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Words and Context

February 2010

The first thing is that I started to eliminate the word “retarded” from my vocabulary a while ago. What happens, when you take any word out of your average everyday roster of words, is that you notice how much you use that word in the first place, and how involuntary it often is: you stop thinking about it for a second, and it just pops out, or you start reaching for a better word, and then notice that you are reaching. This happened when I stopped using “bitch,” “cunt,” “pussy,” all of it; you’re talking, and then there’s a hole in your speech where there wasn’t before, a new set of ellipses. She’s such a… I settled on “dick,” a while ago, because that’s funny. And now I’m back to using “bitch,” but never for other ladies and only in reference to myself, mostly with an absurd suffix because I want to make it a lighthearted and non-venomous word, which I can do because I am a lady and I own it. “Retarded” I don’t own, so it’s just gone. I had to come to terms with the fact that this bit of language was tied to ideas I didn’t want to support, and get rid of it.

Inappropriate Language: Some Notes on Words and Context

Exactly this.

Fraser commented:

I started to eliminate the word “retarded” from my vocabulary a while ago.

Funny, I've been doing this lately. Ditto for "gay" as a pejorative.