[Ads-l] "man" avoidance

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Sat Sep 24 22:50:54 EDT 2016


Way to go, Flourish!!!

I'm particularly sensitive to the issue of erasure in history pointed to in
Flourish's post, since I'm currently at work on a early eighteenth century
murder case where there are more erasures than figures, around gender (one of
the figures is female printer), ethnicity (the participants are a mix of Dutch
and English), class (the murdered man is an esquire), and most of all, state
control of the dissemination of information.

This is something addressed long ago by Hugh MacDiarmid (succinctly, if in
Scots) in "The Eemis Stane".

On the other hand, it's worth remembering that the term "politically correct"
was coined by the Left as a joke, before being gleefully co-opted and redefined
by the Raving Right as a synonym for what most people would consider common
courtesy.

That's an issue I'm sure all of us on this list are aware of, and I'm entirely
with Jon in that area.

So Jon has a point, and Flourish has a point, and I just hope they don't stab
each other to death and erase their respective existences.

No denigration (without representation) intended.

Robin

> 
>     On 25 September 2016 at 03:06 Flourish Klink <flourish.klink at GMAIL.COM>
> wrote:
> 
> 
>     Why is it a limit case to say that it might be informative to know the
>     races of people? You opened this thread with "Erase sexist history!" I
>     would say that it *also* erases history not to point out that military
>     units were segregated at the time—as much as not more as it erases the
> fact
>     that men and not women were shooting down planes. (Erasure of military
>     segregation is *far* past the erasure of sexist history, by the way—just
>     watch the first *Captain America* movie and see his cheerful, multiracial
>     group of WWII soldiers who definitely would not have been permitted to
>     fight together; on the other hand, women are largely confined to their
>     accurate historical roles.) (Inasmuch as anything can be described as
>     "accurate" in a superhero movie of course.)
> 
>     I brought this discussion up with a friend off-list, and he pointed out
>     that "men" and "women" are differentiated in the English language in the
>     way that (for instance) "older" and "younger" people are not, nor "people
>     of color" etc. I think this is the most convincing argument in favor of
>     using "men" and/or "women" over "people" that I've heard so far, but it
>     still doesn't explain to me why I would want to know about gender more
> than
>     I would want to know about race in this particular instance. Perhaps this
>     is what people have been pointing out by calling it silly, or a limit
> case,
>     that one would refer to African-American people in this context. However,
>     it also supports my grouchiness that our language (not just any one
>     individual!) takes gender as fundamental in a way that other things are
>     not. (And yes, of course, English takes gender as much *less* fundamental
>     than, say, Spanish...)
> 
>     (I'm worried this is off topic by now!)
> 
>     On Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 4:49 PM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
>     wrote:
> 
>     > Nobody said that "gender" is "the most important aspect," but the writer
>     > seems to think it's of no interest whatsoever.
>     >
>     > If you believe that "311 people" is clearer and more informative than
>     > "309
>     > men and two women," there's no point trying to persuade you. The
>     > specific
>     > mention of the two women would also forestall the misapprehension that
>     > all
>     > 311 members of a fighter group were men.
>     >
>     > The TMI principle seems to make the "non-African-American," etc.,
>     > versions
>     > theoretically more informative but stylistically impossible - except as
>     > sarcasm in a tendentious, vastly different context.
>     >
>     > JL
>     >
>     >
>     >
>     > On Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 3:10 PM, Jonathan Lighter
>     > <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
>     > wrote:
>     >
>     > > "...over the age of 18 mainly from working-class families...."
>     > >
>     > > JL
>     > >
>     > > On Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 2:47 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>     > >
>     > >> On Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 12:42 PM, Jonathan Lighter <
>     > >> wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
>     > >> wrote:
>     > >>
>     > >> > One would not ordinarily write "309 non-African-American men and
>     > >> > two
>     > >> > non-African-American women."
>     > >> >
>     > >>
>     > >> "Take it / To the limit / One more time"
>     > >>
>     > >>
>     > >> --
>     > >> -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 - http://www.americandialect.org
>     > >>
>     > >
>     > >
>     > >
>     > > --
>     > > "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
>     > truth."
>     > >
>     >
>     >
>     >
>     > --
>     > "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
>     > truth."
>     >
>     > ------------------------------------------------------------
>     > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>     >
> 
>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>     The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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


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