Testes, Testes, One Two…

My, that Sarah Palin lady certainly knows how to get folks all wee-wee’d up, doesn’t she? All she had to do was go on Fox News and say that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has more “cojones” (Spanish for “testicles,” for the two or three who might not know that) when it comes to illegal aliens than President Barack Obama.

Speaking literally, I doubt that. Brewer had three sons, while Obama has two daughters. I take that as clinical evidence that Brewer possessed at least one functioning ovary, while Obama has at least one functioning testicle. That doesn’t preclude them from also possessing a gonad of the opposite sex, but does make it extremely unlikely.

But Palin wasn’t speaking literally. She was using “cojones” figuratively, as a metaphor for courage and boldness and bravado.

It’s becoming more and more common. I’ve heard it on network television all the time — purely in the metaphorical sense. “That was a ballsy move” seems acceptable, but “I got nailed in the balls” hasn’t quite seemed to break the barrier.

It still strikes me as a bit odd thing for Palin to say. She’s always been very measured in her language — I don’t recall her even using the most casual profanity. Her “gosh-darn” has become a hook for her critics to mock her.

I’ve noticed a similar thing with Michelle Malkin. Like Palin, she’s a mother and a very devout Christian who also eschews the potty-mouth. But it seems that “balls” is an exception with her.

Speaking personally as a possessor of two of the organs in question (although more often it seems like they possess me), I don’t care for the metaphor or its rising acceptance. I’ve known and known of some remarkably courageous, bold women who somehow managed to demonstrate those attributes without having testicles. (Although I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those women did have testicles — that they’ve collected as trophies. I envision Ann Coulter having a jar of gonads harvested from liberals on her desk.)

Likewise, I’ve known some men with a presumably healthy pair act with great concern about minimizing any risk to them — and themselves as a whole. And one of the slang terms for such craven men is also a term for female genitalia. John Edwards comes to mind.

So we end up with cases where you can say that Ann Coulter’s pussy has more balls than John Edwards’ scrotum, which has distinctly pussyish qualities.

And then there are the cases where gonadally-challenged men have exhibited remarkable courage and strength. Baseball player John Kruk and bicyclist Lance Armstrong each lost a testicle to cancer, and continued on. This led to Kruk’s showing up for a game wearing a shirt that proclaimed “If you don’t let me play, I’m going to take my ball and go home.” And Armstrong? He lost his testicle in 1996, then won the Tour De France seven straight years (1999-2005), leading Laurence Simon to note that “IN THE LAND WITH NO BALLS, THE ONE-BALLED MAN SHALL BE KING!”

I prefer the old days, when the general, gender-neutral “guts” was the preferred term. I generally dislike casual uses of profanities, because it tends to dilute the power of a well-placed and carefully-considered cussword. And this seems to me to be a needless coarsening of the public discourse.

Of course, you are welcome to disagree. Let the busting of my balls commence.

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