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Member since: Sat Nov 29, 2008, 02:55 PM
Number of posts: 17,671

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How to insult someone...

Properly insulting someone is a lot more complicated than simply flinging expletives at them. Like most human interactions, itís ridiculously complicated and arbitrary. There is really no right way or wrong way to hurt someoneís feelings, but there may be a few guidelines we might follow on the path to an ass whipping.

First of all, the recipient of the insult has to actually receive it. It wonít matter if you cuss the moron in front of you signaling a right turn for fifty miles if you do it in your car with the windows rolled up. He will never be properly chagrined for his stupidity unless you pull him over and make yourself heard. And even that might not work if he sticks his fingers in his ears and sings lalalalala with his car windows rolled up.

Better phone this one in.

Make sure you insult a specific person. If you try to insult a group of people, not only will they not know exactly who you are insulting, they will be in a herd and your invective will be dispersed among them, lost in their mutual solidarity. Remember, for most of human history a verbal assault preceded a physical assault, otherwise known as fighting words, and if you talk shit to a bunch of people they will instinctively know you are full of shit because they can stomp the shit out of you.

Who you calling a cow?

Next, the idiot you want to insult needs to understand the insult. Donít use some regional dialect, inside joke or esoteric reference that they may not comprehend. If the recipient is a stranger, you will be forced to use a fairly generic insult to be sure to get the message across. That means certain terms or gestures commonly understood to be insulting to human beings in general. Even then, whatever insult you choose will not be particularly hurtful because since you donít know them they have no reason to believe you are not some raving asshole with poor social skills. Of course if youíre insulting random strangers itís probably pretty likely youíre exactly that.

French is only dirty if itís done right.

Insults only become really effective if you at least share certain cultural commonalities with the insultee. If you know something about someoneís cultural background, you will know what they donít like to be called, with whom they donít like to associate and generally how they have been treated by the surrounding culture. Armed with that information, you can bring to bear not only your own animosity toward them, but the hate of possibly millions of others and the hate the recipient may have for them as well. Cultural animosity is very powerful and will give you a big leg up, and maybe even a foot broken off in your ass.

There has to be a better way.

The most effective insults are those designed around specific characteristics, hopes, fears, dreams, and regrets of someone you know well enough to be privy to that information. Thatís why those closest to us can hurt us the most Ė they know us well enough to know what will hurt us the worst.

You know how sensitive I am about size.

How to avoid insulting someone:

Reverse the above process. If you feel the need to fling invective about, try to make it as non specific as possible to those whose feelings you donít want to hurt. This requires some skill and understanding of the relationships people have to a given culture. If you want to insult a member of some other tribe, itís best if you donít use characteristics shared by members of your own tribe since they will obviously be insulted as well. Some members of your tribe will have suffered real hurt at the hands of the surrounding culture and they deserve to be spared a reminder of that hurt by someone who is supposed to be on their side. They donít want to listen to that shit, and they shouldnít have to. Some terms are like a hand grenade in a shithouse and itís best to not use them at all unless the members of your tribe deeply and clearly understand you and believe your frustration is directed exclusively at your mutual adversaries. Even then it wonít keep the shit off them, but at least maybe they wonít fling you into the crater left by the explosion.

A bad teapot for a tempest.

How to avoid being insulted:

The community we share exists in a bunch of boxes somewhere. It is almost completely divorced from reality. We are ersatz personalities, and our interactions are clouded by anonymity, brevity, bad grammar and auto complete software. Nobody really knows anybody. A single mouse click can send any malefactor into oblivion never to hurt you again. The most malicious epithet that can be offered is little more than background noise in a cacophony of stampeding hooves. If you want to stake out a chunk of turf that defines your hurt feelings, try to remember youíre doing so in the middle of a stampede. The larger the plot of umbrage, the more likely it will get trampled. We are like, five degrees of separation from actually knowing each other therefore any insult, since proximity and specificity are what make insults hurt, simply cannot be that bad.

And Kevin Bacon thinks youíre full of shit.

The truth is the insults we direct at others here at DU are really for our own entertainment. Ann Coulter will never know, or care, what we call her. We are all in the same car together yelling at her to turn off her goddamn right turn signal or get off the fucking highway.

