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Unsavoury remarks on MN

Roger Hargrave

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Violadamore, on 06 Dec 2014 - 04:45 AM, said: (quote) The sophomoric sexual innuendos one often has to wade through around here probably are.(the worst kind of humour) (quote)

Since I already wished a happy Christmas way too soon, how about a new year resolution. I'm afraid I originally put this post in the wrong place and perhaps it is a little too high toned, but I have been a little disturbed by some rather misplaced comments on MN this last year.

Speaking as one who was rather fond of sophomoric sexual innuendo before my daughter was born in the 1980's, I whole heartedly agree with Violadamore; we really don't need it on MN. Like racism, no matter how we try, to some degree this this kind of thing is in us all. I think of several recent comments about Chinese instruments. The good thing is that it is never too late to change. This is a story I used to tell my kids. I'm sorry its so long, but I sometimes think that some MN contributors could do with reading it. In the 1980’s Delta was by far the biggest airline flying out of Chicago’s. O’Hare was the hub for this important carrier and it had a seemingly unending row of check-in desks that stretched as far as the eye could see. One hot summer’s day I arrived at O’Hare in a battered Chicago taxi. I was travelling with Machold, my then boss; a notorious last minute traveller. In America, he liked to project an air of European aristocratic superiority. He loved having people run around after him and on this particular day I was just another one of his runners. On the way to the terminal we were sitting on the cabs loose fitting rear seat. A Plexiglas partition separated us from the driver. Displayed on this partition were the drivers ID and licence. These indicated that he was a recent immigrant from Pakistan. Some years earlier, while I was still teaching, together with two colleagues I attended evening classes to learn Urdu; Urdu being the official language of Pakistan. Ostensibly this was to help me communicate with our schools new Pakistani immigrants, but since I also fancied one of my colleagues, I was especially keen to make a good impression. At that time, the only English/Pakistani language book that was available had been written by and for British Army officers serving on the Indian sub continent. Since no English edition was available, our teacher had brought several copies over from Pakistan. These books were loosely bound and printed on cheap recycled paper. They looked and smelled ‘third world’. They contained such useful phases as; “See that the horses are properly watered and fed”. “Put the hounds in their kennels,” and “Drive the memsahib to the polo club.” The members of this evening class, mainly left wing teachers and junior doctors, thought this book was hilarious. I suspect our rather more ‘conservative’ Pakistani teacher did not find it quite so amusing.

Primarily to impress Machold, I addressed the Chicago taxi driver in Urdu. He was clearly amused by my efforts and we talked for several minutes until we reached the terminal building. As usual I paid the driver and rushed to pull our bags from the trunk. In the meantime Machold stepped out of the cab and with a dismissive flip of his hand he waved the driver off. To my horror, as the taxi was pulling away I noticed my jacket lying on the rear window ledge. In the jacket were our air tickets and eight thousand dollars in cash. In spite of the obvious dangers, Machold loved to carry and brandish large rolls of high denomination bank notes. In blind panic I noted the number of the taxi and ran to a nearby police officer who was directing airport traffic. I quickly explained the situation with the jacket and asked if he could arrange for someone to radio the cab. He told me that this would not be possible because Chicago taxi cabs were not fitted with radios. When he asked what was in the jacket, I told him about flight tickets and the money, although I did not to tell him exactly how much money. “You’ll never see them again,” was his curt reply. Rather condescendingly, I explained that the driver was a Muslim and that generally, Muslims have very high morals. He looked me up and down and said, “You’re pretty naive buddy! You’ll never see your ‘Muslim friend’ or the jacket again! And now, if you will excuse me sir, I have a job to do." This all took place before ‘nine-eleven’; before the next great seismic shift in racial stereotyping had occurred. In the nineteen fifties and sixties, Rosa Parks, King, Kennedy and the Wars in Korea and Vietnam had supposedly changed our approach to discrimination, but now here we were in the nineteen eighties, the 'age of Mandela', and hearing this white traffic cop’s jaundiced views, I knew there was still a long way to go and looking at the news today I sometimes wonder how far we have actually come.

