Wednesday, February 17, 2010

There's An Old Chinese Curse...

...which roughly translates as: "May you live in interesting times"

Not that I actually know many people who hail from these ancient, oriental lands - let alone whose good auspices I may have transgressed so cruelly that they should feel the need to afflict this curse upon me - but I do, in fact, live in interesting times.

It's often said, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade", but what if life gives you a plethora of 'interesting' events? Would others find them equally 'interesting' perchance?

Frankly I have no idea - but, in the spirit of "nothing ventured, nothing gained", allow me to present myself, Anton Stewart, your humble servant and New Paltz's newest Gadfly.

Having recently received a firsthand education into the innermost workings and machinations of local government, I must admit to finding the nobel ideals of the Gadfly to be somewhat appealing. I honestly believe that we have a civic duty to question authority - that's question, by the way, not flagrantly disobey.

We should question why and how decisions are made - even if those decisions don't directly affect us. We should question the motives, ethics and standards of those whom we have entrusted to make these decisions along with the fairness and transparency of the entire decision making process.

I believe there is no place for autonomy in a democratic society and that elected officials and civil servants should be held accountable. Government of the people, by the people, for the people is a basic principle upon which this great country of ours is founded and it applies just as much today as it did when our founding fathers wrote it into the constitution.

For my part, I promise to uphold the nobel ideals of the Gadfly by constantly seeking answers to difficult questions even if it makes me, in the words of Sean Connery, "a right, royal pain in the arse"


kt tobin flusser said...

I've never been a fan of the word "interesting".

Welcome to Gadfly Anton, try to enjoy the ride.

Terence said...

Same here, Anton.

But in the future if you're going to use my name online, kindly spell it right! (I don't mean here, either.)

Jason West said...

Ha! i don't know you, but I love the white out on the computer scren picture. It sets a high standard I hope your writing lives up to!

lagusta said...

Heya Anton. Welcome to the NP blogosphere. I'm interested to read your posts, but just wanted to let you know that the word "Oriental" (which is usually capitalized, by the way) has fallen out of favor and is considered, not to be rude or anything, just the teeniest bit racist. It just gets my hackles up (because I'm a NP tightass, yes). Do a quickie Google search on "Oriental" and "racist" and you'll have some interesting reading.

Anton Stewart said...

Thank you all for your kind words of welcome.

Terence, please forgive my faux-pas, my errant spelling has been corrected.

Lagusta, if you knew me, you would know that 'racist' is far from an apt description of my beliefs. I assure you, I celebrate diversity in all of its forms, and intended no offense in my writing.
I too, hail from foreign lands, being born in England.
Where I come from, the word oriental (with or without a capital O) has no negative connotations, nor for that matter do words such as blackboard - it is, after all, a board that is painted black.
Truthfully, Lagusta, the ever increasing need to find new and creative euphemisms to avoid stepping on the perceived sensitivities of others in the name of political correctness is one of my pet peeves.
Just the 2¢ worth of a follicularly-challenged, European-American :)

Terence said...

Hmm, I learned something today. According to ( the word "oriental" with no capitalization means "from the east or orient" (likely from the Latin word for east), and is perfectly acceptable in lower-case form in that context.

Since Wikipedia is quicker to react to the times I checked it out, too. It cites the American Heritage Book of English Usage with the following quote:

"It is worth remembering, though, that Oriental is not an ethnic slur to be avoided in all situations. It is most objectionable in contemporary contexts and when used as a noun, as in the appointment of an Oriental to head the commission. But in certain historical contexts, or when its exotic connotations are integral to the topic, Oriental remains a useful term."

Wikipedia does note that the "small number of reference works in the United States describe the word as pejorative," so Lagusta's assertion that it is the "teeniest bit racist" is not entirely inaccurate, but Anton's use, whether by British or United States language rules, is completely correct.

Thank you both for the lesson.

Martin McPhillips said...

Getting pulled over and ticketed by the language police marks a strong debut, Anton.

"Yes, ma'am," and "No, ma'am" will be fine. You don't want to get cuffed, taken down to the station house, and beaten with the Vegan Anarchist's Cookbook. (I'm just kidding, Lagusta.)

I lived in Manhattan's Chinatown for nine years, on the Bowery. First I was just a half block above the northern perimeter, which was then Hester Street, but it crept up past me and move steadily uptown.

