Wordsmith.org

PC gone mad

Posted By: wwh

PC gone mad - 12/27/02 11:44 PM

Did you know the phrase "nitty-gritty" is a racist term, and in UK you can be disciplined
for using it. Somebody allegedly discovered that it referred to detritus in bilge of
slave ships. Believe it or not. Here is URL to BBC story:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/1988681.stm

Quinion says nitty-gritty first recorded in 1950s/ So "slave ship" origin seems impossible.
http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-nit2.htm


Posted By: belligerentyouth

Re: PC gone mad - 12/28/02 04:09 PM

PC gone mad? ... sounds like it.

I think the most logical explanation is given by Quinion, being that "it is a reduplication - using the same mechanism that has given us namby-pamby and itsy-bitsy - of the standard English word gritty."
Case closed in my eyes.

What really amuses me is how valiantly and with which authority people will support there own version of a word's etymology in a conversation, as if it gave them a deeper understanding of any "true meaning' the word might have. Strangely enough, this tendency seems to be all the more solid, the more ludicrous, abstract or iffy the etymological explanation is.
I recently discussed the origins of the word 'posh' (discussed previously here I believe) with someone who was utterly certain that it was short for "Port Out, Starboard Home". I suggested that this was possibly just a story, if a really good one, and that it had absolutely no proof to support it. This was out of the question for my conversation partner, they had heard it on the radio and many people believed it. For me it once again reinforced that the notion of truth as absurd outside the realms of theological and philosophical contexts. For if one person believes something, they're a loony and it's a lie; if a group does they're a cult and the notion is mystical nonsense, and if 80% of people do then it's truth.


Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: PC gone mad - 12/28/02 11:28 PM

Does this mean The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has to change it's name, then?

And is gritty non-offensive without nitty? Can nitty stand alone inoffensively without gritty? Is gritty-nitty acceptable? Is it the optional hyphen that drives it into denigration? Are the Thought Police done disemboweling the language, yet?

The bilge in slave ships, or any ship, was also dirty water. Can we say that anymore? Can we say dirty? Can we say water? Can we say bilge? Can we say the bilge in slave ships without being accused of alluding to the nitty-gritty?
(if, indeed, as by says, that myth of association is true)

For years I was openly embracing the new myth about the black African Cleopatra until I realized one day...wait a minute, she was a Ptolemy, she was Greek!

As I said before, that kind of false historic revisionism for PC purposes irks me, mainly because I love history too much to subvert it falsely for modern agendas. And I'd feel the same about contrived etymologies for words and phrases to fit the same purposes (though I never gave this much thought, nor, indeed, harbored any notion that anyone would go to such lengths to garnish another notch on the PC belt until this thread, but evidently...sigh).
Posted By: Jackie

Re: PC gone mad - 12/29/02 01:31 AM

Another version of the "truth":
The noun nitty-gritty dates from the mid-1900s and alludes to the detailed (“nitty”) and possibly unpleasant (“gritty”) issue in question.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Yes, by, it came as a shock--a series of them, rather--to realize that for many many things there is no one, exact, right answer. And even now I find that thought unsettling. I want to know everything about something I'm interested in, right down to the last detail (though not necessarily the nitty gritty!), and I want my knowledge to be concrete and certain. Grr. I grew up in an era (barely) that taught that "the guvmint" has the ultimate, and correct, answers. Well, it didn't take me long, once I started working for the state, to realize that no one does. Government, and even the military, are made up of just people. Not necessarily the brightest and best, either.

As I said before, that kind of false historic revisionism for PC purposes irks me, mainly because I love history too much to subvert it falsely for modern agendas. And I'd feel the same about contrived etymologies for words and phrases to fit the same purposes (though I never gave this much thought, nor, indeed, harbored any notion that anyone would go to such lengths to garnish another notch on the PC belt until this thread, but evidently...sigh). I agree, Sweet WO'N. Though as I hinted in my paragraph above, I no longer trust that history really happened the way I was taught that it did. "History" is generally recorded by the victors, as my husband says; and he's right. To say nothing of laziness and outright falsehoods. I think one should be sure of one's facts, before yelling about political correctness; and even then, the caterwauling isn't always necessary. (For ex., something I've griped about here before: changing "man" or "men" in hymns written long ago to "all", or "people". Yuck!) We cannot make retribution for every wrong done down through history. Let's stick to what is relevant today.





Posted By: Buffalo Shrdlu

Re: PC for good reasons - 12/29/02 01:42 AM

(For ex., something I've griped about here before: changing "man" or "men" in hymns written long ago to "all", or "people". Yuck!)

no, but we can raise our children not to think of a certain gender when they sing those hymns, because to some of them, man, or men has very negative connotations. besides, why shouldn't we use language today that speaks more of the way we understand things? personally, I would rather bite the bullet and re-learn some things rather than forcing my children to be the ones that make the change. we sacrifice all sorts of things for our children, why aren't you willing to give up little things like a little language in an old song? things aren't what they used to be and they never were.

Posted By: Jackie

Re: PC for good reasons - 12/29/02 03:35 AM

why shouldn't we use language today that speaks more of the way we understand things? personally, I would rather bite the bullet and re-learn some things rather than forcing my children to be the ones that make the change. we sacrifice all sorts of things for our children, why aren't you willing to give up little things like a little language in an old song? things aren't what they used to be and they never were.
Mercy--this wasn't what I was expecting to be challenged on! But... partially, this is my inherent respect (but not blind respect) for the old--people, too. And partly my innate dislike of change. I'd like to key in on two words you used: 'today', and 'little'. We CAN use language that is relevant to today, in our compositions. I would take offense at a contemporary hymn that essentially said worship was for males only. We can teach our children what I was taught: that that was the way people talked/wrote back then, but that we know better now. It is, as you say, a little thing, to leave or change the language in an old song. I said (I hope) in my other post that I think that we owe a measure of respect to the music and to the composer, and that to change what he or she intended violates that respect. Each time a new hymnal is considered, decisions are made to leave certain ones out. I for one prefer to let them die this "natural" death than to alter what has withstood the test of time.


Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: PC for good reasons - 12/29/02 04:23 AM

I have to agree with Jackie on this one, etaoin. I feel that going back and changing works of art (re: song lyrics) is censoring the artist's work and impairing, if not ruining, their sense of history and their poetry. I remember being aghast when I first encountered in my folk songshare circles, a new sing-along book which broadcast on the jacket that it had been "edited" for "lyrics which may be offensive", and was co-edited by, of all people, Mr. Freedom Fighter himself, Pete Seeger! Here they took the audacious presumption of changing "a brotherhood of man" in John Lennon's Imagine, and, ridiculously enough, "sitting around the campfire, everybody's high" in John Denver's Rocky Mountain High, with "everybody's high" being the offending phrase, evidently. C'mon, for cryin' out loud, you can be high on nature, high on life, in high spirits, and if you are high on pot in that mellow, friendly circumstance, so what?
When we start censoring John Denver, I thought, when Pete Seeger starts censoring John Denver, we are getting into serious trouble here, folks. And this sort of ludicrous butchery was rampant all throughout the songbook. This really started me on a hard rethink of what was going on with this whole PC process. I had fully embraced, and still do, the sensible changes where appropriate...firefighters for firemen, for instance. But, like many things, it started out with good intentions, and then, for some reason, people started running amok with it. There's no freedom in having to analyse every word I say or write before I write or say it because I might offend somebody when I am not, nor have I ever been, the kind of person who seeks to hurt people that way (except, of course, in some personal squabbles, with personal vindictive). And you might say, well, there's some unintended subtle nuance of offense there, which was the initial reason for all this, and that might be true...but then that perspective has grown to presuppose an ingrained and intentional, albeit subconscious, racism, sexism, or whatever the hateism, just because you're "carelessly" not-PC...and I resent this negative painting of my, or anybody else's, character just because someone now decides to deem some new term or part of language as undesirable, as in the instance of nitty gritty.

