Posts Tagged ‘confederate’

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Lexical Semantics…

December 8, 2016

and my woeful inadequacy therein….

I learned several years ago that if I wanted to have a civilized conversation with someone, internet arenas dedicated to commentary and discussion were one notch below a Hells Angels get-together for suitability. It didn’t used to be that way.

Back in the days of Dial-up connection and the iconic yet corny-from-the-start “ You’ve got mail” announcement from AOL, the early “chat rooms” were rather benign by today’s standards. Behavior mattered, and habitually rude and or insulting behavior would earn “banishment” from a “moderator”. This was not an infringement on Freedom of Speech. The sites were “owned” and operated by individuals or companies like AOL, and they were free to establish their own parameters for “membership”. The enforcement of the rules was accomplished through the culture of the base membership, with a moderator stepping in as the last resort.

I wandered about trying several discussion boards or communities before joining one that seemed broad enough to be interesting and mature enough to be enjoyable. I followed it for more than ten years, off and on, and still have the password, though I doubt it is active anymore.

Technology and society have seen a few changes over the past 20-25 years. The last site I “joined” and interacted with on a somewhat regular basis was the “comment” portion of my local newspaper’s digital edition. That was a couple of years ago, and it didn’t last. Such places are now primarily dedicated to verbal combat and adolescent behavior. People jump on with screen names and hide behind fictional identities to say things that would get them seriously hurt in the real world. They are called “trolls”, among other apt nicknames, and they took the pleasure out of swapping howdy-dos over the internet.

Another one I tried briefly advertised itself as being “libertarian and tolerant of all views”, but turned out to be run like a boot camp by some hot dog who seemed more interested in meting out penalties than in communicating. Click.

From time to time, I succumb to the temptation to stick my toe in what still looks like water but which I know to be sulfuric acid. As I scan the articles claiming to be news, I usually come to a comments section at the end where readers can offer their feedback on the subject. The first one in line usually gets by without a hitch, but subsequent ones are highly likely to attract flies, or trolls, or both.

So, this morning I had just read an article obviously slanted for the “liberal” point of view, with specific emphasis in this particular case on mocking the so-called Confederate Battle Flag and those who defend it. I have found this sort of “pissing contest” to be rather pointless, but for some reason I felt compelled to drop a short comment after someone else’s comment.

In essence, I pointed out that America seems to have its own version of the Taliban, deciding which icons and monuments can stand and which must be destroyed. The Confederate Flag didn’t pass their PC muster and therefore had to go.

The “return shot” was as swift as it was incredible. A young lady from California sporting an Hispanic name and either questionable command of the language or of the keyboard scolded me, charging that I obviously don’t know the meaning of the words I used. Oh, wow! Oh, wow in scientific notation! This college educated former editor was being scolded by a post-adolescent Green Card for not understanding my native language! I couldn’t make this up! I also couldn’t stop laughing!

I started to prepare a short essay on my understanding of the words conservative, moderate, liberal, Taliban, and some points regarding the First Amendment, and then just backed away from the keyboard and smiled.

“Nice try,” I sneered at the monitor. “You almost got me.”

 

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Out, out, damned dress!…..

April 25, 2012

Tennessee school officials teach conflict resolution “cat-box” style ….

How can a dress cause racial tension? How about a shoe? Could that be responsible for social discord as well? Well, I understand the shoe bit, at least in situations where one might be thrown at a visiting head of state. But even then, it is the one committing the act of assault that is guilty of an offense, not the shoe.

In the case of the Tennessee teenager who was banned from her school prom for wearing a dress made in the image of the Confederate Battle Flag, I question the allegation that her clothing could create “racial tension”.

I wonder if it would have been ok had it been a “hoodie”….

I once had the crap beat out of me because I was wearing a jacket with a fraternity emblem on it when I walked through an alley some State College “townie” had decided was his personal property. In today’s climate, I wonder if it wouldn’t be I who was in court and my assailant viewed as the victim of some injustice.

Both the public and judicial courts will most likely rule that it is the human actions taken with or without the presence of a “hoodie”, Confederate flag, or any other symbol, and those committing those actions, that bear full responsibility. When someone causes harm to another because of his or her clothing, race, creed, gender, gender preference, or favorite vegetable, those alleged contributing factors are irrelevant. Only the behavior is at fault. The ethic du jour of the legal profession seems to be bottom fishing for secret entrances to other people’s wallets, and I don’t think society is better off for the effort. It has contributed to a paranoid society, fearful of marching out of step lest they be sued or something. It’s political correctness gone rogue.

Some elements of any society can be reasonably expected to exhibit no higher intellect than basic brain stem activity, but public school is the last place such a vacuum should be created and fostered. In addition to learning essential useful knowledge, such as the traditional “readin’ writin’ and ‘rithamatic”, by the time one reaches the final years of the required twelve, emphasis should be on critical thinking and creativity as well, and I don’t mean parsing the same comfortable classics their grandparents groaned over and providing the same canned analyses. Educators who are locked into the unfortunate one size fits all mind-set so characteristic of public school today are slamming the all too brief window of opportunity to put the minds of tomorrow’s leaders into gear, instead guaranteeing a surplus of “followers”.

The administrators who couldn’t think beyond the horizon of their next evaluation when addressing the Confederate Flag issue could have, and should have, used the situation as fodder for lively group discussions, both among those they projected would create discord if they saw it, and among those who thought it was a clever idea. Instead of hiding the very real potential for inappropriate behavior, educators owe it to their students and to their communities to teach the adults of tomorrow how to meet conflict head on, not how to bury it and just pretend it isn’t there and doesn’t smell bad.

 

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