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Death of a mailmare... - Fluorescent Dreams Wax Cylinders

25th of February, 2012

12:01 - Death of a mailmare...

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Date:2012-Feb-26 03:10 pm (UTC)
I think the problem might have to do with a rapidly evolving term and cultural clashes in that regard.

In the US, it's typical for teens to use words to refer to something as stupid that are offensive to some group: "That's so retarded" and "that's so gay" are the two most common, although I've also heard people complain about "that's so lame" (I don't see the problem as clearly there, because "lame" can refer to either a person or a thing).

I've never heard someone say "that's so derpy", but I *have* seen several high school students apparently mimic a person with a cognitive impairment while saying "Derptyderptyderp". One of them apologized to me (their teacher) afterwards by saying, "Oh, I guess I shouldn't make fun of them". So for at least *some* US teens, "derpy" is becoming a synonym for "retarded".

The thing is, though, I don't know how widespread that is. Obviously, for a lot of people, "derpy" just means "stupid", in a non-offensive and even self-deprecatory way. The most famous person with derped eyes was Marty Feldman, well before the term "derp" was in use, and he played silly and vaguely stupid but not cognitively impaired characters, such as Igor in Young Frankenstein.

So I don't know. I imagine most people who actually use "derpy" mean it to be non-offensive and silly, but there are a small number who use it to mean something offensive. But terms evolve, and there might be the concern that over time the word might well become much more widely offensive. Or this might be trigger happy political correctness based on a small group of offended individuals who think a group that rightfully shouldn't be laughed at because of their impairment aren't being laughed at (I'm reminded of the original Jar Jar Binks kerfuffle, where Lucas was accused of being racist for creating a "Sambo" character, even though (1) Ahmed Best, a black actor, not George Lucas, a white director, came up with the accent and mannerisms and (2) Jar Jar Binks's actual lines weren't in a grammar typical of any "Sambo"-style character *I'm* familiar with).
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