penguin hole?

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penguin hole?

Post by minjeff » Sun Nov 16, 2008 12:54 am

Okay, so I'm editing a friend's thesis and I needed to check to see if I was crazy because he keeps using the phrase "penguin hole" (3rd times the charm...).

He's used it so much, that I don't know if I should even change it to pigeon hole!

Has anyone heard this usage before or know of this phrases meaning? Or has my friend just started the next round of punnies on here?

Thanks!
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:48 am

Some penguin colonies are located on or among rocks, but as far as I know the birds don't usually live in holes. I've never heard of a 'penguin hole', though I suppose a breathing-hole in an ice sheet could be referred to in that way.

When I am in doubt about what one of my clients is trying to say when I encounter a peculiar term in their writing (especially if it keeps cropping up), I ask them. I suggest you do the same with yours.
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:00 am

Jeff, A quick search indicates that there are PENGUIN HOLES (two words). They’re in the ice and are where they enter and exit the water. But I have grave doubts whether these two holes are equal to the sum of their parts.

Could you provide an example of how your friend used it, so that we could judge whether it lines up with the either the noun or verb meaning of 'pigeonhole' (usually one word)? I wouldn't want to be led on a wild penguin chase. (<;)
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by minjeff » Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:59 am

Usage:
However, after careful examination this theological view presents several problems (1) it penguin holes Jesus mission as coming solely to die for human sins, (2) it ignores the life work of Jesus and (3) historical it has given credence to inflict suffering on others who don’t believe in Jesus as the Christ.

I just realized that it's almost the exact same phrase that he uses it in each time. I'm waiting on him to call me back though. We've both just been out of town in places where cell phone signals were not well accommodated.

Thanks for the advice everyone.
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by russcable » Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:53 am

Merriam Webster Online
pigeonhole
3 : a neat category which usually fails to reflect actual complexities
I think he does mean to use "pigeonholes" which is to categorize (often in an overly simple way), but he merely means "oversimplifies". IMO, the theological view is not putting Jesus' mission into a category nor is there an overly simple category for "coming to die for human sins." You can pigeonhole office workers by their role or task, but there just aren't enough saviors going around to have developed a system of categories for what their missions are.

Perhaps he is an undiscovered genius about to win the Pullet Surprise for this exciting paper. (I hope there are no nuns grading a paper about penguin holes.)
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:57 am

Jeff, Amen to Russ Cable's comments.
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:12 am

From the fragment of the thesis that you have quoted, Jeff, I think you have your editing work cut out for you even without considering Russ's (perfectly valid) points:

Original version:

However, after careful examination this theological view presents several problems (1) it penguin holes Jesus mission as coming solely to die for human sins, (2) it ignores the life work of Jesus and (3) historical it has given credence to inflict suffering on others who don’t believe in Jesus as the Christ.

With mark-up (strikeout indicates deletions, bold indicates insertions):

However, after careful examination reveals several problems with this theological view: presents several problems (1) it penguin pigeonholes Jesus's mission solely as one of coming solely to die for human sins,; (2) it ignores the life work of Jesus; and (3) historical it has historically given license credence to inflict for suffering to be inflicted on others those who don’t do not believe in that Jesus is as the Christ.

Without mark-up:

However, careful examination reveals several problems with this theological view: (1) it pigeonholes Jesus's mission solely as one of coming to die for human sins; (2) it ignores the life work of Jesus; and (3) it has historically given license for suffering to be inflicted on those who do not believe that Jesus is the Christ. [UK spelling: licence]

I would probably substitute 'designates' for 'pigeonholes'/'penguin holes', but Russ's 'oversimplifies' is also a valid interpretation. It's another point to check with your friend.
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by Wizard of Oz » Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:17 am

.. maybe this applied when Jesus visited Australia because Downunder we do have penguin holes .. the Fairy Penguin .. or to give it its new sanitised name, Little Blue penguin .. do live in burrows .. or was it because Jesus was too big for a mere pigeon hole ?? .. who knows ..

