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My politics part 3: Addendum
i'm ready for my close up mr demille
soopageek
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Almost home! I stopped in Arcola, Illinois this afternoon for lunch since my company will reimburse anyone working on Thanksgiving up to $10 for a meal. So I stopped at a little family style place called the Hen House and had a 12 oz. T-bone with some of the best mashed potatoes and gravy I've had in a long, long time.

While I was eating, I was reading the USA Today, Not my favorite paper in the world, but when you're in a small town, it's uaully either that or the local paper. They had a news brief about something that is exactly what I was talking about in my recent political rant about race/ethnic relations in our country with particular concern to politically correct speech. Since it's so short, I'm just going to reprint the article here.

L.A. objects to "master", "slave" tech terms
City ofiicials in Los Angeles have asked manufacturers, suppliers and contractors to stop using the terms "master" and "slave" on computer equipment because such terms are offensive. The issue came up after an unidentified worker spotted a videotape machine with devices labeled "master" and "slave" and filed a discrimination complaint with the county's Office of Affirmative Action Compliance.

What the fuck? When did the terms "master" and "slave" became racially sensitive words? Granted, in this country it was purely an issue of race. But the concept of slavery and indentured servitude certainly predate our experience here and sometimes had nothing to do with race/ethnicity. This is what I mean by people getting bent out of shape over petty shit. The terms "master" and "slave" have very specific meanings which are devoid of inherent racial bias. The terms were adopted by the techincal community because they describe the function of the devices in relation to each other. One of the devices dictates the behavior of one or more other devices. The subjugated devices are essentially controlled by the master device.

Oh wait. I know. The digital age is the Silicon Valley faction of the Man's great conspiracy. Would it have been more politically correct to have them be the "aristocracy" and the "proletariat"? I could think of corresponding terms that would be more racially/ethnically charged. The "Nazi" and the "Jew" (the "Roman" and the "Jew", the "Egyptian" and the the "Jew"). The "paleface" and the the "redskin". The "honky" and the "spook". Of course, these are ridiculous because the absurdity is self-apparent. "Master" and "slave" are neutral terms which adequately describe the relationship of the devices.

While we're at it, let's just abolish the words "master" and "slave" altogether if they're so offensive. Chris Cornell will just have to come up with another name for his band Audioslave. Sunbeam will have to rename their Grill Master. Ditto the entire health fitness industry of stairmasters, crunchmasters, ab-masters, etc. We will have to of course rename films like Master and Commander, Slaves Of New York. We'll have to come up with new titles in America for men, since "Mr./Mister" is actually dervied from "master", which means back catalogue recordings by Mr. Mister and Mr. Big will no longer be available (oh darn!). And masturbation sounds an awful like "master", we'll do away with that, too.

Well, that might be taking things just a little too far.

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actually, you missed one admittedly unlikely possibility: the complainant was a sub in a BDSM relationship and objected to the colloquial usage that cheapens their lifestyle choice.

i would also beg to differ with you that "master" and "slave" are devoid of inherent racial bias. when those terms were last in general usage in human-land, they specifically referred to white masters and black slaves. many of us modern folk are, however, so used to these terms being used in a technical context... i certainly don't think of 400 years of oppression whenever i install a new hard drive.

which is exactly why LA isn't going to get anywhere with this. for better or worse, the words have been in usage everywhere in techie-land, any time one device controls another, for the last 30-40 years bare minimum. but maybe someone should consider switching to "dom" and "sub!"

heh, what's even funnier would be considering that the BDSM community is seeking equal opportunity by writing letters to the Affirmative Action Office of Los Angeles.... but i wonder if there should be quotas for both doms and subs... ?

we need more discipline in the work place!


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