In , he moved to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was hired as a professor of psychology and was also appointed to the Walgreen Chair for the Study of Human Understanding. In he returned to Bloomington as "College of Arts and Sciences Professor" in both cognitive science and computer science. He was also appointed adjunct professor of history and philosophy of science, philosophy, comparative literature, and psychology, but has said that his involvement with most of those departments is nominal. Other more recent models include Phaeaco implemented by Harry Foundalis and SeqSee Abhijit Mahabal , which model high-level perception and analogy-making in the microdomains of Bongard problems and number sequences, respectively, as well as George Francisco Lara-Dammer , which models the processes of perception and discovery in triangle geometry. He seeks beautiful mathematical patterns, beautiful explanations, beautiful typefaces, beautiful sonic patterns in poetry, etc.
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Hofstadter by Douglas R. Hofstadter, Basic Books, But let us grant that in our society there may be injustices here and there in the treatment of either race from time to time, and let us even grant these people their terms "racism" and "racist. Most of the clamor, as you certainly know by now, revolves around the age-old usage of the noun "white" and words built from it, such as chairwhite, mailwhite, repairwhite, clergywhite, middlewhite, Frenchwhite, forewhite, whitepower, whiteslaughter, oneupuwhiteship, straw white, whitehandle, and so on.
The negrists claim that using the word "white," either on its own or as a component, to talk about all the members of the human species is somehow degrading to blacks and reinforces racism. Therefore the libbers propose that we substitute "person" everywhere where "white" now occurs.
Sensitive speakers of our secretary tongue of course find this preposterous. There is great beauty to a phrase such as "All whites are created equal. Think how ugly it would be to say "All persons are created equal," or "All whites and blacks are created equal. In most contexts, it is self-evident when "white" is being used in an inclusive sense, in which case it subsumes members of the darker race just as much as fairskins.
There is nothing denigrating to black people in being subsumed under the rubric "white"-no more than under the rubric "person. Used inclusively, the word "white" has no connotations whatsoever of race. Yet many people are hung up on this point. A prime example is Abraham Moses, one of the more vocal spokeswhites for making such a shift.
For years, Niss Moses, authoroon of the well-known negrist tracts A Handbook of Nonracist Writing and Words and Blacks, has had nothing better to do than go around the country making speeches advocating the downfall of "racist language" that ble objects to.
But when you analyze bler objections, you find they all fall apart at the seams. Niss Moses says that words like "chairwhite" suggest to people-most especially impressionable young whiteys and blackeys-that all chairwhites belong to the white race.
How absurd! Nobody need think twice about it. As a matter of fact, the suffix "white" is usually not pronounced with a long "i" as in the noun "white," but like "wit," as in the terms saleswhite, freshwhite, penwhiteship, first basewhite, and so on. But Niss Moses would have you sit up and start hollering "Racism!
Ble has written a famous article, in which ble vehemently objects to the immortal and poetic words of the first white on the moon, Captain Nellie Strongarm. If you will recall, whis words were: "One small step for a white, a giant step for whitekind. Numerous suggestions have been made, such as "pe," "tey," and others, These are all repugnant to the nature of the English language, as the average white in the street will testify, even if whe has no linguistic training whatsoever.
Then there are advocates of usages such as "whe or ble," "whis or bler," and so forth. This makes for monstrosities such as the sentence "When the next President takes office, whe or ble will have to choose whis or bler cabinet with great care, for whe or ble would not want to offend any minorities.
Shall we say "blooey" all the time when we simply mean "whe"? Who wants to sound like a white with a chronic sneeze? One of the more hilarious suggestions made by the squawkers for this point of view is to abandon the natural distinction along racial lines, and to replace it with a highly unnatural one along sexual lines.
One such suggestion-emanating, no doubt, from the mind of a madwhite-would have us say "he" for male whites and blacks and "she" for female whites and blacks.
Can you imagine the outrage with which sensible folk of either sex would greet this "modest proposal"? Another suggestion is that the plural pronoun "they" be used in place of the inclusive "whe. The pronoun "they" is a plural pronoun, and it grates on the civilized ear to hear it used to denote only one person.
Such a usage, if adopted, would merely promote illiteracy and accelerate the already scandalously rapid nosedive of the average intelligence level in our society. Niss Moses would have us totally revamp the English language to suit bler purposes. If, for instance, we are to substitute "person" for "white," where are we to stop? Will pundits and politicians henceforth issue person papers? Will we now have egg yolks and egg persons?
