Averting One’s Ears

by Anniel7/30/17
Our little grandson Milo, the eight year old, has done it again. He seems to have his own take on language and never forgets anything, even if it becomes slightly skewed in processing.

The other day, his mother, Anna, heard Milo answer his younger sister, the only girl in the family, as the two children were viewing an old movie. “What’s that white stick that guy has in his mouth?” Sissy asked.

“That’s a cigarette.” answered Milo.

“What’s a cigarette?” from Sissy.

“Well, it’s this thing with something called tobacco rolled up in it. You put it in your mouth, set the end on fire and breath in the smoke, then you blow it out again.” Sissy looked confounded.

That’s when Anna stepped in, “Milo, are you teaching your sister to smoke?” she asked.

Milo threw his hands over his ears, “Eye,Yi, Yi, no!” He yelled as he ran upstairs to his bedroom.

“I bet you a coconut he’s crying up there,” Sissy said as she ran after him. Then she came down to say, “You owe me a coconut.”

Milo came back downstairs, still with his hands over his ears and his mother asked, “Why are you crying? Milo, are you listening to me?”

“No,” he said, “I’m averting my ears.”

We all had to laugh at the misuse of the word. But later that night I thought, “Is this really such a misuse of the word “avert?” If we avert our eyes from something offensive or something we don’t wish to see, then can’t we also avert our ears when the sounds are ugly or offensive?

Just the sound of ugliness and hatred in the voices of some people, or the offensive words that pepper language today should make us willing to avert our ears, but why we should have need to is beyond me. What passes for speech reveals a lot about the intelligence, or total lack thereof, of a lot of people in high places, particularly in the “Fake News.” Maybe we should just avert all of what passes for news sources today.

The President should certainly let his people know that such vulgarities will not be tolerated in the White House. Anyone in the press who uses bad language or insults should be averted by being blocked from press briefings. Why should Sarah Huckabee Sanders have to take that? She seems pretty feisty, but she should just tell them to leave and revoke their press passes.

Averting your ears, along with your eyes, from ugliness and vulgarities becomes a more interesting proposition the more I consider it. Expanding the meaning of a word is great. Political correctness can be fought in many ways, and this might be an effective one. Updated dictionaries anyone?

Thank you Milo for another valuable thinking and language lesson. • (556 views)

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25 Responses to Averting One’s Ears

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Getting rid of the vulgarity in the Trump White House, by either side, would require that Trump police himself (since no one else can do it). It’s clear now that he’ll never do that. It probably isn’t possible for someone that old to change how he’s been all his life.

  2. Steve Lancaster says:

    I don’t mind the vulgarity of politics, although I do wish it was not a part of the system. In the workplaces where men and women gather, not the latte factories of the libs, people use real language between themselves. It is often laced with profanity, ethnic slurs and insults that would send the average pajama boy into a coma. I would rather hear a Marine cuss, as Gunny Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, than some effete snob from San Francisco, New York or LA.

  3. Anniel says:

    When vulgar language is open on the airwaves, or indulged in in front of children and, excuse the expression, in front of “ladies” who expect a little respect, then we have the right to tell them they are showing their total stupidity. I had neighbor’s who let their teenage darlings use vile language, shouting it out at all hours. So one evening I threw open my bedroom window and told them to shut their stupid mouths or I would call the police to come and shut them up. The father finally got it through his head that he’d better do something about them and that was the end of the swearing and night long rantings. Have I heard swearing and vileness before? Most certainly, but why should I have to hear it in the sanctity of my own “religious” home? May I at least say my prayers and grace on the food in peace, and not HAVE to avert my eyes and ears?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Now, I never used foul language as a child, though I thew more than my share of fits. (There are reasons I prefer not to talk much about my childhood, which have a lot to do with the fact that my person demonology has 3 people: my brother, the principal at Fort Campbell High School, and my mother’s second husband.) The bad language came in at college, though I eventually stabilized into my nearly normal present self.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    In a somewhat rare article of any value at American Thinker, Steve McCann has written Trump and Big Government Paternalism. Some of his later conclusions seem to be in isolation of tenets he has previously laid out (and that I agree with). But this part intersects the topic at hand:

    When the Republicans, duplicitously wearing the mantle of the opposition party, assumed the reins of government they, captive to their obsession with civility, marginally modified, but essentially, codified the policies of their supposed adversary.

    Clearly many people interpret Trump’s (and some others of his administration) incivility as proof positive that he stands contrary to the established order (rightly called “The Ruling Class”). The entire article is worth a read. (With 60% of the electorate getting “free stuff” — and I assume this doesn’t include Social Security — the stakes of the game have changed and sometimes there is not much left to do but curse).

