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Are we crossing a line with our Political Correctness?

A place to debate issues or to rant about what's on your mind. In addition to discussions about historical fiction, books, the publishing industry, and history, discussions about current political, social, and religious issues and other topics are allowed, so those who are easily offended by certain topics may want to avoid such threads. Members are expected to keep the discussions friendly and polite and to avoid personal attacks on other members. The moderators reserve the right to shut down a thread without warning if they believe it necessary.
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blueemerald
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Re: Are we crossing a line with our Political Correctness?

Post by blueemerald » Tue August 25th, 2015, 4:23 pm

I am certainly not a sophisticate when it comes to historical fiction definition nor writing. However, I am a rabid reader of historical fiction and have an opinion as that reader.
My presumption about historical fiction is that it is set in the past and includes actual historical persons, events and places interwoven with those imagined. I enjoy langauge that is actually or reasonably matched to the story timeframe. Whether words are benign or those more inciting. I get very distracted (and annoyed) when contemporary, timeframe-inappropriate words are used. I don't agree with imposing contemporary standards to a yarn set in non-contemporary times which includes language appropriate to that time. One should consider the context of the story.
And I agree with Mythica...if you don't like what you read and/or are unwilling to be challenged by story/language, then don't read the book (or tv, or whatever). There is something for everybody but not everything is for everybody.

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Mythica
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Re: Are we crossing a line with our Political Correctness?

Post by Mythica » Tue August 25th, 2015, 7:49 pm

Vanessa wrote:I really don't like the c word. Bad language doesn't normally bother me unless it's every other word, especially in books. I think a lot of Brits do find the f word offensive, especially in public places,mbut we probably have become more immune to it!
The C word doesn't bother me personally - my feeling is that a word is only as powerful as you allow it to be. People throw around swear words for the male genitals and it's not deemed as quite as offensive. Why? What are we saying by being more offended by the C word? To me, it's just a word - I choose not to be offended by it and I have found that very liberating.

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Re: Are we crossing a line with our Political Correctness?

Post by Vanessa » Wed August 26th, 2015, 9:40 am

I understand what you're saying, Mythica, but I still don't like it. It does seem to be a word which is used a lot more than others. I don't get out of my chair about it or switch the TV off, though. I'm no Mary Whitehouse (nutcase in the 1960s/70s who tried censoring all sorts of things in Britain, including a deodorant advert which she thought represented a phallic symbol - I think it was her mind which was the problem!).
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Re: Are we crossing a line with our Political Correctness?

Post by blueemerald » Wed August 26th, 2015, 3:54 pm

I find it interesting that we as a society can't say/write the "N" word even when talking/writing about the "N" word. Even in the most distilled and sterilized context. It seems to have been deemed so wrong and offensive that it should be stricken from all communication regardless of type, context or purpose.

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Re: Are we crossing a line with our Political Correctness?

Post by Mythica » Wed August 26th, 2015, 6:04 pm

blueemerald wrote:I find it interesting that we as a society can't say/write the "N" word even when talking/writing about the "N" word. Even in the most distilled and sterilized context. It seems to have been deemed so wrong and offensive that it should be stricken from all communication regardless of type, context or purpose.
I agree - some people are so hypersensitive that context doesn't even matter to them. Insisting it be referred to as "the N word" instead saying the actual word in an unoffensive context only makes the word even more taboo and more offensive. Political correctness has definitely gone mad in some cases - it's like people are "scared" of the word, which only gives it more power to hurt people, and that means you're only giving more power to someone who would use it against you. But then, we're doing the same with the F word and C word in this topic too.

Funny enough, this issue was sort of addressed in Harry Potter - with people refusing to say Voldemort's name because the name itself frightened them so much. But you notice Harry never hesitates to use it - at first, probably because he wasn't involved in their world and didn't understand who Voldemort was. But even once he learns this is the man responsible for his parents deaths, even once he experiences more trauma at the hands of Voldemort, he never backs down from saying the name. I think there's a quote from the books: "Fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself." I've always thought that philosophy can be applied to things like swear words, racial slurs, etc.

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Re: Are we crossing a line with our Political Correctness?

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed August 26th, 2015, 8:01 pm

Well, I use letters instead of the words (for the most part) not because I'm afraid of the word, but out of courtesy. There is a difference between courtesy--considering the context from someone else's viewpoint--and fear of offending. I'm pretty good at confrontation when giving offense is necessary and required, but that's no reason to go around pissing people off for no purpose.

I did like the bit about Voldemort in Harry Potter, though.

But offensive words of the profane ejaculative variety, as opposed to the people-group pejorative /racial slur variety (how's THAT for ivory-tower speak? ) are a function of language. Every tongue has some sounds set aside to express crudeness or deliver insult. Invariably, the youth start over-using them to get in their elder's face, and then the words become so common that their impact is diluted, and so the language adapts and comes up with new ones.

