Re: Tracy Brown's discomfort

Don Hill (donhill@WIMSEY.COM)
Tue, 5 Apr 1994 16:59:23 -0800

Dear Carter,


>... a great many people in civil conversations detect at least a twinge of
>>intrusion or condecension in blunt interrogatives... So I have a certain
>>sympathy for Tracy, although she may have misjudged James Carrier's
>intentions. >Are there regional subcultural differences...


I produce television documentary. Before I conduct an interview, I give
careful consideration to the "tone" and "form" of a query - especially if
the subject is outside of my own culture (this extends to class, and
sometimes even neighbourhood). So, I understand Tracy Brown's sense of
feeling slighted.

And it's wise to have an awareness of social customs and taboos; this
extends to discussion on the internet - hence "netiquette."

On the 'net, words only refer to themselves. Unfortunately, this is often
not understood by people who apply a priori cultural assumptions against
the intent of electronic text. Very often, this leads to misunderstanding
and needless bruises.

What is understood as "sexist" language in North America is simply not a
consideration of any sort in other jurisdictions of the planet. Might I
suggest we move beyond speech pathology and get on with electronic
discourse - some of which may conflict with our point of perception - on
this marvellous forum for conversation.

Cordially yours,

Don Hill