The death of Joss Carter

I haven’t watched Person of Interest since the writers’ decision to kill Joss Carter. Here I’ll explain why that decision continues to upset me.

Joss’s role as one of the three main characters was to bring the show back down to earth, to add believability. The idea of a guy with genius programming abilities and virtually limitless funds joining forces with a guy with action hero powers to fight crime might almost be silly if not tempered by real-world considerations. And as an audience, we can’t truly identify with the superhero. Like Bones needs Booth, like Holmes needs Watson, like Superman needs Clark Kent’s relationships with regular people, the John-and-Howard superteam needs Joss. And so Joss was there from the beginning, balancing John and Howard out.

At first, Joss was something of an antagonist, then she became a protector, and then she struck out on her own. After Fusco’s story arc, Joss’ may have been the richest of all the characters’. We see it as it happens, whereas John and Howard’s character development has largely been flashback.

Beyond being a necessary counterpoint to John and Howard, Joss was the only relatable female character in the show. Root is fascinating, and Shaw is a lot of fun, but neither of them is a person the audience can really identify with. Root and Shaw are also lithe; Joss’ full figure was a welcome change from the Hollywood stereotype. Joss was also the only person of color in the main cast.

In one fell swoop, the writers have transformed Person of Interest into a show about a bunch of larger-than-life white people. Yawn.

The decision to kill Joss was bad enough, but then they had to do it so badly. Don’t get me wrong, the suspense and twist at the end were well done. But there was a completely unnecessary element: Joss and John’s supposed love story.

I have never picked up on a romantic relationship between Joss and John. Retconning it in at the last minute cheapens her death. It seems to say that the reason her life meant something is because she was John’s love interest. That she had no worth beyond that. That John wouldn’t have found her death as tragic if not for that element. (And they’ve already done a star-crossed lovers story for John. No need to do another one!)

Downgrading Joss from main character status to love interest status also reinforces the fallacious notion that men and women can’t have relationships without romantic love eventually coming up. If this were true in the real world, we’d never get anything done.

Joss and John were comrades. Buddies. Friends. Yes, of course they cared about each other, but I would argue that it was in the same way John and Howard care about each other. I highly doubt the writers would shoehorn a love story into an episode about Howard’s death.

I also highly doubt the writers will kill Howard, or John. I don’t feel that Joss’ death has suddenly made the show more “dangerous”, in which “anything can happen”, as the producers seem to be claiming. The writers were able to kill Joss because she was a she and a person of color, therefore traditionally expendable.┬áHer death relegates her to “token black character”. It doesn’t matter that removing her character from the show changes the concept. Audiences have plenty of precedent for minority characters being offed regardless of their importance. We understand it, and unfortunately we accept it.

I have no doubt in my mind that the writers consider killing off John or Howard much more difficult–that such a thing would break the show. Yes, it would change the concept. Joss’ death also changes the concept. But unlike Joss, John and Howard are two white guys, and therefore their stories are “essential”. The producers joke about killing John, but if they do, I imagine it won’t be until the last episode of the series.

Want to know another way in which the show isn’t “dangerous”? They very carefully made it clear that the kids would be okay. First they retconned in Joss’ ex and showed that he had changed, so we know her son will be taken care of. And then they saved Fusco’s son. If this show’s concept was actually changing into a Game of Thrones-style story (ugh), no one would be safe, not even children. No, this show isn’t “dangerous”. Killing the solitary minority character is not a groundbreaking move that changes the paradigm. It is simply a weak decision that follows decades, perhaps centuries, of lazy storytelling tradition.

Feel free to prove me wrong, writers. I never wanted any of the characters to die. I love them all. But now that you’ve killed the “expendable” minority, how about you put your money where your mouth is and make a truly dangerous decision about who to off next?

Feminism and relatable characters

Today I started reading a review of Brave. It mentioned a little boy had no one to relate to in the film. Oh, boo hoo.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I stopped reading the review when it became evident that it contained copious spoilers. But I may as well have just stopped at that point. I mean come on. “No relatable boy characters” is the first thing that comes to mind?

And yet I’ve never seen this reviewer comment on any perceived lack of relatable female characters.

(This reviewer a writer I have enjoyed for many years, but he is occasionally sexist. Maybe unwittingly. I’m just baffled.)

Women have had to relate to male characters in stories pretty much since the beginning of storytelling. Do you really think we relate to the hot chick who is only in the film to give the guy someone to rescue? All the great adventure stories, traditionally, have had male heroes, and so we’ve just had to relate to those guys.

We have “women’s lit”, but that’s philosophy, us trying to figure out who the hell we are. It’s not entertainment.

There have been some excellent exceptions in recent decades, thanks to forward-thinking storytellers, but most movie heroes are still guys. Think about Marvel’s Avengers. Which team members got their own movies? (Granted, the superhero genre is flawed in general because it’s built on stories written decades ago about a bunch of white guys.)

