This 'spastic' debacle (redux)

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Post by Metal Vendetta » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:28 pm

I was asked to list my interests recently, and I submitted profanity, obscenity and blasphemy, so yeah I'd broadly agree with that. Though I would attempt to make the case that "gay" in a derogatory sense is pretty much divorced, at least in my mind, from homosexuality - I can't even remember the last time I used it in that respect. Hetrosexuality is far, far gayer.
I would have waited a ******* eternity for this!!!!
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Post by Kaylee » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:20 pm

Of course. For the record, reading back what I've written, I'd like to make it clear that I'm not trying to get at anybody, make anyone feel bad or even make a particular point as such.

I suppose the best I can describe it as is:

Suppose you're a school-child version of someone like me. A bit sensitive, a bit f***** up in some ways. Kids pick on you. Lots of kids pick by calling you by your own name in a silly, sneering way- you know the thing I mean.

Imagine that caught on across the whole school, and your name became synonymous with stuff that was naff.

Imagine that it spread further until it actually became common parlance for something not-so-good to be referred to by your name.

Your name still has its original meaning: it means you. It now has a new meaning: crap. This second meaning is directly rooted in people wanting to discriminate against/bully you.

Fast forward a few years to your adult life.

Lots of people, having never met you, now use your name to describe stuff they don't like or think is in some way inferior. When you point out that the word also describes you, you may get a blank look and the response 'well, I didn't mean you! I just mean it's a bit rubbish!'

You'd feel a little lousy, I think. Even if there were other people with the same name who were ok with it meaning rubbish. You'd still feel a little bit: "Oh... this really sucks :("

That's why I think using the word gay in a derogatory way is lousy. Your mileage may vary.

As I said, not really much of a point (if any) but I felt I was making it badly, in both a beligerent and incoherent way. This post is better as it describes it accurately without being pointed at anybody :)

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Post by Optimus Prime Rib » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:39 am

Karl wrote:Of course. For the record, reading back what I've written, I'd like to make it clear that I'm not trying to get at anybody, make anyone feel bad or even make a particular point as such.

I suppose the best I can describe it as is:

Suppose you're a school-child version of someone like me. A bit sensitive, a bit f***** up in some ways. Kids pick on you. Lots of kids pick by calling you by your own name in a silly, sneering way- you know the thing I mean.

Imagine that caught on across the whole school, and your name became synonymous with stuff that was naff.

Imagine that it spread further until it actually became common parlance for something not-so-good to be referred to by your name.

Your name still has its original meaning: it means you. It now has a new meaning: crap. This second meaning is directly rooted in people wanting to discriminate against/bully you.

Fast forward a few years to your adult life.

Lots of people, having never met you, now use your name to describe stuff they don't like or think is in some way inferior. When you point out that the word also describes you, you may get a blank look and the response 'well, I didn't mean you! I just mean it's a bit rubbish!'

You'd feel a little lousy, I think. Even if there were other people with the same name who were ok with it meaning rubbish. You'd still feel a little bit: "Oh... this really sucks :("

That's why I think using the word gay in a derogatory way is lousy. Your mileage may vary.

As I said, not really much of a point (if any) but I felt I was making it badly, in both a beligerent and incoherent way. This post is better as it describes it accurately without being pointed at anybody :)
My last name is Elmer.. elementary school sucked when the school supplies lists came out.
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Post by Kaylee » Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:47 am

Why was that? Is there an Elmer brand or something?

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Post by Sheba » Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:01 am

Karl wrote:Why was that? Is there an Elmer brand or something?
Elmer's Glue-All/School Glue. It has a picture of a cow on the front. It's a common brand of glue in North America. I guess they don't have it in UK.

One time on the Simpsons, when Lisa (long after having turned vegetarian) is working late night on a project and starts hallucinating. The cow on the Elmer's glue bottle says in a rhyming singsong way "You won't eat our meat/but you'll glue with our feet"
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Post by Kaylee » Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:56 am

Ah ok, thanks :)

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Post by Jack Cade » Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:03 pm

Karl wrote:Your name still has its original meaning: it means you. It now has a new meaning: crap. This second meaning is directly rooted in people wanting to discriminate against/bully you.

