Monthly Archives: October 2010

Let’s go sling some mud

Last week I wrote a column about my perception that children with greater financial means appeared to receive more leeway in elementary school. As a student of a private, Catholic school, Immaculate Conception, in Las Vegas, I generally felt treated well and respected.

That was most of the time. But during at least one year in elementary school, I felt there wasn’t exactly ethnic discrimination, but a bit of a class (as in social, financial status, side of town) distinction. That was the gist of my column, which leaves the question, “Has anything changed?”

The pervading theme of that column was whether and in what way some people feel elevated by putting someone down. And the illustration I used, the time my attempt to “out” someone who was cheating on a spelling test, backfired, is evidence that I too thought I could score points by getting someone else in trouble. I thought then it was good to accentuate the negative.

Just as one can conceivably rise by stepping over bodies of those underneath, I often wondered how put-downs provide a leg up. Continue reading

I really wanted to join the brigade

One of many things I regret as a youngster was ever trying to become a member of Sister’s Brigade. My compunction has had to do with telling tales. And as we know, some can tell ‘em, some can’t.

Let me explain:

In the Las Vegas of my early years, there was a great deal of stratification. Although the strata often fell along ethnic lines, I suspect it was more a matter of the haves and the have-nots. And much of the enrollment at my school, Immaculate Conception, came from areas on the east side of town, Grand, Railroad, Pecos and Commerce.

Almost all of us east-siders walked to school; as for many students from the more affluent areas, their parents chauffeured them. And a precious few high schoolers got to drive their own cars. One car driven by a member of a wealthy (for the time) clan, took up lots of acreage on National, in front of the school. Remember, in those days, the 1940s, parking wasn’t a problem. Continue reading

It is I? Or It’s me?

Remember a few weeks ago when some of us spotted an unusual expression in Parade Magazine? The cover story, about a female football coach identified the woman as “one of the only” such coaches. The issue was whether “one of” can ever be an “only.”

A column followed on that and other strange uses of language. Well, the same publication, Parade, chose a strange way of expressing things at least once before — or so I thought. Back in the days when popular heartthrobs Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds were courting, Parade published a cover story titled “Debbie and Me.” Continue reading

Abandon hope, all ye who enter

The entrance to hell bears the following admonition: “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” That message, part of the 14th-century work, The Divine Comedy, by Dante, came to mind as I listened to a couple of famous people who should know better.

Consider: The language of Shakespeare and Milton is being reduced to a few (very few) mono-syllables designed mainly to pique one’s interest in partyin’, eatin’, cruisin’, and meetin’.

But no, that’s too harsh. Obviously, users of this form of communication have loftier purposes, but they need to express them quickly, before a cop spots them.

Let me explain: Continue reading