Re: Rule of Thumb

Subject: Re: Rule of Thumb
From: "Susan M. Leslie" <sleslie -at- NEOSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 1995 23:53:17 -0600

I'd like to focus my comments on how this relates to writing.

Sanford Carr writes in part:

>Making use of "Rule of Thumb" a litmus test for sensitivity to
>violence against women is neo-political, oppressive, and of
>questionable validity. It is, however, so emotionally charged that
>I'm going to lose another good phrase from my repetoire.

For me it is not a matter of "a litmus test" but rather an understanding
that someone finds a particular phrase offensive. I then have the following

* decide they shouldn't find it offensive, use it anyway and "&^$" the
* decide they shouldn't find it offensive, stop using it but harbor a
resentment that makes me unhappy
* decide that since they find it offensive I will honor their wishes and
not use it.

Writers, it seems to me, have to be aware of and sensitive to how others
receive their communications. I choose to take responsibility for an
acccurate receiption of whatever I'm trying to communicate - not just a
responsibility to state it in a way that I believe is clear. (I don't mean
to imply that everyone should do this - just that I choose to.) When I
knowingly use phrases that will upset someone else I take responsibility for
how that interferes with receiption of the concept I am trying to communicate.

If course, as a listner/reader I also take responsibility for fairly judging
when someone innocently uses a phrase that offends me and when it
communicates that they do not respect my right to draw personal boundaries.


Susan Leslie
Houston, Tx

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