Category: taboos (page 1 of 2)

Episode 294: Trademarks and Slurs (featuring Simon Tam)

Freedom of expression is again in the news.

Simon Tam has won his case before the US Supreme Court, allowing him to trademark the name of his all-Asian rock band, the Slants. But this ruling opens the door to people who want to trademark other offensive names — or hold on to existing ones. Is that okay? How do we distinguish between reclamation and vilification?

Linguist Daniel Midgley talks it over with Simon Tam on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


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Show notes

Abraham Lincoln’s Bixby Letter Mystery Finally Solved After 150 Years
http://www.newsweek.com/abraham-lincoln-bixby-letter-john-hay-jk-rowling-639788

Abe Lincoln mystery ‘almost certainly’ solved using technique that unmasked JK Rowling
https://phys.org/news/2017-07-abe-lincoln-mystery-technique-unmasked.html

Joe Nickell’s analysis
Google Books link

Great slides from Andrea Nini
https://niniandrea.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/lss_bixby.pdf

Paper: Attributing the Bixby Letter using n-gram tracing
https://www.dropbox.com/s/yifszl1aes2ovqx/BIXBY_FINAL.pdf?dl=0

The Slants’ Simon Tam Wins Supreme Court Case to Trademark Offensive Band Name
https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/06/the-slants-win-lawsuit-to-keep-offensive-name.html

Supreme Court: Rejecting trademarks that ‘disparage’ others violates the First Amendment
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-rejecting-trademarks-that-disparage-others-violates-the-first-amendment/2017/06/19/26a33ffa-23b3-11e7-a1b3-faff0034e2de_story.html

An indie rock band just cleared the way for the Washington Redskins to keep their racist name
https://qz.com/1009567/the-washington-redskins-could-keep-their-racist-name-thanks-to-a-supreme-court-ruling-over-an-asian-american-rock-band/

Rock band The Slants’ victory in court secures your rights
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/19/opinions/free-speech-scotus-randazza-opinion/index.html

Listen to The Slants: The Band Who Must Not Be Named
http://www.theslants.com/album/the-band-who-must-not-be-named/

Seattle band Thunderpussy awaits Supreme Court ruling on controversial names
http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/northwest/thunderpussy-disparaging-or-empowering-seattle-band-awaits-us-supreme-court-ruling-on-controversial-names/

Facebook community standards under scrutiny as out and proud ‘dykes’ banned
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-06/facebook-banning-algorithims-block-lesbians-from-using-dyke/8676284

Richard Dawkins deplatformed at a book talk in Berkeley for “abusive speech” about Islam on Twitter
https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/richard-dawkins-deplatformed-at-a-book-talk-berkeley-for-abusive-speech-about-islam-on-twitter/

Richard Dawkins’ Open Letter to the People Who Canceled His Event
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/07/21/richard-dawkins-open-letter-to-the-people-who-canceled-his-event/

Organizations have the right to not invite Richard Dawkins — or me — to speak
https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2017/07/22/organizations-have-the-right-to-not-invite-richard-dawkins-or-me-to-speak/#ixzz4nnYh6vCg

‘Disinvite’ or ‘Uninvite’?
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/disinvite-vs-uninvite


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.

Image credit: Simon Tam

Episode 255: Diagnosing from Words (featuring Katie Fraser)

Can our language tell us if we’re not well?

The words we use can reveal a lot of social information. But in the future, computers will examine our words to detect mental illnesses like dementia and motor neuron disease — even before lab tests. How would this work?

Researcher Katie Fraser talks to Daniel, Kylie, and Ben on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Cole Healy


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Show notes

How to Pronounce Latinx
http://la-negra-barbuda.tumblr.com/post/113404952782/how-to-pronounce-latinx

JFK: “I Am a Jelly Donut” (“Ich Bin ein Berliner”)
http://urbanlegends.about.com/cs/historical/a/jfk_berliner.htm

The Real Meaning of Ich Bin ein Berliner
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/08/the-real-meaning-of-ich-bin-ein-berliner/309500/

US now has more Spanish speakers than Spain – only Mexico has more
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/29/us-second-biggest-spanish-speaking-country

Read Tim Kaine’s Speech at the Democratic Convention
http://time.com/4426037/dnc-tim-kaine-speech-transcript-video/