Upshot: When someone who gets all the stories suddenly doesn’t have one story and starts complaining about it, I just have to laugh. Or cry.

Speaking of disappointing movies, I watched X-Men: First Class, and why do we still have token black guys who get predictably killed off?! Reminds me of how I immediately knew who that guy in Men in Black III was, because, well, he was black. Not to be too spoilery. Or pessimistic.

TV relationships

One of the most annoying tropes in TV shows and commercials is that of the man in a relationship sneaking away to do something he enjoys, like watch sports. Or the flip side of this, the woman in a relationship getting annoyed that the man in the relationship wants to do something. This is a horrendous example for people who want to have decent relationships.

One of the first things you should learn when you decide to commit to someone is that they are different from you. They have different priorities and likes. If they can’t pursue those priorities and likes, they are going to be unhappy. So you can either enable them to be happy, or you can be the reason they are resentful or dishonest.

This goes both ways. The trope always seems to show the nagging wife not understanding her husband’s love of sports (or whatever), but in real relationships you also see husbands not wanting their wives to have activities that don’t include them, or other such nonsense.

I think it’s better to let the other person in a relationship cultivate their own interests and life. That way they stay intriguing and unfamiliar, and they can pursue activities that you may not be interested in yourself. It can get frustrating sometimes if you don’t feel like you have enough in common, but I think that’s better than trying to make the other person feel guilty for having outside interests. In a relationship, you can support one another and continue to be your own person. I’d like to see more examples of that rather than the stupid cliches.

I prefer porcelain

Today the mood to scrub out my bathtub struck me. It’s a rare mood, so I took advantage of it.

For some time I’ve been meaning to at least smack down the rust ring caused by my shaving cream can with some Barkeeper’s Friend. Today when I went to shave my legs I was finally disgusted enough by the ring to do something about it. And while I was at that task, I realized the entire tub could use a scouring.

Our apartment was renovated before we moved in. While we weren’t explicitly told this, I’m pretty sure no one lived in it before us after the renovation. The appliances were brand new, and there were no obvious signs of wear and tear anywhere. (A few non-obvious signs had been patched up and painted over.) Further, the bathroom tile, sink, and tub had the look of having never been used.

Another piece of evidence that makes me think we were the first to live here after the renovation is the fact that over time, whatever sealant the contractors had put on the tub and tile actually started stripping away.

It first started on the soap dishes in the tub. The act of simply keeping soap there apparently degraded the coating, such that it broke and flaked off. Then the bottom of the tub started to discolor; washing had no effect. Today, while scrubbing at the corner of the tub where my shaving cream usually sits to get at the rust ring, I realized my brush had knocked some sealant off the very tiles. Even the tiles had been coated over with something! (I also noticed that the inside front of the tub, which one doesn’t normally look at, is spanned by a line of dry drips from where the sealant was originally applied.)

I am not a fan of plastic tubs in general, and this rapid degradation–we haven’t even lived here a year and a half!–is really disappointing. If I ever own a home (which seems unlikely), I will eschew plastic entirely in my bathrooms. And renovations will not consist of simply spraying a coating over everything.

Seriously, Hunter x Hunter?

Seriously?

Hisoka gets "turned on"I don’t even want to tell you the context of this image.

I mean, I guess people exist who become sexually aroused by fighting strong opponents (who are twelve years old), but do we really want to be normalizing that behavior? (What do you know, I managed to tell you the context.)

More importantly, who is the target audience?┬áHunter x Hunterfeels like a cute kids’ show with a tad too much emphasis on fighting for the most part, but then you get stuff like this. What are kids supposed to learn? That it is cool to have some older guy obsessed with you to the point of wanting to get off on hurting you? Or are adults supposed to learn a more sinister lesson?

Aw, look at the cutesy way Gon and Killua imitate Hisoka in the “Hunterpedia” portion of the episode! There’s nothing disturbing about this at all. :P

Gon and Killua do their own schwing

Bathtub lament

I love baths.

Even before I went to Japan for the first time in 2001, I loved soaking in a tub, surrounded by hot, soothing water. My bathtub growing up wasn’t the most comfortable, but it had a slanted end I could lean against. In Japan, of course, I enjoyed huge tubs that covered me completely to the neck; in some cases I could even dunk my head, though I’m not sure you’re supposed to do that. Since tasting the joys of true, full-body bathing, I’ve dreamed of recreating the experience in my own home, wished that somehow it could happen.

