Saturday, August 16, 2014

"And prompt me, that my tongue may utter forth"

A few random prompt questions from the soon to close Plinky Prompts website. These come from last summer's prompts. I think responders are meant to write a few paragraphs, but for me, here, and any who wish to add their two penniworth in comments, just a few words or sentences will suffice.
(Quotation in title is from Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus: V, iii)

Can anything be funny, or are some things off limits?

There are some things which ought to be off limits for joke-making. Yes - I know all about the benefits, and there are many, of Free Speech. I realise that what some consider to be off limits remains material and an easy target for some comedians - that doesn't make it funny! Joking about a person with any kind of disability, for instance is unkind and obnoxious. I particularly dislike the use of the word "spazz" or spastic, which sadly is heard in that recent offering from Weird Al Yankowich, ironically titled "Word Crimes", and has put me off him completely. I found the whole thing unfunny, smug and faintly elitist.

Another prompt along the same lines:
Is political correctness a useful concept, or does it stifle honest discussion?

You might as well say "does courtesy stifle honest discussion?" At its root, political correctness is old fashioned good manners, courtesy, empathy, sensitivity to the feelings of others.

And something completely different:

Have you ever had a random encounter or fleeting moment with a stranger that stuck with you?

The wording of this prompt was a bit odd! One responder had spotted that, changed the "that" to "who".

The prompt reminded me of that lovely old film "Brief Encounter", story of a random meeting of a man and woman at a railway station, and how they fell in love against their better judgment.

Life is filled with random encounters, or fleeting moments with strangers, that or who either stick with you or disappear into the wide blue yonder within minutes. I've had many experiences of each type over the years, too many for this post, most of them pleasant enough, some even memorable. The one unpleasant random encounter with a stranger I remember well, happened when I was in my early twenties, as I walked from a bus stop to the hotel where I was working. The hotel was a re-purposed old (17th century) mansion, some 200 yards from the main road across fields, but accessible by a narrow roadway. It was around 9.30 pm in wintertime, dark. I became aware of someone walking just to my right and a little behind me. As he passed me he invited me to please "touch him" in a place he was demonstrating in the, ahem, flesh. In other words, he begged me to feel his exhibited penis. I was a little shocked, but even more annoyed, replied, "Don't be so bloody silly!!" Increasing my speed to a near-jog, I turned to approach the hotel from across the field, a much shorter distance than taking the longer roadway. The fellow was probably quite harmless - but you never can tell.

And different again:

It’s the year 2113. A major museum is running an exhibition on life and culture as it was in 2013. You’re asked to write an introduction for the show’s brochure. What will it say?

What will it say? From my vantage point in 2014, I don't know - it'll be in Chinese.


mike said...

Back in 2013, those were the days my friend!

"Through the door there came familiar laughter
I saw your face and heard you call my name
Oh my friend we're older but no wiser
For in our hearts the dreams are still the same

Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
La la la la...
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days"
Mary Hopkin

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

quote::What will it say? From my vantage point in 2014, I don't know - it'll be in Chinese.Quote::

gosh, I figured it would done in badly broken Packistani by someone named
Jane, Michelle or Diane..

and before any announcement can be made about a museum or anything else, we'll have to get the mexican version or maybe they'll have buttons on the announcement you can punch for english or Other..

I guess I'm not very politically correct ,but at least I'm honest about how I feel.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Ah yes...I remember it well!
Quite a hit that was, back in the day.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Maybe...or maybe people will have Babel Fishy things embedded in their skulls for instant translations.

mike (again) said...

Off topic - You may like Rigoberto Gonzalez' paintings. He was showcased in my local newspaper yesterday, because he has an exhibit showing at TX A&M Kingsville. He paints the immigration border-war of S he's a poet, writer, etc. I can't link you to the CC Caller-Times article, because it's subscription only (boo). There aren't any good sites on the internet, either, that display the work shown in the paper. Here's one of the better links:;_ylt=AwrSbDrngu9TxkcAvzhXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0cDBrYml1BHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkA1NNRTMzOV8x?_adv_prop=image&fr=moz35&va=rigoberto+gonzalez+artist

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Thanks - super art, almost Old Masterish, though 21st century-ish too.

That huge scene pictured in a gallery with viewers seated before it must be a wonderful sight. Subject matter not unlike the goings-on in Ferguson MO this week - for different reasons and involving different ethnicity.

