Yes, I am a Linguistic Pain-in-the-Ass
Our language is absurd but, as it stands and until we can communicate telepathically––which I contend will be soon––we ought to do our best to communicate with this limited, backwards, difficult, dominating, barbaric, commercial, mathematically-inaccurate, language called English. I suspect that before we can graduate to the higher frequency of telepathy, we might have to get our present form of communication accurate. So, here I write about the miscommunications that I continue to hear. I have been putting off writing this for a long time but now we know that English truly is the masters’ language over the slaves. There exists deliberate design to keep us from understanding what we are saying to one another.
Mrs., Miss, and Ms
People occasionally write to me as “Mrs. Croft”. When I question this, they justify it with the word, “respect”. The title Mrs., as in the case of a woman called ‘Jane’, but whose NAME is Mrs. Doe or Mrs. John Doe, would mean that Jane is married to John Doe. “Mrs. Jane Doe” indicates that Jane was married to John, but is now divorced. None of this is capricious or arbitrary. It is just more of the elite’s way of categorizing us. For decades, married women were not on the slave roll and so titles were to distinguish them from women who were not financially supported by a man who was on the slave roll. These titles are all about taxation.
Aside from taxation, any presumption about anyone is a dishonour and so is presuming that a woman is married or unmarried which is why, decades ago, the term, “Ms” came into common usage. It is considered proper, lawful, and non-discriminating. No one has the right to know about the private life of any woman OR man, unless the situation requires it; hence, the reason for completely eliminating the use of Miss and Mrs. Those terms suggest women are chattel or, at the very least, they suggest some form of discrimination based upon whether or not she “belongs to” a man. Again, keep in mind that this is for tax purposes but infusing one’s private life with public protocol is simply insulting.
So, if one insists upon addressing a woman, by using a “title”, then he ought to use the now-proper ‘title’, “Ms.” as then he can’t go wrong if presuming marital “status” which is something only the public cares about; e.g: tax agencies all want our “marital status”. How invasive!
I make it abundantly clear that I am called, “mary”. It is the author of my book, it is how I end my emails, etc. so, calling me something other than what I have already indicated as my desire is disrespectful. It would be no different from a man telling me to call him Tom and then I call him “Fritz”. Wouldn’t he feel as if I had disrespected his feelings and ignored what he told me?
“Everything happens for a reason” - and/or - “It’s all good”.
We all just do what we do. It is only afterwards that the ego mind, in an attempt to justify either what we have done or what we are about to do, makes up “reasons”. So, yes, we garner reasons for what we have done and, yes, we give reasons for what we are about to do, but reasoning, pre or post, only indicates the ego’s desperate need to defend against the truth.
Since everything that happens, in our experience, is a result of our projected beliefs, then, all reasoning is simply justification, due to our inability to accept what is. So, although the cliché suggests that we ought to accept everything that happens because we can never acquire all the necessary information to draw any conclusions about an incident, then, the ludicrous rationale, as it is stated, only adds to the rampant insanity.
When people try to assuage my feelings by saying, “everything happens for a reason”, I ask, “what’s the reason?” They don’t know. So, if they don’t know the reason, how can they know that one exists? Just as when people recite the common cliché, “It’s all good”, it evidences they have made a judgement which includes, “it’s all bad”…. same coin (judgement), different sides (assessment). What is true about every situation is, “it all just IS”. When we can accept that, we can quit the need to “believe” and we can quit the need to “reason”.
“To be perfectly honest”
Oh, great! This entire conversation is vitiated because up until right now, he has NOT been honest. Do we have to start over?
Oh, GRRRRR! So often, after asking someone a very benign question, the answer to which is either ‘yes’ or ‘no’, all I hear is “absolutely”. So, then I am obliged to ask, “Is this absolute (meaning: complete, unconditional, unquestionable) an ‘absolute yes’ or an ‘absolute no’? “Absolutely” is not an answer to any question; it is a degree of an answer which we have yet to discover.
