From discussions of rape in recent news, the synthetic compounds slut-shaming and victim-blaming — and, no surprise, the back-formed verbs slut-shame and victim-blame.
Archive for the ‘Language and the law’ Category
From today’s Miami Herald, a story on the wages of disrespect:
A woman facing a drug possession charge was sentenced to 30 days in jail for flipping the bird to a Miami-Dade judge.
Penelope Soto, 18, appeared in court on video after her arrest for possession of Xanax. In front of Circuit Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat on Monday, she was asked about her assets.
Soto appeared as if the hearing was a big joke and laughed off the judge’s questions, blurted out “Adios” and then gave him the finger.
The judge, feeling disrespected, demanded she return to the podium and then sentenced her to 30 days in jail for contempt of court.
Judges do have that power.
Another chapter in the annals of phallicity, now on the gestural front.
Today some U.S. churches engaged in a type of civil disobedience; see “Pulpit Freedom Sunday: Pastors Challenge IRS Ban On Political Endorsements” (HuffPo piece by Lily Fowler on the 5th):
As part of “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” on Oct. 7, religious leaders across the country will endorse political candidates — an act that flies in the face of Internal Revenue Service rules about what tax-exempt organizations, such as churches, can and cannot do.
Also on the 5th, the NYT reported on a school story, in “Cheerleaders With Bible Verses Set Off a Debate” by Manny Fernandez, which begins:
Kountze, Tex. — The hand-painted red banner created by high school cheerleaders here for Friday night’s football game against Woodville was finished days ago. It contains a passage from the Bible — Hebrews 12:1 — that reads: “And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
That banner, and other religious-themed signs made by the high school and middle school cheerleading squads in recent weeks, have embroiled this East Texas town in a heated debate over God, football and cheerleaders’ rights.
The two episodes illustrate the tensions in the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or …
From a column on September 24th by the Kansas City Star‘s public editor, Derek Donovan:
A caller this morning expressed his incredulity that The Star doesn’t normally print the name of Washingon’s NFL team: the Redskins.
“With all of the other things there are to worry about in the world, like homelessness and wars, why does anyone worry about this?” he asked.
As I’ve said many times, I’m not big on comparisons unless they’re awfully close parallels, and I fail to see any relationship between war and the name of a football team.
And here, I also agree very strongly with The Star’s longtime policy on this matter. I remain unconvinced by every argument I’ve ever heard that the name is not a racial epithet, plain and simple. And I’ll even break my usual rule about commenting on issues outside The Star’s journalism to say that I find it inconceivable that the NFL still allows such a patently offensive name and mascot to represent the league in 2012.
Yesterday was my 72nd birthday — 72 is an excellent number, 23 ∙ 32 – and good wishes (including felicitations in Swedish, Italian, and Hebrew) flooded my Facebook page and my mailbox. Among these was a setting of “Happy Birthday to You” by violinist Rachel Barton Pine, a wonderfully wild performance. Which led me to reflect on the history of this song and its association with the Linguistic Society of America.
A reader has sent me a tweet from Waterstones (the big British chain bookstore) in Oxford St., Mayfair, London:
So, as we can’t say the name of the big sporting event because we’re not a sponsor, we shall call it Voldesport. It which cannot be named!
What’s at issue here are very stringent branding rules about the use of the trademarks of the Olympics: the word Olympics, the interlocked rings, the Olympic torch. Only official sponsors of the games are allowed by law to use these trademarked names and logos in advertising, and the games organizers have been bulldogs in enforcing the rules. They have pursued shops that display versions of the rings — in bagels, doughnuts, flowers, or tissue paper — in honor of the games, as well as non-sponsors who use the words Olympics, Olympic, or Olympian in advertisements. It’s strictly pay to play.
Waterstones have puckishly offered the portmanteau Voldesport (Voldemort + sport) as a replacement.
From a NYT editorial (“Lost in Translation”) on the 24th:
A persistent problem in American courts is the lack of translators to ensure that litigants who don’t speak or read English can take part in their cases. That’s the purpose of the Court Interpreters Act of 1978, which allows federal courts to order losing parties to pay prevailing parties the cost of interpreters.
In a disappointing 6-to-3 ruling, the Supreme Court defined “interpreter” narrowly to mean “one who translates orally from one language to another.”
This takes us into a thicket of complexities surrounding the verbs interpret and translate and the nouns interpreter, interpretation, translator, and translation.