Evil viziers represent!

Over on G+, Peter da Silva wrote: ‘I just typoed “goatee” as “gloatee” and now I’m wondering why it wasn’t always spelled that way.’ #evilviziersrepresent #muahaha

The estimable Mr. da Silva is sadly in error. I played the evil vizier in the first run of the Arabian Nights LARP back in 1987. No goatee, and didn’t gloat even once, was much too busy being efficiently cruel and clever.

What, you think this sort of thing is just fun and games? Despotic oriental storybook kingdoms don’t run themselves, you know. That takes functionaries. Somebody gotta keep the wheels turning while that overweight good-for-nothing Caliph lounges on his divan smoking bhang and being fanned by slavegirls. Or being bhanged by slavegirls and smoking his divan. Whatever.

A thankless job it is too. You keep everything prosperous and orderly with a bare minimum of floggings, beheadings, castrations, and miscreants torn apart by camels, and your reward is a constant stream of idiot heroes with oversized scimitars trying to slit your weasand. With the Caliph’s daughter looking all starry-eyed as they try it on – now there’s a girl who’s way too impressed by an oversized, er, scimitar.

Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go see a man about a lamp.

63 thoughts on “Evil viziers represent!

  1. And after all of that, and after you and your father have done a first rate job of running the caliphate for him for many years, al-Rashid decides on a whim to lock both of you up. Permanently.

  2. You keep everything prosperous and orderly with a bare minimum of floggings, beheadings, castrations, and miscreants torn apart by camels…

    If Terry Pratchett taught me anything, the good ones don’t believe in unnecessary cruelty. While being bang alongside the idea of necessary cruelty, of course.

  3. In ancient times (pre-video gaming), there was Ming the Merciless. Those were the days when graphics consisted of a model rocket being waved around on a concealed stick. My how things have changed in one life time.

    • >Erlc bin Uptonogoud, cousin of Iznogoud?

      /me searches.

      What? I’ve been a Goscinny fan because of the Asterix books since like 1967 – I used to read them in French before they were translated. How did I not know of this comic? Seriously, I knew about the other obscure ones like Lucky Luke and Oumpah-pah.

      Hmmph. I think someone has been editing my timeline.

  4. Somebody gotta keep the wheels turning

    I believe it’s the slaves who actually keep the wheels turning. The Grand Vizier merely oversees the process and ensures that the wheels, cogs, shafts and other assorted machinery are maintained in full working order, lubricated if necessary by the bodily fluids of slaves, criminals, would-be heroes and other assorted riff-raff

  5. In the off chance that somebody hasn’t seen it yet, I’ll leave this here: Search for Twisted on YouTube. (That would be a link, but I’m pretty sure those are eaten by the anti-spam monster.)

    It’s got NSFW language and the humour is… not high-brow. :)

  6. >> Erlc bin Uptonogoud, cousin of Iznogoud?

    >What? I’ve been a Goscinny fan because of the Asterix books since like 1967 – I used to read them in French before they were translated. How did I not know of this comic?

    Umm…. (record scratches) … it was _because_ I knew you were an Asterix fan that I made that pun. I’m surprised because your reading (from what I could pick up) has seemed to be a superset of mine.

    I tripped over Iznogoud (a man shorter than his temper) via the single-season 1995 cartoon and wandered into the comics from there – I had been an Asterix fan since childhood, and it was apparently by one of the same blokes, so, the logic went, it must be worth watching.

  7. You know, when I first scanned this, I thought you said the good-for-nothing Caliph “tongues” on his divan.

  8. >> Erlc bin Uptonogoud, cousin of Iznogoud?
    >What? I’ve been a Goscinny fan because of the Asterix books since like 1967 – I used to read them in French before they were translated. How did I not know of this comic?

    Ah, the great Iznogoud and his evil schemes: “I want to be Caliph instead of the Caliph!”. I grew up with his adventures (and those of Asterix and Lucky Luke and many, many others).

    Here is an episode from the (English) TV series:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvB3ibgn7Pc

  9. > I think someone has been editing my timeline.

    I hate that feeling.

    > lubricated if necessary by the bodily fluids of slaves, criminals, would-be heroes
    > and other assorted riff-raff

    Very un-hygenic that. Starts to smell bad after a while too.