"Oriental" had faded from use even before it was proscribed, as far as I can tell. I think it just got old. I'm not partial to "Asian" or "European" as a way of describing someone's cultural background, although it might be all you have for, say, a police report. Korean, French, Thai, Brit, etc., that's how I try to do it. Though "Eurotrash" sometimes comes in handy. There was this bar on Grand Street in SoHo... Never mind.

It's not clear to me how you're using the word "autonomy." But I don't need an explanation.

Robin said...

I'm not going to bother citing sources, but as I was taught it, "oriental" is for inanimate objects, "Asian" is for humans.

lagusta said...

"Vegan Anarchist's Cookbook": which, I do, in fact, own.
But you knew that.

Terence said...

When I was a boy in school, I was taught that there were three races: Caucasoid, Negroid, and Mongoloid.

Am I the only one who had that curriculum?

Martin McPhillips said...

So, that title actually exists. I didn't know that. But of course you own a copy.

Martin McPhillips said...

Yes, the three races. That was standard fare.

I remember thinking, "uh oh," as a teenager, when "mongoloid" also turned turned out to be the name of a genetic condition.

I finally met someone who was actually from the Caucasus -- the Republic of Georgia. He was very Georgian, but also a Jew, and when I went to his wedding, getting there a little early, I learned that eight o'clock in "Caucasian" means about nine-thirty.

lagusta said...

"Lagusta, if you knew me, you would know that 'racist' is far from an apt description of my beliefs. I assure you, I celebrate diversity in all of its forms, and intended no offense in my writing."


Thanks for the reassurance. But good writers show instead of telling. I'll be looking out for more showing in the future.

And just to recap, I didn't call you a racist. I just politely suggested that in the future you are more precise with your word choices if you want people to take your ideas seriously. If you want to call me the PC police that's just fine, but I do think that if a large portion of your audience--or even a small portion--is thrown off by randomly bizarre phrases, your points don't really come across.

(I, on the other hand, live to throw off my audience, which is why my writing is peppered with so many loud and repeated "fuck"s. We've all got different goals, what can ya do.)

Also, Martin, as usual, your comment is ten times too long and short on useful info by half (as is this one of mine!). Save the rich background textures for your novels, eh?

And I'm not a Ma'am, I'm a Ms.

(I'm just grumpy because I just got caught up on my New Paltz Journal II and want to scream at you about Howard Zinn, is all.)

I live to torment dudes.

Martin McPhillips said...

Don't push your luck, veganatrix.

Robin said...

*blink* Wow. I think I just changed my mind about Anonymous posts being allowed on here. Anonymous, you're way out of line. And not funny.

lagusta said...

That took my breath away. Literally.
It's all fun until the misogynists come out.
Oh wait, they're always out.

Terence said...

To anyone reading this post after this comment, the two comments immediately preceding mine were in reference to an anonymously posted comment which was rude and out of line, and which I removed.

Anonymous commenting will be disabled for a period of time to allow the wussbags to man up and put their name on their words. (I say "man up" because I do, in fact, believe that it takes a man to be such an idiot. In general if I find a trait specific to a gender or other subset of humanity I'll call it as I see it. The failings that afflict men as a rule don't entirely overlap with those of women, and it's not sexist to point out either set of flaws.)

Brittany Turner said...

OK - deep breath - at the suggestion of Terence, I am going to try to overcome my perpetual aggravation at the seemingly endless stream of alleged gadflies and entertain a new approach.

Welcome, Anton!

I'm interested in hearing, in your own words, what your top 3 (or more, if you'd like) biggest issues/concerns/passions are in the Village/Town of New Paltz and your unique perspective on ways to approach those issues/concerns/passions.

I am also in agreement with Lagusta's suggestion regarding your language choices and would also suggest more strenuous proofreading and spell checking in future musings (see: NOBEL/NOBLE). You may also wish to err on the side of specificity rather than vagueness, which may provide additional literary flourishes but will also open you to similar criticisms as you've already encountered as a result of your choice to replace "Chinese" with "oriental."

Best of luck!

Robin said...


Anton, welcome. You poor, poor sucker.

Maria said...

I was at the mall (yes, the shopping mall) with my lover today, when we came across this store.

Just sayin'. Probably wouldn't call a store something racist when that particular race is their target market.

