Are we suffering from Offensensitivity?

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Are we suffering from Offensensitivity?

Postby Shapley » Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:18 pm

I read this article:

Governor Romney Apologizes for 'Tar Baby' Comment

Which set me wondering: Is it really something to apologize for? Have we really become so sensitive that common terms can no longer be used because someone has misappropriated their meaning along the way, making them now taboo? 'Tar Baby' is a perfectly acceptable term to apply to a sticky situation, at least it was when I was growing up. It has been used as a derogatory term by some, but Governor Romney used it in clear context, and there was no way it could be suggested that he was using it to define anything else. Tony Snow ran into a similar situation a while back, and was forced to apologize. But I have to ask, to apologize to who, and for what? Is it Governor Romney's fault or Tony Snow's fault that some people are overly sensitive?

A Washington D.C. official resigned a few years back for using the term 'niggardly' when refering to budgetary items, and someone took offense. The term again, was used clearly in context. The word has never been associated with racism, it merely has the misfortune of sounding similar to word that is. Does that make it wrong to use the word?

Should the country 'Niger' be stricken from maps and globes? I recall many children giggling over the name when I was in school. I recall them mispronouncing it when reading it from a list of African nations, resulting in embarrassment by the teacher and giggles from the classmates. Should we make that nation rename itself as well as the river that it draws its name from? And maybe lean on Nigeria, too, while we're at it. I've heard it mispronouned a couple of times, usually intentionally, by school kids in order to raise a giggle.

I just think we've reached a point where we're bending over backward to avoid offending people who seem to go out of their way to find offense. Shouldn't we be standing up for our language. Where does it end?

V/R
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Postby bignaf » Mon Jul 31, 2006 2:32 pm

it's interesting that one of the people complaining about the comment said something about the 21st century comments like this shouldn't be said. does that mean in the previous centuries they were OK? I think they were wrong in previous centuries because they were deragatory, but now in the 21st century, when their derogatory conotation is obselete, they should be fine. I think using them in an obviously non-derogatory manner is the best cure for racism, since it cleanses these terms from the other conotations.
in like manner, I'm a big suppoerter of using swastikas in a manner that is clearly not denoting Nazi affiliation. if we manage to cleanse the swastika, it will take an expressive tool away from the bad guys (or gals...).
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Postby Shapley » Mon Jul 31, 2006 2:52 pm

I don't think 'Tar Baby' was ever 'clearly derogatory'. I've always known it to refer to a 'sticky situation', as apparently have others. Merriam Webster defines it as such:

tar baby
One entry found for tar baby.
Main Entry: tar baby
Function: noun
Etymology: from the tar baby that trapped Brer Rabbit in an Uncle Remus story by Joel Chandler Harris
: something from which it is nearly impossible to extricate oneself


The Uncle Remus stories are familiar to many of us from our childhood, and I have a copy of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby somewhere at home, which my wife used to read to my stepson when he was younger.

The swastika was a religious symbol for centuries before the world ever heard of Adolf Hitler, yet it's use was banned in some countries because of his incorporation of it as a symbol of his particular misguided politics.

V/R
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Postby BigJon@Work » Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:03 pm

I heard this once somewhere and I think it is appropriate in this situation.

"Political correctness it not having the courage to speak the truth."
"I am a 12 foot lizard." GCR Jan 31, 2006
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Postby Shapley » Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:24 pm

I believe the UK expression which would best describe a 'tar baby' is a 'sticky wicket'. I've occassionally heard that phrase used here in the states, but it's rather rare. I understand that it is a cricket term, an origin that would be lost on most Americans. However, it would likely be discouraged as a alternative to 'tar baby' because it carries sexual connotations.

V/R
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Postby Catmando » Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:33 pm

It's been awhile now that political correctness has long gone way, way over the top, and not truly serving it's purpose. :curse:

It's not inconceivable to think that one day, it will be mandatory to write a brief (on not so brief) disclaimer after any thing you write, including on these bulletin boards.
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Postby Catmando » Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:46 pm

Speaking of political incorrectness, what about these emoticons?

:twisted: :evil: These promote devil worshipping. (I apologize for offending any devil worshippers).

:fight: Promotes violence.

:toast: Promotes drinking.

:badputer: Promotes vandalism


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
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Postby BigJon@Work » Mon Jul 31, 2006 5:58 pm

Catmando wrote:It's been awhile now that political correctness has long gone way, way over the top, and not truly serving it's purpose. :curse:

Can you tell me what it's purpose is? It's lost on me.
"I am a 12 foot lizard." GCR Jan 31, 2006
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Postby dai bread » Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:36 pm

The original purpose of Political Correctness was to stop offensive speech, especially (in this country) towards women.

It was soon hijacked by people who insisted that it become persondatory to drop all reference to men, (or to the differently abled, the vertically challenged, etc), and has become a subject for derision ever since by anyone outside a University commonroom. The news media still love it, as it's provided a vehicle for complaints by anyone seeking 15 minutes of fame, and the news media relish controversy.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Postby shostakovich » Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:52 pm

Political correctness is truthiness-challenged (with a nod to Stephen Colbert).
Shos
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Postby navneeth » Tue Aug 01, 2006 2:59 am

Catmando wrote: :badputer: Promotes vandalism

Actually, that promotes non-Microsoft operating systems. :P
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Postby dai bread » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:27 pm

I dunno. My XP is still running perfectly after 4 years with nothing but updates done to it.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Postby piqaboo » Wed Aug 02, 2006 3:30 pm

Well said, 'naf (note: written to avoid the potentially offensive adjective)

Sticky wicket (from my reading) is a tricky situation to approach and handle. Tarbaby is a situation which just gets worse and worse the more one tries to get out of it.

I recently met a Mr Heavey (hee-vee). He had warned his new wife that one day, someone would give it the obvious mispronunciation (heh-vee). They did, and she was , fer petes sake, offended! Now thats being a twit!
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Postby bignaf » Wed Aug 02, 2006 4:11 pm

hey piq, long time no see.
my friends call me Naf, so it's not a problem.
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Postby Haggis@wk » Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:06 am

When is Disney gonna release "Song of the South"??
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:09 am

I just tried to find "Song of the South" on Amazon, a couple of days ago. It's because last weekend the grandson was reading a Dumbo little golden book, and the crows showed up. Apparently, nobody younger than we are gets that the crows are vaudeville minstrels in blackface - and Melle has never seen "Song of the South"! She's in her mid-thirties! I didn't realize! :shock:

How will I ever explain Al Jolson?
>^..^<
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Postby Haggis@wk » Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:00 pm

I loved that movie and remember seeing it time after time in 1957 when we live in Libya. My parent let me take the bus to the base and for .15 cents you could sit through the matinee two or three time. It has to be one of the best animated movies that Disney ever did.

Song of the South is not officially available on DVD. There is a rumor it may be released on DVD in November 2006 for Song of the South's 60th Anniversary. You can find it in England on PAL VHS format but not the U.S. NTSC format. I actually have a VCR that plays both but I don’t have the movie.

After Song of the South's last theatrical release in 1986, Disney decided not to re-release it again, most likely because of the movie's "racial" stigma (although there are no documented complaints stemming from the movie's 1986 theatrical release.) The movie has been released on video and laserdisc in various foreign countries, but never in the United States. As of December 2001, Song of the South was withdrawn worldwide.

The general objections to Song of the South apparently lie in the depiction of African-Americans within the live action sequences of the film, such as stereotyping.

In any event, Song of the South will become public domain in 2039, and you can bet Disney will release it before they lose the copyrights and the opportunity to make a profit
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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