  10. Do not neglect the school of thought that gloating is profitable, for the fear of whippings and executions is almost as effective as the real thing, yet requires less manpower and is much less messy. Tyranny theatre is the new tyranny.

  11. @ esr

    It’s funny that you should talk about evil viziers at a time when I’m playing Prince of Persia 2, where one must redefeat the evil vizier Jaffar. Synchronicity? :-P

    > I’ve been a Goscinny fan because of the Asterix books

    I, too, like Astérix; but I’ve been long bugged by its portrayal of the Colosseum as existing in Caesar’s time, and of legionaries as wearing green tunics (instead of red) and a fancifully-shaped breastplate. Strange, since many other elements in the comic seem well-researched.

    • >Strange, since many other elements in the comic seem well-researched.

      What, you mean like the Goths wearing pickelhaubes? :-)

  12. @ esr

    > What, you mean like the Goths wearing pickelhaubes? :-)

    Or like Goudurix’s sports chariot.

    It seems reasonable to assume that the intent of those things is parodic and that the reader is expected to get that. At least from the relatively few Astérix albums I’ve read, it would appear that the comic often mocks 20th-century society despite its ancient setting.

    My “well-researched” remark was aimed at other things, like when they provide definitions for certain terms. Or that sequence in Asterix and Son where they show the construction process of a Roman camp. Or… well, that’s all I can think of right now. If anyone here has read the whole series, or close to it, additional examples would be appreciated. :)

    BTW, I wrote: “I’ve been long bugged…”. Shouldn’t that be “I’ve long been bugged”?

    And I didn’t know the German helmet of WWI was called Pickelhaube, so thanks. Interestingly, you pluralized it the English way. I’m curious: do you pluralize “Shar Pei” as “Shar Peis”?

    • >Or that sequence in Asterix and Son where they show the construction process of a Roman camp

      Yes, they were careful and correct about that part.

      >BTW, I wrote: “I’ve been long bugged…”. Shouldn’t that be “I’ve long been bugged”?

      Normally, but the other order occurs occasionally.

      >Interestingly, you pluralized it the English way

      Yes, that’s pretty normal for foreign loan-words naturalized into English. Using the native plural is acceptable as well, and educated speakers not infrequently do that.

      Foreign loanwords most likely to keep their native plurals are those for which the languages have plural-formation rules similar to those of English, or (if dissimilar) likely to be at least approximately known to English speakers. Chinese (“shar peis”) is not in that category. French, Spanish, German, Latin and Greek are. Even Hebrew loanwords are sometimes pluralized in English by Hebrew rules. But Japanese and Arabic words are not.

  13. @Jorge
    “At least from the relatively few Astérix albums I’ve read, it would appear that the comic often mocks 20th-century society despite its ancient setting.”

    “Often” is not the word. The Asterix comics were “Always” mocking society at the time, always. And they were always historically accurate on anything else. They published Latin translations (=the language at the time of Caesar) of Asterix. Latin teachers at the time advised pupils to read that.

  14. >Seriously, I knew about the other obscure ones like Lucky Luke and Oumpah-pah.

    By any chance, have you seen the Larousse La découverte du Monde series of educational comics about great geographical discoveries?

    • >By any chance, have you seen the Larousse La découverte du Monde series of educational comics about great geographical discoveries?

      I have not.

      Good luck finding any American who knows of those. Even the Asterix comics are not well-known in the U.S.; I knew of them through living in Europe in the 1960s but that puts me in a very tiny minority.

      Tintin has a bit more visibility here, enough that Hollywood tried to capitalize on it with a movie, but the movie pretty much flopped.

  15. Back when Blockbuster rented VHS’s, you could get The Twelve Labors of Asterix in the “family” section…so he got a tiny bit of visibility back in the day.

  16. @esr:
    Foreign loanwords most likely to keep their native plurals are those for which the languages have plural-formation rules similar to those of English, or (if dissimilar) likely to be at least approximately known to English speakers. Chinese (“shar peis”) is not in that category.

