On the Politics of Language and Women’s Rage and Why My Profanity is Sacred

it’s a war goin on that you thinkin that you safe from
But you like me in the scope of they gun.Mystic

“I can’t fight you with your affectless, sanitized, polished language and codes! Change begins with the choice of words that stir, disturb, destabilise and denaturalise our ways of seeing the world even if it doesn’t end there.” Krishnappa Venkatashamy

The Fuckening

This week, Fox News, in connivance with a conservative tabloid that harasses faculty, whipped up another non-news cycle over my plain-spoken truth-speaking. The ostensible “journalist” from the Fux News Website began his account;

An anti-Trump professor at Georgetown University went on a profanity-laced Twitter rant against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of committing a sexual assault as a teen.

Dr. Carol Christine Fair is an associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown, according to the school’s website.

Of course, this is not my first rodeo with the way in which the right wingnut circus synthesizes a news cycle. The procedure goes like this: a low-level conservative rag (in this case Campus Reformfiles a story about a liberal professor calling out the fuckery of the contemporary conservative shitshow in America. Fox News, The Daily Failer, The Drudge Report or whatever toxic, mendacious and buffoonish “media outlet” then “picks up” this podunk story from said rinky-dink stinkweed.  I suspect–but cannot prove–that this is done collusively. It hardly matters because it happens as predictably as clockwork. Once the “mainstream” conservative hacks run the sham, it is subsequently carried into the darker, lunatic fringe platforms that deliberately stoke further outrage and encourages violence against the object of this cabal. My address has been published in white supremacist, Neo-Nazi chatrooms and website. Mobs have been specifically directed to threaten and intimidate me.  I’ve had “wanted posters” distributed on cars and tacked to trees and telephone poles in my neighborhood, along with signs attacking racial and religious minorities. But I’m a hard cunt to intimidate.



Fox Noise, and their deformed symbiotic twins such as the Daily Caller, deliberately emplace dog whistles in their screeds–more like “call to the wolves”–to ensure that their vexed “readership” is mobilized into a frenzied mob who then send the target any number of vile and often violent missies through email, social media, and even phone calls.  In picking me: they pick the wrong target. I’ve been threatened with gang rape by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.  I work in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. I have skin as thick as a T-Rex and I give NO FUCKS about their feelings. I cannot be intimidated. If I lose my job, I’ll do something else. (Obviously, these cry bully assholes have never studied game theory. Well, guess what snowflake bitches: I have.)

Make no mistake. This is a deliberate attempt by these conservative dishrags to scare, intimidate, and ultimately shut up those of us who see through conservative lies, ruses, and efforts to disenfranchise women, people of color, LGBTQI, non-Christians and anyone else who destabilizes their infantile Leave It To Beaver fantasy. They are deliberately trying to make our homes and workplaces unsafe physically, mentally and economically.

Without fail, after the most recent post, I received about 200 messages through various means, all but a handful from angry men. Remember that my crime is that I dared to accuse the Vichy GOP of being a misogynist, rape-friendly, pederast-acceptant, Nazi-appeasing, White Supremacist, X-phobic bigoted, climate science-denying death cult. So naturally, these missives were…well…clear evidence of the conservative males’ misogyny, rapist-defending, Republican pederasty-justifying, racism, Muslim-hating, fact-resistant villainy. (If you don’t believe me and want to see examples of the noxious communications I received in this recent cycle of conservative mens’ temper tantrums, you can view my micro-blog where I post the vast majority of the harassment sent my way: ShitMenSay.)

I spent much of the day slaying trolls and legally doxing those idiots who called me various spellings of “cum sack” and its ilk or giving me precise instructions in how I might murder myself or how I may be gang-raped in a racist fantasy of attackers who are black or Muslim. (The most likely gang- rapists, by the way, are white males. It’s statistics…also known as hocus pocus to these mouthbreathers.) It amuses me when these clowns and their defenders cry foul when they are legally doxed on ShitMenSay, reflecting the belief that they are entitled to subject a woman to hate speech without consequence.

I felt empowered by turning my keyboard against these shitbirds. (There’s an emerging science that explains why this agentive response to harassers is denervating by the way.)

However, later that evening, a lovely and well-intended colleague asked me to demur from using naughty words in expressing my rage over this administration’s unending assault upon our lives. He implored me as a supportive colleague and friend to “Try replacing the f-bombs with arguments and I bet your effect will change from incitement of emotions to almost infinite potential for change in behavior and policy.” 


I Will Not Discipline My Anger for Your Comfort

I know he meant well. He’s a lovely person. And I mean him no ill-will…but I wanted to tell him that I’m a survivor of sexual assault, that I’ve endured the pangs of not being believed, of seeing my abuser every holiday and having to suck it up. I’ve been where Dr. Ford is today. I have lived her nightmare for years and I know too many other women who have and do as well.

