Blowback

This is not a comment about the value of different ways in which firearms fire, eject, and reload a second shell, but it could be.

Semiautomatic or automatic reloading may be accomplished by several means, and these include blowback, recoil, and gas operation.  The simplest is blowback; “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  “Blowback” is mostly used in the operation of semi-automatic pistols of small caliber like .22 or .32.

Autoloading shotguns and higher caliber semi-automatic pistols and rifles usually employ either recoil or gas ejection.

I’m not sure there is a corollary between blowback pistols and blowback people, but there probably is one.

A few days ago I proposed an exercise of writing a piece for each of the categories into which blog articles placed.  That suggestion was originally proposed by Safe Bets Amy several months ago as a means of getting us all out of our comfort zone.

I only ever intended for this to be an exercise and for it to be over by May 15. 

Two things happened; people were “on board” madly writing in each category ( and filling up the most recent category) and people began complaining about, the political correctness of articles, the sheer volume of articles, and keeping worthwhile articles off of the feed.

There were comments about this merely being a self-congratulatory exercise.  Some declared the exercise failed on arrival.

The volume has been staggering.  I envisioned this happening by drips and dribbles over the next 3 weeks, not in one evening.  It is true that one’s own well written article might get swamped under the weight of multiple Challenge inspired articles.

Slowing down seems like a good thing.  I imagined everyone doing his/her own best effort with each category with the responses coming over weeks, but I admit to getting caught up in the excitement.

The second complaint has to do with what is and is not an acceptable form of humor.  That criticism of a piece about Michael J. Fox and his disability has raised a topic about which we might have a long discussion, and that is about what are the rules of what has been called political correctness,

Political correctness, as I understand the concept, began in a perfectly well intentioned desire to advance the cause of minority groups and  disabled individuals and groups while using terms that were not prejudicial, pejorative, or derisive. The substitution of “neutral” terms that admitted a difference without using stereotypical terms or terms that consigned anyone into a group, was intended to present individuals as real people, not just “other”. From this intent we have developed acceptable terms of reference

I found the following agency that lists acceptable terms along with older terms; the National Disability Agency.

The NDA is obviously not a U.S. agency because its mission is to “assist the Minister for Justice and Equality to co-ordinate and develop disability policy.”  In the U.S. ministers speak from pulpits, and no one seems to be in charge of justice and equality in the U.S. today. 

Nevertheless, the list of acceptable terms is helpful.

We no longer “Hire the Handicapped”, we hire people with disabilities.

This list does not cover terms other than those that refer to individuals with disabilities.  Terms applicable to racial and ethnic minorities, for instance, are not mentioned.   

In at least one instance this renaming process has been extended to a majority group; females. 

Today we are waited on not by waitresses, but by servers.  The woman at the end of the table in the boardroom is the chairperson, and we no longer have stewardesses on airlines, we have flight attendants.  Those changes were all intended to make the point that there is no “woman’s work”; that women can do anything that men can do. 

Paradoxically, this had the effect of opening a number of occupations to men, as well as women.  I almost wrote “Ironically” instead of Paradoxically.  The use of “ironically” to introduce an unintended consequence, is not considered to be a correct use of the word.  (See below)

That brings up definitions of various forms of humor.

 WIT: motive/aim: throwing light; province: words & ideas; method/means: surprise; audience: the intelligent

 

SATIRE: motive/aim: amendment; province: morals & manners; method/means: accentuation; audience: the self-satisfied

 

SARCASM: motive/aim: inflicting pain; province: faults & foibles; method/means: inversion; audience: victim & bystander

 

INVECTIVE: motive/aim: discredit; province: misconduct; method/means: direct statement; audience: the public

 

IRONY: motive/aim: exclusiveness; province: statement of facts; method/means: mystification; audience: an inner circle

 

CYNICISM: motive/aim: self-justification; province: morals; method/means: exposure of nakedness; audience: the respectable

 

SARDONIC: motive/aim: self-relief; province: adversity; method/means: pessimism; audience: the self

First, I haven’t read the article that featured Michael J. Fox as a point of humor.  So, I don’t know the details, but looking at the forms above the key factor in acceptability is intent.

