I appreciate your thoughtful comments about the medium of email and
listservs in particular in terms of the ongoing discussion, but I'd like to
address another issue.
And as a Canadian living in the US (among other subject positions) I have
yet another perspective. I currently live in New Hampshire among many
friends and neighbors who voted for the current US president who refer to
him as "Dubya" so I don't agree that the term is necessarily derogative.
Perhaps more importantly, I take issue with your claim that using a
derogatory term to refer to a political leader is analogous to making a
racial, ethnic or religious slur. It seems to me that to deem all such terms
"inappropriate" would severely limit if not shut down debate.
I was struck by an
> e-mail in this series that referred to "Dubya." I did not vote for George
> W. Bush, but he is the leader of a country. Out of respect for the citizens
> of that country, I think it inappropriate to beam out a communication
> which includes a derogatory reference ( "Dubya" is clearly not a term of
> respect or endearment). No one on the listserve would dream of making a
> racial slur, or a remark concerning one's religion or ethnic origin, but
> the "Dubya" reference seems okay, until what one considers is implied by
> the use of that term, not the least of which is the implication that only a
> dolt would vote for such a man. And the assumption that no such dolts are
> on the listserve.
> I don't really care what anyone's politics are. I do think, though, it
> behooves us as professionals in the field of communication to think
> carefully about audience when posting to the listserve. I don't think this
> is a Canadian/American thing (although I assumed, without looking at the
> address, that the author was Canadian because of the newspaper mentioned).
> I must confess a bit of tiredness with the knee-jerk anti-Americanism I
> sometimes experience in Canada (after 24 years here, I'm the "good
> American," at a time when we'd die rather than talk about a "good"
> representative of a racial group). That may colour my sensitivity to this
> exchange. I really think, though, the communication difficulty here arose
> from the nature of the medium itself, with its invisible audience.
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To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
[log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]
For the list archives and information about the organization,
the annual conference, and publications, go to the Inkshed Web site at