In DNC speech peppered with Spanish, Tim Kaine says Clinton is ‘lista’ to be president
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2016/07/27/in-dnc-speech-peppered-with-spanish-tim-kaine-says-clinton-is-lista-to-be/

Tim Kaine Spoke Spanish At The DNC, But Don’t Overlook These Important Perspectives From The Convention
http://www.bustle.com/articles/175382-tim-kaine-spoke-spanish-at-the-dnc-but-dont-overlook-these-important-perspectives-from-the-convention

Globalist: The Republicans’ barb: John Kerry ‘looks French’
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/03/news/globalist-the-republicans-barbjohn-kerry-looks-french.html?_r=0

Trump to Bush: This Is A Country Where We Speak English, Not Spanish
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/09/16/trump_to_bush_this_is_a_country_where_we_speak_english_not_spanish.html

Trump Supporter on Kaine Speaking Spanish: At RNC, ‘I Didn’t Have to Get a Translator’
http://ktla.com/2016/07/23/trump-supporter-on-kaine-speaking-spanish-at-rnc-i-didnt-have-to-get-a-translator/

Scottie Nell Hughes on Kaine Speaking Spanish: Didn’t Need a ‘Translator’ for RNC Speeches
http://www.mediaite.com/tv/scottie-nell-hughes-on-kaine-speaking-spanish-didnt-need-a-translator-for-rnc-speeches/

GOP convention speaker breaks into Spanish
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/288604-gop-convention-speaker-breaks-into-spanish

Ralph Alvarado addresses Hispanic voters in Spanish at GOP convention
https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/national/ralph-alvarado-addresses-hispanic-voters-in-spanish-at-gop-convention/2016/07/20/2a6ab230-4eca-11e6-bf27-405106836f96_video.html

With Vigorous Plea, Ralph Alvaredo Rises as Possible New GOP Star
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2016/07/21/with-vigorous-plea-ky-lawmaker-ralph-alvarado-rises-as-possible-new-gop-star/

Republican convention staff try to make signs in Spanish, get grammar completely wrong
http://theweek.com/speedreads/638046/republican-convention-staff-try-make-signs-spanish-grammar-completely-wrong

Why Trump supporters are particularly likely to complain about Spanish speakers at the Democratic convention
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/25/why-trump-supporters-are-particularly-likely-to-complain-about-spanish-speakers-at-the-democratic-convention/

Kaine En Español: Pandering Or A Symbol Of Understanding For Latinos?
http://www.npr.org/2016/07/27/487491607/kaine-en-espa-ol-pandering-or-a-symbol-of-understanding-for-latinos

Can natural language processing help detect dementia? This U of T grad student is trying to find out
https://www.utoronto.ca/news/natural-language-processing-dementia

Kathleen (Katie) Fraser @UofT
http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~kfraser/

Research highlights misdiagnosis for people with Alzheimer’s disease
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-07-highlights-misdiagnosis-people-alzheimer-disease.html

Psychiatry When You Don’t Speak the Language
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/psychiatry-when-you-don-t-speak-the-language/

Language Could Diagnose Parkinson’s, ALS and Schizophrenia before Lab Tests
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/language-could-diagnose-parkinson-s-als-and-schizophrenia-before-lab-tests/

Online Stroop Test
http://www.onlinestrooptest.com

Words Matter: Clinician’s Notes May Hold Key to Suicide Risk
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/853890

How does my therapist rate? New machine-learning software detects empathy in therapy sessions
http://phys.org/news/2015-12-therapist-machine-learning-software-empathy-therapy.html

GLAAD Media Reference Guide – Transgender Issues
https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender

‘How could you?’ Viewers condemn Karl Stefanovic for ‘transphobic’ language
http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/sexuality/agenda/article/2016/07/28/how-could-you-viewers-condemn-karl-stefanovic-transphobic-language

Watch: Karl Stefanovic Offers Solid Apology For His Transphobic Comments
https://www.pedestrian.tv/news/arts-and-culture/watch-karl-stefanovic-offers-solid-apology-for-his/e06bfe40-c729-43e9-9ec1-bc227cf9ba17.htm


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.

Image credit: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/language-could-diagnose-parkinson-s-als-and-schizophrenia-before-lab-tests/

Episode 213: Short and Sweet

Is there anything that all human languages have in common?

