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  1. ENG 312Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers10th Editionby Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia ClarkBedford/St. Martins, 2009 By Don L. F. Nilsen 11996 1

  2. Language Awareness: Attention to Detail • The poet William Carlos Williams said, “Write what’s in front of your nose. It’s good for us to know what is in front of our noses. Not just ‘daisy,’ but how the flower is in the season we are looking at it—The dayseye hugging the earth/in August…brownedged,/green and pointed scales/armor his yellow.” • “Learn the names of everything: birds, cheese, tractors, cars, buildings. A writer is all at once everything—an architect, French cook, farmer—and at the same time, a writer is none of these things.” (Goldberg (2009): 5) 11996 2

  3. 1. Coming to an Awareness of Language (39-96) • On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X, the Black Muslim leader, was killed. He had developed language skills to elevate himself from a world of thieving, pimping, and drug pushing to become a major force as a Black Muslim leader. • He said, “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Rock landed on us.” (Malcolm X [2009]: 41) 11996 3

  4. Malcolm X’s Epiphany: • In slow, ragged handwriting, he copied into his tablet everything in the dictionary, and then read everything back to himself. • “Funny thing, from the dictionary’s first page, that ‘aardvark’ springs to my mind. The dictionary had a picture of it, a long-tailed, long-eared, burrowing African mammal, which lives off termites caught by sticking out its tongue as an anteater does for ants.” (Malcolm X [2009]: 43) 11996 4

  5. Helen Keller’s Epiphany • “Helen Keller’s experiences as a deaf and blind child raise a number of questions about the relationship between language and thought, emotions, ideas, and memory.” • On March 3, 1887, at the age of six, Helen Keller had an epiphany at the water pump of her home: (Keller (2009): 46-48) 11996 5

  6. “As the cool stream gushed over one hand she [Annie Sullivan] spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten—a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me.” • “I knew then that ‘w-a-t-e-r’ meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. The living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!” (Keller (2009): 46-48) 11996 6

  7. David Raymond’s Epiphany • David Raymond was dyslexic; he couldn’t read or write. His schoolmates called him “dumb,” and his teachers put him with “emotionally disturbed and retarded kids.” • But his Middle School and High School teachers had more empathy with David, and started treating him as an individual, with individual problems. (Raymond (2009): 51, 53) 11996 96 7

  8. But still David worried about making a living without being able to read. How could he even fill out the application form? • Then David learned about “well-known people who couldn’t read or had other problems and still made it…” • “Like Albert Einstein, who didn’t talk until he was 4 and flunked math. Like Leonardo da Vinci, who everyone seems to think had dyslexia.” (Raymond (2009): 51, 53) 11996 96 8

  9. Other PowerPoints • Names and Nyms • History of English 11996 96 9

  10. 2. Writers on Writing (97-146)Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” • “I have a dream that one day down in Alabama—with its vicious racists, with its governor’s lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification—one day right there in Alabama, little Black boys and Black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” (King 203 [2009]: 203) 11996 96 10

  11. “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” • And the speech concludes, “From every mountainside let freedom ring.” • (King 203 [2009]: 203) 11996 96 11

  12. “And when this happens—when we allow freedom to ring—we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty. We are free at last!” (King 203 [2009]: 203) 11996 96 12

  13. “And Ain’t I a Woman” by Sojourner Truth • “That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere.” • “ Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman?” • “Look at me! Look at my arm. I have plowed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman?” (Truth [2009]: 207) 11996 96 13

  14. “I could work as much and eat as much as a man—when I could get it—and bear the lash as well? And ain’t I a woman?” • “I have borne thirteen children, and seen them most sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?” • “Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much right as men, ‘cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with him.” (Truth [2009]: 207) 11996 96 14

  15. (Eschholz-Rosa-Clark [2009]: 105) 11996 96 15

  16. 3. Politics, Propaganda & Doublespeak (147-244) • Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. • Never use a long word where a short one will do. • If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. • Never use the passive where you can use the active. • Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. • Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. (Orwell [2009]: 173). 11996 96 16

