Pale Stale Ale and Other Forbidden Fluids

Written By: - Date published: 3:25 pm, April 16th, 2023 - 11 comments
Categories: Satire - Tags:

No primary caregiver(s) in their right mind would name their newborn baby Adolf, right? It would burden and likely burry them for life under the baggage of history. In addition to the cruelty of a life filled with ridicule and condemnation, which could be described as child torture, it removes the person’s choice to choose their own ID, as it will have been done for them. Names matter, Adolf as middle name is absolutely fine and pretty legal, as far as I know (A.H. is not).

What’s in a name? Those are the famous words uttered by the Bard in baggy pants, later popularised by M.C. Hammer, or tight tights, later popularised by the Bee Gees. His attire is not at all important, nor his ethnicity, skin colour or pitch of his voice, but his words are still being revered throughout the world. The Bard was ahead of his time but probably had never heard of the name Adolf or its connotations. I doubt this would have made a difference because the Bard was quite gay, in the archaic sense of the word, of course. Whether he was gay, I do not know – you can never tell with those bon vivants and creative types aka artists – but there was an unmistaken wit in his words. Anyway, the Bard could not have foreseen that there would be something rotten in the State of Germany years later. Interestingly, some believe the Bard was anti-Semitic, probably the same people who are convinced that Jeremy Corbyn was anti-Semitic too. To be, or not to be, for some this is not a question and they are happily assisting others in their existential crises by answering it for them – all sorted then.

The Bard was a Master wordsmith. He could create something beautifully original and inspirational from the vast and under-explored depths of his being. A wordsmith is like a blacksmith, who can forge from a lump of metal something highly useful and functional that is a perfect fit for the user, such as a horseshoe, or he can forge something artful that shines in simplicity yet holds a deep symbolic and almost spiritual meaning for its users, like a horseshoe.

This authenticity is, or rather should be, a highly sought outcome of human endeavour and expression. It is still present, but crowded out by deafening noise from the crowds. The crowds who think they have their hands on the Holy Grail that allows them to drink from the Fountains of Life and Wisdom. Nothing has made this more obvious than the Gobbledygook Generator GPT-4.0. People are in awe of how real and convincing the Gobbledygook-generated BS is. This is a tad surprising because it has been trained on literally millions of webpages, many of which contained a lot of BS that has been previously generated by noisy pale stale male crowds, predominantly. Simple machine-learning logic is dictated by the following axiom: shit in, shit out. Thus, it is no wonder that the Gobbledygook Generator can pass the Turing Test because it can now generate BS like the best of (some of) us.

It is understandable that this is generating angst with many who are doing shitty jobs and are basically BS-ing their way through professional life aka having a career. A bard who writes sonnets will have nothing to fear from Bard, for example. An artist-activist who writes poems about Captain Cook is probably no worse off than before. People who write BS, on the other hand, are likely to be crowded out just as they are currently crowding out genuine human talent, creativity, and originality with their cacophony of rants and reckons. However, when even Elon is trying to stall it, I think the Gobbledygook Generator must have some upsides that we have yet to discover and realise and I think Elon just wants to be in control of it – if not Elon, then who else?

A few lines back you may have been triggered by a specific combination of words. This was intentional on my behalf. Take the word “pale”, for example. A pretty harmless word on its own, isn’t it? Māori have their own word, Pākehā, which tends to cause a lot of outrage because of its colonial baggage perhaps. It was one of the title words of a famous song by Procol Harum, but a good song does not make for a good word, necessarily. So, what about “pale ale” then? Does this evoke any negative emotions other than over-groomed hipsters with facial fibres composed of keratin protein [note to myself: must avoid the B-word on TS]? Ok, “stale ale”? Something like old men stinking of urine drinking horse piss? Quite a picture to behold, unless you are one of those men – you would not know it – or you happen to have a colleague whose best friend’s uncle-in-law is one of those – this is rare, of course. Now, let’s go for the grand word combination of “pale stale male”! There are more prosaic versions, such as “old white cis-man yells at cloud”. Are you starting to feel triggered now?

Offering Mary (short for Mary-Anne-Jo) a Pale Ale in the bar might not be as triggering as asking if she would like a Bloody Mary. Besides the blatantly sexist and misogynist over-tones, masculine cockiness, and patriarchal arrogance, there are under-tones of being offensive to religious people as well. And there are likely racist element in the sub-conscious too. Do not even try offering a cocktail because pepper-spray may be pulled out of the handbag followed by a boxing bagging by the bouncer. Just ask her what she would like and if she turns it down and says “No”, it means “No”. She is just not that into you as you are, so please update your Tinder profile and remove those selfies with your dick.

