1. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Where do we draw the line?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Alesia, Nov 12, 2013.

    Student asks to change the definition of the word "gay."

    Where do we draw the line in our never ending quest to keep from offending someone? Now, I'm not for blatantly offending people just for the sake of it, but changing definitions of words in the dictionary? Yes, the definition used for the informal may come off as a slam against some members of society, however it is a commonly used colloquialism (mostly among teenage/young adult males) therefore I believe it belongs. The same applies for any word found in a standard English dictionary. All definitions should be included, weather they be considered vulgar or not. I mean, isn't that the purpose of a dictionary/thesaurus in the first place? Just as I said in several other topics, we can't keep sweeping reality under the rug just because someone's feelings might get hurt.
     
  2. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, I remember when I could say I liked to puff on a fag after dinner without everybody looking at me funny
     
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  3. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    I thought you were like 19? (Sorry if that's wrong, I get people's ages on here messed up.)
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I don't see any "may" about the offense--when the word is used according to this definition, I consider it hate speech or just barely short of hate speech, depending on the situation, and that those teenage boys should be penalized accordingly.

    But that doesn't answer your point, because plenty of words used as hate speech are nevertheless in the dictionary, complete with their hate-speech definitions. If I look up those words, I see that the offensive definitions are tagged as "Offensive slang", "Usually offensive", and so on. If this definition is to be included, it should be tagged that way.

    I don't know if it should be included or not. I don't know how long a word has to be used to be included in the dictionary, and I don't know how long this word has been commonly used for this specific offensive meaning. One web site says that this meaning started in the 1980s. I very much hope that it's on its way to fading away, but given that people are still using "retard" and "retarded" as a slur, I guess that's a vain hope.
     
  5. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Yes it is quite amazing how times have changed. For the better? Yes, I'd say, but for people my age it takes effort to not say things that you said in the past that could offend people. I remember when I was younger and if we didn't have an even amount of people to play football, we would play a game called, 'Smear the queer,' we you took turns with the football trying to keep from getting tackled by everyone else. There was also the game, 'Monkey in the middle.' I'm sure if we all took the time, we could find quite a few things we said as kids that wouldn't be acceptable now.
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    As unfortunate as that other use of the word gay is, it exists. Failure to document it is a kind of revisionism that serves no one. It's been around long enough. Trust me, I'm gay, I've been hearing the word gay used to mean lame or stupid for the better part of my adult life, and I'm 43.

    It's not slang, though. It's simply informal and a slur. I get a little miffed when I see dictionaries tag every word that falls outside of "formal" use as slang. People who make dictionaries, of all things, should know better. Slang is a different creature.
     
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  7. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    It's all fluid. What is a slur today could be acceptable tomorrow, or vice versa. We've seen it over and over again over the years. One decade it was okay to say someone was black. The next decade that's offensive and people are supposed to say African-American. The next...you get the point.
     
  8. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    @Wreybies
    What is it will all the mods being gay? lol
    I no longer feel special :(

    However, straight people who try to take away the word gay are bastards.
    That's a word we gays love!
    It's part of our culture.
    Kinda like the N word.
    We woulda appropriated faggot but it seems we went in a different direction.

    Does anyone remember that idiotic campaign like 3-4 years back?
    They had this TV ad that had this situation of kids using the word gay in everyday situations.
    Somewhere, they made a point where it was wrong to use it.
    Gay community got outraged by the ad. The ads were taken down and we never heard of that group of people again.

    ....Good times.
     
  9. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Almost twice that. My response was kind of a rip off of a Kids in the Hall sketch titled "Why did they have to take the word gay?" Find it if you can. Most of their skits were pretty funny
     
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  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    What you are describing is a self-identifyer, which is actually much closer kin to what actual slang is in its use and function. It serves to identify the user as belonging to subset x.

    The use of the word gay in its current context is a different phenomenon. Its meaning of lame or stupid is already 'acceptable' to the greater population, but it remains a slur if you are a member of the LGBT community. It is an appropriation of a term with one meaning (homosexuality), that meaning is then force-associated with another meaning (lameness, stupidness), and thus repurposed, equating homosexuality with lameness and stupidity.

