Monday, July 6, 2009

Club Words

During an on-going debate in the comment section of a post on Enough Nonsense, a transgender from South Africa started engaging in the usual round of insults that result when they start to lose the argument. And included in the insults were what I call "club words."

Club words, are terms that are used to "club" someone into submission during a debate. They have a long and sordid history. When I was younger, one of the most popular club words was the dreaded Communist. If someone wanted to put someone in their place, all they had to do was say, "That's communism!" and nine times out of ten the person they said it to would be reduced to backtracking and trying defend their self from such a horrible accusation.

Now, the important thing to remember about club words is that they don't rely on truth, but merely stand on their own as a way of cowing the person they are used on. Another, that no longer seems as popular was "secular humanist." Oh yes, that was very popular one for a while.

Now, you might, at this point, have the impression that the use of club words is reserved to conservatives. Far from it. One of the biggest consumer of club words is the "transgender community." Here are some of their favorites:

  • Bigot - It has been said that the defintion of a bigot is "A conservative winning an argument against a liberal. Or, in some cases, a transsexual winning an argument against a transgender activist. The logic is, this is such a horrible insult that the person it is thrown at will backtrack to avoid it.
  • Transphobic - This one is a bit odd. While the word is derived from another club word, "homophobic," it sort of loses its meaning along the way. Originally homophobic was meant to imply that someone feared their own "latent homosexuality." Now it is has morphed into a term for hatred for homosexuals. When it is used against transsexuals by the transgender it is, well, it is just plain silly.
  • Self-loathing = This, of course, is related to "transphobic." The idea here is that we hate what we are, and so we attack those like us. Ironically, it is often those who use it who seem to be self-loathing, but that is another discussion,
  • Elitist - This is one that always gives me a chuckle. As soon as one asserts that they do not wish to be associated with people they have nothing in common with, this is thrown at them. If you don't wish to be linked with men who get their kicks from dressing up and pleasuring themselves, you are an elitist. Go figure.
  • Shame - This is another fun one. If you identify as a woman, and have no desire to rub people's noses in your past, then it must be because you are ashamed. The fact that you might, just possibly, simply wish to live your life as who, and what, you feel yourself to actually be is irrelevant.
  • Fearful - This goes hand in hand with shame. If you don't make sure that every single person you encounter knows you were born a male, and that, perhaps, you still are in spite of your outward appearance, it must be because you are afraid.
  • Closeted - The problem with this one is the fact that, for classic transsexuals and those with Harry Benjamin Syndrome, the "closet" has no real meaning. The closet is a gay paradigm. In a real sense, I came out of the closet when I started living as a woman. For me to hide that behind a facade of being "transgender" would be a return to a closet I have left behind.
  • Hypocrite - This one is used by those who refuse to allow anyone the right to not identify as "transgender." The fallacy is that you are benefiting from all of their hard work, but are not supporting them in their efforts. The simple fact that one might not believe they have accomplished anything, and that what they are trying to accomplish is just plain wrong, is lost on them.
  • Coward - Another club word that combines concepts like fear, shame, and self-loathing.
  • Defeatist - This one is trotted out when you make it clear that you do not share their goals. The idea that they might actually be wrong is avoided. Obviously, you must think they simply cannot achieve those lofty goals (such as destroying the binary paradigm) instead of finding such ideas to be outrageous.

The best defense against club words is to recognize them for what they are, and to remember that they are rarely, if ever, remotely accurate.

1 comment:

anoldfriend said...

Weaponized words.
The LTGB have a whole Arsenal full of them.

Double standards abound.