Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You May Say I'm a Dreamer...

Java published this post about the days when insults were a classy bit of wordplay, when the great wordsmiths would take time and effort in coming up with good quality ways of putting each other down.

I can honestly say that I lose sleep over this kind of stuff. Many people say that I'm too sensitive but insults and negative things often get to me and I'm ok with that.

I was watching MTV the other day and stumbled across an American programme that astounded me. It involved a load of people on the street and they had to come up with the "best" ways of insulting each other.

It was a sort of head to head thing, with the members of the "audience" cheering and jeering according to the "quality" of the insulting words or phrases. There was all manner of stuff like

"Your Mother is so slow she got run over by a parked car" usually with a load of bleeped out swear words, ones which wouldn't even be classed as swear words here in England of course.

I watched a few minutes of this programme with a sense of amazement, disappointment and wonder.

It occurred to me that it's exactly the sort of programme my kids would watch and, judging by some of the insults, they'd probably walk away as champions if they were on it. What on earth are we teaching and putting across to the younger generation?

It's becoming not just normal but admirable to be able to insult someone and talk down to them, to invalidate them and to make them feel bad. I think it's a rather sad reflection of society today and it's also an easy option than to say good things to someone. I often look at the tags on Achcharu and they make me frown. I rarely put a tag on there but, whenever I do, I try to make it positive or witty, invariably failing but the effort's there.

But most of the tags are basically ones which poke fun or run down either the post or the author. And I always think that's it's cheap and easy to take something that someone has come up with and then to criticise it, or make fun or just be negative about it. The hard bit, the creative bit and the thing that takes imagination is coming up with it in the first place.

That, to me at least, is what I'd like to be remembered for. For being a person who did things and started things, not one who could throw insults around with all the ease of a politician.

Constructive is good.


naz said...

constructive is very good.
how are you RD?

Java Jones said...

Hey RD – I don’t think a lot of those folk mentioned in the post stayed up nights thinking up insults. The point was that repartee and wit – often emerging as put-downs, were right off the cuff and reflected the deftness of the individual’s mind. I’m sure Churchill wasn’t waiting for just the right moment for someone to say that if she was his wife, she’d poison his coffee, so that he could zap her with his come-back! The other point was that if one were to be insulting, then instead of being profane and inane, using wit and being clever is preferable.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Hey Naz, I'm great thanks, how are you?

Java - It was only that your post reminded me of this programme I saw and how wit and cleverness seem to have been overtaken by pointless insults these days. There doesn't seem to be much intelligence involved in the "banter" that goes around nowadays, that is the thing that disappoints me.

Bea said...

Intellegence is far too underrated in my humble opinion. Its strange how much harder it is to think of famously clever complements than put downs. Why is that?

Darwin said...

I agree with Java about the clever witty comebacks rather than the pointless 'fuck offs' that seem to be predominant these days.

WRT to the put-downs, some folk just beg for it you know. Most people on the recieving end of my rants tend to have tried and tested my patience for a long long time before hearing me vent. I just think it's better to say what I feel than holding it all in and possibly going on a rampage with a AK-47 like some kids do.

Anonymous said...

Here goes the holier than thou again.
There is no one who will tag and steal other people's ideas than you.
This post too is one of them
You try to make a clique here and form a ghetto
Now go make a post abou this and all your little group will come to wipe your tears
"I love Sri Lanka" and repeat this again and again every other post to justify your being here in Kottu.
You are not even Sri Lankan.
Or cry "it is ethnic cleasning" that showed your stupidity to the max.
Better stick to writing what you know best, that iswhat color is your shit

SpectralCentroid said...

The programme you are talking about I belive is 'Yo Mama' on MTV. Yes, it is cheap entertainment of sort, but what's relevant is the target audience. I don't think this is a good reference to say "What on earth are we teaching and putting across to the younger generation?" because if anyone's watching MTV for life lessons there's something clearly wrong there. Its also not a good example to represent good centemporary comedy or wit. Its light adult entertainment and nothing more.

We are also talking about two extremes. Churchill and some 17 year old dude from the Bronx ghettos? Everything from social/family background, education, time, culture, exposure etc is different. Simply doesn't compare. (Having said that, I've seen some of the contestants who come up with amazing comebacks for their opponents' lines. Worlds apart in vocabulary but wit and delivery is there.)

On Ach tags. Yes, there are some dull, blunt, overused, over re-cylced and downright stupid tags. Also are ones that are clearly written with personal malice. However Ach has a voting system. If you think a tag is sub-standard, put in a negative vote. If a tagger gets enough negative votes I believe either autmatically or with the intervention of Lord of Achcharu, 'somebody gonna getta hurt real bad'. Its better than a political democracy. You got the power; put it to use.

Well, everything above is just my opinion, sorry for the long comment mate.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Anonymous - You're very funny, really you are.

Spectral - The churchill thing was merely what prompted me to write this post, not a big deal for me at all. I think your point about people not watching MTV for life lessons is valid but also slightly wrong, as many kids will watch programmes like that as entertainment but get lessons from it. I think it's sad that we are showing insults as a form of light entertainment though.

I'm not that bothered about the Ach comments, just that I think the abundance of the negative ones is an example of the "insults are good" mentality that I'm talking about. Overall I think Ach is great, just that many of the comments seem childish to me. Thanks for the long comment, always appreciated.

yellow suddi said...

good post... hahah "throw insults with all the ease of a politician" HAHA

ermm...what's up with anonymous? :S

QB said...

I just wish anonymous could construct a sentence in English, and not the pigeon English he/she seems capable of.

Nothing like stupidity on multiple levels.

SpectralCentroid said...

Actually come to think of it, Yo Mama contests are a bit like our own 'Vaada Baila' contests aren't they?