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ESL forum > Ask for help > A small part of this article that I couldn ´t understand.    

A small part of this article that I couldn ´t understand.



lofthanzaaa
Germany

A small part of this article that I couldn ´t understand.
 
http://www.nytimes.com/1990/02/11/opinion/public-private-argue-don-t-amend.html

Here in this link there is an article about English in the US. Right in the middle of the article the author says:

"Show me an argument about gun control, and I ´ll show you a hunter who remembers when women were women, men were men, and a musket over the mantel made a design statement that said Liberty and Justice for All. U.S."
 
 
Can any one tell me what that means? Or what point is the author making with this statemen?

20 Oct 2013      



EstherLee76
Peru

It’s not real clear to me either.  I had to go back and read the whole article.  I think that the writer is talking about a reactionary movement in the US that is promoting English as the first language.  In this sentence I believe she is saying that when people talk about gun control, one of the people in the discussion will be a reactionary who will talk about the “good old days” when more conservative values were practiced.  Hope I got that right.

20 Oct 2013     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

I agree with Estherlee. The author is saying that every time there is an argument about gun control, you ´ll always get these primitive, right wing types remembering ´the good old days ´ when women knew their place (subservient to men). Having a gun on show on the mantel piece was a good thing - it stood for freedom of choice and the right to defend yourself. However, I don ´t know why there has to be a capital A in All. And U.S at the end? 
(I haven ´t read the article.)           

20 Oct 2013     



ueslteacher
Ukraine

It ´s capitalised because it ´s a design statement here, thus, acts as a heading. BTW the line itself is taken from the pledge of allegiance to the American flag. Also the "U.S." which you have at the end of your sentence actually refers to the next sentence and is part of "U.S. English" 

As I see it, the message of the article is clearly stated in the title, "Public & Private; Argue, Don´t Amend" and it means there´s no point in amending the constitution every time there´s an argument/different position in any certain period of US history. These cases should be settled without the constitution being amended.

@Lynne: maybe what is meant here by "men were men and women were women" goes beyond what you mentioned and it can also mean gender/sex difference as well as different roles performed in society, a woman being a wife/mother and the hearth and home keeper, and a man being a husband/father and bread/bacon winner. Just my non-native two cents.
Sophia

20 Oct 2013     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

@Sophia, good point about the slogan. I could understand why ´Justice ´ and ´Liberty ´ were given capitals as grand abstract nouns, but not ´All ´. I was going to add that it would be right if the phrase was a title and in quotation marks, which it should be. 
I didn ´t know it was from the pledge of allegiance. Embarrassed 
I don ´t think the phrase ´when men were men and women were women ´ is particularly woman-friendly, but you may very well be right. 
It ´s a well-written article. 
Lynne

20 Oct 2013     



lofthanzaaa
Germany

Thank you everybody for your help. It ´s very much appreciated!!

20 Oct 2013     



douglas
United States

I think Esther puts it very well.
 
To fully understand this text (especially the last line) you need to remember that most (US) Americans are extremely patriotic--for many "Liberty and Justice for All. US" would be considered an inarguable, defining statement that means something like: "...and that is America, the greatest country in the whole world, and you can ´t say anything that makes that untrue or wrong--end of story."
 
Personally, I tend to consider it "backwoods Redneck logic" :)
 

21 Oct 2013