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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 61
    More: Asinine, State Department, U.S., State Department tells  
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8302 clicks; posted to Main » on 31 Aug 2012 at 2:18 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


Archived thread
2012-08-31 02:27:25 AM  
6 votes:
Rule of thumb?

media.tumblr.com
2012-08-31 08:13:19 AM  
3 votes:
Anyone with the word "diversity" in their title for a job is a racist asshat and really needs to go.
2012-08-31 04:54:26 AM  
3 votes:

duffblue:
Black people are immortal?


No, but their playing the race card probably is.
2012-08-31 03:47:20 AM  
3 votes:
This is just a more covert form of Newspeak, really. It's a way of getting people to worry about the words being used, instead of the intent being conveyed. Sure, there are plenty of words that, in some contexts, are offensive; but those exact same words in OTHER contexts are perfectly innocuous.

The word "chink" is offensive if you are talking about, or to, a Chinese person, but "a chink in one's armor" has NOTHING to do with ethnic slurs. "Slope" is an awful phrase used when referring to someone from Vietnam, but absolutely essential when determining the "degree of slope" in architecture. It is wrong to call a black person a "spook", but not so much when you're talking about a spy.

Should people be more precise in their speech and writing, of course. Should we attempt to avoid racist, sexist and demeaning phrases, absolutely. But if we have to pre-censor our everyday speech because some words can be seen as offensive in some contexts, then we're just doing internally what the Ministry of Truth was doing in "1984": "The whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought...In the end, we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten."

And it doesn't matter whether the push comes from a desire to circumscribe human thought for evil intentions, or to prevent the thoughtless use of hurtful words. The end result is the same. People can't talk freely, and who do you think that will benefit in the long run?
2012-08-31 03:09:41 AM  
3 votes:
The State Department's job is to speak diplomatically. The origins of their words don't matter, what matters is what the people they're speaking to think the word means.

They're going overboard, yes. But it's their job to go overboard with precision in language.
2012-08-31 01:20:29 AM  
3 votes:
Boy, I sure am glad that there's a guy being paid to warn people not to use phrases based on erroneous folk etymology, therefore spreading and reinforcing the bullshiat.

I wonder how much he gets paid...I hope the State Department isn't being nubianrdly.
2012-08-31 12:18:31 AM  
3 votes:
And "rule of thumb," he wrote, can according to women's activists refer "to an antiquated law, whereby the width of a husband's thumb was the legal size of a switch or rod allowed to beat his wife."

Someone needs to learn how to use the Googles.
2012-08-31 07:36:01 AM  
2 votes:
I'm forced to wonder, when it comes to political correctness: how many turns of phrase have been banned because someone has actually complained, versus how many are banned because of projections: fear of complaints, rather than any actual documented instances of offense?

I ask, because there's a difference between sensitivity and paranoia, and this difference does in fact cut both ways. What does it say about someone who believes people of other cultures are so hypersensitive that one must walk on eggshells around them and head off every idiom at the pass?
2012-08-31 06:42:06 AM  
2 votes:
Diversity Officer... Must be one of thos "your tax dollars at work" type positions
2012-08-31 03:09:50 AM  
2 votes:

timujin: Also... I wonder if forts existed before or outside of the need to protect ones self from the Native Americans?


I.m pretty sure the Romans had forts in Germania. It's probably something you want whenever you're settling somewhere where there's hostile natives.
2012-08-31 02:47:40 AM  
2 votes:
Really? I'm the first farker pedantic enough to point out it should be "hold the fort" not "hold down the fort"?

If I ask someone to "hold the fort", it's a pretty clear metaphor; there's a fort, I have to leave for a while, and I want them to stay and stop the Mongols getting in or whatever. I'm asking them to look after a specific location while I'm gone.

If I ask someone to "hold DOWN the fort"... Well that's meaningless. Why would you need to hold down a fort? Is it going to fly away? No. Some idiot just misheard the phrase one day, started using it wrong and other idiots copied him. Just stop it.
2012-08-31 02:45:10 AM  
2 votes:

fusillade762: And "rule of thumb," he wrote, can according to women's activists refer "to an antiquated law, whereby the width of a husband's thumb was the legal size of a switch or rod allowed to beat his wife."

Someone needs to learn how to use the Googles.


This.

Also... I wonder if forts existed before or outside of the need to protect ones self from the Native Americans?

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.
2012-08-31 02:37:05 AM  
2 votes:
1) I love that they refer to "vicious Native American intruders," In an article biatching about being PC.

