Tell us what you think it is, whether or not you have ever used it, and in what context you let it fly.

6 Responses

Verdad says:

In the context of “American” English language, and as an easy cop-out:


As a purist and idealist in so many ways, I have made a distinct point to use this seemingly inflamatory word in various venues, albeit with a small penchant for controversy. And no, not a bigoted controversy.

The point is that the only reason the word itself espouses hate, is that people let it do so. It is a difficult line to toe in the face of political correctness that is the standard in today’s society, as result of real and painful historical context in our country. My purist contention hinges on the actual basis of the word, rather than its more recent use in our society.

Niggardly, while not used in today’s language, was very common 200+ years ago, and its definition is not one that an emotional reader would suspect. I find it sad when a word dies in the name of sensitivity, emotion, or social pressure.

Even further, although it is undeniably an ugly word, I find it amusing (or at least telling) when I hear the word used in all seriousness and as a racial slur. It is a great way to identify those that are painfully ignorant and full of misplaced or misunderstood hate — and typically a person I will go to all lengths to ignore or avoid. I would rather hear the word used, understand its history and context, than “bury” it into the annals of forgotten language, as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton (a la the NAACP) attempted to do a few years back. For note, they have both since been on record using the word “nigger” themselves, but contended it was not an issue, as they are black. Oh, the irony in the pot calling the kettle . . . what?

This screams of hypocrisy in that I use the word often myself, but only in a context that will reflect my intention. Again, a very idealist position of the word’s use, but if those using the English language came to understand the actual meaning of the word itself, in conjunction with the historical context, it would no longer be used as a universally derogatory and inflamatory word, but rather one of history, and identification of those that are ignorant and backwards.

Short answer: No words should be considered destructive, as they are simply tools by which to convey ideas. To give a particular word an actual ethos and emotion is, in my opinion, destructive to what is so wonderful about a fluid and widely-used transcribed language, such as “American” English.

And for the record, yes, I am very good at putting my foot firmly in my mouth.

Dustin says:

When considering the most destructive words in the English language, several came to mind immediately (mostly, words considered to be ‘offensive’, ‘foul’, or ’slurs’). However, upon reflecting on them, none of them really seemed destructive. This got me thinking about what it really means for a word to be destructive.

A destructive word must be one that is so charged with emotion and power that people are immediately willing to literally destroy. Then, I saw a new report on the news. That’s when it hit me. The burning of the Qu’ran, building mosques at Ground Zero, Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc.

The most destructive word in the English language is RELIGION.

For thousands of years, war, famine, torture, slavery, power, and destruction have all been linked to religion. Regardless of the ideals of the religion, it is the power of stating that the destruction of something can be justified by religion that matters.

Fred says:

It’s not religion. It’s HATE. That’s what has and will always fuel years of war, famine, torture, slavery, and destruction.

Fcl says:

Февраль 2, 2012 at 09:44The boys in three months you can learn the bscias only, but in reality you can only learn English, the one and a half not to be lost in communicating with foreigners, and not to look into the dictionary

Faxo says:

