Closed Minded

javascript's picture

Copy from http://twitter.com/openvclosed showing weasel word racists
(mostly from British Linux operating system user groups (LUGs)) trying
to suppress the alteration of the 11th letter shape from k/K to
unicode 0915 shape meant for spiritual reasons.

Nix 31 Oct 2010 Gllug says "We're _too short of decent free font
designers. Please stop trying to drive them off"

Tig 1 Nov 2010 Staffslug says "Don't forget the chic?en ?orma"

Andrew Edwards 1 Nov Staffslug says "_sacred meat"

martin rome 1 Nov Staffslug says "_people_"think"_i seriously hope
this is a joke_
KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK :P"

Peter Cannon 1 Nov 2010 Staffslug says "_2 X Onion bhaji 1 X
Chicken Phal_ please_"

Nix 31 Oct 2010 Gllug says "We've already had fun with this guy"

Bruce Richardson 31 October 2010 Gllug says "_this loon_ isn't
worth bothering about"

Tid. 31 October 2010 Gllug says "Shirley shome mishtake - it's a
bit off-topic."

Tethys 1 Nov 2010 Gllug says "As a font designer, my answer is
no."

Martin A. Brooks 31 Oct Gllug says "You are offtopic, please do
not continue this thread here."

Dave Cridland 1 November 2010 SWLUG says "I have a spiritual
objection to emails like this"

Justin Mitchell 1 November 2010 SWLUG says "_user has been
suspended_"

Kris Douglas 1 Nov 2010 Staffslug says "_[not] appropriate for a
public mailing list, of possibly mixed faiths_"

Kevanf1 1 Nov 2010 Staffslug says "_this is SPAM and seemingly
some form of religious spam"

Kevanf1 1 Nov 2010 Staffslug says "_What a load of old TWADDLE!!!!
What the hell is wrong with the way our alphabet is formed?_"

Scott Wilcox 31 Oct 2010 Staffslug says "Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam"

Andrew Edwards 31 Oct 2010 Staffslug says "_We have not asked for
this information. We do not necessarily want this information._"

Keith Edmunds 31 Oct 2010 sclug says "_nutter"

Dickon Hood 31 Oct 2010 sclug says "_I put it down to general
religious nutterisms_"

Dickon Hood 31 Oct 2010 sclug says "_Buggered if I know. The
website 403s and the blog site fails my basic coherence tests, so I
gave up._"

John Stumbles 31 Oct 2010 sclug says " wtf is this about? Is it a
joke? An in-joke? What?"

Simon Dales 1 Nov 2010 OxLUG says "Python Travel Agent sketch_"

Chris Wareham 1 Nov 2010 OxLUG says "utterly nuts"

Jools Wills 1 Nov 2010 OxLUG says "_sharkskin/Smiley_Sarcastic-
Looney-1.gif"

lawrence_a_e (ael) 31 Oct 2010 OxLUG says "thought it was spam"

Ian Pickworth 31 Oct 2010 OxLUG says "it smacks of BS"

Clark S. Cox III 31 October 2010 says "Nobody cares"

blank's picture

You need to find a doctor who can prescribe anti-psychotic medication.

Si_Daniels's picture

>(mostly from British Linux operating system user groups (LUGs))

LUGites!

Ray Larabie's picture

Are you certain they're not reacting to the idea rather than your race?

People might think it's a joke because it's such a unusual idea. I could present you with an idea that seemed so outlandish that you might to assume I was joking. That's human nature, no?

Theunis de Jong's picture

It's pretty good deadpan humor, isn't it? "Let's abolish the letter K because it Is Evil Incarnate!" -- the LUGgites are correct, it's pure Monty Python.

Té Rowan's picture

@javascript - How is that dissimilar from how the man in the Mumbai street would react to someone wanting to replace U+0915 with U+004B because the former had connotations of evil?

quadibloc's picture

Derision does not help to promote dialogue and understanding.

But it is necessary to understand why little else but derision is the reaction to your recommendation concerning the shape of the 11th letter in the Latin alphabet.

Your stated reason for changing the letter is that its current shape promotes suicidal thoughts because it resembles a junction of rivers where a famous battle between Gods took place, as recorded in Hindu scriptures.

The overwhelming majority of users of the Latin alphabet are not believing members of the Hindu faith. So, to them, this is not a reason.

Latin alphabet users are usually Christians; Christianity takes a different view of other faiths than Hinduism does. Hinduism is syncretistic; that is, if the Muslims say that an angel came down and spoke to Muhammad, or the Jews say that God parted the Red Sea so that their ancestors could escape slavery in Egypt, Hindus generally don't feel a need to say that these things didn't actually happen.

The view taken by Christianity (and related religions such as Judaism and Islam) towards other faiths is very different. They believe that their holy books are the sole and exhaustive record of all interactions between humanity and the Divine.

If it isn't in the Bible, it didn't happen.

Outside the Bible, of course, most of the purely natural events of human history took place. Possibly black magic, done by Satan and his demons, could also occasionally take place - some Christians believe this to be possible, others do not accept this as a possibility Christians should accept.

So anything miraculous that is not in the Bible, or that doesn't promote Christianity (or, before Christ, Judaism) - since some Christian faiths do accept the idea of their present-day saints performing miracles in addition to those recorded in the Bible - is either something that never happened, but was simply a made-up human legend, or it was an example of the dark powers of the demons of Hell.

Other religions may teach people to respect their parents, to be faithful to their spouses, not to steal or do violence. But in no other religions but their own is the presence and power of God made manifest.

So the traditions of Hinduism say there is something wrong with the shape of the 11th letter of our alphabet. Since we are not ourselves Hindus, and since our own religious outlook is the opposite of syncretistic, we do not consider the teachings of the Hindu faith to have the kind of value - as accurate history, or authentic revelation - to be in any way useful as a source of new information, in addition to that which we have from reason, that could serve as a guide to action.

