The word ‘racism’ has now lost all meaning.
For many years, the filthiest word in English was “fuck.” Even the dauntless Partridge had to use “f*ck.” (In Norman Mailer’s 1948 war novel, “The Naked and the Dead,” the G.I.s use “fug.” In what may be an apocryphal story, Mae West, meeting Mailer at a party, said, “Oh, you’re the guy who can’t spell ‘fuck’!”) According to Wajnryb, “fuck” has ceded first place to “cunt.”
Dude is developing into a discourse marker that need not identify an addressee, but more generally encodes the speaker’s stance to his or her current addressee(s). The term is used mainly in situations in which a speaker takes a stance of solidarity or camaraderie, but crucially in a nonchalant, not-too-enthusiastic manner. Dude indexes a stance of effortlessness (or laziness, depending on the perspective of the hearer), largely because of its origins in the “surfer” and “druggie” subcultures in which such stances are valued. The reason young men use this term is precisely that dude indexes this stance of cool solidarity. Such a stance is especially valuable for young men as they navigate cultural Discourses of young masculinity, which simultaneously demand masculine solidarity, strict heterosexuality, and non-conformity.
(slang) lame, tacky, cheap, low quality (origin uncertain – numerous suggestions include backslang for fan, an old term for a vagina), also gay slang for a straight man (said to mean “Not Available For Fucking”)
Something that I hadn’t known is the extended “I really like” use of to gay marry, so that I could say “I like language so much I want to gay marry it.” That may say more about our times even than the fact that we’re talking about gay marrying in the literal sense. Increasingly many Americans see nothing wrong, and in fact something cool and fun, in gayness, literal and metaphorical. To love something or someone is one thing. To love something so much you want to gay marry it shows real commitment, not to mention joy.
I don’t mind someone telling me that they personally don’t like the passive construction and choose not to use it; but don’t anyone try to rationalize it with fatuous drivel like “news is all about people doing things”.
The second thing to note is that even for the news that does have to do with people doing things, it just doesn’t follow that it will get less interesting when described using a construction that puts the agent at the end of the verb phrase in a passive complement PP. Announcing that a president has just been assassinated by a sniper is just as vividly and shockingly “interesting” as announcing that a sniper has just assassinated a president.
Journalists (or journalism students) who believe the drivel about passives being bad are just imbibing tired old nonsense repeated by generations of usage-pontificating idiots plagiarizing from each other. There is no thought going into this. Take a look at some real writing about a real story of great tragedy, like yesterday’s Christchurch earthquake. There are dozens of stories on the rapidly updated BBC website, but let’s just look at this one. It says “the toll was expected to rise further" beyond 65 dead. Expected by whom? the relevant experts and first responders, I guess, but it doesn’t matter who, does it?
Is it protésters [pʰɹəˈtʰɛstɚz] or prótesters [ˈpʰɹoʊˌtʰɛstɚz]?
[Comments are off because I estimate there is zero likelihood of a discussion complying with the Language Log comments policy when the topic is as juicy as the present one (just imagine it: sex, homophobia, rock music, Canadians, broadcasting, MTV, law, poetry, obscenity, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover).]