A couple of years ago, my son introduced me to his music teacher who offered his hand for me to shake. I declined to do so and my son was embarrassed and told me so. I explained to him that I am free to reject a ludicrous tradition. He accused me of being ill-mannered for not accepting the man’s polite gesture. I told him that if he wants to talk “manners”, then he ought to know that ladies are not required to shake hands and only an ill-mannered man would initiate such a imposition upon a lady.
This idiocy began when men who suspected one another of carrying weapons would show their right hands, proving they were unarmed. Grasping hands then proved it. Women were never a party to this madness and so, in fact, it is ill-mannered for a man to present his hand to a lady, as the suggestion is that she might be armed and harm him. (Men should know, by now, that women have vastly better tactics, on how to harm a man, than with weapons.) If, on the insane notion that a woman wants to shake hands with a man (and why would she?), then she is free to offer her hand first and, ergo, a well-mannered gentleman is expected to receive it. Call me old-fashioned, but my explanation smartened-up my son.
You might well ask, “so what does a lady do when someone puts his paw in front of her face? I have been known to keep my hands in my pockets, or put them into prayer position and bow, saying, “Enchanté”, but my latest is I just say, “How do you do?” and completely ignore their gesture. If I am asked why I don’t shake hands, I tell people one of two things, depending upon my potential relationship with him, which I’ve already determined is likely worthless because a gentleman would never ask that. I say either, “I don’t know where your hands have been” or “Do you suspect I am armed?” I have been known to shake hands with someone ONLY if I sense that something serious, to all involved, will be lost by my not doing so. All that said, the best way to get out of shaking hands with someone is to hug him/her ….. unless s/he is wearing synthetic fragrance. Living with toxic chemicals and their scent on my clothing for the rest of the evening is vastly worse than shaking hands, no matter where those paws have been.
I notice that people are frightened of expressing themselves. They suffix their remarks with “for me”, as if I might question that they were giving me someone else’s opinion. “This is a book everyone ought to read; I thought it was excellent, well, for me, anyway.” Did he think that I thought he was talking about his neighbour? I figure when someone tells me that a book is excellent, he means HE thought it was excellent, not the fellow down the street thought it was excellent because if it had been the fellow down the street, he would have said so. When ANYone speaks it can be ONLY about himself. It can’t be about anyone else unless and until he prefaces his statement with that information. “That is an excellent book––for my sister’s boyfriend.” No one would say that. One would say, “My sister’s boyfriend says it’s an excellent book.” But this feeble, annoying attempt at not offending anyone whose tastes might slightly differ shows only a weak personality. You are free to disagree with me but I’m not going to say, here, “…. shows only a weak personality; well, to me, anyway.” In that phrase, did you hear me weasel out of speaking my mind? Aren’t you tired of hearing that?
Several years ago, a friend said, “Myself and Dave are going out for dinner; do you want to join us?” It was all I could do to restrain myself from racing across the room and grabbing him by the throat. Did his mother teach him to say, “Myself wants a cookie”? I doubt it, so where did the insanity of this use of the word appear? It seems as if this is another example of people disclaiming what they are saying. I notice so often that people are loathe to use the words, ‘I’ and ‘me’. What is this all about, other than it shows some sort of gumption to talk about oneself. One time a friend emailed me this: ‘Send the documents to ….” I couldn’t figure out why she was telling me to do something, among other things, which I had already instructed her to do. Then I wondered if I had said I would do it for her and I became quite upset by the fact that I might have failed her. So, I wrote her back asking about this. What she had done is just omitted the word “I” and wrote “send” instead of “sent”. She was telling me she had already done this but because people seem frightened to write “I” (which takes a long time and much effort to do), the entire meaning is lost. Is this left over from an era when we were taught not to talk about ourselves or to avoid writing letters with sentences beginning with the word “I”? My emails contain sentences which almost ALL begin with “I” because I can talk about no one OTHER than myself. (yes, this is the correct use of ‘myself’.)