2) I would much prefer and administration that cautions its employees on what they say over an administration that (albeit only initially) referred to an active military campaign in the Middle East as a Crusade.
2012-08-31 02:26:56 AM  
2 votes:
Can't do much damage with that, can you? Shoulda been 'rule of wrist'
2012-08-31 01:05:26 AM  
2 votes:

fusillade762: And "rule of thumb," he wrote, can according to women's activists refer "to an antiquated law, whereby the width of a husband's thumb was the legal size of a switch or rod allowed to beat his wife."

Someone needs to learn how to use the Googles.


Sometimes the old chestnuts just refuse to die, don't they? The irony is that the phrase is probably legitimately insensitive now because there is such a widespread misunderstanding amongst (usually young) feminists that this is actually the origin of the phrase.
2012-08-31 12:21:23 AM  
2 votes:
Actually that idiom is often mis-phrased.

The term is "hold in the fart", which has a completely different connotation.
2012-09-01 12:49:03 AM  
1 votes:
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.
2012-08-31 11:41:48 PM  
1 votes:

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?
2012-08-31 07:36:59 PM  
1 votes:

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.
2012-08-31 07:09:04 PM  
1 votes:

jvowles: L

No, this guy is an analyst whose job is to address legitimate civil rights concerns of the citizens of this great nation. He is also, in this case, providing TO THE FARKING DIPLOMATIC CORPS (that's who works in the state department) advice on phrasing that may be seen as culturally insensitive or incomprehensible, because it's his area of expertise, and because IF YOU WORK IN THE STATE DEPARTMENT, you need to be hyper-aware of your speech. Because that's kind of a job requirement, when you work in an environment where a stray word can cost millions of dollars and possibly even lives.


Then maybe he should do his job and not quote urban myths that are so obvious even snopes has them listed.
2012-08-31 02:32:01 PM  
1 votes:
He forgot to mention changing "N***er Rigged" to the much more culturally sensitive "Afro-Engineered".

I also don't get why "Black and Tan" would be offensive. Black and Tans are what I like to down at the pub before I go home and give the old lady a pair of Irish sunglasses.
2012-08-31 01:37:53 PM  
1 votes:
24.media.tumblr.com 

WINONA: So, where are we gonna go eat?
JERRY: I thought we'd eat at the Gentle Harvest.
WINONA: Ooh, I love that place, but it's usually so crowded. Can we get a table?
JERRY: Ah, don't worry. I made reser... (catches himself)
WINONA: You made what?
JERRY: I uh, I uh, I arranged for the appropriate accommodations. And then, Knick tickets, floor seats.
WINONA: How did you get these?
JERRY: Got 'em on the street, from a scal... (catches himself again)
WINONA: From who?
JERRY: A uh, one of those guys.
WINONA: What guys?
JERRY: You know, the guys, that uh, they sell the tickets for the sold-out events.
2012-08-31 01:02:10 PM  
1 votes:

fusillade762: And "rule of thumb," he wrote, can according to women's activists refer "to an antiquated law, whereby the width of a husband's thumb was the legal size of a switch or rod allowed to beat his wife."

Someone needs to learn how to use the Googles.


You dont understand. In PC-land it does not matter the the offended person is an idiot and has no farking clue as to what they are talking about. If a member of a protected group is offended then you are at fault and must be punished even if you nothing wrong.
2012-08-31 12:19:05 PM  
1 votes:
Ah, the joys of diversity and multi-culturalism.
2012-08-31 12:06:18 PM  
1 votes:

Millennium: I'm forced to wonder, when it comes to political correctness: how many turns of phrase have been banned because someone has actually complained, versus how many are banned because of projections: fear of complaints, rather than any actual documented instances of offense?

I ask, because there's a difference between sensitivity and paranoia, and this difference does in fact cut both ways. What does it say about someone who believes people of other cultures are so hypersensitive that one must walk on eggshells around them and head off every idiom at the pass?


More than we know, I'd imagine.

There is a guy--I'd have to source the story, it's been a while--who routinely reviews vanity plate applications, and complains in advance if he feels they are derogatory towards Native Americans. While I can't fault him for his actions (I can, but for a different reason), the story annoys me because the various DMVs he's challenged usually pull the plates because ONE GUY thinks they are derogatory. Nobody else is complaining, and yet this guy's unique sensitivity makes agencies fall all over themselves not to upset him.
2012-08-31 12:04:36 PM  
1 votes:

Launch Code: [i1253.photobucket.com image 284x177]
So this guy sits in a taxpayer funded BIG GOVT office, collects a large taxpayer funded BIG GOVT paycheck and his job is to dredge up dopey politically incorrect sayings that could offend someone if you explain to them why it should offend them.


