Abackronymis anacronymformed from an already existing word. Backronyms may be invented with either serious or humorous intent, or they may be a type offalse etymologyorfolk etymology. The word is ablendofbackandacronym.
Actually, i think I’ve heard of this, but thanks for putting it back on the playlist.
I feel like I should be able to rattle off a few good examples of my own, but nothing leaps to mind.
I guess words like SCUBA 🤿 (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Aparatus) are just cases like RADAR where somebody wanted something pronounceable and memorable, but wasn’t shoehorning a meaning into an existing word/acronym.
Is there a name for that? Coming up with a pronounceable acronym? Like SUSPECNA?
And from the Wikipedia article I ran into Backronym
The term quango or QUANGO (less often QuANGOor QANGO) is a description of an organisation to which a government has devolved power, but which is still partly controlled and/or financed by government bodies. The term was originally a shortening of "Quasi-NGO", where NGO is the acronym for a non-government organization.
In its pejorative use, it has been widely applied to public bodies of various kinds, and a variety of backronymshave been used to make the term consistent with this expanded use. The most popular have been "Quasi-autonomous national government organization" and "Quasi-autonomous non-government organization", often with the acronym modified to "qango" or "QANGO".
I can almost think of one or two more. It’s like a meta-acronym, where one bit is an acronym, which makes up often one letter of a new acronym, but that’s almost something else again.
I’ll try to recall some good examples. Does the fact that I can’t mean my brain 🧠 is going soft? I think I could’ve rattled things off once upon a time.
I think the computer industry has a few.
Not a particularly good example, but a guy name Bourne wrote the first shell 🐚 (I won’t attempt to explain what that is except to say the it’s a generic scripting and user interface which you have to run in order to log in or do anything), and it was called “sh” or “/bin/sh”. There was another shell written called “C shell” (“C” being a language) and it was named “csh”. The point being that if it had been a Pascal language interface, it would’ve been named “pascalsh” or “passh”.
Anyway, the punchline. An enhancement (now used everywhere) was made to Bourne shell, which was named “bash” or “Bourne-again shell.”
GNU is a Unix open source movement. It stands for “Gnu’s Not Unix”, an infinitely recursive acronym rather like “GoD” Is “God of Djinn 🧞♂️ “.
Anyway, one common utility, replacing the old C compiler is the GNU version, the GNU C compiler, or “gcc”.
“troff” is an early typesetting utility whosename came from the expression "to run off a copy". No attendant 🐖 pig-related utilities that I know off.
The big typesetting utility TeX, was apparently taken from the Greek 🇬🇷 “TeX” or “tech” and one enhancement by Lamport was called “LaTeX” (though apparently Lamport won’t admit to the etymology) and there’s also a version called “ConTeXt” but I don’t know what that one’s for.
Oh, this one is fun. The lexical analyzer utility is “lex” and the compiler building tool is “yacc” or “Yet Another Compiler Compiler” so of course the GNU version of “yacc” is named “bison”.
I think one can imagine that the internal library calls are rife with this sort of thing, but I did my system-level programming during the System V / Berkeley era, which, while not a pun desert 🌵 doubtless nothing compared to the present.
I did write a security system (the “priest” program) into which I crammed as many catholic jokes and references as I could find, but nothing that FDR would consign to backronymy, before Congress or elsewhere.
And of course we have “gmail” for “Google e-mail”
I know there are some much better ones (to do with government or well-known inventions), so I shall slog on a-pondering!
Rock made a joke about Jada Smith’s bald head. There’s footage of the joke if you look it up. Jada has an autoimmune illness that caused her hair loss. So the joke about Jada going for GI Jane part 2 was in bad taste. Not enough people get smacked if you ask me.
I saw it. Interesting even on many levels.
Yes, the whole joke revolved around somebody being bald from an illness, which would definitely not land with cancer, so you can see it landing for anything else.
I agree that more people should be smacked, even though it’s assault and battery. Laying a beating on somebody in front of hundreds of witnesses is not a good risk. I guess if it’s in the chivalrous Defence of a woman’s honor (particularly one’s wife) then I guess you can just walk.
You see, chivalry isn’t dead ☠️ The truth of this is evidenced by what Will Smith got away with doing and the ostensible reason for why he did it and how that was acceptable to “the public” and how he laughed about it himself a little bit before Jada gave him the stink-eye.
