By on August 21, 2012

Many years ago, when I was a partner in a Madison Avenue ad agency, our client Swissair asked us to come up with an ad that asked affluent American Express holders to do their Christmas shopping in Zurich, Switzerland. I wrote “Merry Swissmas” on a sheet of paper. My Art Director Juergen Dahlen  came up with a picture. It was pasted on foamcore, was run over to the Swissair offices and met with applause. Two weeks later, I had a lady from American Express on the line.

“Christmas! You can’t say that!”

“It’s Swissmas.”

“Come on, I know what you wanted to say.”

“So, what should I say?”

“You know. Happy holidays.”

“Alright. I’ll change the headline to Merry Swolidays.”

“You are kidding me.”

I picked up the phone and called Swissair. They could not believe it. Enraged, they called up Amex and called off the promotion.

This was some twenty years ago, and matters did not improve ever since.  Says the American Thinker:

“Under the guise of being sensitive to “feelings,” political correctness has succeeded in effectively censoring any uncomfortable “truths” that do not comport with liberal orthodoxy.”

“Political correctness is an approved form of censorship.  Based on emotional appeals at the expense of reason, political correctness mandates that inconvenient truths or facts be swept under the carpet.  Or else. Free speech, guaranteed to all Americans under the First Amendment, is on its way to becoming moot.”   

In fulfilling its mandate, TTAC steps on sensitivities all day long. Truth hurts, especially feelings. By now, TTAC must have hurt the sensitivities of just about any car owner, we have been accused of being biased against domestics and imports, our choice of pictures provides never-ending fuel for flames.

Would we listen to it, we probably would be flamed for delivering a bland appliance blog.  If hurt feelings would stop us from writing, then we would have closed TTAC long ago. We won’t. Attempts to censor TTAC will receive the cold shoulder. Incessant attempts will be met with a ban.

While on the subject, allow me to draw attention to TTAC’s commenting policy.

The policy expressly disallows hate speech, “racism, sexism and homophobia.”

The policy also disallows what not to write’ requests. TTAC editors choose what to write and what not to write, just like TTAC readers choose what to read and what not to read.

Likewise, the policy disallows interference with administrative actions: “Backtalk after an administrative action usually means a quick end to a commenter’s career on TTAC.” And: “If you write ‘I will probably get banned for this,’  you probably will.”

The policy disallows threats.

When a thread gets closed, it is because flames already were too high, and to avoid a spreading to other parts of TTAC. Hijacking of other threads in order to continue the flaming is disrespectful to other commenters, it also interferes with an explicit administrative action.

Several of these policies were ignored yesterday.  A warning was issued, the FAQ was pointed out. After the warning, one commenter violated several of these policies in the course of four lines. This commenter is no longer with us.

This commenter threatened to complain to TTAC’s parent company. While anyone is free to complain anywhere, it should be known that TTAC thoroughly enjoys full editorial freedom. Nobody of TTAC’s owners has ever told us what to write and what not to write. Which sets them apart from some commenters.

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

126 Comments on ““You Can’t Say That!” “Watch Me.”...”


  • avatar
    Signal11

    Are you inviting discussion by leaving the comments open and unlocked or is this a policy declaration?

    • 0 avatar

      The policy has been long set, and is available by clicking on FAQ.

      Occasionally, it is overlooked, and a reminder appears to be in order.

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        I understand the purpose of the post. I wanted a clarification of where you’ll draw the line in the commentary.

        While I appreciate that you need to defend your contributors, I have to ask: did you really not see that firestorm coming? As soon as I read the first paragraph of the Santana article, I knew before clicking on the full article link that the bulk of the comments would have nothing to do with the contents of the article, only the wording.

        If every comment in the post was about one specific phrase in the article, it seems to me that there was an error made in judging the sensibilities and reaction among the readers.

  • avatar

    I’m probably going to get banned for this…

    but I’ve never seen you guys truly offend all of us Panther lovers. ;D

    Signal11: Most sites do this occasionally, oftentimes when there is a flare-up of some inappropriateness. It’s just a reminder of the policy, and it’s helpful instruction for new commenters who may not read these policies.

    I personally think TTAC has one of the most even-handed commentary enforcement of anywhere I post.

  • avatar

    In the many years I have been coming here I think this is the fourth time I have seen a post of this nature. It also seems that three of them have come in the past 6 months…

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I was just thinking the same. I think I missed what happened yesterday (unless it was the whole Oriental Eyes Dust-Up in which I think the commenter was being an unfair knee-jerk, esp given Bertel’s personal situation), so I don’t know what or who was stoking the flames of self banishment… Usually Bertel Names and Shames the offender, so we get a sense both of who got banned for saying what. I’m going to have to look back to see if it was a known commenter, or a newer, possibly throw-away-troll who got bopped with Bertel’s Ban-Hammer, and to satisfy my curiosity!

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        Same here – what is this all about?

        Would a newspaper print a headline about something and then fail to explain anything in the article below it? Such that the reader is more confused after reading it than before?

        Not all of us are as TTAC-focused as the writers are.

      • 0 avatar
        akitadog

        Robert.Walter,

        What made the offended Santana article commenter lose credibility in my eyes was the fact that he/she didn’t seem to take offense to the idea that all Brazilian women are dark-skinned and big-breasted. I mean, if you’re going to get all huffy over one stereotype, why not the other?

      • 0 avatar
        Sinistermisterman

        As far as I’m aware this is all because of the comments section going berzerk in the Santana article, swiftly followed by someone getting uppity and offended by the fact that someone else mentioned that some people in China like to eat dogs in the article over fake Chinese taxi fleets.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      @Sinistermisterman
      I don’t know if that statement (chinese people eating dogs, they do make some of the dogs into fur linings for fake Northface and Canada goose parkas) is correct, but what if the do? Isn’t frowning on eating dogs down to cultural bias? If some american brat* visited me I’d gladly cook – and confess that we where eating – raindeer, the animal of Rudolfian fame. I wasn’t all that offended when I saw dog on a menu in Cambodia, the skinned dog slow roasting over fire was a bit much for my blood thou.

      *I have one particular brat in mind, but the kid might turn out okay, then the Rudolf eating will not take place, I might serve up some Bullwinkle and Bambi’s family thou.

      • 0 avatar
        ZekeToronto

        Not sure where you live, but some years ago in a beautiful restaurant in Finland, I had the opportunity to eat reindeer meat raw (or tartare, as the foodies say). It was bar none the best freakin meat I have ever tasted … and I never gave Rudy a second thought :-)

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        @ZekeToronto

        Living on the other side – vis-a-vis Finland – of the Baltic. Reindeer meat raw is not my favorite, I always preferred it smoked, or even better, dried. My plan was to let the kid eat it and then brake the Rudolf related news, maybe put a clown nose on the plate or something.

