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Friday, June 17, 2011

Washington Blade: Nats commentator apologizes for ‘sissy’ remark

Fightin’ Ray Knight strikes again!

In an interview with the Washington Blade, Ray Knight, a former Major League Baseball player who serves as a commentator accompanying the Nationals’ regular announcer, said he meant no harm to anyone when he used the word. He said he didn’t realize it is sometimes used as a derogatory code word for gay men.

“I never thought one time that that would be a word that would be used to connote that,” he said, adding that he meant it as an expression calling for a baseball player to “come on, toughen up.”

“But absolutely, I get it,” he said. “Now I get it.”

In his comments during the June 5 broadcast, Knight used the term in a discussion about batters being hit by balls thrown by pitchers.

“So you don’t go up there playing the game like a sissy,” he said. “And I’m at the far end of it, I promise you. But I just don’t like all this baloney about the aggressiveness that’s been taken away.”

Repoz Posted: June 17, 2011 at 08:28 AM | 395 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, media, nationals, special topics, television

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   1. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: June 17, 2011 at 10:06 AM (#3855606)
What horseshit. He didn't say fairy, fag, Nancy, queer, homo, etc. He said sissy, which, while childish, is not an anti gay slur. And I'm as progressive as they come. Honestly, the progressive position would be that assuming sissy is an anti gay slur is homophobic, as feeling that way depends on certain assumptions about gay men. I've seen straight men who throw like sissies and gay men who hit like Ronnie Lott on a football field.
   2. Leroy Kincaid Posted: June 17, 2011 at 11:22 AM (#3855612)
I'm with #1. Political correctness gone wild.
   3. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 17, 2011 at 12:05 PM (#3855620)
I always thought sissy was the PG-equivalent of \"#####\" and had nothing to do with being gay.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: June 17, 2011 at 12:09 PM (#3855622)
I'm also with number 1.
   5. bunyon Posted: June 17, 2011 at 12:26 PM (#3855629)
I'm with 3. And 1. And, therefore, 2 and 4.
   6. Rusty Priske Posted: June 17, 2011 at 12:33 PM (#3855634)
I don't agree with any of you... but neither do I think it is a big deal.

He said something that could be hurtful to a group of people, but he didn't realize it.

He has been informed of such, admitted he didn't realize it but now says he will not do so again.

Issue resolved.


(People who ##### about 'political correctness' make my blood boil. Usually what they call 'being politically correct' can otherwise be called 'not being an #######'.)
   7. McCoy Posted: June 17, 2011 at 12:34 PM (#3855635)
I've seen straight men who throw like sissies and gay men who hit like Ronnie Lott on a football field.

I believe there is a joke in there worthy of the Washington Blade's ire.
   8. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:01 PM (#3855641)
He said something that could be hurtful to a group of people, but he didn't realize it.


Well, the hell, man. Who controls language here? What's going to be left of the vocabulary if every word that some minority of some group--because I certainly don't think the majority of the gay community thinks of sissy as a homophobic slur--finds offensive is culled?

Seriously, we can't use the word "sissy"?
   9. McCoy Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:05 PM (#3855646)
Next time he'll call them a Nancy.

Just don't take "lolly-gaggers" from us!
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:07 PM (#3855647)
Well, the hell, man. Who controls language here? What's going to be left of the vocabulary if every word that some minority of some group--because I certainly don't think the majority of the gay community thinks of sissy as a homophobic slur--finds offensive is culled?

Seriously, we can't use the word "sissy"?


I can't wait til we can't use M***** F***** b/c of the hurt feelings of the pro-incest lobby.
   11. bunyon Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:23 PM (#3855654)
I would agree that folks that raise the cry against "PC" are usually not worth defending. However, if you're hurt because one man calls another man a sissy, when you aren't either man or related to them, then you need to grow up or toughen up or something. EDIT: this is overly harsh - I just mean not ever insult is meant to broadly paint entire groups.

Sissy is not used out in the real world as a slur against homosexuals. If you want to argue that one man using the word "fag" to insult another hurts homosexuals at large, be my guest. But sissy isn't used that way no matter what the dictionary says or how it used to be used in 1920.

If a man calls you a sissy he isn't calling you gay. He's calling you a coward. Or a baby. EDIT: he's not even implying you're gay which means you're a coward (which is how "fag" is used). He's just calling you straight up weak. General weak, not specific sort of weak. Now, probably a lot of people out there think that gay people are weak, which is an incorrect and non-helpful attitude, but isn't brought out in anyway, in 99% of the population's mind, by the word "sissy".
   12. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:29 PM (#3855658)
This'll teach Knight to think twice before again using the least offensive word possible to criticize someone/something.
   13. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:31 PM (#3855659)
So let me get this straight. In Washington sissy = slur; Redskins = not slur.
   14. flournoy Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:34 PM (#3855660)
Left unsaid is the fact that anyone hurt or offended by the use of the word sissy is, in fact, a sissy. Irony at its best.
   15. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:34 PM (#3855663)
I think #6, particularly the parenthetical at the end, is right on point. What drives me nuts about the "anti-PC" crowd is when they say something they know damned well to be offensive then cry when they are called on it.