    Doesn’t Chinese have unmarked plurals? My experience has been that English speakers generally use native plurals for words with origins in languages where plurals are unmarked (e.g. Japanese), as the pattern occurs in at least a few cases with Germanic roots in English (e.g. fish, sheep). It’s not something people tend to be pedantic about, though.

    • > My experience has been that English speakers generally use native plurals for words with origins in languages where plurals are unmarked (e.g. Japanese)

      Hm. I have not observed this, but my sample of native English speakers pluralizing Chinese and Japanese is small enough that it could easily be unrepresentative.

      What I think I see is that English grammar wants words to have regular plural forms, and that native speakers try to form those pretty automatically even on loanwords in languages with unmarked plurals. Though…now that I think about it, there are several relatively common Japanese loanwords that are exceptions to this.

    • On the one hand, my experience gives me no particular reason to believe bilinguals have an executive-function advantage. So I have no trouble believing the skeptics here.

      On the other hand, I do believe that having been a crib bilingual at least partly explains my Frodo ear and the fact that I seem to not have undergone the normal adult loss of ability to learn languages rapidly by immersion.

  17. “What I think I see is that English grammar wants words to have regular plural forms, and that native speakers try to form those pretty automatically even on loanwords in languages with unmarked plurals. Though…now that I think about it, there are several relatively common Japanese loanwords that are exceptions to this.”

    haikus

    • >haikus

      I was actually thinking of “samurai” and “otaku” which I’ve never seen take a plural with ‘s’. On the other hand, “katanas” is normal, so are “kimonos” and “bokkens”. I don’t count “sushi” (never takes a plural ‘s’) as an exception since it’s a mass noun.

  18. I was actually thinking of “samurai” and “otaku” which I’ve never seen take a plural with ‘s’.

    Both nouns indicating persons, which is a class that has a slight tendency toward massness in English. In particular, nominalized adjectives are prone to this treatment, so we have the Germans and Russians but also the French and Dutch.

    • >Both nouns indicating persons, which is a class that has a slight tendency toward massness in English.

      That is a good point, and may well explain it.

  19. @ esr

    > Chinese (“shar peis”) is not in that category.

    So you do say “shar peis”? I brought that up because I recently watched a video that claims the plural of “Shar Pei” is just “Shar Pei”. Jon Brase’s experience seems to back this up.

    Incidentally, the Shar Pei is my favorite dog breed, whereas my favorite cat breed is the Scottish Fold. I presume your favorite breeds are the Malamute and the Maine Coon, respectively. Is that correct?

    @ Winter

    > “Often” is not the word. The Asterix comics were “Always” mocking society at the time, always.

    Heh. I stand corrected, then.

    > And they were always historically accurate on anything else.

    Not always. I pointed out three inaccuracies, and there may be more (apart from the intentional ones, which we shouldn’t count).

    @ hari

    > I am a big fan of both Tintin and Asterix. Both are quite popular here in India.

    And, remarkably, both heroes have visited India. I admit I haven’t read Asterix and the Magic Carpet, but I have read Cigars of the Pharaoh. And The Blue Lotus, worth mentioning if only because the first few pages do take place in India.

    • >So you do say “shar peis”?

      I don’t know. It’s never come up before. :-)

      >I presume your favorite breeds are the Malamute and the Maine Coon, respectively. Is that correct?

      Yup. Though I also have a fondness for Abyssinians.

      > I pointed out three inaccuracies,

      I think you may be underestimating the amount of variation in both the comics and the period gear. I’m rereading them now (just finished Asterix and Cleopatra) and I’ve seen a couple different colors of legionary tunic. Also you should know that there is a live controversy among the experts as to how often legionary tunics were dyed at all – one school holds that many of the primary sources are describing off-white undyed wool, though of course red also has its partisans. It is pretty sure the Praetorian Guard wore red, but they were a palace unit kitted with the most expensive gear. It is quite possible that tunic color might have varied by legion.

      Also I know from studying the sculptural and archeological evidence myself that generalizing too hastily about Roman body armor is unwise. While rank and filers generally wore plain lorica segmentata, the officer class not infrequently splashed out on Greek-style muscle cuirasses and more fanciful stuff.

