Etymology's a bitch.
Words are sometimes dismissed as just those; oft-considered less impactful than actions. Sticks and stones and what not. Is this just something people say to children? Adults manipulate and use their words to quell fragile feelings and ultimately shape opinions and another human being's perspectives of the world. That's pretty impactful, as far as I can tell.
Then at the same time, a child is reprimanded for using the established, yet ever-changing "wrong" words. Reminds me of a great Carlin bit (as many things do) - which is also the build-up to his famous 7 Words.
I can still taste the healthy pump of liquid Dial in my mouth when I made good on a dare to swear at my mom, around the age of five. And I recall being very young when my father warned us to never - ever! - say the "n-word". That word was dripping with hate. I could see it in my dad's eyes and understand its weight, even without having the context of slavery, segregation and racism that he witnessed. It's pretty amazing to consider the journey that that particular word has taken, especially given its shift over the past couple decades alone.
In our present world, twatwaffles with tweetpowers go a long way in making this "words are useless" argument even more valid. Words are everywhere! Farts in the wind. Every dimwit has a voice and an ability to reach the eyes and ears of hundreds or thousands or millions. Even this dimwit!
(/motions to self with thumb)
(/jams thumb on clavicle)
I still believe words to be the sharpest of daggers at our disposals. Despite being (self-described) tactful and evolving more and more with age towards choosing my words carefully and my silence even more carefully, I've been told that when I'm provoked properly, I can say the "shittiest things." Read: scathingly awesome and probably super truthy things!
Anyway, I find the dichotomy of words incredibly interesting and it's a fascination of mine that I don't expect will ever fade. Over the past four years as a member of this internet community, the written word has taken on yet another form and meaning for me. Remember way back before the first meet-up (and subsequent pics posted on site) in 2009, when nobody around here knew what anyone else looked like? Every opinion and affection and judgment was based on the words each of us shared. I've attached some strange nostalgia to those days of SSS and still value that element of the interactions here. Perhaps because I happen to LOVE words and enjoy that we can't cast judgments on one another here in the way people naturally evaluate one another face-to-face. What you choose to write on SSS, is what we judge, what represents you.
Damn, what was I even talking about? Ah yes. Etymology was on my brain today, as I read this glorious post (below) and got to thinking about the word “hero”, and how much we adore and carelessly use that word in America. I won’t say much more about that in particular, but I’m curious about your thoughts on words, certain words that have surprisingly incited reactions (good or bad), in you or others. For the older crowd, which words are most changed today from the meanings attached when you were young? For the younger folks, was there any word that your parents deemed untouchably heavy and forbidden from passing your lips? And for the newer parents, what words will cause or have caused you to sit down your child and give talkin'-to's?
And if words aren’t on your brain, I’d love to hear if any of you have had public transportation experiences that were as epic (hee) as the example of the hero so eloquently described in this Failbook WIN story, below.
* Should go without saying, but please keep this conversation respectful. *