If you love fresh fruit, and someone dangles a ripe peach in front of your face, you really have no choice but to snatch up that puppy. It’s the same with metaphorical peaches, and it seems God has grabbed a bushel of those juicy little orbs and been waving them inside my snatching radius, boy howdy. The peaches in question are a bunch of college students in Durham, NC, and they’re wicked-ripe for some serious derision.
Several kids at Duke University (not “kids” as in students of young adult age, informally; it’s as in prissy bunch of overgrown CHILDREN) have established themselves a nifty little club, like a school-within-a-school, if you will. One might nickname this new organization Language Police Academy, to be concise. They’re calling it Think Before You Talk, to be charitable. And I’m thinking about starting an information service for their parents called Think Before You Write The Next Tuition Check, to be compassionate.
TBYT and another campus group have created (read: are guilty of unleashing) a campaign called “You Don’t Say,” a valiant effort to eradicate the devastating plague that is slang expressions being heard by people they consider delicate. Posted by them on the school’s website is a one minute, thirty-two second video (ninety-one seconds too long) which starts with this little message for the masochistic viewer to read: “We asked students ‘what words or phrases do you hear around Duke that bother you, and why?’” Then the fun starts, where you watch one overgrown child after another tell you that he/she/?? doesn’t ever utter a specified word or phrase. [Advisory: the following paragraph contains words which may be offensive to some readers. They are quoted from a source not affiliated with this column’s author or anyone else associated with the website BernardGoldberg.com. Said words are not the responsibility of said author or said associates of said website. All other paragraphs in said column, however, may contain words deemed lowbrow or uncouth. Said author says tough tushies.]
For example, as one such student proudly tells you, the heretofore unenlightened viewer: “I don’t say ‘man up’ because the strongest people I know have cried in front of me, regardless of their age, gender, or sex.” From another: “I don’t say ‘bitch’ because it insists femininity is inherently negative.” It gets better: “I don’t say ‘don’t be a pussy’ because it implies that having a certain body feature is indicative of being a coward.” I mean worse: “I don’t say ‘that’s so gay’ because sexual orientations should not be mocked or reappropriated (sic) as derogatory terms.”
Addressing these four cuckoo-puffs in order:
Haughty juvenile #1: “man up” doesn’t mean adult males don’t or should not cry, you little sub-ninny. It means if you want to solve a problem, you’ll do so by working at it, not idly carping about it. It’s essentially “it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness” for people on a low-word diet. Next time some snooty sophomore with a camera asks you for a profound statement, you’d do better with “I don’t say ‘man up’ to a guy so distraught he’s in tears, because I’m fairly certain I’d get decked so hard my whole family would end up with a permanent limp.”
HJ #2: I sincerely hope you don’t plan on working in the field of zoology, because when your colleagues start discussing gender-specific issues of members of the canine family, you’ll soil yourself. And if you think that’s bad, wait until you learn all the normal people find it downright hilarious. That’ll be a hard muffin to swallow for you and all the other fluffies whose sheltered little life prevented your developing a sense of humor, so I recommend you get yourself one toot sweet. Without the ability to laugh at the ridiculous things (like TBYT), I assure you life’s a bitch.
HJ #3: You apparently didn’t get the memo: when you place “pussy” after the words “don’t be a”, you’re actually talking about a cat, meaning pussycat. You know, that skittish animal that often flees at top speed when suddenly frightened, inspiring the phrase “fraidy cat?” This expression you think harms all things decent & womanly is not the slangification of a female body part in this context, but I understand your mistake. You’re afflicted with coitus imagindus or “p***y on the mind” as it’s more commonly put. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly healthy for males to have their thoughts regularly occupied by female body parts. Your brain will bombard you with visions of all kinds of female body parts no matter what time it is or what you’re up to–you could be balancing your checkbook or attending Easter mass for all it cares. This condition has been around for centuries, and is most common in males between ages 12 and death.
HJ #4: You know, we’d be spared all this silliness if you munchkins would just realize words have different meanings! Do the normal people a favor and buy a freakin’ thesaurus (hell, I’d buy you one, but I’m still paying the veterinarian for the surgery on my bitch). If your self-professed open-mindedness actually existed, you’d observe that “gay” is more than just the neutral word associated with homosexuality. It is also a positive synonym for cheerful or happy (“don we now our gay apparel” isn’t a call to dress like Nathan Lane in The Birdcage) and yes, it is the negative slangonym for ridiculous & not worth one’s time. So. The. Hell. What? Has your group ever noticed that “john” is not only slang for a bathroom/toilet, but also refers to a prostitute’s customer AND a Christian apostle? What’s next? Will you avoid saying “wow, that’s a tall order” because it’s not right to equate the difficult & burdensome with above-average height?
It’s now occurring to me that my response to HJ #4 pretty much applies to TBYT in general. The whole You Don’t Say effort might have some merit if it weren’t for the sheer number of ways to define & interpret words, and the fact it’s being pushed by arrogant, shallow, pedestal- dwellers.
These pipsqueaks are plump & ready for a good razzing, as I said. Makes me want to fire up the video camera and record a mock message for them, like “I don’t say ‘if she shows up late again, ten bucks says the boss cans her’ because it brings up images of a woman being violently packed into an airtight metal container.”
I won’t do it, mind you. They’d most likely take it seriously and try to recruit me.
Hm, maybe ‘cans’ wasn’t the best word to use–my brain is stuck on female body parts again.