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RE: Banned Books Week: September 24-30, 2017   You are logged in as Guest
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timoteo

 

Posts: 216
Joined: Jun. 22 2012
From: Seattle, USA

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to timoteo

Wow, there are so many good synonyms for "niggard" that it's hardly worth fighting for that word. Try some of the following instead; not only will you impress your friends, but also you won't be mistaken for a racist!

nithing
chincherd
hayne
nipfarthing
pinchfart
clunchfist
frummer
nipcheese
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 1:34:24
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to timoteo

I don't think a person's position on a racism scale is too much predicated on the intelligence of how to word swap to use euphemisms or alternate words for words fully associated with racism. It's more about a person's understanding of how the words or word make the person or group feel that the word puts down, or denigrates.

If you understand with both intelligence from emotions and rational how another will feel when a word is used towards them, them finding a substitute word becomes a low priority and restating the concept in a way that conveys meaning becomes more important. And more challenging.

Substitute words are often games, Ricardo points this outv it an example. To texts don't have to be changed, but challenges to the authors intent and it's context both to then and now are fair game. Hindsight is 2020, and revisionist thinking should bear that in mind, but not everyone is on the same page in how much they know about original audience and intent.

There's really no hard fast rule on whether or not a term should be used, but a good guide is to think if it denegrates others and reinforces their oppression. Or gives permission to perpetuate the oppression. Breaking that down is not a revision, but a reasoning through context. I mean sometimes a person will insist on a revision, but rehashing original context is just regular history processing.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 3:34:23
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2766
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to kitarist

quote:

What is there to misunderstand, though - it is an HOMONYM for "nigger" (a fact independent of interpretation or politics) - that's why it is easily interpreted(*) as an intended slur when suddenly starting to use that instead of a myriad of other adjectives when referring to a black person.


That the term "niggardly" is a homonym for "nigger" has nothing to do with its meaning. The meaning of a word has nothing to do with the fact that it may sound like another word. One of the problems we face today is the lack of precision in the use and understanding of language. In this case, the lack of precision is not in the use of "niggardly," it is in the lack of understanding of its meaning by those who take offense at it. Moreover, I have seen no evidence to support the statement above that "niggardly" has been used as an adjective "when referring to a black person." Please cite an instance as evidence that it has been used as a "slur" when referring to a black person (as opposed to Blacks who completely misinterpret it as a slur). The term has a precise meaning having nothing to do with racist language that apparently is ignored, even by those to whom it has been explained.

This reminds me of Lewis Carrol's "Through the Looking Glass."

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Are we to be at the mercy of anyone who wishes to attach a meaning to a word as he chooses, regardless of whether or not it is valid? Does Humpty Dumpty's linguistic anarchy reign supreme, where any word can mean anything anyone wants it to mean? Not if one cares for precision in the use and understanding of language. We should not be subject to the lowest common linguistic denominator. Standards still count, in language as in other aspects of life.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 3:37:05
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to timoteo

Yeah I agree people need whip out the dictionary more often. But some words are going to be 'loaded' in some cultures and contexts regardless of Webster's will.

This word is a rarity in how much it is burdened by complexity. I can be used straight ahead to mean someone or thing that is parsimonious in granting something full value or someone or something that is not up to full value, etc.

But there are people who are smart enough to say niggardly as a euphemism for the vulgar slur 'n' word, which is derived from another linguistic source. To tell the truth I'm a little careful about saying for example "this guitar is a 'negra' " outside Spanish guitar circles. And I don't feel self censorship, or that I'm impinging upon my own free use of vocabulary. I'm fitting an argot, or idiomatic type of speech to a culture that understands different values. I'm switching codes. Now some people can switch codes and use niggardly as a slur in their hearts, even though on the surface the word may be dictionary defended. Another word that can be code switched is 'sniggering'-

We never have as humans lived in times where language does not have opaque and serpentine windings through men's and women's hearts. The dictionary will give an accurate meaning for a word, but it can't prevent the meaning to be misused or turned inside out. And I'm not saying that means the word should be expunged from the language, it just means some words are through intent, burdened with usage not ascribed to them in the holy Oxford English book.

I was drawing an analogy with Duterte allowing extra-judicial killings. Some people perpetrate extra-dictionarial killings of words. Death squads stalking language. So there are those who may be afraid of language slaughters and hurt by them, and there may also be people who simply don't know the meaning of a word, and it looks like a rifle pointed at them.