PS (off topic also) I notice that your Gov. Ricky P has done yet a another Ooopsy. ;-)

mike (again) said...

Perry IS an ooooooppppsy. Democrat Lehmberg's DUI is embarrassing, too, but that incident has allowed Perry to enter his own fray and indictment. I'll be surprised if anything of consequence comes of this, but one never knows. It has the same flavor of the Republicans suing Obama: dissipating tartness. There are probably better "things" to cause conflagration, if known.

An interesting, persistent rumor here in this semi-resort town is that Ricky is bi or gay and not quite the family-values kinda guy he purports. I've been told this by straight, Republican, Perry supporters (and others!) that somehow "know" of his escapades in our burg. I assumed that it was trash-talk, but it pops-up often. An internet search of "is rick perry gay rumors" offers a trove; here are two:

His sexual orientation isn't a concern to me personally, unless he is one of the many conservative hypocrites that have shadow lives that deconstruct their image.

There were persistent womanizer rumors about Bill Clinton for a number of years, starting with Gennifer Flowers, but wasn't substantiated until the Monica incident.

Perry does have some interesting transits right now, particularly with Neptune, but other aspects, too:

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ He's quite an entertaining Ooopsy though, and I find his looks attractive. :-) I don't overlook his screwy political positions, I can cope with reading about him without BP rising though, for some reason - maybe his Aquarius planets.

You've probably seen this post from my 2011 crop. I've come to appreciate his Ooopsy side more since then.

The drunken DA at centre of this latest episode ought to have resigned - no doubt about it at all IMO - whether a Republican was going to be appointed in her place or not.
There might have been ways of convincing Mr Ooopsy to appoint at least an interim non-partisan person to the post.

It seems there are underlying scandals about funny, possibly criminal business relating to Cancer Fund funds though, with Ricky involved. A wide ranging web of politics and funny business no doubt.

From what I've read the case - the 2 indictments aren't exactly water tight, so with a brilliant representative he'll likely get away with most of it, but whether it'll be enough to stop another run for the White House in 2016 - we shall see.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~~ Meant to say - Yes, I remember seeing stuff about the possibility that he is gay or bi-sexual, back in 2011/12 I assumed that it was due to his good looks and snazzy dressing, which is a very silly yardstick to use. Dunno...will read the links you provided.

LB said...

I just read how when the term political correctness first came into use, it meant being sensitive to the feelings of others by not using derogatory terms - which is great! I agree, what could be wrong with that?

Unfortunately, now it means something much more, in that it's become an all encompassing and reliable predictor as to how people (generally folks who consider themselves morally, intellectually, socially and/or political superior) will respond, regardless of the facts or unique variables within any given situation.

Most of the time, people don't even wait for the facts since they already know how they're *supposed* to react.

At its worst political correctness stifles the truth and rules out compassion, reason and justice whenever it fails to consider each individual as being equally worthy of the same fair treatment.

What will they say about 2013? How about, for much of the world, it was one the critically important years leading up to the end of life as we knew it.

As far as meaningful random encounters with absolute strangers, with Jupiter-Mercury-Neptune conjunct on the cusp of the 2nd/3rd, I could write a book! I have them all the time.:)

Twilight said...

LB ~ LB ~ I do realise that the term political correctness has become corrupted over the years, to such an extent that younger people and others have no idea about its very well-meaning origins. I stick to it's original purpose - sensitivity to the feelings of others. eg: not calling a person "a cripple", not calling a person "disabled", but someone with "a disability" (the difference is subtle but important.)
The ethnic slur avoidance goes without saying, of course, and I guess that was the major part of the origin of political correctness.

Over the years I agree things have gone too far, but that does not devalue the original intention of PC.

Thanks for your contribution to the prompts - nice ones!

LB said...

Twilight ~ My previous comment wasn't meant to offend, sorry if it came off that way! I do realize you probably think of political correctness in a completely different way.:)

It's meaning has changed over the years though. Political correctness, as opposed to genuine, thoughtful and sustained effort, is often shallow, doesn't ask the hard questions or go to the root, though it likes to appear that way for political or social reasons.

I've witnessed firsthand how it often oppresses and disempowers the very folks it pretends to speak for by using them as pawns in a bigger political game. It's relatively easy for the politically adept to manipulate the uninformed or (sometimes) well-intended masses by offering false solutions and leading them astray.

