Archive for the ‘Language Abuse’ Category

Everyone Look Buusy!

December 16, 2008

The best part of this:  Misspelled on both sides.

cooming

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Scenes From A Service Call

October 30, 2007

Calling a customer who lives near Mt. Pisgah Rd.

Me:  Hi, this is Sarcastro with [Local Utility Monopoly].  I have a trouble call that says you are having problems with your [Thing We Provide Service For].

She:  Um, yeah.  The thingy isn’t working right.

Me: You are in a new subdivision, so I want to make sure I know where you live.  Are you off of Mt. PIG-saw Road?

She:  Actually, it’s Mt. PISS-gaw, but yes we are.

Me:  Like that sounds better.

Apologies To Kevin Smith

October 11, 2007

I still don’t get the big deal about Porch Monkeys.

As ably dramatized in the above clip, the phrase has an unfortunate racial overtone associated with it.  In the Free To Be You And Me carousel of my racially color-blind childhood,  it was always applied to kids in general.  It was considered to be from the same subset as “rug-rats” or “ankle-biters”.  In retrospect, however, I have to wonder if “yard apes” have fallen into the same taboo category.

When I tell my kids to “quit monkeying around”, is it racist?  Or, is “horsing around” more culturally sensitive?  Does that offend people with horse faces, like former NFL player Shannon Sharpe?

I can’t say “quit dickin’ around” because they might get some horseshit, bullshit complex about their bodies and their gender identification.  No doubt they would wind up in therapy and be forced to sit through Free To Be You and Me.

Plus, their mother is on my ass about swearing at the children.

My real question is, if no offense is intended, then how can offense be inferred?  If you call someone who, say, cuts you off in traffic a “cocksucker”, are you suddenly some sort of irredeemable homophobe?

Now there are two similes that I enjoy immensely which I learned from my friends who are from the darker end of the crayon box.

“Spends money like a nigger with a hit record”

and

“Beat him like a runaway slave”

I love those two phrases so much I want to run off to Utah, don some silly boxer/briefs and get married in the Temple to them.   Maybe President Romney will let me.  Alas, even he won’t be able to keep Rev. Sharpton from calling for me to be fired, despite the usage amongst and stamp of approval from my black pals.

It isn’t a double standard problem, but rather one of no offense intended, none inferred.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where you can’t have a private conversation with a friend and say something innocuous like, “Don’t be so niggardly with the hot sauce” without someone overhearing it and getting their dashiki in a twist.   More’s the pity.

Like the man said, “Ain’t like he called us ‘porch monkeys’.

No Shit.

March 29, 2006

MSNBC is running a story all day about how swearing has gotten out of control

In a related story, I finally caught The Aristocrats the other night. 

It was fucking hilarious. 

Please Stop It

March 17, 2006

I officially decree that from here on out that any use of the term "Brokeback" is a sure sign of creative and mental deficiency.  That word in conjunction with anything indicating sexual orientation is hereby played out and so last week.  It is as funny as a Lewinsky joke or a Clara "Where’s The Beef?" Peller reference or a "You are the Weakest Link!  Good bye." quote.  Stop doing it.  It was funny for about ten minutes.  And that was three months ago.

 "Ha ha ha! Oh gosh that’s funny! That’s really funny! Do you write your own material? Do you? Because that is so fresh. You are the weakest link goodbye. You know, I’ve never heard anyone make that joke before. Hmm. You’re the first. I’ve never heard anyone reference that outside the program before. Because that’s what she says on the show right? Isn’t it? You are the weakest link goodbye. And, and yet you’ve taken that and used it out of context to insult me in this everyday situation. God what a clever, smart girl you must be, to come up with a joke like that all by yourself. That’s so fresh too. Any Titanic jokes you want to throw at me too as long as we’re hitting these phenomena at the height of their popularity? God you’re so funny!"  Stewie Griffin

I’ll See Your Campfield, and Raise You A Bennett

September 30, 2005

No, kids we aren’t going to pile on.  Bob Krumm, Aunt B. and others are already covering that topic.  Instead I’m going to fall on my own sword with some other insensitive truths that will undoubtedly upset the kind of people who get upset about this sort of thing.

