Pursuant to a couple of statements made in another thread, I wanted to make a couple of points about language. All of thought, and much of emotion, is conveyed through the medium of speech. The blogosphere is a pale shadow of that because emotion is stripped from they typed word, and inflection is reduced to emoticons, italics, caps, or some encapsulation using *. You can still get your point across, but the power of that point (assuming you have one) is diluted by the medium.
That being the case, some of us like to emphasize with language. Foul language. Oh, yes. We like to curse, to berate, to taunt, to accuse, to cast aspersions. Many of us use this around the primary point, some of us use it simply as a method to halt the conversation. I have done, and been reprimanded, for both. Inevitably, some panty waist will wade into the conversation (or its degenerate brother, the argument) and start whining about how the point is dismissed when the foul language/name calling come into play. That refrain of "can't we all play nice" makes me want to gag. How much more obviously must that point be made?
I was just reading some articles in the Boston Review, and was struck by the articles evsicerating an opponent with the most meticulous care, all the while couching all that passion in ever-so-polite language. How is it that insinuating that your opponent "lacks the fundamental knowledge to support that stance" any different than "this guy is a moron and has no clue what he's spouting off about"? The insults are the same, you just strip out the passion, and assume that makes a difference. Any debate seeks to undermine the opponents position, and certain methods of doing that have been declared off limits. These are called fallacies.
Among these fallacies is the one that complains that an argument cannot proceed in the face of name calling. As if the point, "the Earth is round and orbits the sun", is rendered untrue or invalid when prefaced with, "Hey, dickhead". That's the worst kind of fallacy. and it is grasped at by folks who desperately want out of the argument. Ignore the opposing point, or piece of information, and cry fould over a slur. Now, this is not to indicate that I seek license to have some sort of cursing Tourettes attack in the course of every discussion. But every now and again, a good FUCK@! does wonders to focus your wits on the debate, and stir up both sides when it spirals downward in that bastard cousin of an argument (after all the points have been exhausted, and the retreading of the same points begins), the heated personal exchange.
Language is valid, no matter the form it is couched in. (Though I despise it with my whole heart, and flat refuse to have it spoken in my home, I even include the gibberish known as ebonics in that statement.) When you make an effort to sanitize that language, to ameliorate its impact by reducing something like "nigger" (a word that has come to symbolize bigotry and white guilt) to "the N word", or fiddle with "handicapped" until you end up with "handicapable", or any of the myriad other goofy PC terms that spring up for everything from blindness to obesity, you are saying that some things are unworthy of being expressed. Some types of speech, like hate speech, are unacceptable. Bullshit. Free speech means even the stuff that would gag a maggot, like an Aryan rally or Oliver North talking about patriotism.
If you have something to say, then say it. If someone gets offended, then just smile at them, wave, and call them a fucking idiot. Language is what we have to express how we feel and what we think, and any effort to curtail it is to try to put boundaries on those feelings and thoughts. It is the people that seek to do that who have given up on having a debate, or an exchange of ideas, without ever realizing it.