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Latina Vivit?

Titus Livius

Titus Livius

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a column I wrote for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and its online version, cleveland.com, regarding the election. As you might guess, the responses have been very interesting.

I received a weird and bitter email today on my phone, for instance, with the subject heading, “hilda was endorsed be KKK too hack.” [sic] I didn’t know that “Hilda” was a Hillary nickname, but it is. Commenters online used it as well. And I never heard the KKK thing, either. Apparently the Washington Times, a right-wing paper, published a story in which a Grand Dragon or some such official asserted that the KKK had given Hillary money. Not at all clear why the Klan would do this, but nowadays assertions are all you need. Snopes.com has debunked the story. The rest of the email message hardly makes sense, except that I’m a “vile, bigot.” [sic, once again]

My office phone had a long message this morning from an angry man-splainer. At least he wasn’t vicious. Both these people had to do a little research to get my phone number and email address.

They could more easily have joined the commenters online, who largely attack me for teaching Latin. I know, right? Apparently that disqualifies me from having opinions. The commenters inform me that Latin is a dead language. Sometimes they add that “no one speaks it anymore.” Sometimes they add also that it’s an “ancient dead language,” as opposed, I guess, to a contemporary one.

I point out in my own comment that these arguments are ad hominem, meaning toward the person, i.e., me, and unconnected to the content of the column. A few people address real arguments, and some of them, frankly, are hard for me to counter. I think the finances at the Clinton Foundation are kind of skeezy, and I’m not a fan of Bill’s treatment of women. So if more people had focused on those things instead of that ancient dead language, they might have more traction. Because “ad hominem” is, after all, a rhetorical fallacy.

 

5 Comments

  1. Mary wrote:

    Hello Kathy, I do not think you are wrong, however, I do not think it is the whole story. One may choose to focus on different segments of the populace who voted for DJT, for instance, the white Catholics and the evangelicals….who presumably feel that overturning Roe v. Wade is more important than anything else……and, do you think it is proper for a VP candidate to announce himself as “Christian, conservative and Republican in that order?” If you filled in the first blank with any other religious affiliation I don’t think it would fly. Since when has the wall separating church and state been dismantled?

    Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink
  2. Roger wrote:

    Enjoyed your reply on the Cleveland.com site to one of the people who attacked you for teaching Latin. Telling him that two Latin words we still use are “ad hominem” made me smile. I agree that Trump’s support is complicated, but you are basically right. The fact that people voted for him despite his egregious racist and sexist attitudes certainly implies that racism and sexism crossing the line into sexual assault aren’t big enough deals to disqualify him. That does say a lot about where values of equality, respect, even personal safety come in a person’s ethical hierarchy.

    Friday, November 18, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink
  3. Lisa Marin wrote:

    Well, it is my considered opinion that you, teacher of that ancient dead language LATin should move to LATvia, where I happen to know it is spoken as the contemporary dead language LATvian. Hilda was actually born in LATvia (a little-known birther movement actually proved this) and you will be able to converse with her there in both your nativist tongues. Ad-Homo-Men to you, too.

    Sunday, November 20, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink
  4. Kathy wrote:

    I hadn’t realized Hilda was born in LATvia. I’m not reading the right fake-news websites, I guess. Like the one a commenter must have read: he told me that the most wanted lists of all (got that? all) states and municipalities are 80% Hispanic names. He told me to check it for myself, which I did. I couldn’t find any Hispanic names even on Cuyahoga County’s most wanted list, let alone Maine’s and South Dakota’s.

    I may want to retire to LATvia and talk to Hilda. Hopefully, there will be no Internet there.

    Sunday, November 20, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink
  5. Kathy wrote:

    You’re right, Mary. There’s no “single story.” I just got tired of the race and gender issue being disregarded. The comments regarding my column online at http://www.cleveland.com, in fact, ignore the race issue entirely. My point is not that all the people who voted for Trump are racists (and/or sexists). It’s that those voters have a lot less trouble than I disregarding these issues. One guy who sent me an email said all the non-economic issues are “just noise.” Tell that to Muslims and immigrants.

    Sunday, November 20, 2016 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

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