"In God We Trust Plaque" by US Capitol / Public Domain

Senator says push to put ‘In God We Trust’ in public schools isn’t about religion

Jan 22, 2019

By Chris Dunker

“In God We Trust” first appeared on United States currency in 1864, at the height of the Civil War, before it was adopted as the national motto during the advent of the Cold War in 1956.

The text, which is part of the little-sung fourth verse of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” appears in the U.S. House of Representatives and on the outside of the U.S. Senate chamber.

It didn’t appear in impossible-to-miss, giant block lettering above the Adams County Treasurer’s Office in Hastings until late 2018, however.

“I think, for the most part, everyone’s been fine with it,” said Melanie Curry, who just began a second term as the Adams County treasurer.

Nearly 90 Nebraska counties have hung the national motto in their courthouses, or stated their intentions to do so, over the last four years when a Holt County woman took up the call to lead the initiative.

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39 comments on “Senator says push to put ‘In God We Trust’ in public schools isn’t about religion

  • 1
    Michael 100 says:

    A few weeks ago, Phil recommended a book called One Nation Under God, by Kevin M. Kruse.  Based on Phil’s recommendation I bought and just finished reading the book.  Kruse explains in great detail that these public displays of religion were part of the reaction to the New Deal policies of the Franklyn D. Roosevelt administrations.  Very wealthy individuals joined forces with celebrity evangelists such as James Fifield, Abraham Veredie, and Billy Graham, and with right wing entertainers, such as Ronald Regan and Charlton Heston, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, etc. etc. to organize, among other things, prayer breakfast clubs, in cities and towns across the United States, as well as in the Congress, the White House, state legislatures, and corporate headquarters.  Jesus, after all, was against any social welfare programs, especially those that required the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes.  And, they invented the myth that the founding fathers of the United States were pious evangelical Christians who made no decision without first invoking the blessing of almighty god.  The first US President who was elected with the support of these people was Dwight Eisenhower.  They campaigned to make “in god we trust” the national moto, and put “under god” in the pledge of allegiance  to the flag – I have always hated flag worship, but Mr. Kruse gives us more reasons, as if we needed them.  There were some surprises in the book such as when I read that Earl Warren was of the opinion that the United States is a Christian nation – in spite of that, I still think Warren was a great Chief Justice, nobody’s perfect!.  Kruse’s history touches briefly on the Presidency of Obama, but focuses heavily on the Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter, Regan, George W. Bush and Clinton administrations.  The evangelical Christians as well as a lot of other religionists always align themselves with the most reactionary political leaders.  There used to be a saying, probably still is, that the last refuge of a scoundrel is patriotism, but it’s clear to me that scoundrels also find refuge in religion.  After having read Kruse’s book, I have to wonder if the process of secularization would have happened faster if the post-New Deal reaction had not taken place.  I think that most people are “religious” on a very shallow level, but because of the constant barrage of religious propaganda, such as “In God We Trust” slogans, most people just take it for granted that there is a god in the sky who made heaven and earth and all things visible and invisible, and who wants them to give money to the church and to vote for politicians who will keep taxes low and/or impossible to collect for the people who own more wealth than billions of people across the globe.  Deep thinking is not part of the process, because when an intelligent person thinks about it for five minutes, the entire god myth vanishes like a puff of smoke.  The slogans keep the myth before the public, and thus people continue to be bamboozled by preachers and bankers.         

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  • Super precis and analysis, Michael.


    I’ve been falling behind in my book reviews as the numbers of books on the go continue to mount. (Latest additions, “Post Truth” Matthew D’Ancona and “The Enigma of Reason” Dan Sperber. Both excellent.)


    I think the issue of American language and narratives is absolutely key, Michael. Euphemising death, wish thinking you can be anything, denial of the prospect of failure, the greater virtue of charity, the endless acceptance of punishment and the denial of positive reinforcement, the hyper-individuality and the denial of societal complicity in personal crimes and rewards, all the while peppered with unthinking godtalk, the source of most of these ideas, is petrifying cultural progress.


    In the 1970s Political Correctness mostly changed our vocabulary and achieved useful cultural change by that means. More than anything we need new vocabulary and new narratives now to course correct an unthinking public.

