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More disallowed words (now with suffixes!)

June 11, 2008

Esquire magazine recently published a piece on epithets, specifically those of the swear word variety. The package included an admonition to quit using the word “douchebag”—the argument being that we are stripping it of its meaning by using it so much, and that if we keep doing so it won’t have the necessary sting when we really need it. I agree that we should quit using the word, but for different reasons: Namely, that a grown person should not be using any childish, gleeful, of-the-minute swear word. Here, Paul writes to the Corinthians:

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Damn straight. If the level of a man’s hatred for another person does not rise above “douchebag,” then he should hold his tongue. Douchebags are, by definition, not even worth acknowledging—and like the crazy preacher on your college campus, with whom students would futilely try to engage and debate, the best offense is no offense at all. If a man really needs to tell another man off, there are plenty of fine, still-harsh words on offer. It’s all about tone.

Addendum: All of the cousins of douchebag are also disallowed: douchetard, asshat, etc. (Basically just read Gawker: Whatever they call someone there, or in the comments section, don’t say it. Ever.)

Other disallowed words/suffixes:

  • Any reformulation that uses “-erati”; i.e., “glitterati,” “literati,” etc. Just fucking quit it.
  • Any reformulation that uses “-ista”; i.e., “fashionista,” “Clintonista.” Everybody’s gotta be famous.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jake-Freedom permalink
    June 11, 2008 1:33 pm

    Good call.

    And I am going to go ahead and add another to that short list (which could easily be made much longer):

    Diva.

    It’s stupid and horrible and Whitney Houston is totally lame now.

    And on that matter, anyone who is a self-professed diva should never be shown any attention or recognition for anything until they stop using the word.

  2. ClatieK permalink
    June 11, 2008 5:03 pm

    Hmm, I don’t know if I can get completely on board with this one. There are certain situations, when, between friends, these words can carry a certain gravitas that others may not.

    Friend #1: What do you think of Steve? Kind of cute, right?

    Friend #2: I don’t know… there’s a subtle asshat-ery about him that I can’t quite put my finger on…

    Like most things, though, people can’t manage to use them in moderation.

  3. postluddism permalink
    June 12, 2008 1:57 am

    I hear remnants of Father Fred in this post…

  4. Joe permalink
    June 12, 2008 1:18 pm

    I agree with the lady from Menlo Park. Usually when referring to a third party, douchebag is entirely appropriate. (Asshat, on the other hand, is 100% retarded and whomever coined the term deserves a communicable disease.) But, back to douchebag….

    Friend #1: I just got off the phone with Steven, he’s gonna stop by later on.

    Friend #2: Awww man, Steven is SUCH a douchebag. Couldn’t you tell him that we were busy?

    See? The third party reference is acceptable. However, when the need arises to deliver a stinging barb directly to an individual, nothing is more effective than poopy-pants.

  5. Hunter R. Slaton permalink
    June 12, 2008 1:48 pm

    Ha, Father Fred indeed, Keogh (which makes me think of the fact that your class and mine were some of the last to know both Father Fred and Father Tribou).

    Anyway, back on topic: Asshat is right out. Absolutely disallowed. Even more so than douchebag. Here’s a better exchange:

    Friend #1: What do you think of Steve? Kind of cute, right?

    Friend #2: Fuck no. I hope that prick gets hit by a bus.

    See? Much better.

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