Saturday, September 02, 2023

Word Wars: Wokeism and the Battle Over Language

McWhorter makes the most sense when he sticks to his field of expertise:  words.  This is not to say he never ever, for a moment makes a tiny bit of sense on the social commentary.  I am just pointing out the spectrum.  The relationship between actual knowledge and making objective sense of shit, vs mere belief, and getting shit wrong.

Re his continuing use of the word religion for the anti racist woke thing.  He almost admits his obvious error  here.   He riffs on the good an bad aspects of religion, broadly.  But he fails to make the full on distinction.  And I will just say what he should say instead of what he has been saying:

"When I say it's a religion, I mean it's like the bad parts of religion, but not the good parts.  In other words, its like when people behave badly, having no connection to religion at all."

That is my explanation for what he gets wrong.  And that leads into my next point.  Re his social commentary  (I will not say political, as he really doesn't swim in that shit as much as the social shit.)

Now granted.  If I ever had the chance to speak to him there is a good chance I would rudely dismiss him by saying either you hurt my pretty brain, or that you are not smart enough to waste my time.  But if I were not in a rude mood, I might engage, and say something  . . . . ask something like:

Do you believe your social commentary will be considered worth reading in 50 years, and if not, what do you think will be the reason it is found so lacking?

I can be the master of passive aggressive.  However, as stubborn he is about what he believes, he actually is capable of not only cognition, but self analysis.  Even if the latter is far from his default.  And he might come up with an answer so interesting, I might say, hmmm, that is interesting.

Moving on.  Funny how the Ivy league professor can trash talk his elite, elect peer class, but get all softhearted when a professor gets dogpiled for saying stupid shit on twitter.  But he is a member of that peer class.  But I will admit,  I have some agreement with the idea every single bad tweet should not end a career.   I say it depends on exactly what the tweet was!

Last hit of the day.  A linguist should be more precise with words.  We live in a day and age where the psychopathic leader of one of the world's greatest powers has people literally thrown out of windows.  Don't equate being dogpiled on twitter to that! Actual living people are being made dead that way!  

Do better!



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