1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

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1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby sotanaht » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:00 pm UTC

Image

Alt text: "* Mad about jorts"

So apparently the ability to speak and write at a (public) high school level is indicative of race or social class. I would have thought it to be intelligence or effort, unless he's saying those things are related somehow?

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:06 pm UTC

sotanaht wrote:So apparently the ability to speak and write at a (public) high school level is indicative of race or social class.

Yes, we've now graduated from "anybody who cares about spelling/grammar is just a dirty prescriptivist!" to "anybody who cares about spelling/grammar is a closet racist!" Fuck off, Randall.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby CharlieP » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:11 pm UTC

Most of my comments on grammar (and spelling) are tinged with disappointment, frustration and/or sadness, but never smugness. Does that disqualify me from Grammar Police membership?
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:13 pm UTC

Ok, how is "Thou shalt not weareth white garments after the Day of Labor" or "Suffer not the sandal to be worn with socks" racial/class issues?

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:40 pm UTC

sotanaht wrote:So apparently the ability to speak and write at a (public) high school level is indicative of race or social class. I would have thought it to be intelligence or effort, unless he's saying those things are related somehow?

Maybe because those style guides are usually based on the customs of the upper class, which is in turn mostly of the areas dominant race.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby O-Deka-K » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:45 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Ok, how is "Thou shalt not weareth white garments after the Day of Labor" or "Suffer not the sandal to be worn with socks" racial/class issues?

Well, the first statement excludes whites.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby warcupine » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:50 pm UTC

sotanaht wrote:So apparently the ability to speak and write at a (public) high school level is indicative of race or social class. I would have thought it to be intelligence or effort, unless he's saying those things are related somehow?

Access to education (and fashion), and to a cultural context that values mastery of language (and adherence to certain standards of fashion), are correlated with race and social class. Any value judgments or racist undertones in this statement are your own misreading.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:51 pm UTC

I would hope, for Randall's sake and the sake of our respect for him,
that he's referring to that subdivision of the Grammar Police who jump on errors used in casual speech. Witness, by comparison, the idiotic anti-grammar YouTube video that was referenced recently in the BoingBoing blog -- and the comments in response.

If he's really suggesting that correct grammar (and spelling) is not necessary in published documents, that's rather foolish.
OTOH, commenting solely on grammatical errors instead of pointing out the actual factual errors is sloppy (and bordering on ad hominem) work.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby ps.02 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:04 pm UTC

Well, the important thing is that you've found a way to feel superior to both.
ETA: (That's one of the great xkcd quotes that becomes topical again from time to time. Along with "Not really into Pokemon.")
Also: putting "literally" in the alt text was a nice touch. That is all.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby jules.LT » Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:06 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:I would hope, for Randall's sake and the sake of our respect for him,
that he's referring to that subdivision of the Grammar Police who jump on errors used in casual speech.

I'll assume that those are the only ones he's actually calling "Grammar Police"
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby operagost » Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:19 pm UTC

jules.LT wrote:
cellocgw wrote:I would hope, for Randall's sake and the sake of our respect for him,
that he's referring to that subdivision of the Grammar Police who jump on errors used in casual speech.

I'll assume that those are the only ones he's actually calling "Grammar Police"

I wouldn't. After all, with this racism/classism angle, that implies a zero-tolerance policy.

I find myself having to note poor grammar/spelling online or in SMS on occasion purely because I have no frickin' idea what the writer just said. If that's being a grammar cop, then tell me where to pick up my badge.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Whizbang » Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:22 pm UTC

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Dark_T_Zeratul » Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:39 pm UTC

Given the topic, I feel it only fair to point out that it's spelled "judgmental."

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby ps.02 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:46 pm UTC

Dark_T_Zeratul wrote:Given the topic, I feel it only fair to point out that it's spelled "judgmental."

True. What is not true is the implication that this is the only correct way to spell the word. (Look it up.)

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Angua » Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:49 pm UTC

Dark_T_Zeratul wrote:Given the topic, I feel it only fair to point out that it's spelt "judgmental."

Fixed that for you.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Flumble » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:12 pm UTC

ps.02 wrote:Also: putting "literally" in the alt text was a nice touch. That is all.

Firstly, that'd be the title text; the alt text is the text that should be displayed when the image itself isn't (for whichever reason).
Secondly, it's not in the title text, but on the bottom side of the image.
Thirdly, I enjoyed the little touch too. :)

I also agree on the "feeling superior to both". Though in that comic it was about two extremes on the same axis, whereas here it's about two extremes on very different ("literally the same") axes.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Justin Lardinois » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:13 pm UTC

I'm not really surprised that people on the xkcd forums are uncomfortable/outraged at the race/class part, but you need to think about it before you wholesale reject it. I'll note that I'm mostly talking about America here, since I'm not really familiar with race/class issues in other countries.

