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Someone started a thread on another forum with this title, but it didn't really get anywhere because of the trollish nature of the forum. So, I'll try it here.

I watched a Louis CK special called Chewed Up, below is a clip of the relevant bit:


Is it ever OK to call someone faggot, even when it's not being used as an obvious slur? Or is it always a slur?

Does the history of the word trump recent usage (not associated with sexuality, as described in the video)?

Is the recent usage really still somewhat associated with sexuality?
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
Ash Pryce
Being British the first thing I thought of when I saw the word Faggot was food!
This week was the first time I've heard of that. The usual standby is "bundle of sticks" or "cigarette".

But since I'm 'Murican, we'll proceed with our definitions. Smile
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
The interesting thing is that while Louis CK isn't using the word as a slur against gay people he is still using it as a slur.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
Another question:

Has any group ever "taken back" a word effectively?

I can't think of any examples, right off hand.

seeker, I agree, it's still a slur. And I think it will always be a slur, regardless of usage.

It's kind of hard getting any kind of differing thoughts or perspectives with only 4 or so people logging in regularly, though.
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
Once in a while I reflect on some of the words I used to use when I was younger that I would never use now. For the most part, these were words (or, more often, expressions) whose "real" or historical meanings weren't close to my appreciation and once learned, I stopped. But I'm far more sensitive about these things than most.

As far as I'm concerned, using a word like faggot in this manner falls in the category of being willfully negligent to the feelings of those around you, regardless of how you feel about it. It's different than when black people use the n-word.
The Similar Threads post listed below is quite ironic.
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
Although I live in England, I havent eaten a faggot in many many years.

I did however recently watch (two weeks ago) that very Louis C K set. He is a shock and awe guy, and I sort of associate with the sentiment of his usage of the word.

He is relying on the associate of faggot = homosexual, therefore not good, and doing something annoying is not good therefore faggot.

Should people be offended by the usage of words arround them, probably not, can they be, most definately.

I have been guilty of using the word 'gay' to refer to something as funny/strange/odd in a similar situation to his above, yet there are other words phrases such as 'being jipped' which comes from gyped which comes from a belief that all gypsies were out to rip you off that still exist on TV without anyone kicking up a fuss.

I am a great believer in intent, you can use any word you wish directed at another person, it is the intent expressed in the voice that conveys the hurt.
True. I've always been fond of observing that intent is only as good as one's ability to predict probable outcome, but of course we take this to be an either/or scenario all the time. My tendency has been to try to route out habits that might be misconstrued and fto give the benefit of doubt to the intentions of others.

(And yes, the similar threads choice is funny in this context. :-) )
I'll start by saying that I like Louis C.K. and have all his DVDs and albums AND YES he is a 'shock' comedian like Daniel Tosh. Especially on his last two albums...WOW! I think his divorce really rolled him over a few times.
I have to agree with him on many aspects of it. When I was a kid, faggot was kind of like calling someone stupid or retarded. When I was a kid I had NO IDEA what homosexuality was or what took place behind closed doors. The first time I heard fag in a different definition, I was told it was a British term for cigarette and then soon after found out it was a derogatory name for a homosexual. Gay was nice, and faggot was the same way calling a Black person a nigger. As a word of hate toward a group of people. These days I don't like either of those words and I don't use them...well, except in this context of explanation I suppose. I would have to say that words have never hurt me one bit. I have been called all kinds of names and I just think, "well, that's your opinion."
To answer your question I would have to say it's always a slur unless it was explaining something from the past just like Louis and I did or like the British do for cigarette(and this time I learn it is a type of meatball?) I do think though, at the end of the bit he did 'slur it up', so to speak. I would never say it toward anyone in a hateful manner.

"Has any group ever "taken back" a word effectively?"
I doubt it and there are none that I can think of. Dumbasses in the US still call Native Americans, Indians and this really bothers the hell out of me. It's because people are so damn ignorant and/or arrogant that they refuse to call them Native Americans. I think it lessens the blow to the white man to call them Indians so it follows the delusion of we didn't take their land...They're Indians..

OK, i haven't slept in over 24hrs, I need to go to bed.
That's right, I said it...
Big Band theorists took it back... which I think is unfortunate, as it clouds the meaning.
I tried to visualize a parallel with cunt, but I couldn't make it work.

Those in the U.K. see this differently than most in the U.S..

And it's not completely analogous anyway...
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
Cunt is probably the worst word that could be said in the US. It flies free like a flock of Doves in the UK.
That's right, I said it...
I love the word cunt, I like most words.

Would I use it at work, no, not with this crowd. Do I use it at home, regularly.

That and obscene racism, I am not racist, I just enjoy coming out with horrendous things amongst my friends.
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