What's the Male Brain made of?

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The cover of Louann Brizendine's new book The Male Brain is puzzling.


The Female Brain's cover was straightforward. Thus the original US edition showed the Female Brain as a tangled curly phone cord (facing left):

(Does anybody under the age of 35 or so actually recognize what that is anymore, by the way?)

The UK edition depicted a woman's brain as an overstuffed purse (facing right):

But I can't make sense of the cover of the U.S. edition of The Male Brain (except that whatever the cover's brain made of, it's facing left again):

It's not snips and snails and puppy dog tails. It looks kind of like a gray satin ribbon, which doesn't really make much metaphorical sense.  Crumpled oddly-shiny toilet paper? Duct tape? I'm stumped.



85 Comments

  1. Amanda said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

    The telephone cord is for communication — women as communicators, connectors, socializers.

    The male brain cover is duct tape — men as tool users, inventors, creators.

    Not saying I agree with it.

  2. Andrew F said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

    It looks like duct tape, beloved of various theatre techs I know. Admittedly half of them are female.

  3. Cosma Shalizi said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

    Looks like duct tape to me, presumably for manly men doing many things like manfully repairing manly items without bothering to RTFM.

  4. Słowosław said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

    Looks like duct tape to me.

  5. anon mouse said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

    Thirding the "duct tape".

    Remember, all you need is duct tape & WD40!

  6. DonBoy said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

    Yup, duct tape.

  7. Nate said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

    @Cosma

    Hey, I thought the manuals specifically tell us to just duct tape it back together. That's why I don't read them. Am I wrong about that?

    (or would that be "manuals"?)

  8. Christopher said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

    It's the handyman's secret weapon.

    "Because if the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."

  9. John Lawler said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

    Obviously she's in league with the Duct Tape Institute.

    btw, the media's taking it seriously. Such words as "accomplished" and "successful" are being used of Brizendine in places like ABC News. There's some other criticism, but mostly it's straight (out of a press handout).

  10. Bobbie said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:27 pm

    The artist could have used various wires and switches, little electronic gizmos, even a joy stick in there somewhere. Using only duct tape seems like a cop-out.

  11. Ginger Yellow said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

    "Such words as "accomplished" and "successful" are being used of Brizendine in places like ABC News."

    Well, she's accomplished and successful at getting her views into news stories

  12. abby_wan_kenobi said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

    Definitely duct tape. Which makes sense because once it's stuck on something it's impossible to remove it. Like men's eyes from breasts.

  13. Copacetic said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

    Well, it is a breakthrough understanding of how men and boys think, after all.

  14. Robert Morris said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

    It's definitely duct tape, probably playing on the notion that men will use it to fix anything (as popularized by Red Green). I guess the illustrator thought it was better than making the brain out of football, cars, and girls—or something like that.

  15. Nassira Nicola said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

    Definitely duct tape. Also, at the ripe old age of 26, I recognized the phone cord – mostly because of the jack, but at least partly because I grew up in an old house with rotary phones well into the 1990's. (Make of this data point what you will.)

  16. Andrew Clegg said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

    Duct tape schmuct tape…

    My first thought was thermal paper from a Sinclair ZX Printer:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX_Printer

    (although it probably is duct tape really)

  17. Ryan said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

    Just confirming the guess about the phone cord; I'm not quite yet 20 and was certainly confused, though after reading what that was supposed to be I recognized it.

  18. John said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

    On the language front, it's interesting that it actually was "duck" tape (WWII naval origins?), with "duck" as in waterproof material. OED:

    duck tape n. a strong adhesive tape made of waterproofed cotton fabric (a proprietary name in the United States); cf. duct tape n. at DUCT n. Additions.

    It was, I have heard, called duct tape to allow for a trademark. One should never, of course, use duct tape on ducts.

    See this previous posting on its pronunciation.

  19. 4ndyman said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

    That's the duck/duct tape that Brizendine uses to hold her arguments together.

  20. Army1987 said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

    I'm way under 35, and the female brain pic looked like an Ethernet cable to me, which I guess is close enough.

