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Politically correct hardware terminology:
November 25, 2003 6:25 AM   Subscribe

LA County, leading the charge: Equipment vendors who do business with Los Angeles County received a message in November 2003 from the county's Internal Services Department (ISD) informing them that "based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angeles County," labeling or describing equipment with the term 'master/slave' is no longer acceptable. (via snopes.com)
the slashdot comments on this...
posted by sixtwenty3dc (145 comments total)

 
props to natx from yayhooray for this.
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 6:26 AM on November 25, 2003


I saw this a few weeks ago and assumed it was a joke/hoax. Also -- and maybe this says something about me -- when I first heard about it, I assumed the offensive form of master/slave was referring to S&M, and assumed some prude at the county of LA didn't want sexual connotations mixing in with their vendors. Then I realized what they were really "offended" by. Still, some people need to lighten up.
posted by mathowie at 6:34 AM on November 25, 2003


A good start! But even if they change the terminology, they will still have one computer bossing around the others--an unfair situation, any way you look at it. We need to redesign such antiquated authoritarian systems to make them run on consensus, with proper respect for diversity and minority opinions. The slight decrease in efficiency will be more than offset by the increase in positive computer-karma.
posted by SealWyf at 6:37 AM on November 25, 2003


How are manufacturers that supply the entire world going to custom-make their products *just* for LA county?
posted by LoopSouth at 6:42 AM on November 25, 2003


buh ... *head explodes*
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:43 AM on November 25, 2003


Dear Los Angeles County ISD,

Based on your level of computer savvy and technical phobia, we are revoking your computer privileges. We will be arriving soon to replace your computers with multi-colored notepads and eco-friendly pencils today.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:44 AM on November 25, 2003


So I guess client/server should be renamed to client/provider ? Jebus that looks like CSI season 1 last episode in which the Powers That Be deliver a nice kick in the arse to the scientist for not being politically sensitive. (tangent:yes I enjoy CSI even if after many seasons it has lost some appeal)
posted by elpapacito at 6:51 AM on November 25, 2003


I studied theater in college, and my lighting class one semester was devoted to tearing out and rebuilding the studio theater lighting grid. One day we were reassembling all the lighting instruments and one of my classmates, who was in a hardcore-feminist phase of her life, became completely disgusted with me when I asked if anyone had a female plug.
posted by starvingartist at 6:57 AM on November 25, 2003


If it's on snopes.com it's not via snopes.com. "Via" is used to give credit to another site (usually a blogger) who first pointed you to the content your linking. Just FYI.
posted by jpoulos at 6:58 AM on November 25, 2003


y6y6y6: do they got colored pencils too ? DEAL !
posted by elpapacito at 6:58 AM on November 25, 2003


you're linking. I always do that.
posted by jpoulos at 7:02 AM on November 25, 2003


"We need to redesign such antiquated authoritarian systems to make them run on consensus, with proper respect for diversity and minority opinions." - hear hear. You have my vote.

Oh sh_t ! My printer's refusing to print, and my 256 meg RAM chip just went on strike due to my "chip-ist" insensitivity. Thank god for the 32 meg chip. I'll have to especially nice to it for now, until I go to computer component sensitivity training.

A few days ago, I had to work on the hydraulic clutch system of my car and called an auto parts store for the parts -

"Hello? - yes, I'm looking for a clutch master cylinder and a clutch slave cylinder for a 1992 Nissan Sentra." - "Look, buddy," they told me, "we don't call them that any more. We call the first one the 'big but not-necessarily-superior cylinder' and the other one the 'smaller but otherwise co-equal cylinder'. Get it straight or I'll have to report you to the object-relations sensitivity department." (SOD, that is)

But that's Massachusetts for you.
posted by troutfishing at 7:06 AM on November 25, 2003


hahaha, and double laffs at that girl who gave the evil eye to starvingartist for 'female plug'. tssk.
posted by dabitch at 7:08 AM on November 25, 2003


thank's for the tip jpoulos. its still too early in the morning for me, i was up late working, and i should be paying attention in class. still, thats no excuse :P
so, to carry this making something out of nothing theme along, why does your text have to be smaller than the default, hmm? what are you trying to say! (joking of course)
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 7:11 AM on November 25, 2003


Well starvingartist.. . .at least you did not ask her for a pair of sidecutters, by the common colloquial name. . . *smile*
posted by Danf at 7:16 AM on November 25, 2003


Before "Nixon opened China", there were a few tentative overtures in their direction. inscrutably, the Chinese announced that an American comedian would be one of the foreigners permitted to visit and perform there, as much to his surprise as everyone else's.
After being heavily briefed on how to be a good guest by the State Department, he arrived in China, soon to be ushered before the bureaucrat whose job it was to vet his jokes.

After trying several jokes that were immediately rejected with a stream of communist dialectic about their inappropriateness, he decided to recite the softest joke he could think of, one about a cow.

The bureaucrat just sat there, stone faced, then informed him that "The *people's* cow is not a fit subject for humor. It provides important milk and other dairy products that help sustain the *workers*", etc. at some length.

Almost without thinking, the comedian blurted out a comment that only a sourpuss like Nixon wouldn't like a joke about a cow.

The bureaucrat suddenly started laughing hysterically, as if he had just heard the funniest joke imaginable. Tears rolling down his cheeks, he complemented the comedian again and again and asked for more.

So, rather uncomfortably, the comedian launched into an impromptu tirade against Nixon. After a time, the bureaucrat had to beg him to stop, the jokes were so funny he was afraid he would injure himself. And so it went also, at his "command performance" before the elite of Peking, the audience rolling in the aisles as he ranted and raved against Nixon.
posted by kablam at 7:17 AM on November 25, 2003


I heard that the matter has been amicably resolved, now.

The hardware providers will keep the designated terms "master" and "slave" and the county of LA will undertake to swap the master drive to the slave drive and vice versa, every two weeks, so that equality is maintained betwen the drives, with neither now being oppressed (on a permanent basis.)

A victory for the forces of reason, I think you'll be forced to agree.

Of course, when I say "forced," I mean "inclined to believe of your own free will, should you so choose, though I, in an utterly non-intimidating way, suggest, nay offer, for your consideration that you should.... no... might. If it's not too much inconvenience."

Or not.

Or whatever you think is best, really.

Forget I said anything, ok.