And I will always sing "a brotherhood of man" in John Lennon's Imagine because it's beautiful, and it has the most meaning for me, and it's what the man meant (a poetical and musical genius IMHO, BTW) when he wrote the song, the image the poet chose, and if there's a woman or feminist activist out there who takes umbrage at that, I'm sorry...but that's her problem...to think I intend any disrespect or offense by singing that touching and beautiful song, a song of love and peace, is just plain ridiculous.

And sitting around the campfire everybody's high...always and forever! I mean, sheesh!
When you're sitting around a campfire is your mood usually low?!
Posted By: AnnaStrophic

Re: art vs PC - 12/29/02 11:10 AM

While it is true that the pendulum of history has swung to oversensitivity after centuries of episodes of man's inhumanity to man [sic]; I'm with Jackie and Juan on this one: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

For aesthetic reasons, I stick with King James' translators of the Bible; for historical reasons, it is ludicrous to suppose Christ could have been a woman. Those subjective thoughts aside, you can't go messing around with somebody's art. It's like putting a fig leaf on Michelangelo's David or something.

Also, consider this: in Old English man meant 'human being.' The female sex was denoted as wyfman and the male, as wæpman. Maybe this historical insight might help those sensitive children get over their negative feelings, and see the word in a broader sense, eta?
Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: art vs PC - 12/29/02 01:16 PM

It's like putting a fig leaf on Michelangelo's David or something.

Yes, and that would be a mighty big fig leaf!


Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: art vs PC - 12/29/02 01:31 PM

And here's another "for instance":

Sometime during his second term Bill Clinton made a speech or comment using the word welsh or welsher. There was a public outcry by a group of Welsh-Americans (The Welsh-American League or something like that) who said it denigrated the Welsh and they demanded an apology which Clinton conceded to give. Oh, c'mon...

I've been using that word all my life as welch or welcher meaning reneging on a bet or promise, never having the slightest clue it ever had anything to do with the Welsh until this "controversy" erupted. It was just a word to me, and, as such, of course, carried no intention of insult or offense to anyone except for the deadbeat friend I directed it towards (usually in a joking manner). And I'm sure that the word, in either form, had become as generic to everyone else. Suddenly, it's on the PC list, because a small group, who probably don't represent or speak for all Welsh-Americans or the Welsh people, decided, after all this time, that it is now offensive.

Posted By: Faldage

Re: art vs PC - 12/29/02 02:47 PM

Welsh, itself, being derived from a Sassenach word meaning foreigner.

What *should be considered offensive about Michelangelo's David is that it isn't circumcised.

There is that other nagging question: If you know that a word or phrase is going to be offensive, however undeservedly, to a large group of people, and there is another term that can be used just as easily, is it right to continue using the offensive term?

Posted By: wwh

Re: art vs PC - 12/29/02 03:52 PM

Dear Faldage: "Taffy was a Welchman, Taffy was a thief........"
Must I now forego asking for a piece of taffy?

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: art vs PC - 12/29/02 04:43 PM

There is that other nagging question: If you know that a word or phrase is going to be offensive, however undeservedly, to a large group of people, and there is another term that can be used just as easily, is it right to continue using the offensive term?

I think, to a large group of people, is the key here, or obvious oversight (as when, knowing there are many women firefighters you use the exclusionary firemen...however, when talking about a male or a small group of males who are firefighters, then fireman or "men" is still okay as an option) is the key phrase here. Obviously the "n" word is offensive, as is "Dago" for Italians, "Polack" for Poles, "Mick" for the Irish, "Limey" for the English, "Hunky" for Hungarians (although, being of Hungarian descent, I happen to think Hunky's pretty cool, actually ), etc. [though, none of the ethnic friends I've had over the years seemed to mind when these epithets were employed jokingly with each other in private...not including the "n" word, of course] And mulyak for Slovaks and Slav immigrants in general...this, curiously enough, was first employed by the first Carpatho-Russian/Slovak immigrants once they were established and doing well to disparage and look down upon the "fresh-off-the-boaters". I think the Italians had a similar vindictive, mullein. In our family it's the worst heavy artillery you can roll out in a squabble, to call somebody that, mulyak...especially the older generations.

But pruning pieces of words, and generic pronouns, and digging up new nuances of meaning to impart to long-standing terms to render them taboo, because small segments of certain groups demand it, seems silly and a bit self-defeating. A diehard feminist friend of mine, a practicing Wiccan and folk musician, who's into The Goddess and the fairy culture, etc., finally announced at a performance one night that she was no longer bothering to use the sexist changes to words as she had been for years, because, as she explained, one day she found herself wanting to take the "king" out of kingdom, and decided, then and there, that she, and others, were really going off the wall about all this, and that there were far better ways to work for the empowerment of women than by changing all these little pieces and nuances of words. And that feeling threatened by these words was not affirming her womanhood. Amen.


Posted By: Buffalo Shrdlu

Re: art vs PC - 12/29/02 06:26 PM

well, I try to use other words because I'm trying to be nice. and I'll continue to teach my children thusly.

I'm done.

edit: this is in no way an implication that any of you are not nice. sorry for any misunderstanding.
Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: art vs PC - 12/29/02 06:51 PM

well, I try to use other words because I'm trying to be nice. and I'll continue to teach my children thusly.

But that's one of the points here, eta...you're already nice, so you don't have to try to be nice. You're allowing others to paint you as unnice until you prove, or to make you prove, your nicety...that's not fair to you, or anybody. It's almost like the Catholic concept of Original Sin...which I'm well-familiar with.



Posted By: sjm

Re: art vs PC - 12/29/02 08:02 PM

>trying to be nice.

As I understand this thread, that's not even the point. The issue is, do we have the right to impose our current standards of "nice" on, to borrow a phrase that seems particularly apt, "prior art"? To me, that is quite different from using PC-isms in personal speech from personal choice. I say "Native Americans", partly because it seems more accurate, and partly to avoid confusion with my own Indian (subcontinental) heritage. That doesn't mean I would want to edit a work of art or literature that referred to Indians, nor would I ever say that, as a kid, I played cowboys and Native Americans. What one does with regard to one's own usage of language is one thing, but this thread really seems to be more about the propriety or otherwise of bowdlerising creative works to fit current estimations of acceptably inoffensive speech.

Posted By: musick

Re: art vs PC - 12/29/02 08:32 PM

[though, none of the ethnic friends I've had over the years seemed to mind when these epithets were employed jokingly with each other in private...not including the "n" word, of course]

This seems to be belittling (to say the least) the art of Tupac Amaru Shakur (for example).

... and, pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is " The Goddess and the fairy culture, etc."?

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: art vs PC - 12/29/02 10:49 PM

... and, pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is " The Goddess and the fairy culture, etc."?

Well, musick, briefly, the Wiccan faith focuses on Nature through the feminine perspective of the Earth Mother or Goddess, and the fairies are seen as nature spirits that work in harmony with, and through the influence of, the Earth Mother, the Goddess. This can be traced back, in myth, to the Druid legend of Queen Mab, and the fairies and Little People of Celtic lore, among others.




