Author Topic: My first attempt at modern verse  (Read 14698 times)

Offline eric

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10576
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #60 on: December 09, 2009, 07:33:30 PM »
Well, cretin is not really a synonym of idiot in America, though that's a lot closer than stupid.  With your definition the actual connotation, which is quite settled in my experience, is a slobbering, drooling wreck of a blithering idiot, most degenerate, to be despised and derided.  Not a real person demanding respect at all, a nonhuman very like a nigger.  Hence cretinous is a very strong insult in America, much more than the casual "idiot."  

And this is also true with the other definition, not merely disabled but slobbering, drooling, deformed, medically spastic (this being the other great term of offense because of its derogatory casual sense), unable to walk straight, and hard to understand, like several of my pals from that side of life.  It used to be very common to deride and despise this sort of cretin, and has been quite recently also (though less so one assumes).  And whenever the word is used, people think first of the first definition (as you said) and the primary connotation in this country (which is several times larger than yours).  That used to be the secondary definition to the more medical one, but it superseded the other by dint of common use.  Granted, the connotation is rather milder and not necessarily as linked in some dictionaries and uses in your country (though you haven't been interviewing the subject class I take it, they might have a different view entirely).  

So consider.  If you are a cretin of the second sort, in  other words, a person like me, and you were referred to as a cretin, would you sort through all these nice distinctions, give the person calling you that name the logical benefit of the doubt for having a culturally distinct background, and go off saying "ho hum" to the next meeting of Cretins Anonymous?  Or would you be consumed with rage and frustration over yet another ignorant and discriminatory slur?

The better your dictionary the more likely you are to see these nuances.  Apparently UK sources won't cut it.  But do think about talking to people involved.  I have.

That said, though, we should really stop hijacking Hugh's thread, so I won't say any further on the topic here.  Cheers.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 07:21:09 PM by eric »

Offline Mark H

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19722
  • Middleclass Machismo now available.
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #61 on: December 10, 2009, 02:20:57 AM »
It's not a hijack because ...

Hugh:
Quote
Finally, Mark ... If it doesn’t make you laugh out loud you’re either dead or a cretin.”

Isn’t that rather a sweeping statement, as well as being downright offensive?
Buy Bristle Side Down, The Man Who Wore Brown Shoes and Middleclass Machismo here:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=570142

If poetry is not your thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PueM04F0Qz8 or: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0Zm8cj9MGg

Offline Hugh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1693
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #62 on: December 10, 2009, 05:52:22 AM »
“England and America are two countries divided by a common language”

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, it is “attributed to George Bernard Shaw, although not found in his published writings”.

Randolph, don’t be sorry. Come in and join the fun. What started as a simple poem put up for review has now become a discussion about semantics. Why not chuck a new pebble into the pond and see where the ripples take us?

Hugh

randolph

  • Guest
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #63 on: December 10, 2009, 07:28:39 AM »
Yes it's a nice line isn't it?

I'm not sure what I can add to the discussion to be honest, though I found it very thought-provoking, particularly Mark's highly individualistic personal creed, and Eric's sense of pride and fraternity in the forum. For me, this made an intriguing contrast. I often catch myself pondering the differences between American and English culture, many of which are imagined, I suspect. But anyway, this thread makes an interesting case-study.

CCRP

  • Guest
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #64 on: December 10, 2009, 11:24:10 AM »
Leah,

Was it actually the word cretin you found rude?

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. (I've been really sick.)

Yes, it's the word cretin that I found rude. For reasons I won't go into right now - but I might later.

Offline Mark H

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19722
  • Middleclass Machismo now available.
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #65 on: December 10, 2009, 12:21:11 PM »
Thanks Leah and Eric.

I will change the blurb and remove the word cretin as soon as I can.

Mark
Buy Bristle Side Down, The Man Who Wore Brown Shoes and Middleclass Machismo here:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=570142

If poetry is not your thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PueM04F0Qz8 or: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0Zm8cj9MGg

Offline eric

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10576
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #66 on: December 10, 2009, 12:47:04 PM »
Thank you sir.  I also forgot to mention the also well-known subtext of cretin (well-known in my country anyway), as not just moronic but morally repugnant.  This is probably the most offensive aspect of all in this context.  But with your verdict, that is less here than there.

