About a month ago, my drawing teacher went on a tangent about the cat o nine tails. He said the cat o nine tails was a tasseled whipping staff that was used as a disciplinary measure on naval ships, and it was more feared than the average whip, because it bears multiple knotted cords. He said that all these common idioms we use today – the ones that SEEM to refer to cats (the felines) – are ACTUALLY in reference to the cat o nine tails.
The reason we tend to get confused is because
for short, the cat o nine tails
was referred to as “The Cat.”
He went on to explain the following examples.
“The cat’s got your tongue.”
This refers to crew members being scared silent by the cat o nine tails.
“The cat’s outta the bag.”
This means someone’s about to get whooped with the cat o nine tails.
“Not enough room to
throw a cat.”
Not enough room to whoop someone with the cat.
“I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine.”
According to my instructor, crew members who were caught scrapping were disciplined by being ordered to lash one another with the cat. Thus – I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine – refers to two men only LIGHTLY scratching one another with the cat, so as to avoid a much more severe wounding on both ends.
So… my drawing teacher tells us this…
And I thought…
How stupid are we?
We’ve always thought these phrases were about CATS, the FELINES.
Well, the cat’s outta the bag now, isn’t it?
How cute is that? :]
Yeah, really cute.
We’re so cute, we’re stupid.
I didn’t know what all to make of The Cat.
So I mentioned it to a few people.
My mom said there’s a connection between
the prefix “hyst” and uterus.
Hence the words Hysteria and Hysterectomy.
Upon mentioning it to Rebel, he offered me
the following quote from Wikipedia…
For summary punishment of Royal Navy boys, a lighter model was made,
the reduced cat,
also known as boy’s cat,
or just pussy,
that had only five tails of smooth whip cord. If formally convicted by a court martial, however, even boys would suffer the punishment of the adult cat.
Aha. Special. Thank you, Rebel.
Been letting this marinate about a month now.
Here’s my stance. Gathering all this…
As with the other cat idioms listed above…
The word PUSSY
ACTUALLY refers to
the cat o nine tails.
PUSSY = BOY’S CAT
Think about it.
The word pussy has more to do with
PUS and PURSES and COWARDICE
than it does with felines OR vagina.
More to do with BOYS
than it does with WOMEN.
I have no problem whatsoever with getting rid of it.
Because now every time
I hear the word “pussy,”
I’m gonna think of the boy’s cat.
The boy’s pussy.
Or JUST PUSSY.
But there’s an unsettling reality about writing this post for me.
It’s easy for me to let this word go.
I know it’s not going to be as easy for everyone else.
No matter what I say here today,
some of you are going to defend that word.
I ask you all to reconsider.
I ask you all to reconsider
your relationship to
the female anatomy.
That’s where we all came from.
Show some respect.
Speaking for myself… as a woman…
Even if I were to disregard the connection between
the boy’s cat and the word “pussy…”
I still only see a very VAGUE
and (dare I say) FEEBLE connection
between felines and females.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but…
I for one do not see myself as an animal.
People, do me a favor and please think about this.
We confuse ourselves with the animal kingdom.
I see that as a gross misstep.
We see ourselves in them, for some fucking reason.
Right before we hijack them and harvest their insides.
Not for survival, but for gain.
For game. For sport.
For leisure. For pleasure. For luxury.
What the experts would call
“animalistic behavior” in humans
is what I would call an insult to animals.
Animals are more well behaved than we are.
So I can’t even justify the connection between vagina and cats.
And I’m starting to dislike the concept of pet words and phrases too.
They imply ownership.
If it’s a matter determining a euphemism for the word VAGINA…
Why can’t we go with the old classic?
What a pretty flower :]
Thank you, Georgia.
Why doesn’t that suffice?
Oh, I know!
Because Hollywood hijacked the flower…
and made it all about the ass.
There’s your precious Citizen Kane.
Kane’s long lost boyhood love. Special.
Talk about landmarks in film, right?
For eff’s sake. Nothing was ever sacred.
My main point being…
It’s very unfortunate the flower has been hijacked, too.
I see much more similarity between flowers and females.
When I think of the concept
of female anatomy,
I don’t think of an animal
that has sharp claws
and sharp teeth.
Back to the boy’s cat.
Here’s the proceeding paragraphs following
the excerpt Rebel shared with me.
“While adult sailors received their lashes on the back, they were administered to boys on the bare posterior, usually while “kissing the gunner’s daughter“ (bending over a gun barrel), just as boys’ lighter “daily” chastisement was usually over their (often naked) rear-end (mainly with a cane – this could be applied to the hand, but captains generally refused such impractical disablement – or a rope’s end).
I for one want to know who the fuck
wrote that run-on sentence, Wikipedia.
What’s that tripe about kissing the gunner’s daughter?
For fuck’s sake.
That’s the most feminine-sounding terminology
we’ve heard yet today.
More boy torture. Special.
And what I find to be even extra special…
are the reasons given for the preference
of bare-bottom discipline.
Wouldn’t want to disable the child labor, right?
And somehow that answer manages to justify
as well as mask the real reasons why
CHILD REARING is JUST THAT.
Humiliating children for the sake of power.
Again… adults are the real monsters.