With all the diversity in the world’s languages, a true universal is hard to find. But new research has unearthed a principle involving the distances between words, and this discovery has revived a long-standing debate.

Linguist Daniel Midgley keeps it short and sweet on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


Show notes

Marmoset ‘conversations’ may give clues to evolution of human language
http://news.sciencemag.org/plants-animals/2015/04/marmoset-conversations-may-give-clues-evolution-human-language

Related to PharaohKatt’s post: some of my favourite linguistic developments
http://221–bee.tumblr.com/post/125666704553/some-of-my-favourite-linguistic-developments

Know Your Meme: Doge
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/doge

Know Your Meme: Son, I Am Disappoint
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/son-i-am-disappoint

LOLspeak
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/lolspeak-chanspeak/children

Follow Dog Solutions. It funny
https://twitter.com/DogSolutions

NatGeo: Bonobo “Baby Talk” Reveals Roots of Human Language
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/08/150808-animals-bonobos-apes-evolution-speech/

Guardian: Bonobos have mastered the art of babytalk, new research shows
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/04/bonobos-mastered-art-of-babytalk-language-evolution

Daily Mail: Bonobos speak like HUMAN BABIES: Apes use high-pitched ‘peeps’ just like infants learning to talk
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3184869/Bonobos-speak-like-HUMAN-BABIES-Apes-use-high-pitched-peeps-just-like-infants-learning-talk.html

Scientific American: Bonobo Peeps May Be Necessary Language Precursors
http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/bonobo-peeps-may-be-necessary-language-precursors/

MIT Linguists Say Human Languages Might Be Predictable
https://www.inverse.com/article/5136-mit-linguists-say-human-languages-might-be-predictable

The paper: Large-scale evidence of dependency length minimization in 37 languages
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/07/28/1502134112

MIT Study Suggests a Universal Property of Language
http://languagemagazine.com/?p=124247

All languages have evolved to have this in common
http://news.sciencemag.org/social-sciences/2015/08/all-languages-have-evolved-have-common

More about language universals (PDF)
http://www.uio.no/studier/emner/hf/ikos/EXFAC03-AAS/h05/larestoff/linguistics/Chapter%203.(H05).pdf

Klittra wins the vote in Sweden as the new word for female masturbation. Don’t be surprised if English adopts it. http://t.co/gQjBOnjsN5

— Wordability (@WordabilityHugh) June 23, 2015

Jezebel: Add the Word ‘Klittra’ to Your Sexual Dictionary
http://jezebel.com/add-the-word-klittra-to-your-sexual-dictionary-1712951840

Guardian: Sweden invents a word for girls’ genitals equivalent to ‘willy’ for boys
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/01/sweden-girls-genitals-feminist-invention-snippa-vagina

Swedish children’s TV dancing genitals cartoon sparks parental outcry
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/14/swedish-childrens-tv-cartoon-dancing-sparks-parental-outcry-genitals-penis-vagina-dancing

English remix of Swedish ‘genitals’ song released
http://www.thelocal.se/20150305/english-remix-of-sweden-genitals-song-twinkle-willie

Inevitable dance remix
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AWRwd6NlXA

Where does on the dole come from?
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=dole


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.

Image credit: http://news.sciencemag.org/social-sciences/2015/08/all-languages-have-evolved-have-common

Episode 173: Metaphor in Brainspace (featuring Thalia Wheatley and Beth Castieau)

Do you like long discussions or heavy conversations?

If you understood that, you’re good at metaphors. They help us express ourselves, and even understand things. But what’s happening in our brains when we hear them? And can metaphors change our perception of the world?