If Michael J. Fox was joking about his disability then it might have been a SARDONIC form of humor, the intent of which is self-relief under adversity.  Laughing at that is sympathetic.  If on the other hand the intent was to ridicule, it would be intended to inflict pain, SARCASTIC.  Or, it might have been intended to congratulate an inner circle – those without disability – and be considered IRONIC.  Alternatively, it might have been SATIRICAL, intended for a self-satisfied audience with the intent of bringing enlightenment.

Recently, a cartoon circulated on Facebook that showed Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama having lunch together.  Hillary asks, “Are you seeing this?” and Michelle replies, “Girl, Stevie Wonder could see this!”

I laughed nervously when I saw it.  The cartoon was political, referring, I suppose, to the egregious nature of the Trump administration’s trampling on norms of behavior.  So, why was I uncomfortable?

There was, first of all, Michelle’s referring to Hillary as “girl”.  That is a term I’ve heard black women of all ages use when talking to another woman.  It stereotyped Ms. Obama.  On the other hand, it suggested a level of friendship and comfort we should all hope for between two first ladies.  The reference to Stevie Wonder’s disability would be considered by some to be a disparagement of those with visual disabilities.  On the other hand, to call Stevie Wonder “otherly abled” would be a gross understatement.

The greatest criticism of the concept of political correctness has been that it puts entire subjects for discussion off the table.  We are not allowed to talk about racial injustice, disability or other subjects because they have been sanitized and quarantined.

I was recently chided for the use of the words “blind” and “deaf” in an article.  The title “I see, said the blind man to his deaf dog” was a parody of something my mother said, “I see, said the blind man to his deaf daughter.”  It was her way of saying, “This is a non-conversation among people who have no knowledge of the topic.”  In my case it referred to me, a blind man, and our dog, who is now deaf.

Visually challenged is a euphemism for a spectrum of disabilities ranging from visually impaired, through legal blindness to those totally without sight.  I am for technical and legal purposes blind.  My dog cannot hear us now unless we shout at her.

Is it OK for me to call myself blind, but not for others who have good sight, as has been claimed by some?  I think that proprietary use of a term may be appropriate in some cases such as black individuals calling each other by the “N” word, but placing that word off limits for everyone else.  However, it does not apply here.

I did not attend the visually challenged rehab center in 2006.  I attended the Veterans Administration’s Blind Rehab Center.

The entire purpose of this discussion is not to characterize forms of humor – there is no test at the end of the hour – it is to make us all aware of intent.  Intent means everything.  If I make blind jokes it is sardonic humor; a form of relief.  On the other hand, if a sighted person makes a blind joke the intent has to be examined.  Is that person belittling the blind?  Is that person pointing out that you, the listener, are less able to see than the blind person? 

When Donald Trump imitated a reporter with cerebral palsy he was, regardless of what he and his supporters say, belittling the reporter because the reporter was critical of Trump.  Trump was using that technique to tar the criticism as ridiculous by making the reporter look ridiculous.

My response to the overload criticism is to say that the response, while well intended, did have the effect of clogging the feed.  Slow down.  There is time.  By really working on topics we can avoid using up all of the oxygen and produce articles that are worth reading.

As to topics, consider the intent.  Is the intent to shed light, to bring awareness or to exclude or wound?

It’s all right to point out hurtful or exclusionary intent in criticism of an article.

Consider this story.

Many years ago I had a workplace acquaintance, a white Mormon nurse in Arizona, who was married to a Navajo man.  We were talking about stereotypes of members of various tribes (including the Mormon tribe).  She told me that there is the general impression that Indians don’t have a sense of humor.  She assured me that they do.  When her husband got together with his Navajo buddies they told White People jokes.

Should we be offended by that?  I thought it was hilarious.

Views: 197

Comment by Steel Breeze on April 16, 2018 at 8:30am

over sensitivity and over analysis; modern day plagues....

i remember when i used to hear plenty of 'dumb pollock' jokes,and just got a good chuckle...

Comment by J.P. Hart on April 16, 2018 at 8:54am

wHAT?!

tHAT I should take and risk black ice bee-ling to Gatlinburg & learn if I still have the elbow grease doin' chin-ups for a Mercedes dealership??

all is three hots, baloney, and my Duluth sleeping bag in the wilderness 

Comment by koshersalaami on April 16, 2018 at 8:58am

First of all, sorry about the one evening thing. I initiated that. But I’ve got ADHD and I wanted to do it while I remembered. [That was flippant. I realize it’s sometimes hard to tell.]

