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Immersion Breakers

Oyster

So...there you are, reading a story, enjoying it, tuning out the outside the world and then it happens: You read something and your immersion breaks.
What are your biggest immersion breakers in stories and why?

I'll start off with the two big ones that always break my immersion:

* URL-addresses and/or the character/narrator stating that they are reading stories on a specific site
Yes, I know those sites. I am probably on that site and reading the story there. No, I do not need a reminder that I am on that site and reading a story there.

* Sentences/passages in foreign languages that reek of babelfish/google translations
Of course that one only breaks my immersion when I understand the language and it's usually the same reaction: "Really? The editor/writer was not able to get a native speaker to check that phrase?" followed by a sigh (or a chuckle).

garymrssn

Blatant ignorance of female anatomy.

Incorrect homonym in a serious story. In a comedy they sometimes add laughs.

LonelyDad

The usual, homonyms, large number of misspellings, incorrect usage of apostrophes in plural possessives, misplaced words. One particular squick of mine is when to double the trailing consonant when adding -ing. [Hint - when the preceding vowel is long, don't double. Ex: pin/pinning, pine/pining, pain/paining, pan/panning] Incorrect use of action pairs, i.e. lay/lie, then/than, affect/effect. The ones that really get me are when the tense of the wrong side of the pair is used, like layed instead of laid.

I know I'm somewhat pedantic here, but since I know how to use these things, they jar me when I read them.

Replies:   Grant
graybyrd

The omniscient prophecy: "Little did they know that this would be the last moment of their [whatever] together...!" and similar author intrusions.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  samuelmichaels
richardshagrin

Naked in School stories where the Principal is spelled Principle. Its not such a big deal in most stories, just another homonym, but if you set the story in a school...

Replies:   Wheezer
Not_a_ID

@graybyrd

The omniscient prophecy: "Little did they know that this would be the last moment of their [whatever] together...!" and similar author intrusions.


Eh, there's been a few(very few) times when I've seen that done well. But yeah, generally agreed, that statement, and ones closely related to it, are ones most authors should avoid. They may think they're clever by adding it in there, but they're not.

Usually the biggest offending parties are the ones the are posting serial stories. Often ones they're writing almost as fast as they're posting. In which case lines like that probably get thrown in as some kind of twisted "cliff hanger" until the next part is posted.

samuelmichaels

@graybyrd

The omniscient prophecy: "Little did they know that this would be the last moment of their [whatever] together...!" and similar author intrusions.

Yeah, I don't like heavy-handed foreshadowing.

I am also sensitive to head-hopping.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Wheezer

@richardshagrin

Naked in School stories where the...

My ludicrous meter is way too sensitive for me to even start a NIS story, so what happens inside the story is irrelevant to me.

Replies:   richardshagrin  OldNYer
Grant

@LonelyDad

I know I'm somewhat pedantic here, but since I know how to use these things, they jar me when I read them.

Motion seconded.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
awnlee jawking

When the author gets the characters' names muddled up.

Dialogue sequences in which it's difficult or impossible to tell who said what.

Timeline failures.

AJ

ustourist

Replacing pique with peak or peek.
I don't think that is homonym misuse, in that case it is more likely to be lack of knowledge of the word they are trying to use.
That error totally breaks my concentration.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@ustourist

Replacing pique with peak or peek.


Also using "discrete" in place of "discreet."

In addition to a passage perforated with cliches and trite phrases, is the "text replacement" boiler-plate descriptions in the course of a story: ie, "he was tall for a xxyzian at well over two meters and wore tight mauve scale armour, with large, wide-set eyes..." repeated over and over and over, every time a xxyzian enters the scene.

It's like the author loaded that phrase into his text-replacement utility, and triggers it by typing "xxyz".

Replies:   Oyster
Oyster

@graybyrd

Are xxyzians related to zzyzzyxx?

One typo (or Freudian slip) that made me chuckle was when a character named Melody turned into Melony.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
StarFleet Carl
Updated:

@Grant

Motion seconded.


I think we have a consensus here.

And since I used that word in a sentence, it reminded me of a story I read not that long ago, where the author was talking about counting the population - with the senses results, not the census results... (facepalm)

richardshagrin

@Wheezer

My ludicrous meter is way too sensitive for me to even start a NIS story

Many, maybe most stories on SOL require suspension of disbelief. I use a 50 ton crane, but every once in a while the cable breaks. Schools require a lot of strange things. Its been a while, but I remember being sent to the Principal (I almost spelled it with a ple) for disciple because in class when we were reading a particular chapter I read ahead in the text book. In Tomah, Wisconsin where if your grandfather hadn't settled there with their grandfather, you would always be an outsider, in second grade after a spelling test the teacher required the boys, who of course had lower scores than the girls, wear dresses to class the next day. Weird funny things happen in school, having particular characters in a fictitious school have to go nude isn't that strange, at least to me and others who enjoy the NIS universe.

Replies:   sejintenej
garymrssn

So far I haven't encountered a parent catching their teenager exacerbating. However, growing up sometimes does get worse after puberty. A suddenly sexually aware teen may need to exacerbate before it gets better.

Crumbly Writer

@Oyster

Sentences/passages in foreign languages that reek of babelfish/google translations
Of course that one only breaks my immersion when I understand the language and it's usually the same reaction: "Really? The editor/writer was not able to get a native speaker to check that phrase?" followed by a sigh (or a chuckle).

That's one I've at least tried to address in my stories. While I'm woefully liguistically challenged (being a typical American), I started out using Google Translate, but switched over to using Fivrr to get personal translated for specific phrases. I can't say there's a huge difference (not being able to read the passages myself), but I like to pretend it makes a difference.

However, I'm with you about the typical "I was reading incest stories on SOL when I got the idea 'why not make a pass at my daughter?'" The device has been reused so much, it's almost a stereotype now. There's really no need to play that directly to your audience. After all, we're not like bands that shout out "Hello [insert name of current city]!" at every show, and the idea that every pedophile or person involved in incest would inherently know everyone else involved in the practice is patently objectionable. It's akin to asking someone from Spokane if they know Bob from Seattle. There's absolutely no connection between the people rather than their membership in a small, isolated community to someone else in another small, isolated community.

@LonelyDad

I know I'm somewhat pedantic here, but since I know how to use these things, they jar me when I read them.

I can relate, but I gotta ask, do you just stew in your own juices over it, or do you send of a 'Did you realize ...' response?

Replies:   LonelyDad
Crumbly Writer

@samuelmichaels

I am also sensitive to head-hopping.

Yeah, my tend gets sensitive after people hop on it, too! ;D

Crumbly Writer

@Oyster

One typo (or Freudian slip) that made me chuckle was when a character named Melody turned into Melony.

I'll admit, after so many stories with SO many different characters, I'll often find myself typing another characters' name for the one the story/chapter/sequence is actually about. Luckily, though, my editors catch most of those flubs.

LonelyDad

@Crumbly Writer

I can relate, but I gotta ask, do you just stew in your own juices over it, or do you send of a 'Did you realize ...' response?

If there aren't too many and it's a worthwhile story I will send corrections, and sometimes offer my services as a proofreader, something I have done for several authors here.
By worthwhile story I mean one with a real plot and decent story, where it is obvious the author has spent time and effort to do a good job.

rkimmelerre

I'm generally pretty chill about misspellings or wrong words, though I almost always notice them. There's only two common misspellings that bug me.

1) Rouge for rogue. It's an easy typo, but the consistency with which some writers make the mistake leads me to believe they think it's the correct spelling.

2) Defiantly for definitely. I don't understand this one at all. If it was only one writer who did it, or I only saw it once in a great while, that'd be one thing. But it's actually fairly common, and it bugs the snot out of me.

The only other immersion breaker that comes to mind is hypocritical main characters, or stupidly sanctimonious main characters, but only when the author seems unaware of the trait. Both traits are perfectly acceptable in a fictional character, as long as they're acknowledged flaws. What bugs me is when a character in a story makes a big show about taking a moral stand, because it's the right thing to do, dammit, and think of the children! only to go on sometimes in the very next chapter do pretty much exactly what he was bitching about other people doing.

The stupid sanctimony comes in when a character makes a big show about criticizing the actions of someone else and shaming them into doing "the right thing," and then three pages down the line the author shows us that the supposed wrong way would've been much better and smarter for all concerned, and wouldn't have hurt anyone in any way.

Again, these only bug me when it's obvious that the author is unaware of what his/her characters are doing.

Replies:   doctor_wing_nut
graybyrd
Updated:

Spot the clinker! I just came across this in an Amazon-published book I'm reading, and this one knocked me right out of my chair...!

"The new ship would be her Sword of Damocles, and she would use it to make the ~~~~~~ and ~~~~ pay for what they had done."

Honestly, what can one possibly say about that... other than, maybe, reference sources are an author's friend... otherwise, one can look pretty lame.

This is the same author/book I referred to in an earlier post on this topic: "It's like the author loaded that phrase into his text-replacement utility, and triggers it by typing "xxyz"."

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@graybyrd

I think that author deserves to be named. There are times when warning other potential readers can be considered an act of mercy and public duty.

sejintenej
Updated:

@Oyster


* URL-addresses and/or the character/narrator stating that they are reading stories on a specific site


I am a little less averse to this on two grounds; a) I very seldom see it, b) one such introduced me to a guitarist I had never heard of but now enjoy and there c o u l d be further useful site references


* Sentences/passages in foreign languages that reek of babelfish/google translations

Of course that one only breaks my immersion when I understand the language and it's usually the same reaction: "Really? The editor/writer was not able to get a native speaker to check that phrase?" followed by a sigh (or a chuckle).


Haven't we had this commented upon ad nauseum previously?

I have just finished reading (and recommend) Ernest Bywater's 'Finding Home' which is jam-packed with Japanese. The English equivalent of most repeated Japanese words arrives almost unnoticed in the text whilst others suggesting rank / class are clearly implied. Don't worry, he uses the western alphabet!

He comments, outside the story, that conversations may in context be in Japanese but he is giving the English translation.

Replies:   Oyster
sejintenej
Updated:

@richardshagrin


in second grade after a spelling test the teacher required the boys, who of course had lower scores than the girls, wear dresses to class the next day.


What happens in Wisconsin.....! If you think that ludicrous, think of a schoolboy in black knee breeches with silver buttons at the knee, bright yellow stockings (apparently bugs avoid yellow!) a thick heavy woolen ankle length coat with silver buttons and cuff buttons, open from the waist, a leather belt or girdle with a real silver buckle and the neck bands of a clergyman. That was the school uniform (from 1553) worn by the band at the Rosebowl a few years ago!!!!!

Heavy, man, heavy! You only had to wear it one day - those schoolboys wore it for up to 9 years, all day, 7 days a week. (Well, it was a hospital)

(Edit for spelling)

Oyster

@sejintenej

URLs belong in annotations or an after word. In a story they most likely are just an unneeded distraction.
Inserting the websites where the author publishes his stories in real life with no rhyme or reason is just bad product placement or self-promotion.

You seem to have missed the point of why and when the use of foreign languages makes me stop reading for a moment.
I have no problem when an author uses foreign languages correctly, but when a character who is supposed to be a native speaker mangles her/his language beyond recognition, well then it breaks my immsersion.
I'll give one example that has stayed with me for years:
In a published book the author is talking about black knights and tries to use the German words (schwarze Ritter) for it. The words are used three or four times in that story and they are misspelled in a different manner every time the author uses them (e.g. "Schwarzritterein" and "schwartze Rittern").
Bottom line is: If you do not speak the language don't use it in your story, especially if it is a language that uses declension and conjugation heavily.

But then again that's just, like, my opinion, man.

Replies:   sejintenej
Ernest Bywater

@Oyster

* URL-addresses and/or the character/narrator stating that they are reading stories on a specific site
Yes, I know those sites. I am probably on that site and reading the story there. No, I do not need a reminder that I am on that site and reading a story there.


But, is every reader of the story reading it on that site? That's the question you need to ask.

Also, the context in which it's done, is it appropriate for the story at that point? I've done it a couple of times to show the person doing is relaxing by reading. It's no worse than saying the character is reading Red October or any other novel or author by name.

