Tag Archives: language

Lazy Sunday Round-up

I was totally stressed last week because my son was starting middle school and couldn’t even get it together enough to be lazy on Sunday! I’m back in the swing of things now, so here goes:

My friend Gary Murning wrote a very good post about the misuse of terror laws. This always strikes a chord with me, but for some reason, I have a really hard time writing about it myself. So I’m always excited to find other articles that reflect my views.

While we’re on the subject of abusing power, PZ Myers posted something yesterday about his state practicing anti-democratic, anti-liberty tyranny right now. Part of the article Professor Myers quotes says that teams of police in riot gear entered and searched the homes of people suspected of planning a protest of the Republican National Convention. And that’s the tame description! Go to Pharyngula to get more details, but prepare to be disgusted.

My darling husband, Mike, author of The Odd Blog, wrote a very good piece discussing Obama’s choice for a running mate. Be sure to check out the two drabbles he posted as well. My honey is multi-talented!

Truthwalker, a former Christian, wrote a few days ago about the benefits of not believing in (or trusting) a god in a disaster. Being a former Christian myself, his thoughts echo some of my own. He and his family also evacuated at 0600 this morning to avoid the wrath of hurricane Gustav; I’ll be on the lookout for their safe return!

Chris Petroni’s Allusions of Grandeur made me feel like a kid in a candy store this morning — so much yummy stuff to choose from, I can’t make up my mind. One post I found particularly interesting, though, is entitled, Why Japanese has so few swear words.

From a blog I only recently discovered and just can’t get enough of, please read this message from Gawd (aka God) to Ray Comfort who, by the way, is clearly bananas (that was just too damn easy). Please check out the many other postcards from God; He has quite a few words for the presumptuous mortals who keep disturbing His vacation. If you want to get on His good side, though, turn up with a nice bottle of Scotch. And thanks to the Postman who diligently delivers Gawd’s postcards so the rest of us can know what’s really on this deity’s mind. I just hope he (Postman) doesn’t start thinking I’m some kind of creepy stalker.

That’s all for today. I’m starving and have lots of crap to do.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Feminist Language

Feminists want to control your language; feminists want to tell you how to talk. – George Carlin

I used to proudly identify as a feminist. But that was back when I still believed that feminism was about women empowering themselves as a category of individuals, and women supporting women. In recent years, I have become somewhat disillusioned. In recent weeks, I’ve had my disillusionment validated in a variety of ways. The most recent, and perhaps final blow came when I read this post and subsequent comments at Feministe.

The discussion is about asking why victims of domestic violence stay – a question which many people seem to think of as victim-blaming/shaming. And to some people, intent, context and/or tone are completely irrelevant. If you say the words, you are blaming the victim and enabling abusers. End of story. Get your language right.

That’s not the worst of it: once you get the language wrong, there is no turning back. No explanation or apology is sufficient, and anyone who attempts to reach out to you in an attempt to create an atmosphere of safety and understanding is quickly bullied into silence with implicit threats of also being branded as an abuser-enabling victim-blamer. And who is willing to pay the eternal price for that?

Well, I guess I am. As a survivor of domestic violence myself, I’m here to say, without apology, that asking why victims of domestic violence stay is not an inherently harmful question. Context, tone and intent are completely relevant, and that doesn’t change just because feminists say so.

A few people have suggested rephrasing the question. I say let those people rephrase it. There’s nothing wrong with that, if it’s what they need to do for themselves. But if they can rephrase my question in a way that they find more appropriate or acceptable, without actually changing the question, then apparently they understood my intent to begin with.

So why all the semantics? As you probably guessed, I have a few thoughts on that as well.

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That’s Just Crazy!

In Fighting Ableist Language, Jill of Feministe makes the following statement:

I often use words like “crazy,” “insane,” and “nutbag” to describe people whose views I think I bizarre, illogical or bigoted. But as Tekanji points out, words mean things. And while words like “crazy” are pretty steeped in my vocabulary, it really isn’t all that hard to make an effort to purge them. Consider this Step 1.

Well, that’s just crazy! But I don’t mean Jill. I’m talking about the notion that we can’t say “crazy” anymore without offending someone we weren’t even talking about. It’s insane!

Look, I don’t usually set out to offend people, but my life does not revolve around avoiding it either. Sure, there are certain sensitive situations, “a time and a place”, etc. I care about other people’s feelings and take them into account whenever possible. But when I look at the Bush Administration, for instance, I think “crazy”, and that’s what I’m going to call it. When I heard McCain say that he would keep troops in Iraq for a hundred years, I thought “insane”. And it is. And that’s what I’m going to call it.

In response to someone who suggested that not being offended by the use of these words is possibly a result of privilege (i.e. never having been affected by mental illness) I posted the following comment on Feministe. It sums up my thoughts on the subject quite nicely.

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