I decided to post this after reading jennvs
recent diary entry, after having absorbed the whole meta
I think jennv is right in ignoring the various posts that
are overt attacks on one another.
Also, the get used to it type of responses land in
a grey area; the point of such posts is perhaps worth
discussing, but that sort of phrasing is just rude and gets
you nowhere if you are interested in actual communication.
So, jennv's points about listening are accurate --
but only if each party to the conversation a) is willing to
listen, and b) presents themselves as such.
I think the real problem is human nature and language. Take
me, for example. I tend to despise most "Politically
Correct" dogmas (bear with me, I mean dogma quite
literally), but I have tremendous respect for clear
communication. These two things often conflict within me.
The reason I am so suspicious of Politically Correct
language is a general issue I have with symbols in general.
Words are symbols. The more someone on either side of an
issue heaps onto a symbol, the more likely miscommunication
will result -- and assuming the people involved have a
general respect for clear communication, the perceived
are often unintentional.
Symbols for ideologies are the worst of all -- this cuts
straight to the heart of more visible issues surrounding
such things as flag burning, crosses, the rebel flag, the
swastika, etc. kuro5hin
was right on the money by suggesting the writings of Jacques
Derrida on deconstruction.
But, back to sexism and language. Listening is paramount --
really listening. Automatically dismissing someone
as sexist because they are using sexist language is
just as misguided as someone who deliberately trys
to be sexist. The same can be said of racism. It is the
individuals who harbor the true fear, resentment, and hatred
that are the real dangers; not the individuals who use
language in hurtful ways through ignorance.
Which brings us to being Politically Correct. Since words
are symbols, and can have multiple meanings, I find typical
PC a bit pompous in the assertion that if you do not use
language by our rules, then you harbor
hatred. Now, I realize that that is an overly broad
statement, but this is the trend that I most dislike about
We all use language, and language is an imprecise tool.
Both sides of any issue have to understand this
before clear communication can occur. Insisting that
everyone play by your rules of language is just asking for
attacks that were never attacks in the first place. Language
is a slippery thing, and it's a shame when people get overly
wound up about language and ignore real
communication. Only through communication will the real
problems be addressed -- the fears, the resentments, and the
hatreds. Many times I think those that are easily offended
by language will find that these bogeymen exist more in the
realm of perception than reality. Don't short change the
human spirit because of mere language.
So, in the meta discussion, there were many suggestions
along the lines of use words that have no prior
definitions for the trust rankings. This is a perfect
example of PC gone awry: In order to escape connotations,
intentional or otherwise, we use words that have no meaning?
Can you imagine if this sort of thing were broadly applied
Glorp nurquen rasdemblem?
(I'm glad we had that last chat...I feel we know each other
so much better now!)
Anyway. This seems like Playground 101, to me: Sticks and
stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.
The internet is uniquely cursed, because we are forced to
sieve communication through nothing but words, nothing but
symbols. No innuendo, gesticulation, facial ticks, posture,
Just good ol', imprecise words. Nothing but tools.