Obscenity democracy

Discuss anything interesting but not remotely Countdown-related here.

Moderator: Jon O'Neill

How do you feel about swearing on the forum?

Poll ended at Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:15 pm

It should be actively encouraged.
8
11%
It should be up to individuals to decide how to express themselves.
55
74%
It should be removed by an automatic filter.
4
5%
It should be actively discouraged by warning or banning those responsible.
7
9%
 
Total votes: 74

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Charlie Reams » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:51 pm

Michael Wallace wrote:Wow, 53 votes? Clearly the GOTW vote needs more prominence.
I might make it a global announcement in future.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:09 pm

An interesting topic.... Tom Lehrer performed a song called, "Smut", celebrating obscenity, and one line is, "Filth (I'm glad to say) is in the mind of the beholder." Drifting across the Atlantic again, Lenny Bruce was somewhat outspoken in his stage shows, as shown in some of the recordings. He starts one hilarious piece by explaining the police are taking notes at the back, then saying that he (LB) had been arrested and brought to trial for using the word "we'd better say blah-blah". He then has fun with saying blah blah instead of the word - it is hilarious, and the police are getting annoyed as well. In the actual case, he used the word "cocksucker" once and fifth columnists representing religious maniacs reported him, hence the trial. To the trial - (paraphrase)
Judge - Why is this man before me?
Prosecutor - He said "cocksucker" your honour!
Judge - He said "cocksucker"?
Prosecutor - yes, he said "cocksucker"

This continued for some time, and the prosecutor made the mistake of calling it a homosexual act, so the defence objected...... LB was sitting there thinking that he had used the word once and now all these fancy lawyers had said it 50 times.

It is up to each individual and his/her beliefs and/or prejudices what is offensive. Jo Brand recently did a joke on TV about Margaret Thatcher's vagina, and she regularly uses strong language in her shows, and she jokes about the time she was arrested for driving whilst drunk. Yet, she was apparently mortally offended, when Carol Thatcher said a French tennis player looked like a golliwog. (For those who can't remember them, golliwogs were children's toys like Teddy bears or rag dolls - a cartoon, rather than a photograph.)

There are times when it is necessary to get people's attention by doing something unusual. The shock factor of various words can do that, and it is not easy to produce a hard and fast rule for everything.

Any time you try to censor things, you can end up looking stupid. There was a film about 60 years ago called "Fanny by Gaslight" (about a girl called Fanny). The title was changed in USA to "Gaslight", where "fanny" means "bottom". In UK, where it means "lady's front bottom" (to help any visiting Americans), they kept the original title, although I suspect if you bought a DVD of it now the title would have changed.

The question is really unanswerable as everybody will have his/her own boundaries. But it also depends on the audience - some Welsh people will ignore sheep jokes, others get really annoyed. So on a forum, it is difficult.... If you inform a newcomer to the forum that he/she is a stupid cunt, you will probably cause offence (though obviously some people ask for it), but old sparring partners will know it is not a serious insult. There are plenty of insulting words without using recognised swear words..... but they are fun of course.

Kevin

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Charlie Reams » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:58 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote: It is up to each individual and his/her beliefs and/or prejudices what is offensive. Jo Brand recently did a joke on TV about Margaret Thatcher's vagina, and she regularly uses strong language in her shows, and she jokes about the time she was arrested for driving whilst drunk. Yet, she was apparently mortally offended, when Carol Thatcher said a French tennis player looked like a golliwog. (For those who can't remember them, golliwogs were children's toys like Teddy bears or rag dolls - a cartoon, rather than a photograph.)
Well, that makes sense to me. Racism hurts people. Cunts don't hurt anyone.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Hannah O » Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:28 pm

Well, I don't tend to swear much in my everyday life, so I don't swear on t'internet. I personally have no real opinion on swearwords, apart from the general feeling that people could be slightly more careful if children are using the forum.

