Sunday, May 29, 2005

"Words Matter" or "Sticks and stones . . . "

In a fairly rare event, I find myself agreeing with Ed Cone (I think) about this post from Jeff Jarvis. The F-word is just a word . . .

On the other hand, two op-ed articles in today's News & Record (I can't find them on-line) both miss an important word. When I was in elementary school, I was confused about the name of the French and Indian War (1756). The French weren't fighting the Indians--they were allies against the English (and colonists). Later I realized that though we often name wars in which we don't particiapte by the two combatants, like the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5), we name our wars for the opponent(s) only. In this tradition, I guess, the conflict in Greensboro in November 1979 is called the Klan-Nazi Shoot-out, but it wasn't between the Klan and the Nazis, of course. It was between the Communist Workers Party and a Klan-Nazi combine. That isn't mentioned much. Maybe we are supposed to just know this; maybe there is some other reason the CWP doesn't want to be identified in the name of the encounter. Maybe the next step in Truth and Reconciliation should be recognizing the proper name of the event: The Klan-Communist Shoot-out.

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