Long story short the enabling factor was “defending a woman” and that was absolutely airtight.
So it could be said that Will Smith’s action, violently and publicly assaulting another man, committing aggravated assault and battery, in front of hundreds of witnesses, and it being perfectly exonerated, even to the point of police not even looking into it, purely on behalf of a woman, is a ringing example of female privilege.
If Will Smith had done what he did for almost any other justification, he might have gotten arrested. Certainly Chris Rock could’ve pressed charges, which he could in this case as well, but didn’t, again because of female privilege.
Furthermore, this is an example of the much ballyhooed but widely misunderstood patriarchy. Chris Rock knew that Will Smith was coming to do something to him when he saw him coming up on stage. Imagine if the roles were reversed. If Will Smith were MCing s ceremony and insulted Chris Rock’s wife. Would Chris Rock be able to jump up and lay a beating on Will Smith? I doubt it.
Will Smith is arguably a higher status male than Chris Rock, and I would argue that this carries with it certain privileges. Among these is that in conflicts like this one, the “public” (certainly other men) side with the higher-status man. By this token, if in some alternate reality where Chris Rick were the one trying to trot up on stage to repay affrontery with slappery, the public of other men would not take his side, he could not get away with it.
An anecdote leaps to mind from a Hillary Clinton bio I saw recently. Hillary and a friend were lined up to apply for law school and some of the boys were calling to them not to apply saying things like “if you get in you take one of our places and we have to go die in Vietnam 🇻🇳 ”
Clinton put this down to her being victimized by the patriarchy. Yes and no. Clinton was more talented and smart, and she got in, and no doubt some unlucky second lieutenants didn’t get to be lawyers, and also went to Vietnam to be killed with a terror and cruelty which we normally spare even insects 🐜
Clinton had a choice. The boys didn’t. It was a zero sum game. Even if we leave out that many of these boys had to succeed to satisfy their demanding parents (fathers, again, the patriarchy), if they didn’t make it into a college, they would face a terrifying experience experience and probably be killed. Clinton faced none of these perils.
This sort of uneven exchange is typical of the patriarchy. Women would do well to understand this. It can make the difference between an easy insertion into a work, academic, social, or other environment, or a painful and difficult one. At least, that is my theory.
Another example is the early days of computerization, just after the advent of big IBM computers and the invention of high level languages such as ForTran and COBOL. By the way, COBOL was invented by a woman, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. A number of important things in the computer field are due to women, and it shouldn’t surprise anybody.
Anyway, there was a rampant need for programmers, people to write what would become the millions upon millions of lines of computer programs to run America’s 🇺🇸 businesses, banks, insurance companies, airline booking systems, governments, and so on.
One humorous quote I’ve heard is “We’d take anybody, college dropouts, minorities, even women,” and another, “The way we chose people was you look in one of their ears, and if you couldn’t see daylight on the other side, they were hired.”
Obviously not a zero sum game. Still issues dealing with the patriarchy, but not in terms of getting in the door. Plus a woman is just as valuable as a man, so one more person means more work done. Women are just as capable repositories of organizational knowledge, so they can help bring in new people, etc.
This is what people don’t get. The patriarchy is a hierarchy in which men bully other men, just like a pecking order with chickens 🐓 It’s life and death ☠️ in its seriousness. A man may be assaulted violently, and depending upon his status, other men may or may not stand up for him. Women may not perceive how pervasive this is. Women have intrinsic value, men do not. This hierarchy can serve women, as it did Jada Pinket-Smith in this case, since she’s attached to a high-status male who can force other males to do her bidding or pay for her displeasure. Other women are not as lucky 🍀 most aren’t, since there are many more low-status males than high-status ones, Obviously.