    And I can relate to what one commentor said (seemingly quite aware that activist conservatism — almost never on display — is quite a different thing than analytical conservatism which is about all there is these days, at least online):

    The 60% of the population that feeds off the government teat is overwhelmingly female and/or black or brown.
    If the voting pool was comprised entirely of property owning white males, we’d have exactly the sort of government Mr. McCann wants.

    But McCann would never argue, much less fight for, anything that might be construed as racist or sexist, because he’s a Real True Constitutional Conservative. That means he’ll always lose, but he’ll do so in a very principled manner!

    In some respects, cursing is easy. Getting to the nitty-gritty of our problems is more vexing.

    And in an article about Dunkirk that made my eyes glaze over (maybe I just lack patience), I did find some interesting comments by Coombes Larry. He also include a link to an article in the Daily Mail: ’This isn’t the Britain we fought for,’ say the ‘unknown warriors’ of WWII.

    Your truly has often pointed out how Britain defeated National Socialism only to willingly adopt English Socialism. And as pointed out by this article, included in the deal is domination by the Germans and the French as well. They might have been better off just surrendering to the Germans.

    Normal the topic of cursing can be neatly parsed between private behavior and public behavior. Ninny conservatives of all stripes are falling all over themselves to tell us that they don’t at all mind the cursing, per se, because the admit to doing their own. This shows the moral rot of the conservative media, such as it is actually conservative.

    I was listening to a sermon yesterday by a black pastor who rents the space upstairs. In essence he said, “I want you to take the behavior you show inside this holy place and take it out there with you into the world.” Yep. And if we curse like a sailor in private there is certainly a greater chance their our crudeness will make its way outdoors.

    But then added to the problem is this false civility of the GOP that McCann writes about. What we are experiencing with both Trump and the GOP Establishment is a great lie. We can sit back and decide that those who are now swearing (instead of being emasculated and civil) mean business. But to my mind it’s just another lie.

    I’d be all for a host of f-bombs from the president and his lackeys if they were actually following a reform agenda. But it’s just crudeness for the sake of crudeness (and these are, no doubt, crude people) in place of a civility from the GOP Establishment which is really just surrender.

    So we must look beyond the package and find the substance. We can’t be sure of reform just because some in the GOP are “nice.” And we can’t be sure of reform just because the type of crude people who Trump surrounds himself with swear like a sailor.

    Still, if one is serious, one will speak bluntly and honestly, leaving the gutter-talk for behind-the-scenes and only amongst close friends. Neither the GOP Establishment nor the Trump Administration speak bluntly. They are liars through and through whether with f-bombs or without f-bombs.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Unthinking people, too often, confuse crudeness/vulgarity with bluntness/straightforwardness.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I think you have gotten to the heart of the matter, Mr. Kung. That said, I’m pretty sure many people voted for, and continue to like Trump, precisely because he is crude and vulgar. The deeper implications of this are more speculative. But I have no doubt that a significant segment our low-brow vulgarian culture loves to see their own behavior mirrored at the highest levels.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          But I have no doubt that a significant segment our low-brow vulgarian culture loves to see their own behavior mirrored at the highest levels.

          I do agree that this is likely a large reason for Trump’s popularity.

          People who behave badly like to see others down on their level.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            There’s of course another and higher argument to all this.

            Anyone (especially yourself) who has a cursory understanding of George Washington knows how much emphasis he put on being a gentleman. He is truly the opposite of Donald Trump in so many ways. And he did so at least partially because he thought that character matters, including general comportment. If the outside was vulgar could the inside be any better? Manners are shapers of ourselves and our destiny.

            For so many reasons (including the idea that “the real” is vulgar and anything else is just pretense), we have lost the gentleman as a worthy standard. When everyone is a viper, what advantage is there in honor?

            And that’s the culture we live in. There is darn little advantage in honor.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Trump’s crudeness and incivility can be a good indicator of standing up to the Beltway Bandits — but it certainly isn’t sufficient by itself (and may not quite be necessary, though total civility certainly doesn’t work).

  5. Timothy Lane says:

    It turns out there’s a limit to how much vulgarity the White House will tolerate. John Kelly’s first act as chief of staff was to get rid of Anthony Scaramucci before he was formally sworn in (and while Sean Spicer is still on the WH payroll). In other words, tje Trump soap opera continues.

