Posted by munnyman5 (184 posts) -

Hey y'all... he says, as though anybody is going to actually read this.

So I don't know how deep or how crazy the discussion about the various language slip-ups on live streams from ages ago because, to be frank, the Internet is the last place I want to turn to see people argue. I don't like arguments even when they're appropriate, like debates or whatnot, so Internet arguments are... just the worst, man. Why I am writing this post is because after thinking about that kind of language for a long time, and learning some stuff in psychology courses, I finally realized why my hot-blooded, young-man perspective on it was so wrong (at least, the way I see it now). So, if you are anything like I was, maybe this particular set of statements will help you understand why there's a such thing as "hurtful language." But to see how I got to my current standpoint on the issue, it would help to know where I started.

My Original Viewpoint on Using Certain "Offensive" Words:

Back in the day (read: up until a few weeks ago) I used to tell people this: "If you let vibrations in the air created by somebody's mouth change your mood, you are giving that person SUPERPOWERS." The general idea there makes sense, right? I mean, if you can sit there and say/write something that changes my mood, you've effectively got the power to control my emotions, like a toned-down version of the Mule from Asimov's second "Foundation" novel. So I used to tell people to nut the fuck up, and stop being such goddamn wimps about all this shit. Words are words; they're either variations in sound wave pressure or they're lines on a surface. Either way, you're a human with the ability to reason, and you should be able to process that shit for what it is before you get all upset about it, you fucking stupid animal. I know DOGS who have a better ability to deal with strong language than you. But all that was just a viewpoint created by myself, in my own head, upon thinking about it.

Important Things I Learned:

This could be a massive list if I was speaking generally, but let's narrow it down to the soft science known as "psychology." Now I'm a microbiologist doing neuroscience research and applying to medical school; in other words, I laugh in good-natured derision at my friends majoring in psychology. I say "good-natured" because I was originally going to do a minor in psychology before I got the research position; I want to go into neurology at some point, so having some psychology background seemed like a reasonably good idea. Alas, I was accepted to do some awesome shit in a neuroscience lab, and so I am just doing those psychology courses as electives.

Amidst all the unfounded nonsense created by the likes of Freud, and all the weird theories for which the so-called "evidence" would be scoffed at by a real-ass scientist, I found the idea of "Affect-Stable vs. Affect-Intense." Basically, it's just another way to classify personalities; most people will lie somewhere on a continuum between the two personality types. As for the definitions: "affect-stable" describes people who don't feel their emotions very strongly, and "affect-intense" describes people who do. I reckon you'd be hard-pressed to find somebody who is COMPLETELY to one side or the other. An example of a fully affect-stable personality would be the "Neutrals" from that Futurama episode; you couldn't get a rise out of those folks no matter what. Affect-stable individuals are those who act pretty much the same at a totally crazy concert as they do at their dad's funeral. An example of a fully affect-intense personality could be River Tam from "Firefly," whose amygdala was stripped, and as such she felt every emotion to its fullest extent, lacking the ability to push them to the back of her mind (no info on whether that's actually what would happen if you cut out somebody's amygdala). Affect-intense individuals would be going NUTS at the aforementioned concert, and totally inconsolable at the aforementioned funeral.

I'll be the first guy to say "yeah fuckin' right, psychologist" to theories such as the "Affect-Stable vs. Affect-Intense" one. But in terms of personalities most people have encountered, you probably know people who lie near one end or the other of the spectrum, and quite a few somewhere in between. Reliable evidence or not, it's a way of looking at people that made sense to pretty much everybody in that psych class, my friends who don't do any psychology (damn few... we're rotten with soft-science hippies over here), and even my parents (psychology probably wasn't even a thing back in their schooling days in India). It's not the ONLY spectrum on which to evaluate somebody's personality traits, but rather one of the many I've learned about so far, and certainly one that I think explains people's varying opinions on the use of potentially offensive language.

What it Means for the Type of Language you Choose to use:

If you're like me, you've had enough horrible language hurled at you that you've learned to deal with it. When I was an RA in my second year of university, I had some seriously hateful, racist insults yelled at me by drunk first years, and hell, I began to revel in it; I'd join in on the joke - usually about sexual intercourse with my mom, or my "Hindu girlfriend," or something about terrorism - and take it to the Nth degree, to the point where they were just astonished that I wasn't trying to murder them. One might say that, ever since I grew out of my extremely short temper, I'm about 90% affect-stable (pulled that number out of nowhere. Psychology!). So when somebody says some offensive word that reminds of some real awful stuff that's happened in my life - and it does happen, to most people, I think - I'm not fazed by it. That's not bragging, to be clear; there are just different types of people in the world, and I happen to be one who is very hard to upset. That has its ups and downs; one downside is that my calm demeanor often makes bosses/professors/lab supervisors think I'm not taking anything seriously, which REALLY sucks because I am pretty serious about what I do academically.

On the other hand, there are people who may have had some terrible shit happen to them, and when some strong language reminds them of that experience, it can ignite a whole lot of negative emotions in that person. To me, that was really enough of an argument against using words like - and please forgive me for using them here, but they tie in to a later point - the homophobic f-word, the n-word, and c-word, among many others. I mean, I've got my ass kicked by a group of guys for being brown. They called me a "sand n****r" and a "camel jockey" because... I don't know, were those used in some movie or something? We were pretty young, I wouldn't doubt they got the idea from TV. [Side note: I always felt like "sand n****r" was a lazy epithet, since you're just tagging a quick geography description onto an existing hateful word, but that's besides the point.] Anyway, I'm just saying that I understand how those memories can be brought to the forefront of your thoughts when one of those powerful trigger words is used; to me, the following thought is "huh, yeah that did happen, didn't it? Heh, that sucked. Glad I didn't get a permanent Owen Wilson nose or anything," and then I usually proceed to tell the above story. To a gay person who got their ass whooped while being called the f-word or a woman whose abusive former husband used to use the c-word, the reaction to the use of such words - in any context, even a joke - could be the same as my reaction to "sand n****r" (if they're really affect-stable), or it could be to break down into tears (affect-intense). Both are perfectly normal - and hopefully now, a bit more understandable - human reactions to painful memories.

So by now, you must know what I'm getting at, right? I mean, I'm sure some affect-intense people can develop coping mechanisms and get better at not reacting to their memories, and I encourage folks to do so if such reactions are interfering with their everyday functioning. But I think that as much as I like to cuss like a sailor, and flaunt my foul, horrible mouth - and trust me, I do - the least I can do is limit that kind of language use to when I'm around people I know very well, and not within earshot of those I don't. Unless I'm around somebody who I know really doesn't like the use of a certain word(s), in which case I tailor my language to suit that situation.

