Re: Offending People's Minds

Sarah Marr (
Sun, 25 Aug 1996 16:37:12 +0100

At 14:23 25/08/95 GMT, Nilas Bostrum wrote:
> >Sarah Marr wrote
> >"Stupid" is a highly emotive word.
> Exactly. But if we used it as if it weren't, then the
> emotive connotation might wear off.

It's very difficult to use the word 'stupid' in such a way as to make it
clear that you do not intend it to be degrading and emotive; which means it
would be difficult to change its connotations by usage alone.

Compare this to the reclaiming of 'queer' by the gay community: they have
been able to do this by using the word to describe _themselves_.

I can see how 'stupid' might become emotionally-neutral if people who
considered themselves stupid called _themselves_ stupid, but not if others
call them stupid. Even if those others were careful to qualify their
statements, I believe it would smack of sentences which begin "I'm not
homophobic but...", etc. and still not achieve anything.


Sarah Kathryn Marr