New vocabulary: pwnd

The more I think about it, the more I find the word pwn, or pwnd, very very complex.

pwn suggests defeat, but defeat is too old fashioned a word to be an equivalent

pwnd suggests shame

pwnd, for the very fact that it uses a ‘p’ for an ‘o’, and no vowels whatsoever, makes it elevate from the original variant (owned – apparently it was a typo in an online game, I think counterstrike), makes it an elitist word, a clique word, a word that outsiders are not permitted to use; its a kind of word that, when uttered, you either understand, or you dont. And if you do, you are part of the joke, part of the number ‘who gets it’

pwnd suggests a kind of loss of face

pwnd suggests an embarrassment

one can engage in self-pwnage


A certain irony…

So, I’ve been looking at the statistics which says there is an increase of students interested in religious studies at ‘A’ level (such that Michael himself took back in the day). Could this be interpreted as an increase in religiousity and interest in the divine? Not if you put it in so strict terms.

Yes, (from numerous interviews) people are interested in the wider questions. But most of the curriculum involves philosophy of religion and philosophical ethics…a consequent increase of interest in those subjects (as well as theology and religious studies) can be explained not by belief, but curiosity. What a strange age where religion becomes a curiosity, like literature.


Sexed up new words and douchebag phrases

Very often a new word or phrase comes into the english language in common use. ‘Sexed up’ is a phrase that was used to refer to the Iraq report on its weapons; where it was overplayed about the weapons capacity of the country (2003). In 1993, or was it 1999, the phrase ‘Institutional Racism’ was used to refer to the police’s conduct of the Stephen Lawrence case; of a black teenager who was murdered by a gang.

Yesterday came out a statement from the Chancellor who said that he was aware people were “pissed off” at the conduct of the labour government. “Pissed off” is a very interesting expression. In the United States, its’ a fairly normal, or if anything, regular phrase. It is a little rude but only in the sort of way that you can’t say it in children’s cartoons, but you can say it on Friends. In the UK, “pissed off” enjoys a more sever status. Not as extreme as “fuck” or “shit”, but above “damn”, and just below “bastard” (bastard is allowed to be said in most US television, I note).

On the way to seeing Sinistre, I passed a few shops; generally, shops and adverts tend to reflect what is, or has become commonplace language. I’ve talked about in the past, of the phrase “for sure” which has just suddenly appeared as commonplace among middle class upper educated people. I find the term “douchebag” quite an interesting one. I’ve learned its meaning from Robot Chicken and Family Guy. There was a sketch where Stewie says something like, they ruined [x] like how douchebags ruined the guitar, and what followed totally encapsulated what a douchebag was, I suppose the UK equivalent (although not structly equivalent logically) is the stereotypical Jack Wills consumer of clothing, the upper-class sonofabitch who wears a tracksuit while still looking posh. perhaps in decades of the future people will parody such a look. I hope no one ever parodies how I look!

Anyhoo, so the one phrase that I saw on the shop was “credit crunch”. I listen to a lot of BBC radio, watch a lot of BBC news, and lots of the stories are (sadly) the same; the difficult economy, the food situation and the ‘biofuel’ argument vs. india’s growing economy as reasons for the latter. Okay, so people seem to be using the phrase “credit crunch” to describe the economy situation. One the one hand I thought it apt because since everyone is using the same word to refer, everyone understands what we mean by this phrase. However, I am aware that the USA loan situation, or the situation with UK banks are hardly the prime reason for the economic situation; other factors come into play:

  • housing,
  • people betting on the stock market for how inflation goes (quite self-indulgent in a way),
  • Employment oursourcing
  • The growing economies of asia
  • (aforementioned) energy/food/resource management issues
  • The initial explosion of consumer spending, which is now slowing down

The point I am making is, that “Credit Crunch” isn’t the best word to use to describe this period, “depression” is a bit of a better one!! I looked up on wikipedia what “credit crunch” refers to, and it says that it describes a shortfall when many debts are taken which leads to high interest rates and changes in lending activity. Fine, that’s a good word to use in the case of the subprime instance. But for the economic situation genera? No its not. But the more people use it, the more people use it in adverts, television etc. The more it just becomes accepted.

