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Hitting the Walls and Working the Middle
June 25, 2007 9:29 AM   Subscribe

BYT: A lot of our readers at Brightest Young Things are young women. Is there a main thrust of Vagina Power that you want to communicate directly to them? It was just this morning, on the prompting of a friend, that I found myself examining Alexyss Tylor's Vagina Power again, including our home grown transcript of her vagina power philosophy. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but when I tuned into my favorite website about the D.C. social scene this morning, I fell off my chair. [nsfw]
posted by awesomebrad (40 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
"...when people watch the episode of my show titled “How to Talk to Dick: Dick Talk 101″ they will see I have an artificial penis in my hand that I’m very comfortable with."

Sounds like MetaFilter.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:38 AM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can't get to the last two links for some reason.
posted by popechunk at 9:41 AM on June 25, 2007


It may have vagina power, but it certainly doesn't seem to have web-hosting power.
posted by seanyboy at 9:42 AM on June 25, 2007


vagina power? penis power? Gimme a break. Look people, humans have been fucking for millenia, animals for millions of years. This shit really isn't all that damned complicated.
posted by jonmc at 9:43 AM on June 25, 2007


Metafilter: Hitting the walls and working the middle.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:47 AM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, vagina power is certainly more fun than shoveling all that coal.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:50 AM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, I certainly don't see why I shouldn't click this at work, so I think I'll just ask my boss to come in here and open it up and check it out!
posted by DU at 9:55 AM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Have we gotten all the snark out of the way yet?

I was surprised at how well she interviewed. The video was pretty random stream of consciousness, but this reveals her to be a thoughtful and coherent person. She must get severe stage fright, or not rehearse, or something. I too, fell out of my chair. Great link.
posted by felix at 9:58 AM on June 25, 2007


First you get the money...
posted by pruner at 9:59 AM on June 25, 2007


Good for her. She seems like she's taking it well.
posted by empath at 10:02 AM on June 25, 2007


last link has BIG VAGINA MASTHEAD, and may be nsfw, unless you work with VAGINAS
posted by docpops at 10:04 AM on June 25, 2007


Sorry about the lack of NSFW guys...I knew I was forgetting something.
posted by awesomebrad at 10:06 AM on June 25, 2007


lets jsut get away from this vagina business:

Cunt Power!

oh wait, that's US centric....

Fanny Power!
posted by geos at 10:07 AM on June 25, 2007


Yeah, thanks for that NSFW. Anyone walking by as I opened it just got a cheap thrill.
posted by hermitosis at 10:12 AM on June 25, 2007


As a father of a girl, I'm all in favour of Girl Power, but Vagina Power is just icky. Unless you wish to subscribe to Hairy Scrotum Power.

Which I have.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 10:26 AM on June 25, 2007


Alexyss Taylor: She had taught me how to be a better pussy pilot in so many ways
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:57 AM on June 25, 2007


geos writes 'Cunt Power!

'oh wait, that's US centric....


Actually, it isn't. I find USians tend to be horrified by the use of the word cunt, whereas here in the UK it's a generalized term of abuse and affection. However, it's still one of the few words that they'll mostly beep on the BBC.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:01 AM on June 25, 2007


jonmc writes Look people, humans have been fucking for millenia, animals for millions of years.'

And people have been fucking animals for almost as long.

Zoophilia Power!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:04 AM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Strange that the interviewer didn't feel the need to write up this interview from when she spoke with Alexyss, with the inclusion of her pronunciations and other particulars of her vernacular, unlike our transcripters. I wonder why not?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:04 AM on June 25, 2007


[nsfwified]
posted by cortex at 11:07 AM on June 25, 2007


If your work environment is one such that you fear for your employment based on your surfing habits, maybe you should, oh, I don't know, refrain from clicking on links labeled "vagina power." Or to broaden my advice, if certain images are offensive in your workplace, then possibly your MetaFiltering habit should be postponed for off-the-clock hours. Just a thought.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:34 AM on June 25, 2007


That's a debate to have (and that has been had) on Metatalk more than once, _sirmissalot_. Let it go.
posted by cortex at 11:39 AM on June 25, 2007


PeterMcDermott: Remind me to cancel that MeFi jaunt the Bronx Zoo I was planning.
posted by jonmc at 11:40 AM on June 25, 2007


Sorry.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:43 AM on June 25, 2007


Cool! A recycled thread! Here goes...