It seems to me civil conversation, as a part of civilized behavior, doesnít depend on specific rules, customs, traditions or authorities. I think it depends on generosity. Just as we contribute part of our time, wealth, and energy to the common good, we contribute a measure of our patience and understanding to foster unity. Sometimes that contribution will go to those who we dislike or even to those who do not deserve it. But nevertheless, without generosity nothing can be accomplished and no progress made.

***And a big tip of the lynch lid to Cracked.com who [strike]don't know I stole[/strike] generously contributed the format for this bit of drivel. I swear to Christ if I make any money off it, youíll get a cut.

Fussy home decor.

Shopping malls and everything in them.

What one asshole with a blog said about some other asshole with a blog.



Windsor knots.

Facile craftsmanship as a qualifier for content.

Cloying fiction.

Actors who play themselves, and the character is a lunatic media whore.

Idle chit chat. We should just smell each other's butts and get it over with.

Motorized camping equipment.

Organized religion.

Japanese food.


Country music.

Rap music.


Coffee that requires more than the word "coffee" to order.

People who think getting exactly what they want is somehow doing you a favor.

Did I mention snow?

You may not be able to buy spirituality. ..

(maybe), buy you can buy fellowship. Megachurches sell it by the boatload. They are able to do so because it's mass produced.

It takes training and not a little work to bring people together. I could write what I know about paganism in a matchbook with a grease pencil, but I'm willing to bet that there are important communal aspects related to the practice.

I appreciate the distinction you make between spirituality and practice. People should be compensated for doing real world stuff with real world money. By the same token, spirituality is its own reward. When any practice of faith is involved, compensation can become problematic. When it comes to faith, if experienced fully, doing and being become one in the same. And the effort expended to facilitate that experience for others becomes a function of the emotional investment of the facilitator. Should s/he be paid for a "labor of love" or starve in the name of faith? Certainly on no account should one be compensated for fostering spirituality. If you do that you're just selling people something they've already got.

Good OP. I appreciate the chance to sort this out.

All ideas are, sooner or later, attached to reality.

That is, if they are to mean anything. Any insult is derogatory of some real aspect of somebody. If not, it wouldn't be a very good insult, would it? If you want to purge DU of anything that might be called bigotry then, in reality, you will have to eliminate all insults. And that might be okay, except this place runs on emotion, and that emotion will always be expressed with insults flung at members of the "other tribe". It keeps Skinner in beer money.

The best insult exclusively refers to members of the other tribe and specifically excludes members of our tribe. That kind of insult is almost impossible simply because members of the other tribe simply don't have exclusive ownership of stupid, ugly, cruel people or behavior. We're all human, and nobody's perfect.

Now, it is possible to carve out any number of associated tribes to defend. Not a few of them need defending. But there is no reason to immediately assume an insult that might be applied to a member of your chosen tribe is actually intended to be so. The utterance of a particular word simply does not give us much more than the most miniscule insight into the intent of the person using it. The use of language is part of a relationship, not an empirically measurable real world phenomenon. And workable relationships take time and understanding to function properly.

If you want to simply define people by the words they use and draw the wagons in a circle to defend your understanding of how they use language, go for it. Doing so will exclude you from the bulk of meaningful human interaction and effectively marginalize you inside your own ideology. People say what they feel, and you can't dictate feelings. You may be able to force them to use different words, but their feelings will be the same. If you want to change their feelings, you will have to inspire them to change. And inspiration assumes cooperation, even if you have to listen to a bit of foul language to do it.

Now, that assumes you have any actual interest in changing the way people feel. If you want to simply surround yourself with sycophants, well, that's not too difficult. All you have to do is feed on their emotions by telling them what they want to hear and offering facile solutions that offer emotional satisfaction without actually addressing the problem. That way, there will always be a problem windmill that needs tilting at. Of course, to make that work you will have to create a, shall we say, sequestered intellectual environment where dissent is not allowed to disturb the emotional synchronicity of the group.

Chances are...

My fellow Americans, gun violence has become a national disgrace and we must no longer tolerate the horrible loss of life because this country is awash in guns. Therefore, I am proposing legislation to control the proliferation of guns in our country because I view you, the citizens of this great country, as fungible assets that can only be viewed as a collection of votes and not as individual human beings. My legislative proposals depend on the possibility that more people will die for the wrong reasons and with the wrong tools than will be saved for the right reasons and the same tools. Plus, since all the people that die for the wrong reasons will be dead, they won't vote anyway and we can assuage the grief of their living friends and relatives (voters) by blaming the evil objects that caused their pain and associate it with that evil bunch that seems to like the damn things. When it comes to partisan politics, it's a win win.