Wanting to reassure myself I wasn't alone in my thinking, I went searching for a quote and found this one from Chris Hedges from a 2010 article, "Is America 'Yearning for Fascism?":

"Our educated elite, wallowing in self-righteousness, wasted its time in boutique activism of political correctness as tens of millions of workers lost their jobs."

Twilight said...

LB ~ I wish what you are describing had not been labelled with the term "political correctness". The term has been well and truly hi-jacked. There's really no reason to use the term at all if we were to keep to its origins.

What you are describing is something else entirely in my opinion, and I agree it's not good at all. What you describe might be better called...erm... political convenience or political utility...or something along those lines.

I don't get Chris Hedges' point in that paragraph - he's educated elite himself, at at times can sound pretty darn self-righteous, though much of what he says is good and true. He obviously had someone or something particular in mind. He's more or less advocating outright revolution there, as against what he calls "boutique activism".

Journalists are the ones guilty of corrupting the PC term over the years, others jumped on the bandwagon - as always.

Kaleymorris said...

Have you ever had a random encounter or fleeting moment with a stranger that stuck with you?
The wording of this prompt was a bit odd! One responder had spotted that, changed the "that" to "who".

Actually, "that" is correct. It refers to the encounter or moment. "Who" means the stranger stuck with you, which would be creepy.

Twilight said...

Kaleymorris ~ I agree. The sentence could benefit from a comma (or 2) somewhere to help -


Have you ever had a random encounter, or fleeting moment with a stranger, that stuck with you?

LOL! I try not to use "that", anyway, it never seems to feel right.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Don't know exactly what Chris Hedges meant, maybe something along the same lines as my own thinking???

I suspect he was trying to make the point how under the guise of political correctness, much of what passes for social activism actually has shallow (self-serving) roots and is a distraction. Basically he was challenging the intellectual dishonesty of some educated liberals - which isn't to say it's a problem confined to intellectuals.

Sometimes I agree with Chris Hedges and sometimes not.:)

mike (again) said...

Liked your Perry-Bilderberg post, Twilight! I noticed that the search function has re-appeared on your blog after a long vacation...I'll have to make use of it.

Astrotheme indicates Ricky's birth time as 10:40 AM, giving him a 28* Taurus ascendant. If true, transiting Saturn will enter his 7th house in December. This will set-up squares to his Sun in Pisces and Saturn-Moon in Virgo. Not pleasant!

Currently, transiting Mars and Saturn in Scorpio will be forming squares to his Pluto in Leo and Mercury-Jupiter in Aquarius, 10th house.

“Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical
minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media,
which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick
up a turd by the clean end.” Texas A&M Student

Twilight said...

LB ~ Your interpretation sounds about right. "Limousine liberals" is another description I've seen for what he could be describing.

What the alternative is though, other than outright violent revolution, is hard to tell. Hedges has to know this. He seldom recommends any solution, but always details everything that is wrong, and how it got this way and why.

Twilight said...

mike ~ It will be interesting to watch events unfold - once again - on the Ricky front, bearing in mind the transits you've pointed out.

Where do you see the search button on the screen, by the way?

Clever quip by the Texas A&M student.

I suspect my own introduction to PC, in the UK, in my work at the Employment Tribuinals, was a little (or a lot) different from most people's, especially people in the USA.

From wiki page on PC origins:

...>attempts to change social reality by changing language, with attempts at making language more culturally inclusive and gender-neutral. This meant introducing new terms that sought to leave behind discriminatory baggage attached to older ones, and conversely to try to make older ones taboo, sometimes through labelling them "hate speech". These attempts (associated with the political left) led to a backlash from the right, partly against the attempts to change language, and partly against the underlying identity politics itself. "Political correctness" became a convenient rightwing label for both of these things it rejected.

mike (again) said...

Re search's just above your banner on the upper right side and just below my internet browser header. I just searched for "Rick Perry" and it returns quite a few posts of yours. The search function has disappeared several times in the past, but returns a couple of months later each time. It appears to be a Google blogger bar with "search, more, next blog, create blog, sign in". I use Firefox browser, so it could be an aberration unique to Firefox...or my quirky computer...?!

mike (again) said...

I box is on the left side...brain cells aren't aligned with reality this morning.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I see it! Hmm - don't know if we've simply been un-seeing it (can happen, I guess) or Blogger has been messing around with the function and recently replaced it. Good! I shall keep an eye on it in future, to note whether remains, or comes and goes for reason unknown.