Replies:   Oyster
Ernest Bywater

@Oyster


* Sentences/passages in foreign languages that reek of babelfish/google translations
Of course that one only breaks my immersion when I understand the language and it's usually the same reaction: "Really? The editor/writer was not able to get a native speaker to check that phrase?" followed by a sigh (or a chuckle).


If the character is being represented as being a native speaker of that language, you've got grounds for complaint. But if the character is speaking the language as a non-native speaker, then a babblefish translation is more likely to be appropriate than a perfect one. Also, it shouldn't be an issue if it's just an odd word now and then or a title or name.

Replies:   sejintenej  sejintenej
Oyster

@Ernest Bywater

But, is every reader of the story reading it on that site? That's the question you need to ask.


No, the question one has to ask is: Is it important to the story or the character and does it have to be that site or would a generic site do just fine?

Also, the context in which it's done, is it appropriate for the story at that point? I've done it a couple of times to show the person doing is relaxing by reading. It's no worse than saying the character is reading Red October or any other novel or author by name.


Exactly, the context and impact on the story has to be taken into account.
Good examples of how it enhances a story that I remember off the top of my head from this site are:
"The Romantic Vigilante" (SPOILERS AHEAD)
The MC reads books by Louis L'Amour about taking justice into his own hands and those give him a push to seek revenge on those who killed his mother. Later those same books help him connect with his biological father.

"Building a Better Past"
The MC reads time travel stories before being thrown back in time which makes him more accepting of what happened to him.

Sorry to say, but, IMHO, your ~200 word exposition in "Survivor" did nothing to enhance the story in any way, shape or form and it is just advertisement. It becomes more obvious or glaring when compared to the generic statement "watching a movie" in the same paragraph.
Do we really need to know that the anthologies are in e-pub?
Or the other stories? Or that it is on finestories.com or lulu.com?

Immersion breaking is just like taking offense, a rather personal thing, so what may break my immersion may be overlooked by others.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
sejintenej

@Oyster

I have no problem when an author uses foreign languages correctly, but when a character who is supposed to be a native speaker mangles her/his language beyond recognition, well then it breaks my immsersion.

Whilst I agree with you 100% (I couldn't stand German) I suggested what I consider a suitable way of handling language which should suit those who speak the language and those who do not (my Japanese is minimal!)

In that example I recognised some of the words as being correct but that didn't matter too much because the words used were all simple nouns plus the addition of the suffix 'san' where applicable. IF EB got it wrong it didn't matter because the words were explained or understandable.
I am also aware that some European languages have very basic local variations.

sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

If the character is being represented as being a native speaker of that language, you've got grounds for complaint. But if the character is speaking the language as a non-native speaker, then a babblefish translation is more likely to be appropriate than a perfect one. Also, it shouldn't be an issue if it's just an odd word now and then or a title or name.

I reckoned I knew French before I moved there - my boss was French and I had to use it. However he is Parisian and it took me a year before I could understand my next door neighbour when he spoke French for me. As for the patois they speak, I can just about read it but not understand it spoken.

One author uses Norwegian - modern Norwegian which is miles different to what I learned. I don't say he is wrong because he is using a different/ modern form of the language.

LonelyDad

One that kicks me out every time is when it appears that the author used speech to text software, and then didn't correct the errors like 'your' for 'you're' and other homophones.

Replies:   docholladay
Ernest Bywater

@Oyster


Sorry to say, but, IMHO, your ~200 word exposition in "Survivor" did nothing to enhance the story in any way, shape or form and it is just advertisement.


It shows aspects of the character's personality in that he planned ahead for his reading while traveling, uses modern facilities, and is prepared to put aside his preferred reading to read something else to his seat neighbour. I could have had him sit there and ignore the girl, but that would make he look like a rectum. Once I was having him reading on a tablet, then it's a matter of choosing what he reads, and listing them, by using the ones I did I knew there'd be no chance of a legal backlash, especially when they read the story from other sources, which many of my readers do.

In this case it also helps to promote the website for Lazeez.

docholladay

@LonelyDad

One that kicks me out every time is when it appears that the author used speech to text software, and then didn't correct the errors like 'your' for 'you're' and other homophones.


Those writers are the ones who really need editorial help. Most of them are legally blind at a minimum. The software probably will never notice those errors or even grammar checkers. The right editor could hopefully spot those errors and correct them. When I know a writer has to use "speech to text" software, I cut them some slack. I will try to at least send them a feedback quoting the sentence or paragraph with the wrong word choice (most sound the same), with a suggested replacement sentence correcting the major mistake.

Until I find out different I tend to give a lot of slack to writers using the speech to text. If they can't see it, the only way some errors will be spotted is for someone else to read and hopefully edit the story with corrected word choices.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@docholladay

Those writers are the ones who really need editorial help. Most of them are legally blind at a minimum.


This would be an excellent opportunity for volunteer editors to help, if a special-needs writer would post a request. A win-win deal for all, really.

sejintenej
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


@Oyster wrote

* Sentences/passages in foreign languages that reek of babelfish/google translations

Ernest Bywater replied

If the character is being represented as being a native speaker of that language, you've got grounds for complaint.


What is a native? MIT does an undergraduate course in about 6 varieties of Spanish including Mexican and Puerto Rican (I don't know about Cuban). The US of A is reputed to have large tracts which are "Spanish" speaking and an author, whom I take to be American, has come up with the following after Spanish lessons in an American school:

......so she said ' Yo soy embarrassado.' The teacher broke down in laughter before explaining it to us. 'Embarrassado' means pregnant!


OK so that is a joke which I can enjoy with embarrassment but it indicates that the writer is familiar with some type of Spanish. However the first bit of Spanish is certainly not grammatical Castelleño.

Should I just assume it is Americanised Spanish or get all archy-farchy and say he should have had it audited and corrected?

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

Should I just assume it is Americanised Spanish or get all archy-farchy and say he should have had it audited and corrected?


It gets worse, it could be Spanglish

Replies:   Grant
Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

What is a native?


If the character is represented as someone knows how to speak the language properly, then they should get the language correct, but if the person is presented as being tourist level of knowledge of the language, then the babblefish conversion is more appropriate.

Vlad_Inhaler
Updated:

@sejintenej

......so she said ' Yo soy embarrassado.' The teacher broke down in laughter before explaining it to us. 'Embarrassado' means pregnant!


I'm reading that short story at the moment - and probably will be for the next 6 months - and you are rather missing the point.

In the story, the author takes Spanish as a foreign language at school and is not that good at it - along with most of the class. The kids have a system if they don't know a word:

If you didn't know what the word was, you could always fake it by adding an 'o' to the end of the English word. You'd usually get a laugh and be told what the word was.


This is where the quote you are referring to is to be found.

graybyrd
Updated:

Coming back to my example of the multi-series published author on Amazon, (repetitive descriptions, and 'Sword of Damocles' clinker, I'll add another: the wildly inappropriate last minute escape from doom. This one caused me to stop reading about two-thirds through the series and toss the rest of the books in disgust.

Like the old Saturday afternoon movie theatre serials, where the hero was left hanging by a bush growing out of the cliff face, hundreds of feet over the raging rapids, and the roots are pulling loose... (don't miss next week's exciting episode!) and Elliot the Heroic Eagle swoops down and grabs our hero just as the bush pulls loose!

Okay... so our intrepid Space Opera author has the hero's ship being blasted to bits; nearly all the crew is dead or blown into space, and his fleet has been rendered into so much space dust... at the last minute, a 'super ship' swoops in and... completely unknown in the story up to this point... latches on to the hero's doomed ship with a tractor beam and jumps away. "Our allies had a totally secret ability," our hero muses as he falls unconscious. Argh!

That's a really shabby way to treat the readers... authors must obey the rules they establish in the course of the story. This "miracle" crap incites nothing but anger and disgust. It's a cheap trick. Don't do it!

(I should have known better. This author violates all the principles of space physics; writes battle scenes reminiscent of old square rigger ships standing off and blasting each other to pieces... by the thousands; and he treats the people like houseflies. In every battle a thousand fighters and bombers are launched, and a hundred will survive. Every battle! Wonder how they ever recruit pilots!

Bad, very, very bad space opera.

Replies:   Dominions Son  KimLittle
Dominions Son

@Vlad_Inhaler

I'm reading that short story at the moment - and probably will be for the next 6 months


You have a strange definition of short story.

Either that or you are the slowest reader on the face of the earth.

:-D

Dominions Son

@graybyrd

In every battle a thousand fighters and bombers are launched, and a hundred will survive. Every battle! Wonder how they ever recruit pilots!


The average live expectancy of a WWI pilot was 6 hours of flight time, including training.

In WWII it was somewhere between 5 and 10 missions.

Neither side lacked for pilot recruits in either war.

Replies:   docholladay
sejintenej
Updated:

@Vlad_Inhaler


In the story, the author takes Spanish as a foreign language at school and is not that good at it - along with most of the class. The kids have a system if they don't know a word:

If you didn't know what the word was, you could always fake it by adding an 'o' to the end of the English word. You'd usually get a laugh and be told what the word was.

This is where the quote you are referring to is to be found.


You missed the point; one of the first things you learn in Castelleño is that you don't normally use pronouns even though they exist°°°. Thus the Yo is wrong. I was suggesting that it might be used in some forms of Caribbean / Mexican Spanish. (Colleagues in Argentina and Chile followed the Spanish rule)

°°° of course Vd (Usted) is different

docholladay

@Dominions Son

Neither side lacked for pilot recruits in either war.


I would bet that in both examples neither side gave the odds of dying to the recruits before or after signing them up.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Grant
Updated:

@Dominions Son

It gets worse, it could be Spanglish


Or what I had to suffer through in my previous job, Jinglish, Kinglish & then Chinglish (Japanese, Korean & Chinese implementations of English).

The Chinglish was definitely the worst; there were manuals where I knew how the product worked, and had figured out for myself how it was meant to be aligned & setup, but what was described in the manual bore little (if any) relation to reality.

Dominions Son

@docholladay

I would bet that in both examples neither side gave the odds of dying to the recruits before or after signing them up.


Of course not, they tout the few great pilots that made it past 30 missions.

Replies:   docholladay
samuelmichaels

@Grant

Or what had to suffer through in my previous job, Jinglish, Kinglish & then Chinglish (Japanese, Korean & Chinese implementations of English).
The Chinglish was definitely the worst; there were manuals where I knew how the product worked, and had figured out for myself how it was meant to be aligned & setup, but what was described in the manual bore little (if any) relation to reality.

Singlish is not nearly so bad (Singapore English). Distantly related to Chinglish (since Mandarin is the common tongue), but many years as a British colony have left their mark.

Dominions Son

@Grant


Or what I had to suffer through in my previous job, Jinglish, Kinglish & then Chinglish (Japanese, Korean & Chinese implementations of English).


Spanglish is not a Spanish implementation of English. It is a bastard mix of Spanish and English grammar and vocabulary.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
docholladay

@Dominions Son

Of course not, they tout the few great pilots that made it past 30 missions.


Or how heroic the pilots are. Makes me glad I was never a team player. Always walked my own path regardless of the trouble I got into.

Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

Spanglish is not a Spanish implementation of English. It is a bastard mix of Spanish and English grammar and vocabulary.


Yup, comes from most of it developing as cryptic shorthand for bilingual children trying to confuse adults on either side of the lingual barrier, but not both. Which just makes it more of a nightmare, as it largely was a development/evolution of the lingual behavior of teenagers.

Replies:   sejintenej
OldNYer

@Wheezer

for me you can add to NIS:
Vampires
Zombies of any kind or spelling
Were animals

and the two I most often ignore are:
Coming of Age (for any gender)
Much Sex

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@Not_a_ID

Spanglish is not a Spanish implementation of English. It is a bastard mix of Spanish and English grammar and vocabulary.

Also the efforts of an English speaker starting to attempt to speak Spanish. A parallel is Portunol - the cockups of an English speaker who speaks Spanish and is then trying to learn Portuguese

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@sejintenej

I was told that speaking Portuguese is like speaking Spanish but with a mouthful of mashed potatoes.

