Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What is offensive?

2013's buzzword is 'offensive'. Sorting into categories by the left, top of the pile is racism, followed by religious hatred and homophobia, then disabled and women etc.

Well for god's sake grow the hell up. Kids from five or six have no sense of offence or causing offence. They do not protect a single person in the playground or are protected, let alone from the class bully who actually does hurt them from beating them up, sheer rudeness, ignorance or just an opinion which differs from yours or your religion's.

So finding a blanket badness, even when totally legal, in any statement which doesn't compliment a group, individual, disability, or any of the other issues I've mentioned but are cast across playgrounds worldwide in every possible form without causing any harm to the apparently far weaker children involved.

My personal reaction has always been to rebel against oppressive rules and directions, so am happy to use every single possible outlawed word, partly because I can and partly to do my best to keep them alive as they are words which deserve to be used. Wog, coon, cripple, spastic, whatever they are are only words, and the ones I just mentioned, along with the thousands similar I know and would be happy to add, haven't hurt you, and can't hurt anyone else. The values assigned to them are not mine, but yours, as they only carry as much evil as the listener or reader sees in them. So as I see them as neutral then I have no problem repeating spastic, mongol, half wit, backward, cretin etc over and over again as if the Tourette's brake had been released, as no angels were killed in the process. If I spent an entire day playing a loop of one or various words to the general public not a single one could be worse at the end of it besides an inevitable level of tedium. The only harm from using them is the almost guaranteed backlash on the user from those who have the absolute stupidity to be offended and then take it out on the messenger.

As a Jew I've clearly heard the lot already, and can demonstrate the line between offence and crime. If someone walks into a bar mitzvah, or even a funeral, and shouts 'Yids/Hitler/gas chambers' etc is a fucking idiot, but the only offence is their discretion in bothering to do so. I use words, but don't direct them at individuals, as although that is harmless it is rude, so I don't. But no one on earth can tell me what words I can't use, so will use them generally as unless directed at individuals they are not being used to attempt to pick on anyone. But if that person went on to say Hitler should have finished the job and he wants people to carry it on he is inciting murder, so crossed the line. One is using words, which are empty, and the other is recommending actions which are potentially physical. So calling someone a poof is their problem if they feel offended, as if you're homosexual, black, Jewish or anything else people will pick on they will pick on it. But if someone then goes on to say it should be outlawed or driven out of town they are campaigning against those people. So call someone a word, empty, suggest they are hurt in some way, the existing law covers it quite well already and can always be used given the evidence required.

But anyone who spends time criticising others for the words they use alone are restricting everyone's freedom. A word today can become tomorrow's outlawed one, and the one which replaces it next, and if you're old enough to have lived through the average decade or so for this process to turn over then how the heck can you remember when one became non grata and what stupid neologism was coined by some twat in an American University to replace it this time? I've lived through the 'correct' terms being negro, coloured, black and who the hell knows what now (it's not 'person of colour' as most callers on LBC said that was last decade) although they all mean exactly the same thing and were the official term at the time. Why condemn an old lady who calls the radio (as they always do) who refers to coloured people, as it took them 30 years to get her to say that in the 60s. Anyone who follows this line of thought is by definition wrong as you can't take the identical word and say it's gone bad after a decade and needs changing to a new one every so often and anyone still using the old one is bad, racist, worthy of retraining etc, as they are simply using the ever-fruitless route of mental masturbation, but not just on their own minds but everyone else's open enough to be entered by their virtual fingers. But they're not getting into my mind thank you, and shouldn't be getting into yours. How can the 'proper' word for anything suddenly become wrong when the thing you are describing is the same, always was and always will be? Is calling a spastic someone with cerebral palsy (plus the grammatical issue of replacing a noun with a four word adjective, which breaks many other rules) going to make them better, or will they still be a spastic? Don't look at the words, look at the task of communication. If that breaks down what is the point of having a language at all?

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