Sense and Sensitivity

There is also that obfuscation coming between innocent description and overt racism generally referred to as a Dog Whistle. However, I agree that censorship is not the answer and suggest that improving Critical Thinking skills would be the more beneficial direction. Unfortunately, here in the United States it is apparent that a third of the people are incapable of thinking for themselves.

The Argumentative Old Git

It’s always a good thing for those of us who take literature seriously to be sensitive to what they read. Quite often, matters of the vital import are communicated with subtleties and nuances, and without sufficient sensitivity to these things, one may well miss the development of Emma Woodhouse’s perceptions, or of Lambert Strether’s. Which would be a shame, as these developments are at the very centre of these novels. So yes, let’s have more sensitive readers, by all means. That can only be good for the furtherance of literary values.

However, another expression, similar sounding but very different in meaning, has been making its way quite insistently into my consciousness of late, and this time, I’m not so sure it is very good for the furtherance of literary values. And that’s “sensitivity readers”. Being long of the opinion that any noun may be verbed, I have no objection…

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4 thoughts on “Sense and Sensitivity

  1. I agree entirely with you views. The young at English universities are not wanting to study many texts. I think they should just change to another subject. A related subject is racism. Ever since a black man was killed in America by the police, outrageous, often totally unfounded claims have been claimed about racism here. I am quite aware that racism occurs here, but less severe than in the US. Another trend is to want to tear down historical momuments as if history should be rewritten. I feel that many of these trends are counter-productive in that sticking our heads in the sand is not good, much better to discuss the truth and realise that the past should not be judged by modern standards, nor rewritten. Let the truth stand as an example to encourage change.


    1. Historical monuments are not the same as monuments to history, especially when the history being honored is objectively dishonorable. Compare Salisbury Cathedral to a statue of Heinrich Himmler. Wait! Are their statues honoring Heinrich Himmler? Both are historical and can be read about in any textbook, but would you be proud of a statue honoring an efficiently evil leader of the Nazi party standing proud in your neighborhood?

      Here in the States statues honoring individuals who attempted to overthrow the Union are being removed. Interestingly, most of these statues were actually erected decades after the fact in a blatant attempt to bully a large segment of the population into acknowledging that it should acquiesce to a superior race.


      1. The statues here include Drake, Raleigh, Rhodes and others who faught against the Spanish, and in the case of Rhodes, although he was an Imperialist, he founded a bursary for black Africans to go to University. ,eat wing council’s have removed statutes without consulting their constituents, nor with investigation of the claims, often at the instigation of the London political elite.Some of the claims are false, or only partially true. My point is that history is being rewritten and not always truthfully here. Also the claims about racism are sometimes exaggerated. The UK might share the same language, but society and it’s values are entirely different. Our police do not carry guns, and although some police are racist, it is not tolerated. We aren’t perfect, by no means, and racists exist here, but there are laws against it, and are being upheld.


      2. Racism and misogyny, although clearly universal defects, often feel distinctly American. But you know how it is … America needs to grow up!


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