Re: Not funny

1

I hope this doesn't mean what I think it means.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:05 PM
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The post should not be taken to imply a crisis-type situation in relation to the poster.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:08 PM
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3

Good to know.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:11 PM
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4

Unfogged. It's about cancer.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:12 PM
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5

Fucking cancer.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:13 PM
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6

Cancer can go shit in the ocean.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:16 PM
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7

No way, I swim in that thing.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:17 PM
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8

Oh. Cancer can go shit in the reservoir?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:18 PM
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9

Comity!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:19 PM
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10

Sorry, scratch that. THINK, self, THINK.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:19 PM
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11

Crabs shit in the ocean.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:19 PM
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No way, I swim in those crabs.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:20 PM
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Cancer may shit in the ocean only to the extent that cancer is crabs.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:22 PM
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14

If someone could recover the original Yiddish (?) of that expression, I'd be much obliged.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:22 PM
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Gai kafen oifen yam!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:33 PM
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Gai kaken oifen yam!

Yeah, I'm talking to you, cancer.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:35 PM
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Um, what's the Yiddish for pwned?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:36 PM
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18

What is it about this stupid blog that commenting gives your family cancer?

Your sheer radiance, your Highness, bombards commentors with a constant flood of slow, heavy particles. It's either that or neb is overediting DNA again. Probably both.

max
['Unfortunate, really.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:36 PM
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Not sure that explains the retroactive effect, though.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:38 PM
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Slow, heavy tachyons?


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:39 PM
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17: At least you got the spelling right.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:40 PM
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Yes, but your link is better, good sir.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:45 PM
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23

You know what is funny? Pynchon's new novel.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:47 PM
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24

Go peddle your fish elsewhere, you comity-mongers.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:48 PM
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22: So we're even.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:48 PM
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Fish, hold the shit.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 7:53 PM
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27

"Founded by Lynne Cheney"? The Lynne Cheney?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 8:14 PM
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The first part of the article had me grumpy, particularly that standard Fish conservative in liberal clothing act, but I have to admit that overall I rather agree with him in regards to needing stronger composition classes. (But, well, d'uh. What a surprise! We could be better writers!)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 8:17 PM
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Well, hold some of the shit. Writing good, Lynne Cheney bad, Fish annoying.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 8:23 PM
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Give a column to Fish and he can be irritating occasionally. Give a blog to Fish and he can be irritating all the time.

Not that I've clicked on that link or any of the Fish links since, oh, I dropped out of grad school.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 8:35 PM
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My facebook post today was essentially, Parenthetical should know better than to read Fish.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 8:41 PM
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32

Everything Fish is saying about composition is 30 years old and still standard for anyone who actually learns how to teach comp before they teach it. There's no new research, as far as I know, disproving the argument that comp should be a class in which the only "text" is student writing or, at most, models for discussion of rhetorical forms.

The problem is that a lot of the people who are hired to direct comp programs inside of English departments are hired not because of their extensive experience with teaching freshman writing, nor for their own research in pedagogical theory and practice, but because they teach some kind of lit desirable for the program and also have said "yes" to the prospect of running comp also, which, given the job market of the past decade, anyone in their right mind would.

IME (at five different colleges, ranging from public AA/BA-granting to competitive private four-year), this results in a pretty wide range of directives, and really strangely different expectations about training, faculty workshops, and class goals. I've gotten anything from obsessive norming and faculty workshopping to "do whatever you think is best; we won't care." And some of the directives I've gotten have been that the most important thing "our students" can get from comp is the ability to do "close reading of literature," while others constantly urge comp instructors to take lit entirely out of the classroom and focus exclusively on rhetoric and grammar.

It is annoying.

If I teach an elective on a subtopic of my field, I'm teaching a class I could take basically anywhere. I might add or subtract some theory or whatever, but I know that a student of one of my 18c classes will go on to say things and write things in future classes that make sense to others in my field.

If I teach writing, and talk about how I teach writing, I have basically no earthly idea whether their future instructors or my other colleagues would think I'm a nutjob. I was sitting in a comp workshop a few weeks ago and was accused of complete insanity for suggesting that comp should be about rhetoric, syntax, and grammar, and not about, say, doing "close readings" of Shakespeare. When I suggested a typical assignment from my class (that has the stamp of all that radical 70's pedagogy all over it), it was not merely that they disagreed with the aims of the assignment; no one in the room had any idea what I meant by "teaching rhetoric, not literature." At the previous school where I'd taught, I would have been laughed out of the room if I'd suggested teaching "close reading" in composition.

