Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
EdgarJPublius
Official Propagandi.... Nifty Poster Guy
Posts: 3726
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:56 am UTC
Location: where the wind takes me

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:10 pm UTC

Malice wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:what am I arguing is actually impossible?

I don't know. That's why I fucking asked you to clarify.

And no one here ever said change implied any particular direction. But we most certainly can say that a word has changed in one direction or the other along the positive-negative connotation axis, for example.

but can we make that change happen in one direction or the other along the positive-negative connotation axis? Or does it happen independent of what one group or another wants?


I'm not sure if a word has ever changed based on the deliberate organized action of a group of people (although I wouldn't be surprised), but words have certainly changed meanings based on the synonymous desires of many individuals. In other words, it may not be possible to stand up and say, "Hey everybody, let's not use gay as a pejorative from now on, okay?" and have that work; but it might not be necessary, either. Words don't change at random, they reflect what people want and think. Somebody uses a word in a new way, somebody else hears and picks it up, and it simply spreads. Memes, like genes, don't necessarily need a guiding hand in order to live or die. To say that the change has a direction is not to say that it has a director.

However, I do think it's possible for directed change to work.


Thank you. I'm glad somebody understood what I was trying to say.
Roosevelt wrote:
I wrote:Does Space Teddy Roosevelt wrestle Space Bears and fight the Space Spanish-American War with his band of Space-volunteers the Space Rough Riders?

Yes.

-still unaware of the origin and meaning of his own user-title

User avatar
TaintedDeity
Posts: 4003
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:22 pm UTC
Location: England;

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby TaintedDeity » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:12 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:
Jesse wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:
Jesse wrote:You're a dipshit because you take a whole fucking page to clarify something you actually asked, and only then clarified because Greg backed you into a corner.

Gmalivuk is the one trying to disprove my argument. That wouldn't really work if he didn't understand the argument he was trying to disprove now would it?


I just read this page, there are at least four instances of Greg saying, in more eloquent ways "What the fuck are you actually asking?"


No, he's asking "What the fuck are you saying so I can disprove it"
Tell him then.
Ⓞⓞ◯

Arete
Posts: 228
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:13 am UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Arete » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:27 pm UTC

Here's a pertinent fact that we're all ignoring [with discussions about signifiers / signified]:

Let's start with the word "homosexual". It looks like an ancient Greek expression [actually, it doesn't, it looks like a latin word, but let's move on], but word and concept are modern inventions: the expression was coined in 1869 by the Hungarian physician Karoly Maria Benkert (1824-1882). It took several decades for the word to become current. In ancient Greece, there never was a word to describe homosexual practices: they were simply part of aphrodisia, love, which included men and women alike.

- Citation. K J Dover "Greek Homosexuality" 1978 (dubious source, but where this all comes from)

It was certainly shameful when a man with a beard remained the passive partner (pathikos) and it was even worse when a man allowed himself to be penetrated by another grown-up man. The Greeks even had a pejorative expression for these people, whom were called kinaidoi. They were the targets of ridicule by the other citizens, especially comedy writers. For example, Aristophanes (c.445-c.380) shows them dressed like women, with a bra, a wig and a gown, and calls them euryprôktoi, "wide arses"

Ok. So homophobia (or rather, culturally sensitive homophobia visa vie patriarchal leanings) isn't new. Let us all also please remember that "pornography" as a word was coined in the 19th C by people shocked at their cultural ancestors putting up a load of "shocking" mosaics. [Citation - just look into Pompeii, history of pornography and so on] - meaning that before this time, in Rome, you could quite happily have sexually explicit mosaics as your entrance hall.

Um, but it wasn't at first. The answer is, as ever, "Plato did it" - mainly to undermine Socrates' reputation, and replace it with his own version of philosophy (which is regarded as dualist and requiring a separation between the 'higher' forms and 'lower' base instincts. Eros Dikaios (2000)Charles Huppert is a good start.