What's with the "We should actively encourage swearing" option in the poll? :P

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Jimmy Gough » Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:29 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:Well, that makes sense to me. Racism hurts people. Cunts don't hurt anyone.
hmm

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Charlie Reams » Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:33 pm

Hannah O wrote:I personally have no real opinion on swearwords, apart from the general feeling that people could be slightly more careful if children are using the forum.
Do people not even read my posts any more?
Jimmy Gough wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:Well, that makes sense to me. Racism hurts people. Cunts don't hurt anyone.
hmm
I never got round to seeing that film but I remember thinking that "Every rose has its thorns" is probably the best tag line since Alien vs Predator.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:21 pm

Can we take it that the four people in favour of a filter are not professional programmers? Perhaps there are some that work, but they generally seem to make themselves and the associated a forum a laughing-stock. The American Consbreastution may never be the same.

I think the forum should encourage swearing so that people will go home and be gentle with their children and dogs.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Charlie Reams » Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:23 pm

Rosemary Roberts wrote:Can we take it that the four people in favour of a filter are not professional programmers? Perhaps there are some that work, but they generally seem to make themselves and the associated a forum a laughing-stock. The American Consbreastution may never be the same.

I think the forum should encourage swearing so that people will go home and be gentle with their children and dogs.
Haha, great post. I wonder whether any of the people that voted for the bottom two options are under the age of, say, 40.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Julie T » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:39 pm

Rosemary Roberts wrote:Can we take it that the four people in favour of a filter are not professional programmers? Perhaps there are some that work, but they generally seem to make themselves and the associated a forum a laughing-stock.
I remember having to reword some sentences on a parenting forum, as, for instance, saying 'that'S HIT the nail on the head', the swear filter would assume I was trying to say 'shit' in the middle of it. Ludicrous.
It was perfectly OK with 'arsehole' BTW, so it rather depends which words you programme into it too.
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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Ian Volante » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:23 am

Julie T wrote:
Rosemary Roberts wrote:Can we take it that the four people in favour of a filter are not professional programmers? Perhaps there are some that work, but they generally seem to make themselves and the associated a forum a laughing-stock.
I remember having to reword some sentences on a parenting forum, as, for instance, saying 'that'S HIT the nail on the head', the swear filter would assume I was trying to say 'shit' in the middle of it. Ludicrous.
It was perfectly OK with 'arsehole' BTW, so it rather depends which words you programme into it too.
I used to take part in an online quiz in a chat room, and on more than one occasion, the correct answer was Dick van Dyke. Oh how we laughed when the filter stopped any of us winning the $5 for the correct answer.
meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Peter Mabey » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:28 am

Rosemary Roberts wrote:Can we take it that the four people in favour of a filter are not professional programmers? Perhaps there are some that work, but they generally seem to make themselves and the associated a forum a laughing-stock.
People living in Scunthorpe and Penistone have problems, too. :lol:

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Howard Somerset » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:16 pm

Ian Volante wrote:I think it may have been on QI, but I heard that there used to be a street in London called Gropecunte Lane. You can guess who you'd find down there. Shame it got changed really, but sensibilities do evolve.
Not only in London. It seems that many cities had a street with that name, popular in what is now often known as the red light area. The London street was renamed Threadneedle Street and is home to the Bank of England, often referred to as The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street. What a shame the road name was changed; the earlier name would've given a much more interesting alternative title for the Bank of England.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:23 pm

Peter Mabey wrote:
Rosemary Roberts wrote:Can we take it that the four people in favour of a filter are not professional programmers? Perhaps there are some that work, but they generally seem to make themselves and the associated a forum a laughing-stock.
People living in Scunthorpe and Penistone have problems, too. :lol:
And anyone wearing a wrist watch.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Martin Gardner » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:25 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Peter Mabey wrote:
Rosemary Roberts wrote:Can we take it that the four people in favour of a filter are not professional programmers? Perhaps there are some that work, but they generally seem to make themselves and the associated a forum a laughing-stock.
People living in Scunthorpe and Penistone have problems, too. :lol:
And anyone wearing a wrist watch.
I only just got this one lol.
If you cut a gandiseeg in half, do you get two gandiseegs or two halves of a gandiseeg?

