First encountered this word in some column by George Will. Which just figures. (Both the fact that it was a George Will-dispatched vocabulary word, and the fact that I have zero recollection of the article save for said word.)
From 1900 until about 1950 in the larger Black neighborhoods of major American cities "paper bag parties" are said to have taken place. People whose skin was not lighter than a brown paper bag were denied entry.
Context in which I encountered the term: A comment by Bint Alshamsa:
The arguments that are made for excluding transwomen are the same ones used for excluding women with disabilities and women of color. The deliberate exclusion of transwomen is nothing but the modern-day version of the Paper Bag Test.
(Comment found at this entry at the blog, Superbabymama.)
Apparently this means "above everything else" and is derived from the German*, but one can only get at that definition via Merriam Webster by looking it up as "uber alles." Yet the definition there has the first character of as ü rather than u. Go figure.
Also, apparently if you have this capitalized, as Über Alles, it means something totally different (see the Wikipedia entry here).
* German language words (sorry) will always make me a bit nervous.
Per Urban Dictionary: "style with ease." Context in which I encountered it:
The sobering “Runaway Love�? finds Ludacris weaving a tale of three girls dealing with the realities of rape, drugs, and alcoholism with a solemn resignation no Ludacris song has ever approached. And it does so without compromising his steez - Stylus Magazine, as quoted here.
Ha! Why does the presence of other blamers here (or at minimum, those knowledgeable about the blamer phenomenon) not surprise me?
Perhaps, given what one blamer (not me) offered as an alternative URL for IBTP in this comment today: "isprinkleadorablevocabularylikefairydustwhileobstreperouslylayingbarethepatriarchy.com," Twisty's site attracts at least as many vocabulary fetishists as radical feminists. (Not that these are mutually exclusive identities... hardly!)
The first time I encountered this word was in Adrienne Rich's poem, Poetry I:
Someone at a table under a brown metal lamp is studying the history of poetry. Someone in the library at closing time has learned to say "modernism," "trope," "vatic," "text." She is listening for shreds of music, he is searching for his name back in the old country. They cannot learn without teachers. They are like us. What we were. If you remember. In a corner of night, a voice is crying in a kind of whisper more. Can you remember when we thought the poets taught how to live? That is not the voice of a critic, or a common reader. It is someone young, in anger, hardly knowing what to ask, who finds our lines, our glosses, wanting in this world..
Evidently, this means "Diamond-bearing ground." Yet another word I had to look up in the course of reading Twisty Faster's blog, I Blame the Patriarchy - specifically, after this passage:
With the damp, colorless fog that awakened the denizens of the Twisty Bungalow this morning (instead of the expected diamantiferous fanfare of taco-eating cherubim upon which my obstreperal lobe depends for its award-nominated vim and vigor) has also dawned the realization that the FAQ is somewhat out of date.
(And yes, I had to look up cherubim too. Also, to the best of my knowledge, the "obstreperal lobe" is a Twisty-Fasterism, that is, a word made up by the author because no existing word met her writing needs. See also blamer. Truly, this particular blogger's contributions to the modern lexicon are impossible to measure.)
Ooh, that's where I heard it, too. (Somehow it comforts me to know that I'm not the only one who rushes to look up words in the middle of watching Law & Order.) I realize it has the literaly definition of inner ear inflammation leading to vertigo, but I'd like to see it used metaphorically. As in, the dizziness and loss of orientation one feels while wading through complex (indeed, labyrinthine) discussions of controversial subjects.
I do know that it makes a big difference to women I know who were coerced into the industry (whether as children or adults). Typically, once someone is described as a "prostitute," that is seen as the be-all, end-all of their identities, and it's dehumanizing. The thinking is: one wouldn't call someone who had been robbed "robbery," so in those situations where an individual has been forcibly prostituted, one shouldn't call them "prostitutes," either.
I'm not one for political correctness, to be sure. Rather, I'm for accuracy, and this is, in fact, a term in use by many women who have this shared experience. Which is not to say that all women in the industry use this language (plenty are more inclined toward the far more "politically correct" moniker of "sex worker," for example), either before or after their experience in the industry, but it is an important term among those who advocate for the needs and rights of such persons. (Often, of course, such advocates are themselves self-described survivors of the industry, or "formerly prostituted women," just as women working against domestic violence may describe themselves as "formerly battered women.")
I realize the term is controversial; those who use it (especially self-identified survivors) are often targets of ridicule, accused of "political correctness" and the like. But in a society in which NHI (for "No Human Involved") is sometimes stamped on the law enforcement case files of prostituted women who are victims of homicides, it's not, in my opinion, a trivial or merely "semantic" distinction, to employ language that specifically takes notice of their humanity, rather than simply discounting them as "prostitutes," "whores," and other (arguably) derisive terms.
Sounds like a urinary tract infection, I know! But really, it's just another belief system one may encounter among hippies and new agers. (Adherents are called "urantians.") For more, see the Wikipedia entry on The Urantia Book.
A handy alternative to calling trafficked women "prostitutes," which recognizes the humanity of the individuals concerned, and whose identities ought not to be conflated with what is, to many such women, an experience of ongoing serial rape, typically controlled by pimps.
Term of endearment (and sometimes antipathy) for rundown vehicles characteristic of ghetto life - e.g., my first car, the driver's side door for which would not close, and thus was fastened (mostly) shut via bungie cord.