ThunderBunk, go fuck yourself.

mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
Here's what this asshole (or arsehole if you fucking prefer) said:

http://forums.shipoffools.com/discussion/comment/154205/#Comment_154205

No, it doesn't have to do with "butthurt", which is what sociopaths call the reactions of those damaged, insulted, or targeted by their license. It has to do with decency. If some people react negatively to a word, then the courteous thing to do is use some different word, and if one must use the word (say as in a direct quotation of somebody else's speech), it is courteous to censor it. Wankstains such as yourself are incapable of acknowledging this, and insist on playing the china-shop bull, not giving a flying fuck about how others respond to what you feel is your right to be as offensive as you desire. Wherefore I say, fuck yourself. If it's beyond you to not use the c-word out of consideration of the feelings of people who are offended or hurt by it, the you are beneath contempt.
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Comments

  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    edited June 8
    I am not saying I don't care how people respond. I am simply saying that there is a counterargument every bit as valid as yours, and that none of us has standards that are self-evident or self-justifying.

    And, whether you like it or not, your "wherefore I say, go fuck yourself" is extremely close to being what you are so furiously denying.

    ETA: You may note that not once have I used the word in question on the Ship, as far as I recall. Nor would I, I don't think, other than for particular effect. My point is that cultural standards are not absolute, and are unsuitable for deification.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    I'm not talking about cultural standards. I'm talking about real women who have said how it makes them feel. One of them associates it with her rapist. Insisting it's just "cultural standards" is callous.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    Amen Mousethief. It's one word. You're only being asked to refrain from one word that hurts and upsets a goodly number of your fellow shipmates. Why is this the hill you choose to fight on?
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited June 8
    I hate the c word. And I find c*** just as bad as the word itself. We all know what it means so why the asterisks?

    I run a Facebook group of 5000 members and know that many children read it, it’s for Guide dog owners. So all swearing is banned. F*** is just as banned as ‘fuck’ - there is no verbal equivalent of f***, we all simply read it as ‘fuck’.

    Asking @KarlLB to use asterisks is silly. He was quoting - why can’t he quote it as he heard it?
  • ArethosemyfeetArethosemyfeet Shipmate
    edited June 8
    mousethief wrote: »
    I'm not talking about cultural standards. I'm talking about real women who have said how it makes them feel. One of them associates it with her rapist. Insisting it's just "cultural standards" is callous.

    Violation of cultural standards can be deeply hurtful. It took me a heck of a long time to stop overreacting to casual blasphemy in classrooms where I was teaching, for example, and I still find it very uncomfortable. I would certainly hope, given the thread in the Styx, that no-one will be deploying the c-word on the ship (not an issue for me as I don't like female-gendered pejoratives very much, too much misogynistic baggage), but I think it's also clear (barring the awful individual case mentioned) that the discomfort attached to the word is a matter of culture.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Boogie wrote: »
    I hate the c word. And I find c*** just as bad as the word itself. We all know what it means so why the asterisks?

    I run a Facebook group of 5000 members and know that many children read it, it’s for Guide dog owners. So all swearing is banned. F*** is just as banned as ‘fuck’ - there is no verbal equivalent of f***, we all simply read it as ‘fuck’.

    Reminds me of a letter I once read to a local right-wing magazine, complaining about the presence in school libraries of a well-known American novel featuring a teenage boy who swears a lot. Paraphrasing...

    "That book contains X number of 'goddams', X number of 'Christs', and X number of 'F*** Yous'."

    And thus the magazine itself ended up containing all those words, including the one the writer thought so horrific it required asterisks.


  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    edited June 8
    Why die on this hill? Because I'm a linguist, naturally and by long training. Because having different cultures with different standards is actually healthy, and allows cultures to respond authentically to their surroundings. Because I find this tendency to put all the weight of intentionality in a universal standard applied by the listener to all uses of a particular word, rather than to the context in which the related concept is invoked and the way in which that concept is treated by both speaker and listener in that context, bizarre. To take a directly related example, to be outraged by the use of this particular word but find female genital mutilation entirely acceptable I find utterly incomprehensible, but is as I understand it quite common.