We can skip through the history all the way doing this... but essentially, you're all arguing over a division made a long time ago, that never really existed. One that actually didn't function in society: there has always been a split between the praxis and language here. A fucking great massive split. Lesbian poetry - check! (Citation Catullus - or you could go read online Who's who in gay and lesbian history: from antiquity to World War II, Volume 1 by Robert Aldrich, Garry Wotherspoon)

Slight tangent:

"You might as well reclaim the Swastika". Um. No. They're not all the same http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika Obviously that's one of those cultural things: Tibet / India never had to "reclaim" it, as they viewed the European usage as a bastardisation anyhow.

Back to the planet Zog:

If we're not going to hold our hands up here (given that "gay" originates in labeling women as basically prostitutes, C18) and state that this has much more to do with our own particular society, and hang ups, than anything else, then meh. For example: 'we the people' consider Victorian Britain to be all stiff upper lip and sexual repression. Balls. Total and utter BALLS. Sexual experimentation, esp. with the influx of Indian culture that came with owning that part of the world, lead to massive amounts of kinky sex. Oscar Wilde, and so on. Homosexuality was common, and only imagined as a crime as it would 'threaten society'. Public / private split, obviously, and goes right back to Plato.


Ahem. As I said a while back, and tried to suggest with the 12 yr old girl not ascribing the word "gay" to intentional subjects:

We're all being old fogeys here. Language has already moved on. If you want to change this pattern, then change the society that creates it.

Thus why Swastikas in Central / East Asia really aren't a problem.


p.s.

Yes, there are many people in Europe who view the American stance on sexuality as:

a) Puerile / Infantile
b) Deeply psychotic
c) Ironically closer to Islam than you would ever admit.

Run c) through a though process or two. Islam has more respect for women because it doesn't show them as objectified whores? Or... is not showing any kind of human sexuality but lots of violence a signifier of exactly the same thing. Just not with an AK47 in your hand? *shrug*
Last edited by Arete on Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:33 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Malice
Posts: 3894
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Malice » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:31 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:
Malice wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:what am I arguing is actually impossible?

I don't know. That's why I fucking asked you to clarify.

And no one here ever said change implied any particular direction. But we most certainly can say that a word has changed in one direction or the other along the positive-negative connotation axis, for example.

but can we make that change happen in one direction or the other along the positive-negative connotation axis? Or does it happen independent of what one group or another wants?


I'm not sure if a word has ever changed based on the deliberate organized action of a group of people (although I wouldn't be surprised), but words have certainly changed meanings based on the synonymous desires of many individuals. In other words, it may not be possible to stand up and say, "Hey everybody, let's not use gay as a pejorative from now on, okay?" and have that work; but it might not be necessary, either. Words don't change at random, they reflect what people want and think. Somebody uses a word in a new way, somebody else hears and picks it up, and it simply spreads. Memes, like genes, don't necessarily need a guiding hand in order to live or die. To say that the change has a direction is not to say that it has a director.

However, I do think it's possible for directed change to work.


Thank you. I'm glad somebody understood what I was trying to say.


Well, yeah, you said it eventually. After much prodding. Your point is "maybe words can change but we can't change it so we might as well give up and go home", yes?
Image

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Belial » Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:16 am UTC

TaintedDeity wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:
Jesse wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:
Jesse wrote:You're a dipshit because you take a whole fucking page to clarify something you actually asked, and only then clarified because Greg backed you into a corner.

Gmalivuk is the one trying to disprove my argument. That wouldn't really work if he didn't understand the argument he was trying to disprove now would it?


I just read this page, there are at least four instances of Greg saying, in more eloquent ways "What the fuck are you actually asking?"


No, he's asking "What the fuck are you saying so I can disprove it"
Tell him then.
Indeed. If you're standing on the fact that you're right, then you have to be willing to prove that no one can prove you wrong. The fact that you're so averse to clarifying what you're actually fucking saying so that someone can try sounds an awful lot like dirty pool.

And childish bullshit.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26836
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:18 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:Thank you. I'm glad somebody understood what I was trying to say.

Well right, now you've actually answered my question, we understand what you were trying (and failing to successfully) convey.

If you'd started out saying we cannot purposefully direct the change of language, that would be one thing. But you said we can change it, and you said but we can't change it back. Which doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense considering that "we can change it" suggests some of the same purposefulness you're then denying in the "change it back" part. Which is why I asked for clarification and then you were a dick for the rest of the page.

