Monday, July 11, 2005

Angry Words

Upon reading my blog pieces from this weekend my mother exclaimed that the topics were interesting, but that they might have more weight of legitimacy behind them if I didn’t use so many “angry words”. This weekend I had the filthy mouth of a 19th century Irish sailor and for that I profusely apologize if it offended you! Out of this conversation I decided that today’s piece should be dedicated to the discussion of “angry words” and their impact on us.

I have always wondered why some words are considered taboo and others not. In that vein, I question why some words are derogatory and others are not. I think these perceptions come from two angles. The first angle is the way the speaker/writer intended their language to be perceived. Often people use curse words to enunciate a point or add inflection. But sometimes curse words are used to demean or degrade someone; it is at these times that the words become inappropriate.

This brings us to the second angle. That is, the way the words are perceived. Often times, especially with written words it is not clear what the writer’s intentions are. Is the writer being facetious? Does the writer intend to insult me with this statement? Letters, e-mails and other written forms of communications are, in my experience, notoriously dangerous mediums to get creative with language and sentence structure. Why, then, do we continue to use them to communicate emotions and feelings?

People are only offended by what they allow to offend them. I try to never allow harsh words or racial epithets directed at me to cause me emotional injury. It goes back to the childhood saying that my father taught me; “sticks and stones may break my bone, but names will never hurt me.” I know what some of you are saying: easy for a white man to say, how many racial epithets have been tossed your way. Well, that really isn’t the point. The point is to not allow anyone to control, categorize, insult or belittle us with these “angry words”.
We must have the strength to overcome this and be strong in the face of such ridiculously “small” behavior. Once we master this we can turn our attention to a far more perilous problem; responding to the people, who control, categorize, insult or belittle us using words that are widely considered acceptable in civilized conversations. These are the people to pay attention to. They are the dangerous ones!

1 comment:

DAn said...

What's the fate of Karl Rove? Speaking of "angry words"? Will Bush have the guts to act on his words and remove any staffer who would publicly out an intelligence operative? Perhaps it was a "youthful indiscretion" (see Henry Hyde) or some angry words to a reporter that Rove immediately regretted but either way both his actions and the President's inaction smack of the type of hypocrisy that always seems to get ignored when it comes from the GOP... lets hear from the blogger on this!