Somewhat disillusioned I walked away and picking up our bags I entered the terminal building with Machold walking several steps behind. I approached one of the many Delta desks and spoke to a white male member of Delta’s ground staff. I told him the story and asked if our tickets could be reissued. He informed me that he did not have the authority and that I must speak with the chief executive officer. He used his desk phone and we waited for several minutes. Eventually, a small black woman came and asked what the problem was. I briefly outlined our situation and told her that since our flight would soon be leaving, we urgently needed to speak to Delta’s chief executive officer. “I am the chief executive officer,” she replied with good-natured tolerance. And then, quite simply, I was on the rack. Although a bona fide product of the enlightened sixties, I had nevertheless expected a large, white male. Instead I was faced with a small, black, female. I had been caught three times. Fortunately she was neither young nor overweight or it would probably have been five. And I swear that before my cheeks had finished burning, our Muslim taxi driver appeared with my jacket folded over his arm. In spite of such experiences, I know that this stuff is still inside me. I have to be on my guard constantly, especially when using humour.

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We are all guilty. Recently, I tried to buck the tide, and was accused of whining and moaning. I confess I have taunted a few people here in the past, but that was about what I thought were off the wall theories, not perpetuating negative stereotypes.

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That was a great story. Truly wonderful. Wow Urdu....cool. 


 I have an old friend who is a guitar player in Madrid, he was on a tour in India and left his guitar in the trunk of a cab. He was sick over it. The cab driver drove around all day with the guitar in the trunk, when he finished for the day he checked the trunk, then he got in the cab and drove to my friends hotel and delivered  the guitar. These things happen, and thanks for reminding me.


My friend also had another event with a cab driver,  another guitar player and a diplomat from the Netherlands.


The two guitarists were drinking in a bar in Madrid and the diplomat walked in, well dressed, ordered a drink at the bar and began to talk to the two friends. He asked the second guitar player a very strange question, he said: "Sir, may I suck your thumb?" Fletcher was a guitar player from Austraila and he was a liberal man of the world so he said "Ok sure cannot think of a reason why you should not suck my thumb." So Fletcher stuck out his ugly dirty thumb and the diplomat sat in a chair next to them and sucked his thumb while the other two stood and had a conversation. They bought rounds of drinks for some time and then they all left that bar and went to another bar that stayed open later. 


At the other bar the diplomat continued to drink and suck Flethcher's thumb and the two guitar players drank and conversed as if everything was normal. Since it was in Spain, nobody really cared, not because they were not disgusted, but because people in Spain mind their own business and respect the oddities of others, even if they are repulsed and horrified by them. 


It came to pass that the diplomat had gotten very drunk and Fletcher's thumb had become prune like and needed rest. They all decided every one had had a good time that night and they would leave the bar and retire. They walked the diplomat to the taxi stand and hailed a cab. They put him in the cab, after having gotten the name of the hotel he was staying in. The diplomat was rather smashed and was having a hard time staying awake. My friend asked the cab driver for a pen and paper, he wrote down the medallion number of the cab and gave the driver back the pen. He showed the driver the medallion number and gave him some extra money above the fare. He said I would like you to accompany the gentleman into his hotel, to the desk, and see that he is taken to his room, thank you. 


Everyone had a good time and no one got hurt. Cab drivers did the the right thing. Two guitar players had the usual after gig conversation and bar hopping to unwind after work, and one diplomat was able to indulge in his pastime of drinking and enjoying a spare thumb to decompress after a difficult day at the embassy. 


And knowing of the past strains in relations between Holland and Spain, I think the evening went pretty well for all involved.  

