The Gospel Truth

Dirty Words

June 7, 2011
1 Comment

According to our armies of social scientists and educational pedagogues, American children, millions of adults, and scores of racial and ethnic minorities are under a horrendous verbal assault from right-wing religion and media zealots.

As an addendum, the only religious minority that warrants such concern is the Muslim community.

The left is afraid that American students and millions of adults will be irreparably harmed by such name-calling.  To them all these constitutes rampant hate crimes.

Hateful words will so pollute the cultural atmosphere that America will become so dangerous for them that there will be violent assaults and in the case of the Jews, annihilation.

The words in question are what be called ethnic, racial or even gender slurs.  I can honestly say that I have never uttered kind slurs to hurt or embarrass anyone.  But a hate crime?

I do know a number of funny ethnic jokes.

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I love this kind of humor

It is still my belief that jokes made in fun and not in ridicule are good for the soul and the spirit because we all share the same human nature and no group is special nor free from the foibles of our common ancestry.

I had a teacher in high school who was probably my least favorite.

He made unmerciful fun of minorities and anyone who was not Irish.  One example should tell all.

In my freshman class, there was a short, freckled-faced kid, named Frank Cangemi.  This teacher liked to call him “Cangini.”

I was appalled at that but to my knowledge it didn’t devastate Frank.

He later went on to Holy Cross and later became a medical doctor.  I am sure that this silly teacher had not been the first to breach the decorum of his ancestry.

The experts say bullying in schools is real and kids are dying.

Really!  How many?  While some have committed suicide, I will wager that if the situation were honestly evaluated you would find that they are on anti-depression medicine.

I read recently that a possible cause of all the military suicides—much more of a problem than “bullying” and what has the president done about that–is that the VA puts them on that kind of potent medicine.

Bullying is a fact of life.  It eventually toughens you up.  I was bullied a couple of times in my life.  To this day, I am uncomfortable saying the name Mike.  I always use the more gentrified, Michael.

When I think of the name Mike I have an image of this sleazy boy in the New Jersey lake region where I used to spend my summers.  Mike would get upset if you questioned anything he did or said.  And then he would get verrrrry angry!

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Didn't Like Mike either

One time he cuffed me in the face with his baseball glove

The only beaning I ever suffered was from one of his errant pitches.

Another time I raised an objection to something he said and I knew I was in trouble.

I tucked tail and started running down the road.  Mike picked up a rock–he never seemed to miss what he aimed at—and he nailed me right between the shoulder blades.

His words never hurt me but his throwing arm surely did.

This reminds me of the old nursery rhyme I heard as a child.

Sticks and Stones is an English children’s rhyme. It persuades the child victim of name-calling to ignore the taunt, and to refrain from physical retaliation while remaining calm and good-natured.

Still good advice!

The phrase is found at least as early as 1872, where it is presented as advice in Tappy’s Chicks: and Other Links Between Nature and Human Nature, by Mrs. George Cupples

What really is at work today is an attack on free speech and the defense of basic cultural, historical and constitutional ideas.

To call the president a socialist, or a Marxist is not name-calling but putting a proper label on his ideas and policies.

To call an amphibian a duck if it quacks and walks like a duck is not name-calling but proper identification or classification.

On another note, the left has no problem with what the late George Carlin called, the seven  dirty words that populate our public entertainment and daily conversation with the frequency of an attack of mosquitos on a sultry summer’s eve.

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Knew all about the seven dirty words

The left also has nothing to say about the repetitive and blasphemous use of the name of the Lord of History in plays, movies and on television.

Flag burning and harassing conservative speakers on college campuses also fall under their protective shield.

This leads me to the three political dirty words.

Whenever these words are brought up in a conversation or debate that exchange is over.

I am talking about Racism, Homophobia and Anti-Semitism.

Each word is an artificial contrivance that has served to limit free speech and the exchange of ideas, especially on the political front.

Each word when deliberately applied has ended careers in politics, the ministry, sports, entertainment and education.

People in the public ear circumvent these vicious labels as one would avoid a minefield.

The word racism as a distinct term did not appear in the English language until the 1930s.

While the term race hatred had been used by sociologist Frederick Hertz  in the late 1920s, racism was coined as the title of an early 1930s book by sexologist and homosexual activist Magnus Hirschfield.

As a products of social science, words like racism have elevated basic prejudice and bigotry to the status of an institutionalized pattern of behavior.

It is my contention that racism, outside of the institution of slavery, and outlier groups, such as the Klan and a few neo-Nazi groups—there has never existed any institutional racism in this country.

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A fringe group and not an American institution

But prejudice is an irreparable part of human nature that no law, edict or government intervention can eradicate without depriving free people of their liberty to say what they think.

Homophobia is another of these dirty words.

George Weinberg, a psychologist is credited as the first person to have used the term in speech.

The word homophobia first appeared in print in an article written for the May 23, 1969, edition of Alvin Goldstein’s Screw magazine in which the word was used to refer to heterosexual men’s fear that others might think they are gay.

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We owe him for neologism about "gay hatred"

There is no greater narcissist term in the living English language than this self-serving affront to all moral and thinking individuals.

But consider the source of this verbal construct that is designed to intimidate anyone who would criticize homosexual behavior.

Given the long and contentious history of the Jewish people, most people will be surprised that the term Anti-Semitism is a relatively new construct.

The early Zionist pioneer, Judah Leib Pinsker first used it in conjunction with another social scientist construct, Judeophobia in a pamphlet written in 1882.

In it he said that anti-Semitism was an inherited predisposition with all the properties of an incurable disease that has been transmitted for 2000 years.

While no one can argue that there have been centuries of deep-seated prejudice against Jews, since the Nazi Holocaust the term has appropriated the mantel of genocide to protect, not only Jews living around the world but mores specifically the nation of Israel.

For any historian, scholar or even the man in the street to criticize any facet, statement or aspect of the Holocaust and the death of six million under the Nazis is tantamount to act of anti-Semitism and can subject the individual to the severe recriminations of society.

To criticize this independent country is often condemned as anti-Semitism.

The artificial construct has also been used to defend against, not only contradictory ideas but even the raising of objective questions.

Would the same be true if I criticized France or even Switzerland?

This has gone to the extreme that even legitimate historical research is punishable by steep fines and prison terms as in the case of prolific historian David Irving.

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Went to jail for raising a question

Currently 13 foreign countries including Germany and Canada make it a crime to even question how many died in the Holocaust.

Thanks to these dirty words one can go to prison for thinking or writing about something that has never received the same historical scrutiny as the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor or the bombing of Dresden.

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Still arguing over the numbers

No issue, no matter how sanctified it might be, should be free from possible revision because as a part of our human nature we see things through a glass darkly or a mirror that has been clouded by the fog of time and personal interest.

So with regard to sticks and stones and guys like Mike with rocks, I would rather take another rock in the back than suffer under the tyranny of dirty words.

PS: Since I first wrote this, my only grandson called me a racist when his mother asked me which team I was rooting for in the NBA championship.  I merely said the white team, as in the color of their uniforms.  

Liked the guys in white

Had I been for Miami, I would have said the red team.  Same difference I guess.  Where’s the guy with the rock when you need him?

About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at