    You could cite my use of "butthurt" rather against me, and I do rather regret it, particularly because I have only recently started to be aware of its US cultural weight. But I would also cite it in my defence, because it's another example of cultural weight being usefully and indeed fundamentally distinguishable from meaning, and not a universal constant.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    Arethosemyfeet, as opposed to the use of the "n" word? If one is decryed, the other should be too.
  • AnselminaAnselmina Shipmate
    Oh dear. I feel somewhat culpable in this, as it was I who gave a response to Rossweisse's post about using the C-word. Perhaps I ought not to have given my opinion, or shared my own experience of the use of that word?

    Moreso than in the UK, I would say that the island of Ireland (both sides of the border) with its prolific and casual use, is probably the champion of the C-word! Probably why I'm ambivalent to it.

    However, now that I know it is a taboo word for our USA posters, I will certainly refrain from using it on the Ship. It's not worth insisting on if it causes so much hurt and offence.

  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    My take is that using the C word is to give a dignity to the person/ thing they don't deserve - or as an old mate would say, "No, they're not a 'C', a 'C' is useful."
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    Thank you Anselmina. It is appreciated.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    I am not saying I don't care how people respond. I am simply saying that there is a counterargument every bit as valid as yours, and that none of us has standards that are self-evident or self-justifying.

    No self-justification of the "standard" for the c-word is involved. As I have to explain every semester to students, if someone in the class uses a term you find offensive, say so. Explain that you find it offensive and ask the person to avoid that term in future. You may be asked to explain what makes the term offensive. If you can comfortably do so, explain. If you cannot comfortably explain, simply repeat that (in your culture) it's offensive. If the person continues using the term after being asked to stop, report that confidentially to the instructor.

    Several Shipmates, many of them female, and some of them associating that term with violence directed against them personally, have stated that they find the term offensive, perhaps even traumatizing. THAT is ample, overtly-expressed justification for avoiding its use except where it cannot be avoided. This practice is what's generally known as "courtesy." While cultural practice of courtesy can and does vary, I'm not aware of any culture which relies on people knowingly and deliberately offending one another as a form of courtesy.

    This has nothing to do with linguistics or cultural practice, and everything to do with simple manners.
  • Some linguistic diarrherra there Thunderbox, needs a honey truck visit.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    @ThunderBunk, if someone was suggesting that folks in British Isles should be just as offended by the word in question as a North Americans are and should excise the word from their vocabularies completely, you might have a point. But I don’t think anyone has suggested that.

    I’m afraid I fail to see how cultural standards are violated or challenged by the suggestion that, in the context of an internet forum with posters and readers from around the world, it is helpful and respectful to bear in mind how certain words that are acceptable in one’s own culture may be offensive and even hurtful in the cultures of others with whom one is talking.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    I’d appreciate it if there was some acknowledgement by the men posting about how women feel about this, that some of us do not share the view that the use of this word is unacceptable.
  • NicoleMR wrote: »
    Arethosemyfeet, as opposed to the use of the "n" word? If one is decryed, the other should be too.

    The n-word is similar, except that mainstream culture on both sides of the atlantic disapproves of it. You don't have to go too far, as I understand it, to find places where it occupies a similar status to the c-word in the UK - The Wire may not be a documentary but I would think the language used is broadly authentic. The use of the n-word in that context doesn't lessen the degree to which I would come down like a ton of bricks on a student in my classroom I caught using it.
  • My take is that using the C word is to give a dignity to the person/ thing they don't deserve - or as an old mate would say, "No, they're not a 'C', a 'C' is useful."

    I've always liked the rejoinder: "they have neither the warmth nor the depth" which I've occasionally employed as a gentle rebuke to those using the term.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited June 8
    Feminists can hold different views on this. (NSFW depending on how they think about this word and feminist writing.)

    And for good measure, here is a BBC documentary on the subject fronted by Victoria Coren Mitchell.
  • I’d appreciate it if there was some acknowledgement by the men posting about how women feel about this, that some of us do not share the view that the use of this word is unacceptable.