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Howard Somerset » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:31 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:I wonder whether any of the people that voted for the bottom two options are under the age of, say, 40.
I can assure you that at least one person over the age of 40, even if you count in hexadecimal, did not vote for one of the bottom two options.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:43 pm

Howard Somerset wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:I wonder whether any of the people that voted for the bottom two options are under the age of, say, 40.
I can assure you that at least one person over the age of 40, even if you count in hexadecimal, did not vote for one of the bottom two options.
A friend of mine was walking round with a badge saying "Happy 0x17th Birthday" yesterday, which was (to get back on topic) pretty fucking geeky.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Matt Morrison » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:47 pm

Martin Gardner wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:And anyone wearing a wrist watch.
I only just got this one lol.
I don't think two minutes is too bad a turnaround :)

According to the Scunthorpe problem, socialism and specialist also get blocked because they contain Cialis. Brilliant.
Plenty of other examples on there too, my favourite being forcing people to talk about the legendary director Alfred Hitchwilly.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Stuart Arnot » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:12 pm

I don't see the problem with cunt, anyway. Etymologically, 'vagina' is more offensive to women; it means 'sheath'.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:16 pm

Stuart Arnot wrote:Etymologically, 'vagina' is more offensive to women; it means 'sheath'.
How is that offensive?

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Ben Wilson » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:25 pm

No joking here- it took my Swedish friend Anja several attempts and headaches to register a hotmail account because her surname contained the word 'hell' in it.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Stuart Arnot » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:48 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Stuart Arnot wrote:Etymologically, 'vagina' is more offensive to women; it means 'sheath'.
How is that offensive?
It suggests that the purpose of a woman's vagina is to sheath a penis. In fact, it has many uses.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Paul Hammond » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:56 pm

I don't think etymology is particularly relevant to how offensive a word is. "Nigger" just means "black" etymologically, after all.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Stuart Arnot » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:06 pm

Paul Hammond wrote:I don't think etymology is particularly relevant to how offensive a word is. "Nigger" just means "black" etymologically, after all.
An example of an offensive word having an inoffensive etymology doesn't prove that a word cannot be offensive because of it's etymology.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:28 pm

Stuart Arnot wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:
Stuart Arnot wrote:Etymologically, 'vagina' is more offensive to women; it means 'sheath'.
How is that offensive?
It suggests that the purpose of a woman's vagina is to sheath a penis. In fact, it has many uses.
So you're offended by the fact that it's not an exhaustive list of all the purposes of a vagina? This seems like a recipe for being offended by... pretty much everything.
Stuart Arnot wrote:
Paul Hammond wrote:I don't think etymology is particularly relevant to how offensive a word is. "Nigger" just means "black" etymologically, after all.
An example of an offensive word having an inoffensive etymology doesn't prove that a word cannot be offensive because of it's etymology.
No, but it does show that etymology and current meaning are not necessarily confluent.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Howard Somerset » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:32 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Howard Somerset wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:I wonder whether any of the people that voted for the bottom two options are under the age of, say, 40.
I can assure you that at least one person over the age of 40, even if you count in hexadecimal, did not vote for one of the bottom two options.
A friend of mine was walking round with a badge saying "Happy 0x17th Birthday" yesterday, which was (to get back on topic) pretty fucking geeky.
When I was in my 50s, I always used to give my age in hexadecimal - sounded so much better. But I had to stop when I reached 58. I forgot to restart when I reached 64, but may well do so now that I've remembered.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:34 pm

"Well, that makes sense to me. Racism hurts people. Cunts don't hurt anyone."

Saying someone looks like a gollywog isn't racist, is it? You are saying someone looks like a cuddly toy!

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:43 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:"Well, that makes sense to me. Racism hurts people. Cunts don't hurt anyone."

Saying someone looks like a gollywog isn't racist, is it? You are saying someone looks like a cuddly toy!
A racist cuddly toy...

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:47 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:Saying someone looks like a gollywog isn't racist, is it? You are saying someone looks like a cuddly toy!
I agree with Kevin. It might be insulting, but no more so than being likened to a Kewpie doll or a Barbie. And men-of-a-certain-age positively relish being described as Teddy Bears. The people applying the stereotypes are the ones who interpret such statements as racist.

