Re: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Something Nasty

Date: 08 Sep 2000 wrote:
> Language is contextual. Many of those words may have lost their
> universal bite, but with the right tone, inflection and situation,
> they can still hit just as hard as they ever did (fights continue
> to start with the phrase "What did you say about my mother?" no
> matter how many times we laugh at "Your mama's so fat . . ."

Her nickname is "DAMN!" ?

I agree, of course, about language being contextual. But the very fact that we know add qualifiers about when and where the N-word and other hate words have the traditional venom demonstrates to me that they've lost some or much of their power.

> What bothers me is its gratuitous use to appear hip or street.
> Anthony pointed out a very important distinction between narrative
> voice and dialog. Nasty words could be well put in characters'
> mouth to express anything from friendship to anger depending upon
> context. They may even be very effectively used in portraying a
> character as a phony, someone not nearly as hip as they would have
> you think, just as the misuse of a high-falutin' word may expose a
> social climber. It's fine, just part of the story, if I think a
> character is a phony. It's another thing entirely if I believe the
> narrator is.

Bad writing is bad writing, regardless of the language used.


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