RE: It did happen on a Friday...

Subject: RE: It did happen on a Friday...
From: Mailing List <mlist -at- ca -dot- rainbow -dot- com>
To: "'Goldstein, Dan'" <DGoldstein -at- DeusTech -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 11:39:18 -0500

> From: Goldstein, Dan [mailto:DGoldstein -at- DeusTech -dot- com] opined:
> Political correctness is not the point. If a word jars or offends our
> audience (whether or not it jars or offends *us*), then that
> word is an
> obstacle to clear technical writing. Out with it.
> Dan Goldstein
> > ... I sneer at those who have any faintest sympathy for dumping
> > master and slave because of stupid, misplaced political
> > correctness (often a weasel phrase in itself...)....

I disagree that that's what would be at stake.

We've already been through the ridiculousness of rewriting
the language to exclude "mastering a subject" and similar usage
(or maybe that was on CE-L... I forget).

But given how generic and widespread is the usage master/slave
in technical subjects (among others), and how it generally
does not describe readers who are currently alive (nor their
parents or grandparents), then it can only be "Offense Theft* [tm],
perpetrated by the "Professionally Offended" (C).

The Professionally Offended are people who, if they are not
currently being offended by something, are impelled to
seek out an offense, or create or borrow or steal one, so
that they can get back into their comfort zone. Being,
as they are, inherently unsatisfiable, they should not be
the drivers of our writing and editing policy (unless they
happen to be writing our paychecks).

.... oh! Wait!... was I allowed to say "drivers"? Could
that be construed as ... gasp!... slave-drivers?

And yes, I do understand that the OP was posting a funny.
It's quite possible that a technical document would find
its way into the hands of a First Nations/Native North American
(or whatever this week's approved label), or into the hands
of a person from India, in which cases it would legitimately
give pause.

It's not likely to be read by a slave. If it's read by a
slave-master, do you really see offense being taken?
"I'm the owner of 57 slaves, and I'm offended that you
would use such terminology in your documents." Yeah. Right.

*Offense Theft - the taking of offense where none is offered.

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