Fast forward a few years to your adult life.

Lots of people, having never met you, now use your name to describe stuff they don't like or think is in some way inferior. When you point out that the word also describes you, you may get a blank look and the response 'well, I didn't mean you! I just mean it's a bit rubbish!'
This was essentially my argument over 'spastic' as well, although I conceded it doesn't go as far if the majority of Americans don't think of the word as being at all connected with a handicap.

Re. the 'Elmer' parallel - the problem is that for, say, someone homosexual or with cerebral palsy, that kind of negative word association isn't happening in a vacuum, but in the context of a society that is still full of prejudice towards them.

I would expect them to be ultra-sensitive to the negative associations because most of the problems they face aren't to do with hate groups or outwardly bigoted people but with deeply ingrained and codified behaviours that reinforce their status as 'other', ie. the person who swears blind (and truly believes) they have no prejudice against disabled people/homosexuals but still mysteriously never hires/votes for/gets to know any of them. Very subtle things like 'gay' meaning 'wussy' can suddenly look very important when you're in that position.
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Post by Metal Vendetta » Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:31 pm

Karl wrote:You'd feel a little lousy, I think. Even if there were other people with the same name who were ok with it meaning rubbish. You'd still feel a little bit: "Oh... this really sucks :("

That's why I think using the word gay in a derogatory way is lousy. Your mileage may vary.

As I said, not really much of a point (if any) but I felt I was making it badly, in both a beligerent and incoherent way. This post is better as it describes it accurately without being pointed at anybody :)
Nah, I totally get you (I always loved Simon Amstell's riposte to this sort of thing - "If you think it's ok to use gay to mean crap, then jew off and don't be so black about it!") - I just think like all words, it's more to do with context and meaning rather than the word itself. I have a gay friend who uses it (to mean crap) as commonly as he uses f*ck and sh*t - which is almost every other word - in much the same way that I have a black friend who refers to me as "my n*gger" and (since I discovered I myself am distantly descended from a black man) a mixed-race friend who calls me his half-caste brother ("half-caste" is also, supposedly, perjorative). As long as these words aren't being used to make people feel bad about themselves, and there's a world of difference between my turning to Mrs. V to complain that the father-daughter bonding in Castle is gay and shouting "Oi, you ****ing gay ****!" at a young twink in the street, I don't see that it's really an issue. I do sometimes get a bit annoyed that people use my name as a synonym for "to steal" but sadly there are no major organisations that stand up for "Rob rights".

I do see your point - I spent a few miserable years being bullied at school myself where "gay" was one of the better things I got called - but short of going around every school in the country and sitting down with every child to explain to them that words can be hurtful I'm not sure what could be done; even then I think they'd redouble their usage just to spite you. As already noted, once "spastic" stopped being common currency "Scoper" and variations sprang up to replace it.

Ultimately though, words only have the power that you afford them and I find it difficult to as get worked up over, say, Chris Moyles describing a ringtone as gay on Radio 1 than when my friend was impaled on a cutlass and left for dead in Hyde Park just because of his sexuality. Likewise I really couldn't give a **** what Hasbro decide to call their PCC toys but I do get worked up when I see four policemen beating up a guy with cerebral palsy. Life's too short to fight pointless battles, particularly over perceived "offence", because there will always be someone who's offended by something. Sticks and stones, you know?
I would have waited a ******* eternity for this!!!!
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Post by Jack Cade » Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:39 pm

Fight wrong wherever you see it, I say.

Obviously you don't ruin an evening of pleasant socialising by demonising someone for using the wrong word, but having these kind of discussions, making it clear when you don't think something is right and why, etc - always worth it. It doesn't necessitate getting into a rage - just not sitting back and going, "Oh well."

After all, Hasbro changed the name, didn't they? So it can have an effect.
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Post by Kaylee » Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:58 pm

I understand your position Rob, and as usual you are thoughtful and understanding on the issue :)

Though we could form a Rob Rights movement?

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Post by Yaya » Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:37 pm

Karl wrote:Of course. For the record, reading back what I've written, I'd like to make it clear that I'm not trying to get at anybody, make anyone feel bad or even make a particular point as such.