I don't think that's "cheating," because as I see it, the issue with using potentially "offensive" language is, well, that you'll offend somebody. That's not a huge leap of logic, is it? The idea behind cutting those words out of the vast majority of my life is to make sure I don't hurt anybody's feelings by bringing up painful memories. Some people can't help but feel bad if such memories arise, and using strong language is a pretty reliable way to get those memories to show up at somebody's brain-door, waiting to ruin their day. I wouldn't dare change effect somebody's emotions negatively, especially if it's just for a spot of fun with blue language.

Of course, this can be taken to a ridiculous degree, ex. "I found out my grandma died while I was playing Halo, could you please never talk about Halo ever again," or "I was brutally beaten by a guy wearing a shirt that said 'CHINA DON'T CARE' on it, could we please never talk about China ever again?" I mean, sure, there may be people who can never look at a pink shirt ever again without having a full nervous breakdown. But the real "Bad Words" mentioned above are categorized as such because they can elicit those emotions in a WHOLE BUNCH of people. I mean, check out the stats for the percentage of girls/women who were sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, for example. Spoiler alert: it's disgustingly high. I mean, even ONE sexual assault is a disgustingly high number of sexual assaults, but now just imagine the number of people who could have those terrible memories resurface if somebody walking by on the street was talking about "that c*** that turned me down at the club last night."

And THAT, dear friends, is why I changed my way of thinking about "offensive language."

TL;DR

Some words can trigger bad memories - and, possibly, correspondingly bad emotions - in a lot of people. If you must use these words, be careful who you use them around, as you never know who was beaten, molested, etc. and will have their day (or more, or less) ruined by your use of these words. The context means nothing, as often just the sound of the word just has a hard mental connection with a memory. Ask me, I've felt it work in my own head; I just don't care. But I DO care about not hurting people's feelings for fun, so I barely ever use these words (that I once loved to use) today.

#1 Posted by munnyman5 (184 posts) -

Hey y'all... he says, as though anybody is going to actually read this.

So I don't know how deep or how crazy the discussion about the various language slip-ups on live streams from ages ago because, to be frank, the Internet is the last place I want to turn to see people argue. I don't like arguments even when they're appropriate, like debates or whatnot, so Internet arguments are... just the worst, man. Why I am writing this post is because after thinking about that kind of language for a long time, and learning some stuff in psychology courses, I finally realized why my hot-blooded, young-man perspective on it was so wrong (at least, the way I see it now). So, if you are anything like I was, maybe this particular set of statements will help you understand why there's a such thing as "hurtful language." But to see how I got to my current standpoint on the issue, it would help to know where I started.

My Original Viewpoint on Using Certain "Offensive" Words:

Back in the day (read: up until a few weeks ago) I used to tell people this: "If you let vibrations in the air created by somebody's mouth change your mood, you are giving that person SUPERPOWERS." The general idea there makes sense, right? I mean, if you can sit there and say/write something that changes my mood, you've effectively got the power to control my emotions, like a toned-down version of the Mule from Asimov's second "Foundation" novel. So I used to tell people to nut the fuck up, and stop being such goddamn wimps about all this shit. Words are words; they're either variations in sound wave pressure or they're lines on a surface. Either way, you're a human with the ability to reason, and you should be able to process that shit for what it is before you get all upset about it, you fucking stupid animal. I know DOGS who have a better ability to deal with strong language than you. But all that was just a viewpoint created by myself, in my own head, upon thinking about it.

Important Things I Learned:

This could be a massive list if I was speaking generally, but let's narrow it down to the soft science known as "psychology." Now I'm a microbiologist doing neuroscience research and applying to medical school; in other words, I laugh in good-natured derision at my friends majoring in psychology. I say "good-natured" because I was originally going to do a minor in psychology before I got the research position; I want to go into neurology at some point, so having some psychology background seemed like a reasonably good idea. Alas, I was accepted to do some awesome shit in a neuroscience lab, and so I am just doing those psychology courses as electives.

Amidst all the unfounded nonsense created by the likes of Freud, and all the weird theories for which the so-called "evidence" would be scoffed at by a real-ass scientist, I found the idea of "Affect-Stable vs. Affect-Intense." Basically, it's just another way to classify personalities; most people will lie somewhere on a continuum between the two personality types. As for the definitions: "affect-stable" describes people who don't feel their emotions very strongly, and "affect-intense" describes people who do. I reckon you'd be hard-pressed to find somebody who is COMPLETELY to one side or the other. An example of a fully affect-stable personality would be the "Neutrals" from that Futurama episode; you couldn't get a rise out of those folks no matter what. Affect-stable individuals are those who act pretty much the same at a totally crazy concert as they do at their dad's funeral. An example of a fully affect-intense personality could be River Tam from "Firefly," whose amygdala was stripped, and as such she felt every emotion to its fullest extent, lacking the ability to push them to the back of her mind (no info on whether that's actually what would happen if you cut out somebody's amygdala). Affect-intense individuals would be going NUTS at the aforementioned concert, and totally inconsolable at the aforementioned funeral.

I'll be the first guy to say "yeah fuckin' right, psychologist" to theories such as the "Affect-Stable vs. Affect-Intense" one. But in terms of personalities most people have encountered, you probably know people who lie near one end or the other of the spectrum, and quite a few somewhere in between. Reliable evidence or not, it's a way of looking at people that made sense to pretty much everybody in that psych class, my friends who don't do any psychology (damn few... we're rotten with soft-science hippies over here), and even my parents (psychology probably wasn't even a thing back in their schooling days in India). It's not the ONLY spectrum on which to evaluate somebody's personality traits, but rather one of the many I've learned about so far, and certainly one that I think explains people's varying opinions on the use of potentially offensive language.

What it Means for the Type of Language you Choose to use:

If you're like me, you've had enough horrible language hurled at you that you've learned to deal with it. When I was an RA in my second year of university, I had some seriously hateful, racist insults yelled at me by drunk first years, and hell, I began to revel in it; I'd join in on the joke - usually about sexual intercourse with my mom, or my "Hindu girlfriend," or something about terrorism - and take it to the Nth degree, to the point where they were just astonished that I wasn't trying to murder them. One might say that, ever since I grew out of my extremely short temper, I'm about 90% affect-stable (pulled that number out of nowhere. Psychology!). So when somebody says some offensive word that reminds of some real awful stuff that's happened in my life - and it does happen, to most people, I think - I'm not fazed by it. That's not bragging, to be clear; there are just different types of people in the world, and I happen to be one who is very hard to upset. That has its ups and downs; one downside is that my calm demeanor often makes bosses/professors/lab supervisors think I'm not taking anything seriously, which REALLY sucks because I am pretty serious about what I do academically.

