Sunday, August 8, 2010

K. Tempest Bradford, have you read 1984?

The failfans are failing again, this time on the use of "deathmarch." They think it's racist. They don't seem to know that the prisoners in the Bataan Death March included 11,796 Americans.

At "They keep sucking me back in": Buzz by Robert N. Lee, Damon Kaswell comments,
I propose we outlaw all forms of metaphor that reference anything awful anyone at any time ever endured. You can't hijack conversations, because people have died on hijacked airplanes. You can't put your nose to the grindstone, because people were tortured that way a long time ago. You can't call yourself a slave to fashion, because of real slavery. You can't mount a crusade against idiocy, because you might offend both Christians and the victims of historical Christian violence. You can't crash after a hard day, because people in real car crashes might not like it.

Won't English be fun, then?
Robert N. Lee adds:
One of the FAILfailers' favorite terms is "derailing." Don't they know that trains have actually derailed? In India and other exotic places with lots of poor people, even?
ETA: Self-censor and be damned! | Kenan Malik - Times Online has this conclusion:
It is everybody's business to ensure that no one is deprived of their right to say what they wish, even if it is deemed by some to be offensive. In a plural society it is both inevitable and important that people offend others. Inevitable, because where different beliefs are deeply held clashes are unavoidable and these should be dealt with openly rather than suppressed. Important because any kind of social progress requires one to offend some deeply held sensibilities. “If liberty means anything,” as George Orwell put it, “it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
ETA 2: From Göran Lindberg and Sweden's dark side | feature | World news | The Observer:
The theory behind the PC view of the world is that if you change the language, you change what the language describes, because perception alters reality: non-sexist expressions, for example, help to foster non-sexist thoughts. But what if the prescribed opinion is a false consensus? What if language is a disguise, a means of conformity that serves to conceal the underlying and more disturbing truth?
ETA 3: greyorm: Appropriating Bataan

ETA 4: The failfans also don't seem to know that "death march" does not refer exclusively to Bataan. For a few more examples, see Death Marches at the United States Holocaust Museum.

And they don't seem to know that "death march projects" is such a common metaphor in the software industry that there's at least one book with that title: Death March (2nd Edition) (9780131436350): Edward Yourdon: Books.

ETA 5: Best blog post yet on the subject: katallen: Triskaidekaphobia.

ETA 6: Just found Tempest using "cut a bitch" in speech. She tweeted: "I'm just going to give up on reading any books until someone else vets them now because if I have to see any more damn rape Imma cut a bitch"

Does she really not know that if you literally cut someone, it's, like, bad? Also, I'd thought feminists weren't supposed to call women bitches, but, hey, I'm old.

ETA 7: Death march has a list of examples of death marches.

ETA 8: Google "deathmarch". Search it in icerocket. Failfans have quite a job ahead of them if they hope to convince the world it should only be used by historians speaking of Bataan.