On TV or in movies we often see women pampering themselves in huge claw-foot tubs, no matter if they live in mansions or dinky little apartments. In reality, even nice apartments like the ones I’ve been living in for the past nine years come with standard-issue low tubs, barely high enough to surround a smaller person with water. Larger people find up to half their body out of the warmth at any given time. These tubs are also often lacking a comfortable side to lean against. In these tubs, bathing is a cramped, cold, unsatisfying experience, hardly relaxing.

regular bathtub

Honestly, I’d prefer a sit tub to this–a round or square tub tall enough to sit in and be totally immersed. I don’t mind curling up a little if it means I can get all the way underwater. That would save space, too, and eliminate the need for an angled side to lean on.

Alas, I don’t have one of those, or a huge claw-foot tub, or anything. And so when I want a nice relaxing bath, all I can do is sigh, deal with my discomfort, and try to amuse myself looking at things like this and this and this and this.

Save Ferris?

An internet subset, likely made up of Gen Xers, has been freaking out about this video:

At first glance, it might appear to be a teaser for a movie trailer. A more savvy inspection reveals it to be a teaser for a Super Bowl ad. And indeed, now there are reports that the ad will be for Honda.

I don’t really care. The premise is cute, I guess. But really, to me, today, with everything that’s going on with the economy, with unemployment the way it is (though apparently getting better), I really can’t get on board with a guy blowing off work.

Being something of a goody two shoes, I had trouble with Ferris even back in the prosperous 90s, when I watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on TV and marveled at how much trouble his selfishness caused for everyone. But I enjoyed the movie, and it helped teach me not to take everything so seriously. (I went a little too far the other way my first year of college with some egregiously selfish behavior, and then, over time, found balance.)

I don’t know if the movie’s carefree attitude quite works now, though. We’re no longer living in prosperous times. There’s no economic safety net. Plus, Ferris was originally about the end of childhood. One final adventure before college. What would skipping a day of work symbolize? A midlife crisis? An inability to grow up and take responsibility? Or just being a normal person? Everyone needs a day off every now and then, and I support the idea of non-specific PTO. Regardless, none of these seem quite as compelling as the original story’s “last hurrah”.

I think what appeals to people about this teaser is the memory of what it was like in the 80s and 90s. Maybe they wish they could run and hide in the past. Maybe they think if they watch a Ferris Bueller Super Bowl commercial, or a movie starring the adult Ferris Bueller, they’ll be more able to pretend that things are the same now as they were then. That everything’s fine, nothing to see here, move on.

Do that, though, and you’re just letting things get worse. You’re giving up control. If you want things to get better, if you want a return to prosperity, then you need to work for it, not just punch your time clock and then distract yourself with entertainment. You need to observe, and you need to think.

Save Ferris? I say, kick Ferris to the curb. We’ve got bigger problems than just wanting a day off.

Edit: Here’s the full ad. Did you relive your glory days? :>

Browser woes

I don’t have time for a proper post. I just wanted to share my frustration at the browser choices currently available.

Firefox is bloated. It eats up all my computer’s resources and hangs like crazy.

IE is slow. It doesn’t take as many resources as Firefox, but it’s not a huge improvement. Plus, I click something, hear the click, and then wait several long seconds for anything to actually happen.

I’ve switched to Google Chrome recently, looking for relief, but a plague of unresponsive tabs has made me wonder if it’s truly any better than the above. Plus, Chrome renders Japanese text horribly. To wit:

Hard-to-read Japanese textSigh.

The left lane: Not just for looking at

On my daily I-20 commute, I am constantly flummoxed and frustrated by drivers who appear to not see that there is a third lane to their left. These drivers will tailgate the person in front of them, then zip into a tiny opening between two cars to their right rather than pass in the open left lane.

Are they afraid they’ll get pulled over if they’re in the fast lane? Not sure that reckless driving is going to help. Or is that third lane, opened towards the end of last year and therefore new, invisible to them?

Granted, it is annoying for someone to drive too slowly in the middle lane. Slower traffic should stay to the right. But there are times when it’s good to hit up that middle lane, like when there’s traffic merging onto the interstate.

These left lane avoiders will ignore the merging situation and plow right into whatever’s going on in the right lane, oblivious to the cars trying to join the flow of traffic, rather than oh, say, I don’t know, follow the law and pass to the left!

I really wonder how much of the road people are watching. Do they only pay attention to what’s directly in front of them? How many cars are they watching? You can’t avoid accidents without watching all the cars and paying attention to the speed in every lane.

I treat driving like a game, the goal of which is to avoid accidents and maintain the flow of traffic. I watch far ahead to see what troubles might filter back to me, I pay attention to how each car is moving to see if someone’s telegraphing a turn or lane shift (because people can’t be trusted to put their blinkers on), and, yes, I am considerate. If someone needs to merge into my lane, I let them, and if someone wants to pass me and there is no lane to the left, I get over.

But I am constantly trapped between a tailgating left lane avoider and traffic merging into the right lane. There is no good way to get out of that situation other than moving into the left lane–the fast lane–and letting the tailgater pass to the right. As you can imagine, this utterly offends my OCD.

