Thursday, October 4, 2012

Re: [ACAT] Word usage

Posting to Autocat

On 03/10/2012 20:33, Esther Mandel wrote:
<snip>
If I am innocently offensive, I apologize in advance, but frankly if someone takes offense where none is intended, I will not feel bad about it. To go off like a noon whistle at an innocent remark is, well, offensive. And I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings, but some things need to be said. How else would I know what terms are offensive? A good question. Just please don't shout.
</snip>
This seems eminently reasonable to me. It seems as if a person's intention should have at least something to do with it. I mean, why should one person's opinion, or even one group's opinion, completely override everything else? One thing I have discovered in my life is that I can say anything, and I mean ANYTHING, and there will be somebody, somewhere, who will take offense. I believe that completely.

In my past, I would write with the express purpose not to offend anyone. I remember that I would even run it by several others to check it, yet sure enough... somebody somewhere would get mad anyway. I concluded that if I worried too much about saying things that might hurt someone, I would end up saying nothing at all. And those people obviously don't care about hurting you. It seemed that the only way to keep from hurting people was to simply shut up and I decided that was too much.

At the same time, there is a difference in the places where you can speak (or today write) certain words and ideas. When children are around, or different groups, and those groups can be defined by sex, culture, age, or you name it, then we can change our speech. When we are speaking with a crowd of people we can see, we can speak in certain ways, but on the internet and with listservs such as this, the rules are still being written. Will those rules become more or less tolerant? We still don't know.

Certainly in a public or semi-public group such as I believe a professional list such as is Autocat, we must strive to be civil, and that means a lot of artistry in language to be able to say what we really think and, on the other side, to be as tolerant as possible. Still, things are changing and what can be said today is a lot different from what I could say when I was younger. To be honest, I can't believe what comes out of the mouths of some of these cute, young girls today, who at one time would have been considered "innocent", but that is just shows how much change there has been. When we add a truly international audience of the entire world, the situation changes even more.

Ultimately, it is up to each person to become more tolerant, I think. Otherwise, everybody will be angry all the time.

And now, to get back to the catalog: what happens when we let all and sundry put in tags and reviews *in the catalog* that patrons can see and all would agree are outrageous? I return to the tags found in Amazon for Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/tags-on-product/0061939897/ref=tag_dpp_cust_edpp_sa  Or George Bush's "Decision points"  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/tags-on-product/0307590631/ref=tag_dpp_cust_edpp_sa. Are we supposed to laugh, get angry, or.... what?

Compare these with the incredibly mild tags for Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/tags-on-product/0307455874/ref=tag_dpp_cust_edpp_sa. Something tells me there is censorship going on here!

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