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Download Sticks and Stones: The Philosophy of Insults by Jerome Neu PDF

By Jerome Neu

"Sticks and stones may possibly holiday my bones yet phrases won't ever damage me." This schoolyard rhyme tasks an invulnerability to verbal insults that sounds sturdy yet earrings fake. certainly, the necessity for any such verse belies its personal claims. for many folks, feeling insulted is a distressing-and distressingly common-experience.
In Sticks and Stones, thinker Jerome Neu probes the character, function, and results of insults, exploring how and why they humiliate, embarrass, infuriate, and wound us so deeply. what sort of harm is an insult? Is it decided through the insulter or the insulted? What does it demonstrate concerning the personality of either events in addition to the nature of society and its conventions? What position does insult play in social and felony lifestyles? whilst is telling the reality an insult? Neu attracts upon a wealth of examples and anecdotes-as good as more than a few perspectives from Aristotle and Oliver Wendell Holmes to Oscar Wilde, John Wayne, Katherine Hepburn, and lots of others-to offer mind-blowing solutions to those questions. He indicates that what we discover insulting can display a lot approximately our principles of personality, honor, gender, the character of speech acts, and social and criminal conventions. He considers how insults, either intentional and accidental, make themselves felt-in play, Freudian slips, insult humor, rituals, blasphemy, libel, slander, and hate speech. And he investigates the insult's awesome strength, why it may possibly so quick destabilize our experience of self and threaten our ethical identification, the very heart of our self-respect and self-esteem.
pleasing, funny, and deeply insightful, Sticks and Stones unpacks the interesting dynamics of a phenomenon extra usually painfully skilled than essentially understood.

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Sample text

Each combatant typically had two seconds, though the number could vary, as could the length of the obligatory waiting period between challenge and duel—usually at least twelve hours. That there was some waiting period was part of what distinguished a gentlemanly duel from a street brawl. There were also time constraints of a different sort, having the effect of hurrying things up or precipitating action: after a provocation, one generally had just twenty-four hours to challenge, and the duel itself was to take place within forty-eight hours of that.

Despite feeling devastated and abandoned on those rare occasions when he was stood up, he regularly overbooked himself and so, inevitably, stood others up. Being much in demand, he generally got away with it without criticism. In his book, he attributes his deplorable practice to low self-esteem, claiming that “people of low self-esteem have a hard time realizing that they have any effect on others” (90). The more plausible explanation would seem to be a self-centered playing with power or a careless disregard for others (who might simply have ceased to exist for him when not directly in his line of sight).

Sometimes what is at stake is individual dignity, the entitlement to equal concern and respect. Moral insults go beyond bad manners and even beyond physical harms. When the United States interned citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II, insult was added to whatever other harms were done. The notion that people who were of foreign origin could not be trusted to be loyal to the United States was a slur on the character of those interned. But the notion involved and so the offense was even more specific and egregious, for only Japanese-Americans were in fact interned.

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