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Watering down extreme words

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posted on Oct, 30 2012 @ 09:01 PM
I am not the best at putting thoughts into words, but I think my time spent here is improving that. Here goes.

I was in the drug store the other day, waiting for my prescript to be filled, and I passed a lady and her daughter. The lady looked ordinary enough, in her twenties I would estimate. The daughter I would put between 7 and 11 somewhere. The daughter ran into the toy section, grabbed a toy and ran back to the mother.

"Mom, can you buy this for me?"

"No, not this time." the mother replied.

"I hate you mommy!" the girl then replied. That was pretty shocking to me as it is.

Then the mother replied with: "I hate you too, little brat."

That practically floored me. If I had told my mom I hated her when I was a kid, she probably would have cried, slapped me or maybe even both at the same time. I was always taught hate is an extreme word, and not to be used unless you really mean it. Is this true for you, maybe a country thing?

It got me thinking a lot about language, and I started paying more attention to the words people say and type these days.

Words seem to be losing their power, or getting watered down. Does that make sense? Words that were reserved for very extreme circumstances when I was growing up, are tossed around willy-nilly these days. I am 30 years old, by the way.

Hate- extreme dislike or antipathy : loathing
As I said already, I was always taught that was a very extreme word. It seems to be misused a lot these days. Making fun of someone on a forum is called hate. Calling names is called hate. If I hated someone, I would not be making fun of them. I would track them down, and punch them in the face and head until they stopped moving, at the very least. Hate is reserved for people that killed and ate a friend or family member, or something extreme like that. Am I way offbase here?

Hero- A person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic properties, or has performed a heroic act
Growing up, hero was reserved for the guy that runs butt ass naked into a fire to save the neighbor's family. Or the person that jumps in front of a bullet that would have hit a baby. You know, extreme things like that. Now actors, sports stars are referred to as heroes. A cop that never did anything admirable, gets drunk and drowns in his bathtub would be referred to as a hero. Just because he is dead, and wore a uniform. Am I way offbase here?

Terrorist- The systematic use of terror, often violent, especially as a means of coercion
Back in the day, terrorist was saved for the guy that took over a hotel, made demands, then started executing a person every hour until everyone was dead; or demands were met. Extreme stuff. Now people are called terrorist for the most absurd things. Am I way offbase here?

There is a few examples I can think of. Feel free to add more examples. Am I the only one that feels this way? I am not sure if it's just a natural evolution of language, or some sinister plan. There are people out there that put a lot of stock in NLP, and say it is a form of brainwashing.

For multilingual people, is the same thing also happening in languages other than english. Is this phenomenon only really happening in the US and Canada, or is it all over? Or maybe it is just all in my head?

Thanks for reading, and thanks for any input beforehand. Also, I am no english scholar, so forgive any bad grammar, misuse of punctuation etc etc


posted on Oct, 30 2012 @ 10:13 PM
I can't speak for anywhere else but it is happening in England too. I think though that, in this instance at least, language is being shaped by culture. A peek at the examples you offer shows them as extreme terms, or at least what may have been so a while ago but perhaps another way to say that would be the dramatic impact that such terms once carried. I'd be quite inclined to view this as a desire, or need perhaps, for many today to view and act out their lives with a dramatic flair (not just an amusing ham-it-up giggle*) which stems from our current cultural mood.

Desperate attempts at increasing profile are undertaken by so many who, compared to most of us, are already in the spotlight. Career sinking? Leak a sex tape! The most intimate part of your existance for an extra five minutes of fame? What frame of mind are these people in, really? I think they must be quite ill. Look at the music too. I don't mean to harp on about the danger of crazy Teddy-boys but what percentage of lyrics now are about how dangerous/hardcore the singer is. Social media too - though there are positive uses what is the main use of Facebook for example if not to spout off about your life? The more dramatic your offerings the more attention you recieve/deserve. As we know Twitter took this self obsession to new heights for some.

Why this desperate need for attention by so many? Apparently we have 'more' today than ever before and certainly that can be demonstrated through the consumer goods on offer. I'd argue strongly about the interpretation of 'more' though. Why would people so desperately need attention from others if not for validation due to some sort of inferiority complex? If that is so though then why do seemingly so many need validation from others today, especially when we have 'more' than ever.

Here, through the use of language in such a fashion, we end up with the reverse of what I stated earlier; here such use of language ends up then shaping culture by nurturing the attitude which stimulated it's birth, a desire for the dramatic is indulged not to win any more - merely to compete.