    Literally no one on either thread has claimed that the c-word is offensive to all women everywhere. Some posters from North America have stepped forward to say that the word is heard as offensive or hateful in our countries.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited June 8
    By some, and not all, women in those countries.

    The vagina monologues premiered in the USA. There is a significant feminist argument about the use of the word, which is being largely side stepped here.

    Reference, NSFW if the guardian talking about this is an issue for you

  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    Look at it this way. The "P" word, relating to people of East Indian descent, is pretty offensive in Britain. It's basically meaningless in the US. If there were a substantial population of East Indian descent here on the ship, how would I be looked on if I used the "P" word in general conversation? It's not an insult in my culture, doesn't mean a thing where I come from.

    I think it would be seen as impolite at the very least, and probably a lot worse.

    Well it's the same thing with the "c" word. It is VERY offensive to some people. A lot of whom are on the ship. It is impolite at the very least to us to continue to use it, even if it doesn't mean very much to you.
  • Ohher wrote: »
    As I have to explain every semester to students, if someone in the class uses a term you find offensive, say so. Explain that you find it offensive and ask the person to avoid that term in future. You may be asked to explain what makes the term offensive. If you can comfortably do so, explain. If you cannot comfortably explain, simply repeat that (in your culture) it's offensive. If the person continues using the term after being asked to stop, report that confidentially to the instructor.

    Is there any kind of “reasonableness” test to that policy? I don’t know what subject you teach, but if it was biology and one of your students claimed that the concept of evolution was offensive to their religion would you therefore ban any mention of it?

    This is why I have problems with these sort of things. They start out as a reasonable attempt to avoid upset, but end up being used to censor legitimate ideas. Better not to start down the rabbit hole at all.
  • Ohher wrote: »
    As I have to explain every semester to students, if someone in the class uses a term you find offensive, say so. Explain that you find it offensive and ask the person to avoid that term in future. You may be asked to explain what makes the term offensive. If you can comfortably do so, explain. If you cannot comfortably explain, simply repeat that (in your culture) it's offensive. If the person continues using the term after being asked to stop, report that confidentially to the instructor.

    Is there any kind of “reasonableness” test to that policy? I don’t know what subject you teach, but if it was biology and one of your students claimed that the concept of evolution was offensive to their religion would you therefore ban any mention of it?

    This is why I have problems with these sort of things. They start out as a reasonable attempt to avoid upset, but end up being used to censor legitimate ideas. Better not to start down the rabbit hole at all.

    That slope isn't nearly as slippery as you seem to think.
  • By some, and not all, women in those countries.

    The vagina monologues premiered in the USA. There is a significant feminist argument about the use of the word, which is being largely side stepped here.

    Reference, NSFW if the guardian talking about this is an issue for you
    Sure. My nephews call themselves and their friends "nigga" both verbally on in their social media posts. As brown people they may decide to reclaim the word, to use it in humour or friendship, and to highlight that there is endemic racism in their large eastern Canadian city. No-one has argued that the word may never be used, but that caution be exercised. If you as a woman are able to use the word in a way which reclaims it, and it can also be reclaimed on stage, in print, in other media, all the power to you and them. Please keep at it. I didn't read Thunderbox nor other posts about it recently as empowering of women. And I suppose there is some sensitivity about misogyny lately with some peculiar leaders, #MeToo etc.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited June 8
    NicoleMR wrote: »
    Look at it this way. The "P" word, relating to people of East Indian descent, is pretty offensive in Britain. It's basically meaningless in the US. If there were a substantial population of East Indian descent here on the ship, how would I be looked on if I used the "P" word in general conversation? It's not an insult in my culture, doesn't mean a thing where I come from.

    I think it would be seen as impolite at the very least, and probably a lot worse.

    Well it's the same thing with the "c" word. It is VERY offensive to some people. A lot of whom are on the ship. It is impolite at the very least to us to continue to use it, even if it doesn't mean very much to you.

    Generally, you are either talking about an anatomical feature you have or someone is using the word as a specific insult that means - really bad person - directed at a specific person regardless of their gender. It is not generally used to mean ‘woman’, any more than bastard is used to mean ‘person of illegitimate birth’ or bugger is used to mean ‘homosexual person’. Whereas the example you cite is a racial slur slur used to denote that specific group of people.