Brittany Turner said...

Maria, I take issue with a few points in your comment.

First, while the debate surrounding the word "orient" with regard to a locale continues in this thread, it has been made quite clear that referring to a person or group of people as "Oriental" is unacceptable. In suggesting that the store you linked to is named the same thing as the target market, you are suggesting that "Orientals" are the target market and this is derogatory.

Second, I am troubled by your suggestion that Asian people are the target market for a store that sells overpriced home decor and clothing. Any time I have been in an Asian home, it was not filled with large silk Chinese fans and gilded dragons. In addition, my hosts were not clad in kimonos, cheongsams and changshans. The target market of these stores is not necessarily Asian populations and, as is the tradition with Asian imports, these items are more often sold to Japanophiles and Sinophiles who can exoticize their Western homes and wardrobes.

Third, just because someone uses the term, even if it is someone of the supposed "race" that we are discussing, it does not automatically validate use of the term. If one White person uses the term "cracker" to refer to Whites, does this make it ok for everyone to do? If one Black person uses the term "nigger" to refer to other Blacks, does this make it ok for everyone to do? And so on, and so on... the answer is, of course not. It's faulty, inflammatory logic.

lagusta said...

You're got to admit it, Gadflies: when Brittany unleashes her smarts, she's the smartest person in the room.

Just sayin'.

I was talking about this last night and all I could say to explain it was: "Everyone knows Oriental is NOT OK! WTF!?!?!?!?!"

Thank god Brittany is back in town.

Brittany Turner said...

As for everything that has led up to this point, I believe it is commonly understood that a locale or object was, historically, referred to as "the Orient" or "Oriental," since orient- (Eastern) was the inverse of occident- (Western). Of course, this is a very Western- and Euro-centric way of regarding non-Western nations, which is why the idea of referring to either of these as being "oriental" is quite off-putting. In addition, the idea of referring to an individual as "Eastern/Oriental" becomes even more offensive, as the individual becomes relegated to a category meant for land and objects and are stripped of their national and cultural identities, becoming associated with a hemisphere rather than a specific place which further demeans them and denies them personhood. While most people living in the United States would be baffled if they were called "Occidentals," "Westerners" has been used more commonly and certainly holds negative connotations. The same is true for the parallel term.

Part of the reason why "Orient" has fallen out of practice in any context is due to the increased "Western" awareness of "Eastern" cultures (especially in Britain and the US, which created and perpetuated many of the most offensive stereotypes and committed some of the greatest injustices), leading to a desire for greater specificity in naming. Also, the "Orient" was always more of a concept that exoticized many Asian countries and people, perpetuating derogatory stereotypes and simultaneously trivialized aspects of the culture, as well as the individuals themselves.

I don't regard this as PC nonsense; there is a history behind the language and, once understood, there are dozens of reasons why it is best practice to refrain from the use of these outdated and inaccurate terms. If someone refuses to acknowledge the discrimination inherent in such terms, fine - there are still many reasons to avoid them, as I mentioned to Anton previously.

From the standpoint of proper English alone, the term "Asia" or "Asian" is preferable to "Orient" or "Oriental," as it refers to a real geographic term (an entire continent, in fact!) rather than an outdated idea that was always more conceptual than tangible. From Asian, if individuals are unable to ascertain the specific region or country that they are attempting to refer to, they are easily able to incorporate additional REAL terms to be as specific as possible. For example, East Asian, Southeast Asian, etc. Ideally, the Asian country or culture would be named if the writer has enough information available, thereby referring specifically to Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Punjabi, etc. Finally, the same terms mentioned previously can be incorporated with the country name, giving us options for utmost specificity, such as South Indian or Western China.

The idea is to make your point as accurately as possible and this is why Anton's use of "Orient," clearly intended to draw from the concept rather than geographic specificity, was inappropriate. The concept is most definitively invalidated at this point in time, and as he had what i presume to be correct information about the origin of his quote, he should have simply continued his reference to its origin (China) instead of diverting to a less specific and more loaded word choice. I understand he was attempting to poeticize his language, but I would generally suggest that this not be done on the backs of millions and millions of people.

This is not to be interpreted as an attack on anyone; if you did not know, you did not know. Now you do, and will surely reflect this information accordingly in future interactions.

