Dead Wild Roses: Pronouns Aren’t Malicious – Gender Stereotypes, Different Story.

Auntie Wanda on the Pronoun Game. “Pronouns refer to visible sex and a man is referred to as a “he.”   Not everyone has to play your word games.” “Pronouns aren’t malicious, they’re neutral words that refer to female people and male people respectively. The knowledge that our species has two sexes isn’t malicious either.  I’ve ...

Dented Blue Mercedes: What the “Walk on the Wild Side” controversy says about trans* awareness and a changing social movement

A little over a week ago, a University of Guelph student union drew international ire for condemning Lou Reed’s 1972 song “Walk on the Wild Side” as transphobic.  This occurred after the Central Student Association apologized on social media for playing the song at a campus event.  Although this might seem like a minor thing ...

In This Corner: The Return of Stuff Happens, week 5: Horror hits home; Trudeau breaks a promise; Stupor Bowl ads

Events on Sunday in Quebec City served as a reminder, if we needed one, that Canada is not immune to madness. Last Sunday, a sad loser walked into a Quebec City mosque and opened fire on people who were praying. Yes, praying. He killed six,  injuring many others; it could have been so much worse. ...

Scripturient: Eheu fugaces, Postume…

Alas, Postumus, the swift years slip away. Those words are one translation of the opening line of the 14th Ode in the second book of Horace’s carminas, or songs: Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume/labuntur anni… * For me, it’s his most moving piece, a bittersweet acceptance of mortality; the inevitability of age and death. Something no ...

Scripturient: Politically correct pronoun madness

Scripturient: Horace and him. And maybe me, too.

Horace and Me, subtitled Life lessons from an Ancient Poet, is a recent book by Harry Eyres (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2013) about his efforts to connect the dots of his modern life to meaning via the ancient circuitry of a classical Latin poet. It attracted me because these past few years I have been reading such classics ...

Dented Blue Mercedes: Free speech, and the cruel shackles of empathy and mutual respect

In Canada, we tend to value freedom of speech very highly, and it’s often said that the best way to counter objectionable speech is with more speech. That’s the first thought that crosses my mind in the case of U of T professor Jordan Peterson, who declares in a series of YouTube videos that he ...

Scripturient: Fowler for the 21st Century

On the desk of every writer, every reporter, every editor, every PR director and every communications officer is a small library of reference books. A good dictionary (Oxford, American Heritage, Merriam Webster, Random House but gods forbid, never a generic Webster’s). A thesaurus (likely Roget’s). A style guide (CP for Canadians, or AP for Americans… ...

Dead Wild Roses: A Word for Everything – German Envy – “Politikverdrossenheit”

I spent my years learning French in Highschool(and now forgotten). Now with double the disappointment as I realize how word-awesome German is. Consider this small list: Weltschmerz – world weariness. Schadenfreude – a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people Backpfeifengesicht – It describes someone who you ...

Scripturient: Type Crimes and Taxes

Type crime is the term author Ellen Lupton uses in her book, Thinking With Type, to describe egregiously bad typography. That description came to mind as I perused the latest fluff mailer from our MP; the so-called “Tax Guide.” So-called because it isn’t a guide: it’s the usual, dreary Conservative whack-a-mole propaganda about how great ...

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Confronting Evil: Not with a bang, but a whimper? Neither, I say

Yes, it is best to be cordial, courteous, friendly and respectful, and to avoid harsh words and harsh speech, generally speaking. But when it comes to confronting power, when it comes to addressing the power elite and their willing vassals, servants, prostitutes in high office and other shills, we must be fierce, and uncompromising – ...

Scripturient: Teas or Tisanes?

I suppose it’s crotchety of me, but whenever I hear the term “herbal tea” used to refer to an infusion of leaves or fruits that contains no actual tea, I get shirty. They’re actually not tea at all, they’re tisanes, a pleasant French word that means’herbal infusion.’ They should be called such and labelled appropriately ...