    What I see/hear more often used misogynistically to denote woman or their plural are bitch/bint/ho/cow/slag and variants of cat.

    (And specific subset designed to indicate that a woman is considered unattractive by the speaker, such as minger, munter etc)

    (Second addition: there are also - I believe - more offensive terms for female genitalia in British English, though you’d be unlikely to see them written down or broadcast as often as this word.)
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    That's in your culture. Around here it is a very offensive way to specifically refer to a woman.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    Well, that’s a helpful clarification - because unless I missed it earlier - that was not clear to me from what had previously been posted.
  • By some, and not all, women in those countries.

    The vagina monologues premiered in the USA. There is a significant feminist argument about the use of the word, which is being largely side stepped here.

    Reference, NSFW if the guardian talking about this is an issue for you

    This may be another cultural difference. There may be a debate where you are, but in the US I don't think there's much conversation about the word - possibly because it's so rarely used here.

    I'm not any kind of an expert or academic, but I do run in feminist circles on social media, and what I've heard US feminists talk about in the last few years has mostly been:
    - #MeToo issues (sexual assault, harassment in the workplace, street harassment)
    - abortion and birth control rights
    - unequal employment/salary, especially in politics and media
    - lack of maternity leave
    - microaggressions such as mansplaining or being talked over in meetings

    US feminists have been busy since 2015 or so with trying to stave off immediate descent into the Republic of Gilead. Language just isn't as much on our radar at the moment as being allowed to buy birth control.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited June 8
    We’re just starting that battle, if the swing to the right continues - the Brexit party’s links with Bannon and his mob are not a good sign.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    FYI when we talk about this being common in the UK, it is language I have heard used in discussion between professional colleagues at work - though not often.
  • By some, and not all, women in those countries.

    The vagina monologues premiered in the USA. There is a significant feminist argument about the use of the word, which is being largely side stepped here.

    Reference, NSFW if the guardian talking about this is an issue for you

    This may be another cultural difference. There may be a debate where you are, but in the US I don't think there's much conversation about the word - possibly because it's so rarely used here.

    I'm not any kind of an expert or academic, but I do run in feminist circles on social media, and what I've heard US feminists talk about in the last few years has mostly been:
    - #MeToo issues (sexual assault, harassment in the workplace, street harassment)
    - abortion and birth control rights
    - unequal employment/salary, especially in politics and media
    - lack of maternity leave
    - microaggressions such as mansplaining or being talked over in meetings

    US feminists have been busy since 2015 or so with trying to stave off immediate descent into the Republic of Gilead. Language just isn't as much on our radar at the moment as being allowed to buy birth control.
    If I may provide some news in a completely different direction:All provinces in Canada have fully-funded access to the abortion drug, Mifegymiso. It's a mixture of 2 drugs which you take in sequence and avoids surgery.
  • There two things being conflated in this language discussion - racial/disablist slurs and taboo words based on bodily functions and/or sexual organs. Philosophically there is a difference. No-one here is arguing that it is acceptable to use racial/disablist slurs as they tend to be personal attacks on specific people - not everyone is, for example, disabled or black, and the implication of words in these classes is that the people being addressed are lacking through having those attributes, which is discriminatory. (That includes the word nigger, but also in the UK, words like paki and spaz are unacceptable, as they are only used abusively).

    Words based on bodily functions and sexual organs used as swear words are different from this as they are less personal - most of us shit, crap, piss and, if we're lucky, fuck. We normally either have a cunt or a prick or cock. I am typing out words as the circumlocutions like the c word or c*** could mean, depending on context, cock*, cunt or possibly crap. And we do need to know these words to be able to describe bodily functions in a comprehensible way as most people are unaware of the formal micturate, defaecate or fornicate. In most cases the use of the medical terms attracts blank looks.

    And I too have heard cunt used in the work place, repeatedly from the young people I was working with, but also from colleagues - who were likely to describe another of their peers (or me) affectionately as a stupid cunt if we'd messed up and were sorting out the problem.

