Log in

No account? Create an account
the coproduct of doom [userpic]

UKians, shed any light on 'spastic'

October 22nd, 2003 (11:44 pm)

Why is 'spastic' considered taboo?


Posted by: Matt McIrvin (mmcirvin)
Posted at: October 22nd, 2003 10:01 pm (UTC)

It's an old term for people with cerebral palsy, now become a term of insult in the way these things do. In the US it's almost completely shed the specific denotation, but not so in the UK, where it was used longer for the purpose.

Posted by: Tetsab (tetsab)
Posted at: December 21st, 2003 09:58 pm (UTC)

[Er. & a 'yo' to yourself.] ;)

I haven't heard that word since I left the UK. Funny, how these things pop right back up in unexpected places.

Mm. Your other respondent is quite right, but I felt compelled to add the general context that the word usually appeared in. In my world it was always on a playground and usually accompanied by whomever saying it sticking their tongue out halfway and speaking through the mess that resulted, whilst striking their chest with a halfway balled-up hand.

I mean, you hear plenty of schoolkids call people 'retard' over here and it's relatively (ha) inoffensive. Like 'fuck' in your article there.. it's quite decontextualized.

This has never been so with my experience of 'spastic' in Britain -- it is firmly tied to the idea that being anything less than personally perfect was utterly disgusting. And not only that, but it was also always done with intense viciousness -- I'll never forget that aspect of the word most of all.

2 Read Comments