      And, BTW, the Roman armor in the Asterix books is a bit anachronistic. Those plain, un-plumed helmets were not yet in general use in Caesar’s time – more typical was a style with a crest and long plume resembling a British Life Guard’s. The severely functional look on the soldiers at Camp Compendium is more like what you’d have seen in Vespasian’s or Trajan’s time, mid first-century CE to early second century.

      Pretty clearly what the artists did is base their legionaries on the same 1950s sword-and-sandal movies (Ben Hur and the like) that formed the popular image of what a Roman legionary looks like. Since these tended to be set in the 1st century CE, Vespasian’s legionaries became it.

      EDIT: Even the wall shields in the Asterix books may be wrong. The most recent reconstructions I’ve seen of Gallic Wars legionaries feature large round shields. It is not even certain that what we think of as the classic legionary shortsword (gladius Hispanus) was in general use as shown in Asterix, though the Gallic Wars and their immediate aftermath is certainly the latest period before it was fully standardized. This is also a topic of dispute, with some authorities holding that swords indistinguishable from the gladius Hispanus were already very common during the early frontier wars with Gauls three centuries earlier.

  20. @Jorge
    “Not always. I pointed out three inaccuracies, and there may be more (apart from the intentional ones, which we shouldn’t count).”

    I agree. There are two sources of such inaccuracies. It is a well known “trick” of writers to dress up a story placed in a historical period with little visual information of daily life with the fashion, design and utensils of a well known later period. So, it is very feasible that Uderzo picked a later period because there simply were too many white spots in Caesarean daily life. Also, this later period will be better recognized by the audience. The Colosseum is simply better known, and very iconic, than whatever was in use during Caesar’s time.

    The second source of inaccuracies is caused by the artist having to fill in blanks in our knowledge that later prove to have been different. Asterix was started more than 50 years ago, in 1959.

  21. >Even the Asterix comics are not well-known in the U.S.; I knew of them through living in Europe in the 1960s but that puts me in a very tiny minority.

    I’m familiar with the Asterix comics, though it’s been nearly 30 years since I’ve read them.

    In my experience of my age group, in high school and college back in the mid 80’s to early 90’s, if you were into science fiction and fantasy, or comics, you knew about them.

    • >In my experience of my age group, in high school and college back in the mid 80’s to early 90’s, if you were into science fiction and fantasy, or comics, you knew about [Asterix].

      Interesting. That hadn’t been true ten years earlier when I was in high school and college.

  22. As a side note, my memory and google-fu are both failing me.

    Does anyone here remember the details of the tax code change that effectively killed publishers back catalogs around 1990 or so, give or take a few.

    • >Does anyone here remember the details of the tax code change that effectively killed publishers back catalogs around 1990 or so, give or take a few.

      Thor Power Tool vs. Commissioner. The effect on SF was brutal, because the genre was especially dependent on midlist authors that sold relatively slowly but steadily. After Thor publishers could no longer afford to hold print runs of their books long enough to sell through.

  23. Thanks.

    For some reason the number of sf/f titles in print in, say the mid 80’s appeared to be *vastly* greater than the number in print 10 years later.

    When I was in HS, there was one particular bookstore that *every* budding fan of sci-fi, fantasy, comics, etc, spent a great deal of their time browsing, just seeing what there was. Their selection was vast, and there was a lot of ‘hey look at this’. That’s how I and pretty much every other fan I know was introduced to Asterix.

    Just a few years later, that same store was a shrunken shell of it’s former self. They’d moved to a new smaller location with much less inventory. (This seemed to me to coincide with the number of in-print titles collapsing but I could be wrong about the timing.)

    Point being, younger people first getting into genres after a certain date would just be exposed to (and therefore aware of) so much less because selection even in ‘good’ sf bookstores, would be so much poorer. That would likely include Asterix, among other things.

    • >For some reason the number of sf/f titles in print in, say the mid 80’s appeared to be *vastly* greater than the number in print 10 years later.

      The Thor decision is why.

  24. @ esr

    > Yup.

