"You will call someone a faggot, but not a bastard?" -Me
"Yeah, bastard is a bad word and faggot isn't" -Naive Girl
"Why is bastard a bad word and faggot not?" -Me
"Well, my parents told me bastard is a bad word" -Naive Girl
So this is where I probably started to offend the poor girl. You see, when someone says something so ignorant, I feel obligated to help them understand what they said and why it makes no sense. The only problem with this is that I tend to do it in a very direct manner that usually makes the other person feel that I am belittling them.
"So let me get this straight, bastard is a bad word because you were told that it is and faggot is ok because nobody ever said it wasn't? What if your parents had told you that 'blue' was a bad word, would that mean that it was bad. Isn't it the meaning of the word that makes it bad?" -Me
When I was young, I too followed the doctrine that you didn't say what your parents told you not to say. That works for small children that don't always understand the meaning of words and why some are offensive and others fine. However, by the time we are 18 and naive girl was, I would hope that we would start to learn that words are bad because of the meaning behind them, not because our parents said so.
A word is bad because of the meaning behind the word. If I darn, I mean the same as damn so darn is as bad a word as damn. If I call someone a faggot and mean it in a bad way, not in the sense that they are a bundle of twigs, than that word is a bad as any other I might use in an offensive manner. However, how can saying Jimmy is a bastard be bad if in fact Jimmy was born out of wedlock. Now I am using the correct word in a non-offensive manner, it might still offend Jimmy but I am using the word to merely state fact.
What I don't understand is why people classify words as bad, the word isn't bad just because somebody said so. In fact, I would have to say many words that never used to be considered bad now are and words that used to be bad now aren't.
Take for instance nigger, not a word I care to use, I find it offensive to even hear people say it. However, if I lived in the late colonial days or even during the Revolutionary War, nigger was not considered a bad word.
Now however look at some of the words in common use today. Many bad words are used in everyday language without meaning anything that makes them bad. "That's fuct up." My friends and I use that phrase often, not the most intelligent use of words, but I wouldn't say it is bad by any means. What we are really saying is whatever we just heard or saw is either mean, gross, or just not right. It is a diverse saying that means many things. In that case I don't see fuck as a bad word, it is a word that has begun to merge into our culture and life has an adjective. If someone were to say, "I want to fuck 'So and So'" I would say that that is a bad thing to say. They are using the word in an offensive and vulgar mannor.
My point is merely that we can't go around saying don't say this specific word or that other word. All this does is raise a group of children that believe bastard is bad to call someone, but faggot is alright to someone. (Personally I am more offended by the latter, not because of the sexual conentations, but merely becuase I have always felt it was a stronger word) It is what you mean, not what you are saying. If someone calls me a 'sun of a stich" I am going to be just as pissed as if they called me a 'son of a bitch'. It is what they meant, not what they said that makes it bad.