zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (New Zealand zebra)
Late to the party I think, but:


This may have made me even more teary than the descant to the "Men of every" verse does.

(I've been browsing links. About NZSL is one of the key ones, and the Online Dictionary of NZSL and online exercises for students studying NZSL which I can do a *bit* of guessing at for some of lesson one, based on mimesis (I think that's the word I want?), context, lipreading, and a slow memory of fingerspelling. Also in the second lesson I think I recognise the words for boy and girl but that's about it. --Oh, the 'g' would be the grand-(mother/father) prefix. --I took an NZSL course about ten years ago and have forgotten most of it since.)
zeborah: Zebra looking at its rainbow reflection (rainbow)
You know the joke: Someone says, "So-and-so is such a pig!" and someone else says, "Hey, that's offensive to pigs!" and everyone laughs.

The reason people laugh is that no-one really cares whether or not pigs are in fact offended. Most people care a certain amount that they're treated humanely, and good numbers would like them to be killed humanely or better yet, not killed at all. But I think you'd be hard-pressed to find many who care about the pigs' self-esteem, least of all among the pigs.

So in reality, the only one an epithet of "pig" is likely to offend is the person it's used against.

When, however, the derogatory epithet used is the name of a human, or a group of humans, or otherwise refers to a human or group of humans, the effect is quite different. Because now we're not disrespecting pigs, but humans. So saying "That's offensive to ____" isn't a joke anymore. It's a (very frequently painful) reality. It offends humans. It hurts humans. It makes it clear that the speaker doesn't care whether or not they offend these humans, and more than if they were barnyard omnivores. It reflects society's disrespect for humans, and it strengthens society's disrespect for humans.

Cut for examples )

Two things:

1. Sometimes a member of a group thus maligned won't care. That's cool. But they can't speak for the whole group. Just because 1%, or 10%, or 50%, or 99% of a group doesn't care, doesn't stop it hurting the remainder of the group. And even if that remainder is only 1%, they're still human and deserve not to be hurt.

(Plus and moreover, I don't believe it's good for people to get in the habit of disrespecting a group of humans. It makes it harder to prevent oneself disrespecting other groups of humans, and one ends up in a constant struggle to prove that one is in the one true group of humans that deserves respect. Far better to just concede from the start the shocking notion that all humans are deserving of respect.)

2. To the inevitable woeful cry of, "But where will all this terrible politeness end?" I say: It ends where humanity ends. Women? Human. People of colour? Human. Gay people? Human. Insane people? Human. And you just don't get to use humans as weapons in your personal war of words unless you've secured their unanimous consent to be so used.

You can, however, malign pigs and snakes and weasels to your heart's content, and slow coaches, and sticks in the mud. Hey, I'll even give you arses: at least then you're maligning all humans equally.
zeborah: Zebra against a barcode background, walking on the word READ (read)
Digital TV is awesome. So is being on holiday. Unfortunately Chinese TV (WTV, channel 28) doesn't have any readily discoverable programme, but I talked to a colleague at work and she's told me all the timeslots she knows of that have Korean sageuk. <bounce>

The channel also has a learn-Chinese segment at 2:40pm which is... actually way too advanced for me: I've never been at a stage where the words for "pumice" and "sinkable wood" and various east Asian trees are the most important gaps in my knowledge and I couldn't follow the conversations at all. The 这是不是。。。呢 and 这会不会是。。。呢 structures they briefly touched on were more my level. OTOH it does bring back a few of the words I learned at uni, so. I'll probably keep watching for the rest of my holiday, but don't think I'll bother recording it after that.

After that segment is over, I change the channel to Māori TV for their 3pm learn-Te Reo segment, which is just about perfect for my level. At one point they mentioned homework and going to the website; I went to the website and couldn't find the homework, but I did find the video summaries of the previous 200+ episodes of the series, and I'm now downloading them to my iPod for revision (one by one; there doesn't seem to be an rss feed; oh well). Yesterday I also watched Te Kaea (news) which is in Te Reo with English subtitles. (Oh, and a bit about the building of the marae at Waiariki Polytech, which ditto. And sidebar: I'm now trying to work out what the excuse of the opposition was for resisting the addition of a kitchen. I'm not surprised that there was Pākehā resistance in the slightest, but what excuse could they possibly come up with? A marae without a kitchen seems to me like a building without a doorway. When you welcome people onto the marae, you have the pōwhiri and then you eat. If the marae didn't have a kitchen, how would the tangata whenua feed the manuhiri? Does not compute!) This is also about right for my level: it keeps me following along enough to familiarise me with the words I just recognise, and confirm/correct my understanding of their meanings, whereas without subtitles I wouldn't know what was happening so would get bored and tune out.


