1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

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morriswalters
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby morriswalters » Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:32 pm UTC

niauropsaka wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Well I'll just bet that Randall is just sitting at the house periodically giggling thinking about the response to the panel. Do you think that Randall is the guy in the hat?

The thing about everybody being racist is that it dilutes the term and makes it more or less useless for conveying a point. I've learned two new words, jorts(love em) and AAVE, although I suppose AAVE is an acronym.

Sorry, I think I forgot to spell it out. African-American Vernacular English. It's sort of a flashpoint for grammarians and linguists, because it is clearly a form of North American English, but one which sounds "wrong" to many Anglo-Americans. For example, the perfect tenses are formed a little differently from those in "General American."

Linguists and philologists maintain that it has an actual grammar, and is the language of some amount of folklore and literature to be learned, studied, and preserved. People who aren't linguists or philologists often think that it's just ignorant folk using words the wrong way.
I got it okay, Google rules. And I first discovered it 20 or so years ago when visiting the home of an acquaintance. About 5 minutes in I realized that I didn't speak whatever language it was that his friends were speaking. My first experience being a minority of sorts. I suspect they thought I was brain damaged.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Netreker0 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:43 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:Yes, I should've been clearer. I'm saying that the assertion that good grammar (as an issue) is fundamentally a "transparent [proxy] for race or social class" (as opposed to being a rationalization that racists or classists sometimes use to cloak their prejudice) is malarkey (n. meaningless talk; nonsense.)


Just to clarify further: Are you asserting that Randall, the author of this comic, made the assertion you just articulated?

I ask because the text in the comic ("vindictive about things that are often uncomfortably transparent proxies for race or social class") seems to match your parenthetical (" being a rationalization that racists or classists sometimes use to cloak their prejudice") far closer than it matches your paraphrase(?): "good grammar (as an issue) is fundamentally a "transparent [proxy] for race or social class.""

It seems to me that the biggest difference between the assertion you find ridiculous and the assertion you would find acceptable is that "fundamentally" bit. So I find it noteworthy that you were the one to add that bit yourself.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby commodorejohn » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:06 am UTC

Yes, I admit that's an inference on my part. However, I think it's a reasonable one (i.e. I think that what he's implying is closer to my reading than a straight literal interpretation of his wording,) given the tone of the rest of the comic and the fact that that would seem to be the only point in bringing the subject up to begin with.

(However, I seem to have been ambiguously threatened with the banhammer by SecondTalon, so please excuse me if I avoid any further discussion on the subject.)
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Netreker0 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:15 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:]You can be racist and classist without realizing it. A lot of grammar police probably aren't aware that a lot of their peeving is in effect racist and classist, but that doesn't mean it isn't.


I think you need to be clear about your terms. I generally associate racism with intent, and rank it up there as a high level bad thing. In that sense, you can't be racist without knowing it. You can benefit from an institution or a belief that arose out of racism without any knowledge or intent, and that might not be a good thing, but I don't consider that to be racism in the very bad thing sense. Heck, over the years there have probably been hundreds of black descendants of slaves who went to Georgetown, and essentially benefited from a racist institution that exploited their own ancestors. Most people wouldn't call them racist.

Another thing is the guy who unknowingly perpetuates racism. (Think a foreigner going around calling everyone the N-word not understanding that it's a slur, and not just another word for those dark-skinned guys he doesn't have in his home country.) Again, I can't really blame the guy, because he doesn't know any better, and shouldn't have been expected to. Guys like that should be informed about their mistake, but they shouldn't be judged. As you've seen first hand, judgment leads to defensiveness, which rarely leads to a productive conversation.

In practice, I generally have to reserve judgment for a while because how I feel ultimately hinges on intent, and you shouldn't immediately infer intent based on one or two things someone says.

The weight of the evidence supports the link between race and class status, and what is acceptable "standard" grammar. There's nothing we can do about it (other than change how we teach speakers of extremely different English dialects), and perhaps there's nothing we should do about it. However, that doesn't mean we should pretend the link doesn't exist. It's like the Japanese guys who deny the whole Rape of Nanking, forced prostitution, illegal mistreatment and execution of Allied POWs thing, and assert that Pearl Harbor was a "defensive act." While I would never blame somebody for events that took place when they weren't even born yet, I can condemn them for making the deliberate choice to create a self-serving false narrative. (You'd be surprised how many educated, intelligent Japanese people have no idea why China and Korea remains rather hostile towards them, and basically see WWII as "So we were just going around Asia, helping our neighbors build infrastructure and defend against imperialism, when out of nowhere America nukes us.") If you know or should know something to be true, but you actively argue it's false because it makes you uncomfortable, you're no better than a Holocaust denier. If you perpetuate a falsehood out of ignorance, you're more victim than perpetrator.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Tova » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:50 am UTC

But enough about you, Randall. What about those fashion and style police?

