Stone Pigs

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What Do You Mean by That?

Posted By Alan Partis on September 7, 2001

I originally wrote this essay on September 7, 2001.  It is written from the perspective of Julius Caesar.

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Most of you know me, Julius Caesar, as a ruler of Ancient Rome (though we didn’t think it was so ancient in my day).  And while I suspect most of my readers don’t think a great deal about me these days, I must tell you that it’s not easy being a dead former emperor.  Let me give you an example.  In my day we spoke Latin and we liked it, but as much as you modern folk find Latin such a difficult language, I have to tell you that it’s nowhere near as confusing as what I see in your modern English!

Let’s examine a simple word like ‘human’.  At first this seems like a very straightforward term.  It’s short for ‘human being’ and refers to a person like you and I.  That’s simple enough, but the confusing part comes when I hear someone referring to someone else’s “human qualities” or I hear comparisons of two people (both of whom I presume are human) but where one is deemed “more human” than the other.  What’s that all about? ‘Human’ is a state of being; either you are are you aren’t.  It’s not a gray area.  Trust me on this folks, if you can read this, then you’re human and you’re no more nor no less human than anyone else in this World.

Another source of confusion for me is the term ‘co-ed’.  My understanding (I asked someone about this one) is that co-ed is short for “co-educational” and means that a school educates both the male and female sexes of humans (please notice that I used the word ‘sex’ here properly and not the improper word ‘gender’ as seems to have become the politically correct thing to do these days).  I can understand this because I’ve noticed that you’ve started to educate your women whereas in my day we did not.  From its use I have been able to infer that a ‘co-ed’ is a woman, generally one enrolled at a college or university.  Again, from the standpoint of a patriarchal society this makes sense — men are students and women are ‘co-eds’.  I get confused though when I see signs for “Adult Co-Ed Softball” leagues, etc.  What does this mean?  Does this mean it’s a league for women college students to play softball?  Or was this once a men’s league that now admits women in some sort of softball educational setting?  I understand that men will never learn everything about woman, but I doubt there’s really a whole lot of teaching and learning going on in the field of play.

‘Racist’. Now there’s a term that gets a lot of overuse lately.  Lleyton Hewitt, the men’s 2001 winner of the US Open tennis championships was recently accused of making ‘racist’ remarks.  For those of you not familiar with the case, Lleyton (a white man from Australia) was playing a match against James Blake (an American of mixed race, but certainly is 100% human).  During the match Mr. Hewitt became enraged and approached the chair umpire complaining about one of the linesmen (who was a black man from the US) who was calling him for foot faults.  During Lleyton’s tirade he made comments regarding “similarities” and “differences” and it appeared to some observers as though he was referring to the similarity in race between the linesman and his opponent and the difference from himself.  This brought on a media uproar and charges of racism.

A ‘racist’ is someone who believes that one or more of the races is superior to the others AND thinks that rights should not apply equally across all the races.  Nothing in Lleyton’s behavior or comments indicates any such trait, though your pop-culture media was quick to pounce on him for making ‘racially charged’ comments.  At worst, Lleyton is guilty only of accusing the linesman of being biased against him based on race.  I think the media’s self-righteous and indignant personalities purposely try to leave the wrong impression with the public in a dangerous game of thought control (afterall, that’s what political correctness is all about).  Independent thinkers in this World (and the next) will rebuke the media’s assessment and will likely see US Open Champion Lleyton Hewitt as just a hot-headed kid who is quick to blame someone else for his mistakes in the heat of battle.

Language is a very powerful tool.  It is how thoughts are conveyed between people and is a way of expressing thoughts and emotions.  Language is a source of meaning in our lives and a source of confusion when misused.  I can assure you that even after more than 2000 years in the afterlife, I’m still learning.


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