Monday, September 28, 2009

US caste system and why dictionaries matter

Two comments I made elsewhere that I may expand on someday:

1. At metafilter: Ten Dollars an Hour, buzzman said, "I can not discourage enough a belief that if you are born poor you will remain poor. What kind of image is that for people to read and believe in? A veritible caste system via reasearch?

I answered, "We do have a caste system in the US. It begins with inferior schools and worse health care for the 40% who own none of the US's wealth. Its markers include bad teeth and dialects that are mocked on television."

2. At whatever: A General Observation, John Scalzi said, "The Internet does seem to be full of people whose knowledge of complex concepts appears limited to a dictionary definition. Some of them seem to be proud of that."

I answered, "When the Bush regime says something is “extreme interrogation” and not “torture,” I’m not happy. Yes, definitions evolve, but the motives of those who reject dictionary definitions should always be questioned."