The Bitch Slap: Against the PC Nation

bitch slap PCActually, it can kiss my ass.

Last night’s dinner with colleagues brought up a phrase: You really should suck less by now.

And ain’t that the truth?

When did we become a culture of namby-pamby everybody-gets-a-medal because you managed to put your pants on the right way that morning? Bullshit exhausts me and I know it exhausts a boat load of others out there. So today, it’s time to Bitch Slap the PC Nation. It’s my opinion that we’ve come to use language both as a crutch and a shield to protect us (and those to and of whom we speak).

Get Schooled

Not everyone’s kid is an honor student and not every child deserves a ribbon on relay day. Yeah, everyone is special, but my parents didn’t reward me for bringing home a report card – they rewarded me for getting As. The more As I got, the more game tokens I got at Chuck-e-Cheese and the more skeeball I played and the more useless crap I got to take home from the prize redemption place every six weeks. In a culture where teachers have become surrogate parents, why are they obligated to “keep it positive?” I got my ass hauled to the principal’s office and sent to detention when I acted like a little jerk. We also got paddled. We could do with more smacks on the ass and less ribbons.

The teachers in our public schools should have the liberty to tell a kid, “You’re screwing up, I’m not going to put up with it, and NO you can’t have that fucking cell phone in class.” Ten-year-olds aren’t adults and parents aren’t supposed to be a kid’s friend. They’re supposed to be parents. As an adult, my mother is one of the most rewarding friendships I’ve been blessed with – and while growing up, she was NEVER my friend. Stop coddling kids and tell them no. It’s your house and your goddamned rules. And teachers – I’ll stand by you and fight so that you can return to the task of being educators and ditch the nanny routines.

Mother of Pearl

Ah – the master of substitutions:

  • mother of pearl instead of motherfucker
  • crap instead of shit
  • darn instead of damn
  • obese instead of fat

You’re seriously missing the boat on the word that no one sees present in all of these phrases: intent. The intent behind the phrase is the same. Regardless of the words one uses to express their joy/anger/frustration/confusion/situation, it’s generally pretty easy to uncover the intent behind the words from square one. I’m not bashing people who prefer to keep words classified as vulgarities out of their vernacular or saying it’s okay for you to walk around throwing racial or sexual pejoratives like they’re beads at Mardi Gras. I’m saying to stop being so self-righteous and condemning others for choosing the more literal path and using words you wouldn’t personally.

Oh, My…

There’s also inherent value in using words with shock value. Yesterday, I was introduced to a piece in The New Statesman on Twitter. Authored by Laurie Penny, she puts forth a concise and well-founded argument in defense of the word “cunt.” Yes, the shocking See You Next Tuesday, the word many a soul wouldn’t dare utter. From the article (which you can read in its entirety here: In Defence of the “C” Word):

All sorts of people have a problem with ‘cunt’, even those who normally consider themselves progressive and enlightened: last week, for example, I was invited to speak at a public meeting where I happened to use the word in reference to a member of the audience…Horrified silence fell in this roomful of hardened activists, followed a few seconds later by nervously appreciative laughter. The incident later exploded on the internet, with some complaining that I had had no right to use such a provocative and shocking word at a meeting; that the word is too aggressive, too graphic. These, for context, are people who are currently cheerleading calls for a general strike and/or the overthrow of the government, but they still consider a young woman saying “cunt” in public a little too, too much.

Why is it wrong to call a cunt a cunt? The definition is “an unpleasant or stupid person” (Compact Oxford English Dictionary). I come across cunts every day. Maybe if obese people were referred to as fat and told by their doctors with no bullshit what being fat can lead to health-wise, if health insurance companies stopped depersonalizing the care process by referring to death as a “negative patient outcome,” and schools actually had the leeway to tell kids they’re being jackasses and apply punishment for “adverse behavior,” perhaps our world would be a different place. Not everyone is made to be an entrepreneur and fuck the jackwagons that preach that game. My nephew is autistic – that is a clear diagnosis. I do not want to hear some bullshit line about him having a learning or cognitive disability. I can wrap my head around autism. I can wrap my head around fat. And I can certainly wrap my head around the fact that Sarah Palin is a cunt (per definition).

