Death Of A Perfectly Good Word

Before 1551-ca. 2005

I can't tell you how many times I have seen "flaunt" used to mean "flout" in respectable venues--academic writing, AP newswires--just in the past couple of weeks. I know the distinction has been on its way out for a while, but I think it's finally past the point at which people even realize there's an issue. Time was, people knew there were two words and that it was possible to confuse them, and did it anyway. Now, I think, "flout" is simply gone from the language. Perhaps it sounds too much like a fish, or a part of a fish, to be usable to mean "scoff at" or "violate with abandon." So Tom DeLay flaunts the law. I guess it's his prerogative.



New strategy

I have a new strategy for getting myself not to waste time in the morning. Two days a week, at an ungodly early hour, I will be sitting in on a Pali class. What is Pali, you ask? It's the language of the holy texts of Theravada Buddhism, the Buddhist tradition of Thailand (and nearby Southeast Asian countries, as well as Sri Lanka). It's sort of like Sanskrit--in fact, it helps to have taken Sanskrit, which I haven't. I have, however, purchased "Teach Yourself Sanskrit."
What am I getting myself into?



Well, it's been a while

Let's see. What has happened since I last posted?

Goatdog got back his Super-8 footage, shot in Maine, and it looks fantastically archaic.

A man asked me for money on a Chicago street: "Help the home team first! I've been living a hurricane my whole life."

Apparently privileged young women at Ivy League schools are planning not to work (ever again, apparently) after they have all their privileged children. Good thing they've got that husband thing worked out! The Husband 2.0 model always makes more than enough money to support a family, without working such long hours that you forget what he looks like. And he won't ever tell you all decisions are his because he makes the money. He also doesn't have affairs any more, nor is he ever abusive. He doesn't turn out to be gay, or have mid-life crises. He never goes to Iraq. (Oh wait: we're talking about the privileged.) He doesn't become permanently disabled, or die. It's a pretty good deal.

Also, apparently, young men think it's "sexy" for women to want to make this choice. Yes, women at home with small kids do nothing but wait around sexily for their husbands to come home and jump their bones.

Meanwhile, a certain university recently announced the hiring of 12 distinguished scholars (by which they mean people hired with tenure), all men.

Classes haven't started yet. That happens Monday.



Finding vs. looting

From a message from Doreen Hopkins on the H-AFRO-AM list, an illuminating comparison:

Black male "looting":
text: "A looter carries a bucket of beer out of a grocery store in New Orleans on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005, as floodwaters continue to rise in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Monday. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)"

Another Black male "looting":
text: "A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store in New Orleans on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Flood waters continue to rise in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina did extensive damage when it...."

Other people "find":
text: "Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina came through the area in New Orleans, Louisiana.(AFP/Getty Images/Chris Graythen)"

Update: At AFP's request, Yahoo has pulled the last photograph because of controversy over the racially biased use of language. They have not, however, pulled the other two.

Here's Yahoo's statement. See what you think....

And there's more here.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?