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  • …the denial of positive reinforcement…

    I agree with everything else you said Phil, but is the above correct?  I’ve never been to your benighted country, but my impression from meeting Americans, from the media and from my time in the education industry is that the US swims in a molasses of insincere, positive reinforcement – for business and education a cheap way of getting people to work/study harder for less,  with the added advantage of spreading the Joy of the Godly.

    Anyhow, whatever, I’ll remember you and Michael in my thoughts and prayers.

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  • Hi eejit.


    My benighted country is the UK, though I’ve worked a lot in the US and spent a lot of time there, mostly as a working visitor.

    There is plenty of faux “positive” reinforcement, placebo positive. Sex lives improved by the right tooth paste, your own poverty banished through donating to my ministry’s Gulfstream fund, heaven assured by saving little brown babies for Jesus…but actual positive reinforcement?

    Where’s the real McCoy? Where is healthcare at least for every child? Real help for poor black kids rather than a criminal record when they get into trouble? Where is the sense that society actively wants to help you, so you’ll want to help it back?

    Make that a Murphy’s for yourself rather than the prayers and you’re on.

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  • 5
    Michael 100 says:

    Phil:  Thanks for the kind words and these suggestions — Matthew D’Ancona and Dan Sperber.  One of the things I enjoy most about this site is the opportunity to learn.  Your reading suggestions are very much appreciated.


    I agree that the 1970s concept of political correctness changed our vocabulary and achieved useful cultural change.  I have always understood that to mean that one strives to avoid using language that is guaranteed to unnecessarily offend.  I’ve always thought that political correctness and good manners were synonymous.  When people like Donald Trump proclaim that they don’t want to be politically correct, I wonder who they think they have the right to offend.  In my experience, Trump’s supporters like his non-political correctness because they would like to hear racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic etc. etc. speech.  Trump know how to give the people what they want.


  • #4

    Hi Phil!  Great to see that someone reads the rubbish I write.  From this side of the Irish Sea ,UK seems almost as benighted as the USofA, though in 65 days I suspect that, with a dramatic break, Mother England will lead the peloton, probably for good.  Ireland won’t be done any favours either.

    I see what you mean about positive reinforcement, rereading what I wrote, I think that I was on the same track (molasses).  When I was teaching (business studies) I always used to squirm at American training videos, where everyone praised everyone in the most saccharine terms.  American materials for trainee teachers were much the same,  the only time I ever used that sort of praise was to the class nuisances, when they were getting up my nose – it used to make them squirm and their classmates laugh.

    You have brought me back to the righteous path of Truth and Meaning.  I’ll eschew prayer, as, like Omar Khayyám,
    ” I heard a voice within the Tavern cry,
    Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
    Before Life’s Liquor in its Cup be dry”

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  • Michael 100 5

    Of course political correctness was about good manners and emphasising people’s equality, human dignity and right to respect.  However like all social and political ideas, it is inevitably  carried to excess, subverted for advantage, power, gain etc.  Language is a powerful tool, hence the weird argots developed by academics, experts, the business community – which are designed to identify group membership to the exclusion of outsiders, and to demonstrate authority, superior knowledge and possession of arcane, esoteric understanding.

    The trouble is that zealots and cynical manipulators adopt causes and their attendant vocabularies to serve their own ends.  Thus it is with avid PC practitioners, where all humour and most rhetoric and discussion become taboo.

    I suppose that like most people I could give endless examples for debate.  Just one recent one comes to mind.  A frustrated Jeremy Corbyn sat down after a particularly annoying crossing of swords with the PM and muttered, sotto voce “Stupid Woman”.

    Immediate cries of misogynism, sexism and god knows what else were hurled at him.  He is fortunate that woman and people are both bilabials, and it is difficult to tell which he said, although everyone knows!  However if he had said stupid man, or stupid people, there would have been nothing but a deserved mild rebuke, if that, because it is after all, not nice to call people names.  Party politics, sexual politics and power were all at play, to create a tissue of imaginary outrage, at a private remark of no consequence.

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  • eejit says:

    A frustrated Jeremy Corbyn sat down after a particularly annoying crossing of swords with the PM and muttered, sotto voce “Stupid Woman”.