The left lane is for passing, not for being passed! If you want to pass, for the love of all that is good and pure in this world, use the left lane!

Just in case any of you were confused, the previous post was written by my husband.

I fell asleep sometime yesterday afternoon and didn’t get up again until this morning. I didn’t want to get up even then, but duty calls. Work is really annoying right now because I’m doing order-taking and dispatch, two things I never wanted to do, and which I told Robert time and time again that I didn’t want to do. He has invested some time in talking me into it; this happens every week or so. The last time, I got a $0.50/hr raise, which unfortunately doesn’t make it any more worth it to me.

It’s not that I can’t do it, I can–I just don’t want to. I don’t like having to drop everything and answer the phone in a cheery voice, and I don’t like having to try and figure out who’s where and how fast they can get whatever food to someplace else.

Compounding the issue are all the problems we’ve been having lately. We manage to pull it off, but it’s by the skin of our teeth. I feel that we are severely unprepared for what we’ve gotten ourselves into, and since I’m the one answering the phone, I’m the one who’s going to get to hear about it when we finally slip up. It’s going to happen, if something doesn’t change soon.

So far, people have been patient and understanding, and I’ve really appreciated that…but how long can it last?

A big issue is the fact that we don’t have enough personnel. This is especially annoying today because I am really not in the mood to be at work, but I can’t even have a lunch break because Robert is out of the office doing the deliveries. We need another delivery driver and we need another office worker.

In my dream world, we would have an order taker/dispatcher working during my shift, and not just coming in at 1 like Robert has planned. I would do backup order-taking only, and really I’d prefer that we have several people working from home taking orders during the day so that I would never have to it at all. I don’t even really want to manage the order takers, but I guess that would be better than having to take the orders directly.

I don’t know if my dream world will ever come to be.

The most hectic times are between 11 and 1, I’ve noticed. People seem to realize that they’re hungry at 11, but by 1 they have probably made their arrangements. So things have calmed down a bit now.

I missed a call earlier due to being on the phone with someone else. Fortunately, she left a voice message, so I called her back. I missed another call due to not being logged in to receive calls, and I was distracted trying to do something anyway, so I just let it go.

I hate shoddy service. But that’s all we can apparently provide at this point.

It just feels like we were never prepared to do this, and we’re still not prepared, and I’m starting to wonder if we’ll ever be prepared for anything. Mom and I tend to over-prepare well in advance…I like that system a lot better. It may not be business-savvy, because I guess you’d lose money more often than not that way, but at least you would know what you were doing before you had to do it.

I hope 2go-Box starts turning a huge profit so that we can do everything we need to do.

And I wish today was Friday! :P

You could say that all of this stress is good because it’s distracting me from the issues weighing on my mind, and that might be true, but I’m not sure. I think it’s more likely that the issues weighing on my mind are adding to the phenomenal stress that already exists. There’s no way of telling for sure, because the delivery service and my “period” (or whatever) started at around the same time…but I think I would be annoyed and stressed about this kind of work regardless of anything else. I have never liked this sort of thing and I doubt I ever will.

I just want a job where I can work mostly by myself, maybe discussing things with a few others in person or through email/chat. I want to be able to do a wide variety of things, including menial tasks, because there are some days that I’m in the mood for that. I want to be challenged mentally in areas that are interesting to me. I want, ultimately, for my job to be a part of who I am–something that I do because I like to, and not because I have to because I need money in order to enjoy myself and take my mind off of work.

I thought I had that sort of job, but it sure hasn’t been that way lately.

A terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day

Today sucked.

I thought the period was over, but it evidently wasn’t. I hit the high point for emotionalism today, and then got some fresh spotting in the afternoon. By the time I made it home after my Workday from Hell, there was quite a bit of blood to clean up–fortunately I’ve been wearing a pad “just in case”.

If that was too much information…well, I don’t fucking care.

Work was just horrible–or, as I put it to AJ, “SUCKITY SUCK SUCK SUCK”. I have like three times the responsibilities now, but I’m still being paid $6.50 an hour. This week was especially stressful because of the new delivery service. I had to take orders and dispatch the driver, and every time something went wrong I would get really upset. I hate not providing good service, and I hate having dissatisfied customers. It’s our job to please them, so when we fail, I feel that we are just screwed.

Due to this perfectionism about customer service, I don’t think that high-pressure customer service jobs are right for me. But you know, I guess that doesn’t really matter when we can’t afford to give me what I’m worth, much less hire someone else.

Add to this my regular responsibilities, plus my boss throwing new things in my inbox all. the freaking. time. and you have a recipe for me sitting on the toilet in the office bathroom bawling my eyes out.

Despair transmuted

Here I am at 6:30 am after staying up all night–as usual, with something of a nap to tide me over–trembling with euphoria, chest swelled, eyes smarting with unshed tears, because I actually worked hard at writing something.

