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Squid #399
(published September 11, 2008)
Ask the Giant Squid: Polling Pirate Town!
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,


Giant Squid, me and my first mate be havin' a bit of an argument. It started when we were at port and we saw this woman and he said she be a slut, I said no, she be a salty sea wench. So my question be: What defines a slut, and be a slut different than a salty sea wench?

Captain of the Flying Chestnut
Anonymous the Pirate


Dear Pirate-With-No-Name,

Today began as so many days do, with my humble lab assistant, Rob, asking me Dearest and most Venerable Lord Giant Squid, Ruler of all Detroit now that the Kwam, A Kill-Patrick has become enwrapped in his own felonious red tape—Oh dear! Master of my Destiny upon this Mud-soaked Plain, what is wrong? You seem to be of an angry disposition, and neither my japery nor my sterling janitorial skills bring you cheer or even solace.

Let it be noted that I am paraphrasing. Rob's utterances, in the general, are so terribly staggered with the Ummms and Ahhhs and Shits and Fucking As that, I believe, it may qualify him for some percentage of the workingman's compensation—which, if my research is correct, is eight hours of work, eight hours of sleep, and eight hours of cheap boozing with equitably priced sex-workers. In any event, his expletives obfuscate his speech terribly, and it is a chore to transcribe the mess. Such a way, dear Pirate, is no way to speak.

"ROB," I did say, the chromatophores in my skin going pale and soft, until I was but the color of my glass and concrete pressurized tank, "I HAVE READ THE POLLS, ROB. AND THE POLLS HAVE BEEN SAYING TERRIBLE THINGS TO ME AT THE NIGHT TIME. THEY WHISPER MADNESS AND DECEIT INTO MY AURAL RECEPTORS. THE POLLS, ROB, THE POLLS. MY DREAMS ARE FULL OF NAUGHT ELSE. I fixated an optically-perfect eye upon his dejected monkey face—the one upon his skull, not the dejected monkey face on his t-shirt. "THE POLLS SAY MACCAIN OF THE CLAN MACCAIN, DEAR AND DEADLY BROTHER OF MACABEL, IS VASTLY AHEAD OF THE GREAT IRISH HOPE, SEAMUS O'BAMA."

Afore me, slackfooted and clad in corduroy, Rob nearly sobbed. In the first part, I am nominally sure that Mr. O'bama is not Irish, per se. In the second, Lord Squid, my perplexity brings unto me the most terrible rhetorical suffering. How can it be that MacCain of the Clan of MacCain does lead Our Dear O'Bama? MacCain has no ideas nor panache, he is a corrupt and sleaze-ridden old man, whereas our dear O'Bama is in essence an elemental made of Hope by some good and quixotic wizard-rabbi. Perhaps a Merlin, or a Harrison Houdin. How can the American peoples choose Old and Crusty over Hope itself?

Again, I paraphrase.

At this point, dear Anonymized Pirate, Molly happened by and showed to me your missive, your query, your desire for a more thorough taxonomy of the Wench and the Slut. She rolled her eyes after dictating the missive, but Molly has begun to roll her eyes so often that I believe they are physically no longer attached by optic nerves and simply roll helplessly in her sockets. (Note to self: Broach topic of ocular injury with Molly later, perhaps over coffee. Does she likewise merit the workingman's compensation?)

Those issues aside, Pirate, you surely have noted that there is nothing I enjoy more in this world than a solid taxonomy.

There are some days in this world where Lady Luck smiles down upon one, and Lord Disaster is busy casting his glance at others. On those days, Dear Readers, miracles can happen. Today was one of those days. I had not taken note of it due to my poll-derived funk of mood, but it was true. The water was more buoyant. The sun was brighter. Rob had shaved. Jarwaun was nowhere to be seen—rapscallion!—and Molly was feeling forthcoming. It was a day of synergy, Anonymous, a day of syzygy. It was September the Ninth, and all who were there will tell their friends of the events that day and those friends will curse themselves for missing that September the Ninth. All gathered—brave humans and clever squid—will one day sit about a roaring fire or perhaps a deep sea lava spume and relate this tale to their children and spawnlings and grandchildren and grandspwanlings and those distant generations will look back in awe at this September the Ninth.

And what noble act did we set ourselves to? Were we, perhaps, prepared to stop up the breech with our British dead? Far from it, we instead set our sights to slaying, once and for last, the terrible Poll that has so besought the great Mondus Political Americanum for these many years. Two passers-by were gathered from the streets of Detroit with the promise of hot food and a chance to win concert tickets view Miley Cyrus. Other passersby—often in vehicles stopped at traffic lights—were polled as to which would win in a fistfight: the hungry homeless man or the pre-teenaged girl scout selling cookies. The polls, dear reader, heavily favored The Man With No Home.

