Words, words, words.
Words get people in trouble. Now, probably more than ever. Blame the internet, 24-hour news cycle, but the possibility for offense is limitless. Just this week, Jimmy Kimmel has pissed off Chinese people, Conan O'Brian pissed off Muslims and Richie Incognito pissed off sportswriters. For being a melting pot, it seems one characteristic Americans seem to all have in common these days is a raging hard-on for any possible slight, slur or new class of victims. We see imaginary Nazis all around us, except for when we're seeing the ghost future Bull Connors. So we analyze every utterance, put every apology under a microscope and pat ourselves on the back for doing due diligance to make sure we are weeding out every element that threatens to disrupt utopia. We are Haley Joel Osmant in a wide-eyed whisper, "I see racist people."
Which leads to the obvious problem...what if you are trying to offend?
Alec Baldwin is finding out. MSNBC has now suspended him for two weeks for saying "cocksucking faggot" to a paparazzi who was harrassing his wife.
Now, I'm not a big Alec Baldwin fan. But I got a lot of empathy for anyone dealing with paparazzi. Especially when they're targeting your family.
Alec Baldwin doesn't run the cocksucking faggot over with his car. Or take a shovel to the upside of the guy's head. So how else can he show displeasure with the guy's actions? How else can he communicate anger and disapproval swiftly, succinctly and in the heat of an emotional moment? He can throw a slur at the guy.
Apparently, the pap took offense. Um, well...wasn't that the point? There is a big difference between giving a commencement address, let's say, and advocating a pogrom against gay people and calling a guy who is physically and verbally harassing your wife a "cocksucking faggot" isn't there? If I fight a guy and call him a "fat piece of shit," does that mean I hate all fat people?
That's why God invented slurs. To give you a tool to offend a person you want to offend. It is, in fact, probably the best use of all slurs -- to use them, with full emphasis and intent -- to offend someone you don't like.
Or we can start banning words and censoring speech.
Or would that be too much like, you know, a Nazi?