Anna Gregoline | October 11, 2004
If you could have free, unlimited service for five years from an extremely good cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, masseuse, or personal secretary, which one, if any, would you choose? Why?

Erik Bates | October 11, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | October 11, 2004
Yep. It benefits the rest of you when you're bored though!

Lori Lancaster | October 11, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | October 11, 2004
Never heard of their contest. Anyone care to answer the question?

Denise Sawicki | October 11, 2004
A cook, because most of what I cook is pretty uninspiring plus it always seems like too much effort to prepare things that are actually healthy.... although, I might get depressed if I didn't get to do the cooking myself now and then

Kris Weberg | October 11, 2004
Housekeeper. Definitely a housekeeper.

Lori Lancaster | October 12, 2004
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Scott Hardie | October 14, 2004
Housekeeper all the way. Local restaurants do my cooking for me. I'm barely keeping up with the day-to-day chores like laundry and dishes, and flat-out not doing more rare cleaning tasks like vacuuming and dusting. I wouldn't mind having a girl friday to help me out with errands I never seem to do. Or a Meg ORourke.

Kris Weberg | October 14, 2004
Girl friday? Not that I'm claiming offense, or balming Scott in particularly, but that expression does manage to combine paternalistic sexism and one of the most racist characetrs in literature into a single two-word phrase.

The Cary Grant movie is great, though, so if you're referring to that, it's all good.

Scott Hardie | October 14, 2004
Uhhh... Personal assistant then.

Anna Gregoline | October 15, 2004
Where is girl friday from so I can be in on the non-intentional faux paus of literature?

Scott Hardie | October 15, 2004
I always thought it was a generic term for a female assistant, from the era before the term "personal assistant" came into use. It didn't occur to me till now that it was sexist, but duh.

Kris Weberg | October 15, 2004
It's "girl" is apparent in its sexism.

"Friday" is the "native character in Robinson Crusoe, who our white European hero, on finding on the island, presses into service as "my man Friday," named for the day of the week Crusoe meets him (casually renamed, actually), aho does things like build Crusoe a shelter and get his food for him.

The expression entered culture as 'man Friday," denoting a valet or servant; witht eh advent of the stereotype of the female secretary, it became "girl Friday."

Anna Gregoline | October 15, 2004
Quite frankly, with the sexism I see on a daily basis, this doesn't really offend me. I could use a girl friday myself.

See, I'm not a feminazi!

Kris Weberg | October 15, 2004
Well, how about the racist-colonialist overtones of the 'Friday" part?

Anna Gregoline | October 15, 2004
I can see how it means, "I could use a girl slave," but I don't remember Friday in the book being treated all that badly. But I could be wrong, what do I know.

Lori Lancaster | October 15, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | October 15, 2004
Uh, if you read, Kris wasn't insulted either. I don't think anyone was jumpy in this thread, but in others, yeah, we've covered that. =)

I'm sorry you're friends say things like that, Lori, although I guess I'm glad you can laugh it off. I don't laugh when I hear comments like that, even if they are deliberately said to get me steamed. It's a perpetuation of ugly, ugly sexism, and I don't want to hear it around me. Things like that even said in jest aren't cool around me. I think of it this way - it wouldn't be tolerated if the people were spouting obvious racist comments, why would sexist comments be tolerated?

Lori Lancaster | October 15, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | October 15, 2004
You seem to have the same attitude as me though - try not to be hurt by it, but speak up. It's important that even if won't change the bigoted person's mind, that you let them know it's not appropriate and that they are hurting you. The thing is though, I DO take sexist comments just as seriously as I take racist comments, and one of the reasons is, it's very insidious. Sexist comments are easier for people to swallow, and often go unchallenged. Things said in jest still perpetuate the ideas of those who mean them seriously. It's far easier in our society for people to dismiss people who make racist statements, than sexist ones. Which is why if I hear sexist comments, even if made in jest, I feel I have to say something, because A. I don't want to hear it and I want the person to know it's offensive and B. it's a small step towards not hearing these things so often. I just can't let people get away with those things.