தோழர் வித்தகன் அவர்களே,கடைசியாக உங்களுக்கு ஒன்றை தெரியப்படுத்திக்கொள்கிறேன்.//ஹமாஸ், சக பாலஸ்தீன விடுதலைக் குழுக்களைக் குறி வைத்து அழித்தது இல்லை. அமைதி வழியில் பாலஸ்தீனம் கேட்டுப் போராடுபவர்களைக் கொன்று ஒழித்ததில்லை.//இலங்கையில் அரசு ஆதரவு பெற்ற ஆயுதக் குழு ஒன்று சிங்கள பேரினவாதிகளோடு சேர்ந்து கொண்டு தமிழர்கள் மீது நடத்திய இனப்படுகொலைகளில் பற்றி நீங்கள் அறிந்திருக்க வாய்ப்பில்லை என நினைக்கிறேன். அங்கு நிகழ்ந்த படுகொலைகள் அனைத்தையும் புலிகள்தான் செய்தனர் என்ற அரசின் தவறான பரப்புரைகளை மட்டும் வைத்து நீங்கள் இப்படி கூறுகிறீர்கள் என நினைக்கிறேன்.இலங்கையில் IPKF முதன்முதலில் கால் வைத்தபோது இந்திய வீரர்கள் சீல் உடைக்கப்படாத AK-47 ரக துப்பாக்கிகள் மற்றும் ஆயுதங்களை புலிகள் அல்லாத பிற போராளிக் குழுக்களுக்கு வினியோகித்தார்கள். இந்தியப் படைகளை இலங்கைக்கு அனுப்பி வைத்துவிட்டு மறைமுகமாக RAW’ அமைப்பினர் தமிழர்கள் பகுதிகளில் உளவு பார்த்தனர். மற்ற போராளிக் குழுக்களுக்கும் புலிகளுக்கும் இடையே மோதல் ஏற்படக் காரணமாக இருந்ததே IPKF வீரர்கள்தான். மற்றும் 1987 ஆம் ஆண்டு பிரபாகரனை கொலை செய்ய உத்தரவிட்டவர் ராஜீவ்காந்தி. இதை நான் கூறவில்லை. இந்திய அமைதிப்படைக்கு தலைமை ஏற்றுச் சென்ற திரு ஹர்கிரத் சிங் அவர்கள் தான் எழுதிய ‘Intervention in Sri Lanka: The IPKF experience roteld’ எனும் புத்தகத்தில் இதை குறிப்பிட்டுள்ளார்.உங்களுக்காக அந்த புத்தகத்தில் கூறிய சிலவற்றை கீழே தந்திருக்கிறேன்.“The Tigers continued to surrender their weapons till 21 August 1987. At this point of time, RAW, under directions from the Prime Minister’s Office, commenced the rearming of the other militant groups. Evidence regarding the rearming of some defunct militant groups was brought to the notice of all concerned, including the Indian High Commissioner [J. N. Dixit]. I had shown the High Commissioner and his Military Adviser inColombo a videotape on the induction of small arms with Indian markings. The rearming of militant groups other than the LTTE resulted in inter-group killings among the Tamil militants and the surrender of weapons came to a virtual standstill by the end of August 1987.” [p47-48] “Dixit wanted my assessment of the various militant groups that had becomedefunct and had now suddenly become active again. I explained that the ENDLF, PLOTE, and TELO had been lying dormant and it was only after the middle ofAugust 1987 that they had re-surfaced with newly acquired arms. … Moreover, the LTTE knew that RAW had an active hand in encouraging these groups.” [p49-50] “According to Dixit, the ultimate objective of the IPKF was to discredit the LTTE in the eyes of the local Tamil population. In short, the IPKF was expected to play a double game. I realized that these tactics would not work since the Tamils had already understood that their aspirations for Eelam could be met only by the LTTE.”[p48-49] “[Later] the EPRLF, prior to the withdrawal of the IPKF, was equipped with rifles under orders from Lt. Gen. A.S. Kalkat, it was not realized that the EPRLF cadres had no fighting potential and handing weapons to this group was an ill-advisedventure.” [p50] “In September 1987, a political dialogue between the LLTE and an Indian delegation took place at Palaly and a peaceful solution seemed to be in sight. The creation of the [Interim Administration Council] was to be thrashed out. The date set for the meeting to be held at my headquarters at Palaly and chaired by Dixit, was 16-17 September 1987.” [p57] “On the night of 14/15 September 1987, I received a telephone call from Dixit,directing me to arrest or shoot Pirabakaran when he came for the meeting. Telling Dixit that I would get back to him I placed a call to the [Overall ForcesCommander]. Lt. Gen. Depinder Singh.” [p57] “Lt. Gen. Depinder Singh directed me to tell Dixit that we, as an orthodox Army, did not shoot people in the back when they were coming for a meeting under the white flag. I then spoke to Dixit in Colombo and conveyed the message emphasizing that I would not obey his directive.” [p57] “I pointed out that the LTTE supremo had been invited by the IPKF in order to find a solution to the problems in the implementation of the Accord. Dixit replied, ‘He Rajiv Gandhi has given these instructions to me and the Army should not drag its feet, and you as the GOC, IPKF will be responsible for it.’” [p57]//பாலஸ்தீனத்திலேயே உள்ள பிற இனத்தவரை (ஈழத்தில் இருந்த முஸ்லீம்கள் போல) அவர்கள் வாழும் இடத்திலிருந்து விரட்டவில்லை.//முஸ்லீம்கள் வெளியேறியதில் இலங்கை அரசின் சூழ்ச்சிகளைப் பற்றி நீங்கள் தெரிந்திருக்க வாய்ப்பில்லை என நினைக்கிறன். இந்த விவாதத்தை ஏற்படுத்திக் கொடுத்த வினவு’ இணையதளத்திற்கு என்னுடைய நன்றிகள். மீண்டும் விவாதிப்போம்.உங்கள் தோழர் செந்தில்.

Juan says:

What a joy to find such clear thninkig. Thanks for posting!

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