Charlie: you are far too young to remember the toys. They were not designed as a racial stereotype, they were designed to be very easy to make. I have made dozens in all conceivable colours and fabrics: just a comfortable shape to cuddle with woolly hair. For a toy that gets traipsed around, dribbled on and slept with the black ones have the advantage of not showing the dirt.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:53 pm

Rosemary Roberts wrote:
Kevin Thurlow wrote:Saying someone looks like a gollywog isn't racist, is it? You are saying someone looks like a cuddly toy!
I agree with Kevin. It might be insulting, but no more so than being likened to a Kewpie doll or a Barbie. And men-of-a-certain-age positively relish being described as Teddy Bears. The people applying the stereotypes are the ones who interpret such statements as racist.
Barbie is a male stereotype of women. Golliwogs are a white stereotype of black people. For whatever reason women seem happy with Barbie, but black people are definitely not happy with golliwogs, so we should respect that. I mean, be serious for a second: saying someone looks like a golliwog is just plain stupid, and it's crying out to be called racist, even if it's meant in an entirely not-racist sort of way (which, knowing Carol Thatcher, it probably wasn't.)

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:59 pm

Stuart Arnot wrote:It suggests that the purpose of a woman's vagina is to sheath a penis. In fact, it has many uses.
Name three!

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:11 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:black people are definitely not happy with golliwogs
Seriously, I have never seen any evidence that black people are bothered by the existence of golliwogs. The race relations industry and the equality industry (both of which have noble roots but are now almost exclsuively engaged in empire-building) are the only ones who complain. I don't know of any individuals who give a shit one way or the other.

People who want to insult individuals have plenty of scope. People who want to insult groups have to start by categorising them. Any epithets they use merely describe their idea of the group, not the actual group and certainly not the individuals in it. The epithets chosen are always liable to backfire and mark the user as a brainless racist prick. It is counterproductive to allow yourself to feel insulted by such people.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:14 pm

"A racist cuddly toy..."

It seems to be the perception now... I think the original comment was no worse than saying Boris Johnson looks like a Teddy bear, or some vacuous starlet looks like a Barbie doll. Of course, Barbie has a black friend (Francie), so I guess if you were talking about a black vacuous starlet, you couldn't say she looked like Francie...

(I must add that a friend of mine is a leading Barbie expert - I'm not usually expert in these matters.)

Goldfinches and chaffinches like "Niger" seed, but if you visit your local pet food supplier, they frequently label it "Nyjer" to persuade you to pronounce it with a long "i" and without a hard "g".

These examples seem really trivial.

I hate racism, but I had to laugh when an Asian ticket collector at the local railway station grabbed a West Indian guy, and said, "Show me your ticket, you black bastard." I hope suitable disciplinary action was taken and appropriate ethicity awareness courses provided.

Kevin

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:36 pm

"Barbie is a male stereotype of women."

Er no, Barbie was designed by Ruth Handler 50 years ago. Barbie is not just a model, she has been doctor, teacher, soldier etc. It could be argued she empowers women...

Kevin

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Stuart Arnot » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:44 pm

Charlie Reams wrote: So you're offended by the fact that it's not an exhaustive list of all the purposes of a vagina? This seems like a recipe for being offended by... pretty much everything.
No, and I'm not offended by the word vagina. I was trying to put the offensiveness of the word 'cunt' into some context, by making a point about the patriarchal construction of our language, and in particular the word 'vagina', the meaning of which refers to a male understanding of it.

Charlie Reams wrote:
Stuart Arnot wrote:
Paul Hammond wrote:I don't think etymology is particularly relevant to how offensive a word is. "Nigger" just means "black" etymologically, after all.
An example of an offensive word having an inoffensive etymology doesn't prove that a word cannot be offensive because of it's etymology.
No, but it does show that etymology and current meaning are not necessarily confluent.
I'll quote Bakhtin, if I may...

"...there can be neither a first nor a last meaning; [anything that can be understood] always exists among other meanings as a link in the chain of meaning"

;)

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:44 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:an Asian ticket collector ... said ... "you black bastard."
That's kinda interesting. People within a group often exchange insults that they would object to from an outsider. So either the Asian considered himself and the West Indian to be equally black, or - conceivably - they were acquaintances or even friends. But this is not specifically a racist thing: I would strongly object to a stranger calling me "Grandma", however kindly meant.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by George Jenkins » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:53 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:"A racist cuddly toy..."

