Japan Has a Word for ‘Working to Death’

A young woman’s suicide has sparked a backlash against the country’s labor conditions. But death by overwork is so common there’s even a word for it: karoshi.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/japan-has-a-word-for-working-to-death

5 Japanese Words in the English Dictionary

http://www.travlang.com/features/japanesewords.html

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‘Lone wolf’ or ‘terrorist’? How bias can shape news coverage

“Another decision: describing the attack that authorities say was committed by Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old white man, as a “mass shooting” rather than “domestic terrorism.” When a Muslim person mows down innocent victims and terrorizes a community, media and authorities are quick to declare it terrorism; when a white, non-Muslim attacker does the same, he is usually described as a disturbed loner in a freak incident. In both cases, journalists arrive at these conclusions early in the news cycle when information is incomplete. (Official statistics show far more terrorism in the U.S. is committed by white men than by Muslims).”

https://www.poynter.org/news/lone-wolf-or-terrorist-how-bias-can-shape-news-coverage

We Legitimize the ‘So-Called’ Confederacy With Our Vocabulary, and That’s a Problem

Fascinating article that delves into the role of language and its effect on our understanding of history as well as the present. How is our collective memory shaped by the words we use to describe the past?

“Landis goes on to suggest that we call plantations what they really were—slave labor camps; and drop the use of the term, “the Union.” A common usage in the 19th century to be sure, but now one we only use “the Union” in reference to the Civil War and on the day of the State of the Union address. A better way to speak of the nation during the war, he argues, is to use its name, the United States.”

“As Douglass was already concerned that the victors were losing the war of historical memory to the supposedly vanquished, I am not sure that he would have been surprised that not far from where he stood at the national cemetery—often considered the nation’s most hallowed ground—a Confederate memorial would be built in the early 20th century to the insurgents he felt “struck at the nation’s life.”

“Douglass knew, day-by-day, after the shooting stopped, a history war was playing out. It is clearly not over yet. Words, though they do not stand as marble and bronze memorials in parks and in front of buildings or fly on flagpoles, are perhaps even more powerful and pernicious. The monuments we’ve built with language may, in fact, be even more difficult to tear down.”

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/we-legitimize-so-called-confederacy-vocabulary-thats-problem-180964830/#D3DM5FOjKPhcmXuR.01

26% of people watched fewer NFL games because of Colin Kaepernick?!?! Or is it 3%?

This is an interesting case of how numbers get reported and what they mean. Often the numbers that get reported reflect a desire to grab people’s attentions or simply to tell the story the media outlet wants to tell. If you report 26% or 3% neither one is necessarily lying though the two numbers are referring to two different things. (Here is a link to an earlier post about how an Illinois tax increase was reported)

12% of respondents to a recent survey said they watched fewer NFL games and of those 26% said that the main reason was Colin Kaepernick’s protest during the national anthem. How should that get reported? And what impression gets left in people’s minds based on the wording?

Another way to think about it is this: 12% of the 26% who watched fewer games comes out to about 3% of the total number of people who watched football. Hmm. That leaves a very different impression than 26%.

Here is the original, misleading ESPN article whose headline has since changed I believe.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/20171611/national-anthem-protests-no-1-reason-viewers-tuned-nfl-games

“National anthem protests were the top reason that NFL fans watched fewer games last season, according to a new survey released by J.D. Power.

“The pollster said it asked more than 9,200 people who attended either one football, basketball or hockey game whether they tuned into fewer games and why. Twenty-six percent of those who watched fewer games last season said that national anthem protests, some of which were led by Colin Kaepernick, were the reason.”

And here is a link to a Huffington Post article discussing the issue with how the numbers are reported:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/colin-kaepernick-sports-ratings_us_597a2382e4b02a4ebb73e064

The Slants on the Power of Repurposing a Slur

“The idea of reappropriation isn’t new. The process of turning negative words, symbols or ideas into positive parts of our own identity can involve repurposing a racial epithet or taking on a stereotype for sociopolitical empowerment. But reappropriation can be confusing. Sometimes people can’t figure out the nuances of why something is or isn’t offensive — government bureaucrats in particular.”

 

Monuments or Memorials? “The Meaning of Our Confederate ‘Monuments’”

Interesting discussion on the difference between “monuments” and “memorials” and how that distinction plays out with the contemporary controversy around the removal of Confederate Civil War statues.

“The debate around these monuments — Should they be destroyed, maintained or removed elsewhere? — has been heated and, I believe, misguided. We should be asking other questions instead: Are these statues really “monuments” by our present standards? Or are they rather “memorials”? Are we misled by the avenue’s name? Do we need to rename the avenue itself as we attempt to remedy our deferred maintenance of history?”