Labels are used to gag people

kml-art-charles-One of the funniest outraged letters I have ever received from a reader hinged on the meaning of one word. My article took a swipe at the royal family. The royals are open game for humourists because, firstly, they’re our favourite reality TV/sitcom on the tellie, a sort of ”Wife Swap Windsor” crossed with ”Snog, Marry, Reign” combo and, secondly, because readers don’t give a rats what you say about the wacky Windsors.

My article was riffing through the commonly held view that you have to kiss a lot of toads before you find your prince but included the caveat ”I’d rather kiss an ugly toad than kiss Prince Charles.” One sternly worded protest letter arrived under the letterhead of the Frog Appreciation Society insisting that ”toads aren’t ugly”.

The word ”ugly” may be a little prickly or fuzzy at the edges where we argue about its meaning, but most of us get it. We have a common view about its core meaning.

Words such as misogynist, feminist, racist, bleeding-heart, greenie and climate heretic, however, work in an entirely different way.

Read more @ The Canberra Times, 23 Oct 2012: Labels are used to gag people

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