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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Even the use of that N word to point out how different things are today as opposed to that past is to be verboten? In a media training exercise?

Well, yes, it appears so. As with the various versions of Huckleberry Finn which excise the word – despite its centrality to the moral point that Twain was making.

Do note the point being made here. Which isn’t that there’s some problem with the resignation or firing – Schnatter was running a business using other peoples’ money, offending the mores of the time and place loses them money, bye bye. It’s to ponder whether the mores are quite what they ought to be. The use as an epithet we’re all on board with being unacceptable. The use as an historical reference perhaps less so.

Tim Worstall, pointing out the lunacy of firing someone for saying ‘nigger’ even to illustrate it’s use by someone in the past. This turns the word ‘nigger’ into a magic spell, decontextualised of meaning in a way that is very ‘Frankfurt School’.

31 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Julie near Chicago

    If you do not have evil thoughts, you cannot do evil deeds.

    If you do not have evil words, you cannot think evil thoughts.

  • terence patrick hewett


    If it were not for Evil how would you know what Good is?

  • bobby b


    Never knowing that things could be worse would be an acceptable price to pay for never knowing evil.


  • terence patrick hewett

    @bobby b

    But extremely dull! The Garden of Eden and the Fall of Mankind is an extremely perceptive analysis of the nature of the human condition.

  • Julie near Chicago writes:

    If you do not have evil thoughts, you cannot do evil deeds. If you do not have evil words, you cannot think evil thoughts.

    Sorry Julia (perhaps – see below), but this is simplistic claptrap.

    Evil thoughts can be expressed in sentences (and clauses too) in which every word is not, of itself, an evil word.

    I’m not going to give examples, as that alone could easily lead to criticism of me for writing down any such sentence/clause that expresses evil thought (by way of example) without using a ‘single evil word’, even though they are given as example only and definitely neither express thoughts agreeable to me nor actions that I would ever consider actually undertaking.

    As such, Julia’s rhetoric (which might or might not include irony, sarcasm, humour, etc) seemingly justifies, at some level of context or lack thereof, and potentially therefore encourages, action against persons (ie criticism of those who write certain particular words) for their likely non-thoughts and actual non-actions.

    Best regards

  • Penseiveat

    Surely, if everything was good, there would be no requirement or incentive to try and improve it. The result would be stagnation. It is only by the identification of evil, and the need to change the circumstances that brought it about, which allows us to progress. It has been said that there has been more advances in technology during times of war and strife, than in times of peace.

  • CaptDMO

    Wait ’til doctors are punished for using offensive pronouns, and procedures, for self-identified
    Oh, wait….http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5952625/Christian-doctor-fired-saying-people-choose-gender-reveals-speak-out.html

  • Mr James Ironside

    Desires can be evil without words. I bet murder, rape and theft are older than language.

  • bobby b

    I believe Julie nC was commenting upon the progressives’ consideration of Orwell’s 1984 as an instructive manual, not recommending the concepts herself.

  • As with the various versions of Huckleberry Finn which excise the word

    It would be a very “I don’t give a damn” style of censorship if, in the scene where Huck and Jim realise they went past Cairo in the fog, Jim has to say us “Us poor ‘negros’ don’t have no luck”, as though growing up as a house servant in the upper south had protected him from any demeaning expressions.

    It is one of the many limitations of the PC that they don’t realise how ruling in the realm of appearances diminishes everyone else’s impression that they have, or even had, something to complain about in the realm of reality. Bad propaganda, like bad money, drives out good.

    [To my great surprise, a quick web search reveals several references to the problem that the film of ‘Gone with the Wind’ had with getting permission to keep the word ‘damn’ in their adaptation of the book, but not one mentions that the final agreement required Clark Gable to emphasise ‘give’, not ‘damn’, something well known and very obvious when you watch the film.]

  • Stonyground

    It is depressing that we seem to have descended to mob rule by an idiocracy. As mentioned above, we are dealing with people who are too stupid to distinguish between the use of an offensive word as a deliberate insult and the use of the same word to condemn such use. People have even been hounded by such imbeciles for using the word niggardly, a word that is not offensive but sounds a bit like another different word that is.

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby, the Great Frog blesses and thanks you, but Its gratitude is but a speck in relation to the extent of mine! 😀 😀 😀


    Indeed, Nigel, I merely intended to present a certain train of thought in a clear, compact (if slightly snarky) form which, I hoped, might also mildly entertain those of a certain naturally grumpy nature. –Not my own, of course. ;>)

    Actually, it makes me think of Madeleine Bassett, who believes that “every time a fairy blows its wee nose, a baby is born,” if I recall Plum’s words more-or-less correctly.


    Yes, the conclusion one might infer is that “we should therefore ban — or, even better, criminalize — evil words,” so as to Stamp Out Evil.

