Sex Jokes
Posted: 28 June 2008 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]
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In a topic in the General Discussion forum I posted in response to the inclusion of a ribald joke:

I think we can do without the gratuitous sexual jokes.

It’s one thing to make a quip related to an ongoing discussion that is risque, a double entendre, or even flat-out explicitly sexual, but to introduce a word into a discussion just to make a sex joke is going a bit too far.

I want to make it clear that, for my part, the great offense was the shift in topic for the purpose of including the off-color joke, not the joke itself. The topic was the word flour and the joke teller introduced the word bolt for the sole purpose of telling the joke.

While I would like to keep this site and forum K-12* friendly, given the nature of language some of the topics and discussion may be inappropriate for younger children. Also, lively discussion will involve witticism and jokes will naturally arise and I don’t want to stifle that.

There’s a reasonable middle-ground where bawdy humor that is topical is appreciated, but hijacking the conversation for the purpose of inserting a joke is not. This is wordorigins.org, not alt.humor.

*Kindergarten through 12th grade (high-school in American education).

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Posted: 28 June 2008 08:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Some people seem to come here almost entirely to make jokes.  While I like a good joke as much as anyone, too high a volume (especially, as you say, when irrelevant to the topic) gets quite annoying.

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Posted: 28 June 2008 02:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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To be fair, Lionello did not “introduce” the word bolt; it was present in aldi’s quotation (in another sense, I grant).  OTOH, given that the joke was about the sexual molestation of children, I found it unfunny and would rather it had not been posted.  So from my point of view, the offense was the joke itself, but not making a play on a word that actually had already been in the thread.  OTOH, I agree that the senses were far enough apart that the joke could be described as “gratuitous”.

[ Edited: 28 June 2008 02:21 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 05 August 2008 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I would like to keep this site and forum K-12* friendly

Had this ever occurred to me, most of my posts would never have appeared --- in fact I’d probably never have posted at all. Languagehat’s comment on posting jokes (which I take personally) is another disincentive to posting. I hoped, by an occasional bit of levity, to provide some sort of counterweight to the increasingly sour, disagreeable atmosphere at this site. It used to be lots of fun to read here, to learn, and to post. Lately—less so. We have become insufficiently mindful of our manners, as Oecolampadius (may his tribe increase!) points out elsewhere. The mauling of neophytes I find particularly obnoxious. Ignorance of linguistics, enthusiasm about mistaken theories, and credulity about folk etymologies, are not criminal offenses, though from some of the things said here, one might think so. Yhis site has a lot to teach people, but a flogging is not really the best incentive to learning.

I realize that in loathing violence, whether verbal or physical, I am out of step with the times. Not long ago I saw a movie ("Who Framed Roger Rabbit") in which a little whimpering creature was tortured to death by being slowly immersed in a bath of acid. It was horrible. The movie house was full of K-12 children. I suppose the censors (and the parents) considered that kind of thing “K-12 friendly”. Had these children been under my care, I would much rather have had them watch “Debbie for President”, or “Memphis Cathouse Blues”, innocuous comedies in which there is no violence at all, simply consenting adults having s*x in a variety of ways, to the obvious gratification ;-) of one and all.

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Posted: 05 August 2008 05:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Sorry you took my comment personally, lionello.  I too enjoy a leavening of humor, and I often get a kick out of your jokes; the last thing I would want to do is turn the site into a sobersided scholarly journal (I deplore, for instance, Arnold Zwicky’s pedantic annoyance at off-topic comments at Language Log).  That day I was particularly irritated at what seemed like excess (as, clearly, was Dave).  Nobody wants you to go away!

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Posted: 05 August 2008 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Yes, I find nothing objectionable in the majority of your posts, Lionello. That day, however, it went a bit too far. We all get carried away from time to time. No worries.

And I agree with you about the snarkiness and readiness to pounce on newcomers who are ignorant of our ways. But in defense of those that do “pounce on neophytes” I would like to point out that this ignorance is often willful and obstinance on part of the neophyte escalates the problem. Besides, there is a long history of curmudgeonery in language studies; we’re just carrying on the tradition.

Also, your clipping of my “K-12” comment takes it out of context; I am not advocating that we conduct ourselves as if we were teaching children. It was prompted by my receipt of several requests from teachers to “clean up” the site so they could use it in the classroom. Chiefly, this meant removing the Big List entry on fuck. I won’t go that far and I don’t expect anyone on the forum to go that far either, but we can certainly rein in gratuitous sex jokes and comments. And if this site and forum were prone to images and descriptions of violence, I would ask that be curtailed as well, but that, fortunately, isn’t an issue here.

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Posted: 05 August 2008 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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On the newcomer issue: I welcome newcomers and wish more of them would show up.  My problem is with newcomers who refuse to accept the premise of the board (fact-based discussion of words and their origins) and insist on either propagandizing or simply sticking to some urban legend or personal theory while dissing sources like the OED and those who give them priority.  Those are not the kind of members we need.

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