It seems to be the perception now... I think the original comment was no worse than saying Boris Johnson looks like a Teddy bear, or some vacuous starlet looks like a Barbie doll. Of course, Barbie has a black friend (Francie), so I guess if you were talking about a black vacuous starlet, you couldn't say she looked like Frankie...

(I must add that a friend of mine is a leading Barbie expert - I'm not usually expert in these matters.)

Goldfinches and chaffinches like "Niger" seed, but if you visit your local pet food supplier, they frequently label it "Nyjer" to persuade you to pronounce it with a long "i" and without a hard "g".

These examples seem really trivial.

I hate racism, but I had to laugh when an Asian ticket collector at the local railway station grabbed a West Indian guy, and said, "Show me your ticket, you black bastard." I hope suitable disciplinary action was taken and appropriate ethnicity awareness courses provided.

Kevin
My daughter attended a staff meeting, and the subject was racism. After a long discussion about the evils of racism, they were asked "any questions?". My daughter asked, " What about the racism practiced by the blacks against the whites?. She told me that the only answer she got was dead silence.
And what about the Asian shunters in a certain shunting yard, when they referred to us as honkies. I asked one of them what they meant by that name, and he answered "pigs"

Actually; I didn't mind being compared to a pig. Pigs are far more intelligent than the hunters we worked with, and in any case, the shunters hated each other because of the different religions they belonged to. E.G. Sihks, Hindu etc.
Slightly off Topic. Did you know that when a tax was imposed on the ownership of hunting dogs, the Gentry trained pigs to retrieve the game. they were surprised to find that the pigs were more intelligent than the dogs. So I am quite proud to be compared to a pig.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Stuart Arnot » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:57 pm

Rosemary Roberts wrote: Seriously, I have never seen any evidence that black people are bothered by the existence of golliwogs.
If you want some evidence, try calling a black person a 'wog'.

Or watch that Spike Lee film 'Bamboozled', which shifts blackface into a contemporary context. He doesn't seem too keen on the whole shebang.

I remember Mr Whiteley once calling on the powers that be to bring back The Black and White Minstrel Show. Carol looked as shocked as I was. I'm amazed that it wasn't edited out.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:18 pm

Stuart Arnot wrote:
Rosemary Roberts wrote: Seriously, I have never seen any evidence that black people are bothered by the existence of golliwogs.
If you want some evidence, try calling a black person a 'wog'.
In a way, that's my entire point: "wog" is well-known to be an insult and could not be uttered any other way. A "golliwog" is a toy with a particular style of hair. It is a conclusion of the witness to assume that when I speak of the one I am thinking of the other.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Stuart Arnot » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:31 pm

Rosemary Roberts wrote:
Stuart Arnot wrote:
Rosemary Roberts wrote: Seriously, I have never seen any evidence that black people are bothered by the existence of golliwogs.
If you want some evidence, try calling a black person a 'wog'.
In a way, that's my entire point: "wog" is well-known to be an insult and could not be uttered any other way. A "golliwog" is a toy with a particular style of hair. It is a conclusion of the witness to assume that when I speak of the one I am thinking of the other.
They are fairly heavily connected. And in any case, a golliwog is a representation of a person in blackface, which is offensive in itself.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:51 pm

Stuart Arnot wrote:And in any case, a golliwog is a representation of a person in blackface, which is offensive in itself.
I don't accept that either. Is a pantomime dame inherently offensive to women?

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Michael Wallace » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:56 pm

The world would be a much better place if people never took offence to anything. That's the approach I take, at least.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Matt Morrison » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:26 pm

Michael Wallace wrote:The world would be a much better place if people never took offence to anything. That's the approach I take, at least.
Your passive attitude offends me.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Jimmy Gough » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:32 pm

Rosemary Roberts wrote:
Stuart Arnot wrote:And in any case, a golliwog is a representation of a person in blackface, which is offensive in itself.
I don't accept that either. Is a pantomime dame inherently offensive to women?
Seriously, wtf? Are you trying to tell the black community what they can and can't find offensive? Just accept that many people find the term offensive and stop trying to use gender discrimination to back up whatever point you're trying to make. :evil:

