Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Name calling

I've had very limited time to travel the blogosphere these past two weeks but that will finally change this weekend. There were a few topics I wanted to post on but those I chose grew much too long to complete. I do hope to finish some of them because they still will be relevant.

But I did want to touch on this topic. I was able to catch Paul's (Wizbang) thoughts on the term blogger. Although he noted it was satirical and that he really did not mind being grouped by the term blogger, you can tell that the denigration by many members of the MSM of the work done by bloggers had kept some hairs on the back of his neck stiff. A Small Victory has responded on this and expanded it to related issues as have others (and I'm sorry I have not had time to click to, read and include them.)

Seeing the hairs more than the wry smile in Paul's post, my first reaction was "keep the blogger and let the MSM have journalist". I am not keen on their term, anyway, as I see it having lost its luster at the hands of those who wield it now. To me, 'journalist' brings to mind a teller of a traveler's daily adventures in the dark ages of Europe -- sights, scenes, and activities to awe the land bound peasants and having more myth than truth sewn into the tales. Even though the root is more noble and plain, I am not pleased to know the likely source since it adds to my suspicion that some ethnic character might infect those who use it. From Dictionary.com we get this etymology of journal (don't mind me if I help you take note with highlighting):

c.1355, "book of church services," from Anglo-Fr. jurnal "a day," from O.Fr. journal, originally "daily" (adj.), from L.L. diurnalis "daily" (see diurnal). Sense of "daily record of transactions" first recorded 1565; that of "personal diary" is 1610, from a sense found in French. Journalism is 1833 in Eng., likewise from Fr. (where it is attested from 1781)...

Considering the life and history of words, I wonder what meaning 'blogger' will bring to mind 50, 100, or 200 years from now. Many words have been birthed in derision only to grow into names proclaimed by those it was meant to demean. Yankee is just such word. And who of those casting it about snidely 300 years ago would have thought it would instill such pride that songs and stories would be written extolling Yankees, that so many would travel so far just to become a plain one and that the greatest desire of some sportsmen is to be part of a group with that nickname.

So too, it is with, I am sure, the beginnings of the term 'Cowboy'. I can't believe a term made by 'cow' and 'boy' was first meant to be respectful. It still isn't to some, but I believe that some 40 to 50 million have shifted no small measure in their appreciation of people described as 'Cowboys' or would so if they felt the need to reflect on it.

Of course, most words intended to label gather meaning over time, some at odds with their original intent and on to nobleness, and some in the other direction. Mostly, I think, the direction depends on the behavior of the people so described. Blogger is a new term, begun without much character attached and recently snatched by the 'Dutchmen' in the MSM to hurl at those they dislike more for their competitiveness than for their attire. Let's just say, it remains to be seen how it will turn out but, as I said, only bloggers have control over that.

In similar fashion, we are witnessing another, more rapid, evolution taking place in the world of words, that of 'jihadi and it's root 'jihad'. Once having a twofold meaning, it is now being thoroughly stripped of the more benign and noble one. And it is being stripped by those same people who wish to keep that meaning from being lost. It is being lost because those who claim it for themselves are more protective of the despised, cowardly and enslaving meaning than the respected, courageous and freeing one. And it is interesting to watch the efforts to prevent this evolution from spreading to related words, like Islam, but that is a subject for a separate post and would, I think, move off topic.

To sum up, I am proud to be called a Yankee and would be happy to be called a cowboy (even if I am from NYS). As for being called a blogger, I'll take that too and I hope the small effort on my part will contribute to making blogger a term more respected than journalist. And if that cannot be attained in my lifetime, I will settle for it being one used in fear, just as the nascent journalists came to be feared by nailing to the castle door their responses to proclamations made by the princes.

Looking for the sign bloggers are feared, it will be when today's princes, commiserating with their journalistic blood-relatives about 'jidahis' massing at the gates to rain ruin on the press castles, find that their land bound viewers and readers are climbing over the walls. Oh, wait, that is already happening. Well, at least the princes can take comfort in the thought that, like Zell, we only reminisce about the good old days.

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