Since, therefore, people here see absolutely no reason whatsoever to exert the slightest effort to change the forms of their alphabet, but you present your proposed change in a way that implies that it's obvious that we should see the merit in this idea, they wonder why you can't see what's obvious to them - that your rationale for this change has no substance.

@Té Rowan:
The foregoing may address your point somewhat as well.

Because Hinduism is a syncretistic faith, Hindus have no problem in believing that Jesus might have been a genuine Avatar, and worked genuine miracles. And, so, while they wouldn't convert to Christianity because of it, they might well accept that Christian scriptures also contain some real messages from God - and so they might accept, for example, the new information that the number 666 is unlucky, instead of reacting the way we do to things from other faiths - if it isn't our religion, it's purely human superstition, nothing more.

Té Rowan's picture

Some Christians (of which I am not) might well decide in their narrowmindedness that the swinging stroke in U+0915 stands for The Serpent, and the whole glyph therefore stands for the Triumph of Evil.

As far as I'm concerned, U+0915 and U+004B are no more and no less evil than any other glyph anywhere else, with no need to replace one with the other. To be good/evil, you must be sapient and able to tell the difference between good and evil. Said difference is a variable, not a constant.

In practice, there is also inertia. 'K' is perfectly adequate, so why change? Same with the nagari glyph, U+0915. Why change what works when there is nothing (obvious) to gain?

John Hudson's picture

John, I think you are over-analysing the situation, and I don't think the complexities of differing religious viewpoints -- even ignoring the likely high percentage of agnostics and atheists among British Linux tweeters -- are especially relevant. The proposal here is to change a letter in a writing system, part of the cultural heritage of many millions of people, to a letter borrowed from another writing system, part of the cultural heritage of many millions of other people, because of an unfounded belief that the letter prompts suicidal thoughts because of an association with the shape of the confluence of some rivers of which the majority of readers are unaware and which, if one looks at a map, the letter K doesn't actually look that much like. This belief has nothing to do with Hinduism: it is an idiosyncratic obsession of one man.

Ray Larabie's picture

javascript, I was wondering. Why not design a K that still, somewhat resembles a K, but doesn't contain offending intersection? At least then you'd have backwards compatibility. The K you intend to use as a replacement doesn't harmonize with the Latin alphabet.

quadibloc's picture

@John Hudson:
It is true that, as far as I am aware, no other Hindus have felt the need to advocate reform of the Latin alphabet. Thus, even when A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was alive, Back to Godhead magazine was typeset in plain old ordinary Times Roman with no alterations to the characters.

My "over-analysis", though, had one specific purpose - to reach that one man. The issue about Hinduism being syncretistic has nothing to do with the alphabet reform per se, it has to do with why the response to the proposal is so dismissive and even derisive.

Because it is true that it is natural in Hinduism to take the legends in the scriptures of non-Hindu religions more seriously than it is normal in Christianity to take the content of non-Christian faiths seriously. If he is aware of this cultural fact, then he will be less surprised at not being taken seriously, and less likely to attribute the disinterest he encounters to causes such as racism.

Theunis de Jong's picture

John, remember that part of the offending cross-section of rivers is invisible. I wonder how many more symbols ought to be outlawed because of Evil Invisible rivers.

As for outright outlawing the entire concept of "the letter K" -- what about the Greenlandic kra? What about the Greek Kappa, and the Cyrillic Ka? The Cherokee character tso?

What about characters that are not a K but share the same evil characteristics? (Well, sort of -- who can tell, given that some of these characteristics are invisible): X, Y, R, F, H ... B, P, Q, W (oh my god they might all be evil!)

What about fonts where the letter K does not consist of straight lines: Brush Script, for example, or Arnold Boecklin, or Park Avenue?

Birdseeding's picture

Whatever you think of the central issue, there definitely is blatant use of racist stereotyping in the above comments (that, for example above, Indians should be working is curry houses, in a subservient role). That's not excusable.

quadibloc's picture

There was in a few of the above comments. It may not be excusable, but it is not surprising either. But many of the comments quoted didn't involve racial or religious insults, yet they were all given as examples:

"We're _too short of decent free font designers. Please stop trying to drive them off"

"You are offtopic, please do not continue this thread here."

Weasel word racists?

I want to avoid being rude to him myself, but I do want him to somehow understand that the rationale he gives for his proposed reform will not appear to have any validity whatever to people here - and, thus, when he advances such a reform on such a rationale, and gives every appearance of expecting other people to take it seriously, he will be regarded as less than intelligent and less than rational.

It may be that a cultural factor is contributing to the misunderstanding.

Incidentally, his use of a Sansqrit letter was because it was what he had handy, as a placeholder. But instead of designing a new letter, there is a much simpler way to achieve what he wishes.

Simply use the letter Q to replace the 11th letter of the alphabet. And where Q is currently used, replace QU by CW, which is a combination not in use. That way, there would be no cwestion about which words are intended. Of course, languages other than English might need a different spelling reform.

And where the letter Q is used in transliterations from Arabic or Persian, replace it by QQ. Thus, one might have "When the baidaqq reaches the eighth rank, it is promoted to a firzan", or one might refer to the Qitāb shauqq al-mustahām fī ma'rifat rumūz al-aqqlām written by Abu Baqr Ahmad.

cerulean's picture

You can't cure schizophrenia just by appealing to reason. It is probably a bit irresponsible to try.

Ray Larabie's picture

@cerulean good point.

John Hudson's picture

And where Q is currently used, replace QU by CW, which is a combination not in use.

I don't think anyone with the surname MCWILLIAM will thank you for that suggestion. :)

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