I love that story, it's all true and hearing it told in person over the counter with a beer is a hoot. Nothing sexual, it's just an odd story. It's all about doing what ever you want to do, but with civility and dignity for yourself and others. It is possible that the diplomat had a few odd proclivities, but the agreement is to tell the story with respect, because it is so bizarre, and true.  :D  :D

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I've never understood that behavior at all.  I try to get out of the locker room quickly, and eat my lunch early, so I don't have to listen to the childish banter.  I'm not in 7th grade anymore, and I just don't get it.  That is mostly just foul language, and sexual innuendo, that I feel has no value what so ever.  But then there are the ones who don't quite fit in.  The ones who stay off to the side, and don't gather in the circles to talk.  They become easy targets for the hate mongers.  People catagorize women as gossips, they aren't the only ones.  It seems like everyone likes to have someone that they can attack, or at least make them know that they don't like them.  

I stopped smoking, and changed to the classical music station because I started to notice the lyrics were bad, when our daughter was born in 1980.  Kind of like Roger, I realized that the stuff I was doing didn't line up with who I was, or at least wanted to be.  The only thing I can figure out is that maybe a lot of people don't have any desire to change.  As c.m.sunday says, I have no delusion of being able to change anyones mind, so I guess it is just something that we all must muddle through?


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Hmmm, interesting...

Personally, I find that there are no real unsavory remarks on Maestronet anymore, to speak of. The people here tend to keep their uncivil remarks to themselves. Jokes and word play does come into play at times, but it is virtually always short and obviously done in humor, or perhaps comes in the form of a technical challenge - which is - or which should be, expected to some degree here.


There is not, and hopefully there will not ever be a place, any place where joking around, humor, word play, personal challenges don't ever happen, and if there were such a place on the internet, I wouldn't want to frequent a sterile environment as that.

Been there done that - it doesn't work. After all, we're all human. Yes, all of us.


Sexism happens here occasionally, and it comes from all directions - male and female - as is always the case... Men and women occasionally get these types of reactions, that find a voice here upon occasion. Oh well, So goes life.

Religion?  Really, that doesn't happen here.


Nationalism, of a sort, happens occasionally also, as is the case with human beings typically. (all races, all nationalities - and all the rest...)

Those of us who can observe such things with a degree of understanding, simply ignore and continue on, or try to our best to un- or de - fuse the situation.


As you will...

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I agree!  Great post Roger!
I'm quite accepting of most things (whether I like them or not) and while I acknowledge gender, age and cultural differences exist, I find them all interesting, so I choose to engage rather than to oppose.


I've also learned a couple things in my lifetime:
You can't please everyone every time.  Everyone will be offended at some point.  You can choose to be easily offended.  You can choose to fight your battles.
For a fun example...I was recently offended myself.  I was watching (I often have the TV on for background noise, and because the parrots like it)  Untold Stories of the ER.  A doctor described a middle-aged woman patient he considered odd as a 'free-spirit, granola, mother earth type woman' in part BECAUSE she had long flowing uncoloured hair and didn't wear makeup.
I am letting my own longish hair go gray (hopefully gracefully) and I barely wear any makeup.  But I also do not consider myself remotely 'Granola'.  I had to conclude that he likes or just identifies 'regular' women as those who prefer obvious artificial enhancements. :rolleyes:

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I am letting my own longish hair go gray (hopefully gracefully) and I barely wear any makeup.

Same here. :)


However, it's tough to sort out what this thread is really about, given the incongruencies. Is it an anti-prejudice thread? If so, it's interesting to notice how many posts contain outspoken prejudice, intolerance, and pejorative descriptions directed toward things running the gamut from types of humor, to writing styles, types of music, types of social groups, diet, and sporting activities.

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Yes I am really upset by CM Sundays's unwarranted attack on Roger - this is grammarism of the first order and there should be no place for it here.

She seems also to be critical of the fact that there's a lack of logical flow from one sentence to another, and an absence of an over-arching narrative structure. This is the worst form of elitist talk, and I will have no truck with it.

