Stop Raping the Grammar Nazis

by Jeph Johnson


This might sound controversial. I don't mean it to be. I'm really hoping to make a point but perhaps it's not a point one can easily convey.  I am throwing out some thoughts here and suggesting an alternate view point. I'm open to hearing other's opinions and interpretation to this obviously sensitive subject. But I think we have it backwards and using blanket censorship is backfiring. Let me explain.

So if we are going to be offended by terms like "grammar Nazi" and alter our vocabulary to be more sensitive to Jewish people by using terms like "grammar police" how long before the term "grammar police" offends those affected by police brutality?  Pretty soon all we can say is this is "good" and this is "bad". This is not a positive progression of our language.  It eliminates nuance and the ability to differentiate between things as well as encouraging people to make false comparisons.  

Graphic language is intended to show exaggeration in order to provide stark contrast, and sometimes it should be intentionally grandiose.  

The way I see it, if we don't use the most extreme examples when exaggerating (and with exaggeration the most extreme examples are necessary) it actually lessens the gravity of the word/example we are avoiding.  And it also truly sucks for the poet. 

Now I'm a white cis het male so obviously my sensitivity towards the use of trigger words is severely skewed.  And everyone should take our audience into account for sure when writing or speaking, but we also cannot let one person's inability to cope with a word used in a different context affect the use of the word in another context. Isn't it people in my demographic the ones who need to realize the terms like "rape" or "Nazi" when used as exaggerated hyperbole actually help demonstrate the importance of remembering and respecting the gravity of them? 

Author's Notes/Comments: 


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