A slow-spreading(?) slur: "_anti_-slant[-]eye"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Mar 8 19:05:58 UTC 2012

On Mar 8, 2012, at 1:36 PM, Ronald Butters wrote:

> [Although I personally think it is unnecessary to make a disclaimer about this in a list-serv comment, I hereby add that I recently wrote a pro bono report for TTAB consideration in support of a group of Asian musicians who were trying to register the name of their band, THE SLANTS. The TTAB turned them down on the grounds that their name, if used by a group of slant-eyed people as a term of self-reference, was "derogatory"; presumably, if they had been a group of Scandianvian descent who wanted to show their love for Emily Dickinson's poem, "There is a certain slant of light …" it would have been OK.
Actually, I think the putative band, especially if it's an all-female group, would have been better advised to explain that their name was derived from this poem of Dickinson's--

 Tell all the Truth but tell it slant

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Cirrcuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---

--especially given that the notion of "telling it slant" has been revived in recent decades to describe the nature of the transmission of distaff wisdom within a patriarchal society. We're all set now, we just need the band. 

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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