Posted By: Jackie

Re: art vs PC - 12/29/02 11:51 PM

...impose our current standards of "nice" on, to borrow a phrase that seems particularly apt, "prior art"? To me, that is quite different from using PC-isms in personal speech from personal choice.
Thanks, sjm--you said directly what I meant but couldn't seem to make clear with many times more words.
This very morning in church was an example; I had never realized this, but it is in our hymnal now that we are supposed to sing, "Good Christian Friends Rejoice". I ask you! As eta also indicated, this kind of thing comes down to personal choice; I am not so gung-ho on this point as to insist to my children that it should be the original way--but right now, you can bet I am singing "men" rejoice. Not all things are good just because they're old, but I happen to be the kind of person who doesn't like something I've enjoyed all my life messed with!
And, we all have our personal "lines in the sand"--some of us will always stop earlier or go further in our willingness to change whatever. And the decision-makers, whomever they happen to be, aren't going to please all of the people all of the time. Here's one change that I happen to agree was necessary: the line in My Old Kentucky Home that now reads: "'Tis summer, the people are gay;"
(This is Kentucky's state song, for those of you who didn't know.) The 1986 Kentucky state legislature officially put in the word people to replace the word darkies. Now, Stephen Foster wrote that song in 1853, and I imagine he meant the word merely descriptively. And I had sung the song that way all my life, but had not felt particularly comfortable with that word once I began to grow up.
There are some things I could say about why I disapprove of changing hymns and approve of changing our state song, but I won't go into that now. I was just using this as an example about personal choices. For all I know, my children and grand-children are/will find male-only words as offensive as I find that original word in My Old Kentucky Home now; but at present, I prefer to sing the hymns the way they were originally written--keeping in the back of my mind what my true beliefs are.

P.S.--eta, I understood (I think!) why you're doing what you said you are; and I didn't think you were implying that others are not nice, Sweetie. You're allowed to do what you want to; as are we all. Now, my ire would be up in a big hurry were you or anyone try to tell me I HAD to change this or that! I believe that may have been WO'N's point. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)



Posted By: wwh

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/29/02 11:56 PM

My grand-daughter gave me Wordsmith's book for Christmas. I just discovered that he passed
a PC test. His Chapter 6, Reduplicatives, did not contain "nitty-gritty".

Posted By: Buffalo Shrdlu

Re: art vs PC - 12/30/02 12:04 AM

(Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

you're not wrong.

Posted By: milum

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 12:59 AM

My grand-daughter gave me Wordsmith's book for Christmas. I just discovered that he passed
a PC test. His Chapter 6, Reduplicatives, did not contain "nitty-gritty".


Well that's good enough for me, folks. I will now take time off from this board to go through my 777 posts on this board to purge them of any comment that got right down to the real XXXXX-XXXXXX. Be back in a few hours.

Posted By: Faldage

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 01:34 AM

"'Tis summer, the people are gay;"

?

Posted By: milum

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 02:33 AM

" 'Tis summer, the people are gay;"

AAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!

Thanks a lot faldage. Yall please excuse me for a few hours while I check my last 777 posts and see if I've called any of my straight friends "gay" or my gay friends "queer". Be back in a three or four hours. Gee Wiz!


Posted By: Jackie

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 02:35 AM

Sorry--guess I thought because *I* know it, everybody does.
Stephen Foster wrote it as 'Tis summer, the darkies are gay. Don't think I want to get into the gay part.

Posted By: wwh

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 02:38 AM

Dear Faldage: To PC, or not to PC. That is the question. I still remember the psychologist with
all the mannerisms of a severe gender identification problem using the term "gay" to mean
something vile. I have no wish to persecute or condemn those so afflicted, but I cannot help
resenting a fine word, also family name of some of my friends, being used to describe something
that should have stayed in the closet.

Posted By: Wordwind

Post deleted by Wordwind - 12/30/02 01:31 PM

Posted By: Buffalo Shrdlu

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 01:53 PM

funny, for me, changing a few words has kept me out of the cesspool...

Posted By: Faldage

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 02:02 PM

when I explained to them that now we don or put on our gay apparel, there was a peal of laughter

If you'd sing the right lyrics you'd avoid this problem entirely:

Deck Us All

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash. and Kalamazoo.
Nora's freezing on the trolley
Swaller dollar, cauliflower, Alleygaroo
Don't we know archaic barrel
Lullaby, Lilla boy, Louisville Lou.
Trolley Molly don't love Harold
Boola boola! Pensacoola, Hullabaloo.


Nary a mention of no gay nothing.

when you sing "We Three Kings of Orient Are..." you're gonna think "...tried to smoke a rubber cigar."

Nuh unh. Not me. It's "...tried to smoke a loaded cigar."

Preserve the art. It's a historical record, at the least, and some artist's labored-over expressed essence at best.

True. If the composer wrote music to go with the words Agnus Dei it's going to sound wrong if you change the words to Lamb of God and vice versa. Changing men to friends pales in comparison.

Posted By: Wordwind

Post deleted by Wordwind - 12/30/02 02:32 PM

Posted By: milum

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 02:40 PM

The big problem with this PC cesspool is it forces us to go to that layer of the brain that is touchy as hell and hurt and limping and pathetic and offended and hypersensitive and say: "Dwell here. This is where We have come to Be and This is where We will Remain." It is a trap. It is Poison. It keeps us from considering any other possibility. It sees us as both an Enemy of the People and the Victim of the People. And it's hard being in the cesspool while functioning both as a potential victim and enemy--no room for sense of history, or acts of compassion, or pure fun, or anything else. We become absurd there because we do not allow ourselves--stuck in the pit--to think about anything other than plausible offensiveness. ~ wordwind

Golly. That was well put. A tip of the hat to you. I have nothing else to add or say other than...

"What she said."

Posted By: Buffalo Shrdlu

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 02:43 PM

But I'm not talking about using common sense here. I'm talking about dwelling in PC-ness. Dwelling there. It's a station of a place--PC Police walking the streets, their boots making the steady beat, beat, beat.

agreed.

Posted By: magimaria

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 03:07 PM

Wow, (and I don't mean our friend wow), I mean, oh my! There seems to be quite a bit of knee-jerk reaction to this pc thing in here. While I think all sides have their legitimate issues, I'll side with etaoin on this one. Surely the good people of this board know that words are incredibly powerful and have been the impetus for great good as well as great evil throughout human existance. While I certainly appreciate history and have a deep respect for my elders, including the ancient ones (and have no problem explaining things to younger people about the sociology of a different time/place) I do think that one might be thoughtful about the way certain words have been used against others.

And yes, Juan (Oh, did that come from W'On? I've been trying to figure that one out for a month now?!) it is appalling that Pete Seeger, of all people (!) would rewrite such a songbook. But we can choose what we wish to do, and to me, this is precisely the point. I am happy that each of you has a unique point of view, and even more gratified that we can share them in here.

But in the end, for me, words can be and and are often enormously hurtful (despite what is intended) and speech is often used to incite others to action, unfortunately, not always for the good. So I will continue to try to be thoughful, while not embracing the extremes of our wiccan sisters! (Who in the AWAD version of spellcheck came out as Wichita!!!! or was that Witchita!!!)

MM



Posted By: tsuwm

overloading - 12/30/02 03:44 PM

I agree with all that's been said here regarding PCness run rampant. but here's the thing: with upwards of 600,000 words to choose from it's really the height of verbal laziness, at best, to personally choose a word that's overloaded and fraught with negative connotations when another word with a more precise sense is doubtless available. (see gay, niggardly, etc.) then you can go someplace such as this and complain about the vicissitudes of man.