WoZ
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by minjeff » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:18 am

Erik, you are absolutely correct that I did have a time with it! All 38 pages. And, I'm sure that I did not catch everything. I edited that particular snippet:
However, after careful examination this theological view presents several problems (1) it pigeon holes Jesus’ mission as coming solely to die for human sins, (2) it ignores the life work of Jesus, and (3) historically it has given credence to inflict suffering on others who do not believe in Jesus as the Christ.
My goal was to leave as much of his ideas as possible and to also preserve his voice and its nuances. I do like your initial deletions and the addition of "reveals". I would leave the others for several reasons. The first being my (and the author's) intentional avoidance of the passive voice. Second, I am somewhat traditional and applaud the fact that he did not split the verb phrase as you have suggested. I left "credence" but looking a third time, there are better words. I don't think he meant "license" though more "support". I left the "believe in" language because it echoes a scriptural reference and the "as the Christ", because (as I've heard a Baptist preacher say) even the devil believes in Jesus in the sense of his existence but does not acknowledge his Lordship or place as "The Anointed One".

Also, the author is an African American preacher. Culturally and professionally, we tend write as we speak. And there is an inherent rhythm, feel, and inflection to the flow of ideas and thoughts, which I also did my best to preserve, because --sometimes-- it is not what one says, but rather how one says it.
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:56 am

Well, Jeff, I guess you know your friend's intent and target readership better than I do. But I differ with you regarding the passive voice in the last point mentioned in the sentence, which you left as "...historically it has given credence to inflict suffering on others who do not believe in Jesus as the Christ".

Your / your friend's construction implicitly poses the question of who it is that has been given credence / license to inflict suffering on others who do not believe in Jesus as the Christ, but fails to answer it. Expressing the idea in the passive voice avoids raising this issue.

I disagree with the notion that the passive voice is to be avoided on principle. It definitely has its place in English, and I think this is one of the occasions where it is called for. Off the top of my head, the main reasons to avoid it are to liven up what might otherwise be a tedious recitation of occurrences, and not to evade taking responsibility for one's actions (e.g. "Mistakes were made."). I don't think either of those reasons applies here.
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by russcable » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:24 am

Passive voice aside, I can't make head or tails of "give credence to inflict"? How do you give permission to believe in "to inflict ...". You give credence to something that can be true/false or believed in - to a rumor, to an idea, to gossip, ...

It gives credence to the idea that inflicting suffering on others who do not believe in Jesus as the Christ is justifiable.
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by minjeff » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:26 pm

I agree with you Erik and Russ, on the concept of "giving credence". I hope that I haven't missed many more of these misusages.

I think I would change it to read:

However, after careful examination this theological view presents several problems (1) it pigeon holes Jesus’ mission as coming solely to die for human sins, (2) it ignores the life work of Jesus, and (3) historically it has given support to inflict suffering on others who do not believe in Jesus as the Christ.

Are we playing the semantics game now?
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:45 pm

I don't know what you mean by 'playing the semantics game', but yes, of course the issue here is one of semantics, which in this context concerns the differences in the meanings, or shades of meaning, of words.

While I will concede your "believe in Jesus as the Christ", I still regard my version as being more precise. 'Support' just doesn't cut it for me: 'support' can mean anything or nothing, ranging from passively acquiescing in something one does not personally agree with, through possessing a tepidly-held belief, to rabid demagoguery, physical assault, systematic oppression and murder.

Good editing involves a process of clarification, not obfuscation. Partly for this reason, I also don't have much time for the opinion that "it is not what one says, but rather how one says it" that should prevail here.

Because this is a thesis, not a sermon, logical argumentation and clearly laid-out exposition ought to be the preferred mode of discourse, not sentiment and appeals to emotionality -- a mode that, incidentally, I do not see as being not inherently antithetical to the inclusion of "rhythm, feel, and inflection to the flow of ideas and thoughts".
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by minjeff » Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:04 pm

I meant by "the semantics game" that we were arguing which words best fit based on our own perceptions of them.

I realize that I did not explain why I objected to your suggested word choice, but I will.
I would be hesitant to use the word "license", as I do not believe that he is intending to argue that it "granted authoritative permission" to inflict suffering on others who do not believe...

Which is I way I suggested "support", as I see him arguing more that regardless of the intent of the model about which he is speaking it is often pointed at "to maintain, advocate, or corroborate" [the argument] to inflict suffering on others who do not believe....

I must admit that without having read the paper to this point one would not be able to argue against your suggestion of "license".
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Re: penguin hole?

Post by russcable » Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:41 pm

Aside from the issue of whether "to give support" is the correct wording, I'm not sure about "it has given support to inflict suffering" grammatically. It has given support to the infliction of suffering... or It has supported the infliction of suffering... or something like that. "give support to verb" just sounds off for some reason.
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