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Jon O'Neill » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:34 pm

Jimmy Gough wrote:
Rosemary Roberts wrote:
Stuart Arnot wrote:And in any case, a golliwog is a representation of a person in blackface, which is offensive in itself.
I don't accept that either. Is a pantomime dame inherently offensive to women?
Seriously, wtf? Are you trying to tell the black community what they can and can't find offensive? Just accept that many people find the term offensive and stop trying to use gender discrimination to back up whatever point you're trying to make. :evil:
It's much more silly to be offended on somebody else's behalf. You need to justify this "offensive in itself" statement before you get anywhere.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Stuart Arnot » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:02 pm

Rosemary Roberts wrote:
Stuart Arnot wrote:And in any case, a golliwog is a representation of a person in blackface, which is offensive in itself.
I don't accept that either. Is a pantomime dame inherently offensive to women?
Blackface was a form of entertainment devised by white people to amuse white audiences with stereotypes of black people.

A pantomime dame is a man in a dress. The lead male in a pantomime is often played by a woman. This type of thing amuses young children.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Stuart Arnot » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:04 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote: It's much more silly to be offended on somebody else's behalf.
One does not have to be the victim to find abuse offensive.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Stuart Arnot » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:06 pm

Matt Morrison wrote:
Michael Wallace wrote:The world would be a much better place if people never took offence to anything. That's the approach I take, at least.
Your passive attitude offends me.
Too right. Thats the sort of attitude that let the Nazis in.

;)

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Jon O'Neill » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:15 pm

Stuart Arnot wrote:
Jon O'Neill wrote: It's much more silly to be offended on somebody else's behalf.
One does not have to be the victim to find abuse offensive.
I agree.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Michael Wallace » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:08 pm

Matt Morrison wrote:
Michael Wallace wrote:The world would be a much better place if people never took offence to anything. That's the approach I take, at least.
Your passive attitude offends me.
Your mum offends me.

Or something.

One day someone will actually manage to offend me, and I will lol.

(People should feel free to take that as a challenge, by the way.)

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:34 pm

It's quite interesting that a lot of people have been programmed to think that "racial" prejudice is far worse than any other type (I'm not talking about anyone on here, just generally). It's "fine" to mock someone for the colour of their hair, their height, various other things, but not the colour of their skin. Also, a lot of white people have facial features that are a bit like that of a monkey and get the nickname "Monkey Boy", but say that to a black person...

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:43 pm

Michael Wallace wrote:One day someone will actually manage to offend me, and I will lol.

(People should feel free to take that as a challenge, by the way.)
I would but you're not worth the effort quite frankly.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Stuart Arnot » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:06 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:It's quite interesting that a lot of people have been programmed to think that "racial" prejudice is far worse than any other type (I'm not talking about anyone on here, just generally). It's "fine" to mock someone for the colour of their hair, their height, various other things, but not the colour of their skin. Also, a lot of white people have facial features that are a bit like that of a monkey and get the nickname "Monkey Boy", but say that to a black person...
I hope you're feigning naivety here.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:44 pm

Jimmy Gough wrote:
Rosemary Roberts wrote:
Stuart Arnot wrote:And in any case, a golliwog is a representation of a person in blackface, which is offensive in itself.
I don't accept that either. Is a pantomime dame inherently offensive to women?
Seriously, wtf? Are you trying to tell the black community what they can and can't find offensive? Just accept that many people find the term offensive and stop trying to use gender discrimination to back up whatever point you're trying to make. :evil:
WTF indeed. I might accept your argument from a black person who was willing to explain the problem to me, but not from a self-appointed spokesman for the underdog. All the black people I know and most of those I have read or heard speak have more sense that to take offence at stupidity. Racist (and sexist) comments show up only those who make them.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:49 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:It's quite interesting that a lot of people have been programmed to think that "racial" prejudice is far worse than any other type (I'm not talking about anyone on here, just generally). It's "fine" to mock someone for the colour of their hair, their height, various other things, but not the colour of their skin. Also, a lot of white people have facial features that are a bit like that of a monkey and get the nickname "Monkey Boy", but say that to a black person...
History matters. Who knew?

