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Shelagh
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Shelagh

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PostSubject: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyTue Aug 19, 2014 9:55 am

Modern literature has always reflected people's behaviour and their use of the language of the day. Pressure applied to authors not to use certain hurtful words has to be weighed against giving a false impression of modern society. If words that are in use are absent in the writings of the day, future generations will have a false view of what went on in earlier times.

What do you think?


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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyTue Aug 19, 2014 10:11 am

I agree. To portray a character realistically, you must let the character say and do what such a person would say and do in real life. If such speech and behavior offends the author, then he/she would probably be happier writing about someone else. If it offends the reader, not much you can do about that. It isn't easy to write a protagonist with perceived flawed traits. Particularly when the writer doesn't want to be judged based on the characters.
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alj
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alj

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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyTue Aug 19, 2014 10:58 am

I had to do a lot of justifying my insistence on the importance of including a couple of novels in my American Lit course: Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

Even after getting them approved, I had to convince quite a few of my students to trust me and go along. (and not all of these students were members of a minority. They were simply enlightened enough to disapprove) I told them that if they were not getting angry, then maybe they had a problem. As those despicable words and situations came up, I encouraged them to voice their objections, and we openly discussed their problems. Then as we approached the resolutions to the stories, we talked about how certain characters had completely reversed their original perceptions. The students learned that fictional stories can change the way the readers perceive these unfair circumstances, and that very often, the use of those despised words was necessary for the writer to make her or his point.

My feeling is that, if the majority of an author's characters habitually use such negative words regularly, then the author has a problem that I do not care to deal with and I am not likely to read those books.

On the other hand, the careful use of certain words an/or situations, especially if they are out-of-character, can say volumes about the character's state of mind under unusual or extreme circumstances.

In the 21st century time-warp of Redstone's Valley, for instance, when we first meet Joshua Stone, a former NYPD cop, he is in a very bad place, so his occasional use of that "F" word is most important to the understanding of the character, especially since, as he accepts and changes, the use of that word simply disappears.

There are other considerations. That word does not appear in the 19th century timeline. When Jake gets upset, he might let slip a "s**t," but nothing more. His son Chase, near the end of the story, after reaching manhood, uses the expression once. Even Johnny, the young "Aggie" of the class of 1962, rarely uses the "s" word, and never the "f" word, and his older self, JT, doesn't say it at all.

It all depends on the time and the text.
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Domenic Pappalardo
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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyTue Aug 19, 2014 1:54 pm

I have two stories. One uses the F word, the other the F, and N word.I base this on life style, education, and the words used by groups in their time. I don't sweep history under the rug.
Even today, many men will use these words. What is hard for me is when I hear women use them. I myself do not. I take the writing of others apart to see how the author built a story, and to also read the writer. I do this also with my own work. I do understand I project some of me into my characters. The will at time say, or do things I have not allowed myself to say, or do. There are people in this world I do not like. If these types are characters in a story I am writing, they don't have a chance. I would never harm them in real life, but there is a not written law that can control my thinking; only I can do that. I try very hard to be honest in my writing. I also try to be honest with myself, and make effort to control my thinking. As to my characters, they are free to talk like those in their situation, in their time.
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Victor D. Lopez
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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyWed Aug 20, 2014 11:51 am

Pressure has always been applied to authors to "conform" to the conventions of their time. And there have always been those who want to BAN anything that OFFENDS them. Ironically, (and hypocritically) the very same people who ridicule those who would ban (or burn) books they find offensive/subversive/dangerous are the first to point indignant fingers at those who use language (or, worse, espouse ideas) that offend them. No society that yields to such forces from either the right or left of the political spectrum will long remain a democracy.

Political correctness has reached an absurd climax in the U.S. today. Outright racist language is attacked, and rightfully so, though only if it is used by the "wrong" people. (Read: whites can't use the N word in any context, but blacks can--and they can also call whites "crackers, "whitey," and other equally derogatory words with impunity.) A black man or woman calling another black man or woman an Oreo as a derogatory term is perfectly acceptable (meaning they are "black on the outside but white on the inside") in writing, on television or in casual speech. A black person referring to any lawyer as a "Jew" is also perfectly fine and does not raise a problem with the thought police on network television (as in "I'm going to call my Jew", meaning my lawyer, who could be white, Christian or Korean for that matter as the term is just a synonym for "lawyer" in some quarters) But the use of "niggardly" which as we all know refers only to ones unwillingness to part with cash, being stingy, miserly or ungenerous and has absolutely nothing to do with a racist term, is loudly called into question as a "racist" term because, you know, it sounds too much like the "N" word and heavens forfend anyone actually have to know the meaning of a word prior to raising the alarm and getting their grievance aired on national television.