I.e., Fish is right about comp, but at the Ph.D. level, most people get by just fine by never taking a single course on rhetorical theory or pedagogy. It infuriates me, but hell, I never took Chaucer.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 8:46 PM
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33

I was sitting in a comp workshop a few weeks ago and was accused of complete insanity for suggesting that comp should be about rhetoric, syntax, and grammar, and not about, say, doing "close readings" of Shakespeare. When I suggested a typical assignment from my class (that has the stamp of all that radical 70's pedagogy all over it), it was not merely that they disagreed with the aims of the assignment; no one in the room had any idea what I meant by "teaching rhetoric, not literature."

This does indeed sound crazy-making. I like the radical '70s notions, myself, and I wish I knew how to teach rhetoric, syntax and grammar to my students (despite that not being what I'm really paid to teach) because I don't think they're really getting it elsewhere at my institution. Or if they are, they're not paying attention.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 8:54 PM
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34

Is Stanley Fish douchey enough to deserve cancer to be shat upon while swimming in the ocean?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 9:02 PM
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35

I'm guessing one of the reasons English programs make "comp director" hires like this is that compositionists are the sort of people who spend a lot of time and energy on their students, not on publishing original research in the most prestigious journals. A true compositionist is rarely also a graspingly rabid famewhore like we lit people generally are, and so don't tend to make fancy-fancy for the department. I know of a few truly rockstar comp people, but they get hired away to the most elite schools too fast to make a dent in the program. Sometimes you'll get a lit/comp person who does some heavy lifting before organizing department standards, or is at least willing to let experienced compositionist adjuncts take the reins. (I originally took classes in rhet theory and pedagogical theory both from lit people who were excellent and devoted to the subjects.) But whatever, I need to learn to be a lot more chill in department meetings. It's on my list of Things to Do: Learn not to bite the hand that only has to feed you on a semesterly basis if whim suggests.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 9:10 PM
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36

Condolences to whoever's privacy SB isn't violating.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 10:20 PM
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37

I figured that SB is making a reference to HG's mother. If not, then whoo boy.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 10:26 PM
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38

I'm pretty sure it's not HG's mom, but I have no idea who it might be.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 10:39 PM
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39

In any case, my sympathies to whoever it is.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 10:40 PM
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40

And per Stanley on the other thread, Ted Kennedy has died.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 11:30 PM
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41

This posts will seem even less funny when medical science discovers that W_lfs_n's indiscretion errors are caused by a cancerous lesion on his brain.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 11:57 PM
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42

Physical science already knows, but they aren't telling.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:00 AM
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43

I'm not sure whether this post is implying that a) Ted Kennedy was ogged's father or b) Ted Kennedy was a regular commenter or poster on unfogged. I think, on balance, b).

If read shows up to comment today, I will need to formulate a new hypothesis.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:21 AM
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44

what? i showed up today in the morning
but condolences
on flikr i saw O's pictures yesterday, enjoyful


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:19 AM
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45

It infuriates me, but hell, I never took Chaucer.

Do you mean that you didn't take a whole class on him? Cause, I can't imagine a school letting you get to the dissertation phase in an English Ph.D. program without having read him.

The weird thing about Harvard is that composition, known as expository writing isn't necessarily well taught in its ghetto. They do have specific subject areas so that you'll have something to write about, but the focus is on the writing. People I know who've concentrated in History and Literature said that they learned a lot more about writing from their sophomore tutorials, small seminars in the core of their concentration (e.g., American, medieval, English, Renaissance and Reformation) with lots of writing in which the two tutors pay a lot of attention to the quality of the essays.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:06 AM
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46

That is part of why a lot of schools are trying to move toward a "writing across the curriculum" model.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:16 AM
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47

Phish, hold the shit.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:36 AM
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48

44: OK, so read wasn't Ted Kennedy after all. Dammit.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:53 AM
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49

43: Holy crap. Minneapolitan said his goodbyes yesterday . . .


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:58 AM
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45: My memories of Expository Writing are pretty grim. I didn't and don't have any grasp on what exactly they wanted us to learn. As you say, it's tutorials in sophomore year that really helped me.

Thanks for 32 and 35, AWB.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:18 AM
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51

49: What do you mean?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:47 AM
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52

Never mind, I found it. I feared it was for a more alarming reason.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:55 AM
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53

condolences to whoever is referenced, and to whoever is not referenced.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:07 AM
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54

Are the people who think that comp classes should teach a close reading of Shakespeare saying this because they believe that this is the best way to get composition skills, or are they saying this because they don't care about composition skills, and really just want to be teaching "real literature."

