County Commissioners in Kleberg County, Texas flaunt their disregard for the law, the constitution, and for diversity.

From now on, courthouse employees and other government workers officially answer the telephone “Heaven-o” instead of “Hell-o.” This insanity is the idea of local yahoo Leonso Canales Jr, who has been saying “God-o” or “Heaven-o” since he came up with this brilliant idea in 1988.

Not everyone is a convert to Kleberg County’s heavenly ways. Madolyn Musick, who runs a bookstore, insisted, and linguists would agree, that “hello” has nothing to do with “hell.” Besides, she added, “What’s wrong with, ‘Howdy, y’all?'”

David Sabrio, a professor of English at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, noted that the Oxford English Dictionary says “hello” stems from an old German greeting for hailing a boat.

“Linguistically and historically, the word ‘hello’ has no connection at all with what we associate with the underworld,” he said. “People may make that connection in their own mind. I certainly don’t.”

source

Here is what I find most disturbing about this. The article I cite above, which was referred to by PZ Myers in this post, was published in the Minnesota Daily (the University’s student paper) and is essentially a reprint of an AP article. There is no byline on the piece.

While differences of opinion are noted in the article, there is no mention of the obvious problem of separation of church and state. What good are reporters if they do not point out the obvious, critical issues when something like this comes up? The overseeing editor for the Daily needs to explain why this oversight occurred. If the Daily is just reproducing whatever comes down the pipe, then they are not better than … some blog! If AP is ignoring the truly important social and legal issues of a story like this, then why do people pay them to provide “news.”

Am I missing something here?

UPDATE: Kingsville will play New Braunfels Canyon for the Softball Regional Title! (Details here)

Comments

  1. #1 Steve
    June 11, 2009

    Isn’t this from 1997? Any updates?

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    June 11, 2009

    Uffda.

  3. #3 catgirl
    June 11, 2009

    When I was a little kid, I was afraid to say the word “helicopter” in case I got cut off mid-word and accidentally said a swear word. In fact, I wouldn’t even think the word, and in my mind it would be “heckacopter”. But even with my OCD and extreme fear of accidentally swearing, even I never thought anything about saying “hello”. Wouldn’t it be much easier for them to just say “hi”?

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    June 11, 2009

    Hi? Hi? Seriously? And promote drug use????????

  5. #5 Jared
    June 11, 2009

    If only someone knew a little etymology; if it bothers him that much, how about switching to “salutations,” “greetings,” or “good (day/evening/night).” These are actually part of the language.

  6. #6 Kaessa
    June 11, 2009

    Catgirl – My oldest son used to say “heckatrockter”. It cracked me up.

  7. #7 Jared
    June 11, 2009

    I forgot, in the southern part of Texas, they can include “buenos dias” and everyone would know exactly what it means; Louisiana, “bonjour” works equally well.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    June 11, 2009

    Soooo….. We’re going to suggest that all the yahoo crackers in Texas start using French? Spanish? Why not just us Arabic.

    (Almost all greetings in Arabic refer to “peace” … probably won’t go over too well with them.)

  9. #9 natural cynic
    June 11, 2009

    Why not just us Arabic.

    (Almost all greetings in Arabic refer to “peace”

    Then why not shalom? Or aloha?

    And my son used to say hicalopter

  10. #10 01jack
    June 11, 2009

    And my son used to say hicalopter

    That is delightful. I’m saying “hicalopter” from now on, too. Too bad that life doesn’t offer too many opportunities to do so, but I love it.

    Hicalopter.

    Hicalopter.

  11. #11 Moopheus
    June 11, 2009

    They should say “moshi-moshi.”

  12. #12 Jared
    June 11, 2009

    Spanish and English are the two most common languages in Texas, which is why I suggested it; similarly, French is more common in Louisiana (at least the part I am from). There is always Latin.

  13. #13 Rick Pikul
    June 11, 2009

    For a non ‘hello’ greeting, there is always the organizational version:

    , speaking, how may I help you?”

  14. #14 Rick Pikul
    June 11, 2009

    Let’s try that without me forgetting that certain characters can’t be used:

    “{Name of Organization}, {Speaker} speaking, how may I help you?”

  15. #15 Science Avenger
    June 11, 2009

    I guess that’s why so many here in Texas just say “howdy”. Personally I have the urge to saunter on down to Kleberg country, order me some cocktails and kumquats, then sit down for a good rerun of that old James Bond classic “Octopussy”, or a golf match featuring Dick Trickle and announced by Dick Shaft. Just sayin.

  16. #16 Paul
    June 11, 2009

    Or a football game announced by Dick Butt Kiss.

  17. #17 Barn Owl
    June 11, 2009

    As Steve pointed out, the original “source” is over 10 years old. I guess some people are still stuck in the 1990s. Like their … hahaha, how ironic.

    Guess it’s better than being stuck in the 1980s. Crikey, the music. The hair! Uff da, indeed. :-D

  18. #18 Nathan Myers
    June 11, 2009

    Speaking of etyomology and helicopters, it only recently struck me that “helicopter” splits neatly not into “heli-” and “-copter”, but “helico-” and “-pter”, i.e. “screw-wing”.

    (“What are you two doing in there?” “Helico-pter”)

  19. #19 Paul Murray
    June 12, 2009

    The sheer superstitiousness of it! Black cats, walking under a ladder, and saying words that start with “hell” – the horror!

  20. #20 DebinOz
    June 14, 2009

    One of my brothers used to say ‘hoptercop’!!! So cute, and had no religious connotations..

  21. #21 Shula
    July 8, 2009

    I’ve seen this blogged about in a few places recently as if it were *new*. It’s been noted the article is from 1997. From this blogs beginning to it’s end I’m not sure if the author is making fun of the topic of the article or the fact that the article leaves out many editorial formalities.

    I’m not a native to Kleberg county or Kingsville but I do live here now – not since ’97 but several years. I know Mr. Canales, he’s one of the very first people I met here. He’s creative, productive, cheerful, all in all a very pleasant person to be around. The city adopted his greeting as their own much in the same way our federal government comes up with resolutions declaring some day to be such and such day… a little nicety, a little formality… and quickly forgotten. Some people in town do know the heaveno story but it’s not commonly said, by any means.

    Some of you commenters ought to “saunter” on down… to any part of south Texas. You’re obviously metro nitwits. We tend to squash your types like annoying gnats.

  22. #22 Shula
    July 8, 2009

    I’ve seen this blogged about in a few places recently as if it were *new*. It’s been noted the article is from 1997. From this blogs beginning to it’s end I’m not sure if the author is making fun of the topic of the article or the fact that the article leaves out many editorial formalities.

    I’m not a native to Kleberg county or Kingsville but I do live here now – not since ’97 but several years. I know Mr. Canales, he’s one of the very first people I met here. He’s creative, productive, cheerful, all in all a very pleasant person to be around. The city adopted his greeting as their own much in the same way our federal government comes up with resolutions declaring some day to be such and such day… a little nicety, a little formality… and quickly forgotten. Some people in town do know the heaveno story but it’s not commonly said, by any means.

    Some of you commenters ought to “saunter” on down… to any part of south Texas. You’re obviously metro nitwits. We tend to squash your types like annoying gnats.

  23. #23 Stephanie Z
    July 8, 2009

    Wow, Shula. Way to represent. I’m now completely convinced that your adopted town and its citizens are rational, thoughtful people.

  24. #24 Kammy
    July 8, 2009

    @ Shula: Slow night in Texas, hon? Got tired of all the niceties in real life and thought you’d let off some steam on the intartubz?

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