The N-Word. No, wait. The C-Word. Oh I’m Confused.

Apparently, something funny has happened recently in the wellspring of bewilderment that some refer to as the English language. This has been all over the blogosphere (Yes, I used that terrible word. Feel free to spank me). Apparently, the N-Word has (partially) been replaced by, of all words, Canadians. See here:

She told me a story of when she was working in a shop in the South and she overheard some of her customers complaining that they were always waited on by a Canadian at that place. She didn’t understand what they were talking about and assumed they must be talking about someone else.

After this happened several times with different patrons, she mentioned it to one of her coworkers. He told her that ‘Canadian’ was the new derogatory term that racist Southerners were using to describe persons they would have previously referred to as [N-word]s. And for various reasons it didn’t sound at all unusual for the average backwards-ass Southerner to say things like, “Those damn Canadians,” or “The problem is all those Canadians.”

See also here

There is a collection of offensive words online that is called the racial slurs database and it does list Canadian as being equated with the N-word. At last count, the database contained 2,636 entries of insulting expressions from across the globe. It does not countenance their use, but purports to collect slurs so people will know what not to say. So there is confirmation that Canadian carries a double meaning, and can be used as an epithet.

Finally, see this witty post (shamelessly quoted entirely by greedy ol’ me)

More news from the Chuck Rosenthal / Kelly Siegler DA’s office: a 2003 email has surfaced, from one ADA to the rest of the prosecutors and the investigators, congratulating a prosecutor on convicting a guy while overcoming “a subversively good defense by Matt Hennessey that had some Canadians on the jury feeling sorry for the defendant . . . .”
You might well first ask, “well, so what?”
Then you might realize that Harris County is a terribly long way from Canada, and the chances of more than one Canadian making his way onto a Harris County jury are somewhere between slim and none.

Then, upon reflection, you might realize that “none” is probably the correct chance, since jurors in Texas must be U.S. citizens.

You might then wonder what “Canadians” means, and how it found its way into the email.
It just wouldn’t make any sense to you until somebody told you that “Canadian” is cryptoracist slang for “Black”.

via Language Log

On Debating (I love Stephen Fry)

Here’s Stephen Fry’s blog entry on a debate he’s had on Global Warming and he starts it off with a reflection of the culture of debate in his country and the total lack of understanding for this way to lead a debate in the US. I felt, I don’t know, I love, admire and cherish Mr. Fry, and I guess I felt sort of vindicated, because I tend to get, er, similar reactions when I get into a heated debate, as some of you well know. People tend to carry a grudge for quite a while, as you can see by reading scrupeda’s rather unfair comment under my Open Letter Post. Here’s Fry’s complete opening paragraph

[W]hen I get into a debate I can get very, very hot under the collar, very impassioned, and I dare say, very maddening, for once the light of battle is in my eye I find it almost impossible to let go and calm down. I like to think I’m never vituperative or too ad hominem but I do know that I fall on ideas as hungry wolves fall on strayed lambs and the result isn’t always pretty. This is especially dangerous in America. I was warned many, many years ago by the great Jonathan Lynn, […] that Americans are not raised in a tradition of debate and that the adversarial ferocity common around a dinner table in Britain is more or less unheard of in America. When Jonathan first went to live in LA he couldn’t understand the terrible silences that would fall when he trashed an statement he disagreed with and said something like “yes, but that’s just arrant nonsense, isn’t it? It doesn’t make sense. It’s self-contradictory.” To a Briton pointing out that something is nonsense, rubbish, tosh or logically impossible in its own terms is not an attack on the person saying it – it’s often no more than a salvo in what one hopes might become an enjoyable intellectual tussle.

But to be fair, we don’t get a snippet of Fry’s way of debating here. He may well sound far less arrogant or prickish than I do, or less ego jerk-off. I don’t know. However, as it is, I’m sitting here, getting ill (why OH why? got so much to do. go away, I tell ye, wicked cold!) and smiling. Thank you Stephen, once again.