I wasn't here.

posted by Blue Stone at 7:40 AM on November 25, 2003


kablam - great anecdote.
posted by troutfishing at 7:54 AM on November 25, 2003


believe it or not, i think this is the right thing. the words "master" and "slave" are, in fact, holdovers from the days of slavery, which i'd like to remind everyone occurred right here in the "freedom loving" USA. for the same reason that the women's rights movement changed "stewardess" to "flight attendant" and "actress" to "actor" (which i might add for those of you too young to remember, were met with the very same kind of "who cares" derision), we now change "master/slave" to something more correct (who knows what... "boss/worker"?).

if you think this issue is trivial or funny, perhaps that just goes to show how deep racism goes. don't forget, it hasn't been all that long... the "N" word was completely acceptable to my grandmother and was often used in my high school in the 1980's.

also... although bigoted social circles abound in the US, it's a different thing entirely for corporations to use language this way. increasingly, corporations are no longer distinguishable from government in practical everyday terms. and i believe our defacto government should not be using an opressive term like "slave".
posted by muppetboy at 8:05 AM on November 25, 2003


Next up: Male/Female connectors.
posted by jon_kill at 8:05 AM on November 25, 2003


obviously i meant "and i believe our defacto government should not be using an opressive term like "slave" IN THIS MANNER"
posted by muppetboy at 8:05 AM on November 25, 2003


"and i believe our defacto government should not be using an opressive term like 'slave'."

I like to call a shovel a co-equal digging implement.
posted by spazzm at 8:10 AM on November 25, 2003


Sounds to me like LA County needs to invest in Serial ATA.

*rimshot
posted by Keyser Soze at 8:11 AM on November 25, 2003


"I like to call a shovel a co-equal digging implement."

You're really just making my point.
posted by muppetboy at 8:14 AM on November 25, 2003


Muppetboy, what do you suggest instead? Primary & Secondary-because that's not quite right. First & Second...which isn't right either.
posted by aacheson at 8:29 AM on November 25, 2003


" should not be using an opressive [sic] term like "slave" IN THIS MANNER"

Except for the fact that the slave drive is, in reality, a slave to the master drive. And the master drive is, in realty, a master to the slave drive.

It's not racism. It's reality. The drive is a slave. It is. Naming it something else won't make it not a slave. It's a slave. Hello? The master drive is a master. The slave drive is a slave.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:36 AM on November 25, 2003


how about "parent/child"? parents boss their children around in a way that is socially acceptable because the parent's relationship with the child is beneficial. the master/slave relationship is not beneficial to the slave.
posted by muppetboy at 8:39 AM on November 25, 2003


another socially acceptable analogy would be sargeant/private.

ask yourself this question, y6: why does giving orders and following them INHERENTLY INVOLVE SLAVERY?

i think the racism just goes deeper than anyone wants to admit.
posted by muppetboy at 8:42 AM on November 25, 2003


what about boss/worker? at least in this case the worker is benefiting from being bossed around (in theory, a worker gets paid and is employed "at will").
posted by muppetboy at 8:43 AM on November 25, 2003


Muppetboy: the "N" word was completely acceptable to my grandmother and was often used in my high school in the 1980's.

From what I hear on the radio, it's making a strong comeback. Seems some singers can't go 30 seconds without saying it!

Oh, and I say stewardess, actress, chair woman AND police woman. If people don't like them, I tell them to buy themselves a dictionary (note: You don't name jobs after furniture, that's not nice). But then, most of them are too niggardly to do that.
posted by shepd at 8:46 AM on November 25, 2003


White makes Right don't it shepd?
posted by muppetboy at 8:47 AM on November 25, 2003


nice shepd. Be sure to aim that rifle right perpendicular to the ground at the next rally.
posted by black8 at 8:54 AM on November 25, 2003


"how about "parent/child"?"

This is already taken. Parent/child relationships in computers relate to symbolic tree structures which wouldn't be applicable to hierarchy structures on IDE cables. The terms master and slave in this context are used because they accurately describe the drive hierarchy. If a master/slave relationship exists, it isn't racist to call it a master/slave relationship.

We stopped using sexist terms because they didn't accurately describe reality. We stopped using racist terms because they were offensive.

If someone finds the word "slave" offensive then they have issues, and need therapy. if they don't think the word "slave" accurately describes reality in this context, then they don't understand the context.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:55 AM on November 25, 2003


muppetboy, the concept of "slavery" goes back thousands of years, and not all slavery is/was racial. Also, when someone claims to be "a slave to love" or says, "I slaved over a hot stove," they're not making a racial comment. In this way, the word "slave" is significantly different than the word "nigger."

One possible substitute would be "master" and "servant," but, quite frankly, you would still have just about the same degree of degrading racial connotation if you wanted to look for it.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:56 AM on November 25, 2003


y6, i figured you'd take the weakest argument.

again... why is "giving orders" INHERENTLY equivalent to "master" and why is "taking orders" INHERENTLY equivalent to "slave"?

it's not the existence of the word "slave" that anyone finds offensive. or even its use. it's the fact that the term is being used to describe an ordinary relationship between items that can be found in any household.

i think you don't understand YOUR context.
posted by muppetboy at 8:59 AM on November 25, 2003


"what about boss/worker?"

So.... It doesn't bother you that we'd call a slave drive a worker, and a master drive a boss? I'm confused.

But, beyond that, the boss/worker metaphor just isn't accurate. The master drive doesn't dictate tasks to the slave drive. The slave drive is subservient to the master drive. Please read up on computer technology a wee bit more before you try and rewrite standard terminology.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:00 AM on November 25, 2003


"One possible substitute would be "master" and "servant," but, quite frankly, you would still have just about the same degree of degrading racial connotation if you wanted to look for it."

what's wrong with "boss/worker"?

in fact, the term "worker" already exists in technology and is used to describe exactly this kind of relationship (among threads in a process).

the fact that other societies also had slavery is irrelevant. in our context here in America, slavery has a very special meaning to a large minority segment of the population. this cannot be ignored, however CONVENIENT it might be to do so.
posted by muppetboy at 9:02 AM on November 25, 2003


Muppetboy, you're so sensitive! If only everyone thought like you! Then I could buy a black turtleneck anywhere and the Muzak at the grocery store would be The Smiths!
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:03 AM on November 25, 2003


y6, you're telling me a worker isn't subservient to a boss?
posted by muppetboy at 9:04 AM on November 25, 2003


I came across this in the mid nineties whilst working on a computer game which had network play capability. 'Client' and 'server' weren't as common terms in those days as they are now, so the terms 'master' and 'slave' were used.

