My goodness – that’s twice now I’ve been "called down" in a forum for using the word "Yank". It happened first in a CNet article where I used the word to distinguish between Canadian and American internet services generally. Then in this DIgg comment stream (look for references to "ross613") for using the word to distinguish between an American and Candian ISP. To me the word is pretty innocent slang – not derogative at all. But, there’s mounting evidence that Americans (and I’ll not be using "yank" in reference to them anymore) don’t like it. Or is it just they don’t like it when Canadians use it?
I honestly don’t know, but since I am a Canadian (not much I can do about that – not that I’d care to), and don’t want to irritate my American friends, I’d guess I’d better change my habits.
It’s just a bit of a surprise…."yank" is, after all, an abbreviation for "yankee".
In reviewing my blog stats, I visited the site of a fellow Spaces blogger. I was shocked to see a word in the title of her April 3rd entry I’d only previously stumbled across reading Galileo’s "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems" – the work he was eventually punished by the Catholic Church for writing which rhetorically discusses the nature of Earth’s place in the solar system (boldfaced below):
My reading of Galileo is recent too, following a download of a PBS Nova documentary called "Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens", itself based on a recent book about Galileo’s daughter (available as a torrent download on #digitaldistractions). Notwithstanding the quoted blog above, I can’t imagine ‘peripatetic’ has been oft used much since Galileo last inscribed the word:
"To this end [that of establishing the truth] I have taken the Compernican side in the discourse, proceeding as with a pure mathetmatical hypothesis and striving by every article to represent it as superior to supposing the earth motionaless – not, indeed absolutely, but as against the arguments of some professed Peripatetics. These men indeed deserve not even that name, for they do not walk about; they are content to adore the shadows, philogophizing not with due circumspection but merely from having memorized a few ill-understood principles."
– Galileo Galilei, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, July 1638 C.E.
But how delightful to see it again.
(The death of Jean Paul II has rekindled my interest in theology & served as a reminder of past interest in the philosophy & history of scientific methadology for some reason. Perhaps because it was only JPII who finally acknowledged the Catholic Church’s error in mistreating Galileo horribly.)