As for this specific case, I don't see what's to be bothered on by either side. Knight made the comment, the Blade criticized it, and Knight acknowledged his very minor error. No one is calling for his job or a boycott of the station. This seems to be the broadcast equivalent of inadvertently cutting someone off in traffic and raising your hand in apology.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:39 PM (#3855665)
I think #6, particularly the parenthetical at the end, is right on point. What drives me nuts about the "anti-PC" crowd is when they say something they know damned well to be offensive then cry when they are called on it.

I think the point of the "anti-PC" crowd is that the right to be offensive is important. It's part of living in a free country that you're going to get your feelings hurt now and again.

The practice of calling for someone's head every time they say something someone finds offensive is destructive to a free society.
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:42 PM (#3855668)
The practice of calling for someone's head every time they say something someone finds offensive is destructive to a free society.
How does this apply at all to this situation?

There were exactly zero calls for Knight to be fired, certainly none for his head. People expressed displeasure in a respectful way, Knight responded in a respectful way.
   18. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:46 PM (#3855672)
As for this specific case, I don't see what's to be bothered on by either side. Knight made the comment, the Blade criticized it, and Knight acknowledged his very minor error. No one is calling for his job or a boycott of the station. This seems to be the broadcast equivalent of inadvertently cutting someone off in traffic and raising your hand in apology.


I'd say in this case, their objections are actually destructive. As has been noted here, sissy is not a synomym for homosexual. By making that link in this case, the Blade is, rather than knocking down a tired stereotype that has lost a lot of steam in recent years, reinforcing it. Ultimately, that's a disservice to the very people it represents.
   19. spike Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:48 PM (#3855673)
#6, I agree with you completely - the term was coined the day some folks realized they couldn't use the N word in public anymore. But this does not rise to that level, and in fact, getting sore over the non-issues makes it that much harder when things that need to be publicly ostracized are said.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:51 PM (#3855674)
How does this apply at all to this situation?

There were exactly zero calls for Knight to be fired, certainly none for his head. People expressed displeasure in a respectful way, Knight responded in a respectful way.


It applies b/c he found it necessary to apologize for using a completely innocuous work.

The displeasure expressed is idiotic. Just like the displeasure that caused that politician to resign for using niggardly.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:54 PM (#3855675)
But this does not rise to that level, and in fact, getting sore over the non-issues makes it that much harder when things that need to be publicly ostracized are said.

That's the problem right there. The idea that people need to be "publicly ostracized" for using offensive language on occasion.

Not for being an actual racist, or doing actual harm to people, but just for referring to people with a negative term.
   22. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 01:58 PM (#3855677)
By making that link in this case, the Blade is, rather than knocking down a tired stereotype that has lost a lot of steam in recent years, reinforcing it.


That's what I took away from this. To be honest I had never made the "sissy"/gay connection before. Where I grew up, "sissy" was a word used for sister. I thought "sissy" was offensive towards women, not gays, since it implied you were weak - like a woman.
   23. The Essex Snead Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:01 PM (#3855678)
So it's S**** Spacek now?
   24. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:05 PM (#3855680)
Then I remain ahead of the curve since I have been using candy*ss for years and will continue to do so.
   25. Nasty Nate Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:12 PM (#3855686)
Not for being an actual racist, or doing actual harm to people, but just for referring to people with a negative term.


There is no racist-ometer to measure someone's racial prejudice, so it is judged by what someone does and what someone says.
   26. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:20 PM (#3855687)
That's the problem right there. The idea that people need to be "publicly ostracized" for using offensive language on occasion.


Note that this comes from the right as often as it comes from the left. It was shameful that the Senate felt the need to condemn an organization for referring to General Petraeus by a childish nickname, or that Bill Maher lost his job for calling suicide bombers "not cowardly." Or the fact that Sarah Palin now feels that she owns the rights to the word "retarded."
   27. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:28 PM (#3855690)
As a corollary to #16.3, the beauty of freedom of speech is that because people are free to speak their minds we can more easily choose who our friends are and who we find repugnant. Then we enjoy freedom of association.

If we make people dummy up and only spout innocuous platitudes, then you never know who your enemies might be, so you can't "keep them closer".

Besides, I think Ray Knight was a sissy for allowing himself to be painted into a corner by that interviewer.
   28. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:30 PM (#3855691)
#25: There is no racist-ometer to measure someone's racial prejudice, so it is judged by what someone does.


Fixed!
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:33 PM (#3855693)
There is no racist-ometer to measure someone's racial prejudice, so it is judged by what someone does and what someone says.

But many times racially or ethnically derogatory language used to condemn an individual doesn't have actual racist content. It's just how you insult someone of that group.

Just like calling someone a MFer isn't actually an accusation of incest.

Note that this comes from the right as often as it comes from the left. It was shameful that the Senate felt the need to condemn an organization for referring to General Petraeus by a childish nickname, or that Bill Maher lost his job for calling suicide bombers "not cowardly." Or the fact that Sarah Palin now feels that she owns the rights to the word "retarded."

It's ridiculous wherever it comes from.
   30. DA Baracus Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:35 PM (#3855695)
Left unsaid is the fact that anyone hurt or offended by the use of the word sissy is, in fact, a sissy. Irony at its best.