We were contacted by the American publisher, who told us: "You know, some of the people who work here are.. uh.. African American, and we don't feel that this terminology is altogether, uh, appropriate."

So we changed it to client/server.
posted by chrid at 9:05 AM on November 25, 2003


heh. i don't like either black turtlenecks OR the smiths. but that's another story...
posted by muppetboy at 9:07 AM on November 25, 2003


Soooo muppetboy, you are obviously basing your decision not to like black turtlenecks on a very racially biased attitude. You should be ashamed of yourself. Perhaps you can find a nice caucasian turtleneck or perhaps a hood and robe.

As to the smiths...what is it you have against those named smith? Is there some incident in your (obviously) troubled past that would cause you to spew such hatred?

Just curious.
posted by damnitkage at 9:12 AM on November 25, 2003


chrid... my only point here is this... those people had a reason and a right to feel that way and to express their opinion about it. as a society we need to learn some basic respect. so, as silly as it might seem to someone who HAS power and who doesn't know what it's like to be oppressed, a change from "master/slave" to "client/server" can make all the difference in the world. it MATTERS what message our language gives to people. if people can think "it's silly for someone to feel upset about this", then they really and truly don't fundamentally respect the person who is complaining. that's, in a nutshell, what i'm getting from metafilter. "this isn't a problem for US, so get lost"
posted by muppetboy at 9:12 AM on November 25, 2003


damnitkage: i never said i wasn't racially biased. but at least i have the courage to look at these things for what they are. you'd apparently rather laugh it all off as one big joke. what a poser you are.
posted by muppetboy at 9:14 AM on November 25, 2003


"why is "giving orders" INHERENTLY equivalent to "master" and why is "taking orders" INHERENTLY equivalent to "slave"?"

Huh? Where are you coming up with that? The drives don't give orders. They handle requests for reading and writing data. The master drive gives orders to the slave drive? Did you read that somewhere?

Your computer considers the master drive to be foremost in terms of ordering and will look to the master drive when searching for instructions on how to start the operating system. The slave drive is lower on the drive hierarchy and will be consulted only after the master is queried for boot instructions (if the slave is asked at all).

And let's not even get into the issue of mixing ATAPI devices and hard disks on the same IDE channel. These types of devises should never be mixed. Having a slow ATAPI device as a master and a speedy hard disk as a slave would be very inefficient. Best to keep these devices separate. Or, at the least, keep the hard disk as master.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:16 AM on November 25, 2003


I like to call a shovel a co-equal digging implement.

this doesn't change the fact that the shovel always does the digging, and the earth does the getting dug. changing the name does nothing to put right centuries of discriminatory holemaking. what a sick society this is.
posted by quonsar at 9:18 AM on November 25, 2003


So muppetboy, is it your position that people should not say things like: "I slaved over a hot stove," or release songs called "I'm a Slave 4 U" because one of several possible meanings of the word "slave" (and obviously not the meaning intended by the context) can be offensive to a certain group? If that's your position, that's just political correctness run amok (imho).
posted by pardonyou? at 9:19 AM on November 25, 2003


y6, in that case, why isn't it just Primary and Secondary? you seem to have this whole MASTER/SLAVE thing on the brain.
posted by muppetboy at 9:19 AM on November 25, 2003


i can't seriously believe that you think that's my position pardonyou... i already explained the issue above.
posted by muppetboy at 9:20 AM on November 25, 2003


I find the term "x" insulting and offensive.




<waits for the universe to revolve around me>
posted by Blue Stone at 9:21 AM on November 25, 2003


black8 and muppetboy, whether you like it or not, hating people is illegal in Canada, so there. If I really did hate black people I'd be in jail by now, and likely not surfing MeFi.

I just use words that make sense.

Perhaps I hate black people for some crazy reason also because I think I like the words "autogyro" and "aerodrome". So sue me. Yeah, I hate black people so much I have an entire collection of NEW Michael Jackson CDs. I burned the old ones. Hell, I hate black people so much I can't wait for snow. Fuck, they piss me off so much I even call them BLACK!

Damn, it hurts to be so dry. Maybe I should bust out the noxema. But wait, IT'S WHITE SO HELP ME GOD! I MUST BE A RACIST! CLEANSE ME O HOLY ONES OF THIS HATE!
posted by shepd at 9:22 AM on November 25, 2003


yeah, racism is real funny shepd.
posted by muppetboy at 9:24 AM on November 25, 2003


duh, obviously no one should have released the song, 'I'm a slave 4 U'.
posted by goneill at 9:27 AM on November 25, 2003


Oh, and just to clear up the master/slave IDE issue.

The master drive is called that because it is always guaranteed to get first say when it comes to data transfers. The slave drive only gets to speak after the master has spoken. Also, the slave drive cannot exist (technically, ATAPI broke this) without a master.

So, master and slave are exactly what they mean. The master drive wins in all arguments, and "owns" the bus. The slave drive only gets to use it when the master lets it. And the slave requires a master.

Wether the words carry "nasty" connotations or not, they are the exact right words for the relationship between the drives.

BTW muppetboy: YES, it is. Oftentimes. Quit being so niggardly with the words man.
posted by shepd at 9:27 AM on November 25, 2003


Oh, and muppetboy, I'd be racist, but then I wouldn't know wether I could hate or love Michael Jackson. Let me know which it should be. I'm not sure. You seem to have a grip on these things, let me know. It's a bit of a conundrum for me.
posted by shepd at 9:29 AM on November 25, 2003


Glad to see those tax dollars at work. Good thing it isn't my state.

Since there isn't a single person alive today that was a slave, I don't see what the fucking big deal is.
posted by angry modem at 9:34 AM on November 25, 2003


shepd & angry modem, why do you hate the slaves?
posted by eyeballkid at 9:35 AM on November 25, 2003


>Since there isn't a single person alive today that was a slave, I don't see what the fucking big deal is.

But what about the slaves children, of their children, and their children's children children children children's children. You know these things are genetic and stuff.

(Oh please, if I keep being this dry, I'll have to use Oil of Olay next. At least that's a little darker than noxema).
posted by shepd at 9:36 AM on November 25, 2003


LOL SealWyf

We will be arriving soon to replace your computers with multi-colored notepads and eco-friendly pencils today.

Halt! Those pencils are terribly phallic!

