RE: Correctness of bus-"master"ing

Subject: RE: Correctness of bus-"master"ing
From: KMcLauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 13:30:32 -0400

Let me just say this, about that... :-)

On the whole issue of politically-correct language,
I'm sure there are lots of terms, especially in the
realm of gender-specific terms for functions that
have no gender, where it's worthwhile to try for
terminology that doesn't perpetuate myths. But there
are other sorts of terms that don't belong in the
same slop-bin, and don't deserve to be handled the
same way, and can't be profitably handled that way
(except by lawyers and agitators).

A fine example is master/slave.

I'll be one of the last hold-outs, after y'all convert
to Controller/controllee or to my suggestion, below... :-)

But, d'you know why? Must be because I'm some racist
scum who hates "persons of color" (pink ain't a color?),
jews and other groups, or because I'm just a narsty
bastidge who enjoys baiting people. (Whoops! That
second one was kinda close to home. People might not
automatically dismiss that one as hyperbole... hmm.)

Nope. Try this instead. I'll know it's time for
me to adopt Controller/controllee when slavers start
to refer to themselves and their merchandise that way.
If the PC among us are "successful" in having the
perfectly valid, useful, accurate and descriptive terms
"master" and "slave" expunged from the language, they'll
succeed only in displacing the concepts to other terms.
When the new terms for exactly the old meanings become
common, nothing will have been accomplished except a
bit of circularly-disposed, mutual back-patting.

Slave is only a word. It is not a word that was made
up for the purpose of slurring other beings. It is a
word that describes a concept and a condition, and
it's an english word. There are (obviously) different
words, in other languages, that have the same meaning[s]
and that likely have even longer histories to them.

We're already a bunch of avid little participants in
the general dumbing-down of speakers and readers (fewer
of *them* around every day) of English. When we succeed
in eliminating yet another notion from general converse,
we won't have protected anybody from it. We'll just
have made it harder -- for a while -- to communicate
about it. Eventually, the new words will necessarily
take on all the connotations and denotations of the old,
and the world will have gained only a few more tons of
PC smugness.

Were I a betting man, I'd bet that the few remaining
people who have been slaves would be the last ones to
want it hushed up and sanitized. Ask any holocaust
denier who it is that most implacably works against
their brand of spin-doctoring.

I agree with someone over on CEL who suggested that
words like "actress" probably deserve to disappear,
if for no other reason than that your average male
would take umbrage at being called one, while there's
no such stigma for female "actors".

But, if you really, really must do away with the terms
"master" and "slave", may I humbly suggest you go
with "dom" and "sub"? <g>

By the way, you're hearing this from a guy who once
gave in to a pack of # -at- %&* and removed all occurences
of the word "rear" from a hardware manual, and replaced
them with "back", because somebody was titillated by
"rear" and could undestand it only as "rump".



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