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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Words and Changes and Stress, Oh My

This will be a fairly random post.

First I want to talk about semantics and how they color the news, especially with this election. I've noted before that we call governments we don't like "regimes" and those we do like "administrations" and I think this is a similar thing.

I think we can all agree that we disagree on a lot of things. But one thing I've heard over and over again, as well as catching myself doing it, has to do with how we speak about the various candidates. I'm not talking about the mean little names (e.g. Killary) or cute slogans (e.g. Feel the Bern) that are puns on their names. I'm talking about something a lot more subtle; it was so subtle, in fact, that this Word Nerd didn't spot it until this morning.

We call the male candidate by their full names or their surnames (e.g. Gary Johnson or Trump) and the female candidates by their full names or their given names (e.g. Jill Stein or Hillary).

Why is this?

At first I thought (when I gave it any thought at all), that it was primarily to differentiate Hillary Clinton from Former President Bill Clinton. And for some of us this is possibly true. But I wonder how much of it is gender linked; we could after all call her "Mrs Clinton" or "Ms Clinton" if all we wanted was to differentiate from her spouse.

Now I think some of it at least is an unintentional, institutional sexism thing; using the familiar form of someone's name (given name or nickname) accords them less respect than the full or surname (Mr Trump is more formal and therefore more respectful).

You may or may not think I'm reading too much into it; that's up to you. Just throwing it out there.

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Some of you may have noticed that I have, for the first time in years, changed my blog background to something different from my pretty gray-blue rain-on-a-mountain.

It was depressing me; I'm having a rough enough time this autumn with Real Life, without looking at that stuff on my screen as well. So pretty fall leaves it is, at least for a month or so.

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Stress is a thing. These headaches are really pissing me off. So I decided - on the assumption that they are primarily tension-based due to them being relieved by a professional massage - to use heat and neck support and the like for the next several nights running. If the headaches don't get better, I'll see a doctor about pinchy nerves or something.

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That's kind of all I've got. But hey, at least it's not all about depression and illness today!