Seeing a word that is new on an advert reminds me of how commonplace a new thing can become. I am immediately reminded of the dotcoms that became big during the late 90’s and early 00’s. How there were so many advertisements for (now defunct) dotcoms! So, that’s another instance of new phrases that we can understand in our public consciousness. “Ebay it”, one may say, or “I got it from Amazon”.


Politics of identity this week

I think, where we are in the situation of the politics of identity can show our stage of progress, and also, the relativity of our social situation. Consider the following instances:

Africa: Zimbabwe, South Africa. Both nations are trying to elevate themselves out of a discourse of racialised politics; the notion of a black Africa has passed; it was a response to a colonial discourse, but now the cultural climate and socio-political situation has become far more subtle. I suppose the acts of Mugabe characterise for us now, how dated an issue of postcolonial social issues are. Mugabe was originally the black visionary against British white rule; now, he’s a tyrant against progress.

USA: A black senator putting himself up for president on the same day that a civil rights leader (who was also black..) spoke 40 years ago. In the age of selling oneself; using the race card is a strategy to win, not a cheap ploy. However, that leads me to another issue I would like to consider (another post). On the same day, the republican opposite announced a (gasp) female running mate!! What’s next, a member of the ‘disabled’ community as the defence secretary? (just for the sake of it) I bet they even disabled him, too…

UK: A top Asian police officer acccuses the top dog, Sir Ian Bliar (sic) of racism. The number two officer accuses him of being on an ego trip and is using race to hide his incompetence. The other side may say that ‘don’t criticise us’ is a crude hiding strategy of racism. It seems to me, a moot point on either side.

It is interesting how the politics of identity comes into play. I was listening to a radio interview earlier today with Lenny Henry; where it was said he shares the same birthday (and age) as Michael Jackson; both are entertainers, both broke a racial barrier to get famous; but only one of them is still black (was the joke of the presenter). It was made a point, or rather, a question, to Henry of whether making a point of his ethnicity significant? On the one hand, sometimes its just pandering to a false ideal of how society actually is to force representation, but on the other, positively affirming the presence of difference in the community, and making our media reflect that. So, we can see black and asian presenters on the News as reflecting society, perhaps even sexual difference or disability (I found out a certain BBC economics correspondent was gay…I wouldn’t have known!); but on the other hand, if you go to some parts of the world, its just not ethnically or factually accurate to force ‘difference’ or ‘diversity’. Its not the case that we need a village black guy; if anything, that’s demeaning…

Still, a difficult issue. But an important one; like discrimination on the basis of belief; it is a sign of an advanced social and moral order that we have such interesting questions coming up, isntead of the more crude issues that have been behind us.

Sinistre (and Antisophie)

Can we define harm?

I saw this very interesting piece just now. It provoked me in thought.

putting the instance where the man is suggested to make the teenage boys to do this, aside. Then make a conceptual issue.

Is self-flaggelation harm?

Lets put another case; I remember when I studied criminology; they told us about these various cases where people engage in inflicting physical damage in relationships to express intimacy and sexual expression. Examples like, a couple stabling the male spouse’s testicle skin to a tree; and many others of a similar vein.

What does it mean to say this is harm? Consider the following appeals of relevance:

i. Agency
ii. Ritual
iii. Expression
iv. Self-identification
v. Definitions of harm…

The British sociological association defines harm in various (and surprising) ways; which show that harm is a concept that is very complex; for instance, it is emotionally harmful to reveal facts that a person may not have already known; such that it is inappropriate or problematic to disclose them to a subject.

Harm, is a social concept; as such, it is plastic.

What is the intention behind our putative ascriptions of harm? Why is it acceptable for some to wear an iron maiden; where a man cannot staple his testicles to a tree?