Replies:   sejintenej
Crumbly Writer

@OldNYer

for me you can add to NIS:
Vampires
Zombies of any kind or spelling

I can relate. Despite relatively stable sales over the years, I just released a new book about zombies, which has gotten few sales, despite people telling me it's quite good. Some stories just don't attract a wide audience, and those interested in the genre only care about stories that stick to a standard script. :(

@Richard Shagrin

I was told that speaking Portuguese is like speaking Spanish but with a mouthful of mashed potatoes.

Was the man who told you that crewing anything?

sejintenej

@richardshagrin

I was told that speaking Portuguese is like speaking Spanish but with a mouthful of mashed potatoes.

What does an Angelo sound like to a Floridian (who, according to your public broadcasting net are Mayans in disguise)?
There is an almost infinite variety of Portuguese. For starters European and Brasilian Portuguese (which has Amerindian words added) are so different Brazilians cannot properly understand European Portuguese. My UK secretary, a Portuguese national with a degree in Portuguese, could not translate correspondence from Brazil .

Then you get Gaucho (Rio Grande do Sul - southern border) which is Portuguese with 25% hoch deutsch (?sp) words - it sounds weird. Minero (Minas Gerais) is different to say Paulistano (São Paulo) but sounds closer to Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) which itself is different to Paulistano in words and colloquial grammar. As for the north east ......

The situation is similar to Paraguayan Spanish versus Chile versus Argentine versus Mexico versus Andaluz etc.. Lots of local words, different pronunciation

Mashed potatoes - you could say that of Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) which my boss, a São Paulo lawyer, reckoned he couldn't understand. A lot of hush sounds as in 'mashed'

LonelyDad

An immersion breaker for me is when an author gets cute with organization names whose acronyms spell out pejoratives or 'cutesy' phrases. An example is, and I'm not picking on this author because for the most part I like the story and the ideas behind it, 'Association for a Segregated Society White Humans Only Legally Eligible'. While they might seem cute to the author, they tend to take me out of my suspension of disbelief, and therefore lessen the reading experience. Let me add to that people's names the are disguised with unorthodox spellings but when sounded out are demeaning or pejorative.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@LonelyDad

for the most part I like the story and the ideas behind it, 'Association for a Segregated Society White Humans Only Legally Eligible'. While they might seem cute to the author, they tend to take me out of my suspension of disbelief, and therefore lessen the reading experience.


and doesn't make much sense to people from other cultures who spell the same term as arse hole or have English as a second language and don't get it at all.

However, there is a place to use the sort of cutesy acronym building many bureaucrats use in the government for agencies and units. They don't always do it, but sometimes come up with good ones by either intent or accident.

samuelmichaels

@Ernest Bywater

However, there is a place to use the sort of cutesy acronym building many bureaucrats use in the government for agencies and units. They don't always do it, but sometimes come up with good ones by either intent or accident.

I you study astrophysics, you are likely to hear of theoretical explanations of Dark Matter -- Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) and Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Objects (MACHOs). I am pretty sure these terms were not coined randomly.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
ustourist

@Ernest Bywater

Or a good alternative is created for the acronym.
When I worked for a Government Department (over 40 years ago), it was used half jokingly that O.H.M.S. on the benefit envelopes stood for "Only Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs".

Ernest Bywater

@samuelmichaels

you study astrophysics, you are likely to hear of theoretical explanations of Dark Matter -- Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) and Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Objects (MACHOs). I am pretty sure these terms were not coined randomly.


In one of Anne McCaffrey's books she has a character interacting with the Space Authority and she uses two acronyms in use today - when the guy said he was LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) the guard said he didn't look like a Low Earth Orbit.

I used to work in the Aust Public service as a civilian in the RAAF - I dealt with AERs each year (Additional Estimate Request) a budget form. The RAAF officers dealt with Airman's Evaluation Reports and I once referred a fight between budget types and unit admins about when the AERs were due - they only stopped when I was able to point out they were talking about two different items.

One gov't dept I worked for was DIMA (Dept Immigration and Multicultural Affairs) we all said the acronym described the minister and how we were supposed to work. This was the height of Politically Correct terms in the Aust gov.t.

Another Was DELP Department of Environment, Land, and Planning. One unit had the short lived title of Housing Investigations - it didn't last long, they never even got time to order stationary - the top admins didn't like a unit named DELPHI. No one noticed at the time the proposal was put forward - or so they claim.

Replies:   Dominions Son  REP
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

The RAAF officers dealt with Airman's Evaluation Reports and I once referred a fight between budget types and unit admins about when the AERs were due


I think you meant that you refereed the fight, not that you made reference to it (refer, referred).

REP

@Ernest Bywater

Back when, my company contracted with the Army's Signal Warfare Laboratory. Its acronym was SWL and pronounced as Swill.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@REP


Back when, my company contracted with the Army's Signal Warfare Laboratory. Its acronym was SWL and pronounced as Swill.


You can get some interesting ones. The military often create some great ones by accident, and some bad ones. I always liked the Transport Operations Centre (TOC) and often asked them where the tick was.

The only time I created a deliberate acronym in real life was one company where I managed the nation wide parts stock. During the stocktakes we had to carefully manage stock transfers because the stocktake took 2 weeks to do. I instituted a rule - 'No stock to move from a site unless authorised from HO with a transfer line number' so we had a book with every inter-site stock movement during the stocktake period. This was to help trace discrepancies. The company accountant wanted a special stock transfer form to be created and used solely for stock movements during the stock take - it was to be signed for at every stage. I didn't argue with him, I simply created the form, put the name across the top with the first letter of each word in a huge font and sent it up for funding approval to allocated to get it printed. A short word with the top floor secretarial staff, and the request ended up on the GM's desk for approval, and he stormed out of his office shouting, wanting to know who wanted the form - I named the form Stock Holding in Transit so he comes out shouting, "Who the hell wants a SHiT form?" - oddly enough, the accountant never again bothered me about my work or forms after that incident.

That incident proved the power of a good acronym.

typo edit

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

he company accountant wanted a special stock transfer form to be created and sued solely for stock movements during the stock take


As a legal matter, I don't think you can sue a form. :)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

can sue a form


my most common typo is sue for use - my hands and fingers work at different speeds no, so some get to the keys faster than others, and out of order.

Replies:   Zom
Zom

@Ernest Bywater

my hands and fingers work at different speeds

Would that be digital dyslexia :-)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
LonelyDad

More like typomatic Parkinsons. I get it once in a while as well. I just switched to a new keyboard, one with mechanical switches rather than membrane ones. I really like it, but it has a very light touch, and my touch typing is getting sloppy to the point that I sometimes rest my fingers on the home keys harder than I should and get ghost keystrokes. But I still like it so much better than my old one, so I don't plan on going back. I looked back, and figured out that my old keyboard as at least ten years old, and had earned the right to retire.

Replies:   BlinkReader
BlinkReader

@LonelyDad

old keyboard as at least ten years old


You don't know that best keyboards are at least 25 years old (I'm not kidding).

I still have and religiously use old IBM keyboard from 1988.
It's unbeatable and you can still use it to stick nails with it - only problem is that it does not have Windows keys on (but it's not big deal)...

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
LonelyDad

That's why I switched. I got to thinking about it when CMSix was looking for an IBM Type M keyboard a couple of years ago. Those old keyboards were so great because they had mechanical switches. I finally got fed up when I decided I wanted a keyboard where the F keys were F keys unless I pressed a mode key, not the other way around. I wound up looking at gaming keyboards, as they seem to be the only ones that use mechanical keys these days. Got a nice one that uses Cherry Browns, if you know what those are. [Not as much noise or activation force as Cherry Reds, which seem to be the mainstay these days.] The more I use it, the more I am liking it.

Ernest Bywater

@BlinkReader

only problem is that it does not have Windows keys on (but it's not big deal)...


to me, that's an advantage.

oyster50

Ernest Bywater
12/5/2016, 10:51:52 AM
Updated: 12/5/2016, 11:22:18 AM

You can get some interesting ones. The military often create some great ones by accident, and some bad ones. I always liked the Transport Operations Centre (TOC) and often asked them where the tick was.


In the days of my misspent youth, TOC was 'Tactical Operations Center' of a combat unit, and if you ran an exercise in one in the summer in Fort Hood, Texas, the ticks went right along with it.

Oyster50

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@oyster50


In the days of my misspent youth, TOC was 'Tactical Operations Center' of a combat unit,


Yeah, as you say, that would be a combat unit - the one I mentioned only provided support services to other units. I've even seen TOC used to do with something about the unit structure, but can't remember what it was.

Replies:   BlinkReader  REP
BlinkReader

@Ernest Bywater

I've even seen TOC used to do with something about the unit structure, but can't remember what it was.


If you were forced to read a lot of user manuals TOC (as Table of Contents) was most valuable part of them :D

REP

@Ernest Bywater

seen TOC


I think you are thinking of TOE Table of Organization and Equipment

Ernest Bywater

@BlinkReader

If you were forced to read a lot of user manuals TOC (as Table of Contents) was most valuable part of them :D


Yeah, it is and I use a ToC with all my stories. Thinking about this since I made the post I think I was told it was a Table of Command - not real sure on that. It wasn't the usual organizational chart which showed the units, it had all that, but also had a bunch of dotted lines with notes beside them designating additional command lines for specific activities.

Crumbly Writer

@Zom

Would that be digital dyslexia :-)

Is that where you confuse your loved ones for total zeros?

Replies:   Zom  awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@BlinkReader

If you were forced to read a lot of user manuals TOC (as Table of Contents) was most valuable part of them :D

Hey, as an independent publisher, the TOC is often a central figure in my fiction, as I keep referring to it trying to figure out what's where in my stories.

Zom

@Crumbly Writer

Is that where you confuse your loved ones for total zeros?

:-)

awnlee jawking

@BlinkReader

If you were forced to read a lot of user manuals TOC (as Table of Contents) was most valuable part of them :D


Or the index at the back, unless they were written to Microsoft standards where you had to know the answer to be able to look up the answer.

AJ

Replies:   BlinkReader
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Is that where you confuse your loved ones for total zeros?


I'm going to remember that line but not for the reasons you might think. It has to do with the controversy over the definition of 'random'. :)

AJ

BlinkReader

@awnlee jawking

...you had to know the answer to be able to look up the answer.


To ask any relevant question you need to know (a relevant) part of an answer :D

madnige
Updated:

Just hit one of my big immersion breakers: stomach. Getting hit in it, rubbing it, seeing it, pretty well any physical action on it - it's NOT the stomach that's involved, it's the belly, abdomen, tummy, gut (though I'm against the last one as well). The stomach is a muscular, mucus-lined bag between the oesophagus (US: esophagus) and the small intestine. If it can be seen or touched then there's some pretty damn big opening in the abdomen and the intestines would likely be spilling out, so some show or tell of how the situation arose would be appropriate, and how the situation is resolved from this extreme position.

Oh, and another: Tenants instead of tenets, as in 'stick to the tenets of the agreement' (the corrected version), particularly because the incorrect one makes some sense and it requires a bit of mental analysis to be sure which was actually meant.

Affect/Effect mixup, especially when it could conceivably be one of the special cases which goes against the generAl/spEcific 'rule' (so requires thinking about).

Duel instead of dual (never seems to be the other way round), like duel wheels or a duel laser canon (no, they were not duelling with laser canon)

Peak instead of peek and sometimes vice-versa (actually, it was correctly peak in what I'm reading, but the misspelling is so common it grates on me even when it's not wrong)

They're instead of Their - a very common one, but still annoying.

The greengrocer's apostrophe - another common one, but distracting when its not obvious that the possessive in not intended (i.e., when you have to think about it)

I'm not counting the incorrect use of won't rather than want because it's so obviously the wrong word it doesn't require any thinking about.

Continuity/logical error - there are two aircraft types in the story, and every time the wrong one is used it's an immersion breaker because 'you can't do that with one of those'

These were all actual immersion breakers I hit in about 800k of text just before the half-way point of a story I was reading (a high-scored older story of over 2.5M), though there were quite a few more before the one which I just couldn't ignore which kicked off this post.

Crumbly Writer

@madnige

The stomach is a muscular, mucus-lined bag between the oesophagus (US: esophagus) and the small intestine. If it can be seen or touched then there's some pretty damn big opening in the abdomen and the intestines would likely be spilling out, so some show or tell of how the situation arose would be appropriate, and how the situation is resolved from this extreme position.