I've encountered a parallel situation teaching ethics. Periodically, schools will introduce an ethics requirement, with the belief that it will help students make ethical decisions. One school I taught at had a very large ethics requirement, and hired many adjuncts to teach the courses. The department, however, wasn't interested in actually promoting ethical decision making skills in their students. Instead, adjuncts were encouraged to use this as an opportunity to teach a lot of the abstract ethical theory that academics think of as "real philosophy."

Teaching high level ethical theory in the required introductory ethics classes did a lot of things for the department, but one of the more important was that it enabled the department to use the ethics requirement to recruit the best students to become philosophy majors who were interested in the most prestigious parts of philosophy and could then be steered into graduate school, further raising the profile of the department.

I bring this up, because I can't think of any pedagogical reason to teach a close reading of Shakespeare in a comp class. The only reasons I can think of come from the academic fame game.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:11 AM
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I've never had a writing class -- any writing instruction I got in school was comments on papers written for subject-matter purposes. I have a firm belief that broad, promiscuous reading habits are helpful to develop good writing (that is, my grasp of formal grammar is weak, but I don't commit a lot of solecisms because they sound wrong). But yeah, close-reading of an archaic dialect of Modern English to develop writing skills does seem insane.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:15 AM
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56

promiscuous reading habits are helpful to develop good writing

I have a degree in writing, and while I certainly think reading promiscuously helps, writing promiscuously helps more. I'm particularly a huge fan of the workshop model -- write, write, think about constructive comments from the group, write. In part because that habit of listening to readers tell you how they responded to what you wrote is the best way I know for developing a feel for how to write so that readers respond the way you want them to. But more so because we all get just a little attached to our own precious gems of writing and have a hard time seeing the flaws in our own work, but it's much easier to look at someone else's work with a critical eye and the work of providing thoughtful constructive feedback to another writer forces you to think hard about writing and what makes it good and what makes it flop.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:27 AM
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57

Pretend only the first paragraph is italicized.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:28 AM
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People who come from educated families and have good primary & secondary educations learn good writing fairly seemlessly by reading and writing constantly as they grow up. But comp courses don't target that kind of student. The people we need to worry abotu are the kids who do not grow up in a house full of books, but need to learn how to express themselves clearly in order to get a job in the current economy.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:29 AM
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Yeah, I would have been much better off if I'd had classes that demanded more volume of writing from me. I'm a slow, blocked writer, and having to just churn out wordcount would have been very helpful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:29 AM
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Oh, further to 56 -- perhaps that's the rationale for teaching a close reading of Shakespeare? That thinking about what made that good writing can improve your own writing? (Seems a little silly unless you are learning to write plays. But it's a rationale.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:29 AM
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Further further to 56, I'm a little embarrassed that a comment on teaching good writing is overwhelmed by long, cumbersome sentences.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:31 AM
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I'm a slow, blocked writer

I find this hard to believe.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:34 AM
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62: It is very sadly and horribly true. Blog comments don't set it off -- I'm not 'writing' here, I'm 'talking'. But I'm presumptively stuck on generating any document whatsoever, which is hell for a lawyer. If there were careers where it was necessary to be a smart verbal person who never ever had to produce prose, I would be very happy. But there don't seem to be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:39 AM
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64

On the subject of writing and language usage, B had a post up about gendered language and whether it was sexist.

Some guy complained about the use of the nouns "women" and "men" as adjectives, as in the phrase "women students." He thought that the "perfectly good." adjectives "female" and "male" were more appropriate. Someone else pointed out that the adjectives "female" and "male" were also perfectly good nouns.

But this reminded me how much I hate the use of the word "female" as a noun to refer to adult women. "The females" is fine for monkeys, but it makes my skin crawl when it's used to refer to women. I find it kind of offensive. (There's an obvious exception for women's bodies, i.e. "the female reproductive system."

Is this horribly classist of me? I really dislike the phrase "passed away" in place of "died." I justify it by saying that I don't care for euphemisms, but it's also snobbery. The phrase that comes to my mind is "vulgar euphemism."


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:43 AM
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65

If there were careers where it was necessary to be a smart verbal person who never ever had to produce prose, I would be very happy.

I feel the same way. I also have a very good memory, so I'm sure that I would have been set in an oral culture.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:45 AM
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66

If there were careers where it was necessary to be a smart verbal person who never ever had to produce prose, I would be very happy.

