•   The Scalpel Chime   •  


November 20th, 2010


What the fuck is “disrespect”?

The concept confounds me. It seems to be based on some peabrained, prediscursive principle of objective morality that I’m pretty fucking certain I didn’t sign up for. The whole idea that I can in some way “disrespect” someone by saying what I think and that I should defer to some poorly defined structure of status in everything I do is disgusting and highly arrogant.

I can see them now — excited piglets prancing around imagined television stage sets, mewling about the latest terrible affront to their character; their lord-high-and-mealy-mouthy Soul! Oh, I cannot speak of it, but I must — my audience demands it!

Hurt. I can hurt someone by saying stupid shit. I am intensely aware of this, and I don’t strive to hurt people — mentally or physically. It’s a fucking stupid thing to do, but it has nothing to do with “disrespecting” them…

…nor, for that matter, does it seem to have shit to do with actual, human respect. Now, let’s be clear on this: I’m not referring to some platitudinal system of social status here — I’m talking about honest respect for your fellow human being, regardless of their status, situation or attitude.

Saying that someone is “disrespectful” is just another way of saying that they’re socially erroneous; faulty; discordant. Well guess what, fuckers? People are fucking different, and it’s part of that basic human respect to let people be who they are and express themselves without slamming some spineless, blinkered censorship gag on their personalities.

Playing out the shiny, prefab, blister-packed role of the Perfectly Normal Person defiled by a monstrous untermensch: oh, see how I rise above your animal filth and turn my back just so you can smell the potpourri fragrànce of my fanny breeze. Feel that siverlised rosebud opulence!

All right. Calm down. Breathe.

The only way that something can really be disrespected is if it is imbued with some entitlement beyond your own. A private can disrespect a major, but not another private — and what the private in question would be disrespecting is the rank, not the person. What you are effectively stating when you claim that someone has “disrespected” you, is that you are above them; you outrank them in the social order and therefore you are to be treated with reverence.

Some of us — many of us — aren’t too keen on people who think like that. We have these strange notions of equality and fairness. Furthermore, we have this outlandish idea that we have the right to treat everyone as equals. We may respect certain authorities, but we do so out of choice, possibly out of necessity. We don’t bow our heads to someone just because they believe they are somehow better than we are — that is, except as a feint to make that sucker punch to the gut all the more effective.

Still think this is disrespectful? Offensive, perhaps? Well, my dearest little piggy, you can stop reading whenever you want to. This is my column; my space. Anger is a perfectly reasonable reaction to attempted oppression, and unless your brain is entirely potpourried, you should have figured out that this wasn’t going to be a gurgling, sanitised piece on happy worm-babies by the second line. If you didn’t, consider this a lesson in thoughtery.

Where was I? Oh, yes… people are different. Your views and values are not universal, regardless of how widespread you may believe your particular clique to be. I don’t care if you believe you know the objective truth. You’re just another fat, convulsing tongue in a grimy sea of chatter. By all means, express your opinions — but don’t expect the rest of us to live by them.

Yeah. So there. Sermon over. Class dismissed. Just continue walking.

Me? I need to get more planks for these windows.