Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An exposition on a pejorative, and why what I learned doesn't matter

Earlier today I had a long and drawn out Twitter conversation with someone whose opinion, though I disagree with him a lot, I generally respect.  The crux of the conversation was whether the current trend among liberal columnists, politicians, and basically everyone else of using the term "teabaggers" to describe conservatives, or people who have taken part in tea parties, or both, or whatever, is a pejorative.  If one looks at the definition of "pejorative", one sees the following, courtesy

1. having a disparaging, derogatory, or belittling effect or force: the pejorative affix -ling in princeling.

By that definition, it can easily be seen that the way that "teabaggers" is used most often is a pejorative.  Some people--and for some reason a lot of them seem to be employed by the same network--are in love with the term.

Anyway, my online friend (we live in the same city, but we've never met) said that if the term originated with the tea partiers themselves, then it isn't a pejorative.  I challenged that point, and he pointed me to a Wikipedia article proving that there were protesters who fully knew the double meaning of "teabagging" and used it on their signs and webpages. 

Until today, I was unaware of anyone on what would be considered "my side" using that term that way.  I thought about it for a while (after I had to call off our debate for the day job), and I have come to the following conclusions:

  1. It is not acceptable to me, as a father of young children, to be around a movement where it is necessary to use stupid double entendres to make a point.
  2. Thus, had I known about what I learned today back then, I would have disavowed it.  Sigh...ignorance is bliss.
  3. Yes, I would so have done.  You think I want to expose my children to that kind of language?
  4. Most importantly, the fact that some very few people on my side used that term at one time does not make it open season on using it and still holding on to whatever shred of decorum is left in political discourse.
And my final conclusion about the whole thing:

Seriously, y'all using that term, grow up.  And that goes for you too, President Clinton.


Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.