Friday, September 4, 2009

CAUTION: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS A WORD THAT MAY OFFEND SOME PEOPLE.

–It’s a much-maligned, perfectly good word. Unless, of course, you are hurling epithets that contain it at someone. Or suggesting that a person has characteristics that are … you know … st*p*d. Speaking of hurling epithets, it seems to me that just about any word said with an expression of repugnance and a certain nasty tone of voice can be equally as disturbing as … st*p*d.

Sister TY, several years ago, used the word “concoction” to describe a New Beginnings program that someone had … uhm … concocted. Her disdain was palpable. Her meaning clearly was that the creatress and her concoction were … st*p*d.

St*p*d is a word that even a child can understand and use adeptly and it’s easy to pronounce. Once as a joke, I succeeded in teaching a 2 year old to say “troglodyte” instead of st*p*d. Adults who heard him say it thought he was just a two year old babbling. They were unfamiliar with the word troglodyte. Obviously, an epithet needs to be understood to have any impact.

Which of the following words are less offensive than st*p*d?? idiotic, dumb-bell, dimwitted, blockhead (Lucy loved to say that to Charlie Brown), dope, numskull, ignoramus, know-nothing, BB-brain, empty-headed, boneheaded, half-baked, simple-minded, bird-brained, airhead, or how about Mork’s “nim-null”?

How do you say something is foolish or ill-advised so effectively that a person will understand and will stop being st*p*d or doing st*p*d things? Isn’t this a case of a 10-cent word being better than a whole thesaurus full of synonyms?

The above are the things I pondered after I saw the following cartoon in today's newspaper:


2 comments:

shydandelion said...

I agree. Stupid, oh excuse me! St*p*d is a perfectly good word. It doesn't need embellishment. It says what it means, and makes no apology. And it is the perfect word for the punchline of that cartoon.
The only reason it is a no-no in my house is because it has been used as ammo by my 4-year-old.
P.S. It always made me laugh whenever you used "bb-brain." Heheheheh...

Rebecca said...

i love your blogs. They make me laugh and it is fun to read them to Victor and see him smile.

We use st*p*d in our home to describe the action not the person so that our children know that we believe them to be intelligent people.

Yet, I have found myself saying: "Are you really that st*p*d?" Of course, the general reply is "NO!"

"Well then, explain why you did...?"

the answer is then: "I don't know."

Bill Cosby would love to develop a routine around the conversation that follows...