Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


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Don’t hide it behind a joke

With friends, the line where boundaries can be crossed is a little further away than the line for strangers. It is usually even slightly further for family. It’s all about a level of trust and mutual knowledge of when enough is enough. But sometimes, things go over the top. So much in fact, that a person can be left feeling offended or upset. The reason a comment could have got so out of hand? It was wrapped in a joke.

The word joke now seems to be an umbrella term that includes things that aren’t very funny at all – which is what a joke is supposed to be. Like many words today, joke has lost most of its original meaning. Teasing is a joke, laughing at someone else is a joke. It just seems to me a little like people who are too cowardly to be branded offensive and so laugh everything off with a “it’s a joke.”

Which is ridiculous. I wouldn’t punch someone in the face and say that I was only playing. Even if we started off by play-fighting. I would acknowledge that I had taken it too far. But that has always been the blessing and curse of the spoken and written language. It is powerful.

A word’s power may mean more or less depending on the person, their mood, the setting. It all adds to those words. A word is a little like a sponge, it absorbs everything around it and this makes it a little more complex.

An example is racism and sexism. Although larger society knows that judging someone based on the colour of their skin or their reproductive organs in wrong, it does not stop people from making light humour of serious topics. This is fine to an extent, but it is very easy to over-step the mark.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion even if someone else dubs it an unfair one. Everyone is entitled to try their hand at being as funny as they think they are in their heads. Everyone is allowed to push boundaries a little but don’t hide offensive comments behind a joke. That just highlights that you know what you’re saying has passed any sort of decent limit.

To anger or upset someone and then claim it is all a joke only serves to show that you are happy to dismiss all your comments with a laugh and a smile.

People use the word joke as a way of explaining offensive comments or rude remarks. They use this against the person their words are directed to. After all, who should get offended by a joke apart from serious, dull and uptight people?

Shakespeare’s Juliet once claimed: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. The same applies here. Just because you call a slightly racist comment a joke doesn’t make it one. The fact you have called an offensive comment about women a joke doesn’t dismiss the fact that you said it. It doesn’t wipe your slate clean.

The truth is, you can call a spider, a puppy as many times as you want and it doesn’t change the fact that the spider still has eight legs and can frighten whole populations of people. Calling something by another name does not change what that thing is. You’re just playing with semantics.

If you want to speak your mind, fine, do it. I don’t have to agree with what is said, like it or even condone it. After all, I am no more important than you are. But don’t pretend it’s something else. At least have the courage to say it and accept what you have just said. Change what you say, if you’re not comfortable with the words that have left your mouth. Don’t name it something else for your own self-conscience. You’re not fooling anybody.


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Act like a lady, think like a man. And other stupid sayings.

I was recently reminded of one of those most ridiculous sayings that I have ever heard. Act like a lady, think like a man. How stupid. I want to swear, this saying makes me so angry. I’m very grateful to not hear this in my daily life. The saying implies the very ignorant Victorian belief that women should be seen and not heard. That the only way to succeed is to act like a doll while thinking like a man, because only a man has the brain capacity to do well and actually get what they want. The only way for a person to be successful is to imitate said thinking. How very, very stupid.

To release some anger and to remind myself that there are extremely stupid sayings out there, here’s my list of the best worst three (I’m not sure which one I should be using).

It’s not rocket science

I know it isn’t. If it was, I would be asking someone that understood something about rocket science. I wouldn’t be asking you. Don’t make me feel stupid by stating that it isn’t something complicated. I don’t care, just answer my damn question or don’t. But don’t be smug about it.

Not being funny but (you can replace funny with any other adjective)

This saying is stupid no matter what adjective is used. Especially because after this is spoken by the person they usually prove that they’re not. Which makes the phrase true, yes, but pointless. So damn pointless. I don’t understand the reasoning behind stating that you’re not going to be funny and then saying something extremely dull. At least stick a little sarcasm in there. Better yet, just don’t use this line.

Give it 110%

This is impossible. When people say this to me, I want to punch them in the face. Most people don’t even give 80%, I have seen that for myself. So don’t kid yourself and others by saying you’re giving 110% – to do this you’d have to die and your spirit use 10% of its energy to finish the task. To give 100% is a big damn deal, especially if you’re 100% lasts longer than a firework.

 


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Swearing does not equate rudeness

I’ve written about swearing before in an aptly titled post named: F#!& You (https://browneyesandgreenbees.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/f-you/). Like what I did there?

But the issue of swearing has been bought to my attention yet again. Mainly by people telling me I swear too much. Much like in my November post, I still don’t quite understand the shock value that ‘foul’ language has on people. The stigma is much the same as a boy wearing girl’s clothes. It’s a little narrow minded.

I can understand why it is deemed as rude or offensive. It is because of what society has dubbed such language, and because of how the vast majority of the population use it: in a derogatory and negative fashion. However, society also dictates that women should shave all body hair and yet I’m not offended if I see a woman going au natural.

The way I speak should be up to me. Not society or the people that do not feel they can be as creative with their language. The words shit, fuck and bitch all have pretty standard, non offensive meanings. Poo, sex and a female dog respectively.

As a lover of language (geeky but true) I feel that I can be as creative as I wish when I speak if it is able to put my point across in a better manner. It doesn’t make me inappropriate or rude, it just shows that I have a grasp on the language I am speaking and that I am confident in my ability to use a range of words. Yes, some people that use swearing; do overuse it. But that is like any other word: the overuse of the word like and so in every other sentence also comes with a connotation. I think that a constant repetition of a single word which adds no extra value to the sentence being spoken is far worse than someone deciding to use a word considered a swearwords.

