Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

She’s so intolerant, but he doesn’t suffer fools gladly

with 9 comments

Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of Gr...
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Sack that bossy, haughty, strident, arrogant, domineering and abrasive woman who’s always demanding her own way, and hire that assertive, single-minded, self-assured, confident man who’s a natural leader.

See what I’m saying? The same qualities are often described differently, depending on whether or not the writer is referring to a man or a woman.

Sit back, take a deep breath and put on your best impartial hat before committing your judgemental descriptions to screen or paper.

Trilling and shrieking…

Gratuitous modifiers or the lady bus driver

Top scientist or top female scientist? 

Marketing man — or woman?

He or she — or they?

She’s such a tomboy

Old wives’ tales — good or bad?

Ladies first?

Jack of all trades

Sorting the women from the girls

When is a man not a man?

Am I allowed to say that?

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9 Responses

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  1. Who said that? As a goof? To get a rise?

    I love the notion of not suffering fools gladly. (It’s from Corinthians — not Shakespeare, as many assume, probably because he often wrote about “fools.”) I guess the hard issues are deciding who are really fools and what to do about not suffering them.

    The Bible has it positively: “For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.” We now use it negatively (“not suffering” or “doesn’t suffer”), either as praise of someone resolute or as criticism of the intolerant.

    A nice analysis of this malleable and ambiguous expression: http://www.robertfulford.com/SufferFools.html

    Michael Farrell

    24/01/2010 at 7:09 pm

    • I said that! Just to make a point.

      Thanks for all your observations and the link re. the ‘suffering fools’ reference. Very interesting — especially the derivation from the Bible and the original use of the phrase.

      Deborah

      24/01/2010 at 7:31 pm

  2. Hmmm. When you said that, was it as a goof or just to get a rise? (Teasing.) I can imagine a male saying or thinking something similar in real life, but not committing it to print.

    As for not suffering fools, I saw a strongly worded, popular, blog comment yesterday on the book and now movie (“Creation”) by Darwin’s great-great-grandson, Somebody-Keynes. Some survey showed that only 39% of people believe in evolution. (I’ll ignore the many problems with surveying in general.)

    Someone commented, “Then the other 61% are stupid.” I am sure she feels she is someone who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but, even overlooking religious beliefs, I can think of many reasons why 61% might rationally not believe in evolution. Some don’t care, some aren’t scientifically inclined, some need more proof, etc., etc. They may or may not also be stupid, but one can’t conclude they are simply from their survey response.

    Michael Farrell

    24/01/2010 at 8:10 pm

  3. “Sit back, take a deep breath and put on your best impartial hat before committing your judgemental descriptions to screen or paper.”
    and
    Two of Mr. Farrell’s comments

    “I guess the hard issues are deciding who are really fools and what to do about not suffering them.”

    “They may or may not also be stupid, but one can’t conclude they are simply from their survey response”.

    These three statements so aptly sum of a very valid point .Swami Vivekanada once wrote ” I know I am right but I don’t know if you are wrong”.
    very nice post indeed.

    I had dedicated a complete post to the issue . Pl go through if time permits. Link for ready reference is furnished below.

    http://balanisunil.blogspot.com/2009/11/fallacies-of-intellectual-extremism.html

    sunil balani

    25/01/2010 at 6:14 am

    • Please read ‘sum up ‘ in place of ‘sum of’. Errors happen in ‘furor- scribendi’ and I keep on forgetting that I am writing to person who is so consummate with grammar…

      sunil balani

      25/01/2010 at 6:26 am

      • Hi, Sunil — I didn’t even notice! And please don’t worry — I value your comments very much.

        Deborah

        25/01/2010 at 7:23 am

    • Hi, Sunil — that’s a wonderful quote, thank you for sharing it. I will certainly read your post — thanks very much for the link and for taking the time to comment.

      Deborah

      25/01/2010 at 7:21 am


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