There are two phrases that I don’t want to hear anymore.  If you feel the need to say them within my earshot, I beg you to shut the fuck up.  Just don’t do it.

The first one is the insanely stupid phrase "Children Are Taught To Hate" or "Hate is Learned" or whatever it is.  Children are hateful little monsters.  Go to any playground in this country.  Some kid out of the group of kids there is being excluded, mocked and picked on.  Either because of his race, religion, height, weight, or how much money the parents make.  No one told these kids to do this, they did it all on their own.  How many of you out there picked on as a kid?  Did you think the parents of your tormentors asked them how was school today and how many freaks they had bullied?  How many of you picked on someone else as soon as you got the chance to point out that they were shorter, fatter, poorer, blacker, less Europeaner, dumber, whateverer than you?  Do you blame your folks for that?  Our fear and hatred of the "Other" is what kept us alive during our prehistory.  It is only with the advent of societies that we have had to learn to get along with others of the same race.  It is only since the rise and fall of great empires that we have had to learn to get along with those who come from different places and backgrounds.   This default setting of "Xenophobia" is encoded in our genes.  It is part of being civilized and enlightened rational beings that we turn that switch off and give strangers the benefit of the doubt.  So to say that children, or anyone for that matter, are full of innated goodness is crapola.  We not only are taught to tolerate others, it is something that we continually have to work on.

 Tolerance is certainly a necessity in a pluralistic society and a degree of open-mindedness toward other cultures and people is a good thing. On the other hand, when tolerance means that we are all required to accept any lifestyle and that all value systems are equal, that is not tolerance but either indifference or nihilism. This concept of Tolerance as an absolute “good” seems to be leading us into a kind of “value-free” society.

The second one came out of George W. Bush’s lips the other day.   He said that "…diversity is one of the strengths of this country."  No it isn’t.  It is one of our biggest weaknesses.  When has the divisions of race, class, religion and ethnicity been a big plus in this country?  During Katrina?  How ’bout the O.J. verdict?  Chris Rock said it best when he said "I haven’t seen white people this upset since MASH got canceled."  He also made the point that blacks were too happy and whites were too mad.  Is this a sign of how strong our diversity makes us?  The Japanese were a small island nation who created an empire.  How?  Well a homogeneous population helps.  So does a fanatical devotion to the Emperor, but that’s a story for another time.  In fact, can anyone come up with a country in the last couple of decades who’s strife and problems can’t be placed squarely on their heterogeneous population?  If Iraq were 100% Kurd or 100% Sunni, Cindy Sheehan’s son would still be alive and she wouldn’t have a phalanx of dupes hanging on her every word.

Don’t read anything more than constructive linguistic criticism into this.  Let’s call things as they are, not as we would like them to be.  By ignoring our problems and refusing to work towards an acceptable solution, we just make it worse and allow demagouges to run wild getting people fired up about bombed levees and rapes in the Superdome. 

Or to put it into a sports metaphor:  As much as I like Vandy’s chances this season, I know that stopping the run is one of their biggest weaknesses.  I still root for them, despite their weaknesses.  Except after Saturday’s loss to MTSU, what the fuck is that about?

Hate, Actually

June 20, 2005

I am beginning to actively hate the word actually
Don’t get me wrong, it has its uses.  But there is a segment of
the population who may or may not be trying to piss me off with
it.  Mostly this sort of behavior comes from the overeducated and
the annoying Anglophiles.

Here are some examples:
Bartender:  Whaddya drinkin’?
Jackass:  Um, actually, I’ll have a gin and tonic.

Caller:  May I speak to Mr. Smith?
Self-important receptionist:  Actually,  he isn’t in right now.

Why are they saying that damn word?  It isn’t necessary to the
transaction.  Now there are perfectly acceptable reasons to use
that word, such as:

Bartender:  Would you like to try our Sizzlin’  Chipolte Fajita Shooters and a MegaMangorita?
Non-Jackass:  Um, no actually, I’ll just have a beer.

Caller: Get that sumbitch Smitty on the phone!
Receptionist:  Actually, he isn’t in right now, sir.

It isn’t that the use of the word is incorrect, it is the cloying
pedantic tone and context that is employed when it is used.  Or
maybe I’m being pedantic.  If you don’t believe me, Doonesbury is saying almost the same thing, actually.