While you're absolutely correct, I doubt you'll convince many authors, since "stomach" has grown to include 'the belly'. Almost no one uses "belly" anymore, instead using the more generic "stomach" (or more correctly "stomach area" or where the stomach would be located).

Getting punched in the intestines is definitely wrong, but 'being punched in the stomach' is only moderately wrong (given current usage patterns).

Replies:   madnige  REP  Zom
madnige
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

stomach area


The upper reaches of the stomach are protected by the lower ribs (O.K., maybe 'upper portion' would be better understood). I'd have used 'punched in the abdomen'. I'm railing against 'common usage' because that usage becoming more acceptable is stealing my language from me.

Replies:   Wheezer
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@madnige


Getting hit in it, rubbing it, seeing it, pretty well any physical action on it - it's NOT the stomach that's involved, it's the belly, abdomen, tummy, gut (though I'm against the last one as well).


Stomach is the general usage word for the area involved. Also, in general, people only refer to a belly when the person is very obese (such as a beer belly), and abdomen is usually taken to include the chest area as well. I'm not saying the usage is accurate, but that's how most people see and use the terms.

To insist the use of the word stomach for a hit on a person at waist level on the front of their body would mean you should insist they writers always use the words vagina and penis instead of any of the other common terms they use. Of course, if the character is a physician, he might tend to use the technical terms all the time, but most doctors I know only get technical with other medical staff.

typo edit

REP

@Crumbly Writer

'being punched in the stomach' is only moderately wrong (given current usage patterns).


CW, how about being punched on the shirt (or jacket/coat) placing sudden intensely focused force on the skin and abdominal wall immediately in front of the stomach. :)

Wheezer

@madnige

because that usage becoming more acceptable is stealing my language from me.

Stealing and evolving/growing/changing are not synonyms. Nobody is stealing anything. Besides, it's our language too.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Wheezer

Nobody is stealing anything. Besides, it's our language too.

Besides, the original meaning never went anywhere. You're still free to use the technical meaning of "stomach" or "gay" whenever you wish. People will eventually figure out what you're talking about, after giggling hysterically, but at least your comments will generate a few smiles.

They're only 'stealing' your language if you're no longer allowed to use it. So far, the thought police haven't slapped anyone with a 'cease and desist' order, and the thought police remain a pretty slap-dash, ineffective crew.

samuelmichaels

@Crumbly Writer

They're only 'stealing' your language if you're no longer allowed to use it. So far, the thought police haven't slapped anyone with a 'cease and desist' order, and the thought police remain a pretty slap-dash, ineffective crew.

That's only what you've been conditioned to believe. They are in fact extremely competent and effective; they've even convinced the tinfoil manufacturers to change their formulation to allow the psionic machines free access to your brain.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@samuelmichaels

That's only what you've been conditioned to believe. They are in fact extremely competent and effective; they've even convinced the tinfoil manufacturers to change their formulation to allow the psionic machines free access to your brain.

If my tin-foil hat insists it's true, then I have no choice but to believe it.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

If my tin-foil hat insists it's true, then I have no choice but to believe it.


That's why you should double-wrap with an insulant between the layers.

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

They're only 'stealing' your language if you're no longer allowed to use it. So far, the thought police haven't slapped anyone with a 'cease and desist' order, and the thought police remain a pretty slap-dash, ineffective crew.

How about the name for a meat concoction and for bundles of sticks (as used in ancient Rome) - a faggot?
"The whole world's queer save me 'nd thee and even thee's a little queer"

If I bothered to think about it there are many more banned words

Capt Zapp

@sejintenej

"The whole world's queer save me 'nd thee and even thee's a little queer"


I remember an episode of 'WKRP' where someone commented "Queer little fellow, isn't he?" about 'Les Nesman', which resulted in people thinking he was a homosexual.

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

If I bothered to think about it there are many more banned words

Sorry, but not a word you listed is "banned". Instead, they simply fell into disuse (i.e. people choose not to use that variation of the word anymore).

It's still perfectly fine to use it, but the majority of people simply don't feel comfortable (ex. they giggle whenever they hear it, because they don't know how to respond). But whether you choose to use it or not isn't determined by any central authority, so have at it.

You, sir, seem to have misapplied the proper definition of "banned".

Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

Instead, they simply fell into disuse (i.e. people choose not to use that variation of the word anymore).


Perhaps the reason people no longer use the old usage is because of the connotation that is attributed by the new usage.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

How about the name for a meat concoction and for bundles of sticks (as used in ancient Rome) - a faggot?


Americans use cigarette instead :)

That segues nicely to a problemette I have. My story needs an extremely pejorative noun for a male homosexual which is offensive in English and American.

AJ

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
awnlee jawking
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

You, sir, seem to have misapplied the proper definition of "banned".


Banned by the relevant group of militants, whether LGBT, racial, religionist or whatever. In the UK, using certain terms is classified as a 'hate crime'.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
StarFleet Carl

@awnlee jawking

an extremely pejorative noun for a male homosexual which is offensive in English and American


Barack Obama ....

(I'll just wait over here now...)

Replies:   Wheezer
Zom

@Crumbly Writer

Getting punched in the intestines is definitely wrong, but 'being punched in the stomach' is only moderately wrong (given current usage patterns).

I like "gut". It is a general purpose word for the GIT, but many would equate being "punched in the gut" with the stomach or solar plexus. Technically though, being punched in the anus is being punched in the gut, so maybe not.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@Capt Zapp

Perhaps the reason people no longer use the old usage is because of the connotation that is attributed by the new usage.

Undoubtedly. Clearly, the newer usages, such as "gay" for homosexual and the current distain for a certain "N" word is quite widespread, but ranting about how "someone" took over the language is nonsense. It evolved over time, so if you blame anyone, blame English speakers who weren't frozen in the 1950s. A LOT has changed since then, and wishing for a return to your old glory days when you could say any hateful thing you desired (not that you are, but the logical your using is also being applied in that same direction), is nothing more than sheer fantasy.

There is nothing keeping you from using those words (other than common sense, when it's not appreciated by those around you). However, no one has stripped "gay", the infamous "N" word or anything else from the dictionaries. If used appropriately, they're still incredibly powerful words. Take the current bro-ha-ha over renewed attempts to ban "Tom Sawyer" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" for language and 'racial slurs' (Duh! That's the whole point, to illustrate how widespread such thoughts were during that time period, but which 'white America' conveniently swept under the rug).

The point is, they've never disappears, it's the usage that's changed. You need to adapt to the times, not by getting in line and shouting the same slogans as everyone else, but by using the words that upset people to wake them up and get them to see what's NOT being addressed by society. That's always been the role of literature, not to become famous for a run-away hit.

@awnlee

That segues nicely to a problemette I have. My story needs an extremely pejorative noun for a male homosexual which is offensive in English and American.

A nice case in point (see above). Using the term "burning faggot" plays off both uses of the term, and nicely captures the anger of certain segments of society without having to explicitly state the implied threat. Instead, the insults can all be cast underhanded by an offensive character who, if ever challenged, can simply claim ignorance.

That makes for powerful writing. It may not be pleasant, but the usage is hardly banned, but it's uncommon use makes it stronger not weaker.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Banned by the relevant group of militants, whether LGBT, racial, religionist or whatever. In the UK, using certain terms is classified as a 'hate crime'.

And here I thought Germany was the only one with explicit "hate crime" laws banning words (such as "Nazi" or "Hitler"). I was under the impression that England still allowed the use of such words. In America, there ARE no "Hate" word crimes, instead, it's ONLY a crime is you use certain speech in committing a crime, labeling the action (by the one committing the act) as being inspired by hatred. Thus it turns the act upon the perpetrator, rather than going after someone simply using the word against others.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Dominions Son

@Zom

Technically though, being punched in the anus is being punched in the gut, so maybe not.


If you are in a fight and you are getting punched in the anus, things have gone very badly.

Remember, if you don't cover your exhaust port, someone will find a way to torpedo it.

Replies:   Zom
Wheezer

@StarFleet Carl

Barack Obama ....

(I'll just wait over here now...)


You really want to go there? Giving up on the Muslim claim? The shaved, bacon-eating, beer drinking, LGBT supporting part finally soak in? :)

Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

Take the current bro-ha-ha over renewed attempts to ban "Tom Sawyer" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" for language and 'racial slurs'


This happened in the neighboring county from me. Come to find out, the policy of 'one complaint resulting in removal' had already been changed earlier in the year. Someone just conveniently 'forgot'. Story can be read in the 'local' paper. http://www.easternshorepost.com/content/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/12.16.2016.pdf

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

The UK had something called Section 5 which was being widely abused by the police - they arrested a student for asking a police horse if it was gay, and a man for saying 'woof' to a dog. In response the government brought in new freedom of speech law under which those arrests could never have been made. In retaliation the police exploited 'hate crime' law to subvert the government intent.

That's an unintended consequence of Thatcher and Blair politicising the police force.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

without having to explicitly state


That's not what I want - the more explicit the better. Sadly I seem to have lost contact with most of my gay friends so I can't really ask them in person what they find the most offensive.

AJ

Not_a_ID

Well, a recent encounter I had with one was where the author was trying to refer to someone as "an old geezer" but called them "an old geyser" instead.

Then again, the story was set in the U.K. So maybe they were going for the U.K. reference to a water heater rather than the geological feature that is often referenced with sexual under/overtones.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


In retaliation the police exploited 'hate crime' law to subvert the government intent.


But that was my original (not very direct) question. Aren't those laws like ours, intended to accompany other laws, not intended to stand alone on their own? Are the local cops simply apply the law on their own, or was that how they were written?

@Awnlee


Sadly I seem to have lost contact with most of my gay friends so I can't really ask them in person what they find the most offensive.


Which? "gay Paris" or "can I bum a faggot" (to put an American spin on a British usage)?

If you're going for a pejorative (for a story), you want it to have some teeth (as you noted), and in most real-world scenarios, most offenders would want some 'deniability' in case they get called on it. Either way, it should hurt if you want it to accurately reflect how the characters feel about the abuse.

Faggot, though, is largely dated in either case. You'll note, the alt-right is very much into 'coded' language which sounds correct, but which everyone know actually stands in for something else.

I asked some of my more recent gay friends (all my old ones died during the AIDS crisis) which insults they were more likely to face during a high-school encounter, but none seemed to want to answer the question. You might need to ask Quora (and face potential condemnation from their online gay contingent). It may be better to make up your own, keeping it vaguely Shakespearean.

@Not_a_ID


a recent encounter I had with one was where the author was trying to refer to someone as "an old geezer" but called them "an old geyser" instead.


It may have been an age-insult, instead, being "an old guyser". Believe it or not, I've heard that used on occasion.

P.S. Nowadays, it seems everyone is using "Trumpism" as 'catchall' phrases for whomever they object to. The advantage there, is Trump has given them the feeling they can say anything to anyone they want, as long as it's tied into opposition to Trump, rather than the direct result of outright racism. Thus "Go back to where you belong" is a decent catchall, even though it makes little sense when applied to Americans born and bred in America.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

I believe the govt intent was that speech which causes offence is okay but speech which is intended to incite hatred isn't okay. But local police forces have taken it upon themselves to decide certain words incite hatred no matter what the context. I'm sure the controversy will flare up again soon.

AJ

Replies:   REP
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

in most real-world scenarios, most offenders would want some 'deniability'


***spoiler alert***
It's a private conversation between a girl and her mother. The girl realises her mother has deliberately been trying to set her up with a gay boyfriend. No deniability needed but maximum offence required.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

No deniability needed but maximum offence required.

"Faggot" would definitely work, though most young people (high-school and college) are more accepting of gays, whereas they aren't as accepting of well-meaning adults. Plus, as I stated earlier, "faggot" is a very dated term (which is why it sprang to mind).

I'd go with something like: "He's a flamer!" as it implies her mother has no conception of the social cost, rather than the daughter is anti-gay herself.

sejintenej

I can't find the original enquiry / request but perhaps
arseplugger (assplugger, assfucker)
might do. Not being in popular use they haven't yet attracted peeler interest.

peeler: a member of that enforcement gang started by Sir Robert Peel, now called rozzers, coppers or police)

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

arseplugger (assplugger, assfucker)


Fudge packer.

awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

perhaps
arseplugger (assplugger, assfucker)


I've scoured the thesauruses for synonyms but nothing sounds totally suitable (although I was amused by 'chutney ferret').

