Tuesday, 14 February 2012


Logos qua logos
There's a few words you're not meant to say. I present a non-exhaustive list:
1. Cunt
2. Nigger
The first of these I use pretty freely. George Osborne is a cunt. Only cunts find the Cadbury's advert with the man in the gorilla suit drumming along to a Phil Collins track amusing. An alarming proportion of bus drivers are cunts. For me it is a pragmatic shorthand flexible enough to encompass a variety of notions from idiocy to cruelty to venality and much more. It's particularly useful because people's shame reflex has become so weak that they barely react to being called corrupt or shallow, fortunately they still react to profanity.
The second of these I don't employ at all. I have no right to the word. From my mouth it is a racist term. It is offensive and bigoted. The argument that "Black people use it to refer to each other all the time," is bollocks as well. If someone from a routinely oppressed group chooses to reclaim the terminology of the oppressor then it is laudable. If someone who, through no personal fault, happens to fall broadly within the category of the oppressor chooses to throw the word around then it is ugly and idiotic at best. Besides which the notion that because  "Black people use it to refer to each other all the time," it's okay for white people to say it too simply doesn't make sense. An ex-girlfriend of mine used to refer to me as her "little love wolf". This does not mean that it's okay for, for example, my car mechanic to do the same. The N-word is unique in its explosive power. It is one of the few words to which I attach a taboo because it is a word with a history and an idea behind it.
What offends? Is it the word or is it the idea? I can be ever so offensive without a single profane word. Watch. "Your mum smells like the musty dribblings of an elderly nun's meat curtains." No profanity there. So what upsets people is the idea. "Jesus liked to slowly run his tongue over each of his disciple's tumescent, vein-strewn winkies." No individual word I couldn't say in front of a class of seven year olds there. So, what's the problem? Oh, yes, I was saying that your messiah was a friend of Dorothy with a penchant for group loving when he's down on his knees. And you don't like gay people and you don't like sex, so you're offended. I, because I'm one of those damp liberals, think it's fine to be gay and it's fine to have sex, so I'm not offended. It's the idea that you're offended by because you're secretly a homophobe.

On the other hand some people get offended by the words. I will at times use muscular expressions in explaining my views. Recently I described the public grief following Diana's death as "a lamentation bukkake that made the streets of Kensington slippery," this prompted complaint. Two options: firstly I thought that there really had been a mass wank onto the streets of west London following Diana's death; secondly I thought that the grief was forced and unsightly and chose a metaphor to express it. (If you're wondering, option number two is correct). The fact is someone thought I was being mean about Princess Diana because they either hadn't paid attention to or hadn't understood what I was saying. By the way, Diana was a worthless whore who could work her cunt much more adeptly than she could work her brain, but that's just an aside.

The point, ah, yes, the glorious point, I knew I had one. Don't be offended by words. Be offended by ideas. But only be offended by offensive ideas.

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