Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's Only Words, and Words Are All I Have...

This article can easily be used for another Agenda Lies post. Lies are at the heart of the position espoused by Barry Rozner. But instead I have a different point to make.

And I believe I've made it before in some past post. That would be the old "sticks and stones" issue. Why would anyone get so bent out of shape over being called things? The only rational reason revolves around the implications the epithet provokes.

Imagine if you are a thief. To be widely known as a thief would put a serious cramp in your business as to be known as a thief would make you an object of constant scrutiny as well as to be considered one that cannot be trusted. To be regarded as a thief unjustly, however, brings about the same conditions. No one wants to be regarded as a thief whether one is or isn't an actual thief. Why is that?

Because being a thief is a bad thing. If someone was to regard me as a thief, I would be hurt because the fact is that I am not. It would hurt in the sense that it was untrue and I would be suffering that scrutiny without legitimate cause.

There are other words that imply the same thing. "Robber", or "burglar" also mean that one so labeled helps himself to the possessions of others without consent of the owners. "Klepper" is another, although it is derived from the psychological condition of one who steals for no reason. I wonder if kleptomaniacs are offended to be called a klepper or if they hear someone using the term as an epithet toward another.

Part of the point I am trying to make has to do with the word being hurled my way and whether or not it is accurate of me in any way, and whether if it is accurate, if it is something of which I would be proud, or at least not something by which I could find offense.

If I am called a polack, I can't be offended because I am of Polish decent. Though the term is supposedly a slur, what it means is not a great deal different from merely calling me Polish. Neither do I find to be offensive because to be Polish is not something I can help, nor does it have anything to do with the quality of my character. (Of course, I am an American first and foremost as far as nationality goes--the origins of my ancestors is entirely irrelevant.)

Imagine if you were actually perfect. Would there be any alternative word for that which could be hurtful? Being perfect is, well, perfect and perfection is that unattainable something to which most people aspire as closely as humanly possible. What would being marginalized for being perfect mean? Would it be a slight against you, or would it mean an issue for those who shun you? Obviously, the latter. Those who shun you have the issue for not being able to bear the thought that you are automatically "better" in everything. Not "better" or more worthy as a person, but better in terms of ability.

So where's the problem with being called any slur? Is the slur just a slang term for an otherwise accurate label?

Some nitwits who visit here have chastised me as a homophobe for my use of the contraction "homo". Boo-hoo. I am neither irrationally afraid of either mankind in general or homosexuals, whichever the mean by the term. They will call me "bigot" for my use of the term. But obviously, I am no bigot simply for using a contraction.

But it is hurtful, they will say? Why would or should it be if there is nothing wrong with being a homo? What the hell is wrong with them for taking offense at being something they proclaim to be morally benign?

I can be referred to as a "Bible-thumper" or a "Jesus freak" or a "fundie" and be marginalized as a result. That's OK. There are plenty of like-minded people with whom I can associate, as well as more rational "non-religious" people who can deal with our differences. And politically, I've been called an "asshole Republican" and I merely consider the source.

Recently, there has been legislation proposed, and I think adopted, by some states and possibly on the federal level, that would alter legal documents and laws that use the term "mentally retarded" or any of its forms. I bring this up because it is also irrational to me. It used to be an acceptable term, but because it's been used as an epithet, it is no longer acceptable. What seems to be lost on those well intentioned supporters of such changes is that whatever term or word is used to replace that which has become an epithet, the replacement will be used in the exact same manner in due course. The term was meant to attack those who have shown a lack of intelligence by their actions or mistakes regardless of their true level of intelligence. For the mentally retarded, to called a retard is merely a statement of fact. Change it to "challenged" and what do you think will happen? Do something stupid and someone will eventually call you "mentally challenged".

The real issue here is two-fold.

1) For the pitcher, it doesn't matter what words one uses to attack another person. The issue is the attack itself. The attitude that one is trying to insult and hurt another is the sin, not the method or word used.

2) For the catcher, this also has two components of note.
a) If the label is accurate or not, why let it hurt? Why give it the power intended by the pitcher? Get a spine.
b) If the label is accurate or not, what difference if it is a slang term or not?

19 comments:

Craig said...

You realize, of course, that it is only those on the right who are "homophobic" when they use the term "homo". Those on the left can use it with impunity.

Feodor said...