My defective brain keeps prompting me with the adjective 'raging' but it can't quite remember the noun that it's paired with in this context. :(

AJ

Replies:   ustourist
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Fudge packer.

or "fudge pucker" (or would that be "puckerer"?) Maybe "He who puckers fudges"?

Note: That's a definite sign I've taken this pun way too far.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

That's a definite sign I've taken this pun way too far.


10 minutes in the punalty box for you. :)

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Member of the pile drivers association is one I haven't heard used for decades.

Also, bumming a fag is an old term I've not heard for a long time, either, and it has nothing to do with homosexuality, but all to cadging a cigarette off someone.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Ernest Bywater

bumming a fag is an old term I've not heard for a long time

Still in use here in the NT by some people.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
ustourist

@awnlee jawking

I don't know how offensive they are considered in the US, but Nancy, Queen, Fairy and knob gobbler are all ones I remember, of which the first three could all be prefaced by raging.

Crumbly Writer

@Grant

Still in use here in the NT by some people.

Here in the "New Testament"? 'D "Neapolitan Transportation"?

Replies:   Dominions Son  Grant
Crumbly Writer

@ustourist

I don't know how offensive they are considered in the US, but Nancy, Queen, Fairy and knob gobbler are all ones I remember, of which the first three could all be prefaced by raging.

The problem is the generational conflict. Most alt-right are the exception, and rarely use the traditional slurs, while most young people wouldn't denigrate gays. They may not want to associate with them, but they see homophobia as a problem of their parents' generation. Also, younger women are nervous around lesbians and men around gays because they're paranoid about being hit on, not because they disapprove of them. Most young women now have several 'fabulous' gay companions.

I suspect that's why my gay friends were unable to pick any common slurs, because the slurs they faced in high school and beyond are mostly from the older generations, not from high school encounters with students.

Any gay or lesbian readers want to chip in here, since the rest of us really don't know what the hell we're talking about?

Replies:   ustourist
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Here in the "New Testament"? 'D "Neapolitan Transportation"?


I would think Northwest Territories, Canada.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Grant

@Crumbly Writer

Here in the "New Testament"? 'D "Neapolitan Transportation"?

Northern Territory, Australia.

Zom

@Dominions Son

things have gone very badly.

Indeed :-) Unless of course it is aligned to the denigration theme in this post. In which case an "anus puncher" would possibly fit. Although I prefer "screaming ponce" myself.

ustourist

@Crumbly Writer

Unless I misunderstood the original request, it would appear that a pejorative term was required was one that was offensive, but the conversation was between two straight females which means that it is a term that would be considered as offensive by the women, not necessarily by a gay male.

"My story needs an extremely pejorative noun for a male homosexual which is offensive in English and American.
It's a private conversation between a girl and her mother. The girl realises her mother has deliberately been trying to set her up with a gay boyfriend. No deniability needed but maximum offence required."


I can't see why bringing meaningless labels like alt-right into the topic has any relevance to the request. I would also be extremely dubious about any claim that "most" young people wouldn't denigrate gays, as it depends on the circles someone is in and I have never seen a scientific survey on that topic. There appear to be certain communities/races/religions in both the UK and US that are extremely opposed to homosexuality and express that quite freely.

awnlee jawking

@ustourist

two straight females which means that it is a term that would be considered as offensive by the women, not necessarily by a gay male.


I want all the readers to feel the term was overtly offensive, otherwise the scene loses its power.

AJ

ustourist

@awnlee jawking

Thanks for the clarification, though if you are looking for something offensive to both genders you will find it a bit harder.
To my mind that really means going for an obscenity rather than just a pejorative term, as women seem to have a greater tolerance for male homosexuality than males do. Raging cock sucker may fit, but terms like queer and queen are now used by some of the gay community as compliments, not insults.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I would think Northwest Territories, Canada.

That's what I figured, but I though a gentle reminder that not everyone would know to make that assumption. It's those unclear regional usages that often lose readers from other regions. After all, not everyone lives next door to Canada.

Crumbly Writer

@ustourist

I can't see why bringing meaningless labels like alt-right into the topic has any relevance to the request. I would also be extremely dubious about any claim that "most" young people wouldn't denigrate gays, as it depends on the circles someone is in and I have never seen a scientific survey on that topic. There appear to be certain communities/races/religions in both the UK and US that are extremely opposed to homosexuality and express that quite freely.

My point, and I did have one, was that painting the younger girl as the homophobe (since the mother was setting her up with a gay man) might be badly miscasting. I'm not saying it won't work, only that he may want to review it, taking that into account and possible acknowledging it to delve further into what drives the characters.

I always find that recognizing a problem is the first step in solving problems which otherwise end up catching you by surprise.

But again, from what he said, it sounds like the girl is more upset at the mother for setting her up with a gay guy, and the possible social effects it would have no her, than she was against gays in general (though, clearly, I could be misreading the situation).

I've been blindsides my, what I considered at the time, to be 'minor issues' with a story before.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I want all the readers to feel the term was overtly offensive, otherwise the scene loses its power.

Okay, that's what I suspected, but I wasn't sure. In that case, the classics are usually the best. Just to change things up, I might (myself) throw in an 'alt-right' friend to advice her on what to say, but that's just for flavor, rather than changing the story (simply acknowledging the issue).

Generally, in a fit of anger, someone will use the first thing ("faggot") that springs to mind, rather than looking for something clever or subtle.

Crumbly Writer

@ustourist

Raging cock sucker may fit, but terms like queer and queen are now used by some of the gay community as compliments, not insults.

Believe me, it's like when blacks try to 'reclaim' the N-word. They may get away with using it, but when someone else uses it against them, it still hurts as much as it ever did. It's the hate that cuts you to the bone, not the words themselves.

I was just struck by how reluctant my gay friends are with identifying pejorative terms used against them, seeing it as indicative of bigger social issues. Then again, I may be reading more into it than actually exists.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

They may get away with using it, but when someone else uses it against them, it still hurts as much as it ever did. It's the hate that cuts you to the bone, not the words themselves.


Which is why the attempts by the "social justice" crowd to change language to more inclusive/less offensive terms is pointless.

Changing the language does nothing to reduce the hate in some people's hearts.

The new "inclusive", non-offensive terms will eventually gain the same pejorative/offensive meaning as the old terms.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

it still hurts as much as it ever did. It's the hate that cuts you to the bone, not the words themselves.


It's the hate the recipient associates with the word that's the issue, not the word itself. I know people from the USA who get extremely angry if you call them a Yank and others who feel proud to be called by the same word. The word itself has no intrinsic hate value, just what some people associate with it.

On a related issue is how in recent times some people are now angry about the Army of Virginia Battle flag and claim it's a symbol of racial suppression, yet those who fought under it, fought against it, and even the slaves of the area where it flew never saw it that way, and for over a century since then it wasn't seen that way. But Historical Revisionist paint it that way now, and some now see it that way.

Replies:   graybyrd
REP

@awnlee jawking

speech which causes offence is okay but speech which is intended to incite hatred isn't okay.


Sounds a lot like thought police to me.

How do you determine the speaker's intent?

One person may judge a statement as just offensive. Another person may interpret the statement as being an attempt to create hatred in another person. The end result is placing the police officer in a position to guess at what is motivating the speaker and the officers personal feelings about the topic can easily sway their decision as to whether a crime has been committed.

awnlee jawking

@REP

Yes, the situation is extremely unsatisfactory.

AJ

Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

Believe me, it's like when blacks try to 'reclaim' the N-word. They may get away with using it, but when someone else uses it against them, it still hurts as much as it ever did. It's the hate that cuts you to the bone, not the words themselves.


I have heard blacks using nigger or nigga or several other variations among their peers in hateful ways, so I don't believe that.

My opinion is that they use it as a way to say "See, we can use it but you can't even say it. You have to say 'the N word' or we will play the race card."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son
Updated:

@REP


How do you determine the speaker's intent?


Many long standing crimes have intent components.

Take homicide as an example.

Manslaughter is unintentional.

Second degree murder is intentional but not premeditated (planned)

First degree murder is intentional and premeditated.

Police and the courts are well accustomed to handling issues of intent.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Ernest Bywater  REP
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

Many long standing crimes have intent components.


Of course, then you have other laws that in some cases may be more focused on what the victim perceives than what the "perp" may have intended, or even knew was going on.

Anti-Stalker laws are typically some of the worst offenders in this regard. In some cases, they don't need to prove intent on the part of the stalker, they just need to prove the victim felt like they were being stalked.

Psychology likewise has an interesting split on that front as well due to that very issue. As you can have stalking victims without a criminal. (Used to be, we'd just call them paranoid; but as the expression goes: It isn't paranoia if someone really is out to get you.)

Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

It isn't paranoia if someone really is out to get you.)


That isn't really true. Being paranoid and actually having someone out to get you aren't mutually exclusive.

Paranoia is the delusion that everyone is out to get you.

That one person is really out to get you doesn't make the belief that everyone is out to get you non-delusional.

The proper phrasing is "just because you are paranoid, that doesn't mean that no one is out to get you."

Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Of course, then you have other laws that in some cases may be more focused on what the victim perceives than what the "perp" may have intended, or even knew was going on.


True, but such laws as well as "strict liability" criminal laws with no intent component are mostly very recent. The vast majority of such laws have been created in the last 5 decades, though there are a few notable exceptions such as statutory rape.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Police and the courts are well accustomed to handling issues of intent.


But it has to included in the actual wording of the law before it becomes a component of the criteria for the law's application. Too many laws written now do

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

But it has to included in the actual wording of the law before it becomes a component of the criteria for the law's application. Too many laws written now do


I can't speak to Australian law, but that is dead flat backwards to US law. Its a long standing principle of US law (all the way back to the founding) that criminal laws are presumed to have a mens rea(intent/knowledge of wrongdoing) component unless explicitly stated otherwise in the law.

Historically, statutory rape was the only strict liability criminal law in the US.

However, in recent decades, the number of strict liability crimes has been increasing. Not by Congressional action, but by regulatory agencies applying criminal penalties to agency regulations on a strict liability basis.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Capt Zapp

My opinion is that they use it as a way to say "See, we can use it but you can't even say it. You have to say 'the N word' or we will play the race card."

The attempt to reclaim 'nigger' is similar to that to reclaim the prejorative "gay". The second was largely successful, the first hasn't borne much fruit except making a name for a few rappers.

Either the word works for everyone as a positive image, or it'll forever retain it's hateful characteristics. (Though "negroid", "african", "black", "African-American" and others haven't worked much better. No matter what word anyone uses, the racial hatred the persists in the U.S. remains largely unabated.)

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

I can't speak to Australian law, but that is dead flat backwards to US law.


I'd be checking that with a lawyer, if I were you. The basic rule of all laws in all jurisdictions is you may only take into account whatever aspects that particular says in its wording as being applicable to the law you're looking at. If it requires a consideration of intent, then intent has to be shown, if it doesn't require a consideration of intent, then intent is not an aspect to be considered in the application of the law. When handing down a sentence a judge may take into consideration intent as an aspect of severity, but he isn't required to do so, and intent doesn't have to be proven to obtain a conviction. That's why the old basic of lack of knowledge of the law is not a valid defence. Many laws, even very old laws, have had people being guilty of the offence despite lack of intent because they didn't know what they were doing was a crime or against the law in some way.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

I'd be checking that with a lawyer, if I were you.


I provided a link to information on mens rea in US law on my prior comment.

That link points to an article on the website of one of the top law schools in the US.

From that article:

If a statute specifies a mental state for an offense, courts will usually apply the requisite mental state to each element of the crime. Moreover, even if a statute refrains from mentioning a mental state, courts will usually require that the government still prove that the defendant possessed a guilty state of mind during the commission of the crime. For example, the Supreme Court of the United States instructed that federal criminal statutes without a requisite mental state "should be read to include 'only that mens rea which is necessary to separate" wrongful from innocent conduct.'"


