Plot Twist: The Internet Isn’t Just For Arguing

Mucous. Feces. Urine. Flatulence. Purulent.

All of these words are the technical names for words that we use in our everyday speech in a colloquial way.

Most of us know this. Most of us know that the colloquialisms we use in place of these words aren’t the actual or technical terms for these things. Most of know that if we were in a classroom or seminar where any of these things were broached (another word for brought up), they’d likely not be referred to by their colloquial names, but by their technical names.

So, you can imagine my befuddlement (that’s another word for confusion) when I came across the following graphic (that’s another word for picture) on my Facebook timeline.

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I clawed (another word for scratch) my tegument (another word for scalp) and wondered if we are really at the point now where academic language in an academic textbook used in an academic setting is “pretentious” and “inaccessible.”

Let’s start with pretentious. No. It’s an ACADEMIC textbook. Those of us who know about code-switching understand that you don’t present yourself the same way in all settings. When you go in for an interview, you shake the interviewer’s hand, you don’t hug them or fist bump them.

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In a book on language arts, you aren’t going to get, “Timmy was chillaxin’ on the block with his homies when his mama told him to bring his narrow behind inside.”

Sure, that may be how the writer of the textbook speaks when he or she is at home around their friends and family but since the purpose of a language arts textbook is to apprise (another word for inform) the reader of standard English grammar, the writer instead offers, “Timmy was relaxing with his friends outside of his house, when his mother angrily demanded that he come back inside.”

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Pretentious would be me talking to my friend and telling her that I was clawing my tegument.

Inaccessible? Well, I don’t think it’s an unfair assumption that if you end up in college-level physiology, you have an above-average reading and comprehension level. Further, we live in an era that has thesaurus.com and dictionary.com and both are accessible, literally at your fingertips.

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We are fortunate enough to live in an era where you can Google almost anything and before you can blink your eyes twice, 92387877499937489 results of varying degrees on the topic you Googled will populate before your eyes.

Does that makeup for systemic inequalities in education? No. But let’s not overplay this thing either. If you need information, you can find it for free these days.

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Now, here’s the part that I’m known for: shade.

I will never not laugh at this generation who will engage in days-long debates with strangers over -ist, -phobic, gender, agender, sex, asexual, demisexual, pre-sexual, post-sexual, he, she, ze, thee, thou, fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, tall privilege, short privilege, etc…

but want to boo-hoo and tee-hee because an ACADEMIC textbook uses ACADEMIC words to explain ACADEMIC concepts (another word for thought or idea).

How sway? Just like you found a resource to convince you that men can have periods and babies, you can figure out what that word you’re not familiar with means.

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Matter of fact, in the time it took you to read and (somehow) agree with that pitiful tweet, you could have looked up what you didn’t understand in your textbook…or, you know, asked someone.

Priorities.

My Thoughts On Cancel Culture

This week (so far), there have been a couple of notable celebrity dustups that are once again forcing people to decide whether or not their fave (or would be) is #cancelled. 

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The first that comes to mind is Shane Gillis. He was hired…and then fired…by SNL when previous anti-Asian and homophobic remarks were discovered. It didn’t help that hired along with Gillis was Bowen Yang, SNL’s first East Asian cast member and an openly gay man. The comedy community has come out to defend him and express their disagreement with SNL’s decision. Gillis offered to apologize to anyone who may have been offended or hurt but also said that his comedy career requires him to take risks. 

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About two or three weeks ago, people (re)canceled Dave Chappelle because of jokes he told on his latest comedy special for Netflix. One of the jokes that stands out to me is when Chappelle said that transgender people are in a “hilarious predicament” and then mused about what would happen if he went around telling people he was Chinese in a nigga body (paraphrase) making the face similar to the one Mickey Rooney donned when he played a Chinese man in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” and speaking in a stereotypically exaggerated Asian accent.

Of course, the think pieces flowed. Some loved it and thought that Chappelle offered the kind of comedy that makes us think. Others hated it, called him all kinds of -phobic, and said that “punching down” is not funny. Interestingly enough, he also addressed cancel culture in his routine. 

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Lastly, Lizzo narrowly escaped cancellation when she angered several fans after she accused a Postmates runner of stealing her order. She posted the name and pic of the person. Many people thought Lizzo was wrong for “snitching.” Some said that Lizzo was wrong because the runner works in the service industry (notoriously low-paying) and would likely be fired. Lizzo issued an apology yesterday saying that she would be more responsible with her tweeting as apparently, the young woman was doxxed by hardcore fans (unconfirmed). 

Personally, I feel like there are categories of cancellation. Someone like R. Kelly needs to not only be #cancelled but abducted, tortured, and buried alive so that he slowly feels the life leave his body due to preying on children for more than two decades. 

But I think there are a couple of things that people are forgetting. First, nobody is born “woke.” We all make mistakes and missteps. Even if what was said was written as a part of a comedy routine (Chappelle) or a line in an outrageous podcast episode (Gillis), most of us have said things that would get us #cancelled by today’s standards. 

Yes, there are entire e-annals at this point on what’s taboo these days. Believe it or not, though, there are a lot of people who do not spend 70% of their day on social media trying to learn what’s been added to the Do Not Say List every day. I’m guessing most of the people on the famous list make up a big chunk of those people. 

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Let me stop here to say that Shane Gillis used legit slurs. To me, that’s different than someone telling a joke about a certain demographic. I never knew who he was until this happened but I can definitely distinguish between him and Dave Chappelle. 

Two, and this may be a shocker, I’d actually much rather know what a person thinks or feels than for them to be tip-toeing around with a big politically correct smile on their face. If the person wishes all niggers would die, let me know; especially if they work in medicine, law enforcement, or the judiciary. Someone who tells jokes or stands on stage singing and doing the Reebok in a leotard for a living? I really couldn’t care less unless I’m such a fan that my hard (oh so hard)-earned money may have gone to them at some point. 

Three, there are other people you still like and have not yet #cancelled who say and believe the same things (if not worse) that you’ve #cancelled other people for. Soooo….is it that you don’t like people thinking and speaking that way or is it that you don’t want them expressing it in a public forum? 

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***Note: evaluation of your WQ (Woke Quotient) is dependent upon how you answered that question.

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The truth is, if you wanted to cancel everybody who says or believes -ist things, you’d likely quit your job, move out of your neighborhood, and settle in an area uninhabited by other humans somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Your 100% politically correct friend would be a dolphin…or a shark.                                                                                                                        

I still use the word “crazy” and I don’t bristle when I hear “the r-word.” I guess that makes me cancel-worthy or at least complicit. *shrug* I think we all could use a crash course in managing our expectations of our fellow humans.