Just like if you have a lisp, you can't pronounce it properly. It's a cruel world.
   31. Nasty Nate Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3855699)
But many times racially or ethnically derogatory language used to condemn an individual doesn't have actual racist content. It's just how you insult someone of that group.


Yes, this is true, and it complicates things.
   32. Nasty Nate Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:44 PM (#3855702)
Fixed!


No, you broke it. If you can't acquire indications of a person's character by what they say, the world must be a confusing place for you.
   33. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#3855704)
That's the problem right there. The idea that people need to be "publicly ostracized" for using offensive language on occasion.


Remember when that Papist Bill Donahue called for a boycott of Kathy Griffin because she said mean things about Jesus at the Emmys? Good times.
   34. nick swisher hygiene Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:52 PM (#3855706)
from the dictionary on my computer:

sissy |?sis?| informal
noun ( pl. -sies)
a person regarded as effeminate or cowardly.
• chiefly offensive an effeminate homosexual.
adjective ( -sier, -siest)
feeble and cowardly.
DERIVATIVES
sissified |?sis??f?d| adjective
sissiness noun
sissyish adjective
ORIGIN mid 19th cent. (in the sense [sister] ): from sis + -y 2 .

Most of the various people who have made statements of fact about the word in this thread are
simply, uncontroversially wrong. Just cause folks don't know it's a slur, doesn't make it less of a slur. I'm with #6.
   35. GuyM Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:52 PM (#3855707)
That's the problem right there. The idea that people need to be "publicly ostracized" for using offensive language on occasion.

That's not a problem, it's the solution -- certainly a better solution that government prohibitions on offensive speech, which is the practical alternative. And how very odd to feel passionately about the free speech rights of those who choose to be offensive, but not those who choose to speak out when they feel offended.

You have a right to be offensive, but not a right to be protected from criticism for being offensive. Man up.....
   36. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:56 PM (#3855709)
If we make people dummy up and only spout innocuous platitudes, then you never know who your enemies might be, so you can't "keep them closer".

So the solution is to make people dummy up when they're offended by someone's comments?

EDIT: Half a Coke Zero to Guy.
   37. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#3855711)
There's certainly a "radical" anti-PC crowd that wants the freedom to be offensive, but there's also a more moderate anti-PC crowd that simply believes that the right to free speech means that there can be no right to freedom from offense. I choose not to use deliberately offensive or inflammatory language because I'm a relatively decent human being, but I do believe that the Washington Blade is in the wrong here, just as the DC Councilwoman who was upset at the use of the word "niggardly" was in the wrong and people who are upset with the word "picnic" are in the wrong. The standard for civil discourse can't be what the most hypersensitive among us are okay with, regardless of actual intention or actual meaning of the words. There needs to be a more common-sense standard, along with an acceptance of the fact that we're all going to find certain things offensive in the course of a normal week.
   38. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:01 PM (#3855717)
people who are upset with the word "picnic" are in the wrong.


I missed that. What's wrong with picnic?
   39. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:02 PM (#3855719)
I basically agree with #37.
   40. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:02 PM (#3855720)
That's not a problem, it's the solution -- certainly a better solution that government prohibitions on offensive speech, which is the practical alternative.


The government if you're lucky. You should see the way certain religious groups handled the issue of heresy back when there was no government willing to oppose them.
   41. bunyon Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:02 PM (#3855721)
Just cause folks don't know it's a slur, doesn't make it less of a slur.

Yes, it does. Again, if in the 19th century the word meant homosexual, I'll be sure not to call anyone that when I appear in Back to the Future III. But here in 21st century America, no one is using it that way. Which makes it not a slur.


EDIT: 37 puts it very well and represents my position.
   42. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:06 PM (#3855723)
I missed that. What's wrong with picnic?


There are those who claim it derived from "Pick a n****r [for a lynching, followed by a light lunch]." They're factually wrong, but it's a surprisingly common misconception.
   43. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:12 PM (#3855726)
I agree with all the odd-numbered statements in this thread

(can I say "odd"?)
   44. Nasty Nate Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:14 PM (#3855727)
Just cause folks don't know it's a slur, doesn't make it less of a slur.


To repeat it #41, yes it does. If neither the sayer nor the listener doesn't know that a word is a slur, it definitely is less of a slur.
   45. GuyM Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:16 PM (#3855729)
This isn't so complicated. "Sissy" is not a derogatory synonym for homosexual, in the way "fag" is. At the same time, it is a device (one among many) for denigrating any male who acts in any way that is considered effiminate or "unmanly." I don't think there is any doubt that societies have these devices at least in part to stigmatize homosexuality, nor can there be any serious doubt that many gay men have been hit with this epithet far more frequently in their lives than the average straight man. So it's a gray area: I can understand why some people find it offensive, and also believe that Ray Knight didn't mean it to be offensive. Which is why #6 has it exactly right.

