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HURF DURF YOUTUBE COMMENTATOR
July 15, 2012 5:34 PM   Subscribe


 
herp derp
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:34 PM on July 15, 2012


herp derp
posted by beau jackson at 5:36 PM on July 15, 2012


this is the greatest thing to ever happen to the internet
posted by xbonesgt at 5:39 PM on July 15, 2012


Is "herp derp" better than "hurf durf" or just thinner?
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:41 PM on July 15, 2012


No butter eaters.
posted by The Whelk at 5:43 PM on July 15, 2012


Ermergerd internert mermes!
posted by vozworth at 5:43 PM on July 15, 2012 [19 favorites]


It's just that I was passing by and seeing as how it hadn't been done I figured I might as well take care of it. It's just a thing, you know, like getting the dishes done, or watering the garden. See that something needs to be done, and just do it. We all pitch in around here, it's a family.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:47 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ermergerd internert mermes!

I had to look this up. Apparently I live under a rock.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:47 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mertaferlter: ermahgerd.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:51 PM on July 15, 2012 [17 favorites]


I installed this a few days ago and keep being pleasantly surprised every time I allow my eyes to wander downwards while watching a YouTube video. It's wonderful. It makes me laugh.
posted by Peach at 5:52 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Herb Derb." "Herc Derc."
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:56 PM on July 15, 2012


Where's the one that turns all MeFi comments that disagree with your point of view into "HURF DURF BUTTER EATER"?
posted by fiercecupcake at 5:56 PM on July 15, 2012


Next request: a plugin that herpderpifies the first ten Metafilter comments in any thread. LAZY BULLSHIT NERDSNARK BY THE POWER OF DERP I COMMAND YOU
posted by Sebmojo at 5:56 PM on July 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Wait maybe I've just been having this run on my computer for years without knowing it.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:58 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would install this, but I might miss out on some insightful commentary.

No, really, it happens. Happened.
Once or twice.
posted by Mezentian at 5:59 PM on July 15, 2012


Next request: a plugin that herpderpifies the first ten Metafilter comments in any thread. LAZY BULLSHIT NERDSNARK BY THE POWER OF DERP I COMMAND YOU

Speaking as an avid practitioner of lazy bullshit nerdsnark, I would actually welcome this as a way of upping my commenting game.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:01 PM on July 15, 2012


Herp derp mimics the mentally handicapped?

Like, are you being sarcastic or is that actually a thing?

Either way, I am happy about this post.
posted by windykites at 6:01 PM on July 15, 2012


I would install this, but I might miss out on some insightful commentary.

You can actually click on a herpderpified comment to reveal the normal text. I wouldn't have installed it otherwise.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:02 PM on July 15, 2012


"Hern Dern."
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:04 PM on July 15, 2012


It's not available for Internet Explorer users, who actually contribute most of those comments, you know.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:06 PM on July 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yes, herp derp mimics the intellectually disabled. It's a mimicking of the stereotype of nonsense noises that sound almost like words.

Yes, I am -that- person. Disabled classmates of mine have asked people repeatedly to stop using it because it hurts them to know people are mocking others by mocking people with disabilities. More than one person has asked, more than once. It hurts people's feelings, it makes them sad, and it does not lessen or hurt anyone to stop using a phrase that hurts people.
posted by FritoKAL at 6:07 PM on July 15, 2012 [29 favorites]


For the record, I always thought "HERP DERP" was the noise made by Sandpeople.

(I know, I know, they're actually called "Tusken-Tatooinians.")
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:08 PM on July 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would install this, but I might miss out on some insightful commentary.

I'd rerun your cost-benefit analysis on this before deciding either way.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 6:14 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoa. jwz is still doing his thing.
posted by schmod at 6:15 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, herp derp mimics the intellectually disabled.

The only thing that makes Herp Derp better agree than the last generation's "Duhhh" or "Durrrr" is that it so far isn't accompanied by any sort of humiliating handicap-mocking hand/arm gestures.

Though the proliferation of image memes tagged with "Derp" etc. that try to highlight people inadvertently displaying stereotypical characteristics of retardation is pretty damned disappointing.
posted by hermitosis at 6:16 PM on July 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I want a plugin that turns all Youtube comments into lowercase barely-coherent streams of consciousness punctuated which use "idk" and "lol" as if they were punctuation.