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Whizbang » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:52 am UTC

I know you are but what am I?!

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Mambrino » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:58 am UTC

Netreker0 wrote:
Mambrino wrote:Call me pessimistic, the question I want to ask: How does pointing out that the standardized grammar is elitist help with anything? It is, very clever, but what is the alternative, and is getting there an overly optimistic scenario in the light of the historical evidence?


By your post count, you're not some random guy who wandered in off the street, which was my first impression. This is XKCD. I thought the one thing most fans had in common idea that examining things, picking them apart, and finding new knowledge was a fun and worthwhile pursuit even absent any practical benefit.


Maybe you're making too broad assumptions. I originally came around these forums for math-y jokes, stayed for news forum and random discussion. Otherwise, thank you for responding with a very well-written post.

To address the rest of your post: maybe we are not in disagreement over many things. I have no problem with studying things, and for example, in this case, recognizing all the inherent problems with the standard grammar and drawing useful conclusions (regarding which, your post was very enlightening).

What I dislike is stamping certain words (usually ending with -ist) on stuff, which often is unproductive (as possibly demonstrated by this thread): suddenly the discussion is about who is or isn't a morally wrong bad -ist person, or barring that, another very possible (unstated) implication is that the $phenomenon (in this case, a standard form of the language as characterized by a certain prescribed grammar rules) being discussed is an -ist thing, therefore a bad thing, and thus something that should removed from the society. When the discussion moves to the territory of moral wrongs .. careful consideration of complicated issues often is not forthcoming?

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Netreker0 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:00 am UTC

commodorejohn wrote:Yes, I admit that's an inference on my part. However, I think it's a reasonable one (i.e. I think that what he's implying is closer to my reading than a straight literal interpretation of his wording,) given the tone of the rest of the comic and the fact that that would seem to be the only point in bringing the subject up to begin with.



Respectfully, I disagree with the alleged reasonableness of your interpretation. I wonder whether your interpretation might be tainted by the fallacy of composition? In case I am confusing my fallacies, what I mean is the false belief that because Randall takes what may be considered an extreme left position on many issues, he should be considered part of a monolithic group of people you categorize as being the extreme left, and because he is part of that monolithic group, it is then reasonable to interpret all of his ambiguous positions as being consistent with the most extreme left members of that extreme left group (even if that position lies outside the range of ambiguity and you literally have to rewrite his statement yourself.)

"given the tone of the rest of the comic and the fact that that would seem to be the only point in bringing the subject up to begin with"

This is why I wonder if you may be experiencing a bit of tunnel vision for whatever reason. It didn't take me long to come up with another plausible point to bringing up the subject: Randall hates grammar police and fashion police, and he found what he thought was a funny way to have a laugh at their expense, while also thinking about a few things that may be worth thinking about. That reason is also perfectly consistent with the tone of the rest of the comic--I've seen many strips that are basically Randall going after some pet peeve of his, probably far outnumbering comics that have even a tenuous "social justice component." In particular, Randall seems to have a particular love of going after pedantic people--which is funny, since he can be pretty pedantic himself at times and I think he's aware of that.

I mean, you've got Reductionism, Wrong guy, pretty much anything with the dude in the hat really, Politifact and Business Ideas (maybe), Code Quality... unless there's a political component I'm missing to indulging your dislike for sloppy coding, I'd say "fun rants against pet peeves" dominates the tone and the content of the comic fairly often.

In contrast, the biggest social issue comic I've seen recently is the climate change one, and even that arguably focuses more on the science than the politics, as much as that's possible. Believe it or not, it's possible to believe that the science is valid and that certain attacks on the science are invalid, while simultaneously believing that Al Gore's an idiot/the Democrat's solutions won't solve anything and only benefit certain cronies/the change in standard of living necessary to effect real change is so great that we're better off accepting the inevitable and developing ways to adapt.

Oh, and I just realized another reason Randall might bring up the subject of this comic: He's interested in language and linguistics. Don't know why it took me so long. It's got top billing with Math, Sarcasm, and Romance. Plus there are tons of recent comics concerning language and linguistics with no social justice component at all--Intervocalic Fortition and Inflection, for example.

