Natural Selection, Stupid People and words

Language changes; that’s the way it lives.  If we insist on entombing specific meaning within a specific word, then we risk the death of language.

Change is good.  Mostly.

But just like the evolution of organic species, I hope that ‘survival of the fittest’ applies to language too.  Put another way, I hope the general English-speaking population of the world will naturally de-select the especially stupid uses of words.

Example: rape.

Facebook users have blended the words Facebook and Rape to create ‘frape,’ which means forcibly or stealthily entering someone else’s profile and changing it, most commonly by posting suggestive and homophobic remarks in their status.  This is old news.  Yet since it has become normalised in the language (to the point of middle aged FB-users using it), I have noticed other instances of the word rape being used in stupid and stupidly-offensive ways.

A friend recently complained “Ben&Jerry raped me again…” for their over-indulgence in ice cream.  Whilst looking at British Sign Language Videos online, I noticed one commenter thought it appropriate to ask of the deaf girl: “so whats the story behind your raped ears?”

Language is a tool for shared meaning and interaction in a fascinating world.  For this especially stupid person, the way you ask someone about their deafness is to suggest their ears have been raped.

May we respect the power of language and, hopefully, allow the Darwinian influence (of an angry deaf girl beating a troll over the head with his stupidity) to make our language more beautiful and meaningful than ever.

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About Rob Chidley

Professional copywriter, trad-published author and improvisational gardener.
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