    * If you've ever been on a board with software that banned certain words you would know the ludicrous results. A bulletin board I used to be part of banned cock, so it blanked out a discussion about Cockburn's port and any mention of Cockfosters, or cock birds, and as the old British joke goes, you can only guess what it did to Scunthorpe. Use of the c word or c*** is dependent on us all knowing what is meant in this context.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    ...I’m afraid I fail to see how cultural standards are violated or challenged by the suggestion that, in the context of an internet forum with posters and readers from around the world, it is helpful and respectful to bear in mind how certain words that are acceptable in one’s own culture may be offensive and even hurtful in the cultures of others with whom one is talking.
    Thank you, Nick. It's mostly a question of courtesy and respect, and of remembering that this is an international site. I have trouble understanding why that seems to be unacceptable to some people.

    As for feminists trying to "reclaim" the word, there was a period in the last century where that seemed to be a Thing. I have heard nothing on the subject (until right here, right now, and I notice that the linked Guardian article was from 2006) to indicate that it's any kind of priority. As others have said, we have much bigger problems at the moment.
  • Ohher wrote: »
    As I have to explain every semester to students, if someone in the class uses a term you find offensive, say so. Explain that you find it offensive and ask the person to avoid that term in future. You may be asked to explain what makes the term offensive. If you can comfortably do so, explain. If you cannot comfortably explain, simply repeat that (in your culture) it's offensive. If the person continues using the term after being asked to stop, report that confidentially to the instructor.

    Is there any kind of “reasonableness” test to that policy? I don’t know what subject you teach, but if it was biology and one of your students claimed that the concept of evolution was offensive to their religion would you therefore ban any mention of it?

    This is why I have problems with these sort of things. They start out as a reasonable attempt to avoid upset, but end up being used to censor legitimate ideas. Better not to start down the rabbit hole at all.

    That slope isn't nearly as slippery as you seem to think.

    I’m not convinced about that. We seem to be moving ever closer to a situation where anyone can effectively ban any words or ideas they don’t like simply by being able to say they are offended by them with a straight face.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    @Curiosity killed,
    There two things being conflated in this language discussion - racial/disablist slurs and taboo words based on bodily functions and/or sexual organs. Philosophically there is a difference.
    Any supposed philosophical difference is irrelevant.

    Why is it so difficult to imagine that a word that is used much like any other body part word in the UK may have a very different connotation—a violent, abusive, and highly misogynistic connotation—somewhere else?
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate
    edited June 8
    I'll remind you I said this in the Styx:
    It's not a word I use and I would avoid on the Ship because I realise how offensively it is heard by those in North America. But I wasn't happy when I saw this example of it being picked up in Hell - KarlLB reported something verbatim and the response was him being asked to refrain from using the C word - not the bulk of the post, just a picking up of the use of the word.

    And have since then been typing so many taboo words that I'd never normally use in formal communications to make my points clear.

    I have been not arguing that North Americans find the word cunt offensive, but against what is being implicated in so many of the posts we are seeing: that there should be a ban in the use of the word and if we must use it, we have to elide it into a form that is both ambiguous and relies on the reader knowing the word and mentally completing it to make sense of the sentence, which I find nonsensical. And I'm agreeing with @Marvin the Martian with this.

    eta to add after the cross-posts
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    But nobody has asked for a ban. A ban = Ship admins saying “this word is not allowed.” No one has asked for that.

    What people have asked is that posters bear in mind how others may read their words, to avoid words that they know may cause serious offense if possible, and if not possible or workable in a particular context to avoid using the word, to exercise some care in how it is used, such as by making very clear that it is a quote, by some replacement convention or at least by a warning of a possibly offensive (or triggering) word to follow. That’s not a ban. That’s just asking for some basic courtesy.

    I’m really baffled that this is seen as anything else.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate
    And I erred in using that particular example by that particular poster to request the courtesy. I've seen it a lot in that thread, usually without quotes, and just hit my limit for derailment fatigue in that moment.

    Having brought it up, though, I will stand by my request, and ask that we remember Commandment 1 when posting.

  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    I will stand by my request, and ask that we remember Commandment 1 when posting.
    I can't disagree with that. Though, I would add that we remember Commandment 5 when reading. Especially if you choose to read posts in Hell.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    No One Is Asking For A Ban On Any Words.