Words have value and with all of the literary softening we’ve built into our collective day to day, it’s no wonder we’re a culture with few exceptional achievers and a sweeping blanket of acceptable mediocrity and deafening of issues that should be at the forefront. I think that perhaps George Carlin said it best during a piece he did on language: “I bet you, if we’d still been calling it shell shock (instead of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), some of those Vietnam veterans might have gotten the attention they needed at the time.”

Tell Me, Please

What is it we’re so worried about? Is it hurting people’s feelings? If that’s the case, I truly understand. But I’ve done some research and over 38 years, I’ve come to a conclusion that might assuage you a bit (if not allay some fears) when it comes to hurting other people’s feelings:

EVERYBODY GETS THEIR FUCKING FEELINGS HURT!

Yes, it’s true and nine out of ten therapists agree. I know – shocking. But if perhaps we were more concerned with having an honest conversation than with hurting someone’s feelings – the conversations we had during our days would be more meaningful. We all bitch about people who waste our time. Conversations shaped to save feelings are time-wasters…and dishonest. I want the friends who tell me, “Hey, Erika – that was fucked up.” I want the publicist who says, “Umm yeah. That wasn’t good. Here’s why.” I want the partner who isn’t afraid to say, “That thing you did yesterday really pissed me off.” I don’t want the sugar-coated version designed to save my feelings.

Sometimes we need to be jarred back into reality and words have an incredible way of doing that. And before the comments section explodes with those who say I’m advocating being an asshole and just being flat-out mean…you know that’s not what I’m saying.

So If We Speak…

We should do so honestly. PC terms do nothing to help us or our fellow humans improve. If anything, the sugar-coating does us more harm by making us feel as if everything is fine and it’s everyone else with the problem. I think it’s fine to call a cunt a cunt. If you prefer stupid head, sure – knock yourself out. The beauty of each of us is that no two of us think or speak exactly alike, but we can use our vocabularies in a similar fashion: to speak with intention. It’s why I hate buzzwords – they take up a lot of space without doing anything. They have no intention. They’re space-fillers.

In honor of Valentine’s Day coming down the pike, stop hiding behind words. Yeah, I know it’s a Hallmark holiday filled with greeting cards and silly phrases, but grab Cupid by his wings and kick him in the jimmy. Say what you mean.

Say I love you. Say “I fucking love the shit out of you.” You make the best damn panini in Texas. I’m a jackass and I don’t know how to say this but you’re awesome. I love your bean bag. Your goofy ears make me smile.

Say what you mean. That your kid royally screwed-up. Say that we feel our military veterans deserve attention for every ounce of memories they have to carry with them for defending our right to sit in our home offices and write blog posts about language and why we’re hiding behind a shield of words. Call it shell shock. Stop calling it genocide and start calling it a country that is systematically executing its citizens. Paint the picture, because you really should suck less by now. And we suck the most when we don’t say what we mean and learn from our mistakes.

What can you take out of your vocabulary today in favor of something that serves you (and the people in your life) better?

You’ve been slapped.

89 comments
The Redhead
The Redhead

Clam of steel? Sorry Dave. Looks like Summer speaks from experience.

Skycladsister
Skycladsister

Than you I was just talking about this with a few friends the other day. I had some one scoff at me for saying fuck or something stupid. People really need to just get over them selves and quit being dumb fucking cunts!!!

Mel
Mel

I'm so thankful (now) to my mom for homeschooling me. She scolded me if I didn't do my homework, then assigned double; smacked me on the butt when I talked back; made me show up every day I wasn't actually near my deathbed; and my papers looked like they had been massacred, they bled so much red ink. But she knew the school system wouldn't do it, so she did. Also, if I claimed to be sick, she stuck a thermometer in my mouth and stood over me every second so I couldn't fake it. [No matter how much I want to not be PC, I cannot cannot bring that sentence to its proper double entendre conclusion. ] Ahem. Anyways. I got to college and realized most people expected to be handed grades for showing up to 50% of their classes and turning in 10,000 words about nothing. Not to mention they didn't expect to work a job on top of it, and my mom had expected my to babysit, lawn mow, and get a (part time at least) job when I turned 16, cuz I sure as hell wasn't getting an allowance for making my bed and brushing my teeth! While it has made me so intolerant of entitled whiners that I'm in danger of grinding my teeth into nubs, it has also made me a better person.