I have to say, this whole thread is pretty ironic, in probably the incorrect use of the term. You and other self-identified grammar police types (who may or may not fall under the group Randall envisions when he uses the term) take issue with that guy saying "your grammar policing means racism whether that is your intent or not because that's how I interpret it given the wider context." And yet you're essentially arguing "Randall is calling all of us racists, whether or not that interpretation jives with the literal reading of his words, because that's how I interpret it given the wider context."

(However, I seem to have been ambiguously threatened with the banhammer by SecondTalon, so please excuse me if I avoid any further discussion on the subject.)


I won't construe any non-response on your part as any sort of admission. I would enjoy continuing this line of conversation civilly, if you would be agreeable, but I completely understand why you would want to take an extremely cautious source of action.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Flumble » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:03 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Flumble wrote:By the way, "most discrimination boils down to racism" is very much an american thing (and I think a lot of people are mistaken about that and just scream racism because the word is trendy and they can't be bothered to differentiate between sources of discrimination, but I'll refrain from "let me tell you about your country...").
Who said or implied that most discrimination boils down to racism?

I took your remark "A lot of grammar police probably aren't aware that a lot of their peeving is in effect racist and classist" as meaning it has both the racist and classist properties, and attacked the racist part because it's trendy. (And because racism got the focus and it seems to me that it's the furthest from the actual source of discrimination, but mostly because it's trendy)
I think there's an unintended generalization in there on my behalf.

gmalivuk wrote:It just seems that people take less issue with being called classist than with being called racist, so there hasn't been as much pushback on that front.

If only that (or culture or other socio-economic thing) had been the more popular form of discrimination, then we could A) find out what the (colloquial) scope of classism is B) find out why people would take more issue with being called classist rather than racist C) perhaps have a better shot at overcoming the discrimination, for it's easier to redistribute wealth than skin tone.

If I'm to hazard a guess, I think being a classist is less of an issue mainly because it's more abstract & less shunned at the moment or it's more admirable because you're virtually guaranteed of a socio-economic position based on your class, whereas race merely correlates with status.


Steve the Pocket wrote:Personally, I've never encountered the kind of "grammar police" who come down on people for using a legitimate dialect, but then I can't recall being anywhere other than Tumblr where I've seen people using legitimate dialects, so maybe my online social circles are just too damn white in general. There's a scary thought — that minorities are discouraged from even joining the conversation simply because people are speaking too formally.

I've encountered the gramer poliec the other way round on "a certain imageboard": anyone not adhering to the current style —however memeish or unintelligible— is shunned or ignored. I don't think that place discourages minorities or whatever specifically, it's just that "white middle-class american boys" is the group with the largest number of edgy social outcasts with too much time and internet on their hands. (meme has it Finland tops the charts per capita, but there aren't that many Finns in total) (I have no idea where I'm going with this, so I best leave it at this and come back tomorrow)

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Netreker0 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:22 am UTC

Mambrino wrote:
Netreker0 wrote:
Mambrino wrote:Call me pessimistic, the question I want to ask: How does pointing out that the standardized grammar is elitist help with anything? It is, very clever, but what is the alternative, and is getting there an overly optimistic scenario in the light of the historical evidence?


By your post count, you're not some random guy who wandered in off the street, which was my first impression. This is XKCD. I thought the one thing most fans had in common idea that examining things, picking them apart, and finding new knowledge was a fun and worthwhile pursuit even absent any practical benefit.


Maybe you're making too broad assumptions. I originally came around these forums for math-y jokes, stayed for news forum and random discussion. Otherwise, thank you for responding with a very well-written post.


That's pretty much what brought me here as well, though after years of lurking and reading (and of course What-If) Randall's love of useless learning for its own sake rubbed off on me in a big way.

What I dislike is stamping certain words (usually ending with -ist) on stuff, which often is unproductive (as possibly demonstrated by this thread): suddenly the discussion is about who is or isn't a morally wrong bad -ist person, or barring that, another very possible (unstated) implication is that the $phenomenon (in this case, a standard form of the language as characterized by a certain prescribed grammar rules) being discussed is an -ist thing, therefore a bad thing, and thus something that should removed from the society. When the discussion moves to the territory of moral wrongs .. careful consideration of complicated issues often is not forthcoming?


