Cry, Bill, You're on Candid Camera -Reply -Reply

Richard Swerdlin Swerdlin at COEFS.COE.UNT.EDU
Fri Apr 12 09:12:00 MDT 1996

Ken Wyman:

    Free speech I believe in, so that there will always be
differences in descriptors.  This of course extends well beyond the
pale of politics and thus touches just about aspect of life on Earth.

    On a pragmatic note, I often try to resolve conflicts by
suggesting reasonable compromises.  Relatedly I have seen little
value in people at faculty meetings or comparable sessions merely
exchanging epithets.  Unneeded resentments often occur, so that final
action or agreement is delayed even further.

    Overall, two wrongs do not make a right.  Yes, we are all quite
human and understandly tempted to say certain things.  However, more
could be gained by "counting to ten", instead of perpeuating certain
terms.  In essence it is a matter of rising above pettiness and
handling a situation in both a more mature and humane manner.

    Perhaps part of my sensitivity on this point stems from hearing
so many biased epithets, while growing up in New York City.  There
are of course people there of many backgrounds.  This has always been
the case.  In short, too many questionable terms were used to
describe people whose religion or nationality seemed "different".
Likewise, as a teacher, I discouraged my pupils from resorting to
questionable language.

    Psychologists will probably tell us that violence exist in more
than mode.  TYhere is the more obvious type, namely, physical
assault.  However there is also verbal violence, so that words are
more than clever combinations of sound.  Relatedly, what passes as
"humor" may also serve as a mask for "hostility".  The so-called
Freudian slip is a linguistic reality, and of course would still
exist, even if Freud had lived on a different planet in the solar

Richard Swerdlin
(swerdlin at

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