Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones – But Words Can Change the World

Dear KK,

When I was young arguments were difficult to find. You could argue with your parents, to a certain extent, unless they were stupid – in which case it was pointless, or if they were arseholes  – in which case it was dangerous. You could argue with your teachers, to a certain extent, but you could also end up in detention or writing lines.  Fuck. That just reminded me. That is a punishment I doubt you’ll ever experience. I wonder, actually, how well they’ll even bother to teach you to write in this day and age. When I was a child, the preferred form of child torture in school was writing lines. They would make you write the same words like ‘ I will not tell Mrs. Peters to suck my peter’ 500 times or more. Your wrist would be aching and your fingers numb and you wouldn’t have learned a fucking thing. If someone made me write something 5 times, I think I’d have the same physical response now as we’ve all gotten lazy wrists from never writing anymore. I can’t even imagine how I would survive if I had to write this blog with a pencil and paper and no spell check.

Getting back to my point.  You could also argue with your friends, but that could often lead to fisticuffs and then the argument became a fight. So, the great news for anyone who enjoys a good argument, without the risk of being punched in the nose, eye or throat is the internet – specifically social media, where we are able to while away the hours violently quoting Wikipedia and criticising other people’s use of apostrophes without barely a whisker of real violence.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some of stalker, serial killer material out there in the internetosphere, who might hunt you down, chop you up and eat you after raping your eye sockets, but, for the most part, you’re pretty safe.  If you really like to argue, you can argue about things you don’t care about or even know about. In fact, if you observe closely, you’ll find that on many issues, neither party truly knows anything about the subject, but they do know how to use Google.

So, in this non intellectual Lord of the Flies like world, are there rules regarding arguing? The answer is ‘of course there are fucking rules’.  Today Badass Auntie is going to help you to understand and negotiate the world of internet arguing.

If you are posting under your own name, rules are far more important than if you are posting under a pseudonym. So, we’ll start with the rules for posting and arguing under your real name.

If you have a job only post cute cat memes that have no swear words and make no political, religious, racial, gender or any other references that could be misconstrued and used as an excuse to fire you. You can also post cute baby photos as long as the baby is a relative of yours and it’s not naked, smoking, playing with a gun or duct taped to a wall. If you do, other people will try to start arguments. If those people are your employers or anyone else you may be financially dependent on, such as parents, do not argue in return, thank them for bringing your flaws to your attention and learn from your mistakes.

If you are not financially dependent on anyone, then it is still smart to choose your battles wisely. You still have neighbours, friends that you might wish to keep and relatives who you may want to receive Amazon parcels from on your birthday in future. For example, if you live in a religious community, continually trying to start arguments about whether or not there is or isn’t a god and telling people how stupid they are for believing in mythical creatures may not do you any favours. If your neighbours are cattle farmers, having arguments with them telling them that farmers are responsible for global warming and we should all be vegan, may result in some rather interesting encounters the next time you need to borrow a cup of sugar. You may have that freedom of speech clause thingie in your country, but it doesn’t mean you don’t live with the consequences of the battles you pick. If people in your community start to think you’re an utter arse wipe, your online arguments may well become real life inconveniences.

These days, people do not need to go to the village fair and see you get into a drunken fist fight with the sheriff’s son because you called his Dad a ‘pig’. People can see what a prick you are just by watching the arguments you choose to participate in and the way you conduct yourself on social media.  Entire relationships are formed and ended between people during arguments on social media, especially during pivotal times like elections or wars.

You could have an argument with a cousin you used to love to play with and set fire to things with (OK. Maybe not fires unless you are in practice to become one of those stalker serial killer types) over whether or not Budweiser Light should truly be considered an alcoholic beverage, much less a beer and find yourself out of his life permanently and forever, with one simple click of an ‘ignore’ or ‘block’ button.  Sure, you can try to email him and find out why, but there’s a ‘delete’ button too and once people have used the internet to remove someone from their life, it’s unlikely they will wish to turn back. It’s just so easy.

So, Badass Auntie shares this bit of wisdom with you today – If you want to be an arsehole on the internet or, if you wish to enter battle with arseholes on the internet without the risk of having your eye socket raped, use a pseudonym…say, like ‘Badass Auntie’. On the other hand, if you ever become a menopausal woman, which whatever you may think now, is always a possibility whatever gender you were born – you’ll stop giving any fucks at all about who you piss off and society will sort of even give you a pass. There are definite advantages to being a menopausal woman that balance things out. Yes, OK, in some places in history (and even now), we were burned as witches, but for the most part we’re feared and revered for our honesty and downright notgivingatshitness…as long as we don’t have too many cats. When that happens our credibility wanes and then we get back to the witches thing. As for old men, who try the same thing, somehow it just doesn’t suit them so well and they get weird, start taking viagra, getting hair transplants and chasing embarrassingly young lovers and when they argue, they don’t end up sounding wise. They just sound like reactionary old fucks.  Why is that?