I don't disagree, and while I recognize the power of choice of wording and tone to shape the discussion, some people have chips on their shoulders and they're not stupid. You can try to use the most unloaded, neutral terms possible to discuss sensitive topics, but unless you specifically set up a discussion to exclude all but a few speakers, it's likely somebody will wander in and drop an "ism" bomb, and then somebody else will object because he thinks that bomb was directed at him, and then somebody else will claim that the original speakers intended for this controversy to begin with. I almost want to just take a page out of the anti-anti-racist handbook and say that if certain people need to just get over the injustices done to their parents or their grandparents, then certain other people need to do the same, and not take it so personally when people talk about the fact that their parents or grandparents were the ones committing the injustice.

Moving beyond the issue of people deliberately sabotaging the discussion, there's also the argument that no matter what words you use, the underlying topic remains difficult and controversial. I keep thinking back to the sliding scale of things to call black people. Except a few that were pretty much slurs from conception, we've gone through a few rounds of words that were considered the acceptable alternative to the N-word, but in a generation or two became considered slurs (or at the very least impolite), largely because they were the words of choice when new discrimination and oppression occurred. Most people believe in theory that children shouldn't be held guilty for their forefather's sins, but they simultaneously hold the inconsistent belief that if one of our ancestors did something awesome, we should take personal pride in that connection. So even looking at historical wrongdoing, people are uncomfortable because they either think they should feel guilty about something they didn't do, or they're angry because they think everyone else is blaming them for something they didn't do. Using different words can only do so much to make that more comfortable.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby morriswalters » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:28 am UTC

Netreker0 wrote:I generally associate racism with intent
Well you shouldn't. Racism and bias can operate below the conscious level. There may be no conscious intent. As an example, in a job interview. The candidate that has particular racial quality that you have an unconscious bias towards, will be found wanting in some way or another with rationalizations that you establish in the interview. The cornrows are unbusinesslike, His grammar isn't up to stuff. He wears the wrong brand of dress shirts, suits and so on. Substitute your own gender preferences. And we won't talk about line six which does a perspective switch for whatever reason and uses the word to as the first word. So all of the other sentences start with a word that can be addressed with a phrase containing Fashion Police. Line 6 seems to be a kludge. Or maybe it's my imagination.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Netreker0 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:36 am UTC

Flumble wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Flumble wrote:By the way, "most discrimination boils down to racism" is very much an american thing (and I think a lot of people are mistaken about that and just scream racism because the word is trendy and they can't be bothered to differentiate between sources of discrimination, but I'll refrain from "let me tell you about your country...").
Who said or implied that most discrimination boils down to racism?

I took your remark "A lot of grammar police probably aren't aware that a lot of their peeving is in effect racist and classist" as meaning it has both the racist and classist properties, and attacked the racist part because it's trendy. (And because racism got the focus and it seems to me that it's the furthest from the actual source of discrimination, but mostly because it's trendy)


Well, I guess it's time for me to join the grammar/logic police again.

Sometimes it is valid to take apart an argument and attack only one part of it. I think rabbits and penguins are all gay. You prove penguins are 70% straight. My statement was wrong. That makes sense.

Other times, not so much. What you did was more like me saying that it is mainly rabbits and penguins who deserve credit from solving cold fusion, and then you attacking the rabbit part by saying, "It was wrong of you to say that it was mainly rabbits who deserve credit for solving cold fusion. Penguins helped too, and you completely ignored them."

"most discrimination boils down to racism" implies that racism is the main cause, to the exclusion of other causes. However, one other cause wasn't excluded from his statement until you started constructing your strawman.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Cougar Allen » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:37 am UTC

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

Jose


Hmm ... what if the police gene is recessive?

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Cougar Allen » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:50 am UTC

Lazar wrote:Here's the thing. You said "a grammar cop is a pedant". Is it in the same family? Yes. No one's arguing that. As someone who is a scientist who studies pedants, I am telling you, specifically, in science, no one calls grammar cops pedants. If you want to be "specific" like you said, then you shouldn't either. They're not the same thing. If you're saying "pedant family" you're referring to the taxonomic grouping of Prescriptivae, which includes things from peevers to nitpickers to know-it-alls. So your reasoning for calling a grammar cop a pedant is because random people "call the vindictive ones pedants"? Let's get sophists and formalists in there, then, too.

Also, calling someone a human or an ape? It's not one or the other, that's not how taxonomy works. They're both. A grammar cop is a grammar cop and a member of the pedant family. But that's not what you said. You said a grammar cop is a pedant, which is not true unless you're okay with calling all members of the pedant family pedants, which means you'd call peevers, nitpickers, and other smart alecks pedants, too. Which you said you don't. It's okay to just admit you're wrong, you know?