      • 0 avatar
        Sinistermisterman

        @MeaCulpa
        If you’d read the comments thread, one person made an offhand remark about a certain stray dog in one of the pictures ending up as dinner, then the next person flipped out and accused the first person of being racist and then accused TTAC of allowing people to post racist comments. I then entered the fray by saying that in fact dogs are eaten in China, and to say so, or joke about it isn’t racist.
        Personally I’ll eat anything (Rudolf included – very tasty), and I believe that the best road to peace and understandings amongst the various peoples of the world is to rip the piss out of (i.e. make fun of) each other and laugh about it.
        To quote some of my Chinese friends: “You know what us Chinese say? If the sun shines on it’s back – we eat it.”

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    I think that there is a mild misunderstanding on the part of (some of) the editors and writers of this site of the difference in definition between “truth” and arrogant ranting. Respectful professional tone of articles has diminished over the time I have spent on this site, even though some of the author replies to comments have been… better. (I will add that I think Jack Baruth’s writing and comments have improved in this regard)

    At any rate, violence begets violence and assclownery begets asshattery. The increasing frequency of these kindergarten level lectures bears adequate proof to that effect.

    If you want to control the comment maturity on this site, start with your editors actually doing their jobs and edit the content before it is published. Publish work with a professional quality tone and you will get reciprocity in the comments. The same basic concept works for cities with a “broken windows policy” (look it up) and it works for parents who act respectfully and thereforer have respectful children.

    In short, this site’s problem is this site, not the comments it attracts.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Aw, and I thought this was going to be a cute Christmas story, not another nanny story.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Could you please start your sermon articles on good behaviour with some kind of a warning so that we know not to click further? Started off well, I thought it was about cars and such. What are we getting now, something like one per week?

    Less Bertel, more Jack.

    Thank you.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I joined TTAC a bit over two years ago because I found it to be the absolute, finest automotive website available. The general quality of the comments and articles are what attracted me.

    Two year later, even with all the changes the site has been through, I still feel the same way about TTAC.

    What does bother me is the use of profanity on the part of the writers and commenters. Of course, I don’t have to read those articles or comment, and that is what I practice, as TTAC doesn’t belong to me. I firmly believe the use of off-color language is inappropriate on any level. I don’t resort to it personally or professionally, but that’s because of my beliefs and I don’t make any attempt to foist those on anyone else.

    Same thing goes for headlines and photos used. If I find them offensive, I ignore them…

    Political rhetoric has clearly gotten out of hand – sometimes here and certainly in the world in general. I’m neutral in that arena as well.

    Clearly, something has been happening to invite another article of this nature. I have no issue with knowledgeable, informed comments, especially from someone who either is or has been there, and I would hate to see someone banned if the comments get a little heated, because issues become emotional at times. It’s the trolling and deliberate flaming with nothing to advance the discussion that bug me.

    Whatever is going on, I hope the issues get resolved and the articles can get back to cars – I think we all love those!

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Congrats on the new ride Zm, but I don’t think your aviator does it justice… It’s kinda hard to see… And not nearly as bold as your old car (maybe due to dark color?). I think the old aviator worked well because of the angle too.). Oh, and yours was a good comment too!

  • avatar
    chainyanker

    “Attempts to censor TTAC will receive the cold shoulder. Incessant attempts will be met with a ban.”

    Way to stand up against censorship. Seems it’s only a bad thing when you’re on the receiving end of it.

    • 0 avatar
      michal1980

      so the solution to censorship. is drum-roll… censorship.

      I’m fully aware what powers the rulers of this site say. But at times I giggle at the sensitive nature of people that claim to be about the “truth” (as they see it) but cant stand the “truth” (as someone else does.

      Like the other poster said, alot of the editors/writers here write in/with a juvenile style (nothing wrong with that). To expect a different style of response is folly.

    • 0 avatar

      This touches on a commonly misunderstood aspect of free speech.

      The constitution grants us “freedom of speech.” The universal declaration of human rights says that “everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.”

      “Freedom of speech” is no “right of forum.”
      “Freedom of the press” is no right to free use of someone else’s press.

      We cannot demand pages in someone else’s newspaper for our free use. If we go to a meeting, we can be evicted. We have the right to start our own blog. We have no right to tell people what to write in their blogs.

      Be it as it may, we value the opinions of our readers and give them all possible freedom. This freedom does not extend to abridging ours. We will exercise property rights if this happens. Feel free to picket us – outside.

      • 0 avatar
        chainyanker

        All true but you have to recognize the hypocrisy of decrying censorship while practicing it. Hurt feelings don’t matter when there’s truth to be told – unless those feelings are yours. My point is, you have the right to ban anyone you want but maybe you shouldn’t then get all preachy and decry censorship.

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        Bravo Bertel…..I’m sick of the rightous few on here who feel the need to preach and pontificate. It’s your show and it’s free to come into your tent. If they don’t like the show they need not enter, and if the do and then try to spoil the show, throw them out of the tent.

  • avatar
    gouge

    What’s going on with TTAC? The political posts and obnoxious culture commentary makes me think TTAC is trolling the commenters. Maybe Bert should consult American Thinker about that.

    I get that you guys want to express yourselves in other areas, but maybe you should start a political blog and leave it off The Truth About Cars.

    And every time someone complains, you can’t just throw back “You can’t say that!” “Watch me” like you’re brave truth tellers pushing back against the PC police. You’re starting to sound like grumpy old cranks who want to be martyrs.

    • 0 avatar
      philipwitak

      now, my feelings are hurt! this comment offends me.

      ““Under the guise of being sensitive to “feelings,” political correctness has succeeded in effectively censoring any uncomfortable “truths” that do not comport with liberal orthodoxy.”

      “Political correctness is an approved form of censorship. Based on emotional appeals at the expense of reason, political correctness mandates that inconvenient truths or facts be swept under the carpet. Or else. Free speech, guaranteed to all Americans under the First Amendment, is on its way to becoming moot.”

      and, the american thinker? now, there is a misnomer if ever there were one. an extremely poor choice, in my opinion, to represent the collective ‘american’ wisdom.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      You kids get off my lawn or I’m calling the cops.

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    Thanks for the hilarious little skit, Bertel. It made my morning. :)

    +1 to TTAC for giving Political Correctness BS the bird. Personally, I wish everyone I meet a Merry Christmas and if it offends them then I don’t do it to them anymore. If someone comes up to me and wishes me a happy Ramadan or Hanukkah, I’m personally not offended and I understand their gesture of blessing and goodwill so I actually thank them even though I do not share their faith.

    • 0 avatar
      JustinM

      In interpersonal interactions, that’s a fantastic policy. Nobody gets hurt.

      When it’s company-to-person broadcasting, however, ignoring small but significant portions of your customer base can be seen as more of a middle finger, though, and that can be a harsh realization for people who don’t often interact with people from outside their own demographic group. I believe the saying is, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Trying to be nice is not always the same thing as actually being nice.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      That seems the decent thing to do, I admire the intent even if I don’t subscribe to the message. Living in the bible belt, I get alot of “have a blessed day” and it baffles me why somebody would get bent out of shape when somebody wishes them well.

