Tag: words

Giffords’ Staff Keeps Moving Forward

This report was aired on the PBS News Hour last night.

AIR DATE: Jan. 14, 2011

Giffords’ Staff Keeps Office Open While Coping With Shooting’s Aftermath


Members of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ staff have kept her office open, even as the Congresswoman fights to recover from a gunman’s attack. Tom Bearden reports from Tucson. Transcript

Words do matter.

What is the media’s influence on diction and syntax e.g., do viewers adopt the diction and syntax of the medium they consume?  My naΓ―ve guess (I could, but won’t go there now) is hellz yes, (high-pitched) “mutha fuka.”  People, especially children, pick up verbal clauses often instantly and in their entirety (whereas by adulthood one’s linguistic and other acquisitive powers, relative to the children, that is, not relative to the rest of our bodies, wane).  The majority of children can easily replay “damn your fucking bullshit” after a single trial of learning, or exposure.  In comparison, here’s a short play from the adults:

(Taxi-cab.  Both men are drunk off their asses)

Gerry:  Norm, you’re a portrait of moderation.

Norm: heh.  That’s funny.  Heh.  Remember when we ran through the hotel naked at Jeff’s wedding?  “I’m a picture of moderation.”  H-h-wahaa!

Gerry: I said, “Portrait.”

The End.

on words…

Language Wounds in Unpredictable Ways

Last week, a friend invited me out to dinner.  Also present was one of her friends, who happened to be hearing-impaired.  Throughout the whole of the evening, I found it very interesting to observe two forms of communication going on simultaneously—one that I heard and another that I saw visually by way of American Sign Language.  As is true with spoken language, there are instances in sign languages when illustrating a particular idea proves difficult or beyond the speaker’s level of expertise.  It is at this point that a creative communicator will often formulate his or her own signs to be understood.

“And the Cat…

is named Yusuf.”  πŸ™‚

And the Cat Came Back, (now that’s a headline!) By Lorraine Ali  

Big news, right?  Breaking.

Not even.  @;-)

I don’t care.  πŸ™‚

It’s news that makes me very, very happy.

A man of peace, an artist of life, returns to give the part of himself that I can receive, his music.  

In this time.

Via his own choice.

I am floored by the decision.

And more grateful than I can find words to explain.

Artists of life, rejoice!  We have an unique, tested, treasured Voice back among us!  πŸ™‚

Enjoy!  We will be Encouraged!

WTF? 6 Months In Jail For A Word?

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

Another sign of the end of the world. The venerable f-word is not to be uttered in certain courtrooms in Cincinnati in its participle form.  Under any circumstances.  Those who say it no matter to whom get 6 months.  WTF?

The Enquirer reports:

For the second day in a row, Judge Robert Ruehlman threw someone in jail and cited him for contempt for cussing in the courtroom.

It was an accused gang member Wednesday. On Thursday, it was a private attorney in a non-criminal case.

And what, prey tell, were these cusses?

Brautigam, who is an attorney but isn’t licensed in Ohio, asked Ruehlman for more time to file documents. Ruehlman gave it to him.

As Koenig and Brautigam turned to walk away from the judge, Brautigam called Koenig “a (bleeping) liar.”

“He used the famous F-word,” Koenig said. “(Ruehlman) asked Mr. Brautigam if he said that.”

Brautigam admitted he had and had directed it at Koenig.

Ruehlman cited Brautigam for contempt and sent him to jail for six months.

The word was not directed at the judge.  It was directed at opposing counsel. Apparently it was overheard by the judge.  No matter.  6 months.

The judge decided the sentence should be 6 months because he gave somebody else 6 months for cussing.  WTF?  6 months in jail for the F-word as an adjective?  OK.  What was the previous offense that set the bar so high?

Jamel Sechrest was before Ruehlman in a Wednesday hearing with four other accused members of the “Taliband,” a gang police say has terrorized Northside and its residents by selling drugs and committing other crimes.

Sechrest, unhappy at having to wait until Feb. 2 for a trial – and sitting in jail until then – muttered “That’s (bleeping) bull (bleep).”

“You don’t say bull (bleep) in the courtroom,” Ruehlman told Sechrest before citing him for contempt, sentencing him to six months in jail.

Sechrest it turns out said this to the judge.  He did not say it to his lawyer and that was not overheard.  Isn’t that different from the lawyer’s remark to opposing counsel?  Evidently not.

If you’re trying to understand this, here’s the apparent rule of law in this particular Cincinnati Courtroom: say the F-word participle as an adjective in any context to anyone, 6 months.  If the modified noun is a bad word, you apparently don’t get extra time for the noun.  I have no idea what you get if you invoke the F-word as a verb or an imperative.

I doubt the lawyer will spend the time in jail.  He’ll appeal and manage to be bailed pending a decision on his appeal.  The alleged Taliband member is, I think, just plain stuck.

This is all very interesting in light of the old US Supreme Court decision in Cohen v. California, 403 US 15 (1971).  Young Mr. Cohen had a jacket on his lap while he was in a courtroom in the LA County courthouse.  When he left the courtroom but was still in the halls of justice, he put the jacket on.  The problem was that it said, “Fuck the Draft” on the back.  He was arrested and charged with a crime.  Said the US Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision striking down the conviction

“[A]bsent a more particularized and compelling reason for its actions the State may not, consistently with the First and Fourteenth Amendments, make the simple public display of this single four-letter expletive a criminal offense.”

Likewise, its utterance?  In his majority decision, Justice Harlan wrote, “One man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.”  (A lyrical aside: Ah for that Supreme Court, alack, alack, alack, how they are missed.)

Meanwhile back in Cincinatti, we’re all treated to another sign of the end of the world.  The F participle has become so powerful, that you can be incarcerated simply for saying it.  George Carlin and Lenny Bruce were apparently right.  Some words, in particularly the F-word used in its participle form, keep their power because we nonsensically both censure and censor their use.  

And then we have the learned judge.  When he discovered that his initial sentence to the alleged gang banger was too harsh, he doesn’t amend the first sentence to make it fair.  No.  That would show weakness?  Or rationality?  Instead, he just goes ahead and gives the too stringent sentence to somebody else.  He makes the crime fit the punishment. Does that solve the problem with the first sentence?  No, it does not.  It replicates and magnifies it.  It’s the end of the world.

Words To Live By, And For A Nation, Die By

Posted simultaneously on ePluribus Media, DailyKos, Docudharma and Below Boston.

There are words that comprise paper tigers and those which ignite fires; some words are worth fighting to protect, others are not.

Some words forge new nations and ideals amid the forge-fires of conflict, while others are relegated to the dustbins of history as naught but a footnote at most.

There are words, on the page following, which have worth that appears to vary across the depth and breadth of the nation today.  Once — long ago, perhaps — they were words that could inspire and entice the people of a nation to do great things. Now, however, their fate appears uncertain.  I ask, fellow Netizens, just one simple question: Whither the words necessary to marshal a hue and cry of outrage and demand for restoration, restitution and accountability?