Monday, October 19, 2009
Grammar Is Forever
This species of grumps has no sense of humor. Its members are smart but suffer from intellectual rigidity. They don't recognize satire and mistake it for vitriol. This lack in sensitivity to the uses of language shows deficiency in sensitivity to subtleties of the use of language.
Such negative commentators reveal their barren ability to sense gradations in language or in anything. They display an understanding that lacks sensitivity.
One encounters such mindsets in the far reaches of the religious and political right.
Such ideologues demand that everybody think as they do; they accept no other views but their own as allowable. It's a fascist mind that springs up in our democracy to remind us that such types fly all around the flowers and light on a turd.
I am pretty much immune to verbal abuse. I acquired this gift when I was a young student nurse in Seton Institute's psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of Baltimore, MD.
It was a hospital run by the Catholic church. Sisters of Mercy oversaw my nurses' training in Charlotte, NC; the order conducted the psychiatric training of us Mercy Hospital students in Baltimore. These sisters of mercy in both locations showed none. Meanest bunch of women of all time to pull a habit over their devious heads is my judgment.
I think they took out any leftover hostility from demeaning the entire nursing body on me: an Episcopalian. I sneered at the abuse and resisted it with all the Jesuitical arguments I was capable of in my young years. One sister was my supporter. She later got canned for drug abuse. I would take drugs too if I had to contend with the hemming in of the human spirit that was a condition of belonging to this order.
Seton Institute further immunized me to being called vile names. The patients took over where the Sisters of Mercy left off. While the Sisters of Mercy might call us student nurses "sloths" or even "shiftless layabouts," we learned to deal with this Sisters-of-Mercy invective by holding laugh-in sessions in the student nurses' quarters. No adults can beat young people's ability to defeat them with ridicule.
The patients were as inventive as they were psychologically challenged. They poured onto us young nursing students some of the vilest, most vivid, most imaginative epithets one can imagine. Oddly enough, the most gifted name-callers were the patient priests and the Catholic nuns (we students called them "nones," an epithet we applied to the Sisters of Mercy who ran the nursing program ). Both nuns and priests were among the patient population.
The priest-nuns patients could think up names that would curl the hair of a small-town, callow nurse student. Most of us came from small Southern towns.
Often these terms of abuse came when we student-nurse ciphers ganged up on a patient to put him or her into a "camisole"--euphemism for a strait jacket--because of flagrant misbehavior, including physical or verbal abuse of other patients.
The offending patient, were he worth his or her psychologically debased status, would pour an avalanche of curses onto us students nurses who attacked in a pack to to subdue a member of holy orders by putting a camisole on the poor wretch.
After we had wrestled the patient into the strait jacket, one of us would say, "Did you hear what sister called me? I wonder where she learned such words."
The "nones" loaded this camisole duty onto us student nurses because hiring enough orderlies to take care of the camisole cases cost money, and the "nones" were nothing if not believers that our innocence through the curses of the patients' being straitjacketed could be sacrificed to the bottom line.
As a result, we became inured to the plethora of inventive linguistic abuse that the patients we put into camisoles poured on us--sometimes involving wrestling the patient to the floor with all of us rolling around to get the erring patient into a camisole. This was a treat for all ward patients. They took up spectator positions and took sides to cheer or boo the contest.
Fraternization between student nurses and nun-and-priest-patient population merited discouragement from the Sisters of Mercy.
Since I have never seen an interdiction that I didn't try to violate, I became buddies with a long-term patient priest. We played tennis almost every day. He called me "Sissy" and never called me a vile name during the three months of my psychiatric training at Seton.
The nuns never interdicted this association because they had gauged the resistant index of my personality. In addition, I had the Teflon shield of being Episcopalian. They thought an Episcopalian was rather strange.
I said goodbye to father the last tennis game we played. I wondered for years what had happened to him: whether he had remained in his psychiatric state (a position I would have encouraged had he asked me for advice) or whether he was pronounced "cured" and sent back on the priest circuit as the Catholic hierarchy now reroute priest child molesters to parishes other than the one they came from to resume child molestations. Jesus was a good guy and had good ideas; but the religious bureaucracies coming after him have besmirched the grandeur and purity of Jesus's gospel.
My analysis says that the Catholic Church--my husband's and our children's religious home--is above all intent on maintaining its franchise like the School Board and administration and the Hillsborough County School Board aim to do. The latter has settled into a pattern of abuse of teachers and disregard of students to keep them quiet to maintain the board's and the administration's power base. This power base controls the state tax money that pours over the ROSSAC transom and creates the power and eclat of the board and administration derive therefrom.
I departed Seton Institute a sadder but a wiser young woman in 1967. I integrated into my knowledge base the data I picked up there to fatten my primitive brain's savvy. If a person in a long life as I have been fortunate enough to have continues to store wisdom gained and earned during his or her lifetime, that person becomes almost immune to such things as third-rate name calling from an anonymous blogger. I print the comments because of my reverence for freedom of speech.
Were this blogger worth his salt, he would sign his name and come out of the anonymous closet. If he exposed himself, I could call him by name and clean his clock.
This bush league name caller should never underestimate the power of a rebellious granny.
Fom your NYT column: "The Los Angeles Angels are not like most other teams."
Mr. Tyler Kepner: Sports writers write some of the best prose in newspapers. But that does entitle them to make subject-verb agreement errors.
The "Los Angeles Angels" is plural in form but singular in meaning. Your "are" should be "is."
Lee Drury De Cesare, Madeira Beach, FL.
Posted by twinkobie at 6:52 PM