Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Concern Trolling and Moral Relativism

I have been called a concern troll at least once in the last few months. Like, when people overuse the term "TARD" it really bugs me and I have to say something. I find that even some of smartest bloggers out there can bring down their arguments with casual use of terms like "theotard" and "creotard." But they have that right. They are expressing their views. I just can't stand it when people make fun of the mentally or physically retarded. And this makes me a concern troll.

But change the media to radio and the rules change. I haven't even listened to Michael Savage's stupid rant about autism but it sure did get people in an uproar. Are they concern trolls for protesting his show?

But what does this have to do with moral relativism? A while back I would have considered myself a moral relativist. But, as I learn more about the world and about humanism, I find it harder and harder to take a relativistic stance on certain issues. Certainly, in regards to basic human rights, I think it is necessary for us to protest the religious factions that would see to it that women were subservient and gays were killed. The rights of the individual come first. Where before I would look at societies that held there women in check and thought "well, that's just how things are in that country." Now, I hate to think of how many people cannot speak up or defend themselves because "that's just how things are in that country."

So, when it comes to casual use of the term tard I could take the morally relativistic view and say "well, that's just how things are on teh Internets." But I won't! I CAN'T STAND HOW MANY TIMES I SEE thisTard and thatTard. It's funny if you're 13 years old! I understand humor, I'm guilty of telling tasteless jokes. But it stopped being funny a long time ago, at least in Internet time.

Call me silly. Call me a concern troll. I don't care. But stop being such BLOGTARDS!


Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

The first time I heard the word tard combined with another, the other word was everybody's favorite that begins with "F". I was watching an episode of Red Vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles and one character referred to another as a "Team-Killing F*cktard". I laughed then and I laugh now, but I do wince when I hear this like libtard, demotard, theotard, etc.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Ooops! Should have been "but I do wince when I hear things like libtard, demotard, theotard, etc."

Doubting Foo said...

I realize it's probably a ridiculous thing to post about but then I thought someone calling me "concern troll" was being ridiculous, too!

Anonymous said...

Remember that the word "retard" has always meant "to slow up especially by preventing or hindering advance or accomplishment". You should point your finger to the person who first associated this with the "mentally handicapped" or "intellectually challenged" or whatever the safe word is this week.

As for the use of -tard as a suffix, I point to the above. People are just creating idiomatic language to illustrate whatever point they are making. "Neocon" by itself is quite meaningless, but almost everyone knows what is meant by it. These are just words. As I said, hate on the person who first applied this to a group of people in the first place, not people who use the word within its rightly defined context.

What would you suggest changing the name of "fire retardant" to?

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Either way, it is offensive to mentally and physically challenged folks and doesn't exactly make someone look like they have the strongest argument if they have to resort to using it.

Doubting Foo said...

Anonymous, it's simply a commentary on how the rules for conduct shouldn't be different on the Internet than in normal society. You also didn't catch the tongue-in-cheek use of "tard" at the end of the entry.

As for flame retardant I'm sure someone out there in a forum has used the term flametard to refer to someone who starts flame wars or doesn't know how to handle them. And if not then I officially declare myself inventor of that term!

Anonymous said...

Mike, it is not as offensive to mentally and physically challenged folks as it is to people who fear reprisal from a society intent on censoring their speech.

Like most other phrases that are sometimes frowned upon in society, it isn't their mere uttering that causes offense, but rather the passion and tone with which it is said.

Don't get me wrong, I think resorting to any kind of name calling, whether it is rooted in an offensive term or not, is a pathetic way to back up one's argument.

When used properly within its definition, the words "retard", "retarded", or even the shortened "tard", can be acceptable. Like I said before, the problem isn't the word, it's that the word was used to describe a group of people with a certain type of affliction.

If someone was using the term "waterhead" or "Down's case", it would be a different story. I also wonder how long it will be before the word "handicapped" and "challenged" when used in these contexts will no longer be acceptable. As soon as a group starts to apply these terms in any way other than advocates see fit, a new term will crop up.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Any word could potentially become offensive. Gay means happy, yet in today's society it usually means homosexual. I can say "My friend Joe is gay." and that is very different than me seeing something I think is stupid and saying "That is so gay!"

If a group of people don't want to be called by a certain name I do my best to respect that, if they come up with another name that bothers them, I do my best to respect that too.

Anonymous, are you physically or mentally challenged? I live in Ohio and there has been controversy for years over Cleveland's baseball team, the Indians. My friend was discussing the subject with his aunt and she thought it was stupid, and said "Well if I were an Indian I wouldn't be offended." To this day that is a joke between my friend and me. Any time we see someone making blanket statements without even looking at, let alone trying to wear the shoes of the group they are addressing, we say "Well if I were an Indian..."

I'm not saying you are doing that, but I have loved ones who are physically challenged and they are offended by the term retarded, not because they fear reprisal from a society intent on censoring their speech, but because it's usually used as a derogatory term.

To go to the ultimate extreme, how would you feel about a similar post about the word nigger?