  21. Rubrick said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

    Wait — I assumed that was a photograph of an actual brain.

  22. JT said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

    Duct tape jumped out at me, too. And I think that if one had asked for a good stereotypical portrayal, that's a great one. We men do love us some duct tapes. I think 35 is a bit high for the "phone-cord recognition" cutoff. I'm only 25 and we didn't have a phone without a curly cord until I was in the early teens, and we still have at least one curly-corded phones at home (one of which is a rotary candlestick). When I started university, the dorm phones were still curly-cords corded. And we can't forget the clipart, where many phones are still corded with rotary dials (and even in these push-button days, we still “dial” the numbers…).

  23. thyblackestjam said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 2:53 pm

    maybe tinfoil … to receive Limbaugh missives

  24. David L said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

    I guess the female brain has some rudimentary electrical properties, but the male brain is entirely non-conducting. With holes in it. Explains a lot.

  25. Mark P said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

    Duct tape is supposed to have a fabric backing, and I can't see it on the cover picture.
    There should also be some loose threads hanging off the edges. Maybe the resolution is not good enough.

  26. nacbrie said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

    I would have said gaffa tape, rather than duct tape (it's a plastic insulating shiny version of duct tape). In my house, we use cable ties instead of tape – much more useful!

  27. ...just don't call me late for dinner! said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

    I'm guessing it isn't real duct tape but actually a gray ribbon they hoped would look like duct tape. Real tape would stick to itself and be very difficult to form into a coherent 'brain' shape

  28. Elizabeth Coleman said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

    I'm 30, and I've got a curly phone cord not five feet from me on my office phone.

  29. Dan T. said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

    The office phone on my desk right next to me now has a curly cord.

  30. fev said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

    My office phone has a cord made of duct tape. Kennedy had a Lincoln named Secretary. The turkey trots to water.

  31. Josh said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

    Looks like duct tape. My male brain assumed the cord on the female cover was an Ethernet cable though…

  32. chris said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

    Duct tape, See "The Red Green Show" : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Green_Show

    Good ol' canucks and their crazy comedies :D

  33. Ginger Yellow said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

    On the phone confusion question, is the unfamiliarity with the image supposed to come from the fact that youngsters all use mobile phones, or that they don't make phones with that sort of cord any more? Because I (at 30 years of age) don't have a landline at home, but I do have a curly corded phone at work. And wouldn't youngsters still be able to recognise it from their broadband connection?

  34. Sean Edison-Albright said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

    Mark,

    I suspect a ruse — you really just wanted to collect some numbers on duck vs. duct in the LL population, didn't you?

  35. Peter Taylor said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 5:23 pm

    @Ginger Yellow, we youngsters may recognise an RJ-11 plug*, but our ADSL routers don't use coiled cables (probably because they don't need to stretch).

    On the other hand, my parents' landline phone has a coiled cable.

    * Although it's hard for me to recognise anything on the image at the top of this page because it's over-brightened and lacking contrast. I'm not entirely sure how Mark is defining "looking left", because I see a circle of tangled cable and a plug which could be an RJ-11 or an RJ-45.

  36. Frans said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

    I looked at the pictures first, then read the text. I identified it as phone cord, then contents of a purse, and duct tape immediately, though on closer inspection it seems it's a gray ribbon meant to look like duct tape; I presume real duct tape was too hard to get into the correct shape or to make minor adjustments here and there.

    On the subject of the phone cord: I'm 24 and I think the phone cord looks modern and was immediately recognizable as one: it's flat and it's got a modern RJ11 jack. It's a present-day (i.e. post-'80s) cord, period. The rotary phone I grew up with had a round cord. I also saw the notion that you'd need a rotary phone to get this kind of cord, which makes me wonder what kind of cord one would think they'd get if they bought a cord-based phone today (or in the '80s/'90s)? They still include the curly cords attached to the horns as you'd see if you walked into any store where they sell landline phones (although I admit their selection is usually smaller than the cordless ones these days). Additionally, nearly all phones at workplaces will be like that because they're durable, cheap, and you don't need to walk around chatting. I wouldn't be surprised if Mark Liberman's own office has a phone that looks similar to the one I linked, which makes the remark even more puzzling to me.