EdgarJPublius wrote:What else is a discussion but two people trying to teach each other their opposing views?

Trying to convince the other that their own view is the correct one, for one thing. Teaching implies that I somehow started out with a lack of knowledge, when in reality I just wasn't sure what you were talking about. There was no need to teach me anything, just so long as you answered my rather simple question.

Instead, as has been mentioned, you decided to be a dipshit about it.

Belial wrote:The fact that you're so averse to clarifying what you're actually fucking saying so that someone can try sounds an awful lot like dirty pool.

Or like you're preemptively moving the goalposts, the way a slimy creationist or other charlatan might.

I simply wanted to make sure I understood what you claimed was impossible *before* looking for it, so you couldn't weasel out of it if I or someone else managed to find a counterexample. But you apparently tried to weasel out before anyone got a chance to start looking.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Dazmilar
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:37 pm UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Dazmilar » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:50 am UTC

If we're trying to directly change a language, it's hard to know exactly how it'll play out. The closest modern example to directed attempts to change a language is probably Basic Human Decency or the attempts to remove sexist language. It's not an exact comparison to what advocates in this thread are talking about, because, in one case you're talking about removing a layer of meaning from a word, as opposed to creating alternative non-sexist words (firefighter as oppose to fireman).

Obviously, we can look at various words that have gained or lost meaning over time. But that loss of meaning has been descriptive, not prescriptive. Decimate doesn't mean kill every tenth, so much as kill many, not because of a concerted effort to change the meaning, but because enough people used it incorrectly in the second meaning that it became the standard meaning. Gay has lost the happiness meaning in common usage.

I find it a little disconcerting that we have a thread about a directed, prescriptive attempt to remove a layer of meaning from a word by trying to stop a generation of teenagers from using it in a specific way, and the one who gets an Orwellian charge thrown against him is Vaniver back on page two...

Will wrote:Oh noes guys! Someone's oppressing the poor privileged straight people! CALL THE THOUGHT POLICE


I fail to see how the suggestion of "ignoring it" or "trying not to be offended" is a bad one. The ad works one angle, which is attempting to appeal to people's empathy in order to get them to stop using Gay in a specific way. So it's limited by how empathetic your target audience is, and would have varying levels of success based on people's empathy. Ignoring the pejorative use or otherwise trying not to be offended could sound like useless parent advice for bullied children. "Oh, just ignore him." But by the very definition, an offensive term has to offend somebody. If nobody was disparaged, then the pejorative use for the word should disappear over time, and the word comes to be used as a non-pejorative.

Princess Marzipan
Posts: 7717
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 5:28 am UTC
Location: neither a road, nor an island

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:04 am UTC

So I guess black people should just NOT BE UPSET if I call every one that I meet a nigger?

I mean, JEEZ, guys, CHILL OUT, right?
"It's Saturday night. I've got no date, a two-liter of Shasta, and my all-Rush mixtape. Let's rock!"
"I am just about to be brilliant!"
General_Norris, on feminism, wrote:If you lose your six Pokémon, you lost.

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:05 am UTC

Dazmilar wrote:If nobody was disparaged

This cannot be accomplished by the disparaged people's ignoring the denigration that everyone else is picking up on, and, yes, it is pretty bad to suggest that gay people could/should fix this by ignoring it.

Ninja'd etc.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

Random832
Posts: 2525
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:38 pm UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Random832 » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:07 am UTC

Dazmilar wrote:I fail to see how the suggestion of "ignoring it" or "trying not to be offended" is a bad one. The ad works one angle, which is attempting to appeal to people's empathy in order to get them to stop using Gay in a specific way. So it's limited by how empathetic your target audience is, and would have varying levels of success based on people's empathy. Ignoring the pejorative use or otherwise trying not to be offended could sound like useless parent advice for bullied children. "Oh, just ignore him." But by the very definition, an offensive term has to offend somebody. If nobody was disparaged, then the pejorative use for the word should disappear over time, and the word comes to be used as a non-pejorative.


How about for the next year whenever someone makes an idiotic argument on this board we say "That's so Dazmilar". I'm not saying that you are an idiot, or that you make idiotic arguments, you see... just that it would be fine to use your name as a word to mean idiotic arguments.