No, his job is to help diplomatic personnel be more diplomatic. You can be a brave politically correct rebel to your heart's content. You can even call people you don't agree with "sheeple" if that makes you feel all proud and edgy.
2012-08-31 11:42:07 AM  
1 votes:
Ban blackboard - offensive to blacks.
Ban whiteboard - offensive to non-whites.
Ban Noboboard - offensive to other manufacturers.

When all words are banned, we will be dumb - and that's offensive.
2012-08-31 11:40:12 AM  
1 votes:
In related candy news, this is now banned on premises

ozbo.com
2012-08-31 11:14:58 AM  
1 votes:

Deman: I wonder if they got the idea that the "rule of thumb" is a reference to safe wife beating from Boondock Saints? Turns out a rule of thumb is literally using your thumb as a measuring device, like a ruler.


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.

However, misinformed opinion never let facts get in the way.
2012-08-31 11:08:34 AM  
1 votes:
For all intensive purposes this article is just a blow hard wanting to hear themselves talk irregardless of the consequences.
sp
2012-08-31 11:07:25 AM  
1 votes:
The bigger problem is that the State Dept. has a diversity officer. What a farking joke.
2012-08-31 10:44:40 AM  
1 votes:
If "hold down the fort" specifically refers to protecting a fort from native american indian attacks then there it is impossible to use it in any other context. Because it would require a fort and some attacking natives. Plus it also helps keep out mexicans.
2012-08-31 09:45:48 AM  
1 votes:

Girion47: gameshowhost: AverageAmericanGuy: Johnny Bananapeel: Nobody ever mentions the obvious "keep your cotton pickin' hands off..." when they list these sorts of offensive phrases. 

[i.imgur.com image 443x290]

how much more ofendded do you think blakc people can get?

"400 years worth of being treated like shiat" offended. But that's just an estimate.

Try being Irish, we have much longer than 400 years.


You're like the red-headed stepchildren of Europe. You guys got gypped.
2012-08-31 09:37:49 AM  
1 votes:

Public Savant: (we didn't import our slaves back in the day


Typically you dropped them off in the Caribbean.
2012-08-31 09:28:01 AM  
1 votes:
I'm still kind of amazed the State Department (primarily responsible for foreign diplomacy) has a chief diversity officer ("chief" suggesting there may be diversity underlings as well). Couldn't we have the State Department devoted to, you know, advancing our interests worldwide via diplomacy rather than concerning itself with being politically correct during watercooler conversations in the hall?
2012-08-31 08:39:10 AM  
1 votes:
FRIT - FARK Racist Identification Thread.

Thanks subby. These are useful tools. The early identification helps avoid stress later in other threads, when I can safely replace:

"omg! Are they serious?! - RAGE"

with

"oh look...it's Submoron #12 agaIn...how quaint."
2012-08-31 08:20:35 AM  
1 votes:
In college I got into an arguement with my entire [reguired] Racism and Sexism class, that the phrase "the pot calling the kettle black" was, in fact, not a racist phrase.

/csb
2012-08-31 08:18:56 AM  
1 votes:
www.southernlandscapes.com

Beating around the bush -- can we still use that?
2012-08-31 08:18:45 AM  
1 votes:
Fine, then I will use "Don't fark up shiat while I am gone".

/why all Diversity gotta be AA peeps, can I gets me an Indian or Latino up in heah?
2012-08-31 06:05:53 AM  
1 votes:

Gunther: Well, my proof is that it actually makes sense as an expression. If you'd never heard the phrase before and someone told you to "hold the fort" you could puzzle out what it meant with a little rational thinking - it's a clear metaphor for looking after a place. OTOH, "hold down the fort" is something you're gonna need explained to you, as it's as meaningless a collection of words as "spic and span" or "tit for tat".


First off, my question wasn't "Which makes more sense?" but "Which one came first?"

Second, they're both extremely idiomatic. No no-native speaker is going to "figure out" what a native English speaker means by "hold the fort" or "hold down the fort."

And third, no offense, but your opinion isn't proof of anything. If the idea that "hold down the fort" is a corruption of the older "hold the fort" matters enough to you that you want to convince me it's the actual etymology, then you're going to need, y'know, actual proof, not an argument (no matter how cogent) that it "makes more sense" or is "more logical."
2012-08-31 05:51:10 AM  
1 votes:
Hey, it's close enough for government work.
2012-08-31 05:38:04 AM  
1 votes:

DuncanMhor: Drubell: Don't use sayings or phrases if you're writing things that might be viewed internationally because they're just not going to get it and wonder what the hell you're talking about. Some writer I know actually used "hold down the fort" in an article recently and some British people were asking what this even meant.