If words are as powerful as bullets we might want to think about which caliber we load into our pens.

I really love how full of BS I am. I really am afraid I might injure myself gravely with a verb someday, or trip and break a leg over a slippery noun.


-

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 5:47:49
 
kitarist

Posts: 390
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

quote:

What is there to misunderstand, though - it is an HOMONYM for "nigger" (a fact independent of interpretation or politics) - that's why it is easily interpreted(*) as an intended slur when suddenly starting to use that instead of a myriad of other adjectives when referring to a black person.


That the term "niggardly" is a homonym for "nigger" has nothing to do with its meaning.


It's like you skipped over the main point of my original reply - if you can't acknowledge that people use words in different contexts and sometimes create new meanings (which, if they become popular enough, eventually make it into dictionaries which describe use, not prescribe it), then I have nothing more to add. You can google the incidences of recent use in the context of black people yourself - start with the 2010 billboard saying "Obama = NIGGARDLY toward small business" where "niggardly" is so giant it takes up half the billboard.

But if people insist on being raycysts(*) and want to use it in that context on purpose, hey, free country (I think.. still?)

(*) raycyst - comes from "Ray" and "cyst" (as in a boil or a nasty flesh thing filled with puss) - coined in 1767 after Montgomery Ray who was a giant pain in the ass and all-around smug prig toward his mates, so they returned the favour by creating a word after him. (It has nothing to do with being racist or racism).

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 5:56:09
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to timoteo

Wrong!

A 'Raycyst' is clearly a nacreous carbunckle on the back skin of a Giant Manta Ray.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 6:05:15
 
kitarist

Posts: 390
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

Wrong!

A 'Raycyst' is clearly a nacreous carbunckle on the back skin of a Giant Manta Ray.


That's the second meaning, acquired a bit later - in the 1790s when the giant manta ray was discovered.

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 6:09:23
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to kitarist

quote:

You can google the incidences of recent use in the context of black people yourself - start with the 2010 billboard saying "Obama = NIGGARDLY toward small business" where "niggardly" is so giant it takes up half the billboard.



I always advise giving 'trigger warnings' to birthers who may be lurking. Offending white ultra right wing conspiracy nutjobs is really mean. At least warn them before you burst their world view.
I'm not talking about Bill, although at this point he may be getting bored.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 6:11:51
 
kitarist

Posts: 390
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

quote:

You can google the incidences of recent use in the context of black people yourself - start with the 2010 billboard saying "Obama = NIGGARDLY toward small business" where "niggardly" is so giant it takes up half the billboard.



I always advise giving 'trigger warnings' to birthers who may be lurking.


I am of two minds about it - a trigger warning is deemed very "politically correct" and thus posting it for that purpose would be perhaps a greater insult.

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 6:17:22
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2502
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

One tiptoes through a linguistic minefield these days.

In my youth non-racist white people in Texas (there were some in my immediate family) used the "n-word" freely. They didn't know how offensive it was to black people. They had no black friends, as this was a near-impossibility in the South, and only a very brave or a very foolish black person would have brought it up to a white person. It could quite possibly have been physically dangerous.

Once I learned of the weight of the word among black people, I avoided it scrupulously, and given the fraught state of relations between the races, I would have automatically substituted a synonym for any word that could have been misconstrued, such as "niggardly."

But I still put my foot wrong from time to time these days, since sensitivities not only change, they seem to multiply.

During the past year I told of my Japanese girl friend suggesting in the 1980s that I should buy my clothes at a very expensive store and drive a Mercedes. I explained to my girlfriend that in my capacity as consultant to aerospace engineers, it would have been offensive to flout my income.

A young white woman asked, in a challenging tone, "Why is it important to mention the race of your girlfriend?"

I explained that there was a bit of background. My girlfriend and I had discussed the Asian concept of "face." I learned that there was more to it than just an outward show of status, and sensitivity to being slighted. It also included assuming the responsibilities attendant to one's social status, as shown by status symbols like clothes and cars. I further explained that my situation differed from that of most Japanese men with a comfortable income. I did not have a set of younger men dependent upon me for guidance and powerful backing.

The young white woman nodded, but still seemed to feel that she needed to take offense on behalf of Japanese women.