    James Ironside speaks to this point exactly. Indeed, I hoped that passersby here would recognize that, even if they happened not to articulate it at the exact instance. Thank you, JI, well said.


    Stony: re “niggardly”: Infuriating, isn’t it. And a perfect example of how a useful word can be hounded out of existence by the ignorant.

    –Boy, how I do run on. I sense an oncoming attack of wrenching the present train of discourse completely off the rails, to the tune of at least three or four books. I shall desist.


    Niall: Two excellent points, separated for emphasis:

    …[R]uling in the realm of appearances diminishes everyone else’s impression that they have or even had something to complain about in the realm of reality.

    Bad propaganda, like bad money, drives out good.

    I add that repeating the misuse of word helps to drive its real meaning out of discourse, and of thought, generally. (Oh, Julie, surely you don’t mean such things as hijacking the word “gay” so as to eliminate the use of the correct word, which is “homosexual.” — At a gathering of music-lovers I once was in a conversation with another adult lady, discussing a recent televised performance by Vladimir Horowitz, and I mentioned that he had seemed so gay — “happy and cheerful,” don’tcha know. And my friend’s face fell about a mile, and she said, “He is? I didn’t know that.” Clearly she had bought the despoliation of the word “gay.”)

  • terence patrick hewett

    When you’re with the Flintstones
    Have a yabba-dabba-doo time
    A dabba-doo time
    We’ll have a gay old time.

    Oooooh! Jules you are bold – isn’t ee bold Mr ‘Orne.

  • Julie near Chicago, I offer the word ‘blithe’ as a usable synonym.

    Monday’s child is fair of face.
    Tuesday’s child is full of grace.
    Wednesday’s child is full of woe.
    Thursday’s child has far to go.
    Friday’s child is loving and giving.
    Saturday’s child must work for its living.
    But the child that is born on the sabbath day
    is bonnie and blithe and good and gay.

    I’ve heard it stated that ‘blithe’ is Scots, not much used in other dialects of English. You will know better than I whether that is so or not. I fear using ‘gay’ in its old sense inevitably reminds people of its modern sense (now so frequent it can hardly be called slang), even when the context makes it clear the old sense is intended. This will not change in our lifetimes.

  • Paul Marks

    I am the most literal minded man alive – and even I understood that Julie was being sarcastic. mocking the 1984 doctrines of our enemies.

    As for it being “very Frankfurt School” – that is exactly what it is, Perry is correct.

    The whole “equality agenda” is Frankfurt School – and the politicians who go alone with this agenda (such as the British Prime Minister) are pushing the agenda of the Frankfurt School – whether they know it or not.

  • Julie near Chicago

    tph, ya got that right! Hee-hee-hee 😆

    Niall, a new one on me as to “blithe’s” etymology. (The OED — the real one — is right behind me, but I would have to get up to get it.)

    To honor her initial appearance among us, I bought a very attractive little plaque, with Hallmarkian-style illustrations, carrying the verse. It says “gay,” and so do I. (See above to tph.) And as it happens, I myself am a Sunday’s Child. (You may use this empirical fact to judge the truth of the claim.*g*) Your proposed substitute would be quite a good one, yet with not quite the nuance of the original, which is surely the mot juste for expressing the entire meaning.

    I am still (unfavorably) impressed by the moaning of a gentleman, sensible on some other topics, as to the awfulness of the fact that the homosexual community (or some subgroup thereof — don’t mean to tar everybody) have “forced us all to use the word ‘gay’ when referring to them,” or words to that effect.

    I don’t recall having an actual RPG-7, nor even an Uzi, pointed at me ready to fire should I fail to use the required substitute. I think that in fact it’s not even illegal to speak the dread word “h***s*****.” Although considering the Canadian position on the illegal use of pronouns, I fear that day may come.

    You cannot run a Resistance without resisting.

    Or, to quote J. Peterson more-or-less, “You can’t make me say that!”


    By the way, I’m not sure that “gay” wearing its current political uniform is properly called slang. “Queer” is slang, as is “fairy”; but nobody thinks that “fairy” = “homosexual,” nor that “queer” generally means anything other than “odd”.

    I have read that “gay” was adopted deliberately in order to promote an agenda, and at that least some of those who signed on to the immediate agenda understood that their ultimate goal was political. “Gay” was thus appropriated specifically as a term of propaganda. I haven’t a source for this, but it seems to me it might have been the ex-New-Leftist David Horowitz.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Paul: 😉

  • bobby b

    Just to muddy the waters – “Gay” is now generally used to refer to homosexual men, while “lesbian” is used for homosexual women. (Or is it “womyn”?) So gay and homosexual are no longer synonyms, which is why you see both a G and an L in the GLBT**** labeling system.