I feel the same way. I also have a very good memory, so I'm sure that I would have been set in an oral culture.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:45 AM
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67

66 was I.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:46 AM
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68

Who wrote 65, though?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:52 AM
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69

"The females" is an interesting term. A lot of people find it really grating. I know I do. But when I try to picture who uses the term, I mostly think of low-income women. It seems to have a weird, clinical, distancing affect. Also, the people who use it never seem to say "the males," in reference to men. At best, you might hear "males and females."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:54 AM
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Blog comments don't set it off -- I'm not 'writing' here, I'm 'talking'.

One trick is to approach your brief (or opinion letter, or whatever) as if it were a blog comment and just start talking about whatever it is you need to be talking about in your document. This works even better if you have a collaborator with whom you can exchange emails on the issue. No, you won't file the draft in which you wrote: "Receiving a text = jurisdiction? WTF?" But letting yourself just "talk" on paper like that may free up the block and get you to: "Plaintiff's assertion that personal jurisdiction may be predicated on passive receipt of an unsolicited text message is disingenuous."

If there were careers where it was necessary to be a smart verbal person who never ever had to produce prose, I would be very happy.

Around here, we call those "trial lawyers."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:55 AM
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In fact, I'll go farther. My main context I associate with people talking about "the females" or "a female" is a situation where women are criticizing other women. Maybe that association is idiosyncratic or illusory. But that's what I think of.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:57 AM
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Is this horribly classist of me? I really dislike the phrase "passed away" in place of "died."

I dislike it too, and I wouldn't have thought that it was classist but perhaps it is. I especially dislike just saying "So-and-so passed the other night." I think what makes me uncomfortable is the hint of religiosity, the idea that we are passing through states besides the obvious one from alive to dead. Or, that I just don't really like euphemisms for death, since they all bug me.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:57 AM
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We've talked about this before, but I don't mind female at all as an adjective (female lawyers? That's fine.) I find it unappealing but not enraging as a noun -- I have a theory that it's an attempt to thread the needle of being neither sexist nor feminist. Calling women "women" sounds like you're one of those humorless viragos, or that you've been browbeaten into obeying them. Calling them "girls" or "ladies" in a context where you'd call men "men" is transparently sexist, in a way that most people aren't comfortable with anymore. So "females" solves both problems.

I think it sounds uneducated, and if I'm right about the motivation being partially to avoid feminist language I'm annoyed by it, but there are worse things in the world.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:01 AM
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74

"Passed away" is vaguely annoying, but plain old "passed" makes me insane. I had never heard it until I moved to the Midwest, so I assumed it was regional, but I have no real idea.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:01 AM
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75

female lawyers? That's fine.

In a context where you are explicitly distinguishing male lawyers and female lawyers for some good reason, anyway. I get all irritable, though, when people ramble on "So then this lawyer tells the judge he's an idiot and another lawyer moves for sanctions, and then this female lawyer... "


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:09 AM
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75: Oh, true. If the point of the adjective is to treat women as marked and men as unmarked, then I get all stabby.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:10 AM
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77

I know some female lawyers who are a real pain.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:12 AM
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78

Female, appellate lawyers? Don't even get me started! They spend hours, pouring over transcripts, criticising every "um" and "uh" and gone on and on and on about "preserving error."

ug!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:14 AM
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If the point of the adjective is to treat women as marked and men as unmarked, then I get all stabby

I get annoyed by that use of an adjective. It happens a lot with race/ethicity also.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:16 AM
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80

pouring over transcripts

Since I got that spill-proof travel mug, I've been much better about not doing this.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:18 AM
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81

The "females" and "passed away" habits of utterance bug me, too. I therefore conclude that it's a class thing. I'd go so far to say that our stated reasons (beyond class membership) for disliking them are themselves class markers.

That last sentence is an interesting assertion, whose very interestingness makes it true!


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:21 AM
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82

oh, you and your smug superiority. Appellate lawyers!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:21 AM
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81: Plenty of my peers used passed away, though, and female doesn't bother me at all.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:22 AM
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84

Plenty of my peers used passed away, though, and female doesn't bother me at all.

I can't hear you, I have a banana in my ear.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:24 AM
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Calling them "girls" or "ladies" in a context where you'd call men "men" is transparently sexist, in a way that most people aren't comfortable with anymore.

What about a context where you'd call men "guys"?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:29 AM
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86

What about a context where you'd call men "guys"?

Depends on whether the guys are trolling.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:31 AM
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87

I have a (bad) habit of using guys as a gender-neutral word.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:33 AM
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88

. . . I get all stabby

I know some female lawyers who are a real pain.