In terms of clogging the thread, please. The volume of posting in this place is low enough that it’s easy to at least glance at every new post. In addition to which, this got a lot of the site thinking in other terms and absolutely increased community involvement, which helps the site and the community. It is not a fail. Thanks to you and SBA for coming up with this; regardless of how it has unfolded, it’s a good idea. 

PC is another issue. Its original intent, to open up thinking about women and work and to avoid making any given population feel excluded, is great, but in some circles it’s evolved way past that. We know what blind means. It means being unable to see. I have no idea why anyone would consider it perjorative and I’ve never been told by anyone blind or who works with blind people (my cousin is a cross-country skiing tour guide at blind skiing events and has written a free GPS program for blind pedestrians that’s now in international use and he’s recently become a narrator for old TV episodes for the blind) that there’s an issue with the term. Once, in business, I was sent by one of my customers to another room in his shop to look for something which I couldn’t find. He said to me “What are you, blind?” What made that noteworthy is that he actually is. 

What Trump did is something else altogether: He poked fun at a guy for something he clearly couldn’t control, like having a disability isn’t difficult enough without additionally being mocked for it. In the seventeen plus years my son was alive, I heard him mocked once or twice and that’s it, because people around him (including his school peers) got that that just wasn’t appropriate. And the President of the United States can’t figure that out?

PC exists because people don’t bother to attempt to be considerate. The trouble is that PC is sometimes used to be inconsiderate. PC has no place being used as a credential. 

The reactions to this open call were also exacerbated by some interpersonal dynamics that fundamentally had nothing to do with the open call itself, so let’s not hold the open call responsible for every normal dynamic that just found a new way to manifest. 

Comment by Birdinhand on April 16, 2018 at 9:49am

I must have missed all the excitement while I was moving to Olympia.

As far as being PC, there are times I'm certain I fail. I just try to make sure to own up to it. I think that makes a difference. It can be easy to be a jerk, but it does take effort to admit it and make amends.

Comment by J.P. Hart on April 16, 2018 at 9:57am

And then one morning, only Phds were committed

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on April 16, 2018 at 10:12am

When we lived in California, Suzy and I did a lot of volunteering at the VA hospital that was just down the road from us.  What we ended up doing most often was escort people to areas of the hospital that were difficult for them to find.  

One of my favorite people to escort was a guy who was blind (and had a lot of other medical issues so he was there a LOT).  What was cool was he always asked for me because I didn't treat him like he was incompetent just because he was blind.  I appreciated that and over the many multiple times I escorted him around the hospital I learned a lot about being having "low vision", being visually impaired (which he was at first) and blindness.  

What I always thought was funny as hell was that this redneck, good 'ol boy from Alabama called all of us with good vision "Sight-y".  LOL  

His "humor" might not have been PC, but I personally think he had the right to laugh about his own issues any and every way he wanted.

Comment by koshersalaami on April 16, 2018 at 10:19am

Anyone has the right to laugh about their own issues. And Sighty is a damned sight better than what my blind friend sometimes calls sighted people, which is LDI’s, standing for Light Dependent Idiots. 

The last thing I’d think about my friend is that he’s incompetent. I know him through business. Making that assumption would be an extremely serious mistake. No one who knows him makes it. 

Comment by J.P. Hart on April 16, 2018 at 10:27am

{sic}

'Even more profoundly, it affected the thinking of certain prophets.'*

pg 147, Cosmos, Chaos-Norman Cohn ~ Yale University Press. New Haven and London~1993

Comment by Rodney Roe on April 16, 2018 at 11:59am

Being able to laugh at oneself is essential.

I met a vet of Iraq or Afghanistan - can't remember which - who had lost both eyes in combat.  Most of the time he wore those wraparound reflective dark glasses, but he had prostheses.  He and several of his friends went to a bar.  Steve was sitting at the bar when the guy on the next stool said, "I've got to go to the John.  Would you keep an eye on my drink?"  Steve took off his glasses, popped out an eye, and sat it so that it could stand watch..

Comment by J.P. Hart on April 16, 2018 at 12:05pm

anything to prevent cabin fever in the sSpace sShuttle

JPH

I couldn't find my red bandana and I was w___.ing it!

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