    I remember when I first became aware of the “gay” confusion. There was a Doonesbury comic in 1975 or so in which Joanie Caucus is talking to Andy Lippincott, the gorgeous classmate with whom she’s rapidly falling in love. He finally realizes this, and sets her down and tells her “Joanie, I’m gay.” She looks baffled, and says “well, ok, I’m usually quite happy myself . . . and . . . but . . . ooooooooh.”

    (BTW, if you’ve never read the very early Doonesbury years – the John Kerry period, with the bad art, ’70 to ’76 – he was masterful.)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Bah. They never were synonyms, and they’re still not. She said grumpily.

    “Lesbian” specifically means a female homosexual. The fact that many people have developed yet another misusage does not mean that the set of female homosexuals, however often referred to as Lesbians, is not obviously a subset of all homosexuals.

    (There is no set A which is a proper subset of itself, because it would have to both contain and exclude a member “b.”)

    This is a technical point in that such misusages are regularly perpetrated against the English language, and widely accepted — which only strengthens the custom of misuse.

    But if people were at least committed to making the effort to use words correctly, a great many writings would be much more likely to be properly understood. For instance, our American Constitution.

    And, of course, if such commitment were within the capacity of the group constituting the species Homo sapiens, beggars would ride on flying pigs. ;>)


    Three things.

    1. I’m almost at the end of a video of Randy (B.) debating a Prof. Dorf of Cornell on “Originalism” vs. “Living Constitutionalism.” Very interesting. Prof. Dorf makes some statements worth hearing, assuming they are soundly based. (I don’t believe anything I hear anymore, and that includes the words of my ywo legal heroes, Richard & Randy.) I think Randy would be well advised to draw attention to the fact that his own points should be well-defined when used in the arguments. Nor do I agree with all his conclusions; but that should be unsurprising to those in attendance here. 1:31; Andrew Napolitano, moderator; at


    2. Example of difficulties caused by lack of strict attendance in the Constitution to the meaning of words:

    …a) “Absolutely” used to modify “necessary” in just the one spot, Article I, Sec. 10, calls into question the meaning of “necessary” in its other appearances there. Personally I take the word as intended to emphasize “necessary,” not to demote it; but it’s a standard argument in certain circles for a diluted meaning of “necessary.”

    …b) The variable meaning of “the people” raises a good many questions. Here, it seems possibly to mean “the citizenry,” i.e. the group who have the right to vote, in the collective sense. There, not so much, at least by me! For me, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” refers to the individuals making up “the people,” whether they’re members of some militia or not … and whether or not they’re womyn.

    O/T: We keep hearing how teenagers aren’t old enough to be trusted with guns. In fact Richard finds it obvious that they should not be allowed to carry such Evil Weapons in public, on busses, on subways, in their Dads’ pickup trucks. I wonder what was in the drinking water back in the day that made it common for young ‘uns to do such things, without precipitating mayhem. Richard, suggest you read up on this a bit more.

    Although in fairness, he sounds a lot more thoughtful about the Gun Issue than he used to. He’s only 6 weeks older than I, so with luck there’s time yet for him to come fully into the light.

    3. There is a most interesting paper entitled “Euphemism and Language Change: The Sixth and Seventh Ages,” by a Kate Burridge , at


    Of particular interest in this discussion:

    Section 5, 3. The Seven Ages of a Euphemism

    3.1. Contamination — Gresham’s Law
    3.2. Routinization
    3.3. The longer-living euphemism
    3.4. Conceptual Change

    Book Blooming English, at:


    Another paper: “Euphemisms and Dysphemisms,” at http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199772810/obo-9780199772810-0210.xml

    The site is run by the Oxford Univ. Press. I haven’t yet run down Ms. Burridge’s CV.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Sigh … I hope WordPress isn’t having another fit. I just posted a response to bobby, plus further verbiage of course, but it did not appear in the list of recent comments, nor did it cause the comment-counter to increase. I assumed I just hadn’t clicked the “Post” button, so I re-submitted.

    Whereupon WP came back accusing me of trying to post the same message twice. I hope it’s merely sleeping, or possibly down for repairs or otherwise occupied. Naturally the Moderators need not hesitate to delete this plaint, should WP get back on the job.

    (Yes, I did fill in the name and address. I just checked.)

    ETA: Re-submission still results in a “duplicate posting” msg.

  • APL (nigga)

    I is officially informing the interwebs, that I is idenfifying as Gay, Woke, Nigga.

    I is also culturally appropriating certain words of the English lingo.

    Youse whities wont know which words of yes own language youse ain’t allowed to use, but if i catch youse useing any of ’em, i’m gonna come around yer crib an’ put a cap in youse arses.

    Youse get me, bitches?

  • APL

    WordPress refuses to recognise my self identification as a Gay Black transgender person.

    I personally find that offensive. And notify WordPress I may choose to peruse legal remedy.