    What is so hard about the basic courtesy of not using a word that for a good number of your fellow shipmates is insulting, derogatory, and just awful? Why is that difficult?

    In the US and other places , the "c" word used ONLY to demean and insult women. It's the nastiest thing you can call a woman. It's like the "n" word is for blacks.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate
    edited June 8
    So explain the difference between a ban on using the word "cunt" and a request that it isn't used? Concurrently made with a reminder that the use of "cunt" could be seen as a Commandment 1 violation when posting.

    My feeling on these several threads where this has been argued out is that there seems to be a one way street on commandment 5 - that everyone is being asked not to use certain words as they offend and forgetting the "and not being too quick to be offended" part of commandment 5, particularly on a Hell thread, which was the original post that triggered the furore was made.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    Is there a ban on the "n" word? No? Do you use it here? No.

    Would you post the ravings of an antisemite talking about k***s, or a homophobe spewing about f****ts? Would you call someone here a re***d if you thought their argument was stupid? No, you wouldn't. You wouldn't use those words. They aren't banned but you wouldn't use them. SO WHY THE FUCK CAN'T YOU NOT USE C**T??????
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Dear God the stupid is thick in here.

    Some women: Please don't use this word, we find it offensive.

    A: OH MY GOD YOU WANT TO ENABLE ANYONE TO SHUT DOWN DIALOGUE BY PRETENDING TO BE OFFENDED!

    B: OH MY GOD YOU ARE CLAIMING THAT ALL WOMEN EVERYWHERE HATE TSI WORD!

    C: OH MY GOD HOW DARE YOU NORTH AMERICANS INSIST THAT YOUR CULTURE IS BETTER THAN OURS!

    Oh my God is the bullshit thick in here.
  • Nobody but nobody is saying that the word in question is in anyway acceptable when used in a derogatory way towards women.

    KarlLB is a bloke. He's not a woman. He simply reported that someone called him the c-word. He isn't claiming it's right or acceptable. He's said it's a term he wouldn't use himself. It's not one I use either. I've only cited it in the Styx because I've been quoting it. I would never call someone the c-word whatever their gender. I get that it's seen as even more offensive in North America than it is here and that's another reason - if I needed any further reason - why I wouldn't use it unless - as in the Styx - I was citing it as an example of offensive language.

    Terms like 'prick', 'knob', 'knob end', 'bell end' and 'arse' are used as insults in the UK. That doesn't make them acceptable any more than 'asshole' would be in the US. I fully understand that the c-word is far more offensive than those but I don't see any KarlLB using the term to insult or offend, simply to report something verbatim.

    Some of the people complaining about the use of the c-word here have probably contributed to its being typed here far more than would otherwise be the case.
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Just a few bullet points:

    I actually really enjoy discussions about how different countries/cultures perceive particular uses of language. It's fantastically interesting. (no sarcasm).

    I'm female. I don't, and wouldn't, use the 'c-word', and neither, that I can recall, does anyone I socialise with. But I suspect that's actually more of a 'middle-class' thing than anything else (in my country).

    Notwithstanding the above, I'm in agreement with those who've argued that the whole 'c-word', 'f-word' thing is a bit...redundant, particularly in a discussion about those very words.

    I think something that may have got lost in translation, is that the original offending comment was KarlLB reporting an insult directed toward HIMself - and the HIM is potentially crucial, here. On the one hand, yes, an individual without a c employed the c-word, and not while describing an anatomical feature. On the other hand, the individual being insulted was not in possession of said feature. I realise I could very well just be muddying things more by going and adding an antipodean perspective to the discussion, but, in my own context, a man saying 'You dumb c***' to another man, is a whole different thing from a man saying 'You dumb c***' to a woman. When a guy says it to another guy, at least in my ambit, it's very much more along the lines of 'what were you thinking, twit?', rather than a virulently demeaning put-down.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Ohher wrote: »
    As I have to explain every semester to students, if someone in the class uses a term you find offensive, say so. Explain that you find it offensive and ask the person to avoid that term in future. You may be asked to explain what makes the term offensive. If you can comfortably do so, explain. If you cannot comfortably explain, simply repeat that (in your culture) it's offensive. If the person continues using the term after being asked to stop, report that confidentially to the instructor.

