April 26th, 2005

Illustmaker me

Deleting myself...

Well, I deleted my miss_w journal, because I never use it. There were maybe eight entries altogether, all transient politics, with low readership. I saved the entries in Word--maybe I can come up with some opinion articles out of them. But I doubt anyone had much interest left in Howard Dean's YEEEAAAAAARGH and its geographical implications. I think in order to have a political blog that gets read, you have to publish on the political sites first, which makes sense. As soon as I find a nice, liberal Republican opinion site (preferably with a Yankee bias) to which I can submit opinion pieces, I'll let you all know. By then, I think we'll be communicating by telepathic hologram.
Illustmaker me

Vocabulary mini-rant

Okay. Just kind of breezing around some conservasites, I ran across an article about Ruth Bader Ginsberg trying to argue that the Declaration of Independence suggests we should pay more attention to foreign law. I haven't read it, or the commentary on it, and this isn't a political rant, but a brief scan of the article about it smacked me with one of my pet peeves: "humankind."

The article reported that Justice Ginsberg referred to her idea, paraphrasing the DoI, as "respect for the opinions of [human]kind."

Humankind.

I hate this word.

I will argue until the cows come home that there's nothing wrong with "mankind," but that's not the point of this mini-rant. If you are constitutionally unable to refer to yourself as a member of "mankind" because you possess girl bits, then fine. I'm not going to force you to say it. But if you're going to replace it, please don't use that weird, ugly neologism, "Humankind" (which "mankind" is more or less short for anyway, though its cadence is different, and oh yeah, I wasn't going to argue for using "mankind"). "Humankind" is an awkward, arhythmic word that calls attention to itself (and its users' Great Sensitivity, of course) because it doesn't fit naturally into the cadence of the English language.

Now, if it were just an ugly word being used in place of another word because there was no alternative, I'd probably grit my teeth, roll my eyes, and mentally replace it with "mankind" ignore it. I don't object to neologisms in principle. Sometimes, they're needed. But here's the thing: a "human"-based alternative to mankind already exists, fits well into English cadence, and has dignity. It doesn't call attention to itself by its sensitive ugliness. It just serves the purpose of having a word that has no bad old gender connotations and refers to the whole of mankind, one of whose definitions is "Humans considered as a group; the human race." The word is "humanity."

A decent respect for the opinions of humanity.

A great leap forward for humanity.

Humanity's greatest achievement.

A benefit to the whole of humanity.

For G-d's sake, why use a grating, discordant neologism like "humankind" when there's already a word in existence that does the same bleeding thing?

Ugh.

Rant over.
Illustmaker me

Let's get some religion in the schools

No. I'm not talking about introducing mandatory prayer, or singing religious Christmas carols at a public school concert, or putting up the Ten Commandments in the hallway.

I'm talking about religious history.

You get some history of Islam in school, but apparently people in America are assumed to know Christian history and Jewish religious history can hardly matter to current events, right?

Apparently not. (Nor, apparently, does the assumption that they have the first clue about Christian history bear out in practice.) A rant appeared on fanficrants today in which someone, trying to explain how not to write an American high school, needed to be aware that not all Americans were Christian. Some are Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist... or Catholic and Mormon. Now, there's no need to go over and post. I feel guilty because I did three increasingly annoyed posts before I realized that I really should rant over here, since my complete irritation has nothing to do with fanfic.

I recognize that there are some Protestant sects that like to throw around the "Catholics/Mormons aren't Christian" nonsense, and if it were coming from that direction, I'd just have my usual level of being steamed--but it wasn't. It was supposedly coming from someone who wasn't affiliated with any particular system of Christian belief. And academically, there is a very clear definition of "Christian": One who accepts Jesus of Nazereth as Christ. Catholics and Mormons qualify quite well.

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