Words only have the power we give them

A little step on from my post of a few months ago, there is one word which, it seems, nobody can use. To use it, even in a perfectly sensible context like a news report is to open yourself to accusations of racism and worse. No matter what else is said, or in what context it is said, the fact that it was said is all that anyone notices.

Which means that those (unlike myself, to be honest) who are willing to use said word are at a huge advantage, in that they can shock the vast majority of people into silence with one simple word. They can derail any debate on the topic, they can make it about something else.

So, in trying to avoid a not nice word and all it represents, we’ve gone and made it more powerful than ever.

Clearly not an unqualified success, in my humble opinion.

And let that be an end to (indirect) mentionings of Big bloody Brother.

9 thoughts on “Words only have the power we give them

  1. Sheesh! I watched that for a while this evening. It was just like being back in the hostel. Except in the hostel we didn’t have a Derry Fairy to pat them and murmur soothingly at them.

  2. Lenny Bruce had a great piece using that word you refer to. He tried to use it so much it made it meaningless, which was his point. It is only a word etc.

  3. You raise a valid point Nelly. Nobody should be watching BB unless they have nowhere else to go, or are being paid.

    MFG, how pilloried would Lenny Bruce be if he did such a thing today? People wouldn’t get the funny side at all…

  4. The revulsion against the n-word goes back a long, long time. Forty years ago Lennon & Ono wrote ‘Woman is the Nigger of the World’. Conceived by Ono, it took a strong pro-feminist stance. Even then, in those long ago days, the song was banned from the airwaves because its use of the n-word.

    And Lenny was pilloried in his day too.

    So what’s the second-worst word in the world? One that you would never, ever say?

  5. Nelly, I have to say that I’m reconsidering my opinion. Anything that gets Lennon & Ono off of the airwaves can’t help but be a good thing.

    The second worst thing? Oh, so much to choose from. But the most offensive thing I can think of saying isn’t a word. It is something that will cause most sane people to up-chuck rapidly.

    Neil Hamilton. Christine Hamilton. A tub of whipped cream.

    Joe, you know full well I’m not one to cause offence. Ever. At all. Honest.

  6. Is the whipped cream to choke them to death on then? ( Not that I would advocate such action, of course)

  7. There’s no word I wouldn’t say – in the privacy of my own home that is.

    And some of the words I say whilst in the privacy of my own car have provoked Matty to slap me. At my age!

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