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Bitches Lost Their Minds

March 9th, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

Okay, this is ridiculous. This Types of Bitches post has gone completely nuts. It’s gotten a ton of traffic. I told my mom, and she doesn’t know WHAT to do. On the one hand, she’s proud of me. On the other, it’s yet another piece of tremendous public profanity that’s now associated with the Simmermon name.

in the last two years, I’ve said “bitches” and “motherfucker” on “This American Life,” been written up in the Washington Post and a number of news wires for writing “fuck you” on a dollar bill, and now this. My mom’s as proud of me as she can be while still being ashamed to tell her friends at church.

Like anything that’s really popular online, this post is attracting a lot of comments. I’ve had this blog for a while and seen a number of posts “go viral” — a phrase that is bandied about your more clueless boardrooms everywhere — and there’s one thing I’ve learned:

People don’t have a lot of new ideas. There is never one singular voice that rises from the crowd, never one lone idea that stands out from the rest. Everything falls into buckets eventually.

The comments on this post fell into a few distinct buckets:

This list is awesome — it’s hilarious!
This list is awesome — it validates all my thinly veiled racial preconceptions!
This list is terrible — inner city education is awful, won’t somebody think of the children!
This list is terrible — it’s misogynist/racist/sad that all black children talk that way all the time
Here’s how I’m a bitch …
Here are some different bitches in a white, Internet-savvy vernacular
You uptight people need to calm down

I’ve really been amazed at how seriously some folks took this thing. I used to test-drive cuss words when I was the same age. Most kids do. My best friend Eric Browne and I used to write them in the dirt on the playground with a stick and teach them to the other kids. We then created an illustrated dictionary of all the profanity we knew. We did leave the illustration for “motherfucker” blank, though. That one was tough. We didn’t really know what it meant in the larger scheme of things, just that it enhanced everything it touched.

Sort of like hot sauce.

The tone in a lot of the concerned comments comes across as really condescending to me. Like nothing sad is ever funny, like nobody ever tested out language all to themselves. The humor in this list, to me, comes from the new context. This was made by kids, for kids, away from adult eyes. This wasn’t necessarily English homework or the Sermon on the Mount. It was kids, playing with language that’s too big for them the way that they put on their parents’ clothes to play dress-up.

Two comments actually did rise above the clatter and sum the situation up perfectly for me:

This comment by Here_we_go_again sums up my feelings on the subject pretty perfectly. It falls squarely into the “calm down” bucket, in case you were wondering:

I wrote shit lists, bitch lists, yo’ mamma lists, and ugly lists in grade school ( prob around 3rd grade when all my other friends cursed freely) and middle school. I wrote them in “standard’” English, Carribean dialect, and language that reflected a very particular upbringing in Bed-Stuy and Flatbush. I probably had quite a few spelling errors as well.

I then went home, did my homework, studied, while my parents were at work…

Somewhere between all of that I jotted five more things to add to the group list at lunch time and hid them deep in my bag for fear of an ass whooping …

Fast foward a few years, I went to a reputable college, excelled in a masters program, have a strong worldview and have made many concientious decisions for my life and career. I still encounter a few bitches, but just don’t have the time to write it down.

Stop being so judgemental. Damning her, her values, her upbringing, her likely future is ridiculous. She might be a “reflection of our future” but these are just a few sheets of paper not a manifesto or a clear indicator of a life rife with turmoil.

Give the child time and space to grow, find herself and come into what’s right for her. Stop being self righteous, stone casting, presumptuous bitches.

The comment below is really DC-specific, and it made me want to high-five my screen. From DC teacher

bitches who want to comment on things they have not seen, heard, lived or even marginally appreciated.

(more specifically)
* don’t know a tenderhead bitch
* couldn’t find a kitchen bitch
* can’t discern a lingual pattern in vernaculars bitch
* tryin to apply this list to your elitist college life, BITCH?
* “really wish i could save them” bitches
* (who often become) “i’m applying to TFA” bitches
* “can i touch your hair?” bitches
* bitches who be perplexed that some people don’t shampoo daily
* “what does a weave look like?” bitches
* don’t know how to correctly use ‘dark, brown, light-skinned or chocolate’ bitches
* bitches always assumed to be named Sara/h, Ashley or Jenny
* brown friends don’t mean you’re not racist, BITCH
* stuck on some double negatives bitches
* strugglin to read children’s stories by Lucille Clifton bitches

And for all your DMV sisters
* can’t cross the Anacostia because she couldn’t save herself bitch
* never heard of SEU-Waterfront, but lives on the Green Line bitch
* think a phone number that starts with 202 makes you hard, BITCH?
* bitches who live ‘on the Hill,’ not in SE
* bitches who be scared to ride buses
* think DC has a prison, BITCH?
* how is it possible that you work with all white people, BITCH?
* “oh, i go running through that neighborhood” as a badge of honor bitches

You’ll notice that the comments are turned off on this post. That’s for a reason. I’m tired of all this bitching …

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