Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 25

Thread: Bad words.

  1. #1
    Premium User Runefox's Avatar


    Weasyl
    Runefox
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    NL, Canada
    Posts
    481

    Bad words.

    I wanna talk for a minute about words. Specifically, bad words. Not curse words or anything like that, but words like "retarded". In fact, I have a good example of that one that I'll get to in a bit.

    Words are just one way we humans express ourselves. They're one part of many different things we use to communicate, and often don't on their own convey intention. Case in point, many people find it difficult to figure out the tone of written words over e-mail, instant messaging, Facebook, etc, because our written language just doesn't cover that.

    So coming back to the example of "retarded". Right now, this word is taboo, and so much so that I rarely heard anyone say it even in high school. That's a good thing, right? Not really. Instead, people used words like "special", "short bus", and "delayed" with the same kind of venom that they would have put behind "retarded". What's more, "retarded" was itself originally a politically correct way of replacing (medically inaccurate) words like "mongoloid", "moron", "imbecile", "idiot", "amented", and "cretin". The word has changed over the years to sound more sensitive, and yet its replacements still retain the negative connotation, and we're stuck on a treadmill of replacing words instead of getting to the root of the issue.

    In the case of "retarded" and its predecessors and descendants, there never will be a truly neutral term. It will always be spun negatively so long as people view the condition that way. So instead of endlessly scratching words off the list of acceptable discourse, why are we not working more towards making the intent itself socially unacceptable? Why do we place such high value on words alone and not the intent behind them?

  2. #2
    Senior Torrijos_sama's Avatar
    Weasyl
    Torrijos_sama
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Gender
    Mail time
    Posts
    111
    Well, there are other sayings that complement retarded that have entered usage over the years:

    "Ain't the sharpest tool in the shed."
    "No grain in the silo."
    And, my favorite: "Buscuits ain't baked."

    As long as something is considered in popular opinion to be crude past a certain age level, people come up with euphemisms to describe the same thing in more poetic or caustic terms while avoiding usage of the actual word that defines or is synonymous with the euphemism. That is the entire basis of euphemism in the first place, is to describe a taboo or crass subject in seemingly less crass or insensitive ways.

  3. #3
    Senior Gamedog's Avatar
    Weasyl
    Gamedog
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Москва
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    843


    We'll never rid ourselves of offensive words, it'll just keep changing to the next one and the next one and will never stop.

  4. #4
    So instead of endlessly scratching words off the list of acceptable discourse, why are we not working more towards making the intent itself socially unacceptable?
    The intent of what exactly? To crudely add emphasis to or against something or someone? Why not just remove the negative common vernacular.
    Get a loada this guy here.
    https://twitter.com/DogdongD

  5. #5
    Senior Vae's Avatar
    Weasyl
    Vae
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    the sky
    Gender
    Ludwig Von Koopa
    Posts
    1,697
    No one will ever truly get along, and the world will never be completely free of bias and prejudice, so these words and intents will always exist in some form.

    Stigmatize the overt terminology, and people will just become more vague about it.
    But it will still exist.

    And while we may become more accepting of certain things, as a culture, those biases will never entirely disappear.


    In any case, I'm not fond of the over-investment that people have with word choice, either.
    Last edited by Vae; 06-24-2014 at 08:52 PM.
    Resident Koopa Trash

  6. #6
    Senior Matt Conner's Avatar
    Weasyl
    MakePupsNotWar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Gender
    male
    Posts
    326


    This pretty much sums it up pretty well. Carlin has pretty good bits on language too.
    Yeah? well, y'know...that's just like, your opinion, man.

    Like Chess? Play with me! Just drop me a PM whenever you're down. I have a chess.com account, and I can also set up a game with you on lichess (no subscription process or login required) whenever you like.

  7. #7
    Senior Dreaming's Avatar
    Weasyl
    Dreaming
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Haunting your mind
    Gender
    N/A
    Posts
    291
    There's a great phrase for this, it's something along the lines of "your words are only as terrible as their context"

  8. #8
    Junior batbot's Avatar
    Weasyl
    hareteeth
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Gender
    hate
    Posts
    28
    i dunno, I think there's a huge difference between saying someone is foolish, or doesn't consider their situation very well, or lacks "the smarts" for whatever they are doing, or addressing their boorishness; and telling someone that they are behaving like they have a neurological condition, and the insinuation that said neurological condition is bad --- not it a "you'd rather not have it and you wouldn't choose it" way, but in a "it's a shameful and harmful and incorrect to be this way". You can call someone "retarded" and be speaking just a plain fact about their medical condition...or you can tell someone they are "acting like a retard", which is just a method of social control to say "you're behaving in a way I don't like or find pointless".

    I also think there's a huge difference in telling people (p. much usually from the bottom-up) to not use slurs and terms of disparagement about stuff they can't help, especially against people who do not have to live with the stigma they're creating (e.g. one, as a non-mentally disabled person, calling your non-mentally disabled friend "a retard", neither of you having to live with the actual social status of being mentally disabled/handicapped/retarded, and being perceived as "a retard")...there's a difference between that and saying that if we all just use the right words we will be holding hands in a field of peace and looove. That's more, what? Liberalism? Neo-Liberalism? Well, the kind of leftist ideology that is easy for people who live in higher social classes (higher socioeconomic class, white, straight, men, etc) to get behind because in fundamentally means they don't have to change anything in society besides their own language.
    Language is very important (especially for groups who do not get to define their own terminology or who's experiences do not exist in common terminology) , very malleable, but ultimately not as important as the stance behind the language. It's easy to tell people what they are supposed to think and say (fascist! ;p), but less easy to fundamentally change the social position of minority groups, to where they are treated as equals.

  9. #9
    I've had this discussion with my friend before, and we came to the same conclusion. I don't think anyone who uses the word "retard" in the vernacular actually thinks less of retarded people. It's understandable why some people might find it offensive, but isn't that the point in the first place? The question really is why are people trying to be offensive and crude, and the answer is because they feel the situation calls for it.
    Get a loada this guy here.
    https://twitter.com/DogdongD

  10. #10
    Senior Torrijos_sama's Avatar
    Weasyl
    Torrijos_sama
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Gender
    Mail time
    Posts
    111
    People like being bold, or communicating as much as possible with as little speech as possible, and so, bold, vulgar, or laconic statements will always seem to work in conversation.

    Bold and vulgar language, when euphemism is avoided, are used with the intent of the speaker to have an impact other than what ideas they're trying to communicate through language. They use it because it highlights a point, causes an emotional reaction in the listener or reader, or, perhaps, they use it due to a lack of knowledge of more suitable words. Retarded still technically has its own definition that was expanded through the term "Mental Retardation" as a more proper term than "feeble minded" or "idiot" in the medical community, and as the term is used more in popular culture, it will be used as an adjective or as a comparative for people.

    In a few years, as we've seen "aspie" or "Sperg" enter popular usage, I'm sure that when a new term for ASD arises or is accepted by the medical community and slowly trickles into pop culture, that such words will also be used.

    Personally, I want to see "Neurodiverse" take on a negative connotation as society at large adopts "neurotypical" as a self-identifier rather than as an insult used in the in-crowd of autism support forums, and indigo child/New Age asshats as an insult for usage against normal people.

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •