery I would wholeheartedly agree. I’ve mentioned this very concept within these pages. I went searching and found this: https://anonymole.com/2017/06/21/how-smart-are-we/ and, in fact, if you search for “unhappy” here you’ll find a set of posts that pertain to this discussion. Basically (and I do mean that in its purest form of the word) the smarter you are the greater capacity you have for [words that reflect misery]. And happiness is about as far as you can get from intelligence.

Okay, that’s enough overt hot-linking (TomBeingTom). (Does anybody actually click embedded links? I don’t.)

On to my chosen topic of the moment: Peanut butter.

Seriously. I have this fascination for the origins of food. Where the hell did peanuts first come into culinary usage? (South America/Peru). Sesame seeds? The Fertile Crescent (where they may have been the first oil-pressed crop). Pistachios? (Afghanistan, as are hazelnuts). Turkeys, Tomatoes, Turmeric, Tilapia, Tapioca, Thyme, Turnips…

hazelnuttree
Hazelnuts / filberts grown in Oregon and Afghanistan

We don’t often consider food provenance but I do. Italians and tomatoes and polenta, Irish and potatoes, Asia and their peppers, all of it barely 500 years old, all of it “stolen” native foods. While humans have obviously been cultivating and consuming these foods for millennia, we rarely consider how recent our spice, nut, fruit and veggie basket has filled out due to globalism. The point I’m slowly getting to here is that, although we love to share food-culture across the planet and, I suspect, eventually, Terran food will be a thing (as opposed to Lunar or Martian food), we refuse to admit our global humanity; the tribe (ahem) of Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

Music, dance, art, food — all of these things tend to unite us. Although, like yourself, I don’t really give a shit about humanity as a cosmic entity, I still like to contemplate grand problems and propose grandiose solutions; they’re like puzzles, intricate quandaries that beg for analysis, elucidation and answers.

And so, in our wretched profundity, embittered by our self administered flagellation, were you to envision a day where your contempt for mankind, as compelling as it might be, is tempered by something, some occurrence, some transformation that renders humanity tolerable—what might that event be? Clearly, sagacious beings before us have gazed upon mankind and hoped someday that our species could elevate itself above its petty differences and see the universe as a frontier only we, humanity can hope to explore. Do you see such a possibility, in some future epoch? A globally shared peanut butter sandwich?

Aw, hell. Fuck that. I’m just yanking your chain. I’m trying to see how many 9+ letter words I can get into a post in remembrance of your dead blogging site.

Oh, and ZorkerBorg? Yeah, fuck him. I despise that pissant, the lucky prick that he is.

Happy dead of winter,
‘Mole

[PS: You’ll notice that if you end a post on a Fuck You tone, few people are wont to comment. I did this intentionally as I wanted to see if both yours and mine both elicited the same disgust. It appears to be the case. I wager that if we end our next correspondences with rainbows and ribbons, we’ll get a different response.]

[PPS: For Mr. Van Helsing, “The Peanut Butter and banana sandwich, or peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich, sometimes referred to as an Elvis sandwich or simply the Elvis, consists of toasted bread slices with peanut butter, sliced or mashed banana, and sometimes bacon. Honey is seen in some variations of the sandwich.” Wikipedia]