Oh, and with all due respect? You are insane, muppetboy.
posted by rushmc at 9:37 AM on November 25, 2003


shepd & angry modem, why do you hate the slaves?

I'm a cable-select man, but isn't it funny how double standards work? All they care about are the masters and slaves. They don't care about the discrimination against single people or those with cable television.
posted by angry modem at 9:38 AM on November 25, 2003


Since there isn't a single person alive today that was a slave

There are many people alive today who are slaves.
posted by rushmc at 9:39 AM on November 25, 2003


There are many people alive today who are slaves.


posted by angry modem at 9:41 AM on November 25, 2003


damnitkage, those would clash with his hairshirt.

I have to hand it to muppetboy, that's the best trolling I've seen since the glory days of Usenet.

*whisperwhisperwhisper*

Whadda mean, he's serious?
posted by keswick at 9:48 AM on November 25, 2003


Just change the names to Bush and and Blair ;)
posted by Zoraster at 9:51 AM on November 25, 2003


"why isn't it just Primary and Secondary?"

That's already taken by the IDE controllers. If you are suggesting we have arrangements such as the primary drive on the secondary IDE channel as opposed to the primary drive on the primary IDE channel, I would lobby you that this is extremely confusing.

The terminology works. Even non-savvy users such as yourself understand it. Using the terminology you can quickly understand that the master is the device to consult for important operating instructions, and that a hierarchical relationship exists where superior devices should be set as "master" and slower devices should be set as "slave".
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:51 AM on November 25, 2003


awwww, crap. Is muppetboy from alt.syntax.tactical?

Damn. I'm so gullible.
posted by shepd at 9:57 AM on November 25, 2003


While we're at it, let's make a few more changes.

Peter Weir's Guy in Charge and Commander.

The main nemesis in Doctor Who is now called The Evil Guy with the Goatee.

The first line of Army of Darkness will be amended to read, "My name is Ash and I am a guy down on my luck."

Nine Inch Nails's "Happiness is Being Held in a State of Unmentionable Misery."

Frederick Douglas's Narrative in the Life of Frederick Douglas: An American Guy Who Went Through A Lot of Bad Things That You'll Have to Read About in the Book But That We Can't Print on the Binding
posted by ed at 10:05 AM on November 25, 2003


Nine Inch Nails's "Happiness is Being Held in a State of Unmentionable Misery."

I must correct that as "Happiness in Being Held in a State of the Secondary Hard Drive Position."
posted by angry modem at 10:07 AM on November 25, 2003


"Happiness in Being Held in a State of the Secondary Hard Drive Position."
I really take offense to the negative connotations of "HELD" Lets try
"Happiness in Being fondled in a State of the Secondary Hard Drive Position."
posted by Zoraster at 10:17 AM on November 25, 2003


Fondled is definitely NSFW! Racist!
posted by eyeballkid at 10:32 AM on November 25, 2003


maybe it is what the words mean to you that is offensive, but to others it seems benign, and apparently rather descriptive of the role of the components.

i think looking inward and finding / understanding / dealing with the pain caused by the events described "to you" by those words would be much more productive to the us all than simply switching names.

many people have acute feelings about specific words / phrases that are not the generally accepted definitions - does this mean we should change those words and their usages - yes. this is in fact how language evolves, but it is [slowly] by consensus, not by the one or few that language is changed [particularly overnight].

perhaps your time would be better spent discussing these issues with merriam-webster and/or congress to perhaps equate the words master and slave with a highly specific type of relationship that occurred here in the u.s. and having all other meanings dropped. then your point about this particular usage would be extremely relevant and dare i say: obvious. if people actually thought that the relationship between the master and slave drives or cylinders had anything at all to do with human suffering do you actually think they would be used? what kind of monstrous bastards do you believe these "naming conventions" people to be?

but barring that i'd go with what i said first.
posted by bluefish at 10:59 AM on November 25, 2003


Frederick Douglas's Narrative in the Life of Frederick Douglas: An American Guy Who Went Through A Lot of Bad Things That You'll Have to Read About in the Book But That We Can't Print on the Binding

ROFL That about sums it up, ed... great analogy!
posted by furious-d at 11:01 AM on November 25, 2003


"if people actually thought that the relationship between the master and slave drives or cylinders had anything at all to do with human suffering do you actually think they would be used?"

yes.

"what kind of monstrous bastards do you believe these "naming conventions" people to be?"

what kind of monstrous bastards would put shackles on another human being and sell him to the highest bidder to be used for any purpose whatsoever (or tortured or killed)?

human ignorance has not changed.
posted by muppetboy at 11:12 AM on November 25, 2003


"think looking inward and finding / understanding / dealing with the pain caused by the events described "to you" by those words would be much more productive to the us all than simply switching names."

this would argue that we should simply "get over" the use phrases like "he was downright White to me" (meaning good)

"many people have acute feelings about specific words / phrases that are not the generally accepted definitions - does this mean we should change those words and their usages - yes. this is in fact how language evolves, but it is [slowly] by consensus, not by the one or few that language is changed [particularly overnight]."

i disagree. the usages are changed because someone refuses to sit at the back of the bus. because someone puts their life on the line. because someone passes legislation. because someone has the backbone to say "this is WRONG". that's what starts the "consensus" change.
posted by muppetboy at 11:17 AM on November 25, 2003


Save your breath for some actual racism.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:27 AM on November 25, 2003


what kind of monstrous bastards would put shackles on another human being and sell him to the highest bidder to be used for any purpose whatsoever (or tortured or killed)?

human ignorance has not changed.


We are talking about words, man. Are you reading the stuff you write. Deep down under your hysteria I can see a valid point about how such terms can reflect our social past, but do you really think there is no moral differentiation between owning someone and using the term "slave" cylinder?

