Drunken sailors don’t cuss this much. No, you have to be an academic to reallysling the slang.
In I Am Charlotte Simmons, Tom Wolfe writes about elite college life. He outlines the popularity of the f-word in its usage as any part of speech. F**K patois. I felt embarrassed for academia when George Bush read the book.
The recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education included the tale of blogging gone bad in the Academy.
In “Academic Flame Wars,” the author recounts a pitched battle in his department played out online. (Aside: lest anyone doubt the climate of fear on today’s campuses, just watch how often The Chronicle prints articles using pseudonyms. “Alan Mendelsohn is the pseudonym of a doctoral student at a major research university on the West Coast.”)
It’s meant to be an oh-so-serious examination of the perils of posting. But you just have to laugh. In the midst of quoting posts laced with “f**king” and the a-word, we come to this:
Dave had attacked the way in which Marsha’s rhetoric had been “interpellated” by racist discursive formations, not Marsha herself.
It was during the follow-up responses that the term “postmodern wanker” was first used . . .
Now, if Truth be known, or Laid Bear, I have never seen a drunken sailor or heard a co-ed cussing. It might be that my military friends and my students know that such a salty modern language association would make Your Gentle Blogger blush.
But postmodern wanker?? That one might be a keeper.
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UPDATE 11:48 PM: So my Brilliant Brother emails me (at the end of the day!) to ask if I know, exactly, what the term I’ve called a “keeper” really means. . . “Just wanted to make sure …” he says. (Yeah, he knows me.) As it turns out, my understanding of the phrase in question was, a little, shall we say, imprecise. oops.
Thanks to muddy boots and clean language at Mudville Gazette Open Post
Go see Cinderella Man. Quickly. It’s a great movie, so says the Chairman in the movie review below. You may beat me there, so please enjoy it doubly.
But it’s not just about enjoyment . . . this is, after all “Politics in Real Life” here at Reasoned Audacity, so you knew I was going to sneak in the political subtext. Oh, yes.
The Chairman reports that this is a wonderful movie that celebrates family, doesn’t mock people of faith, and is for grown-ups, as well as the coveted teenage boys market. Nice for a change. But according to Box Office Mojo, the movie had a “disappointing” opening:
Director Ron Howard’s $88 million Depression-era drama starring Russell Crowe as boxer James J. Braddock got off to a wobbly start, delivering an estimated $18.6 million at 2,812 venues in fourth place.
So those of us who would like Hollywood to make movies that are inspiring and uplifting need to support this one — we need to send the message that positive, wholesome movies sell theatre tickets.
The following from the Chairman . . .
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“You want to go see what?” I said.
“Cinderella Man,” she said.
“But that’s a boxing movie,” I said.
“I know. What time shall I reserve the tickets for?” she said.
Hey, if the birthday girl says she wants to go see a Depression-era boxing movie, I’m gonna take her to see it even if it does star bad boy Russell Crowe who doesn’t do much for me. Well, okay, Gladiator wasn’t bad but . . .
I can’t pinpoint the moment when my reservations about the flick began to fade away. It didn’t have a lot to do with the chemistry between Crowe and Zellweger; she isn’t my cup of tea either. Mostly it had to do with the fact that Crowe played Jim Braddock not as some swaggeringly tough fighter, but as the quintessentially good family man . . . from start to finish . . . without a blemish. This fact alone is probably what allowed me to care about him and his wife and his children.
He made me care because he was just so decent. It left me wondering how a man could be so decent and yet be such a slugger in the ring. He was a ferocious fighter, but I never got the sense that he had any malicious feelings toward his opponents . . . well, maybe Max Baer was the exception.
Boxing was just Braddock’s talent, his profession. Most importantly, it was a means of providing for his family. It never became his life. Braddock’s family was his life.
I understand how his comeback after a year out of the ring earned him the moniker “Cinderella Man,” but given the story told by this movie, it might more aptly have been titled, The Passion of the Family Man. At the outset we are shown how injury and the Depression stripped Braddock of nearly everything: his career, his home, everything but his character and values. We see the family’s desperate fight to survive and stay together during the depression . . . and their decency remains intact when everything else lies in ruin. And we care about them.
I became so gripped by the story that I lost sight of what the actors were doing. The cast was totally believable so they never got in the way of the story — some of the credit for this goes to the director, Ron Howard. I would never have believed that Russell Crowe could have acted the role of Braddock with such a low-keyed, self-effacing dignity.
There are several great scenes in this movie that will always stick with me. But one scene is particularly powerful. On the comeback trail, Braddock is asked by a reporter: “What are you fighting for?”
