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(Fox News)   The U.S. State Department tells employees to stop using common phrases such as "hold down the fort" and "rule of thumb" because they are culturally and racially insensitive   (foxnews.com) divider line 209
    More: Asinine, State Department, U.S., State Department tells  
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8291 clicks; posted to Main » on 31 Aug 2012 at 2:18 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-31 08:58:04 PM

actualhuman: clivecusslerfan:
Also, I wonder if they'll eventually get around to having a sensitivity training course where the final test is to sit down and watch "Blazing Saddles." More than a couple of laughs and you're fired.

Has anyone pointed out that the racists are the ones being made fun of in Blazing Saddles?

/farking dumbass cracker.


When did something like that ever matter to people who present sensitivity training courses? If it sounds like it might be offensive to someone, somewhere, it MUST be stopped.
 
2012-08-31 11:39:31 PM

This text is now purple: Straelbora: An inch is literally 'a thumb's length,' like a foot is, well, you know, and a yard is from the tip of one hand to the other with the arms outstretched.

In front of you, maybe (closer to a foot). Arms outstretched is about two yards.


Yep- I wasn't thinking- it was supposed to be from the midline of the chest to the outstretched hand. I've still seen people in traditional markets throughout the world measure things like cloth in this manner.
 
2012-08-31 11:41:48 PM

Captain Dan: Straelbora: A nit is a louse egg.

Are you saying that Laotians are monotremes? Bigot.


BIGot? Is that some sort of size-ist slur?
 
2012-09-01 12:49:03 AM
The "scot" in "scot-free" does not refer to a Scott; it refers to a scot, which was a payment. If you got away scot-free, you got away without paying. Citation and citation.

The whole "rule of thumb" thing is totally invented, not least because there never was any such law. Anyone who thinks there was needs to spend less time studying things to get outraged about and more time studying history.

"Handicap" is another bit of folk etymology. The word took its turn on the euphemism treadmill, and was replaced in turn by "challenged" but its origins had nothing to do with crippling injuries. Any follower of horse racing is familiar with the concept of handicapping, which refers to assigning a horse to carry extra weight to make a race even. And that comes from an old gambling game where an amount of money was assessed to equalize the value of two items being bet. The game was called hand-in-cap, hence the term. As Snopes says, anyone who can't understand the difference between "hand-in-cap" and "cap-in-hand" should contemplate the difference between a housecat and a cathouse.

As for whether or not the State Department should become a bastion of political correctness based on folk etymology, email rumor, and just plain wrongness: One of the things a successful diplomat needs is, indeed, an understanding of words which are insulting in some way. For example, there is a very good reason why black holes are referred to as "frozen stars" by Russians. However, a successful diplomat also needs discretion, understanding, and a certain degree of fortitude. Banning a perfectly innocent word or phrase because of a complete lack of comprehension of what it actually means, or because you expect others to be ignorant, shows none of those qualities.

Take "hold the fort." The level of arrogance and self-centeredness that would lead a person to believe that the only forts that have ever existed or have ever been significant in the entire history of the human race are those which existed for a few hundred years in North America, and furthermore, only when used as a defense against one particular group, just staggers the imagination. Apparently Fort TIconderoga was never held against the British, Mexican troops did not lay siege to Fort Taylor (aka Fort Texas). and Fort Sumter was no part of the Civil War.

There are plenty of things one should not say in diplomacy. There is no need to invent new ones. And anyone who claims to be offended by something which does not mean what they think they mean is not making the group they claim to represent look powerful and important by demanding that their errors in understanding be made policy; they just make themselves look both stupid and belligerent, a combination of conditions one normally associates with some of the more hostile species of geckos.

I presume the reason the people at Fox News are hyping this story is as a way of saying "no conservative would do something that ignorant." Unfortunately, the enormous number of "facts" circulating by email and intended to stir up conservative outrage -- "facts" that could be refuted by a quick trip to any major search engine -- lead me to believe that is not actually the case.

Aside from making the people who fall for them look ridiculously credulous, stories like this just motivate hoaxers to invent ever new and ever more outrageous things for people to get upset about -- kind of a slow-motion trolling, in fact. If one bites on a troll's hook, announcing it should bring scorn, not admiration.
 
2012-09-01 01:30:01 AM

Worldwalker: Take "hold the fort." The level of arrogance and self-centeredness that would lead a person to believe that the only forts that have ever existed or have ever been significant in the entire history of the human race are those which existed for a few hundred years in North America, and furthermore, only when used as a defense against one particular group, just staggers the imagination.


And yet, you can see people in this very thread who thought that, I don't know if it's arrogance, though. It could easily just be ignorance of history.
 
2012-09-01 11:27:31 AM

AverageAmericanGuy: robohobo: There will eventually be only 4, maybe 5 safe, usable words in the english language.

Here's hoping mongoloid is one of them.

Surprisingly, attractive and successful African American is still unacceptable in some circles.



Obama, with an African and American parent is certainly African American, however my parents are both from Cleveland, so I am a full North American American

I'll accept African American as a general term when we start also using:
European American
Asian American
Australian American
Antarctican American
South American American
North American American
 
2012-09-01 11:31:13 AM

Charles Martel: [www.southernlandscapes.com image 500x375]

Beating around the bush -- can we still use that?


¿Why do you hate teh birds?
 
2012-09-01 11:37:50 AM

Gunther: And yet, you can see people in this very thread who thought that, I don't know if it's arrogance, though. It could easily just be ignorance of history.


Whatever the cause, having an official in a position to know better treating folk etymology and just plain inaccurate beliefs as genuine gives them a credibility they do not deserve. I may think the word "bookkeeper" is offensive because I may believe, in my heart of hearts, that it refers to a person who will come to my house and seize all my books, but that doesn't make it mean that, nor should it give me any expectation that other people will treat my delusions as true. The whole idea of "if I feel some way, that makes it so" is political correctness at its worst (if you can even pick one aspect as "worst") and needs to be stopped by the people with the power to do so and mocked by the people without it.
 
2012-09-01 02:32:40 PM

HaveBeerWillTravel: timujin: Robinson cited the cautionary tale of Nike rolling out a "Black and Tan" sneaker without realizing the phrase once referred to a group "that committed atrocities against Irish civilians." Nike later apologized.

And now refers to a drink made with a popular Irish beverage. Ferfuxake, people, grow a little skin. "Choose my word carefully" Mr. Robinson? Aight, I'm very carefully calling you a dumbass.

Actually, no, not so much, Not gonna comhment on the broader phenomenon being discussed here, but that particular example is wrong Ordering a black and tan in much of Ireland will get you glared at or just plain ignored.

/And under NO circumstances you EVER order a carbomb by that name.


I had no idea. Sadly, I have never been to Ireland. The only thing I have that could be called "experience" is that it is one of the drinks offered on the board at a local Irish pub, Molly Malones, a place that has been around for 40 years (so, not that long, really) The 70-year-old Irish bartender there makes a hell of a good one.

I regret my earlier statement, made in haste and ignorance. I will take care to avoid the reference going forward when in certain circles. Seriously, though, I thought it was like "porch monkey," that they'd "taken it back."
 
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