I think it would be even better if Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry were to do a version as Wooster and Jeeves:

WOOSTER: I say, Jeeves, that woman needs, how shall I say it? She needs vaginal penetration. Most women on the London scene are hooked on clitoral stimulation, not to mention the outer orgasms, inner orgasms within the intra-vagina, inside the vagina walls, all of which utilize hidden g-spots! Jeeves, fetch my copy of Gray's Anatomy.

ALL OF METAFILTER: Fuck off, Ubu, & stop putting on that stupid toffy British accent.

WOOSTER UBU: ok, here's the link to the original.

posted by UbuRoivas at 11:55 AM on June 25, 2007


Actually, it isn't. I find USians tend to be horrified by the use of the word cunt, whereas here in the UK it's a generalized term of abuse and affection.

i've gotten the sense that calling someone a 'cunt' in the commonwealth woud roughly translate into calling someone a 'dumbass' in the US...
posted by geos at 12:10 PM on June 25, 2007


humans have been fucking for millenia, animals for millions of years. This shit really isn't all that damned complicated.

Is the millions of years of fucking the reason that this shit *is* so complicated?
posted by washburn at 12:24 PM on June 25, 2007


You know, zoophilia would lend a new meaning to "pussy power" and even "sperm power"...
posted by Samizdata at 2:47 PM on June 25, 2007


Obligatory link to youtube remix.
posted by bjork24 at 3:30 PM on June 25, 2007


I never knew sperm was extra-terrestrial with a subatomic memory core. You learn something new every day.

Seriously though, the cohesiveness of the interview just makes that sound even more crazy than when she's rambling on video.
posted by Arturus at 3:37 PM on June 25, 2007


God, the Brightest Young Things are enormous douches. I can't tell you how they've ruined a lot of cool bars around here.

Here's Wonkette on these morons:

It’s hard to run a Kewl Kid site. Mostly because all the cool kids are too cool and the not-quite-cool enough kids just blow.

Luckily, this is D.C. They'll move away in a year.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:49 PM on June 25, 2007


So it's not a coincidence that their site design mimics pitchfork then?
posted by stratastar at 5:28 AM on June 26, 2007


She was surprisingly cogent.

Ethereal Bligh writes "Strange that the interviewer didn't feel the need to write up this interview from when she spoke with Alexyss, with the inclusion of her pronunciations and other particulars of her vernacular, unlike our transcripters. I wonder why not?"

Because they weren't laughing at her, and we were? Same reason people making fun of Barbara Walters would call her "Bawbawa", while other newscasters would call her "Barbara".
posted by Bugbread at 9:24 AM on June 26, 2007


“Because they weren't laughing at her, and we were? Same reason people making fun of Barbara Walters would call her "Bawbawa", while other newscasters would call her 'Barbara'.”

Right. "We" were laughing at her. Not with her, as some claimed. And the context within which we were laughing at her was racist, as those particular choices in transcription reveal.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:38 PM on June 26, 2007


Ethereal Bligh : "And the context within which we were laughing at her was racist, as those particular choices in transcription reveal."

Really? When we laugh at Barbara Walters, are we laughing at Bostonians? Because I laughed at her way of talking as a kid, but never with the opinion that Bostonians are inferior, which is the corollary of what you're saying. I wasn't a transcriber, but if I were, and Alexyss spoke as she does, I would have transcribed her as she spoke, regardless of what color she were, because it's funny. It's not funny because she's black, it's just funny. I think if color is a non-factor in whether you find something amusing or not, it's pretty hard for it to be racism.
posted by Bugbread at 2:43 AM on June 27, 2007


Rephrased: in racism, race is the most important factor. In this case, race is a non-factor for me. Thus, it's pretty much impossible for it to be racism.
posted by Bugbread at 2:46 AM on June 27, 2007


Her way of speaking is not abnormal. It's just characteristic of the English vernacular used by people of her socioeconomic background, i.e., race. We all know this, even if we haven't met someone who speaks like this, we've heard this vernacular in the media. It's not unfamiliar. Finding her speaking pattern "funny" is just like finding her skin color "funny"—that is, it shouldn't be funny except to young children who don't know any better. The argument in that thread was that it was the content of what Alexyys said that was funny. Yet you are saying that it was the way she said it that was funny. More likely, it was both. However, what you've said and what the transcriptions show is that the otherness of her race was a key component of why people were laughing at her.