The funny thing is because of the constant changes that languages go through, in a hundred years it’ll be another set of words that are seen as taboo. My bets are on larynxbog and shag. It could also be butter, muffin and nostril. Your guess is as good as mine and to be honest all would be fair guesses. Language is supposed to change, words fall out of use and others enter on a daily basis.

Obviously there are words that are offensive, their whole history is offensive. These tend to be racist. Swear words do not fall into this category. Swear words are not attempting to belittle anyone in their meanings, though they can be used in this way of course. But when you’re using swearwords in conversation, not as an insult; then I, frankly, don’t see a problem.

Freedom of speech does not stop as soon as you say the word bastard. You shouldn’t be considered stupid, a thug or rude for deciding to incorporate the word bitch into your language. It’s just another of many silly constraints that we have put on ourselves and then feel restricted by. As if we need to whisper fuck through fear of offending someone that hasn’t really changed, developed or improved the way they speak in the last 20 years. By the way, that’s not progression – it’s regression.

I like to consider myself a pretty smart kid. I like to think that I also sound like a pretty smart kid. I am not rude and I like to think I’m pretty good member of the community. I know that swearing does not detract or in anyway demonstrate my intelligence or ignorance level. It may, however, show yours if you are offended by my humble words.


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It’s you, not them

I am a language and literature student. I know the importance of words. I know what they can do. Without getting too poetic, words can create as much as they can destroy; in both a creative and functional sense. The power of language is enormous, but this little piece of writing isn’t about me exuding my love for the written word (as much as I’m tempted to, maybe another time).

Language can be manipulated very easily, you don’t have to be very good with words to be able to call someone names or make up lies about them but the impact that these insensitive words can have is crazy.

Gossiping, calling someone names or snide remarks can ruin a person’s confidence, shatter their spirit. And for what? To make yourself feel a little better about yourself? Even if that person deserves that abuse (although nobody does), what you have to really worry about is what is wrong with you, that you feel joy from being mean about someone. Even if it isn’t to their face. What’s happened to you to want to bad mouth someone? To use that beautiful language I love so much to cause someone pain and distress. Because admit it, anything negative that you say in the form of gossip will always wisp like poisonous smoke into the subject’s ear.

It’s you, not the person that you’re talking about, that you need to look at. How can you call someone names, treat them badly and then think that they are to blame for your actions? That’s like you stealing something, getting caught and blaming the shop for making it tempting. It’s ridiculous.

Putting someone down and then kicking them while they’re there is just cruel. What has happened to you for you to have so much hate inside you? That’s what it is, that anger you show towards someone else is you not being able to handle those emotions towards yourself. If you’re angry, go and hit a wall, scream at the top of your lungs but don’t try and make someone feel as angry and upset as you are.

I’m not calling people that name call or whatever bullies, but they have the same problem. They are insecure, that is the crux of it. Showing someone dislike or hate through words is just demonstrating your insecurities. Some people hide behind music, others behind clothes, and others by making themselves invisible. You do it by attempting to make other people feel like you. I almost understand, there’s unity in numbers. At least if someone else feels as crap as you do, you know you’re not alone. That it isn’t you. But, and this is the truth as far as I’m concerned, it is you. Without a doubt.

If you’re calling someone names, ignoring them, laughing about them, making them feel inferior then you are the one with the problem. Not them. What you need to do is watch your mouth, stop this vicious cycle you are now a part of and just hush up. Like your mother said if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.


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F#!& You

The level of swearing that my brain and mouth work together to produce usually relies on an extremity of an emotion: be that very happy, sad or angry. It doesn’t in anyway convey my intelligence level, or that of any other sailor-esque speakers, as some may lead you to believe.

A person that swears does not necessarily mean that they are thicker than a person that does not. Arguably, it could show the exact opposite. A person that swears a proportionate and balanced amount in comparison with the rest of their language use shows that they are able to manipulate language to express themselves as effectively as possible. Emphasising emotions by adding a fuck or a shit or sprinkling a few other swearwords into your sentence does not make you rude, stupid or mixture of the two; it makes you creative, imaginative and sensitive to the language.

There are certain times when swearing is not appropriate due to the stigma that is attached like a parasite to these, apparently rude, words. Boris Johnson recently stated that people swearing at police should expect to be arrested, I understand where he’s coming from. Just because I use bitch in a sentence every now and again does not mean I cannot have a more complex opinion than swearing being okay.

I believe Mr Johnson has a point, to establish an authority and a respect towards the policing force it is best to ban swearwords from being said towards policeman, especially after the London riots this summer. That’s why you’re supposedly not allowed to swear at teachers when you’re a kid, at least not to their faces. But I also think that swearing is becoming an ever-increasing norm in today’s language and those that are not open-minded to language change will soon be forced too. Words that were once banned for offending the church, the pope or the king are now considered everyday speech. If people can not accept natural changes in language as different generations latch onto different things then they are the most ignorant of our society, not the people that decide to use the word bastard when they please.

The meanings of most swearwords, at least their literal meanings, aren’t even offensive. Bitch refers to a female dog, fuck is sex, and bastard is a child born out of wedlock. Many of today’s swearwords only received their offensive connotations very recently. Language is a beautiful thing. It is there to be used, twisted and changed as much as possible for each individual to be able to successfully express how they’re feeling as accurately as possible. People that are swearing are, effectively, doing just that. There is obviously a balance and a limit, as with anything but in proportion to the rest of the person’s speech swearing can be considered just another part of a colourfuland intelligent vocabulary rather than some stupid taboo extra.

I do not judge those that do not like swearing nor should they judge me for using the words they do not approve of or look down of me because of my use of swearwords. Close-mindedness equals stupidity not the use of the word fuck.