Sunday, December 30, 2007

Respect

Is a word I would gladly see removed from the English language. Of course that would mean the elimination of disrespect as well.

The word has its uses, but it's so often misused as a rhetorical club that the bad outweighs the good, and we'd be better off without it. What I mean by "rhetorical club" is that people use the word to keep you from attacking silly people or silly ideas.

The silly ideas tend to be religious ones - specifically, the standard, accepted religious institutions. So you can advocate something real, such as evolution, or something made up, such as the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and idiots all over will have no problem attacking you for it. But if you dare to sneer even slightly at Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and so on, you'll be sternly upbraided and lectured about how important it is to respect the beliefs of others. Or they'll murder you. Which isn't very respectful on their part.

The silly ideas may also be ethnic folkways. If you jump up and down ten times at noon every day, moaning "Groo!" with each jump, you're an obsessive-compulsive weirdo and an eye should be kept on you. If I do it because it's a custom of my people and dates back a thousand years, you'd better not disrespect my culture by saying anything negative about my jumping.

The silly people tend to be George Dubya Bush, and occasionally other, equally revolting Republicans. During the Clinton presidency, Republicans felt free to spout the most outrageous, scurrilous, lying nonsense about Bill Clinton, but during the 2000 election, when someone (I think it was Bill Clinton, in fact) dared to question Dubya, Republicans screamed in falsetto and sought their fainting couches, while protesting that the questioner was being disrespectful.

7 comments:

Chris said...

Fainting couches! Ha!

And good Groo to you, sir. Good Groo to you.

David said...

I wonder where one would buy a fainting couch nowadays.

Perhaps in a furniture shop near one of the expensive watering holes where herds of rich Republicans are found.

~grace~ said...

Respect the Flying Spaghetti Monster and it will respect you.

and wait, are you saying I should stop doing the jumping "Groo!" thing? maybe that's why everyone over here thinks I'm strange...

oooo! sock it to me sock it to me sock it to me

Travis Erwin said...

Respect hasn't been a respectful word since Aretha sang about it.

David said...

grace, you might find that the people over will also think you're strange if you keep doing the groo thing after you come home. OTOH, sock it to me comes from the old Laugh In, and that's a hallowed sacrament.

travis, I was thinking of writing the subject of that post R-E-S-P-E-C-T, but I thought that would be distracting.

Daniel Dvorkin said...

Well, I disagree with your opinion on the usefulness of the word, but you know, I can respect it.

David said...

:)