Social neuroscientist Thalia Wheatley discusses deep thoughts with linguist Daniel Midgley on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Jane Hebiton


Show notes

Revolting Rhymes pulled from shelves at Aldi.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/28/aldi-takes-roald-dahls-revolting-rhymes-off-shelves-over-the-word-slut

Thalia Wheatley’s work in metaphor
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-02/dc-dsp_1020414.php

Follow her @ThaliaWheatley
https://twitter.com/ThaliaWheatley

Metaphors actually trigger the sensory parts of our brains
http://io9.com/5883554/metaphors-actually-trigger-the-sensory-parts-of-our-brains

Rogeting
http://www.theguardian.com/education/shortcuts/2014/aug/08/rogeting-sinister-buttocks-students-essays-plagiarising-thesaurus

Such buttocks. Much sinister. Wow.
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/sinister-buttocks-roget-would-blush-at-the-crafty-cheek/2015027.article

Please stop.
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2014/08/writing_clearly_in_student_papers_the_right_click_thesaurus_and_rogeting.html


Show tunes

‘Heart Is a Drum’ by Beck
from the album Morning Phase

‘Everything You Do Is a Balloon’ by Boards of Canada
from the album Boc Maxima

Episode 159: Taboo Grammar (featuring James Bednall and Joe Blythe)

Why do languages have the grammar they do?

For some Australian languages, grammar is shaped by the stuff you’re not supposed to say. Linguist Joe Blythe is finding out about the evolution of language, and challenging one of the biggest ideas in linguistics.

Dr Blythe talks to Daniel Midgley on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with James Hall


Show notes

James Bednall worked on the Badimaya dictionary.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-10/badimaya-dictionary-launched-at-mount-magnet/5380606?section=wa

Joe Blythe explains how grammar is sometimes shaped by restrictions on language use.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-12/lsoa-olt121113.php

This is actually a kind of convergent evolution, as many languages are doing the same thing.
http://preferenceorganization.wordpress.com/convergent-evolution/

Yage: Yet another grand exit.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=yage


Show tunes

‘Change in Speak’ by De La Soul
from the album 3 Feet High and Rising

‘(Quakes)’ by Tangled Thoughts of Leaving
from the album Failed by Man and Machine

Shoe selfie:

 

Episode 144: Huh? (featuring Simon Tam)

What’s the most common word in the world?

A research team finds that huh? is shared by languages around the globe. But is it really a word? What are words like?

We’re also talking to Simon Tam of the Slants, on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Simon Tam from the Slants noticed that we’d talked about the band on the show, and asks if we’d like to chat. How could I resist? He tell about the rationale for the band’s name, and his byzantine battle with the US Patent and Trade Office.

Could ‘huh’ be the most common word in the world? Only if it’s a word, and I explain why I think it’s not. But it could be a good example of convergent evolution. Shame it’s the world’s only example. Or is it?

And Ben doesn’t like the Word of the Week very much. That seems to happen a lot.


Show notes

Have a listen to the Slants. And sign the petition, if you think they should prevail.
http://www.theslants.com

How do people say ‘ouch’ in other languages?
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=3896990

An NPR clip on this very thing.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1385022

Is ‘Huh?’ a universal word? Watch the video.
http://huh.ideophone.org

Read the paper.
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0078273

NYT article
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/09/arts/that-syllable-everyone-recognizes.html?_r=0

Language Log blog post
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=8369

A shark attack survivor is frothing’ to be alive.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/surfers-close-encounter-with-giant-white-pointer-shark-50m-off-trigg/story-e6frg6n6-1226758458923

It’s in the Urban Dictionary.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=frothing


Show tunes

‘Kokoro (I Fall to Pieces)’ by the Slants
from the album Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts

‘Dance This Mess Around’ by the B-52’s
from the album The B-52’s

Episode 143: Racial Terms

Can offensive terms be reclaimed by the people they’ve been applied to? Or are some words best left alone?

In a related issue, sports teams are facing pressure to change their racially-charged names. Should they?

Linguist Daniel Midgley looks at some touchy issues on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Talk the Talk keeps growing to include more bits and pieces. But this time they all came together on one theme: how do we use language to refer to groups of people? Lots of words have become less taboo in recent years, but here’s a group of words that are becoming more taboo.

Rock group the Slants are having trouble trademarking their name. The Washington Redskins are under pressure to change theirs. Is there a better term than ‘feminist’? It’s all in today’s show. Also, candy.