We use "hold the fort", which actually makes sense (prevent the fort from being taken). Hold down the fort makes none, unless the fort is inflatable and filled with helium.


image.made-in-china.com

All it would take is one injun arrow to put an end to the fun and games in this place...
2012-08-31 04:41:42 AM  
1 votes:

Drubell: Don't use sayings or phrases if you're writing things that might be viewed internationally because they're just not going to get it and wonder what the hell you're talking about. Some writer I know actually used "hold down the fort" in an article recently and some British people were asking what this even meant.


We use "hold the fort", which actually makes sense (prevent the fort from being taken). Hold down the fort makes none, unless the fort is inflatable and filled with helium.
2012-08-31 03:59:37 AM  
1 votes:

Gyrfalcon: And it doesn't matter whether the push comes from a desire to circumscribe human thought for evil intentions, or to prevent the thoughtless use of hurtful words. The end result is the same. People can't talk freely, and who do you think that will benefit in the long run?


Yes, diplomats being instructed to speak diplomatically is exactly like trying to control a population's thoughts using language (which itself was one of the more ludicrous elements of Orwell's already somewhat far-fetched dystopia).

If you don't want to mind how you speak, don't start a career where minding how you speak is a critically important skill.
2012-08-31 03:51:20 AM  
1 votes:
John Robinson should change his name as it might be offensive.

John Robinson was incremental in the acquisition of the Mayflower to invade North America and take it from the local Indian population. John Robinson was a pastor in the Church of England and that may offend atheists. John Robinson was also a Midwestern serial killer and the mention of his name may offend the families of those he killed.
2012-08-31 03:36:31 AM  
1 votes:
As president of the local chapter of Flatulence Anonymous, I find the above posts referencing "hold the fart" to be discrimanatory, and I seek immediate damages and a large can of beans as compensation.
2012-08-31 03:27:06 AM  
1 votes:
I wonder if they got the idea that the "rule of thumb" is a reference to safe wife beating from Boondock Saints? Turns out a rule of thumb is literally using your thumb as a measuring device, like a ruler.
2012-08-31 03:00:53 AM  
1 votes:
www.fugly.com
2012-08-31 02:59:35 AM  
1 votes:
There will eventually be only 4, maybe 5 safe, usable words in the english language.

Here's hoping mongoloid is one of them.
2012-08-31 02:57:45 AM  
1 votes:
how about get bent
2012-08-31 02:53:46 AM  
1 votes:
I understand "long in the tooth" is considered an anti-dentite slogan.
2012-08-31 02:53:15 AM  
1 votes:
"No one really knows what these phrases mean. So, no one can really be offended by them. I must change that by educated people about these phrases so they can be properly offended, like they should."


Everybody just stop talking. You're just going to offend someone anyway.
2012-08-31 02:45:15 AM  
1 votes:
"Chief Diversity Officer John Robinson"
Chief? The Native American part of me finds that highly offensive.
2012-08-31 02:36:14 AM  
1 votes:

miltonbabbitt: Rule of thumb?

[media.tumblr.com image 500x370]


photo.blogpressapp.com

Perhaps it should have been a rule of wrist?
2012-08-31 02:29:02 AM  
1 votes:

miltonbabbitt: Rule of thumb?

[media.tumblr.com image 500x370]


She's the serial crusher
2012-08-31 02:27:47 AM  
1 votes:

fusillade762: And "rule of thumb," he wrote, can according to women's activists refer "to an antiquated law, whereby the width of a husband's thumb was the legal size of a switch or rod allowed to beat his wife."

Someone needs to learn how to use the Googles.


The Googles, they do nothing.

The founding fathers warned us not to let special interest groups play a role in the federal government. Federalist Paper No. 10, by Madison.
2012-08-31 02:24:55 AM  
1 votes:
Fox News link...complaints about political correctness...

I smell butthurt.
2012-08-31 01:17:51 AM  
1 votes:
Thank god they didn't have a tampon shooting dinosaur robot. That would have gone over like a lead balloon.

i25.photobucket.com
2012-08-31 12:34:15 AM  
1 votes:

RoyBatty: Origin of the phrase "Hold down the fort" (to be pedantic, it should've been "Hold down the castle")

Link


No, I'm quite certain the phrase is "Hold in the fart". You are mistaken.
2012-08-31 12:32:13 AM  
1 votes:
Origin of the phrase "Hold down the fort" (to be pedantic, it should've been "Hold down the castle")

Link
2012-08-31 12:28:14 AM  
1 votes:
Anybody who says "hold the fort" to you is nothing more than a lazy asshole who wants you to pick up their slack, and that's a documentable fact.
 
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