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Skinner -- I won't be offended if you delete this thread.

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Goldmund Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:18 PM
Original message
Skinner -- I won't be offended if you delete this thread.
...but I just spent some time writing a post in the other thread and it was locked while I was writing. I really don't intend to continue the flamefest, and I'll do my part by promising to not reply to any posts in this thread. Still, I thought there were some valuable points that were never addressed in the other threads, and that I feel should be said. Again, I don't mean any disruption -- if you feel this thread should be deleted, I totally understand.


-- and that is, that humans are not robots, and language is not binary instruction code, and words are not programming language calls. They are simply empty shells that, to different degrees of ambiguity, are there to carry the expressive intent of their originator.

I think that we all, by the virtue of being members of DU, agree that this is a liberal board -- not necessarily in the current political sense of "liberal", but that we are here because we are united by a single overarching left-wing ideology. Not that we should all think the same things, but that we come here discussing opinions based on their consistency with our common belief in human liberty and opposition to all kinds of tyranny and opression. Therefore, we agree that freepers, republicans and right-wing types should be banned. Since I'm pretty sure that everyone here would agree that one cannot be a liberal and simoultaneously be a sexist, a racist, homophobe, or any kind of a bigot -- we agree that we will ban sexists, racists, homophobes, chauvinists, etc.

But to equate that with banning certain words is, I think, a completely wrong way to go about it. Again, words don't mean anything by themselves. Some words are more ambiguous and some are less. For example, the words "computer", "oxygen", "twenty" or "the" are -- unless used poetically -- fairly narrow in their definition. On the other hand, words "love", "gay", "bitch" or "fuck" can mean a million things in a million different contexts.

Words are not static entities. For example, the origin of the word "cunning" is "cunt" -- because there was a general belief at the time the word was constructed that women were cunning. Since cats were perceived as cunning too, the phrase "pussy cat" was made. Clearly, both "cunning" and "pussy cat" originate in sexist beliefs.

So those of you who support banning "bitch" -- do you also support banning "cunning" and "pussy cat"? You don't, because despite the sexist origins of the word, you accept that in modern terms, these words have no sexist conotation.

It works the other way around too. You know how you say "black" in Latin? "Niger". The word "nigger" originally simply meant "a black person". If you read some Mark Twain, you'll see that people simply used the word to mean "black", whether they were personally racist or not.

And if you look at modern culture with an open mind, you will see that the word "bitch" is very often used without slightest sexist connotations. In my circle of friends, for example, it means a different thing from a "bastard" (a rather more bland word with unambiguous connotations of someone who is rotten and whom you're angry at) -- but it is used equally for men and women, with the same meaning for both. If you yourself feel that to use the word would be sexist, then don't use it. But don't support muzzling other people who feel that the word is a descriptive and a colorful part of their vocabulary, and don't accuse them of sexism if their perception of the word differs from yours.
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   Replies to this thread
  - Moan, Groan  Must_B_Free   Apr-07-04 06:22 PM   # 
  - Groan, Moan  Must_B_Free   Apr-07-04 06:22 PM   #1 
  - Take a deep breath............  alittlelark   Apr-07-04 06:23 PM   #2 
  - Locking.  Skinner   Apr-07-04 06:24 PM   #3 
Must_B_Free Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:22 PM
Original message
Moan, Groan
Don't these people get tired of this ever?
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Must_B_Free Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. Groan, Moan
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 06:23 PM by Must_B_Free
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alittlelark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:23 PM
Response to Original message
2. Take a deep breath............'s OK. We all have differing views. I, as a female, am not fond of using 'bitch', but I am not deeply offended by it. I understand why some women do find offense - it is their choice.

Ignore the DU boards for a day or so and all will be well when you return. B-)
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Skinner ADMIN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
3. Locking.
I think we all need a break.
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