I dunno. Is this a cladistic taxonomy or mere morphology? Are birds, bats, and butterflies all part of the same family?

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Taking a break

Postby ionFreeman » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:00 am UTC

It's clear that 1733, 1734 and 1735 are just stuff Randall Monroe jotted down after http://xkcd.com/1732/ Earth Temperature Timeline. I don't do anything like drawing heavily annotated web comics, but that thing looked like a lot of work which would have taken an amazing amount of time, and it makes sense that these last three -- well, clearly took less time. So, he's a little spent from a web comic perspective and spending some time regaining strength. But, now I'm just reflecting on Mr. Monroe's workload. Super-motivated people like he always make me wonder.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Netreker0 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:16 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Netreker0 wrote:I generally associate racism with intent
Well you shouldn't.


I guess I should have clarified, I'm thinking of the legal definition of intent. It doesn't mean consciously thinking to yourself, "I'm going to go out and discriminate against a race that I know isn't inherently inferior, but I hate anyway." Sincerely thinking that race correlates with inferiority, or that some really thin proxies for race does the same ("I'm not racist or nothing, but people with those really, really, really dark tans are lazy") and deliberately acting on those beliefs counts as intentional racism in my book.

Your interviewer has agency over his actions, and acted with intent with respect to the operative acts. He has all the tools to realize he's being motivated by racial bias or stereotyping of thinly veiled racial proxies, and the way you describe him he's basically being willfully blind. I'm pretty comfortable calling him a racist.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Cougar Allen » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:35 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote: the war crime known as the "skort"


It took only a little bit of googling to find out you didn't literally mean a war crime (never encountered the word "skort" before) but now I am stuck with some indignation and no real atrocity to direct it at. When you're looking for a new war crime, finding a mere fashion crime ... meh. Maybe if I hadn't had that build-up I could get outraged about the skort, but not now. Perhaps you could try again later....

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:46 am UTC

I commend Netrekor0 and commodorejohn for their civil development of this argument in recent posts.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:09 am UTC

Cougar Allen wrote:
Copper Bezel wrote: the war crime known as the "skort"


It took only a little bit of googling to find out you didn't literally mean a war crime (never encountered the word "skort" before) but now I am stuck with some indignation and no real atrocity to direct it at. When you're looking for a new war crime, finding a mere fashion crime ... meh. Maybe if I hadn't had that build-up I could get outraged about the skort, but not now. Perhaps you could try again later....

If it's useful context, I typed "atrocity" first, then decided that it wasn't hyperbolic enough to jar and settled on "war crime" precisely because it was squeaky enough not to be taken in any way seriously.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby somitomi » Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:12 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
niauropsaka wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Well I'll just bet that Randall is just sitting at the house periodically giggling thinking about the response to the panel. Do you think that Randall is the guy in the hat?

The thing about everybody being racist is that it dilutes the term and makes it more or less useless for conveying a point. I've learned two new words, jorts(love em) and AAVE, although I suppose AAVE is an acronym.

Sorry, I think I forgot to spell it out. African-American Vernacular English. It's sort of a flashpoint for grammarians and linguists, because it is clearly a form of North American English, but one which sounds "wrong" to many Anglo-Americans. For example, the perfect tenses are formed a little differently from those in "General American."

Linguists and philologists maintain that it has an actual grammar, and is the language of some amount of folklore and literature to be learned, studied, and preserved. People who aren't linguists or philologists often think that it's just ignorant folk using words the wrong way.
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Just like the few unlucky Austrians I tried speaking to. My German knowledge was never particularly good, but by then it has deteriorated to the point where I spent minutes mentally constructing one sentence before asking them to change a 5€ note. I myself feel stupid when I struggle to express something in a foreign language, usually in direct proportion to how simple the thing is.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Wee Red Bird » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:02 am UTC

I've been pounced on by the grammar police on Twitter. You have limited characters and an inability to edit. But some troll the place and poke fun at anyone daring to make a mistake when conveying a message.

And I've seen forums where someone will be savaged because of bad spelling or grammar. "How dare they try to make a valid point but constantly misspell 'does' as 'dose'. We can understand the point but as we cannot refute it, we will make fun of them instead."

I know many people who have brilliant minds with wonderful ideas, but are constantly shot down from lack of skills because they dropped out of school early, or because they have a problem with learning that would have been easily assisted with a private tutor that their families could not afford or by a school that ignored the individual because they neither have the training nor funding to find and assist individuals with problems.

