…can kill you.
In the 1990s, I worked for one of the best managers ever!
His name was Dan Bigbie, he remains a friend, and he taught me a great deal.
One of the many brilliant statements he used to make was, “Casual conversation can kill you.”
I have from time to time, spouted off, expressed myself, said what I thought, and spoken UP on a topic.
I learned the lesson from him, heeded his words, but…sometimes, I like everyone else fail.
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, was suspended this week for calling Laura Ingrham, a very conservative talking head talk show host, a “right wing slut”.
He was on air.
That was casual.
And it was tacky.
He did appologize, saying, “What I said was terribly vile.”
Yes Ed, it was.
I, like many others, catch myself thinking something, and when it comes out realizing that it sounded a great deal better while it was in my head.
But, once it’s uttered, or once I’ve spoken UP, it can’t be unsaid.
So, there’s often explaining, correcting, interpreting, and yes, tap-dancing involved.
That’s where Mr. Schultz, a well respected journalist…gosh, that was hard to say…finds himself.
I think, simply, this time, it was his choice of word.
If he were talking about a man, and had said, “Right wing bastard.”, no one would have blinked.
But, Slut, is pretty insulting.
Dictionary.com says: a dirty, slovenly woman, an immoral or disolute woman; prostitute.
Ms. Ingrham is none of that.
The word itself: c.1400, “a dirty, slovenly, or untidy woman,” probably comes from a dialectal German word, Schlutt. It may have been a family surname.
Who knows, they may have run the Best Little Whorehouse in Bavaria!
The Swedes used the word, slata for idle woman, the Dutch, slodder, but no one really knows for sure where it came from.
Geoffrey Chaucer, who all of us suffered through read in high school, uses sluttish (late 14c.) in reference to the appearance of an untidy man.
Hard pieces in a bread loaf from imperfect kneading were called slut’s pennies.
In the 18th century, it began to mean, “woman of loose character, bold hussy”.
We use it today, to dis anyone we find objectionable. Slutty clothes, slutty look, slutty girl.
It’s not a pretty word. Yes, I’ll admit, when Dan Ackroyd said, “Jane, you ignorant slut!” on SNL back when it was still funny in the 1970s, we all roared.
However, in today’s PC world, it’s a pretty ugly thing to say. Especially on air, and about a peer.
So, as I say to myself every freakin’ day of my life once in a while, don’t go there, I say to Ed, don’t go there again.
It was casual, it was curt, it was churlish, and it can cost ya!