Where women see the patriarchy harming them, or getting in their way, is when they have trouble inserting themselves into environments and roles that involve working with men, especially those that have long traditions of having only men. The problem involves questions of whether the entrant women are trying to insert themselves into this male hierarchy, or just attaching themselves to one of the males of some given status in the hierarchy, are they competing with men for a position in the hierarchy, and are they able to display the kind of commitment to maintaining a position, and so on. This can be tricky, since women can attach themselves to high status males in the pyramid, often assuming the same status as said males, and low-status males fear and resent this. They also fear and resent that women can come and go as they please, while a man stuck is some kind of position has to maintain relationships and try to advance bit by bit as best he can. If he screws up here, he may have few other options. He also has no sexual charms to use on his fellow men. Indeed, men like having women around as a general rule, but if these women are attached to higher status men (wives, girlfriends, office assistants) it’s a very direct reminder of one’s lower male status. That’s another thing for women to be aware of when attempting to insert themselves into mostly male environments.
It’s worth mentioning that I’ve worked many years in the computer sector, in the USA 🇺🇸 and abroad. I’ve worked for women and men. I’ve never heard any men say this, and I’m sure there are exceptions, but there may be a few patriarchy-related things that make working for a woman 👩 easier than working for a man. I may be going out on a limb here, but a woman exercises her supervisory powers based on her office, while a man also has social hierarchy clout which he may bring to bear, which is by its nature humiliating to underlings. A male boss may be “chummy” with male underlings to mitigate this inherent condescension.
Against better judgement, I might speculate on how male bosses behave toward women underlings and how female bosses deal with their underlings. If a male worker has some kind of problem working for a woman, maybe best to shunt him off to another supervisor. I’ve had to straighten out some troublesome employees, and it’s seldom fun, but you shouldn’t have to deal with sexism or racism (and my view is that a lot of what we call “sexism” is really more like racism).
My off the cuff take is that female bosses are free to deal with all their underlings on a similar basis and I’ll tell you why. A male boss has to deal with the patriarchal relationship he has with male underlings, and also with female underlings who are not part of the patriarchy. This means that he does not have social hierarchy control. A male or a female worker may be equally skilled and dedicated, but the male boss knows how much pressure he can put on the male underling—men are trained from a young age things like loyalty to other men, higher-status men, the penalties for disloyalty or not pulling for the team, etc—but the female may not be so easily read. Secondly, as I said earlier, “access” to women increases male status (even if there is nothing going on). So a male boss might be “frosty” toward female underlings since the fact that they work for him grants him an elevated patriarchal status vis-à-vis other men and he may not want to be seen as aware of this and cultivating it. There’s also the desire to steer clear of any inappropriate sexual liaison, of course. If a male boss is comparably “chummy” with female underlings, he risks being seen as pumping up his status on the patriarchy through female connections he enjoys thanks to his position in the organization, even his intent is just to be fair. Men get a bump even from brief interactions with women. A boss spending a lot of time with female underlings may cause jealousy among male underlings. There is also the fear that the perception that female coworkers are using their sexual power to garner favors can cause resentment among male coworkers. The male boss has to contend with balancing this effect as well.
In short, men are trapped in a matrix which is very real and often very cruel. Women should probably think about which of these they even want to consider entering, go in with open eyes, as it were. Women are no less capable than men, and some rules and constraints may be relaxed and adjusted (day care, pregnancy leave, menstruation 🩸 days off, etc.) to make it easier to function inside the patriarchy.
The patriarchy does not exist to oppress women as such (there are plenty of other things set up to do that!), but to oppress men. Men are trapped in this matrix in order to get along with other men, usually in an unpleasant and onerous way. Women sometimes find this system harsh and oppressive (unlike Jada Smith this night!), but men do much more so and cannot escape it.Anything that women can do to ease things would be most welcome.
Good piece! You “crushed” it. An important category of this mediocre male fragility seems to be the slightest whiff of questioning of faux-feminist dogma. It’s as if they believe simping, cucking, bombastic-yet-treakly ranting directed at other men will somehow get them laid.
Wheaton makes the point that fragile white males are obsessed with man/explaining in minute detail what others should do vis-à-vis some standard of political correctness. I was trying to point out that there is a subcategory of fragile white males who do this around pseudo-feminist dogma. The slightest hint of interrogation of women’s issues sends some FWMs into a blind rage, typically without even reading what one is saying. I further wondered if this behavior were some kind of attempt to curry the (sexual) favor of womanhood generally. In other words, is it some kind of pathetic, simpering, contemporary form of chivalry, and if so, just like conventional chivalry, mightn’t it serve to keep women as a group firmly stuck in their current socio-political place?