Thursday, May 22, 2008

Births, Babies, and Bastards: Just Words

Eliminating racism
Empowering women
--sign on the side of the ywca van west-bound on I-30 this morning in Fort Worth, Texas USA

The origin is a masculine myth. . . .
The question, ‘Where do I come from?’ is basically a masculine, much more than a feminine question. The quest for origins, illustrated by Oedipus, doesn’t haunt a feminine unconscious. Rather it’s the beginning, or beginnings, the manner of beginning, not promptly with the phallus, but starting on all sides at once, that makes a feminine writing. A feminine text starts on all sides at once, starts twenty times, thirty times, over.
--Hélène Cixous, “Castration or Decapitation?” tr. Annette Kuhn, Signs 7 (Autumn 1981): 53. fr. Nancy Mairs, “Essaying the Feminine,” Voice Lessons: On Becoming a (Woman) Writer, 85

Around the blogosphere are signs of word birth, and questions of origins or of beginnings, with more questions about legitimacy or otherings.

  • April DeConick has begun a new word for better work in history writing. So far, the begininngs are here, and here, and here, and here, and here.
  • Some men (yes some of us men) are concerned about the origin of an old word. (Don’t ask us what haunts us, please; and you have to scroll down past the pics of one Mr. Bean to the real serious hauntings.)
  • Othering men (yes that kind) used original words to dis-empower women through words
  • Other othering men used others original words, not to eliminate, but to perpetuate the denigration of human beings of races "darker."
  • Jonathan Tilove more than a year ago wanted to know the origins of one of Barack Obama’s phrases.

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