I assume this was unintentional . . .


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:33 AM
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83: I get equally annoyed by certain uses of "home." "When they built the home, ...." You built a house or an apartment, but I hear it most from people from working to middle class roots. And I quietly judge them, even though one of those people---who also refers to "females"---is my boyfriend's mother, whom I like quite a bit.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:41 AM
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I like seeing guys used as a gender neutral word. But I think it is more appropriate for female-type guys to promote it than male-type guys.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:42 AM
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90: Huh. I use gender neutral "guys", and it doesn't bother me as a usage (like, I don't find it jarring or think negatively of people who use it). But I can't actively approve of another example of using a masculine term as the gender neutral. It's really not gender neutral -- I've very rarely heard it used to refer to an all female group, or a group doing something associated with femininity. "Me and the guys are going to get pedicures"? Clangs. So it's another example of a word that on one level includes the whole human race, but on another starts excluding women as soon as they're noticeable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:46 AM
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92

I think I use "guys" in class. As in, "OK, guys, so where were we" at the start.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:47 AM
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93

I also hate it when people say "passed" or "passed away". Is it a class marker to prefer "no more masturbating to"?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:49 AM
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I get equally annoyed by certain uses of "home."

The peculiarly annoying quality of that usage is that it is a marketing invention, courtesy of the National Association of Realtors (another marketing invention!) and the National Association of Homebuilders.

Similarly, "gaming" for gambling: arrgh!


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:52 AM
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I use "guys" to address a group of women as in, "Hey Guys."

At my girls' school, when they were upset with us, they'd call us "ladies."

92: In your smaller classes, you could do what one of my professors did and say, "gang." "Okay gang, ...." was one of his favorite phrases. It was vaguely conspiratorial and very inclusive.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:52 AM
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96

I really hate it when people say "You bastard, I'm going to rip your nuts off!"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:52 AM
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97

I also hate it when people say "passed" or "passed away".

I know, but it still feels a little jarring to say, "my grandmother died." I've been practicing, because I don't want to reach for a euphemism, but I understand the temptation.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:53 AM
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95: I do say "gang"! And also "folks."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:54 AM
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I also hate it when people say "passed" or "passed away". Is it a class marker to prefer "no more masturbating to"?

I almost hate you people for ruining obits for me. Now, I always think a silent "no more masturbating to..." whenever I see that someone has died.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:54 AM
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oudemia says "yous guys."


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:55 AM
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98: Hopefully not "people". I associate "Listen up, people" with perky gym teachers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:55 AM
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102

nobody uses "bitches" anymore?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:56 AM
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Saying "my grandmother died" doesn't sound jarring to me at all. It's the only way anyone in my family ever talked. Somebody in my Dad's family who were middle-middle class might have once said "passed away," but my Mom's Brahmin family always said "died." That's why I worry that I'm being classist.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:57 AM
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"Passed" and "females" both drive me up the wall.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:00 PM
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I started to refer to my kids as "chickens" after the fashion of Heather Havrilesky. "Ok, chickens, time for bed."

They didn't like this, though.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:01 PM
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"Y'all" is completely non-discriminatory.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:02 PM
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Weird, so y'all have a problem with "passed away." Honestly, it has never occurred to me that this might grate on people. And it marks me as having lower- or working-class origins? That's a fair cop I guess.

But really, so like when your co-worker is out on bereavement leave, and someone asks you why she's not at work, you say that "Mary's husband just died," not that he "passed away"? Yikes, I really don't think I could do that. I guess you can't take the gutter out of the flower girl.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:03 PM
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Saying "my grandmother died" doesn't sound jarring to me at all.

Somehow, "died" seems more appropriate for sudden, unexpected death while "passed away" fits best for death at the end of a long illness. But that's just my own idiosyncrasy.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:04 PM
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106: You guys down South got that one right.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:05 PM
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107 was posted before I saw 106, but I initially wrote "you guys" before reconsidering.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:05 PM
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"Passed away" sounds to me like "was sent off to the farm where all the old dogs live." Dead is dead.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:06 PM
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But really, so like when your co-worker is out on bereavement leave, and someone asks you why she's not at work, you say that "Mary's husband just died," not that he "passed away"?

I sure do. But the usage that I really loathe is bare "passed".


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:06 PM
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Saying "my grandmother died" doesn't sound jarring to me at all. It's the only way anyone in my family ever talked.

