We’d need an official list

Calling someone a ‘bitch’ in Massachusetts could lead to a six-month jail term and a hefty fine, under legislation proposed by a Democrat lawmaker in the state this week.

The problem being of course that it’s only a word. And if we’re not allowed to use that one for that meaning then we’ll find something else to apply the same meaning to. See retard to Mongol to Downs to developmentally differently abled. The politesse of the new description lasts only a few years as it then becomes adopted to mean exactly what the previous iteration did. See also negro to black to person of colour – a transformation that hasn’t, but I would predict will, happened yet entirely.

Quite where it will end up no one knows of course, humans are inventive with language. But I’d want to lay tight odds on it becoming “Hillary”.

25 thoughts on “We’d need an official list”

  1. I thought rappers were exempt? Or is that just the laws against racism, incitement to violence, etc etc

  2. Reminds me of Blue Peter’s well-intentioned featuring of a spastic- I mean, cerebral palsy sufferer- leading to the instantiation of the new insult “Joey” within days of the first broadcast.

    I wouldn’t find this sort of thing (careful now) so offensive if the society matrons were prohibiting all offensive terms, but as usual it’s only the protected groups who get protection from insult. And anyway what happens to Rap music?

  3. “And did you, Dongguan John, on the evening in question, call the alleged victim a “bitch”?”

    “no, your honour, I called her a “cunt”.”

  4. Even one of the people quoted in the report arguing for it seems confused, they end the quote with “At the very least, using that word is harassment.” – its obviously has passed them by that we already have laws covering harassment

  5. Only if masculine insults are also prohibited.

    So that’s the feminists stuffed then.

    On not, as the case might be.

  6. See retard to Mongol…

    Not really.

    “Retard” is relatively recent and certainly didn’t precede “mongol”. The precursor of “retard” would be something like “cretin” (which had severed its link with cretinism early in the twentieth century), “moron” or “thicko” since it denotes dimness or stupidity rather than describing a medical condition or syndrome. The OED’s earliest quotation under “mongol” comes from the BMJ in 1896.

  7. 41m diversion? Looking at the map, the diversion route may be 41m but the extra distance covered is around 5 or 6. Personally I’d rather be taking the alternative A road route in a large vehicle than than meeting another large vehicle on one of the narrow B roads. They’re making a national story out of 6 miles? You got nothing important going on there? No containers full of freeze dried refugees or a little matter of getting out of Europe?

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    After the Falklands war the military started referring to the locals as Benny’s. Something went up on Orders banning the term and so they quickly became known as Stills.

    (This was well after all the members of the Task Force had left)

  9. Naw, a doggette is a small dog – a puppy.

    I remember way back in the 1990s an episode of Johnny Bravo aired in the UK, and a kid threw the insult “yah spaz!”. I admit I did look up from my typing when it happened, but dismissed it, as Americans speak funny. But in all future airings the dialogue was redubbed – in a different voice! – with “yah spanner!”.

    Doing a quick Google, there’s even an episode called “Spa Spaz”! Which from a quick skim of images I think I’ve never seen, so looks like it probably has never aired in the UK.

  10. I listen to, and read about, early jazz. In that era “negro” wasn’t remotely rude. It was “nigger” that was rude. I still think “negro” is far better than “someone of subsaharan African descent”.

    I don’t think much of “Native American” because the expression had a different (and literal) meaning for several centuries. If “Injun” sounds a bit flippant then “Indigenous American” would do, given that “Aborigine” is already spoken for.

  11. So what am I gonna say, when I do a bit of enforcing for my local crime lord, instead of

    “Does he look like a bitch ?”

    I was once told off for using the word “Abo” in reference to indigenous Australians. Apparently “but that’s what they were called in Skippy!” is not a defence.

  12. Dennis, Criminologist

    This is the sort of woke stupidity you find in places like Massachusetts. And given that it is an obvious violation of the First Amendment, it is a non-starter.

    State representative Dan Hunt, the author of this legislation, is either virtue signaling or auditioning for a job with just about any police force in Britain.

  13. @Dennis, Man of Mystery

    To quote Walter Sobchak, “The Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint!”

  14. Quite where it will end up no one knows of course, humans are inventive with language. But I’d want to lay tight odds on it becoming “Hillary”.

    In the UK it should be Hilary (Benn).

  15. There is a universal word: ‘still’ (plural ‘stills’) because they still are whatever it is you are not allowed to call them.

  16. @dearieme The Canadians use First Nations, the Indian word is considered to be rude or impolite at the best, though the relevant legislation for Indian Status is the Indian Act and it’s recorded in the Indian Registry, surprised that’s not been updated, maybe something for Justin to agonise over though fixing all the usages of Indian in legislation (its in Canada’s charter as well).
    Indigenous or aboriginal can be used in some contexts as well, the Canadian charter from 1982 refers to the ‘Aboriginal Peoples of Canada which includes Indian, Inuit and Metis’.
    Metis being recognised is interesting as they are a culture that sprang out of the first Europeans and indigenous people interbreeding

  17. Some day somebody will show that tribe (or nation) x is descended from the first invaders of North America whilst tribe y is descended from people who arrived a couple of thousand years later. So then who’s a First Nation?

  18. There’s some of them also claim that the land bridge migration theory is just colonialism trying to undermine their rights and they have always been here.
    Given the timeframes for the land bridge migration theory it seems an odd argument as 20,000 years may as well be forever, but hey what’s science matter when you can shout racism and colonialism

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