Sunday, June 10, 2007

Niggards With Attitude

nig·gard /ˈnɪgərd/
–noun 1. an excessively parsimonious, miserly, or stingy person.
–adjective 2. niggardly; miserly; stingy.

[Origin: 1325–75; ME nyggard, equiv. to nig niggard (<>
As part of the coverage of the use of the "N-word" on Big Brother, I've stumbled across a marvellous piece of Political Correctness.

It seems the word "niggardly" can get you into a ton of trouble, even though it has absolutely no racial meaning , detrimental or otherwise.

Now I have long ago decided that I will use other words for "happy" if "gay" is going to cause offence. I have plenty of ways of describing the colour brown without resorting to one beginning with N. I have no need for "faggots" while lighting a fire. I will gladly forego metaphors involving Woodpiles.

But I will not, never ever give up using a word just because the first four letters are offensive. Otherwise I'm going to have to give up Shittake mushrooms and playing Craps.

Surely we can agree that there are words and contexts that are offensive. The Big Brother incident was one of those. But the case is lessened when there is a witch-hunt mentality, where the innocent can be punished with the guilty.

I'm reminded of the paediatrician who had trouble with the same sort of people who only have the brain cells to take in the first four letters of a word. They inevitably thought she was a paedophile.

1 comment:

Flitcraft said...

On the subject of actual racism - this must rank as the world's worst excuse: I'm not racist, my dog is.

Oddly enough I ended up posting about the paediatrician recently too, after a bunch of loons put the wind up livejournal.

Then I ended up being accused of being a potential paedophile on another board, because I queried the American attitude to alcohol which led to a Mum who provided some wine and beer for her son's sixteenth birthday party being jailed for 27 months (despite her confiscating everyone's car keys and not one guest being over the driving limit when the cops busted the party).

In the future I suppose everyone will be accused of being a paedophile for fifteen minutes.