On a Replacement for “Bullshit”
Here's an e-mail from a linguistics junkie for your consideration . . .
Is using the word "bullshit" un-vegan? Does it perpetuate linguistic-based speciesism? Ditto with horseshit, chickenshit, dogshit — they're speciesist by default, if not always used in a speciesiest context.
I never associate the word with actually shit from a bull. BUT… we need new words that are cut free from exploitation. Just as people have chosen to jettison their slave names sometimes generations later, it's never too late to get the exploitation out of our words.
Also, I think it is easier than most people think to create new words. Especially if there's a need for a better word. And everyone has their private vocabularies among their kids or friends.
I invented a word couple years ago, which quickly took root among friends: Whiffdoodle.
Here's the definition:wiffdoodle – Also spelled "whiffdoodle." The iteration of an idea or plan (for an invention, business, civic improvement, etc.) which one knows he or she will never have the time, energy, or talent to execute. e.g., Chris: I had a high-quality wiffdoodle the other day. Wanna hear it? Cindy: Chris, your entire life is a wiffdoodle.
In a very short time, it's become very natural to the friends of mine who use it. It works, has a Roald Dahl quality to it. And the meaning is clear.
The lesson: If you pick the right phonemes (memorable, fit with existing ways of making words, etc.), you can easily get new words into use.
So here's a whiffdoodle: A book or series of books (maybe just a wiki) of replacement words for speciesist terms — of which there must be thousands.
For "bullshit," I'm still trying to find a substitute in my own vocabulary — once I do, will let you know.
Any ideas? Any thoughts on the speciesism or un-veganness of "bullshit"?