Unfortunately, there are people out there who insist on being offended. Worst of all are the people who get offended on behalf of other people."life is too short to cause offence ... Your bar is a bit of an exception maybe?
No, worst of all are the people who deliberately and knowingly give offence.Unfortunately, there are people out there who insist on being offended. Worst of all are the people who get offended on behalf of other people.
There was a recent court case in Scotland where a man was prosecuted for revving his car engine in a racist manner. How the driver was supposed to know the religious affiliation of a couple of pedestrians, is beyond me.
Racism and religious bigotry are not the same. And in Scotland it is easy to know the religious affiliation of many people - football colours can tell you a lot, for example - as can wearing a turban, a yarmulka. Perhaps the wife was dressed as many Muslim women do — very identifiably!
"Gay" meaning 'merry' has had a negative connotation (overindulgence in pleasures) since the 1600s when "a gay man" just meant 'a rake' and that usage remained very common until recently in phrases like "a gay dog." The OED quotes a physician from 1897 writing "My patient was a married man who admitted having been very gay in early life" with no notion of homosexuality implied.Well- I'm not sure of how 'gay' came to be attributed to homosexuals maybe someone can enlighten me? BUT it was (originally at least) a more pleasant alternative to faggot,bent, queer etc .. other words that were 'nicked' or forced upon them
I think it's intelligent and to the point. Consensus is the sine qua non of any nation under Law, and of the society it serves. Norms of offensiveness established by consensus are good, they work, they give guidelines for how to deal with offensiveness-- shame it and shun it.Brioche -Unfortunately, there are people out there who insist on being offended. Worst of all are the people who get offended on behalf of other people.
I think this subject has perhaps reached its zenith - the above comment is just not worth answering ...
I've always believed in calling a spade a spade and if someone doesn't like it, they know what they can do! Of course that does not mean I can gratuitously insult someone, but speaking the truth should not be construed as insulting.
Porteno- If by calling 'a spade a spade' you mean just that, I agree... but what and whose spade exactly? .. spades can be used to dig holes and bury too . I've heard people say 'that idea is spastic ,or gay ' 'don't be such a jew' ..etc many times . My question is , why use words that denote groups in society ? Why not REALLY call a spade a spade by saying ...that's a stupid/crap idea or don't be so mean/tight fisted ..for me this is calling a spade a spade ...
it's being indirectly 'gratuitously insulting' to handicapped , homosexual and Jewish people (to name but a few) -to pin point their social group as a term for insult .. it's what I call linguistic bullying and on a par with censorship , albeit on the other end of the scale.
Worst of all are the people who get offended on behalf of other people... moving (physically or mentally)outside your own social tunnel is sometimes enlightening ... this is why in the sixties many people supported groups that were outside their own -
Brioche - that's what I get for trying to be ironic it doesn't always work !
Well, Mgarizona, you have really identified some of the reason why this thread is so contentious. We have is the intersection of language issues with ethical/religious issues. You quote Christian scripture, but the principles involved can apply whether one is Christian or not; the injunction to put oneself imaginatively in the place of the "other" is central to many ethical and religious traditions.I would only like to interject a simple query, isn't "getting offended on behalf of other people," especially when one is in a better position to defend them than they may be to defend themselves, a basic tenet of the empathy the Judeo-Christian societies have been paying lip service to lo these many centuries?
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)
Yes it can be used in a way that does not refer to homosexuality or being happy... and is not meant to offend gay people either.
"you're gay man" or "that's so gay" are common with young people...
Words are arbitrary until they are given meaning by a society. Someday "spic" may be much less offensive than it is now and will be used sparingly to identify people people of Hispanic origin. The dictionary, however, will still have a deragotory definition for the word. But today, labeling anything or anyone that is bad or uncool as "gay" is currently offensive to a group of people (that frequently tells you it's offensive to them). I'm gay and I'm rather indifferent to the expression today. Alot of my straight friends use it, and when I'm around they catch themselves and say "oops sorry" even though I tell them I'm indifferent to the expression. They know that I know that they're not trying to be offensive, but they know that the expression is offensive to a group on a whole because it stems from homophobia (not that the expression itself is directly homophobic).What? Call a spade a spade? Any student of language knows that the word "spade" has, among other meanings, one that refers to a group of humans. You dig?
Online etymology dict. says...."To call a spade a spade "use blunt language" (1542) translates a Gk. proverb (known to the Romans), but Erasmus mistook Gk. skaphe "trough, bowl" for a derivative of the stem of skaptein "to dig," and the mistake has stuck. The original, then, is "to call a bowl a bowl." "
It adds, in a secondary definition, " Derogatory meaning "black person" is 1928, from the color of the playing card symbol."
So, let's all stand up and chastise users of the older phrase, because, who knows, it just might be taken as a reference, however indirect, to something else which just might be offensive
Sensitivity is good. Oversensitivity can have some absurd results. Would someone please pass the euphemisms?
