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why is "village idiot" disablist, but "loon" not?

(215 Posts)
porcamiseria Wed 17-Aug-11 09:22:51

sorry not picking on the poster that used the term "loon" but interesting that mitmoo got fucking CANED, and the other OP did not

smacks to me as an excuse for people to kick the living shit out of a poster that has annoyed them

you bullies! I dont agree with what mitmoo has posted . however I think this is more about bullying annoyance at a certain poster, using the PC excuse of disablist language

nuff said

TheMitfordsMaid Wed 17-Aug-11 09:28:01

Loon is all over MN, always has been. I do agree that it shouldn't be.

Pagwatch Wed 17-Aug-11 09:29:14

Morning Porca smile

It isn't even half past nine......

(Can you do me a big favour. When this kicks off can you tell me to leave as I wasted much of the day yesterday on a big old pile of anti-sn shite)

I didn't see the thread. I think context makes a difference to me -the intent of the speaker if you will. But broadly I think words and phrases that upset the majority of the 'target' group should be avoided and they seem to me to be those words phrases most commonly used in a nasty way.

Loon has lost much of it's negative meaning for me, used about people who are flighty or silly and rarely throw at someone as a nasty insult. Retard is the opposite.
I have no strong feelings either way about village idiot.

porcamiseria Wed 17-Aug-11 09:30:51

ha ha, I know I need to do some bloody work, but it REALLY ANNOYED ME! i hate it when people have a crowd shit kick bully, and in the guise if being "noble". hyoctitical fuckers

Pagwatch Wed 17-Aug-11 09:32:19


I would look it up but seriously, the whole bloody day yesterday...

dolldaggabuzzbuzz Wed 17-Aug-11 09:32:31

Please excuse my ignorance. I didn't realise either of those terms were disablist.

What about 'barking', 'bonkers' and 'ignoramus'? I genuinely want to know if terms I hear and have used are inadvertently offensive to people with disabilities?

TheBigJessie Wed 17-Aug-11 09:34:46

I thought "loon" derived as a insult from the North American bird.

Is it disablist then? Dammit.

Fuzzywuzzywozabear Wed 17-Aug-11 09:36:57

I thought it derived from lunatic

porcamiseria Wed 17-Aug-11 09:38:05

north american bird! are you a scrabble player, nah it comes from "lunatic", which is, as far as I am aware, a term for someone with mental illness used in the less enlightened victoiran times

really, there are few words we can use then. craxy? nah. mad? nah. etc etc

Cattleprod Wed 17-Aug-11 09:39:25

It would be useful to have a list of words which are considered disablist. Lots of people don't know the origins of a lot of the words. I'm not sure myself whether some words are offensive or not. Some are obviously offensive, some could be considered so in certain contexts, others are innocent playground insults with no reference to disability. But which is which?

noddyholder Wed 17-Aug-11 09:39:55

I thought loon came from lunar and was referencing moods as affected by the lunar cycle

TheBigJessie Wed 17-Aug-11 09:42:11

A very bad one, yeah.

Read about the loons here

Actually, some things are clicking in my mind now. I know loons have a distinctive "laugh-like" cry. They're probably named after the mentally ill, then.

choclatelickurs Wed 17-Aug-11 09:42:50


Pagwatch Wed 17-Aug-11 09:44:25

I am a simple soul. Mostly if it is not something that certain types tend to shout at my son with 'fucking...' in front of it, I tend to be fairly relaxed.

So 'you fucking retard' is the phrase of choice
You fucking ignoramus would be a first grin

DrKoothrappali Wed 17-Aug-11 09:45:27

I think its because village idiot would have been used to describe someone with mental disabilities, loon usually refers to mental illness.

Socially it is more acceptable (though of course it shouldn't be) to be rude about mental illness than it is to be rude about mental disability.

porcamiseria Wed 17-Aug-11 09:48:28

I did not know there was distinction between the two DrKooth, I am learning alot

TheBigJessie Wed 17-Aug-11 09:50:31

I'm never going to be able to use "loon" again. I now remember reading a short story as a child that featured loons a lot, and I think the author used the phrase "lunatic cry of the loon" frequently.

breatheslowly Wed 17-Aug-11 09:51:58

I think we may need a list of acceptable and unacceptable terms. Is "idiot" ok but "village idiot" not ok or are they both disablist?

DrKoothrappali Wed 17-Aug-11 09:52:42

I'm no expert but I think mentally disabled would describe someone with an untreatable, permanent condition, such as brain damage caused at birth.

Whereas mental illness could be depression which can be treated and managed.

Sadly, I think both get discriminated against which is disgraceful.

Kladdkaka Wed 17-Aug-11 09:53:17

<post copied from other thread>

procamiseria according to the Oxford dictionary loon doesn't come from lunatic. It comes from a 19th century word describing a bird's action when escaping from danger and now means a silly or foolish person.

By the way, I thought threads about threads weren't allowed on this forum. confused

ChickensHaveNoEyebrows Wed 17-Aug-11 09:54:40

I've always associated 'loon' with the bird which sounds like it's cackling. I'm a Stephen King fan, and he often has loons cackling away in the background when something Bad is about to happen.

porcamiseria Wed 17-Aug-11 09:55:43

says who? who says thread about threads are not allowed? WHO!!!!! MN bad form - my arse!

every day someone starts a thread about a thread, its not a big deal, think os somalia! come on

I disagree, I think loon comes from lunatic, the loon bird is a red herring

AgentProvocateur Wed 17-Aug-11 09:57:11

Mentally disabled and mentally handicapped are not really used nowadays. Learning disabled and people with learning disabilites are preferred by most people, and used in organisations that support people.

DrKoothrappali Wed 17-Aug-11 09:57:11

I think idiot is ok, because anyone can do something idiotic, it doesn't infer any sort of illness/disability. eg. my husband puts dinner in the oven but forgets to turn it on I could say 'you idiot, you forgot to turn the oven on'. But as with any word, its the context that hurts. If someone shouted 'you fucking idiot' at a child with downs syndrome in the street then that would be disabalist. But in that case its the context that is disabalist, not the word if that makes sense.

I think village idiot is usually offensive, just because of its history of being used to describe mentally disabled people in the community.

BunnyWunny Wed 17-Aug-11 09:58:05

Only on mumsnet would the word loon offend someone!

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