Scripturient: Myth and Meaning

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually ...

Scripturient: The Secret to Good Writing

Spoiler alert: the secret to writing well is…. (insert drum roll)… writing. Writing a lot. Every day. Every possible minute you can spare. Writing and writing more and then writing even more. But doing so within a pre-specified limit. Oops… Now we all know that, aside from some local bloggers and EB columnists, most of ...

Scripturient: Grammatical Hell in a Handbasket

The Washington Post has started the apocalypse. Yes, they have. And the whole world is about to go to hell in the proverbial handbasket because of it. The maw of Hell has opened… The Post has decided after decades – centuries? – of editors, writers and grammarians arguing about the lack of gender-neutral singular pronouns in ...

Scripturient: Moved by myself…

After watching Collingwood council meetings on Rogers again, I felt I should re-post a link to a piece I first wrote several years ago, then again in 2014, then re-wrote in April of this year: Me, myself and I Every time I watched the meetings, I also watched councillors say the same thing: “move by myself.” The ...

Left Over: Teach All the Children Well…..

http://www.vintag.es/2015/12/children-with-dolls-15-vintage-photos.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+daily-pics+%28vintage+everyday%29 There is a blog that I go to eagerly, one of few words but many images…the link is above.. This blog is one I  visit on a daily basis and I have provided a link to  today’s offering..it is timely and poignant in a way that our violence-numbed psyches rarely find  anymore.. These children, ...

Scripturient: A Sense of Pinker’s Style

I share one of Steven Pinker’s passions: I like to read style books, grammar books, language books. To me, they’re like literary chemistry sets. When I was young, getting a chemistry set for Christmas or a birthday opened a whole world to me. I’d explore all sorts of interactions and experiments until I had run out ...

Scripturient: Where Have The Real Heroes Gone?

Heroes, it sometimes seems, have been relegated to legend and myth. There are none left, none of the sort I used to associate with the name. Not in the media, anyway. The word has been so abused in the media over the last century, tossed about in such a cavalier manner that it has lost ...

Scripturient: Boccaccio’s Decameron

I never read The Decameron in any original, or complete translation. I have a bowdlerized edition I read in part some time ago, perhaps the 1970s. I recall seeing an art film based on the book, in the 1970s (directed Pier Pasolini). But I can’t recall it in any detail, except that it was subtitled. ...

Scripturient: The Venereal Game

The Venereal Game is the provocative subtitle of James Lipton’s 1968 classic, An Exaltation of Larks (reprinted in 1977, and later expanded in the 1993 “ultimate” edition). Venereal, in this sense, comes from venery which in turn comes from the Latin venari, to hunt or pursue, rather from the sexual connotation.* The collective nouns in much of ...

Scripturient: The Road Not Taken

I was surprised to read a recent piece in the New York Post that suggests a poem I have long loved was actually not what I thought it was about. It was one of those epiphanies that made me reassess my attitude not only towards the poem but towards what I had assumed it meant. ...

Alberta Politics: Memo from The Old Copy Editor: The offensive flag in question is not ‘the Stars ‘n’ Bars’

PHOTOS: An offensive symbol on the front of a Canadian truck, right here in Alberta. The Old Copy Editor reminds readers that this is not the Stars ’n’ Bars. Below: HMCS Iroquois back in the day when she still had a gun on her foredeck. The Old Copy Editor reminds readers that there is no ...

Scripturient: Propaganda?

Last term, when council sent out community newsletters to keep residents informed, the illiterati screamed these were ‘propaganda’ and a waste of tax dollars.* Now this council has done the same thing and these nattering nabobs of negativity have raised their voices and screamed… nothing. Their silence is deafening. Well, they wouldn’t want to embarrass their friends ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Prenzie Scamels

Four hundred years after he wrote them, we still use in everyday speech the many words and phrases Shakespeare coined. He gave us so many, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to list them all here. But two words he wrote have stopped us dead: prenzie and scamels. What do they mean? Were they more ...