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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"The Under-Class of Halifax: A Thematic Approach"

Posted on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 4:00 AM

It recently occurred to me that the "Bitch" section of "The Coast" would be a research gold-mine for a paper or even a thesis for anyone out there - admittedly unlikely - in a sociology or social psychology course at the university level. What is required, of course, is structure. While by no means complete, the suggested title "The Underclass of Halifax: A Thematic Approach" is intended as initial spadework in supplying the beginnings of that structure.

I see three main themes which lend some coherence to the topic: 1. Under-Class Language; 2. Under-Class Markers; 3. Under Class Morality. I will touch on each only briefly.

1. Under-Class Language: I have noted different gradations in the use of Under-Class Language, usually based on the term "fuck." Its use is so common, however, that it has lost any power to offend and so no stars will be awarded for its use. Sometimes. more imaginatively, it is used in combination with other terms such as "fucktard" and "clusterfuck" in which case one star will be given. Clearly, Under-Class Language needs to raise the bar and avoid "fuck" altogether. My nominee for three-star Under-Class Language, at least so far, is "cuntflap," the reference being to a customer in "Useless Server" (March 28). While it is not exactly clear what it denotes - a piece of cloth over the vulva or part of the vulva itself - it has a certain Shakespearean quality, don't you think?

2. Under-Class Markers: A fine-grained analysis will deal with the full spectrum of markers, from occupation (or lack of one), xenophobia in general and Francophobia in particular, misogyny, strutting Don Cherry-types, and so forth. But the unifying factor in all of these is a rabid anti-intellectualism. Many of the Under-Class, for example, will be apoplectic with rage on reading something like this. But, as we say, Je m'en fou!

3. Under-Class Morality: Suprisingly perhaps, there is a strong thread of morality underlying many of the "Bitches," one usually appealing to a sense of justice or fairness. The treatment of this theme will require further work since the contexts for each differ and, like the others, will require textual substantiation selected, where possible, from appropriate "Bitches."

So there we are. Time to get to work! I'll be taking notes! Cheerio! —Montrealman

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