That being said, you're being earnest here, and I've been hammered for having ideas that I thought were reasonable, so maybe if you took a step back and were less combative and more elementary and descriptive, you could get your point across. It's hard to advance a minority position simply by telling the majority that they're crazy and bad. It's like Morton Downey Jr. meets Luis Farrakhan.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:33 AM on November 25, 2003


"the words "master" and "slave" are, in fact, holdovers from the days of slavery, which i'd like to remind everyone occurred right here in the "freedom loving" USA. "

If the words "master" and "slave" are, in fact, "holdovers" from the days of slavery, I'd like to remind everyone that those days are right now. Nevertheless, I think the application of the words in the context described is entirely appropriate.
posted by nickmark at 11:38 AM on November 25, 2003


muppetboy if you had a master's degree, what would you call it? BossMan Degree. Or what should we rename all the "masters" in the professional world?
posted by thomcatspike at 12:04 PM on November 25, 2003


We are talking about words, man. Are you reading the stuff you write. Deep down under your hysteria I can see a valid point about how such terms can reflect our social past, but do you really think there is no moral differentiation between owning someone and using the term "slave" cylinder?

yeah. but words are the basis for our whole society. at every level. they define what we can and can't communicate to each other. they define positions of power and powerlessness. and they are deeply involved with history. if we're going to break with history, we're going to have to abandon the words that tie us to that history. one of the creepy things about this whole conversation to me is the unwritten assumption that this "social past" you speak of doesn't involve the present. that racism is somehow gone. even here in seattle, supposed liberal bastion, racism abounds. a company here actually thought it was a good idea to release a game called "ghetto-opoly" and someone's filming "bum fights 3" downtown this year. how is it that we're all so enlightened and "modern" and stuff that we can't look at how *someone else* sees our words? this isn't *about* how a bunch of bourgeois white hackers see the world. it's about how *others* see it. and if some group of people went throught the nightmare of raising this issue with a bureaucracy like the california state government and managed to get it this far, don't you think there are some people who are *rightfully* bothered by this language?
posted by muppetboy at 12:05 PM on November 25, 2003


Don't you think there are some people who are *rightfully* bothered by this language?

Nope.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:08 PM on November 25, 2003


Boss.... sorry that came out wrong: Boss Degree. Your user name, muppetboy.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:09 PM on November 25, 2003


hey muppetboy, what's the PC replacement for "Black Magic"? "Occult dealings"? Nawww, that would offend wiccans. "unlikely happenings"? Not very descriptive.

More importantly, you're right muppetboy, someone saying "THIS IS WRONG" is what starts the change.

Let me say right now that successive whitewashing (Ooooo! ANOTHER ONE!) of ensligh is WRONG and IDIOTIC.

Let's start the change right now. It's the White thing to do (thanks for the idea of using that word -- I'm using definition 4 from the 1997 Princeton University Dictionary).

>if we're going to break with history, we're going to have to abandon the words that tie us to that history.

No, we don't break history, to forget those words is to forget history. And to forget history is to doom oneself to repeat it.

>even here in seattle, supposed liberal bastion, racism abounds.

Q.E.D.

>don't you think there are some people who are *rightfully* bothered by this language?

No.
posted by shepd at 12:10 PM on November 25, 2003


muppetboy if you had a master's degree, what would you call it? BossMan Degree. Or what should we rename all the "masters" in the professional world?

i would restrict this problem to the use of the word master in relation to the word slave in a context that is sanctioned by power (and thus highly public) and considered neutral or even beneficial. in particular, the problem is using the words in a glib way ("hey, what's the problem? slavery? that's just part of the past... get over it...") to describe the arrangement of parts in a machine that is now a common household item. just because slavery is over doesn't mean that the cultural fallout is over or that the hard feelings are gone. my grandmother, even my mother, lived in a world where blacks had virtually no rights. slavery may be gone, but the impact is not. and while neither word is offensive by itself, the use of such words in a neutral / technical / beneficial context *implicitly* sanctions the idea that words describing slavery can be interpreted in a good way. i don't believe that there is ANY good meaning of the master/slave relationship. as a society, we need to move beyond the whole idea. can't anyone see what's wrong with this association?
posted by muppetboy at 12:22 PM on November 25, 2003


if this really isn't a problem, why don't you each go ask a random african american living in your nearest impoverished ghetto what THEY think about the issue (if you can even bring it up). go get some feedback.
posted by muppetboy at 12:26 PM on November 25, 2003


A Person Paper on Purity in Language.
posted by alms at 12:34 PM on November 25, 2003


"i don't believe that there is ANY good meaning of the master/slave relationship. "

No one has argued that the relationship is good. The argument is that the term accurately, if anthropomorphically, describes the relationship between two non-human parts.
posted by nickmark at 12:43 PM on November 25, 2003


but at least i have the courage to look at these things for what they are.

Bully for you. Here's some Turtle Wax for your halo.
posted by jonmc at 12:47 PM on November 25, 2003


yes, exactly, alms.
posted by muppetboy at 12:47 PM on November 25, 2003


"No one has argued that the relationship is good. The argument is that the term accurately, if anthropomorphically, describes the relationship between two non-human parts."

ah, but therein lies the problem. the relationship is *implicitly*, even *inherently* good because it is how the system functions properly. the master/slave relationship in the context of an IDE bus is a *beneficial* piece of engineering (it resolves a particular problem). of course, the problem is not in how it functions (it's a machine after all), but in the words someone chose to describe this well-functioning system.
posted by muppetboy at 12:51 PM on November 25, 2003


They should never have let John Norman name computer parts.
posted by rushmc at 1:02 PM on November 25, 2003


if we're going to break with history, we're going to have to abandon the words that tie us to that history. one of the creepy things about this whole conversation to me is the unwritten assumption that this "social past" you speak of doesn't involve the present. that racism is somehow gone.

OK, you and I have similar goals, but I couldn't disagree more about how to get there. How does whitewashing our lexicon help to reinforce the link between the past and present? Do we want to "break" with the past? It seems to me that sets us up to more easilly repeat it. For what it's worth, the fact that the relationship between one drive and another can adequately symbolize a human institution just further demonstrates that institution's depravity in my mind.

This is just an extension of the basic problem with political correctness. Everyone agrees with you that racism/sexism/___ism sucks, but I don't understand in the least why that means we should stop talking about it. Ultimately, I think the master/slave drive thing is incrdibly trivial, but to change the names just 'cause is like not talking about predators in nature because it's offensive to families of serial killing victims.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:07 PM on November 25, 2003


if this really isn't a problem, why don't you each go ask a random african american living in your nearest impoverished ghetto what THEY think about the issue (if you can even bring it up).

And that is weak, spokesmanfortheblackcommunityboy. Why dont you do that? Silly assertions do go over better when accompanied with supportive data.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:09 PM on November 25, 2003


leader/follower, king/serf, master/subject, driver/passenger, boss/notboss, director/actor, owner/owned, oppressor/oppressed, dom/sub, etc ad infin.

