Wednesday 27 October 2010

me, I'm touchy....

I'm beginning to think that I should have trusted my instincts and never got involved with Facebook in the first place.

A friend of mine - well the ex-wife of a friend of mine that I'm still acquainted with mainly through Facebook, lovely though she most certainly is - put up a status update with a link to the news that a giant nine foot tall stag had been shot dead in Exmoor.  The killing was apparently legal, but that doesn't make it any less sad that such a magnificent animal was cut down for the sake of somebody's entertainment.  It's sad news, and the majority of people who responded to the link, me included, mainly made appropriately sad and regretful noises.  Except one person:

"I too was very sad to think some idiot shot him. The word idiot in french mean male not female Cannot imagine a woman would do that"

OK.  She's sad too, but what the hell is she going on about?  How is this about men, exactly?  We have no information on who pulled the trigger, and it hardly seems appropriate to be making sweeping sexist generalisations on the subject.  I couldn't resist.  I replied:

"Um. Not to change the subject, but as a man, I feel compelled to point out that the word "idiot" derives from the ancient Greek. In Athenian democracy, an "idiot" was someone characterised by being concerned with private and not public affairs (itself derived from a Greek word meaning "lacking professional skill"). People were born idiots and became citizens through education. It has nothing to do with being specifically a male thing beyond the fact that women probably didn't exist officially back then.
Just sayin'.
Women are as capable of handling a gun as men. Just google Sarah Palin for a picture of her holding up the bloodied head of an elk she had just shot

Nothing like a smart-arse, eh?

A reply soon came along.

"The point of the word iriot was thatin french an e is at the end for a female Je suis une idiote"

I am, by now, aware that I am engaging in an argument with a connection of a connection of a friend of mine.  This is hardly the time or place to waste my breath.... So I continued wasting my breath.  How could I not in the face of that?

"....I'm not willfully picking a fight here, but the female equivalent of the word exists in French, so I don't understand your point. A penis is a female word in french, and a vagina is male, so I don't really see where you're going with this.
Nor does it justify your sexism. I'm sorry the stag died, but I don't see how this is about men and women.

(I also apologised to the lovely lady whose comments we were hijacking to have this little dialogue.  And yes, I do realise that it's Le pĂ©nis, but to be fair, the slang words for penis are mostly female in french, and vagina is definitely male....)

I know it's pointless (and quite possibly rude) to get involved like this, but how could anyone resist that kind of provocation?  As well as being sexist, this person is just plain wrong.  If you don't pick them up when you see them, then who will?  And now I feel guilty because my lovely friend has felt the need to delete the post, probably because of the unexpected shitstorm that kicked off when some idiot hijacked the comments section to her post.

Yeah, so I'm thinking that maybe I should not be on Facebook at all.  Either that or just stick to posting up the statistics of my latest run.

I really am sad about that stag too.  What a pointless death. What a pointless argument too.  I sometimes think that I could pick a fight in an empty room.  With or without the help of the internet.


  1. A bit drunk and not heading for the dictionary I always thought that idiot (in Ancient Greece) meant someone apart, who doesn't engage with others or in public life. Not necessarily stupid, but anti-social. But yes, sad about the stag.

  2. Artog - yes, it does mean that too. I felt I was being a verbose enough smart arse as it was, but you're right.

  3. Rol- imagine how hard I found it NOT to pick her up on her spelling and then to resist correcting it as I reproduced it here. They're her mistakes, but they hurt my eyes and my sensibilities!

  4. Umm, shouldn't it be some idiote hijacked your friend's comments?


  5. Please PLEASE feel free to hijack any of my Facebook statuses to discuss the gender of French nouns. Hilarious.

  6. "How do we assign gender to the mixed sex plural?" Do you remember nothing from your GCSE French?!! Au pluriel, le masculin l'emporte. In other words, mixed gender plural is always masculine (oh it feels so weird putting an e on the end of that word).
    Your resident expert on all things French.

  7. And a paranoid Mark manages to make it all about him yet again (sorry Swisslet, but I just couldn't ignore him this time).