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September 15, 2003

Who we are. In further evidence that “consumer” is now the all-purpose replacement for that outdated term “citizen”:
IIABA Offers Consumer Safety Tips as Hurricane Isabel Approaches East Coast
[02:42 PM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Who we are.:

houghton ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2003, 02:51 PM:

Since this is an insurance company's website, I think that "consumer" is appropriate. Now if FEMA or the National Weather Service, that would be different.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2003, 03:12 PM:

The weird part is that they could92ve just written 93Offers Safety Tips94. Isn92t brevity supposed to be a cardinal virtue of headline writers?

Or are these special safety tips that only work for insurance clients?

Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2003, 03:35 PM:

At least they didn't say "insureds"! I hate that word!

Debbie Notkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2003, 05:20 PM:

And just who is "consuming" the hurricane? Wouldn't "consumees" be more appropriate?

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2003, 06:22 PM:

Hmm. 'Consumer' is a marketing term in the financial services industry; it's opposed to 'institution'. When I worked at Citibank, I was told that the term 'consumer' meant, to them, anyone with less than a million dollars to invest.

While I agree that its use is inappropriate in this context, I think they just meant safety tips for ordinary people. So, "put tape on your windows" would be a consumer safety tip; "shut down your assembly line" and "send home all non-essential personnel" would be institutional safety tips (i.e. they would NOT be consumer safety tips).

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2003, 06:28 PM:

To a few of my college friends, a "consumer" is a person with mental disabilities.

At least, it was as of a few years back. The favored term changes now and then.

Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2003, 06:59 PM:

As a resident of Newport News, Virginia, I wish to change my weather provider now, please.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2003, 07:31 PM:

I am reminded of Severian92s use of 93client94.

Yehudit ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2003, 07:40 PM:

"I am reminded of Severian92s use of 93client94."

Yeah, the insurance company is torturing you by offering you safety tips. Right.

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2003, 08:36 PM:

The insurance company is ultimately benefiting itself by offering you safety tips.

Sevarian's use of 'client' surely isn't for the client's benefit; it might be for his, as a matter of mental distancing.

So I'd say Avram's analogy holds.

Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2003, 09:15 PM:

I'm preparing to open my mouth very wide. I wonder what a hurricane tastes like. Cotton candy?

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2003, 11:48 PM:

Hey, Yehudit, don't you have anything better to do than trying to pick fights with people by misinterpreting their words to make them appear to be saying something they weren't actually saying?

Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2003, 12:04 PM:

Kathryn Cramer: I'm preparing to open my mouth very wide. I wonder what a hurricane tastes like. Cotton candy?

You've never been to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, I take it?

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2003, 12:25 PM:

Avram, DNFTT. As you yourself have wisely advised.

Jeff Crook ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2003, 11:26 AM:

Oh, I wish I had saved that article. My memory is so terrible, so if I screw this up, please forgive me.

But I think it was Colin Powell Jr talking about the internet. He said something to the effect of, the internet is an excellent place for consumers, but he wasn't so sure about its value as a medium for the spread of (in context) politically unsavory ideas.

I think the article was about the unfiltered news offered by the internet - meaning unfiltered by those with a commercial interest in supporting the political status quo by influencing what gets reported and what gets buried.

I found his statement disturbing on a number of levels, not the least of which being his obvious preference that we remain consumers rather than thinking individuals seeking a variety of viewpoints.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2003, 01:16 PM:

Yehudit, I don't need a specific offense. I can lock you out of Electrolite's comment threads on general charges: gratuitous unpleasantness, random unpleasantness, impenitence, repeatedly falsifying the arguments of others, and the pursuit of estrangement for its own sake.

I have not done so. I'm just introducing you to the possibility.

Lr n DC ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2003, 01:59 PM:

Cl st! Chck t my nw blg, Mspds, Sh Lthr, nd Hp - Th Grt Grssrts Cmpgn. ls, chck t my Dn strs, Th Grt Grssrts Cmpgn nd Y Hv Th Pwr. Th prcds frm th shp wll b gvn t th nw Gnrtn Dn chptr n cmps. f y fl lk lnkng t n f th sts gv y, 'd b hpp t dd lnk t yr st n my blg. Kp p th gd wrk wth yr st.

Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2003, 03:12 PM:

Yay Deanspam!

Lr n DC ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2003, 04:08 PM:

Cl st! Chck t my nw blg, Mspds, Sh Lthr, nd Hp - Th Grt Grssrts Cmpgn. ls, chck t my Dn strs, Th Grt Grssrts Cmpgn nd Y Hv Th Pwr. Th prcds frm th shp wll b gvn t th nw Gnrtn Dn chptr n cmps. f y fl lk lnkng t n f th sts gv y, 'd b hpp t dd lnk t yr st n my blg. Kp p th gd wrk wth yr st.

Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2003, 12:27 AM:

TNH, I would assume "repeated spamming" would also qualify one for the electronic pie-in-the-face?

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2003, 12:29 AM:

It qualifies for the electronic pie in the face plus a stiffish note to the spammer, lest she miss the point by not reading the responses she gets.

I find that last sentence of hers unreasonably irritating. Who does this chit think she is?

adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2003, 09:33 AM:

Two of my very favorite webloggers, Dan Gillmor and David Weinberger, have started a website that addresses this very question: Word Pirates!

From the front page:

"They're our words, dammit!

"Marketers, politicians and other short-sighted, self-interested, sticky-fingered people have been stealing our words. Not only do they take them for commercial purposes, but they misuse them entirely. They're Word Pirates and we're going to take back what's rightfully ours."

Cool idea, eh?

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2003, 09:34 AM:

It's a very cool idea. Could you do the link again? That first one didn't work.

adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2003, 10:44 AM:

Arrrr! Here you go, matey: Word Pirates

debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2003, 09:06 AM:

I'm willing to give the insurance company the benefit of the doubt and presume they meant individuals, rather than companies or institutions (still doesn't explain why the writer used it).

What really raises my ire is when governments talk about 'taxpayers' as a synonym for 'citizens,' which is an implicit license to ignore children, low-income individuals and families, full-time caregiver parents, and the like.