Next she will be insisting that people make cogent arguments in comprehensible English, when it's quite obvious that this would disadvantage most of us.

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Hi Roger, I was the one who said ""better early than never" to your Christmas post, I'm really sorry. It was meant as a bit of friendly banter which is why I put a smiley face. It wasn't meant to be criticism, I can see that it could be taken that way, but in truth I don't have a belief of it ever being too early to say Merry Christmas, and thought the post was a good one and it allowed me to contribute my best wishes to everyone here. Your post wasn't "way too early" at all, that was just me being silly (dumb).


I too have to be on my guard when using humour, it can be taken the wrong way on a forum. I have nothing but the highest respect for you, and I read every word you write, and I don't care at all if it's all in one paragraph, I'll always read it.


I got a lot out of your thought provoking story too. Thank you.

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Great Post, Mr. Hargrave. 



Yes, I was starting to think luthiers only swam in the shallow end of the pool. (old joke)

 This reminds me , about being a kid , and listening to stories, and having the thought ," I wish I had stories to tell...."  Now the tables have turned and the issue is remembering the story ... always the victim? this one comes to mind .

  Scene set

After hours party in a dark bar, surrounded by drunk natives and a particularly large belligerent angry old woman who could and would role my 18 yr old 150 pound ass up into a ball and toss out the door quicker than I could type this, rather assertively questioning my presence at the event . Now in my day tensions were higher than today between native and whites , the native groups were just beginning to use legal means to fight for treaty right and there was a LOT of getting up in your face about ...who gave you the  right? ect . The standard response of most whites to the anger was to disconnect from responsibility , and say something like  ..."I didn't do it, can't be mad at me, " and KA POW a fight would start . AT least verbal, mostly all verbal, but no positives, no growth. 

Back at the bar faced with my 'shituation' I was fortunate( and sober) enough to conjure a session with the now late U Utah Phillips R.I.P. who said,... and I paraphrased,...' Imagine the Indians ....had all gone to England...Then tore down the cities and planted forest , then herded our women, and rapped our cattle,..... well.....if that happened...... then  five hundred years later...I. Might still hold a grudge'.. This Big, bad, drunk, mean, about ready to kick my tail, woman laughed...offered me a smoke,.. we laughed we smoked ...she didn't kick my ass , I got a story about the power of 'Walking a mile in someone else's shoes"  win win .

 I did in high school ,ONCE, tease a poor girl , poorer than me , for wearing poor clothes, so I could feel big... .I felt small.

AS a species it seems we are selfish , we see primarily through our own eyes. Being both good and bad ,this trait allows us to perform incredible feats of invention and discovery, yet at the same time it can leave us isolated and caught in negative  feedback loops that can short circuit both individuals and groups. So what then is required? come back to the eternal balance ...be selfish,OK , but be smart about it, everyone's ones road get's paved by those who came before, make sure to add your brick so other's may travel  ,  learning to say thank you in another language might just be the Ticket to getting on the bus.

 Sorry for the rant , but after watching the news last night, and feeling the tension here,

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I both agree with David / Rue and like Roger's initial post.  I have not been following most of the threads recently, but contributed to the one on looking at feminine and masculine qualities in violins.  Personally I don't care if people make comments with innuendo etc (unless it is to the extent to totally disrupt and derails the thread topic that hasn't yet run it's course).  It seems to speak more to the comfort and familiarity people feel towards other members on MN then to show ill will.  That they can feel relaxed enough with the group so to speak and be themselves.  The part I wanted to respond to was some peoples strongly negative reaction that anybody would "still" think in these terms of masculine and feminine when it comes to violins.  Come on people is it a slow day at the PC water cooler.  For me it is a natural thing to think in these terms that happens quite frequently and relates to the serious topic of design / aesthetics.  It's is just how my mind works, is useful in my  making violins..    I am not an engineer or scientist, so when a topic that approaches violin making from that perspective come up, I don't try to tear down that approach, complain that there are too many soul-less engineers taking over MN.  I just don't follow the post or don't reply.  Or maybe I even lean something useful (if I can understand what the heck they are talking about  ;)  .............  