    Heh. I’ve seen an old comment where you bluntly said “I don’t like dogs”; but I figured you make an exception for Malamutes, since you’ve discussed them several times and always in an approving tone. Besides, many years have passed; your stance on dogs may have become more nuanced over time. The Eric of 2016 is not the Eric of 2009, and even those yearlong “Erics” are abstractions. That’s a key tenet of General Semantics, isn’t it? ;-)

    And you seem to like Mr. Peabody, too. And I’m pretty sure you’re OK with Ideafix/Dogmatix, Milou/Snowy, the Mutt mailer’s mascot, the HTML Dog logo, and this logo used by the NRA (which you must see frequently on the America’s 1st Freedom magazine).

    > I’m rereading them now (just finished Asterix and Cleopatra) and I’ve seen a couple different colors of legionary tunic.

    The authors (or at least Uderzo) were seemingly undecided at first, but they settled on green after the first few albums.

    > Also you should know that there is a live controversy … It is quite possible that tunic color might have varied by legion.

    My bad – I didn’t know any of that. I simply assumed legionaries’ tunics were red because that’s what I’ve seen in all other depictions (except in Where’s Wally Now?, where they’re light blue), but you make a compelling case. I recant.

    > While rank and filers generally wore plain lorica segmentata, the officer class not infrequently splashed out on Greek-style muscle cuirasses and more fanciful stuff.

    I never questioned that; I have seen it elsewhere. Centurions and the like are portrayed correctly, AFAICT. By “fancifully-shaped breastplate”, I meant that upward-pointing thing in legionaries’ chests; in other words, the breastplate’s upper edge is angular.

    Mind you, I’m not complaining that their armors are a simplified version of the real ones – it’s a comic. But simplification didn’t require introducing that angle. Sure, there’s such thing as artistic license; but it looks odd to me.

    @ Winter

    > The second source of inaccuracies is caused by the artist having to fill in blanks in our knowledge that later prove to have been different.

    You’re right. Imagination, artistic license, and even crowd-pleasing do play a legitimate role in those cases.

    • >I figured you make an exception for Malamutes

      One particular line of genius Malmamutes bred by some friends in Michigan, actually. These dogs are bright enough to work door-latches and figure out how electric-eye doors work. Their owners claim that they know individual humans have names and try to articulate them, something a canine vocal tract isn’t very good at.

      >And you seem to like Mr. Peabody

      That’s easy. Fictional dogs do not lust to rend my flesh.

  25. [wiki page of the Thor decision]

    Ooof! Just reading that is like watching a guy get kicked in the crotch over and over again.

    These dogs are bright enough to work door-latches and figure out how electric-eye doors work. Their owners claim that they know individual humans have names and try to articulate them

    Only a couple thousand years to wait for the dar-bandal!

  26. @esr:
    >For some reason the number of sf/f titles in print in, say the mid 80’s appeared to be *vastly* greater than the number in print 10 years later.

    The Thor decision is why.

    I suspect the US succumbing to the Berne convention’s ridiculously long copyright terms had something to do with it as well (specifically, that Thor would have been less damaging if works published in living memory were still hitting the public domain when the Thor decision was made).

    Burn Berne!

  27. Neologisms for the innate, learned conscious, and learned unconscious circuit models:

    instinct or archetype
    adoptation
    sublimina or subliminotion

  28. @ esr

    > These dogs are bright enough to work door-latches and figure out how electric-eye doors work.

    If it’s intelligence you value, you may want to read about the Border Collie, reported to be the smartest breed. (You may also appreciate their being sheepdogs, since – IIUC – you use the sheepdog as a metaphor for people who use guns for noble purposes.)

    > Fictional dogs do not lust to rend my flesh.

    What you’re saying suggests you’ve been attacked by one or more dogs. If that’s the case, I cannot ask you to trust their species after what happened*. But please don’t generalize like that. I often interact with unfamiliar dogs, and – to the best of my recollection – none has attacked me so far. Some react with mistrust, others don’t react at all, and yet others lick my hand. Hell, some even jump so they can lick my face.

    If your policy is to assume all dogs are dangerous (because you can’t know a priori if a given dog is dangerous or not), I respect that. But please know that sweet dogs do exist, even if you never get to experience their sweetness because of the aforementioned impossibility to identify them.

