Friday, March 9, 2018

Tila Tequila has mended her slutty ways... you should mend yours!

Apologies for my use of the word "slutty".  I know that word is offensive to some people.  I only use it because Tila Tequila, apparently famous for having a sex tape and a reality show involving lesbians living with straight men, posted a picture of herself pregnant and wanting for a modest dress.  Someone in the Duggar group I follow shared Tila Tequila's post and I was suddenly made aware of a "star" I never knew prior to last night.  My first reaction was incredulity that someone calling herself "Tila Tequila" is concerned about looking "slutty" while pregnant.  But then a bunch of my hipper friends set me straight.  Clearly, I need to venture out more in the world of reality TV.

For the record, I don't think Tila looks bad in her dress.  She claims to be upset because she thinks all of the clothes for pregnant women are "designed for sluts".  Her post was about 85% all in capital letters and featured her cradling her prominent baby bump while wearing a pretty floral patterned maxi dress.  It doesn't look the slightest bit "slutty", despite her protests.  But, based on Tila's more recent posts, she's had some kind of revelation about her formerly sexy ways.  She invokes the name of God in her posts while including plenty of fat shaming and homophobic ranting.  This, coming from a woman who was evidently double penetrated on film for the world to see.

Personally, I suspect Tila is simply doing this for the publicity.  Perhaps her popularity is waning these days, now that she's pregnant with her second baby and has reached the ripe age of 36.  She became famous in the first place for being the "most popular" member of MySpace.  But maybe that's why I don't know her.  I never got into MySpace.  I initially resisted Facebook, but then fell down the rabbit hole.  It now sucks my days dry.

I can't believe there was once a time in my life when I spent all day outside, working with my horse, playing, making friends.  And now, here I sit in front of my computer...  Seems like it's the same for a lot of people.  Even if I wanted to spend all day outside, who would I talk to?  I guess I could talk to one of the evergreens in the nearby forest.

Actually, Tila Tequila's weird post comes on the heels of another one I noticed last night.  I didn't start today's rantings with this topic, since I've ranted about it before.  But since I don't think Tila Tequila merits an entire blog post, I'm going to bring this up now.  A friend of mine shared the picture below with the comment, "Eliminate this word from your vocabulary!"


Sigh...  I truly HATE these kinds of posts...

Look, I get that it's offensive when someone uses the word "retard" or "retarded" in a derogatory way.  I know that the word "retard" has become taboo in our politically correct society.  However, that does not give anyone the right to order me or anyone else to "find a different word".  I'll use whatever word I want to use, thank you very much.  If you don't like how I use a certain word, you're welcome to disassociate from me.  You wouldn't be the first person to do that.

I have written before about my disdain for "word banning" campaigns.  I don't want to rehash those rants today, because you can easily find them on this blog and I doubt I could do a better job with yet another rant.  However, I do want to point out that the word "retard" can be neutral and used in a perfectly non-offensive way, in several languages, no less.

A few years ago, Bill and I were sitting at a train station in France.  He looked up at a sign.  It was written in French.  The local language's version of the word "retard" was used, basically, to let passengers know that a train was delayed.  Bill said with a sigh, "That's a perfect example of how a word deemed 'offensive' in English can be perfectly fine somewhere else."

Except the word "retard" can also be used the same way in English!  Yes, you too can use the word "retard" and not be hurtful!  Here are a few examples.

1. A car accident retarded our progress getting home last night.

2. Children who don't eat a proper diet may experience growth retardation.

3.  Not studying for your class may retard your learning progress.

Basically, the word "retard" means "slow".  That's why it was once used as a medical term to describe a person with slow or limited mental faculties.  As it is with a lot of words that eventually become insulting, the word "retard" started out perfectly innocently.  It was only when certain obnoxious people started using it in a derogatory manner that the word became taboo.  For most of my childhood, people who were mentally handicapped were referred to as "mentally retarded".  It was a perfectly acceptable medical term even included on the letterheads of medical facilities.  The word was eventually retired when the slang usage became synonymous with "stupid".  And now we have a bunch of other words to replace "retard" that will probably also eventually become insulting. 


George Carlin said it better and in a more entertaining way than I ever could...  If this is tl;dr, just watch this clip.



And this one, too... if you have time.

I recognize that in 2018, the word "retarded", when used to refer to someone who has a mental disability, is passé and considered rude.  However, that does not mean that we have to ban the word altogether.  It's a perfectly good word that can be used constructively.  I don't need to "find a different word".  I can do that if I wish to, and I might wish to if only to avoid having an argument with the language police.  But I certainly don't HAVE to.  And you don't need to pre-emptively order me to change my language by instructing me to eliminate certain words from my vocabulary.  

My advice is to determine the context and intent behind the word's usage.  If I call someone a "retard", then by all means, take offense if you must.  But if I refer to my progress getting home as "retarded" by an accident, there's no need to make a fuss.  I don't need to say "impeded" instead of "retarded".  I don't have to "find a different word".  The word "retard" works fine in that context, even if you've trained yourself not to use the word "retard" in any sense. 

I get up in arms about these kinds of "word banning" campaigns because I think there's a real danger in banning language.  One only has to read George Orwell's famous novel 1984  to understand that.  I don't think most people would want to live in a society where no negative language exists.  Sometimes, offensive words have their place and some "offensive" words can be used in non-offensive ways.  But more importantly, sometimes things are bad, and we need words to describe bad things.  Sometimes words are shocking, embarrassing, or even mortifying... but they all have a place in the world.  Words are merely neutral tools.  It's up to thinking people to learn how to use them in the most constructive ways.

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