Wednesday, May 14, 2014

35 Ways British Men Can Address Each Other, Defined

35 Ways British Men Can Address Each Other, Defined: "28 People Who Totally Kinda Had A Little Bit Of A…"

The linked piece is a list of forms of address in contemporary Britain. The interesting thing is, the more insulting the term the closer the social relation. It is pretty funny and worth a read on its own.

It reminds me of something that has often struck me: the names for political parties and movements in the English speaking world tend to have their origins in insults from the other side of the political debate. Both 'Whig' and 'Tory', for instance, started out as terms of abuse. In effect, they answer "Yes, I am, so?" I think it is an attractive and manly--if one is still allowed to use such a term--sort of custom. The contrast with our contemporary political discourse is striking. We are continually monitoring the utterances of the other side to find a word we can pounce upon and loudly demand an apology for.

I suspect that the approach represented by the older discourse is healthier. It is certainly more fun.

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