Likewise this week the term "white is the new black" referring as anyone with the IQ above that of a potato knows to be a fashion statement--that the color white is replacing the color black as the "in" color in fashion circles.  No matter; it offends the sensibilities of the senseless and must be called into question, quashed and banned from the language lest anyone suffer the slings and arrows of a perceived slur. Never mind that absolutely no one complained when the highly popular cable show "Orange is the New Black," which obviously also refers to the same fashion cliche, first aired or at any time during its highly successful run. If prison jumpsuits were red rather than orange and the show was titled "Red is the New Black" then perhaps there would also be some outrage at the possibility of some Native American taking offense since the term could conceivably be construed as a racial slur as well. On the other hand, "Yellow is the New Black" would likely not raise many hackles as no one seems to have any sensibility whatever against real or perceived slurs against Orientals these days and blacks would likely not see any problem with that comparison as only comparisons to "whites" are banned. And if any Oriental complained, they'd be dismissed as nut jobs, told to grow the hell up, or perhaps labeled as "racist" for even suggesting that a racial slur was intended by such an obviously racial-neutral term.

Race baiting and the marketing of hatred is big business. Just ask any self-proclaimed "Civil Rights Leader" flocking to the scene of any area of civil unrest chanting "NO JUSTICE NO PEACE." For my part, I will always speak my mind and write exactly as I please, and I will support the rights of others to do exactly the same as is their Constitutionally protected right. Anyone who does not like it is free to not read what I write and/or criticize me as she/he sees fit. That is the hallmark of a free and healthy society. Those who take offense are free to whine and pout at will; what they cannot do is impose their will on anyone other than those who lack the courage to oppose them.


Last edited by Victor D. Lopez on Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Domenic Pappalardo
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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyWed Aug 20, 2014 12:12 pm

Victor D. Lopez wrote:
Pressure has always been applied to authors to "conform" to the conventions of their time. And there have always been those who want to BAN anything that OFFENDS them. Ironically, (and hypocritically) the very same people who ridicule those who would ban (or burn) books they find offensive/subversive/dangerous are the first to point indignant fingers at those who use language (or, worse, espouse ideas) that offend them. No society that yields to such forces from either the right or left of the political spectrum will long remain a democracy.

Political correctness has reached an absurd climax in the U.S. today. Outright racist language is attacked, and rightfully so, though only if it is used by the "wrong" people. (Read: whites can't use the N word in any context, but blacks can--and they can also call whites "crackers, "whitey," and other equally derogatory words with impunity.) A black man or woman calling another black man or woman an Oreo as a derogatory term is perfectly acceptable (meaning they are "black on the outside but white on the inside") in writing, on television or in speech. A black person referring to NY lawyer as a "Jew" is also perfectly fine and does not raise a problem with the thought police on network television (as in "I'm going to call my Jew, meaning my lawyer, who could be white, christian or Korean for that matter as the term is just a synonym for "lawyer" in some quarters) But the use of "niggardly" which as we all know refers only to ones unwillingness to part with cash and has nothing to do with a racist term is loudly called into question as a "racist" term because, you know, it sounds too much like the "N" word and heavens forfend anyone actually have to know the meaning of a word prior to raising the alarm and getting their grievance aired on national television. Likewise this week the term "White is the new black" referring as anyone with the IQ above that of a potato knows to be a fashion statement--that the color white is replacing the color black as the "in" color in fashion circles.  No matter; it offends the sensibilities of the senseless and must be called into question, quashed and banned from the language lest anyone suffer the slings and arrows of a perceived slur. (Never mind that absolutely no one complained when the highly popular cable show "Orange is the New Black" (which obviously also refers to the same fashion cliche) first aired or at any time during its successful run. If prison jumpsuits were red rather than orange and the show was titled "Red is the New Black" then perhaps there would also be some outrage at the possibility of some Native American taking offense since the term could conceivably be construed as a racial slur as well. On the other hand, "Yellow is the New Black" would likely not raise many hackles as no one seems to have any sensibility whatever against real or perceived slurs against Orientals these days and blacks would likely not see any problem with that comparison as only comparisons to "whites" are banned. If any oriental complained, they'd be dismissed as nut jobs, told to grow the hell up, or perhaps labeled as "racist" for even suggesting that a racial slur was intended by such an obviously racial-neutral term.

