Weekly Rochester Events #296: Mayfair Becomes Unfair
Thursday, September 9, 2004Ok, so this week I thought I'd delve into this little side-topic thing I've been playing with. I have been trying to hone my ability to cuss so it is carefully directed at the person or object of my hostility and to avoid collateral damage. You can do whatever the fuck you want — I don't intend to try and force people to do one thing or another. I do, however, believe that my assessment of any incidental or collateral damage is correct. Naturally, you can believe me or not, but if you think I'm right, don't bother telling me that you're still a good person even if you say words that devalue segments of the population other than your own.
Let me start out with words I try to avoid and why.
I avoid calling people retarded or a retard as much as I can because it's demeaning to those affected by mental retardation. I still use the terms now and again in an attempt at a humorous insult, but I try to keep those moments to circumstances when the behavior closely matches patterns of mental retardation, and not just when someone is being stupid or clumsy.
As for terms that demean homosexuals for no reason, like fag and faggot in some circumstances, assfucker, or dick-licker, I'm getting to the point where I don't even understand how they're an insult: the only reason they would be insulting is if you believe that it's bad to be gay. I also don't like using terms like pussy or sissy as an insult because the underlying logic is that women are inferior to men — I've even seen people try to insult men by accusing them of being a woman, or by comparison as in "throws like a girl."
Finally, there's two terms I especially avoid that demean blacks: nigger, and white-trash.
The reason I try not to use white-trash is much subtler than why to not use nigger. I feel that white-trash means that non-whites are implicitly trash. The problem is there's no such parallel term as black-trash. It's conventional in present-day speech to specify race or gender when it would either be ambiguous or when it is implied elsewhere — for instance, you'll often see the phrase male nurse but not female nurse because there is a stereotype that nurses are female. Likewise, by saying white-trash, the implication is that "human trash" is stereotypically non-white, so you have to clarify by specifying white.
Nigger should be obvious: it recalls the history of the opinions against black people including slave ownership, less-than-human status, segregation, hatred, and racism. Like any insult against a particular group, affectionate use of that insult by members of the group to other members takes on a distinctly different quality that underscores the common ground and brotherhood — whether it's black people calling one another nigger or homosexual men calling one another faggot — someone outside the group must demonstrate complete understanding to use the term affectionately, and that's nearly impossible to prove.
So what does that leave?
Well, there's a whole group of directly descriptive insults. There's wimp, weakling, and wussy implying a weakness of physical strength or character — of them wussy is questionable because it may be interpreted as a derivative of pussy. Insulting one's intelligence is straightforward with dummy or moron, questioning one's pride is as easy as ass-kisser, and implying that one is attempting to breed with their own mother is concicely, motherfucker.
I'll leave the universal, fuck as an exercise for the student.
One can also make direct comparisons to a person or object. Comparing to body parts is in the form of asshole, dickhead, fuckface, and more obscure things like 200-pound tumor is one form. Another is to compare to filth or function, such as piece-of-shit, douchebag, gutter-trash (which I find is an acceptable and effective alternative to white-trash) or simply turd (or terd) as Stan Marsh's sister Shelly is so fond of saying on "South Park".
But my personal favorite category is in the form of nonsensical but understandable insults. First, let me metion local comic Mike Dambra's term-du-jour: chucklebutt. Next, Bill Murray a s Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters gave me pus-bucket from the expletive, "Mother pus-bucket!" Finally, I have my own creation: fuck-knob.
Lastly, let me say that one can always modify and amplify any cuss or insult with the addition of a variety of adjectives — from the negative festering, stinking, and rotting, to the universal fucking, to the positive exemplary, superb, and perfect. The opportunities to swear are wide open, even if you avoid incindentally degrading anybody else.
Oh yeah, and it's Jan's birthday today, so if you see him, make sure to tell him he's a perfect fuck-knob.
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On this day ... September 9
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About the title ... The annual Mayfair fairs in London, England ended 296 years ago in 1708.
This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including Monroe County and occasionally the Western New York region) from Thursday, September 9, 2004 thru Wednesday, September 15, 2004.
It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do.
The musical styles listed can include punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat."
Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed.
Copyright © 2004 Jason Olshefsky. All rights reserved.