Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Four kinds of safe spaces and a question about idiom

At Steven Brust’s Fourth Street Fantasy Remarks Generate Heat | File 770, Lydy Nickerson claimed,
I would like to point out that “safe space” is neither a literal nor a metaphorical phrase. It is a term of art, coming out of various complex discussions about how to deal with racism, sexism, and kierarchy.
World Weary added,
i’m surprised to find a writer unfamiliar with the concept of idiom, a term which describes a word or words with a specific but non-literal and non-metaphorical meaning. The bane of translaters everywhere.
This is a slightly revised version of my reply,
World Weary, the reason idiom is difficult to translate is because idioms can be literal, but they’re more commonly metaphorical. When they’re literal, they assume knowledge that outsiders don’t have. And that’s true when they’re metaphorical. Can you offer an example of an idiom that is neither metaphorical or literal?

To take this back to the topic:

A safe space can be a literal space that is safe from physical danger because danger cannot enter, like a fortress or an isolated chamber such as the safe room that rich people build in their homes.

A safe space can be one of at least three kinds of spaces where the safety is metaphorical, based on the consent of the people who meet there:

A space that is free from physical danger by agreement, like sacred grounds or a place where a flag of truce is flying.

A space where no ideas are taboo.

A space where certain ideas are taboo.
Thinking more about the possibility that an idiom could be literal but obscure, I went looking and couldn't find any examples, but I found a good definition of idiom at English Idioms | Lists of Idioms with Definitions and Examples:
An idiom (also called idiomatic expression) is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning conventionally understood by native speakers. This meaning is different from the literal meaning of the idiom's individual elements. In other words, idioms don't mean exactly what the words say. They have, however, hidden meaning.
So, can anyone offer an example of an idiom that is neither literal or metaphorical? 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Black Panther wisdom: two quotes by Huey P. Newton and Fred Hampton

“I dissuade Party members from putting down people who do not understand. Even people who are unenlightened and seemingly bourgeois should be answered in a polite way. Things should be explained to them as fully as possible. I was turned off by a person who did not want to talk to me because I was not important enough. Maurice just wanted to preach to the converted, who already agreed with him. I try to be cordial, because that way you win people over. You cannot win them over by drawing the line of demarcation, saying you are on this side and I am on the other; that shows a lack of consciousness. After the Black Panther Party was formed, I nearly fell into this error. I could not understand why people were blind to what I saw so clearly. Then I realized that their understanding had to be developed.” ―Huey P. Newton

“We got to face some facts. That the masses are poor, that the masses belong to what you call the lower class, and when I talk about the masses, I’m talking about the white masses, I’m talking about the black masses, and the brown masses, and the yellow masses, too. We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don’t fight racism with racism. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity. We say you don’t fight capitalism with no black capitalism; you fight capitalism with socialism.” —Fred Hampton

ETA: The Women's Liberation and Gay Liberation Movements, Speech given by Huey Newton, founder of the Black Panthers, August 15, 1970.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Censors censor discussion of censorship—a 4th Street followup

I made a post on the 4th Street Fantasy Facebook page asking which specific part of the 4th Street Code of Conduct Steve Brust is supposed to have broken. Alex Haist, who silenced Steve, also administers the 4th Street page; she deleted my post.

I then asked this on her post about closing comments:
I am guessing you deleted my post. Perhaps this is the proper place to ask the question: What specific part of the Code of Conduct did Brust break? http://www.4thstreetfantasy.com/2017/policies/code-of-conduct.ghtml
She replied,
No, this is not the right place. As I said, you're welcome to have this conversation with us in email.
and then she turned off commenting on that post.

So I made a new post, trying to point out that if you expect people to abide by your speech code, you have to be able to explain which part of the code applies to what you censor. Otherwise, you just appear to be a dictator.

Okay, I worded the post much more gently than that, but she must have seen the implications, because she deleted it.

Yes, I know private censorship is perfectly legal. It is still wrong.

Relevant: XKCD doesn't understand free speech—or the difference between legal and moral rights