Every time we’ve made the left turn onto Eisenhower Drive, and passed through the imposing brick gates of Arlington National Cemetery, I’ve been overwhelmed with emotion. Family members of those buried at Arlington National Cemetery are given a special pass and may drive onto the Hallowed Grounds to visit the grave of their loved one. It’s an enormous honor which makes me feel humbled.
at Arlington National Cemetery
My husband’s father served thirty years in the United States Navy, and died the year I married into the family, so I didn’t know him well. And the fact is, after a lifetime of nine-month Mediterranean tours, wars, and rumors of war, there is a lot my husband doesn’t know as well.
However, over the 15 years that we’ve been married, I have gotten to know my mother-in-law well. She doesn’t talk either about the sacrifices she made, but there is one story that she has told me several times.
Once, when my father-in-law was out on tour, and she was home with three small children, the car broke down and, of course, she had to take care of it. My husband marched up and said, “Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll fix it.” He was about five years old at the time.
My mother-in-law laughs. . . the little man, takin’ care of things. But it makes me cry.
We owe a lot to our military families.
When we visited Arlington this past week, we passed at least three funeral ceremonies on the way to Section 64. I lost track of the fresh graves and the still-standing tents, either just vacated by other grieving families, or awaiting the afternoon’s fresh, raw sorrow.
As we pulled up on Bradley Avenue, an Air Force honor guard was marching precisely back to their bus after a ceremony for an airman who had been a POW in Korea. While we searched for my father-in-law’s headstone, an empty horse-drawn caisson lumbered past, and settled briefly in the shade nearby, awaiting their next assignment. . .
We found my father-in-law’s headstone: The front has the Christian Cross with the old Chief’s Curriculum Vita. Chief Yoest cut high school to catch World War II. He retired with rows of ribbons and a “v” device, and pinned butterbars on his boy. He now has a grandson, The Dude, who bears his name and wants to be a Navy pilot.
The reverse of the stone is blank, awaiting the inscripton for Chief Yoest’s high school sweetheart, his wife, Jack’s mom, “Babcia” (Polish for Grandmother), who is still with us. In the end, they will be buried together, an honor she earned.
As we turned to go, the Diva took her jingle-bell necklace from around her neck, and left it on the headstone. A fitting tribute for a warrior.
Sailors, rest your oars.
We drove back down Bradley Avenue — past a fresh grave covered by a tarp. In front of us, sparkling in the bright sunlight of a gorgeous day, stretched row after row of white marble markers, orderly, peaceful, some weathered, others new and crisply chiseled . . .
I turned to the Penta-Posse. “I want you to look,” I said. “I want you to understand, that each one of these headstones represents someone who gave their life so that you could be free.”
They were quiet and solemn. The weight of it is beyond measure.
The Dreamer said, “Don’t cry, Mom.”
We made the right turn onto Eisenhower. We drove slowly toward the exit, passing the drive to the Tomb of the Unknowns to our left, until we came to a crosswalk thronged with tourists. The guard on duty motioned to the crowd to stop, and we drove through, passing through the gates, back to a busy day, leaving behind — the curious crowds, the chattering school children. . . and the silent stones.
I’ve been on the phone this morning (and again this afternoon) with PepsiCo, and, once they finish their prepared script, their Public Relations staff sounds hesitant, puzzled. . . and scared.
They should be.
Let me see if I can help with the puzzled part. I’ve just finished reading a speech that business school students will be reading for years to come as a case study in how to keep your job, or not to, as the case may be. I’d bet money that Indra Nooyi won’t be keeping hers.
Here’s the background. Indra Nooyi, who is, for now, the President and CFO of PepsiCo, gave an address to the graduating class of Columbia Business School on Sunday. In the speech, she talked about America’s role in the world, using the hand as an analogy. Each finger of the hand was assigned a country: little finger, Africa; thumb, Asia; pointer finger, Europe (oh pu-leaze!); ring finger, South America; and middle finger — oh yes, that would be us: the United States.
Wes Martin, one of the graduates listening to this speech, was appalled, and wrote to Scott Johnson at Powerline about Nooyi’s “diatribe about how the US is seen as the middle finger to the rest of the world.”
Another Powerline reader, Rayne Steinberg, wrote in to verify Martin’s account: “Wes Martin’s report is 100% accurate. . . .It was rather shocking.”
Ms. Nooyi responded this morning in a “Message from Indra” on the PepsiCo website:
I refer to North America and particularly the U.S. as the middle finger because it is the longest and anchors every function the hand performs. The middle finger also is key to all the fingers working together effectively. That is how I view America’s place of importance in the world. . .The point of my analogy was to emphasize America’s leadership position. . . Unfortunately, my remarks at Columbia University were misconstrued and depicted in a different context as unpatriotic. Although nothing could be further from the truth, I regret any confusion or concern that I may have inadvertently created.
PepsiCo is trying valiantly to emphasize the “misconstrued” line. That word come up several times when I talked with them this morning. Terri Maini, a Consumer Relations Supervisor, told me, “I really think it was misconstrued.” In response to my follow-up questions, Donna Leskowski, Manager for Public Affairs, said much the same thing.