IamDavid
IamDavid

lol I thought that was awesome too :)

Paula Lee Bright
Paula Lee Bright

Well, damn. And here I thought I was gonna read a piece touting Apple Computers over PCs. Hell and damnation. I musta been a cunt to think that. And about that: here was I thinking it was something sexual. Three strikes and I am OUT! ;)

John Lutter
John Lutter

I reserve certain words for my ex-wife ... the C word being one of them... It seems to be the only word that can accurately describe her. I like to think I'm fairly intelligent, and don't need to resort to words like that, but just like the word FUCK, sometimes its the only word that expresses what I need to say.

Leon Noone
Leon Noone

G'Day Erika, Two comments on the one post! What next? I feel like the bloke who went to confession and said "Bless me Father for I have sinned. I had sex with a woman five times. " The priest replied, "The Lord will forgive the most heinous sins, but on a practical level, does your wife know about this dalliance?" "Of course Father," said the bloke. " The woman in question was my wife." "My son, my son," said the priest. "That's perfectly alright. Having sex with your wife is a beautiful thing. The Lord will bless your union. As a matter of interest, why are you telling me?" "Because it was all in one night and I just had to tell someone." I just received a post from a HR practitioner in which he offered me a free eBook on the subject of, wait for it, "Inboarding." I've worked in and around HR for over 40 tears--sorry I mean years. "There is something new under the sun" I mused. I was wrong. Turns out that "inboarding" is the new, PC gold star stamp of approval word for what everyone else in the world calls "induction" of new employees. Tolerating the bullshit jargon that so called professions inflict on us is often like torture. But "Inboarding?" Sound like water torture for A-listers. I wonder; does this mean that the new HR wonderword for firing people is "Outboarding?" Like the man said, I just had to tell someone. I also love the word "heinous." Apart from the fact that it rhymes with "Coriolanus", it's the perfect word to describe PC words like "inboarding." Make sure we all have fun Leon

Sarah
Sarah

Erika, you may be mixing 2 things here: PC and in-your-face. Which goes back to intent, methinks: if your intent is to insult or get someone's attention, go for it. However, if you screw up a job I gave you, my intent will be to tell you what I really want, and I don't think insulting you would lead anywhere. (And I'm probably to blame too if we got our wires crossed anyway.) For the record: I have a dirty mouth in 3 languages and I'm blunt.

Disagreer
Disagreer

The Slap-Back Rest assured that IF I were to call you the c-word MY "intent" would, in fact, be to insult you, hurt your feelings, cause you to look bad to others, and piss you off. There are words that require knowledge of the individual to know their intent in using those words. PS I do, however, agree about not coddling people by neglecting to tell them when they're failing or doing something wrong.

GingerWench
GingerWench

Hi Erika :) I've been enjoying your writing for a few weeks now, and I'm really enjoying your writing style because it feels like it's just an extension of your personality. This PC topic is one that sickens me on a daily basis. 'Mouth like a sailor' is probably how most would describe me, although I don't think many are surprised by it after seeing me get off the back of hubby's Harley. One of the things I loved most about leaving corporate banking to start my own business was the liberating feeling of no longer having to dress in a different personality for work. Talk about uptight stuffed shirts... say 'fuck' in any gathering of bankers and see what happens. I tripped so badly once over my own tongue at a function that my wine-impaired speech turned 'fucking retard' (one being 'vulgar', the other being 'cruel') into 'fucktard'. My new favorite word was born lol. My point being... it's liberating, being honest. Not 'presenting' ourselves, but rather simply 'being' ourselves. It's also a LOT less stressful. Should have seen my daughter's principle the day I showed up for a conference with my "Yes, I smoke... so fuck off" shirt. Oops! I'm slowly allowing/forcing myself to drop the mamsy-pamsy stuffed shirt, pc speak on my blog and web site. Thanks for being an inspiration I can count on to help me towards that goal. You've reminded me why it's so important to simply be ourselves.

