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» Eye of the insulted?


Eye of the insulted?

2007-07-6 @ 12:56 » Français

Have you ever asked yourself who decides what constitute an insult? If we’re talking about verbal insults, is it the one who says it, or the one towards whom it’s directed?

Let’s take two examples:

  1. Someone calls you a weirdo, a term which, to you, is accurate, even pleasant; does it become an insult by sole virtue of the insulter’s intention?
  2. Someone talks to you like you’re one of his palls, you find that insulting, but is it an insult?

In this second case, we could argue that it’s not, and that the situation can be easily corrected by informing the speaker of our dislike (it’s more a question of ignorance and etiquette). But in the first example, we can feel insulted by the intent, whatever the word used. But if we’re not, the insult can turn back on the speaker: if we choose to take it as a compliment, it becomes insulting in it’s lack of success.

What do you think?