October 15, 2010

Using words offensive

It's becoming a concern that using our words almost inevitably offends someone, somewhere, some, or all, of the time.

Acres of newsprint, ether space and aural activity are almost daily dedicated to anguish over someone or other "using a word".

We could call it the speaking syndrome, but let's make it narrow and stick with the problem of the plague of "using a word".




The latest outbreak of using-a-word was from a film in which actor Vince Vaughn speaks the line:  "... electric cars are gay ...".

Offensive, hey?

Well, if you were gay or lesbian you'd be apoplectic about such degrading using-a-word behavior.

Even the film about the baby-billionaire who wrote the code that gave the world - and owns the majority shares of - Facebook has been given a violent feminist shellacking for a script in which some women are described as bitches, including some who were.

I can see that my personal lexicon is going to get shorter and shorter.

Fuck.  Bottoms.  Testicles.  Elbow.  Cunt.  Earlobe.  Bugger.  Footpath.  Prick.


  1. Solomon9:49 PM

    Yeah. Protest something that matters.


  2. Solomon10:06 PM

    Hey you know what offends me? I rang Christmas Island today and when I asked to speak to so-and-so I was asked for his "boat number". Apparently that is how they are identified.

  3. Trying really hard to think of a reason why it matters to you, let alone to me.

    I'm neither for nor against.

    It's like people begging to be accepted by the Catholic church: why, why?

  4. Surely that's more than a little stupid. More than one person arrives in each boat, and they would not be kept together for their stay on our local island?

    I don't find it offensive, but I do think it's strangely lacking in an appropriate process, including unique identifier.

    BTW Sol - you too are identified by number, for almost every government interaction.

  5. Solomon10:16 PM

    I'm against the *persecution* of homosexuals. I'm sorry if that was somehow ambiguous. Unless you really are equivocal about that in which case...zoning out..

    They have a separate number called a client ID, useful in distinguishing people with very similar names. I'm fine with that but "boat number"? What?

  6. geoff6:51 AM


  7. geoff6:58 AM

    Some mangy wombat called me a "homo" the other day at Webdiary. Turns out this is a term of abuse for all humans in wombat-speak. Naturally I let the fat little furry freak have it with both barrels.

  8. Anonymous11:30 AM

    Double OUCH, my friend the homo-sapien. But I have seen the light, so peace and calm shall return to the heavens and the earth.

    Your friend, vombatus ursinus (hehe)

  9. Solomon1:36 PM

    "He also said the suicide would not have happened if Dragun had been prevented access to the cliff edge at The Gap."

    Yeah umm, unless she thought up some other way.

  10. Sol - the link you provided is an attack page, intended to steal personal information and to pass on to other PCs. I don't know what you were specifically referencing to in your comment- obviously I didn't open a link that would have been detrimental! The URL mentions legal status, so I assumed (possibly incorrectly) that it was a link to the range of legislation that might still need to be amended in Oz, so as to give some degree of legal equality and protections to gays and lesbians.

    If that was the gist of the content, then I would hardly call it "persecution".

    And if that offends you, and others, try going to live in Iran or Somalia as a girl or a women for a few years, and report back on your understanding of persecution.

    Yes, we're in vigorous agreement about the boat number thing: weird.

  11. Sol - your dismissal and derision of the coroner's comments is misguided and ignorant.

    Where, for example, bridges have barriers to prevent people jumping, it has been established that would-be suicides do not wonder off and try something else, and that's even when an alternative is immediately available.

    Eg, in the US two bridges near each other, one with barriers, the other not. Interestingly, people do NOT walk over to the other bridge.

    In other words, if people are thwarted, if something is literally put in the way of their plans, it DOES prevent death.

    Additionally, of the people who have jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge in the US, and lived - there are a few - none go on to attempt suicide by some other means and are grateful to be alive. Frighteningly, most also changed their minds on the way down (at least, so I gather). That's a haunting thought.

    Barriers do save lives Sol, the coroner is correct and there is plenty of evidence - from living people - to support his comments.

    Of course, had she had appropriate medical support, and had she not been drugged-up on inappropriate prescription medications, she might not have felt compelled to walk to the cliff in the first place.

  12. Solomon2:42 PM

    Sorry about the link, seemed fine to me. It was a list of African countries in which homosexuality is illegal. No the discrimination in the Australian context does not by a long shot amount to persecution.

    Yes there should be a barrier, yes she might have been delayed in which time she might have changed her mind or someone else might have intervened, but to say it *would not have happened*? I'm sorry, no.

  13. No point in me protesting or getting the least bit riled up over any laws in Africa, Sol. We in the West have no influence over their laws or their cultural proclivities, any more than they have influence over ours.

    I hasten to add that I am not a relativist, nor do I kowtow to political, social, cultural, ethnic or religious inclinations. These things are not, to my mind, an infinite palate of grey. Evil is evil. Immoral is immoral.

    It wasn't so long ago that being homosexual was still on the books as illegal in Tasmania. What hope in Africa or Iran, hey?

    The coroner was unambiguous that Dragun's medical treatment was wrong (now that I've read the Saturday papers); she was not correctly diagnosed - over a period of many years - and that had she not been incorrectly treated she would likely be alive. He is almost certainly correct in all of that.

    I think he is also right in saying that her suicide, that day, by jumping off the cliff, would not have happened if a barrier had prevented her from jumping. That's not wildly silly statement for him to make.

    All of his statements need to be taken together: this was a preventable suicide (as are so many), not one that was somehow inevitable.

    Until society, until doctors and the community, stop shrugging their shoulders to let themselves off the hook, thousands of Australians will continue to die each year. Suicide (*shrug shoulders*) is not an inevitable, unstoppable course of action. The moments for intervention, for thwarting progressive decline, however, are almost always missed - including simple, practical measures, such as barriers at known and obvious jumping points.