On the other hand, there are people who may have had some terrible shit happen to them, and when some strong language reminds them of that experience, it can ignite a whole lot of negative emotions in that person. To me, that was really enough of an argument against using words like - and please forgive me for using them here, but they tie in to a later point - the homophobic f-word, the n-word, and c-word, among many others. I mean, I've got my ass kicked by a group of guys for being brown. They called me a "sand n****r" and a "camel jockey" because... I don't know, were those used in some movie or something? We were pretty young, I wouldn't doubt they got the idea from TV. [Side note: I always felt like "sand n****r" was a lazy epithet, since you're just tagging a quick geography description onto an existing hateful word, but that's besides the point.] Anyway, I'm just saying that I understand how those memories can be brought to the forefront of your thoughts when one of those powerful trigger words is used; to me, the following thought is "huh, yeah that did happen, didn't it? Heh, that sucked. Glad I didn't get a permanent Owen Wilson nose or anything," and then I usually proceed to tell the above story. To a gay person who got their ass whooped while being called the f-word or a woman whose abusive former husband used to use the c-word, the reaction to the use of such words - in any context, even a joke - could be the same as my reaction to "sand n****r" (if they're really affect-stable), or it could be to break down into tears (affect-intense). Both are perfectly normal - and hopefully now, a bit more understandable - human reactions to painful memories.

So by now, you must know what I'm getting at, right? I mean, I'm sure some affect-intense people can develop coping mechanisms and get better at not reacting to their memories, and I encourage folks to do so if such reactions are interfering with their everyday functioning. But I think that as much as I like to cuss like a sailor, and flaunt my foul, horrible mouth - and trust me, I do - the least I can do is limit that kind of language use to when I'm around people I know very well, and not within earshot of those I don't. Unless I'm around somebody who I know really doesn't like the use of a certain word(s), in which case I tailor my language to suit that situation.

I don't think that's "cheating," because as I see it, the issue with using potentially "offensive" language is, well, that you'll offend somebody. That's not a huge leap of logic, is it? The idea behind cutting those words out of the vast majority of my life is to make sure I don't hurt anybody's feelings by bringing up painful memories. Some people can't help but feel bad if such memories arise, and using strong language is a pretty reliable way to get those memories to show up at somebody's brain-door, waiting to ruin their day. I wouldn't dare change effect somebody's emotions negatively, especially if it's just for a spot of fun with blue language.

Of course, this can be taken to a ridiculous degree, ex. "I found out my grandma died while I was playing Halo, could you please never talk about Halo ever again," or "I was brutally beaten by a guy wearing a shirt that said 'CHINA DON'T CARE' on it, could we please never talk about China ever again?" I mean, sure, there may be people who can never look at a pink shirt ever again without having a full nervous breakdown. But the real "Bad Words" mentioned above are categorized as such because they can elicit those emotions in a WHOLE BUNCH of people. I mean, check out the stats for the percentage of girls/women who were sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, for example. Spoiler alert: it's disgustingly high. I mean, even ONE sexual assault is a disgustingly high number of sexual assaults, but now just imagine the number of people who could have those terrible memories resurface if somebody walking by on the street was talking about "that c*** that turned me down at the club last night."

And THAT, dear friends, is why I changed my way of thinking about "offensive language."

TL;DR

Some words can trigger bad memories - and, possibly, correspondingly bad emotions - in a lot of people. If you must use these words, be careful who you use them around, as you never know who was beaten, molested, etc. and will have their day (or more, or less) ruined by your use of these words. The context means nothing, as often just the sound of the word just has a hard mental connection with a memory. Ask me, I've felt it work in my own head; I just don't care. But I DO care about not hurting people's feelings for fun, so I barely ever use these words (that I once loved to use) today.

#2 Posted by ManU_Fan10ne (662 posts) -

Good read.

#3 Posted by Spoonman671 (4597 posts) -

I just made a really delicious quiche.  Do you want me to leave these eggshells here for you to walk on?

#4 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4601 posts) -

Words aren't offensive, intent is offensive. The n-word is, objectively speaking, as neutral as any other 'vibrations', like you said. What offends people is the attitude of the person that caused them to say it. I can just as easily not give a fuck if someone calls my mom a whore as I can immediately want to kill them, and it all depends on what I perceive about that person at the time. Even if they don't mean ill, using words that have negative connotations means they have no regard for those connotations, which is in certain instances, offensive.

Curse words are just a short-cut to get your offensive intent across more easily. By saying 'please don't use that word', you're not being a weak-willed in regards to that word, you're attempting to remove a tool from the offending person's inventory of douchiness.

#5 Posted by tunaburn (1890 posts) -

i dunno. i just choose to let words not bother me. i still dont understand why anyone should get so offended over it. if someone is going out of thier way to try and hurt you then you know youre already a better person and therefore won. who cares what they say now. thats how i see it anyways.

#6 Posted by I_smell (3924 posts) -

I heard a story from a comedian once where he said "retard" a lot onstage, and after the show some guy came up to him like 
"Hey my son's a retard and I have to actually spend every day and night helping him live like a normal human being, and it's turned my entire life upside-down. I figured coming out to this would be a way to cool off, but thanks for stripping away ALL that hard work I do in like 30 seconds you fucking unbelievably selfish asshole."
 
and that made the comedian think for a long time about his stance on "hey comedy's about anything, you should be able to say anything, you can offend people, check me out I'm George Carlin" and he stopped using his job to bully people who don't deserve it.
 
Anyway it's funny you're starring out all the swear words here, I'm interested in what your stance is on that. Like if I brought up Chris Rock's comedy bit on "There's black people, and then there's niggers", then it would kind of nullify the POINT of  what we'd be talking about to shy away from it. Like in a news report about rape, do you censor the word rape? Should I have censored retard a minute ago, or would that diminish the intended impact of that paragraph, which is an anecdote AGAINST pejoratives... ?
This is a big, weird topic. I'll probably bow out here.
David Jaffe told a story once about how he fell off something in school as a kid and broke his wrist. None of the teachers believed him until he started saying fuck, so they phoned his parents who took him to a doctor. So that's kinda one to think about.
 
Oh also if it's just like a blanket "we can't have this word in any of the site's code because it'll piss off investors" then edit or delete my post or something, don't ban me outright like a maniac.

#7 Posted by pyromagnestir (4299 posts) -

What's this? Being considerate for the feelings of others? You nazi!

#8 Posted by munnyman5 (184 posts) -

@Spoonman671: How considerate!

@MarkWahlberg: I know it's long, man, and I wouldn't blame you if you didn't read the whole thing. And I'm not being a jerk here, I'm serious; it's quite believable that I was bad at making the point clear in some of the more rambly sections. But what I was trying to say is that for a given person, some of the "vibrations" can be much better at triggering bad memories/emotions than others. So for a gentleman I know who was beaten as an adolescent by racists who called him the n-word, the sound of that word - regardless of intent or context - can bring about those memories and negative emotions in a really big way, and it's not pleasant for him at all, needless to say. What I'm saying is, the words themselves - the literal sounds, or in some cases the sight - can be, in and of itself, offensive.