I suppose the best I can describe it as is:

Suppose you're a school-child version of someone like me. A bit sensitive, a bit f***** up in some ways. Kids pick on you. Lots of kids pick by calling you by your own name in a silly, sneering way- you know the thing I mean.

Imagine that caught on across the whole school, and your name became synonymous with stuff that was naff.

Imagine that it spread further until it actually became common parlance for something not-so-good to be referred to by your name.

Your name still has its original meaning: it means you. It now has a new meaning: crap. This second meaning is directly rooted in people wanting to discriminate against/bully you.

Fast forward a few years to your adult life.

Lots of people, having never met you, now use your name to describe stuff they don't like or think is in some way inferior. When you point out that the word also describes you, you may get a blank look and the response 'well, I didn't mean you! I just mean it's a bit rubbish!'

You'd feel a little lousy, I think. Even if there were other people with the same name who were ok with it meaning rubbish. You'd still feel a little bit: "Oh... this really sucks :("
There is nothing more difficult for a growing child to face than being the victim of bullying (except parental abuse), and my sister has made it her mission to snuff out as much of it as she can through "Bully Awareness" programs and she focuses her counseling on this aspect of childhood.

Which I really admire her for, because only now years later, after I have matured and grown, do I realize the full impact it has on the development of children. I never really bullied myself, but still feel riddled with guilt that I just stood by and watched it happen so many times. It wasn't me, so why get involved? Now, I hate a part of myself, at least who I was then, for being a passive observer. Dare I say, when I face discrimination, I find myself telling myself sometimes, "hey, you sat by when it was happening to others, now you deal with it".

One consistent theme she tells me is that bullies themselves are actually victims who react via bullying others. She has sat down with many bullies, gotten inside their heads, and many of them say "hey, I know what I'm doing is wrong, my parents do this to me, so I'm going to do it to others".

It really is a depressing thing to hear about. And those people who go through that, and still make an effort to improve themselves and to treat others with empathy, because they would not want anyone else to go through what they went through, I have the highest respect for. It takes real courage to come out of that. Not some lame ass courage one might show in a sports arena.

My sister tells me about children who go to school, get bullied all day, then come home and at get beat by their father. Then, it's back to school. She talks with these children, and despite their situations, many of them still find some way to cope. Certainly, there are scars that will never heal, but they make it. With encouragment and help, they make it, many of them becoming good people.

You want to talk real heroes? Those are my heroes. Those children who go through that kind of ****, but still maintain their humanity and compassion for others, those are the most amazing people in the world.
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Post by bumblemusprime » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:03 am

Best First wrote:I didn't like it. They don't have mums, or dads, or children. And they turn into stuff. And they don't eat Monster Munch or watch Xena: Warrior Princess. Or do one big poo in the morning and another one in the afternoon. I bet they weren't even excited by and then subsequently disappointed by Star Wars Prequels. Or have a glass full of spare change near their beds. That they don't have.

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Post by Metal Vendetta » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:48 pm

Jack Cade wrote:Fight wrong wherever you see it, I say.
I think Rich Johnston has the right take on all of this:
http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/11/23/ ... s-part-95/
Turns out that the late “mainstream” coverage was due to a self-appointed White Knight, an outraged UK fan who was eager to “teach Hasbro a lesson” even after they had already confirmed that the toy would not even be sold in the UK.
I really don't have much time for white-knightery, especially internet white-knightery, because standing up for the perceived offence of other people, none of whom seem to have actually complained about it themselves, or even noticed, strikes me as spectacularly pointless. Add in that the cause was taken up by the Daily Fail and the Scum and I think I would rather be on any side of the debate but theirs. That's the same Fail that publishes Littlejohn, by the way: http://www.beehivecity.com/newspapers/d ... er1216543/ - what a fine example of the moral high ground.
Jack Cade wrote:After all, Hasbro changed the name, didn't they? So it can have an effect.
Whoop, a toy that wasn't going to be released in the UK anyway has had its name changed. In other news the storm has moved on from the teacup and gone to cause blizzards in the sugar bowl. Oh, and if you search for transformers spastic in Google News, you get the article linked above and two American film reviews describing Shia LaBeouf and Jim Carrey as "lovably spastic" and a "lovable spastic" respectively. Awesome.