You would think that a simple “No” is as clear and unambiguous as it gets, right? But men (and women alike) are easily confused by the psycho-BS they read on the internet. They read that non-verbal cues are more important. They read that body language and micro-expressions convey true feelings and desires. They read that they should not be orally fixated on what her lips are saying and what they think they are hearing but read the obvious signs. About 93% of human communication is non-verbal. This is based on research albeit not at the standard of large randomised controlled double-blindfolded trials with the Big P less than 5%. [No, Bryce, I am not sharing my evidence with you, consult your parsnip or use Gobbledygook Generator-4.0 if you are not already a user] And they hopefully learn that no matter how short the skirt is and how big the earrings, “No” means “No” – her terms are hers only and you must respect that. When in doubt, have another drink and think.

Names have meaning. Words have meaning. It depends on context and on who is hearing and on who is listening. It is confusing. Here is just a quick collection from my short-term memory, my little ‘word-cloud’, so to speak:

Nazi, fascist, woke, genocide, woman, democracy, freedom & liberty, shambles, mainstream media, socialist, alt-Right, far-Right, gatekeeper, academic, research, evidence & evidence-based, imperialist, Western, colonist, co-governance, merit, gender equality, TERF, TRA, cis, trans, binary/non-binary, sex vs. gender, criticism & hypocritical, dualism, intellectual, disinformation, privilege, censorship, cancelling, wedge politics, positive discrimination, inequity, Culture Wars, Critical Race Theory, identity politics, professional-managerial class, troll, et cetera.

Words lose their meaning when they are used in a different and/or wrong context and over-used. People twist the meaning of words, hijack them, and weaponise them to suit their own narratives. Apparently, there is no way to prevent this from happening or revert the process. Language always has been fluid and undoubtedly, the Gobbledygook Generators will speed this up. After all, we have designed and built them to behave as similar to us as is non-humanly possible. It is therefore gobsmacking that some (?) academics, who are experts in journalism and news media, are seriously considering dropping terms such as ‘mainstream media’. We should not cancel words from our vocabulary because of the fluid changes and movements. Nor should we censor forbidden words or names from our communications. There has to be better ways in moving forward and through these Babylonic Wars even though they have been raging since the dawn of humankind and long before baby Adolf was born.

11 comments on “Pale Stale Ale and Other Forbidden Fluids ”

  1. Anne 1

    As a very young woman, someone once offered me a "Bloody Mary". I was deeply offended. 😯

  2. The current information environment is just mayhem at the moment – very difficult for even the most chronically online social media addict to understand what is real.

    Perhaps AI will help to manage the insanity. But more likely that it will serve to reinforce the hegemonic narratives of the ruling class.

    https://twitter.com/caitoz/status/1647580841646886912?s=20

    (PS: "Forbidden fruit" is a delicious drop.)

    • Incognito 2.1

      AI suffers from some of the same biases as humans.

      Nice that you got the reference to Forbidden Fruit (Verboden Vrucht), which is indeed a nice drop if you like fruity beers. It is, of course, steeped in deep symbolism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forbidden_fruit.

      • roblogic 2.1.1

        Like beer, language and culture are also fluid. They just take a bit longer to brew than beer does. Sometimes you just have to let the words and music wash over you, accept what is, while holding fast to your own integrity.

        • Incognito 2.1.1.1

          Whilst I agree, sometimes one needs a shower after letting the words ‘wash over’.

          Pale Stale Ale was mainly a metaphor, like Kool-Aid and pale stale male, et cetera.

          PS I forgot one important word in my word-cloud: Boomer.

  3. mikesh 3

    What about the word "democracy".

  4. Ad 4

    Authorless attribution is a really useful self regulation of the internet because of the depth of distrust it is causing among all users.

    If social media had been a regulated publisher, we wouldn't need radical skepticism.

    But as radical skeptics we must retain the will to be the most original monkey possible and not be cowed by technology. The human will to express will simply have harsher judgments of quality – which is what we've had since tge explosion of literacy and publishing last century.

    Saul Kripke's essay Naming and Necessity is a good follow-up to Wittgenstein on the continuity of a name when the current present object is completely changed from its original form. Both oldies but goodies on this topic.

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