From: Gunnar Swanson
You probably think that your amusing hypothetical questions
serve to undermine my position. But I see them as the use of
humor to facilitate the application of a coping mechanism.
But I'll play along anyway:
> Is pain masculine because of battle or
> feminine because of what babies go through?
1. A baby doesn't associate childbirth pain with his/her mother.
2. Those who conduct physical conflict are generally male.
> So body builders and stripper both get attention; I get that.
> But are they both masculine or both feminine?
There was no gender association in this case. It was
just an example of "physics" affecting communication.
> Are we back to battle and what babies go though?
No. Blood (either your own of somebody else's)
is the strongest signal for "attention needed".
> I actually expected less of an attempt to justify the notion
> of masculine and feminine and more of a catalog of typefaces.
OK: Optima is feminine; DIN is masculine.
Now, with enough cultural effort, those associations
can indeed be reversed*, but that's beside the point.
* But in fact, they're usually reinforced (no surprise).
> Does the masculine/feminine thing really work (in type or life)?
Not only does it really work, it is at
the center of your existence. And type's.
> Isn't Futura really gay? Does that make
> it masculine, feminine, or both?
Futura is masculine.
From: Curtis Clark
> Hrant turns his cultural prejudices into "biological realities":
1. I don't stoop to biology to arrive at any conclusions of
this importance. Science is a mere tool, not a philosophy.
2. Having grown up in a place* which is closer to a balance
between East and West than anywhere else I can think of,
I suffer from much less cultural prejudice than you.
* Correction: a combination of places.
> Because of who participates in childbirth, pain is feminine.
> Erect penises are straight, although when
> used correctly, there is no pain. Blood pools.
You missed my point(s).
> So male babies will turn into homosexuals
> unless they are exposed to battle?
Of course not.
But babies of any gender associate pain and masculinity
more closely the more they are exposed to physical conflict.
> An inverted triangle is the female pubic area, symbol
> of (1) procreation and (2) sensuality in many cultures.
Sure. But how does that negate my point?
1. That example I gave had no sexual
association - it had to do with gravity.
2. Of course culture plays a role in creating associations, but:
When they're applied too late they don't have the strength to
penetrate into the subconscious*; That still doesn't preclude
physicality playing a role in communication.
* And the subconscious is where all
"serious" communication happens.
> But far better animal behaviorists than either of us have
> struggled with sorting out the hard-coded from the learned
When did I pretend to be able to sort them out? I just said
that hard-coding exists (many people deny this, especially the
genetic variety), and that some hard-coding (like certain gender
associations, gravity, etc.) has more power than others, enough
power to be difficult to over-ride culturally. Curve-versus-
straight is one example of an association that I believe is
very heavily "Nature-al", and very difficult to over-ride.
BTW, those animal behaviorists were/are trying to provide
*proof*, or something close enough to proof (because their
lifestyles depend on doing so) - and that is indeed very
difficult. My lifestyle has no such clause - all I need
is to feel sufficiently confident in what I say.
> it hardly seems likely that any of these ideas
> express anything other than your personal tastes
> and cultural background
I'm sure they do to some extent, but not mostly.
Because more than anything else they make *sense* in
the good old-fashioned (pre-academic-corruption) way.
> Perhaps because you dislike them.
I dislike italics, but I cherish and admire women. In fact,
sometimes I wish I was one (like just yesterday). I'm not
especially proud to be male - we're not subtle enough.
> I was talking with an acquaintance the other night whose son
> has taken a lot of flack for playing the flute, a "feminine"
> instrument. And drums are often regarded as "masculine". But,
> time was (and still is in some cultures) when only men were
> allowed to play flutes and only women play drums.
Yes, the playing of instuments is too far removed from Nature, so
cultural effects have much more effect. But it's very rare for a
culture to say it's OK to have daily sex with a flute, for example.