Martin McPhillips said...

I would only go so far as to say that "oriental," especially as a way to refer to a person, is old, cracked porcelain. We just know people from China and other Asian cultures better now, and "oriental" has too much of the connotation of "mysterious" or even "devious." People are people everywhere and need to be taken one at a time, with the understanding that they bring different cultural outlooks along with them.

When I first lived in Chinatown I really did have a hard time telling the Chinese apart. You might think that you wouldn't, but it's different when you are immersed in a distinctly different population for more than just a few weeks. But once my eye developed -- it probably took at least a year -- what struck me most intensely was that they shared major elements of personality with typical Americans, to the point where I would say about a Chinese fellow, "He really reminds me of my uncle Pete," and so forth.

The term "oriental" is a term of distance, leftover from a bigger world where various foreign mystiques were more common for framing people from afar. It's a much smaller world now.

I don't have any problems with the general terms "East" and "West" to describe the general civilizational divisions.

Robin said...

Lagusta, I don't equate verbosity with smarts. Just sayin'.

Brittany Turner said...

Robin, could you please explain what was lacking in my comment?

lagusta said...

Happily, Brittany has both! One when she needs it, and one all the time.

Also--MY GOD! What a place we're in when Mr. Right Winger is the voice of reason about "multiculturalism" (one of your favorite words, I know, Martin).

Robin said...

I don't recall saying anything was missing, Brittany. I do think you're nit-picking now and the poor horse has been beaten well beyond death. Part of "smarts" is knowing when enough is enough. Of course, that's just my $0.02, your mileage may vary, while supplies last, etc. etc. etc.

Brittany Turner said...

It's unfortunate you believe that the comment was nit-picking.

Clearly, however, the conversation was not done, as Maria took things to a new level. I was deeply offended by her comments and believe I was justified in highlighting my concerns.

In addition, no definitive conclusion has been reached to the other discussion surrounding Anton's language choices. I had not spoken specifically to the issue and chose to add some thoughts that had not been mentioned. Perhaps it could've been shorter, but I believe this is a serious issue that warranted a serious, thoughtful response. Luckily, others have frequently engaged in verbose explanations on the Gadfly, and I believe I get a free pass on my first.

Robin said...

Oh, certainly, be as verbose as you like. I didn't say you shouldn't. I merely pointed out Lagusta's faulty syllogism.

Seriously, the essence of the issue has been clarified, examined, and agreed upon. That you take Maria's post as "a new level" suggests to me that you're going out of your way to find opportunities to act offended, and frankly that got boring very quickly.

Oh, and I might add that you never did explain what you meant when you referred to me as one of "you people" in the discussion of the middle school vote.

What are your property taxes like on that glass house of yours?

Martin McPhillips said...

Universal values, such as reciprocity (the Golden Rule) and the "shalt nots" (not to be confused with taboos), are the translators between cultures.

But culture itself is damn near unfathomable, and the idea of "multiculturalism" is like putting a postage stamp on a mountain range.

If child brides, foot binding, female circumcision, bride burning, honor killings, etc. would not be acceptable, whither multiculturalism? And that's just to look at some jagged edges.

Deep down in the soil of most cultures -- beneath the topsoil of the great religions and certainly baffling to those of us within our Chrystal Palace of Western Rationality -- there is a strata of superstition and ritual that was perhaps the first universal experience of human cultures, as we barely know them. (I've been reading Frazer's "The Golden Bough" with fresh eyes.)

A place where the topsoil is thin and the old ways remanifest themselves just below the surface is Haiti, which is about 90% Roman Catholic but is simultaneously deeply involved in voodoo, which has elements of animism, spiritualism, magic, etc., which is probably a mixture and reinvention of tribal practices thrown together with elements of Catholicism.

So, the polis where people of many cultures come together must have a public orthodoxy that reflects the underlying culture of the polis. I give you New York City. Bursting with people from around the world, it has a public orthodoxy that is Western and American (whatever its other deficiencies) with settled universal values that translate from one cultural group to the next.

One does not need to sacrifice a goat to propitiate the corn god when one petitions City Hall. In fact, it's frowned upon.

Brittany Turner said...

Robin, if you want to police verbosity and insist that conversations are over when there's clearly more to be said, you might want to jump down to the thread that has 100+ comments first.