Me either/me too, BG. And we are leagues from the same class! I am still banking on regional -- although "regional" might be segueing into something like "places where there are Lutherans" or something.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:07 PM
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Although I have used "gone" in a phone conversation when I wasn't sure I could get "died" out.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:07 PM
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74 + 112: I can always count on redfox being very annoyed by the very sames things by which I am very annoyed.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:08 PM
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I only experience an event as real to the extent I put it in words either uttered or written. I force myself to say "so-and-so died" to make real the fact that so-and-so died. I think this is especially important when so-and-so was someone close to me. If I thought that there was some ontological meat to "passing away", I might not be so opposed.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:09 PM
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My Dad's family is from Buffalo. I could imagine his relatives saying it, but I don't know. My uncle's girlfriend, a nurse, says stuff like that, and I don't think of her as educated even though she used to live in a newish, expensive suburb near PDBS.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:11 PM
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I think "passed on" and "passed away" are a bit too nervously polite -- in the English context -- but I rather like "passed", which is much more unusual over here, and makes me think of an endless line of dimly visible shades on the ever-full Highway to the Beyond, that this person just joined, and so is right now "passing"...


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:11 PM
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I use "ducklings" for the kids, especially when we're walking somewhere. "Ducklings! Line up behind me!"


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:11 PM
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119: My children are "Rabbits". Actually, all children I'm responsible for or supervising are rabbits. I suppose I'm going to have to quit that soon.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:12 PM
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108 gets it right. Grandmother passed away after a long illness. Someone who died in a car crash or of a heart attack, they did not "pass away".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:13 PM
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At what age do they stop being "moppets"? When they're no longer tender enough to eat?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:13 PM
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It also reminds me of "Watch the wall my darling/as the Gentlemen go by", which is about smugglers rather than ghosts -- so I guess the Ontological Meat Requirement is quite poorly wired in my brain's case.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:14 PM
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116 is a very good comment.

I can imagine that all you atheists would hate the phrase for anti (there's a theo word I'm thinking of but can't remember) reasons, but I do believe in God and a "heaven," though in a complicated way.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:15 PM
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116 is spot on, with the caveat that sometimes just a little gateway drug is necessary.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:15 PM
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121: Any one else use "Remember how Uncle Don liked to play on the roof?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:15 PM
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Grandmother passed away after a long illness.

I've witnessed the business end of a couple of long illnesses, but this doesn't ring true for me.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:16 PM
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I only experience an event as real to the extent I put it in words either uttered or written. I force myself to say "so-and-so died" to make real the fact that so-and-so died. I think this is especially important when so-and-so was someone close to me.

This is one of the reasons I prefer to use euphemism when describing the death of a person, especially a person not close to me, in a impersonal setting, such as the workplace.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:17 PM
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It's good that nosflow has drilled you all so thoroughly in the use/mention distinction, because a lot of these comments would be really funny otherwise. I read 102 as really horribly sexist, and 104 as "females... drive me up the wall", and 106 as a demonstration of comically exagerrated Southern dialect, and... and I am easily amused.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:18 PM
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108, 121: The end of a long illness demands "died" precisely because it's the end of various forms of "not quite dead yet." When my s-i-l died of cancer after clinging to the jamb of death's door for weeks, it meant something that the slow, agonizing process of dying was finally over. It was the one who died more unexpectedly for whom a bare "died" didn't quite do the trick at first.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:21 PM
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103

Saying "my grandmother died" doesn't sound jarring to me at all. It's the only way anyone in my family ever talked. Somebody in my Dad's family who were middle-middle class might have once said "passed away," but my Mom's Brahmin family always said "died." That's why I worry that I'm being classist.

Fussell claimed "died" is upper class and "passed away" is middle class. Prole is "taken to Jesus".


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:24 PM
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This is one of the reasons I prefer to use euphemism when describing the death of a person, especially a person not close to me, in a impersonal setting, such as the workplace.

Huh. For me, avoiding the euphemism is a way of telling people that you don't want them to tiptoe around like you're made of glass for the next month, which I hate hate hate.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:25 PM
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131: Sounds a little like the joke about compliments.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:31 PM
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Don't die pass away go to Jesus, little thread!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:32 PM
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The "go to Jesus" euphemism universally applied would make it hard to talk about the crucifixion.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:38 PM
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The crack suicide squad of the People's Front of Judea has gone to Jesus.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:43 PM
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I think of "passed" or "passing" or "passed away" more as written terms, possibly because I don't hear them that often, but see them in the news, books, etc. Sort of like "slain."

