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Bigot

A discussion of word histories and origins.

Bigot

Postby frank » Wed Aug 02, 2006 6:12 am

I was reading the Independent, when i came across this:
"Gibson's second apology followed complaints from one prominent Jewish group, the Anti-Defamation League, that his first mea culpa, issued on Saturday, failed to get "to the essence of his bigotry and anti-Semitism".

From the AHD:
BIGOT
Noun: One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.
Etymology: French, from Old French.
Word history: Bigots may have more in common with God than one might think. Legend has it that Rollo, the first duke of Normandy, refused to kiss the foot of the French king Charles III, uttering the phrase bi got, his borrowing of the assumed Old English equivalent of our expression by God. Although this story is almost surely apocryphal, it is true that bigot was used by the French as a term of abuse for the Normans, but not in a religious sense. Later, however, the word, or very possibly a homonym, was used abusively in French for the Beguines, members of a Roman Catholic lay sisterhood. From the 15th century on Old French bigot meant “an excessively devoted or hypocritical person.” Bigot is first recorded in English in 1598 with the sense “a superstitious hypocrite.”


From the OED
BIGOT: 1598, from M.Fr. bigot, from O.Fr., supposedly a derogatory name for Normans, the old theory (not universally accepted) being that it springs from their frequent use of O.E. oath bi God. Plausible, since the Eng. were known as goddamns in Joan of Arc's France, and during World War I Americans serving in France were said to be known as les sommobiches (see also son of a bitch). But the earliest Fr. use of the word (12c.) is as the name of a people apparently in southern Gaul. The earliest Eng. sense is of "religious hypocrite," especially a female one, and may be influenced by beguine. Sense extended 1687 to other than religious opinions.


I also looked up 'bigot' in the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology.
[...]F. bigot (XV), of unkn. origin. Found (XII) as the proper name of a people of S. France, whence it has been referred by some to medL. Visigothi (the Visigoths of the region were Arians); it is used in Wace's 'Roman du Rou' (XII) as an abusive term by the French to Normans, and it became a Norman family name. The gap between these early references and the much later use of the word as a comon noun has not been bridged.[...]



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Postby Perry » Wed Aug 02, 2006 7:41 am

I am tempted to wax elequent on Mel Gibson's bigotry. However, in a supreme act of self-control, I will only point out one anectdote. He was quoted in the New Yorker as saying that only Latinist Catholics can go to heaven. Even his wife, a garden-variety Catholic, will not be able to go.

I will hold my peace regarding his anti-Semetic comments; as I don't want to go off of the main raison d'etre of this forum.
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Postby skinem » Wed Aug 02, 2006 8:48 am

Thank you, Frank! Great post!
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Re: Bigot

Postby Bailey » Wed Aug 02, 2006 12:51 pm

frank wrote:I
BIGOT
BIGOT
Noun: One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.



Frank

Ok, so? Who cares? As long as they keep it to themselves, so what? I'm not being capricious here, I'm just tired of one group screaming it at the other when the first is probably more guilty than the other. Let's just be real here folks, there isn't one single person here who isn't biased in one way or another and maybe hasn't spewed that on others in times of stress, I know I fit in here....

mark :oops:

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Postby frank » Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:51 pm

Bigot bis
Rather by accident, i found out that the word is also used in German and... :oops: Dutch, my native language.
The etymologies presented in German and Dutch dictionaries raise more questions than they answer.

Kluge Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache considers the link with 'bi got/bi god' as a case of folketymology. The authors don't exclude Jiddish 'begotisch' (religiously devoted) as the source, but don't give furtherexplanations.
My Dutch sources give even weirder explanations. Two dictionaries make a link with Spanish '(hombre de) bigote' and 'bigotera', a kind of device to wear during the night to keep the moustache in good shape.

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Postby skinem » Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:56 pm

Bailey, I agree that I believe everyone is bigoted in the strictest sense of the word..I know I prefer my own of whatever. In fact, I prefer no ones company better than my own! I've often joked that I'm not prejudiced...I hate everyone!

I do find in troubling today that pc in the US is seemingly so out of control that no one can voice an opinion without being accused of some kind of -ism. I find no where in our Constitution the right from being offended.
PC is modern day McCarthyism. Groupthink filter on reality.

Not that I'm opinionated on this issue or anything...
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Postby Bailey » Wed Aug 02, 2006 2:32 pm

skinem wrote:
I do find in troubling today that pc in the US is seemingly so out of control that no one can voice an opinion without being accused of some kind of -ism. I find no where in our Constitution the right from being offended.
PC is modern day McCarthyism. Groupthink filter on reality.

While we here in the US are trying so hard to pick and choose which amendments we want to keep and which we want, for expediency to eradicate (towit: if it's porn or violence it's free speech, but if you want to defend your family in your home, it's a crime, I'm appalled by the hypocracy indicated there) I find that expressing an opinion is only ok if you are against the established norm, and wrong if you voice your opinion re: then newspeak 'enlightenment' is the height of hypocracy.
I SAY WHAT'S SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE IS SAUCE FOR THE GANDER!
Not that I'm opinionated on this issue or anything...

me either! of coiurse :idea:

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Postby gailr » Wed Aug 02, 2006 6:55 pm

Bigotry goes beyond a natural preference for one's own opinions:
a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices;

This could be viewed as employing very loaded words to describe "faith" or "dedication". However, the second part:
especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

is the problem that has plagued every society in history.