  17. Winston Churchill: About the Threat of Adolph Hitler • “They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.” • Al Gore’s Analogy: “Today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more heat from the sun. • As a result, the earth has a fever. And the fever is rising.” (Gore [2009]: 211). 11996 96 17

  18. It’s “hard to imagine making the massive changes that are now necessary to solve the crisis. And when large truths are genuinely inconvenient, whole societies can, at least for a time ignore them.” • “There is an African proverb that says, ‘If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We need to go far, quickly. (Gore [2009]: 212-214) 11996 96 18

  19. “In the Kanji characters used in both Chinese and Japanese, ‘crisis’ is written with two symbols, the first meaning ‘danger,’ the second ‘opportunity.’ By facing and removing the danger of the climate crisis, we have the opportunity to gain the moral authority and vision to vastly increase our own capacity to solve other crises that have been too long ignored.” • “We must understand the connections between the climate crisis and the afflictions of poverty, hunger, HIV-AIDS and other pandemics. As these problems are linked, so too must be their solutions. (Gore [2009]: 214-215) 11996 96 19

  20. Toni Morrison’s Old Blind Wise Woman • “Once upon a time there was an old woman. Blind. Wise. One day the woman is visited by some young people who seem to be bent on disproving her clairvoyance; one of them says, ‘Old woman, I hold in my hand a bird. Tell me whether it is living or dead.’” (Morrison [2009]: 219-220) 11996 96 20

  21. “The old woman’s silence is so long, the young people have trouble holding their laughter.” • “Finally she speaks and her voice is soft but stern.” • “‘I don’t know,’ she says, ‘I don’t know whether the bird your holding is dead or alive, but what I do know is that it is in your hands.’” (Morrison [2009]: 220) 11996 96 21

  22. Toni Morrison’s Analogy • “I choose to read the bird as language and the woman as a practiced writer. She is worried about how the language she dreams in, given to her at birth, is handled, put into service, even withheld from her for certain nefarious purposes. • Being a writer she thinks of language partly as a system, partly as a living thing over which one has control, but mostly as agency—as an act with consequences. • So the question the children put to her: “Is it living or dead?” is not unreal because she thinks of language as susceptible to death, erasure; certainly imperiled and salvageable only by an effort of the will. For her a dead language is not one no longer spoken or written, it is unyielding language.” (Morrison [2009]: 220) 11996 96 22

  23. For Toni Morrison, a Dead Language is one which is “unreceptive to interrogation, it cannot form or tolerate new ideas, shape other thoughts, tell another story, fill baffling silences…” • “…Sexist language, racist language, theistic language—all are typical of the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do not permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual exchange of ideas.” (Morrison [2009]: 221) 11996 96 23

  24. “The conventional wisdom of the Tower of Babel story is that the collapse was a misfortune. That it was the distraction, or the weight of many languages that precipitated the tower’s failed architecture. That one monolithic language would have expedited the building and heaven would have been reached. • “Whose heaven? And what kind of heaven?” (Morrison [2009]: 222) 11996 96 24

  25. Jonathan Swift’s “Modest Proposal” • In 1729, Ireland was overpopulated. The Irish farmers had little food little money and inadequate living conditions. • So Jonathan Swift proposed that the farmers raise their children as delicious food for the upper classes (mainly the Englishmen). (Swift [2009]: 227-228) 11996 96 25

  26. “I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled, and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasse, or a ragout.” (Swift [2009]: 229) • This modest proposal would solve at least six of the leading difficulties Ireland was having at the time: 11996 96 26

  27. “It would greatly lessen the number of Papists, with whom we are yearly over-run, being the principal breeders of the nation.” • “The poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own.” • The nation’s stock of children would be increased, and “a new dish, introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the kingdom, who have any refinement in taste, and the money will circulate among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture. (Swift [2009]: 231) 11996 96 27