    It's not like we all said, "Yeah, go ahead and use the word that means us and use it to mean anything stupid and lame. We approve that."
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    But we're talking about the use of 'gay' *as an insult*, not its use as a synonym of homosexual. The fact that the insult is deliberately using the synonym is what puts it in the hate speech territory, IMO, but it is still a different use. The use of a word as an insult is unlikely to stop being an insult.
     
  12. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    When I was younger I never really associated 'gay' with lameness or stupidness, but more along the lines of girlish or odd.
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    10 points to Garball for reffing KITH! :D The chicken lady sketch where she tells Dave Foley "Ya! Those eggs are fresh! From my body!" leaves me unable to breathe for minutes after for laughing so hard!
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    While I respect your position, @Wreybies, I don't really agree with it, and I'm probably wrong in doing so. Don't know yet. But I do know that it took a long time for me to accept the label "gay" for myself, and my attitude towards it changed at that moment. Suddenly, "gay" meant me. That means if someone uses it in a derogatory sense, they're talking about me.

    I want to ask the OP: What if the dictionary defined "alesia" as "stupid and foolish"? Would you still use that as your forum name? Would you still name your MC that? That's kind of what it's like for me. If someone uses "gay" as a slur, it's almost like they're using my name, and I object!
     
  15. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    If someone uses it as a slur against the gays, I just tell em off or ignore them.
    Even I use the word gay to describe things I think suck.
    It has more than one meaning and I know that in context, through words and tone, people don't mean to say it in an offensive way.
    I can tell the difference and I'm okay with it.
    I only care about the intent not what some people choose to make out of it.
    Like any other word, only how you use it matters.

    Like, if my friend called out to me in the middle of a mall as he saw me "Yo, faggot!" I'd turn around and be all like "Say wut, son?" because I knew he didn't mean "Hey, you bundle of kindling!".
    Of course, it depends on why he uses it, who he is to me, and what I believe his intent is.
    On some people, I would flip friggin' tables, on some good friends I'd laugh.

    If black people can do it with nigger, why can't we :3 ?
     
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  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not part of the LGBT community, but it's still emphatically not acceptable to me.
     
  17. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you fine with using the word "retard" as an insult? It's a very similar phenomenon.
     
  18. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    I am fine.
    If someone says "That's Retarded." They mean something has been done in an insipid way.
    If they call a disabled person retarded, they mean something offensive and negative.

    It depends on on the person's character and their intent of the words use.
     
  19. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I understand, and actually thank you for that. :) What I mean is simply that the cat's out of the bag. Pandora's box is open. It's too commonly used to expect it to fade.
     
  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I very strongly disagree with you, but your position is consistent.

    To me, it's not OK to use group identifiers as insults. To do so is to insult the group, and to insult them in a particularly deep way, because the implication is that their very identity is something negative.

    I agree that it's not leaving the dictionary, but I think that the "offensive" tag absolutely needs to be there, if that dictionary ever uses that tag for any word.
     
  21. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    I understand.
    I just see it that some people get offended when it has nothing to do with them.
    Taking it to that level is just creating an issue where none is to be had.
    I can logically see how A goes into B, but I also see how B only occurs when you want B to be B when B is nowhere near the issue.

    Personally, I'd never use the word retarded in any way in front of a disabled person.
    Why? Because they might flip a table on me or they are sensitive to it.
    Also, as a non-disabled guy, I don't have the defense "I'm one too, I can say it." if someone, disabled or not, blows up.
     
  22. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Haha do we really have to start talking about what goes into what?
     
  23. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Well, that's the only real difference between gays and straights :p
     
  24. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    When someone unjustly insults someone else, I consider that that has something to do with me. I want to live in a civilized society, and a society where group identifiers are used as insults is not, IMO, a civilized society.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  25. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    How does that quote have my name on it, @ChickenFreak ? :confused: Demz nots my words. :(
     

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