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A linguistic consideration of Ed Schultz's fail with the S-word

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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-26-11 09:35 AM
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A linguistic consideration of Ed Schultz's fail with the S-word
I'm not defending Ed or attacking, but rather exploring what happened...Expletives and derisive insults truly won't win an argument. As we acquire language our family generally makes us aware that tossing around insulting terms is undesirable bad conduct. Mom had that correct.

But expletives do satisfy various syntactical requirements of language and are often used for negative emotional emphasis.

Insulting expletives and pejoratives are an almost inescapable part of language because of the urge speakers have to identify the position of their "self" relative to social "objects" including ideas and other persons. As we've seen, that positioning has social importance (and consequences).

Within the broad membership of a language's users, subgroups can become identified with usage of specific expletives and those terms become signals of membership in subgroups and subcultures with their own rules about word use.

The rhubarb over Schultz's use of the s-word seems to stem from the inherent conflicts between all these basic features of expletives.

His intention to express emotional derision to an 'Other' ran afoul of the generalizable acceptance of that term as a signal of the words acceptance by "Us," by which I mean groups who identify as being associated with him (simultaneously his employer, members of his audience, DU'ers and more broadly both democrats and republicans who follow the punditry).

Sociologically, here at DU objections to Schultz's use of the word become a threat to feelings of group cohesion; sides are taken; and arguments stated in the process of sorting out our relationships to the word, to Ed, and to political adversaries.
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