I'm probably inviting people to say a bunch of sexist stuff to me right now, since several people have mentioned liking to antagonize people for the sake of antagonizing them, which, as I said in the other thread, I will never understand. Where's the fun in trying to make someone else feel crappy?

Scott Hardie | October 16, 2004
I just thought the woman only worked on fridays.

Anthony Lewis | October 16, 2004
Hmmm...I'd love to have a personal assistant IF I had the assurance that I would be "assisted personally" from time to time.

But I am not that type of person. I'd rather have a cook. I think I'd lose a lot of weight if I had a cook. My cook would make healthy foods for me. No more fried chicken, collard greens and cornbread.

Oh man. What am I saying?

Scratch the cook.

No, I'm kidding. I'd want a cook.

Anna Gregoline | October 16, 2004
Me too, Scott!

Amy Austin | October 19, 2004

You crack me up, Scott -- throwing in such a silly comment after such an important conversation! I know you're just trying to "keep it light" though.

I think that this *is* an important conversation... and one that makes me want to point out some friendly observations:

First, let me say that (although I *could* be wrong) I didn't think anyone was truly offended at any point here, including myself. Since I am new here, I don't know how well anybody here *really* knows everybody else -- or how many are also known in person -- so my comments are meant to be very general in nature... not specific to this group or to this post.

As if it isn't hard enough in person to ensure that you don't step on somebody's toes, "cyberspace" removes all the most important nuances of communication! There is no tone, no body language, no facial expression (except by the use of emoticons, which I think are sometimes THE most important thing in a virtual conversation!) -- all the things that the "experts" say make up over 80 or 90% of an actual dialogue! But you all probably know that...

The reason I point it out is because I think that MOST of us have, in real life, friends just like Lori's -- at least, I know I do! "Pushing the envelope" is quite often the way that most of us, like Lori's friend "June", really get to know about the people we meet... when we push too far, we know what not to say, what will really offend somebody or push their buttons, and if we're friends, we don't say those things again (like "icantremember") -- it's the learning process of friendship.

Well, if that's what people do in real life, then it only makes sense that they would do it in "cyberspace", too! Only, it's much harder -- and time-consuming! -- to do... (that was a really great post to explain your friends, Lori, and I'm glad that you took the time to write it!) Sometimes, it's all too easy to misinterpret a friendly observation and read the worst of intentions into it, which is why you will probably notice that my posts are all littered with disclaimers! I definitely want to be clear that it is NEVER my intention to offend with my comments, and I think that most normal, decent people feel the same way -- which is why I will always try to choose the "good intentions" interpretation over the "bad"!!!

However, I also know that not all folks out there are as OMNISCIENT as I... they do not know EVERYTHING, as I do -- although they sometimes act like they think they do... (heeheehee! myself included!), and therefore, sometimes those folks need to be "put in their place"!!! "Educated", "enlightened", if you will -- even if they didn't ask to be. (And this is a good example of going out on a limb and hoping that you kind folks can see the humor in what I'm trying to say here...)

Like Anna said, I think it's important to speak up when you are offended... not everyone knows when they are issuing an insult (e.g., knowing the origins of "girl Friday" is an important thing), but I also think it's important to know when to take the "insult" as a joke (I don't work *any* day of the week, Scott -- get it straight!).

Lori, sometimes the word "spic" is funny... I had a boyfriend in college with father from Wales and a mother from Puerto Rico. Seriously... direct from the homelands! He referred to himself as "McSpic" (or would that be "Mick Spic"?) -- get it? ^_^ !!

Amy Austin | October 19, 2004
Oh, and to answer the actual question on this thread... ^_^

I thought this was a funny question, because I have always said that if I could afford my own personal slave/servant to do *ONLY ONE* thing for me, it would be scratches. Yes, scratches -- I LOVE to be scratched all over... body scratches instead of massage!