  37. Will said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

    Like a few others, I assumed the female brain was made out of an ethernet cable. And in my mid-twenties, I am very familiar with phone cords; my parents used them for their landline when I was growing up (and they still do use them), and my first modem used them, and all my office phones have them, and I probably have some in a box at home. But I am a lot *more* familiar with ethernet, which is why that is what jumped to mind.

  38. Will said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

    @Frans — A lot of ethernet cords are flat nowadays too. But it's true, *all* modern phone cords are flat.

  39. Sarah said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

    I like it – seems to me she wanted something similar to her previous publications, just somehow reduced. Less refined. It makes sense.

  40. Sili said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

    Last picture here seems apposite.

  41. Ian Preston said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

    Why "snips and snails"? I have only ever heard of little boys being made of frogs and snails and puppy dog tails. What are snips?

  42. Adrian said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

    @Ian – the only version I've ever heard before referred to slugs and snails.

  43. Peter McAndrew said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 7:01 pm

    @Peter Taylor: The looking left/right is referring to which way the head surrounding the "brain" would be looking. You can tell this by which side the "brain stem" is.

  44. Barrett D said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

    I recognized it as duct tape right away.

  45. J. Goard said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

    @Sean:

    If he'd wanted to do a spelling experiment, I doubt he'd have mentioned the word himself. :-o

  46. Kenny Easwaran said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 7:47 pm

    Even after the mention of the phone cord, I momentarily thought the photo was of the new book and that it featured an ethernet cord, which was supposed to be the contrast between men and women. (Women talk and men play World of Warcraft?)

    And for what it's worth, I had always heard "snakes and snails and puppy-dog's tails".

  47. Bobbie said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 8:55 pm

    Here it is — The Red Green Show about duct tape — and he's got a phone with a curly cord!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QFRSjWVTmY

  48. Ralph Hickok said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 10:06 pm

    My son the set and lighting designer tells me that theater tech people use gaffer's tape, not duct tape. The theatrical saying is that it's like the Force, because it has a dark side and a light side and it holds the universe together.

  49. Margrit said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 10:22 pm

    I haven't heard of snips either, and have never heard the rhyme with snakes. I've heard frogs, but more often slugs, which is how I say it.

  50. Mark F. said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 10:45 pm

    I am doubtful that what we know as duct tape was originally called duck tape. The earliest quotes using the expression "duck tape" seem to be using it as a phrase, in the same way one would refer to paper tape or perhaps just cloth tape. The two uses don't appear to be for even the same kind of product as each other, much less the stuff we call duct tape. The first was some kind of tape used in making clothing, and the second for long strips of cotton duck cloth used to cover structural cables.

    The earliest citation in the OED referring to modern duct tape uses the term "duct tape", in 1965. Their earliest citation for "duck tape", referring to modern duct tape, is 1996. I am sure they weren't trying to be exhaustive, though.

    Meanwhile, the "History of duct tape" page at the Duck Tape brand web site claims that soldiers called it duck tape in the 40's, without any evidence, but it also says, "Thirty years later, Jack Kahl, former CEO of Manco, Inc., changed the name of the product to Duck Tape® and put ‘Manco T. Duck’ on the Duck Tape® logo, giving personality to a commodity product." This would be around 1975. The fact that he was able to trademark it at all indicates that it was not at that time a recognized generic term for the tape.

    I think the modern use of "duck tape" really is a pun/malaproposm for "duct tape", and that earlier uses of the same string of words are a coincidence.

  51. zer05um said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 1:32 am

    In response to anon mouse,

    Here in New Zealand we've discovered that in addition to Duct Tape and WD-40, there are some situations that also call for No.8 Fencing Wire.

  52. Sandy said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 7:34 am

    @Andrew F – if your theater tech friends use duct tape instead of gaff tape, they're doing it wrong. :)

  53. Colin John said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 7:36 am

    And a Birmingham screwdriver for impact engineering.