Grammar Nazis are usually pretty intolerant of new slang, as if language isn't allowed to change over time. And new slang almost always comes from minority (read: of color) communities before being adopted by the majority (read: white).

Also Grammar Nazis aren't a fan of African American Vernacular English, or "ebonics," decrying it as sounding stupid or uneducated, despite the fact that it's generally consistent with itself in terms of conjugation and word formation, sometimes even more so than "correct" English. For example, the reflexive form of her is herself in both. But in regular English his somehow becomes himself, while in AAVE it's generally hisself, which arguably makes a lot more sense.

As for the Fashion Police...I don't have to say much, do I? Quite a few places have banned saggy pants. I think we all know who those laws are targeted at.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Whizbang » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:18 pm UTC

Justin Lardinois wrote:I think we all know at whom those laws are targeted.


FTFY

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby morriswalters » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:19 pm UTC

And here I took it to mean that style guides and grammar guides are not one size fits all. Kinda like a style guide that says cornrows are should be banned in school. Damn I'm getting dumber every day. And what that other guy said.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:20 pm UTC

Race and class and access to education are all correlated, so pretending your elitism is just based on educational level doesn't magically make it not racist or classist. (It just makes it more socially acceptable in liberal settings, where being overtly racist and classist is frowned upon.)

Spelling and punctuation complaints are writing-specific and thus even more closely connected with access to higher education than complaints that are actually related to grammar. (It's always funny to me how many self-described grammar police don't actually understand that grammar is not the same as orthography.) A lot of the whining people do about "improper" grammar is directed at elements of AAVE or other ethnolects.

Also, while sexism isn't mentioned in the comic, another parallel is that women's fashion and language choices are scrutinized (and criticized) far more than men's choices.

Fuck every kind of police, basically.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby ucim » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:22 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Fuck every kind of police, basically.
Won't that generate... like, more police?

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:23 pm UTC

Only if people are assigned cop at birth (which is how my brain keeps wanting to interpret the All Cops Are Bastards acronym).
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:29 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:(It's always funny to me how many self-described grammar police don't actually understand that grammar is not the same as orthography.)

One widely attested sense of the word "grammar" does include orthography, though, thanks to the existence of those style guides....
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Weeks » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:30 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:Yes, we've now graduated from "anybody who cares about spelling/grammar is just a dirty prescriptivist!" to "anybody who cares about spelling/grammar is a closet racist!" Fuck off, Randall.
ikr, those darn meanieheads with their racism accusations. Screw you randall! *deletes account*
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Sofie » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:31 pm UTC

Yeah, fashion & grammar were from the start about separating the upper class from the lower class. Pointless wastes of time & money, in order to exclude those who don't have time & money to waste. It's probably more obvious if you look at history than today.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Zylon » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:41 pm UTC

Oh joy, another "Randall trolls his own readers" strip.

Go take a flying flippity fuck for your false equivalence, Randy.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby ShuRugal » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:51 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
sotanaht wrote:So apparently the ability to speak and write at a (public) high school level is indicative of race or social class. I would have thought it to be intelligence or effort, unless he's saying those things are related somehow?

Maybe because those style guides are usually based on the customs of the upper class, which is in turn mostly of the areas dominant race.


gmalivuk wrote:Race and class and access to education are all correlated, so pretending your elitism is just based on educational level doesn't magically make it not racist or classist. (It just makes it more socially acceptable in liberal settings, where being overtly racist and classist is frowned upon.)



Except, of course, that the entire -point- of uniform grammar standards is so that everyone can communicate clearly and easily. If everyone, across all social and race "divisions" uses the same standards in their communication, then there is significantly less margin for misunderstanding.

Everyone conforming to the same standard also robs elitists of the ability to dismiss someone they don't want to listen to for other reasons (such as race) because of a 'front' reason like grammar.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:52 pm UTC

Sofie wrote:Yeah, fashion & grammar were from the start about separating the upper class from the lower class. Pointless wastes of time & money, in order to exclude those who don't have time & money to waste. It's probably more obvious if you look at history than today.

No, grammar is about having a meaningful structure to language for clear communication.

Edit: or what ShuRugal said. Going from "racists can cloak their racism in grammatical objections" to "caring about grammar is racist" is absurd.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:54 pm UTC

Zylon wrote:Oh joy, another "Randall trolls his own readers" strip.