Race baiting and the marketing of hatred is big business. Just ask any self-proclaimed "Civil Rights Leader" flocking to the scene of any area of civil unrest chanting "NO JUSTICE NO PEACE."
Very well put Victor.
I always refuse to check my color on forms...I just mark the little box that says, "OTHER."
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyWed Aug 20, 2014 12:31 pm

Political correctness 950944  Victor!

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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyWed Aug 20, 2014 1:10 pm

A common modern version is:[2]
From Wikipedia:

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,Catch a tiger by the toe.If he hollers, let him go,Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.
There are many common variations, such as replacing tiger with "piggy", "nigger" (when the word was still in common use), "tinker", "tigger", "chicken", "monkey", "baby", "spider", "teacher", or a two-syllable name; and changing the verb in the third line to "screams", "wiggles", "squeals" or another verb.[3] The last two lines may be changed to "if he hollers, let him pay, fifty dollars every day."

I was not taught with "tiger."  I never heard "piggy" as that was the market rhyme.  In any respect, the rhyme feels disrespectful in its original version and is fortunately not used.  Even Wikipedia did not write the rhyme in the original - It was not tiger.

Another is "Indian-giving" or "Chinese gift exchange."  While at one time they were intended as describing a cultural activity, the trait itself turned into a negative stereotype.

Remember "wench" and others?  It's appropriate for word usage to change over time.  Ever go to an old play and wonder about the words they use?  Even in the 40's and 50's? 

Language changes as we become more communication savvy and understand that language and words define who we are and label our world as positive or negative.  I think it's always a better choice to pick the positive words rather than the negative ones.  Why put any more ugliness into the world?  It seems ugliness takes little effort or thought.  It's readily available.  Thought seems to be required for the promotion of beauty and understanding.

I made the mistake of saying to my adult son, "what you up to, boy?" in what I thought was an affectionate tone.  He became angry and said to never call him "boy" again.  I tried to explain that he is always the boy in my  heart but it did absolutely no good at all.

The first time a handsome younger man said, "May I help you, m'am" to me I was hurt and looked in the mirror all the way home to see when I turned into a M'am.

Personally, I don't find it sexy to refer to body parts with their vulgar names.  I find it disgusting.  Thus, I don't use graphic language in what I write and I don't like to read it either.  Vulgar words give me an image of uncouth people - probably from my early reading of the Classics.

I also don't see the testosterone in men speaking in swear words and vulgar terminology.  To me, a man shows his power in his command of appropriate language for the moment - the right word - not the overused one.

And now for the question at hand.  Do you want people to buy your books?  Well, then consider how the language needs to be for their purchase by your target audience.  Certainly one would cleanse the language for young adults compared to those adults choosing erotica or violent, murderous novels. Some publishers also have standards of what language they wish in their publications - example, Christian romance novels.
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyWed Aug 20, 2014 2:46 pm

Sometimes my characters say things that shock me. When that happens, I tend to leave the expressions in. I agree with Mark David Gerson (Voice of the Muse, et al) that the story knows more than I do, so I generally accept their words and actions. I remind myself that these are their words, not mine.
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyWed Aug 20, 2014 10:40 pm

Interesting how our perspectives change as we age. I find that what I say can be excused away because I'm:  "An old Fart?  "Suffering from dementia" or some other non-complimentary term.  If I make reference to a woman/girl/lady as a “young chick”, I may intend it as a compliment while the recipient may not see it that way. 
I have decided to just be me.  I'm too old to play mind games. If I am accepted for who or what I am, I am pleased.  I'm sick of labels or getting into philosophical discussions.  I shy away from people who want to impress with their educational background or intellectual prowess.  I can’t compete and am too tired even to try.  In the past I tried to be very cautious about what I would write as a post so as not to offend.  In doing so, the message I wanted to give was lost in niceness.  
Remember the commercial:  “You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay….”  Call me what you want.  It won’t change who I am.
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyThu Aug 21, 2014 6:59 am

I went through a phase on Facebook where I said my truth.  The hate back was frightening.  I decided there are too many people with different ranges of mental stability to share one's true beliefs on a public forum anymore.  Thus, I am now more cautious though sometimes I just can't stand the venomous messages people post to arouse the very division in the nation that weakens us in the world and yes, in our own souls.