    [(myl) I'm not familiar with the Birmingham association -- it must be a UK thing -- but in the U.S. Army we called this "percussive maintenance". This method was associated with "Dobbins' Law" ("If it doesn't work, you need a bigger hammer"), and its first corollary ("If it breaks, it was overdue for replacement anyhow").]

  54. Colin John said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 7:51 am

    Also, although I assume it's meant to be duct tape, it's not the real thing because there's insufficient difference in colour between the two sides. As we all know, duct tape is like The Force – it has a dark side and a light side and it holds the universe together.

  55. Ken Grabach said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 8:43 am

    I thought it was fly-paper (which would be much less familiar to many folk) until I saw the first comment saying the image was duct tape|duck tape|whatever tape. I believe duct|duck tape is the right answer. Serves multiple purposes, and all of them look as jury-rigged when completed as does the image of the brain on the book cover. I suspect that this is the connotative association Dr Brizendine is trying to make: Men's brains are taped together like the repairs they make with this tape.

    The connotations from a brain depicted as a Gordian knot of phone cord, or a purse so full of stuff that you can't retrieve the item needed at the moment, are no better.

  56. Mark P said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 9:59 am

    From the wiki entry on the composition of little boys and little girls:

    "As would be expected given its status in popular tradition, the rhyme appears in many variant forms. For example, "frogs" may be replaced with "snips", "slugs" or "snakes""

    My memory tells me that I have always heard "snips", but it also tells me that the last time I heard it was quite a while ago, so it might be a fabricated memory.

  57. Mark P said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 10:04 am

    And by the way, one site can't figure out what "snips" would mean in the phrase "snips and snails". They mention that the most credible explanation is that the original words were "snips of snails."

    [(myl) Surely it would be "snips (of whatever)", in the standard sense of "A small piece or slip, esp. of cloth, cut off or out; a shred". The version with snips is fairly old -- here's a passage from George Sala, The Seven Sons of Mammon, 1862, which also discusses the etymology of "Humble Pie":

    What is the proverbial dish known as "Humble Pie" made of? "Sugar and spice, and all that's nice," as is suited to the appetite of little girls? "Snips and snails, and puppy-dogs' tails," as beseems the ruder stomachs of little boys? It is questionable. Many consider Humble Pie to be a mere figure of speech---a rhetorical viand, which might furnish the table of him who dines with Duke Humphrey, having previously break-fasted with a Barmecide, lunched on diagrams, and filled himself with the east wind. Still, there is reason to believe that Humble Pie was a viand actually consumed by our great grandmothers; and taking into account the ingredients in a recipe, which the writer has found in a very old volume of the Gentleman's Magazine , the pie need have been by no means so untoothsome as its name would imply: "Take the humbles of a deer," says the recipe,---you see, there is venison for you to begin with,---and then it goes on to enumerate slices of bacon, condiments, buttered crust, and so forth: all things by no means suggestive of humility. He who first decried Humble Pie, and libelled it as a mean and shabby kind of victuals, was very probably some envious one who came late to the feast, and of the succulent pasty found only the pie-dish and some brown flakes of crust remaining.

    But then there's Charles Dance, The Bengal Tiger, 1838:

    Snigs and snails,
    And puppy-dog's tails---
    And that's what little boys are made of."

    which seems to refer to snig in the sense "A young or small eel; a grig".

    The earliest example of "frogs and snails" that I can find is from James Payn, By Proxy, 1878, where "frogs and snails and puppy-dog tails" are suggested as the ingredients of a Chinese dinner -- with the comment "but what is enlargement of theliver compared with that of the mind?"

    A plausible theory is that snig is the oldest, with snips and other substitutions made by people for whom snig was not a familiar word.]

  58. Adrian Morgan said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 10:20 am

    Mark P:

    On the Wikipedia article, did you try clicking on the history tab and reading the description of the most recent edit?

    The one that's dated 26 March 2010 and described as: "(A few changes following the comment thread at http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2209)" ?

    That's Wikipedia for you.

  59. Mark P said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 11:11 am

    Adrian:

    Ha!