  6. Anniel says:

    Reading these comments I am struck by the term “gentlemen” and how George Washington behaved. I try to be what once was known as a lady, and I appreciate a true gentleman so much. That certainly doesn’t mean being namby-pamby about things. Ladies were once taught how to slap a man’s face very effectively after all. I can imagine many of my older female relatives doing just that.

    Maybe some of my female Swedish relatives, and the men too, come to think of it, need to relearn the fine-art of self defense, beginning with politely telling their politicians and cops to grow some cajones. And averting their ears from the stupid PC Crap they are being taught.

    Brad, I love and agree with the preacher living above your shop. Now there’s a role model for what ladies and gentlemen should represent.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Speaking of averting (in this case, the eyes from what they should be doing): Honolulu targets ‘smartphone zombies’ with crosswalk ban

    A ban on pedestrians looking at mobile phones or texting while crossing the street will take effect in Hawaii’s largest city in late October, as Honolulu becomes the first major U.S. city to pass legislation aimed at reducing injuries and deaths from “distracted walking.”

    The ban comes as cities around the world grapple with how to protect phone-obsessed “smartphone zombies” from injuring themselves by stepping into traffic or running into stationary objects.

    But surely, you say, there cannot be that many stupid/obsessed people. Well…

    More than 11,000 injuries resulted from phone-related distraction while walking in the United States between 2000 and 2011, according to a University of Maryland study published in 2015.

    How much is society willing to accommodate idiocy?

    In Germany, the city of Augsburg last year embedded traffic signals into the ground near tram tracks to help downward-fixated pedestrians avoid injury, local media reported.

    I agree with the opponents:

    Opponents of the Honolulu law argued it infringes on personal freedom and amounts to government overreach.

    Let Darwin sort this out. And let there be no prosecution of drivers who hit someone who is looking at their phone instead of traffic. That will fix things. Still, there is always room for girly-men even in opposition to such a law:

    “Scrap this intrusive bill, provide more education to citizens about responsible electronics usage, and allow law enforcement to focus on larger issues,” resident Ben Robinson told the city council in written testimony.

    Jesus H. You-know-what. Do we need public education programs for how to walk and chew gum at the same time? If you need to be “educated” about not stepping into a crosswalk without looking, no amount of public service messages about “responsible electronics usage” will do the trick.

    Baa. Baa.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      One assumes they already have a ban on driving while texting or such, which is more dangerous than walking across the street while texting. Of course, there are many other ways of not paying attention, a point Rush Limbaugh made decades ago in noting that a major traffic hazard was women farding while driving.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        a major traffic hazard was women farding while driving.

        My father warned me about this fairly new, at the time, phenomenon over thirty-five years ago. I can recall the first time I saw it. I was driving down the Dallas North Toll Road. A woman had her visor down and on it was a small mirror. She was looking into the mirror, applying mascara while driving over 60 mph.

        I let her pass and dropped back a ways so as not to be anywhere near her.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          In German class in high school, when the verb, fahren, was used in its first-person present participular past-future indicative tense (or whatever), giggles from schoolboys, in particular, could not be suppressed.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            As I recall my one year of German, if that conjugates in a regular fashion, third person singular present indicative for fahren would be fahrt.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              On my first trip to Germany, everyone on the bus noticed these signs on the highway which said,


              and thought it was hilarious.

              One never forgets the German word for EXIT.

              The third person for fahren would be faehrt.

              Ich fahre
              Du faehrst
              Er, Sie, Es faehrt
              Wir fahren
              Ihr fahrt
              Sie fahren

              As I recall.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                So, slightly irregular. I recall that Ken Macksey in hia book Invasion (a study of the possible result of a German invasion of England in July 1940, which he thinks was the biggest threat), had a British propaganda sheet presumably for German troops warning them about the likely consequences of trying to invade England, titled “Wir fahren gegen England”, with an English translation.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        And this bit I found hilarious:

        Efforts to save pedestrians from their phones extend beyond America’s shores. London has experimented with padding lamp posts to soften the blow for distracted walkers

        I mean, seriously, is this herd of cows going to be able to save themselves from socialism? There’s no way. Today’s drone is made to be herded….with padded lamp posts for their protection.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Padded cells would be more appropriate and useful.

          • pstmct says:

            Are the padded cells for us or them Mr. Zu?

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              I was thinking of them, Pat. But 1 inch high-tensile steel bars spaced about 4 inches apart on one side of room with 3 x 12 inch thick reinforced-concrete walls would also do the trick.

              • pstmct says:

                I like your padding. But after a recent conversation with some liberal relatives, I was thinking I needed a real padded room. They have lost it!

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