I remember long ago, an elderly neighbor turning bright red when my brother called himself a 'dork'. It seems that during WWI, that was a crude word for 'penis'. And will somebody tell me why 'penis' is considered more snigger-worthy than 'vagina'?

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Re: Are we crossing a line with our Political Correctness?

Post by Mythica » Thu August 27th, 2015, 3:43 am

MLE (Emily Cotton) wrote:Well, I use letters instead of the words (for the most part) not because I'm afraid of the word, but out of courtesy. There is a difference between courtesy--considering the context from someone else's viewpoint--and fear of offending. I'm pretty good at confrontation when giving offense is necessary and required, but that's no reason to go around pissing people off for no purpose.
Yeah, and I am doing the same for the same reason, but my point is that we do this because there is probably always someone out there who would be offended by the word, even though it's used in a non offensive context and we're only talking about the word, not really using it. I think people like this are hypersensitive, but I still try to be respectful, even if I disagree with their philosophy.
But offensive words of the profane ejaculative variety, as opposed to the people-group pejorative /racial slur variety (how's THAT for ivory-tower speak? ) are a function of language. Every tongue has some sounds set aside to express crudeness or deliver insult. Invariably, the youth start over-using them to get in their elder's face, and then the words become so common that their impact is diluted, and so the language adapts and comes up with new ones.
Sometimes, but then as we discussed, the F word and C word have been around for centuries.
I remember long ago, an elderly neighbor turning bright red when my brother called himself a 'dork'. It seems that during WWI, that was a crude word for 'penis'. And will somebody tell me why 'penis' is considered more snigger-worthy than 'vagina'?
LOL, I don't know, 'vagina' was always more taboo in my generation/location. It isn't more snigger-worthy but it is a word that a lot of people don't like to say, even in clinical terms. People have all kinds of slang words for the vagina in order to avoid using the real word. My mom's a nurse so I don't have a problem using anatomically correct words - but I know some people avoid it like the plague and I actually hesitated to use it here because I thought it might bother some people! Isn't language a funny thing? I think this is why I decided the C word is no worse than swear words for the penis - because it just seems to me that a lot of people seem to feel there is something about the vagina itself which is taboo or offensive, thus making the words for it taboo or offensive, and I just don't agree with this.

Your story about the word dork reminded me of something. My aunt came up with a term for floating around in a pool relaxing - tea bagging. :shock: My mom thought it was so clever she started using the term all the time. I finally had to tell her, "Mom, don't use that term outside our immediate family, okay?" She asked why, of course, and I had to tell her, "It means something else." And she said, "Oh! Something sexual you mean?" Yup. Then she actually asked me specifically what it meant but this was where I drew the line, lol. It's so funny how different generations have different slang words.

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Re: Are we crossing a line with our Political Correctness?

Post by Madeleine » Thu August 27th, 2015, 8:45 am

Your story about the word dork reminded me of something. My aunt came up with a term for floating around in a pool relaxing - tea bagging. :shock: My mom thought it was so clever she started using the term all the time. I finally had to tell her, "Mom, don't use that term outside our immediate family, okay?" She asked why, of course, and I had to tell her, "It means something else." And she said, "Oh! Something sexual you mean?" Yup. Then she actually asked me specifically what it meant but this was where I drew the line, lol. It's so funny how different generations have different slang words.[/quote]

I've never heard of dork being an offensive word before, nor have I heard of that term either ;) Perhaps it's a US term?
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Re: Are we crossing a line with our Political Correctness?

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Thu August 27th, 2015, 6:37 pm

Mythica wrote: Your story about the word dork reminded me of something. My aunt came up with a term for floating around in a pool relaxing - tea bagging. :shock: My mom thought it was so clever she started using the term all the time. I finally had to tell her, "Mom, don't use that term outside our immediate family, okay?" She asked why, of course, and I had to tell her, "It means something else." And she said, "Oh! Something sexual you mean?" Yup. Then she actually asked me specifically what it meant but this was where I drew the line, lol.
Um, I have no idea what tea bagging means, either. I guess I'll look it up in the urban dictionary.

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Re: Are we crossing a line with our Political Correctness?

Post by Mythica » Thu August 27th, 2015, 7:13 pm

Madeleine wrote:
Your story about the word dork reminded me of something. My aunt came up with a term for floating around in a pool relaxing - tea bagging. :shock: My mom thought it was so clever she started using the term all the time. I finally had to tell her, "Mom, don't use that term outside our immediate family, okay?" She asked why, of course, and I had to tell her, "It means something else." And she said, "Oh! Something sexual you mean?" Yup. Then she actually asked me specifically what it meant but this was where I drew the line, lol. It's so funny how different generations have different slang words.
I've never heard of dork being an offensive word before, nor have I heard of that term either ;) Perhaps it's a US term?
Maybe, although I recall my British husband knew what it meant, and that was before we moved to the US.

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