I have had a pretty shitty night up until this point. The reason I went to take a nap was because I wanted to cry. Bawl, in truth. I was unable to do that; my sobs felt forced and pathetic as I lay wrapped in the covers, face buried in my pillow. But I did at least cry, and then fell off into restless, desperate sleep.

I am unsatisfied with my life and I am unsatisfied with the way I spend my days. I do not feel as if there is any purpose to anything I do. I want more, I want to stop feeling desperate. I want to be more than useful; I want to be thrilling, inspiring, necessary, adored. I want to Do Things that make people Sit Up and Take Notice. I believe I have fallen into despair because I can’t envision these things ever actually happening. I’m lost, jobless, a housewife who hates keeping house. I’m no good to anyone else and I’m no good to myself.

But I wrote something. Something I am outrageously proud of, something I revised until it flowed off my tongue with a rhythm that plows a clear path. I read it aloud, several times, and tweaked it far more than that. I worked on it, and it’s finished, and I can say that I am reasonably happy with it.

It’s only a post. But holy shit do I feel good about it.

I must have needed that.

Originally posted on GP4. Woo…

I was stoked. I was in the zone. I was ready. My mind was working overtime, I was geared up, I was totally going to crank out some serious postage to lay on all yer asses.

Then my mom says, “Change the business website.”

I figure, oh, that’ll take me an hour or so, no biggie.

It took all freaking morning.

By the time I was done, I wanted to hurl my computer out the window. I puttered around online a little, ate something for the first time today, listened to Cowboy Bebop Blue three times over, chatted with Foreman and Reaper, and got absolutely nothing done.

So I decided I needed a break. I went to go watch Friends. It was funny! Yes! Maybe I felt good enough to post! Sat down again, but the TV was still on, so I watched a little of that Adam Sandler movie with the kid. It started to depress me, because the kid was so miserable and alone, and it sort of reminded me of those five minutes I caught of Law & Order, where the seven year old is telling how he killed his baby sister, in graphic detail.

So after that I was pretty depressed, not to mention disturbed. Cut off the movie, put in the Attack of the Clones soundtrack. Just sat and listened to it for awhile. Love theme good! Went out to ask my mom when she was going to make smoothies (I’d wanted one all day) and she and Dad were discussing (make that arguing about) a new business venture. I agreed with Mom, and tried to convince Dad, didn’t work. Gave up, came back here, complained to Shade about it.

Finally got a smoothie a few minutes ago…and it’s good. Listened to the love theme again. Now I’m just sort of staring at my monitor thinking “I am supposed to have a post up by now.”

But! It’s almost bedtime, and I want to be nice and energetic tomorrow because I’m driving an hour and a half into Louisville to look at wedding dresses. This could take hours, and I want it to be fun

And I’ve been thinking about writing, about how I really need to work on certain aspects, and how I really don’t feel like it. I’m so…lethargic. I could probably just go to bed right now. I’m still not really sure where my day went, other than the web design thing…

So anyway…

I’m not sure when the GP4 GenDis became my blog, but basically this is why there are no posts. I feel like a heel, but I have no inspiration. I know what I need to get done, and now it’s just a matter of churning it out.

My head hurts.