      On the matter of “slant eyes”, oriental, and asian – I suppose in the US at least “slant eyed” has been used in a fairly derogatory manner, thats about the only time I’ve heard it used usually attached to bastard or something worse.

      Seems to me at some point also in the US asian became the proper response when addressing an individual and oriental is proper for referring to things (other than people) from asia.

      I work with a kid that used to get pretty upset at the use of the word oriental and I asked him why, his (nonsensical to me) repsonse was “because its racist” – I dont know about asians my generation or older, but this seems to be an attitude among a younger generation which unfornately seems to have become a pretty watered down term for young people – I’ve seen the word racist used when somebody simply wasn’t getting thier way.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        @ raph “I’ve seen the word racist used when somebody simply wasn’t getting thier way.”

        You hit the nail right on the head. That’s what Political Correctness — or rather the Lowest Common Denominator has done to society.

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        “Oriental” in reference to a person offends people for a couple of reasons. It is inherently Euro-centric (as in, whatever lies to the east of Europe is “Oriental”) and carries with it a recollection of European colonialism. “Oriental” being used to describe inanimate objects like rugs or noodles is fine, though, because they are inanimate objects.

        This is chiefly a North American Thing(tm). Other English-speaking regions generally do not have this taboo. That is probably why Herr Schmitt sees no issue here. It’s a regional thing.

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        @ Freddy:

        Political correctness and a gun are both tools. Both can be used for good and for ill. Do not blame the political correctness for the ignorance of the one wielding it.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        @ Justin

        The responsible and irresponsible use of a gun, which is a right in the U.S. is more comparable to the right of free speech in general. In that context, Political Correctness is akin to gun control and we all know the (in)effectiveness of that policy. But more to the point, like responsible use of guns, it lies with the sensibilities and common sense and intent of the USER as you state, regardless of whether “controls” (PC) exist or not.

        In any case, we have differing views and opinions. Thanks for your thoughts.

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        @Freddy

        We aren’t that far apart. However…a thought experiment.

        Do you agree that a person is wrong to walk down a crowded sidewalk brandishing a semi-automatic pistol, pointing it at people, even if it is completely unloaded with the safety on, and so cannot possibly cause bodily harm but does scare people (e.g., cause psychological harm)?

        If you do, then why is it not also wrong to wield your freedom of speech in such a way that it causes psychological harm?

        This is irrespective of any external controls (and there aren’t, as far as I’m aware, any PC laws in the US), I’d think.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        Not only is it wrong, that example is illegal and not supportive of a case for political correctness. It does underscore my earlier statement above about intent.

        Threatening someone with a gun (loaded or otherwise) is not comparable to calling an Asian a slant-eye. Or wishing a Muslim Merry Christmas. It’s about intent in all cases.

        Political correctness removes all meaning from these actions and deems a derogatory term like slant-eye as wrong as perhaps it should, but in the same stroke a greeting of good will like Merry Christmas with the same ban.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      Good post FreddyM, this gives me a great idea for the official TTAC Christmas card. Bertel are you listening?

      Picture this: Santa Claus sitting in his big oversized chair with Mrs. Claus(a beautiful Asain lady) dressed in a red & white bikini sitting on his knee and twirling his beard and a new Beemer Convert under the tree.

      Verse: Happy Birthday Jesus……and Merry Christmas.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      There’s not being politically correct and then there’s just using offensive slurs for no good reason-the two are not one and the same. And the reason could even be for genuine entertainment, but entertainment shouldn’t be at the cost of someone else-if you have people in on the joke it’s one thing (see Russell Peters) but that’s not how it went down.

      If you don’t feel that way yourself, fine, but to totally ignore the viewpoints of a rather large portion of the comments and to not reconsider your own viewpoints once in a while-that’s not being politically incorrect.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    If Amex wants to be PC, and nix your copy, that’s not a first amendment issue at all; their ad is their speech. But an advertisement is not protected by freedom of the press, rather it falls under the commercial code(assuming the speech occurs in the US). They can’t just make stuff up. Similarly, TTAC’s owners have the final say on what appears here, though if it is editorial speech, then it is protected as free speech. If editors work for a company then it is ownership’s speech that is protected by the first amendment. My comment here is your speech, too. You can shut me up any time you want. And I know it, so I behave myself.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      This.
      In the US, free speech protection is provided by the First Amendment to keep government from muzzling opinion. In fact, the Constitution is meant to protect citizens from the corruption, illegitimate exercise of power, greed and rapacity that sooner or later seems to crop up in government.
      It does not extend to commercial enterprise muzzling opinion. The law talking guys can, I’m sure, provide some very gray area cases, but I can’t think any that would apply here. Absent the proprietor’s right to censor, I could envision a disgruntled car company (slammed by bad reviews here) paying trolls to drive readers and revenue away. Of course they would be paid through an intermediary ‘market research’ company or some such. Happens in political commentary – there are sites that aren’t worth the time as a result.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    I’m not a very easily offended person but yesterdays article in question did make me wince when i saw the objectionable wording. While we do live in a country where politcal correctness is running rampant it would have been easy to change that one thing without altering the integrity of the article. I understand that this is a site that it viewed around the world and with writers from different countries, some of which don’t go on pc rants the ways they do in the US. For example there are members of the African-American community that use the “N” word amongst themselves. Does that mean it’s ok to casually throw that word into an article becuase it wouldn’t offend them? The answer is no. That said, i still think this is the best automotive website out there even though it’s not perfect.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      Does black people go around calling each other niggards? I have never associated black people with stinginess, I thought that niggardly behavior was something you where suppose to associated with the semitic peoples. Or as I like to say to mu Hebrew friend Mike, Niggard pleazz.

  • avatar
    Dukeboy01

    Man, I miss all the cool threads…

  • avatar
    EEGeek

    I arrived at the original Santana article after comments had been closed. I found it instructive that there were zero comments about the actual content of the article, only about the verbiage. Best and Brightest, indeed.

    Kudos for having a backbone, TTAC crew.

    Now, can we discuss/debate the truth about cars?

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      To me that’s the point. When terminology is left in that can obviously agitate some people then the whole point of the article itself is lost.

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        Right.

        And it does not matter if one member of a set is not offended. If I have an African-American friend who doesn’t mind if I use the N-word around him, that does not then give me license to use it in general conversation with anyone I might meet, saying, “Well, Dave doesn’t care if I say it, so you shouldn’t either!” Sure, I *can* do it and not end up in prison for it, but having the right to do it doesn’t make it right to do.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    A whole article complaining about political correctness? Wow, it is 20 years ago.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I can’t stand the “mustn’t offend anyone” crap that passes as the “right thought” these days. Anything that I find offensive is considered “art” or “free speech” but let me say how I feel about something based on my own morals and values, not to mention common sense and suddenly I’m a ray-cist, homophobic, etc…
    Example – I knew ya’ll needed one, I didn’t vote for Obama, won’t vote for him this time either. But, because I’m a middle age white guy I must be rayyyyyy-cist. No, I grew up with black folks living right down the farm path from my house, we all played together and I learned to appreciate 1960′s Motown music. I didn’t vote for Obama because he, like his hero FDR, believe guv-ment is the holy grail and savior. News flash, it aint, didn’t work in the 1930′s – aint working now. Read any Thomas Sowell article and get the reasons why.

    • 0 avatar
      JustinM

      We’re getting far afield here, but there’s a couple problems with what you’re saying.

      If someone is telling you that a vote for [insert white dude here] is an inherently racist vote, THEY ARE INCORRECT. Plain and simple. If you vote against Obama because you believe he might be a Muslim Kenyan interloper, then they probably have a point, but if, as you state here, that it’s just his policies, then they do not.

      However, offending the powerful is acceptable. The powerful don’t often like to hear that, but it’s simply the case. If you’re a white, middle-class, straight, Christian man in America, guess what–you’ve got everything going for you. Everywhere you turn, there are others like you. You’re in the majority wherever you might go. If you have to absorb a few zingers now and then, that’s just the price that comes with power.

      • 0 avatar

        ” If you’re a white, middle-class, straight, Christian man in America, guess what–you’ve got everything going for you. ”

        Boy, are you due for a rude awakening. As my older sister once told me, “everyone has tzuris”. Nobody gets out of this world without some pain and aggravation. I know lots of straight, white, middle class Christian men who are struggling in this economy. Obama doesn’t care about them in part because they’re not likely to vote for him and in part because he feels alienated and hostile to their culture.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        “Obama doesn’t care about them in part because they’re not likely to vote for him and in part because he feels alienated and hostile to their culture.”

        I love that we impart these distinctions upon our President. You honestly believe that he just sits around his cool White House NOT caring about white people cause they won’t vote for him. Just like some believe Mittens doesn’t care about anyone who doesn’t have enough money for him to pander to. This is the level of where our ‘news’ media has let us down, by providing unneeded and unnecessary opinion to muddy the waters of events. As a TTAC member since 2006, I applaud the way this blog allows for discussion without flamming or trolls and that we are expected to be rational, thinking adults, not kids at recess.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        “If you’re a white, middle-class, straight, Christian man in America, guess what-you’ve got everything going for you.”

        Last time I checked, being a white, middle-class, straight male didn’t prevent me from getting relentlessly made fun of growing up, nor did it prevent me from being unemployed twice it in the last three years. It did, however, bar me from getting lots of free money for college and being able to blame society for my various personal shortcomings.

        So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

      • 0 avatar
        Jellodyne

        ”If you’re a white, middle-class, straight, Christian man in America, guess what–you’ve got everything going for you.”

        You guys are missing the point. It’s not that you have everything going for you, that you’re guaranteed 100% satisfaction in all things, and that you will never have a moment of worry. It’s that you’re playing on the lowest difficulty setting.

        “Obama doesn’t care about them in part because they’re not likely to vote for him and in part because he feels alienated and hostile to their culture.”

        Wow, just wow.

        Do you really believe this? If so, consider my mind blown. What do you suppose Obama’s culture is? Does he strike you as the sort of jive talking negro who hangs out at back alley dice games? If Obama doesn’t share _your_ culture its more likely because he is Ivy League educated than because of his race.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “News flash, it aint, didn’t work in the 1930′s – aint working now”

      As a former republican you have to explain this to me. After 8 years of Bush with 6 of those years republicans controlling the house – the economy was near complete collapse. How is going back to the policies that nearly destroyed the economy going to help?

  • avatar
    vaujot

    Too bad “Merry Swissmas” didn’t fly. Perhaps you should’ve tried “Merry Swissness”.
    Anyway, since this fits the post’s start the other day, I reread the “Auto-Biography of BS” articles. Everyone who hasn’t read them should check them out. And more of them would be great.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      maybe he could’ve gotten a hot chocolate concession and gone with “Merry Swissmiss” A small change in typesetting dept. and we’re in the money. (or as they said back then -”It’s raining tiny marshmallows!!”

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Gladly – if you didn’t live it (I did) read about the 1970′s with Jimmy Carter as Pres, my 100% southern democrat cousin that owned a small Ford dealership had this to say in 1980 – I’m voting straight Republican, Jimmy Carter has about bankrupted me. Now, Ronald Reagan knew economics, he knew what to do and that it would take time. After daddy Bush came in, he started undoing it, and got his lunch eaten by Bill Clinton, W was clueless, Obama is not clueless, he just supports a failed economic policy that conforms to his view of government.

    Here’s the deal, read Thomas Sowell, he can explain it so much better. But, here’s my take on it. For every goverment regulation, for every increase in tax that a company, large or small has to pay, there’s less money for R&D, expanding, hiring, etc. You can’t take but so much from the producers to piss away in the government before the producers say enough. We all hear the wealth envy and class warfare crap, ask yourself this – when was the last time some out of work, living on welfare SOB gave someone a job? But, oh, we just want those nasty greedy corporations and billionairs to pay their “fair share” so what is their share? It was proven back in the 80′s that when companies could actually keep more of their money, then businesses grew. What a concept. But, there are people that would have you believe that is all wrong, they’re called socialist and look at Greece to where we’re heading.
    We need to cut government so bad it hurts, the trillions wasted away is crazy. And it kills me when some well intentioned, but uninformed people think corporations are the problem and that a few people control them – guess they either don’t have a 401K or never looked at what their retirement consists of. I have shares in a lot of companies, so do millions more that are working and trying to make ends meet. Cut government, cut welffare, quit spending billions on the “war” on drugs and instead devote 10% of that budget on treatment instead. Drill for oil/natural gas right here.
    Teach kids that life doesn’t owe you spit, put the xbox down, get off your fat lazy butt and get busy.
    Now ya’ll know how I feel, good day.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      You haven’t explained how after 8 years of Bush (with 6 of those years Republicans in control of the house) the economy collapsed. If you were right and republican policies worked – why did that happen?

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        You mistakenly assume that. a. Republicans always followed “Republican” policies, b. the economic collapse was strictly the result of what happended after January 21, 2001, and. c. we “deregulated” the financial sector.

        Wrong on all three counts.

        Understanding what really happened requires a more indepth study of the situation than can be acquired by watching youtube videos.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      he just supports a failed economic policy

      That seems to be you. Republicans had the White House for 8 years and the House for 6 and they ran the country right down the crapper. I can’t see how you can explain away their epic economic mismanagement.

      • 0 avatar

        I didn’t know the Republican nominee’s name is Bush. Are you sure that you want to use the term “epic economic mismanagement”? There are millions fewer people working now than when Obama took office. His “stimulus” plan was going to reduce unemployment to 5.6%. That’s what he said. In fact, he claimed that without the stimulus, unemployment would be about 6.2%. In fact, it’s never gone below 8% during his term.

