Tagged: Word Usage

Just words…


Random Tweet “…the police broke the arm of a man in a wheelchair who was protesting disability cuts…”*

So this annoyed me, for no real reason it seemed except the language colours it.

What does it matter that he was in a wheelchair?
What does it matter if he was male?

The words colour the sentence, it is wrong that the police injured any person, irrespective of age, gender, or perceived ability.

But if we said “…the police broke the arm of a girl with Down’s Syndrome…” it would massively colour how we react.

Is that in itself an issue?

Surely the main point of this is that it is wrong for the police to use heavy tactics on anyone?

Why should we feel less concerned by “…the police broke the arm of a male wrester who was protesting tha lack of Giant Haystacks memorials…” than we do to the original sentence?

So I guess I would be happier if the language was neutral, “the police broke the arm of a person protesting…” If then I was able to read further and discover gender, age and ability it may make the knee-jerk reactions less prominent and allow me to be more rational about the larger issue.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t protect the vulnerable, just that emotive arguments often lessen the point. The police should not be empowered to use great force on anyone exercising their right to protest anything they see as an injustice, whether it is disability cuts or Giant Haystack memorials.


* Note that this isn’t a rant against the commentator, or even a judgement on their writing skills, it is all about me and how I oft times react.

Should I tolerate this…?

So I am having a bit of an issue with the bad usage of the word tolerant[1]. It is typically when someone wants to show they are an enlightened and well-rounded individual who perhaps will not accept a certain behaviour. So they state this:

“We must become less tolerant”

Well, no. You’re not becoming less tolerant of something, you are becoming intolerant. The word already exists for you. You may “tolerate” or “not tolerate” there is not a quantifiable state of more than/greater than or less than in tolerance. You either are, or you are not. It is that simple.

Stop trying to sound reasonable as you don’t want to be seen as a bigot, it is fair enough not to want to be seen as a bigot, being intolerant of one thing doesn’t make you so. You have to be intolerant of everything to be a bigot. You are, though, being objectionable, stop using a passive approach to attempt to look like you are not. It isn’t reasonable. It is just wrong to pretend, be a vertebrate and responsible for your attitudes.

Whether it is political, sexual, religious, philosophical or simply not liking someones behaviour it doesn’t matter. You are allowed your opinion and feelings. But don’t claim that it is a lessening of your overall magnanimity, it is an intolerance, not a lowering of your general overall brilliant tolerance.

Some reference to help:


/ˈtɒləˌreɪt/ Show Spelled[tol-uh-reyt]
–verb (used with object), -at·ed, -at·ing.
1. to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit.
2. to endure without repugnance; put up with: I can tolerate laziness, but not incompetence.
3. Medicine/Medical . to endure or resist the action of (a drug, poison, etc.).
4. Obsolete . to experience, undergo, or sustain, as pain or hardship.”


/ɪnˈtɒlərənt/ Show Spelled[in-tol-er-uhnt]
1. not tolerating or respecting beliefs, opinions, usages, manners, etc., different from one’s own, as in political or religious matters; bigoted.
2. unable or unwilling to tolerate or endure (usually followed by of ): intolerant of very hot weather.”


[1] There is an argument that I am wrong about this being bad usage as there is a culture of, and prior usage of, it in this manner.