    If anything I said came off as rude, patronizing, or snoopy, I apologize. But I know apologies aren’t always compensatory enough; I am prepared to be banned, and won’t blame you if you do it. Perhaps I’m worrying too much again, but I wanted to emphasize my deep gratitude towards you – a gratitude that won’t go away because of a (probably deserved) punishment. (Defending one of my favorite species is worth the risk anyway.)

    * I can, however, recommend Konrad Lorenz’s Man Meets Dog. I didn’t find it consistently engaging; but since you approve of the author’s research on incomplete aggression, I believe you’ll find him credible. While I don’t remember whether that concept is discussed in the book (ISTR it is), I do remember the treatment of canine behavior is fairly even-handed.

  29. Perhaps I’m worrying too much again

    Yes. Yes you are.

    I am prepared to be banned

    He Who Must Not Be Named wasn’t banned. Roger was only banned after telling ESR to kill himself at the end of a long tide of abuse directed at everyone.

    You probably don’t even move the needle on the high sensitivity annoyance meter.

  30. To combine threads, I think folks ‘on the spectrum’ are much more likely to self-identify as cat people.

    With dogs, you actually have to play something akin to monkey status games (degree of necessity does vary by breed).

  31. >>For some reason the number of sf/f titles in print in, say the mid 80’s appeared to be *vastly* greater than the number in print 10 years later.

    >The Thor decision is why.

    Thank you. I recalled it had something to do with tax law, but that was it. Another useful fact filed away.

    Not sure if I made it clear, but I suspect knowledge of relatively obscure things like Asterix has gone down post-Thor decision, because of the decision.

    It’s also led to modern fandom essentially living in Year Zero, with no knowledge of the history of their own genre. Which is fertile ground for SJW’s and all kinds of leftist shenanigans. But I digress again.

  32. If your policy is to assume all dogs are dangerous (because you can’t know a priori if a given dog is dangerous or not), I respect that. But please know that sweet dogs do exist, even if you never get to experience their sweetness because of the aforementioned impossibility to identify them.

    That’s just the thing. Dogs are obsequious to their humans. A cat’s respect must be earned. When a cat purrs at your presence and wants to head bump you, it’s no small compliment and it comes from the heart.

  33. >That’s just the thing. Dogs are obsequious to their humans. A cat’s respect must be earned. When a cat purrs at your presence and wants to head bump you, it’s no small compliment and it comes from the heart.

    Then you don’t understand dogs at all. Another data point supporting my autists / cats conjecture.

    You probably especially don’t understand why there are so many poorly behaved dogs these days. (Hint: it’s incompetent, ignorant, lazy owners who don’t understand dogs.)

    A dog’s respect must indeed be earned, by proving to him in terms he can understand that you are a leader worthy of him. Otherwise, while he may be fond of you, without the proper respect there are going to be problems.

  34. Greg, how do autism service dogs fit into your conjecture? Perhaps they work out best when they support a autistic child but also live with an assertive calm leader to respect (e.g. parent)?

  35. Because it’s practically impossible (Sugar being a notable accidental exception) to have an autism service cat.

    The service dog is only workable because it is quite thoroughly trained beforehand, and (I assume) managed day to day either by a non-autist or by an autist following *very* carefully prepared instructions.

    My underlying assumptions here being that some people on the spectrum love animals and derive pleasure from interacting with them, but are no better at canine social games than they are at monkey social games. By contrast, cat social games play you. ( You can do acceptably by just sitting there and letting them happen, the cat is fine with managing the interaction. That doesn’t work with dogs.)

  36. @ esr

    > You haven’t come within nine light years of behavior that would get you banned.

    Please accept my resignation. I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.

    Now, seriously: I regret having made the banning remark, since it’s distracted you from the point I was making about dogs. But since you mention it: I discussed a traumatic experience you’ve possibly undergone. Are you sure that’s not a breach of your privacy, and thus grounds for banning?
    It’s not that I want to be banned (I don’t); it’s just that you may have missed it, and I’d rather be banned due to an informed decision than spared undeservingly.

    @ Foo Quuxman

    Thanks for your support. It’s not the first time, either. And thanks again for introducing me to geekxgirls.com – it’s been reasonably useful. ^_^

    @ Jeff Read

    Sorry, but I fail to see the link between your statement and the passage of my post you quoted. Perhaps you meant to quote the part about dogs’ reactions to me?