In the interview linked here, where the interviewer did not go out of her way to make race a factor, the content of what Alexyys says appears to this audience, as judged by several comments here, to be much more reasonable and not very funny at all. What this amounts to is proof that the original thread had a large component of "watch the crazy black woman" racism that everyone in that thread tried to deny. Well, here's another look at Alexyys—why isn't everyone laughing this time?

I agree that the content of what she said was crucial. Few people here, I think, would have found just anyone speaking of mundane things in that vernacular "funny" (even though that's your argument). On the other hand, I don't think that someone of more similar socioeconomic background to the majority of mefites presenting that same content would have been nearly as funny to mefites, if at all. It's the combination that was funny. The significance of this is that our latent racism, our sense of Alexyys's speech as "other", our discomfort with her otherness, is enough to transform a strange monologue into something which seems to mefites as hilariously bizarre. Is that a normal human reaction? Sure. It's still racist, though mildly so.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:33 AM on June 27, 2007


Ethereal Bligh writes "Her way of speaking is not abnormal. It's just characteristic of the English vernacular used by people of her socioeconomic background, i.e., race. We all know this, even if we haven't met someone who speaks like this, we've heard this vernacular in the media. It's not unfamiliar."

It was to me. Maybe I've not heard enough black folks from Memphis, but there was a weird mix of strong enunciation of certain sounds and slurring of other sounds that was really new and funny to me. If she sounded like some random black woman from Houston (where I'm from), I probably wouldn't transcribe her phonetically.

It is, for example, as if you heard someone speak with a strange mix of Scottish and Jamaican accents. You might find that very funny. You might transcribe it as you hear it, because it's so odd. You would probably not agree with the statement "We all know that that's how people talk in the southwest of Glasgow. It's not unfamiliar. Thus your transcription is discriminatory to Glaswegians."

Likewise, maybe the way she talks is totally familiar to you. But it sure wasn't to me. So perhaps for you to laugh at this totally familiar accent would be racist. For me to laugh at this totally unfamiliar accent is not.

Ethereal Bligh writes "The argument in that thread was that it was the content of what Alexyys said that was funny. Yet you are saying that it was the way she said it that was funny."

No, I'm saying they were both funny. The content was 90%. The delivery was 10%.

Ethereal Bligh writes "However, what you've said and what the transcriptions show is that the otherness of her race was a key component of why people were laughing at her."

No, what I've said is that I found her accent funny, regardless of her skin color. It would be just as funny (no more, no less) if she were white, asian, or miscellaneous. I'm not only saying "it isn't a key component", I'm saying "it isn't even a component".

Ethereal Bligh writes "In the interview linked here, where the interviewer did not go out of her way to make race a factor, the content of what Alexyys says appears to this audience, as judged by several comments here, to be much more reasonable and not very funny at all. What this amounts to is proof that the original thread had a large component of 'watch the crazy black woman' racism that everyone in that thread tried to deny."

No, what it proves is that you've let your view of that other thread blind you to the fact that she really is more cogent in this article. If I am scared when a person with red hair screams at me on the train, and then I read an article written by them that is calm and reasoned, and I say "that's much less scary", you wouldn't say "what this amounts to is proof that their red hair was a large component in finding them scary". Well, you might if you were just being obstinate. Instead, you would more likely say "What this says is that people are scarier when screaming then when writing calmly". Likewise, the fact that she's less funny here than she was in the video is proof that random, aimless, incoherent rambling was a big component in folks finding her video humorous.

Ethereal Bligh writes "On the other hand, I don't think that someone of more similar socioeconomic background to the majority of mefites presenting that same content would have been nearly as funny to mefites, if at all."