Frankly, I think it'll be a stupid day when we let social ideology define function in the internals of technical systems. "Shouldn't the repeater question what it's being told instead of just blindly repeating?"
posted by rudyfink at 1:11 PM on November 25, 2003


ah, but therein lies the problem. the relationship is *implicitly*, even *inherently* good because it is how the system functions properly. the master/slave relationship in the context of an IDE bus is a *beneficial* piece of engineering (it resolves a particular problem). of course, the problem is not in how it functions (it's a machine after all), but in the words someone chose to describe this well-functioning system.

Sorry to comment so amny times in a row, but why can't we accept that certain moral truths don't apply to machines? Is it wrong to imprison my lawn mower in the shed? You are tossing out absolutes that seem unneccessary. I mean, if some crazy alien race came to Earth and wanted destroy us all I would totally advocate genocide, which I otherwise frown upon. It pays to remain ethically limber.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:13 PM on November 25, 2003


All I have to say is this: I've replaced and switched around tons of hard drives in my time, and not once did I say or think, "Look at that uppity 80 Gig Deskstar nigger! Sheet, Cletus. Best to manacle his brown ass."
posted by ed at 1:13 PM on November 25, 2003


"This is just an extension of the basic problem with political correctness. Everyone agrees with you that racism/sexism/___ism sucks, but I don't understand in the least why that means we should stop talking about it. "

nobody suggested that. by all means talk about masters and slaves. that's definitely necessary. just don't institutionally suggest that the master/slave relationship is good or normal by using this most horrific of human relationships to describe the benign and proper functioning of a piece of technology that everyone owns. this *usage* waters down the word, strips it of its true and horrible meaning, makes it harder to connect with the wrongness of slavery and even implies that slavery has no impact or relevance today. nothing could be further from the truth.
posted by muppetboy at 1:16 PM on November 25, 2003


i would like to remind muppetboy that slavery is, of course, purely an american invention. also, white people have never been slaves. and a black person has never, ever sold another black person into slavery.

furthermore, as someone who's family didn't move to america until twenty years after the abolition as slavery, i am still directly responsible for it and should feel guilt every second of my waking life for something that ended 110 years before i was born.

thank you.
posted by keswick at 1:19 PM on November 25, 2003


btw, if the Master/Slave relationship on an IDE bus is accurate, and that's all we care about, wouldn't it also be historically accurate (in America, at least) to call the relationship between the two drives a White/Black relationship? i mean that DOES describe the relationship between the two parts in anthropomorphic terms! how does that suit you?
posted by muppetboy at 1:23 PM on November 25, 2003


this *usage* waters down the word, strips it of its true and horrible meaning, makes it harder to connect with the wrongness of slavery and even implies that slavery has no impact or relevance today. nothing could be further from the truth.

No one denies that slavery and discussion thereof are still relevant today. And it still has impact. Witness this thread.

The fact remains, though, that language evolves, whether you & I like it or not.

on preview: The hystronics do nothing to further your cause, nor do they garner you sympathy. As repeatedly pointed out in this thread, slavery and repression is not a white/black USA only issue; it spans the annals of history, culture and race.
posted by romakimmy at 1:36 PM on November 25, 2003


just don't institutionally suggest that the master/slave relationship is good or normal by using this most horrific of human relationships to describe the benign and proper functioning of a piece of technology that everyone owns.

It is normal. Power, control, dominance, ownership, violence, all of tehse things are normal, natural, even "good." It's just that we have decided (rightly, obviously) that they are not natural, normal or good in human relationships. I think that wathcing a tiger shred an antelope is in itself a decent argument against me murdering another human, but that doesn't mean it in't normal or legit, or even quite a fantastic time, from the tiger's point of view.

this *usage* waters down the word, strips it of its true and horrible meaning, makes it harder to connect with the wrongness of slavery and even implies that slavery has no impact or relevance today.

How? In my eyes, simply dropping the word suggests a false sense of distance from dominance/control relationships which are always all around and part of everything we do, but which must be kept in check as they relate to our relationships with other people and animals that exceed a certain level of cuteness or can do tricks.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:36 PM on November 25, 2003


calling it white/black relationship wouldnt be presently accurate. About asking black people how they feel about hard drives being called master/slave, I can ask my black friends how they feel about, but I have a feeling that would consider it pretty trivial.
posted by philcliff at 1:36 PM on November 25, 2003


So I guess client/server should be renamed to client/provider ?

If we do that, it means I'm going to have to search and replace all my ".asp" references to ".apb"
posted by SpaceCadet at 1:47 PM on November 25, 2003


"calling it white/black relationship wouldnt be presently accurate."

says who?
posted by muppetboy at 2:01 PM on November 25, 2003


"How? In my eyes, simply dropping the word suggests a false sense of distance from dominance/control relationships which are always all around and part of everything we do, but which must be kept in check as they relate to our relationships with other people and animals that exceed a certain level of cuteness or can do tricks."

nobody said we would drop the word. we just wouldn't apply it to something trivial and benign.
posted by muppetboy at 2:02 PM on November 25, 2003


says who?

In theory blacks and whites are equals in this society. Affirmative action has been and is suppose to be evening things out for awhile now. I like to think that blacks and whites are veiwed as equals even though opportunities given to them may not be.
posted by philcliff at 2:17 PM on November 25, 2003


What sits in my tree and is painted orange? I can paint a hard drive any color I want!

But seriously folks, slave and master don't necessarily mean African Americans and European Americans. There were jewish slaves, hindu slaves, white slaves, spanish slaves... I hope you get the idea.

My contention is that naming a physical system of drives corresponding directly to how they function is just that. A naming scheme that is correct, physically. Slave or not, the secondary drive waits until the primary drive is done transferring its data. Notice how I said primary and secondary? Now everyone can shut the fuck up.
posted by Keyser Soze at 2:19 PM on November 25, 2003


"...wouldn't it also be historically accurate (in America, at least) to call the relationship between the two drives a White/Black relationship?"

That has got to be one of the most racist things i've ever read. As if EVERY relationship that white and black people have had in this country can be boiled down to just master/slave. It just boggles the mind. I mean, you've at least heard of Abolitionists before right?
posted by ssmith at 2:38 PM on November 25, 2003


"That has got to be one of the most racist things i've ever read."

good. at least we agree that that would be problematic. it's the converse problem that you don't see. in america, many people see "master/slave" exactly in terms of "white/black".
posted by muppetboy at 2:44 PM on November 25, 2003


to people who see life through the lens of the destructive lens of our history of slavery, talking about a "master/slave" relationship IS talking about what it means to be Black and what it means to be White.
posted by muppetboy at 2:47 PM on November 25, 2003


btw, if the Master/Slave relationship on an IDE bus is accurate, and that's all we care about, wouldn't it also be historically accurate (in America, at least) to call the relationship between the two drives a White/Black relationship?