While this was happening Rob was sent out on a separate mission, to procure a series of sluts and wenches. These were brought back to the conference room and given a battery of tests to determine what—if any—difference persisted between these sub-species feminine. Ah ha! The astute readers versed in the scientific method will say. But if Rob chose them, is not Rob himself skewing the test? Bravo, I say to you! But no. Rob was explicitly instructed to look for self-identified sluts and wenches, to be judged by the markings upon their spangled t-shirts or scrawled across the derrières of their for-sweating lounge pants.

For the sluts he tried bars, libraries, cafeterias, police stations and PTA meetings—this last environ a suggestion of his own fancy.

Finding wenches may have been difficult, but in an effort to spur civic growth former mayor Kill Patrick did create an economic empowerment zone on the waterfront, near Harbortown. This is an area open to tax-free bootlegging, keel-hauling, mast-mizzening, and cannon stuffing, colloquially known as Pirate Town, Jewel of the Detroit River, and she is chock full fully licensed and bonded wenches.

In the first matter, the polls were clear:

  • House-less Man: 65%
  • Girl Scout: 30%
Deviation of poll: +/- 7%

Leeks, our pale and warbled accountant, was employed to work out the maths as the statistical workings are arcane and devious. He assures me that the above numbers are correct. When it was time for the actual battle, we followed the ancient rules: A coin was tossed. Sides of the coins were called. The derelict man was allowed to choose the method of contest, while the Scoutress chose the location. Larry the Spud, as the homeless gentleman declared himself, chose the game of kings' chess. Shaunice Johnson, the she-scout, picked the food court at the Eastland Mall, located on 8 Mile near the street of Groesbeck.

Larry professed great mastery of the sport. Rob reported that the man smelled of nachos, and claimed that secret chess strategies known only to the great Robert Fisher were illuminated to Larry in a dream. Shaunice knew the rules from Sundays spent with her father in the hospital but admitted to having won but one game to him.

The contest was grueling, longly drawn out. Shaunice ended the game by chasing Larry's lone king about the board for hours with two pawns, a bishop and her own king. In the end she won, proving the polls wrong and cheering us all immensely. We purchased all of her cookies and gave them to Larry, who quite enjoyed the Thin Mints, but felt the Samoans were an offensively named cookie. He screamed at them long, and then was sick from having eaten too many cookies and drank too many bottles of wine. Rob left him "as the food court's problem," although he noted it was a shame that Larry would miss the Miley Cyrus concert, as he had seemed much the excited for the event. Rob then drove Shaunice home.

Meanwhile, our second bout of science for the day created great enthusiasm throughout the offices of the Renaissance Center (upon whose tip-topmost floor we do ensconce our offices and lab). Word spread through the janitorial staff as to the Slut/Wench challenge. Our buzzer was buzzéd by nearly every man—and some women—in the building's 74 storied stories. These be-suited worker bees of Detroit's skyscrapers were to be our focus group. On hand we had ten self-identified sluts and ten self-identified wenches. Pirate, dear readers, the results were most satisfying.

We began with feats of strength, endurance and celerity: Shuttle runs down the hallways, races in office chairs, the hefting and jerking of disused computer monitors. The results at this stage showed no difference between sluts and wenches, when averaged across the twenty-harlot sample.

Next were IQ tests, word association tests, personality tests of both the Meyer-Briggs and the Higgs-Boson varieties, and the Stanford-Binet viscosity challenge. These, too, showed few demonstrable differences between sluts and wenches categorically. We had but one arrow left in our scientific quiver.

And so the interviews began.

With exhaustion in our bones an answer finally began to develop in the murk of our data. A slut, dear Pirate, is a borderline pejorative term for a person that is promiscuous or overly-enjoys the sex acts available to their species. A wench is an old word, dear readers, that at one time meant simply "woman" and then "servant woman" and then eventually it became a term for a servant woman who is also a prostitute. But there has been an effort to reclaim both of these words from the pejorative holes to which they have been consigned. Wench is now commonly used to mean "a woman pretending to be a pirate or who is working at a Renaissance Faire," and slut now is commonly used to refer to any woman that the speaker does not like, or a woman who breaks any rule at all.

Also, at least in our sample, a narrow—but statistically reliable—sub-set of sluts favored corporal punishment, while wenches favored efforts at correction, reform, and re-education. The former were pleased with the cost-effective nature of a simple caning-for-first possession, while the latter noted bountiful research on the long-term positive fiscal impact of a lowered crime index and more economically mobile lower class.

With our science at an end and vicious polls driven from our minds, we purchased alcohol and food stuffs for the gaggle of sluts and wenches and retired to the entertainment room for a round of the Rock Band on the Xbox. G. Richard Wagoner Jr. of General Motors—with whom we share the building—availed himself impressively, although he had some little trouble availing himself of Wave of Mutilation, possibly because his simulacrum drummer, Black Maria, was simply abominable.

None shall ever forget this September the Ninth, the day when Shaunice bested Larry and when the sluts were carved from the wenches.

Until the Next September the Ninth,
I Remain,
The Giant Squid

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