Monday, 16 March 2015

Insults, trigger words and just words

Trigger words

I have noticed that some blog posts and news articles these days contain a preamble, and in this it is stated that the article may contain trigger words.  Now while, I am not denying the existence of words or images that can trigger strong emotional response. The fact is that we need to be able to use words like rape or torture etc. to be able to effectively discuss situations. We need to be adults and face our fears, and yes I know it is very difficult for some people, to grow and get stronger not only as individuals but as society.

To diverge a little, for me the mere mention of Jesus could be considered a trigger warning. When I hear the word Jesus, it necessarily reminds me every time that I think Christianity is a farce. However, I do not want people to stop using the words Jesus just because it brings back memories of my experiences in church. It is a necessary word to create a dialogue to discuss the situation and expose the flaws of irrational and dangerous beliefs.

Insulting words and well words

Insulting words are interesting as some are necessarily insulting (like chav), while others are just words that are used in so many contexts that they are no longer associated with anything (like gay). I bring this word gay up necessarily as I have heard that many gay men do not like people referring to something stupid as gay. Or as Mr Chang would say.

The problem is that the word gay is meant to mean vibrant and carefree. In fact that is what I learned gay meant when I was at school. A homosexual was a person attracted to someone of the same sex, just as a person who was attracted to the opposite sex is a heterosexual. You can call me straight if you want, but I am not going to be offended if you say "that u-bend is certainly not straight."

On a side note, why are only homosexual men gay and women are lesbians?


Insults are not necessary. Like the word chav, there really is no reason to use them as they are stereotypes and they are meant to be insulting. However, we are people, and we lose our temper sometime. This is when our primal instincts come through and its when we usually want to do what primal beasts do, i.e. hurt each other. Luckily, we have reached a point (mostly) where we do not want to get into a brawl. The result is often insults and while they are not helpful to dialogue it is something that happens.

On the Internet this is especially true as there is no other way to vent frustration at an opponent as all they see is your words. They do not see your angry face, they do not see your face-palm, they do not see a clenched fist etc. But, even here I would hasten refrain before insult. The reason why I say this is that once an insult is thrown the meaningful dialogue is over.

In closing, words are just that, words. Words in fact can have different meanings to different people. So ease up and use whatever words you want, except words that are only defined as an insult.  If not, perhaps we should start using words according to their correct and original meaning. For example, I am having a gay old time with my homosexual friend.