Posted By: wow

Re: PC gone mad - 12/30/02 04:03 PM

My goodness but aren't we taking ourselves seriously!
If all this Political Correctness keeps going at the current pace we will soon wipe out all double entendre jokes ... no more "Rocky and Bullmoose," cartoons on TV, no more having adult fun at children's movies with the things that go over the kids' heads but tickle the funnybone of all the parents dragooned into going to the latest "family" movie.
Anyone see "Spy Kids?" which was fun for the kids but was peppered with some pretty un-PC things for the grownups to keep the adults from expiring with boredom.
And what about Shaggy Dog stories? and TEd's puns ?and ...and .. and... if this keeps up I'm going to have to go have a good cry over the demise of all the gay abandon in the world!
I am all for eliminating or avoiding words that give real offense and are charged with hurtful meaning..like the n-word. But, c'mon, folks!
On the other hand : a few hundred years from now some group of musicians will be able to make a good living by performing the resurrected original forms of the changed songs, carols and hymns!!!! I mean, there are groups now that sing Ye Olde Carols and fill all the theater seats! Then too, books can be written about the way PC swept the world. And another new writing genre may be born!
Meanwhile, I subscribe to the theory that if - for instance - everyone in the room is Catholic we can tell jokes about the Pope!

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: PC gone mad - 12/30/02 04:38 PM

Interestingly enough, the word "gay" has now been launched into a derisive connotation by the younger (college and under) generation in the expression "that's so gay" or substitute he, she, or it for "that". So do we need a new word again?

And, sometimes, there is now a hurtful, spiteful or even venegeful twinge to the historical and linguistic revisionisms launched by certain individuals or small groups of individuals within various groups, and I think it is this creeping reverse mean-spiritness that began leaving a lot of people cold about the direction this whole PC process is taking. For instance, it was released by some folks a few years back they had discovered that the model who sat for The Statue of Liberty (this will tie in with the PC/art debate) was a black woman (well, that's intriguing, I thought, something worthy to note historically if so), but then the article and implication took the stance that, since the model for the statue was a black woman it is therefore, now, a symbol for African-Americans and not the traditional symbol of European immigration. Now hold on there just a minute!, I thought. The Statue of Liberty is the cherished and time-honored symbol of the waves of European immigration that came to this country in the late 19th and early 20th Century, and since both sides of my family came here through Ellis Island, it is very meaningful and important to me. And nobody has the right to try to take that away from me. No matter who sat for that statue, if a Martian sat for that statue, it would still stand as a hallowed symbol of European immigration. And, truthfully, I felt insulted and offended, by what I felt to be a mean-spirited and spiteful attempt to strip The Statue of Liberty of its cherished symbolism. Yes, let history note that an African-American model sat for the statue if this is validated, but don't, then, strip the statue of its poignant symbolism and meaning for millions.
Posted By: wwh

Re: PC gone mad - 12/30/02 05:15 PM

http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/weekly/aa020900b.htm

The above URL debunks urban legend that a black woman was model for the Staute of Liberty.

Incidentally, I learned a new word:"marquette" the preliminary small model of a large sculpture. There
are so many sited about Marquette University and people named Marquette that I copied only one
brief definition:A Marquette is a small version of a larger sculpture to be later
reproduced in bronze or stone.

Posted By: magimaria

Re: AWADies gone mad over pcisms.... - 12/30/02 05:34 PM

Thanks again, Dr. Bill for straightening us all out on this one. She certainly doesn't look African to me....

Can't we all just get along?....

(just joking, in case you didn't know!)

mm

Posted By: magimaria

Picnics - 12/30/02 05:44 PM

And I have Dr. Bill to thank again for his urban legends site where I was able to check out that awful email I received years ago that took all of the joy out of 'picnic'ing. This whole thread brought that story back to my mind, but I thought it best, at the time, to leave it out of this conversation. Now I'm glad to find that it (thankfully) was untrue. If you think you know what I am talking about, just go to Dr. Bill's site and type in picnic!

It's time for a new thread, if not a new year!!!

maria

Posted By: Alex Williams

Re: PC gone mad - 12/30/02 05:45 PM

But pruning pieces of words, and generic pronouns, and digging up new nuances of meaning to impart to long-standing terms to render them taboo, because small segments of certain groups demand it, seems silly and a bit self-defeating.

Amen to that.


A diehard feminist friend of mine...finally announced at a performance one night that she was no longer bothering to use the sexist changes to words as she had been for years, because, as she explained, one day she found herself wanting to take the "king" out of kingdom, and decided, then and there, that she, and others, were really going off the wall about all this, and that there were far better ways to work for the empowerment of women than by changing all these little pieces and nuances of words. And that feeling threatened by these words was not affirming her womanhood.


That woman represents a level of intelligence and sensibility that is sorely missing from the whole PC debate. Lucky* for her, as a woman she has the "right" to arrive at this decision and maintain credibility.

*I'd change "lucky" to "luckily" but it goes against my anti-revisionist stance.
Posted By: milum

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 05:52 PM

There seems to be quite a bit of knee-jerk reaction to this pc thing in here. - magimaria

Oh dear I was afraid this thread would turn to knee-jerking. I wonder who's comments were the knee-jerking ones. Surely not mine. Yeah I know that sometimes I act before I think, and yeah, I know that I put up a tough-guy front that invites insensitive comments, but my tough-guy image is only a front for the loving caring sensitive person that is the real me. I am like everyone else, a human being with real feelings. And even if it is true, it hurts me deeply when someone calls what I write "knee jerk".

Wait! Maybe it was faldage who reacted Knee-jerk.

Naw, the last man who called faldage a "jerk" is wearing the impression of a camera on his forehead.

Oh well, I give up. Hey Magimaria! Which one of us had a knee-jerk reaction to PC ?



Posted By: wwh

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 06:19 PM

Hey Milum: Why didn't you ask where "knee jerk" came from. It is one of those stupid parts
of a physical exam that is ttraditional, but very unlikely to yield and useful information. It is
part of neurological exam, and involve tapping the tendon just below the kneecap, which is
supposed to elicit brief contraction of quadriceps (I think). Long ago late stages of syphilis
might disable it. I can't think of anything else of much interest about it. I used to give
examiners a bad time, because mine is not readily elicited. I assured you Treponema pallidum
has never been a pal of mine. Actually I guess the cute little corkscrews got a new name. I'll
have to go check on that. Reminds me of definiton of alimony - the f-ing you get for the
f-ing you got. The corkscrews you get.......

Posted By: magimaria

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 06:34 PM

Dear Imbiber (milum),

Well, all of us really. I didn't expect such a knee-jerk reaction to my impudent 'knee-jerk' comment. We just all seemed to be getting a bit overly involved in this one....And I can't remember which comments provoked that out of me (could it have be the revered 'wow'?) but I doubt it was you. And of course, I would not have been referring to 'FALDAGE, The Magnificent', who appears to be the great Wizard of Oz in here. I certainly would not want to incur his wrath (I'm not really worried here. He doesn't acknowledge me!)

So, don't get me in trouble. I think, in fact, it may have been Juan, who usually is a bit less prickly then in this particular thread.

But, dear friends, as I am no longer a stranger(!), please take no offense at the ramblings of a little 'newbie'

maria

ps I'm still waiting for your treatise on speleogenisis....perhaps in the new year?....

Posted By: modestgoddess

Re: overloading - 12/30/02 07:04 PM

Obviously the "n" word is offensive (think it was WO'N said this?)

but NOT "niggardly," tsuwm. One of my brothers used this word in a meeting and was blasted for being racist; but the word actually has no racist connotations.

niggard: n. & adj.
n. mean or stingy person
adj. archaic = NIGGARDLY [Middle English, alteration of earlier (obsolete) nigon, prob. of Scandinavian origin: compare NIGGLE]


niggardly: adj. & adv.
1. stingy, parsimonious
2. meagre, scanty
adv. in a stingy or meagre manner


niggle: v. & n.
v. 1. intr. be over-attentive to details. 2. intr. find fault in a petty way. 3. tr. informal irritate; nag pettily.
n. a trifling complaint or criticism; a worry or annoyance. [apparently of Scandinavian origin: compare Norwegian nigla]


niggling: adj.
1. troublesome or annoying in a petty way.
2. trifling or petty.