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 The part I wanted to respond to was some peoples strongly negative reaction that anybody would "still" think in these terms of masculine and feminine when it comes to violins.  Come on people is it a slow day at the PC water cooler.  For me it is a natural thing to think in these terms 


Given that Life over the entire planet is male / female, NOT thinking in those terms is rather problematic. :)

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While I feel grateful to Roger for having posted such a thoughtful (and probably overdue) topic, it was never my intention to incite a riot over political correctness in general, or to promote prudery, but to simultaneously defend my beloved puns as a humor form while expressing my disapproval of the way that some of us will drop a "bomb" into discussions which had nothing to do with sex (or sexism) until the offensive reference was made (such as graphically describing how my brilliant postings excite them).  The feeling that I get from such things is that I've wandered into a "gentleman's club" where I'm only welcome if I'm there as part of the entertainment. [You lot certainly don't tip well enough for that  :P ]


Anyway, since I inspired him so magnificently, I may start introducing myself as "Roger Hargrave's muse".  :)  :lol:

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Yes I am really upset by CM Sundays's unwarranted attack on Roger.


Me too. Also by her insistence on bringing feminism, veganism and animal welfare into all her posts. She should take it somewhere more appropriate.

And learn that 'phenomena' is a plural.



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I already resolved to quit making the kinds of comments that might be taken the wrong way. Also those that shouldn't be taken the right way. I'm low-brow, I admit it. I don't want to offend anyone, despite the things i might write here.

I must ask...is this all really about whether it's ok to say that there are masculine and feminine qualities to violins? Really? I would agree with Peter Lynch that it does make sense to try to characterize anything that way, not limited to instruments. I doubt too many qualities could really be pinned down but it makes sense to try to, just to describe meaningfully some sense we get. Guilty! I will think ...it's growly, deep, masculine...or the sound seems to be on a feminine frequency somehow. But i am well-aware that such nebulous descriptions don't hold up logically or scientifically. I remember laughing at the science of words used to describe violin sounds--not because Fritz isn't trying to do an interesting thing, but because words fail. People tend not to agree on words.

Anyway, I appreciate all of the stories in this thread so far, even Stephen's baffling and weird story with a point I didn't understand. It was all great reading though. I appreciate the wisdom, particularly the OP.

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While I feel grateful to Roger for having posted such a thoughtful (and probably overdue) topic, it was never my intention to incite a riot over political correctness in general, or to promote prudery, but to simultaneously defend my beloved puns as a humor form while expressing my disapproval of the way that some of us will drop a "bomb" into discussions which had nothing to do with sex (or sexism) until the offensive reference was made (such as graphically describing how my brilliant postings excite them).  The feeling that I get from such things is that I've wandered into a "gentleman's club" where I'm only welcome if I'm there as part of the entertainment.


Anyway, since I inspired him so magnificently, I may start introducing myself as "Roger Hargrave's muse".  :)  :lol:


Auto de fe,


 I'm probably guilty of unsavory remarks, or at least puns which have gone untoward.  

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I'd share my favorite light-bulb joke, but I'm afraid it might be taken the right way.  


In the sobering light of such a thread as this...


 - sorry asovcl... but, you've got nothing discriminatory or sexist to say about light bulbs - do you?

I sure hope not.

Or, perhaps, you've got something illicit to say, about how you must "screw" them into a socket with a rhythmic twisting motion?


Ach! the sexual innuendo - I can't stand the non-stop sexual innuendo any longer! 

(actually, truth be told, this (the above quote) is about as dramatic as it gets here...  I must sort of have a slight laugh to myself, about this general thread topic)


There has never been any sexism allowed here, as far as allowing or not allowing anyone to post their opinion(s), male or female.

Jeffrey has done a great job regarding this, and some other type of admin functions here. 

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