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#1855 - 05/08/00 02:32 AM Sleaze
For a change I agree - I meant to say sleaze, sorry to cause confusion.
#1856 - 05/08/00 02:48 AM Re: WASP
Phillip - your posting illustrated the problem with all generalisations (I didn't hear the original story so I don't know enough background to be sure of what really happened but I'm sure your interpretation is valid)
Generalisations are the essence of any "ism". We start off by saying that people from Mars (for example) smell. We can prove that they don't smell, so the slur moves on to - people from Mars might come here and take my job - once that is proven to be wrong it moves on ...
I've noticed here that now that the (largely racist) tabloid press realise that it doesn't look good to say racist things they have moved on to refugees (implying they are after money and a "better" life rather than fleeing torture and worse). I suspect it is just a coded way of saying the things they have always said but picking on a particularly vulnerable group who are least able to speak up for themselves. Any imperfect act by a refugee is magnified until it is taken as read that "these people" are only out for themselves.
I've set up a new thread over in Miscellany in case anyone wants to discuss the subject of words and politics.
#1857 - 05/08/00 05:31 AM Re: WASP
Before moving over to Jo's new thread I just wanted to make clear that in a previous post in this thread my post was edited (censored) without my knowledge or consent. In the sentence "There are still many sections of the british working people who use a -house rather than a toilet but their, original, germanic, language is frowned upon by many." I wrote s h i t (as one word without the spaces but with spaces here to allow it to bypass the automatic censor - this gives the word much more emphasis than I wanted) house. This censorship rather proves my point that political and racist forces affect the words we use.
#1858 - 05/08/00 05:57 AM Censorship
Interesting - it's not a particularly offensive word. In the UK the f***y word I used earlier (rhymes with funny) is much worse (so it only looks at US usage, as ever)
I suppose (speaking as a parent) there is so much unpleasant stuff around on the web it a difficult isssue. There is "net nanny" type software around but I understand that it picks on certain words, so sites which give genuine advice about protection from HIV would be blocked as well as other innoffensive sites.
As the aim of this discussion is an academic discussion of word usage but is open to the entire world it might not be entirely a bad thing to use a few *****!
#1859 - 05/08/00 09:12 AM Re: sleaze
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
My trusty Shorter Oxford (a present from my work colleagues on my retirement -- and now being put to much good use!) dates sleaze from mid-20th century and, as tsuwm mentioned, is a backformation from sleazy (also sleezy -- from mid-17th century). It can also be used to describe a fabric which is thin or flimsy in texture.
#1860 - 05/11/00 01:55 PM Re: verbage
Loc: this too shall pass
It occurs to me that, when combined with your original "to author" thread, we have surpassed the volume of the "begging the question" thread here. Allow me to be the first to attaboy you. (how many bases have I covered with that coinage?)
#1861 - 05/11/00 02:17 PM Re: verbage
So much hot air!
#1862 - 05/11/00 10:44 PM Re: WASP
Loc: this too shall pass
a few days ago, Philip wrote:
"That Professor Baltzell choose to use a tautology says a couple of things to me.
1. the term shows an underlying racism in it's constructor. Denying an economic factor in social structure then only leaves gender or racial differences to explain inequality.
2. He had a poor appreciation of language."
I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but my curiosity was piqued regarding this and so I sought out Baltzell's book, "The Protestant Establishment" (the subtitle itself is somewhat instructive: Aristocracy & Caste in America) -- it took me a few days to acquire it since it was only available from our central library.
I'll try to give a brief explanation of the genesis of WASP.
First, to lend some context, this stuff was written in the mid 50s and early 60s. Baltzell's central thesis was that the aristocracy of the Victorian age was a good thing in that it was the source of leadership; this was of course an Anglo-Saxon tradition. His contention was that there came to be a crisis in American leadership by the middle of the 20th century, partly due to the declining authority of an establishment which was now based on an increasingly castelike White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant upper class, which had been realizing great success but was not producing equivalent leadership. My reading of this is that he coined WASP to differentiate what was, he felt, a racist caste system (thus the added emphasis on the seemingly redundant white/protestant) -- in over-simplified terms, Anglo Saxon tradition = good, WASP = bad. He was, in his way, the very antithesis of a racist.
Hope this clears up some of the confusion....
#1863 - 05/12/00 02:43 AM Re: WASP
Interesting. The more I learn, the more it becomes clear that there is a great pressure in the states to deny economic factors in explaining political and social structures. I think I implied before that the English class system is basically racist (poor anglo-saxon peasants and wealthy norman-french lords), so my contention about Baltzell stands (but see below with regards to racism). I'm not sufficently informed to comment on a crisis in american political leadership but from this side of the pond american pop cultural and economic leadership appears to have done fairly well. Having said this one of the aspects of the british aristocracy that I do admire was a wide spread belief in stewardship of the land (and stewardship more generally) - The belief that land must be cared for for future generations. This long term view is sadly lacking in much of todays leadership who's consideration is only for the next election.
On further consideration I have changed my opinion about Baltzell appreciation of language. He careful choose a term that would be adopted and have widespread use. He clearly appreciated how language works.
Why is it that so many new words are based on acronymes when older terms where much more interesting in their etymology?
I should say that I clearly differentiate between racism and bigotry - racism being a belief the dominate culture or race is superior, bigotry being an intolerence of others. Because of the strong social conditioning almost everyone is racist to some degree (this is clearly illustrated by those distressing experiments where black children pick out white dolls as beautiful and black dolls as ugly) I struggle hard to maintain an awareness of my racism to avoid being bigoted.
By the way it looks like the etymology of bigot might be of some interest.
#1864 - 05/14/00 03:28 AM Re: factor
Tsuwm - you win - I've checked it out with some friends here and they all think its fine "to factor" something in. I'll have to go back to grazing with the dynosaurs.
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