Perhaps there is a class issue at play. There are places where an education is considered more of a luxury than an necessity.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby cellocgw » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:40 am UTC

niauropsaka wrote:
morriswalters wrote:The thing about everybody being racist is that it dilutes the term and makes it more or less useless for conveying a point. I've learned two new words, jorts(love em) and AAVE, although I suppose AAVE is an acronym.

Sorry, I think I forgot to spell it out. African-American Vernacular English. It's sort of a flashpoint for grammarians and linguists, because it is clearly a form of North American English, but one which sounds "wrong" to many Anglo-Americans. For example, the perfect tenses are formed a little differently from those in "General American."


I respectfully disagree with everyone who claims that expecting proper use of English grammar is racist. It only appears racist because of the large portion of the black community which is also in the poorest economic class. Poor grammar, including pseudo-sublanguages such as ebonics, is far more closely linked to economics than race. (Yes, I'm fully aware of the reactionary behavior of some people in the lowest econ. bracket who angrily accuse those of their kin who try to get educated and speak in a clear manner of "selling out and becoming a whitey." Fear and hopelesness does a lot of bad things to people.) In this same vein, there's a big difference between a cultural set of slang (Cockney being one of the typical examples) and a lack of understanding of proper speech as a result of inadequate education.

There's a reason TV announcers and the like take speech training: they learn to enunciate in a way that is understandable to all sub-groups of American English. The same goes for their writers, who take care to produce copy which is unambiguous (even tho', in my personal bete noir, they invariably use "negative impact" when they mean "adverse effect" :oops: )

So let's drop this grammar equals racism stuff 'mkay? Otherwise I'm gonna tell the joke about Miss Ebonics USA.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:53 am UTC

I was wondering when we'd get the "it's just class not race" position in here.

As usual, that position is simplistic and wrong. The perception of how people speak (such as whether they have an accent and whether they use correct grammar) is correlated with the perception of race, independent of any indications of social class.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby doogly » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:10 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:I was wondering when we'd get the "it's just class not race" position in here.

As usual, that position is simplistic and wrong. The perception of how people speak (such as whether they have an accent and whether they use correct grammar) is correlated with the perception of race, independent of any indications of social class.

I was good friends with that position in high school! I am so glad I am significantly less addled.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby cellocgw » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:17 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:I was wondering when we'd get the "it's just class not race" position in here.

As usual, that position is simplistic and wrong. The perception of how people speak (such as whether they have an accent and whether they use correct grammar) is correlated with the perception of race, independent of any indications of social class.


To be blunt: that's your opinion. Some of us (which means at least one person other than myself) does not perceive all accents in that manner.
And even if you were factually accurate, my point remains that raising income and education levels would lead to different speech and grammar, regardless of race.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:33 pm UTC

To be blunt, you misunderstand me and/or what an opinion is (also you almost certainly have implicit biases you're unaware of, but sure maybe you personally are just classist, not racist).

I didn't say perceptions of speech are *completely* or *universally* associated with perceptions of race. But it's not my opinion that such a perception exists, for people on average. (It's almost as if you people don't know that sociolinguistics is a thing...)

(And no, the claim that you are classist is not an ad hominem leap on my part. It's what you implied when you claimed the genera prejudice is based on class and then jumped to swear that your personal perception has nothing to do with race. Suggeting that yours does have everything to do with class.)
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby morriswalters » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:55 pm UTC

Fashion and Grammar Police are Judgemental and smug

Fashion and Grammar Police are angry about something deeply arbitrary

Fashion and Grammar Police have strong opinions backed by style guides

Fashion and Grammar Police Appreciate that the way you are interpreted is your responsibility

Fashion and Grammar Police Understand that there is no way to "opt out" of sending messages by how you present yourself, and attempts to do so send strong messages of their own

Fashion and Grammar Police are vindictive about things that are often uncomfortably transparent proxies for race or social class

Fashion and Grammar Police are fun to cheer on until one of them disagrees with you

To seem cool and casual, pretend to ignore them while understanding them very well

What exactly is he saying in the blue highlighted text?

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Whizbang » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:09 pm UTC

I tripped up over those as well. It definitely seems as if it switches from descriptions of Grammar/Fashion Police to instruction to the reader on how to deal with said Police then switches back again.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby doogly » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:17 pm UTC

It's giving them a little cred. They appreciate some accurate facts about the inevitability of signaling and the responsibility for how one is interpreted. So, +2 guys, you know some things.