And anyone who thinks that greater damage is being done to human freedom by efforts to rein in lanuage that stigmatizes "unmasculine" behavior than by the use of that same language (which happens roughly 1,000,000x as often) just isn't paying attention.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:21 PM (#3855731)
And anyone who thinks that greater damage is being done to human freedom by efforts to rein in lanuage that stigmatizes "unmasculine" behavior than by the use of that same language (which happens roughly 1,000,000x as often) just isn't paying attention.
Yeah, I mean, I just don't get what people think they've lost in a society where you have to listen to other people tell you why they don't like your language. For me, I think ethical social behavior requires you to listen to other people who have honest complaints about your language, and requires real effort to understand the people who make those complaints.

In this case, I don't see what we gain, as a society, from using language stigmatizes "unmasculine" behavior or appearance. I think it'd be a much better world if we didn't do that, in fact.
   47. Nasty Nate Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:25 PM (#3855735)
In this case, I don't see what we gain, as a society, from using language stigmatizes "unmasculine" behavior or appearance.


Well the "unmasculine," part is tricky, but I think there should be a way in society to mock or criticize weakness of character and cowardice and oversensitivity. The problem is that a lot of the ways we now have imply anti-gay or anti-woman sentiment (even when that sentiment isn't actually there).
   48. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3855738)
Color commentary, 2018:

"That man is an ineffective ball player! He plays baseball ineffectively! I am underwhelmed by his ability and capacity for skillful play! His effort is lacking, he is a shirker! A shirker!"
   49. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:28 PM (#3855739)
This isn't so complicated. "Sissy" is not a derogatory synonym for homosexual, in the way "fag" is. At the same time, it is a device (one among many) for denigrating any male who acts in any way that is considered effiminate or "unmanly." I don't think there is any doubt that societies have these devices at least in part to stigmatize homosexuality, nor can there be any serious doubt that many gay men have been hit with this epithet far more frequently in their lives than the average straight man.


There will always be a term to describe a man who behaves in a fashion that's considered unmanly, whether it's sissy or something else. The objective, I believe, should be to divorce linking homosexuality with whatever term is used, which I believe has been happening, if not as quickly as many of us would like. To me, anyway, the objections here only serve to strengthen that relationship between these things, and are thus counterproductive.
   50. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3855743)
I think there some of you might have a problem in that you're associating homosexuality with lack of masculinity. It's a very 18th century attitude. Not entirely sure that's the case. I've known enough tough gay dudes and enough, uh, not sure what word is permissible by the commentariat here, unmasculine straight men to feel like masculinity is a burden equally born across most sexual preferences.
   51. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3855744)
There's certainly a "radical" anti-PC crowd that wants the freedom to be offensive, but there's also a more moderate anti-PC crowd that simply believes that the right to free speech means that there can be no right to freedom from offense. I choose not to use deliberately offensive or inflammatory language because I'm a relatively decent human being, but I do believe that the Washington Blade is in the wrong here, just as the DC Councilwoman who was upset at the use of the word "niggardly" was in the wrong and people who are upset with the word "picnic" are in the wrong. The standard for civil discourse can't be what the most hypersensitive among us are okay with, regardless of actual intention or actual meaning of the words. There needs to be a more common-sense standard, along with an acceptance of the fact that we're all going to find certain things offensive in the course of a normal week.

Well put. Summarizes my position pretty well.
   52. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3855745)
This might sound hopelessly wishy-washy (maybe even unmanly?), but I think the Blade overreacted and have absolutely no problem with the fact that they complained. I guess I agree with #6 -- this just isn't a big deal one way or the other.
   53. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#3855748)
There will always be a term to describe a man who behaves in a fashion that's considered unmanly, whether it's sissy or something else.
Perhaps, but (in an ideal world) the term should have no negative connotations. It's not a bad thing to be effeminate, is it? It's not right for a boy who happens to be effeminate to be mocked for that, is it?

Now, if someone is acting like a coward - you could call him a coward! Or "scared" or "chicken" or "whiny ass baby". Why would you describe a cowardly person using a term that means "effeminate"? Do you think women are a bunch of cowards? That effeminate men are? The English language is an amazing wealth of words - we are not in danger of running out.

EDIT: I'm sure some hi-larious prankster is already writing a post about how speciesist or ageist my terms are. You are not being sincere, so I have no need to listen to your insincere complaints. and the joke was old three decades ago.

EDIT2: oh, it turned out to be bunyon who went for the joke. and it was funny, it turned out. even an old joke can be funny when you make it about infant donkeys.
   54. Mayor Blomberg Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:37 PM (#3855750)
O, so in a free society you don't have the right to be offended or express it?

Jeez you're an #######. (Remember, now, don't take offense.)
   55. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:37 PM (#3855751)
I think there some of you might have a problem in that you're associating homosexuality with lack of masculinity. It's a very 18th century attitude. Not entirely sure that's the case. I've known enough tough gay dudes and enough, uh, not sure what word is permissible by the commentariat here, unmasculine straight men to feel like masculinity is a burden equally born across most sexual preferences.

I agree as a general matter, but are you saying that homophobes no longer associate with homosexuality with a lack of masculinity? Because I don't think that's true at all.
   56. bunyon Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:38 PM (#3855752)
if someone is acting like a coward - you could call him a coward! Or "scared" or "chicken" or "whiny ass baby".

What do you have against infant donkeys?