That said, I do agree with you when you say that, bad intentions or not, somebody who decides to use these words in polite company - knowing full well their connotations - is certainly being insensitive. And to be clear, I definitely am not calling people who get offended "weak-willed"; as I said in the latter half of the 1st paragraph under the 3rd bold heading, none of this is to say you're some kind of wimp if you get offended by words, but rather to say it's just a characteristic of different personalities across different people. Later on I repeat that both reactions - like you say, you could not give a fuck or you could become homicidal, depending on how affect-stable or -intense you are at the moment - are totally normal, human reactions to the situation, and one isn't better or worse than the other. Like I said, I could maybe have organized it a bit better. I just got that post in edgewise between all manner of interview preparations and studying for tests and planning lab work, etc. Sorry about that, I just saw the first opportunity I've had in months, and I TOOK IT!

@tunaburn: I used to be the same way, man. I never understood why people couldn't just deal with it, but I realize now that there are some people for whom it isn't a choice; they ARE going to get offended, because the word can bring up memories so horrible that they can't help but be disturbed when people use the word. Some people can push those feelings away, others can't. I can't say I know exactly what it's like to be unable to push away negative emotions, because I'm used to doing it constantly; however, I respect the people that cannot, and as such I refrain from using these words. Again, unless I'm around a bunch of friends who I know I can say literally anything around.

@I_smell: Yeah that was the main reason. I just didn't know if there were automatic filters on those words or not, so I decided to err on the side of caution. That said, you knew exactly what word I'm talking about, so what's the difference between saying or not? It's harder to reason out with writing, but there's definitely difference between saying "c-word" and the actual c-word aloud to somebody who is sensitive to that word (I know a couple, and they say it's the sound of the actual word itself that really hits them hard). And I certainly know people who would rather the news censor the word rape, because... well, I think you can figure it out. I mean it's not that the word was used during the assault, but in their mind, it is inextricably linked with some of the most horrible memories a person can have. Man, looking back at this I realize just how many people I've met are, to use a probably-offensive term, "damaged goods." I guess a lot of people have had bad shit happen to them. On the other hand, there was a guy who survived the holocaust as a kid by hiding in a pile of dead bodies in a dump truck - he presented in my grade 8 english class - and when the class bell rang, the first thing he did was throw up his hands and jokingly say "don't shoot!" in German. Talk about affect-stable... this guy survived one of humanity's greatest crimes against itself, and he was being flippant about it. Different people are fuckin' DIFF-ER-ENT.

@pyromagnestir: HAH! That last reply tied in to this one entirely by accident!

Thank you all for reading - that thing is a big, stupid essay at best - and I hope that if nothing else, you gained a bit of insight into the more psychology-based side of the issue that I just happened to link with some class material. I'm not championing the affect-stable/affect-intense theory or anything, it's more just a shorthand way of getting people to think about the reasons behind words being offensive differently than they may have before. It helped me change some bad habits, so I hope that it may work for somebody else, too.

#9 Posted by DarthOrange (3858 posts) -

As a lover of the soft science, I have to say I have always respected the hard science dudes such as yourself for being able to do what you do. You pretty much hit the nail on the head though. The thing that is important is to understand where other people are coming from, not just make a quick assumption. You don't know where that person has been or what they have done, they did not have the same childhood as you. Great read dude and good luck with the future in tiny biology, go make the world a better place!

#10 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

@I_smell said:

I heard a story from a comedian once where he said "retard" a lot onstage, and after the show some guy came up to him like "Hey my son's a retard and I have to actually spend every day and night helping him live like a normal human being, and it's turned my entire life upside-down. I figured coming out to this would be a way to cool off, but thanks for stripping away ALL that hard work I do in like 30 seconds you fucking unbelievably selfish asshole." and that made the comedian think for a long time about his stance on "hey comedy's about anything, you should be able to say anything, you can offend people, check me out I'm George Carlin" and he stopped using his job to bully people who don't deserve it. Anyway it's funny you're starring out all the swear words here, I'm interested in what your stance is on that. Like if I brought up Chris Rock's comedy bit on "There's black people, and then there's niggers", then it would kind of nullify the POINT of what we'd be talking about to shy away from it. Like in a news report about rape, do you censor the word rape? Should I have censored retard a minute ago, or would that diminish the intended impact of that paragraph, which is an anecdote AGAINST pejoratives... ? This is a big, weird topic. I'll probably bow out here. David Jaffe told a story once about how he fell off something in school as a kid and broke his wrist. None of the teachers believed him until he started saying fuck, so they phoned his parents who took him to a doctor. So that's kinda one to think about. Oh also if it's just like a blanket "we can't have this word in any of the site's code because it'll piss off investors" then edit or delete my post or something, don't ban me outright like a maniac.

That's the dumbest fucking thing I've ever heard.

#11 Posted by Evilsbane (4595 posts) -

Good read, I feel like the conclusion you came to was a good one, I still have my foul mouth and I use it but there are times to be crude and times to not be.

#12 Posted by Gonmog (580 posts) -

I have only lately been using curse words. Up till i was 29 (i am 30 now) i was known as the guy who just never cursed. No matter what. Just never seen the reason for it.

Then something changed. I used curse words a few times as i was talk to people that curse all the time. And they started to listen to me a bit more.

I wish it was not like that, or i could chose my words more wisely so they would listen without curse. But i am just flat out not that smart.

Maybe I should start that up again. My sister and bro in law when i was home last brought that up to me. And it made me think. That was part of who i was. And i ended up letting others in a way control how i speak.

#13 Edited by I_smell (3924 posts) -
@SathingtonWaltz: I wrote it in a dumb way, but if I cleaned that up n got eloquent about the main point, which is that comedians dissassociate what they're saying with actual people and can lose track of the fact that they're sometimes just harassing people, then it would sound less stupid.
#14 Edited by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

Looking forward to reading this thread later while I'm supposed to be working.

#15 Posted by Jeust (10552 posts) -

That's an interesting perspective. I agree with your opinion.

#16 Posted by Pezen (1594 posts) -

I think there's a distinct difference between people getting offended at harsh language and using words that reinforce negative stereotypes and values. I remember an episode of WTF with Marc Maron where he interviewed Todd Glass. Glass came out (as in saying he was gay) on that episode and talked a lot about group jargon and how even if it's not intended as an insult, using certain words and phrases still creates a certain atmosphere that can indirectly reinforce negative values. I don't respect people that get offended at the drop of a hat, and I don't care if they're affect-intense by nature and have bad memories associated with a specific word. Some things are just not for your ears, the fact that you heard it is irrelevant. But I do think Todd Glass made a great point, some things may not offend me but at the same time I don't want to contribute to a society where someone might feel worse because he's been taught by the atmosphere that he's not ok for whatever reason, certainly not limited to the example given.

But everything within reason, comedy would suck if they didn't push some buttons.

#17 Posted by Bocam (3721 posts) -

I still don't get why you posted this.

