ostarella: (MostAngry)
[personal profile] ostarella
So, a discussion on a writing forum about how to write a character who is 'mad', as in 'crazy'. And of course, he's violent!

Having a mental illness, I politely said that 'mad' and 'madness' are archaic and insulting, that the correct term is 'mentally ill' and that, btw, most mentally ill are not violent.

The members continued to use the terms. I again objected, and got all kinds of grief (including the 'threat' of being reported to the mods) because 'no disrespect' was intended.

Well, that makes it all better, doesn't it?

Sometimes the ignorance and arrogance of writers makes me want to puke... until I realize that they are probably no more ignorant nor arrogant than other folks. Just more pigheaded about their right to be so.

Date: 2012-01-13 08:52 pm (UTC)
beckyblack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] beckyblack
Gah, people. Certainly someone could give offence without intending it. But after someone has said "actually that is offensive", they can't still claim the offence is unintentional if they continue. They have to own the fact they've chosen to continue and take the consequences.

A person has a right to be offensive if they want to be, but they don't have a right not to be challenged on it by someone else.

Date: 2012-01-13 09:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ostarella.livejournal.com
Yeah, I would never say they can't use those terms - but they should be offended when someone calls them an asshole for doing it. (And, no, I didn't call them assholes - but I guess the implication was there...)

Date: 2012-01-13 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a1cmustangpilot.livejournal.com
I agree, not all people who are mentally ill are violent. Some of them just walk down the hall accusing you of either being God or Satan. Her story made me sad. :( I think some people take horror movies way too seriously. Perhaps they should spend a few weeks inside of the hospital as one of those patients and see if they like being called "mad", "crazy", and "violent".

Thank you for challenging these people on it because it is insulting. In character dialogue, it could be argued that a character would say that because s/he's either a jerk or severely uneducated, but when discussing characters? Uhg, that's just really really sad.

Date: 2012-01-13 09:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ostarella.livejournal.com
There is a huge difference between a character using offensive language and someone in real life doing it. But yeah, too many people accept the fictional depictions as fact - and writers who do just perpetuate the problem. And they should be the very ones who understand research and how powerful their words are.

So, I make myself unpopular among that crowd. I'm like, broken-hearted. :p

Date: 2012-01-13 09:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a1cmustangpilot.livejournal.com
Yeah and people forget that fact, both as a reader and a writer. Though I wonder, and this is purely curiosity, what about the times Murdock calls himself crazy? I know I've said it a few times about myself, but of no one else.

Heh, nicely done with the sarcasm! It's not a group one would want to be popular with if that's how they're going to think! I have a difficulty actually writing offensive characters who would say stuff like that about people because even though I know it's to show just how awful a character is, and it's supposed to make the reader dislike that character even more, I still don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

Date: 2012-01-13 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ostarella.livejournal.com
Though I wonder, and this is purely curiosity, what about the times Murdock calls himself crazy? I know I've said it a few times about myself, but of no one else.

Well, it's like blacks calling each other n*****. Between members of any group, there are words which are okay that are definitely not okay for people outside that group. The reason? Basically, those outside that group haven't earned the right.

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