In another incident I had made the casual acquaintance of young couple. He is an assistant professor, but is better known for other intellectual accomplishments. His wife is a strikingly beautiful young woman, who works for a tech start-up. During the past year, amid a company of a half dozen or so, the topic of Halloween costumes came up.

I told of being at Norton Air Force base in California during the 1990s. People in California often wear fairly elaborate Halloween costumes to work. At Norton I was in line to be photographed for the badge that let me into secure areas. I noticed that almost all the civilians in the office were in costume, some pretty elaborate, but the service members were in their Air Force "Class A" blues.

The young airman who took care of me was a handsome African American. He typed up the form with his back pretty much turned to me, then swiveled around in his chair, and smiled broadly, exposing a flashy set of fake Dracula teeth. As I cracked up, he snapped my badge photo. I wore that goofy looking badge around Norton AFB for a year.

As I said, "African American" I noticed a look flash very briefly across the face of the young wife. She is fair skinned and wears her very curly dark hair tightly cropped. I met her a few times before it occurred to me that the strikingly beautiful cast of her delicate facial features might be seen to have a very slight African tinge. She speaks without any discernible accent, and is clearly very well educated and socially adept.

With a sinking feeling, I realized I had put my foot in it. As a southerner I was accustomed to the subtle, humorously accomplished and unanswerable one-up stroke of an African American toward a white person. In telling I made it clear I thought the airman's stunt was virtuosic, inoffensive and funny.

I had told the story to my African American boss at Kwajalein. He's a few years older than I am, from a small town in northern Alabama. He found it hilarious. Some of the older people in the group last year laughed at the story. They didn't notice the fleeting look it got from the young woman. She was decidedly cool toward me the next few times we met.

Of course it was impossible for me to refer to the story without almost certainly making matters worse.

Thinking it over I speculated that she might not even have been aware of the social context of the airman's subtle one-upmanship. I had admiringly recounted it. Maybe she simply took offense at what she saw as an un-called for mention of race.

A couple of months ago in San Francisco I was with a group of younger people. Most of them worked at tech start-ups in the city. They were talking about a trip to Seattle, where the engineers they worked with were all dressed as lumberjacks. Three or four of the Californians were dressed as Steve Jobs.

I said that when I lived in Palo Alto in the 1980s the standard fashion insult in the City was, "He looks like he orders his clothes from the L.L. Bean catalog." From their expressions, I wondered whether any of them knew what the L.L. Bean catalog was. (https://www.llbean.com) I went on to say that in the 1960s and early 1970s the standard men's fashion in Berkeley was boots, bell bottom Levis and embroidered Mexican shirts.

One of the young men said, "Do you mean Cuban shirts?" I paused, and probably looked puzzled. He continued, "Maybe you should just say 'Latin American shirts.' Covers a broader area, more likely to hit the target."

I had the presence of mind to pull out my iPhone and Google an image like this:



The young man said, "I'm Mexican, but I never saw anything like that."

I think he meant Mexican American, but I didn't say so. I answered, "I bought all of mine in the public market in Merida, Yucatan or in Oaxaca."

RNJ

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 6:20:52
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to kitarist

quote:

I am of two minds about it - a trigger warning is deemed very "politically correct" and thus posting it for that purpose would be perhaps a greater insult.


In the case of Obama 'birthers' I was using it with extreme sarcasm. I could care less if they are offended

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 6:44:00
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to timoteo

Engineers who dress like lumberjacks should still be teased, IMO. They would look better in embroidered Mexican shirts.

When was in Jr. High I made a dashiki in Home Economics class, I wore it to school. The guy who lived next door to me was a film producer who was pretty high up at Norton AFB Audio Visual Studios. It was the 1970's, lot's of guys wore dashiki, Mr. Vaughan often answered the door wearing his after work when he was relaxing listening to Beethoven, loudly, while drinking martinis. He was a Black guy. He was pretty cool with being known as a Black guy, but on the street we called Giant Guy, because he was mostly just tall.

I have no idea what his position on Dracula teeth would have been, although I suspect he would have been in on the joke. Maybe he even gave Dracula teeth to all his staff as Halloween presents.

All I remember is one day my mom had to go to the hospital and Giant Guy had to pick me up from baseball practice in his 240 Z sports car- and it was the most normal thing that ever happened to me, except I was very impressed by the Z.

I doubt I could wear a dashiki now without getting a whole lot of grief from just about everyone, except 80 year old guys who used to own and drive 240 Z's while wearing embroidered Mexican shirts.