As for what we say in our novels, let the readers decide if it works for them while the author produces their product in the way they see it best.  Fortunately, my very worldly life has given me the opportunity to choose with whom I wish to associate.  Therefore, my exposure to rough language and vulgar terminology has been limited. I worked in many male dominated workplaces, but those males saved their vulgarities for their gab fabs and followed the old civility of speaking appropriately with a woman present.

Even my guys in the military that were from ghettos, islands and justice referrals "left their street talk at the door."
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyThu Aug 21, 2014 7:40 am

Your life sounds much like mine, in such respects, DK.  I cannot say that I have never heard such words.  I remember, during the 70's, the change in the movies that were becoming popular.  For the group that my husband and I associated with, a group hitting that mid-life crisis point, seeing films like "The French Connection" was a part of that mind-set.  A couple of the husbands (not mine), even one wife (not me or my particular woman-friends), decided for a time that it sounded cool, and the rest of us quickly learned that to voice our objections simply brought on more from those few.  And our choices of companions were limited, to an extent, by greed, since these individuals were also business clients with lucrative businesses which required large commercial lines insurance policies. (There were professionals in the group - drs and lawyers - as well as merchants and bankers.) The fun of it died down pretty quickly once it was simply ignored.  It was a time of changing values and perspectives, and quite a few divorces, including my own.

Overuse of those words and phrases wears out quickly, as those members of our little group found out.  They lose their punch.  Reading books that rely on them have the same effect on me as the current overuse of erotica.  I choose not to read them.  Unfortunately, the average reader today chooses not to read my books, as they are seen as too tame.
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Betty Fasig
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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyThu Aug 21, 2014 5:27 pm

I have started reading Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment for about the 10th time.  I read it long ago and in my youth and then later..
When I was 18, I found it a profound but really did not understand it.  I like to think that the mind grows and is able to wrap it's self around characters so exquisitely portrayed.  In fact, to see the mind of the genius who wrote it. 
Love,
Betty
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyThu Aug 21, 2014 5:36 pm

I agree. Great books can be read over and over and we always find something new, that we missed at an earlier reading. It's like the books grow wih us, like close friends.
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Domenic Pappalardo
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PostSubject: Re: Political correctness   Political correctness EmptyThu Aug 21, 2014 8:14 pm

Over time, bad, and good saying lose their meaning.

Here is an example: "Gee Wezz." The meaning of this was an insult to Christians. It meant, "Jesus the wizard." The Bible teaches not to have anything to do with those who do magic(black magic) and wizards. It is an insult to call Jesus a wizard.

I took this of a question thing were people were asked waht, Gee Wezz meant. Here are some of their replies:

 comments. Post one | Permalink

by Grandma Roses - my avatar is my real dog on October 2nd, 2010
Grandma Roses - my avatar is my real dog
Meaning : An interjection or exclamation of surprise.

The first record of it appearing in print is from Cody and Arlington's Life on the Border, 1876:
"Gee-wees!...I'll bet one hundred dollars on that hand!"

The currently accepted spelling was used soon afterwards. For example, this piece of doggerel from the Pennsylvania newspaper The Warren Ledger, 1883:


Our fight was poorly fought -
Gee whiz,




by formichinoo on October 2nd, 2010
formichinoo: It was a good American pop song from the 50s/60s.

   

by prettytransexual on October 1st, 2010
prettytransexual: since it is slang and not a word just slang then it can mean what ever u want it 2 mean





by scallywag331 on October 2nd, 2010
scallywag331: it's means wow who know?



by JPsgirl on October 1st, 2010
JPsgirl: An old expression similar to "aw, shucks."

by Dabendan yangui zi on October 1st, 2010
Dabendan yangui zi: It is a slang expression that started with Cheese wiz...and came into the public language in the 1950's:) IDK:)
ACTUALLY from urbandictionary.com

It's what you say every 5 seconds on a 50's sitcom. Goes great along with that's swell. Means: oh shoot, darn it, wow, that's grand Can be used in a variety of ways.
Gee wiz, Dad, you sure are swell!
wow 50's old awesome cool

Synonym for "wow". Alleged etymology: A way of saying "Jesus!" without being accused of swearing. More often used as a negative exclamation than a positive one.
Gee wiz, what have you gone and done with your hair?
Oh No!
Great!
Im so surprised!
Gee wiz that was funny.

a "Gee wiz" or "g-wiz" is a street term for one thousand dollars in US currency.
"yo this motha-fucker owes me a motha fuckin g-wiz son"

   by Shunyata on October 1st, 2010
Shunyata: an exclamation in astonishment
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