ebonics

I had a lot of fun with this conversation, so I thought I’d share…

[21:05:00] <DarthWakka> How can california proclaim a dialect to be a language?
[21:05:07] <COSLeia> Kevin- did they?
[21:05:12] <DarthWakka> Oh yes
[21:05:19] <DarthWakka> Ebonics is a language in california
[21:05:27] <DarthWakka> Or was
[21:05:30] <COSLeia> can you show me an article?
[21:05:31] <DarthWakka> It could have been repealed
[21:06:15] <COSLeia> all I know is that teachers were lobbying to have instruction for teachers in what they called ‘ebonics’, or the dialect of local african-americans…and then the press caught wind of it and hyped it as they were trying to teach STUDENTS to speak it
[21:06:32] <COSLeia> when really it was just about getting the teachers to understand what the students were saying
[21:06:48] <COSLeia> Rush Limbaugh is especially good at twisting things his own way
[21:07:07] <DarthWakka> Errr so far I’m only seeing it as a bill
[21:07:14] <DarthWakka> Maybe it never made it to law in schools
[21:08:19] * COSLeia is listening to [hoobastank – crawling in the dark.mp3] [6.82 MB]
[21:08:35] <DarthWakka> http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/congress/january97/ebonics_1-23.html
[21:08:37] * DarthWakka is listening to [Blink-182 – New Hope.mp3] [3.44 MB]
[21:08:49] <DarthWakka> Okay so there was a referendum to teachers in oakland to recognize it
[21:08:55] <DarthWakka> And it made to senate
[21:09:05] <DarthWakka> But I guess it never went farther
[21:09:10] <COSLeia> to recognize it as a language?
[21:09:11] * COSLeia goes to read
[21:09:24] <DarthWakka> Recognize it as a lexicon and to understand it
[21:09:37] <COSLeia> “The controversy arose last month after schools in Oakland, California, began instructing teachers to recognize black language patterns, called Ebonics by some, as a way of teaching standard English more effectively.”
[21:09:40] <COSLeia> I see no problem with that
[21:09:44] <COSLeia> the dialect does exist
[21:10:26] <COSLeia> the only argument you could have against it is “well I don’t want to give them any help in learning ‘standard’ English…they should just pick it up naturally, or work on it themselves”
[21:10:44] <COSLeia> which is ridiculous, because ‘standard’ obviously isn’t being spoken at home or in their groups of friends
[21:10:45] <DarthWakka> ROBERT WILLIAMS: The results were striking. The children scored significantly higher on the Ebonics version than on the standard English versions. The following two examples are given here to show the method of code switching or translations. Standard English: Mark the toy that is behind the sofa. Ebonics version: Mark the toy that is in back of the couch. Two: Standard English version: Point to the squirrel that is beginning to climb the tree.
[21:10:47] <COSLeia> so where are they going to learn it?
[21:11:00] <COSLeia> code switching :D
[21:11:37] <Maniac1> interesting concept
[21:11:40] * COSLeia thinks that non-linguists should be careful before passing judgment on things like this
[21:11:43] <DarthWakka> Well I know most schools don’t use spanish teachers to teach spanish speaking students english
[21:12:21] <COSLeia> which is bad
[21:12:22] * DarthWakka is listening to [DJ Tiesto – 12 – Major League-Wonder-.mp3] [10.76 MB]
[21:12:25] <COSLeia> they should do that
[21:12:30] <COSLeia> or at least, have a Spanish speaker available
[21:12:34] <COSLeia> but that’s where budget comes in
[21:12:49] <COSLeia> there is a learning curve against people who don’t speak ‘standard’ (whatever that is)
[21:13:01] <DarthWakka> And I can base that claim by living in 2 and knowing first hand a third school system all heavily populated by spanish speaking individuals
[21:13:14] <COSLeia> I know they don’t.
[21:13:22] <COSLeia> I’m in a Teaching English as a Second Language class, for heaven’s sake ;)
[21:13:39] <COSLeia> there is actually a big debate about whether or not you should use someone’s original language to teach a new one
[21:14:13] <COSLeia> but regardless, the money for such an operation really isn’t there.
[21:14:32] <COSLeia> that’s why they like teachers who can speak Spanish
[21:14:46] <DarthWakka> Hmm… well as I see it, speaking and understanding are 2 different things
[21:14:46] <COSLeia> other than Arabic, Spanish is probably the biggest language being pimped to students these days
[21:15:07] <COSLeia> what do you mean?
[21:17:14] <COSLeia> …
[21:17:40] <COSLeia> am I still here?
[21:19:04] <Maniac1> i’m floating around
[21:19:06] * DarthWakka is listening to [Bangers and Mashed.mp3] [6.64 MB]
[21:19:21] <Maniac1> sorry wrong message
[21:19:31] <COSLeia> L1 can either interfere or bolster L2 acquisition!
[21:19:36] <DarthWakka> Yes’m
[21:19:38] <COSLeia> and that’s about all I have to say about that ;>
[21:19:44] <DarthWakka> I had a phone call
[21:19:49] <COSLeia> ahh
[21:20:19] <COSLeia> this chicken is awesome
[21:20:22] <DarthWakka> speaking and understanding
[21:20:41] <DarthWakka> Okay that interview cites a man who speaks perfect “standard english” in this interview