Of course, who *doesn't* want it all???!!! But if I have to select from only the choices given, then I have to agree with Denise & Anthony -- definitely, a COOK!!!

Anna Gregoline | October 19, 2004
I am not offended, and I'm not trying to "correct" you, or anything, but a blanket statement like, "Sometimes 'spic' can be funny," doesn't really apply - I mean, to some people, it will NEVER be funny. Can it be used in humorous situations with some people? Sure. But it doesn't make it always funny in those situations to other people.

I'm not sure how I feel about racial groups using derogatory words to describe themselves. I've heard many times about "owning" the words that hurt you, that if you use them they lose their power. But I'm not sure that's true. While making words forboden does seem to increase their shock potential (think of any swear word), it seems rather counterproductive to use words on yourself that you wouldn't want others to use on you.

I'm a silly little white girl though, so I have no right probably to comment on any of this.

Amy Austin | October 19, 2004
I suddenly feel like I have something in common with Mike & Dave here.

Anna Gregoline | October 19, 2004
I didn't offend you already, did I? I added my own disclaimers!

Lori Lancaster | October 19, 2004
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Amy Austin | October 19, 2004
I'm just a fan of good humor and think that it's all about the intent.

Can words really be "owned" by anybody? They're just words, expressing a sentiment that is the real offender... and what can you really do to change that? It's easy enough to "forbid" a word... not as easy to enforce... but getting rid of the sentiment -- now *that's* the challenge. So if the sentiment isn't there, then what exactly are you trying to get rid of???

To me, "Spic" is just short for "Hispanic" -- but I've never been called that, either. There are plenty of other words that I have and haven't been called, and none of them bothered me so much as the way in which they were uttered.

Amy Austin | October 20, 2004
I agree: "spic-o-rama" is very funny... and so is John Leguizamo -- I love him. I just thought you might think "McSpic" was a pretty good one, too. Didn't think you (or Anna) were being mean... just disappointed that the joke went flat.

Anna Gregoline | October 20, 2004
Lori, that was pure oversight. I was chagrined later when I realized that I could have used a paler color - I certainly am paler than my south park character. Did I mind enough to go back, build the character again and re-submit it to Scott? Not really. I'm lazy above all else. =)

No, words can't be "owned." I wasn't trying to be literal with that. It's the argument I've heard - people "taking back" the words that originally caused them hurt. By using them all the time, it takes the sting out of it, supposedly, and maybe when it's heard again in anger by an opposite racial group, it won't hurt as much. I don't believe that's true, however. Calling yourself a spic when you're hispanic wouldn't make it hurt any less when a white person would call you that on the street, would it?

To me, even if the sentiment isn't there, and people are just "kidding around," it's not good to use those words. It lends them useage, and they are, in my opinion, better off eliminated. They will always have the power to hurt some people, and out of respect I would prefer that people didn't use them to avoid hurting those that might be offended by them.

But again - I don't know what it feels like to be a minority, and if I was one, perhaps I would feel differently about the issue.

Anna Gregoline | October 20, 2004
And I think we should have moved to another topic. =) But here is ok too.

Amy Austin | October 20, 2004
I understood your use of ownership with regards to desensitization perfectly, Anna -- it was a rhetorical question, intended to generate thought on the subject of "being offended". And while it wasn't the original topic, it did seem rather interlaced here (before I even read the Yankees thread) -- I just thought I might be able to make light of things.

And I'd be happy to move on to another topic -- apologies if you feel that your post has now been tainted... do you have any more random thoughts/questions to start with?

Scott Hardie | October 20, 2004
I have nothing to add. I just wanted to point out this image to Amy and anyone else who doesn't know about it, since it won't be around much longer. (An interactive version is about halfway coded for the new site, but it's not on my list to finish for launch.)

Anna Gregoline | October 20, 2004
I don't feel it's been tainted - I was just commenting on how far we've come from the original post.

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