Partly it's a question of precision, which is a question lost on those of the right.

Homo could be homo-sapiens, say. Or homo-stasis. Or homo-genized. Or homo nyms/phones/logous.

Or, homo-zygous, homo-geneous.

Etc., etc., etc.

So, say, if I were to call Marshall an "imb", doubtless it could mean a number of things. Or could it?

In fact, I could call Marshall a homo. But then I guess we all know which kind of homo he is.

Nevermind.

Marshall Art said...

"Partly it's a question of precision, which is a question lost on those of the right."

You wish. The truth is that I need to be more precise for jokers like you to get the point. It's obvious to those who aren't psuedo-intellectual lefties that this post refers to name-calling, hurling insults and the use of epithets. Do I need to be more precise when I say that you're a pompous and self-obsessed boor? Perhaps I do, but to most everyone on the right, my meaning is not the least bit lost.

Only a feodor would think that his attempt to sound brilliant actually has relevance to this post. Is that all you could come up with for "homo-"? What a rube!

If you were to call me an "imb", it would only mean ONE thing: you're an idiot.

Oh, why don't you tell me just what kind of homo I am. This should be sweet!

Craig said...

Feo,

I actually kind of agree with you, we do need more precision. When folks on the left use the term "homophobe" it is a terribly imprecise term. Yet y'all continue to wield it like some kind of all powerful sword or something.

As far as "homo" or "homo." I would suggest that the context of use would make it fairly easy to determine what it is an abbreviation of. A subtlety that may be lost on some on the left, but certainly not beyond comprehension.

Feodor said...

Craig, apparently satire has been lost somewhere in the jungle of your comprehension.

Marshall, you are a homozon-needing individual.

Marshall Art said...

Feodor,

There's not enough of that product to save one who's as full of shit as you are.

Such as your comment to Craig, that you you are now claiming you were engaging in satire. Yeah. Right.

Craig said...

Feo,

Apparently satire has been lost somewhere in the jungle of your comprehension. Or possibly just overwhelmed by your condescension and off putting hubris.

So, I'll spell it out in simple terms.

When I used the abbreviation homo. parkie got his/hers panties in a wad and started the typical name calling crap we see from him. You however get a free pass from parkie for the same heinous sin. So, while you may consider my grasp of satire not up to your lofty standards, my ability to spot and identify a double standard is alive and well.

Or is it just those on the right that need to be precise.

Feodor said...

Those on the right need a whole lot more than precision, but you might as well start somewhere. Once clarity is won, it's easier to build the early blocks of learning. Later on, then, the metaphorical and metaleptic environment in which satire is bred can be scanned and enjoyed or rejoined.

As for "condescension and off putting hubris," you're entirely right: it's a double standard. One for conservatives who are smart and humane, upholding the great, society-benefiting, tradition of Burke, Smith, Eisenhower, Buckley, Bush the Senior (prior to drinking the Reagan/Atwater kool-aid) and Brooks.

And another for conservatives who are not smart and not humane and have no idea what witch-hunting traditions they keep alive (cf., The Crucible).

Craig said...

Ahh parkie,

So it's Ok if a liberal calls a conservative a homo, but not when a conservative uses the term as an abbreviation for a homo. Honestly I can't follow the convoluted twistings of what passes for logic in your world.

I guess precision is too much to ask from you.

But hey, if name calling is all you got, then I guess you stick with it.

Marshall Art said...

Craig,

As you can see, I deleted Parkie's inanities. He claims to have somehow been involved in some discussion of "precision", but as we both know, as does everyone who reads this blog, he doesn't do anything but deride and mock without any substantive counter argument. He's a putz and a loser who has a very limited time to show he has any gray matter.

Marshall Art said...

Feodor,

You haven't got a clue about precision as so many of your comments have been convoluted tripe meant to impress readers of what for you passes as intellectual thought. Parkie's impressed all to hell, but no one else is. As such, precision has never been a hallmark of your commentary in any way, shape or form. In fact, as you are doing here, you seem to take pains to muddy the conversational waters. This post is about name-calling and being called names. When epithets are hurled, there is no question as to the intent. Precision is NOT a question at all. When you're called an asshole, do you really have any doubt about what is meant by the many people who refer to you in that way? Are you confused as to how you might be a hollowed-out place for donkeys? What a fraud you are. Need I be more precise?