        Sure, if I endorsed the economic failure that Obama is, as you do, I’d also be pointing the finger at someone who hasn’t been in power for almost four years.

        Some days it seems as though the entire Obama campaign consists of “Bush, War on Women, Seamus!”.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Ronnie,

        You should adress my actual concern. We had 8 years of republican polices and the economy almost collapsed. After 3+ years of Obama things seem to be on the mend. Why should I have any faith that given the chance the Republicans won’t run us into the ground again?

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Which republican policies, exactly?

        The non partisan fed printing money throughout the early 2000s to fuel the bubble? The complete lack of accountability and transparency for Wall Street that continued unchanged from the Clinton administration and hasn’t improved in this one? The mandated lending to bad borrowers caused by the Community Reinvestment Act? The global commodity run up from two billion wogs in the developing world?

        Placing full blame for long term trends on whoever has the watch at the moment they come to fruition is completely ignorant.

        The foreknowledge that a broadly ignorant electorate will always be that shortsighted (or willfully blinded by partisan hatred) is why Washington never addresses a crisis before it becomes full grown catastrophe.

        You know as well as I do that the only thing the government employee party would have done any differently then is what they’re doing differently now, which is hiring more administrative seat warmers while watching the world burn. (And blaming Bush for it.)

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “Which republican policies, exactly?”

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNqQx7sjoS8

        That one’s always fun.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Yep, that one speech in 2002 broke the financial world. Right. That’s why anybody at all in either party said a word about it until 10 years later.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        “You should adress my actual concern. We had 8 years of republican polices and the economy almost collapsed. After 3+ years of Obama things seem to be on the mend. Why should I have any faith that given the chance the Republicans won’t run us into the ground again?”

        Huh? Did you even read Ronnies post? How can the Republicans run us into the ground again when Obama continues to dig an even deeper hole? Three years of Obama policies (and two with a rubber-stamp Democrat congress) and the unemployment numbers remain abysmal while the deficit keeps growing.

        But yeah, Bush endorsed giving mortgages to deadbeats a decade ago, so lets blame him for all of this. Have you ever even heard of Barney Frank or Chris Dodd?

        Bush was an embarrassment to a lot of Republicans by the end of his term. Only a simpleton or a shameless partisan would really believe that Mitt Romney = Four More Years of Bush. Your call.

        No way am I buying your claim that you’re a “former Republican,” either. Just because you voted for the least-electable candidate in a Republican primary doesn’t mean you were ever “a Republican.”

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “How can the Republicans run us into the ground again”

        I don’t know – they certainly did a hell of a job last time… didn’t they. Why yes they did. I just can’t understand how you can argue around it.

        The damage the republicans did to the economy pales in comparison to what Bush and a republican congress did in 6 years.

        And yes ,I was a hard core Ayn Rand republican until they ran this country right into the s(itter.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “How can the Republicans run us into the ground again”

        I don’t know – they certainly did a hell of a job last time… didn’t they? Why yes they did. I just can’t understand how you can argue around it.

        The damage the republicans did to the economy pales in comparison to what Bush and a republican congress did in 6 years.

        And yes ,I was a hard core Ayn Rand republican until they ran this country right into the s(itter.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “Only a simpleton or a shameless partisan would really believe that Mitt Romney = Four More Years of Bush.”

        So… you want me to judge republicans not on what they do… but what they say? I can’t do that. I’ll just have to judge Romney by what he did as the governor of the most liberal state in American. If that’s the case he’s far more liberal than Obama.

        Is that what you want?

  • avatar
    JK43123

    So they want people to spend Christmas money but not call it Christmas. Insane.

    Merry Swissmas, I think that’s very clever and makes the point.

    John

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      What I find fascinating here is we are all fixated on one person, a “lady from AMEX”, calling and saying you couldn’t say that. I’m assuming she’s not the President of the Company, but for the sake of argument will assume she speaks for the Board of Directors who felt it was inappropriate or some such and approved this measure. Thus, why are we getting so bent out of shape when a corporation, which we claim now are ‘people’, decides this particular promotion was not in its best interest? Everyone seems dedicated to the idea that there is a yet another example of Left-Wing Political Correctness that from what I can tell here, couldn’t be farther from the truth.

      Seems to me AMEX was your client and you needed to make your paying client happy, regardless of their decisions.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Circa 2012, “slant eye” is a racial slur in the United States.

    I wouldn’t necessarily expect a Brazilian who speaks English as a second language to know this, but the expression is what it is, and in the US, it isn’t good.

    • 0 avatar

      No need to be patronizing.

      Nobody called anyone a slant-eye.

      The expression was used for a car.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “The expression was used for a car.”

        So I guess that we can all now refer to BMW’s as Nazimobiles, Toyotas as Japwagons, and Hyundais as Gookmobiles then.

        My comment wasn’t patronizing; on the contrary, I was giving your Brazilian writer the benefit of the doubt by assuming that it was a matter of something being lost in translation, rather than intended as being deliberately offensive. I (sort of) speak a second language that I learned mostly from classroom training and reading, so I can relate to what it’s like to miss the nuances in a language that isn’t your own.

        I don’t doubt his intentions, but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be corrected. A mistake is still a mistake.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, you can.

        I don’t know how many times the Porsche has been referred to as an “ass engined Nazi slotcar.”

        Japanese cars are routinely called “jap cars” by commenters who are still around. Japanese have called themselves worse, may I mention the “From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor” ad for Panasonic.

        Never heard a Hyundai being referred to as a gookmobile, but there are sundry kimchi jokes.

        None of those might be in particularly good taste, but I won’t sacrifice my rights in the interest of good taste, and last I looked, bad taste was not against the law.

        The last is what irks me the most: The personal freedom we are so proud of was hard fought. Millions lost their lives in the name of it. People around the world still go to jail because they speak their mind.

        And we throw it all away out of fear that we might upset someone.

        If the price for freedom is the occasional disgust, then I am both ready to pay and to demand the occasional contribution.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “last I looked, bad taste was not against the law”

        Of course, it’s legal (at least in my country of residence.)

        But it’s also perfectly legal to point out that it is, at the very least, somewhat clueless to use such language.

        Likewise, the right to expression is not accompanied by a right to silence ones critics. We are free to make all the ridiculous remarks that we like, but we aren’t free to gag anyone else who points out our ridiculousness. If you want to dish it out, then you also have to be able to take it.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        I don’t think anyone here is suggesting statements that aren’t PC should be outlawed. I think what’s being said is that when we go to a website to read about cars we expect a certain level of writing that doesn’t single people out for aspects they were born with. Everyone knows in civil society you aren’t allowed to use slurs unless you are part of that target group. If I were Asian and read that line about ‘slant-eye’ it probably would’ve made me uncomfortable, and I may have stopped visiting the site.