If only the thought police were merely niggling. Unfortunately, they have far too much power.

Posted By: wwh

Re: overloading - 12/30/02 07:45 PM

While the Perpetrators of Correctness are numberous and vociferous, they are not bright enough
or brave enough to withstand a generous dose of ridicule which we must supply.

Posted By: AnnaStrophic

Re: overloading - 12/30/02 07:49 PM

but NOT "niggardly," tsuwm.... the word actually has no racist connotations.

I believe tsuwm is well aware of this, honey, as I guess are most of his interlocutors.

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 08:34 PM

I think, in fact, it may have been Juan, who usually is a bit less prickly then in this particular thread.


Prickly?...hmmm...

Posted By: sjm

Re: Three Kings - 12/30/02 08:35 PM

Bemused by the dichotomy of this thread, I shall simply offer the Zildian version of the above-named Xmas classic:


We three kings of Orient are
One on a tractor, two in a car
One on a scooter
Tooting his hooter
Following yonder star
Oh, oh
Star of wonder
Star of light
Star of bewdy, she'll be right
Star of glory, that's the story
Following yonder star . .


Posted By: Buffalo Shrdlu

Re: Three Kings - 12/30/02 08:49 PM

alright, already!



Posted By: musick

Vicissitudes of Davids - 12/30/02 08:51 PM

"We just all seemed to be getting a bit overly involved in this one...."

Man, you ain't seen nothin', yet.

...oh, and yes, Juan comes from WO'n, but the real question is 'where does it go'.

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: Vicissitudes of Davids - 12/30/02 08:58 PM

...oh, and yes, Juan comes from WO'n, but the real question is 'where does it go'.

No...Juan came from musick, nick-namer extraodinaire! but, then, so did WO'N...BTW, should we bring up looser/loser for the new folks?...naaaa.



Posted By: Faldage

Re: Three Kings - 12/30/02 09:30 PM

alright, already!

Or, if you prefer, "All right, all ready!

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: Flash (sort of) - 12/30/02 09:59 PM

So I will continue to try to be thoughful, while not embracing the extremes of our wiccan sisters!

Ah, but, see, magimaria...there are also Wiccan brothers!

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: PC gone mad - 12/30/02 10:41 PM

Just thought I'd point to to recent similar threads to keep all the PC references together on this, and throw everything into the pot (as it were).

Here's one on the historical designations BC/AD ...and the new BCE:
The Language Mutates
http://wordsmith.org/board/showflat.pl?Cat=&Board=miscellany&Number=83689

The Founding Brothers
http://wordsmith.org/board/showflat.pl?Cat=&Board=miscellany&Number=89888

Niggardly/Offensive terms/PC another recent, extensive discussion from September, '02
http://wordsmith.org/board/showflat.pl?Cat=&Board=words&Number=80265

Political Correctness 6/12/02
http://wordsmith.org/board/showflat.pl?Cat=&Board=words&Number=72847

And the granddaddy (grandmommy, grandcodger? ) of all the PC threads, the original Political Correctness, from 7/20/2000, alphatized by the one and only tsuwm ...a lengthy and intriguing discussion:

http://wordsmith.org/board/showflat.pl?Cat=&Board=words&Number=2786



Posted By: tsuwm

Re: PC gone mad - 12/30/02 11:27 PM

>a lengthy and intriguing discussion..

not only, but also a good example of what happens (eventually) when you take a thread beyond 99 posts.

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: PC gone sane - 12/30/02 11:34 PM

[all kidding aside]

I think, ultimately, that the most appropriately PC historic event will be when the United States has its first Native American president.

Posted By: wofahulicodoc

Re: Three Kings - 12/31/02 12:20 AM

alright, already!

Or, if you prefer, "All right, all ready!

Or yet again, as they say in _my_stomping grounds, "Arright, arreddy!"

(East Bronx. Note the pronunciation blurring between "l" and "r".)

Posted By: Buffalo Shrdlu

Re: Three Kings - 12/31/02 12:34 AM

no, I think that's "awright"...



Posted By: Faldage

Re: Three Kings - 12/31/02 01:23 AM

I think that's "awright"

In many places, perhaps, but in the East Bronx, perhaps not.

Posted By: Buffalo Shrdlu

Re: Twee Kings - 12/31/02 01:27 AM

In many places, perhaps, but in the East Bronx, perhaps not.

twoo, sowwy.

Posted By: wwh

Re: three Aces - 12/31/02 01:29 AM

Indeed, let us get our "awrights" aright.

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: PC gone mad - 12/31/02 03:28 AM

Here's a PC post from an intriguing perspective I found in the original 2000 thread, from Brandon, a board contributor we haven't seen much of late:

>Of couse many other languages (eg Spanish, French) have many more male and females<

In my language of choice (American Sign Language), masculine and feminine pronouns and identifiers do not exist as they do in most spoken languages. People and objects are defined and introduced spatially, not "sexually." If it does contribute to a broader acceptance of men-and-women-on-equal-footing, that contribution may be negated by the fact that most description is visually-based and therefore readily malleable to personal bias.

It goes back to the covert issue; words are not necessary for ill will.






Posted By: modestgoddess

Re: overloading - 12/31/02 05:21 PM

I believe tsuwm is well aware of this, honey, as I guess are most of his interlocutors.

well, I wondered....! but wasn't entirely clear....Anyway, was glad for a chance to post something about "niggardly" (which is a great word!)....

sorry I misconstrued, tswum!

Posted By: sjm

Re: overloading - 12/31/02 08:34 PM

Just for future reference, MG, the chances of tsuwm not having a complete grasp on any word he uses are about the same as Bill Clinton's chances of becoming President of the US again. The real problem is that tsuwm has never been willing to abide by the international law which forbids USns to use irony. So, somoetimes, the rest of us may mistake his breach of this protocol for an actual misunderstanding. I know, 'cos it's happened to me.

Posted By: TheFallibleFiend

Re: overloading - 12/31/02 08:34 PM



I think to the extent that PC is what it claims to be - just an attempt to be polite - that it's fine. My problem is that it is - in reality - so much more than what it claims to be. It goes beyond, "I believe that my language causes harm and I will attempt to use other words in other ways," to "I think *YOUR* language causes harm and *YOU* should change it! Failure to do so marks you as homophobic or racist at worst and insensitive at best."

It seems clear to me that many who are anti-pc have misanalyzed the problem and have generically claimed that every idea with which they disagree is somehow pc. But this mistaken analysis doesn't mean that pc is non-existent or that it is entirely innocuous. And I have to say that it is very irritating to me that anti-PCers are always doing this precisely because it does detract from the real flaws (as I perceive them).

Method of PC:
PC as it is practiced is an attempt to associate people with beliefs they do not hold, ideas they have not expressed, and actions they have not performed. The crux is that ignorance is considered the ultimate evil in our society and naivete the ultimate display of mental and moral weakness. If I can show that you don't know some little bit of information, then you, of course, are not so well-informed and are therefore ignorant. What you say is therefore perpetuating ignorance. Since I know more than you (you are obviously ignorant), I am *right* and you are *WRONG* and everything you say can be safely ignored. If I am right (and just), then anything I say is justified and anything you say is not.

The irony of this situation is that PC is a left-wing embodiment of many qualities its adherents claim to despise on the right. (Yes, imo, the right has their own version of PC with all of the essential components.)

