This post was spawned by a re-tweet of mine.
And then a response from DirtyKlingon:
Which ticked off a whole line of tweets back and forth between us in a conversation that got my wheels turning and made me consider how certain words really need to be re-adjusted.
“Entitled” was a word I selected to display my disagreement and displeasure with the image’s sentiment without making the whole thing personal. Dirty had very correctly mentioned that the word was carrying too much of a different context, and we both kind of agreed that the word itself was probably the only route to go.
The words used in discussion nowadays seem to be pretty well and truly diced, like a pico de gallo except significantly less delicious.
Entitled. Casual. Hardcore. These are all terms that have been adjusted as attack, trying their hardest to make themselves relevant and succinct while at the same time ruining their original intent. They’re the linguistic equivalent of a knee to the junk–used in desperation when all other ideas have failed. And I’m just as guilty of the misuse as anyone, as evidenced by the above tweet.
Thing is, I had almost no other word to come up with how I felt about the image and its message. I mean, here’s someone who was so ruthlessly angry about the delay of Blade and Soul’s Western release that they equated it to being sexually teased and then denied. I mean, I don’t know what sort of sex this individual is having, but it might not be done right. I’m not sure at what point denying a company business and denying sex parallel. I suppose the idea is meant to be an analogy, but it just…it was too vitriolic to come up with any other term.
Thinking about it now, perhaps “vitriolic” or “needlessly angry” would have been A LOT better. But that’s the beauty and awfulness of hindsight. You can learn from it while at the same time facepalming over the shortsightedness of the moment.
In an age where there’s an oppressive amount of people policing thought, I am not advocating that every single thing be considered a trigger warning or should be passed through at least three edit passes. What I am saying is that perhaps some of these terms should be more cautiously thought through…or at least, the use of them should be provided context.
It is disappointing that this has to be done, but for the sake of causing less stress in your digital life, it is perhaps better to err on the side of caution and assume that people will read a word through its current negative assumption instead of the original one.
I had attempted to use “entitled” to mean someone who believed that the release of a game was a requirement of the game publisher and that said publisher should feel privileged that this person would spend their money. What was assumed, instead, was that I meant “entitled’ to denote someone who is incredibly bratty and whining and…well…wait, now that sort of does mean the same thing, right? But then people swing that descriptor to shout down a valid complaint. So, what I should have done is perhaps define what form of “entitled” I meant. But that was nigh-impossible in a 140 character limit. Or just not use the word entirely.
See what I mean about how hard this is?
“Does ‘volcanic asslord’ really convey my intent well here?”
It is annoying that words which otherwise were so effective and descriptive have been chopped up to mean something different in certain circles, but it is up to us to at least try to explain the intent until such time as those words are taken back from their incorrect assumption.
For example, the term “casual” is more often than not bandied about as an insult–the assumption that a person is playing MMO’s as they were unintended and thus are ruining it for everyone else. Myself, I identify proudly as a “casual” in an attempt to spin the word back around to its original intent–someone who plays the same game as a “hardcore” would, but does so in significantly smaller amounts of time due to a variety of life situations and reasons.
“Hardcore” is another one that is used in the same way–the opposite of the “casual” coin. But I think that those who identify as hardcore can do the same thing. They should take pride in the fact that they have the amount of leisure time they have to enjoy a game at length. But on both sides of the coin, neither identifier should be used as a weapon. Merely an identifier of one’s ability to play a game.
Because ferfeksake, we’re playing games here. Not deciding the fate of governments.
It’s up to us to collectively explain our intentions, especially when we’re in open forums where discussion and debate spring up constantly. Many of us–self included–don’t have all of the skills required for debate in the classical sense, and a great many don’t really use a word without considering intent and context. So we either have to be concise or we have to try to make these terms our own once more.
It’s a collective requirement, I know…which can feel a lot like trying to herd tornadoes in to a cattle pen. But I think we all can do our part. I’m not saying one can’t be empassioned about a subject. And this bears repeating: I’m not saying you have to preface everything said with a disclaimer against hurting feelings. What I am saying is that we should all maybe think out our opinions and reactions just a bit.
Or we should all buy thesauruses.