Archive for November, 2014

“We do not contracept”

November 30, 2014

In the NYT on the 28th: “In Arizona, a Textbook Fuels a Broader Dispute Over Sex Education” by Rick Rojas, beginning:

Gilbert, Ariz. — The textbook, the one with the wide-eyed lemur peering off the cover, has been handed out for years to students in honors biology classes at the high schools here, offering lessons on bread-and-butter subjects like mitosis and meiosis, photosynthesis and anatomy.

But now, the school board in this suburb of Phoenix has voted to excise or redact two pages deep inside the book — 544 and 545 — because they discuss sexually transmitted diseases and contraception, including mifepristone, a drug that can be used to prevent or halt a pregnancy.

A law passed two years ago in Arizona requires schools to teach “preference, encouragement and support to childbirth and adoption” over abortion, and the school board decided that those pages were in violation of this law — even though the Arizona Education Department, which examined the book for compliance, found that they were not.

… the Gilbert school board is moving forward, trying to figure out how to remove the material in question — by way of black markers or scissors, if need be — despite resistance from parents, residents, the American Civil Liberties Union and even the district’s superintendent.

The big issue has to do with religious rights, and I will have a bit to say on that front. But my main goal here is to work my way up to the quote in the title of this posting and to look at it critically.

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Naming, in perpetuity

November 30, 2014

From the NYT on the 28th, a piece by Sam Roberts, “With Naming Rights, ‘Perpetuity’ Doesn’t Always Mean Forever”, with some serious linguistics in it:

After Philippe de Montebello agreed at breakfast two decades ago to name the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Roman Sculpture Court, in perpetuity, for the philanthropists and antiquities collectors Leon Levy and his wife, Shelby White, Mr. Levy predictably, but politely, posed an impertinent question.

“Aware that sometime in the future, Philippe’s successor would probably be making the same promise to some donor not yet born,” Mr. Levy later recalled, “I asked him, How long is ‘in perpetuity’?”

“For you, 50 years,” Mr. de Montebello, the museum director, replied.

They went on to further negotiate the time span.

How to understand “in perpetuity” in this context?

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Rioting

November 29, 2014

Much of the discussion of the rioting in Ferguson MO after the shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, by white police officer Darren Wilson — especially by white commenters — has focused on property damage during what started as protests over police actions. Relatively even-handed report from Wikipedia:

The shooting sparked protests and unrest in Ferguson, in part due to the belief among many that Brown was surrendering, as well as longstanding racial tensions between the majority-black Ferguson community and the majority-white city government and police. Protests, both peaceful and violent, along with vandalism and looting, continued for more than a week, resulting in night curfews. The response of area police agencies in dealing with the protests received significant criticism from the media and politicians.

The white response has tended to paint the protestors as dangerous and out of control, drawing on negative stereotypes of blacks. Black commenters point instead to long-standing grievances, amounting to rage, over police actions. (This rage doesn’t of course excuse property damage, but it does explain the depth of the black response.)

Now a tour of rioting of various sorts, following some personal observations about police forces.

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Krampus 2 – 4

November 28, 2014

As we go into the Xmas season, My Shelf Books & Gifts (in Wellsboro PA) continues to post Krampuskarten, depicting the anti-Santa Krampus. The first I posted on here, and now there are three more:

(#2)

(#3)

(#4)

The horns and long beastly red tongue seem to be constants, Krampus bears a variety of instruments of torture, pointed ears and long tail are common, and the feet are varied: the first has one cloven hoof and one beastly foot; #2 certainly has one cloven hoof, but the nature of the other foot isn’t so clear; #3’s feet are not very clear; and #4 has one cloven hoof and one very clearly human leg (and foot).

In any case: Don’t Be Naughty.

Taking it Black

November 28, 2014

Though Black Friday isn’t actually named for Blacks (see this posting), that doesn’t stop the purveyors of gay porn from putting the Black into Black Friday, as in image #2 in this AZBlogX posting.

Absolutely X-rated, not for the kiddies or the sexually modest.

More Black Friday etymythology

November 28, 2014

On the 26th I posted an etymythology for the expression to pass for/as, as in a black person passing for white. And from Bonnie Taylor-Blake on ADS-L the same day:

I see that a recently offered explanation for where the “Black” in “Black Friday” comes from has become quite popular, at least on Twitter and Facebook.

This version holds that “Black Friday” stems from the selling of (black) slaves the day after Thanksgiving.

David Mikkelson, of snopes.com, addressed this last year when it first arrived to his inbox.

This piece of etymythology seems to have gained considerable traction this year (at least on Twitter and Facebook), its credibility perhaps aided by outrage toward recent grand-jury findings in Ferguson, Missouri.

It’s been interesting to read conversations on Twitter where someone repeats this particular explanation and is corrected, so to speak, by someone offering the (also false) “red ink to black ink” accounting origin story.

Bonnie is the go-to person on the formula Black Friday; she did the meticulous research discounting the “red ink to black ink” story — retold in detail by Ben Zimmer in his Word Routes column on 11/25/11. I’m going to reproduce Ben’s column in full here, because so many readers have found Bonnie’s story unconvincing: people love stories — this is narratophilia — but they like etymological stories (like the black-ink story) that give a sense of deep explanation, while Bonnie’s account, despite the considerable, detailed evidence for it, seems too pedestrian and, well, fortuitous, having its roots in a local phrasing (in Philadelphia) used by a small number of people (police officers) at one moment in time (the early 1960s).

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Ask AMZ: two queries

November 27, 2014

… from Karen Schaffer: on trickle treat, and on gangbang and gangbanger.

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Big D

November 27, 2014

No, not Dallas, but Deaf vs. deaf, a meaning distinction (a sociocultural identity vs. merely hearing-impaired) easily made in print, but not so easily in speech, as I noted in a 11/22/14 posting. But in speech, Susan Fischer tells me, the distinction can be made as “big-D deaf” vs. “little-d deaf”. (I was hoping for the briefer /dɛf/ vs. /dif/.)

Then I asked Susan about how this worked in ASL, hoping for something more interesting. But no; apparent you just sign BIG-D DEAF vs. LITTLE-D DEAF.

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Thanksgiving crunch

November 27, 2014

Act 1: Tim Pierce posted this photo of sugared cranberries on Facebook:

(#1)

And some readers referred to these tasty, crunchy berries (which some find addictive) as “cranberry crack” or “cran crack”, alluding to crack cocaine and evoking CrackBerry as a mocking name for the BlackBerry smartphone.

In Act II, Aric Olnes introduced the Quaker Oats breakfast cereal Crunch Berries into the discussion.

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Fairy bread

November 26, 2014

A few days ago I posted on compounds of the form fairy X, including fairy bread, which I didn’t entirely know how to classify. Now Benita Bendon Campbell has written to remind me of a poem from “A Child’s Garden of Verses” by Robert Louis Stevenson (1885), which she learned when she was about 6, found  appealing and mysterious, and still does:

Come up here, O dusty feet!
Here is fairy bread to eat.
Here in my retiring room,
Children, you may dine
On the golden smell of broom
And the shade of pine;
And when you have eaten well,
Fairy stories hear and tell.

In this context, it looks like fairy bread is some sort of magical bread that fairies might eat — that is, bread ‘belonging to’ or ‘associated with’ fairies (like fairy gold, fairy dust, fairy wand, and others in my fairy X posting).

Now some lexicographic notes on the compound.

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