And if you sniff to me like a racist, then maybe you want to rethink the signaling you are doing!

As an aside, another main gripe I have with the "their there they're" types is that it is such a shallow puddle of thought. Go shout about Tolstoy vs Dostoevsky or whatever, something with some heft that has happened in language.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:33 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Fashion and Grammar Police Appreciate that the way you are interpreted is your responsibility

Fashion and Grammar Police Understand that there is no way to "opt out" of sending messages by how you present yourself, and attempts to do so send strong messages of their own

What exactly is he saying in the blue highlighted text?

1. If you look foolish, it is because of your own ignorance.

2. By existing in society, you opt in to others judging you. Specifically the _______ Police. Attempts to indicate you have no interest and place no value on their judgement do nothing but slightly increase their ire and largely separate you from society.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:57 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:What exactly is he saying in the blue highlighted text?


Fashion and Grammar Police Appreciate that the way you are interpreted is your responsibility
If I wear a bow-tie, or do not, that is often my decision. For some it is the way to be seen as smart where a full tie is impractical or dangerous or contrary to regulations (doctor, mechanic, croupier), and not to wear one is a definite image choice that may well effect how well/if you can do your job; for some it is a pure choice of statement ('casual' attire in public, antiques dealer, clown) to augment their desired projection. Linguistically, the code of language I 'wear' similarly can be taken as contextual. Addressing "m'lud" as "blood" (or vice-versa), and of course the form of the rest of the statement being made in front of one's possible accusers, is a choice, and one you can make badly.

Fashion and Grammar Police Understand that there is no way to "opt out" of sending messages by how you present yourself, and attempts to do so send strong messages of their own
Wearing a full Burberry clobber (including peaked cap) and insisting on "aksing" questions that "should of" been 'asked' is not something you do at a typical shareholder's meeting. Likewise a pinstripe whistle and a plum in the mouth would set you apart in a low-dive pub. And going for something completely off of all 'codes', to reject all current flavours (the original punks, etc, before they became upgplayed into an established flavour themselves), is as much a message as using the wrong code.

(Ninjaed, perhaps better.)

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby cellocgw » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:07 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:To be blunt, you misunderstand me and/or what an opinion is (also you almost certainly have implicit biases you're unaware of, but sure maybe you personally are just classist, not racist).

I'm fully aware that I, along with everyone, is instinctually racist. I've read Jared Diamond. I take that awareness and compensate for it. Now, how you go from my statements that grammar is class-related to claiming I'm discriminating on the basis of class quite bewilders me. I want to eliminate class by raising everyone up to the max possible level (no Sirens of Titan for me, thank you). I don't insult people on the basis of class, except of course for Yankees fans.
gmalivuk wrote:I didn't say perceptions of speech are *completely* or *universally* associated with perceptions of race. But it's not my opinion that such a perception exists, for people on average. (It's almost as if you people don't know that sociolinguistics is a thing...)

Yeah, the fact that I shared classes in high school with Chomsky's kids couldn't possibly have led to discussions of language and social class //sarcasm .

I long for the good old days when "elite" was a compliment, not a political slur thrown at anyone who's not a "good ol' boy."
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby cellocgw » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:10 pm UTC

I"m not going to delete any previous posts, 'cause I don't like to change history.

I am going to ask everyone to revert to the "send him to the comfy chair" mode of responses, or better yet, just let this thread drop. We've managed to get trolled and troll in return. And that's a BadThing(tm)


What about Hawaiian pizza? Should it be banned or not?
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby speising » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:14 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote: ... a definite image choice that may well effect how well/if you can do your job; ...


affect

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Yakk » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:15 pm UTC

Netreker0 wrote:
morriswalters wrote:
Netreker0 wrote:I generally associate racism with intent
Well you shouldn't.


I guess I should have clarified, I'm thinking of the legal definition of intent. It doesn't mean consciously thinking to yourself, "I'm going to go out and discriminate against a race that I know isn't inherently inferior, but I hate anyway." Sincerely thinking that race correlates with inferiority, or that some really thin proxies for race does the same ("I'm not racist or nothing, but people with those really, really, really dark tans are lazy") and deliberately acting on those beliefs counts as intentional racism in my book.

Your interviewer has agency over his actions, and acted with intent with respect to the operative acts. He has all the tools to realize he's being motivated by racial bias or stereotyping of thinly veiled racial proxies, and the way you describe him he's basically being willfully blind. I'm pretty comfortable calling him a racist.
Saying someone is "a racist", and saying some act or belief they hold "is racist", are different things.

