Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hot, hotter, hottest

Okay, I admit I am very sensitive to the nuances of language. I can see multiple meanings in some statements that sometimes other people don't necessarily see. What do you expect from an English professor? But I really, truly need some help in understanding something that puzzles me no end.

Today someone sent me an email in which they suggested that I switch my email accounts to gmail. I'm going to be asking that person why they believe I should do so. But this person is not the first to make the suggestion; it's happened about 5 times in the past half year. And today's suggestion replayed in my mind a previous conversation about email. One of those who made the suggestion explained his reasons for why I should do so.

He: You know prof it's really not a nice thing to have that name on the email.

Me: What name?

He: Ummm, you know, hotmail.

Me: Why?

He: It's sort of putting a prost name to something that doesn't need one. I know you don't have anything prost on your email but some people could get the wrong idea. And gmail sounds much nicer, sort of like G movies that are okay for kids.

Now if my accounts were with hotmale.com I could understand the problem. So unless someone has never seen the word spelled out I suppose they could wonder at someone's saying "I get my email at hotmale." But let's assume that we are dealing with reasonably intelligent people (a big assumption) and they know that it is hotmail. Then it must be the word "hot" that is causing the problem. And now it's my turn to wonder just where these people's minds are wandering to. So, Brad Pitt is hot and my email address is hot, or even a hotmale, and so it's verboten? Please, someone tell me the temperature of the water these people use for their coffee in the morning? And how do they verbalize extreme heat? And what, I wonder, do they make of the weather reports that routinely have been describing our weather as "hot and steamy"? Hardly a G-rated weather forecast. And heaven forfend that these people ever hear about hot rods. I can only imagine what that would bring to mind.

And what, I wonder, would those who are offended by hotmail and who believe that gmail sounds "nicer" say about G-strings and G-men?

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to perceive.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

You really have to meet my aunt. In her house chickens have no breasts, only white meat. When my sister innocently asked her if that means that the disease is called white meat cancer this aunt did what you wrote in another post. She told my sister that you aren't allowed to say the word cancer but should refer to it if you have to by saying yener machlah.

Anonymous said...

If your current solution suits your needs and you're satisfied with it, unless there's a better solution available, why switch?

That being said, there are quite a few advantages that gmail has over its competitors (in terms of usability), so perhaps you should try it out to see if you like it. No pressure, though :-P

The Five + of Us said...

Good thing it mostly stays hot and dry in The Holy Land (except for, maybe, Haifa). Also half male, half female.

I'm sure gmail is full of NC-17 rated blogs... if I would bother to look for them, which I won't.

Keep the balance out there!

ALN

Lion of Zion said...

what do you have against g-men (assuming they aren't wearing g-strings)

SaraK said...

I am laughing so hard that I have tears in my eyes. This is your funniest post yet! (and I have hotmail too)

Dave said...

Careful! Careful! You'll burn yourself, the plate is untzunius!

Anonymous said...

I would like a cup of coffee where the average kinetic energy of the molecules is high, please.

Anonymous said...

I did think that G-men were rated G - aren't they FBI agents? Is there a new meaning that I'm not aware of? If it's not G-rated, you don't have to describe it though.

Dave said...

I'm sorry, this coffee is sufficiently above the ambient temperature as to cause blistering if applied to the skin.

ProfK said...

Tesyaa, yes G-men are FBI agents. Are they G rated? Let's see, they are allowed to carry concealed weapons, may break and enter based on "good faith" information (and some that isn't), may tap into telephone lines, may conduct secret surveillance, may look at your emails without your knowledge, may conduct interviews with people who know you without your knowledge, may delve into your bank records etc. So yes, I suppose they are the "good guys" when they go after actual criminals, but there are quite a few of their activities that aren't all so black and white, but shades of grey, and sometimes that makes them "shady" characters.

Orthonomics said...

I'd tell the student to get his mind out of the gutter.

Bas~Melech said...

...sephardilady said it first. I think the overemphasis on all things "tzniyus" really bespeaks a mindset focused on the flipside.

That said, chalk me up as another gmail fan. I don't know much about hotmail, but if you contact me on gchat I can help you see the light. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Slightly off but still on the hot topic, my neighbor informed me that her hot water heater was broken and asked if I knew someone to repair it. She's not the first person to use this term but why would people need a heater to heat hot water? Shouldn't that be cold water heater? And then there are those people who ask for a hot cup of coffee. Isn't it the coffee that should be hot, not the cup?

Anonymous said...

My mom once said the same exact thing to me about "hotmail" - I lovingly told her she was nuts :D

miriamp said...

Trudy, it seems like almost everyone calls it a hot water heater, and even I do it sometimes, out of habit, although I have asked that exact same question. (Just "water heater." Just "water heater.")

It's like being asked for a PIN number or a SSN Number, or hearing someone say they need to stop at the ATM machine. They would all sound pretty funny if you said out the acronym, so I generally don't append that last word, but I've certainly heard it a hundred times or more.

But when my children want permission to go make themselves some hot tea, that's what they ask for. "Hot tea." (We don't drink coffee here, and even the oldest ones are young enough that I want to know if they're using hot water, even if I then let them do it.)

(The hotmail thing is so ridiculous it doesn't need commenting on.)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, so I guess the only ones who should be using hotmail are the hot channies.