        It’s far too easy for white guys to play down racial and cultural insults as all in good fun (or for Brazilians in Brazil). What do we have to relate it to? What’s the worst that we’re called? Boring? Square? ‘Oh haha us boring whites, look at us controlling the vast majority of wealth in the world!’

        In the US minorities have experienced actual discrimination. Seeing words like that recall all sorts of bad feelings. If someone wants to use those words I’ll think he’s an a-hole but defend his right to say them. But in an article about cars I’d expect a certain amount of decorum.

        Being a white middle class male with a pretty great life does not mean I can’t have a little empathy for people. When did everyone become so crass and uncaring? The filter should be real easy, if it singles out one racial group with a word or comment that is or has been used to disparage said group, then change it.

      • 0 avatar
        rushn

        As far “The expression was used for a car”, I must be reading the wrong article…

        “Brazil, the ex-favorite, the dark, mysterious, tropical, big bosomed former love affair relies on the crumbs that fall off the table of the slanted-eye enchantress.”

        That’s not reference to a car, but to a country and the physical descriptor that would be associated with that country. This line of defense is more confusing that anything else.

        And while fighting for the right of freedom of speech, I think it would’ve been awfully nice to also mention that every right comes with responsibility. Obviously, practicing rights responsibly is not that easy.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        If you really think Japwagons, Gookmobiles, Nazimobiles, and slant-eyed cars aren’t racist then I’m not sure what you’re even defining racist as anymore. To use these terms is to say that a Jap and not a Japanese person built that Toyota, a Gook and not a Korean built the Hyundai, a Nazi and not a German built that VW, and a slant-eyed oriental built that Santana. Using this term is therefore a statement that the people building those cars are those slurs. You cannot non-hypocritically state that your policy forbids racism, but then say it’s totally ok to call Hyundais Gookmobiles when that’s essentially calling every Korean person involved in making Hyundais a Gook.

  • avatar

    I’m not so sure that I get all this PC stuff. I’m a Jew, the father of two Jewesses, and I’ve been told, by *Goyim, that “Jew” and “Jewess” are offensive and that instead I should use “Jewish person” or “Jewish woman”.

    I’m not going to dumb down my vocabulary to accommodate ignorant people.

    Boy, that bitch was sure niggardly with her babies.

    *Goyim: Hebrew for “nations”. I don’t like calling people “non-Jews” because it defines them by what they are not. Hardly respectful. I also have avoided the word “gentile” since a Jamaican coworker complained that I called her a heathen. I checked an unabridged dictionary and she was correct.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      That’s becuase “Jew” is just a shortened version of Jewish. I’ve used it with my Jewish friends and never thought that i was being offensive and they never thought so either, but i would never in a million years refer to and Asian as “slant-eye”. And yes, i know the article was refering to a car, not a person.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Ronnie,

      my christian mom refers to herself as a “shicksa”…

      my malaproptastic sister once was heard to say “… the jews have it so hard, I’m so glad I’m a genital…

      I always liked the word “jewess” almost as much as I like the word “aviatrix” … both sound very cool.

      • 0 avatar

        I generally don’t use the S word because its origins in Hebrew are actually derogatory. Most people who use it have no idea what the word actually means, but it’s not very nice.

        BTW, I also refer to female comics as comediennes.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Because Asians regularly refer to each other as slant-eyes all the time? Jew is mainly offensive when used to refer to Jewish stereotypes specifically, and that’s when it’s used as a verb and not a noun. If you really think they’re the same thing then I invite you to call your Jewish friends Jews and your Asian friends “slant-eyes” all the time and see which ones stop being friends with you first.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    A huge kerfuffle that stems from not Americanizing a Brazilians story. Really nice to see that we aren’t doing the same thing here.

    When we leave the article and wander into our political/social beliefs we polarize any situation like members of the non-unified country that we have become. Last time I had much hope for the country was after 9-11 when we were unified. Machiavelli said we need a common enemy for that.

    btw in the interest of nonpolitical correctness: Bush didn’t do everything right for sure. I did not like the way he handled the economy. However, the economy really tanked when the dems took the majority in congress. Now in the interest of letting all concerned take a whack at me if they want – I am unsubscribing from the thread.

    Bertel: I recommend you just unsubscribe without comment. It sounds like situations like this set up the inmates to run the asylum. Stick with cars.

  • avatar
    strafer

    I don’t know why my comment was removed yesterday.
    My comment was about how Bertel’s wife’s views don’t represent all Asian views on racism.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Bertel, I respectfully disagree. Referring to a car of German origin as “Nazi” or a car of Japanese or Korean origin as “slant-eyed or gook” does run afoul of the no-racism rules in place at TTAC (of course, this is your website, and you may interpret your own rules as you see fit, but I’m just saying). By labeling a car in racist terms, one is merely performing transference. Substituting the car for the people who built it. The intent of the usage is clear. And disrespectful.

    Secondly, I agree things have been a bit testy of late here, and the reminder was needed. It’s fun having a good debate and keeping things clean and the tone earnest and upbeat. It’s no fun reading, or being part of a discussion that gets ugly.

    Maybe we’re just a bit of a microcosm of the overly-heated political races in our nation today. Heck, we’ve got best friends at each others’ throats, even relatives within families on non-speaking (or screaming) terms. Disturbing and polarizing to say the very least. We’re fast becoming a nation where moderation and compromise are seen as liabilities, and extremism and intransigence are viewed as desirable qualities. Gridlock ensues. Political dogma trumps common sense and compassion. I don’t like it in my government, and I sure don’t like it here, either.

    I come here for cars. And Baruthian tales of derring-do. As I’ve said since I started coming here when Farago first started this blog, “You can have your favorite cars, and I can have mine. They’re ALL cool, this we can agree on. And remember, the very last ride each of us take will be in a black Domestic Hearse.”

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      “and extremism and intransigence are viewed as desirable qualities. ”

      As a real-world example of this, I just read today that a “taxpayer advocate” group is suing to have a local water district’s parcel tax bill removed from the ballot… on the grounds that the summary was two words too long, and the emergency board meeting to revise it got only 23, rather than the required 24 hours public notice.

  • avatar
    nrcote

    Just read all the comments. Can’t remember what the column was about. What was it, again? … … … Ah, yeah, the Truth about American Express.

    And I learned a few words (English isn’t my mother tongue) that I should never use, just in case. Not bad. I guess.

  • avatar
    Monty

    Well, that’s some excitement I missed…

    I took no offense to the phrase in question; I understood exactly what Marcelo intended with what he wrote.

    To those of you who are blaming the editor for the resultant commentary, as I see it the Best & Brightest has an obligation to respond with measured words and an open attitude. To call the responses excessive is being kind.

    And, what some choose to ignore is that this site is run as the administrators see fit (and have amply defined) – should you venture beyond the rules, as commentors, not contributors or editors, prepare to suffer the consequences.

    Carry on.