    Here is my announcement on the interwebs. I now identify as a gay black transgender individual who happens to be going straight at the moment.

    I’m also letting you white folks know that I am culturally appropriating certain words from your language and right now, youse is ain’t longer gonna to use them words in any context whatsoever.

    Should I catch you white byaches using ma words anyhouze, I’ll be around yer crib and put a cap in yer arse.

    Ged it?

    Geez! You white folks need to get on wid being guilty about all der world shite that youse got nufink to be guilty about. Dats a ful time job we nigazs done give youz, man.

    You’d ain’t got kno time fer talking about morals, get busy bein’ guilty, or get busy bein rasist.

  • Penseiveat

    From an American, well, Californian, friend, the word “gay” was used by the homosexuals living in Height-Ashbury who proclaimed they were gay or “Good As You”. Whether this is true or not, I have no idea.
    I am reminded of the homosexual male who attended a Christmas party dressed as the motorcyclist from the Village People – full black leather kit, ready to sing that wonderful Carol line, “Don we now our gay apparel.”

  • I sneeze in threes

    I recently attended the screening at the Royal Albert Hall of the Dam Busters. Dan Snow started to explain (though you could tell he didn’t approve) that the restored version, to maintain historical accuracy, has not edited out the name of Guy Gibson’s dog. At this point a large cheer went up throughout the hall. Because of this, he said, the films rating was now rightly increased (I can’t remember to what though). I would say the that the scene when Nigger is killed was rather gratuitous in the use of his name. I do love black Labradors though.

  • From an American, well, Californian, friend, the word “gay” was used by the homosexuals living in Height-Ashbury who proclaimed they were gay or “Good As You”. Whether this is true or not, I have no idea. Penseiveat, July 15, 2018 at 9:20 am

    I believe it is not true: ‘gay’ and ‘fairy’ (and ‘limpwrist’ and etc.) all originated as slang references to a certain style of self-presentation (overtly-happy/confident and somewhat-advertising) that was attributed to male homosexuals in their period of being fashionable during the inter-war years (to what degree it was fairly attributed I know not). ‘Gay’ was the US west-coast slang (‘fairy’ was British).

    The earliest use of ‘gay’ I know is a comic line in the January 1938 film ‘Bringing Up Baby’ (Katherine Hebburn, Cary Grant) but the very fact of its inclusion in a 1937 film-script aimed at a wide audience suggests it was a good deal older. (It may be Hollywood overestimated how universal west-coast slang was and/or thought the line’s context would show the word’s meaning.)

    The word’s geographical origin is why it became the preferred slang pushed world-wide. (That it is friendlier than ‘queer’ undoubtedly helped.)

    Acronyming the word into ‘Good As You’ (or ‘Got Aids Yet?’ or several other forms) came much later, I believe. Only after ‘gays’ were made a very frequent topic did people start mining the term for acronyms. (I am not, of course, at all surprised if some in California are pushing a rewritten history that assigns a more flattering origin.)

    Just my 0.02p-worth of observation, to be confirmed or corrected by anyone else interested.

  • Julie near Chicago (July 15, 2018 at 5:52 am), I also saw strange behaviour when commenting yesterday. The samizdatan auto-monitor strayed so far as to put a comment by ME (!!!!) in status ‘pending’ – I had to authorise my own comment. 🙂 (It was my first comment in this thread: July 14, 2018 at 3:58 pm.) I saw no such odd behaviour in other threads I commented on, so it may be this thread’s subject is a bit, uh, ‘concerning’ to the software. Write threads discussing violent revolution, sure, but just don’t say that word! 🙂

    Or, of course, it may be that the software was just having a senior moment yesterday. Not every evil in the world is caused by political correctness. 🙂

    I myself am a Sunday’s Child. (You may use this empirical fact to judge the truth of the claim.*g*) (Julie near Chicago, July 14, 2018 at 10:15 pm)

    Snap! However a sample size of two is not statistically significant.

  • The samizdatan auto-monitor…

    No, no, no… it is called SmiteBot & it is an equal opportunity offender 😎

  • Julie near Chicago

    Perry! You presented the Smite-Cats again! I will be SURE to have the Great Frog put you up for the next Birthday Honours. :>)))))

    PS. Normally we get “Your comment is awaiting moderation” or some such, when the Gods of the Smite-Cats are in the office. This time, nothing. No fair! :>(

  • Umbriel

    I’m pretty sure that “Papa John” wasn’t so much a victim of “mob rule” as he was of a hostile board looking for justification to be rid of him. That said, it’s pretty appalling that this sufficed.

  • Rich Rostrom

    ‘Queer’ isn’t exactly slang; one can major in ‘Queer Studies’ at literally hundreds of universities and colleges.

  • Hugh

    ” A bachelor gay am I ” (???) : Peter Dawson