[21:20:49] <DarthWakka> ROBERT WILLIAMS: Yes. They know that there’s home talk and there’s school talk. And they learn standard English. I still speak Ebonics. Every day I play golf. We get down.
[21:21:48] <COSLeia> Kevin, do you feel that you learn anything at school?
[21:22:03] <DarthWakka> lol not really unless it’s science related
[21:22:11] <COSLeia> So there are different learning styles, yes?
[21:22:13] <DarthWakka> I learn all kinds of stuff in chemistry
[21:22:26] <COSLeia> Current methods don’t work for everyone.
[21:22:44] <DarthWakka> okay I want someone to teach me in l337
[21:22:46] <COSLeia> So yes, there are some people who do well in the system.
[21:22:54] <COSLeia> But there are some who do not.
[21:22:56] <DarthWakka> I speak l337 at home on the computer
[21:22:59] <COSLeia> That’s just a fact of education.
[21:23:11] <COSLeia> The point is not to teach in ebonics.
[21:23:19] <COSLeia> The point is giving the teachers the tools they need in case they need them.
[21:23:32] <COSLeia> If a student just isn’t getting it, wouldn’t it be good if the teacher could rephrase it?
[21:23:51] <COSLeia> Just like in SLA, you wouldn’t teach a Spanish student English while speaking all Spanish
[21:23:59] <COSLeia> but wouldn’t it be good to explain certain things in Spanish?
[21:24:07] <COSLeia> ESPECIALLY at the early levels.
[21:24:12] <COSLeia> Tapering off as students get more advanced.
[21:24:46] <DarthWakka> Alright, that involves a foreign language though. Are you saying a dialect is the same?|
[21:24:53] * DarthWakka is listening to [ATB – My Dream.mp3] [8.11 MB]
[21:24:56] <COSLeia> It is if it is getting in the way of comprehension.
[21:25:01] <COSLeia> And you cited an example to me that proves that it is.
[21:25:11] <COSLeia> the students scored higher on tests that were in ebonics.
[21:25:27] <COSLeia> so apparently they didn’t understand the other test as well.
[21:25:46] <COSLeia> Just like teachers in Appalachia…they learn the local dialect there, and it isn’t such a big deal.
[21:25:47] <DarthWakka> That sounds like teaching down to me
[21:26:02] <COSLeia> The difference here is that it’s harder for white people to learn ebonics.
[21:26:13] <COSLeia> because for one thing not a whole lot of them have access to the community.
[21:26:25] <COSLeia> it becomes a sociopolitical thing instead of people communicating.
[21:26:35] <COSLeia> ebonics isn’t talking down, because ebonics isn’t bad.
[21:26:39] <COSLeia> ebonics is simply different.
[21:26:57] <COSLeia> a teacher using ebonics is not ‘simplifying’ the language, just using a different style of language.
[21:27:14] <DarthWakka> Well that’s idealism
[21:27:17] <COSLeia> not really.
[21:27:21] <DarthWakka> Cockney is looked down upon
[21:27:34] <COSLeia> yes, but it’s still a real, meaningful form of language.
[21:27:37] <COSLeia> and so is ebonics.
[21:27:43] <COSLeia> ANYTHING people use to communicate is language.
[21:27:52] <COSLeia> and it is capable of having all sorts of depth.
[21:28:19] <COSLeia> all language is is the expression of meaning and the facilitation of conversation.
[21:28:26] <COSLeia> you can do it in any number of ways.
[21:28:34] <COSLeia> why is one way considered ‘more intelligent’ than another?
[21:28:42] <COSLeia> mostly because that’s the form spoken by people in power.
[21:28:50] <COSLeia> people in power typically don’t have to adapt their lifestyles to anything.
[21:28:57] <COSLeia> instead, everyone else has to adapt their lifestyle to those people.
[21:29:01] <COSLeia> it isn’t fair, but it’s a fact of life.
[21:29:10] <COSLeia> so the least we can do is help them to adjust more easily.
[21:29:10] <DarthWakka> Well it’s also the form taught in other countried
[21:29:12] <DarthWakka> Well it’s also the form taught in other countries
[21:29:23] <COSLeia> hmm?
[21:29:44] <DarthWakka> I’d be curious to see a person who speaks fluent ebonics go to one of your language discussion groups and see how well they fare
[21:30:02] <COSLeia> are you missing the point?
[21:30:09] <COSLeia> the point is to teach them ‘standard’, academic English
[21:30:14] <COSLeia> by using ebonics
[21:30:29] <COSLeia> the point is not to encourage the use of ebonics and ignore teaching standard
[21:31:13] <Foreman> do you perhaps run the risk of doing more damage than good trying to teach academic english with ebonics? won’t you just wind up with ebonics taking over/
[21:31:14] <Foreman> ?
[21:31:25] <DarthWakka> That was my theory foreman
[21:31:42] * Foreman has no linguistics experience whatsoever
[21:32:00] * DarthWakka is listening to [Paul Oakenfold – 01 – Brancaccio & Aisher – Darker (Reset the Breaks Mix).mp3] [10.89 MB]
[21:32:11] <COSLeia> when you learn a foreign language in school, does your teacher teach it completely in that language from day one?
[21:32:13] <DarthWakka> This isn’t a foreign language you’re trying to teach, correct? Ebonics and english have the same basis
[21:32:17] <COSLeia> or does she explain things in English first?
[21:32:20] <COSLeia> not really
[21:32:31] <COSLeia> ebonics has been shown to be a pidgnization of English and several African languages
[21:32:35] <COSLeia> although that is still being researched
[21:32:51] <COSLeia> and actually, there are more than one ‘ebonic’ dialect