  28. 4. “The constant breeders, besides the gain of eight shillings sterling per annum, by the sale of their children, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year.” 5. “The tavern owners would have their houses frequented by all the fine gentlemen, who justly value themselves upon their knowledge in good eating.” 6. “This would be a great inducement to marriage, which all wise nations have encouraged by rewards, or enforced by laws and penalties. It would also increase the care and tenderness of mothers towards their children. Men would become as fond of their wives, during the time of their pregnancy, as they are now of their mares in foal or their cows in calf.” 7. In addition, there would be thousands of additional carcasses in Ireland’s export of barreled beef. (Swift [2009]: 232) 11996 96 28

  29. Let’s Outlaw Samish Sex Marriage • “Like any sane person, I am against Same-Sex Marriage, and in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban it.” • “I would like to propose a supplementary constitutional amendment. I have frequently observed a phenemonon I have come to think of as ‘Samish-Sex Marriage.’ Take for example, K, a male friend of mine of slight build, with a ponytail. K is married to S, a tall stocky female with extremely short hair, almost a crewcut. Isn’t it odd that this somewhat effeminate man should be married to this somewhat masculine woman? • Then I ask myself, Is this truly what God had in mind?” (Saunders [2009]: 238) 11996 96 29

  30. Manly Scale of Absolute Gender • Saunders suggests that men be graded from 1-10 for manliness, and that women be graded minus 1 to minus 10 for femininity. Any couple for which the Gender Differential is less than 10 points could not get married. • If such people are already married, then they could get a divorce, and the feminine man could marry a voluptuous high-voiced N.F.L. cheerleader, and the masculine woman could marry “a lumberjack with very large arms, thereby neutralizing her thick calves and faint mustache.” (Saunders [2009]: 239) 11996 96 30

  31. Another solution would be for men to become more masculine and women more feminine. • “When young, I had a tendency to speak too quickly, while gesturing too much with my hands. Also, my opinions were unfirm. I was constantly contradicting myself in that fast voice, while gesturing like a girl.” • Now, “I always speak in an extremely slow, manly and almost painfully deliberate way, with my hands either driven deep into my pockets or held stock-still at the ends of my arms, which are bent slightly at the elbows, as if I were ready to respond to the slightest provocation by punching you in the face. As to my opinions, they are very firm. And I rarely change them.” (Saunders [2009]: 240). 11996 96 31

  32. Related PowerPoints • Business Communication • The Nature of Discourse • Usage Issues 11996 96 32

  33. 4. Prejudice, Discrimination & Stereotypes (245-320) • In 1997, John William King “tied James Byrd Jr.’s feet to the back of a pickup truck and dragged him three miles down a road in rural Texas.” • “Byrd was probably alive and conscious until his body finally hit a culvert and split in two.” • “When King was offered a chance to say something to Byrd’s family at the trial, he smirked and uttered an obscenity.” • ------------------------------------------- • “Buford Furrow rained terror on a Jewish kindergarten last month and then killed a mailman because of his color.” (Sullivan [2009]: 247, 251) 11996 96 33

  34. Niche Haters? • “These professional maniacs are to hate what serial killers are to murder. They should certainly not be ignored; but they represent what Harold Meyerson in Salon called ‘niche haters’: cold blooded, somewhat deranged, and poorly socialized psychopaths.” • “In a free society with relatively easy access to guns, they will always pose a menace. But their menace is a limited one, and their hatred is hardly typical of anything very widespread.” (Sullivan [2009]: 251) 11996 96 34

  35. Hate Crimes • “I find myself wondering what hate actually is, in part because we have created an entirely new offense in American criminal law—a ‘hate crime’ to combat it.” • “In 1985 there were 11 mentions of ‘hate crimes’ in the national media database Nexis. By 1990 there were more than a thousand. In the first six months of 1999, there were 7,000.” (Sullivan [2009]: 248) 11996 96 35

