Monday, August 29, 2016

How to Remind People of Mother Teresa's pro-life principals

With Mother Teresa's canonization next week, pro-lifers may be inclined to remind those celebrating her of her uncompromising opposition to abortion. I made the perhaps unwise step of confronting Prof. Robbie George when he did so in response to Senator Cory Booker (who I assume is pro-choice):

To me, I'm not a fan of this* for the same reason I'm not a fan of mocking people's thoughts and prayers in the aftermath of mass shootings. To me it seems, Senator Booker is doing something right and fitting in celebrating Mother Teresa. His reward? Being challenged on his abortion position. I think the most likely result is that Senator Booker will refrain from praising people whose records include pro-life advocacy, rather than to change his views.

And to be honest, though Mother Teresa did remind people of the dignity of the unborn, that was not the main focus of her work, and is not the main reason she is being canonized. It doesn't feel completely honest to re-purpose celebrations of her into pro-life advocacy, if it is not at least matched by advocacy for the poor. Perhaps she can serve as a model for pro-life Catholics who prioritize other issues -- it doesn't have to mean compromising on abortion. Her respect for all life fed her work for the poor, rather than competing with it.

Does that mean these politicians should never be challenged? No. If Senator Booker wants to say that pro-lifers are waging a War on Women, or just want to deny women access to healthcare, we can remind him of her praise of Mother Teresa, and ask if she was part of this front in a War on Women. It may not turn him pro-life, but it may prevent this tendency to cast pro-lifers as misogynistic jerks whose only motivation is a desire to control women and keep them down.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Soccer Terms vs. American Sports Terms

In following soccer, I've noted the different names soccer has for concepts it has in common with American (and Canadian, though there could be a whole separate post on hockey terms) sports. I will now evaluate which is superior:

"Concede" vs. "Give Up" or "Surrender"

In soccer, a team concedes a goal, penalty, etc. whereas in say, baseball, a team will give up a run. The one exception is match play golf, where a hole or a tie is "conceded" when only short putts remain.

And this is why I favor the American term. To my ears, "concede" implies there was some kind of intention involved.

Advantage: America

"Pitch" vs. "Field"

For the playing surface (of outdoor sports).

In this case, I think soccer has the advantage. I've been on the playing surface of CenturyLink field, and I would not consider it a field.

Advantage: Soccer

"Home vs. Visitor" vs. "Visitor at Home"

Soccer schedules and scores are typically presented with the home team first, and the American convention is to present the home team last.

This may be the American in me, but the American convention strikes me as more sensible, and conveys more information quickly -- "vs." could be at any site; "at" tells you where it is.

Advantage: America

"Supporters" vs. "Fans"

The people in the stands at soccer games are called supporters, and the Americans in attendance are typically referred to as fans.

Fans, of course, is short for "fanatics," which may be truthful, but is not something to aspire to. "Supporters" suggests a healthier relationship dynamic.

Advantage: Soccer

"Kit" vs. "Uniform"

For the clothes the plays wear.

"Kit" sounds more fun than "uniform," especially since the term "uniform" is borrowed from the military and police. Add in that we now have teams like the University of Oregon that rarely wear the same outfit twice, and "kit" seems more fitting, though it would be difficult to imagine referring to something like the New York Yankees uniform as "kit."

Advantage: Soccer

"Training" vs "Practice"

For non-game playing activity.

Training does sound more professional and focused, but also doesn't seem particular to sports, and again brings to mind the military. Practice seems to me a more precise description of the actual activity.

Advantage: America

"Clean Sheet" vs. "Shutout"

For holding the other team scoreless.

Is "conceding" a single goal dirty? Something shameful? This seems to suggest it is. Clean sheets should be the norm.  Shutout suggests something extraordinary, which seems more fair.

Advantage: America

"XI" versus "Starting Lineup"

A tougher call. XI is more compact, and also adds the information that there are 11 players (which should be unnecessary, but handy). On the other hand, it has the pretentiousness of Roman numerals, which even the Super Bowl dropped. The programmer in me will go for expressiveness.

Advantage: Soccer

"Side" vs. "Team" or "Club" or "Squad"

From the number of terms, you can see Americans haven't settled on a term. Side isn't great, but it's a bit more fun.

Advantage: Soccer

"Sent Off" vs. "Thrown Out" or "Fouled Out" or "Ejected" or "Game Misconduct"

Another case where Americans aren't clear. I like "sent off" -- it's active, yet also somewhat mild.

Advantage: Soccer

Before we go, I'll list the one thing soccer gets better than American sports is the running, ascending clock without an exact stop time, that nobody is certain when it ends. This prevents the games from becoming coaching duels where they try to manipulate the clock to get the last possession (and keeps the discussion from centering on the coach's "game management").

And in general, it seems like the coaches have much less impact on the action than American sports, perhaps excepting hockey.

One thing I don't like is the offsides rule, which seems to function to allow the defense to play high and prevent offense, rather than prevent cherry-picking.