Dava Stewart
Dava Stewart

At every "real job" I ever had I was told that I am too critical, too blunt, too negative or (as a teacher) too intense. I don't do well in corporate situations because I cannot understand why people don't just say what they mean.

Jenny Jinx
Jenny Jinx

I wrote a whole post about how I absolutely disdain people who will use f*^K and bullsh&t and b^%$ch instead of actually spelling out the word that will undoubtedly melt someone's eyeballs. My thinking goes like this: You thought the word. You want to use the word. And everyone knows what the word fucking is. So stop censoring the word or find an total alternative. Honestly... And I'm still of the old school mind that my child doesn't "win" just because she's my child. That, I think, leads to a lot of entitlement. Everyone wants to make their child feel special and loved and wanted. That's awesome. But if your child fucks up then don't wrap a ribbon around that and pretend that's just a personality quirk. That child will eventually grow up and find out the hard way that, hey, they really aren't that special and most people don't think their fuck ups are quirky. And, really, if the little darlings are spending time in online communities prior to puberty (and after!) they're going to learn the hard truth anyway. It doesn't help them to coddle them. It helps them to love them and support them, but, dayum, it hurts them to pretend they didn't fuck up. As far as the other PC, there are words that I don't allow in my house. I don't care what the fuck you say on the sidewalk in front of my house, but there are some things that you can't say inside my house. That's because of their historical significance and my honest belief that there is no taking back the power from certain words. I also expect people to respect my rules, so if they don't like it they can skip their happy asses back to the sidewalk, right? Cunt is not a word I use. I know that I'm supposed to be offended by it and that if someone uses it when referring to me they are using the most demeaning term that they know. It doesn't elicit a visceral reaction from me, though, and I think it's kind of stupid. Of course, I have to know the etymology of a word to take offense-- and most times that doesn't even work. Not to mention that many Brits that I know use the word like it's their job, so it doesn't seem that offensive (much like their use of the word "fag". This is highly offensive here, but there it just means cigarette). Damn, woman, you've got me ranting myself here. Thanks. :)

Bothered Pocket
Bothered Pocket

Tidbit. Because Americans are scared of tit. Tits. Boobs. Breasts. Teats. Milkers. Mams. Jugs. Puppies. Those parts of every female mammal's body that nurture their young and give them life. Great, big, juicy, full, squeezable, fantastic ol' titties. Not tids.

BibliophileGirl
BibliophileGirl

Every day, I find something on here that makes me want to be a little more like you. This post - this is fucking brilliant. :)

Mari Kurisato
Mari Kurisato

I'm so pissed this wasn't a computer screed. Cursing is like salt at a meal. But at the same time, I fucking hate cock pockets and cuntpoles who use the "PC" label to defend acting like barking fuckbells. It's actually a different rant altogether, but shit me a salad you curse way too much.

8Deb8
8Deb8

I loved this post. Interestingly, I have been thinking a lot about this topic recently... only from a different angle. I swear like a sailor and have recently been working to drastically cut back. Not in favor of "nicer" words like "crap" and "darn." Rather, in favor of saying less but meaning more when I say something. Of being more precise with my words. Of not saying "fuck" unless I really, truly MEAN "Fuck." I'm all for calling things the way they really are, but when we overuse words and throw them into every other sentence (I'm specifically thinking of what some consider "vulgarities" here) they lose their power. We end up making a hyperbole of everything. And when the situation really is that bad/good/frustrating/exhilarating... we don't have the words because we've used them all up on trivialities.

Leon Noone
Leon Noone

G'Day Erika Absobloodylutely! One of the things that amuses me is all the blog writers who say "Freaking" when they mean "fucking." Years ago, my sister used to use the word "shivers" as an expression of anger or surprise. One day my eldest brother blurted out, "Bloody hell Paula; if you mean "shit" say "shit!" In the time when I used to do consulting work for big companies-not major multinational entities-the Personnel Director in one company had the first name "Cynthia." I once sent her a letter in an envelope addressed "Ms Cunthia...... I noticed my error after the letter had been posted. Cynthia phoned me and said "Our mail distribution people knew immediately who that latter was for. That's a great technique for getting me to open your letters." The story goes that Norman Mailer's publishers changed the word "fuck" to "frig" all through "The Naked and The Dead." On meeting Mailer I think it was Beatrice Lillie who said, "Mr Mailer, I've always wanted to met you. You're the man who can't spell "fuck." I left school so long ago that about all I can remember is that I didn't enjoy it much. That speaks volumes about it, I guess. Keep saying all the things we're not game to say Erika. Apart from anything else, you're the most entertaining blogger on the planet. Regards Leon