And pledge allegiance to the good old Red, Person, and Blue? Lament the increase of person-collar crime? Thrill to the chirping of bobpersons in our gardens? Surely not!
Such phrases are simply metaphors: everyone can see beyond that. Whe who interprets them as reinforcing racism must have a perverse desire to feel oppressed. Delilah Buford has urged that we drop the useful distinction between "Niss" and "Nrs. Bler argument is that there is no need for the public to know whether a black is employed or not. Need is, of course, not the point.
Ble conveniently sidesteps the fact that there is a tradition in our society of calling unemployed blacks "Niss" and employed blacks "Nrs. They want the world to know what their employment status is, and for good reason. Unemployed blacks want prospective employers to know they are available, without having to ask embarrassing questions.
Likewise, employed blacks are proud of having found a job, and wish to let the world know they are employed. This distinction provides a sense of security to all involved, in that everyone knows where ble fits into the scheme of things. But Nrs. Buford refuses to recognize this simple truth. Instead, ble shiftily turns the argument into one about whites, asking why it is that whites are universally addressed as "Master," without any differentiation between employed and unemployed ones.
The answer, of course, is that in America and other Northern societies, we set little store by the employment status of whites, Nrs.
Buford can do little to change that reality, for it seems to be tied to innate biological differences between whites and blacks. Many white-years of research, in fact, have gone into trying to understand why it is that employment status matters so much to black, yet relatively little to whites.
It is true that both races have a longer life expectancy if employed, but of course people often do not act so as to maximize their life expectancy. So far, it remains a mystery. In any case, whites and blacks clearly have different constitutional inclinations, and different goals in life.
As for Nrs. Mind you, this "Ns. Who ever heard of such toying with language? Buford also finds it insultingly asymmetric that when a black is employed by a white, ble changes bler firmly name to whis firmly name. No one disputes this. Beyond them there may of course be other firmly members. And since it would be nonsense for the boss to change whis name, it falls to the secretary to change bler name.
Logic, not racism, dictates this simple convention. What puzzles me the most is when people cut off their nose to spite their faces. Such is the case with the time-honored colored suffixes "oon" and "roon," found in familiar words such as ambassadroon, stewardoon, and sculptroon.
Most blacks find it natur al and sensible to add those suffixes onto -nouns such as "aviator" or "waiter. You guessed it-authoroons such as Niss Mildred Hempsley and Nrs. Charles White, both of whom angrily reject the appellation "authoroon," deep though its roots are in our language. White, perhaps one of the finest poetoons of our day, for some reason insists on being known as a "poet. White ashamed of being black, perhaps? I should hope not. White needs Black, and Black needs White, and neither race should feel ashamed.
Some extreme negrists object to being treated with politeness and courtesy by whites. For example, they reject the traditional notion of "Negroes first," preferring to open doors for themselves, claiming that having doors opened for them suggest implicitly that society considers them inferior.
Well, would they have it the other way? Would these incorrigible grousers prefer to open doors for whites? What do blacks want? Another unlikely word has recently become a subject of controversy: "blackey. Yet, incredible though it seems, many blacks-even teen-age blackeys-now claim to have had their "consciousness raised," and are voguishly skittish about being called "blackeys. Most of the time, calling a black-especially an older black-a "blackey" is a thoughtful way of complimenting bler, making bler feel young, fresh, and hirable again.
Many young blackeys go through a stage of wishing they had been born white. It is perfectly normal and healthy. Many of our most successful blacks were once tomwhiteys and feel no shame about it.
Why should they? Well, Niss Moses, if this were a common phenomenon, we most assuredly would have such a word, but it just happens not to be. Who can say why? The lesson is that White must learn to fit language to reality; White cannot manipulate the world by manipulating mere words.
An elementary lesson, to be sure, but for some reason Niss Moses and others of bler ilk resist learning it. Shifting from the ridiculous to the sublime, let us consider the Holy Bible. The Good Book is of course the source of some of the most beautiful language and profound imagery to be found anywhere.
And who is the central character of the Bible? I am sure I need hardly remind you; it is God. As everyone knows, Whe is male and white, and that is an indisputable fact.
Douglas R. Hofstadter