Vote for me, a bloodless technocrat who doesn't view you as human, but as a calculation in a legislative crap shoot.

Repost from Sun Jan-30-11 (DU2) How to win friends and influence people by telling true lies.

Here on the cusp of a presidential election I thought I'd repost something from January 2011.

A few days ago someone took exception to my "DU handle". It stands for "renaissance redneck". That's because I started out life a tractor jockey on the family farm and wound up an artist. There isn't a sociocultural alley or backstreet I haven't ventured into at one time or another. It also means I wasn't born into my liberalism but rather had to work for it out of choice.

I still find myself interacting with everyone from working stiffs to millionaires, liberals and conservatives and everybody in between. I hear what they have to say about their lives and how they feel about various ideologies expressed by those on both the political right and left. The vast majority of them hover somewhere between liberal lefties and conservative righties. Not a few actually have a hard time deciding between the two for some reason. They are the political center, and without them elections cannot be won.

The best lies begin with a grain of truth. The best spin is a caricature of an opinion expressed in good faith. What follows is an example of how Republicans might easily get to the labels they have used so well against Democrats and convince people to vote "against their own economic interest".

What some anti RKBA say: "People who commit crimes with guns are law abiding citizens until they're not."

What most people hear: I don't care about you. You are just a potential criminal as far as I am concerned. You are unstable and your instability is exacerbated because of that gun. You are untrustworthy even though I have never met you and will never know you personally. I am afraid of you.

Republican spin opportunity: Elitist wimpy oblivious liberals.

What some anti RKBA say: "I'm not afraid of my neighbors, why are you?"

What most people hear: I don't care about you. I live in an upscale urban neighborhood with a low crime rate and high property values. Everyone around me is just like me and I like it that way.

Republican spin opportunity: Arrogant rich elitist closeted liberals.

What some anti RKBA say: "Just move."

What most people hear: I don't care about you. I'm perfectly happy to abandon your ass and move to some comfortable gated suburb the minute the neighborhood starts to go downhill. What's your problem you can't afford to simply change the circumstances of your life whenever you feel like it?

Republican spin opportunity: Elitist rich oblivious callous judgmental liberals.

What some anti RKBA say: "Wearing a gun in public is tacky."

What most people hear: I don't care about you. My need to be surrounded by people like me is much more important than your personal safety.

Republican spin opportunity: Bigoted vain oblivious callous liberals.

What some anti RKBA say: "I shouldn't have to look at guns in public."

What most people hear: I don't care about you. My perception of the world around me is more important than your personal safety.

Republican spin opportunity: Vain oblivious callous liberals.

What some anti RKBA say: "You shouldn't be allowed to have a gun in your car if it is parked in your employers parking lot."

What most people hear: I don't care about you. I own stock in the corporation you work for and I don't want anybody threatening my unearned income because the workers might get "uppity". My first concern is for management and I don't care what kind of neighborhood you have to drive through to work third shift in the wrong part of town. I never go there anyway.

Republican spin opportunity: Rich elitist bourgeoisie liberals.

What some anti RKBA say: "Simply call the police, it's their job to protect you."

What most people hear: I don't care about you, that's the cops job. I live in a part of town with low police response time and private security for good measure. I trust the cops and the other powers that be more than I trust you.

Republican spin opportunity: Elitist egghead authoritarian oblivious rich liberals.

What some anti RKBA say: "You are deluded by the NRA."

What most people hear: I don't care about you. You are stupid enough to believe what some lobbyist group tells you without giving it any consideration at all.

Republican spin opportunity: Elitist egghead arrogant academic liberals.

What some anti RKBA say : "If you think you could stop a mass shooting you are deluding yourself."

What most people hear: I don't care about you. I have no idea why you actually might consider carrying a gun because I have never so much as held a firearm much less done any real research into what they are for or how they are used. I prefer to simply believe what some talking head who is getting rich telling me what I want to hear tells me.

Republican spin opportunity: Hollywood elitist liberals.

What some anti RKBA say: "Guns are only for killing people."

What most people hear: I don't care about you. I never see anybody that might threaten me because I'm rich and well protected by my property values. The only people I ever meet are just like me and I like it that way.