True Story.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 7:05:59
 
kitarist

Posts: 390
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

quote:

I am of two minds about it - a trigger warning is deemed very "politically correct" and thus posting it for that purpose would be perhaps a greater insult.


In the case of Obama 'birthers' I was using it with extreme sarcasm. I could care less if they are offended


Well I was playing along, writing tongue in cheek - I guess the humour got too dry? :-)

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 7:24:58
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to timoteo

Yes, I need a drink. Parched.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 7:30:12
 
Piwin

Posts: 2087
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

Well, when everything is said and done I suppose the loons are running the asylum. "Niggardly" is probably on its way out and some day "literally" will mean "figuratively" and people will wonder how it ever meant anything different. That being said, "niggardly" is a perfectly good word and I find it unfair to sum up someone's attachment to words as only pedantry. After the DC incident, the head of the NAACP at the time, Julian Bond said that it was a shame to have to censor yourself to meet the lack of understanding of others. He said that the mayor should bring the employee who used "niggardly" back and order dictionnaries for all staff that need them. Interestly, those in this thread who are up in arms about the word "niggardly" didn't react at all to estebanana using the word "denigrate", which actually does have an etymological relationship with the word "nigger".

Perhaps Ricardo's observation that there's a time and place for everything is what it comes down to. This makes it difficult to talk about TV shows or any kind of broadcast or written work that is open to any audience, especially in a country where many people are just waiting for any opportunity to pounce and yell "racist". Richard's example about talking about his "Japanese girlfriend" is interesting to me. I would have never assumed the word "Japanese" referred to race. I understood it as a nationality, or at the very most as ethnicity, which has no real implication on the color a person happens to have. In fact, had he left out the word "Japanese", the story would have made no sense. I would have been left wondering, but where his girlfriend coming from when she said that? what was her reasoning behind that? And these same people who pounce at every opportunity to yell "racist" are the same that go around having DNA tests and telling everyone that they're 40% this or that, which strikes me as profoundly racist as it implies that somewhere down the line there was such a thing as a 100% this or that. The same who yell "racist" when a white European expat in Africa hires a black maid or gardner, without realizing that those who don't hire them are utterly despised by the locals for depriving them of perfectly good jobs (and they reveal on that occasion the real problem, that they think they're too good for these jobs, which makes you wonder how much condescension they secretly harbor towards those of us who do all sorts of menial jobs)

When Pierre Desproges had to deliver his weekly rant on radio and his guest happened to be Jean-Marie Le Pen, he dealt with it by ranting about the nature of humor and whether you could laugh about anything. He concluded that we could, should and must laugh about everything, but we shouldn't laugh with everybody. As he put it, it's hard to giggle when a practicing Stalinist is around. The same could probably be said about offensive language. There's nothing inherently offensive about any word but we should be aware of who our interlocutors are.

But words in themselves are not offensive in any true sense. Bad words serve a social purpose, a much needed one, but their actual meaning varies according to intent. The only thing truly offensive is what a speaker intends. And this is why these reactions of outrage to words, and not to intent, are doomed to fail. If someone saw the word "niggardly" used with a clear intent to create a racist slur, then they are of course quite right to denounce that intent. They'd be wrong to think it has anything to do with the word though. And when people fail to focus on intent and take the easy road towards prohibiting certain words that they deem offensive, then we jump on the treadmill. If the intent doesn't change, if black people are still looked down upon and if they feel looked down upon, then whatever word you use will become tainted with the same pejorative meaning and we'll just keep on moving from one word to another ad vitam aeternam. Which leads you to the situation where some people are just tired because they don't know how to keep up with the ever-rapidly changing vocabulary surrounding race. The title "NAACP" is fine, but apparently saying "colored people" is not. How does that work exactly?

The crux of it for me was summed up by an old-friend of mine, who happens to be black, african-american or whatever the hell you want to call him. He's well above any of those qualifiers. We were discussing race in America and at some point he told me that the demonym "American" didn't refer to him. He said: "That word means white people". Well there's the problem, I thought. If you have in your country people who can't even associate with the very word that is used to describe the inhabitants of that country, then that's what you should be dealing with. You all seem American to the rest of the world, no matter what your color, but for certain reasons, many in the US don't seem to feel that way. And it's going to take a whole lot more than words to make them feel like Americans and create an environment where identity can be constructed without necessarily having to be in opposition to something else.