One question I asked was: What is their speech clearance process? Did anyone in PepsiCo sign off on this speech? Did they really let Nooyi sally forth talking about America giving the world “the finger” and no one said, “Uh, boss, I think that’s a bad idea?”
That’s the question that got me kicked upstairs. Elaine Palmer, Director of External Affairs for PepsiCo, called a little while ago to answer my question. Turns out, “We were aware of the speech,” she said. Nooyi has given the speech, using the analogy many other times, says Palmer, and has gotten a good reception. “We believe it’s a positive message,” Palmer tried to emphasize, “her point was that there are people that don’t put out the best face. . . ”
Really? Now that’s a charming Commencement message: “Don’t be an Ugly American.”
Then Palmer conceded that “perhaps” there might have been parts of the speech “in hindsight” that were . . . her voice trailed off and she shifted into positive mode about Nooyi’s “unique perspective” as a naturalized American citizen.
Speaking to Palmer’s thread about Nooyi’s ability to challenge us all to rise to greater cultural sensitivity, I asked her if she thought there was any irony in Nooyi addressing the problems related to cross-cultural communication by talking about . . . the finger.
Well, she admitted tentatively, “the analogy might have been unfortunate.”
What’s unfortunate is owning Pepsi stock right now.
So is Nooyi being “misconstrued?” Do read the whole speech. There are several examples of “unfortunate” phraseology. I think the worst is when she launched into the Ugly American example of several US businessmen in a bar who were mocking Chinese toilets. Here’s Nooyi:
This incident should make it abundantly clear. These men were not giving China a hand. They were giving China the finger. This finger was red, white and blue and had “the United States” stamped all over it.
It’s too bad that Pepsi makes Gatorade, too, because we live at the ballfield, and the Dude likes it. And training for a marathon this summer, we would have been buying Gatorade by the gallon.
Sex and virtue . . . Men across cultures: Are good-girls back still in style? Maybe there are some customs so enduring they sell in both Hollywood . . . and Iraq.
Army Colonel John R. Martin writes from Iraq:
One of the servicemen here married an Iraqi woman working for us. Even in the twenty-first century, American soldiers are supposed to ask permission before doing such things. He didn’t, but we’re still trying to help him get his war bride home.
I took the issue to the consular officer at the embassy today, so I got to look at the application. The marriage certificate included certification that a dowry had been requested ($25,000) and excused by the bride’s family.
Also had a statement of the bride’s chastity. Wonder if those things would sell in the U.S.
Well, yes, Col. Martin, they just might.
The tabloids are all agog with word that Katie Holmes has stated to the world that she will remain a virgin until she marries.
with her parents
And now she’s dating Tom Cruise (not really a Top Gun, but played one in the movies).
Tom and Katie together in Rome
The tabloids have reported breathlessly that Cruise filled Katie’s room with dozens of red roses.
Of course, we’ve seen this scenario before with other starlets. But my vote is with Katie. Why? Look at that picture of her with her parents. Both of them. While other reporters are fixated on the wolf with red roses, I’m interested in what she has to say about the other man in her life — her father: She consults him on every major decision, and “He always tried to intimidate boys who wanted to date me,” she says (according to Sky Showbiz, link above.)
It’s a dad thing. In every culture.
On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
Would he offer me his mouth?
Would he offer me his teeth?
Would he offer me his jaws?
Would he offer me his hunger?
Again, would he offer me his hunger?
And would he starve without me?
And does he love me?
On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
She’s now hosting a “news bump” for Nickelodeon, the kids’ television channel. The segment recently ran a piece on the Alamo. The short clip feautured a young girl who said that the real story behind the Alamo was that the battle was about slavery.
Thanks to the Wide Awakes for the heads-up. Here’s a link to the Nick site where they were running a clip of the piece — I just checked and they’ve now replaced it with another one. When you search for “Alamo” on the site, nothing at all comes up. Still, you can see the format and Ellerbee in action.
My prediction: with Ellerbee’s involvement this won’t be the last time this Nickelodeon segment causes heartburn. . .
What you may not know is that at the time, Texas was part of Mexico.
By the early 1800s, a lot of people living in San Antonio were farmers who brought their slaves with them. In 1829, Mexico abolished slavery and what followed was years of conflict between farmers who wanted to keep their slaves and Mexican authorities. This conflict led up to the battle for the Alamo.
In the end, Gen. Santa Ana and 5,000 Mexican soldiers surrounded the Alamo and all the defenders of the mission were killed.
So, when you remember the Alamo, think about the soldiers, the battle and the true story behind it.
This particularly offended me because, you may remember, we just took the Penta-Posse to the Alamo on our grand western tour, and were inspired by the bravery of the Texians in confronting General Santa Anna. So when I was watching the clip yesterday, I called them in to see it.
Immediately, the Dude says: “Hey, I saw that on Nickelodeon.”