Good evening all.
I have no right to use that title for this blog entry. "On Language" was a column by the late William Safire that appeared in the New York Times Magazine every Sunday. It was a wonderful column. His wisdom on language, and on most matters, is sorely missed.
After I wrote my entry on "Casablanca" being a 'chick flick,' I received a very cheeky response from one of my readers. I chuckled at the way she made her point. Her point was remarkably well said.
It was from the avian society commenting on birds and movies.
I decided to look up the term chick flick. I deliberately came home to do it, as I had no clue what the websites would yield. I did not want to risk something rather questionable showing up on my work computer.
One item from the first page of the search was a link to Oprah Winfrey's magazine. Another was to an article on Squidoo by a female attorney. Yet a third was to Cosmo. I did not even leave the first page of the websearch.
Which yields the following question:
If an offensive term (chick=woman) becomes utterly common, to the point of being used even by those labelled with the offensive term, does it lose its offensiveness?
Today, the National Museum in Ottawa announced that it was going to stop using CE and BCE to refer to the turn of the millennium. Instead, it will return to the old terms BC and AD. BC and AD are clearly, unquestionably Christian. On the one hand, the number is important. If the year is 2013, whether we call it CE or AD does not take anything away from the fact that it is 2013 years since the birth of Jesus. On the other hand, BC and AD are Christian terms in a world the mosaic of which is becoming more and more pronounced every day. Maybe the letters do matter.
It has been a couple of weeks since I got the response. I am still deciding whether or not to pull the one blog entry. I am also still deciding whether or not to change the wording.
What are your thoughts?
P.S. Thank you to A.S. at the avian society for pointing this out.