Feodor said...

If you want a lesson on precision, and doubtless you are prevaricating, check the 95th comment on your previous post.

Craig's Build said...

Marshall,

I'm thinking it might be fun to go the parkie/feo route. Make up a fake "blog" for the ID then troll around and hijack threads with inane, pompous, and condescending comments from behind the shield on anonymity. It really could be kind of fun.

Marshall Art said...

"If you want a lesson on precision, and doubtless you are prevaricating, check the 95th comment on your previous post."

If I want a lesson on precision, I won't seek that lesson from one who fails to provide an example of it, as demonstrated on the 96th comment of the previous post. And when you can show that I deviate from the truth, that would be helpful as well. You're not even precise in your lame accusations, which I guess is why they're lame.

Marshall Art said...

Craig,

I'd just as well maintain no hint of similarity to either boy, if you don't mind, regardless of the fun it might provoke. Besides, I'm having too much fun exposing their lameness. I would guess it's like taking advantage of small children considering how easy it is to do.

Marshall Art said...

Mark,

I had to delete your comment because of how you ended it. Here's the beginning of it:

"Blogger Mark said...

To me, the abbreviation of "homo" implies one who is a whining Liberal sob sister who gets offended at the slightest hint of an insult, like babies and emotional women."


Frankly, Mark, it is somewhat of a liberal thing to define an existing word to your own liking. That's how we get so many UN-precise usages for perfectly good words, such as "gay", "queer", "faggot" and "marriage". It's enough that such words can be again re-defined for general use a pejorative, such as: "That's so 'gay'". To have each of us have our own personal definitions only makes things more complicated.

As to the portion of your comment I deleted, it breaks one of the only rules upon which I insist upon, most especially for allies.

Craig said...

Marshall,

You are right, of course, but the ability to say whatever silly thing pops into your head while hiding behind the anonymity of a blank blog profile could be amusing. I'm surprised at the number of folks who feel the need to hide. Seems like if you are serious that you shouldn't be afraid to identify yourself.

Feodor said...

[To bring it all to one place]:

Marshall, you're always forgetting the steps you've taken in the conversation (a good strategy for you would be to reread the comment thread before you attempt a response). You thereby create large gaps in the logic of your responses. This results in leading your even weaker readers astray, such as Craig.

Witness:

1. I quoted the Declaration of Independence which argues, as its agenda, that people have unalienable rights endowed by the Creator that cannot be ignored without social and political conflict. I thought you could have read the Declaration and gotten this simple sense, but I assumed too much.

2. I did not know that you, with your nose too stuck to the ground, would follow the word "declare" in the Declaration right off the map of its use of "declare" as in declaration (without an object) into your use of "declare" which, as is now pointed out, a different sense (with an object, i.e., blue eyes).

3. So, I had to teach you that your use of the word "declare" was not related to a declaration - therefore having no role to play in the agendas of declaration.

You've now confused yourself in that you think I think the word "declare" itself is supposed to have an agenda. If you read again - perhaps too large a burden for you to bear - you'll not find that.

4. It is the phenomenon of declarations that have agendas, and the agenda of the Declaration of Independence is announced by and immediately follows the phrase which includes the word "declare: "declare the causes which impel them to the separation."


So:

5. The word "declare" has several senses. Your example is not the sense in which it is uses in the Declaration of Independence, as I have precisely demonstrated.

6. The word as used in the Declaration of Independence is used in the sense of making a declaration.

7. Declarations have agendas: to communicate, in a formal way, a or several reasoned point(s).

8. Among the points constituting the agenda of the Declaration of Independence, but not the first, is that all persons are endowed with unalienable rights.

9. I seem to hear a devaluation of whatever passages are thought to be included in what you call the Preamble. You'll notice, Marshall, that the text as written, and the text as our Founding Fathers printed it, nowhere writes, prints or mentions any concept that the document has a "preamble." Indeed, the first 90% of it is one long paragraph.

[I hope you can follow this precision, but, to be safe, please reread a few times.]

10. Lastly, and the original reason I introduced the Declaration of Independence in the first place is to agree with you that the GLBT community does indeed have an agenda.

One that the Declaration of Independence shares:

"all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Thus, your EPIC and HISTORIC FAIL.

Marshall Art said...

For a clear response to feodor's idiotic last comment, see the previous post.