Friday, February 19, 2010


One of my childhood heroes, George Carlin once said, "the very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'you know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done."

In any case I heard something the other night and got around to thinking what Carlin -- a self-professed language tactician -- would say on the matter.

Somebody had used the word "wigga" on TV. It might have been on MTV. Or VH1. Or even A&E. The fact that it hasn't raised a media firestorm is testament that the word "wigga" is perfectly acceptable. Even though if one were to explore its roots, one would find it is derived from a word that is clearly unacceptable.

If one were to follow Carlin's logic, the powers that be, who have rendered one word verbotten, should see to it that a word like 'wigga', derived from the poisonous n-word fruit, should also be banned. Particularly since the sound-a-like word is meaningless without somehow drawing on the connotations of the aforementioned banned word.

But then this leads us down a slippery slope.

If we were to start banning words that sound like bad words, where would we draw the line? What about chigger? And jigger sounds like chigger? And jogger sounds like jigger. And lager sounds like jogger. I really like lager.

It can all get ridiculous, really fast. So what do we do?
As a free thinking, partial Libertarian, I say we do nothing.

I am just happy that we live in a time when people who choose to use those ugly words bring more dishonor and shame upon themselves than the group they intended to insult.

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