#18 Posted by Animasta (14673 posts) -

@Bocam said:

I still don't get why you posted this.

why does anyone post anything? because he wanted to hear opinions and discuss the topic.

anyway, I totes agree with you in that people think that since they don't get offended by words (or let's say don't get emotional), that no one else should either, and that's not how it works.

#19 Posted by JackSukeru (5910 posts) -

I read all of it, but now I'm tired and am gonna go do something else. Cheers!

#20 Posted by Vinny_Says (5700 posts) -

A lot of things besides words can trigger past emotional memories and ruin someone's day. Someone's look, their clothing, their cologne, etc. Are we just supposed to tip toe around every situation, knowing that our every action, deliberate or not, might hurt someone?

#21 Posted by darkdragonmage99 (740 posts) -

Simply put as someone who is no stranger to physical violence I could give a fuck if I hurt someones feelings nothing I could possibly say can leave even the slightest glimmer of a permanent mark or come even close to crippling you so deal with it. We live in a world where entitled pussies seem to think the world should cuddle them and they have a right not to be offended and that calling someone a name is the same as punching them in the face. They are wrong on all counts.

#22 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4601 posts) -

@munnyman5 said:

@MarkWahlberg: I know it's long, man, and I wouldn't blame you if you didn't read the whole thing. And I'm not being a jerk here, I'm serious; it's quite believable that I was bad at making the point clear in some of the more rambly sections. But what I was trying to say is that for a given person, some of the "vibrations" can be much better at triggering bad memories/emotions than others. So for a gentleman I know who was beaten as an adolescent by racists who called him the n-word, the sound of that word - regardless of intent or context - can bring about those memories and negative emotions in a really big way, and it's not pleasant for him at all, needless to say. What I'm saying is, the words themselves - the literal sounds, or in some cases the sight - can be, in and of itself, offensive.

That said, I do agree with you when you say that, bad intentions or not, somebody who decides to use these words in polite company - knowing full well their connotations - is certainly being insensitive. And to be clear, I definitely am not calling people who get offended "weak-willed"; as I said in the latter half of the 1st paragraph under the 3rd bold heading, none of this is to say you're some kind of wimp if you get offended by words, but rather to say it's just a characteristic of different personalities across different people. Later on I repeat that both reactions - like you say, you could not give a fuck or you could become homicidal, depending on how affect-stable or -intense you are at the moment - are totally normal, human reactions to the situation, and one isn't better or worse than the other. Like I said, I could maybe have organized it a bit better. I just got that post in edgewise between all manner of interview preparations and studying for tests and planning lab work, etc. Sorry about that, I just saw the first opportunity I've had in months, and I TOOK IT!

I did read the whole thing, actually, I just sort of took the opportunity to go on my own little rant I guess. Sorry about that. You do bring up a good point about memory triggers, and I was agreeing with you on the 'offended=/= wimp' thing. I was just trying to make my own, less science-y point about offensive stuff. Most of my experience with that in the past year or so has been scuffles on the internet, where the whole lol get over it dude stop white knighting over this 'joke' I made thing is waay too prevalent, and I was really addressing that.

That said, my only problem with your psychology argument is that technically, it still puts the blame on the person who was offended, because it implies the fact that they feel that way is because of a part of them they have no control over, not because the offender committed any wrongdoing (equivalent to undercutting an agitated woman's argument by saying 'must be that time of the month'). But still, you are right in that one should always be aware of how certain words might affect other people.

PS: Did you used to send in video responses to the Question of the Week, back when they still did that? I feel creep for remembering this but there was a guy who looked like you (and whose name was possibly munnyman?) who usually had the only responses that were actually funny. Damn that was a long time ago....

#23 Posted by buwchbach (311 posts) -

@Vinny_Says: i kno right its lyke we dont even hav free speech anymore am i right?!11!!!!?!11!!!!!

seriously, "sometimes people wear clothes that just happen to upset other people accidentally, so why should we have to go out of our own way to not intentionally use super racist/sexist/homophobic words?" is the type of argument a 10-year old comes up with.

#24 Posted by Morrow (1829 posts) -

Guys with feelings <3

#25 Posted by Draugen (638 posts) -

See, I'm of two minds about this. First of all, I agree to a large extent. You should be conciderate about the language you use about others. By the way, maybe I've lived a sheltered life, but I've rarely, if ever been insulted to my face like you described with the first years. Sounds like you keep the wrong kind of company. :P

The issue i have with your text though, is the realisattion I've come to that EVERYTHING you do has the potential to offend someone. A 14-year old girl in Pakistan used her blog to describe her life under the Taliban, and someone was offended enough that they felt shooting her in the head was an appropriate response. Now, I concider myself a nice guy. I don't go around hurling insults at people. Sure, I say some pretty horrendously racist, sexist and inappropriate things I don't mean when my friends and I are trying to out-outrage eachother, but it's always out of ear-shot of others.

The point, if I have one, is that I don't want to live my life walking on eggshells, afraid that something I say will offend someone, because it will. I don't feel bad about it unless it's my intention to be hurtful. So I've come up with a simple rule I live my life by, and if someone is offended despite my adhering to this rule, that's too bad.

Don't be a d***. Or a c***.

By the way, the movie you were wondering about is "Three Kings"with George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube.

#26 Posted by NTM (7343 posts) -

What was that thing Ryan said awhile back? I remember he had to, or wanted to apologize for something he said.

#27 Posted by PillClinton (3291 posts) -

Well-written post, sir. I appreciate your viewpoint, and largely agree with it.

@NTM said:

What was that thing Ryan said awhile back? I remember he had to, or wanted to apologize for something he said.

If I remember correctly, he used the F word (not 'fuck') in a moment of frustration. His subsequent apology post seemed very genuine and sensitive to the offense, though.

#28 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4719 posts) -

Whenever I hear someone bitch about offensive words or the fact that people offend them, I can't help but think they've never truly faced legitimate hardships in their lives. If their tolerance for bullshit is so low that a single word, no matter its context or history, can make them feel awful, then they really have nothing to complain about. They've never had to deal with something real in that case.

TL;DR Grow a pair and realize that if all you got to complain about is someone else's choice of words, then you've got it pretty fucking good.

#29 Posted by TheVideoHustler (406 posts) -

@Vinny_Says said:

A lot of things besides words can trigger past emotional memories and ruin someone's day. Someone's look, their clothing, their cologne, etc. Are we just supposed to tip toe around every situation, knowing that our every action, deliberate or not, might hurt someone?

It's just to difficult to account for every persons emotion. I don't do things to cause pain, sometimes something I say may be taken as hurtful. In which case I apologize, but I don't believe I need to change myself to be kind to all of society. To many eggshells man.

