Of course. That's partly why I said, "might."
Yes, it's possible (possible, I say) for it both to be rude to the professor and for it to be polite to the student.
If that means that it is possible for the student to think
he is polite, and for the professor to think
he is rude, I suppose so (although I think it is highly improbable if they are both speaking English. I would really wonder whether if someone seriously called the student's behavior "polite", whether he would know that the word "polite" meant. Wouldn't you?)
---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 05:04 PM ----------
Yes, I have most commonly heard it is used with regards to isreal vs palestine. Although I once heard it used regarding the 9/11 attack. And it is literally true--we think of them as terrorists, but they thought of themselves as well, probably not freedom fighters, which says to me that it's a relic of an older debate. I don't think either the palestinians nor the 9/11 attackers thought of themselves as freedom fighters. Who says they don't consider themselves to be terrorists? That just adds to the triviality of the expression.
But the statement itself sounds like it is meant to be a summary of the situation. Like saying it expresses what there is to know about the israel vs palestine conflict. But it doesn't say anything about the conflict, other than that they both think they are right, and that is so self evident. So what it really is implying is "the palestinians are not terrorists, they are fighting for their freedom" but since that demands much more explanation than a truism, some people fall back on the truism.
Oops, just saw that you added this. Yes, the fact of the matter is that he was rude.
I was thinking that few people are really out and out trying to support the "it's all a matter of opinion" position. Often they have an opinion that they think is right, and they are using the subjective stance defensively.
But I think you are right. Sometimes people really do think it is subjective. I just can't recall right now someone insisting that who didn't have an agenda one way or the other. But I suspect that is a psychological defense as well, some people just hate disagreement.
In fact, someone can be both a terrorist and
a freedom fighter (although, since most of them wouldn't be able to recognize freedom if they tripped on it at high noon, I expect what they really mean is something like "independence fighter" if they mean anything at all). After all, terrorism is a tactic, freedom is a goal. I guess that George Washington was a freedom fighter, but he was never accused of terrorism.
Why people employ that expression, "one man's X is another man's Y", I have no idea. I suspect that it is because they have not thought through what they are saying, and think it sounds cool or sophisticated. But that is to put it kindly. But what difference does that make if the expression is idiotic?
---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 05:06 PM ----------
One man's rant against subjectivism in another man's confirmation against objectivism.
Whatever that might mean.