Re: Grad school (PhDs)

Subject: Re: Grad school (PhDs)
From: Richard elGurutm Howland-Bolton <reh1 -at- CORNELL -dot- EDU>
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1993 09:40:46 -0500

>> 1) To me it looks as though Michael is suggesting that the phrase should
>> apply only to women, and not to men (as it originally did). What's
>> inclusive in that?
>So "men" is inclusive ...
a lot of ignorant crap deleted (sorry , but that's what it seems)
>...And historically, the etymology of wife equates to "country slut" or "the
>female pair of the lower animals." Perhaps I'm missing your point....
more flushing

At the time that Thoreau wrote that particular concept of "inclusive" was
not evident. Pressed, no doubt someone of his generation might well have
admitted that "men" was inclusive (that last is pure speculation on my
part). "Women" was not inclusive then and it is not now. "(wo)men" is

On that other, rather silly, point--To look through the OED for transferred
tertiary and quaternary meanings and trump them up as true history is
slipshod to say the least. I'm surprised you didn't use the same technique
to claim that wives are mere moths fluttering around the flame (well at
least the willows).
I could try to detail the development of the various terms for male and
female. young and old--pointing out how Bede's feminarum is translated
wiifa, delighting in the bread-making propensities of ladies (against whom
the wife's lowly-ness is to be measured), questioning queanly
behaviour--but it would all be a waste of time since you are clearly
wrapped up in your own bigotry.

The thing that annoys me about your attitude (and I'm sorry to have written
this in white heat--and not, I hope, DWM heat either) is that if you feel
superior to the past, you are being just like the worst of the upperclass
Victorian men who considered themselves the pinnacle of creation. They were
decent, upright moral pillars just like ye, yet they had their faults
(worse faults because they didn't see them). You see those faults, and in
that respect you are "better" than they are. But we too have faults that
are unseen--because we live within them! (Or rather we live totally within
our own times, of which faults are part of the fabric.) If we hide the
differences of the past we will be forced to re-live them (in our own way).
If we can't watch Guys and Dolls without feeling like the pinnacles of
creation that we aren't, or read Thoreau or Aristotle without seeing their
strengths along with their (to us) weaknesses, or discover (to our
surprise) that Thomas Love Peacock has strong, independent heroines (even
if they do get kidnapped occasionally--to be rescued, not by a man but by
an orang-utang that everyone thinks is a man!) then how can we improve?
(Didn't THAT get needlessly messianic--I wish, how I wish, we still had a
way of differentiating 2nd pers singular and plural/impersonal)

I absolve you, Messire de Stogumber, on the grounds of invincible ignorance.


Richard E. Howland-Bolton Cornell University
Manager Publications Computing Publications Guru
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