The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, “You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.” -George Carlin
I know that George Carlin has said all of what I’m about to, better. I’m cognizant of at least that. However, I have an advantage….I’m still kicking, Carlin’s been dead for a while now!
This morning on Facebook, George Takei posted that use of the “R” word is not acceptable on his page. What the fuck did that mean? I couldn’t figure what word that started with an “R” was going to be so off putting to Takei that he’s banning its use on his page. This by the way is the same George Takei who in the 60’s ran through the Enterprise’s corridors bare chested with a foil in his hand. The same Takei who recently married his partner of 20+ years, Brad. I’d have to believe that what ever it was it was hugely bad!
Well, after doing some reading through the comments it turns out he’s offended by the word “retarded”. How fucking retarded is that anyway? (yes, I went for the cheap joke there!)
What exactly is the issue with “retarded”, why has it fallen out of favor? What do we use in its place?
It accurately describes many situations: “The skydiver’s fall was retarded by his parachute”, “The stock markets growth was retarded by inflation”, “The kid next door ate his cat, he’s fucking retarded!”
Ok, the last one is just rude, but who cares? I’m a retard anyway!
I do not like soft language. I can not abide to a person wasting my time with obfuscation bullshit. One of my daughters was dragged through the mud by the Palm Beach County School system basically because someone’s rote vocabulary knowledge was larger then their vocabulary understanding. My, at the time second grader, a lovely, happy child, over night became a disenfranchised person suffering from “severe learning deficit disorder”.
Brat couldn’t, or more accurately, wouldn’t read! That’s all! Nothing major, reading just wasn’t all that fun. So…like any child her age she blew it off. Not because she’s a disenfranchised person suffering from “severe learning deficit disorder”, but because that’s what kiddies do! Hell, I’d do it too except I’d miss FARK.com too much!
But, because of bullshit language the idiots with the school system attempted to create a second class citizen instead of addressing the issue. Change the language, change the context, change the situation!
I have a friend that works with “differently able kids”. Uh, you work with who now? The “Differently ableled” what the fuck does that mean exactly? Can they steer a car with their spleen? No? OK, how about use their mental powers to ward off evil in the form of mind control? Can’t do that either? Well, why not? You said they have different abilities!
After my friend patiently explained that 1. she meant retarded children, and 2. I should probably be included in the list, I asked why she didn’t just say retarded then?
The answer I got back was that she couldn’t. It was no longer OK to use the very word that describes these kids; their growth: mental, physical, or both, has been retarded. That’s it. They don’t have different abilities than normal people, they have the same abilities but less of them. But we use language to mitigate that loss, to make it feel OK, better somehow because its not really describing the issue is it?
The argument will most likely be made that I’m being insensitive. Maybe I am. But as a human, shouldn’t it be better to address our shortcomings rather than language them away?
Lets look at another obfuscatory favorite: “chemical dependency”. What is that exactly? Did you mean drug and drink addict? Is that what you meant? Because otherwise I assume the person in question requires substance X to live…actually come to think of it, we all are chemically dependent! Don’t believe me? Try living without 02, h20, CA, NaCI, and a host of others for long. Can’t be done. Well, it can be, but you will transform from able to disabled to D.E.D. dead. Or if you like: “Fixed Final Oxygen Utilization Status”.
But, why take away the horror and pain of “addiction” and transfer that to “chemical dependent”? How does that help an addict understand their killing themselves and hurting everyone around them?
I ask, which of these two sentences below sound the most likely to you?:
“Joesph, perhaps it wasn’t for the best after you ingested chemical adulterants that you fornicated with prostitutes, is it possible that you are chemically dependent? ”
“Joe, that crack binge you went on last night with those skanky whores from Beach Channel Drive ain’t good man, you’re a fucking addict!”.
Joe’s a fucking addict.