Re: Stroustrup's Confession (bogus?)

Geoff Smith (
Mon, 23 Mar 1998 17:53:04 -0800

> From: Erik Moeller <>
> To:
> Subject: Re: Stroustrup's Confession (bogus?)
> Date: Monday, March 23, 1998 4:38 PM
> >Hey, I happen to like neuter (not neutering!), so I'm feeling a little
> >germanly repressed myself! Give me a break, you could equally argue
> >girls are neuter because they transcend the distinction between male and
> >female.
> Today, this would be appreciatable. At the time the German word for
> became neuter, the idea of transcension was probably, if at all,
> as a state of elevation to a place where angels and gods play nifty


> The denial of female sexuality has long traces in human history. It can
> found in the Bible as well (along with lots of other bullshit).

If you are referring to nit-picky things like the gender of "girl", then
this may be a problem of translation from Hebrew. If you are referring to
the global statements the Bible makes about the role of women, etc.., then
it's hard to disagree with you.

> Even today,
> there are religous groups which claim that women cannot experience

Maybe a religious justification for a personal inadequacy? ;-)

"If God meant you to have an orgasm you would."

> Therefore, the explanation that the neuter form of "girl" was a
> of female sexuality seems much more likely than that it was originated to
> the meme that women will "transcend" first.

Who cares about why it was created?(even asking this question implies some
sort of creator, which seems unlikely to me, unles you think your language
was engineered) What is important is how it is used. Do people really
consider girls genderless simply because their noun is neuter?

> >I don't think a language represses certain groups, it just lowers
> >the efficiency of communication.
> If Hitler had forbidden the word Jew and proclaimed that all Jews have to
> called "swindlers", wouldn't you say this would be a repression of Jews
> through language?

No. Does calling a homosexual "gay" make you think all homosexuals are
happy? Hitler has simply changed the word for Jewish, the only repression
he has done affects everybody: no one can say "Jewish." A similar
situation has happened with native indians:
Indian->native->aboriginal->First Nations. None of these name changes
repression in the slightest. Did you feel differently towards natives when
the politically correct(which has a similar sway to Hitler) word changed
from aboriginal to First Nations? I should hope not, the only thing I
thought was how ridiculous people are for thinking replacing one word with
another will change it's meaning. I should also hope that changing the
name for Jewish to "swindler" will not turn non-racist into a racist. Maybe
you think that's a bad assumption, but if you do, give me a