[21:32:58] <COSLeia> though there is one ‘standard’ that you see in entertainment
[21:33:06] <COSLeia> and the others tend to follow it via TV and such
[21:33:19] <COSLeia> so while many of the lexical items are the same
[21:33:23] <COSLeia> the GRAMMAR is significantly different
[21:33:27] <DarthWakka> there are dialects of a dialect? I find that interesting
[21:33:31] <COSLeia> double negatives being just one prominent example
[21:33:39] <COSLeia> every person speaks a dialect
[21:33:42] <COSLeia> there is no pure language
[21:33:52] <COSLeia> we just refer to pure language to make things simpler on our poor brains
[21:34:06] <Foreman> yes its explained in english first, though that is when they are very dissimilar… I have always found that language is really picked up when you have no other means to communicate… *total immersion*
[21:34:07] <DarthWakka> okay then a dialect of a dialect of a dialect
[21:34:08] <COSLeia> in fact, every person’s speech is different from the speech of others…we call that an ‘idiolect’
[21:34:16] * Foreman is a slow typist
[21:34:35] <COSLeia> but certain groups have similar enough idiolects to be considered a dialect.
[21:34:56] <COSLeia> ‘ebonics’ or Black American English or whatever you want to call it developed back in the 1700-1800s
[21:35:09] <COSLeia> you can see historical documents with that kind of language being used
[21:35:23] <COSLeia> in some ways it has developed on its own, and in other ways it has followed Standard American English
[21:35:32] <COSLeia> it is just close enough for comprehensibility for certain people
[21:35:45] <COSLeia> but not everyone has the language skills to completely understand it on both sides
[21:36:05] <COSLeia> for me, it’s just figuring out a new lexical item (word); I can typically understand ebonics otherwise
[21:36:10] <COSLeia> but it’s not that easy for other people
[21:37:18] <COSLeia> most linguists believe that BE developed because of the slave traders’ putting people who spoke different languages together on the same boat, so they couldn’t discuss mutiny
[21:37:33] <COSLeia> as they stayed together, they developed a pidgin of their African languages, for communication
[21:37:44] <COSLeia> when they got to America, they had to learn English as well, to understand their owners
[21:37:48] <COSLeia> so that got put into the mix too
[21:38:10] <COSLeia> some researchers say that BE more closely resembles British English than American English, but I’m not sure if that’s documented
[21:38:26] <DarthWakka> so the theory is they created an entire language out of nearly nothing in the months it took to travel in the holds?
[21:38:31] <COSLeia> no
[21:38:35] <COSLeia> a pidgin is not a language
[21:38:48] * DarthWakka is listening to [Ayumix – From Your Letter (DJ Hasebe remix).mp3] [4.27 MB]
[21:38:49] <COSLeia> a pidgin is a collection of things, usually words
[21:38:56] <COSLeia> that people all learn and use with each other
[21:39:05] <COSLeia> there tends to be little grammatical information
[21:39:06] <DarthWakka> err?
[21:39:10] <COSLeia> such as
[21:39:14] <COSLeia> you don’t inflect verbs in a pidgin
[21:39:19] <COSLeia> you would say stuff like ‘he go’
[21:39:28] <COSLeia> or whatever the plain forms are in the language you took the words from
[21:39:39] <COSLeia> a pidgin does eventually develop into a creole
[21:39:45] <COSLeia> and from there it is usually considered a language
[21:39:47] <COSLeia> but THAT takes a long time
[21:39:55] <COSLeia> it wasn’t done on those weeks in the boats
[21:40:01] <COSLeia> it was done in those years on the plantations
[21:40:05] <COSLeia> and consider this
[21:40:09] <COSLeia> slave children grew up learning the pidgin
[21:40:13] <COSLeia> it was their first language
[21:40:16] <COSLeia> so they added nuance to it
[21:41:31] <COSLeia> there are studies that show that the grammatical forms in ebonics more closely resemble the grammar of African languages than they do English.
[21:41:37] <COSLeia> that is why it’s hard for some people to understand.
[21:41:40] <COSLeia> the words are mostly English
[21:41:46] <COSLeia> but the way they’re used is different.
[21:42:43] <COSLeia> if you can’t tell, I’ve done a lot of research…
[21:43:21] <DarthWakka> perhaps i don’t know liguistics well enough, but the way I learned what little spanish I know was total immersion in the language at my job in san antonio. I’d think it much easier to go from ebonics to standard in total immersion
[21:43:26] * DarthWakka is listening to [Paul Oakenfold – Flood.mp3] [7.07 MB]
[21:43:33] <COSLeia> yes, it would
[21:43:38] <COSLeia> but the immersion isn’t total at all.
[21:43:45] <COSLeia> the ONLY place they get SAE is in school.
[21:43:58] <COSLeia> in their homes and communities they don’t usually need it.
[21:44:31] <COSLeia> so it’s kind of like how Japanese students take English for 6 years and still can’t speak it.
[21:44:45] <COSLeia> they can sit through the classes, pass, and not learn a damn thing.
[21:44:50] <COSLeia> because they don’t use it outside of class.

As you can see, I was really into this ;> I’m so glad I found linguistics.