Date: Sat, 14 Sep 1996 18:38:20 -0400

From: Ron Butters RonButters[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: implications and inferences

It is perhaps Rick Blom, not I, who needs to go back and reread his original

postings concerning the putative origins of "barefoot and pregnant" in the

South. As I recall, Rick originally said (a). he believed the phrase

originated in the South (later correcting this to Appalachia), (b). he was

"certain" that the phrase originated among the "lower" classes, and (c). the

phrase was an example of horrible sexism. Is it not conversationally

legitimate to infer from (a)-(c) that the speaker believes/implies that

Southern culture and working-class culture is more sexist than others? In the

absence of a stated reason for his belief and his "certainty," the

implication seems clear enough. I admit that I no longer actdually have hils

earliest messages--I guess I didn't save them. Maybe (c) was not a part of

Rick's message but merely arose as a response to Rick's message. If so, I owe

him a partial apology.

But Rick now tells us that he had other reasons for his belief and his

"certainty"--he associates the phrase with his southern-based family. At the

very least, it seems clear that Rick is guilty of poor writing--conveying

unwanted implications (and he doesn't disclaim the lower-class part of it).

He is also guilty of some very bad logic. I mean, come on, I first heard the

phrase "barefoot and pregnant" from MY Iowa-born mother. Should I therefore

conclude that the phrase originated in Iowa? (Should I make the same

conclusion about the word CORN?)

No, I'm not being ironic and I'm not being "hysterical"--I'm just not happy

when the South (or New York, or the Midwest, or Utah, or any region of the

country) is by implication (whether strong or weak) indicated as the source

of cultural malaise. Rick may not have intended such an inference (or may

not think that he intended such an inference), but the implication is clear

enough, nonetheless. And I'm not happy, either, with the idea that the

"lower" classes are the most likely source of culturally undesirable