“Deplorables” as a “geuzennaam” (linguistic reappropriation)

Today the 45th President of the United States will be inaugurated. I did not vote for him, and many of my friends voted not for him as much as against his opponent. I wish the new POTUS strength, guidance, and clarity of vision, as any POTUS has his work cut out for him right now.

His supporters, both the enthusiastic and the reluctant, are referring to themselves as “Deplorables”, or even, with a pun on a musical and classic novel, “Les Déplorables“. This is actually a classic example of “linguistic reappropriation” at work: Trump’s opponent, Hilary Clinton, had referred to Trump supporters — or indeed to the half of the country that doesn’t vote D — as “a basket of deplorables”. Trump supporters rallied around the insult and took it up as a “nom de guerre” (battle name). [I still believe that was the moment she lost the election.]

This phenomenon is actually quite old, and the Dutch language even has a word for such an insult reappropriated for self-identification: “geuzennaam“. The term goes back to the 16th Century, during the Spanish rule over the Lowlands.

In Brussels, on April 5, 1566, a group of several hundred minor nobles marched to the palace of the Spanish governor, at the time Margaretha Duchess of Parma (an illegitimate daughter of Charles V), in order to present a writ of grievances against the Spanish administration in general, and its brutal repression of Protestantism in particular. (Protestant public sermons, so-called “hagepreken” [hedge preachings], were a capital offense.)

When the Duchess was upset at this disturbance — the wedding feast for her son being in progress at the time — her counselor, Charles de Berlaymont, is supposed to have said, “fear not, Madam, they are nothing but beggars” (N’ayez pas peur Madame, ce ne sont que des gueux.). The petitioners got wind of the term, and promptly called themselves “les Gueux” in French, “de Geuzen” in Dutch. The term stuck and quickly carried over to all opponents of Spanish rule. The bloody repression of the Geuzen by the Duke of Alba would bring on the Eighty-Year War as well as the Dutch Revolt (in which the modern Kingdom of the Netherlands was born).

Some prominent historical examples of “Geuzennamen” in English are “Tories” and “Yankees”. In Middle Irish, Toraidhe meant “outlaw, robber”, and the term was applied as an insult to English loyalists and royalists of various stripes. Somehow the name stuck, and since the 19th Century “Tory” is used by friend and foe to refer to a member or supporter of the Conservative Party.

In the US colonial era, “Yankee” was originally a derisive term for Dutch Americans. Several etymologies are possible: “Jan Kees” (pronounced Yan Case, informal name for “Johannes Cornelis” [John Cornel], two very common Dutch first names), “Janneke” (little John), a corruption of “Jonkheer” (Dutch for “squire”, cf. the German cognate Junker and the origin of the town name Yonkers, NY). During the American Revolution, the British and loyalists made fun of the revolutionaries as “Yankee Doodles”: the song (based on a much older melody) predictably became a revolutionary anthem, and is now a staple of the US military marching band repertoire. Later the term was, of course, reappropriated again…

“Redneck” is another such term. Originally it referred to the sunburns people with light skin color acquire when working fields in the Southern US without adequately protecting themselves from the sun (cf. the cognate Afrikaans term “rooinek” used by the Boers for South Africans of Anglo origin). It then became an insult to Southern whites and their allegedly retrograde ways, then was reappropriated by them as a self-identification.

Languages changes constantly — even as human nature is remarkably unchangeable. And speaking of change: Today we celebrate the end of what has arguably been the most dysfunctional and divisive presidency in the history of the US. As I wish his successor well, I do remember Pete Townshend’s classic lyrics:

I tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We won’t get fooled again…

Advertisements

$0.99 Kindle promotion, “On Different Strings”, January 18-25

In honor of the release of the CLFA anthology, “Freedom’s Light: Short Stories”, I am running a $0.99 Kindle promotion on my debut novel,  On Different Strings: A Musical Romance” starting January 18, 2017 at 00:01 AM Pacific.  (As always, Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the book for free year-round.)

Bookhorde.org’s review called it “a genre-busting love story”.

Basic RGB

Amazon blurb:

Guitar virtuoso Amy Ziegler ekes out a precarious living as a teaching assistant in the Mays College music department. One day a mysterious older student shows up: Ian Keenan, an engineering professor and closet songwriter. Opposites attract, and music is the language of the spirit.
Each is passionate about music, and each has been deeply wounded in love. Thus a weird yet wonderful friendship grows between the reserved English academic and the outgoing small-town Texan girl who grew up in poverty. Each secretly starts yearning for more, but the world has other ideas. Soon they become caught in a maelstrom between rivals, exes, their own pasts, activists, and campus bureaucrats. Will the rapids tear them apart, or will love and sanity prevail?

You can “look inside”, or download free sample chapters, on  The book’s Amazon page .

Reviewer praise:

A genre-busting love story. It […] challenges preconceptions and leaves the reader questioning common wisdom. It is also a bit of a suspense thriller. And there is an element of Kafka. (Bookhorde.org)

I’m not usually a big fan of the Romance genre. This book is just different…The characters are very well-developed… I knew I would give this story a very high rating, because I realized how badly I wanted them to succeed, though it seemed impossible. Mr. Arbel subtly drew me into his tale so thoroughly that I was emotionally attached to his characters. (Reviewer DukeEarle)

An interesting twist on the classic May-November romance and both lead characters are wonderful. The main “baddie” […] comes across as both believable and sympathetic…This book is a great example of how you can write a scorching romantic story without explicit sex. (Reviewer FrancisT)

As always, Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the book for free year-round.