  36. What is “hate?” • “For all its emotional punch, ‘hate’ is far less nuanced an idea than prejudice, or bigotry, or bias, or anger, or even mere aversion to others.” • “Is it to stand in for all these varieties of human experience—and everything in between?” • Talking about those who “wage war on hate”: “Perhaps it is enough for them that they share a sentiment that there is too much hate and never enough vigilance in combating it. But sentiment is a poor basis for law, and a dangerous tool in politics. It is better to leave some unwinnable wars unfought.” (Sullivan [2009]: 251) 11996 96 36

  37. “Hate” Through Conservative Eyes • Sullivan talks about his “conservative friends who oppose almost every measure for homosexual equality yet genuinely delight in the company of their gay friends.” [Note that Sullivan is himself gay] • “It would be easier for me to think of them as haters, and on paper, perhaps, there is a good case that they are. But in real life, I know they are not. Some of them clearly harbor no real malice toward me or other homosexuals whatsoever.” (Sullivan [2009]: 251) 11996 96 37

  38. “Hate” Through Liberal Eyes • Sullivan’s conservative friends “are as hard to figure out as those liberal friends who support every gay rights measure they have ever heard of but do anything to avoid going into a gay bar with me.” • “I have to ask myself in the same, frustrating kind of way: are they liberal bigots or bigoted liberals? Or are they neither bigots nor liberals, but merely people?” (Sullivan [2009]: 251) 11996 96 38

  39. Columbine • “The Columbine murderers were in some sense victims of hate before they were purveyors of it. Their classmates later admitted that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were regularly called ‘faggots’ in the corridors and classrooms of Columbine High and that nothing was done to prevent or stop the harassment.” • “Hate goes both ways. Some of the most vicious anti-Semites in America are black, and some of the most virulent anti-Catholic bigots in America are gay. It is often minorities who commit some of the most hate-filled offenses against what they see as their oppressors.” (Sullivan [2009]: 256) 11996 96 39

  40. Hatred of Gays • “In several years of being an openly gay writer and editor, I have experienced the gamut of responses to my sexual orientation. But I have only directly experienced articulated, passionate hate from other homosexuals. I have been accused over the years by other homosexuals as being a sellout, a hypocrite, a traitor, a sexist, a racist, a narcissist, a snob. I’ve been called selfish, callous, hateful, self-hating, and malevolent.” • “The visceral tone and style of the gay criticism can only be described as hateful. It is designed to wound personally, and it often does. But its intensity comes in part, one senses, from the pain of being excluded for so long.” (Sullivan [2009]: 257) 11996 96 40

  41. “Hate” from Two Points of View • “The modern words that we have created to describe the varieties of hate—’sexism,’ ‘racism,’ ‘anti-Semitism,’ ‘homophobia’—tell us very little about any of this. They tell us merely the identities of the victims; they don’t reveal the identities of the perpetrators.” • “The hate of the perpetrators is a monstrosity. The hate of the victims, and their survivors, is justified. What else, one wonders, were surviving Jews supposed to feel toward Germans after the Holocaust? Or, to a different degree, South African blacks after apartheid? The hatred of Serbs for Kosovars today can never be equated with the hatred of Kosovars for Serbs.” (Sullivan [2009]: 253) 11996 96 41

  42. Three Kinds of “Hate”:Obsessive, Hysterical & Narcissistic • “In her book The Anatomy of Prejudices, the psychotherapist Elisabeth Young-Bruehl proposes a typology of three distinct kinds of hate: obsessive, hysterical, and narcissistic.” • “The obsessives are those, like the Nazis or Hutus, who fantasize a threat from a minority, and obsessively try to rid themselves of it.” (Sullivan [2009]: 253) 11996 96 42