    Is there any kind of “reasonableness” test to that policy? I don’t know what subject you teach, but if it was biology and one of your students claimed that the concept of evolution was offensive to their religion would you therefore ban any mention of it?

    This is why I have problems with these sort of things. They start out as a reasonable attempt to avoid upset, but end up being used to censor legitimate ideas. Better not to start down the rabbit hole at all.

    This discussion is held in connection with the school policy on harassment (I mostly teach English composition, with a mix of other English courses thrown in). The policy references avoiding known slurs -- racial, sexual, ethnic, religious, etc. I have students from many different countries / cultures / backgrounds, but the bulk of my students every fall are drawn from area high schools, and this is a rural state with a lily-white population way over 90%, almost exclusively Christian at least nominally, and the plain fact is that most of these kids are clueless about slurs yet use them constantly because these are the terms they hear and know.

    Quite often they've never set foot outside East Overshoe except to go to the nearest mall with Mom. East Overshoe has one traffic light. Kids know everybody in their underfunded school and have done since kindergarten. They arrive at our little 2-year college in the state capital (population well under 45,000) and think they're in The Big City. The N-word is the only term they've heard used for dark-skinned people (there are no dark-skinned people in East Overshoe). They think "Jew" is a slur when used about someone who actually is Jewish, because that's the only way they've ever heard the term used. They use unacceptable words for Southeast Asians they've picked up from their Viet Nam vet grandfathers.

    The thing is, these kids don't know they're insulting people. They're not necessarily trying to insult people. (They are reacting to the huge difference they perceive between themselves and these exotic strangers) They think "faggot" is simply the normal label for one particular sexual minority. So basically, I have to put people on notice that we're from many different cultures, we have no idea what others find offensive, and please could we tread carefully and also educate each other so as to create an environment where each of us is comfortable enough to focus on the mysteries of paragraphing, comma splices, and coordinating conjunctions.

    That's what is happening here on the ship. Brits on board here are just now realizing that a word in common, casual usage on their side of the pond registers as deeply offensive to NorteAmericanos. The difference between my classroom and here is that I DO ban (actually the school does) the use of slurs once we get a handle on what those are.

    Those who find the c-word offensive are not requesting a ban. They're requesting self-censorship.

  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    So explain the difference between a ban on using the word "cunt" and a request that it isn't used?
    The difference is agency. Two scenarios:

    1. There is an word I often use and would like to use in a particular post, but I do not use it because the Ship’s Powers That Be have decided that the word is to offensive and may not be used.

    2. There is a word I often use and am inclined to use in a particular post, but having learned that the word is very offensive to some other shipmates, I choose to use a different word.

    One of these scenarios is a ban, because I do not have any choice. The other is not a ban, because there is nothing preventing me from choosing to use the word. But instead I make the choice, informed by Commandment 1 (that’s the third use of the law at work), to word my post in a way that will not, I hope, give offense.

    One of these scenarios is compliance with rules. The other is being courteous—something we all do all the time, choosing our words based on our audiences.

    My feeling on these several threads where this has been argued out is that there seems to be a one way street on commandment 5 - that everyone is being asked not to use certain words as they offend and forgetting the "and not being too quick to be offended" part of commandment 5, particularly on a Hell thread, which was the original post that triggered the furore was made.
    Gee, if only someone had mentioned that second part of Commandment 5 in the Styx thread.

    Oh, wait.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    The second half of Commandment 5 does not give license to be intentionally offensive and then tell people to "not be easily offended."

    Once you are told a word is offensive, using it is being intentionally offensive.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Once you're told a word isn't all that offensive, taking offense is optional. I'm not going to start dropping the word "cunt" into my everyday speech, but I'm not going to be offended when I see it used by a Brit on the Ship.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    anoesis--

    IMHO, one man saying it to another is basically saying "you're so stupid, you're a woman--worse, her vagina!--and we all know that's all women are worth".
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