Oh, wait.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:17 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


*punctuated with
posted by dunkadunc at 6:17 PM on July 15, 2012


Heurpf deurpf
posted by homunculus at 6:20 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"derp" originated with the movie Baseketball, where it was an exclamation used on a character's finding out he'd failed miserably.

"derp" is always self-applied, sometimes by a cartoon character.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:20 PM on July 15, 2012


I once found a youtube comment for a music video saying something like "HELL YEAH THIS SONG MADE ME THE ANAL FREAK I AM TODAY!!" That alone has made it all worth the while. Thank you, YouTube comment board.
posted by eurypteris at 6:23 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


What if instead there were a plugin which replaced youtube comments with comments from random NYTimes style section articles. And vice versa.
posted by postcommunism at 6:31 PM on July 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


FritoKAL: I had never made that connection. Thanks for letting me know, I'm going to stop using it from now.
posted by litleozy at 6:31 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Regardless of what the writers/stars/etc of Baseketball are claiming, hurr durr and hurp durp and the like were words I heard as early as 1993 from classmates while I was in high school, and were used to describe/mock/stigmatize the disabled.
posted by FritoKAL at 6:31 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I believe it spread widely because of South Park having a character called Mr. Derp? I've always heard it is mocking of the disabled too.
posted by notseamus at 6:33 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I still believe: Derpy is best pony.
posted by SPrintF at 6:34 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


The QuietTube bookmarklet is still my preferred environment for watching youtube videos, provided that embedding hasn't been disabled.
posted by ceribus peribus at 6:34 PM on July 15, 2012


I don't find anything funny about the pony with lazy eye and some measure of intellectual disability being a joke, unless you enjoy also mocking people with those issues as well?
posted by FritoKAL at 6:37 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoa. jwz is still doing his thing.

Oh yes, and it is still delicious righteous nerd anger. Particularly enjoy some of his rants coming from his experience porting XScreenSaver to the iPhone.
Their claim seems to be that glBegin/glVertex had to be removed from the API, because to do otherwise would impact the performance of the whole system, by, I don't know, forcing GPU manufacturers to add new features to their chips or something.

This is nonsense, and I have an existence proof.

Because I've implemented the OpenGL 1.3 API in terms of the OpenGL ES 1.1 API, and it works fine. I didn't have to install a new GPU in my iPhone to do it.
posted by Nelson at 6:38 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't find anything funny about the pony with lazy eye and some measure of intellectual disability being a joke, unless you enjoy also mocking people with those issues as well?
posted by FritoKAL at 3:37 PM on July 15 [+] [!]


I find jokes that are funny to be humorous. Jokes that are not, less so.

The herpderp filter fits into the first of these two categories.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:53 PM on July 15, 2012


Herp Derp is quite tame when compared to I can count to potato.
posted by vozworth at 6:54 PM on July 15, 2012


I'm amazed on a daily basis how tightly privileged people will clutch onto their shitty habits that perpetuate the marginalization of oppressed minorities.
posted by triceryclops at 7:06 PM on July 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'm pretty sure I once had a plugin that replaced all Youtube comments with Dyson quotes, but I cannot seem to locate it now. Dammit.
posted by aramaic at 7:09 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sebmojo - I used to think that and then I spent half an hour listening to a classmate talk about how she was called Derpy Hooves consistently by people at SDCC last summer and saw her nearly break down in tears even recounting the story in an effort to get people to stop using hurp durp and durp durp.
posted by FritoKAL at 7:11 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


she was called Derpy Hooves consistently

saw her nearly break down in tears even recounting the story

Holy shit not cool.

Okay, yeah, 'HURF DURF' et al are officially over for me.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 7:15 PM on July 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


I didn't notice that this extension was made by jwz, so thanks for pointing that out. Way back in the day you could type "about:jwz" into Netscape Navigator and get to his homepage that way, and his homepage was always the most fun. Netscape got rid of that feature pretty quickly when they started to take over the world, for various reasons. Here's a bit more about that.

Those were interesting times, when the Internet was a lawless frontier. Jwz was kind of a hero cowboy back then. Nice to see that he's still slinging his guns.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:24 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


teh internets iz mean adn duznt understand persoanl feelingz.

-Gooby pls
posted by vozworth at 7:25 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


YouTube comments are the Heavy Metal Parking lot of the internet. I need them to sustain the illusion that I'm an intellectual.
posted by davebush at 7:27 PM on July 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't think jwz made it, he just linked to it. This is a link to a link.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 7:30 PM on July 15, 2012


Less amusing, but see also.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:49 PM on July 15, 2012


she was called Derpy Hooves consistently

saw her nearly break down in tears even recounting the story


Holy shit not cool.