Released on Kindle: “Freedom’s Light: Short Stories”

The first CLFA anthology “Freedom’s Light: Short Stories”  is now out on Kindle. The hardcopy edition will follow in a few days.

Net proceeds will benefit the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). I have read all the other stories in the anthology and, believe me, you won’t regret buying this!

fl

From the Amazon blurb:

Net proceeds from the sale of this anthology will be donated to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending liberty, freedom of speech, due process, academic freedom, legal equality, and freedom of conscience on America’s college campuses.

The stories are:

  1. The Tenth Righteous Man (Nitay Arbel)
  2. Martian Sunrise (Matthew Souders)
  3. Backwater (Lori Janeski)
  4.  The Birthday Party (Daniella Bova)
  5. Dollars on the Nightstand (Bokerah Bromley)
  6. The City (A.G Wallace)
  7. The Nomod (Henry Vogel)
  8. Sara (Chris Donahue)
  9. Room to Breathe (Marina Fontaine)
  10. Victory Garden (Tom Rogneby)
  11. The Unsent Letter (Brad R. Torgersen)
  12. Credo Man (Carol Kean)
  13. The Fighting Beagles and the Attack at Dawn (Nick Cole)
  14. Shirt Story (Arlan Andrews)
  15. Polk’s Prophetic Property (W. J. Hayes)

The ‘Rashomon effect’ in book readers – Nitay Arbel

Guest post at Sarah Hoyt’s place.

According To Hoyt

*Oh boy is this true.  Sometimes radically different books.  I’ve been shocked to find that AFGM is a feminist opus, or DST a communist paean.  (Admittedly that one, shared with a friend, almost caused his co-workers to send for the men in white coats, as it kept him suddenly breaking into cackle for weeks.)*

The ‘Rashomon effect’ in book readers – Nitay Arbel

Writing and publishing my first novel (“On Different Strings”) was a learning experience in many ways. One that especially struck this “writer’s apprentice” here was: how X people can read the same book — yet afterward, all have read a slightly different book.

I have encountered a similar phenomenon in my day job as a scientific writer/editor. With a long scholarly essay or scientific paper, it is not unusual to discuss it with people afterwards and find one’s head scratching about why they are taking away a…

View original post 864 more words

Anthology “Freedom’s Light” coming January 16

On January 16, the CLFA anthology “Freedom’s Light: Short Stories” will be released on Kindle: Logotecture, Inc. uploaded the final proofread eBook, and are shooting for simultaneous paperback release.  It is available for pre-order.

Net proceeds will benefit the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). I have read all the other stories in the anthology and, believe me, you won’t regret buying this!

fl

From the Amazon blurb:

From the members and associates of the Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance (CLFA) comes Freedom’s Light, a collection of short fiction that celebrates the human yearning for liberty. These stories will extol the value of human rights and the sacrifices of those who defend those rights. This collection features works from a wide variety of genres and a diverse set of authors, including Hugo Award nominee Brad R. Torgersen and 2016 Dragon Award winner Nick Cole. Freedom’s Light will entertain us and elevate the humanity we all share.

Net proceeds from the sale of this anthology will be donated to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending liberty, freedom of speech, due process, academic freedom, legal equality, and freedom of conscience on America’s college campuses.

The stories are:

  1. The Tenth Righteous Man (Nitay Arbel)
  2. Martian Sunrise (Matthew Souders)
  3. Backwater (Lori Janeski)
  4.  The Birthday Party (Daniella Bova)
  5. Dollars on the Nightstand (Bokerah Bromley)
  6. The City (A.G Wallace)
  7. The Nomod (Henry Vogel)
  8. Sara (Chris Donahue)
  9. Room to Breathe (Marina Fontaine)
  10. Victory Garden (Tom Rogneby)
  11. The Unsent Letter (Brad R. Torgersen)
  12. Credo Man (Carol Kean)
  13. The Fighting Beagles and the Attack at Dawn (Nick Cole)
  14. Shirt Story (Arlan Andrews)
  15. Polk’s Prophetic Property (W. J. Hayes)

 

Climatologist Judith Curry saying farewell to academia

Judith Curry, the Georgia Tech climatology professor vilified by her peers for trying to have a meaningful dialogue with CAGW skeptics, is taking early retirement from academia to focus on a startup company dealing with long-term climate forecasting. http://www.cfanclimate.net/

The moneygraf from her letter:
“[…] I started to realize that academia and universities nationwide were undergoing substantial changes. I came across a recent article that expresses part of what is wrong: Universities are becoming like mechanical nightingales. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/universities-are-becoming-mechanical-nightingales

“The reward system that is in place for university faculty members is becoming increasingly counterproductive to actually educating students to be able to think and cope in the real world, and in expanding the frontiers of knowledge in a meaningful way[…]”

It is always sad to see the departure of any academic who is truly committed to the spirit of free inquiry. Here’s wishing her the very best in her new venture and I hope to be hearing more of her!

Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry

Effective January 1, I have resigned my tenured faculty position at Georgia Tech.

View original post 1,620 more words