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AIBU to get annoyed when I hear the word "illegitimate" bandied about on Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives??

(78 Posts)
Liffey Fri 17-Oct-08 22:07:29

I never read it or hear it on GB/Irish newspapers TV shows. To my ear it sounds shockingly dated. I think it's quite a nasty little word.

Both times I heard the word on US tv shows, it was used quite disparagingly. By Lynette Scavo (not MN LS!) to describe her husband's child prior to their marriage, and on Ugly Betty, to describe Daniel Meade's son who he knew nothing about.

In some ways the Americans are so careful with their choice of words. They call a babysitter a childcare provider.

But the scriptwriters obviously know what's acceptable in US society, and this is deemed OK. I am absolutely shocked. Even in holy catholic Ireland this would be perceived as being a nasty dig at children who can't control whether or not their parents were married or not.


OK. I'll try and calm down a bit now. Maybe I should watch fewer American TV shows and read a good book.

JackieNoHeadJustABloodyStump Fri 17-Oct-08 22:09:06

Isn't that precisely why they chose that word though - because they knew it could be considered offensive?

expatinscotland Fri 17-Oct-08 22:09:56

Please try to calm down.

It's a TV show.

It's also a legal term. Even now, in British aristocractic families, an heir must be legitimate to inherit. That's how it is.

'Bastard' is a nasty word. Illegitimate is, well, just a word.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 17-Oct-08 22:10:13

But I think in both cases the word was used to have a dig wasn't it? In the Ugly Betty case anyway. Wasn't it Wilhemina? Who is supposed to be nasty?

2shoesdrippingwithblood Fri 17-Oct-08 22:11:11

be calm
yanbu but ffs you are talking about a country that uses the word spaz!!

hollyandnoah Fri 17-Oct-08 22:12:27

it's just a word, doesn't sound offensive imo :|

poshbloodencrustedwellies Fri 17-Oct-08 22:13:05

Both programmes are a pile of shite-watch something else and chill out a bit grin

juneybean Fri 17-Oct-08 22:13:39

Better than saying bastard no?

TheFallenMadonna Fri 17-Oct-08 22:14:13

Someone else on here got riled at Ugly Betty recently too. Clearly contraversial...

Aitch Fri 17-Oct-08 22:14:43

yabu. in fact you're being a little bit crazy as it's Not Real. grin

now, on the subject of getting cross with not real life...

i am HORRIFIED that the solution to a child whose mother was a vindictive fruitcake who dumped her on her unknown father (and cancer suffering wife and loving family) before promptly dying... who becomes consequently disturbed... the solution to dealing with this poor freaky fucked up kid is to send her away to live with her maternal grandparents. shock

expatinscotland Fri 17-Oct-08 22:14:45

yes, you never hear 'spaz' or 'mong' or 'retard' in the UK, much less bastard hmm.

Flibbertyjibbet Fri 17-Oct-08 22:17:02

Its an American tv show. From my experience of all my relatives in America and their attitude to me and dp not being married, perhaps legitimacy/illegitimacy still are an issue over there?

(Expat will probably tell me I'm wronggrin)

TheFallenMadonna Fri 17-Oct-08 22:18:27

Oooh Aitch. You are right about that. DH and I were unimpressed at that.

expatinscotland Fri 17-Oct-08 22:21:05

nobody bothers getting married there, either, flibberty. i mean, Dick Cheney's daughter is a lesbian, Sarah Palin's teenage daughter is a teenager and unmarried and pregnant, Britney's sister is an unmarried teen mum, on and on.

no one much cares.

Liffey Fri 17-Oct-08 22:21:17

I'm amazed you don't think it's offensive. It's the opposite of legitimate. So what does that mean? My dc1 is less legitimate than my dc2?

It's extremely dated. Terms like spaz and mong or rightly recognised to be offensive.

Illegitimate will be considered too offensive to use, in time.

Flibberty, I think you are right, it is a bigger shame over there. That's why it's kind of nasty to label any child illegitimate imo.

If it had no inherent stigma to it that would be fine. But there is a sort of taint about it which makes it offensive.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 17-Oct-08 22:22:26

But it was supposed to be offensive. Wilhemina is offensive. And amoral. That's the point of her.

Liffey Fri 17-Oct-08 22:23:15

Expat, The scriptwriters for My Family wouldn't put the words 'bastard' or 'mong' into the characters' mouths, even if people do say these things in rl sometimes.

Aitch Fri 17-Oct-08 22:24:09

lol. you do seem to be missing the point of tv drama, liffey. grin

Aitch Fri 17-Oct-08 22:25:06

didn't bianca call someone a spaz on eastenders recently?

Flibbertyjibbet Fri 17-Oct-08 22:25:42

I never ever have a conversation with any of my US cousins without the subject of when dp might 'make an honest woman out of me'.

They are very church going and don't even know that this branch of the family is lapsed blush

I do feel that a higher % of american parents are married before having their children, they are more traditional no?

Expat you've been living among us shameless brits too long!

expatinscotland Fri 17-Oct-08 22:26:26

'Expat, The scriptwriters for My Family wouldn't put the words 'bastard' or 'mong' into the characters' mouths, even if people do say these things in rl sometimes.'

And you think that would pass muster in America to say on TV?! Well, actually, the word 'mong' is never used there, even IRL. First time I heard it was here. They can sometimes get away with 'bitch'.

But this is a country where you can't say stuff just because it's past 9PM. You just can't say it at all unless it's on cable.

It's a TV show.

Liffey Fri 17-Oct-08 22:26:35

Yes FallenMadonna, you're right about Wilhemina, she is deliberately awful, but the character Lynette Scavo is a good character and she described her husband's child as illegitimate.

I know it's only tv, but it's kind of shocking to realise that it's considered so shabby to have a child outside of a marriage that it's fairgame for scriptwriters to take a pop. Not scriptwriters exactly, but they write within the boundaries of what's considered acceptable, so taking a bit of a swipe at illegitimate children is OK.

expatinscotland Fri 17-Oct-08 22:27:08

i know plenty of folks there right now, flib, who haven't gotten married and have kids.

big deal.

seriously, most people don't really give a hoot.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 17-Oct-08 22:27:20

Well, that might be their Church-going-ness rather than their American-ness perhaps? My PIL did a lot of that too, and they're from Devon...

TheFallenMadonna Fri 17-Oct-08 22:29:27

But she would have said it in extremis surely?

I don't find it that awful TBH.

My Grandad always said I came from a long and illustrious line of bastards, and I can't get too riled over itgrin

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