14 August 2011

The Power of Words

Words mean something.  They have definitions.  In a living language, the meanings can change, but they will still have meaning.

Some words are offensive.

Some words are an accurate description.

Some accurate descriptions are offensive.

It is impossible to live your entire life without giving offense.

If someone is offended at an accurate description the problem is not with the describer.  It is with the described.

We should not refrain from describing things accurately out of fear that someone may be offended.  Like in libel or slander the truth is a positive defense.

If you don't like being called a two bit whore you should stop having sex for quarters.

Forcing someone to use euphemism to say something does not make them civil.  I have seen a racist say "sir" with no doubt that he was saying "CENSORED" to the customer.  And the customer damn sure knew it.  The racist did not actually SAY CENSORED, so I guess everything is OK, right?

WRONG!

The racist was still a racist and was still free to be uncivil even though his choice of words had been truncated.

You will not be able to eliminate incivility by censorship or changing the meanings of words.

"Haters gonna hate," as it were.

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