    “Stupid Woman”, would appear to be a very accurate description of Theresa May, and her fantasy rhetoric substitutes for honest statements!

    Parliamentary conventions however do not operate in the real world – or MPs would not be calling the likes Treddinnick, B.J. or  Reese Mogg, “The honourable member”, rather than “The delusional buffoon”!



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  • A couple of parliamentarians from different parties felt a chemical attraction at a party one night and ended up in bed.  Due, no doubt to drink they quarrelled about politics and he was unable to perform.  Having left time for him to sleep it off, she awoke and said to him: “There is a split in the Opposition and if the Honourable Member were to rise now, he would be be able to gain admittance to their lobby.”  He replied: “The Member regrets to inform the Opposition, that he has already stood as an Independent, and lost his deposit.”

    Childish, teenage humour, and I suppose many of you have heard it before, but there’s still a giggle in it.

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  • eejit    Omar Khayyam

    Great quote.

    Islam so nearly saw the light in its Golden Age. He would have been an atheist had not the need of a Creator still remained.

    Astronomer, mathematician and honey-tongued pick-up artist, he had a verse or two in one piece, full of existential angst, knowing that we soon are returned to mere clay like that of our goblets, then, under the starlight and turning to his companion he utters… but by your beauty we can solve our problem….

    I must say it never worked for me…


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  • PC is not what it was. In Tim Minchin’s phrase on social media humiliation, it has become weaponised. The readiness of folk to impute motives (and often “evil” motives at that) from word use is a fatuous and dishonest escalation, that intentionally or not scuppers discussion. As Nicholas Epley points out in “Mindwise” we guess another’s motives wrongly four times out of five.


    This is distinct from adopting the platinum rule at least regarding epithets. If you can, call people as they would wish to be called.


    PC is not a tool for progressing political debate and is hugely ineffective too often coming off simply as clan-marking invective. But alternative terms and alternative narratives, injected via TV, film and books, can lay the ground for change with time.

    Tim Minchin “15 minutes”.

    Stephen Fry Introduction at the recent Munk Debate wth Jordan Peterson utube 6 minutes.

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  • PC is not a tool for progressing political debate and is hugely ineffective too often coming off simply as clan-marking invective

    Totally agree.  However it is a damn good tool for invective, which most people mistake for debate, and it has propelled many people into power, particularly in the “caring professions”, and politics, where logic and reason matter less than image and rhetoric.

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  • You can be anything you want to be!

    This declaration is meant to inspire children to aim high in their career and general life aspirations. I can certainly appreciate that minority kids and girls need to be directed to consider careers and activities that were previously aggressively and subtly closed to us but when taken too far this approach has unfortunate consequences. Holding Harvard as the goal will result in rejection of other perfectly acceptable options that might be a better fit for the individual based on their grades and other measurements of performance in their school years.

    When I can, I attend Harvard’s science lectures in the evening in the Geology lecture hall. They invite the public to attend. I also drag friends along if they care to go. I once brought my friend and her academically struggling teen daughter and on the way back to the car, crossing the yard the daughter declared that Harvard was the place for her! Her mom, so excited, declared that the girl could go anywhere she wanted as long as she worked hard enough. Later, I begged my friend to chart a more realistic course for her daughter. My reason for bringing her there wasn’t to prompt an application to Harvard Law School by a kid who was struggling academically, it was to widen her awareness of the range of academic experience that is available to us in this world and to understand our own individual place in it. Also, I wanted her to experience the sublime carnitas burritos available at Felipe’s restaurant in Harvard Square nearby, haha.

    This strategy to encourage kids to be anything they want to be and the related behavior of giving every kid a trophy just for participation is a denial that we all come into this world with different anatomical and cognitive configurations that lead to different talents, skills and abilities. The Blank Slate theory is so attractive to so many people, especially new parents who desperately want to believe that their own great efforts will produce the next Einstein or Michael Jordan. The Blank Slate also gives license to those of privilege to condescend and blame the disadvantaged for their own suffering as if they’ve brought it on themselves by being stupid, immoral, undisciplined and lazy and anatomically defective because of their inferior genetic configuration.

