Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Language of Opposites

I was amazed to read this statement today..."Representative Artur Davis... said race was no longer the automatic barrier to the White House that it once was. (But conceded) 'There is a group of voters who will not vote for people who are opposite their race,' Mr. Davis said."
From In Voting Booth, Race May Play a Bigger Role, 10/15/2008, NYT

I am always interested in how both race and gender have been constructed, and the language that we use to describe these constructions. "Opposite" is a pretty strong word to describe the invented categorizations of race, but it's a staple and used without a thought to the meaning being unclear. "The opposite sex" is still in full effect as a descriptive term. I just wonder about the entanglement of language, as a way reflecting our constructions, and wondering if language actually causes how we see the world in order to fit the words we have.
That's all.


from The Bizarro Jerry, Seinfeld-episode 137

Jerry: Yeah. Like Bizarro Superman. Superman's exact opposite, who lives in the backwards bizarro world. Up is down, down is up. He says "Hello" when he leaves, "Good bye" when he arrives.

Elaine: Shouldn't he say "bad bye"?

Jerry: No, it's still goodbye.

Elaine: Does he live underwater?

Jerry: No.

Elaine: Is he black?

Jerry: Look, just forget the whole thing, all right.

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