2.28.2007

Wild (Sem)antics in the FLA

Sen. Frederica Wilson (D-Miami) of the Fla. state legislature has proposed a bill banning use of the term "illegal alien" from official state business, according to news-press.com.

Perhaps my familiarity with the legal language around immigration has numbed me to the strangeness of the term. But "alien" certainly rankles me less than "illegal".

But Wilson says: "An alien to me is someone from out of space....'Illegal,' I can live with, but I like 'undocumented' better."

But isn't "illegal" used much more in common parlance and public debate? And doesn't it carry flagrant connotations (and denotations) of criminality? It seems a much more problematic word -- particularly when used as a noun. (The headline of the news-press.com article is an ironic case-in-point.) Also, I'm not sure we should take advice on diction from someone who says "out of space" rather than "outer space".

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2 Comments:

Blogger Ben said...

Well, hang on now. Seems to me that, when Ms. Wilson says "out of space," she may actually be referring to those who live on places like Earth. Earth of course is "in space" but, considering popular usage of the more traditional term "outer space" to mean something other than earth, I'm thinking that she may be referring to people living on Earth. And that seems to make her point absolutely moot.

11:52 AM, March 03, 2007  
Blogger Jeremy Goren said...

...and Mr. Ben further cements his status as my hero. Thank you, sir, for your wisdom.

12:30 PM, March 03, 2007  

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