The Redhead
The Redhead

Oh, I'll keep on ranting, that's for sure! Thanks for stopping by today, Steve.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Meh - I still think Palin's a waste of tits.

D.T. Pennington
D.T. Pennington

Also, something else that shouldn't be discriminated against: The Cunt Punt. Why are guys the only one's being kneed in the groin?

The Redhead
The Redhead

Hat tip, m'dear. Always lovely to see your smilin' face here.

D.T. Pennington
D.T. Pennington

Your thoughts on "every kid is special" in school more or less inspired a post of my own (currently still whittling that one out). I find it ironic that we live in a democracy (sort of) where everyone (sort of) has the ability to say what they like. We also live in a capitalist economy where the strongest survive. Yet, No Child Left Behind has basically instilled all of our kids on a welfare-minded system of education. We are more or less developing the generation which Big Brother will take over. Why? Because we have this idea that we all have something to feel good about even though most of us don't know how to do anything. We will keep looking for the handouts, we will keep asking "Well, if he can have it, why can't I?" And we will keep looking for someone else to protect our feelings when we get picked last. I have a lot to say about this, need more space to do it in. In essence, I don't think the people who are interviewing me for jobs should get all bent out of shape when I put them in a headlock and give them a noogie.

Janine
Janine

Why is it you can call a prick a prick, but not call a cunt a cunt? I'm feeling discriminated against. I think.

Greg Davies/cGt2099
Greg Davies/cGt2099

Cunt is a wonderful word. More people should use it. It's almost a damn term of endearment in Australia!

JB
JB

PC is a weapon, nothing more or less. It's control at its foundation. Your take on the subject is invigorating. Oh, and for the record, is it PC to point out that the majority of voting age women agree me Palin? Oops

Mark Dickey
Mark Dickey

Breath of fresh fucking air...often wondered why I piss off so many people because I don't blow smoke up their fat asses, still don't get it and still don't give a shit. So enjoyed your insoghts, and agree, Palin is still a cunt. You've got a new friend, ya wierdo. fuckshit that was a good read!

John Falchetto
John Falchetto

This post will go in the RedHeat Guide to life, chapter One. We hide behind words. The worst words are not the sugar coated ones we tell others but the the bullshit we tell ourselves and eventually believe. I think that is the worst side-effect of PC, the shit people tell us, the garbage we tell ourselves and what we believe in the end. Thanks for sharing this Erika. P.s Don't see why the word cunt is an insult, unless people have a problem with female anatomy?

Jaymz
Jaymz

I am glad I am not the only one who tries to say what he means..... Jaymz

Killian
Killian

*cough* "like their beads at Mardi Gras..." = "they're" Sorry, Erika. I don't want to hurt your feelings, so while I would never circle this in red pen on your paper (and by the way, where I taught, we were forbidden to use RED ink to grade papers because of the negative connotations!), I want you to reach your fullest personal potential. That's why I need to gently and quietly, in a non-public venue, point out that you made a slight error in your grammatical proof reading. Now, remember, this doesn't make you a bad person, or even a bad writer. It just means that in your haste to do your best, you overlooked one teeny tiny little error. Now go have a lollipop from the jar on my desk, and go on out for recess.

Steve_thomas
Steve_thomas

Way to go, Erika!! I don't know if I speak for anyone other than myself (can't anyway, right?) but posts like this one are long, long overdue. You're right on the money with this post; the world would (probably) be a better place if more people, and I mean people in positions of power and influence, took this message to heart. You Go, Girl!! Keep on ranting. It'll do my (and your) heart good.