I agree that they are in the vast majority of cases not doing anything to be deliberately malicious.This expression is ubiquitous among kids today, especially teenagers. It's used by young people who are not tainted by anti-homosexual feeling, and have accepted the teachings of tolerance by their public-school experience on this matter.
It's pointless to change the subject to how offended any of us choose to be about it.
Teenagers love to belch loudly, make fake farting noises, and many of the slang expressions each new crop of them adopt are chosen for their aggravation value. They are not malicious in their obnoxiousness, it seems to be a natural response to the pressures and confusions of impending adult life.
I don't agree, and this is at odds with your previous paragraph. I thought these were kids who "are not tainted by anti-homosexual feeling, and have accepted the teachings of tolerance". Surely if they use a term which causes deep offense and hurt (I doubt HistofEng was being hyperbolic in his phrase "years of agony") but do not wish to be bigoted then it is just that don't realise how insulting they are being and would probably be glad to be told. After all can you imagine them going round saying "it was a nigger of a bad day" or "my teacher's as boring as a Jew" in natural everyday unashamed usage? Why not if they revel in simply causing offence? Because they have been educated that there is a reason why they are asked not to say such things and in these instances the offence and hurt caused far outweighs the thrill of breaking the rules."Educating" teenagers about how offensive they may seem to some people is pointless, and will get you nowhere-- that to me is the one relevant fact here. Telling a kid that age he's being offensive is music to his ears. But it won't "educate" them-- they already know they're standing euphemisms on their head and putting them to insulting use.
I really don't agree. They are not doing anything on purpose, just following a usage. However, your comparison with "going postal" is just not fair, and for two good reasons at least that spring to mind (and both are why I disputed your analogy of "lame") -They're rejecting the "proper" use of the word gay, and the redefinition of it (unlike its original promulgation beginning back in the late 60s) comes from the bottom and percolates to the top.
That's the way language is, its changes are uncontrollable grassroots phenomena. "I'm about to go postal" is not a malicious slur on a certain sector of the workforce-- but any mailman who voiced hurt feelings, or complained about what was being implied about his sanity, would be jeered at by these young people. Fuckem if they can't take a joke, is the attitude that applies here.
I wouldn't assume such advocacy on your part for a minute. However, I do think you are underestimating the offence nay harm this usage can cause. I also think you are underestimating the young. I think if you took the time to explain precisely why it is could be so hurtful they wouldn't want to use it and in the meantime yes, they should be told off by parents and teachers for using it. You don't not tell a child to look twice before crossing the road for fear that he'll do the opposite and run straight across, and you don't laugh indulgently if your kid calls someone a Jew in a loud voice as you're sitting in a restaurant. After all if they are over 10, say, then they are starting to understand for themselves why it's not good to harm other people and hopefully they are starting to get a distaste for it in its own right.In rebutting any of this, please refrain from mistaking my descriptive observations as advocacy on my part. Hurting people's feelings is a different matter from this example of colloquial usage, in my opinion, and disregard for the thin-skinned is an ineradicable trait of adolescence.
I've talked with my own kids about things like this, and my wife is in the restaurant business, where she picks up all sorts of information on young adults, their language and their attitudes. I still feel I speak with confidence, even though I disagree on all points with people whose intelligence I respect.I think if you took the time to explain precisely why it is could be so hurtful they wouldn't want to use it and in the meantime yes, they should be told off by parents and teachers for using it.
And below!This expression is ubiquitous among kids today, especially teenagers.
If it is within my power to lessen someone else's "misery" by being polite, I will be polite. If I am (rarely and momentarily) discomfitted by the effort, so be it. The people who are being too thin-skinned are really the ones who are asked to be aware of their language and don't want to bother.These young people feel people shouldn't be so thin-skinned. If "that's so gay" is causing deep offense, the offended parties should take their share of the general misery and learn to live with it.
Young people who aren't black or gay or members of some other "special group" feel discomfited by the pains they are supposed to take, walking on eggshells in the workplace, never telling jokes with any kind of edge, watching what you say at every turn.....
Being offended on behalf of other people is indeed another step over a boundary that is already way outstretched. It can be done in ignorance and even bigotry, as in the case of people who smugly correct anyone who doesn't use "native American" or some other double-jowlful of syllables-- on behalf of people who are in many cases offended by exactly that term, if you but asked them.
What's that got to do with the price of tea? I fail to see how political corectness fits in this thread. Can't you see the difference between forcing a euphemism upon people, and using an existing word that normally describes a category of people, as a term to express dislike, weariness or aversion?Personally, foxfirebrand says it all and I agree pretty well 100%. I too, am fed up with all these euphemisms and 'political correctness'.
Maybe I misunderstood something in you story... is nursophobia a common phenomenon?I know a male nurse on a forum where his detractors were always demeaning him with bedpan jokes, or so-gay attempts at jokes. He started signing off as "dances with bedpans." This guy is not only one up on his would-be tormentors, he's miles ahead of the type of person who would stew about the treatment he was getting. Score one for male nurses with a sense of humor-- and anti-sensitivity..