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You're Wrong

An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board

“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American
--P.T. Barnum
“The structure of anyone's native language strongly influences or fully
determines the worldview he will acquire as he learns the language.” --The
Whorf Hypothesis


I was madder than a Muslim on a hog farm. I love to play

tricks on people. Every April I write a big lie column. Every
April some people believes it. Ha ha! What dopes, couldn't you see
that I was pulling your leg? How could you believe that I was
fucked in the ass by Noam Chomsky? Come on!
Then what happens? I'm the one with the pulled-over wool. I'm
the one tricked... for months... Remember how I supported Obama?
Remember how I said the elections gave me a glimmer of hope that
Americans have more intelligence than a dingleberry? Fooled again!
Americans are dumber than dirt. Stupider than a box of
Captain Crunch. Denser than a black hole. We have a glimmer of a
chance to raise our healthcare rank up from 42nd... And Americans
protest. It's socialist, they say.
Of course, it's not socialist enough. But even that, they
reject. Their own best interests fall victim to the basest
propaganda. And worse yet, our CHANGE President (the guy who
expanded the Afghan war, continues detention without trial, hides
evidence of U.S. torture, and maintains a Whitehouse office for
faith-based government-supported organizations) caves in to the
Jeezus fuckin' Christ! I'm moving to Denmark where people
aren't afraid of a little socialism.
Factoid 1: Benjamin Whorf studied a bunch of languages and
the cultures around them. He concluded that language controls how
people see the world.
I never read his studies, but I understand what he was
thinking. I see it in the languages I stumble through.
In English, water is a liquid. When that liquid boils and
becomes a gas, we have steam. When that liquid freezes and becomes
solid, we have ice. We look at water, ice, and steam as three

different things.
In Thai, water is nam and a liquid. When that liquid boils
and becomes a gas. It's ay nam or gas water. When it freezes, it's
nam plo or hard water. Thais look at water as one thing with a
range of forms from hard through mushy through liquid through
boiling liquid to steam.
In Japanese, water is mizu. Ice is koori. Steam is yoki.
There is another word: yu, for hot water. The Japanese look at
water as one thing. Water you can make tea with is something else.
Whorf would say. English-speakers think of ice, water, and
steam as different things, but hot water as a kind of water.
Japanese-speakers think of water and hot water as different
materials. In Japanese, hot water is as different from plain
water, as plain water is from ice.
Thai-speakers, think of them all as variations of the same
thing. They feel the innate waterness in all the variations. Like
in Thai Buddhism, everything is one. End of factoid 1.
In my nearly 70 years of experience, I've found: when
confronted by a phalanx of stupidity, take refuge in the academic.
Then, after you're hit by the stupidity of academia... travel to
some other country and take refuge there.
Right now, it's academia keeping my testicles from rising to
their original home inside me. I can ignore the feeble-mindedness
of my fellow countrymen, if I can somehow explain it. That's what
academia does. It explains stupidity.
The Whorf hypothesis is one of those explanations. I've never
been a wholehearted supporter. But sometimes it... well... it just
works-- or looks like it works. Let's take a look.
Insurance companies and conservatives excite the plebeians by
dredging up images from the Cold War. They scare common folk by
conflagrating socialism with communism. Everybody remembers that
communism was bad. It takes your freedom away. Socialism is the
same. Free medicine will take your freedom away.
The American people fall for it, hook, line, and healthcare.
It's not logical, but it fits with the way Americans see the
Throw a word like socialism out there, and people use it to
dismiss logic. You've got a word that acts like a symbol. The
symbol replaces thought... and forms a worldview.
Ask for national healthcare? You're a socialist. Want to end
the slaughter in Afghanistan? You're supporting terrorism.
Criticize Israel? You're a Nazi... or at least an anti-Semite.
Logic flies out the door, replaced by words that trigger a flood
of unstoppable emotion.
Take political correctness... please.

I post an article on my Facebook page that shows statistics
proving SUVs are less safe than regular well-built every day cars.
I wonder in print why anyone would drive an SUV if even the last
excuse (they're safe) has been proven wrong. In less than 45
seconds, I get an answer:
People should have the right to drive what they want and not
be forced into little crap cars and not be forced into using
inconvenient mass transit just to soothe your big pc egos.
And I shoot off my reply to his reply:
People should have the right to nail their penises to a
lamppost. That doesn't mean it's a good idea. That you CAN do
something stupid doesn't mean you SHOULD do it. It is STUPID,
after all.
That discussion, as short and idiotic as it was, showed
something about language.
Label something as PC, then you can dismiss it. The label
itself is enough. If you don't have the label, you need a real
So then, are the feminists, the Al Sharptons, the Christians
right? Do words have such power that we have to censor them so
they don't do any damage? Do we have to say The N-word or The F-
word, because the real words will cause so much trouble?
Let's take a look:
Everybody knows it's taboo to criticize a person just because
of religion. It's taboo to say someone is evil because they're
Muslim. The tabloids tried it during the election. I remember the
OBAMA IS A MUSLIM headlines. (Though the paper didn't say he was
evil because of it.) But tabloid journalism is different from what
you can (and should) say every day. If we avoid saying Muslim is
evil, will we avoid thinking it?
My local free newspaper reports that a 25-year old Egyptian
man cut off his own penis to spite his family. Why? He was refused
permission to marry a girl from a lower-class family. After
begging his father for two years with no consent, the guy heats up
a knife and slices off his candy cane.
My question: why was this in an American newspaper? So they
can say "penis?" So they can say something nasty about a Muslim
without actually saying the WORD Muslim?
Them Muslims is wacky, huh? Anyone who'd cut his dick off
would fly a plane into a building, right?
Factoid 2: There is a group of verbs called performatives.
These are special, magical verbs. The utterance of them, creates
(performs... get it?) the action. Verbs like promise, assure,
warn, ask, and guarantee are performatives.
If I say, “I promise I won't cum in your mouth,” that MAKES

the promise. I don't have to do anything else. The promise has
been made, just by uttering the words.
Compare this to a normal verb like suck. Saying “you suck my
love tube.” does not automatically give me a blowjob.Some further
action is necessary. End of Factoid 2.
Take the word “Gay,” please!
In the late 1960s, the word GAY was invented to replace the
word homosexual or fag. Homos used it to talk about people who
have sex with the same gender. The language changers picked it
because of its original meaning: happy. The idea was to lend an
air of happy-go-luckiness to anal-penile fluid exchange.
Homosexual was too academic. Fag besides being a pejorative for
homosexual, referred to anything negative or wimpy. A pretty
negative word.
The inventors of Gay thought, along with Whorf, that if you
change the words people use, you change the way they think. If you
make people say something that means la-de-da every time they
refer to a homo, they'll come to associate the two. Homos will
become nice and la-de-da.
So what happened? Did GAY become a performative? Did using
the word make it happen?
You bet your anal warts it didn't. What happened was that the
word completely lost its original meaning. In 1950, someone might
describe their weekend at the beach as a gay old time. By 1975,
that would happen only if the beach was on Fire Island.
By the late 1980s, Gay began to take on an additional
negative meaning. Something like wimpy, unfashionable, or just
plain bad.
This example comes from the Internet Urban Dictionary. Man,
these seats are gay. I can't even see what's going on!
See? The language changed. People's thinking did not. The
mental image came first. Changing the words did NOT change that
image. The new words fell back into the slots that the old ones
filled. Gay was no more positive in everyday speech than faggot.
This is what the N-word and the F-word people don't get. (L-
word people, however, seem have a lot of fun with it.) You can
change the language as much as you want. You can avoid taboo
words. But, changing the words does not change people's attitude.
Take abortion. (I won't say it)
In the great abortion debate, nobody wants to be anti-
anything. Both sides are pro-. Take your pick. Pro-choice or pro-
life. Does that reflect the reality? Are these words
performatives? You say it and then you are it?
Pro-choice is really pro-abortion. Not pro-forced abortion
but pro-right to abortion. It's like saying that people who favor

legalized heroin or legalized murder are pro-choice. Of course
it's a choice. Do it or not. That's not the point. Abortion is the
point. Pro-choice is pro-abortion.
And how about pro-life? Most anti-abortionists are Christians
who favor the death penalty. They oppose free healthcare which
insures that babies will have doctors to see that they don't die
in childhood. It insures the rest of us don't die for lack of
funds or access to hospitals. Their attitude? Let 'em be born,
then don't give a shit about 'em. These people are not pro-life.
They're just anti-abortion. Call it what you want.
I'm the only pro-abortion guy I know who says he's pro-
abortion. There are a few anti-abortionists out there who call
themselves that. If you go around shooting doctors, you can't call
very well yourself pro-life, can you?
So is Whorf right? Well, not exactly.
Language doesn't make culture and emotions. There are,
however, things in the culture that language can use. People with
an agenda can manipulate language to nudge people into thinking
one way or another. But, it's the thought, or in the American
case, the lack of thought, that's the key. Not the words.
Me? I like to call a fuck a fuck. Not the F-word. But most
Americans are too lazy or too stupid to realize they're being
bullied. They allow themselves to be pushed around by language and
in the end, just don't give a fuck.