And the latest from Hasbro:
Replacement names that have popped so far include... Spasma (as in the Headmaster partner of G1 Apeface).
:lol:
I would have waited a ******* eternity for this!!!!
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Post by bumblemusprime » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:55 pm

"'Jizma' is also being considered."
Best First wrote:I didn't like it. They don't have mums, or dads, or children. And they turn into stuff. And they don't eat Monster Munch or watch Xena: Warrior Princess. Or do one big poo in the morning and another one in the afternoon. I bet they weren't even excited by and then subsequently disappointed by Star Wars Prequels. Or have a glass full of spare change near their beds. That they don't have.

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Post by Kaylee » Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:12 pm

The fact people read and agree with Richard Littlejohn honestly keeps me up at night.

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Post by Jack Cade » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:49 pm

Rich Johnston wrote:I think Rich Johnston has the right take on all of this ...
Not that I'm too far away from his position, but how is it really any different to the reaction of all the parties involved, ie. "My initial reaction was right - anyone reacting differently is a freak"?

I dunno - when you say 'life's too short to fight pointless battles', isn't that just saying that if someone else thinks something is important or far from pointless, but you're sure it's just 'sticks and stones', you just assume they're slightly hysterical?
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Post by Aaron Hong » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:35 pm

So I saw something a couple weeks back that reminded me of this thread... kinda.
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Post by Guest » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:54 pm

Aaron Hong wrote:It's a yoyo btw.
Well, gawrsh!

Now, Yoyo's a-here, Yaya's gone done gonna be a-changin' his sig'na-terr ageen!

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Post by Kaylee » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:44 pm

True enough, what will it be now?

Perhaps a surprise for naturalists everywhere:

'Dodo is coming!'

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Post by Professor Smooth » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:54 pm

Not sure if it's been written about here yet, but there's no longer a Transformer called Spastic. A quick sticker application at the factory has changed the name to Over-Run.

Victory?
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Post by saysadie » Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:47 am

Ohs noes! What will people argue about now?

That's probably a silly question...

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Post by Professor Smooth » Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:35 am

saysadie wrote:Ohs noes! What will people argue about now?
England's greatest Prime Minister?

I say England's greatest Prime Minister was Lord Palmerston!
snarl wrote:Just... really... what the **** have [IDW] been taking for the last 2 years?
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Post by Kaylee » Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:51 am

Clement Attley!

[or, to continue the quote, Pitt the Elder ;)]

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Post by bumblemusprime » Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:17 pm

I would like to use this thread to mark the passing of my wife's grandma last night.

She had famously told Mrs. Bumble that she needed to "watch out for the [ethnic minority slur] in the trees."

She also gave her the following advice: "One day a man is going to take you out to the woods. And if you don't come across, he's going to leave you there!" Grandma never explained whether or not coming across was a good thing in this scenario.

In her Alzheimer's-riddled old age, she would wander around the nursing home carrying a baby doll. When her visitors attempted to play with the baby doll as if it were a real baby, she opined, "I think the damn thing is dead."

Rest in peace, Grandma. I hope you're offending someone in Heaven right now.
Best First wrote:I didn't like it. They don't have mums, or dads, or children. And they turn into stuff. And they don't eat Monster Munch or watch Xena: Warrior Princess. Or do one big poo in the morning and another one in the afternoon. I bet they weren't even excited by and then subsequently disappointed by Star Wars Prequels. Or have a glass full of spare change near their beds. That they don't have.

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Post by Sheba » Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:39 am

Karl wrote:Ah ok, thanks :)
no problem :D
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Post by Professor Smooth » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:08 am

Karl wrote:Clement Attley!

[or, to continue the quote, Pitt the Elder ;)]
LORD PALmerSTON!
snarl wrote:Just... really... what the **** have [IDW] been taking for the last 2 years?
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Post by Aaron Hong » Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:07 am

Professor Smooth wrote:
saysadie wrote:Ohs noes! What will people argue about now?
England's greatest Prime Minister?

I say England's greatest Prime Minister was Lord Palmerston!
Benjamin Disraeli!

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