And if you complain, I'll just tell you to ignore it and try not to be offended.

User avatar
Lucrece
Posts: 3558
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:01 am UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Lucrece » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:17 am UTC

Random832 wrote:
Dazmilar wrote:I fail to see how the suggestion of "ignoring it" or "trying not to be offended" is a bad one. The ad works one angle, which is attempting to appeal to people's empathy in order to get them to stop using Gay in a specific way. So it's limited by how empathetic your target audience is, and would have varying levels of success based on people's empathy. Ignoring the pejorative use or otherwise trying not to be offended could sound like useless parent advice for bullied children. "Oh, just ignore him." But by the very definition, an offensive term has to offend somebody. If nobody was disparaged, then the pejorative use for the word should disappear over time, and the word comes to be used as a non-pejorative.


How about for the next year whenever someone makes an idiotic argument on this board we say "That's so Dazmilar". I'm not saying that you are an idiot, or that you make idiotic arguments, you see... just that it would be fine to use your name as a word to mean idiotic arguments.

And if you complain, I'll just tell you to ignore it and try not to be offended.


That's an ineffectual appeal to emotion. I doubt it will bother him at all.

What I do find perverse is to pretend to have some kids repress their hurt and feelings of degradation just so that the oppressing faction gets its way, and maybe in a couple of generations the oppressed party will have its label forcefully stripped away by their very oppressors.
Belial wrote:That's charming, Nancy, but all I hear when you talk is a bunch of yippy dog sounds.

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Vaniver » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:21 am UTC

Yeah, that half of Dazmilar's argument is seriously flawed. Ridiculing homosexuality doesn't require knowing ridiculous homosexuals.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

User avatar
EdgarJPublius
Official Propagandi.... Nifty Poster Guy
Posts: 3726
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:56 am UTC
Location: where the wind takes me

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:26 am UTC

Belial wrote:
TaintedDeity wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:
Jesse wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:
Jesse wrote:You're a dipshit because you take a whole fucking page to clarify something you actually asked, and only then clarified because Greg backed you into a corner.

Gmalivuk is the one trying to disprove my argument. That wouldn't really work if he didn't understand the argument he was trying to disprove now would it?


I just read this page, there are at least four instances of Greg saying, in more eloquent ways "What the fuck are you actually asking?"


No, he's asking "What the fuck are you saying so I can disprove it"
Tell him then.
Indeed. If you're standing on the fact that you're right, then you have to be willing to prove that no one can prove you wrong. The fact that you're so averse to clarifying what you're actually fucking saying so that someone can try sounds an awful lot like dirty pool.

And childish bullshit.

Sometimes it's better to use the words of the person you are discussing with than your own. Sometimes, doing so takes some cajoling.

Often, that looks like dickishness.


gmalivuk wrote:Trying to convince the other that their own view is the correct one, for one thing. Teaching implies that I somehow started out with a lack of knowledge,

If you believe the wrong thing, is it better to attribute that to ignorance? or to malice?

. There was no need to teach me anything, just so long as you answered my rather simple question.

You answered your question, I only helped.
Roosevelt wrote:
I wrote:Does Space Teddy Roosevelt wrestle Space Bears and fight the Space Spanish-American War with his band of Space-volunteers the Space Rough Riders?

Yes.

-still unaware of the origin and meaning of his own user-title

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Belial » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:38 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:You answered your question, I only helped.


And it only took two more pages than it could have if you'd just answered a question like a reasonable person instead of carrying on like a prick.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
EdgarJPublius
Official Propagandi.... Nifty Poster Guy
Posts: 3726
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:56 am UTC
Location: where the wind takes me

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:47 am UTC

Belial wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:You answered your question, I only helped.


And it only took two more pages than it could have if you'd just answered a question like a reasonable person instead of carrying on like a prick.

earned knowledge is better than free information.

If I have to be a dick to get my point across more effectively, then I pay the price gladly.
Roosevelt wrote:
I wrote:Does Space Teddy Roosevelt wrestle Space Bears and fight the Space Spanish-American War with his band of Space-volunteers the Space Rough Riders?

Yes.