Might be worth thinking about becoming a menopausal women. If you ever decide on that path, let me know. I’ve got peeps who can help you with that.

Much love from your Badass Auntie

Dear CK,

I can’t imagine a newborn thinks anything is worth fighting for except a tit and you still can’t hit hard enough to win that battle. That’s why you have been given a disproportionately large voice.  This is something most babies are born with and it is a pretty effective tool, that can’t be easily ignored by those who have to fight your battles on your behalf, your parents. I’m pretty sure your parents will never have to protect your favourite tit from anyone who has no rights to it, but it’s a good time to be practicing using your voice because it will come in handy as you get older.

Of course I’ll be accused of gender stereotyping and true to form, I don’t give a shit. Stereotyping shmereotyping. Boys have more testosterone. Testosterone makes you more aggressive.  That’s why they castrate bulls. This is why, unless you have an unusual amount of testosterone for a girl (and that’s not a bad thing, but unlikely), you will be less physically aggressive than your brother. Now, that doesn’t mean that should you choose to take up a hobby, sport or occupation that requires you to be aggressive that you won’t be perfectly capable of complete and utter ruthless carnage, but in the meantime, honing your verbal skills will ensure that you will never have to resort to punching someone or being punched unless you really want to.

Sadly, if you look online, you’ll find lots of very embarrassing girl fights, usually between teenagers often with their embarrassing mothers watching, cheering them on and sometimes, even participating.  A classic case of the saying that ‘shit doesn’t fall far from the goat’.  OK. That’s not the real saying. The real saying is ‘fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree’, but mothers who get into fist fights with teenage girls on their daughters’ behalf are far from fruity, but pretty shitty. So, while you’re online, if you look at videos of goats shitting, you’ll see that their shit doesn’t fall far from them at all. In fact, it sort of rolls out in little black balls very neatly.

These fights normally don’t result in a great deal of physical harm to either party, but plenty of harm to the reputation of the girls involved and to girls in general. That’s because one of the benefits of not having tons of testosterone is that we, as girls and women, should maintain our testosterone free sense of superiority by fighting with our words, intellect, vicious tongues and, when necessary a good dose of fishwifery.  I must add that I don’t say ‘fishwifery’ with any hint of disdain.

I have a great deal of respect for fishwives and their ability to take no prisoners and make a point through the pure brutality of their words combined with their volume. Their skills are a gift.  You don’t fuck with a woman when she has gone into fishwife zone and all women have a reserve of fishwife deep down inside them for the times utter coarse, vile language and the total public humiliation of their target is required.

When you’re young, you do not have to pick your battles as wisely as your brother because school days are times for female sparring – and, if you have gay male friends, squabbling with them will elevate your skill set to even greater heights. You will learn to give and take verbal and sometimes, non verbal (there is a whole language of hand gestures, neck and eye rolling, finger snapping and hair flicking that need to be mastered as well) take downs without even breaking your flow. Being able to take as good as you give is why you need to spend lots of time practicing with your friends. If you can’t walk away and shake off anything anyone throws at you, you’ll have a pretty tough adolescence. You’ll also need to know how to swear well. Not just pathetic swear words like ‘bitch’ or ‘shit’, but really hardcore nasty ones. Those are your knock out punches. If you can say something so offensive that your opponent is simultaneously shocked, offended and impressed, you will always be the victor.  This is your inner fishwife. Nurture her.

Fishin with Bill - nice catch

Your Badass Auntie is a good fishwife.

I gave your brother some advice on choosing battles wisely and those rules are sort of useful for you to know, but as a girl, you’ll be expected to take so much more shit than he will in terms of sexist bollox and creepy and inappropriate attention. So, you will be justified in becoming a smart arse, queen warrior.  Just make sure there are no witnesses and never write it down. If you are going to write it down, then we’ll have to work on your ability to condescend and to be passively aggressive (while actually being overtly aggressive) so that no one can ever use your written word against you.

So, today’s Badass Auntie wisdom dished to you like a bowl of warm fish soup – Yes, pick your battles, but be smart, be badass and be well prepared. You never want to have to use anything but your wit and if you are truly badass, you never will. Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can change the world.

Much love from your Badass Auntie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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