[PD] Carpet sweeping (was Re: Any relation between pidip and Gem??)

Mathieu Bouchard matju at artengine.ca
Tue Jul 17 05:22:50 CEST 2007

On Tue, 17 Jul 2007, Andy Farnell wrote:

> Much that is worth saying *is* emotional so it's hard to temper
> without eliminating the content and leaving hollow words. For
> society to shun emotion, especialy anger, is actually a very
> negative thing. Anger is okay, but we conflate it with violence
> and hate. Anger leads to hate, but it does not *have* to. Its
> expression can be a way to make sure it *doesn't*. To jaw-jaw is
> always better than to war-war - (Bismarck (not Churchill)).

Given your nick, I was expecting you to make a joke about jar-jar 
at this point.

I agree with you.

> Padded by nicities "diffused" (defused) language can seem snarky because 
> the reader sees right through it.

This is the basis of a linguistic phenomenon that happens in the context 
of a wave of political correctness. New vocabulary designed to be less 
inflammatory picks up meaning from its actual usage in practice which is 
exactly where the old word was used. The process of learning to use that 
new word is the same as the learning of a slang word or the learning of 
any word. The new word effectively picks up most connotations that the old 
word did. What you're left with, in the end, is a new "sophisticated" 
dialect that is connoting mostly the same that the old one did, and a 
bunch of outmoded words that look like this:


> "In my opinion it is a not unjustifiable assumption that you are incorrect"
> isn't just verbose, it's far more acidic than
> "I think you're wrong"

It's way more concise to just say

   "you're wrong"

because "you're wrong" is necessarily subjective (wrong according to 
whom?) and without any further qualification it can be assumed that its 
speaker is the holder of opinion. However this couldn't possibly work if 
the listener believes that a given utterance expresses something absolute.
That's also disregarding how many people will automatically translate 
"you're wrong" to "I am rude".

> How often does the meandering doublespeak of the newspapers get you mad 
> when you read of "collateral damage"? I'd rather read about "kids brains 
> blown out" than some smart assed journo insulting me by trying to be 
> clever with words. Intellectual honesty also requires emotional honesty.

"collateral damage" has connotations of war and especially of war 
planning. If that's what the journalist wants to refer to, fine, but else, 
he's misleading. "Collateral damage" may have started as euphemism but, as 
much as I can think of euphemisms as either jokes or abominations, I think 
that "collateral damage" makes a lot more sense than the phrase it 
replaced, namely, "friendly fire", because as everybody knows, friendly 
fire isn't. That said, I think that "collateral damage" expresses a 
different perspective on things than "kids brains blown out", which 
doesn't hint on why it happened; and I think that neither on its own is 
quite complete as a picture: I'd rather have both perspectives than just 
either of them.

> I think Kyle is right that in a small community we can afford to
> take it for granted that we are brothers and sisters, and sometimes
> it's better to regret the things you did say in haste than to regret the
> words you didn't out of cowardice.

"Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for
the things we did not do that is inconsolable."
   -- Sydney J. Harris

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l'expression de mes sentiments distingués.

  _ _ __ ___ _____ ________ _____________ _____________________ ...
| Mathieu Bouchard - tél:+1.514.383.3801, Montréal QC Canada

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