-still unaware of the origin and meaning of his own user-title

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:51 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:earned knowledge is better than free information.

Uhh... no? Nobody gains anything from bothering you for two pages to speak clearly when you could have done so in the first place.

EdgarJPublius wrote:If I have to be a dick to get my point across more effectively

You don't. It would have been much more effective to just say what you mean the first time around.

Try as you might, you're still no Socrates.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

Princess Marzipan
Posts: 7717
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 5:28 am UTC
Location: neither a road, nor an island

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:01 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:
Belial wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:You answered your question, I only helped.


And it only took two more pages than it could have if you'd just answered a question like a reasonable person instead of carrying on like a prick.

earned knowledge is better than free information.

If I have to be a dick to get my point across more effectively, then I pay the price gladly.
OH GOD SHUT THE FUCK UP

FIGURING OUT WHAT YOU JUST FUCKING SAID IS NOT AN ADVENTURE IN EDUCATION

IT'S YOU BEING A PRICK BY IMPEDING DIALOG INSTEAD OF ANSWERING A FUCKING QUESTION.

And "getting your point across?" You didn't convince anyone of anything; you just clarified your position. And again, you took two fucking pages to do it instead one fucking post. Ass.
"It's Saturday night. I've got no date, a two-liter of Shasta, and my all-Rush mixtape. Let's rock!"
"I am just about to be brilliant!"
General_Norris, on feminism, wrote:If you lose your six Pokémon, you lost.

Dazmilar
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:37 pm UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Dazmilar » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:06 am UTC

Fair enough. Maybe that argument was so Dazmilar. It certainly wouldn't be the first time I've said something stupid or made an ineffective argument.

Princess Marzipan wrote:So I guess black people should just NOT BE UPSET if I call every one that I meet a nigger?


I think you're expecting a timeline of linguistic change that's much shorter than the one I was thinking of in my argument. As was pointed out earlier in this thread, somebody didn't even realize "sucks" was an abbreviated form of "sucks dick." Generationally, the phrase has become less offensive. Plenty of people have been gypped, without ever realizing the phrase is derogatory to gypsies. There's no reason to believe that nigger or gay won't become less offensive over time.

The wikipedia entry for Pejorative mentions that, "sometimes a term may begin as a pejorative word and eventually be adopted in a non-pejorative sense. Big Bang, Quaker, Yankee, Okie, Tory and Whig, Ham radio, Christian, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Shaker, Unitarian, Sooner, and Liberal were originally slang insults but came to be used as non-pejorative standard words." Is there any evidence that any of these terms came to be used as non-pejoratives through directed attempts to eliminate the pejorative meaning?

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26836
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:21 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:If I have to be a dick to get my point across more effectively, then I pay the price gladly.

Be that as it may, it's irrelevant to this particular discussion. Because you *didn't* get your point across more effectively. So you were just being a dick for no reason at all.

Delude yourself all you want with such notions as "earned knowledge" or the Socratic method or whatever. You're still just being an obtuse fuck.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:32 am UTC

Dazmilar wrote:There's no reason to believe that nigger or gay won't become less offensive over time.

I won't cover "nigger," because it isn't what this thread is about, but there are still lots of problems with those examples:

1. They describe situations where people lose sight of the etymological implications of a word. This isn't going to happen for "gay" as long as gay people still use that word to describe themselves, and I don't see any reason for this to change in anything nearer than the very long term.
2. They aren't examples of things that are no longer offensive; they're just examples of offensive things that most people don't notice. You can expect a pretty negative reaction if you use "gypped" around a group of Romanies*, and, while "that sucks" isn't Grotesquely Offensive!, I wouldn't mind being able to give a blowjob without connotations of submission, inferiority, and whatnot.
3. Offensiveness really isn't the point. Even if gay people (magically) got so used to their identity being used as a pejorative that they stopped noticing it, there would still be all the negative effects of "gay" being associated with everything bad for those who use and hear it.

Dazmilar wrote:Is there any evidence that any of these terms came to be used as non-pejoratives through directed attempts to eliminate the pejorative meaning?