  43. “Hysterical prejudice is a prejudice that a ‘person uses unconsciously to appoint a group to act out in a world forbidden sexual and sexually aggressive desires that the person has repressed.’” • Some racists fit this pattern. “White loathing of blacks is, for some people, at least partly about sexual and physical envy. He idealizes in ‘blackness’ a sexual freedom, a physical power, that he detests but also longs for.” It is a “love-hate” relationship. (Sullivan [2009]: 254) 11996 96 43

  44. “Unlike the obsessives, the hysterical haters do not want to eradicate the objects of their loathing; rather they want to keep them in some kind of permanent and safe subjugation.” • Sexism is often a narcissistic kind of hate, since many men feel superior to women. “Women are not so much hated by most men as simply ignored in non-sexual contexts, or never conceived of as true equals.” (Sullivan [2009]: 254) 11996 96 44

  45. Hatred for a Groupvs. Hatred for a Person • “A decade ago, a murder was a murder. Now, in the era when group hate has emerged as our cardinal sin, it all depends.” • “The supporters of laws against hate crimes argue that such crimes should be disproportionately punished because they victimize more than the victim. Such crimes, these advocates argue, spread fear, hatred and panic among whole populations, and therefore merit more concern.” • “But, of course, all crimes victimize more than the victim, and spread alarm in the society at large.” Violent crimes and high rates of murder, robbery, assault, and burglary victimize everyone, by spreading fear, suspicion, and distress everywhere.” But most violent crimes, including rape, are not classified as “hate crimes.” Is this a distinction without a difference? (Allport [2009]: 263-272) 11996 96 45

  46. Labels of Primary Potencyand Ethnic Slurs • Write down good and bad terms for each of the following ethnic or political groups. In class we will have to refer to many of these words indirectly: • African-American, Chinese, Communist, Conservative, Gays, Germans, Hispanics, Irish, Italians, Japanese, Scotsmen, Liberals, Vietnamese, Welshman, Whites (Blue-Collar workers, Honkies, Palefaces, Rednecks, Yankees) • Others (NOTE: WHAT IS YOUR OWN HERITAGE?) (Allport [2009]: 263-272) 11996 96 46

  47. The N-Word is Bad • “I remember the first time I heard the word nigger. In my third-grade class, our math tests were being passed down the rows, and as I handed the papers to a little boy in back of me, I remarked that once again he had received a much lower mark than I did. He snatched his test from me and spit out that word.” (Naylor [2009]: 292) 11996 96 47

  48. The N-Word Used to Be Good • Talking about her family Gloria Naylor said: “Among the anecdotes of the triumphs and disappointments in the various workings of their lives, the word nigger was used in my presence, but it was set within contexts and inflections that caused it to register in my mind as something else.” • “In the singular, the word was always applied to a man who had distinguished himself in some situation that brought their approval for his strength, intelligence, or drive: • ‘Did Johnny really do that?’ • ‘I’m telling you, that nigger pulled in $6,000 of overtime last year. Said he got enough for a down payment on a house.’” (Naylor [2009]: 292-293) 11996 96 48

  49. “When used with a possessive adjective by a woman—’my nigger’—it became a term of endearment for her husband or boyfriend.” • “But it could be more than just a term applied to a man. In their mouths it became the pure essence of manhood—a disembodied force that channeled their past history of struggle and present survival against the odds into a victorious statement of being: • ‘Yeah, that old foreman found out quick enough—you don’t mess with a nigger.’” (Naylor [2009]: 292) 11996 96 49

  50. Black Men in Public Space • “My first victim was a woman. As I swung onto the avenue behind her, there seemed to be a discreet, uninflammatory distance between us. Not so. She cast back a worried glance. To her, the youngish black man—a broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into the pockets of a bulky military jacket—seemed menacingly close.” • “After a few more quick glimpses, she picked up her pace and was soon running in earnest. Within seconds, she disappeared into a cross street.” 11996 96 50