Date: Mon, 31 Oct 1994 08:34:23 EST


Subject: Re: offending idioms

In response to Gregory D. Waltigney, who wrote:

Perhaps those out there who feel the need to use this forum as a soapbox

for determining political correctness could take their drivel elsewhere

rather than degenerating into a bunch of blathering "offending idiots"!

"Political Correctness" has in itself become an offensive tag, and the

vague reference to "those" using this discussion group takes away from the

uniqueness of the forum as a kind of instantaneous, on-going conference.

For me, the exploration of language has nothing to do with PC. Political

correctness implies that there is some kind of agenda behind the user with

an intention to bleach language of its dirtiness. The discussion on

offending idioms was started innocently enough by Judy Kuster several weeks

ago and has, for me, been extremely interesting. Whether or not a sense of

prescriptivism exists within some of the responses is irrelevant to the

positive use of this new format for interconnectedness. As an admirer of

Priestly, I find the descriptive approach more useful, but in describing,

it's hard to overlook connotative usage and its impact on language.

I have read very little drivel as I've followed (and participated) in this

particular discussion and even less blather. Personally, the suggestion to

take the debate elsewhere is a kind of prescription in itself--one that

would negate the very value of this computer conference. Of course I take

the above suggestion seriously, and at a real conference I'd probably laugh

it off as a small, crotchety response to the more important issue. But

since budgetary constraints probably won't allow me to attend a "real"

conference, this electronic space for analyzing, conversing, and

"listening" to other fine scholars has become a fine way to breach the

isolation of individual institutions. Intuitively, ADS has gotten involved

in a thought-provoking line of discussion that mirrors an issue seen being

explored in the media with the publication of THE BELL CURVE.