On a somewhat similar topic, I've read that in preparation for the upcoming Olympics, Japan was planning to remove signs with swastikas and replace them with something that would be less of a shock for Western visitors. "Eastern" swastikas were not intended to offend anymore than the word "niggardly" was. It makes you wonder where the borders of sensitivity and (self-)censorship should be.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 10:19:46
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

On a somewhat similar topic, I've read that in preparation for the upcoming Olympics, Japan was planning to remove signs with swastikas and replace them with something that would be less of a shock for Western visitors. "Eastern" swastikas were not intended to offend anymore than the word "niggardly" was. It makes you wonder where the borders of sensitivity and (self-)censorship should be.


On Japanese maps for tourists in 2020 they are re-symboling them in several ways, one is to change the swastika. Richards use of 'Japanese was meant to denote culture. Japan is nationality, and Japanese is a culture. And a culture that is highly self referential, but itself based a lot on sensitivity to others. One one here seems to be getting steamed up over the Tokyo maps, and if you need swastikas on your map, you can still get them in Kyoto.

My old Chinese karate teacher in San Francisco is 70 now and he's an 8th dan - he's the third highest ranking Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan sensei in the US. I used to live in his downstairs apt. He's a plumber, remodeled the bathroom and when he put in the shower tiles he made a swastika pattern in the shower. He's a buddhist.

Anyway, denigrate, yes that begs another kind of conversation- that is the value of light vs. dark in word meanings. Denigrate is from the latin and is rooted in the same word 'niger' nee'zair - the root the 'n' word slur comes from, but along the development of denigrate was the concept of light and dark in terms of obscured by back of light, the turn of the earth occludes light from revealing objects, or metaphorically ideas or truths. That is a separate conversation of origins from from a word meant to racially slur. For that matter niggardly comes from the root and the same intent as denigrate, to describe that which is obscured in true meaning.


In literature there's a classic metaphor of light vs. dark- Joseph Conrad wrote about "the dark continent" Africa. He did it and it has multiple meanings, but there it is deal with it. Other light vs. dark scenarios are about the idea of light revealing and dark obscuring. Later the racial connotations were attached to the obscuring of light, but that did not completely ever change meaning or 'own' the meaning of light vs. dark as a racial construction. It has multivalent meaning, depending on the intent of the author.

Here's the deal if you want to teach Twain to say 6th or 7th graders you're going to have to have a conversation about light vs. dark and all its implication in literature in order to clarify what Twain meant. And to protect anyone, by giving them that light vs. dark knowledge, from others who would see Twains usage as a permission to take the word out of context an code switch it in a negative way. Authorship and Authority are related words and powerfully so. There is a kind of authority grated the printed word and we have to be able to mitigate and understand the boundaries of what that power means. And how authorship grants authority and the possibility the mower could be misused. Kids would need that extra time to digest the term niggardly formally and colloquially, not only in context of looking back at Twain' day, but in how that word operates now.

I've read the same word in writings by Carl Jung and others, and I would even say there is a subtle distinction in the authority and tension that word carries in European writing vs, American writing. And then there is the whole other connotations of Neil de Grasse Tyson getting into talking about the difference between light vs. dark when addressing 'dark matter' in outer space. He's gotten int the subject.

You find it in lot's of 19th century writing, and the words denigrate come from light vs. dark in the same way that a kind of literary chiaroscuro is used in a novel like 'The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket' wherein the light vs. dark is quite literally the difference between being under a ships deck stowing away in a dark hold, and being up in deck in full tropical brightness. But it's not even that simple, because it makes an oblique reference to the clotted air of the under decks of misery in slave ships, Jonah in the dark belly of the whale etc. - And these books are nt being revised, there's no politically correct war to change Poe. There are some skirmishes over loaded words, and a concerted effort from the far right to propagandize that Western culture is under attack. It's not, the real attack is the far right not supporting literature. music and the arts. They starve the very thing they cling to as cultural collateral to prove a twisted point. The amplification of the skirmishes over small word disagreements if a tactic. Western culture is robust and mighty, the weak mindedness is from the far Christian right.

I have to edit out the mistakes later, but I hope the meaning is there- I now have hot glue and braces that need attention

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 13:55:54
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2766
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

I doubt I could wear a dashiki now without getting a whole lot of grief from just about everyone, except 80 year old guys who used to own and drive 240 Z's while wearing embroidered Mexican shirts.