Show notes

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is going to try repealing the law regarding racial vilification.
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/george-brandis-to-repeal-bolt-laws-on-racial-discrimination-20131108-2x50p.html
http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/08/13/3566446.htm

He said he would do this in a speech to the IPA back in April, along with getting rid of a lot of other things. All part of the plan, folks.
http://youtu.be/j4pA5nTr8i0?t=7m15s

The Slants

The US Patent and Trademark Office is knocking back the name of the Slants, an all-Asian band.
http://entertainment.time.com/2013/10/23/the-slants-suit-asian-american-band-goes-to-court-over-name/

Interview with Simon Tam, bassist and founder.
http://defender.smcvt.edu/?p=1802

Simon also comments on this Language Log thread.
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=8001

John Gumperz explained how language communities use language as a way of defining themselves as a community.
http://asalinguist.com/2011/06/16/take-two-words-we-cannot-say-except-when-we-can/

Redskins

The word isn’t often used as a compliment.
Google Ngram Viewer link

Newspapers are abandoning it.
http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/10/san-francisco-chronicle-to-stop-using-redskins-176321.html

The DC City Council is against it.
http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/11/d-c-council-to-debate-redskins-name-resolution-96424.html

The APA recommends discontinuing it.
http://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/indian-mascots.aspx

The full APA resolution (PDF)
http://www.apa.org/about/policy/mascots.pdf

But guess who supports it: sports fans and the team owner.
Loads of Americans support the use of ‘Redskins’
http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=224760&print=1

Money quote: ‘“Everybody protests about everything. I think we should all just forget it and have fun,” said a fan.’http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2013/11/09/native-americans-weigh-in-on-washington-redskins-controversy/

The psychological consequences of stereotyped portrayals of Native Americans (PDF)
http://sitemaker.umich.edu/daphna.oyserman/files/frybergmarkusoysermanstone2008.pdf

A clinical psychologist speaks out.
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/09/27/harmful-psychological-effects-washingtons-redskins-mascot

Eastern Washington University, my hometown uni, used to have a Native American mascot: The Savages. They ditched it in 1973, but for years, the sports center had the old logo stamped into its bricks.
http://easterneronline.com/2013/03/07/no-salvaging-savages/

The Utah Utes use the name with the express support of the Ute Tribe.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/600160110/U-officially-files-appeal-on-Utes-nickname.html

The N-word

If they can say it, it doesn’t follow that everyone can.
http://www.personal.psu.edu/ejp10/blogs/thinking/2010/08/can-a-white-person-ever-legiti.html

But why not? Christopher Hitchens explains.
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2006/12/eschew_the_taboo.html

Beat poet Julian Curry is not a fan of the n-word, even as reclamation.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD-UpHlB9no

Genderism

Joss Whedon’s speech at Equality Now, in which he recommends genderism over feminism
http://jezebel.com/watch-joss-whedon-make-the-perfect-speech-about-the-wor-1460080685

The term is currently in use, though.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genderism


Show tunes

‘Ongaku’ by Señor Coconut
from the album Yellow Fever!

‘Red Dust’ by Calexico + Iron and Wine
from the album In the Reins

Episode 93: Retard

A conservative pundit has reignited the debate around the word retard by using it as a slur.

Advocates for people with intellectual disabilities are taking the opportunity to renew their call to “end the r-word”. Is it insensitive to use the word retarded this way, or is it just another sense of the word with a different meaning? Does it do any good to declare certain words off-limits?

Linguist Daniel Midgley gets it started on this episode of Talk the Talk.


Listen to this episode

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Show notes

Coulter’s tweet
http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/23/living/ann-coulter-obama-tweet/index.html

John Franklin Stephens’ response
http://specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/an-open-letter-to-ann-coulter/

Coulter doubles down
http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/10/25/ann-coulter-continues-to-use-offensive-term-ret/190939
http://www.alan.com/2012/10/25/coulter-in-radio-interview-doubles-down-on-use-of-r-word/

Weak sauce from Coulter: “Language police”
http://www.examiner.com/article/ann-coulter-has-had-it-with-the-language-police

The Piers Morgan episode
http://samuel-warde.com/2012/10/piers-morgan-destroys-ann-coulter-over-retard-remark/

You can pledge not to use the R-word
http://www.r-word.org/

And you can not say ‘that’s so gay’.
http://www.thinkb4youspeak.com/

About gay: Dan Savage, gay sex advice columnist, responds to a gay reader who tells him to stop using ‘gay’ to mean ‘stupid and lame’. Listen from about 36:00.
http://www.thestranger.com/SavageLovePodcast/archives/2009/03/02/savage-love-episode-124

How about ‘dumb’? The ‘stupid’ sense of the word has been around since 1823.
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=dumb&allowed_in_frame=0

Meanwhile, retard qua loser: only since 1968, according to Oxford.