    Consequences for this perverse promotion of Blank Slatism are unfortunate to individual children and also has very negative results on a societal level too. If we blame the disadvantaged for their own problems then why bother spending money and time ameliorating their problems? If they can’t/won’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps then why should we bother investing in them? Here we have the convenient framework of blame that every top 1% psychopath could ever dream of.


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  • Laurie


    I agree with you but what is missing for me in that equation is our confidence in the way we teach and the way we assess. We don’t throw enough resources where they are most needed in the system. I see the practical side of removing the saying but are we confident enough to say to each and every parent that we have their backs?

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  • We’ve had this discussion before, Laurie. “You can be anything you want if you want enough.”

    I like how you have refined things.

    Its sneaky, dangerous and opens the door on too many opportunities to blame and control. Everyone can get to heaven with enough faith.

    In the last year or so I have been turning back towards blankslate-ism and a little away from genetic dirigisme, (Peterson’s Lobster Hierachy theory). Mostly because of neuro-constructivism and the fact that “neural modules” of the brain contain no prior knowledge (dare I utter the name Kant?) no culturally distinct behavioural dispositions for the most part. Early enculturation makes huge inroads on how these generalised structures are particularised, though these inputs are critically timed and sequenced. Windows of opportunity open and close, but all the groundwork is done and dusted by seven or so. This is why my blankslate-ism is a cultural opportunity for how we may better bring up our kids, but often not so available to the individual child, trapped in a culture, and definitely not available to the young adult.

    Genetic dirigisme has its way precisely with modes of cognition and this really does underlie irretrievable differences of opportunity for us. Perhaps five differentiating modes really are differences in brain wiring.  The Autist Spectrum brain, for example, has greater actual complexity because less of the initial tangle of post birth brain growth has been pruned back. (41% normal pruning, 16% only in ASD by age 19). This surplus random scramble is somewhat overloading, making the Terrible Twos last into the teens but also defeats the innate categorising the hippocampus can achieve creating useful and compact stereotypes. Aspies are systemisers using cultural tools of logic, because they don’t have it done for them by puzzled hippocampi. This can be really cool, but in fast social situations that figuring process for others is too slow and they develop enlarged amygdala that antique and rather crude judge of “character”. The creative, the anxious, concerned for detail, the non-empathetic all are irredeemably eccentric and valuable thereby too a culture dependent upon a division of telents and labour.


    The call is better perhaps not to be anything, but to be interested in anything and find a niche  that particular talents enable…Or to find those fixable roadblocks and start to work on the failings of culture to deliver kids with more choices and better actualised talents.

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  • Olgun

    are we confident enough to say to each and every parent that we have their backs?

    Not here in America!  Kids who don’t have educated doting parents and extended family get left by the wayside.

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  • Phil

    I’ve been taking note of your exploration of the nurture side of things. I have no criticism whatsoever. I’m watching the process play out with great interest.

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  • Olgun

    Add to that my personal policy of keeping an eye out for kids who are already left on the wayside either through neglect or just benign neglect of overworked harried parents, and making a point to the child directly that they are doing a good job and being a good kid and generally validating them and their personal resilience.

    I remember outsiders doing this for me when I was a kid and I know that even a pat on the back and a kind word can count for a lot. When I look back I know those adults were trying to support me but couldn’t come too close and be seen as interfering. I now admit that I sometimes step over that line myself because I wish more adults had done that for me.

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  • The Secret Lives of Five Year Olds, is riveting. I thought I was a savvy parent, but no. There is so much to know and understand. I’m sure there are better natural parents than aspies. I wish I’d seen this twenty years ago.

    Even so watching the emergence of personhood is one of the great experiences to be had. Now I know about some of the stuff going on inside it just gets… well… more amazing. Even if you have no plans to have kids (an admirable decision for any of us) this is a must watch program. They are all our legacy.

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  • Laurie  #20

    I’ve been watching it too! It comes in little jumps as stuff gets disrupted and comes together again in slightly amended form. The latest neuro-science is proving very exciting for me as now some theories (half-assed guesses of mine) seem to fit in with a newly emerging scheme of a self breeding species consisting of perhaps 5 cognitively defined co-evolving “races” with a subsequent need to try harder at co-operating, sparking cultural inventions galore, from maths to music, and all the other tools of mutuality. Constructivism has me rediscover the joys of Meccano (later Erector in USA) with its almost unlimited capacity for building problem solving forms.

