Date: Mon, 31 Oct 1994 08:34:23 EST
From: David Muschell dmuschel[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MAIL.GAC.PEACHNET.EDU
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.