I often use words like “crazy,” “insane,” and “nutbag” to describe people whose views I think I bizarre, illogical or bigoted. But as Tekanji points out, words mean things. And while words like “crazy” are pretty steeped in my vocabulary, it really isn’t all that hard to make an effort to purge them. Consider this Step 1.
UPDATE: Contrary to the cries on other blogs, I’m not trying to take away your right to use the word “crazy.” I hear the argument that crazy has a modernized meaning that no longer attaches to people with mental illness. I hear the argument that this is overly PC and ridiculous. That’s fine and dandy. You can go on using crazy all ya like. I will probably use it 500 more times myself, because patterns of language are hard to break. My only point is that it’s been pointed out to me by several people that the language I use does harm to them. My first reaction was to think, “That’s dumb, and this PC business has gotten way out of control.” But you know what? It’s not actually that hard for me to try to check my language. It doesn’t do me any damage, and it saves other people from some, so I figure, why not? If you feel no need to do the same, then don’t — but this post wasn’t about me taking on everyone’s use of words like “nutjob.” It was about me sifting through my own thoughts and use of those words. Why that bothers people so much is bewildering.