On 06/29/2020 06:21 AM, Nathaniel Smith wrote:
It's not Strunk and White per se, it's the idea of enforcing "standard English", where "standard" here means "talks like a American with an Ivy league education".
I believe the issue is writing, not talking.
There's nothing wrong with being ignorant – we can't be experts in everything, and your education probably didn't spend a lot of time talking about the long history of language "standards" and the many ways they've been used, intentionally, systematically, and violently to enforce racist/classist/etc. policies.
You mean like whole languages dying out because the "educators" and governments would persecute, prosecute, and even execute those who spoke it? Elements of Style is a tool, and unless there is text in it the supports or encourages such behavior, or its authors supported or encouraged such behavior, then equating it with such behavior is preposterous.
I'm not going to try to educate you on that history – it's completely off-topic for this list, and you can do your own work if you care to.
E. B. White was born in New York -- I believe that's in the northern part of the United States, otherwise known as "The North" or the side that fought to end slavery.
E. B. White was educated at Cornell.
A morning spent searching was unable to find references to E. B. White being a racist, having racist writings, or supporting racism. Any links I missed would be appreciated.
An article that has good things to say about the advice of Elements of Style:
And an excellent article here:
talks about the built-in sexism in Elements of Style, but no commentary on racism (of course, the point of that article is about sexism). The article is from 1979, so hopefully the newer editions are better on that count (my copy hasn't arrived yet).
A not-great article, White Fears of Dispossession: Dreyer's English, The Elements of Style,and the Racial Mapping of English Discourse, here:
It start on page 22. Its "proof" is in excerpts from other similar writings, but the excerpts from Elements of Style are only short phrases.
Again, any links to research would be appreciated. I am happy to learn, but I require more than one person's statement that such a thing is so. As an example, the above Enquirer article has plenty of examples proving its supposition.
I don't think there's much to be gained by discussing this any further; I, for one, would much rather discuss the technical details of cPython development.