Oddly, I could not bring myself to explain to him that his email was a deep betrayal, partly out of shame but partly out the deeper, darker fear that it would not matter. Even with this knowledge, I feared he would still offer the same pallid advice. After all, he assumes I am like him. But I am not.

He evaluates the efficacy of language by the outcomes it can catalyze. I evaluate the efficacy of my language by a different metric: does it make you feel uncomfortable for that is its intent. I know with absolute certitude that no amount of gussied up prose will make America less acceptant and tolerant of white, male rapists. (It lynches black males even if they are not rapists.) No amount of argumentation informed by my University of Chicago Ph.D. will make the ratfuckers in Congress pass laws that guarantee equal rights, equal pay, equal protection or demure from taking away what unequal rights I do have. 

My cynicism is learned from experience: my quest for justice has gone unrequited for decades.  My abuser, my uncle, ultimately went to jail for murdering my aunt after whom I am named. He assaulted me from the time I was a toddler until I was thirteen. He did not spend a second in prison for breaking me. Nor was he punished for sexually assaulting his own children: one of whom murdered himself while the other is a homeless schizophrenic beyond help whose brain produces fantasies that are only marginally less horrific than her realities.

Childhood trauma was compounded by my experiences at the University of Chicago, where I learned that it is impossible to get accountability for sexual harassment even when the harasser admits he did it. These lessons were again reinforced repeatedly when I entered the workforce. Because words are over-rated in their efficacy,  I gave up on elocuting our way out of this unending gendered apocalypse long ago.

I have spent decades and thousands of dollars trying to fix myself.  I am grateful that I have been able to access health care. But my brain developed under the constant production of stress hormones as a consequence of which my brain will never be clinically normal.  I suffer from PTSD and always will. I will take medications for the rest of my life to manage both my brain chemistry and the gastrointestinal distress that we now understand to be associated with childhood abuse. (So when the Faux Noise mobs send me emails such as “Go back on your meds bitch,” I can assure them that I never go off my meds.)

When women summon the courage to identify our assailants, the Chorus of Men and their female collaborators howl that we asked for it. We deserved it. They ask: What were you wearing? Why were you there at that time of night? Were you drinking?  Why were you drinking? Why didn’t you put up a fight?  Why didn’t you scream? Alternatively,  they query: why did you fight?  You only made it worse. Why didn’t you lay back and enjoy it? What were you doing there if you didn’t want to be raped, grabbed, mauled or have the fingers of strange men pull back your panties and violate you? Boys will be boys. This is horseplay. All boys do this. (If you’re rich and white, these excuses somehow work.)

[As bad as we have it, it’s even harder for men to come out and discuss their abuse.]

How much must we endure?  Rape culture. Pay differentials. We are less likely to be hired, promoted or compensated because of our god-damned tits and snatches. These conservative jackasses want to treat our cunts like a public good, yet we pay tens of thousands of dollars to maintain and sustain our civilization-giving pussies and civilization-nurturing wombs and civilization-feeding breasts.

Yet these motherfuckers have the temerity to deny us health care coverage.  They have the audacity to force us to carry children. They claim they are pro-life yet they don’t care about the children outside of our wombs or the health of the mothers whose bodies nourish those fetuses then care for the children they become. They don’t care about the ceaseless gun-violence that strikes down those children we birth and raise and love. This fetus fetishism is but the rhetorical ruse they use to reduce us to a public womb and strip away our access to reproductive and economic justice. We endure quotidian misogyny big and small.

And you want me to circumlocute my furor in floridity?

Fuck that.

I will not discipline my voice, my words, or my body. I will refuse to conform to your rules which are designed to constrain me like a corset for your convenience and comfort. I will not respond to this war on women decorously. It’s an absurd request and I won’t entertain it. I will fight this war asymmetrically. I will use the vernacular it demands.  Why does your comfort take precedence over my basic rights to live in peace, dignity, agency, and equality?

I will not shrink away into a corner. I will not make myself small. I will not slink along the sidewalk with my head lowered in shame or fear. I will stand straight, look you in the eye and fearlessly tell you to go fuck yourself. I did not start this war. But I am a soldier in it.  I have no choice. I was never given the choice.


I know my senior colleague meant well. But he does not and cannot understand my ferocity and why it is unreasonable to ask me to express it in cultivated vocabulary or the language of philosophers or political science. Artful turns of phrase are a luxury my wrath does not and cannot enjoy, and will not entertain. My power is my voice. My resistance is my refusal to speak as expected. I will use words that make you uncomfortable because you motherfuckers should be uncomfortable. You want a respite from my profane words? I want a respite from the war on women, our lives, our bodies, our rights, our dignity, and agency.

You’ll get your goddamned respite when I get mine and not a femtosecond sooner.


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