Bare-bottom discipline was a tradition of the English upper and middle classes, who frequented public schools, so midshipmen (trainee officers, usually from ‘good families’, getting a cheaper equivalent education by enlisting) were not spared, at best sometimes allowed to receive their lashes inside a cabin.
Lucky for them.
Even if you take away the boy’s cat,
I don’t see a bleeding difference.
Still, it is reported that the ‘infantile’ embarrassment of bare-bottom punishment was believed essential for optimal deterrence; cocky miscreants might brave the pain of the adult cat in the macho spirit of “taking it like a man” or even as a “badge of honour“.
Taking WHAT like a man…?
Yeah, let’s talk about that…
Let’s talk about “taking it” like a MAN.
like a LADIES MAN :]
People seem partial to this one, too.
Another classic. For its air of manliness.
Yeah, get a whiff.
Definitely one of my dad’s faves.
Probably most of yours, too.
Especially my American readers.
I propose the following question.
What happens to a man who
gorges himself on Easter Eggs?
His @PP gets T@PPED.
Egh, okay… tangent, but…
While we’re on the subject…
Movies shouldn’t try to be spiritual.
It’s completely uncalled for.
They’ll throw in any Biblical allegory
to make you FORGET the fact
that you’re watching something
your senses OUGHT to REJECT.
With Cool Hand Luke,
they manage to make you
forget you’re watching
a gaggle of sweaty slave men
all having one another’s backs.
“Taking it off, boss!”
C’mon people! :]
I don’t know why we haven’t already covered this.
Another phrase I’d like to throw out is
“I’ve got your back.”
It’s more of that bros-before-hos, wingmen bullshit.
I think the concept has good intentions.
It’s good to be there for one another.
Hell, we SHOULD be there for one another!
The problem is that
we’ve changed the concept of
being there for each other to imply
So having someone’s back is
OWNING THEIR BACK(-side/-door/-entrance)
It’s another pet phrase.
Need I say more?
So what do we have here?
What we have here,
is a failure to communicate :]
How many men have watched Luke’s egg orgy
and attempted to gorge the hell out of themselves
in an effort to confirm their masculinity?
Totally not gay, bro!
The Wookey Hole, I kid you not.
(I am also thinking of that pie eating puke contest
from the boy-loving Stand Behind Me,
but we’ll leave that out, you get the idea :)
It just hurts my guts to think.
Gorge and orgy are practically the same word.
They’re both about overindulgence.
So tell me what the difference really is.
Taste even correlates
to the genitalia.
Something to marinate :]
Let’s get back to the boy’s cat.
On board training ships, where most of the crew were boys, the cat was never introduced, but their bare bottoms risked, as in other naval establishments on land, the sting of the birch, another favourite in public schools.“
Now I’m wondering…
What is it about
the West’s confusion between
HUMILITY and HUMILIATION?
Do we know the difference?
Do we even care?Nor behind them, Charles...
“Montesquieu was also highly regarded in the British colonies in North America as a champion of British liberty (though not of American independence). Political scientist Donald Lutz found that Montesquieu was the most frequently quoted authority on government and politics in colonial pre-revolutionary British America, cited more by the American founders than any source except for the Bible. Following the American revolution, Montesquieu’s work remained a powerful influence on many of the American founders, most notably James Madison of Virginia, the “Father of the Constitution“. Montesquieu’s philosophy that “government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another” reminded Madison and others that a free and stable foundation for their new national government required a clearly defined and balanced separation of powers.”
I’m not trying to preach by sharing that…
I just didn’t want to leave it out when I found it.
Make of it what you will. I just find it to be relevant.
I try to write these things organically.
Some tangents are more crucial than others.
But I find that most things do connect.
Life is circular to me.
So let’s finish our discussion.
“The severest form of flogging was a flogging round the fleet. The number of lashes was divided by the number of ships in port and the offender was rowed between ships for each ship’s company to witness the punishment.” Penalties of hundreds of lashes were imposed for the gravest offences, including sedition and mutiny. The prisoner was rowed ’round the fleet in an open boat and received a number of his lashes at each ship in turn, for as long as the surgeon allowed. Sentences often took months or years to complete, depending on how much a man was expected to bear at a time. Normally 250–500 lashes was when a man taking this punishment would kill him, as infections would spread.”
After the flogging was completed, the sailor’s lacerated back was frequently rinsed with brine or seawater, which served as a crude antiseptic. Although the purpose was to control infection, it caused the sailor to endure additional pain, and gave rise to the expression, “rubbing salt into his wounds,” which came to mean vindictively or gratuitously increasing a punishment or injury already imposed.
We’re learning all sorts of new things on TheLoosh today.
But I don’t want to keep rubbing salt in the wounds :]
So let’s conclude today’s discussion, shall we?
Everybody who reads this…
I hope you all
get rid of your use
of the word PUSSY
in reference to the vagina.
At the very least.
Just on principle.
Simply put… it’s INCORRECT.
The word PUSSY
equates the vagina
with a TORTURE DEVICE
used on BOYS
Knowing all this,
you can’t really wonder why
women tend to think all men are dogs.
And you can’t really wonder why
women tend to act so catty, either.
It’s not a mystery.
If you want men and women to get along better…
…then let’s show more respect on both ends.
Grow a spine.
Show some nerve.
And don’t be such a