In today's forecast, The Detroit News proclaims that a "cold front" is coming in to take us below the 90's. While I, sitting in my non-air conditioned home and presiding over a eutrophic pool, can appreciate temperatures below 90, I have to say something about this supposed "cold front."
According to the weekly forecast, this "cold front" will still leave us in the 80's. The 80's are tolerable (except for music and fashion), but I decline to accept it as a "cold front."
Denotatively, it fits. The 80's is colder than the 90's. However, one must also consider the connotation of a word. There is nothing cold about a weather system that carries temperatures in the 80's. 85 is cold if it's your body temperature (in which case you're either dead or my wife's hands and feet at bed time). 85 is cold if it's your oven setting, and you're cooking meat. When the air is 85, it's quite warm. Maybe it's not [insert profanity] hot, but it sure as heck isn't cold. Something that is not cold should not be called cold, even if it is colder than something else. If the temperature were 150, you wouldn't walk around saying, "Hell this is cold! After all, we could be living on the surface of the Sun!" (or in my living room).
Would you wear a sweater if it's 85? Would you start a fire in the fireplace? Would you turn the thermostat up to 90 because 85 is too cold?
The 80's is not cold, so it can't be a "cold front," even if it's colder than the 90's. The 80's isn't even a "mild front." It's a "milder front," but that doesn't make it mild. Someone who murders fewer people than another isn't by definition more philanthropic.
Like I said, the denotation is appropriate, but there's more to a word than its denotation. If denotation were all that mattered, then I wouldn't get upset if one of my kids told me that the bathroom smelled like [insert profane synonym for feces]. If connotation didn't matter, then I could tell people that I've got a real bitch at home without fear of offending anyone.
*Disclaimer: Nala is a bitch. She's a two year old beagle.*
If connotation is irrelevant, then I could issue any racial epithet with impunity (Polacks can go to www.dictionary.com to look up impunity. Better yet, ask an Ango-Saxon to do so for you).
And this brings me to a new rant. What's with almost every blonde joke being a simple revised Polack joke? Was it decided that jokes depicting a nationality in a bad way are not appropriate (unless it's France), but jokes deriding people with low levels of eumelanin and higher levels pheomelanin are funny?
What's wrong with racial jokes? If the answer is that they're offensive, then blond jokes are similarly inappropriate. If the answer is that they create a false stereotype, then blond jokes are likewise inaccurate.
Is there some fear that I might actually think that racial jokes depict the truth of people? I know many blond people, and I see new ones every day, and I have never assumed that they are stupid because I heard the one about the blond who climbed over the chain-link fence to see what was on the other side (originally, this was a Polack joke).
But connotation is a problem, and it's not easily describable.
There's a difference between racial epithets, racism, and racial jokes. Should I push aside a black guy and say, "Out of my way, nigger," I have used a word with a negative connotation with the purpose of being pejorative. It's not the word that's bad so much as what I meant by using it.
Suppose I should say that I hate dagos? Again, the key is not the word dago. The important and truly pejorative word is hate. Am I somewhat nicer if I say, "I hate Italians"?
Now to the racial joke. When I ask, "Did you hear about the Polack who broke his arm while raking leaves? He fell out," I'm not trying to be hurtful to Poles. It's just for some reason (and I don't know it), they're the butt of jokes, and these jokes depict them as being dumb. By telling the joke, I am not suggesting that Poles are dumb, nor am I expressing my personal belief that Poles are dumb. Just because I laughed at the joke, "What did the black kid get for his birthday? My bike!" doesn't mean that I'm supporting the KKK or about to hang one from a tree. Besides, how would I get him down? (I'd tell some Mexicans that he's a piñata).
Do such jokes support irrational stereotypes? Yes, in some ways they do. However, I still want to know what's so PC about a blond joke? For that matter, what's so funny about a redneck joke, if Jewish jokes are so taboo? If I tell or laugh at a Jewish joke, I'm not saying that Auschwitz was a fine institution. However, if you wish to punish me for telling or laughing at a Jewish joke, then you've got something in common with Auschwitz's proprietors.
What's funny if everything's PC?
Non-PC Joke: How do you confuse a Polack? Stick him in a round room and tell him to pee in a corner!
PC Version: How do you confuse a dignified individual of Polish descent? Send him to a location but provide him with incorrect directions.
Non-PC Joke: Why do Italian men grow mustaches? To remind them of their mothers!
PC Version: Why do Italian men grow mustaches? Because many of them wish to do so, and since it is within their rights to do so, they may so.
Non-PC Joke: What do gay men call hemorrhoids? Speed bumps!
PC Version: What do gay men call hemorrhoids? A condition in which the veins around the anus or lower rectum are swollen and inflamed!
In spite of all of this, I completely disagree with the connotative ignorance of calling the upcoming weather a "cold front." It's not a "cold front" if it doesn't make it cold, and the 80's is not cold. Historically, the 80's weren't even cool.
By the way, if I offended you with my candor, then get a life.