Republican spin opportunity: Bigoted elitist liberals.

What some anti RKBA say: "Stop making guns and ammunition and they will become scarce."

What most people hear: Gun ban.

Republican spin opportunity: Gun ban.

What some anti RKBA say: "Democrats don't own guns."

What most people hear: I don't care about you or your vote. Our big tent isn't big enough for you.

Republican spin opportunity: Elitist hypocritical liberals.

What some anti RKBA say: "People who want to carry guns should have a psychiatric evaluation."

What most people hear: I don't care about you or due process. I am afraid of you for no reason other than because you may not think like me and I'm willing to use the power of the state to feel safer regardless of some silly notion about probable cause.

Republican spin opportunity: Big government elitist wimpy liberals.

What some anti RKBA say: "You will never defeat the United States military in an insurrection."

What most people hear: I don't care about you. I like things just the way they are and I don't think they will ever change. If push comes to shove I will fall in line with the rest of the authoritarians to save my skin and throw you under the bus.

Republican spin opportunity: Cowardly big government elitist authoritarian liberals bent on forcing us all into socialism.

What some anti RKBA say: "You probably won't ever be assaulted anyway."

What most people hear: I don't care about you. You are just collateral damage in the implementation of my blinkered ideology.

Republican spin opportunity: Elitist arrogant big government ideologue liberals.

What some anti RKBA say: "Who really needs extended capacity magazines/ black rifles/ personal carry."

What most people hear: I don't care about you. I know more about what you need than you do even though I have no idea who you are or the circumstances of your life, and I certainly have no knowledge about firearms beyond what some talking head told me. My ideology is more important than you.

Republican spin opportunity: Elitist arrogant academic egghead ignorant liberals.

What some anti RKBA say: "Why do you need a gun to go to Starbucks?"

What most people hear: I don't care about you. I never leave the upscale part of town and spend most of my time drinking overpriced coffee.

Republican spin opportunity: Elitist latte sipping liberals.

People aren't stupid. Assuming they are because you view them through the bottom of your ideological beer mug is a big mistake. They can tell when you care more about your ideology than you do about them. We naturally expect the rich to be dismissive toward others because with wealth comes a sense of entitlement that most people simply don't have. Liberals are supposed to go to bat for the little guy, not lecture him from on high about his shortcomings.

I believe we can use government to make people's lives better. In fact, that's the only way we can do it. But we have to convince them it is possible first. After the last thirty years most people don't believe that government can be responsive to their best interests and behaving like a bunch of arrogant, dismissive, proto-authoritarian ideologues whose agenda is more important to them than the people they are supposed to care about doesn't help.

Our only saving grace is that we are honest about our arrogance. Republicans win elections in no small part because they lie about their concerns for the lives of real people. They know how to wrap their mercenary ideology in the flag and convince people that they care. I believe those lies are beginning to approach a critical mass that will be difficult to reverse without serious social upheaval. The GOP appears to be losing control of it's base to the peril of us all.

The seeming dismissive attitude of the far left for the lives of real people has cost us elections and will continue to do so. Guns are a wedge issue that clearly reveal it. If you want to know why people vote for Republicans you may only have to look as far as a mirror. By all means keep handing elections to those fascists in the Republican party. Sooner or later you may wish you had a gun whether you care to admit it or not.

The first rule of politics is to find a group of people who are headed somewhere and get out in front of them. Oblivious, arrogant, dismissive, ideologically rigid voters elect oblivious, arrogant, dismissive, ideologically rigid politicians. I think the left is on the wrong side of this issue and judging by the rate of gun ownership and trends in gun laws most of the country agrees with me. It would well behoove liberals to figure out the best way to make gun ownership work in this country instead of treating gun owners like pariahs since there appear to be about eighty million of them and their numbers are growing.

Attractive people of both sexes have it easier.

Both sexes use what they've got for advantage. Pressing ones advantage to oppress or manipulate others is unacceptable behavior regardless of sex.

A beautiful woman can use her looks to use people, a wealthy man can do the same. A woman has to be born good looking, a physically weak man can still get rich. He doesn't have to be a great warrior, or even a towering genius. He only has to be a bigger asshole than the next guy. And when a woman competes in that context she has to be a "bitch". Both conditions have less to do with gender than with wealth and how we manage it.
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