*So more means less and the snake eats itself - Drama, drama everwhere. Vox populi effete. (Oh stop groaning, look at what I wrote. How could I leave without offering a something pretentiously dramatic? It was too funny to resist.)
edit on 30/10/12 by JAK because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 30 2012 @ 10:38 PM
reply to post by JAK

It seems kind of like the chicken or egg dilemma. Is society becoming more extreme because of the language, or is the language becoming more extreme because of our extreme actions? Or maybe they are both feeding into each other, and spiraling civilization faster and faster toward the edge of insanity.

People do seem to have less and less real life validation, and seek more and more validation from twatter, facebook etc to try and compensate for that hole. Dare say, it probably even happens at places like this. It truly is intriguing to think about.


posted on Oct, 30 2012 @ 10:50 PM
reply to post by TKDRL

If you find this idea of us shaping language and language shaping us you may find this of interest, I thought it was fascinating:

Lera Boroditsky: How Language Shapes Thought

Do the languages we speak shape the way we think? Do English, Indonesian, Russian, and Turkish speakers remember their experiences differently because they speak different languages? And what do these differences mean for the way people of diverse cultures experience their time on earth?

For a long time, the idea that language might shape thought was considered at best untestable and more often simply wrong. But research in Lera Boroditsky's labs at Stanford University has breathed new life into an old debate, and in doing so Boroditsky has launched herself to the leading edge of a hot scientific controversy.

Her team at Stanford University have collected new research data from the diverse language groups of China, Greece, Chile, Indonesia, Russia, and Aboriginal Australia and what they have learned is that people who speak different languages do indeed think differently and that even variations in grammar can profoundly affect how we see the world.

posted on Oct, 30 2012 @ 11:16 PM
reply to post by JAK

Thanks for sharing, that does look very interesting. Got it bookmarked, will check it out when I got a few minutes. I have always been interested in psychology, NLP, hypnosis and such things. Still not sure if I really believe in any of it just yet. The subject really is huge, and grows more every day. I have spent years of free time studying it, and probably have only scratched the surface, if that.

posted on Oct, 30 2012 @ 11:47 PM
Thank you for bringing this up. I have wanted to for a long time but really didn't know how. You brought up the word hate. I am familiar with that word and it's real meaning more then most. About 6 years ago certain things happened with the police. I have had problems with police in the past. No not as a criminal.
The thing is this last time taught me what hate really is. I thought I had known before but I was wrong. To this day just being near a police uniform, doesn't matter skin color, it does not matter if he is trying to help me, my whole being becomes just about how to kill him. It is irrational, contra-survival as it does not matter to me what happens after, it is basically insane. That is HATE. Not dislike. Most people confuse hate with dislike.

Racist is another such word. What people call racism today is harrassement, name calling, dislike, all minor BS which from someone of the same color would mean nothing but they take it to great lengths over minor things today. Perhaps it is because most people today have so little danger to face that they have to make up things to make their lives interesting.

This is unfortunate. It relegates dangerous people to minor irratents rather then as what they really are. It may make the average person fell like they are living an adventure but it hides the really dangerous people from sight. It might even cause young people to commit suicide thinking they are being victimized when they are merely being hazed because they have no reality to compare it to.

posted on Oct, 31 2012 @ 01:12 AM
reply to post by Jerk_Idiot

Yeah, I have felt real hatred before, to be honest thinking back on it scares the crap out of me. I would really rather not feel the seething, blind rage that comes with hatred ever again.

I agree racism is another one. Yeah, there is legitimate racism out there even today. It certainly isn't like back in the old days when people had to really worry about their house getting a molotov tossed in the window, or being hung from a tree. Another way the word was tainted in my opinion, making up the term reverse racism. As if racism aimed at a white person is somehow not as bad. All racism, no matter who it is pointed at is disgusting in my book.

posted on Oct, 31 2012 @ 04:35 AM
reply to post by TKDRL
I live and work in an environment were bad language, insults and aggression are the norm. Just walking down the street is likely to be an assault on the ears as over-stressed parents tell their kids to STFU or they'll hit them. Or STFU and I'll buy such and such a thing. The language of violence is so casual that most of it isn't actually threatening; they're just empty words tripping off the tongue out of habit and upbringings.