#30 Posted by munnyman5 (184 posts) -

@Pezen: I absolutely agree that even if I don't get offended by these words, I do try to encourage people to use them less, to avoid reinforcing stereotypes, negative values, etc. For example, the kids of some family friends of mine are at that high school age where they're making a bunch of feminist and racist jokes (and I hesitate to call them jokes, but you know what I mean), and even though I'm not offended by the c-word, I do let them know a short, kid-focused version of basically what I've written above, to try and get them to watch their language out of compassion, and not out of fear of being reprimanded. And yes, comedy would suck if it didn't piss some people off. That's the whole bit with comedy; it always has to push the envelope in some respect, whether that's in terms of its randomness, its minuteness, its offensiveness, or any number of other characteristics.

@JackSukeru: As you should! Ttyl, homie.

@Vinny_Says: I agree that that part of the issue is certainly a delicate one, and it's what I tried to address in the second-to-last big paragraph. It's easy to see that anybody could be offended by anything, but I personally believe that with something as easy to control as my own speech and wardrobe, I ought to exercise some consideration. Even though I don't use these words and don't wear overtly offensive clothing, I'll probably end up stepping on some toes with my cologne or my hairstyle or jawline or something - memory triggers can be super specific and weird - and there's no avoiding that. But the words I'm talking about here have the potential to offend large swaths of people, and that's what I try to avoid.

@darkdragonmage99: You're basically writing out my mindset during my RA training. The amount of things they said to avoid... they said we couldn't even say "crazy" because that was offensive to people who may know somebody who is mentally disabled. What? That's CRAZY! I won't go around sounding like a text-to-speech version of a textbook, because fuck that! But if I happened to know somebody who is sensitive to the word "crazy," I wouldn't use it around them. I'm not saying that using these words is the same as punching somebody in the face, but it could make their day a little (or a lot) worse, depending on the person. And as somebody who likes people in general, I take a lot of opportunities - especially the easy ones, like not saying certain words - to make people's days better (or, as in this case, avoid making them worse). You still may not give a fuck about anybody's feelings, and hey, I respect that. I'm not here to change minds, I'm just telling people what happened to change my mind, on the off chance that I might make this world a slightly less painful place for some people.

@MarkWahlberg: Ah I see, glad we cleared that up. And yes, I am munnyman5, of former QOTW "fame." Kinda crazy of you to remember that. Also, I disagree with you that my videos were funny. But I DID get a GiantBomb Assassin's Creed hoodie from one of the QOTW competitions, so that was pretty dope. It was my go-to hoodie during 1st, 2nd, and a lot of 3rd year. Now I rock an N7 hoodie, which by the way, is poorly designed; the stupid fuckin' velcro totally ripped up the stitched-in "N7" logo, and the other velcro bits are tearing up the fabric next to them and making it look all gross and fuzzy. I cut off the one next to the N7 logo without damaging the hoodie, and I'm thinking I'll do that with the other 4 velcros, too. What were we talking about?

@Morrow: To be clear, I'm about as close to emotionless as a guy can get. Like, even when I'm hammered drunk - when a lot of emotions tend to come out for a lot of people - I'm just as happy-go-lucky and funny (my friends' words, not mine) as I am sober. In fact, most people can't tell if I'm under the influence or not until they see my lanky frame try to walk a a straight line. But I am cognizant of the fact that I lie in an extreme minority, and I strive to be as nice as possible to normal people with normal feelings.

@Draugen: See what I said above, to "darkdragonmage99," for my reply to that sentiment. Again, I'm not trying to change your mind, and your ethos on this topic is a totally acceptable one. Hell, I operated like that for about 19 years and got by better than fine!

@Oldirtybearon: Hahaha, you managed to tap into a part of my personality that I deliberately tried to leave out of the original post! I fully agree that if offensive language is a main worry in your life, you should count your motherfuckin' blessings. And don't get me STARTED on complaining about your phone not working (that Louis CK "chair-in-the-sky" bit from Conan hits this right on the head). However, it's easy for a lot of people to lose that perspective when they are overwhelmed by emotion. For example, when there was a death in the family, my mom was inconsolable despite the fact that we've had conversations about how good life is, and how fortunate we are to have a nice house, food in the fridge, etc. Strong emotions have a strong tendency to shut down these higher functions - that aspect of strong emotion is better documented and supported than affect-stable/affect-intense, I think - and as such, even the best people people with a very mature perspective on their life can be overwhelmed by emotions from their past. As I said in multiple examples, these emotions often come from a specific hardship in a person's past, so I'll have to disagree with your first sentence there; for some people, the context/history of the word that they find offensive is specific to an event in their life, not from history books. Again, though, I'm not here to make you agree with me, I am just presenting my perspective to see if it makes sense to anybody else.

Boy howdy, am I ever verbose. TL;DR I love you all, and I'm glad this hasn't turned into a hateful war between differing perspectives. I'm also amazed that it got so many comments, despite how very, very long the original post is!

#31 Posted by pyromagnestir (4299 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon: Yeah, no. People generally don't react badly to words for no reason, but rather it's usually people who have had tragic experiences, like having been raped, for example, and subsequently associated the word rape with that horrible experience, would perhaps react badly when the word rape was spoken as a result of that experience. And there are far too many people out there for which this might be the case. All this dude is saying is that you can choose not to use the word rape and therefore not trigger those memories. That's not being a pussy who bitches about words, that's being considerate for others. Why is that a bad thing? I honestly don't know.

Well, you or some others in this thread might say, someone might have been molested with a cheese grater, and now subsequently is traumatized by grated cheese. Am I supposed to give up eating tacos to avoid hurting that someone's feelings? No. It's a numbers game. More people are highly bothered by a specific set of words with a history of hate and pain attached to them rather than something like grated cheese, so why use those words when there are other words that can be used instead that aren't as likely to provoke such a reaction?

Wait a minute... Forget all that... What I really mean to say is:

@munnyman5: I will not stand for this rape of my right to free speech, you raping rapist!

#32 Edited by munnyman5 (184 posts) -

@TheVideoHustler said:

@Vinny_Says said:

A lot of things besides words can trigger past emotional memories and ruin someone's day. Someone's look, their clothing, their cologne, etc. Are we just supposed to tip toe around every situation, knowing that our every action, deliberate or not, might hurt someone?

It's just to difficult to account for every persons emotion. I don't do things to cause pain, sometimes something I say may be taken as hurtful. In which case I apologize, but I don't believe I need to change myself to be kind to all of society. To many eggshells man.

Oh sorry this was posted while I was writing that last comment. So DOUBLE POST

You're right, there are hella eggshells, and you're gonna step on some no matter what. However, one can cut out a huge amount of eggshells - as this metaphor slowly breaks down - by not using the words that can offend huge amounts of people. And in terms of "changing yourself to be kind," uh... I don't think that anybody defines their personality thusly: "I'm the guy who says 'faggot' a lot! That's me! That's WHAT I DO!" so I don't think it's much of change for anybody to cut a few of the main "bad words" out of their vocabulary. But I'll be the first to say I may be wrong, and the use of these offensive words may be something very important to some people.

