by liberal japonicus
I'm thinking this is a more appealing title than my first thought, which was something along the lines of 'Your blog rules Friday open thread'. But more below:
I'm not sure who pointed it out, but someone, in writing about the game of basketball, noted that sometimes, you get a stretch of the game where the ref doesn't blow the whistle and the players just play, and the action goes from end to end.
Ideally, I think that's what you want blog conversations to be, a game where there is never any question about rules. However, we all know that this state of grace is rarely achieved, and sometimes, the refs actually have to earn their paycheck.
However, in all organized sports, the overarching structure of the rules is set and can be examined. In fact, in sports now, you've got committees who, in order to maintain discipline, levy additional penalties long after the final whistle.
So, when the question about revisiting our bad words ban here comes up, I have to point out that the refs here are less like sports refs and more like a vice-minister of the interior in charge of protecting Stonehenge. While it wouldn't be impossible to lift the ban, our primary purpose is a conservative one, keep things as close as possible to the good old days. So it's not that we don't think that there are some points in favor of relaxing things, and the quotes from Occupy Wall Street protests could be considered potential solvent in that regard, but it seems like such a part of this blog that it is really hard to imagine taking the plunge.
Another problem is that while we have this nucleus of words that we try not to tolerate, there are a number of words in the penumbra that people voice their concern about from time to time. However, for these set of words, I think that it is not just having it appear, it is having it used in regard to someone in the conversation. I feel compelled to note dr ngo's point, which is the word is "not as bad as many other uses nowadays, but it was still gratuitous, and thus offensive. Not a big deal, but among companeros, why offend if you can avoid it?" 'Why offend if you can avoid it' seems like a nice principle and one that I'd like to see cited when someone does stray over the line. Perhaps taking this more gentle approach may bring accusations of tolerating mysogyny, but given our inability to do much of anything, it is not tolerating or not tolerating anything, it is simply realizing the limited extent of changing people's behavior.
So, coming to the word itself, I'm inclined not to use it. Casually thrown off, it puts down some background assumptions about places and roles that I would like to think none of us would be comfortable with. Of course, then you'll have someone quoting 2 Live Crew albums and then the enterprise becomes seeing how you can set up your stratego fortification so it is stronger than everyone elses. But it seems to be the exact opposite of a game without refs. So a thread for dirty words, refs and your brickbats for the ObWi management team.