Episode 89: Banned Books

Do you read banned books?

It’s Banned Books Week — when we celebrate books that have been targeted for being obscene, indecent, blasphemous, and seditious. Banning (and sometimes burning) books is popular in the USA, but there’s plenty of censorship going on in Australia, too.

Linguist Daniel Midgley finds the books they don’t want you to read on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Show notes

Banned Books Week runs the last week in September.
https://www.library.qut.edu.au/blog/2011/09/28/banned-books-week-september-24%E2%88%92october-1-2011/

Check out their site:
http://bannedbooksweek.org/

The American Library Association is behind it all.
http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek

Lots of books get challenged in the USA
http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/chapter-and-verse/2012/0409/10-most-challenged-books-on-the-American-Library-Association-s-2011-list
http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/censorship-watch/top-10-challenged-books-2011

but there are plenty of banned books in Australia, too.
http://www.austlit.edu.au/specialistDatasets/Banned/bullockMoore

Science fiction was once a banned import in Australia after WWII:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_science_fiction

Here’s just a partial list of books banned in Australia at one time or another:
http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/collections/special/exhibitions/bannedbooks/exhibition/australia.html

We didn’t get time for Lady Chatterley’s Lover, but here it is in its entirety, thanks to Project Gutenberg.
http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks01/0100181.txt

Bret Easton Ellis is amused that his book American Psycho gets wrapped in plastic in Australia.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/entertainment-old/books-old/bret-easton-ellis-happy-american-psycho-still-wrapped-in-plastic-in-queensland-bookstores/story-e6freqkx-1225902738276

But the author of The Anarchist Cookbook now regrets its publication.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Anarchist-Cookbook-William-Powell/dp/0962303208

Looking for something to read? Try a banned classic:
http://classiclit.about.com/od/ladychatterleyslover/tp/aatp-ban.htm
http://www.highlands.edu/academics/library/banned/books.htm

Episode 87: Blasphemy!

Blasphemy is the act of showing irreverence or contempt for religious deities or beliefs.

And it’s in the news, as Muslims around the globe are protesting a blasphemous film. Should some ideas be off-limits for criticism? Can blasphemy be constructive? And what are you doing for Blasphemy Day?

Linguist and infidel Daniel Midgley explores blasphemy on this episode of Talk the Talk.


Listen to this episode

Or subscribe via iTunes
Click here for more options: How to listen to Talk the Talk


Show notes

Muslims worldwide protest blasphemous film, using violence and murder.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/14/islam-film-muslim-protests

Violent clashes in Sydney
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/police-use-pepper-spray-on-anti-islamic-film-protesters-in-sydney-at-the-us-consulate/story-e6freuy9-1226474744811

A girl and her family in Pakistan are threatened with death because it is alleged she burned pages of the Qur’an.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19565707

“Hasa Diga Eebowai” is the most blasphemous song I know, but then I don’t listen to much black metal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IjBi1eEaAA

Not everyone has to lose their shit when you send up their prophet. The Mormon church’s response to “The Book of Mormon”.
http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/joannabrooks/4209/lds_church_responds_to_south_park_mormon_musical

They’ve even taken out ads in the Playbill for “The Book of Mormon”.
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-mormon-church-lds-ads-book-of-mormon-playbill-20120906,0,51504.story

Other religions have pulled this crap when they could get away with it.
Blasphemy laws in the UK
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_religions62.html

Blasphemy laws in Colonial America
http://goodreasonblog.blogspot.com.au/2007/03/swearing-class-observations.html
http://genealogytrails.com/newham/laws.htm

A good article on same, with a scan of that law
http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/homepage-feature/item/45356-anti-blasphemy-laws-have-a-history-in-america?Itemid=1&linktype=hp_featured

Blasphemy is not against the law in Australia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_Australia

but hate speech is.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_laws_in_Australia

Blasphemy laws are largely being overturned, but Ireland shows the opposite trend.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/01/irish-atheists-challenge-blasphemy-law

As does the UN.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation_of_religion_and_the_United_Nations

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