I read this post over on HTML Giant about word bigotry and felt a little bit like, “oh, I have found my people.”
Sure, sure we all have those words we hate. In fact some words are so hated it’s a cliche to hate them: moist, impactful, guesstimate. I think word bigotry goes beyond just hating certain words, it includes an actual judgement of the writer or speaker of that word.
Here’s an example, whenever I see a someone has included the “buzz/hum/sound of cicadas” in their writing I roll my eyes. Hard. I might even make a gagging sound. Nothing, to me, smacks of “I’m writing in a writerly right way” than cicadas. Cicadas drives me nuts.
It’s sort of like the Replacements Corollary (whereby any author automatically gains 38% more enjoyment points by merely referring to the band) in reverse.
I feel the same way about the word retards/retarded. This one is hard, because I still slip up and use it occasionally, especially when speaking. I judge myself just as harshly.
This one is a little new to me. I had no idea the word had become so unPC and using it colored you ignorant until I said it when explaining someone or something and my niece looked at me, horrified. “Aunt Jodi, we don’t call people retards.”
It wasn’t even her words that caught me off guard, it was the look on her face. I can remember making that same face and saying, “Grammu, we don’t call people colored.”
I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with one more example, and I can’t. I’m sticking you with cicadas and retards. Of course as soon as I hit publish I’ll think of 88 more. What words do you judge harshly when people use them?