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:01 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:History matters. Who knew?
Yes, history matters, but it can't go on mattering for ever or you end up with Northern Ireland and Palestine.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:03 pm

Stuart Arnot wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:It's quite interesting that a lot of people have been programmed to think that "racial" prejudice is far worse than any other type (I'm not talking about anyone on here, just generally). It's "fine" to mock someone for the colour of their hair, their height, various other things, but not the colour of their skin. Also, a lot of white people have facial features that are a bit like that of a monkey and get the nickname "Monkey Boy", but say that to a black person...
I hope you're feigning naivety here.
Nope. Anyway, I didn't say anything about whether it was right or wrong.
Charlie Reams wrote:History matters. Who knew?
Yes, history does make a difference to how people feel but equally I think people should look at the context in which something is being said.

One thing I certainly disagree with is that there is a specific crime for "inciting racial hatred" as if it is OK to incite hatred in general and only bad when there is a racial element.

And maybe I'm showing my thickness but what does "Who knew?" mean?

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:40 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote: One thing I certainly disagree with is that there is a specific crime for "inciting racial hatred" as if it is OK to incite hatred in general and only bad when there is a racial element.
Yep. It's almost like laws are made to win votes and keep stupid people happy rather than because they actually make any sense.
And maybe I'm showing my thickness but what does "Who knew?" mean?
It's a very American way of saying something is obvious.

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Chris Corby » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:31 am

George Jenkins wrote: My daughter attended a staff meeting, and the subject was racism. After a long discussion about the evils of racism, they were asked "any questions?". My daughter asked, " What about the racism practiced by the blacks against the whites?. She told me that the only answer she got was dead silence.
I have also been puzzled by this. Can anyone think of a name or phrase that could be directed at white people that would insult or outrage the race so much that legal action may be contemplated?

Prince Harry recently made a private video whereby he referred to his Pakistani comrade as a "Paki" and it caused a right old stink? Why? Who decreed that shortening one's nationality to the first four letters was offensive? If so, why am I not offended when I am referred to as a 'Brit'?

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Stuart Arnot » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:59 am

George Jenkins wrote: My daughter attended a staff meeting, and the subject was racism. After a long discussion about the evils of racism, they were asked "any questions?". My daughter asked, " What about the racism practiced by the blacks against the whites?. She told me that the only answer she got was dead silence.
The silence came from the shock of hearing someone refer to 'the blacks' and 'the whites'. Otherwise, they'd have been quick to point out the comparative scale of the problems, and the history of imperialism and slavery that makes any perceived racism against whites if not justifiable, the certainly understandable. Being that we still live in an institutionally racist society (check the recent revelations about the metropolitan police force) and most non-whites that I've known have been victims of verbal abuse on the streets on a weekly if not daily basis, any racist act perpetrated against white people really is a drop in the ocean. And I'm sure the Daily Mail would pay them handsomely to print their story.
Chris Corby wrote: I have also been puzzled by this. Can anyone think of a name or phrase that could be directed at white people that would insult or outrage the race so much that legal action may be contemplated?
No. Because of the comparative societal and historical position of white people.
Chris Corby wrote: Prince Harry recently made a private video whereby he referred to his Pakistani comrade as a "Paki" and it caused a right old stink? Why? Who decreed that shortening one's nationality to the first four letters was offensive? If so, why am I not offended when I am referred to as a 'Brit'?
...because 'paki' is used as a derogatory term, not just for people of Pakistani origin, but for any non-white in this country. One can hear it regularly in playgrounds, football stadia, shopping centres and on public transport the length and breadth of this sceptred isle

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Re: Obscenity democracy

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:19 pm

Chris Corby wrote:I have also been puzzled by this. Can anyone think of a name or phrase that could be directed at white people that would insult or outrage the race so much that legal action may be contemplated?
I'm not sure about legal action ensuing, but how about "Frog" and "Wop"? Both are used against white people and both are clearly derogatory and intended to be so (I consider this last to be of the essence: thoughtless language ought not to be a hanging offence). Perhaps the difference is that the insultees are not usually present.

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