I do remember using "passed away" once in conversation and wondering why I didn't just say "died" since it just sounded really awkward.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:48 PM
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In my family we've always used "died" almost exclusively. When my dad died, that's how we talked about it. Since then, when mentioning it in a few situations, I've sometimes used "passed away" precisely because of its gentler, more euphemistic tone, but it feels very unnatural.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:50 PM
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My dad has advanced slow-onset parkinsons, and for the last six or seven years has needed 24-hour care, which mainly comes from agencies as he still lives in his own house. He's very up and down in mobility and ability to communicate, the condition being what it is, and quite early on with the current agency he had a poor week, and a rather panicky and inexperienced carer told her bosses he only had a few weeks left, despite everything we were saying. So the agency sent some carer they reserve for palliative terminal cases: not only because she's good at them, but because -- so she told us -- she far prefers them.

Anyway this was handy for us, because after a day with dad she was able to tell the agency he wasn't dying at all, and her skills weren't needed. But she was good with dad, and amusing company, and very practical and grounded as a carer, so we persuaded her to stay on for a bit. She was a fascinating person: she liked working with the dying because she could, well, see dead people. For her, when someone died, it was as if they passed -- I forget if that's the exact word she used -- from one part of the house to another, like crossing a threshold. You could still see and communicate with them, but it was different. She liked -- she said -- making them feel at ease when the time came, because it was actually quite a small step; not a big deal.

It's a big empty house, dark in some parts, and several carers and visitors have called it "haunted" (no one in the family ever encountered anything); she told us the house was simply stuff with ghosts, of all different kinds and times. Some were friendly; some less so; some ignored her. She liked working with terminal clients because, for her, it was social in a way that more ordinary care situations. She wasn't religious, at least not in a conventional sense, and this quirk seemed to be part of how she was so level-headed and unstressed and good at her job.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:50 PM
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Oops: end italics after "social" for best intended sense.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:51 PM
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No one prior to the crucifixion went to Jesus, they went to his Dad. cf also the "bosom of Abraham"...


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:54 PM
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No one prior to the crucifixion went to Jesus

No, but did Jesus go to Jesus? If so, does that have implications for the doctrine of the Trinity?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:56 PM
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My dissertation is entitled "Lolcats and Theology".


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:56 PM
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144

I can haz salvation?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:58 PM
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143: I think that is an Open Court publication. (Good christ, I think I am kidding, but it's probably in the works.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:58 PM
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Maybe he went to the Holy Ghost! That dude has to be there for some reason.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:59 PM
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Jesus went to Damascus and his followers followed.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:59 PM
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133: what joke?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:04 PM
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I can haz salvation?

WANT


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:05 PM
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I use y'all frequently too. Guys I address at both groups of all women and men, and have been called out for addressing groups composed solely of women as "guys." (They were not pleased.) But I have a long-term problem with using gender correctly.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:14 PM
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148: I forget exactly how it goes, but the general idea is that the upper class ask for the cosmetic surgeon's phone number, the middle class threaten lawsuits, and the lower class respond to "nice tits" with "gee, thanks."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:14 PM
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In 2002, Pope John Paul II announced five new optional mysteries, the luminous mysteries, bringing the total number of mysteries to 20.

The "optional" here is cracking me right up.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:16 PM
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But I have a long-term problem with using gender correctly.

The California thread was yesterday.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:17 PM
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I especially dislike just saying "So-and-so passed the other night."

Definitely too much information from anyone.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:19 PM
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150: I'm sure the apostropher could teach you.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:21 PM
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I don't understand what could seem exaggerated in 106. We use "y'all" all the time. It is something that we really do say.

"Passed away" is my parents' favorite euphemism for death because it can transmit factual content and serve as a fingerprint of their beliefs regarding the afterlife. I say "died" - unless the context is very sensitive - at least in part as a rebellion against the way they wear those beliefs like a battle standard. Almost everyone else in my generation of my family prefers "died" for similar reasons.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:29 PM
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130: clinging to the jamb of death's door

Thanks. I've been using "Circling the drain", this is much classier.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:30 PM
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I don't understand what could seem exaggerated in 106. We use "y'all" all the time. It is something that we really do say.

He said it was more enjoyable to read the sentence as "Y'all is completely non-discriminatory.".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:34 PM
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Using "y'all" in the singular, however, is generally frowned upon.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:36 PM
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I thought y'all WAS singular; all y'all is plural.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:43 PM
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Not really, no. They're both plural, but they do mean slightly different things, as Wikipedia can attest to.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:56 PM
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I use y'all frequently too.

