Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

Archive for July, 2007


Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

Akismet, the antispam software plugin for this blog, has caught and deleted 65,868 spam messages since I installed it 5 months ago. That does not count the 100 or more that I deleted by hand.  I have approved for posting about a dozen messages over the same period.

My oppositioni to the death penalty is softening, though I still think it excessive for murderers.

The Warm and Fuzzy N-Word

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

An old and good friend, Sue Gold, Communications Manager at the Westtown School in Westtown, Pennsylvania, brought to my attention an article in the online Philadelphia Inquirer about a simulated burial of the word nigger staged by the students of the NAACP Philadelphia Youth Council last Saturday.

Americans like to take pills for their woes. It would be wonderful if there were a pill like the word nigger for American racism and all we had to do was to quit saying that word and racism would go away. I have already explained why that is not the case.

The N-word has, in fact, become a term of endearment among many younger African Americans, especially males. The new question is this: if the N-word is so horrible with such a terrible history, how can it become a term of endearment under any circumstances whatever?

It is an interesting sociological fact is that among men, profanity is often used in place of terms of endearment. A real man (who wouldn’t think of eating quiche), would never use such womanly terms of endearment as “you old dear”, “you sweetheart you”, and so forth; these terms are left to the swishy British upper class. If your neck is red and you have at least one deer rifle hanging across the rear window of your pickup truck, you greet your buddies with, “Well, how are you, you old SOB”, “you lucky b—–d”, or worse.

Now that these words have become acceptable among the younger generation and the new profanity is in place, we can predict that the new profanity will shortly provide the new terms of endearment for males who want to prove themselves men. Apparently, that changeover is already occurring.