    BTW, I haven’t forgotten that you, too, have supported me. Thanks again. :-)

  37. @ esr

    > Yes :-)

    That “yes” could either mean “Yes, I’m sure it isn’t” or “Yes, it is”. Because of the emoticon, I assume the former. Thanks.

    You know, this discussion provides an opportunity for a couple of questions about your banning policy that I’ve been wanting to ask you, but was waiting for an appropriate thread (or subthread, as in this case):

    1. In general, you don’t get angry when someone expresses attraction for your wife (whom I do respect and admire). But I suspect there are limits; for example, the use of adjectives such as “hot”, “sexy”, or “arousing” would be dealt with in the harshest terms, wouldn’t it?

    2. Sock-puppeting is prohibited. But suppose a commenter momentarily assumes an identity that’s obviously false (such as Abraham Lincoln or Zola Raymond), makes a joke related to it, and then promptly reveals their true identity. Would that be acceptable? (Admittedly, that practice could get tiring; you could limit its frequency by only allowing it on April Fools’ Day.)

    • >But I suspect there are limits; for example, the use of adjectives such as “hot”, “sexy”, or “arousing” would be dealt with in the harshest terms, wouldn’t it?

      No. Why should I find this offensive? I think Cathy is, in fact, hot, sexy, and arousing. I can hardly fault other people for sharing my opinion in this matter.

      Now, if the actual intent of your question is whether I would interpret expression of this opinion as some kind of threat or territorial incursion…you need to bear in mind that my wife is fully capable of kicking an offensive male into next week, and if she were to request assistance I would probably make even shorter work of him. In the unlikely event that such a creature were to pose more of a threat than we felt we could deal with empty-hand, it’s not far from even money whether he’d be perforated sooner by my .45 or my wife’s Glock 40.

      Under the circumstances getting upset by mere words would be silly. The only situation in which it might raise a red flag is if the context suggested a persistent threat by a mentally unstable person. In that case the threat profile is significantly different from some ordinary guy with poor social skills drunk or running off at the mouth and we might have to take some sort of preventive steps.

      > But suppose a commenter momentarily assumes an identity that’s obviously false (such as Abraham Lincoln or Zola Raymond), makes a joke related to it, and then promptly reveals their true identity. Would that be acceptable?

      Almost certainly. I think something roughly like this has already happened at least once, though I don’t recall details.

  38. > But suppose a commenter momentarily assumes an identity that’s obviously false (such as Abraham Lincoln or Zola Raymond), makes a joke related to it, and then promptly reveals their true identity. Would that be acceptable?

    Almost certainly. I think something roughly like this has already happened at least once, though I don’t recall details.

    Relatedly, I once posted a comment “pseudo-nymously” (after having established a track record as a commenter in my own name), because it mentioned Eric’s behavior that might have broken an (unjust) law in a context that might have bothered a number of other people. I immediately privately emailed him, identifying myself and the comment, and suggesting that he could either ‘out’ me or delete the comment. Neither happened. FWIW.

  39. @ esr

    > Why should I find this offensive?

    IIUC, there are married men who do get angry over such things. I’m glad you’re not one of them, but I wouldn’t blame you if you were.

    > Now, if the actual intent of your question is whether I would interpret expression of this opinion as some kind of threat or territorial incursion…

    My question had no particular intent other than finding out more about what is acceptable on A&D and what is not.

    > …you need to bear in mind that my wife is fully capable of kicking an offensive male into next week

    Oh, I do. I did know she has a martial-arts background similar to yours; ISTR something about a black belt in Taekwondo.

    Your wife’s exceptional: she combines beauty, brains, and brawn. ^_^

    There, I finally said it. Now that I know you’re not bothered by such statements, my only remaining concern is whether they bother her (and it’s not a lesser concern; in my book, you both deserve the utmost respect). Sure, she once created a thread herself (!) to thank those who had complimented her; but that was long ago, and – again – the Mrs. Raymond of 2016 is not the Mrs. Raymond of 2003.

  40. IIUC, there are married men who do get angry over such things.

    Someone in a monogamous marriage is much more likely to do so.

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