Mr. Gibson is a (voluntary) lightning rod for this type of controversy, and the discussion surrounding him, in particular, often reveals more about the speaker than the one spoken about. Very public figures do not come to prominence as a solo effort; everyone affiliated with the corporation, religious body, industry, government, what-have-you is a part (willing or not) of that person's success and subsequent influence. Personal endorsement of every statement of whoever grabs the limelight takes a back seat to keeping a paycheck. Is this cold reality or gutless collaboration?

Most of the comments I've seen in regards to his remarks (or those of any public figure who's put a foot in it) seem polarized between those who disapprove and want to eradicate all traces of the offending speaker, and those who seize onto the most outrageous statements as a call to arms to eradicate everyone denigrated by--or in opposition to--those statements. Neither seems desirable.

What is the moral response to a fellow human who becomes a controversial talking head?
* A quick kneejerk to boycott every project with which he is affiliated? Who "pays" the penalty for his comments then: the Mouth or all the anonymous people who work in his industry, and whose livelihoods are compromised by the antics of a privileged, self-indulgent, arrogant person?
* Deification of someone with the "honesty" or "courage" to "tell it like it is", and near-hysterical, mindless support? (Abundant examples on the Left, Right, and Center for this behaviour...)
* To tune out his unappetizing statements as free speech and continue patronizing his projects because of their artistic, religious or social merit, or to support other affiliated persons whose opinions are preferred? Tricky; passively encourages the Mouth to persevere.
* To expect him (or any other public figure) to self-censor remarks for the common good? (Is such self-censorship a "chilling of free speech", capitulation to "PC-think", maturity, or keeping a civil tongue?)

Words have meanings beyond their dictionary definitions. Bigot is a good word for consideration in a language board. Is it possible to discuss controversial words and concepts without drawing proverbial lines and dividing all comers to one of two polarized extremes?

-gailr
who cheerfully "cocks a snook" at Mr. Gibson's assessment of her eternal fate...
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Postby skinem » Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:57 am

gailr wrote:Words have meanings beyond their dictionary definitions. Bigot is a good word for consideration in a language board. Is it possible to discuss controversial words and concepts without drawing proverbial lines and dividing all comers to one of two polarized extremes?

-gailr
who cheerfully "cocks a snook" at Mr. Gibson's assessment of her eternal fate...


Good thoughtful post, Gail! While all your questions are accurate as to choices posed, I believe most people fall somewhere in between the extremes listed. This is fortunate or unfortunate, depending upon your perspective.

But, I'm an optimist (despite evidence to the contrary) and I do believe that thoughtful, kind people who are really trying to understand the meaning of things can discuss controversial words or concepts without losing civility or respect.

I expect all of us have run across bigotry, either aimed at us or not, at one time or another. I believe we could "all just get along" better if we'd not have a knee-jerk reaction to some things. As I've stated to a couple of people that I have run across who have disliked me based upon color or some other thing that supposedly pigeonholes me, "Please don't hate me based upon appearance. Wait until I do something to you." But, those people are entitled to their opinion, as am I.
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Postby Bailey » Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:04 am

gailr wrote:Bigotry goes beyond a natural preference for one's own opinions:
a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices;

This could be viewed as employing very loaded words to describe "faith" or "dedication". However, the second part:
-gailr

That said I'd like to reiterate for clarification. I was referring to the fact that one cannot express an opinion without being labled a bigot by others with their own set of prejudices.

mark not-perfect-but-closer-than-some-(more-obstinant than-intolerant) Bailey
:wink:
Last edited by Bailey on Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Stargzer » Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:11 am

gailr wrote: . . . -gailr
who cheerfully "cocks a snook" at Mr. Gibson's assessment of her eternal fate...


Or, in the words of the inimitable Tom Lehrer:

. . .
Oh we will all fry together when we fry
We'll be french fried potatoes by and by
There will be no more misery when the world is our rotisserie
Yes, we will all fry together when we fry
Regards//Larry

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Postby Bailey » Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:13 pm

I don't hate Republicans, or the religious, or pink-striped people (not there's anything wrong with that), nor heterosexuals, nor well anyone, but some people really try your patience sometimes.

mark not-very-intolerant-but-very stubborn Bailey

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Postby gailr » Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:19 pm

Bailey wrote:[quoted "gailr"]
That said I'd like to reiterate for clarification. I was referring to the fact that one cannot express an opinion without being labled a bigot by others with their own set of prejudices.

mark not-perfect-but-closer-than-some-(more-obstinant than-intolerant) Bailey
:wink:

Exactly! Of course, you're in better company here at the AlphaAgora. :D

I was once retrieved from a terminal by a future in-law. He used the hour drive to deliver a monologue of bigoted remarks, to the point where I thought he must have surely been coached on exactly which buttons to push. And push. And push. And push. And push. I was there for a wedding so I chose to view it as an example of execrable manners and "invincible ignorance" on his part; I refused to respond. All weekend. It was a long weekend...

He and the rest of his god-forsaken family interpreted my silence as submission to his unassailable intellectual and moral superiority. Any response on my part would have done the same. You have to pick your battles with bigots, and hope you pick them well...

-gailr
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Postby Bailey » Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:47 pm

how odd a place I've found myself in at times, thinking I was the good guy when I was just as intoilerant and bigoted, (opinionated) as my detractors. How funny life can be, am I reaping, sowing or reaping someone else's sowing?

mark nose-picking-not-battle-picking Bailey

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Postby Perry » Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:33 pm

Bailey wrote:I don't hate Republicans, or the religious, or pink-striped people (not there's anything wrong with that), nor heterosexuals, nor well anyone, but some people really try your patience sometimes.

mark not-very-intolerant-but-very stubborn Bailey


As Groucho once remarked, "you must try some of mine sometimes".

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