This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Friday, May 2, 2008

"Two Words for You..."

"So, here come two words for you: Shut the f**k up."

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that the phrase "shut up" is being taken way too seriously nowadays? I have seen people get very upset when it's used, even if it's not specifically directed at them. Very upset... extremely upset... all-too-upset... I mean, upset in an over-the-top, overreacting, outright "ballistic" way! (And by the way, in my never-ending quest to discover when and why words take on whole new meanings, since when did "ballistic" come to be used as... well... the way we've all been using it for the past few years?) I've seen parents whose young children use the phrase react as if little Johnny had just dropped an F-bomb on Great-Grandma. On more than one occasion during the last ten or so years, when I was still working at my last two Crappy Day Jobs, I saw a co-worker (with backing from management) demand an apology from another co-worker for the use of those same two words.

I realize that some words -- some of the more vicious ethnic slurs, for example -- can really hurt in their way, but for the most part, words are only that, just "words," and don't (or shouldn't) have any more power than that which we ourselves give them. So why are people suddenly so affronted by this particular phrase?

Of course, it is rude to say "shut up," and arrogant as well, especially if you're really expecting it to have any effect on the target of your "shut up." (And it's even worse if you're Bill O'Reilly, and actually shut the other person's microphone off after saying "shut up"... ) But there are certain phrases which we say that aren't necessarily meant to be taken literally anyway, like when someone says "I'm gonna kill you" (presuming that said someone doesn't have a weapon, or a history of -- or tendency for -- violent action) or its more laid-back alternative, "drop dead." I always assume that someone who angrily suggests that I kiss his ass isn't really expecting me to pucker up and kneel while he turns his back to me. Nor do I think that, just because someone yells "F**k you!" at me toward the end of a verbal argument, I have a better chance of getting lucky tonight.

"But...but... someone who tells me to shut up is infringing on my right to free speech!" you may say. (Well, you may, if you're a whiny little puke, that is... ) The point is, no one is forcing you to shut up. So don't shut up; lighten up, dude!

For a comparative example, let's pretend that I tell your children that I've decided that their bedtime should be nine p.m. Is anyone going to listen? No. So should anyone be really upset? No. (Well... maybe a little. It would be rather overbearing.) Therefore, just for future reference, if I ever decide to make a rule for your kids, without consulting you, please don't get all bent out of shape. Instead, just look at me and disdainfully shake your head, and possibly add "Hey, mind your own business!"

Or better yet.... Tell me to shut up.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ Minor confession time, folks. I'm fairly busy this week, mostly because of a theatrical production I'm in, so I recycled the above from August 03, 2004, and it's probably the last post you'll see from me until after the weekend. Gotcha.

24 comments:

David'Z RantZ said...

"(Okay, if you say so.) Hey, David, shut up!"

Ha.

Beat you to it.

cousin saul said...

So...my daughter, Cassy (age 6 at the time), came to my version of wifey and myself, all upset about something she had just heard while we were visiting relatives. After a little questioning, she revealed that her cousin Jesse had said a "swear" word. "Cassy, what did he say?" I asked. Cassy didn't want to repeat it to us. After more pressure, she said, "Jesse said the S-H word." Hmmmm...this surprised us because Jesse was a pretty well behaved boy..."Cassy, please tell us exactly what he said." (so we'd understand the context.) Perhaps we'd need to alert his Mom about this. Cassy finally told us, "Jesse said Shut-Up."

David'Z RantZ said...

(Wow, I can remember her when she was even younger than that. And now she's an "old married lady.")

Why did Cassy think that was a swear? From some adult's reaction? Rude, sure, but a swear? I've seen parents react that way to the word "stupid," too. Of course you should discourage your kids from speaking that way, but for the most part, as I said, words only have as much power over us as we're willing to give them.

Anyway, I assume your answer was something to the effect of, "And what the f**k is so bad about saying shut up?" (Yeah, right, like you'd talk that way, especially to your 6-year-old.)

By the way, did you see my post about the squirrels? I thought for sure you'd have a response to that!

cousin saul said...

Cassy thought "Shut-up" was a swear because we did not allow that kind of disrespectful talk in our home.
After reading the post about squirrels, although I knew you'd expect me to comment...I just couldn't. I'm frequently astounded by the terrible "news stories" that reporters fill our news with...there is no "journalism" anymore...just poorly written filler...I've come to learn that newspapers real reason for existing is to sell advertisements. The "news" is just stuck in around the ads. Most newspaper stories are so poorly researched or one-sided "agenda-stories" that prove a pre-determined point of view of the reporter or editor. Cousin Steve was recently interviewed by a reporter who was on a mission to write an article to reveal what has gone wrong with Moody Street in Waltham. I would have prefered an unbiased article about "What is happening on Moody St." She could have interviewd some of the Moody Street retailers who are very successful and happy there instead of interviewing un-skilled, under-capitalized, retailers who've decided to open their life-long dream "Barney's Beer Stein Hut" Of course these guys aren't going to be happy with Moody Street. They also wouldn't be happy on ANY street. Bad business models. So...to finally get to your question...after what you posted about the article...I was just at a loss for words or thoughts.

Sparkle Plenty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sparkle Plenty said...