---

That's why the old basic of lack of knowledge of the law is not a valid defence.


Intent under US law for criminal purposes is intent to commit the prohibited act, not intent to violate the law as such. So you can have intent without knowing a given act is illegal.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Intent under US law for criminal purposes is intent to commit the prohibited act, not intent to violate the law as such. So you can have intent without knowing a given act is illegal.


Without knowledge it's a prohibited act you can't have any intent to violate the law. If the way you present the mens rea was as solid as you claim, then it's impossible to charge anyone with a crime until AFTER you prove they had knowledge it was a crime and they intended to do it.

A very classic case in the accidental discharge of a firearm inside town or city limits - there is no intention to fire the gun when it goes off by accident, yet the crime is still committed and the person is still charged. The situation also applies if you're on the edge of a farm and that part is inside the town limits while the rest of the farm isn't - no intent to fire the gun within the town limits, but still charged and guilty.

People regularly get trapped in the wrong lane and end up having to cross the border into Canada or the USA before they can turn around to travel back, there is no intent to cross the border, and no intent to take prohibited items across the border, but they still get checked and charged should they violate the law without any intention.

The same applies when you cross between legal jurisdictions where they have a change in what's legal and what's not legal - there's no intent to break the law, but they still get charged and convicted.

The wording of what's in the law is what rules, and if something is not in the law itself it can't be a matter for consideration in the application of the law.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Without knowledge it's a prohibited act you can't have any intent to violate the law.


Again, the intent that is required is intent to commit the prohibited act, not intent to violate the act.

A very classic case in the accidental discharge of a firearm inside town or city limits - there is no intention to fire the gun when it goes off by accident, yet the crime is still committed and the person is still charged.


In the US, this would not be a crime and the person would probably not be charged.

NOTE: The only intent that matters here is intent do discharge the gun. It is not necessary under US law to prove that the person knew they were in the city limits or that discharging a firearm in city limits is illegal. However it would be necessary for the prosecutor to prove that the firearm was intentionally discharged.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

there's no intent to break the law, but they still get charged and convicted.


With very few exceptions, US constitutional law is generally hostile to strict liability crimes and US courts have been pushing back against regulatory agency efforts to create new strict liability offenses with out explicit Congressional approval.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

In the US, this would not be a crime and the person would probably not be charged.


Yet there have been reported incidents of it happening and people being charged.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Yet there have been reported incidents of it happening and people being charged.


I am aware of no such cases in the US where the discharge was clearly unintentional/accidental.

StarFleet Carl

@Dominions Son

I am aware of no such cases in the US where the discharge was clearly unintentional/accidental.


In certain cities and states, yes. For example, here in Oklahoma, "Discharging a firearm within a municipality (inside city limits) is illegal, even if a firearm is discharged on private property."

It's called reckless endangerment.

Having said that, most of the time you're NOT going to face more than a small fine (at least here) if all you do is have an accidental discharge. And I am freely allowed to discharge any of my firearms in defense of my home, my property, or even my dogs in my own yard, even though I'm within city limits.

Any = Sig P238, Glock 17 Gen 4, Sig M400

FWIW, my college degree (Masters) is in Criminology. What you guys were arguing about with Mens Rea is primarily only applied to children and/or mentally impaired people. The biggest discussion is whether or at what age a child has the mental capacity to realize that their actions could be illegal. Once you're past a certain age, and presuming you're mentally competent, your specific intent is irrelevant. It's what you're CHARGED with that becomes important.

For example - it's the middle of summer, you break into a house and eat some food that was in the house. Wow, that's breaking and entering, as well as theft, potentially burglary. Now - it's -20 degrees outside, your car broke down, you have no shelter, and this house was it. In both cases your knowledge that what you were doing was against the law is the same. That's what mens rea (guilty mind) means - are you capable on KNOWING what you did was against the law.

You're confusing intentions with intent. They are, from a legal perspective, different.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@StarFleet Carl

In certain cities and states, yes. For example, here in Oklahoma, "Discharging a firearm within a municipality (inside city limits) is illegal, even if a firearm is discharged on private property."

It's called reckless endangerment.


It's also generally intentional.

The issue is not is discharging a firearm in city limits illegal, but whether or not:

A) it's criminal. (citation only municipal offenses aren't considered criminal offenses unless the fine is rather large)
B) it's prosecuted in strictly unintentional cases.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

I am aware of no such cases in the US where the discharge was clearly unintentional/accidental.


The few cases I know about are from a few years ago where the news media reported cases of kids finding a gun and were looking at it when the gun went off. On one case no one was hit, in one another kid was little wounded, and in the third another kid was seriously hurt when shot. In all three the kid playing with the gun stated they had no intention of firing it, they were just looking at it when it went off. In all three cases the kid holding the gun at the time of being discharged were charged with a number of state crimes concerning the gun and firing it. names weren't given due to the ages of those involved. In one case the both the kids involved thought it was a heavier than usual toy. - - clearly no intent to do anything, yet they ended up with juvenile criminal records. The laws involved did not require intent as part of the law they were charged under.

awnlee_jawking

@ustourist

Nancy, Queen, Fairy ... could all be prefaced by raging


I blame my defective brain, but it seems 'raging' would be wildly inappropriate for my context. A trawl round slang dictionaries shows that it means someone is a flamboyant homosexual, often to the point of self-caricature. In fact the boy in the story is trying to keep his true sexuality hidden, a bit like Tom Cruise (allegedly).

I'll probably just pick a derogatory term at random, since nothing seems completely appropriate.

AJ

MarissaHorne

How about

"I'd like to call you a flaming queer, but you don't have the guts to come out."

ustourist

@awnlee_jawking

How about offensive sarcasm. It still gets the point across but makes the reader notice it for a different reason.....
Mum, He's a man's man, but not in a good way.
or
Mom, the only way he will ever have kids is if a boyfriend gets him pregnant.

Both would cause the mother to think, or get the point across to her, but might bring a smile from the reader rather than a gasp.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@ustourist

the only way he will ever have kids is if a boyfriend gets him pregnant


A recent article in my tabloid du jour claimed that because I drink soya milk, which contains oestrogen-like compounds, my fertility could be impaired, reducing my ability to conceive.

While the prospect of me conceiving in the first place is interesting on an intellectual level, I think I'd rather leave it to the ladies :-)

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee_jawking

I blame my defective brain, but it seems 'raging' would be wildly inappropriate for my context. A trawl round slang dictionaries shows that it means someone is a flamboyant homosexual, often to the point of self-caricature.

Raging is similar to "flaming", meaning someone who's unable to hide their being gay, as is thus frequently a subject of attack.

@ustourist

Both would cause the mother to think, or get the point across to her, but might bring a smile from the reader rather than a gasp.

I believe awnlee was going for an angry retort, not a clever or subtle one. If so, nothing's quite as obvious as, "He's a fudgepacker, Mom, queer as a friggin' three-dollar bill!"

All the references are dated, but somehow, many of those offense terms never seem to go out of style when someone is angry.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

I believe awnlee was going for an angry retort, not a clever or subtle one.


Spot on. I'm not sure how common 'fudgepacker' is - I had to look it up to confirm the meaning when Ron Dudderie used it.

AJ

REP

@Dominions Son

Police and the courts are well accustomed to handling issues of intent.


True, but they don't always get it right.

Grant

Bent as a dog's hind leg.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Grant


Bent as a dog's hind leg.


To her Mom:

The only way he'd touch me was with someone else's dick, as long as he was connected to it!


Too subtle? (But again, that's more directed at the mother, instead of the gay guy the Mom's suggesting.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

The only way he'd tough me


I think that was supposed to be touch, but I'm not sure.

KimLittle

Misuse of effect/affect and loose/lose.

Also, specifically for me, BS Japanese language and Japanese names. As a fairly fluent speaker (over 10 years), I volunteer to save you from yourselves by confirming the validity of character names. For dialogue, standard rates of $0.05 per source word. o(^o^)o

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@KimLittle

I'll keep that in mind, Kim, but Japanese doesn't pop up (in stories) as often as many other nationalities. We currently get a LOT more Chinese visitors to the U.S. than we do Japanese. However, there are a LOT of reliable name sources on the internet to select names from (censuses, international name sites, baby name sites, etc.), so there's really no reason to invent them out of whole cloth.

When in doubt (about the use of foreign languages) I frequently use fivrr to hire a native speaker. It's cheap and the results are so much better than the crappy Google Translate.

graybyrd

@Ernest Bywater

some people are now angry about the Army of Virginia Battle flag and claim it's a symbol of racial suppression, yet those who fought under it, fought against it, and even the slaves of the area where it flew never saw it that way,

How would one feel then about a neighbor flying the Nazi swastika from their front porch? Not a symbol of racial suppression, but only a battle symbol for a race that fought bravely?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@graybyrd

How would one feel then about a neighbor flying the Nazi swastika from their front porch? Not a symbol of racial suppression, but only a battle symbol for a race that fought bravely?


Assuming it is the Nazi Swastika (formally known as the Third Reich Flag - link below to the red flag with white circle and black marking) and not the original religious one, I'd take it as a political statement. Also, in WW2 flags were rarely flown by troops during battle, they usually came out after the shooting was over, unlike as what happened during the US War Between the States, so it isn't the same situation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_the_German_Reich_(1935%E2%80%931945).svg

.......................

Taking a sideways step here, if people feel the Battle Flag of the Army of Virginia is a symbol of racism, then the US Stars and Stripes is a much bigger symbols of racism because it was flown by, and above, the military units of the US Army who went about the task of indiscriminately killing American Indians for many decades so the US government could steal their land and resources to sell or give to other people they preferred. The same can be said for how the US authorities dealt with the Mexicans in California, New Mexico, and Texas.

Capt Zapp

@Ernest Bywater

The same can be said for how the US authorities dealt with the Mexicans in California, New Mexico, and Texas.


And about the Spanish conquistadors and every other nation that raised an army to conquer another country.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Taking a sideways step here, if people feel the Battle Flag of the Army of Virginia is a symbol of racism, then the US Stars and Stripes is a much bigger symbols of racism because it was flown by, and above, the military units of the US Army who went about the task of indiscriminately killing American Indians for many decades so the US government could steal their land and resources to sell or give to other people they preferred.

Whew! That's a long sentence, even for me!

The issues isn't who hurt who in what war. The main issue is that they (Southern Whites) are flying the flag of a non-existent country who lost a rebellion over a century ago to 'honor their relatives' who they never knew.

The only conclusion most people can come up with, is that it has little to do with any actual battle or long-dead relatives, but more about race. Flying the symbols of the war (i.e. the Confederate flag), is shorthand for 'I wish American had collapsed, and every white person was still free to buy, crucify and sell any (insert your favorite minority) they want.

After all, how many people continue to fly the Armenian flag today?

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

The main issue is that they (Southern Whites) are flying the flag of a non-existent country who lost a rebellion over a century ago to 'honor their relatives' who they never knew.


Two points,

First, the Battle Flag of the Army of Virgina was not the flag of a country, but that of a military unit. If flying the flag of a past military unit is wrong, then you have to stop them flying a lot at Memorial Day marches for units that are no longer active.

Second, some of the people flying the Confederate Flag as well as the Battle Flag are of Afro-American descent, they fly it because it relates to a part of their heritage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifaB5viGLQU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Jadmjn3ebs&t=1s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAuUiwCNS6w

ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-b1BdfkAsI

It's only in recent years have people been claiming it was about racism because that how they want it to be seen, when it wasn't.

I don't agree with a lot of what Foote has to say most of the time, but much of what he says here is true.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9J8P6WfS7w

.......................

However, you've not addressed why it's OK to fly a flag more steeped in racism and genocide than another is. Either both are OK or neither is OK.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Capt Zapp

And about the Spanish conquistadors and every other nation that raised an army to conquer another country.


About the Spanish, true, and many others, but not all.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

CW,

I'm against racism, but I'm also against the misuse of the racism card, and other prejudices, as well.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

After all, how many people continue to fly the Armenian flag today?


I don't know about you, but I do.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

First, the Battle Flag of the Army of Virgina was not the flag of a country, but that of a military unit.