In other learning-something-new-everyday news, I've taken up scambaiting again. (It's a lot more convenient now that Google lets you be logged into three accounts at once. Also I'm on holiday, so I don't know how long I'll keep it up once I'm back to work, we'll see; though I hope I can, because the first week of a scam hardly wastes any of their time since they're just running off a script still anyway.)

Anyway this morning I got an email stating that:
my sister [...] will be coming with me to your country because i am her father and the only family she has now
which, once I switched out of the "mock the mugu" headspace that makes fighting crime so much more efficient, I decided must mean something like "male head of household / legal guardian" or somesuch.


The only problem with the Freeview digital decoder is that when it's on standby it makes a quiet whirring noise which sometimes you don't notice and sometimes you can't not notice it and it drives you up the wall.
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Rainbow)
Warning: this post almost certainly involves Fail related to mental-health issues and, specifically, the word "crazy". I'll do my best not to be a jerk about it, but I expect it'll still be there.

Warning on the other side of things: I reserve the right to be dictatorial over comments. That is, over comments who think I'm being overly "PC" or whatever. Comments calling me on ablism will have free range.

So. In various places I've seen people point out that using "crazy", "going crazy", etc, in various figurative/non-literal ways is ablist language. (If this is hopelessly vague I can try to find examples, but I think people likely to know what I mean will know what I mean?)

And. I don't want to use ablist language. It's relatively easy to avoid derogatory language based on specific conditions - eg "retard", "schizo", and my personal un-favourite "psycho" - and it's very clear why avoiding them is a good thing. Likewise I aim to avoid casually using words like "insane" which have a clear clinical meaning.

"Crazy", to me, feels much less clinical, much less targeted, and much more vernacular. And...

Hmm, let me back out a bit. What I'm having trouble with is, I regularly need to be able to describe:

a) the way one's feelings/emotions get when one is all confused/stressy/turmoil-y/all mixed up, and

b) the way people sometimes act either:
i) apparently-from-my-POV irrationally (which may not be actually-from-their-POV irrationally), or
ii) hyper'rationally' without apparent-to-me regard to ethics, morals, empathy, etc

And "crazy" in current vernacular covers those, and I haven't been able to think of other words/terms that cover any and/or all of them. (NB: I am totally open to suggestions here!)

[Fun story time from my teens! So sixth form (aka Year <counts> 12) was super-stressful. At one point I commented to my best friend that it felt like I was going to have a nervous breakdown, and she was annoyed because I shouldn't joke about such things. (My point of view was that joking about it was one of the few things keeping it from actually happening; seriously I was super-stressed.) Not overly long later we were up on the balcony outside out maths class and she made some comment about jumping off, then was annoyed that I took her seriously and told a teacher, when it was 'obviously' just a joke. (My point of view was that, given that she was super-stressed too and various other things I knew about how she was coping with said stress, actually it wasn't anywhere near that obvious that it was a joke.) --Okay, look, I had a point when I started writing this parenthetical. I think it's that, at least for myself, I wasn't clinically depressed or clinically insane or clinically anything except a teenager dealing with stuff that was hard to cope with. But there need to be words that someone can use to express the nggh, the head-inside-outy, the argh!!! kind of feelings that just go along, sometimes, with being human. Because if you can't express what you're feeling then you just feel worse and that's not good for anyone.]

So I would like to be able to draw a dividing line and say, "Look, world! I'm using "crazy" to cover non-clinical craziness only, because the word seems appropriate for someone with good mental health who is nevertheless feeling/acting crazily/in ways that promote evil despite their good intention pavingstones; whereas it doesn't seem appropriate for someone who has schizophrenia who is being a sensible and decent human being."

At the same time I recognise that my personal definitions don't actually mitigate any hurt or harm that my use of the word may cause.

So.

??? <flounder> <flail> Thoughts, suggestions?

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