Those are examples of a different type of usage change, because they are completely different types of words. Those words originated exclusively as pejoratives, but over time became neutral terms — often, in fact, through appropriation. In contrast, the word "gay" isn't currently pejorative in and of itself, but it is when it is used to denigrate things by connecting them to homosexuality. The same thing would happen if gay people started calling themselves "click" (to coin an adjective). The problem isn't in making the word itself inoffensive — it already is — but in getting people to stop using it as a term of insult.

* "Gypsy" is itself an ethnic slur.
Last edited by TheGrammarBolshevik on Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:43 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
scrovak
Posts: 784
Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:54 pm UTC
Location: Harford County, MD [USA]
Contact:

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby scrovak » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:35 am UTC

I know I'll probably be foe'd for my logic but:

Are we still going back and forth on this? Every time I check in it's a couple pages after the other one.

The way I see it is this: Penny Arcade is paid to be funny. They write funny. They draw funny. You may not agree with the methodology behind their point, or maybe it's even the point they're making you don't agree with. If you don't, how about you just, you know, not read the site? Especially considering they write for a target who, like me, would probably find that comic funny as hell. If their audience doesn't, viewership will suffer, and they'll learn.

As a post script, there was a comedian whose name I am blanking on, who once said "If you're a comedian and you're not possing anyone off, you're doing it wrong." If someone could source that, I'd be very appreciative.
MrGee wrote:I would never eat a person. Have you seen the conditions they're raised in?
kapojinha wrote:You're amazing, which is why I'm going to marry you.

Angua wrote:coordinated baby attacks

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:42 am UTC

scrovak wrote:You may not agree with the methodology behind their point, or maybe it's even the point they're making you don't agree with. If you don't, how about you just, you know, not read the site?

Why make a point if you only want people who agree with you to see it? When you make a public statement like that, you're going to affect public opinion, and you should take responsibility for your words if people aren't happy with them.

scrovak wrote:As a post script, there was a comedian whose name I am blanking on, who once said "If you're a comedian and you're not possing anyone off, you're doing it wrong."

Even if so, that doesn't mean that you're doing it right just because you are offensive. See: Holocaust jokes.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
scrovak
Posts: 784
Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:54 pm UTC
Location: Harford County, MD [USA]
Contact:

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby scrovak » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:51 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Even if so, that doesn't mean that you're doing it right just because you are offensive. See: Holocaust jokes.


This is true. But I always though the humor behind holocaust jokes was present in the idea that someone could be so callous, so insensitive, such an asshole to believe it would be a good source of material. The idea that someone could be so thick headed is what I find amusing rather than the jokes themselves which, don't get me wrong, are incredibly horrible.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Why make a point if you only want people who agree with you to see it? When you make a public statement like that, you're going to affect public opinion, and you should take responsibility for your words if people aren't happy with them


Remember, a target audience. They write so their audience finds it funny, because it's their audience that reads the comic. If you were in charge of a website designed to critique wine, and have a large following of wine tasters, why would you start critiquing beer, when wine is what your readers want? I know it's not exactly a parallel metaphor, but I think it gets the point across. Personally, I think those two just don't feel they should dignify any uproar with a response because, like I said, their mindset is probably "If you don't like our humor, don't read it!"
MrGee wrote:I would never eat a person. Have you seen the conditions they're raised in?
kapojinha wrote:You're amazing, which is why I'm going to marry you.

Angua wrote:coordinated baby attacks

Princess Marzipan
Posts: 7717
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 5:28 am UTC
Location: neither a road, nor an island

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:52 am UTC

scrovak wrote:The way I see it is this: Penny Arcade is paid to be funny. They write funny. They draw funny. You may not agree with the methodology behind their point, or maybe it's even the point they're making you don't agree with. If you don't, how about you just, you know, not read the site? Especially considering they write for a target who, like me, would probably find that comic funny as hell. If their audience doesn't, viewership will suffer, and they'll learn.

I don't think anyone's taken issue with the COMIC.

And "just don't read it" doesn't actually solve the problem of bad newsposts like this one, because the problem isn't just that 'I don't like it,' it's that "this is reinforcing so much that is WRONG for SO MANY people."
"It's Saturday night. I've got no date, a two-liter of Shasta, and my all-Rush mixtape. Let's rock!"
"I am just about to be brilliant!"
General_Norris, on feminism, wrote:If you lose your six Pokémon, you lost.