You would certainly get a lot of grief from certain elements on many university campuses today.

When I was in the U.S. Foreign Service, I always wore a suit and tie when working in the American Embassy and when attending official events sponsored by the host government or other nations' embassies. Nevertheless, I and other Embassy officers very often traded in our diplomatic gear for the more sartorially interesting local color provided by the Barong Tagolog shirt in the Philippines, the Guayabera (the Latin American shirt referred to in posts above) in Honduras, and beautiful batik shirts in Malaysia and Indonesia. We often wore them when attending informal parties and dinners, both among ourselves and with our host country friends and colleagues.

The little snowflakes on many university campuses today, with their "identity politics" and self-assured sense of moral superiority, would charge both of us with (drum roll....) "Cultural Appropriation!" were we to wear such gear today. I am beyond caring about such nonsense ("Dare I eat a taco in public?"), but there are those who would be intimidated by the thuggish behavior of the morally superior "Culture Police," and that is a shame.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 15:37:29
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1503
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

In my youth non-racist white people in Texas (there were some in my immediate family) used the "n-word" freely. They didn't know how offensive it was to black people.


It wasn’t considered offensive in Britain until well into the 1960s, probably because there was no black population to speak of, and thus little (manifest) racial prejudice*. For example, you can find it used quite casually in one of Leslie Charteris’s Saint books from 1932; and Charteris was certainly no racist, being half Chinese himself.

And there was also a standard colour for clothes called nigger brown. It showed up a couple of months ago in somebody’s catalogue, and the roof fell on their heads — the story was all over the BBC.

I felt sorry for them: they probably hadn't given their colour-list a thought in a century.

*But there were some ugly incidents during WWII when Southern American servicemen stationed in Britain went nuts at seeing black soldiers dance with English girls. These incidents were swept under the carpet at the time in the interests of Anglo-American relations.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 17:39:12
 
kitarist

Posts: 390
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

ORIGINAL: Richard Jernigan

One tiptoes through a linguistic minefield these days.



Yes, it is such an anfractuosity.

BTW, I hope you are writing down your stories in a book. You are such a good story-teller, it will be a shame not to get a wider audience. I always enjoy reading your little story posts here.

_____________________________

Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 18:18:30
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2766
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

Once I learned of the weight of the word among black people, I avoided it scrupulously, and given the fraught state of relations between the races, I would have automatically substituted a synonym for any word that could have been misconstrued, such as "niggardly."


Knowing the term "niggardly" is misconstrued and misunderstood by certain Blacks, I would not use it gratuitously just to point out their ignorance of its meaning. Nevertheless, I would not hesitate to use it when it is perfectly proper to do so, and especially if the context calls for it. My example above of the Black student taking umbrage at the professor using "niggardly" while teaching a class on Chaucer at the University of Wisconsin, Madison is a case in point. Chaucer wrote "The Canterbury Tales" in Middle English in the fourteenth century, the very tongue and time period that "nyggard," the Middle English antecedent to "niggardly" was being used to describe a miserly or stingy person. I remember studying "The Canterbury Tales" in high school English, and while I don't remember if "nyggard" was used in the text, I would not be surprised it it appeared in one of Chaucer's "Tales."

The Black student who complained about the professor's use of the term "niggardly" continued her tirade even after its meaning was explained to her. I'm sure she would have been just as obstinate in her inability to open her mind to "Huckleberry Finn" as well. If she, and others like her, cannot accept that the study of literature (and other fields as well, such as history) can make one uncomfortable if one does not understand both the terms used and the background they describe, she does not belong in a university environment. University study is supposed to open minds, not lead to their closure like overly sensitive mimosas.

As Piwin pointed out, in the case of the Washington, DC city employee who used the term "niggardly" that resulted in a Black colleague lodging a complaint, there were Blacks who defended the employee's use of the term and suggested that dictionaries be given out. And several objected to the transfer of the White employee, rather than the Black who complained (and in doing so revealed his lack of understanding, even after the term's definition was pointed out to him.). While I agree that there is a linguistic minefield out there these days, I would be cautious about allowing it to determine one's use of language when one is confident of correct usage. As I mentioned, I would never gratuitously use a term that is misconstrued by some within certain ethnic or racial groups just to point out their error, and certainly not if the term really does carry a racist meaning, but it would be folly to allow mob rule, especially when the mob is clearly wrong, to supplant the proper use of language.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 19:11:07
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2502
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to kitarist

quote:

ORIGINAL: kitarist
BTW, I hope you are writing down your stories in a book. You are such a good story-teller, it will be a shame not to get a wider audience. I always enjoy reading your little story posts here.


