Marine; soldier = 'naval seaman'; his-story = 'history focused on men'; etc.

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Oct 16 02:19:29 UTC 2010

Actually, those are the professor's words, not Michener's. I don't what
they're based on. No "'Negroes'" "die early" in this book, as far as I can
tell.  Michener's narrator (who is clearly not identical with the author,
BTW) does refer offhandedly to Melanesians as "Negroes," and a few of them
do die (some heroically), but the anthropological inaccuracy is a) innocent
and b) at least recognized by the OED.

Though couched in sentimental 1940s style, the overcoming of racial
prejudice is frankly the theme of at least two of Michener's stories.

Though not "herstory," it seems absurd to call Michener's book "his-story,"
since one of his major characters is a Navy nurse and another is a Tokinese
woman. But maybe "his-story" means "history (which includes fiction) written
by a man." Who knows?

Because I'm not very familiar with Ondaatje's novel, I didn't read the parts
of the article concerning _The English Patient_.


 On Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 9:47 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Marine; soldier = 'naval seaman'; his-story = 'history
>              focused on men'; etc.
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 5:44 PM, Dave Wilton <dave at> quoted:
> > "In general, 'Negroes' are ... destined to die very early."
> Perhaps what I've been accustomed to refer to as _Pryor's Law_, WRT
> the entertainment media,
> "The nigger gets killed."
> should be renamed to _Michener's Observation_, WRT reality. or some such.
> --
> -Wilson
> –––
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> –Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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