“Myself” cannot be a subject of a sentence because it is a pronoun which always reflects back to the subject. This is why it is called a “reflexive pronoun”. “I bought a book for myself.” I get emails which go something like this. “Today a fellow came to the door with a summons for my wife and myself.” What he is saying is that he issued the summons for himself because ‘myself’, in that sentence, suggests that “I” is the subject of the sentence, so the fact that “I” is not the subject makes the entire sentence nonsense. I am wont to question what he is talking about––particularly when we all know that there cannot exist a summons for a man, only for a person, i.e.: a legal fiction.
“Kilometre” (US: kilometer)
This is a metric length. So, all portions of a metre have a prefix. Here are all the prefixes for the metric system and their symbols: tera-T, giga-G, mega-M, kilo-k, hecto-h, deca-da, deci-d, centi-c, milli-m, micro-?, nano-n, pico-p, femto-f. We can put any word after the prefix, e.g.: “byte”, “metre”, “second”, etc. Let’s use the example, “metre” but, say them out loud so you can hear where the glitch is. You won’t know it until you hear it. Start reciting: femtometre, picometre, nanometre, micrometre, millimetre, centimetre, decimetre, decametre, hectometre, kilometre, megametre, gigametre, terametre. Did you hear “kil´-o-metre”? or “kil-o´-metre”? Did you accent the “kil” or the “o”?
There is another word––a completely separate word with a completely different meaning, but which sounds the same as ‘metre’. It is “meter”, the meaning of which is “measurement” or, in some cases, “gauge”. Here are the ones we often use: thermometer, barometer, altimeter, diameter, speedometer, tachometer, odometer, and not so often: anemometer (wind), udometer or pluviometer (precipitation), sphygmomanometer (blood pressure), etc. In these words, the middle or least significant syllable is stressed or accented, for example: psychology.
I ask all Canadians to stop confusing the word ‘kilometre’, a thousand metres (as imaginary and abstract as the word ‘border’), with a concrete device used to measure various speeds, degrees, pressures, etc. ‘Kilometer’ is pronounced “KIL´o metre”.
When people talk about someone I ought to know, I often ask where he lives so that I know about whom we’re talking. E.g.: Someone will mention “Tom” and I’ll ask, “Which Tom?” or “Tom who?” and the answer is, “He’s out of Florida.” That leaves me with guessing among 49 states and 10 provinces. “out of” only tells me where he isn’t, so IN what state/province IS he?
The commercial equivalent to this is, “He works out of his home”. Most people do, so where does he work?” or “Her company is based out of Ontario”. What happened to cause people to think that “out of” means “in”? Her company is based IN Ontario and there are likely many branches which are “out of” Ontario, in other places. I can’t help feeling as if we are being manipulated by the language police––think “Newspeak” –– deliberately ambiguous and contradictory language used to mislead and manipulate the public –– a language invented by George Orwell in the novel 1984] so that we can no longer “talk amongst ourselves”.
Dictionaries are for the purpose of being certain that we understand one another but, when the meanings of words are purposely distorted as they are in Legalese, we will be unable to do so. No one will ever really know what anyone means by what he says because everything is our personal interpretation based upon our programming, so it is so important that we take into consideration everything we know about the speaker. That said, the better one speaks by adhering to a generally-accepted meaning of words, the better he is understood and isn’t this what we all want? For example, listening to Stephen Fry on Catholicism is wondrous. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEhtOhwL8xk I suggest everyone hear him.
Our language was, no doubt, created for the purpose of messing with us so that we cannot communicate. When I first heard, about a decade ago, young men saying, “That’s bad”, when they mean, “That’s good”, I knew we were in deep trouble. I’m not talking about words which are just in vogue, such as groovy, bitchin’, cool, dude, totally, etc. I’m talking about deliberate aberrations of meanings of words so that we can no longer communicate.
My son says, in response to one of my suggestions, “I’m down for that”. Since this sounds as if he is rejecting my suggestion, I am forced to ask. What he means is, “I’m UP for that”–– “my state of mind is ‘up’, due to your suggestion.” I don’t get into a row with him over this; I just let him know that this is an example of how clichés are generally designed to prevent us from communicating and we must do all we can to off-set that.