    A recent insight was understanding how many seemingly personal “virtues” and capacities were mutual and social first. Its keeping me busy and away, regrettably, well that and rebuilding an eco-business outside the country… Thanks Brexit threat.

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  • Phil

    5 cognitively defined co-evolving “races” with a subsequent need to try harder at co-operating, sparking cultural inventions galore, from maths to music, and all the other tools of mutuality. 

    Yes, very cool stuff.

    As a classic introvert, I’m quite sure I was forced out of my shell by hard core etiquette training by my Mom as described here previously but also, it was art that dragged me into a world of beautiful self expression and contact with people who were unconventional, devoted to the sublime and simply determined to push any boundaries they found to be inconvenient. This was the most excellent therapy to the old New England yankee stoicism that emotionally stunted so many of us in those days.  The mutualism of art and the connection to thousands of years of common humanity can really compensate for a childhood of stultified cultural deprivation. It’s a joy to bring a child to an art museum and encourage them to exclaim their feelings loudly! Hyperbolically! Be loud! Who cares what the old blue bloods think! Let them move around the pieces demonstratively. It’s fantastic to observe. They come alive in that moment. I know you must feel this with drama. This must be true of all the arts, not just drawing, painting and sculpture. Literature as well. Secular transcendence.

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  • Tell it, sister!


    Introvert….aspie…. the ex-prisoner knows freedom more keenly. Glimpsing into the minds of others, welcomed in to the vaulted halls and the nameless nooks and curious crannies, we find ourselves and lose ourselves.


    I often worried that pursuing neuro-science would unweave me for good. For me it just makes it the more marvelous and weaves me into the lives of distant, former and future others.

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  • Laurie #19&21


    My wife and I spent every penny we earned on educating our children so we fall into that category

    I have mentioned it before but my cousin had gotten into a rut with his early teens son, as I did with mine at the same age, and his son decided to seek me out at a wedding to tell me his troubles. He is an introvert also whilst his mum and dad are the exact opposite so we clicked at an early age. We talked for hours where I explained his dads worries and it was natural for a boy his age to rebell against his parents and for him to realise this when talking to dad. We went on to talk about the chemistry behind this and then went further into sciences and I really enjoyed his response. We agreed that his parents love him and only want the best for him and he shouldn’t let his intelligence and nature ruin that. He had already dismissed religion so we had a chat about that as well whilst his parents were enjoying/making fools of themselves on the dance floor, to which he raised his eyebrows a few times. It all ended with him agreeing to study hard and me giving him a £150 to stay the course. He did quite well in the end and is still one of my favourite people. I do feel that he could have done better but his introverted personality held him back a little. His parents loudness made him draw back more as well. I know that feeling of wanting to disappear into the shadows the more you feel your parents are embarrassing you. Of course they weren’t, they are good people too. I used to constantly tell my mum to keep her voice down whilst speaking Turkish in public in the UK. Like you, I like to help kids clear a log jam in their minds. I have bought books for kids in the family and a few whose homes I have worked in. Of course I have no idea of the end result or if I had any effect at all but it feels right. We have gained the confidence of the family as well as our eldest made it to Oxford, thanks mainly to my wife who doesn’t have my hang ups. One of the best things school did for me is to take us to museums, galleries and theatres. I used to look at these buildings and think I wasn’t allowed in and as I grew up I had the same feeling about universities. I want to go to Norway for a visit now, after Phils comment. I really want to get a general feel of a society that must be so confident in their lives with the weight of education lifted of them which leaves them to sort the rest of their angsts out. Sounds like a great place for introverts!


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  • Olgun

    Of course I have no idea of the end result or if I had any effect at all but it feels right.

    Yes, that’s how that goes. Sometimes the good effect can be delayed by years. Sometimes I’m not even sure if the effect will be a good one or bad or if there is any effect at all. Still, I never regret trying.

    I want to go to Norway for a visit now, after Phils comment.

