Are terms like "spaz" offensive? Watch

cheesecakebobby
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Tiger Woods has come under fire for referring to himself as a 'spaz'. BBC article here.
I personally don't see the harm in it, he obviously neither intended to compare himself to someone who is severely disabled, nor to offend those who have been described in a negative light by such terms. Surely it is no worse than calling a heterosexual a 'poof' for crying over a broken fingernail or something? Luckily some people have had a sense of humour about it, but surely there are bigger problems than golfers calling themselves unintelligent... and I certainly don't see why words with similar connotations to 'spaz' are banned from TSR yet I can happily call someone "a thick *******" and get away without, if I so desire.
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Blue Rose
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Hmm. I don't think she should. He didn't use it in an offensive manner but it is offensive. But at the same time, though his terminology was wrong, what other word could he have used? Coz tho I know there must be one, I can think of one.
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SolInvictus
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What does spaz mean? Is it a racist term or something?
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cheesecakebobby
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It originates from '*******'. Read the article.

Edit: how very, utterly pathetic. Add the sound a clock makes to the end of 'spaz' and you'll understand.
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MrsMerton
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Suppose I can't say mong or flid then?
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SolInvictus
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I didn't know ******* was a bad word. Be nice. I have never heard it before, that is all.
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Agent Smith
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Well, the offensiveness is always there. If you'd had an accident confining you to a wheelchair for life, and then the day after being discharged you were sitting in your wheelchair watching the snooker and one of the commentators said, "well, Jim, even a quadriplegic could have potted that", you'd be offended.

Having said all that, the question is whether the right to insult people exists or should exist. It's a question that was skirted round when the whole Arab world suddenly went off Apple Danishes, but even then wasn't properly addressed. Do people have a right to go through their entire life without ever being insulted?

I would say, "no". For several reasons.

1. Insults are important linguistic tools, and the genuine art form of insulting someone in an original and witty manner seems to have been in decline since Wilde;

2. Learning to take an insult greatly aids personal pyschological development, with the alternative being a society that cries and sues over the slightest little thing;

3. If people and society in general become more immune to insults and verbal abuse, through allowing them to proliferate, perhaps we can get worked up about the important things instead. Like murder, rape, torture, hunger and disease.

So roll on insulting behaviour! Bring it on, I say.
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Amon.
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people need to grow up a bit, and develop the "stiff upper lip". its pathetic. So what if he used that word? Even more because he used it to himself!
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spacedonkey
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My best friend has a son with cerebral palsy, and has made it something of a personal crusade to stop the casual use of the word "spaz". She finds it extremely upsetting that the word is seen as acceptable - tantamount to saying it's okay to taunt her son about his disability really. Colin Firth uses the word in Love, Actually, and after complaining she got a hand-written, sincere and grovelling apology from Richard Curtis. The same goes for "mong" and "flid" - my feeling is that if using these words (even with absolutely no intent to hurt people with CP, or Downs or those with birth defects whose mothers took thalidomide during pregnancy) causes hurt and upset and perpetuates discriminatory attitudes, then it is wrong to use them in the public domain anyway.
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Lawz-
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Are they offensive?

if people take offence. Yes.
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Agent Smith
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(Original post by cheesecakebobby)
It originates from '*******'. Read the article.

Edit: how very, utterly pathetic. Add the sound a clock makes to the end of 'spaz' and you'll understand.
LOL. Owned by the ****ing filter.
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Agent Smith
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(Original post by MrsMerton)
Suppose I can't say mong or flid then?
Where does "mong" actually come from? I first heard it as a military equivalent to "doss".
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spacedonkey
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(Original post by Agent Smith)
Where does "mong" actually come from? I first heard it as a military equivalent to "doss".
Downs Syndrome used to be called Mongolism, iirc
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Lawz-
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Mongoloid.

Asian people (in the US sense).
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Amon.
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(Original post by Agent Smith)
Where does "mong" actually come from? I first heard it as a military equivalent to "doss".
short for mongrel.
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Agent Smith
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Well, 3 totally different definitions in the space of 60 seconds there. Proves the point - insults are interesting pieces of the language.
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Paul Bedford
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(Original post by Lawz-)
Are they offensive?

if people take offence. Yes.
There is always someone ready to take offense, even over the most trivial, or inoffensive statement.
I remember one guy, on one forum spazzing out because a guy used the word "Nigella"
He didn't realise it was a genuine girls name, and thought it was a racist term.
Nigella = Female black (female ******)
He was threatening to kill half the people on the site over it, whilst they were pissing themselves with laughter.
Offense is in the eye of the beholder.
Some people seem to want to find it everywhere.
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Agent Smith
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(Original post by spacedonkey)
My best friend has a son with cerebral palsy, and has made it something of a personal crusade to stop the casual use of the word "spaz". She finds it extremely upsetting that the word is seen as acceptable - tantamount to saying it's okay to taunt her son about his disability really. Colin Firth uses the word in Love, Actually, and after complaining she got a hand-written, sincere and grovelling apology from Richard Curtis. The same goes for "mong" and "flid" - my feeling is that if using these words (even with absolutely no intent to hurt people with CP, or Downs or those with birth defects whose mothers took thalidomide during pregnancy) causes hurt and upset and perpetuates discriminatory attitudes, then it is wrong to use them in the public domain anyway.
Same way some gay people get upset when someone unthinkingly says, "I missed the bus. That's really gay". However, this is not always the case. Some gays don't care. Just as some black people don't mind the term "******", or even use it themselves.

By the way, mods, if there's any way to disable the filter for a particular thread, then, for the sake of understanding what the bloody hell people are talking about, it would seem sensible to turn it OFF for this one!
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Lawz-
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(Original post by EastMidlander)
There is always someone ready to take offense, even over the most trivial, or inoffensive statement.
I remember one guy, on one forum spazzing out because a guy used the word "Nigella"
He didn't realise it was a genuine girls name, and thought it was a racist term.
Nigella = Female black (female ******)
It was threatening to kill half the people on the site over it, whilst they were pissing themselves with laughter.
Offense is in the eye of the beholder.
Some people seem to want to find it everywhere.
Absolutely.

i suppose the country Niger passed him by too?
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spacedonkey
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(Original post by Agent Smith)
Same way some gay people get upset when someone unthinkingly says, "I missed the bus. That's really gay". However, this is not always the case. Some gays don't care. Just as some black people don't mind the term "******", or even use it themselves.

By the way, mods, if there's any way to disable the filter for a particular thread, then, for the sake of understanding what the bloody hell people are talking about, it would seem sensible to turn it OFF for this one!
I take your point. It is extremely upsetting for her because it's her 5 year old son who is affected, not herself. Do you think she is overreacting?
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