12 December 2021

Interfaith Dialogue, Multiculturalism, and Women

Turmoil! A cricketer "of Pakistani Cultural Heritage" has caused mayhem at Yorkshire County Cricket Club ... for whom he once played ... by revealing how upset he had been, some years ago, when his cricketing associates "used the P-word". 

Little does he appear to understand the Culture of Yorkshire: until quite recently they would not allow anyone to play cricket for the County who had not been born therein. Yorkshire men and women have since time immemorial, if we are to believe the reputation they have among their fellow Brits, felt the need to prop up their self-esteem by adopting an attitude of rough hostility towards all outsiders, whether we be from Essex or from Waziristan. Personally, I only risk travelling through that county if I am in a heavily armed convoy.

Amusingly, it transpired that the player concerned had himself once used on "personal media" some extremely derogatory tropes about Jews. 

Er ... 'greenhouses', you murmur to me ... indeed ... but he did such a rapid formulaic grovel that now everybody seems completely happy about him. Except me.

The "P-word" is, I presume, not "pope" but "Paki", which, like "Nigger", is not supposed to be uttered or written nowadays, even in academic papers or discussions condemning the usage. So it is written "P***". (How would that look in Egyptian hieroglyphs or Linear B ideograms?)

Doing that makes it perfectly All Right. Yes, Mr Man From Mars, that is how mad this planet has become!!

But demeaning expressions about other distinct groups, cultural or racial, are part of our rich heritage in this sceptred isle; "weaved into it", as the Beeb bimbos would say. Some of the earliest texts to survive in our country come from the Roman military establishments along Hadrian's Wall. Excavation of the CO's archive at Vindolanda yielded a new word (in Vindolanda tablet 164) for the Latin lexicon: Brittunculi. " ... gladis non utuntur equites nec residunt Brittunculi ut iaculos mittant ..." [their cavalry do not use swords nor do the B********** mount in order to throw javelins ...".] 'Brittunculus' is, of course, a diminutive. (Just possibly, an indelicacy may lurk in its two final syllables.)

Latin uses diminutives to express endearment or, more usually, disdain. The Officer who wrote that memorandum had clearly not received adequate Staff College training about cultural sensitivity (or Latin grammar). Perhaps, even now, it is not too late for him to be posthumously named, held up to ridicule, and cashiered.

Yeah ... lets go for it!

Another early English example of this phenomenon comes in the Historia Ecclesiastica of S Bede the Venerable. He records an 'Anglo-Saxon' King of East Anglia who had received Christian initiation in Kent but who, after his return home, was persuaded by his wife to set up an inter-faith complex ("fanum") containing "altare ad sacrificium Christi" combined with an "arula ad victimas daemoniorum". "Arula" is a contemptuous diminutive of "ara", altar. 

YES!!!!! S Bede, sadly, was very Rigid ... he would not have gone far in a Bergoglian Church. But King Reduald (and a fortiori his wife) was a fully paid-up protoBergoglian, convinced that God willed ('permissively', of course) a diversity of religions.

Homunculus ... latrunculus ... tirunculus ... muliercula ... Latin abounds in such jolly and demeaning diminutives, although I anticipate that someone may soon issue a Latin Dictionary excluding all such invidious and unprintable terms. Or sanitising them by the Wokeish magic of asteriscification.

Occasionally, a Latin Contemptuous Diminutive has crept from Latin across into the English Language. Beerbohm wrote of Oxford that "There are the virguncules of Somerville and Lady Margaret Hall, but beauty and the lust for learning have yet to be allied".

Oh yeah??

Personally, I have an invariable rule, that the certainly Incomparable and probably Divine Max is, like a member of the Junta (the Myrmidons?), never wrong. Were I not in the grip of this inflexible certainty, I would say that in this passage he has strayed much too far into the a priori; even, possibly, that he, as his enormous American Rhodes Scholar Oover would put it, "is not a white man".

Moi, I am, like you, dear reader, an empiricist.

Post Scriptum: Would EBORACELLI be a suitable Latin diminutive for Yorkshiremen?