Offline Hugh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1693
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #67 on: December 10, 2009, 05:00:24 PM »
When, all those years ago, Aristotle spoke of the precise and special meaning of a word, he wasn’t thinking about the difference between English and American English. He was talking about how a word can affect people in different ways, according to their interpretation of it, regardless of its precise meaning or origin.

My Oxford Dictionary defines cretin as:

A stupid person (usually used as a term of abuse). Or:

(Medical) A person who is deformed and mentally handicapped because of a thyroid deficiency.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (American) defines cretin as:

1.   (often offensive): one afflicted with cretinism.

2.   a stupid, vulgar or insensitive person.

Cretinism is defined as: a usually congenital abnormal condition marked by physical stunting and mental retardation.

Regardless of the dictionary definitions of a word like that, it was the statement that anyone who doesn’t laugh out loud at scatology, profanity and irreverence, is either dead or (any word to imply stupidity) that I found offensive.

Incidentally, the wearing of jeans with a split in the knee is not a sign of being different, not running with the herd. On the contrary, it is a uniform, a statement that the wearer belongs to a group, gang, sect, whatever you like to call it, which shares common beliefs. I never approve nor disapprove. Frankly, I don't give a shit.

I happen to prefer to be able to buy several pairs of trousers for the price of one pair of such a fashion statement. I’ve nothing against it, nor would I make assumptions about a chap who wears a tie to mow the lawn. He can wear evening dress if he likes.

But going back to Aristotle, an insult is an insult, regardless of its precise meaning.

Hugh

Offline Mark H

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19722
  • Middleclass Machismo now available.
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #68 on: December 10, 2009, 06:16:27 PM »
Hugh

I'm changing the word because I didn't realise how it was used in the US and now I do know I would no more use it than I would use spastic in that context in the UK.

I will change it and no doubt you will still find my blurb offensive. And that's fine by me.  :) The blurb as a package is extremely tongue in cheek. In fact aspects of it are farcical. But humour is a personal thing. I love Monty Python, hate Benny Hill, and found Bernard Manning offensive. I don't expect everyone to enjoy my writing.  :o

It seems to me though that you are not content with disliking my work (or the work of others that use strong language -- or should I say adolescent smut?) you have to go further and claim that our motives are unsound. And that's what I struggle with. Because you (mature, a gentleman) don't like strong language in poetry, it must be wrong. The writer's motive (according to you) is simply to shock. Why? Why would you think that? If I see one of your poems I don't assume you wrote it just to put me to sleep [that's a joke BTW].

Ho hum. Well at least I have maturity to look forward to.

Mark
Buy Bristle Side Down, The Man Who Wore Brown Shoes and Middleclass Machismo here:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=570142

If poetry is not your thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PueM04F0Qz8 or: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0Zm8cj9MGg

Offline eric

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10576
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #69 on: December 10, 2009, 06:33:40 PM »
That's most interesting, Hugh.  Sadly I neglected Aristotle because I found his structure and argument offputting.  Or maybe I was just a callow youth to whom nearly everything was offputting.  Would be interested in cites to A.'s works containing his main linguistic analyses. Pls. PM me if you wish.

Mark, I just got your latest response to Hugh.  Let me note that I honestly don't think he's impugning your motives or any others, including that great, humane, funny, obscene, scatalogical smut-peddler ol' whats-his-name, burned himself in a freebasing accident, one of my favorites.  A classic comedian, I think one of the greatest stand-ups ever, of whom Hugh would most certainly not cavil to disapprove.  Did a bunch of bad movies though, some with Gene Wilder.  Richard Pryor.

But I digress.  It is certainly the written work as such, the stand-up comedy, that gives Hugh the problem, not the man.  Unless I am missing something in what he says that is invisible and secret to all but you.  For that is the issue, is it not?  He is entitled to despair of the writing, he is on less firm ground or none at all to attack the writer.  In my view, having gone around and around with Hugh on similar issues, it is only the former at work here.

One other thing.  From your quote of Hugh's statement, above, and his response using Aristotle and good dictionaries, also above, it is clear that not only was Hugh not acting ad hominem here, he was in fact exactly correct.  And using the greatest English dictionary, to boot.  So please, let us now praise famous men or something, and move on from this topic.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 07:10:26 PM by eric »

Offline Mark H

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19722
  • Middleclass Machismo now available.
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #70 on: December 11, 2009, 02:15:46 AM »
Eric

It is certainly the written work as such, the stand-up comedy, that gives Hugh the problem, not the man.