    Thank-you Bertel, for your rational approach and constant updates on site happenings.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    I finally read the article.

    Wow.

    Bertel has never since shown anything but rabid defense for his language. I would feel very differently were his responses less heavy-handed. He asks for humor but offers none.

    Please ban me. I no longer wish to contribute.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      What is interesting about his stance is that he’s not seeing the difference between an individual’s right to free speech and the prudence of a business to take a more cautious approach to speech. The reason Amex doesn’t want “Merry Christmas” is because there’s no point in turning off anyone that might want to take their money somewhere else. Why only acknowledge the christian holiday when we can acknowledge everyone?

      This ‘slur approved in blogs when applied to cars’ policy only stands to turn people away from the site, as evidenced by the polarizing effect of recent events. If TTAC had simply edited out the ‘slant-eyed’ comment, no one would have ever noticed. The integrity of the article would have been completely unaffected. By leaving this type of thing intact you only serve to turn people away, and ultimately harm the site.

      Businesses should be wary of offending people because it only serves to redirect dollars (and clicks) to your competition.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        “Businesses should be wary of offending people because it only serves to redirect dollars (and clicks) to your competition.”

        A sceptical person may point out that a thread about nothing car related (this one) has achieved over 110 replies whilst an otherwise tedious thread about an equally tedious brazilian version of a tedious chinese car from a tedious German manufacturer received 9 more replies and many more page views than it otherwise would have all on account of an obviously pejorative term being ‘accidentally’ left in.

        So yes perhaps ‘clicks’ are a factor…

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        I considered the success this has had in generating clicks for TTAC, but it reeks of an effort for a short term boost in site activity at the expense of losing readers over the long term. Shortsightedness that GM is often accused of…

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        Spot-on!

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Yah, I just read the article.

      slant fin: ok
      slant V6: ok
      slant eye: hmmm

      I don’t want to get into the PC vs free speech issue. But I do want to mention that writing is a lot like music, and “slant eye enchantress” sounded a discordant note to my ears.

      almond shaped eye enchantress: ok
      silken haired seductress: better

      • 0 avatar

        All I saw was the commenter trying to explain why TTAC should reconsider the language, even by referencing a legitimate source, and being told that he better shut up else be banned. Pretty heavy handed.

        If you followed your own “dinner party” policy TTAC might not be asked to leave for the original offense and the overly aggressive response, but you probably wouldn’t get invited back.

      • 0 avatar
        B.C.

        Original text: possibly offensive, somewhat excusable.
        I’m-right-you’re-wrong-deal-with-it response: very offensive.

        Thought the standards for an EIC would be higher.

  • avatar
    ajla

    It is of course the right of the TTAC editors to run the site however they wish. However, I’m not sure that a “we refuse to ever bend” stance is the best one to take in all cases.

    I know Farago is not part of the site any longer, but both Ed and Bertel seem to have largely kept his editorial ideals.

    Anyway, RF would occasionally edit posts and change lead photos based on the feedback of the commenters- and I don’t think anyone would accuse the founder of being boring or overly PC.

    The best example was when Jay Shoemaker wrote his “Now We are Twelve” editorial (http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2007/01/now-we-are-12/). In the original copy, Jay included a story about being offered a child prostitute. Several people were offended by this. In the comments you can see that at first RF does not edit the post and asks for people to contact him with complaints. Later RF makes a comment that he is going to edit out the prostitute story.

    I was not personally offended by Marcelo’s blog, but I also would not think any less of TTAC if they edited things when an otherwise inconsequential part of a post completely overshadows the main content of the article.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Damn! And I missed it all.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Back in the 80′s, when the PMRC was getting cranked up, a common retort to their complaint about offensive music on the radio was “Change the station”. TTAC is a website. There are LOTS of them. If an article or writer offends you, just click on the Logout section. Then go to Google. It won’t take long to find another.

  • avatar

    “ass engined Nazi slotcar.”

    Giving credit where it’s properly due, that one was coined by the never PC P.J. O’Rourke.

    • 0 avatar
      RRocket

      “BTW, I also refer to female comics as comediennes.”

      By calling them “comediennes” rather than “comedians”, you have in fact given in to political correctness.

      • 0 avatar

        It seems to me that the PC practice is to call female performers “actors” and “comedians”, not “actresses” and “comediennes”.

      • 0 avatar
        SherbornSean

        Remind me what we are supposed to be calling female “pole-centered entertainers” these days?

      • 0 avatar
        rushn

        It’s funny that while battling “PC”, one actually cannot even quite figure out what it is. Kinda like pornography, eh? Quite an interesting way to undermine your own stance, however.

        The generic approach to Political Correctness is to specify the sex of the person, so female actors are “actresses”, female spokespeople are “spokeswoman”. And so on. That’s also where you get the inconvenient he/she in some statements.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      My last name is Herman, and as a kid growing up in the 50s and 60s kids in school routinely called me, “Herman the German”, “Herman Munster” and yes, “Herman the Nazi”. Did is bother me? No. Did it offend me? No. My Mom instilled in us the phrase, “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me”.

      Some people today are “offended” and their “feelings hurt” at the drop of a hat and start whining, demanding and ponificating……………..and yes, it’s all about liberal group-think political correctness. Never existed a few decades ago.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      That statement is sad as it represents a high water mark that mr O’Rourke seems unable to reach in his current writing. The last thing that I read by him was on on the wealth of nations, he might be on a hot streak now though, I don’t know but I doubt it.

  • avatar

    Good AT call-out on Political Correctness.

    It IS censorship and oppression. -Just via Stalinist means and not fascist ones.

    +AND also the culture of the Perpetually-self-victimized, It’s-everyone-else’s-fault-but-mine-ers, and the Perpetually-self-offended.

    -I am Constantly Amazed by the number of people I see in those 3 camps.

    .
    Story: This one guy even got up and threw a 10-minute verbal+physical tantrum in the middle of a very public coffee shop at me and my friend about the conversation I was having with her regarding a Discovery Channel show.

    -No, not “Ice Road Truckers”.

    I was about 1 minute away from calling 911 on the intentionally-self-offended loon.

    .
    His rationale?

    I was not allowed to think or say what I wanted because it OFFENDED him;

    -even discussing 3rd party (PG-13) content produced by some cable-TV network.

    (no; the talk was not about ladybumps, donkey-punches or a bit of the old ‘hows your father?’)

    .
    (btw, I LOVE the educated-but-still-childish attitude of ttac’s writers; even Bling-Bling Baruth.

    Leave the overdone-propriety to the science journals, Orthodontist’s Quarterly, and WebMD, please.)

  • avatar

    Another thing, if you don’t accept Merriam-Webster’s definition of what is racially insensitive language then what guideline are you following? Are you taking a stand against the overbearing dictionary industry… on a website about cars?

  • avatar
    wmba

    I was forbidden by my parents to use the appellation in question back in the 1950s in England. It was regarded as derogatory then, 55 years ago. Every single reference I can google calls it derogatory and a slur.