PDLeck said...

Dear Father, I am glad you have previously entered Yorkshire well-protected. However, before booking the armed guard in anticipation of future visits I, as a Lancastrian, would advise you to consult with a psychiatrist about your decision to enter Yorkshire. Hopefully, good therapy would prevent you from so doing.

frjustin said...

America est omnis divisa in partes duas, quarum unam incolunt provinciales, aliam Neo-eboracenses.

Andrew T said...

Lancastrians and Yorkshiremen share a delusion that they are Northerners.

The North consists of County Durham, Northumberland, Westmoreland and Cumberland . . . obviously within their historic boundaries.

And my fellow-Hartlepudlians will be pleased to hear that recent research has conclusively established that the monkey was a French spy. If you don't know what I mean, they do!

Andrew T said...

Lancastrians and Yorkshiremen share a common delusion; that they are Northerners.

The North consists of the ancient counties of Durham, Northumberland, Westmoreland and Cumberland.

Lancashire and Yorkshire are the better end of the Home Counties.

Oh, and my fellow Hartlepudlians will be glad to know that recent research has conclusively proved that the monkey was a French spy. If you don't understand - we do!

Jovan-Marya Weismiller, T.O.Carm. said...

@Andrew, here's a Yank who knows about the monkey. I knew all along he was a spy!

Aegidius said...

A propose the use of asterisks, I recall that Jeremy Clarkson, he of Top Gear, was criticised by the press for using the rhyme we all used as children, Eeny Meeny Miny Mo ... Of course we never regarded the second line as in any way connected with people of any particular background. Apparently he used it off camera and off air, but he was still criticised. Apparently also he did not use the customary third word of the second line, but he was still criticised because even if he did not use it, he must have thought/intended it. Now let us look at all these newspapers (in fact all newspapers) who are very careful to print the first letter followed by a string of asterisks. Presumably by doing so they regard it as an acceptable way of making their point. Bu surely it only makes their point because the journalist has himself the questionable word in his mind; and by printing it in this form they intend that the reader should immediately bring to mind the word in question. They are transmitting the thought of the word (and therefore the word itself) without actually printing it. The Thought Police should have a field-day.

PS My daughter (who lived in Berkshire), when she was at St Andrews, used to regard passing through York on the train as almost home.

Colin Spinks said...

I once went with a choir of mine to Beverley Minster to sing the services over a weekend. Arriving on the Saturday afternoon we were met with a 'welcomer'. I introduced myself as the director of the visiting choir and was simply told: "Well you'd best ged on wi' it, then". To be fair, after that interesting beginning, we were made most welcome.

Zephyrinus said...

Dear Reverend Fr. Hunwicke.

Stand By for an avalanche of screaming, demented, hysterical, nauseating, bigoted, “RIGID”, Liberal, Leftist, Modernistic, Uncultured, Ignorant, Boring, Self-Absorbed Promethean Neo-Pelagians [not sure what these words mean, but, if Il Papa uses it, then it must mean something] sending missives and invective to your outstanding Blog.

Meanwhile, grateful thanks for your erudite and Catholic guidance.

Deo Gratias.

Alan said...

I remember an occasion perhaps 30 years ago when I read a press report of an altercation between a black man and a white man. The white man had addressed the black man using the F-word immediately followed by the N-word. The black man had punched his lights out. The report asterisked the F-word, while leaving the N-word intact. I imagine that the latter word was the one that the black man had found offensive.

Rather later, following the racist murder of Mr Stephen Lawrence, it was widely reported that at least one of the murderers had called Mr Lawrence a "nigger", printed in full.

After another, fortunately non-fatal, assault in the last year or so, the victim's family, like Mr Lawrence's, had wished the precise language used by the assailants to be reported, so that there could be no doubt of the racist motive of the attack. The newsreader duly read out what had been said, including the word "nigger". The resulting storm took exception to the word having been uttered, in accurate reportage, by a white broadcast journalist.

As you rightly say, there is something amiss when revulsion at the use of racist language spreads to prohibiting its reporting by journalists or discussion by academics.