User avatar
scrovak
Posts: 784
Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:54 pm UTC
Location: Harford County, MD [USA]
Contact:

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby scrovak » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:54 am UTC

But if you read it, isn't it kind of obvious that they are putting a face on those ignoramuses? The face of an ignorant ass-hat, unable to be reasoned with, who will do as they wish.
MrGee wrote:I would never eat a person. Have you seen the conditions they're raised in?
kapojinha wrote:You're amazing, which is why I'm going to marry you.

Angua wrote:coordinated baby attacks

User avatar
Jesse
Vocal Terrorist
Posts: 8635
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 6:33 pm UTC
Location: Basingstoke, England.
Contact:

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Jesse » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:04 am UTC

Not to mention that by this page no-one's talking about PA anymore, we've moved onto trying to discuss the ability of society to change the language in such a way to remove the pejorative. But I mean, I can see how you'd be confused if you hadn't read the thread.

User avatar
setzer777
Good questions sometimes get stupid answers
Posts: 2762
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:24 am UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby setzer777 » Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:51 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Dazmilar wrote:Is there any evidence that any of these terms came to be used as non-pejoratives through directed attempts to eliminate the pejorative meaning?

Those are examples of a different type of usage change, because they are completely different types of words. Those words originated exclusively as pejoratives, but over time became neutral terms — often, in fact, through appropriation. In contrast, the word "gay" isn't currently pejorative in and of itself, but it is when it is used to denigrate things by connecting them to homosexuality. The same thing would happen if gay people started calling themselves "click" (to coin an adjective). The problem isn't in making the word itself inoffensive — it already is — but in getting people to stop using it as a term of insult.

* "Gypsy" is itself an ethnic slur.


Wait, but if that is true, that people would just use "click" as a pejorative because it's homosexuality itself being used as an insult rather than a specific word, then how can any campaign like those posters be remotely effective? I thought the point was that it might enlighten people who are ignorant of how hurtful the word is - but if they would just start using any word for homosexuality as an insult then it isn't just a case of ignorance, it's some degree of malice, in which case they already know that it's hurtful to people, they just don't give a shit.
Meaux_Pas wrote:We're here to go above and beyond.

Too infinity
of being an arsehole

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:56 pm UTC

"That's gay" may not involve malice right now, but it took malice for that usage of the word to evolve. It seems pretty reasonable to expect that the same process would occur again if nothing but the word used to describe gay people changed.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
Jessica
Jessica, you're a ...
Posts: 8337
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:57 pm UTC
Location: Soviet Canuckistan

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Jessica » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:02 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:"That's gay" may not involve malice right now, but it took malice for that usage of the word to evolve. It seems pretty reasonable to expect that the same process would occur again if nothing but the word used to describe gay people changed.
It's the euphemism treadmill. If you change the word you use to refer to something that's generally seen as bad, that word will still be used as an insult.

The only way to stop it, I assume, is to make people stop thinking the original thing is bad.

The hope is, showing people that "that's gay" is insulting to homosexuals will make them realize that yes, it is bad to say that, and maybe make them think about what they're doing.
doogly wrote:On a scale of Mr Rogers to Fascism, how mean do you think we're being?
Belial wrote:My goal is to be the best brain infection any of you have ever had.

Zell
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:18 pm UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Zell » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:34 pm UTC

Can people stop being so offended all the time? You know what I find offensive? The term "LGBT-person". I mean, what the hell? As one of those "persons" myself, I have never understood why we should talk about homosexual people, bisexual people and transgender people as some sort of group that needs to be protected and pitied. And don't get me started on pride parades. Faugh. "Look at me, I happen to have a certain sexuality! Pride! Woo!" Why is who you like to fuck so important, anyway?

User avatar
Jesse
Vocal Terrorist
Posts: 8635
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 6:33 pm UTC
Location: Basingstoke, England.
Contact:

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Jesse » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:37 pm UTC

Because our society is built towards making those people feel ashamed and wrong so standing up there and being proud of it is important for self-identity. Why aren't there any white and straight pride parades? Because we get to feel proud about it eveyr fucking day.