Aside:
True story. My wife always talks about "orinentals." "Orinental" this and "orinental" that. I would not presume to correct her on this point, but I did finally say to her, "Honey, I'm not being critical and I'm not asking you to change your speech, but did you know that many people say that applying the word 'oriental' to people is racist or at least insensitive." (A slight diversion to explain the meaning of those terms.) She immediately responds "Who say dat? Dat stupid!" In fact, I know many, many asians and they all but one use the term 'oriental' to describe people. The one fellow, however, who does not is rabidly opposed to this usage. Extremely vocal about it. (OTOH, I know another fellow is equally insistent that he be refered to as an oriental and nothing else. This game is called "Kobayashi Maru.") I think that in the main the guys who are offended by this are the ones who were told that they ought to be offended.

Similar kinda thing with the the terms "African American" vs "black." I know lots of blacks who refer to simply "blacks" or "black americans" or "black women" and then 10 minutes later will make a big show of refering to "African Americans" if it involves correcting the use by someone who is white. "Blacks" is a convenient shortening that blacks themselves use.

My least favorite of these shibboleths is "people of color" to refer to non-whites - as if white were not a color. This is an attempt to define a group of people without reference to the group to which they are defined. "See, we need to think of ourselves in our own right and not as how we are related to that 'other group'." This is an archetype of linguistic dishonestly.

My intent:
I guess my main purpose is the rehabilitation of honest ignorance, and the elimination of the pretense that one is 'merely being polite' or 'merely educating' by correcting the diction and grammar of other people (usually done in the most condescending and nasty way imaginable since it's not 'really' about 'educating' people as they call it, but about scoring points).

I suppose after all of this it is unnecessary for me to state my ignorant and insensitive opinion on the changing of works of art. I don't have a problem with an artist changing his own works for whatever reason she wants to do it. I do not think it is good or wise or even particularly 'sensitive' to go back and scrub the classics so they conform to modern sensibilities. Mark Twain is fine the way he is written. At the very least, those who recast his works should be honest enough to say that their own 'version' is a derivation of the original work. While they're at it, they need to go look up those paintings of little boys by Picasso in the National Gallery and paint some clothes on them. Pederastic bastard shouldn't have done that in the first place and we need to ensure an environment where "our" children feel safe, to boot.

k


Posted By: wwh

Re: overloading - 12/31/02 08:56 PM

There would be no need for Political Correctness if we all tried to be gentlemen, as defined
by Cardinal Newman long ago. The most important characteristic of a gentleman is that he
genuinely tries to avoid needlessly inflicting pain. Below is URL to the essay by Cardinal Newman:
http://65.107.211.206/vn/victor10.html

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: PC/Art overloading - 12/31/02 09:43 PM

intra-ethnic PC

Your pointing out the use of "oriental' within the Asian community, gleaned from first-hand experience, FF, is an interesting illustration that, in some ways, folks are applying the PC factor to certain situations or sayings because it is now "the thing to do." Take the recent flap over Antonio Banderas appearing as Pancho Villa in his new movie. Many Mexicans say they are outraged that a continental Spaniard was allowed to depict a Mexican historical figure on screen, that there are plenty of Mexican actors who could have done the part. But he's an actor, this is theatre...actors create an amalgam of characters of many backgrounds...this is their art. If appropriate ethnic casting is now supposed to be the rule, then Martin Sheen couldn't have done Robert E. Lee in Gettysburg, Sir Laurence Olivier couldn't have done many of his characters, including the Jewish Nazi-hunter in The Boys From Brazil. This is the kind of stuff that draws a cynical eye of ridicule to PC, and overshadows some of its initial and appropriate intentions, intentions now obscured in a rush to judge, a rush to point, a rush to complain, it now seems in many cases, just for the sake of complaining.

Posted By: TEd Remington

its first Native American president. - 12/31/02 10:31 PM

They ALL have been native Americans. It's even required in the Constitution.

The use of the term Native American to decribe those who are descended from root stocks that were indiginous to North and Central America prior to 1492 is, to me, anathema. There's not a damned thing wrong with calling those people Indians or Amerinds or aboriginal Americans, but reserving to them the phrase native American takes away MY birthright.

Along those lines, I learned years ago that calling an Amerind and apple is akin to use of the n-word. It refers pejoratively to an aboriginal American descendant who is considered by his or her relatives to be red on the outside but white on the inside.


Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: its first Native American president. - 12/31/02 11:01 PM

Native American

Yes, TEd, I too, am not completely comfortable with the term Native American, and, as you may have seen over my many postings on this board, I usually use Amerindian or Aboriginal American, because I think anyone who is born in the USA is a Native American. However, for the observation I made, I thought Native American was the best choice for clarity's sake on an international board. But the nomenclature wasn't the point of that particular post. I still think it will be poetic justice when we have our first descendent from the original inhabitants of these states as president (choose any descriptive you want).


Posted By: sjm

Re: its first Native American president. - 12/31/02 11:19 PM

>There's not a damned thing wrong with calling those people Indians

Actually there is - they're not. Last time I looked, India was a hell of a long way from The Americas, historic misappellations notwithstanding.

Posted By: Wordwind

Post deleted by Wordwind - 01/01/03 12:29 AM

Posted By: wwh

Re: its first Native American president. - 01/01/03 12:58 AM

>There's not a damned thing wrong with calling those people Indians<
Dear sjm: now that I think of it, I am a bit surprised that the colonists called the "red men"
Indians, since it had been known over a hundred years that the name was inappropriate.
I just checked Governor Bradford's Journal, and he called them "Indeans". But what
should he have called them? There were many tribes with different names, and they
probably used no collective term. They were "indigenes"
indigene
n.
5Fr indig\ne < L indigena < OL indu (L in), in + gignere, to be born: see GENUS6 a native or indigenous person, animal, or plant Also in4di[gen 73j!n8

Let's hear it for the Indigenes!

Posted By: TEd Remington

Re: Native American Pres./14 years resident - 01/01/03 01:31 AM

Wondering Wind:

Here's the clause:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

I have always assumed that it means the fourteen years immediately preceding the person's accession to the Presidency.

Residency is probably construed to mean having a place to call home. The last President who spent much time outside the country prior to being elected would have been Ike, who spent several years outside the US between 1942 and 1945, but I'm sure he maintained a residence and presumably voter registration during the period. He owned a big old farm outside Gettysburg, which I think he'd had for twenty or thirty years. I would find it very hard to believe that military service outside the US would constitute a break in the continuous 14-year period. If that were the case, a President could ruin the prospect of potential military rivals by shipping them off to Timbuktu.

Hoover spent quite a bit of time outside the US prior to his presidency, but I'd be willing to bet he maintained a residence. In his case, though, the absence from the country would have been on his own volition, so he would have come closer to having a problem than would have Eisenhower.

Curiously, had Clinton resided outside the US during the period prior to 1992, he might have come under some scrutiny with respect to this clause. So far as I know Bill and Hillary never owned a house until they bought Carpetbagger-on-Hudson shortly before the 2000 election so if he'd resided overseas there might have been a challenge.

Note also that Madeline Albright, while Secretary of State, was not technically close in line to the Presidency after the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate. Since she was not a natural-born citizen she was ineligible to succeed to the Presidency, so hmmm I guess the Secretary of the Treasury would have been third. The pecking order inside the Cabinet goes by the holder of the oldest Cabinet post, and SecState was the first one created by the Congress in 1789. Either Treasury or Justice would have been next, and without looking it up I'd guess Treasury.