    Ha. Yes, I know it! And just a visit? Screw that Olgun! I want to live there! I have enough Viking DNA to thrive there. Shopping for a new nationality…

    I used to constantly tell my mum to keep her voice down whilst speaking Turkish in public in the UK. 

    Ok, I’m snickering over this. We have asked my husband to speak softly in Arabic when talking on the phone in public. I am slightly ashamed, but this is American post-911. Et-hem. But why does he have to shout when talking on his phone in Arabic? Waaaa. In my defense I have issued stern corrections to a certain class of Americans over their insistence that everyone MUST speak English in this place. So completely ridiculous. I once asked a woman -if you and I meet up on the streets of Paris, should we switch over to speaking French? It’s fine with me. Should we bumble along in a language that neither of us speaks well when we could just revert back to English which we are both native speakers of? Well then, why would two Spanish speakers attempt to bumble along in English which they both find awkward or impossible? You know, I’m fine with speaking French or Arabic if you prefer…what other languages do you speak? Oh, right. Just English. Ok. I get it…

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  • 28
    Michael 100 says:

    RE LaurieB, #27:  “In my defense I have issued stern corrections to a certain class of Americans over their insistence that everyone MUST speak English in this place. So completely ridiculous. … You know, I’m fine with speaking French or Arabic if you prefer…what other languages do you speak? Oh, right. Just English. Ok. I get it…”
    I live in a mid-western US state.  When I was a kid, I use to envy those who lived in large cities such as Chicago or New York where a plethora of languages could be heard while walking down the street.  To me, that was a sign of sophisticated cosmopolitanism which my small-town environment was completely lacking.  Finally, as an adult, I moved to the capitol city of my state, and frequently hear many more languages being spoken on the streets and in stores and restaurants.  I believe I would become very angry if I ever hear an ignoramus berating someone for speaking something other than English.  In my opinion, the ability to speak more than one language is an indication of intelligence and education.  At naturalization ceremonies, judges frequently tell people that while it’s important to master the English language, they should preserve and pass on their native languages and cultures, thus making the United States a richer place.

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  • Laurie


    I feel to unclean to move to Norway. Need to get it right where I am. I have heard people say Norway is boring. Extroverts hooked on the sound of sirens I think.


    As for shouting. Turkish Cypriot accent (fast changing) has North African flavours and is also loud in the right hands. When I was sixteen and started going out and a few new friends came to our house, they would ask what my mum was so angry about. What had I done? It was just a normal conversation that half the street could join in with if they knew the lingo. A couple of years ago I was standing in a remote village (as remote as you can get on a small island these days anyway) in North Cyprus taking some photos when I stopped to listen because an elderly couple were arguing in the middle of the day and it was echoing all around. It was then that I heard other noises coming out of people’s open doors and windows. A television, a radio, more talking and shouting but not fights this time. Gave me a sense of belonging I must have picked up when three or four because I can’t remember any of it. Makes me wonder why whispering was not the norm when you live so open and close together.


    The people that panic at hearing an Arabic accent should worry about the ones whispering into the phone not speaking loudly. (That doesn’t sound right anyway I have written it but hope you understand what I mean?)

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  • Olgun

    Did you read the comment by Mark under the video? I swear it,  what he said is a common reason for insistence on everyone speaking English; so that he can understand what the passersby are saying! Haha!

    When I getting my nails done in a salon here, another client leaned over to me and said, “I hate it that they speak Chinese amongst themselves right in front of us!” Expression of faux horror. I said “So what. I don’t care about it.”  She said “Well, what if they’re talking about us?” Haha. There you have it.

    It’s a strange feeling though when I come back into the States and am walking on the sidewalk or sitting in a cafe and can understand others speaking nearby. When in other countries I tune out the language I don’t speak well. If I’m thinking in English I can’t process French or Arabic in the background. I get used to that pretty quickly and then when home, I feel like I’m eavesdropping on strangers nearby.

    When we get together with N.Africans and Middle Easterners the entire discussion seems (to me) to be accomplished with shouting. Interrupting doesn’t seem to draw any notice at all.  Sometimes one of them will lean in and say, “Oh, it’s ok. Don’t worry, they’re not fighting. Shouting is how we get our point across.” I already know it and just laugh.