Go take a flying flippity fuck for your false equivalence, Randy.
"His own readers" are all members of one of these groups? Which way are you offended? I guess the comic's never really made fun of fashion prescription before. Grammar pedants have not been so fortunate.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby ps.02 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:55 pm UTC

Justin Lardinois wrote:new slang almost always comes from minority (read: of color) communities before being adopted by the majority (read: white).

[Citation needed]
I don't buy that. Certainly, new coinages have to come from a minority. Some smaller group has to be the first to start circulating a word. But plenty of new words and phrases, like blog, molly, chick lit, lolcat, or toxic asset, come from subcultures not defined by ethnicity.
[AAVE is] generally consistent with itself in terms of conjugation and word formation, sometimes even more so than "correct" English. For example, the reflexive form of her is herself in both. But in regular English his somehow becomes himself, while in AAVE it's generally hisself, which arguably makes a lot more sense.

Yes, if you also change the other third-person forms itself, oneself, themself, and themselves. But these are all still accusative pronouns, so it is indeed arguable whether it makes more sense to derive them from accusative or genitive pronouns. That traditional English is split on the matter is inconsistent but not necessarily nonsensical.

(Also, the split in standard English does have a pattern: it's the first- and second-person forms vs. the third-person forms. I have no idea why.)

(Also note: herself is a poor example, as it fits both patterns.)

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Whizbang » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:57 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:..., grammar is about having a meaningful structure to language for clear communication.

Edit: or what ShuRugal said. Going from "racists can cloak their racism in grammatical objections" to "caring about grammar is racist" is absurd.
So, what you're saying is that everyone should learn and use Lobjan or some equivalent? 'Cause otherwise you're just being lingocentric.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:01 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:
Zylon wrote:Oh joy, another "Randall trolls his own readers" strip.

Go take a flying flippity fuck for your false equivalence, Randy.
"His own readers" are all members of one of these groups? Which way are you offended? I guess the comic's never really made fun of fashion prescription before. Grammar pedants have not been so fortunate.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby eran_rathan » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:17 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
Copper Bezel wrote:
Zylon wrote:Oh joy, another "Randall trolls his own readers" strip.

Go take a flying flippity fuck for your false equivalence, Randy.
"His own readers" are all members of one of these groups? Which way are you offended? I guess the comic's never really made fun of fashion prescription before. Grammar pedants have not been so fortunate.

Isn't it obvious? I'll fukkin' cut you if you insult my hat.


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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:18 pm UTC

Angua wrote:
Dark_T_Zeratul wrote:Given the topic, I feel it only fair to point out that it's spelt "judgmental."

Fixed that for you.


You could say there's a grain of truth in that correction.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Sofie » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:18 pm UTC

One can communicate perfectly fine without grammar, it's just a matter of what you're used to. Standardizing to the upper class language makes things easier for them - not for anyone else. You do see how it's elitist? If I'm having difficulty understanding you, you should learn to speak my language. If you're having difficulty understanding me, you should learn to understand my language. Now lets make jokes about people who speak your language!

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby doogly » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:30 pm UTC

Zylon wrote:Oh joy, another "Randall trolls his own readers" strip.

Go take a flying flippity fuck for your false equivalence, Randy.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Angua » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:35 pm UTC

Do all a you remember when ahby done filter the fora dem to dis?
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:39 pm UTC

Grammar *describes* the rules people use when forming and interpreting utterances, and every mode of interaction that is successfully used to communicate complex information has such rules. You can't communicate perfectly fine without any grammar, but you can do so without any externally prescribed standard grammar.

What commodorejohn and other grammar snobs never seem to get is that a lect can have a grammar without having your preferred grammar.

Angua wrote:Do all a you remember when ahby done filter the fora dem to dis?
Too bad it's probably a lot more difficult to automatically add a bunch of filters back in than it is to remove them en masse...
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:40 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:
commodorejohn wrote:..., grammar is about having a meaningful structure to language for clear communication.

Edit: or what ShuRugal said. Going from "racists can cloak their racism in grammatical objections" to "caring about grammar is racist" is absurd.
So, what you're saying is that everyone should learn and use Lobjan or some equivalent? 'Cause otherwise you're just being lingocentric.

No, what I'm saying is that whatever language you're communicating in, you should learn to do so clearly.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Angua » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:43 pm UTC

It's pretty hard to communicate in a language without using grammar though. It's hardwired into us.

The problem is that different groups of people use different grammars in their language, and some people have difficulty codeswitching from one to the other.

There's a reason why ESL speakers often have a harder time communicating with each other when there are native English speakers around as well (assuming that the ESL speakers are communicating with each other in English).
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