TEd, who has spent a good deal of time wondering about and researching the Constitution

Posted By: maahey

Re: Sunlight on a broken column® - 01/01/03 02:50 AM

I arrived late on this thread and didn't post, since most of what I felt was being mirrored by many others. Two recent posts, make me want to add my two cents.
Dear wwh, Thanks very much for that Newman insight. Something that is worthy of a New Year resolution for me for sure!
As for the other, I think that in the main the guys who are offended by this are the ones who were told that they ought to be offended.
Dear FF, That seems like an imperialistic stance. Cant remember who quoted it before, but I think it was Jackie who wrote, 'history is usually recorded by the victors, not by the vanquished'. That statement is very telling. For every person, who feels offended by a particular expression, there is usually valid historical evidence of oppression and or discrimination, most of which is relatively recent and is thus not so easy to forget and move on from. History is not abstract and disembodied; it is made by and of people and so most times, there will also be some direct family record of some such event that serves to further entrench the feeling. Also, even if a lot of things have changed in the last fifty years of the past century, many of the 'reasons', why the problems started in the first place still exist. The mirror of our brave new world still faithfully reflects the colour of one's skin, and cannot change the culture of a people, cannot change the religious sects that one is born into. These very causal factors for much conflict, serve as living memories and insenstive linguistic usage, effortlessly flips open the Pandora. Many wounds relating to race and culture are still raw. In the time frame of history, most of the demands on PC consciousness, are with reference to relatively recent happenings. All it takes, is for us to live and let live, to let cultures and civilisations co-exist and to assimilate as much as we can and not be dismissive of the ones that we dont agree with. Having said that, there is certainly a strong and valid case to be made for the denouncement of eruptions of righteous indignation based on supposed and imagined insult.
Here's to a Great New Year then, and may more kindness, humanity and peace prevail.

Edit: Dear Mr. Eliot, please accept my apologies; returned in a rush to reassure, before I got any foot stamping disapproval for the title, that the only reason it isn't duly registered is because I still haven't figured out how to do the 'circley R' thing.

Posted By: Faldage

Re: Sunlight on a broken column - 01/01/03 12:20 PM

the 'circley R' thing.

Mac - OPTION-r

Win - ALT-0174

Note: The 0174 must be entered on the keypad on the right, not the top row numbers.

Posted By: milum

Re: Native American Pres./14 years resident - 01/01/03 03:49 PM

1074 0174R ®
®
Hey it works!

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, ®
at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;


Thomas Jefferson might well have left off the extra comma. But then some folks like me would read this as a separate condition, meaning that only citizens of the United States who were alive at the time of the Adoption of the Constitution would be eligible to become President.

You all think this sufficient justification to Null and Void the Clinton years?


Posted By: Alex Williams

Re: Native American Pres./14 years resident - 01/01/03 05:02 PM

In reply to:

PC as it is practiced is an attempt to associate people with beliefs they do not hold, ideas they have not expressed, and actions they have not performed.


I agree with FF here, and it is often done as a pretext for an attack in order to disguise it as a morally-justified retaliation.

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: Native American Pres./14 years resident - 01/01/03 05:12 PM

You all think this sufficient justification to Null and Void the Clinton years?

You mean Arkansans aren't part of the United States!? I always thought that was a Mississippi/Arkansas "thing" they had goin'...you mean Alabama is in on it, too!




Posted By: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Sunlight on a broken column - 01/02/03 12:19 PM



As for the other, I think that in the main the guys who are offended by this are the ones who were told that they ought to be offended.



Dear FF, That seems like an imperialistic stance



As I said previously, PC as it is practiced is an attempt to associate people with beliefs they do not hold, ideas they have not expressed, and actions they have not performed.



Also, even if a lot of things have changed in the last fifty years of the past century, many of the 'reasons', why the problems started in the first place still exist.


I don't understand why 'reasons' is quoted above. Entirely agreed. But - in the context of this discussion - this sounds a lot like the starting point of the implicit argument that is often made "People who agree with us are morally correct and those who disagree are morally incorrect and therefore whatever we say must be true and whatever demands we make are justified and correct."



All it takes, is for us to live and let live, to let cultures and civilisations co-exist and to assimilate as much as we can and not be dismissive of the ones that we dont agree with.


That's not really 'all' now is it? Not one thing in my OP was in conflict with this statement and so there must be something else that is a requirement, elsewise my statement would not have been associated with imperialism.


Happy New Year,
k


Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: art vs PC (Angel's Wings--1541) - 01/02/03 02:14 PM

Summoned before the Spanish Inquisition in 1541, the painter El Greco was interrogated not because of suspected heresy, witchcraft, or a lapse of faith. The Church officials were offended by the way he painted the wings of angels.

According to the inquisitors, El Greco's angels were in opposition to canon law and the Holy Scriptures: They weren't painted so that the wings represented real angel wings at all. However, unlike other victims of the Inquisition, El Greco was able to successfully defend his actions. He presented his theories of form, purity, and grace so convincingly that the judges acquitted him and set him free. Perhaps under their black cowls, the representatives of the Church harbored an appreciation of art--as long as it wasn't too openly paganistic.

--World of the Odd and Awesome, Charles Berlitz

Posted By: Wordwind

Post deleted by Wordwind - 01/02/03 04:06 PM

Posted By: maahey

Re: Sunlight on a broken column - 01/02/03 06:09 PM

Not one thing in my OP was in conflict with this statement and so there must be something else that is a requirement, elsewise my statement would not have been associated with imperialism.

Just a generic wish FF, (more like a wistful thought). I did not imply or intend to either, that you said anything to the contrary.

I don't understand why 'reasons' is quoted above.

That's just me trying to tell everyone who's reading, that I am stressing tonally, on the word reasons, that's all. I struggle with transliterating intonation

As for the allusion to imperialism, it seemed like a bit of a sweeping statement to make, the one about people being 'told' that they 'should' be offended and therefore they are. It is as far as I know, quite a difficult task to brainwash a mass of people to believe in something like that. Especially, in the current omnipotent culture of globalisation, wherein people despite different ethnic backgrounds want to blend imperceptibly, acutely aware, that it is in the blending, that belonging, imaginary or otherwise, can blossom. When such is the urge, it is extremely difficult to sustain a feeling of being offended, unless the stimulus is offensive in the first place.

Posted By: TEd Remington

what do 'real angel wings' look like? - 01/02/03 07:09 PM

For you and all the other teachers in the world:

Just look over your shoulder.

Posted By: maahey

Re: Sunlight on a broken column - 01/02/03 07:09 PM

Win - ALT-0174

A million thanks, kind Faldage! You have given me much relief! beatific

Here's to you then Mr.Eliot,
Sunlight on a broken column ALT-0174

Edit: What IS that!!?? What a terrible admission of Luddism! And just when, I was feeling light and cool! Shall try again
Posted By: tsuwm

Re: Sunlight on a broken column - 01/02/03 07:32 PM

maahey, hold down the Alt key whilst pressing the 0174 sequence, on your keypad (on the right); you should then see nothing until releasing Alt, when automagically the ® appears, et voilá.

Posted By: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Sunlight on a broken column - 01/02/03 07:46 PM



As for the allusion to imperialism, it seemed like a bit of a sweeping statement to make, the one about people being 'told' that they 'should' be offended and therefore they are. It is as far as I know, quite a difficult task to brainwash a mass of people to believe in something like that. Especially, in the current omnipotent culture of globalisation, wherein people despite different ethnic backgrounds want to blend imperceptibly, acutely aware, that it is in the blending, that belonging, imaginary or otherwise, can blossom. When such is the urge, it is extremely difficult to sustain a feeling of being offended, unless the stimulus is offensive in the first place.