    I now live in Canada, where anyone who feels slighted by anyone else can complain to a provincial so-called human rights commission. Typically, the complainant wins, and the “perpetrator” is at the very least given a severe tongue-lashing for offending our multicultural, multiethnic, priggish societal norms.

    There is precious little free speech in Canada. Teachers and professors have their rights squashed, people like British Members of Parliament are prevented, yes prevented, from even entering Canada to give speeches at universities. There were violent demonstrations against that man by students, for goodness sake. Apparently, we can prejudge another’s motive prior to his uttering his thoughts. And ban him.

    http://www.visaplace.com/blog-immigration-law/canada-visa-news/denied-entry-to-canada-case-raises-free-speech-issues/

    It is nasty in the extreme to be denied freedom of speech, and Canada is by far the worst of the Western countries in this regard. It is both fascist and socialist extremism wrapped up in our Canadian flag in a misguided attempt to keep the “lid’ on. Resentment seethes below the surface. It is the tyranny of people imposing their regimented thought on anything they disapprove of that isn’t PC. It is an Orwellian hell. Quebec is intolerant of English language signage.

    http://www.mindytran.com/gagorders.htm

    Having said that, in written discourse, there is no excuse for writing common slurs that we all know are pejorative. There is a huge difference between uttering such slurs and the censorship of ideas. One is merely crass and oafish, indicative of no particular intellectual thought or depth, a mere throwaway comment by boorish and unthinking people; the other is a definite attempt to stifle ideas and free speech, which is the problem in Canada – no such differentiation is made, it’s all piled into one heap. So you learn to keep your mouth shut or the Thought Police, um, Human Rights Commission, will haul you up and tell you to change the way you think. Totalitarianism in fact.

    I have been publicly decried for refusing to say women athletes, rather than my correct choice in the English language, female athletes. As I pointed out, women is not an adjective, female is. No amount of disapproval will make me change my mind on this point.

    But I will not knowingly make use of ethnic slurs in writing, having endured being called a Limey for years after arrival in Canada. It’s not even a particularly vivid slur, but it got to me. Singling out ethnicities by using slurs is hurtful and more than just bad manners.

    TTAC should be above such gutter talk in print. It takes having one’s mind in gear, and avoiding the use of such mellifluous similes just to jot down hip prose. Many other characterizations are available to the truly well-read author.

  • avatar
    56BelAire

    Let’s change the subject, I’ve had enough of this.

    I’m excited, tomorrow I’m going to look a a 1991 Mustang GT Convert with 28,000 miles, 5-speed and not crazy priced.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      Edit- I bought the Mustang, since getting it home I’m like a teenage boy who just got lucky for the first time. Spent 3 hours in the garage last night playing with it. “I felt a tingle down my leg”……

  • avatar
    righteousball

    I could be the only Asian (complete with small slanty eye) commenting on this one. Let me do the stereotypical Asian thing, squeeze to the front and have my $0.02. :)

    I find that sometimes people need to be told something’s an insult in order to find something offensive. Circa 2001 I was attending college stateside, and fresh from a racial studies class I enjoyed, attempted to explain to a younger Asian freshman that he shouldn’t use Oriental to describe himself in a dating profile.

    He was not grateful. He was so effin pissed off at my warm reminder, he screamed several dozens of profanities my way, ruined my self-worth and possibly my future as an annoying body double for Michio Kaku.

    You may see why I’m no longer too bothered by what people call me, the reason being that, if people don’t spontaneously want to respect or listen to you, no amount of language can give you respect. Not stepping on proverbial toes, doesn’t mean they respect or agree with anything either.

    The reason some black people allow them to address each other as niggers, I imagine, is because that way they can be sure it’s meant in fun and not to belittle. But how can you be sure? You can’t be sure really, can you? That’s why their rule may seem a little odd.

    I being Asian and gay, went to 4 schools from k-12 in different countries and was bullied at every single one. I’m not here to wiggle my ass and say I’m a survivor. Looking back, I would say some behavior is just human nature.

    What I’m thinking is this: what we as people do mainly is fight for some sort of intangible status. Struggle. Attempt to one-up each other, strike back protectively when we suspect the smallest of wrongdoing, hoping that’ll make us appear a certain way. And language is just one of many tools for that.

    For the banned commenter, telling people what is offensive (but only in American English and nothing else?) may not do anything other than serve this ulterior motive. Thus he got madder and madder as others won’t let him have his way. I’m not sure he cared about us lovely billions of Asians who may or may not understand all the American English insults meant for us.

    I quite enjoyed my time in the US. I learned much and was well taken care of, that I became a fairly passionate defender of certain American ways. Political correct terminology (e.g. calling store clerks associates, and flight attendants TALENTS) is not one of them.

    If you’re a US-based commenter who might have found certain words mighty offensive, this slanty-eyed Oriental would suggest our times are better spent on really being good to each other, not arguing about what is offensive. I leave that to Nancy Grace.

    Thank you Mr. Bertel – I know my comments tend to be inane rants, but I always have such a great time @ TTAC. You guys gave me back my enthusiasm for cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “I could be the only Asian (complete with small slanty eye) commenting on this one.”

      You aren’t.

      “If you’re a US-based commenter who might have found certain words mighty offensive, this slanty-eyed Oriental would suggest our times are better spent on really being good to each other, not arguing about what is offensive.”

      You ought to step back and understand that this attitude is the very thing that contributed to you being a victim of bullying.

      The road to racism begins when the majority freely uses labels and stereotypes to dehumanize the minority.

      That racism becomes institutionalized if the minority allows the majority to freely use that terminology and permits itself to be perceived as being worthy of the insult.

      Language and imagery matter. The power of language can be used to launch revolutions, to sell products that no one would have otherwise bought, or to create the path to holocausts.

      If the minority allows itself to be demeaned, then it won’t stop there. When a group is categorized as being second-class or subhuman, then the next logical step for the majority to take is to treat that group in the manner that subhumans deserve to be treated.

      It becomes more difficult to enslave a man or to put him into a death camp if you see him as a peer who is worthy of your respect. It gets far easier to treat him like a farm animal or throw him into the showers if you perceive him as being something less than yourself.

      If you as a member of the minority choose to suffer in silence instead of assert your dignity, then your reward will be to suffer even more. At the very least, you owe it to your kids to make things better.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      nice post Righteousball. Thanks.

  • avatar
    redav

    Euphemism treadmill.

    No matter how hard you try to avoid offensive language, as long as there is offensive intent, there will be offense in language. Banning the words only shifts it to other words. This is the flaw of PC. It attempts to control people’s thinking by controling their language (which does work–those with fewer words for different colors actually are unable to discern as many colors), but people are sneaky and invent new words for those that are removed, thus preserving the ideas that were intended to be squashed.

    Only the removal of the intent of offense and the receipt of offense cures the problem.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India