    But there are plenty of other citations of the use of "snip" instead of frogs or snakes.

  60. ...just don't call me late for dinner! said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 11:32 am

    Great find Adrian. I'd heard of people altering Wikipedia specifically to later cite to it and win a particular argument, but never seen it in practice.

    Also, the correct term is "snips." Anyone who disagrees hates America.

  61. ...just don't call me late for dinner! said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 11:44 am

    Also, I assume "snips" in this context means "random snips of things." In other words, boys are made of discards or detritus.

    Webster's New International 2d ed: snip, n. 1. A small piece that is snipped off, a shred … hence, something very small; a fragment, particle, or bit.

  62. DAE said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 11:55 am

    It's duct tape! Masculinity reduced, refined, marvellously simple. Just so.

  63. Jim said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 12:03 pm

    (Does anybody under the age of 35 or so actually recognize what that is anymore, by the way?)

    Well I'm 56 and at first glance it looked like fettucine. Maybe if I were younger my eyes would be better. And maybe if I weren't thinking about brains and eggs I wouldn't have jumped to a food image.

  64. marie-lucie said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

    Humble pie

    I have read that it was originally "umble pie", the "umbles" of an animal being some of the internal organs, cooked and eaten by the servants, as opposed to the meat which was cooked for the upper class (note for instance the composition of "haggis" in Scotland). Later that meaning was lost (perhaps as the dish went out of fashion for human consumption) and the vague recipe given above (which does not define "umbles" precisely) emphasizes the bacon, condiments and flaky crust which must have been additions in order to make the dish more palatable.

  65. Troy S. said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

    Younger reader may simply misidentify the phone cord as an ethernet cable, which may or may not be far off the mark of the publisher's intent. And while duct tape is often cited as a universal tool, frequent visitors to thereifixedit.com will recognize that the zip tie is the real kludger's best friend.

  66. A Reader said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

    I'm 21, and had no trouble identifying that (no confusion with an ethernet cable, since I've never seen any either curly or that colour). My family still has a phone with that kind of cord, and there's another here in my dorm.

  67. mollymooly said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

    Duct tape looks exactly like duck tape, but it doesn't quack like duck tape.

    <tumbleweed/>

  68. A-gu said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 5:51 pm

    I think the cut off for recognizing that sort of cord is probably around 12-15 years of age. Twenty somethings should all recognize it — if not from their own homes, then from their grandparents' homes.

  69. Will said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

    Real men use Gorilla Tape.

    But in all seriousness, this tape is better than Duck Tape or any other brand of duct tape. It's basically good for almost all the same jobs, but tends to stick *much* better and/or a lot less of it is required to get the job done. And it's black on the non-sticky side instead of gray, which tends to be more aesthetically pleasing IMO.

  70. Jerry Friedman said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 8:56 pm

    Gaff tape, gaffing tape, gaffer's tape, or gaffa tape?

  71. Joe Fineman said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

    Take half a pound of reason
    And quarter pound of sense,
    A small sprig of thyme
    And so much impudence.
    Mix them all together,
    And you can plainly see,
    He's a false deceiving lover —
    Let him go, farewell he! — "Dewdrop"

  72. Jerry Friedman said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 9:21 pm

    "Snips and snails" in Suil Dhuv, the Coiner, by Gerald Griffin, 1827.

  73. Jerry Friedman said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

    @…just don't call me late for dinner!: That Wikipedia edit added the variants people had mentioned in this thread and made a few wording changes. There's no reason to think the purpose was to win an argument.

  74. Mabon said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

    re Jim: Well I'm 56 and at first glance it looked like fettucine. Maybe if I were younger my eyes would be better. And maybe if I weren't thinking about brains and eggs I wouldn't have jumped to a food image.

    I looked at it quickly and assumed it was ramen noodles with a jack sticking out of it. I'm 53, if that matters.

  75. Rubrick said,

    March 27, 2010 @ 2:29 am

    The latest issue of Scientific American has a remarkably similar image, in this case a brain made up of unsheilded cabling, like one finds connecting components in a computer. It's clearer in the print version.