Maybe the dumbest thing I've read today. Hard drives are not black and white.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:51 PM on November 25, 2003


in america, many people see "master/slave" exactly in terms of "white/black".

Or in terms of "whips/ballgags." Or in terms of drive devices.

Nifty how that language thing morphs to fit individual or situational context *and* reflect current culture, ain't it?
posted by romakimmy at 2:53 PM on November 25, 2003


How racist of you, muppetboy, not to include the other races in your comment.

Quit being so racist and include other slaves.

For example, my keyboard. It's my slave. It does only what I tell it to do. And my CPU. I torture it through overclocking. And, worse than that, my monitor. I electrocute it daily! I even immolate toast daily!

And, oh Lord help me, my speakers. The phat beats I play through them, I BEAT them every day.

See, I'm a torturing, electrocuting, beating, enslaving, immolating bastard. So sue me. One day they will have their revenge. From hell's heart they shall stab at me!

END THE APARTHEID ON ELECTRONICS NOW!
posted by shepd at 2:55 PM on November 25, 2003


"Hard drives are not black and white."

Yeah -- they're ones and zeroes!
posted by nickmark at 2:58 PM on November 25, 2003


Yeah -- they're ones and zeroes!

So digital data is inherently racist! Thank you, muppetboy, for helping me see the light so brilliantly limned by nickmark. I'm going to destroy my computer with a baseball bat and wipe my data with an EMF just be safe. Digital tools are evil!
posted by ed at 3:05 PM on November 25, 2003


wipe my data with an EMF just be safe.

Hmm. I think that would create a uniformity of data, a drive made up of all 0s would be one way to look at it. Wait a minute. That's your plan isn't it?! You're trying to make a master drive! Not like master/slave, but, even worse, MASTER RACE! Racist! 1-Hater!

(okay, yeah, so that's not technically correct ;))
posted by eyeballkid at 3:14 PM on November 25, 2003


nobody said we would drop the word. we just wouldn't apply it to something trivial and benign.

Some things are benign and trivial! When I kill gnats or flies, should I not call it killing? After all, in other contexts, killing is extremely serious shit, whereas offing an insect is trivial. Yet "killing" seems the appropriate word.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:22 PM on November 25, 2003


Out of of respect to the families of homicide victims they should stop looking for the next 'killer' application, and processes shouldn't be 'killed', they should be put to rest.
posted by golo at 3:24 PM on November 25, 2003


Muppetboy you are starting to sound like an idiot. Notice i'm not calling you one, im stating that you sound like one.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:24 PM on November 25, 2003


And we can't say overclocking anymore. It might make the stock CPU's feel inadequate.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:25 PM on November 25, 2003


whenever i hear master/slave racism is not the first thing that comes into my mind.
The first thing that pops up is S&M.
posted by Iax at 3:39 PM on November 25, 2003


to people who see life through the lens of the destructive lens of our history of slavery

So tell them to toss aside the "destructive lens" and look at the world with their own undistorted eyes.
posted by rushmc at 3:45 PM on November 25, 2003


I cant believe that this thread has gone so far so fast. Wheww...

Seriously though, one of my friends who's in the Army told me that he had heard that higher ups were trying to get rid of the Master/Slave terminology because it was politically incorrect. It was both our opinions that some people take shit way to far.

I run a computer business, and if any of my customers told me not to use the term master/slave I would tell them to kiss my white ass.

Get over it.
posted by daHIFI at 3:48 PM on November 25, 2003


Oh boy
posted by daHIFI at 4:39 PM on November 25, 2003


Would it be impolitic to suggest "Poppa" and "Bitch"?
posted by signal at 5:28 PM on November 25, 2003


I'm firmly in the camp of those who think it's perfectly appropriate to use the terms "Master/Slave" here. I started describing the situation to my wife (non geek) and as soon as I said, "the two types of hardware are called master/slave" she interrupted me and said "that is so offensive. why do they call it that?" I hadn't even told her what the situation was about.

So we have another data point. We're both white. She's more PC than I am. I'm more into BDSM.
posted by alms at 5:30 PM on November 25, 2003


How 'bout "pimps" and "hos"? /boyzone Or maybe it can be "Master/Servant" in eternal tribute to Depeche Mode.
posted by furiousthought at 5:35 PM on November 25, 2003



posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:51 PM on November 25, 2003


I, for one, welcome our IDE controller card overlords.
posted by oaf at 6:04 PM on November 25, 2003


I guess I should say "congrats" to muppetboy for being such a successful troll, but I'm sad to see trolls fed here. Are we actually going to debate somebody if he says that all blacks should be slaves, too?
I think I'll name my next slave drive Spartacus. Things will sure get confusing if I get a second.
posted by superchris at 6:43 PM on November 25, 2003


"btw, if the Master/Slave relationship on an IDE bus is accurate, and that's all we care about, wouldn't it also be historically accurate (in America, at least) to call the relationship between the two drives a White/Black relationship?"

I'm not sure if this master/slave debacle is over racism or not, or if the purported discrimination is against, ehm, slaves offended by being likened to harddisks or harddisks offended by being likened to slaves.

But if it's racism that is the thing, let me just point out that there has been, and still are, white slaves.
To assume that the term master/slave equates black/white is not true in general - it might be true in certain parts of the US, but they have harddisks in the rest of the world too, you know.

And if it's so darn offensive, why don't you just switch to SCSII?
posted by spazzm at 6:45 PM on November 25, 2003


Would it be accurate to say that the drives on an IDE bus have a Wooster/Jeeves relationship?
posted by kindall at 6:55 PM on November 25, 2003


No one's even gone into the troubling quandary of "motherboard." Since IDE controllers are, for the most part, onboard, is this not inherently sexist? After all, we're plugging cards into PCI slots and the data's coming from the primary and secondary slots.

I don't know about you, but I get a funny sensation in my pants when I plug in a ribbon cable. And talking with techies, I know I'm not alone. Perhaps these incestual impliations are having an adverse effect on geek sex lives across the planet. I say that we all storm Asus with pitchforks and demand that they call the PC fondation they produce in droves "The Board." "Mother" is clearly a useless adjective. Or are we to endure more subconscious ramifications pounded into our head?