No, seriously, you're exactly right - cowardly behavior should be called out and people shouldn't think of cowardly/courageous as female/male.
   57. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:39 PM (#3855753)
Yeah, I mean, I just don't get what people think they've lost in a society where you have to listen to other people tell you why they don't like your language.

That's not the issue. If someone wants to personally point out to me, "Hey, I found what you said offensive b/c of _____", I'd actually give that some credence, and reconsider my word choice.

What I find problematic is crusades that have gone to the point of getting people fired for completely innocuous language.
   58. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:40 PM (#3855755)
I feel sorry for the people who would complain about a non-issue like this, or who think there's an issue here.

Man up.
   59. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:42 PM (#3855757)
Which person was offended by "sissy"? Can someone please give me a first and last name? Or do I have to imagine one?
   60. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:42 PM (#3855759)
That's not the issue. If someone wants to personally point out to me, "Hey, I found what you said offensive b/c of _____", I'd actually give that some credence, and reconsider my word choice.

What I find problematic is crusades that have gone to the point of getting people fired for completely innocuous language.
So what's your problem with the actual topic at hand, which resembles the first example and not the second?
   61. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:45 PM (#3855762)
No, seriously, you're exactly right - cowardly behavior should be called out and people shouldn't think of cowardly/courageous as female/male.

That's not realistic. There are male and female roles in society. We are not unisex creatures. A man is expected to provide for and protect his wife and family, to defend his country, etc., in ways a woman is not.

The expectations are different. Behavior that earns a man condemnation would not do the same for a woman.
   62. GuyM Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#3855765)
I feel sorry for the people who would complain about a non-issue like this, or who think there's an issue here. Man up.

You're talking about those like Snapper who seem to feel victimized by attempts to reduce offensive language, and feel some entitlement not to be criticized for what they say? Agreed......
   63. spike Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#3855766)
Whoever uses the word "niggardly" in this day and age (especially in Washington DC, where one such incident occurred) and can't foresee some complications arising is being too clever by half. I have little sympathy for the guy, however much i concede there was nothing technically offensive with the usage.
   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:48 PM (#3855767)
So what's your problem with the actual topic at hand, which resembles the first example and not the second?

Publicizing the issue is much closer to the second. It has an implicit threat in it that a purely private communication would not.

What would their response have been if Knight refused to apologize? Just drop it?
   65. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:50 PM (#3855768)
Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a national group that advocates against LGBT teen bullying in the nation’s schools, expressed concern over his sissy remark.

“He could have had all the opinions he had and if you take away the sissy part I don’t see it as a problem,” said Byard, who describes herself as a longtime baseball fan.

Byard said the world “sissy” is often used as a code word for gay men or a derogatory term for women, and the term is offensive to both women and LGBT people.

“What Ray Knight did was give us a case study in how sexism and homophobia live in athletics,” she said.

“It has to be called out. It needs dialogue,” she said. “It may surprise Ray Knight to know that there are baseball fans out there that don’t have a problem with pitches that are high and tight but really, really don’t like it when he talks about it in terms that are denigrating to women and gay people.”


Eliza Byard. So we have one person. Just one. Til this moment I had never heard of Eliza Byard, seems like a savvy PR move to get her name and organization in the paper. I did notice she used the term "high and tight", this baseball slang is actually code among misogynistic types to label women with nice asses. Way to go Eliza, a first rate scold.
   66. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:50 PM (#3855769)
Whoever uses the word "niggardly" in this day and age (especially in Washington DC, where one such incident occurred)and can't foresee some complications arising is being too clever by half. I have little sympathy for the guy, however much i concede there was nothing technically offensive with the usage.

That woman should've known not to be out alone at night...
   67. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:52 PM (#3855770)
Mikael,

You seem to be operating under the idea that we're dismissing the complaint out of hand. That no one who speaks out against offensive language has a right to complain. I don't think that's what happened here. We listened to the complaint, and we find it lacking. Moreover, some of us find it counterproductive to their aims.

Just because someone complains about language does not mean we have to respect the merits of their claim. I don't listen to the "War on Christmas" troops who "tell people they don't like your language," because I find their argument without merit. Likewise, if Ray Knight had uttered something about how players shouldn't go out on the field looking like they are drunk, I would find an Irish Voice columnist who claimed that was offensive to Irish people because of the well-established stereotypeas as doing more harm than good.
   68. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:52 PM (#3855771)
Publicizing the issue is much closer to the second. It has an implicit threat in it that a purely private communication would not.

What would their response have been if Knight refused to apologize? Just drop it?
This makes every single complaint based on experienced offense into the equivalent of a call for someone's head. I mean, what if they complained privately and he refused to apologize? What then? They'd complain publicly, right? And after that, they'd probably call for him to be flayed, limb by limb, in front of the Washington Monument!

You're accusing the Blade of doing something that they didn't do, that you entirely made up in your mind.
   69. Bhaakon Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:54 PM (#3855773)
Yeah, I mean, I just don't get what people think they've lost in a society where you have to listen to other people tell you why they don't like your language. For me, I think ethical social behavior requires you to listen to other people who have honest complaints about your language, and requires real effort to understand the people who make those complaints.


