Offering Oliver an olive branch

Kevin, the big guy who runs this place, has recently gotten into a kerfuffle with Oliver Willis. I’m going to stay out of the “meat” of the argument, but something Oliver said in the comments of Kevin’s piece struck me.

Drew from Dallas pointed out that Oliver, unlike Wizbang, requires registration to post comments. Oliver explained this thusly:

I have registration for my comments because I got tired of spam and rightwingers calling me racist names.

That bothered me. Nobody should have to put up with that kind of crap, not even Oliver. Now, I can’t do anything about the spam (I have to do some cleaning up of that myself, and I share his frustration), but I can do something about the name-calling.

I’ve always thought that there is an “art” to insults. A proper insult should offer correction to an erring party. Therefore, it should only castigate them for things they can directly control. Race, sex, national origin, general appearance, ancestry, and other such matters should be off-limits. One should limit oneself to attacking the other person’s behavior, statements, actions, associations, gross display of appearance, and the like.

For example, I think it crass to assail someone for being overweight and bald. Personal reasons aside, there are possible reasons for such things that don’t reflect on the person. However, repeatedly saying stupid things, hanging around with jackasses, and extremes of tattoos, body piercings, and creative coiffures are fair game. (They may also lead to grave bodily injury, but that’s a risk the insulter has to assume.)

Below the fold I hereby offer Oliver (and his detractors) a handy list of non-racial insults to hurl at him. It took me a bit of time, but I think I assembled a decent list that 1) reflects opinions I’ve had at Oliver at various times, B) is broad enough that most anyone can find some they like, and III) is void of racial overtones. I’m not putting them in the main entry because while they aren’t racial, some might find them quite offensive.


Asshole, Butthead, Cretin, Dipshit, Egomaniac, Fool, Gutless, Hypocrite, Ignoranus*, Jackass, King shit On Turd Mountain**, Loser, Milliwit***, Nincompoop, Oxygen Thief, Prick Of Misery****, Quisling,
Rancid imbecile, Shit-for-brains, Twit, Ulcerated boil on the buttocks of humanity, Vacuous, Waste of skin*****, Xenophobe, Yutz, Zero.

OK, I know I’m stretching on a few there. If you got any better options, feel free to chime in with your own suggestions.

* The Washington Post runs a contest where readers submit a “new” word, derived by changing a single letter in an existing word. This was a winner, and it stuck with me.

** My mother wasn’t an overly profane woman, but when she cussed, she did it creatively. This one was from her.

*** Someone 500 times dumber than a halfwit.

**** My mother again. This was her pet name for my father, especially during cutthroat card games.

***** A former boss of mine’s favorite term for a particularly useless person

Like Magnets to Stupid III
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