@pyromagnestir: Exactly! Numbers game. And I wouldn't have had the urge if you hadn't been wearing that RIDICULOUSLY SHORT (VERBAL) MINISKIRT

#33 Posted by pyromagnestir (4299 posts) -

@munnyman5: I was, indeed, asking for it.

#34 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4719 posts) -

@pyromagnestir said:

@Oldirtybearon: Yeah, no. People generally don't react badly to words for no reason, but rather it's usually people who have had tragic experiences, like having been raped, for example, and subsequently associated the word rape with that horrible experience, would perhaps react badly when the word rape was spoken as a result of that experience. And there are far too many people out there for which this might be the case. All this dude is saying is that you can choose not to use the word rape and therefore not trigger those memories. That's not being a pussy who bitches about words, that's being considerate for others. Why is that a bad thing? I honestly don't know.

Well, you or some others in this thread might say, someone might have been molested with a cheese grater, and now subsequently is traumatized by grated cheese. Am I supposed to give up eating tacos to avoid hurting that someone's feelings? No. It's a numbers game. More people are highly bothered by a specific set of words with a history of hate and pain attached to them rather than something like grated cheese, so why use those words when there are other words that can be used instead that aren't as likely to provoke such a reaction?

Wait a minute... Forget all that... What I really mean to say is:

@munnyman5: I will not stand for this rape of my right to free speech, you raping rapist!

First of all, chill.

I was talking about people who get "offended" by words. People who find words vile, disgusting, et cetera, and are absorbed by an emotional need to try and rectify the behaviour of the "offender." Those people do exist, and they suck. Nowhere did I mention someone who got raped or something else just as awful. My problem is specifically with those who wish to control speech and excise things they deem to be "offensive." I don't know if you've ever been offended personally, but nothing happens. You don't come under any physical harm, there is no real duress. You just feel kinda bad for a few moments and, if you're an adult, you get over it.

As far as we're talking about "memory triggers," that's a whole other can of worms. If you know someone in your company has been raped in the past, should you talk about raping some kid at Call of Duty? Probably not. I wouldn't. I don't think my friends would, either. Same way you wouldn't talk about bowel movements or that hot chick you (probably didn't) score with. Unless there is a social contract in place that says these topics are free to discuss, people quite often err on the side of politeness. So what exactly is the OP, or you, arguing for?

Are you arguing for censorship, or for people to be more polite when talking to strangers?

#35 Posted by Laurentech (127 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon: Well put.

#36 Edited by pyromagnestir (4299 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon: I made a rape joke out of my whole post, I'm not sure how I could be any more chill. And it was a pretty good rape joke, at that!

But I read your post as saying anyone bothered by words never experienced hardships in there life, and was pointing out why that was obviously wrong. But if I misunderstood, then my bad, I guess. edit: I also wanted to inject the cheese grater analogy into this thread somewhere, as again I thought it was pretty good.

But mostly I'm just writing because I like to hear myself talk, or... type, as the case may be? I guess?

#37 Posted by Animasta (14673 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon: The internet is such that you don't know the people on the other side of the screen, so erring on the side of politeness is always the best way to go, and if a community cannot do that, then they need to set rules about specific words that can harm people.

If you wanna say rape rape rape to your friends, fine, but you don't know and you can't know who the person on the other side of the screen is, so being "politically correct" is obviously the best way to go.

also there are different levels of offensiveness I'm sure you're aware. If someone calls me a fucker or something fine (I'll be a little offended but get over it because that's such a generic term), but if people do get personal that can hurt.

#38 Posted by TheVideoHustler (406 posts) -

@munnyman5: I agree with you. I wasn't implying that I go around screaming faggot all the time. I was just saying that sometimes I do swear and, if it offends someone, I apologize. I would say that my cursing isn't any worse then on Giantbomb.

#39 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4719 posts) -

@pyromagnestir said:

@Oldirtybearon: I made a rape joke out of my whole post, I'm not sure how I could be any more chill. And it was a pretty good rape joke, at that!

But I read your post as saying anyone bothered by words never experienced hardships in there life, and was pointing out why that was obviously wrong. But if I misunderstood, then my bad, I guess. edit: I also wanted to inject the cheese grater analogy into this thread somewhere, as again I thought it was pretty good.

But mostly I'm just writing because I like to hear myself talk, or... type, as the case may be? I guess?

Intent is hard to read on the Internet. Inflection doesn't exist, as we both know. So uh, sorry.

@Animasta said:

@Oldirtybearon: The internet is such that you don't know the people on the other side of the screen, so erring on the side of politeness is always the best way to go, and if a community cannot do that, then they need to set rules about specific words that can harm people.

If you wanna say rape rape rape to your friends, fine, but you don't know and you can't know who the person on the other side of the screen is, so being "politically correct" is obviously the best way to go.

also there are different levels of offensiveness I'm sure you're aware. If someone calls me a fucker or something fine (I'll be a little offended but get over it because that's such a generic term), but if people do get personal that can hurt.

Well see that's the thing, I don't know if the OP is referring to message board etiquette or talking about people in general. If it's message board etiquette, then that's something people already know. If it's talking about people in general, then he needs to grow up and not try to control people (that said, I'm sure he's referring to the former).

The thing about message boards and message board etiquette however, is that it is up to each community to set their own rules and their own standard of speech. People who try to elbow their way into that community and then try to change the standards to suit their tastes are met with hostility because they don't fit into that particular group or are actively trying to change it. An analogy:

Me and my friends are sitting in my rec room and playing pool. We're laughing and having a good time. Maybe we're also participating in adult beverages. We're talking in very loose terms and using words that you would find offensive. How exactly should I, as a host, respond to you storming into my rec room and demanding we change our standards and practices within this designated space? Why shouldn't you be met with hostility? Why should we conform to make you feel a little more comfortable?

That's kind of what a lot of message board communities are - they're giant, cyber rec rooms where people hang out and talk about shit with like minded people. Sometimes it's a very focused, narrow interest (like say, video games or sail boats), and sometimes it's a more broad thing. That being said, there is no one defining guideline for speech and practices for any of these communities. It's something that evolves naturally over time when consensus is reached among the community members. You can't force it. Trying to only results in you getting butt-hurt over the fact that nobody likes you and nobody wants to hang out with you.

TL;DR - If people agree that you shouldn't say something (like calling a gay dude a fag, for instance), the community will decide that. It's not up to one person, nor a small minority of people, to dictate the thoughts and behaviours of the entire community. That is the root of my problem with this kind of thinking. They're advocating for change in places where, if it was truly a problem, there would be change. Maybe these people should stop trying to change communities and instead focus on building one to suit their tastes? After all, it's not like because we're all "gamers" that we all need to like each other, let alone talk to each other.

Sorry for rambling. I've got pneumonia and I'm tired.

#40 Posted by NTM (7343 posts) -

@PillClinton: I'm not going to ask you to repeat it, but I'm blanking here. I can't think of the other word. Anyways, alright!