So from the working class, real-life end of society we have extreme language used as nothing more than casual expression.

The words you singled out in the OP are a great choice. In many ways they've been flogged to death by a media that always aims for the overly-dramatic. They've been revived and killed once more by the cynical politicians as they appeal to popular emotions. I mean, it's easier to push through body scanners and ring-fenced G16 summits when they raise the spectre of terrorists. It's the age-old snake-oil of propaganda isn't it?

In many ways, it's an abuse of language from across society - powerful and poor. Words lose their currency and power.

On the other hand, language has been just fine for 1000s of years and will never stay the same. One example being I can't type the S-word into this post because, in years past, the educated decided that a common word was vulgar. It was okay to be written on maps and as a name for places, but 'oh no' someone decided it was offensive. Merde!

posted on Oct, 31 2012 @ 04:47 AM

Originally posted by Kandinsky
reply to post by TKDRL

On the other hand, language has been just fine for 1000s of years and will never stay the same. One example being I can't type the S-word into this post because, in years past, the educated decided that a common word was vulgar. It was okay to be written on maps and as a name for places, but 'oh no' someone decided it was offensive. Merde!

I do recall reading somewhere that in the recent past, most of the presidential speeches ( no doubt mostly during Bush years) were written at a grade 6 level . What in the world??? How do we aspire to be better in language if our leaders speak at elementary school level?
They are also, inadvertently, part of what shapes our language.

posted on Oct, 31 2012 @ 04:55 AM
reply to post by Kandinsky

Good point on the cussing. I work on construction sites, that has rubbed off on me. I swear without even thinking sometimes, which is very inconvenient when I happen to be around little kids. I have been working on that, as I have nieces and nephews visiting here a few times a year now. I also always did wonder why some words were labelled swears or cusses in the first place. Seemed silly to me.

posted on Oct, 31 2012 @ 04:59 AM

Originally posted by TKDRL
reply to post by Kandinsky

Good point on the cussing. I work on construction sites, that has rubbed off on me. I swear without even thinking sometimes, which is very inconvenient when I happen to be around little kids. I have been working on that, as I have nieces and nephews visiting here a few times a year now. I also always did wonder why some words were labelled swears or cusses in the first place. Seemed silly to me.

It's society conditioning. If we were taught that dog, cat, red, blue were never to be it would be. "Cuss" words only have the taboo power you give them.

posted on Oct, 31 2012 @ 05:02 AM
reply to post by AccessDenied
Yeah, I think it's common in the world.UK tabloid newspapers are written in a reading age of 9+ years old.

So we have university graduated journalists deliberately opting to use emotive and basic terms to appeal to the widest readership. It's hard to deal with complicated subjects using a vocabulary limited to that of a 9 year old.

posted on Oct, 31 2012 @ 05:38 AM
Well you helped me a little- someone kept saying I was hating and it seemed so absurd I wondered if they were twisting what I was saying on purpose, to try to stir up others against me, or if he/she was just really having some comprehension problems.
But if that has become used in the way you say, it explains better.

Languages evolve, meanings and usage of terminology are always changing- the emotional charge they carry especially.

I remember when "crap" suddenly was being used everywhere, without being editted out by systems that wouldn't allow any cussing words. When I was young, that was as bad as the F or S word. I guess it isn't anymore.

Some studies have shown that the emotional charge a word has for a person is diminished with usage. That's actually one of the few things in Dianetics that turned out to be accurate (too bad he couldn't stop there...).

Repeat any word or phrase over and over, and the reactiosn in the emotional parts of your brain can actually be measured and show to diminish in activity intensity each time.

So perhaps the media plays a very big part in how terms evolve that wayç The term "Hate" seems to be used so much the last few years in media, that it just doesn't carry the same idea of extreme loathing and hostility that it used to. It's seems it might englobe what other words used to designate- "dislike" "angry at" "judgmental of", or "critical of".

Sounds like it is the same with many words tha media tends to repeat often, like "terrorist".

posted on Oct, 31 2012 @ 10:47 AM
I remember doing some reading on this stuff a little whiles ago ...

Is interesting to know that the bible has references to people eating their own waste as an insult etc ... and there are piles of things in old texts that used to be considered offensive but aren't any more. Also using the names of royalty has been offensive over the years but isn't any more.

Even words like 'dyke' and other slurs fall in and out of being offensive depending how cultures use them. I think intention is important as is the cultural place of that word or term. Like I know some words in Australia that we use that if we used in even just the UK or America we would be hung or something.