As for "going out of your way to find opportunities to act offended," did you want to be the pot or the kettle?

If you could point me to where I called you a "you people," I'd be happy to clarify.

Robin said...

Brittany, if you get to police grammar and usage (I thought I was the English teacher around here), then I get to police verbosity. Fair's fair.

Oh, and well played. You didn't say "you people" said "you guys." Way to split hairs, again. The exact quote: "Go back to pointing fingers. You guys are way better at that." That was a comment directed specifically in response to a comment I had made. That is quite different than you getting on a high horse over an issue that has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU DIRECTLY, other than giving you an opportunity to get on said high horse.

By the way, my husband told me that you had offered me an apology by way of him. And yet here, in a public forum, you're unwilling to accept culpability?

You'll understand if I'm getting less and less impressed with your integrity by the second. If you're so eager to slam one Maria on her first post, and then try like crazy to shame both her and Anton on matters of word choice and spelling, well, be ready to be on the receiving end of similar slings and arrows. Otherwise, you may wish to "re-orient" your approach.

Robin said...

(Oh, I'd better clarify those errors before I get slammed for them. In paragraph 3, accept->admit. In paragraph 4, omit the word "one" in the second sentence.)

Robin said...

*sigh* Okay, and I noticed an ambiguity that I hadn't caught. In the 7:57 post, please replace the relevant passage in paragraph 2:

"...comment I had made. My request for explanation, therefore, does not equate to 'pot calling kettle', as it is quite different from you getting on a high horse..."

Sorry to clutter the list, but I'm trying to limit the number of unnecessary nit-picky responses I'll get. I'll pick my own nits, instead. Um, as it were. Proverbially. Ew.

Robin said...

Wow, sometimes the Internet just gives me such timely gifts....

msinno said...


Brittany Turner said...

wow! four comments in response to ONE! that's kinda crazy...

i'll go point by point.

1. i don't think i was policing spelling and grammar any more than terence was. in fact, i generally overlook it, except terence had just immediately posted his gadfly criteria and carefully proofread and/or articulated posts was one of them. i never police it in comments, but since terence is holding his gadflies to a higher standard, i figured we all oughta. especially when one of those items was careless use of a word that offends some of us.

2. i wasn't splitting hairs. i honestly didn't remember what you were referring to. without finding the exact context it was used in, other than the brief excerpt you shared, i'm assuming i was referring to lord voldemort and anyone else who rabidly supported the middle school by defaulting to hostility and endless petty bickering rather than recognizing that some people may simply share a different perspective without being a monster, selfish, a lunatic, ignorant, greedy, a landlord, etc. i may have been referring to you, too, if that was the way i felt you approached the discussion. i really don't remember because it really wasn't all that important.

3. i'd argue that using offensive terms should have EVERYTHING directly to do with all of us. i don't see you getting all worked up over the other comments that questioned anton's usage. i was slightly distrubed by his use, but felt lagusta adequately addressed it, and barely even mentioned it in my previous comment. however, i will reiterate that maria's comment gave a distinctly different impression, was, in my view, quite racist, and giving her the benefit of the doubt (in this case, ignorance, to whatever benefit that may be), i explained why this was the case. in a relatively brief reply, actually, which i believe is the one lagusta responded to which coincided with launching you into various rants about verbosity. weird.

Brittany Turner said...

4. as for the apology, my exact words were "i'm sorry that i hurt robin, i really wasn't trying to." i offered this apology to terence for a number of reasons - first, i assumed you are the same robin who he is married to, but really had no way of knowing. second, regardless of WHAT robin you are, it was more in reference to terence's concern that people were intentionally attacking each other in order to inflict discomfort on others. i am certainly not above this, however after seeing your very strong reaction to my posts, i was bothered as you were not someone i had ever intentionally directed malice toward and believed that he deserved an explanation of this due to his existing problems with people's interactions. third, while i mentioned my assumption previously, i really have no direct way to contact you, as i do not know your personal email, have your phone number, nor am i your facebook friend, etc. i figured that clarification by way of your presumed husband would suffice, having no idea that a comment on a blog could offend you as deeply as it apparently did. i'd ask in the future, though, that you direct any personal distress to me personally rather than taking up precious blog space with something irrelevant to everyone else. my email is turner.brittany at gmail. i won't respond to any personal issues here in the future, but you asked me to do so in a public forum, and i've now made my position on that clear.