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  • Babel Fish, widely used, will fix the problem of different languages soon enough. For myself very often on the tube the conversation to a neighbour or on the phone is not in English. I love it because I feel in the most connected place I can be.

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  • Laurie #32


    I have come to the conclusion that people get offended first and then this meme has come about of “they may be talking about me” or “it’s rude to talk in another language when in company”. It seems a get out clause for their initial reaction when they can’t be bothered to think past that primitive instinct. I might think like that because my dad runs on pure instinct unable to control any of it and my personal struggle not to be like him.



    Translations from Turkish to English is impossible at the moment. Hope they have something much better in the pipeline?

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  • Hi, Mature.

    All translations are a bit crap until they get to the huge number crunching and bayesian contextualising of idioms, metaphors and lexical morphologies (or whatever term). Turkish I understand is rich in these.


    A context sensitive interpretation of “Aşk bir yokluk deniziymiş” will make reference to its initial and subsequent uses, perhaps even offering some choices for the participants to choose from, maybe looping back by retranslation to close the gap. Google translate is indeed pants with this if you try it.

    The work is ongoing and is getting pretty awesome. IBM Watson Translate is increasingly able to handle idiom. Your babel fish app will probably need cloud access to work, further it would probably benefit from personal idiom “signatures” for the individuals or assessed stereotypical signatures for unknown participants..

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  • Phil rimmer  #36

    It’s cold, very wet, there’s no national health service, the hospitals are over crowded and there’s long waiting lists.  The famous pubs are deserted, particularly in the country.  There’s a serious homelessness problem.  Brexit is going to devastate the economy, and quite possibly restart the Troubles.  Wages are quite low, whilst food is cheap enough, housing is astronomically expensive.  Only seriously rich people can get a mortgage, so it is rapidly becoming a rentier economy, where the only people making a good living are property companies, developers and landlords.  Some things are good, education, a sociable population and a stable, if conservative government.

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  • Thanks, eejit.


    Another dream dashed.

    I thought those ghost estates I saw five and seven years ago would be long gone. It still sounds awful. A fat landlord’s paradise. Worse than London.

    And yes Brexit looks increasingly terrible for Ireland. I posted some graphs of GDP sensitivity due to Brexit produced by some European institution, Northern England  was blackest, with Ireland not far behind.

    The rain I can handle. I miss it here in London. The River Lee outside my kitchen window has never been so low at this time of year. Besides much of my childhood was spent in the mountains of north Wales. Every other day was a “soft” day.

    Our healthcare has tumbled mightily and Ireland’s improved significantly. Look at this recentish Lancet report…


    You’ll be voting Sinn Fein I trust?

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  • You’ll be voting Sinn Fein I trust?

    Not a chance!  They have loads of good aspirational “policies”, but not an idea how they are going to finance, organise or implement them.  They bang on incessantly about the division of the country and the Border, and with their reputation amongst the Loyalist population in the North, their interminable demands for a border referendum, which they would be sure to lose, keep Loyalist anger burning and make sure that there will never be unity whilst they are around.

    They are also inveterate opportunists.  Any problem or mistake by the government is immediately pounced on,  yet they have real opportunities to influence events themselves, both in government in the North, under the Good Friday agreement, and in Westminster, where their votes could make a real difference and counter the idiocy of the DUP,  but they won’t take their seats, because as they say, they won’t swear loyalty to the Queen.  Everyone else knows that it is because they don’t want to take responsibility for the future, or explain their violent past.

    Indeed they are in many ways trapped by the violent republicanism which they practised for so long, their policies and reactions to affairs are certainly not developed at branch level, there are persistent and well-sourced stories of the power of IRA Army Council, (which, of course, no longer exists), and every speech or comment by the so-called party leaders, is couched in uniform language and sounds and reads like a churned out party line scripted by someone else.  It is sometimes said that Sinn Fein is more like a cult than a political party.  There is a steady stream of people leaving because of its secretive and authoritarian ethos.

    There are good people in the Oireachtas, but as is traditional in the Irish left, they never seem able to unite around a common platform and identity; which is a shame.

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