Ron's point wasn't that changing terminology in some dances has been
beneficial; his point was simply that the terminology has indeed changed in
some dances, and he gave exactly the right amount of data necessary to
support that point. If you want to go do your own study on whether it has
been helpful in attracting new dancers, please feel free; I'd be interested
Since you've asked for data from Ron, it seems like it's important to you
to know the effects of changing terminology. So I do want to correct one
point that you've made, which is that people groaned in DC when you said
you would try to replace the word "gypsy" but might slip up sometimes. I
was there, and I groaned, but I wasn't groaning because I thought it was
ridiculous that a caller would replace the word. Nor was I groaning at the
prospect of you slipping up; everybody makes mistakes, and I've never heard
anybody complain about a caller using the wrong term when they were trying
their best not to. I was groaning at your aggrieved tone. You sounded
like replacing a single one of the hundreds of words you use in contra
dance calls was a huge inconvenience that only unreasonable people would
demand. I'm sure some people in DC agree with you and would prefer that
callers continue to use the word "gypsy," but that's by no means the
consensus in the community. Most people seem not to care much one way or
the other. If you want to know for sure, I'd suggest a poll, set up in
such a way that you're not just asking the people you already know and talk
I'm also not entirely sure what freedoms, exactly, you are giving up when
people get annoyed or offended by the words you say. Everybody who is not
a sociopath takes at least some care to avoid bothering others. That
doesn't mean we're all giving up freedoms; it simply means we choose to be
polite. Nobody has proposed having people who say the word "gypsy"
arrested or fined.
For what it's worth, I also agree with Jeff that we are rehashing arguments
that have already been made on this board over and over again. Ron was
correct, too, that these arguments have made a difference in some
communities. That doesn't mean we should keep making exactly the same
arguments every time somebody asks a narrow question about a particular
lyric or call.
And, it seems like your question about the definition of "throwing shade"
was sarcastic, especially since we all have internet access and can read
Urban Dictionary. But it's tough to tell, so I'll answer. Throwing shade
is when somebody subtly insults somebody else without bothering to mention
them. The people who decide to publicly announce to the list that they are
leaving it after one of these discussions are throwing shade at those of us
participating. I don't think Ron was using the term correctly, really;
actually he was sort of the one throwing shade by saying that others were
doing so without naming names. I'm sure views can differ on the subject,
and you'll find a plethora of treatises on proper use of the term if you
On Wed, Mar 28, 2018 at 2:58 PM, Tom Hinds via Callers <
I keep on reading your writing and see that you often give only partial
information. What you write below is interesting:
In New England, New York, Seattle, and the Bay
Area, many callers have
been examining terminology and changing. Several dance
series have gone
genderfree without being specifically chartered as LGBTQ dances. Not
coincidentally, these dances are thriving amidst a decline of attendance of
contra in general.
My own preference is for you to give more information and not let us fill
in the pieces. For instance in the areas that you list above, was there a
decline in attendance while callers were using calls like gypsy and other
words like men and women? If attendance did in fact dip, did it in fact
pick up again when alternative words were used? Might be cause and effect
or a correlation or simply coincidence.
If attendance in these areas have always been strong then perhaps there is
something else at work.
Ive always expected contra dance to die simply because that's the way it
works. Come on! Does anyone need me to spell this out? If you don't
believe me, Mr Spock, in one of the Star Trek movies once said, "all things
must end" and I think he's pretty smart!
Ron, I must also ask you about what you wrote below. It's not perfectly
clear and of course nobody is named but my take is that some of us (or
me?)have ruined your party by not going along with what you and others
want? Perhaps I don't understand. Would you please care to explain?
In the case of this original post, Rich was
asking for practical advice,
and there *was no* argument until a couple choice
people started throwing
shade at those of us who think changing the lyrics from "she was a young
thing" to "she was a young girl" is an easy swap that doesn't diminish
tradition, but also reduces the objectification of women.
What does throwing shade mean? Does it mean that the sun was shining on
you and that someone blocked the sun? I'm afraid my college degree is from
an applied institution so I'd appreciate it if you could keep it simple for
me in the future.
I've had very good conversations with Rich on and off the discussion group
and feel that he shares many of my values. Would you rather that I and
others not participate? Perhaps that is the primary reason that some of us
aren't comfortable with PC. Where does it end and what freedoms am I going
to have to give up? My memory is that this incredible discussion started
with a complaint from ONE person.
Lastly let me suggest this after reading Jeffrey's very good email: It
may be that terms like gypsy (and of course others) are location
dependent. Here in Charlottesville and perhaps DC people don't really care
for the gypsy issue. In other areas perhaps that's not the case. On the
English list people are reminded that folks from many countries are members
and that we should keep this in mind.
You want fries with that?
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