Julia Gillard changes meaning of “misogynists”

This is just hilarious to me. Previously Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard used the word “misogynists” in her speech, and this triggered a change in Australia’s leading dictionary. CNN reports:

Julia Gillard Australia's Prime Minister
Julia Gillard Australia’s Prime Minister

PM’s sexism rant prompts Australian dictionary rewrite

“The leader of the opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well, I hope the leader of the opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation,” Gillard blared.

Abbott’s National-Liberal Coalition took deep offense. Had the prime minister conflated or confused “sexism” and “misogyny,” or worse, deliberately distorted the meaning of misogyny to score a resounding political point? Was Gillard seriously asserting that her opposite number held a pathological hatred of women, as most dictionaries define misogyny?

Into the fray weighed Australia’s leading dictionary.

Editor Sue Butler surprised the nation Wednesday by declaring Macquarie Dictionary would alter its definition of misogyny, closer to the conflated version used by the prime minister.

In its next published edition, the dictionary’s editors said the word would be defined as both the “hatred of women” and “entrenched prejudice against women.”

Butler said Macquarie Dictionary had decided that for the past 20 or 30 years, “misogyny” had taken on wider meaning, particularly in feminist discourse and that with changed usage should come a changed definition.

I totally agree with dictionaries taking this approach, evolving the word based on current usage. But this is just too reactive. I see this as the dictionary’s editor Sue Butler helping Julia Gillard get over a sticky situation.

Diners who eat without paying caught through Facebook

This one is funny though a little lengthier than what I usually post.

Dodgy diners at Seagrass in Melbourne Facebooked

The drama unfolded last week when a group of five young diners, after drinking at the bar, requested a table at the Southbank restaurant.

Over dinner, they worked their way expertly through the menu, ordered and drank fine wines and, after ordering dessert, slipped out “for a smoke”. They kept going.

Leary was left with an unpaid bill for about $520, and little hope of recovering his money.

“It was then I remembered that when the group arrived, one of them had asked about one of our waitresses who was not working that night,” Leary said yesterday.

The waitress gave him a name and then he thought of Facebook.

“The site also gave me his place of employment, which was handy.”

Leary discovered that both the man and his girlfriend worked at another Southbank restaurant.

Angered that it was workers from his own industry who had perpetrated the scam, he stormed down to the restaurant and confronted the restaurant owner, who promised to deal with the matter.
Within hours, the restaurant manager arrived at Seagrass with the ringleader, who not only paid the bill, but left a generous tip for staff.

“The restaurant manager then told me he would let me know what further action would be taken,” said Leary. (Source: News.com.au)

Ahh, Facebook’s handy. I found many secondary school friends there. It’s such a good tool.