This assumes that both society and language are much more homogeneous than they actually are. I would find it very sad if our society, and its standards of behavior and language, were to become standardized.
   70. spike Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:55 PM (#3855774)
That woman should've known not to be out alone at night...

If the offender confesses his sins, he's off the hook with you anyway, so who cares?
   71. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:55 PM (#3855775)
Good for Ray Knight to say hey, sorry. Well handled.

As for you people yelling at each other, try being generous to each other for once. I pretty much agree with numbers 1 through 70, provided I interpret what you are saying generously. Except 58. Of course.
   72. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:56 PM (#3855777)
You seem to be operating under the idea that we're dismissing the complaint out of hand. That no one who speaks out against offensive language has a right to complain. I don't think that's what happened here. We listened to the complaint, and we find it lacking. Moreover, some of us find it counterproductive to their aims.
My response to you, in particular, was to explain my problem with the linkage of effeminacy and cowardice. Your arguments have been that this isn't / shouldn't be perceived as anti-gay. My point is that the problem is the linking of effeminacy / femininity with weakness, cowardice, bad things. Women and feminine women and feminine men aren't weak or cowardly or deserving of scorn, so we shouldn't use words that mean only "effeminate" in a scornful way.

I think you're being perfectly reasonable, but I disagree with your arguments, and I'm trying to explain why I disagree.
   73. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 03:56 PM (#3855778)
O, so in a free society you don't have the right to be offended or express it?

Jeez you're an #######. (Remember, now, don't take offense.)


I'm assuming you're referring to me. I'm not offended. It's not the first time I've been called an #######, and it won't be the last either. I'm not even sure it was the first time this week (although I'm certain it was the first time today). However, even if I were offended by it, I'd just kind of go on with my day. No demand for an apology. No need for an apology. I recognize your right to call me an #######, and I believe that taking away that right (and the other forms of speech that go along with it) would harm the fabric of society more than my tender eyes and ears are harmed by your post.
   74. bunyon Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:01 PM (#3855781)
No, seriously, you're exactly right - cowardly behavior should be called out and people shouldn't think of cowardly/courageous as female/male.

That's not realistic. There are male and female roles in society. We are not unisex creatures. A man is expected to provide for and protect his wife and family, to defend his country, etc., in ways a woman is not.

The expectations are different. Behavior that earns a man condemnation would not do the same for a woman.


Do cowardly and courageous only have meaning in the arena of violence? I completely agree that men and women have different roles in society. But I also know that I see lots of women display courage on a daily basis and lots of men who shrink from the world, allowing abuse of themselves, those they love and their fellow man without saying a peep. Talk all you want about different gender roles, men do not have a monopoly on courage and it is foolish to give women a pass when they behave as cowards.

Being a coward has nothing to do with physical weakness or losing a fight. It has to do with not confronting wrongs when they are observed.
   75. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:01 PM (#3855782)
If the offender confesses his sins, he's off the hook with you anyway, so who cares?

Wow, you know nothing about Catholicism. He's not off the hook for his temporal punishment, only his spiritual punishment (if he really is contrite).

I find it funny that pro-PC crowd has no problem trafficking in insults to Catholics.
   76. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:03 PM (#3855784)
That's not realistic. There are male and female roles in society. We are not unisex creatures.


Snapper correctly hits on the problem here.
   77. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:04 PM (#3855785)
I recognize your right to call me an #######, and I believe that taking away that right (and the other forms of speech that go along with it) would harm the fabric of society more than my tender eyes and ears are harmed by your post.
Sure, but we also have a right to say "vaccines don't work" or "walks clog up the bases, poindexter" or "short people aren't as intelligent as tall people". I have no interest in revising free speech law. But in each of those cases, I'm going to make my objections clear.

I do have an interest in calling out speech acts which have bad effects or which are simply propagating falsehoods. Vaccine denialism has led to children's deaths, it's a really big deal, and vaccine denialism needs to be hounded out of society root and branch. you agree with that, right? This is an extreme example, where it is obviously for the good of everyone that a certain set of propositional speech acts be defeated through argument and stigmatized as ignorant and harmful.

Now, in this case, my problem is with the implicit proposition that women, feminine women, and effeminate men are cowardly, more worthy of scorn, than masculine men. That's the implicit proposition behind "sissy", and it's both wrong and harmful. So I think it's fair for people to make these complaints, and I applaud Knight for his classy response.
   78. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:04 PM (#3855786)
Do cowardly and courageous only have meaning in the arena of violence? I completely agree that men and women have different roles in society. But I also know that I see lots of women display courage on a daily basis and lots of men who shrink from the world, allowing abuse of themselves, those they love and their fellow man without saying a peep. Talk all you want about different gender roles, men do not have a monopoly on courage and it is foolish to give women a pass when they behave as cowards.

Being a coward has nothing to do with physical weakness or losing a fight. It has to do with not confronting wrongs when they are observed.


It's both. Certainly women can be courageous, but the standards are different.

If a woman sees a teenage boy tormenting an old lady, and intervenes physically, she is being courageous. For a grown man, I call that behavior expected.

You can say or imply a man acted like a woman, and be insulting to him, and not insulting to women at the same time.
   79. spike Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:05 PM (#3855787)
When you equate a discussion about PC commentary with rape, you have little room to be offended by anything. But since your primary function seems to be to get offended by anything, I guess it's par for the course.