#41 Posted by A_Talking_Donkey (262 posts) -

I don't know where I stand on this since I've never really been challenged or approached on this. I don't go out of my way to be inoffensive, but from what I can tell (by how others treat me) I'm just not a very offensive guy to begin with. I don't curse a lot but when I do it's usually "the c-word", but that's how my mom always cursed and I didn't make the gender connection until my late teens. Now I'm kinda conscious that if I drop something on my toe in public I might be seen as a sexist.

#42 Posted by Vinny_Says (5700 posts) -

@buwchbach said:

@Vinny_Says: i kno right its lyke we dont even hav free speech anymore am i right?!11!!!!?!11!!!!!

seriously, "sometimes people wear clothes that just happen to upset other people accidentally, so why should we have to go out of our own way to not intentionally use super racist/sexist/homophobic words?" is the type of argument a 10-year old comes up with.

Cute....but only a 10 year old would interpret my post in the manner you did.

Spend some more time in school, take a few introductory psychology classes, and you'll eventually understand that I wasn't referring to people wearing a shirt that says "burn the jews" or whatever, I am talking about subtle and unintentional cues that can trigger traumatic memories in people. Things like someone's haircut, the color of their shirt, their tone of voice, and so on.

Now that I look back, perhaps my post was a bit off topic; but you response, along with your point about free speech, is hilariously off-base. Luckily there are some intelligent people on this thread who responded to me.

#43 Posted by munnyman5 (184 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon: I think that you and a couple other people misinterpreted what I was trying to do with my original post... which is to say, I wasn't trying to DO anything, or change anything. What I've said applies to normal IRL discourse as well as posting on message boards, and really any interactions with other people. I've mentioned in a couple places in the comments that I'm not here to change anybody's mind, I'm just laying out how my thought process about the subject has changed over time.

Now why would I go and do a thing like that? Well, old men like me - with one foot in the grave after about 21.4 years of living - sometimes just say what's on their mind. I used to say "stop getting offended at my words, you bunch of wimps," but since I realized some people can't control their reactions to some words very well, I decided to stop using them outside of very specific scenarios (ex. drinking with friends, which is one of the most sweariest activities). I found it interesting that I had changed my mind about something I once had such a hard stance on, and that is what spurred me to share it with y'all.

So I'm not trying to tell anybody what words they should or should not use, I'm just telling you folks the story about what made me change the words I use in certain situations. And hey, if it makes sense to you, great! If you disagree, that's also great, because that's the basis of civil discourse! If I replied to you in the comments, it wasn't to argue with you to try and get you to change your ways, but rather to clarify any point I had made poorly in the original post, or perhaps if a point was misinterpreted. And of course, civil discourse often sounds like an argument, but if I said "I see what you're saying, but," then it was just to present a possible counterpoint, not to point fingers and show you why you're wrong.

I'm a strong proponent of the idea that "right" and "wrong" don't have set definitions, so I'd be the last guy to tell you why you're wrong, why I'm right, or any variation thereupon. Unless I'm joking around about why you're wrong about... I don't know, not liking a certain candy bar.

So we old-ass men often don't have a solid point to what we're saying. Often, they're just stories we find interesting. As my friend said about pointless conversations whilst high on... uh... "life," shall we say... "Sometimes you need to have pointless conversations. I guess that's the point; they're useful for recreation by being useless for anything else." Pretty salient for somebody who was watching light patterns on the wall shift before their very eyes at the time.

#44 Posted by Cianyx (50 posts) -

The problem with merely expecting an individual to assimilate with the community's values is that there are many instances where the community can broach a subject or use certain phrases with unknowing indifference. A quick example would be the discussion of rape - a male dominated community probably wouldn't attach the same stigma to it as women hence, to no fault of their own, talk about it more freely. Granted, individuals may not have the authority to dictate or enforce guidelines, but they have the right call you out for it. This is, of course, assuming that the individual wasn't seeking offence in the first place.

#45 Posted by Karkarov (3071 posts) -

I once had a woman try to get me fired at a previous job for saying the words, and I quote "How can I help you today Mam?". It doesn't matter what you say or how you say it, it is all about the person listening. That woman that day was going to be offended no matter what I did. Psychology is the art of common sense. Two african american guys can call themselves the n word all day long and it is okay or even funny, a caucasian dude like me does it once and I am a racist. Common sense. Sadly common sense also tells me how monumentally stupid that reality is too, but like I said it is all about the person listening when it comes to "hurtful language" not the person talking.

#46 Posted by munnyman5 (184 posts) -

@Karkarov: Precisely! The offense isn't in the word itself, it's in the person listening. And there are some words that will elicit a negative reaction in many, many people. Those are the ones I avoid!

As for he lady who tried to get you fired... yeah, it happens. My dad was once told off by some lady for offering to help her get like, a big box or some appliance out of her pickup truck or something. Kinda ridiculous, because he's the kind of guy who would have offered to help even if it was a burly man trying to move something bulky, but they didn't know that, and perceived it as sexism. That is kinda not the point of this particular post, but when it comes to things like that, my standpoint is "fuck it, man, I was just trying to be nice. Ain't no law against it." Also, it serves as a pretty good friendship test, as in "are you the kind of person that would get upset when I greet you using the word 'ma'am'? Yes? Well then it's probably best if we don't try to cultivate a friendship with each other. Good day!"

@Cianyx: That is a very intelligent, very succinct way of answering the accusation that I was trying to tell people how to use their words with my original post. It's an actual argument, for one; I just basically said "hey y'all, just throwing this out there. Tell me what you think."

#47 Posted by Milkman (16674 posts) -

One of the things I fucking hate about the Internet is the stupid "it's just words" mentality. The idea that no one should be offended by anything anyone ever says. It's obviously complete bullshit and just another excuse for people to be dicks to each other. I don't thjnk the issue is that difficult to understand. Words can and do hurt people and I wish a lot more realized that before they decide to sprout their stupid "god, why is everything so PC nowadays?" crap.

#48 Posted by Hunter5024 (5621 posts) -

When I learned about the whole affect stable vs affect intense thing I definitely found I fell closer to the former end of the spectrum, and I do feel like it's kind of stupid when people let words offend them. But it is SO not worth hurting someones feelings just so you can use the vocabulary you favor. I hate making people feel uncomfortable. That being said, people shouldn't be jerks about what you say either, because that can be just as inconsiderate.

#49 Posted by That1BlackGuy (217 posts) -

This is one of those situations where I can't relate so I don't try to speak on it as if I know what I am talking about as I've never been a supporter of political correctness and censorship. However I would agree that it isn't the word, but more so the context if I'm" trying to look from someone else's lenses.

I grew up in Detroit, in a very "un-PC" environment and growing up in that environment gave me thick skin and taught me how to handle my own business and problems. Count me in with the "Words don't mean shit" crowd because I'm" so used to saying whatever I want and not giving a crap lol (still like that to a degree today though not nearly as bad as when I was younger).