Okay, yeah, 'HURF DURF' et al are officially over for me.


Hmm, this discussion has given me something to think about. I've never really associated the "H-D-words" (to coin a euphemism) with persons with actual mental handicaps, but more with those who did not use the intelligence that they were born with. I don't know if the "denoting stupidity through nonsense words" meme will ever quite leave my brain, but I think a little bit of sensitivity about when to use certain words might go a long way. Thanks, FritoKAL.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:50 PM on July 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I don't think jwz made it, he just linked to it. This is a link to a link.

Well, fuck him then. Does he still have that club in San Francisco?
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:54 PM on July 15, 2012


So when it appeared here, it was a reference to the disabled? Or? I thought it was supposed to be more like dumb jocks making fun of an overweight person (or just dumb jocks or someone who thought they were better than you, making fun of you)
posted by cashman at 7:54 PM on July 15, 2012


I understand that the "HERP DERP" is shorthand for "The way this person is writing is so uninformed and lacking in logic, only having something wrong with their brain would excuse them".

The thing is that people who actually suffer from retardation don't have a choice in it. They don't deserve to be compared with Youtube commenters. Youtube commenters by and large have undamaged brains, and the way they're talking is a function of being willfully stupid. People with retardation aren't being willfully stupid, they've just got a condition.

We need some kind of shorthand for what Youtube commenters sound like. Problem solved.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:57 PM on July 15, 2012


Dunkadunc - it may be used that way, but the origin is the hand flapping / uncontrollable movement and randon noises stereotype/mocking parody of people with moderate to severe disabilities. It is in essence saying "you are acting like a person with intellectual disabilities" and because people with intellectual disabilities are still people with a wide variety of social, cognitive and observational skills, there are many times they encounter or overhear such comparisons (excluding the many many time those words are used to shame or insult them directly) and it causes emotional harm.

(In Casa FritoKAL we use 'sock on head/duck on head/egg on head' to express that "Oh well that was a thoughtless/unwise/silly thing I've just done". It has the same sort of cadence without the associated being callous towards people's feelings" thing. Because lets be honest, walking around with a sock or duck or large egg on your head IS pretty silly.)
posted by FritoKAL at 8:03 PM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


So when it appeared here, it was a reference to the disabled?

I don't think that's what that person meant. The problem I'm talking about is this, which has arisen since then.
posted by hermitosis at 8:05 PM on July 15, 2012


When I have a tremendous hangover, I soak a sock in ice water and use it as a cold compress on my forehead. I am usually in great pain and I don't feel very silly at all, thank you very much.
posted by scrowdid at 8:11 PM on July 15, 2012


I don't want to turn the thread into a Derpy Hooves derail, but I'd like to point out that when you hear people enthusing about the character, they might not be talking about the version from the show. In some parts of the fandom she's been written as having a job, a family, friends, determination, and a positive outlook. She always does her best, and maybe sometimes that's not good enough, but isn't that something we all have to face once in a while?

This is as opposed to the show, where she does nothing but bumble around injuring people and breaking things.

posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 8:14 PM on July 15, 2012


For the record I'm not insisting that people stop using the phrase "Herp Derp" on MetaFilter or elsewhere. I'm just pointing out that whenever, wherever you DO say it, this is how many people will interpret your joke. It sort of doesn't matter whether that's how you actually meant it. That's just something to keep in mind when you deploy it.
posted by hermitosis at 8:14 PM on July 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Previously I Asked an AskMe about "Herp Derp." There's some really great comments in there on both sides of the issue. It's clear to me that, (A) some people think they have really good reasons for deriding the use of those words, while (B) other people think they have really good reasons for not giving a fuck what people (A) think, and (C) there's also people in the middle.

But, yeah there are some really great comments in that thread and it helped me understand the issue a lot.
posted by rebent at 8:48 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had been in the 'Heurpf Deurpf' thread before, but, since I had not spent much time on chess until way recently, I did not then pay attention Wolfdog's comment in in this exchange:

Is there an official distinction between the ?! and the !? interrobangs?

Chess notation distinguishes between them, where they are used as commentary on moves.
posted by jedicus at 10:04 AM on December 30, 2010 [8 favorites +] [!]


Yes, you could say that in chess usage, one of them is OMG and the other one is WTF.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:26 AM on December 30, 2010 [7 favorites +] [!]

Bravo!

posted by Anything at 8:49 PM on July 15, 2012


It's not like the first few dozen comments in this thread are gems of glistening wit.
The thing is that people who actually suffer from retardation don't have a choice in it. They don't deserve to be compared with Youtube commenters. Youtube commenters by and large have undamaged brains, and the way they're talking is a function of being willfully stupid. People with retardation aren't being willfully stupid, they've just got a condition.
Are you saying you believe everyone has the same innate intelligence, and the only reason cletus at the local bar isn't out finding the higgs boson is because they're just not trying hard enough?

Having an "undamaged" brain doesn't mean that you can magically understand reason and logic. A lifetime of bad education is itself a form of education. Maybe people have ADD or some other mental problem that prevents them from fully absorbing education that's provided to them. Either way, there's no reason to think that these people could snap their fingers and just become "smart"

None of that means I don't think people should use "HERP DERP" to make fun of the stupid.
posted by delmoi at 8:53 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm only looking at a higher grade of YouTube video, but I generally don't find the comments there stupid or offensive at all; some of them are brilliant and hilarious.
posted by Flashman at 8:55 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


OK, how about a plugin to change it all into fragments from a bad translation of Derrida instead? That should be about as incoherent as herp derp, right?
posted by tyllwin at 8:57 PM on July 15, 2012


I wrote a Greasemonkey extension that changes the YouTube comment typeface into the Mr. Saturn typeface. You can grab it and a link to the font here: http://github.com/james-kastrantas/dakota.

YouTube comments are way more fun when Mr. Saturns write them. Personal favorite? "har har"
posted by chinesefood at 9:02 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh, I like YouTube comments. I don't get it.

YouTube comments are like the rest of the Internet.

Don't bubble yourself; keep an open mind.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:21 PM on July 15, 2012


Yeah, I've actually seen some really great, informative YouTube comments but it's usually on more esoteric videos like documentaries, episodes of How's it Made, older archival/historical films and other similar things.

Comments that were so good that it was actually a shame that YouTube caps the comments at 500 characters.

But this trend rapidly breaks down the more popular and widely viewed a video is.

As for the "herp derp" thing, I've literally never seen it being used to mock the developmentally disabled, at least where I encounter it online at places like reddit. It's almost always used in a self descriptive fashion either to describe those special moments that all of us have, or to describe ones own ongoing continual doofy-ness in the strangeness that is life.

If anything I've seen it as a positive thing as it embraces the brain glitches and oddness in all of us and seems to make room for acceptance of these things. It's not used as a personal attack.
posted by loquacious at 10:45 PM on July 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Don't bubble yourself

You'll go blind.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:46 PM on July 15, 2012


As for the "herp derp" thing, I've literally never seen it being used to mock the developmentally disabled, at least where I encounter it online at places like reddit. It's almost always used in a self descriptive fashion either to describe those special moments that all of us have, or to describe ones own ongoing continual doofy-ness in the strangeness that is life.

I'd love to let myself off the hook with that, and I even sort of agree that it can be cutesy.

I just have to admit it's often followed by "never go full retard".
posted by jaduncan at 11:15 PM on July 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Points well-taken about the etymology and connotations of that phrase.

It would be helpful, therefore, if we had some other funny-sounding phrase that specifically evoked that magical place that the human mind goes to when faced with an anonymous comment form.
posted by bicyclefish at 11:53 PM on July 15, 2012


I use YT Options for Chrome to just not show the comment section. If I'm looking at a video that is likely to have worthwhile comments I can turn them back on with a click.
posted by atrazine at 1:12 AM on July 16, 2012


You can't tell who's being stupid because of a handicap and who's failing to use their intelligence. Diagnoses of mental disorders are only given to those who seek them out. Are they hereditary or not? We have a genetic test for Down Syndrome, but I think that's about it.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:20 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would be helpful, therefore, if we had some other funny-sounding phrase that specifically evoked that magical place that the human mind goes to when faced with an anonymous comment form.

People can and have turned totally innocuous phrases to the purposes of mockery. I don't think this is a problem that can be solved by nomenclature.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:22 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


cool another internets tool that lets me screen out groups of people i might at some point disagree with

herp derp indeed

@the whelk is 'butter eaters' a fatshaming thing
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:19 AM on July 16, 2012


It would be helpful, therefore, if we had some other funny-sounding phrase that specifically evoked that magical place that the human mind goes to when faced with an anonymous comment form.
"publius"
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:21 AM on July 16, 2012


Okay, how about hacking the plug-in to display your choice of

1) Carl Sagan / Neil deGrasse Tyson.
2) Louis CK / George Carlin
3) Buddha / The Dalai Lama
4) Cats
5) Porn
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:27 AM on July 16, 2012


As for the "herp derp" thing, I've literally never seen it being used to mock the developmentally disabled

Me neither, but that's probably because I try very hard not to hang around shitty people.


I have generally heard it used to mock people who were willfully foolish or momentarily stupefied. "Derp" seems like the sound my brain makes when it's farting.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:32 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Xscreensaver turns 20 this year. Jwz is a fucking olschool code fiend. He's like Tony Hawk. Club and pizza got you down? Code marathon.

Also, apparently, insensitive. Not a surprise.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:36 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe instead of "herp derp" all the comments could be changed to "meow meow meow meow."

Inspired by this piece of wonderment.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:46 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm amused that some folks are so dedicated to an historical etymology of a fairly generic bit of onomatopoeia that neatly sums up the sort of inarticulate mumblings that spring from foolish outrage (and owe as much to Skipper's hat-clenching, air-pinching, spluttering anger at Gilligan as to any modern "meme") and yet use the demeaning patrician construction that reduces people to a category they dub "the disabled." If one is going to pick apart every bit of language to expose the ugly roots of everyday words and phrases, starting out by appointing oneself a defender of the "the disabled" is possibly the most direct route to cognitive dissonance one can plot.
posted by sonascope at 4:55 AM on July 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


suprise twist ending: the complainer is actually the bigot!?
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:01 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


ermahgerd

I'm not sure if I'm more annoyed at people using a young girl's picture for this meme or at people older than twelve thinking a lisp is funny.

Humphrey Bogart is not amused, suckers.
posted by ersatz at 5:11 AM on July 16, 2012


Without a lie, I thought the origin of Herp Derp came not from the retarded school of ribbing, but from jokes about The Tea Party.

I only heard about "the disabled" aspect, here, thanks to My Little Pony.
posted by Mezentian at 6:07 AM on July 16, 2012


need this for all political ads across all media...thanks in advance
posted by incandissonance at 6:37 AM on July 16, 2012


As for the "herp derp" thing, I've literally never seen it being used to mock the developmentally disabled

I dunno if it's helpful to keep linking this, but now you have. As you scroll down you see fairly mixed usage of it, ranging from innocuous to actual mocking of actually disabled people, but it's hard to look at the general usage without beginning to see an underlying thread of consistency.
posted by hermitosis at 6:52 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, hermitosis, I was going to post almost that exact link, and a couple of examples of results for "herp derp."

No, it doesn't always mean "intellectually disabled," just like "gay" doesn't always mean "attracted to individuals of the same sex," but come on. It's the new "retard."
posted by that's how you get ants at 8:10 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow I thought that "Herp Derp" were just nonsense words, and to think that I considered myself pretty good at internetting...
posted by beau jackson at 9:04 AM on July 16, 2012


I am oddly curious how "durka dur" fits in the spectrum of offensiveness.

Because I use it frequently as comic release when I am outraged to the point of insensibility, though I prefer the variation "deh dooker derbs!"
posted by mrgrimm at 9:38 AM on July 16, 2012


Huh, dunno. To me that just sounds like a nonsensical variant on "gol durnit" and other sort of folksy backwoods swears.
posted by hermitosis at 9:46 AM on July 16, 2012


Well I mean I suppose we could all as a somewhat intellectual society reach a mutual understanding about how words might have a different context depending on the intended audience but no okay I guess let's all just demand another word is completely stricken from the English language instead.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:46 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow, I was also not aware that it was a "retarded" insult substitute. I was always just hearing the Swedish Chef in my head whenever I read it. May I suggest "bork bork bork" as a non-offensive, equally funny substitute for all of us who didn't mean it that way?
posted by ourobouros at 9:47 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know what? Lemme ask this. If a Swedish person said right now that the character you linked to offended them and was insulting to their heritage, would you have any different level of response to the people saying they are offended by "derp" when the person saying it is not saying it to or about a handicapped person?

Yes, that is a serious question.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:54 AM on July 16, 2012


Well I mean I suppose we could all as a somewhat intellectual society reach a mutual understanding about how words might have a different context depending on the intended audience but no okay I guess let's all just demand another word is completely stricken from the English language instead.

XQUZYPHYR, I think that the problem is less "this word should be forbidden" and more that people on the internet have a difficult time imagining who their actual audience really includes, regardless of who was intended.

Upthread I specifically said I didn't think this was the sort of word that should be banned or whatever. I just think it's important for people to know what other people might be hearing, and that it's based in more than just an oversensitive interpretation -- there are vast numbers of people out there actively using this phrase to demean disabled people. So I'll counter your "serious question" with one of my own: Honestly, if you happened to be blithely repeating certain jokes in public without realizing that many people found them ugly or demeaning, would you rather just be able to go on doing so without ever being informed or corrected? Because to me that is the very essence of privilege.
posted by hermitosis at 10:01 AM on July 16, 2012


XQUZYPHYR, I would certainly listen to what they had to say, and if it really hurt them, I would think twice about using it. Unless I heard otherwise, I'd probably be liable to understand it as a kind of intellectual distaste, rather than a deeply painful experience -- in other words, something that could be debated and discussed on an intellectual, rather than an emotional, level.

It makes a difference to me that I don't remember a whole lot of Swedish kids crying inconsolably on the playground because bullies wouldn't stop yelling "bork bork bork" at them -- whereas I definitely know full-grown adults who are still brought to tears by their memories of the extreme cruelty inflicted on them by bullies who used words like "retarded," "durr," etc. Even if I'm only contributing to that cruelty and trauma accidentally/incidentally, I just don't feel really good about piling on to somebody who's already been beaten to a pulp.
posted by ourobouros at 10:13 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, if Swedish people were commonly regarded as inferior or undesirable and were the butt of a great many jokes, and memes proliferated that basically mocked their speech and/or appearance, to the point that it seemed to make it okay for everyone (except them) to join in the laugh, I'd probably have a similar.

I mean, people in the US already commonly treat Mexicans exactly that way, and I'm not comfortable with it. I don't know why I'd feel differently about Swedes.
posted by hermitosis at 10:15 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd have a similar reaction, I mean.
posted by hermitosis at 10:15 AM on July 16, 2012


XQUZYPHYR - absolutely 100% yes. There is no shortage of words in the English language, and eliminating a small number from my personal use doesn't lessen my life if it means I can avoid harming people.

I look at it this way. If I stepped on someone's toe, I'd apologize and be care of their feet in the future. If I accidentally elbowed someone, I'd apologize and be careful of where my elbows are. If I accidentally upset, offend or hurt someone with my words I apologize and make sure to be careful of my language in the future.
posted by FritoKAL at 10:40 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honestly, if you happened to be blithely repeating certain jokes in public without realizing that many people found them ugly or demeaning, would you rather just be able to go on doing so without ever being informed or corrected? Because to me that is the very essence of privilege.

I'll repeat the response I generally already make, because this has already happened to me.

Offending people, especially the defenseless, is never my intention in anything I say or do. I almost never say "retarded" and certainly never in public company mainly because of a sensitive email I received years ago by someone who explained how it's hurtful. In that context, what I realized was it's not just the word "retarded," it's using it as an insult.

Furthermore, while I certainly am happy to be "informed" I take insult to suggesting I need to be "corrected" about something. When my cat falls into the bathtub trying to bat the water in in and I reflect how my goddamn cat just derped all over the bathroom there is no "correction" necessary. I said nothing wrong. If you feel insulted because "derp" is an insulting word someone can say about a disabled person, well I have no idea how that came into play here because I wasn't talking to, about, or in regard to that person.

I'm a huge fan of MLP and Derpy Hooves. Someone upthread mentioned that they had a child hurt by being called that because of her disability. Well the people doing that are assholes. Those are people who are using a word as an insult. I would never say something to a person like that to hurt or insult them. I'm sorry, and sensitive to, people who are offended by a word because of the way it was unfairly used against them. What I don't understand is how my saying it in a completely different context devoid of that malicious intention makes me a person exerting "privilege."

I have a three year old niece. She is adorable. She loves to run around and play and jump and squeak and her favorite animal in the world is monkeys. She loves toy monkeys. She likes to be called Monkey. This is, in fact, her nickname. Her parents call her Monkey. She sometimes says she is Monkey. I will call her Monkey. And she smiles when I do. As I'm sure you can gather from this, my niece and myself and our family is white. Because if there was a small black child in front of me and I decided to call her "Monkey," that would be a really fucking stupid and hurtful thing to say. But yes, I wonder about that hypothetical moment in a public park, or a playdate, or something like that, where one of my niece's parents do nothing but call their child by the name and word she loves and someone else in idle company takes offense to it. My niece's parents would not be exercising "privilege" by choosing not to agree that they've been saying a horrible thing to their daughter for the last three years.

This is where the things like Daniel Tosh and the Penny Arcade "Dickwolves" fiasco come into play: it wasn't about making an insensitive joke; it was about responding to a person being upset about an insensitive joke by in effect declaring the upset person a target, a wrong person who should be hurt further by daring to be upset about something. That is what I define as privilege: insisting that you have the right to say or do anything, as well as insisting that another person doesn't.

Maybe you don't find that satisfactory but I find a huge significance in this. There is a difference between refusing to listen to someone and listening to someone and simply disagreeing with them. When I was told calling something "retarded" as if it was just assumed that was a word that meant a thing was bad, I heard that complaint, understood it, learned from it and changed because of it. When I hear that "derp" upsets some people because of they way it can be used different than how I used it, I don't scoff at them but yes, I disagree with the idea that I personally have said a terrible thing, as well as the idea that I am perpetuating a culture of hurt by doing or saying something differently than they way it is said or done to actually hurt. I don't see that as privilege; I see that as the same right you and I share as members of a society.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:53 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


(urg. Paragraphs 2 and 3 should be flipped)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:11 AM on July 16, 2012


Furthermore, while I certainly am happy to be "informed" I take insult to suggesting I need to be "corrected" about something. When my cat falls into the bathtub trying to bat the water in in and I reflect how my goddamn cat just derped all over the bathroom there is no "correction" necessary. I said nothing wrong. If you feel insulted because "derp" is an insulting word someone can say about a disabled person, well I have no idea how that came into play here because I wasn't talking to, about, or in regard to that person.

What I find unsatisfactory is how defensive you are acting, as if anyone has "corrected" anyone simply by pointing out that yes, the phrase is often used in a derogatory way.

No one cares what language you use in your bathroom in front of your cat. However, you do admit you'd choose your words more carefully in mixed company -- say, in front of a black child, to use your example. Well a lot of the internet is "mixed company," though the social expectations of those communities are very subjective and vary widely from site to site. MetaFilter is certainly very mixed company, but even so, people don't guard their words quite as heavily online because they can't see the other people, and they are spared having to deal with other people's immediate reactions.

I disagree with the idea that I personally have said a terrible thing, as well as the idea that I am perpetuating a culture of hurt by doing or saying something differently than they way it is said or done to actually hurt. I don't see that as privilege; I see that as the same right you and I share as members of a society.

That's fine. All people here have been saying is that, like it or not, you will periodically be causing harm, or be seen as someone who's (intentionally or otherwise) perpetuating a culture of hurt. Of course that will depend entirely on exactly what you say and who hears it. If someone really does feel insulted and makes an effort to correct you, or chooses to say nothing and proceeds onward thinking you are less intelligent or compassionate than they'd initially thought, that's a right that they share with you as members of a society.
posted by hermitosis at 11:50 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


If someone really does feel insulted and makes an effort to correct you, or chooses to say nothing and proceeds onward thinking you are less intelligent or compassionate than they'd initially thought, that's a right that they share with you as members of a society.

Yes, I agree.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:06 PM on July 16, 2012


You mean herp derp isn't the noise starting a Honda makes???
posted by Twang at 2:18 PM on July 16, 2012


I got herpes from some derpies.

Just a warning for y'all. Stay away from derpies.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:12 PM on July 16, 2012


Herp is when you're Derp and you try to Hmm but can only Hurr.
posted by clarknova at 11:04 PM on July 16, 2012


XQUZYPHYR: "What I don't understand is how my saying it in a completely different context devoid of that malicious intention makes me a person exerting "privilege." "

Well, because friendship may be magic, but intent is not?
posted by ShawnStruck at 4:26 AM on July 17, 2012


I don't believe XQUZYPHYR was arguing that it wasn't offensive, only that it wasn't an example of privilege.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:00 AM on July 21, 2012


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