You can hold racist beliefs without wanting to. You can have racist emotional reactions without being proud of how your race is superior to others.

Saying the only true racism is KKK-style racism, where someone identifies as a racist and believes their race is superior and others are inferior, is discounting all other forms of racism.

In short, you shouldn't restrict "racism" to "racism done by people in the KKK or similar". Because there is a lot of harm caused by what you call not-racism that is tied pretty directly to race.

If you do so, being upset that someone else chooses a different definition of "racism" which is widely used and talking about them being "wrong" because they did not choose your specifically narrow definition that happens to make everything you do, well, that is a bit questionable.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:21 pm UTC

speising wrote:
Soupspoon wrote: ... a definite image choice that may well effect how well/if you can do your job; ...


affect
Tru, dat. Can't think what I did there. (Although one draft did involve something like "...has a different effect...", so may have been held over by accident.)

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:44 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:To be blunt, you misunderstand me and/or what an opinion is (also you almost certainly have implicit biases you're unaware of, but sure maybe you personally are just classist, not racist).

I'm fully aware that I, along with everyone, is instinctually racist. I've read Jared Diamond. I take that awareness and compensate for it. Now, how you go from my statements that grammar is class-related to claiming I'm discriminating on the basis of class quite bewilders me. I want to eliminate class by raising everyone up to the max possible level (no Sirens of Titan for me, thank you). I don't insult people on the basis of class, except of course for Yankees fans.
gmalivuk wrote:I didn't say perceptions of speech are *completely* or *universally* associated with perceptions of race. But it's not my opinion that such a perception exists, for people on average. (It's almost as if you people don't know that sociolinguistics is a thing...)

Yeah, the fact that I shared classes in high school with Chomsky's kids couldn't possibly have led to discussions of language and social class //sarcasm .

I long for the good old days when "elite" was a compliment, not a political slur thrown at anyone who's not a "good ol' boy."
Whether or not you discriminate on the basis of grammar or dialect, it is quite simply incorrect to claim that grammar is a matter of class. Ethnolects exist, after all, and AAVE has already been brought up as an example several times.

(If you think sociolinguistics is only about class, you misunderstand a huge part of the field.)

"Elite" isn't the insult, "elitist" is, and I think always has been.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby morriswalters » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:19 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
morriswalters wrote:
Fashion and Grammar Police Appreciate that the way you are interpreted is your responsibility

Fashion and Grammar Police Understand that there is no way to "opt out" of sending messages by how you present yourself, and attempts to do so send strong messages of their own

What exactly is he saying in the blue highlighted text?

1. If you look foolish, it is because of your own ignorance.

2. By existing in society, you opt in to others judging you. Specifically the _______ Police. Attempts to indicate you have no interest and place no value on their judgement do nothing but slightly increase their ire and largely separate you from society.
Yeah, I took it that way as well. But the phrasing is ambiguous written as it is in the comic. It occurred to me that you could treat them the same way as 'mad about jorts'. So the first could also be interpreted as, there is a difference between correcting grammar to help and correcting grammar to hurt, and it is on you to make sure that people you correct see it as the first and not the second. And the second could be, if you act like a dick you send a message that you are a dick, and if you don't, you won't. It just occurred to me that he was playing with the phrasing, as kind of a textural pun. Like mad about jorts. And he takes shots at enablers, while recommending knowing silence as a response. Anyway I was just curious.

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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby netsplit » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:20 pm UTC

I love encountering new forms of grammar and dialects. Since which rules are used requires both creativity and logic, and very rarely does a single person create it, it's like a work of form and function created by a group! Some forms do sound less intelligent than others to me, even though I know speakers can be quite intelligent, and this comic has me thinking about why that is.


The only thing I ever have trouble with is the double negative. When people use it, say: "he ain't got no apples". What they mean is: "he lacks apples (and I'm encoding the negating condition redundantly so you're less likely to mishear me and be mislead to believe he has apples)". That's smart! When you think about it, a double negative construction enhances the ability for others to receive what you intend to communicate. Unless your audience is intentionally being asshats, or programmers.



Problem is I'm a programmer so I hear: !!hasApples when I know they mean !hasApples, and the inconsistency upsets me in a deeply neurotic way.
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Re: 1735: "Fashion Police and Grammar Police"

Postby orthogon » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:42 pm UTC

netsplit wrote:The only thing I ever have trouble with is the double negative.

But which is worse: double negatives or double denim?
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