/and ironic as hell that the person who showed up to complain about the PC crowd gets sand in his vagina.
   80. Nasty Nate Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:06 PM (#3855788)
I find it funny that pro-PC crowd has no problem trafficking in insults to Catholics.


I know you have to put up with obnoxious out-of-nowhere posts like #70 a bunch, but there's no need to lump that in with the reasonable posts of everyone else. (plus we didn't want to "call for his head" for just saying something)....
   81. The Good Face Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:06 PM (#3855789)
You are not being sincere, so I have no need to listen to your insincere complaints.


Silly Ray Knight. What he really needed to do was use his telepathic powers to determine that the complaint was insincere, in which case he could have told them to #### off in good conscience. Nice dodge there.
   82. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:10 PM (#3855790)
Whoever uses the word "niggardly" in this day and age (especially in Washington DC, where one such incident occurred) and can't foresee some complications arising is being too clever by half. I have little sympathy for the guy

Wow, tough crowd. The context the guy used it in (a staff meeting regarding expenditures) would make absolutely no sense as a racial term and all the sense in the world for what the word actually means. So I think we can assume he meant it exactly as it reads.

At some point doesn't what a person intends to say when they say something matter? If I talk about a 'rule of thumb' I use for analyzing minor league numbers, and I get protested for using a misogynistic term, do I really have to apologize? Even though:

a) There's absolutely zero evidence I was using it in that context;
b) There's zero evidence the term was originally about wife beating in the first place.

Isn't a better way to fight injustice to confront injustice, rather than harassing his distant cousin whom he's never even met?

The cause of trying to protect gay kids (or any kids really) from the psychological effects of extreme bullying is one I support 200%. But what the hell does Ray Knight using the term 'sissy' about inside fastballs really have to do with that?
   83. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:13 PM (#3855792)
I know you have to put up with obnoxious out-of-nowhere posts like #70 a bunch, but there's no need to lump that in with the reasonable posts of everyone else. (plus we didn't want to "call for his head" for just saying something)....

I don't mean to tar everyone, but this is certainly a blind-spot of the liberal crowd.

Slurs against Christians, and especially Catholics or Evangelicals/born-agains are ignored in a way slurs against any other groups are not.

The next time I see one of my reasonable opponents on this site jump on an anti-Catholic slur like they would jump on an anti-gay slur will be the first.
   84. spike Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:15 PM (#3855795)
My point (long since lost) is that to use an arcane/obsolete word like "niggardly" in a discussion is to guarantee it will be at a minimum, not understood, and has a significant risk of being taken to mean something else. If you are smart enough to have learned the word, you really ought be smart enough to grasp that there is no technical nuance to be gained by using the term.
   85. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:15 PM (#3855797)
A lot of people in this thread need to grow a pair.
   86. spike Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:17 PM (#3855800)
I don't mean to tar everyone, but this is certainly a blind-spot of the liberal crowd.

Right, because the liberal crowd behaves as a monolithic whole, unlike your crowd, which encourages individual expression and intellectual freedom.
   87. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:19 PM (#3855803)
Slurs against Christians, and especially Catholics or Evangelicals/born-agains are ignored in a way slurs against any other groups are not.
I try to respond to these, I admit I don't always, and I apologize. You've explained how you experience offense at this, and I appreciate that. teddy complained bitterly in Sox chatter about my use of blasphemy in my swearing, so I've cut back.

You really are doing the exact same thing that Byard and the Blade did. It seems you want other people to respond to you like Knight did to the Blade. So what's your position here, exactly?
   88. Nasty Nate Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:22 PM (#3855805)
You really are doing the exact same thing that Byard and the Blade did. Why do you want other people to respond like Knight did when you are complaining about Byard, the Blade, and Knight?


I think he just wants consistency, and a lack of hypocrisy.
   89. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:23 PM (#3855806)
MCOA,

I don't disagree that bad or dangerous speech exists, but you actually nailed the proper response to it: it should

be defeated through argument.


"That's offensive" isn't an argument. Even "That's offensive because [X]" isn't the end of debate; it's the beginning of debate. It provides each individual with a little more information or perspective to make a judgment. It's possible that the original speaker is in the wrong; it's possible that the person who cries offense is spotlighting bigotry where none exists. That said, I do think it's in the interest of liberal discourse to err on the side of allowing borderline language, rather than on the side of censuring it.

I can't quite get on board with the second half of the sentence I quoted above, in which you continue

and stigmatized as ignorant and harmful.


Yes, I'd agree with stigmatizing purely derogatory words whose only purpose in modern English is to disparage whole groups of people. But beyond that, stigmatizing ideas or words does more to fuel the conspiracy nuts than it does to improve the level of discourse. If idiocies are raised a thousand times, argue them down a thousand and one.
   90. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:24 PM (#3855808)
You really are doing the exact same thing that Byard and the Blade did. Why do you want other people to respond like Knight did when you are complaining about Byard, the Blade, and Knight?

Because this is a private discussion with no reprecussions. If it gets bad, and it's making me angry, I'll just leave the thread.

Making the issue public, especially for a public figure, is a threat to his livelihood and reputation.