Sydney Owen
Sydney Owen

::standing ovation:: That's all I got. Also, it's quite liberating to not give a flying fuck about saying fuck and worrying about getting slapped on the wrist anymore. Who's going to slap my wrist? Myself? Awesome.

JosephRatliff
JosephRatliff

Well now, just say what you feel and everything :) Erika, that post conjured up the mental image of "Amen sista, can I get a witness-ah!"...I have no idea why. I remember when I was in school, my teachers (for the most part) had no problem at all calling a spade a spade. It's funny how that has changed in society over the years. Actually no, it isn't funny...it's complete bullshit. :)

MegCarpen
MegCarpen

I'm always shocked about the things people whine about. There are wars, starving homeless people, and yet we make it a priority to fuss if little Jimmy's teacher got upset with him. My favorite teacher tore us a new one my senior year. Not one of us complained, because we all knew we deserved it. We had screwed up royally, one of those mistakes that would have cost jobs in the working world, and he let us know, because he knew that the rest of the world wasn't going to pat us on the head and tell us "at least we tried". It's sad that due to parents there are fewer teachers out there that can call out their students bullshit. And yeah, there are certain words I don't like using. So I don't. But I'm not about to tell someone else that they can't use it. I completely understand that somedays you just have to walk out and scream "FUCK THE WORLD!" It happens. And, to me, saying "Gosh, the world is just ucky today," doesn't always cut it. For some people it does, and that's great, but if I said it, people would wonder who the hell I was. I can't stand entitlement, I'm over being politically correct, especially when it's not returned, and I'm over being "held back" or "only getting that" because I'm a woman. Everyday I become more aggravated that I have to pussy foot around people because I may offend someone. Anyone that truly knows me knows that I wouldn't harm a fly, but that I do need to be me. I think this actually works to disconnect us from each other, if we can't show our true selves, then how do we ever really know one another?

Venkat Rao
Venkat Rao

WOW! This is just brilliant stuff, and 100% correct. I have been bashed so many times for using "cunt". I ask why it's wrong to use that word, and the only explanation I get is that it's the most vulgar word in the English language. Nobody has any substantial evidence to prove that it's indeed taboo to use that word . Also, it's okay to call a guy dick or asshole, but calling a woman cunt is somehow terribly wrong.

Geek's Dream Girl
Geek's Dream Girl

Part of why I left teaching was the entitlement issues that abounded in the kids and their parents. "This is music class, I should get an A just cuz I showed up." "This is music class, I shouldn't have to learn things, I should just get to play my instrument and get an A." "This is music class, I should be able to skip it with no penalties to make up a test in a 'real' class." Everyone wanted an A regardless of what they did or didn't do.... and even if I could prove to a parent that a child hadn't handed in assignments or done practice logs or whatever, they still wanted their precious snowflake to get an A because "C'mon, it's MUSIC CLASS." I was insulted, demeaned, ridiculed. And despite having National Board Certification (aka, the highest honor a teacher can get), I was so miserable that I had to quit. And now, I use my other degree. I work as a copywriter and am having a blast. I make $20k more a year and work fewer hours to boot. Do I miss teaching? Yes. Do I miss the education system and those in it? Not one bit.

The Redhead
The Redhead

I think it's awesome that my system held your comment for moderation :) Steal away, my man...

Liz Estabrooks
Liz Estabrooks

Yes ma'am and thank you! I am so sick of all the bullshit and people not realizing the importance of the words they use. And Johnny gets a ribbon to spare his feelings because Suzy kicked his ass in soccer, it pisses me off. Suzy deserves the ribbon. Johnny deserves to understand that he lost. He fucking lost. Get over it Johnny. Here's some big boy pants - put them on. So, thank you for yet another wonderful take on the world and reality as it should be - not the reality people are trying to shove down our throats. And for the record: everyone should give saying "cunt" a shot. But don't whisper it - own it.

John Paul
John Paul

Very Very well said haha and you my friend are def NOT a cunt :) I have found that people rather you lie to them as long as that lie fits with what they feel or think. God forbid you are honest and str8 coming from a loving place, but if it's not what they are feeling or thinking, I am the bad guy? silly silly

Brian Clark
Brian Clark

"...grab Cupid by his wings and kick him in the jimmy." I'm stealing that.

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