ENDNOTES: [email subscribers ( or website

viewers ( will get live links and a chance to
comment on the column]

-->Some kind of artist dept: I felt it's only fair to acknowledge

George Bataille as the inspiration for the beginning of last
month's column. If you have a strong stomach, I recommend his:
Story of the Eye. Whadda book!

-->New idol dept: I recently saw Jean Claude Van Damme's first
starring-role movie, BLOODSPORT. Van Damme is okay, but he's got a
lousy toupee (actually a set of toupees-- one for when he's
supposed to look young, and one for when he's supposed to look
VERY young) and way too much make-up. But the bad guy in that
movie is a guy named BOLO YEUNG. He's a huge Chinese guy who looks
more Indonesian than Chinese.
He is so evil, so full of nastiness, it was love at first
sight. I want to see EVERYTHING. He's a G-d!! I Wikipedia-ed him
and found out he SWAM from China to Hong Kong to get away from
Communism. Now he lives in LA. I don't know how he got there, but

it wouldn't surprise me if he swam when the commies took over Hong
Anybody with vids or other info about this guy, let me know!!
I'm in love!

-->Cleaning out dept: In this post-print era, one of the few

magazines I actually pay for is the Utne Reader. It's a liberal
digest of magazines and other world publications. Since a Facebook
quiz told me I am a "left libertarian," it should be right up my
alley, right? Usually, it is.
But, during a recent fit of lebensraum, I started throwing out
clippings. While going through the pile, I found one from U.R.
Sept '07. In it, they complain about YouTube and Google Search for
providing gateways to "Hate." Of course, HATE means people they
disagree with, the KKK, Rightwing Skinhead Bands, holocaust
revisionists etc. While the Utne Reader “provides information,”
these groups "spew propaganda."
I wonder what THEY say about the Utne Reader.

-->Pay up, you most evil corp! dept: No I'm not talking about
Starbucks. This is the one you'd expect: WAL-MART. They've agreed
to pay $35,000,000 to settle a suit by workers in Washington State
who were forced to skip meals and breaks... and work overtime for
no extra pay. Doesn't sound like enough money to me.
-->God bless dead Iraqis dept.
U.S. Defense Department war reports, sent to the White House
in 2003, frequently included biblical quotations. This was
revealed in, of all places, GQ Magazine.
The magazine said that the daily briefings had covers that
included photos of soldiers praying. Bible verses accompanied the
photos. One cover showed a large Baghdad monument of two crossed
swords with a tank beneath it. The quote?
Err... I thought Iran was the nation that keeps faith.

-->Which part of the first amendment do you like? Free speech or

establish religion? dept:
A US Court of Appeals held that a Pennsylvania kindergarten
teacher had a constitutional right to refuse to let a parent read
The Bible to children in her classroom. The court said that:
parents may reasonably expect their children will not become

captive audiences to an adult's reading of religious texts.
The premise of the reading, though, was for adults to read a
passage from their child's favorite book. So what if The Bible WAS
the kids favorite book?
I say, read it. What's censorship is censorship, and I'm
against it.
Of course, that means OTHER parents should be able to read
the MARQUIS DE SADE. That was MY favorite book in kindergarten.

-->Proof: Church makes you more Christian dept: The Pew Research
Center found that 49 percent of the public overall said torture
can "often" or "sometimes" be justified. Among white evangelicals,
the number was 62 percent. The survey also found that support for
torture increased among those who reported attending church most
Mighty Christian of them, I'd say.

-->Ich bin ein Berliner dept: The population of Berlin voted

strongly against (only 14% support) a referendum that would give
public school students the choice between taking religion or
ethics classes. 16 German states have such a law. It allows
students to choose: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or Muslim. It's
like I was allowed to choose, French, Spanish, German or Latin
when I was a kid.
The smart folks in Berlin threw out the proposal. I hope
they're enjoying their Latin classes.

-->Ich bin nicht irisch dept: The Irish minister for justice has
proposed a "Blasphemous Libel" law that would fine up to $130,000
any speech that is "grossly abusive or insulting in relation to
matters held sacred by any religion." As of this writing, the law
has not yet passed, and God damn it, I hope it doesn't.

-->But pornstore bans are legal? dept: A local business group

asked the city of Broadway Virginia to ban churches in a three-
bock downtown area. The merchants said that the churches would be
bad for business and they asked the Town Council to ban them. The
City Attorney said NO GO. It would be illegal, the constitution
and all that, you know?
I donno. Since when do people care about the constitution and
all that?