Again, I have no problem with the reporter from the blade or Byard saying to Ray Knight, "Hey could you knock the sissy stuff off, it offends some people." Making a public issue, when it is blatantly obvious no offense was meant of it is a whole 'nother matter.
   91. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:27 PM (#3855810)
I think he just wants consistency, and a lack of hypocrisy.

Correct.

If stimatizing all Catholic priests as pedophiles is OK, then stigmatizing all gays as effeminate is OK. If one is wrong, the other's wrong too.
   92. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:28 PM (#3855812)
You really are doing the exact same thing that Byard and the Blade did. Why do you want other people to respond like Knight did when you are complaining about Byard, the Blade, and Knight?


It's also true that in many of the instances snapper objects to, the remarks seem to be specifically intended to insult/offend.
   93. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:31 PM (#3855814)
But beyond that, stigmatizing ideas or words does more to fuel the conspiracy nuts than it does to improve the level of discourse.
I don't think this is true at all. Is our discourse lower because fewer people call black people "n******"? Would this be a better country with a more vibrant public discourse if more people used "faggot" as an insult? I think that getting rid of racist and sexist and anti-gay speech is a good thing for our discourse - the less time we waste telling someone for the nth time not to say "faggot" because it's not wrong to be gay and gay people are not worthy of scorn, the more time we can do more interesting and valuable discursive stuff.
   94. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#3855816)
If stimatizing all Catholic priests as pedophiles is OK, then stigmatizing all gays as effeminate is OK. If one is wrong, the other's wrong too.
They're both wrong, obviously.

And, of course, stigmatizing anyone as effeminate is wrong, because it's not wrong to be effeminate. Some folks just are effeminate. I'm pretty effeminate - I don't think I should be stigmatized for that.
   95. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:34 PM (#3855818)
Slurs against Christians, and especially Catholics or Evangelicals/born-agains are ignored in a way slurs against any other groups are not.


Yeah sure, lemme know when a Presidential candidate says he wouldn't include Papists in his cabinet because he can't trust them not to rape his children.
   96. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:39 PM (#3855824)
MCOA,

Did you just not read the sentence before the one you quoted? The one in which I said that it is a good thing to stigmatize words whose only purpose in modern English is to disparage whole groups of people? I'm with you on that part. The part I was disagreeing with you on was the issue you raised of, for example, faulty scientific claims. It is far better to re-explain why they're faulty than to stigmatize them.

Again, so that it's clear:

1. I believe that using anything commonly accepted to be hate speech is a bad thing. If I use generally offensive language, and you're offended by it, it's my fault.

2. I believe that using language not commonly accepted to be hate speech, with the express intention of denigrating a group or race of people to be a bad thing. If I use generally inoffensive language, with the intention of being offensive, and you're offended by it, it's my fault.

3. I believe that using language not commonly accepted to be hate speech, with any other intention, to be acceptable, regardless of whether someone might be offended by the usage. If I use generally inoffensive language, with no intention of being offensive, and you're offended by it, it's probably your fault.
   97. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:41 PM (#3855827)
My point (long since lost) is that to use an arcane/obsolete word like "niggardly" in a discussion is to guarantee it will be at a minimum, not understood, and has a significant risk of being taken to mean something else. If you are smart enough to have learned the word, you really ought be smart enough to grasp that there is no technical nuance to be gained by using the term.

And my point is that this sort of self censorship is a road to madness, as the "rule of thumb" example shows. If we let individual people excise words from our vocabulary just because they _feel_ offended even though no offense was intended nor could be inferred from meaning, we risk losing a gigantic chunk of our vocabulary.

The end result, ironically enough, is that the word "niggardly" _is_ now sometimes used as a racial slur. What precisely has been gained by being so easily offended?
   98. zenbitz Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:43 PM (#3855830)
@85 nice pseudo-troll, Ray. And I mean that sincerely, it was funny.


Yeah, I probably wouldn't use "sissy". I am pretty sure it meant "gay" up until 1960 or so, and it clearly means effeminate(negative context).

You wouldn't say "hey, that chick is a real sissy, she can come over and fold my laundry anytime".

I would put it somewhere between P***y and Douche on the "likely to cause offense" scale. Maybe right around where B*tch (not sure if that gets nannied).

I agree I often have trouble finding colorful words to refer to weakness or lack of toughness in a male that are not female related. "Whiny ass child" is pretty good. "Hits like a little girl" seems to not offend anyone, because the emphasis is on LITTLE (child) not the female nature.
   99. GuyM Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#3855833)
A lot of people in this thread need to grow a pair.


I think it's fascinating that when gays, blacks, women, disabled people, etc. complain that language is offensive, the response from anti-PCers is they need to toughen up and understand that "there can be no right to freedom from offense." But when straight white guys whine about how they are oppressed by "political correctness" because gays, or blacks, or women have been offended and said so (in public no less!), they should be treated with compassion for their tender feelings. Truly hilarious.
   100. zenbitz Posted: June 17, 2011 at 04:46 PM (#3855834)
And, of course, stigmatizing anyone as effeminate is wrong


Watch it, bub, "Stigmatizing" is an anti-christian slur!
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