1 EAGLETON NOTES: Egg on Face

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Saturday, 29 May 2010

Egg on Face

I feel quite foolish.  That’s not a new feeling for me unfortunately.  However unlike some of the occasions when it happens this one was totally avoidable.  Not only was it avoidable but it arose because I was trying to be ‘clever’.  A friend yesterday said that someone was a ‘thinking man’ and I said that that was an oxymoron.  I said it for a quick laugh.  Unfortunately I sometimes wonder if it’s actually true: particularly so far as I am concerned.

In this case Katherine (she of The Last Visible Dog) had posted some lovely photos which included an autumnal tree with a Monarch Butterfly on the tree.  I made the comment “Your Monarch was out rather late wasn't she?”  The actual gender of the beautiful creature was not in my thoughts.  I was just avoiding the assumption that everything is automatically referred to in the masculine gender. 

Years ago when a lot of my work involved legal issues and it became impossible always to say he and/or she I always use to add ‘the use of the male gender shall include the female gender – Interpretation Act 1889’.  Of course one would look silly saying that in a non-legal context.  In the same vein Andy always used to avoid any reference to specific genders to the extent that he refused to say person because of it’s male-specific connotation.

Anyway I digressed.  Katherine made the point that the Monarch was, in fact a male and not a female.  The markings of the two sexes are markedly different and I had, of course, to agree.

Motto: Don’t try to be ‘clever’ and, if you do, then think first.

7 comments:

  1. I stopped thinking years ago, that's what ladies are for.

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  2. Aw GB, please don't beat yourself up. Now I feel like doing it too, and saying how churlish and nit-picking *I* was to point out the (extremely small, in the Grand Scheme of Things) error. Let's start a trend and call it "s'he". Your motive for the error transcends all.

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  3. :) It is when I try to be 'clever' that I usually feel most like hiding. I'm always best to just be the zany me that I am...even if I'm wrong.

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  4. Oh, and I really enjoyed Adrian's comment :)

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  5. Right now I am a thinking woman. I spotted a monarch caterpiller on Chris' swan plant yesterday and commented how late it was. I'm thinking why has the prospect of a male Monarch never occurred to me? Monarch have always been shes to me and now I learn there is a he. How come I've never questioned that before this ripe old age? So, Adrian, please do not leave the thinking to this woman.

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  6. Oh c'mon, if you weren't thinking you wouldn't care what anyone else might be thinking either... But you do (care); so you are (thinking)! Trying to avoid one "trap", just to fall into another... that happens to everyone.

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  7. Oh, how many times I've embarassed myself trying to be clever! Ha! Way too many times to remember even!

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