I absolutely, totally, completely, incredibly disagree. Maybe that's the core of the argument? Folks find something funny because of A. You don't find it funny, therefore you suspect that they aren't really laughing because of A. Much like people who hate Aphex Twin often accuse those who like Aphex Twin of just pretending to like it because it makes them seem snooty. "They're laughing at this black lady. They say that what she's saying is funny. I don't think it's funny. Thus, they must be lying about the contents being the funny part. They must be laughing at her for being black."
posted by Bugbread at 10:47 AM on June 27, 2007


But I did find what she was saying funny. I was mildly suspicious about the motivation for the link and the response to it, but not enough to say anything about it. However, the transcription settled the matter for me because effort was put into transcribing her vernacular and that indicated that it was a crucial part of what others find funny.

Please read what Miko wrote in that thread for why decisions about transcriptions of speech and preserving dialectical variations can be problematic and reveal a racial bias. This interviewer didn't make the same choice as the mefi transcribers did and the result was quite different. As you said, mefites were laughing at this woman and her vernacular was an intrinsic part of it. Particulars may differ regionally, but the sorts of things that were included in the transcriptions are typical of someone from her socioeconomic background and are not remarkable.

The bottom line is that whenever a group of largely white and privileged people finds themselves laughing at a member of a non-white and under-privileged minority, their mockery is inherently suspicious. When a key component of that mockery is revealed to be aimed at something unique to that minority, indeed, often identified with that minority, then the line between suspicious and actually bigoted has been crossed. I'm not claiming I've never been guilty of this, even the most self-aware and careful person will exhibit some race-based bigotry from time to time and it will usually be fairly mild, as in the case. Nevertheless, it is what it is and the backlash against me in that thread, even though my initial accusation wasn't even an accusation but indirect and mild, was simply defensive and not self-aware. The MetaFilter community can be very high and mighty when criticizing others for their bigotry but is very bad at taking criticism of itself.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:40 PM on June 27, 2007


Ethereal Bligh writes "However, the transcription settled the matter for me because effort was put into transcribing her vernacular and that indicated that it was a crucial part of what others find funny."

See, I just thought it was icing on the cake. I don't think it was critical: that woulda been damn funny even if transcribed like we transcribe politicians. But I don't think that transcribing in the vernacular indicated it was a crucial part, just that it was a part.

I do, wholeheartedly, agree that the choice to preserve the vernacular for some but not for others can be indicative of racism, conscious or unconscious. I think the odds of that, in fact, are quite high. I don't, however, find them to be 100%. So the mere choice that someone preserves the vernacular is not enough for me to definitively state that they are doing so out of overt or latent racism.

Ethereal Bligh writes "This interviewer didn't make the same choice as the mefi transcribers did and the result was quite different."

"AND the result was quite different", true. "THUS the result was quite different", false. Alexyss herself was far more cogent as well. The transcription style is not the primary factor in making the result different. Her totally different style of self-expression, using short, clear, focussed sentences, is. One of the longer sentences I found in the article was 63 words. One of the longer sentences I found in her YouTube script was 120 words long. In the interview, when you get to the end of the sentence, you find it expresses some sort of comprehensible thought. In the YouTube video, she strings together little fragments to form these giant chains, which, when you reach their ends, have rambled far away from their beginnings. It's not as funny, not only because it's transcribed without vernacular, but because the contents just aren't as funny. There is no cumming in people's brains. There is no Long John Silver.

Ethereal Bligh writes "When a key component of that mockery is revealed to be aimed at something unique to that minority, indeed, often identified with that minority, then the line between suspicious and actually bigoted has been crossed."

So if a guy in my office does something really funny unintentionally, that's cool. If someone then comes up and says "You know Bob is from Uruguay, right? What he did, that's actually really common in Uruguay", then I am now a racist for having laughed at it? Whether I was aware of the commonality of the trait is unimportant; if it is unique to that group, I'm racist for laughing at it, even if I thought it was just unique to that person?

Ethereal Bligh writes "The MetaFilter community can be very high and mighty when criticizing others for their bigotry but is very bad at taking criticism of itself."

Well, OK, there we're in total agreement.
posted by Bugbread at 2:39 PM on June 27, 2007


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