Zell
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:18 pm UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Zell » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:45 pm UTC

Jesse wrote:Because our society is built towards making those people feel ashamed and wrong so standing up there and being proud of it is important for self-identity. Why aren't there any white and straight pride parades? Because we get to feel proud about it eveyr fucking day.
I'd rather feel proud about my own achievements, not the fact that I think kissing guys can be pretty nice. That's just me, though. Oh, and if you feel proud about belonging to the ethnic group "Scandinavians", you're called a Nazi. Just saying.

As Belial states below, this post feels distinctly trollish. Avoid comments like this.

~CM

User avatar
Jesse
Vocal Terrorist
Posts: 8635
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 6:33 pm UTC
Location: Basingstoke, England.
Contact:

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Jesse » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:49 pm UTC

It's about being proud of who you are and not hiding it away just because society doesn't like what you are.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Belial » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:52 pm UTC

Jesse, please don't feed the troll.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

Zell
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:18 pm UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Zell » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:55 pm UTC

What's the deal with being proud of who you are? I'm not saying you should feel bad about who you are, but isn't feeling proud of who you are regardless of what that is the entire foundation for nationalism, racism and all sorts of unpleasant, emotion-driven movements? I'm not being flippant here, I'm genuinely curious why you think it's a good idea to be proud of what you happen to be.

And please, people, I am only a troll ethnically. I have no idea why you should think I am here to stir up emotions. I am merely a person who likes to kiss guys who also happens to think that me liking to kiss guys is not a big deal. How does that make me an Internet troll?

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Belial » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:59 pm UTC

Zell wrote:And please, people, I am only a troll ethnically. I have no idea why you should think I am here to stir up emotions. I am merely a person who likes to kiss guys who also happens to think that me liking to kiss guys is not a big deal. How does that make me an Internet troll?


The part where you decided to derail a rather narrow discussion with your general purpose "what's the deal with pride parades and protecting minorities" seinfeld-esque flamebait.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

Zell
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:18 pm UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Zell » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:02 pm UTC

Fine, fine, I'm not used to strict anti-derailing laws. You should visit the Octagon some time. We're nice people enjoying an anarchic existence in a land with no laws. But I'll be good, since this is your forum and all.

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Vaniver » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:05 pm UTC

Zell wrote:What's the deal with being proud of who you are? I'm not saying you should feel bad about who you are, but isn't feeling proud of who you are regardless of what that is the entire foundation for nationalism, racism and all sorts of unpleasant, emotion-driven movements? I'm not being flippant here, I'm genuinely curious why you think it's a good idea to be proud of what you happen to be.

And please, people, I am only a troll ethnically. I have no idea why you should think I am here to stir up emotions. I am merely a person who likes to kiss guys who also happens to think that me liking to kiss guys is not a big deal. How does that make me an Internet troll?
Pride movements are a response to shame situations. That is, people who feel alone and ridiculed because of what they are or what they've chosen to be get together with similar people and provide support for each other.

I heard on the radio a while back someone talking about being at a graduation, and seeing parents holding a sign saying "we're proud of our gay son." They thought it was a silly thing to be proud of- and it is. But it's a hell of a lot better than being ashamed.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

Zell
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:18 pm UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby Zell » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:10 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:They thought it was a silly thing to be proud of- and it is. But it's a hell of a lot better than being ashamed.
Two wrongs doesn't make a right. If someone is giving you a hard time because you are a guy who likes guys, you should tell them to fuck off. But I don't see a reason to run around being proud because you happen to like guys. Sorry, was that off-topic? I am doing my best here.

General_Norris
Posts: 1399
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:10 pm UTC

Re: Penny Arcade's Take on Homophobic Slurs

Postby General_Norris » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:21 pm UTC

Zell wrote:
Vaniver wrote:They thought it was a silly thing to be proud of- and it is. But it's a hell of a lot better than being ashamed.
Two wrongs doesn't make a right. If someone is giving you a hard time because you are a guy who likes guys, you should tell them to fuck off. But I don't see a reason to run around being proud because you happen to like guys. Sorry, was that off-topic? I am doing my best here.


I agree.


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests