An open letter to morans

There are a lot of morans out there. Some of them are lovely people – this isn’t a message of hate – but they’re still morans, bless them.

And they could stop. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Heck, a lot of the time, I’m a moran.

Disclaimer: I use the term moran, of course, intentionally. Some of you will remember the source of this word.

This looks shopped.

Close enough.

I use it, like I say, not as a hateful thing although it is negative, I admit. I also don’t use morons, specifically, for reasons of developing sensibility. This is rather a long story and relates to my idea that, while I don’t consider myself racist (Racist Butt alert), I don’t doubt I would seem racist if I and my cultural baggage were dropped off a hundred years from now. And that’s cool. John Carter and The Time Traveller were pretty smart, thoughtful representatives of their ages, and they still had stuff to say about Redskins and Tasmanians.

I'm the racist butt


Anyway, the point is, people rail against political correctness but that’s just the way things go. People who rail against it tend to be the ones guilty of saying obnoxiously crude and bigoted things (myself among them). And yes, often that objection is entirely reasonable and there has to be a line at which you say “no more, now you’re just being over-sensitive, I’m going to keep saying it like it is and you can stop being a pussy.”

But that’s a moving target.

Most recently, it’s been retard that’s getting the treatment. This is a popular term on the Internet – someone or other is a retard, some idea or other is retarded – and it really doesn’t overlap with the mentally handicapped (who are strong and worthy of respect) in any but the narrowest conceptual and terminological way. But it can, and it’s derogatory, using a description of a person as an insult and thus turning that person’s characteristic into an insultingly negative one. USians don’t like it when we describe stupid or ignorant things as “that’s pretty American”, homosexuals don’t like it when people insult others for “being a fag”, and those with iodine deficiencies don’t take it kindly when a person calls some idiot or bigot or dangerous sociopath a ‘cretin’.

Where does it end? Dumb has long since fallen out of favour as a descriptor for either the stupid or the mute, although it still gets its casual and ostensibly harmless usage. Stupid in turn comes from the Latin stupere, meaning astonished (we get stupor from the same place); idiot from the Greek idiōtēs (person lacking professional skill, a private citizen) and the Latin idiota (ordinary person, layman[1]) which only later came to refer to the unintelligent or ignorant; moron itself from from moros[2] to refer to an adult with a mental age of between 8 and 12. Why, sooner or later, we won’t be able to use any negative or derogatory words at all! But then, in some conceptually-distant if not chronologically-distant utopian future, maybe we won’t need to.

[1] And you thought the idea of the average man on the street being an idiot was a new thing.

[2] Interesting note, moros meant dull and oxy meant sharp, which is where oxymoron comes from. Moron was once used to describe people with an IQ of 51 to 70, and was one step above imbecile (26 to 50) and two steps above idiot (0 to 25). Moros is also the name of the planet Keill Randor is from. Whether that means the Legionaries were blunt instruments or that they were always two steps ahead of the idiots (until meeting bad guys who were two steps ahead of them), I leave up to the reader to decide.

Speaking of utopian futures, this was still by way of a disclaimer.

Now, in that future, morans (for so I call them, in the knowledge that this term can only be seen as derogatory to people actually named Moran, and to these people I would say “well, please note the capitalisation and do try not to be pussies”) will not be allowed to drive, or indeed operate any kind of heavy machinery. Until that day, however, I’d like to minimise the damage they do to me personally by observing a few simple rules, for example:

To car drivers passing a pedestrian in winter (specifically me, and specifically in slush-time): Please note that changing lanes to keep from spraying me with slush is a nice thing to do, if you can. And I appreciate it. However, it takes forward planning. If you do it too late, you’ll achieve nothing but being in the middle of the median-strip slushpile when you get to me, thus drenching me more. This is doubly true if you’re driving too fast (and let’s face it: you are, because you are a moran). Furthermore, you may be unable to change lanes due to oncoming cars (ever notice how they always come when you’re passing a pedestrian, so all three pass each other simultaneously?), which mean you’re speeding past me and I’ll get slushed. Best bet either way is to just stay in your lane, and slow down so your tyres no longer spray slush. This is a classic example of how being a moran does not mean you’re a bad person – often, quite the contrary. But being nice doesn’t automatically make the shit you do OK.

To truck drivers in icy conditions: Your vehicles are huge and heavy and have long braking distances. You probably have training and experience in operating your trucks, so technically you will know this, but those of you who are also morans should take into account that the training and the being a moran will cancel each other out. So, therefore, do not tailgate people, especially when the roads are icy. They might even be driving slower than the speed limit (if, for example, they’re not morans). Still don’t tailgate them. If they slow or skid or turn or hit something, you’re going to crash into them and kill everybody, and the fact that you’ll probably also kill yourself is a small (although extant) consolation. The rule of thumb is to leave a three-second gap. For trucks, this should be longer. For trucks on ice, it should be longer still. Slow the fuck down.

To morans attempting to merge lanes with … you know what? Now I think about it, almost all of these tips boil down to driving more slowly.

That’s right, slowness. Something to which you, as a moran, should find yourself taking naturally.

So do it.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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19 Responses to An open letter to morans

  1. JonathanBloom says:

    Wait, is this a reply to the game last night?

    • stchucky says:

      The very idea that you guys would need to “slow down”, it makes me laugh.

      No, this is a reply to 14 of the 15 drivers who passed me while I was out for my walk yesterday afternoon, exacerbated by the fact that today has just been a shit sandwich with no bread so far.

      I am, however, pleased to say that the 15th driver, who actually passed me in a resonsible and intelligent fashion, was my uncle-in-law. I just wish more people had his common sense.

    • stchucky says:

      (And if it’s the non-PC usage of derogatory terms you’re worried about, this has long since stopped having an impact on me – if it ever did.)

      • JonathanBloom says:

        Oh, good. I honestly got worried there for a second that the joking around the table really did cross the line to something that offended and ruffled feathers in the worst way possible. It’s never the intention.

      • stchucky says:

        Not at all, not at all. If anything, I was looking critically at my own usage of some terms. I think I’m realistic enough to know that I’m not likely to stop saying things are retarded, but I could huff and puff less about how wimpy and PC everything is getting. So I’m crude and use offensive terms inappropriately. If the world improves and moves on around me, that’s well and good and part of becoming Old. The important thing is, the world improves.

        I don’t think exposure to The Bad Words is necessarily harmful, for example, to my kids. As long as the proper context is also hammered home.

      • JonathanBloom says:

        Oh absolutely. I also want to believe that everyone at that table and house are smart and decent enough people that they’d never in a million years actually use anything like that as actual hate speech or to hurt others. The moment it started to seem like someone was actually coming from a bad place, I doubt anybody would be laughing, with or at them.

  2. aaronthepatriot says:

    Sarah Palin, being an American/retard/moran/whatever-I-can-still-call-someone-stupid (and note she is one of the main reasons “retarded” has become “the r-word”)[1], objected when someone said she had a “retarded” child when in fact, medically, she has a fucking retarded child! So, how’s THAT for the PC Nazis taking over the world? Now you can’t even use a medical term for a medical condition. THAT has to be all niced up, too!

    [1] Yes I know the whole world doesn’t revolve around America but this is my experience on the matter and my pop culture reference that I’m sure has at least SOMETHING to do with this issue

    • stchucky says:

      Oh, make no mistake. The pop culture world revolves around the US.

      (I know: like certain words, this is something I can say but you, in good conscience, cannot. For PC reasons)

  3. aaronthepatriot says:

    “I don’t think exposure to The Bad Words is necessarily harmful, for example, to my kids. As long as the proper context is also hammered home.”

    So the proper context is…you’re really pissed off? And then of course, “pissed off” being kind of a bad phrase you have to have the right context for using that in your explanation, and so on and so forth? Of course what has a kid got to be really pissed off at, anyway? And yet still they will use those nice ejaculatory words once they learn them, as much and as often as possible.

    This is one liberal point where I am more conservative than you: not letting my kids hear foul language from me or Marta. Not that I judge you on account of it. But I think they’ll have plenty of time to be foul-mouthed, let them focus solely on expanding their vocabulary for now. Those words are too tempting and multi-purpose for a growing mind ;D

    • stchucky says:

      Quite so, quite so.

      My philosophy is, there are no bad words. There are only people who are bad at hearing them.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        That is an…interesting viewpoint. I thought sometimes persons were totally understandably unhappy about hearing words/phrases that imply certain acts, out of context and sometimes even *in* context. I wouldn’t dare suggest it was their hearing which was the problem. But I’m probably overthinking it.

      • stchucky says:

        I’m not saying it’s their fault and they need to change in order to stop being offended by the poor innocent words. I’m saying that people need to learn when not to say certain things to certain people.

        You know, guns don’t kill people? Ooh, that opens a whole new can of worms re: Thought Policing.

  4. aaronthepatriot says:

    “I’m not saying it’s their fault and they need to change in order to stop being offended by the poor innocent words. I’m saying that people need to learn when not to say certain things to certain people.”

    Fair enough and I agree, but that somewhat contradicts this:

    “There are only people who are bad at hearing them.”

    Which is why I asked the question. Imma go with your second comment on this subject and move on.


    • stchucky says:

      No it doesn’t. There are people who are bad at hearing words – for example, swearwords. And my daughter will have to learn, just like everyone else, that she has to be careful in what she says to those people. But not to me, and not me to her. Because it’s not on the words. It’s all on the people hearing them.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        I think I get what you’re saying. BTW let me say this right now: to each their own, when it comes to kids and swearing. I truly mean that and I hope you know that’s a big deal for me ;D

        There are a lot of people, at least around here, who would hear it poorly. Including teachers, other parents, and so on. It would pretty much cause no end of grief and even some ostracizing, I’m almost certain, if Madison (even) were dropping f- and s- bombs here and there. And at the age of 3-4, to know when and when not to drop them is incredible. In every definition of that word.

        However, words mean what they mean. Especially these, as they’re simple and well-defined. It IS on the words. I can’t go with you there.

      • stchucky says:

        Like Christianity is to blame for Westboro Baptist Church picketing funerals. Well, we’re both of us nothing if not internally consistent. *solemn wink*

        I’m lazy, so I’m blogging the rest of this.

  5. Pingback: Discouraging Words | Hatboy's Hatstand

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