I wonder if the internet might one day put an end to that evolution of language though? Since we can contact each other so much quicker perhaps what we find offensive might be a bit more static in the future?

I mostly agree with accessdenied and a few other people in the thread, though I do think new words, phrases, and offensive ideas will replace our old ones continually. (Feminist wasn't always a bad word for example!)

posted on Oct, 31 2012 @ 09:29 PM
reply to post by Bluesma

Yeah, crap is a great one. I got my mouth washed out for that one when I was like 6. By the time I hit high school, even the teachers were using it regularly. When I was little, cuss words were reserved for when I was really upset, and waaaaaaaaaay out of earshot of mom. Now even my parents swear in regular conversations, sometimes even grandma, but nearly as bad as us. Grandma only swears when really mad still

Maybe it's time to create brand new swear words to be reserved for the emotional situations

posted on Oct, 31 2012 @ 09:33 PM
reply to post by Pinke

Oh man, you are right! Some words that were normal, have become used as insults, and to ridicule. It's hard to keep up sometimes, and know when someone is talking smack, or just plain talking, at least online. In person we have tone of voice to help us know words' intentions.

posted on Oct, 31 2012 @ 11:42 PM
Oh another twist on it, the whole politically correct movement have turned some words that were once just descriptive words into insults. Another thread I popped into made me think of that. The word retarded. Nowadays some people look at it as an insult or something, they prefer some PC description, like mentally handicapped. Both mean the same thing in essence, not sure why one is frowned upon, and the other is heralded. Must be kind of like how cuss words are looked at.

posted on Nov, 1 2012 @ 12:39 AM
reply to post by TKDRL

How do I say this? I am thankful that someone knows what I am talking about what I mention real hate. I am also sorrowful that someone else knows the pain it causes. lol. Few understand. As to the thread. As fewer and fewer understand the real meaning of the words, let us take for example the hate crime laws, fewer and fewer will understand the real threat emotions have. Columbine springs to mind.

There was a story by Heinlien, I do not remember the name. In it two friends, one a semantic expert, talk about the power of words. In the story the expert talks about his friends mother resulting in his friend trying to kill him. Then he explains. "Listen to the words. All I said was you had a good mother. The semantic emotional context is what you heard, not what I said." or something like that. It has been at least 20 yrs since I read that story. That is the kind of danger I fear from the loose PC use of words.

posted on Nov, 1 2012 @ 01:21 AM
reply to post by Jerk_Idiot

My threads never get 45685702 flags and stars, and 387462389 pages of response, but I do end up getting quality contributions. Each and every response made me think, so thanks again for the input. You guys are great

Not really a word, but a phrase. "I am going to kill ___________"
Pretty extreme phrase that is tossed around a lot these days. Some serious words, but not taken seriously at all, unless there is an agenda. How many times have we heard of a kid getting into serious trouble for saying that, even though it is a pretty common expression? Send a really mixed message I think.
edit on Thu, 01 Nov 2012 01:46:04 -0500 by TKDRL because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 1 2012 @ 04:17 AM
reply to post by TKDRL
The use of the word retarded bugs me. There are other word choices available for starters and we have to spend some 'brain time' assessing the intent of the user. For example, someone could use the word without it having any ill-intention towards disabled people or their families and friends. They'd use it because it has slang value in the same way people say the latest song is 'gay.'

On the flip-side, we have people who use 'retarded' for the single reason that they ridicule disabled people and enjoy the negative attention. When they were kids, they were the ones making jokes at the expense of the one in the wheelchair or the one with MS. We get them on ATS posting images of people with Down's Syndrome to ridicule someone's views. If you pull them up on it, they'll put their hands in the air and assert their right to expression.

"I can say what I want to say." Yes they can. Do they have the right to wilfully hurt people's feelings, or marginalise even further, a section of society who are already disadvantaged? GTFO is my position on that one.

Language can kill, cure, cook and commiserate. It's natural that its usage has extremists. The worst type of PC would have us all believing that speech is like a car-crash with victims from all walks of life being offended left, right and centre...bodies and carnage. Then we have the opposite side who have intent to maim and incite violence by guerilla word-spitting.

Tough stuff! If we say 'idiot' or 'moron' instead of 'retard' they imply the same insult and the bullet hits its target rather than an entire population of people with disabilities.

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