Except, once again it's not simply a military unit flag, but one which just happens to contain the flag of the Confederacy. So you've got to ask yourself, how many Civil War flags fly over modern capitals in the south from any OTHER unit commands? If the answer is none, then we're left with the same question. Is it really about historic pride, or about trying to intimidate and suppress blacks throughout the south?

Having lived here for most of my life, I can only concede it's the latter.

Second, some of the people flying the Confederate Flag as well as the Battle Flag are of Afro-American descent, they fly it because it relates to a part of their heritage.

If you live in the South, you either fly the Confederate flag (or at least don't make a deal about it) or you'll spend the rest of your life fighting with every white you encounter. It's not surprising many find it easier to conform to a racist society, what is, is how few of them there are!

It's also like Trump rallies (with many of the same people). If you only have a couple blacks supporting your cause, you highlight them every single chance you get (remember the quote about "my one black fan"?). Part of gaining acceptance among their childhood/professional peers is the recognition they're going to drag you image through the mud, meaning you'll be looked down on by most other blacks. It's a choice they choose. Rather than celebrating their heritage, they're surrendering it in hopes of getting along.

However, you've not addressed why it's OK to fly a flag more steeped in racism and genocide than another is. Either both are OK or neither is OK.

Sadly, it's a question of numbers. Over time, you learn to pick your battles. You can hardly win all the time, or even very often, but you don't pick a fight with hundreds of millions of committed foes. Instead, you choose the targets which you can change, who's support isn't solid. For ever rabid Southern rebel, there are dozens who shake their heads and hope they'll simply disappear.

There are very few who'll support giving America back to the Indians. However, people will support their trying to protect their lands.

It's about changing minds, getting them to recognize why others are offended by their actions. It's NEVER been about banning the flag! As far as I know, the ONLY flag that's ever been banned (for an extended period) is the Nazi flag in Germany (it's frequently flown in virtually every other country).

It's the same thing with the RedSkins. While a trademark is important, you've got to ask why it's so important they'd ignore a large percentage of their fans who find the symbol offensive. Surely they can find another symbol which would be more popular. Companies do it all the time to 'reinvent' their image.

But, now that I've vented about an issue everyone is sick and tired of hearing about, I'll shut up. After all, everyone has heard these same arguments ad-infinitum. If they haven't been won over yet, they're unlikely to anytime soon. Once again, it's about picking your battles. I won't win any converts here. Instead, we wait for my Southern companions to do something else incredibly stupid (they're dependable that way), and they'll expose the ugly underbelly of institutional racism. We only chip away at that racism. It's never gone away, and it's unlikely it ever will, but the more minds we can change (one at a time), hopefully the better off everyone will be.

Replies:   Wheezer  StarFleet Carl
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I'm against racism, but I'm also against the misuse of the racism card, and other prejudices, as well.

It's easy to be against something in principle. It's something else to stand up against it when it'll cost you something. I've faced that line many times, but I also know a LOT of people for whom it means life itself. I have it easy, few people will attack a fellow White man, so I can speak for those unable to speak for themselves.

Damn, there I go ranting to myself again. Especially after promising not to! Someone shut that man (me) up.

KimLittle

@graybyrd

I'm pretty sure it's in the novel of "Sahara" by Clive Cussler, but the main character ends up lost at sea, no hope in sight. Until a guy by the name of Cussler happens by in his super yacht. I returned the book to the library at that point.

Replies:   Grant
Wheezer

@Crumbly Writer

We only chip away at that racism. It's never gone away, and it's unlikely it ever will, but the more minds we can change (one at a time), hopefully the better off everyone will be.


Well said - The whole comment, but I didn't want to quote the whole thing for my brief reply. As for the American flag, we look at it as a symbol of what we are now and what we strive to be. Not what we were. Our country is not perfect. Point me to one that is and has a spotless history free from cruelty, injustice and atrocity.

StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

If you live in the South, you either fly the Confederate flag (or at least don't make a deal about it) or you'll spend the rest of your life fighting with every white you encounter.


What you fail to get into is that traditions in the South tend to run a bit stronger than they do in the North. And the minor detail that the past eight years have set race relations back thirty or more.

I live in both a Southern and Indian state (feather, not dot) - Oklahoma. While there are certainly some backwoods rednecks here, there are many more that take PRIDE that their ancestors violated the law. There's a reason why our sports team chant is 'Boomer Sooner' - celebrating illegal activities.

See, people confuse racism with offense by throwing in political correctness. We know that we lost the War of Northern Aggression - we just don't give a shit what others think. Does it irritate you? Too bad. Welcome to Freedom of Speech in this country. We DO understand why others are offended - we just don't care. We get along with our friends and neighbors regardless of their color, because we know that we all bleed red, white and blue.

It's the same thing with the RedSkins. While a trademark is important, you've got to ask why it's so important they'd ignore a large percentage of their fans who find the symbol offensive.


It's because a larger percentage of their fans think those that are complaining about are full of shit. Again, I live and work with (and for that matter, am 1/16th myself) Indians. As a people, THEY have THEIR pride, too. That the football team that represents the whole nation chose their people as the representatives isn't seen as being offensive, it's seen as a point of PRIDE.

You also leave out one minor detail - the flag of the Army of Northen Virgina - was ALSO used by the Army of Tennessee when it replaced the Army of the Mississippi, because Joe Johnston designed them both. It's simply the Confederate Battle Flag.

As for incredible stupidity - keep in mind as a country we freed the slaves in 1865. It took the Democrat party of LBJ to trick them into putting the shackles back on and trying to keep them that way today.

Grant
Updated:

@KimLittle

I'm pretty sure it's in the novel of "Sahara" by Clive Cussler, but the main character ends up lost at sea, no hope in sight. Until a guy by the name of Cussler happens by in his super yacht. I returned the book to the library at that point.

Nah, Sahara is where they meet in the desert.

Can't remember which one involved the yacht, but you should've kept going, it was still a good read.

StarFleet Carl
Updated:

Unfortunately, after coming home from a long day of working (which involves public interaction - again, never underestimate the power of human stupidity), enjoying a good glass of an adult beverage or two, my tolerance level goes WAY down.

I'm not politically correct, I never will claim to be politically correct, and I think being politically correct is an excellent way to get killed in today's world. (Religion of peace my ass, in other words. I may have been influenced a bit by the writings of both Robert Heinlein and John Ringo in that respect.)

Note that I'm NOT apologizing for anything I've said on here. My opinions are my own. I realize that this thread was about immersion breakers - I guess mine are when someone writes something that I KNOW goes against both the culture of the area and the realm of possibility.

It's okay if you plan on basing a story in a small town in the U.S., it's NOT okay when you have residents of that town act like they're somewhere else. People that grew up in what I'll call Shitkickerville, USA, are NOT going to have the same societal mores as people that grew up in urban Hollywood or Manhattan. There are those of us who were the odd duck in town but everyone in town KNOWS you're the odd duck and accepts that of you (or doesn't.)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

It's okay if you plan on basing a story in a small town in the U.S., it's NOT okay when you have residents of that town act like they're somewhere else. People that grew up in what I'll call Shitkickerville, USA, are NOT going to have the same societal mores as people that grew up in urban Hollywood or Manhattan. There are those of us who were the odd duck in town but everyone in town KNOWS you're the odd duck and accepts that of you (or doesn't.)

While I, and many creative and productive people I know, left their small-town homes because they were seen as the "odd duck", and were treated as such. You can't blame the 'liberal elite' for directing public thought, when you refuse to admit that small-town values don't generate much income, lead to more jobs, or improve anyone's future. People vote with their feet. The western states continue to lose populations and influence, while the cities continue to grow (and the hostility between 'city' and 'country' people continue to escalate.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

You can't blame the 'liberal elite' for directing public thought


Why can't I? Who made them correct? Seems to me that their opinions are self-appointed - they're the ones who decided that they were the champions of everything.

small-town values don't generate much income, lead to more jobs, or improve anyone's future


Yes and no. Small towns don't NEED much income typically - and let's be realistic, if you're in a farming community (for example), you're around some people who are really well off - but it's all in equipment. A new combine can easily cost between $500,000 and $600,000, for example. Even one that's several years old is still worth 6 figures.

But it's not all about the money - it's also about the culture, the self-worth, and community. Small town values are what built the country, and remain the bedrock upon which it stands. Your neighbor gets hurt and can't harvest his crop - the whole community bands together and helps him out. Liberal big city values - your neighbor gets hurt and can't cut his grass, you call the city and have him fined.

the hostility between 'city' and 'country' people continue to escalate


Again, yes and no. There are many big cities in this nation that are very much still country. They're just typically not found on either coast, and for darn sure they're not liberal. (Austin is the exception, but we all know about Austin, anyway.)

As for the hostility - well, look what your 'liberal elite' brought us: We have to pass this bill to find out what's in it. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Hands up, don't shoot. The police acted stupidly with Dr. Gates. At this point, what difference does it make?

Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

Why can't I? Who made them correct? Seems to me that their opinions are self-appointed - they're the ones who decided that they were the champions of everything.

In case you didn't miss it, the point was about few people paying attention to regional concerns when the economy is stifled due to lack of opportunity. And your position is that there are NO self-appointed, opinionated "champions of everything" on the conservative side?

Buck bickering about whether liberals or conservatives are right or wrong won't achieve much, either here, nationally or internationally. As long as no one is willing to compromise and implement changes, nothing will ever change. And when one side forces drastic changes on everyone else, all the changes will simply be reversed when the next side takes over in subsequent elections.

Whatever your positions, we've got to figure out how to work together, and threatening to change slander laws to prevent criticism won't help.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

nothing will ever change


I thought that was the whole point. Muddle through, make things work that need to work, and simply keep calm and chive on. Those people who feel motivated can improve their lot in life, those that don't ... don't.

As for drastic changes - I distinctly recall listening to assorted talk radio hosts warning that changing legislative rules was a bad thing, because it could turn around and bite them in the butt. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, karma is being served and as the Klingons say, it's a dish best served cold.

As for working together - I'm honestly all for it. So long as working together actually means doing just that - not just doing what the liberal left says. I do give Bill Clinton kudos for that - he DID know how to compromise. I didn't agree with his politics, but he did make things work.

I'm not saying I'm not amused by the childish reactions all around - on the contrary, I find it hilarious. But crying and putting on safety pins isn't going to accomplish anything.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  Grant  Wheezer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl


As for working together - I'm honestly all for it. So long as working together actually means doing just that - not just doing what the liberal left says. I do give Bill Clinton kudos for that - he DID know how to compromise. I didn't agree with his politics, but he did make things work.


We can at least agree with that. Bill was a Statesmen, while Obama wasn't. Part of the reason Hillary lost, is probably because few could see her ever reaching across the aisle like her hubby did (even though the opposition tried to impeach him for something most politicians do). He didn't take that personally, though I'm not sure she could put such things aside. She never came across as being terribly personable and had a terrible stage presence, which always left her looking stiff and dishonest (like most, I wasn't crazy about ANY of the choices in this last election).

By the way, the safety pins isn't a form of protest, but a way of reaching out to those most impacted (i.e. those at risk of being deported) as a 'safe resource' who'll try to intercede on their behalf). That's also why some Trump supporters have also taken to wearing safety pins, so they can target those same people (isolated reports only)!

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Wheezer

The first thing to do is quit using 'liberal' like a dirty word, and maybe the other side will quit using 'conservative' as a dirty word. Of course, I do not see much hope for that.

Grant

@StarFleet Carl

So long as working together actually means doing just that - not just doing what the liberal left says.

Nor what the right says.
Actually we're still waiting to see anything the left has said be put in to action. The right has done an excellent job of sabotaging anything the left has tried to implement.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Wheezer

@StarFleet Carl

As for working together - I'm honestly all for it. So long as working together actually means doing just that - not just doing what the liberal left says.


From the tone of your other posts, I interpret that sentence to mean not doing anything liberals suggest - sort of like how the Republicans in congress vowed to block President Obama from his first day in office to his last.

Replies:   REP
REP
Updated:

@Wheezer

Now its the Democrats turn. Not much of a chance in a Republican controlled Congress. I wonder it they will turn to Twitter to take their views to the American Public.

Social media is already about conflicting personal views. Just wait until the Politicians start Twitter wars that we can all join.

StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

like most, I wasn't crazy about ANY of the choices in this last election


Tell me about it. Couple of elections ago, I supported Herman Cain. That didn't end well for him. This time I liked Ted Cruz. Again, that didn't end well. His first time running, I liked what Ross Perot said. And we all know how that went.

What's funny from a political standpoint is that by all rights I should be Democrat. I used to work in a factory, I supported trying to unionize the place to protect the workers, I grew up in a Democrat home where my dad was on a first name basis with our state senator (they were neighbors when growing up) and I personally know his son (and the former governor of the state). Go figure.

I'm sure it's how a lot of people here in the south are - they WERE Democrat, but they're not liberals. When the liberals really took over the national party, since our two party system doesn't give us viable alternatives, they had to choose Republican.

Replies:   REP  ustourist  Crumbly Writer
StarFleet Carl

@Grant

anything the left has said be put in to action


Obamacare.
Fast and Furious.

Just to name two ...

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  Grant
REP

@StarFleet Carl

by all rights I should be Democrat


You are right about this last election presenting us with no good choices. That was the way I felt the first time I registered to vote. I still haven't found a party that I feel is worth supporting; they are all in the toilet.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
ustourist

@StarFleet Carl

I'm sure it's how a lot of people here in the south are - they WERE Democrat, but they're not liberals.

It is extremely noticeable in the lower Texas panhandle/south plains. Counties that were wholly democrat fifteen years ago are often now wholly republican, though the officials are the same. They changed party affiliation. The trend is now moving more eastward as the counties eastwardly adjacent to mine have had the same transition in the last few elections. Overall voting numbers are reasonably consistent, but affiliation has swung substantially.

richardshagrin

I postulate a fictional land of Re. If you rent property you sign a release. They don't have circuit breakers, they use refuses. The major political parties are the Re Publican party, which supports small businesses like publicans. The major opponents is the Re Dickulous party, whose major interest is how people use dicks.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

Tell me about it. Couple of elections ago, I supported Herman Cain. That didn't end well for him. This time I liked Ted Cruz. Again, that didn't end well. His first time running, I liked what Ross Perot said. And we all know how that went.

What's funny from a political standpoint is that by all rights I should be Democrat.

In my first election, I voted for Richard Milhouse Nixon and was proud of it (mostly because of his 'ping-pong diplomacy' with China). Then Watergate unraveled, and I never looked back.

Since then, I've never regretted my vote, though the selection was flawed, rather than my choice of available candidates.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl


Fast and Furious.


Uh, hate to break it to you, but "Fast and Furious" was a police action, rather than a political agenda by the left. The FBI chief may have been a Democrat, but that's hardly indicative of any 'liberal agenda'. As they old saying goes: "Cops be cops". And as anyone who's ever lived in the streets, when the cops show up, everyone disappears rather than get shot, arrested, beaten or framed.

The problem now is, with all the intelligent criminals dead, the only ones left are the brain-dead thugs who don't know enough to avoid confrontations with cops! Hint: when black people confront cops, it don't bode well for the blacks, in ANY circumstances!

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Crumbly Writer

@REP

I still haven't found a party that I feel is worth supporting; they are all in the toilet.

That's the key, each party focuses on certain 'key word' issues like "Obamacare" or "Abortion Rights", instead of focusing on ANY issues really impacting voters lives. People then vent all their anger over unimportant issues, rather than venting their angst at the politicians. In that regard, Trump is as 'seasoned' as any career politician.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

The major opponents is the Re Dickulous party, whose major interest is how people use dicks.

I wouldn't mind 'Re-Dicking' a few politicians!

sejintenej
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl


Crumbly Writer

You can't blame the 'liberal elite' for directing public thought

Why can't I? Who made them correct? Seems to me that their opinions are self-appointed - they're the ones who decided that they were the champions of everything.


I don't know about the USA but I am convinced that they see it as a way to make money, either on this crusade or to get more into the public eye so they can be more effective and better reimbursed the next time.

We have one such mental deficient on another forum I belong to and he is constantly finding that his views are considered rubbish and argued against with hard facts. It doesn't stop one of the more left wing papers giving him column millimetres

REP

@Crumbly Writer

Trump is as 'seasoned' as any career politician.


Conmen make great politicians. Really good conmen get re-elected.

doctor_wing_nut

@rkimmelerre

Defiantly for definitely. I don't understand this one at all. If it was only one writer who did it, or I only saw it once in a great while, that'd be one thing. But it's actually fairly common, and it bugs the snot out of me.


That's a very common auto-complete error. I'm a member of a forum where a lot of people post from their phones, and it happens all the time.

All. The. Time. Not surprisingly, the culprits could not care less.

I suppose I could understand it when using two thumbs on a teeny tiny screen, but it's an unacceptable error for anyone pretending to be a writer. Yes, I know, amateurs and all, but seriously, if you care that little about a modicum of accuracy, I care that little about what you might have been trying (and failing) to say.

fwiw

Replies:   ustourist  sejintenej
ustourist

@doctor_wing_nut

I agree. That isn't the sort of error that the brain corrects when reading through, like the the 'missing' to or the quite/quiet. (yes, the 'the' duplication was deliberate). To me the defiantly one stands out like a sore thumb, and much more often than I would expect to see it occur.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

rather than a political agenda by the left

It was proven that one of the reasons that ATF was doing the gunrunning with the permission of the Obama DOJ was so that they could use this evidence of lawlessness to impose stricter gun regulations here. If that's not a left political agenda item, I don't know what is.

the brain-dead thugs who don't know enough to avoid confrontations with cops


Pretty much. Police officer says Stop and put your hands up, you STOP and PUT YOUR HANDS UP. Yes sir, how may I assist you? I'll grant you that I'm caucasian, but I've been pulled over before here. (I literally had a taillight out and didn't know it.) Kept my hands ON the steering wheel. Officer comes up, Hi, Officer, I will be glad to show you my license and insurance. Please note that I was at the shooting range and I have unloaded firearms behind my seat, transporting them from the range to my home as allowed by the law. I will be more than happy to exit the vehicle so you may confirm that. (I may have also been wearing my Army Veteran hat, and smelled like gunpowder since I'd just put about 200 rounds through my Glock and 120 through my AR. I also had my receipt and target from the range, too.)

StarFleet Carl

@ustourist

stands out like a sore thumb


I truly despair of the capacity of some things I've read on here. Precedent Washington set the president of not being a king. I don't think there's much proofreading before posting. That's one thing I'm grateful to my creative writing professor for - he pounded it into our heads that you need to check your work before submission. (And this was in the days before word processors - that's when we used FUJ instead. Wite-out, aka fuck up juice.)

Grant

@StarFleet Carl

anything the left has said be put in to action


Obamacare.

What was put in place was the Republican version of what was proposed.
It has certainly been better than nothing, but not was good as it could have been.

Fast and Furious.

A series of really bad movies?

Capt Zapp

@Grant

Obamacare.
What was put in place was the Republican version of what was proposed.


What was put in place was a "You'll have to pass it to find out what's in it" version. Too bad there wasn't a clause that said they all got paid minimum wage and had to pay their own way for benefits like the common worker.

StarFleet Carl

@Grant

A series of really bad movies?


Gunrunning - the DOJ allowed (forced) certain shops in the southwest to do massive straw purchases on weapons, allegedely so they could track them to the drug cartels. Net result was a lot of dead Mexicans and at least one dead US Border agent - and a LOT of US sold guns in Mexican drug cartel hands.

sejintenej

@doctor_wing_nut

That's a very common auto-complete error. I'm a member of a forum where a lot of people post from their phones, and it happens all the time.

I have a Microcrap one - impossible to type anything properly and as for trying to answer a call - just forget it

KimLittle

Just read my pet peeve. Loose vs lose.

Fuck's sake.

Ernest Bywater

@KimLittle

Loose vs lose.


often caused by a finger stutter

Replies:   KimLittle
KimLittle

@Ernest Bywater

I wish I could agree, but it appears fairly frequently, even see it regularly in written work that crosses my desk.

I think it's a common error like COULD OF instead of COULD HAVE. Another pet peeve.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@KimLittle

I think it's a common error like COULD OF instead of COULD HAVE. Another pet peeve.


I think that's when people don't realize that it's COULD'VE. But that should also only be done in conversation, otherwise write both words.

Paul could have, should have made the basket.
Paul lamented, "I could've, should've made that basket!"

Replies:   REP
REP

@StarFleet Carl

I could've, should've made that basket


A character's voice should determine if contractions are used in dialog; not some rule. Not using contractions could be one of the characteristics that define the character.

Replies:   Capt Zapp
Capt Zapp

@REP

Not using contractions could be one of the characteristics that define the character.


And then there are people like me who don't always use contractions when they speak. :)

Replies:   REP
REP

@Capt Zapp

then there are people like me


Are you volunteering to be the role model for that type of character? :)

awnlee jawking

@REP

Characters who don't use contractions are usually the villains. At least they have a more interesting time than the goody-two-shoes hero :)

AJ

Replies:   KimLittle
Capt Zapp

@REP

Are you volunteering to be the role model for that type of character? :)


Sure. Why not. ;)

I was just saying that because I have been told that I switch back and forth between using contractions and not using them.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@KimLittle

Just read my pet peeve. Loose vs lose.

Fuck's sake.

often caused by a finger stutter

Fuck's sakes are caused by loose fingers. However, loose fingers lose their grip, and you end up losing them in equally loose nether regions!

Note: Just playing around with formatting quotes.

Crumbly Writer

For a long time, contractions in fiction were looked down on. As a result, they never appeared in the narrative, and only appeared in dialogue for specific characters (Awnlee's 'bad guys' bad buys'). Nowadays, as everyone behaves less formally, it's now common to include abundant contractions in both the dialogue and narrative (the omnipotent God-like narrator apparently speaks like every other poor slob on the streets).

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
KimLittle

@awnlee jawking

I also tend to avoid contractions when a character is not a native-level English speaker.

StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

omnipotent God-like narrator


"God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent - it says so right here on the label.

If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills."

RAH, 1973

Sorry, CW, but that was the first thing I thought of when I read your comment. I may have been corrupted by free thinking at an early age.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@KimLittle

Teal'c!

I have a somewhat idiosyncratic view on that. I like to make my stories as readable as possible, and I usually take the view that, as the narrator, it's fine if all the speech I report is in my own style of speaking. Different characters should be differentiable according to the content of what they're saying.

Judging my the stories of others, I'm probably in a minority. But when two characters are conversing in 'Standard Galactic', I think that eg artificially including or omitting contractions has no point.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@KimLittle

I also tend to avoid contractions when a character is not a native-level English speaker.

Good idea. I'd really not given it much consideration before (and I include a fair number of foreigners (non-natives) in my stories.

Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

Sorry, CW, but that was the first thing I thought of when I read your comment. I may have been corrupted by free thinking at an early age.

Don't worry, I can relate. However, that's generally how authors describe the omni narrator. I've been on a bit of a mission lately, suggesting that it's better to give your narrators a little personality and a few flaws. Readers prefer flawed characters, and if the narrator goes off track or takes sides, it'll keep them guessing.

I don't always identify my narrator, but I prefer knowing who they are when I start writing, so I know how to flavor the narration.

For the most part, my narrator is simply a fireside story teller, detailing a story he's heard told many times. Other times they're either a character in the story or a relative, who's learned all the details of what happened over time. However, making 3rd Omni less omnipotent makes the narrator more interesting (in my own humble opinion).

In fact, in my latest story (the one I'm working on now), I'm considering rewriting the entire thing to make the narrator more active in the story.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I have a somewhat idiosyncratic view on that. I like to make my stories as readable as possible, and I usually take the view that, as the narrator, it's fine if all the speech I report is in my own style of speaking. Different characters should be differentiable according to the content of what they're saying.

It's fine to have a relaxed narrator (as per my earlier discussion about the omnipotent narrator), but one should always be character in separating the narrator from the author. Too many reader already assume they are one and the same, and thus accuse the author of things the character does. Thus if you write about racists, readers may assume you're also a racist. If the story attacks racists, then readers will assume you have an agenda, rather than merely telling a fictional story.

In short, give the narrator a personality, but don't make them sound just like you. A little distance is good for everyone.

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