I don't think it requires anything approaching brainwashing, per se. "Brainwashing" is a bit of a broad term, in any case, but the transference of opinions can happen by many means. However, close and continual contact over a long period of time can make silly ideas seem reasonable. Nor do I think that choosing to be offended is the only thing that happens. Rather, I think it is the case for a great many who have been schooled and coached in a particular way. For example, most of the asians I know majored in engineering and the hard sciences. None (of this number) has any problem with being refered to as an oriental. Not one. The only one I personally knew who *was* offended by it was a humanities major who had taken some kind of class at Berkeley wherein he learned the evilness of it all. The vast majority of the asians I know aren't even aware they're supposed to offended at it - and one of them is extremely pissed off that a other asians get to determine that he's an asian instead of an oriental. This brings up another point, as I mentioned previously, of some vocal minority getting to decide what everyone else gets called. It also brings up the point that innumerable times members of group X have to continually correct their usage of the term Y ..."Y, er, I mean Y-prime." It seems pretty clear that offense in these cases is contrived - when the offendee has to keep reminding himself that he's supposed to be offended.

And again there are the cases where the language is just plain stupid - as in "people of color." Others are allowed to use this term to their heart's content. (Some people actually *do* have the good manners not to go around correcting others.) That's not to say that I should be compelled to use a term which I myself find repugnant.

Surely, most people would agree that the infamous N-word is impolite at best, though I find the use of the "N-word" instead of just saying the word, while stupid, is just one of the cases where I'll accept the herd's view over good sense (Not everything's worth arguing about - with a proviso - those blacks who use it frequently in front of whites should not be surprised when those same whites use the term.) Same for words like Pickaninny, and many other racial epithets.

This view has nothing whatever to do with imperialism. And there is not just a single impulse to blend in. There are conflicting impulses to blend in AND ALSO to stand apart as an individual and as a member of a subgroup - particularly when one senses distinct advantage in that membership (moral superiority, etc).


k


Posted By: Jackie

Not entirely relevant, but... - 01/03/03 02:26 AM

I like the last 2 lines.
A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness:
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction--
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher--
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbands to flow confusedly--
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat--
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility--
Do more bewitch me than when art
Is too precise in every part.

Sweet Disorder by Robert Herrick (1591-1674)



Posted By: maahey

Re: Sunlight on a broken column - 01/03/03 04:45 AM

Faldage AND tsuwm!!! My year is starting off with a bang, for sure!! ® Ah ha! reinstated! I didnt have Num Lock on and thats why it wasnt working! Thank you all over again.



Posted By: maahey

Re: Not entirely relevant, but... - 01/03/03 12:48 PM

These lines instantly reminded me of a poem titled, Phenomenal Woman, by Maya Angelou. The unabridged version can be accessed at this site:

http://www.empirezine.com/spotlight/maya/maya-p1.htm


Enjoy!


Posted By: maahey

Re: Sunlight on a broken column - 01/03/03 02:17 PM

Dear FF, I dont believe that anyone is taking strictly divergent postions on this subject. It also is one of those topics that one could write reams and reams on, or talk for hours about. Very difficult to expound one's thoughts in a comprehensive fashion without hogging the thread and converting a simple post into an essay!
I believe there is agreement overall and have just one small comment to make, about the term 'Oriental'. There is a clear semantic difference between Oriental and Asian. If there are Asians that are not objecting to be called this, that's all right perhaps, as regards PC behavioural ethics, but that does not automatically make the usage right. Oriental does not apply to a race or an ethnic group. Edward Said, possibly explains it best when he says that it is essentially a term concocted by the British, to describe everything that was not Occidental. Asia is probably the most ethnically diverse land mass on earth and exquisite cultural and ethnic diversity exists in relatively small groupings of people within Asian nation states themselves. And so, whilst Asians such as Indians, Iranians or Kazakhs might not consider the term Oriental a slur of any sort, it is reasonable to expect that some annoyance will be generated by this generic clubbing of races and its use might even be misconstrued as a demonstration of disinterest in other cultures.
Thanks FF, for the interesting exchange of views.

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: Sunlight on a broken column - 01/03/03 03:56 PM

And so, whilst Asians such as Indians, Iranians or Kazakhs might not consider the term Oriental a slur of any sort, it is reasonable to expect that some annoyance will be generated by this generic clubbing of races and its use might even be misconstrued as a demonstration of disinterest in other cultures.

The same can be said for the term Hispanic. I feel it's, at least, improper, if not downright insulting to lump people as culturally diverse as Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, continental Spanish, Argentinians, Filipinos, etc., all under one term, and I try to avoid using it in favor of individual descriptives or "Latin." (i.e. "of Filipino descent", etc). Hispanic is like a generic hyphen without a hyphen. That's the problem with hyphenations, for instance, African-American...where does that leave the Egyptians, the South Africans, etc? Interestingly, we are good friends with a family from Nigeria, and they are very particular about stressing their Nigerian heritage and vehemently dislike and object to the term "African-American". The same with European-American...the Greeks, the Finnish, the Russians, the Portugese, the Swedes, the Irish, etc., are just too diverse to be generically indicated.




Posted By: Buffalo Shrdlu

Re: Sunlight on a broken column - 01/03/03 05:26 PM

don't forget "white".



Posted By: AnnaStrophic

Words, - 01/03/03 07:30 PM

anyone?

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill

Re: Sunlight on a broken column - 01/03/03 08:19 PM

Curiously enough, Italians aren't blanketed into the the term Hispanic, though Italian men are often referred to as Latin Lovers. And, actually, the Italians and ancient Romans are the only true Latins, so how did Latin come to mean Spanish culture? Perhaps because Spanish is more directly derived from Latin than any other language except for Italian?...Faldage? emanuela?

And what is the differenece between Latin and Latino in describing Spanish-speaking people and culture?

Words?

You mean there are no words on this thread? What have I been reading?

Posted By: Jackie

Re: Not entirely relevant, but... - 01/04/03 02:06 AM

Sliding even further off topic: I read Phenomenal Woman, but instead of enjoying it, I was very uncomfortable all the way through it. I can't imagine...my goodness, how could anybody go around bragging on themselves like that? The concept is utterly foreign to me. No, no, no. I could never...

Back to words [gasp of relief]--is "stomacher" a word from former days? I can't see myself going up to someone and saying, "My dear, what a lovely stomacher; wherever did you get it?"

Posted By: Wordwind

Post deleted by Wordwind - 01/04/03 02:28 AM

Posted By: sjm

Re: Sunlight on a broken column - 01/04/03 08:08 PM

>And so, whilst Asians such as Indians, Iranians or Kazakhs might not consider the term Oriental a slur of any sort, it is reasonable to expect that some annoyance will be generated by this generic clubbing of races and its use might even be misconstrued as a demonstration of disinterest in other cultures.


Surely the same could be said for "Asian" also. A person born and bred in Vladivostok is Asian, so is a Laotian, my Anglo-Indian father, and a sabra Israeli. In what way is "Asian" a less meaningless, potentially insulting "generic clubbing" than Oriental? I read somewhere that when Japan developed its concept of the "Great East Asian Co-operation Sphere", or whatever it called its 1930s imperial dream, it borrowed the word "Asian" from English, as the concept did not exist in Japanese.

Posted By: Jackie

Re: Not entirely relevant, but... - 01/04/03 09:41 PM

WW, the woman in the poem just walked around talking about how, er, phenomenal she is; naming off all the ways. Not for me! Eek. You can read it on the site, if you want.



Posted By: maahey

Re: Not entirely relevant, but... - 01/05/03 07:41 AM

I am sorry you didn't enjoy the poem, Jackie. To me, it reads as if the author starts out in a self consciously reassuring fashion and as the words roll on, the mood effortlessly segues into one that is confident and celebratory. In an environment that constantly floods us with utopian sterotypes of beauty and perfection and where eating disorders by association, are ever on the rise, this poem seems like a gentle yet firm reminder of all the glorious diversity of beauty in the form of creation. And thus echoed Herrick's words:
A sweet disorder......
....Do more bewitch me than when art
Is too precise in every part.

Thanks Jackie, for posting the poem; It was a pleasure to read.