  76. Alissa said,

    March 27, 2010 @ 5:08 am

    FWIW, I'm 19 and immediately recognised it as a phone cord – it's what I used for internet until very recently. Not all of us are completely with it :D

  77. Dmajor said,

    March 27, 2010 @ 11:09 am

    Yeah, it's duct tape. But where's the chicken wire, or the pussy willow?

  78. Dan M. said,

    March 27, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

    I'd like to applaud mollymooly and her communism.

    I'm also with Andrew Clegg, It first looked like thermal printer paper to me, but I'm pretty certain it's (some brand) of duct tape.

  79. Private Zydeco said,

    March 29, 2010 @ 10:58 am

    The current being generated by the foregoing interrogations impels the asking of the additional underlying question of just what other objets trouves there may not be that can be thought up from out of the artifactual all-purpose drawer which people regard as also being ever the more metaphorically symbolic of sex-based neurological dimorphism in humans and the behavioral divergences which supposedly stem from it. Of foremost concern, i.e. to keep things sufficiently interesting, within the scope of this particular excursus, are those which have not also been made axioms of yet, in popular nursery-rhymes or outside of them — things that are neither pre-fabricated to be sex or gender specific & which cultural habitude and preconceptions have not already designated as tropes for either man or woman or solely for the thinking organ of either (snips, snigs, sugar, and spice being exemplary specimens to choose from within an otherwise non-sexed miscellany). Perhaps the L.L.tropolis can come up with some even handier brummagem than the sex-differencists, that is to say…

    Ramen and Linguini pasta make impressions in the hereabove as misread- ings of an optic hotch-potch of underlapping, faint white-on-white helixes which is the dustjacket art that lightly cultures the cover on the U.S. printing of the first of these (essentially) two books, but as variations on alimentary themes they are digestible in terms of the resemblances they as foods bear to consistencies of certain behaviors or structures of physiologic processes they might be seen as denoting. As to that, it would be interesting to read what other dishes and side-dishes commonly occur to people as seeming to them like, vis-a-vis presentation, appeal, palatability, and taste, male and female brains…..

    A non sequitur: what is the statistical relevance of J.B. writing The Female Brain before writing The Male Brain? That is, what percentage of quote-unquote non-fiction authors and authoresses who write books dealing with gender and sex-related questions write books about their own sex/gender first before the other (if at all in the latter case/s)?

  80. Private Zydeco said,

    March 29, 2010 @ 11:02 am

    …femaaaale braaaiinns…..

  81. Steve F said,

    March 29, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

    @ myl, and anyone else unfamiliar with a 'Birmingham screwdriver', it is indeed a UK thing, and you're right that it refers to a hammer. It presumably originates in London or South-East England – certainly not in the West Midlands – and the reference to Birmingham seems fairly arbitrary, since there is no particular stereotype of Brummies being too impatient/lazy/stupid (etc) to use the correct tool for the job. Compare 'Croydon facelift' (a female hairstyle in which the hair is tied back very tightly, resulting in a permanently surprised expression) – it is by no means unique to – or even particularly common in – Croydon (an area of South London, sometimes – I'm sure unfairly – categorised as unsalubrious.)

  82. John Buerly said,

    March 29, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

    Duct Tape…. fix it all… like men. I think it's clever.

  83. Private Zydeco said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 3:38 am

    One is necessarily meant to be prepossessed of non-accordance
    with the other in the light of combinatory aesthetics, but this hark-
    ens to a renowned "power-violence" cum "technical hardcore" take
    on collage encomiums to facets of female form. Not acquainted?
    Meet Miss Machine.

  84. Private Zydeco said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 3:53 am

    Clums! Link malfunction! Miss Machine Malversate!
    Here is the proper link to the album cover in mind
    (Miss Machine, Mended). Very sorry!

  85. Men think with their. . . duct tape? [bioephemera] » iThinkEducation.net! said,

    April 6, 2010 @ 10:43 am

    [...] Women have white matter, men have duct tape. Or so implies Louann Brizendine's latest book, the Male Brain, dissected in this post and comments at Language Log: [...]

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