Public Address Word of the Year 2008

269 Responses

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  • 3410,

    Defnlee

    Deteriating

    Vunrable

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls,

    Mavericky

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 196 posts Report Reply

  • Heather W.,

    -Washing

    Helen Clark supposedly "washing her hands of Winston Peters"

    Green-washing - the show of being 'green' without substance

    Pink-washing - what were Philip Morris (USA) thinking in announcing that their Virginia Super Slims Light cigarettes would come in pink packages

    North Shore • Since Nov 2008 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Virginia Super Slims Light cigarettes

    I wonder how many words you have to put before the word 'cigarette' to make people forget that it's actually still never going to be good for you?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6217 posts Report Reply

  • Maxine Campbell,

    In these parts "going forward" seems to have given way to "stretch planning". And I just know it's going to hurt.

    Hamilton • Since Dec 2006 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And anyone who thinks it's cute sniggering at anyone's pronunciation should read Joanne Drayton's excellent biography of Ngaio Marsh -- a woman of many virtues (which haven't received the recognition they deserve) who could be enormously shrill and tiresome when she started ranting about the "vulgar" New Zild accent.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12046 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Who's sniggering?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    key ora

    Tony Ryall's prescription for waiting lists.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2122 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Don't you mean snuggering?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Don't you mean snuggering?

    Snure.

    And could I nominate -- as an object lesson in what isn't said speaking volumes -- the description of Barack Obama as America's "first black President". What the hell is his mother -- some high yellow negress "passing" for white? Or is miscegenation the love nobody really wants speaking its name is polite company?

    As Marie Arana so nicely put it in the Washington Post yesterday:

    Unless the one-drop rule still applies, our president-elect is not black.

    We call him that -- he calls himself that -- because we use dated language and logic. After more than 300 years and much difficult history, we hew to the old racist rule: Part-black is all black. Fifty percent equals a hundred. There's no in-between.

    That was my reaction when I read these words on the front page of this newspaper the day after the election: "Obama Makes History: U.S. Decisively Elects First Black President."

    The phrase was repeated in much the same form by one media organization after another. It's as if we have one foot in the future and another still mired in the Old South. We are racially sophisticated enough to elect a non-white president, and we are so racially backward that we insist on calling him black. Progress has outpaced vocabulary.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12046 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Mavericky

    Maverickiness

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Craig, "Black" is like Maori - we're talking ethnicity, not race. That's about belonging and culture, not about blood. If some columnists are too stupid to get the difference, then they're on the same page as legions of talkback rednecks in this country.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    "first black President"

    Shortly thereafter I saw an improv scene where someone in the audience asked for a black master and a white slave. Punchline being, "Oh yeah? Well one day this nation will elect a President that's half white!"

    While your point is worth considering - the default label falling in one direction - does he have to have two black parents to be black? People's heritage is such that, if you want to talk about race at all, I'd have said you have to treat it as ethnicity and let them sort it out.

    I'd use it over 'mullato'.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    we're talking ethnicity, not race

    Ding ding ding! A winner.

    (Craig, I find your 'thing' about this kind of weird... it's not as if anyone is out there denying that his mother is white.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3662 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    There is also, ultimately, an issue about appearance, as well as ethnicity (and this applies not just to ethnicity, but gender, disability, age etc.). The way people treat you when they first meet you is largely based on how you look. And I very much doubt that those who are afraid of a black president are very much reassured by the ethnicity of his mother.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    No doubt it just plays into the 'black men coming for our women' type theories in some minds.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6217 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    There is also, ultimately, an issue about appearance,...The way people treat you when they first meet you is largely based on how you look.

    I concur. And from what I gather, race in the US is quite a different beast to what it is in NZ.

    I think people that insist that Obama is "not-black" are ignoring (or are ignorant of) a very extreme culture of institutionalised discrimination - one that carries as much (if not more) of the foundation of modern US society as liberty or justice - thus belittling the massive cultural shift signified by electing a president of African descent.

    Kiwis have a predilection for inspecting every strand of DNA to determine someone's Maoriness - I assume this is borne of a higher level of integration & interbreeding than in other bicultural societies. I think kiwis that refer to Obama as "not-black" are expressing cultural attitudes that we take for granted, but that don't apply in the US.

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Heather, paragraph two of your post is what I would have written if I was capable of it. Thanks!

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3662 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Yep. For "black" read "Maori" (analogically) and then try making the argument that someone with one Maori and one Pakeha parent would not count as, say, New Zealand's first Maori Prime Minister.

    Plus: who, under Craig's scheme, would qualify as "black"?

    That said, the category of mixed race/ biracial/ multiracial is a fascinating and somewhat neglected one in the US, and Obama is certainly an important standard-bearer for that. So yeah, Craig's point taken. But he's still the first black President too.

    Then again, you'd find pockets of people who would hold fast to the notion that he is not strictly African-American in the classic sense, not being descended from enslaved people.

    Oh, it's all terribly complex. I need a non-jocular version of roflnui to round off this otoh-botoh post. (Which, by the way, have we standardised the spelling on that? And it's definitively lower-case, yeah?)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1427 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Returning to wordsof the year, another mention of Mr President-elect:

    Blunder.

    As in Obama damning The Surge with the faint praise as a "tactical adjustment to a stategic blunder." It just makes for a devastating description...

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 570 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Kiwis have a predilection for inspecting every strand of DNA to determine someone's Maoriness

    Do they? I have formed a strong impression of the opposite.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7390 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Google "America's first black president" and click I'm Feeling Lucky. The result may come as a surprise.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Then again, you'd find pockets of people who would hold fast to the notion that he is not strictly African-American in the classic sense, not being descended from enslaved people.

    Which is also interesting, given that he has two parents, one African, one American. Probably the term is more appropriate for him, than many 'African-Americans', who have two parents, both of whom can probably trace back their 'Americanism' back for over a century.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6217 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    (Craig, I find your 'thing' about this kind of weird... it's not as if anyone is out there denying that his mother is white.)

    Danielle: *sigh* I guess I could respond that some people find it rather "weird" how feminists have a "thing" about reductive labels being put on women because of what they look like, or the sociopolitical (or psychosexual) requirements of the viewer to tidy away the rest of the human race in boxes. And what I find weird is being told after all these years that I don't "look Maori" or "look gay" or whatever.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12046 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Plus: who, under Craig's scheme, would qualify as "black"?

    Why do I not even want to go there?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12046 posts Report Reply

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