1) Sparkle: It's always good to leave commenters speechless!
Commenters: "SHUT UP, SPARKLE!"
2) Sparkle: I'm not sure why, but in most contexts the phrase "Shut up" feels fiercely rude--unless said softly and teasingly to a close friend or relative (like "Aw, g'wan" or "Get outta here"). Could be far worse, but it's like playground bully talk invading adult life. It's also kind of embarrassing--like someone doesn't have a more reasonable argument to make.
Commenters: "PIPE DOWN, SPARKLE!"
3) BEST OF LUCK with your theatre production this weekend! Break whichever leg you'll miss less!

Sparkle Plenty said...

Dear David'z Rantz,

Shut up, sourpuss!*

Have a great weekend,
Sparkle**

*And, I mean that in the nicest possible way.
**This comment is recycled. MWAH ha ha ha ha ha ha *koff koff* ha!

cake said...

1) Damn, you beat me to the shut up comment. And so did Sparkle.

2) I have a good friend who is very offended by the use of "shut up" (and "stupid," actually). It took a little while to figure out that she was serious...it was one of those things drilled into her head as a child and she's never gotten over it.

3) In my house, the only language that was expressly forbidden was out and out swearing. Which makes it extra funny when my dad swears now...it always seems a little wrong coming from him.

4) Dear Cousin Saul: Very nice rant. There's no doubt at all in my mind that you're related to our dear IANO.

5) Good luck on the production. It's not x-rated, I take it?

6) Point #5 is directed to David'z, not Saul...I'm getting confused.

7) Shaddup!

*wanders off scratching her head in a bewildered way*

Sparkle Plenty said...

Dear David'z Rantz,

Adding an extra letter to certain terms can be your trademark now--like Zorro's cape* or something.

Please tell us all about the play next week?! Do you get to say, "Squire, I believe the butler did it"?! Or, do you pop through a window in white shirts and a white sweater saying, "Tennis, anyone?"***

Buy Bonds,
Sparkle**

*Is Zorro's cape his trademark? I trust you to know!
**This is also a recycled comment--kinda--with new stuff added! BWAH ha ha ha ha (shut up, Sparkle) ha!
***May we have your autograph?

Sparkle Plenty said...

WHITE SHORTS--my hands were shaking as I typed the word "shorts."

Jayne said...

I've recycled all these words form my dictionary.

Even this one.

And this.

And this one too.

And this.

And this.

Is your production the Vagina Monologues?

cake said...

Hey, are you guys thinking what I'm thinking?

cake said...

If David is busy all weekend...

cake said...

Then...

cake said...

THIS BLOG IS UNSUPERVISED!!!

David'Z RantZ said...

Watch it, you....

Jayne said...

Cake: Lets get out ALL the recycled words and put them everywhere.

Plus gin.

Plus infrastructure.

*Jayne runs round excitedly*

Jayne said...

Ouch, I tripped over the header.

cake said...

::tosses words out liberally::

And! Is! It! Dog! Cat! Balls balls balls!

Wheeeeeee!

Oh crap, he's looking in on us...cheese it, it's the fuzz!

(I've always wanted to say that...)

::hides in the infrastructure cabinet::

David'Z RantZ said...

Cousin Saul, Sparkle, and Cake: Yup, I agree that words like "stupid" and terms like "shut up" are harsh and objectionable. And to a little kid, who would probably lump together all the "bad words" which he/she wasn't allowed to say, they could be thought of as swears. My post was just a comment on adults who get far too bent out of shape over the term.

"Shut up."
"No."
"Shut up!"
"Drop dead." [walks away]
End of argument.

Cousin Saul: I just thought you were likely to comment on the squirrel thing since you usually add something when the topic is racism, which I jokingly suggested was the "true" story behind the article. Thanks for the mini-rant about the Moody St. article. You're right; talk about slanting a story's viewpoint!

Cake:

1. Yes, I did. Ha!
2. Tell your friend I said "Shut up, stupid!" Then, after she's sufficiently agitated, tell her I didn't really say that, and that I actually said "Go f**k yourself, bitch." She'll probably prefer that.
5. No X-rating for my play, no. It's "Twelve Angry Jurors" (Think "Twelve Angry Men" with a mixed male & female cast.) and opening night went very well.
7. Same to you!

[helps Jayne get up] Jayne: No, dear, not "The Vagina Monologues." Sorry to disappoint. It's "Twelve Angry Jurors." Twelve dollars (which I believe is a bit more than twenty-four pounds?) at the door, if you care to fly over to see it. Or I can reserve a ticket and save you two bucks!

Sparkle: Aw, g'wan, get outta here.

So my hands shake typing "the Devil's Pom-Poms," and yours shake while typing "shorts?"

(By "yours," I meant "your hands," not "your Devil's Pom-Poms." Of course. But it does give me an interesting mental image, I must admit.)

And if you want my autograph, I'll be glad to give it to you personally. Just let me know when the best time to drop by would be. I'll bring some infrastructure. And... wear the green sweater?

Okay, everybody, play nice while I'm gone. And somebody feed Orson, but don't let the little ass-face get out!

Jayne said...

*Jayne drip feeds Orson gin and waits for the feline fun to begin*

Sparkle Plenty said...

FIND: OLD POST.
REPLACE: NEW POST.
UNDO: NEW POST.
FIND: OLD POST.
REPLACE: "REPURPOSED POST, YET NEW TO READERS."

David'Z RantZ said...

Sparkle:

So, lemme get this straight. You're actually asking for recycled shit?

Keair Snyder said...

I was always told that telling someone to shut up is rude. Fortunately, of all the goals I've had in life, the avoidance of being just a little rude was never one of them. I will hold the door open for someone, I say please and thank you, and you're welcome....and I will also tell someone to shut the fuck up if it is needed.

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