Why do you feel the need to defend someone that is surely articulate enough to say that for himself.

Unless I am missing something in what he says that is invisible and secret to all but you.  For that is the issue, is it not?  He is entitled to despair of the writing, he is on less firm ground or none at all to attack the writer.

As to the invisible secret ... let me remove its cloak of invisibility for you  :)

I still think that some people seem to regard profanity, scatology, even pure filth, as not only acceptable, but obligatory.

The f-word has become so commonplace that it has lost much of its shock value, so other, more shocking ways have to be found [Mark: found by the writer] to say, “I’m a poet. I can say what I like.”

Any help?

Mark
Buy Bristle Side Down, The Man Who Wore Brown Shoes and Middleclass Machismo here:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=570142

If poetry is not your thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PueM04F0Qz8 or: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0Zm8cj9MGg

Offline eric

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10576
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #71 on: December 11, 2009, 05:26:57 AM »
no.  i was just commenting (presumably) rationally, don't like to see two friends (of mine -- not of each other!, Mark, thou writer of things indicating your supposed fictional status as prissy-fart-smut-monger) argue for no good reason, but apparently to null effect. so go ahead, i'll just go elsewhere.  by the way, have you had your anti-paranoia pills today?
« Last Edit: December 11, 2009, 10:12:26 AM by eric »

Offline Mark H

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19722
  • Middleclass Machismo now available.
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #72 on: December 11, 2009, 07:19:36 AM »
E

Hugh and I are not friends and we are not fighting (well I'm not).

All I'm doing is disagreeing with Hugh's comments as clearly stated. You can agree with him, agree with me, or play with your yo-yo but I see no point in you saying that the disagreement does not exist.

Let me try and put it in terms you care about. You admire Amie's writing yes? She wrote an excellent poem called Scenarios. Let me remind you what you said about it:

Probably our best poet at work here, ... I'll just say this.  One can learn a lot from this woman, I always have, and I'm one.

and if I can also remind you of the subject: Warning: profanity and adult theme. So in Hugh's words do you think this is adolescent smut or perhaps Amie is just trying to shock us?

Get off the fence before you get a splinter in your arse :-*

M
Buy Bristle Side Down, The Man Who Wore Brown Shoes and Middleclass Machismo here:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=570142

If poetry is not your thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PueM04F0Qz8 or: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0Zm8cj9MGg

Offline Hugh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1693
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #73 on: December 11, 2009, 08:28:57 AM »
Eric, afraid I can’t do as you ask as I, too, find Aristotle a bit difficult (been trying to read his Ethics). It’s just that the precise and special meaning of a word thing (from his Poetics I believe) happens to appeal, and I think as true today as it was then.

You are right that I’m not attacking anyone personally. Any remarks I make about writing are just that, and who wrote it is immaterial. The writing, not the person, prompts a comment.

And Mark, on a personal level I happen to think that some of the stuff I’ve read of yours shows an impressive way with words and a good sense of humour. But we’re not talking about you. We’re discussing views on particular kinds of writing.

That we may differ in our views doesn’t automatically make me a prissy old fart who probably always wears a tie. Actually, I’ve worn a tie once in the past year, for our golden wedding celebration, and some of FireFly’s jokes on the Crap Joke Thread make me laugh out loud, but that’s beside the point.

By all means come back and have the last word, then I might ask a moderator to lock the thread, which I think has gone on long enough. I shan’t be posting again on this thread.

Again, my thanks to everyone who commented on the poem.

Hugh

CCRP

  • Guest
Re: My first attempt at modern verse
« Reply #74 on: December 11, 2009, 08:38:59 AM »
Yes, it's the word cretin that I found rude. For reasons I won't go into right now - but I might later.

The reason why the word cretin makes me cringe (and nobody using it earns any brownie points, and will lose all brownie points he/she might have earned before) is a very personal one.

I had three daughters. One of them is dead. When she died at age five, she had the mental development of a three month old baby. I like to think she recognized me as her mother, but in all honestly I can't even be sure of that. She was beautiful, BTW.

So, on this very personal level, I don't only think it's rude to use a word as cretin, but also needlessly hurtful. Use it in combination with dead, and that makes it even worse. But again, that is very personal.

But even on a non-personal level, I still think it's rude and insulting to call someone a cretin - for whatever reason. It's just a big No-No. So, thank you for your willingness to change that blurb, Mark. Much appreciated.