My next project is to publish an article on micro-aggressions against old people. We seem to be one of the last American groups who are not yet officially authorized to take offense.

Once our rights are established we can then recruit younger people for our cause. Alert and eager, they will be perpetually prepared to pounce upon put-downs.

RNJ

...note that I am not in any way opposed to people pointing it out when they are subjected to genuine offenses such as racial prejudice.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 22:27:48
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2766
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

My next project is to publish an article on micro-aggressions against old people. We seem to be one of the last American groups who are not yet officially authorized to take offense.


Once you have established the right of old (elderly?) people to take offense at micro-aggressions directed against them, assisted living facilities must ensure that trigger-warnings are in place and safe spaces provided for those who fall victim to such micro-aggressions, both real and perceived. When this has been accomplished, will there be any groups left in the United States who have failed to achieve "victim" status?

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2017 23:11:59
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1503
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

will there be any groups left in the United States who have failed to achieve "victim" status?


Blondes. Apparently they’re considered fair game.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 30 2017 5:12:22
 
Ricardo

Posts: 10857
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

Trigger warning you niggardly snowflake cracker naggers: strong but relevant language below









_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 30 2017 8:35:50
 
Brendan

Posts: 157
Joined: Oct. 30 2010
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to timoteo

I'm keeping 'nipfarthing'. But I couldn't use 'frummer' in this sense without causing confusion and possibly offence.

_____________________________

https://sites.google.com/site/obscureflamencology/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 30 2017 9:15:37
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to timoteo

I'll just say up front I've never been in bigger group of fartparsons.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 30 2017 10:35:09
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to timoteo

Ricardo Marlow Sighted at Hillary Clinton book signing.

On most nights he is a flamenco guitar player of extraordinary talent and knowledge, but a few nights a week he is a political operative.

File under stickers and orange megaphones.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 30 2017 14:04:20

Morante

 

Posts: 1409
Joined: Nov. 21 2010
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

And what has happened to the word "gay"???. An evocative word, gay and debonair, or dancing gaily around the maypole etc.

Now it has been taken over by the homosexual community and can no longer be used in its original sense
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 30 2017 16:16:35
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3689
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to timoteo

At NY, Columbia University we foreigners were given this book as a guide.



To me worldly reality and pragmatism make a guide line.
Whether the term discussed may stem from times when a vast majority of black just could not be generous with money and possession, or whether the linguistic root be positioned somewhere completely else, and be unrelated to what the word sounds like:

For the fact that black people´s majority is not being stingy, either it should not be used to omit misunderstanding or alternatively a language campaign initiated which explains the term.

A different case from the word "türken" in German language. Which is a verb driven from "Turkish", meaning "to deceive". In view of worldly conditions in Middle East, it can´t be claimed that this synonym was historically chosen arbitrarily, which again makes its use legit. And the media campaign in Turkey in early Erdokan times, when the boulevard there was complaining about use of this verb in German language countries, to my understanding only demonstrated stubbornness and the refusal to undergo a philosophical development towards integrity, in the ways it occurred elsewhere.

Generally, however I am not fond of most language policing in past decades, other than extreme examples like the light-hearted use of Nazi related terminology (most prominently used in the US. To my understanding any inflationary application of it has to be avoided) much of late attempts to restrict are simply silly before the actual misery in the world.

You know like when apparent politically correct fractions think it due to add female completion to terms that are originally and generally male. (Like if you completed the term "craftsmen" by saying "craftsmen and -women" to stress that you are not skipping female workers, even though this being long since understood in modern time anyway.)

Other than with terms that discriminate morphology, or with frivolity which may inflationary use terminology that concerns extreme of evil, a hair splitting over language is only anachronistic as long as on the other hand there is substantial misery around.

As long as there still vandalizes appropriation of labor value; as long as there die billions from poverty while some thousands reserve vast of the globe to either stash or squander; while there is extinction going of earth´s creature, and deserting ...

Finesse regarding secondary terms of priority, or even randomness like gender grammar, makes for a kind of inherent sarcasm and a cocooning before the concrete world. It is as if there was no more relevant issue left to be solved first.

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