And as Cyrus pointed out, the use/mention thing was going so well....


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:59 PM
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162: I think I missed that lecture. Explain?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:05 PM
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163: 129.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:08 PM
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164: 129 was the comment I didn't really get (like I said, I believe I have missed young ben's lectures on the topics). I think I'm puzzling it out, though.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:19 PM
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as Wikipedia can attest to.

As it can attest, or which it can attest to.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:21 PM
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Like every Unfogged thread, it's all about grammar in the end, which suggests the shocking truth: the use-mention distinction CAUSES CANCER.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:27 PM
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Great, now I'm going to get cancer as I finally understand 129. (I'm feeling really, really slow today. Of course I knew about the use/mention distinction. I just for some reason couldn't put it all together. I blame cancer.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:31 PM
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Oh, wait, yes, the use/mention thing. See, y'all learn grammar and we just learn talkin'.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:31 PM
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We should call our first album "Food Grammar Sex Tragic".


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:31 PM
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I don't think my grammar's going to survive the passing panels. Euphemasia, they call it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:36 PM
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Sorry, eb. We're sending your grammar to Jesus.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:37 PM
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Well, Parenthetical, it could be that you use us frequently. I mean, I use y'all frequently as an antidote to boredom, or for information or general entertainment purposes. But to use the word "use" for that seems a little unkind.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:42 PM
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173: How about "take advantage of", then?


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:44 PM
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172: But I don't even know Aramaic.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:46 PM
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173: Oh, I like to be honest, essear. Might as well say use.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:48 PM
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And now I have Bill Withers stuck in my head.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:48 PM
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"Grammar" isn't "everything in life, you know".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:55 PM
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And only little bitch's think otherwise.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:57 PM
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Things I have just learned:

1. Yglesias uses the word "passing" for "death", marking him as some class or other.
2. Yglesias is not sure that he will die.
3. On the other hand, if he days, we should politicize it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:24 PM
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4. He urges everyone to politicize us.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:32 PM
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180:"In the event that I day"

I do not understand how he does this. I still think he must be using voice recognition software.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:17 PM
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Nah, young people just don't understand electronic communication.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:22 PM
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The post linked in 180 is like Concentrated Essence of Yglesias.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:24 PM
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182: I've heard the voice recognition idea several times before, but I can't see how it would ever make the "use" -> "us" mistake jms pointed out in 181.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:27 PM
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I do not understand how he does this.

I am prone to very similar horrendous typos that I do not see unless I reread something at least three times and sometimes not even then (this may be the product of a learning disability, but I've never had anything diagnosed). Any given sentence I type has at least a 50% chance of having a typo in its first draft. These two facts make writing on the internet hell.

Thus, I sympathize with Yglesias in the abstract, but I've never understood why they don't hire an intern copy editor for him. It's not like they don't have the money.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:30 PM
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186: They don't even have to do that. He could just revisit each post 15 or 30 minutes after it goes up, look at the comments to see what hilarious typos people are making fun of, and then correct them. Wouldn't take more than a minute or two per post.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:32 PM
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Hardly anyone spends money on copyeditors anymore.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:48 PM
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Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:52 PM
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No one prior to the crucifixion went to Jesus, they went to his Dad

Not so! Gospel of John, i. In the beginning was the Word. And then the Word was made flesh.

In my upper-class family we prefer "X is pining for the fjords".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 3:19 AM
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Yglesias uses the word "passing" for "death", marking him as some class or other.

That would be "American"? I've never heard this term used by anybody else. In Britain, the effete middle class who can't bring themselves to say "died" say "passed on" or "passed away", but they seem to manage "death".

[Oh death where is thy sting-a-ling-a-ling?]


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 4:00 AM
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Mary Ann has gone to rest,
Safe with her head on Abraham's breast,
Which may be nice for Mary Ann
But is certainly rough on Abraham.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 4:08 AM
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We will not meet Abraham.


Posted by: Queen Victoria | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 4:16 AM
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This one is pretty good too. Now, I know he has the two horizontal blue lines confused, thus making the content of his post meaningless, but it's not clear whether he has the two wavy blue lines confused, which makes the content of the post even more meaningless.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 7:42 AM
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Gai kaken oifen yam!

(Yeah, I'm late to the party. Just back from a lovely funeral for my 94-y.o.-grandfather. No cancer, high spirits, a good farewell, no condoleezzas necessary. It was his wife who denied ever teaching my father that phrase, but was clearly guilty-- he didn't learn it on the playground.)


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 5:37 PM
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