Niggardly and offense

andersja has written more on his Niggardly posting.

ValerieF commented:

“I do empathize with the desire to go to lengths to avoid offending others, especially through a semantic misunderstanding. It seems to be an American behavior.”

To extend this, I believe it’s also an American behaviour to take offense where none exists or is implied. It happens up here in Canada too, but less often (I believe :-).

The movements against discrimination have been productive over the last century. Things that were unthinkable 50 years ago are taken for granted today. But they have also created an environment where people are extremely sensitive to perceived offenses.

I don’t really understand why people are this reactive, but I’ve been guilty of “flying off the handle” myself. I like to think that I’ve learned two lessons in my two decades on the ‘Net:

  1. Read what other people actually write, not what I think they write.
  2. Avoid using deliberately provocative language (“I think you’re mistaken” instead of “You moron!” :-).

But I still don’t think “niggardly” is “provocative language”.

posted at 9:18 pm on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Niggardly and offense

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