5. to be frank, i couldn't care less about your feelings regarding my "integrity." this is a blog, it really isn't all that serious, and i have a difficult time taking anyone this worked up seriously. i'm not even sure how integrity pertains to this situation, but whatevs. bully for you. i'm also not intent on shaming anyone - simply adding my opinion to the others shared in this forum, sometimes critically when i believe criticism is warranted, whether you or anyone else agrees or likes it or gives me approval to do so. my comments haven't been deleted, so clearly i haven't engaged in anything particularly egregious, or at least nothing worse than what anyone else has done.

6. the "orient" used in "re-orient" is completely different, but you already knew that, right teach? you missed that one, since you insist on being picked. wouldn't want any extra nits developing on you!

7. are you done yet? i'm now sharing your sense of boredom, kettle.

Robin said...

Britches (since, apparently, I'm now "teach") --

You're not Terence. If they're, as you say, "his" gadflies, then how are you in a position to police them? And if you're going to do it at all, do it evenly -- I notice you didn't jump all over Martin for misspelling Crystal. Hmm, I wonder why that is.

And your "you guys" comment was made on January 16. The VERY SAME DAY in the VERY NEXT POST, I asked for clarification: "Who exactly do you mean by 'you guys'?" You made a public statement. I made a public request for clarification. You never clarified until just now. I do not feel in the slightest embarrassed by seeking public resolution to a public statement.

You seem to think you hurt my feelings. If "you guys" meant anybody in favor of the middle school renovation, then I'm not offended at all by that characterization, but you'd be wise not to make sweeping generalizations about the methods and motivations of such a diverse group. It makes me less likely to trust anything you say in the blog, no matter how "smart" some people think you sound. (And I know you're going to accuse me of blasting large groups myself, but I can go back and point out where my complaints were made with specific targets, not at faceless categories.)

Oh, by the way, I responded to Lagusta's comment with a six-word comment of my own. That's a rant? You then asked for clarification, and I gave it. You weren't satisfied with that and demanded more. I'm only giving you what you want. I hope you're finally satisfied.

The "re-orient" thing was a pun, self-referential as concerns the origins of this discussion. I'm sorry that went over your head.

Martin McPhillips said...

I must have been thinking of the Chrysler Palace of Western Rationality when I spelled crystal that way.

Actually, the part of my brain that writes is often open for business after the spelling concession has closed. Imagine the Port Authority terminal at midnight but the Dunkin Donuts is dark and the security gate has been lowered. Except that those conditions can apply for me at noon.

But I'm happy that you took something away from that comment, Robin.

Robin said...

*chuckle* Martin, I hear ya. I operate on the same level a lot of the time. I used to be the Online Spelling Police, too, until I took a good look at how my own brain and fingers don't always agree. If I notice on-going spelling issues with somebody, I usually try to address them off-list to avoid embarrassment, if I think it's necessary at all. Sorry to use you as a sacrificial lamb in this case. I owe you a donut.

(And a darkened Dunkin Donuts establishment is one of the saddest sights EVER.)

AnotherNPGadfly said...

Wow, Brittany. Maybe if you had a job, you would have less time to be such a mean condescending know-it-all over the internet all day. Seriously, get a life. Stop being an e-bully. It really is becoming Borish. Oh wait, but after anyone googles your name and sees all the smut you publish on the internet, it's no shocker that you haven't been hired.

Martin, I'm bored of you too. No one is impressed. In fact, I am shocked that the two of you have the time to continue checking back on this long thread to see if people have responded to your lackluster comments.

Martin McPhillips said...

"Martin, I'm bored of you too. No one is impressed."

Well, don't read my comments. That's what I do when I have no interest in what someone writes. Though I will keep reading you, "AnotherNPGadfly," because I'm always impressed by anyone sufficiently omniscient to speak for everyone.

Robin said...

*chuckle* Wow, AnotherNPGadfly...another person hiding behind anonymity so they can be destructively rude without fear of consequences. Hey, how about you get a handle and try some _constructive_ commentary, for a change? At the very least, be specific and relevant in your criticisms.

John Bligh said...

Oriental = Carpet
Asian = People

Thanks for temporarily disabling anonymous comments. There's alot of spineless cowards out there.