And who determines primary and secondary masters and slaves anyway? To reduce sensitivity, I urge all techies NEVER to install a CD-ROM in the slave position. For clearly this symbolizes the circular nature of the slave's daily toil.

Better yet, let's lead a movement to go all USB. Keeping data on external drives is clearly the only answer here.

And for those who dual boot their slave drives, for shame! Open source and closed Microsoft OS. Are we to beat the slave's breeches repeatedly? Are we to inflict schizophrenia on our hapless slave drives?

You people are clearly slaveholders in training. I salute the Los Angeles County officials for recognizing the inherent white supremacist nature within the IT community.
posted by ed at 6:58 PM on November 25, 2003


The real key to satire, guys, is to be both edgy and funny. Not just lame and different.

These are the most juvenile posts I've seen in pretty much any forum. F**k this noise.
posted by Coda at 9:01 PM on November 25, 2003


Actually, I think ed's post was quite funny.
posted by spazzm at 10:40 PM on November 25, 2003


Iax: The first thing that pops up is S&M.

Way ahead of you:

Others may have been bored by the endless chore of lectures and practicals, but for me a frisson of perverse sexuality lurked behind all science. In physics, I read of master and slave circuits; in chemistry, of bonds and chains; in mathematics, of constraints, dominant variables, and degenerate cases.
- the mad scientist in Mad Love, Thomas Gomez, 1996.
posted by raygirvan at 5:30 AM on November 26, 2003


Re: the male/female plugs, I was a little disconcerted the first time I heard that - I got used to it, and use the terms myself now, but it was immediately clear that those items were named by men, not women.

Likewise, I imagine it's immediately clear that the master/slave drives were named by whites, not blacks. It obviously strikes most people here as completely ridiculous, and while I appreciate the sentiment that we shouldn't waste time on unimportant details, it seems to me a lot of people are wasting a lot of time defending this.

It would be pretty easy to just keep calling the master "master" and switch the name of slave to "subject" or "servant", just to avoid the connotations that come with slave (that muppetboy has already explained & which doesn't require removing the word from the language or not talking about slavery or any of the other mistaken leaps people have made). Big whoop, right? Somewhere they'd have to change some labels, and maybe some lines of code. I wouldn't have started this fight, but it doesn't seem completely unreasonable considering the main difficulty in doing it is getting past snarky geek boys who think it's stupid.
posted by mdn at 6:15 AM on November 26, 2003


A while back a Fry & Laurie sketch, Flushed Grollings, satirized the sexist terminology used for hardware.
posted by raygirvan at 6:40 AM on November 26, 2003


from daHIFI's article:

"[manager of purchasing] Sandoval told Reuters ... 'It appears that some folks have taken this a little too literally.'"

What? You've requested that suppliers look into revising their nomenclature -- how can that be taken any way other than literally? How does one figuratively rename a device?
posted by nickmark at 7:08 AM on November 26, 2003


Hehheheheh you said "RAM."

Pig!
posted by mimi at 11:27 AM on November 26, 2003


cnn has picked this up today...
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 11:48 AM on November 26, 2003


but it doesn't seem completely unreasonable considering the main difficulty in doing it is getting past snarky geek boys who think it's stupid.
Will changing the names be similar to the y2k problem. Making programs or devices obsolete?
posted by thomcatspike at 2:43 PM on November 26, 2003


mdn, servant would make NO SENSE.

A servant serves things. What is a servant drive doing? Serving the data to the master to serve it to the controller?

No.

Sorry, makes no sense, goes in round file with all other stupid PC ideas.
posted by shepd at 7:13 PM on November 26, 2003


shep, a servant serves a master, just like a slave is a slave to the master. Or call it subject, if you want, or boss/worker, top/bottom, lord/peon, whatever. I dunno, it doesn't seem like a big deal. Anyway, the way you describe it, the slave drive isn't following orders from the master, but just second in line to it, so it actually doesn't seem that accurate anyway - I don't see why #1/#2 wouldn't be fitting, or some military 1st in command, 2nd in command type thing (sarge/private type thing as mentioned above).

I get that you think it's pointless & stupid, but that's 'cause it has no personal connotations for you. Like I said, it doesn't strike me as particularly important, but it also doesn't seem that important that the terminology never be changed, so who cares? Why are you so intent on holding on to it?

Wether the words carry "nasty" connotations or not, they are the exact right words for the relationship between the drives.

But there are plenty of other terms that would work equally well and not reference painful history. It's not your history, so it seems dumb to you, but it's not hard to imagine that some people use those words vaguely enjoying the power dynamic they refer to.

As for your not being racist because you like Michael Jackson's music, one could just as easily use that argument to infer that you like pedophiles, no?
posted by mdn at 10:17 PM on November 26, 2003


What I find interesting about this is the fact that people have asked that a term THEY deem offensive not to be used, and this has resulted in a completely inappropriate backlash. Change Master/Slave to something else because some people are upset by it. Yeah - why not. It's not like my computer's going to stop working if I stop using that phrase.

Have some empathy people. This would only be an issue for you if it actually impacted your lives.

Like - I have this friend who is completely freaked out by any Sexual terminology. She can't listen to conversations that mention anything NSFW.

Of course, I could go Ballistic at her, tell her she's being stupid, that it's all natural, etc. Or I could accept the fact that this is something that makes her uncomfortable, and I can modify my behaviour accordingly.

I don't see this as being anything different.
posted by seanyboy at 7:46 AM on November 27, 2003


sorry for the tardiness, but i was eating turkey and just got back to my computer

the problem with behaviour modification because someone finds the conversation 'icky' or because a term recalls in someone's mind a time of incredible suffering for people, or because quite frankly i think we should discuss the virtues of jesus and evils of the jews, or that whatever because i say so! is that it shuts down the flow. personally i find most 'black' comedians rather offensive in the incessantly derisive discussion of all things 'white', but in my infinitely powerful way, i just don't watch it, because i don't want to - similar to gay porn - but i would never think to tell someone what they can and cannot think or say or watch or do simply because i find it not to my liking. similarly my preference for white meat turkey over dark meat in no way precludes me or anyone else from enjoying the meal. we simply share.

btw - prior to any flare ups - the jesus/jews thing was not serious, nor was the black/white comedian thing - except d.l. hughley - but he just isn't funny.
posted by bluefish at 1:40 PM on November 30, 2003


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