Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Urban Slang Christian Censorship?

I love the Dictionary of Urban Slang. This is a dynamic site where slang terms are submitted and users offer a thumbs up or down to define which definitions most closely resemble popular usage. For example, 2,950 people agreed that "fucktard" is "a contraction of 'fucking retard,'" while 519 disagreed. By Urban Dictionary standards, this is a decisive margin.

1,729 to 1,205 agree that the definition of fucktard is George W. Bush. While this is less of a landslide, the people have nonetheless spoken.

The dictionary includes 41 variations on the word "fuck," including 17 on the fucktard concept alone.

Clearly a major cultural resource. The Urban Dictionary is radical democracy in action. You can watch the language evolve before your very eyes.

Which is why I'm so disappointed to learn that censorship is built into the system.

On March 29th, I made a post to my blog that concluded with a reference to my "Jesus Year." I have a friend who was once a Franciscan friar, and remembered him and his boyfriend telling me that the age of thirty three was a make or break transition year for some people. Apparently there are some rock stars who died at this age and that sort of thing. I'm not sure.

Which is why I turned to the Dictionary of Urban Slang to see if my friend was the only person on the planet who used this term. I was surprised and excited to see that there was no entry. I, Tim Harris, now had an opportunity to add to the urban lexicon.

I googled for examples of usage. There was a blog that said it was when you are 33, and "do your best work, but get crucified for it." Another said it was "a time of transition" when one "ponders what they’re going to do now that they are grown up and can’t party any more." Yet another blog said that "this is the year you're supposed to put some good stuff out there - Karma wise."

Clearly, the concept is a bit up for grabs.

I found this entry on the Double Tongued Dictionary, which I regard as wrong. I then posted my addition to the Urban Slang Dictionary. It read as follows:

The age of 33, at which Jesus is said to have been crucified, is thought by many to be a year of great personal transition.

"I had my Jesus year a while ago, and it totally sucked, but things are better now."
When I didn't hear from the editors about my entry being approved, I checked back and found that this entry was added eleven days later, on April 9th:

The 33rd year of your life. Time to get moving and get things done (maybe).

Next year is my Jesus year, I better stop drinking.

While this is in the ballpark, I think you'll agree that this definition is a bit pale and has slightly different meaning than mine. Nonetheless, I gave it a "thumbs up." But where was my entry?

Well, yesterday, I received notification that "the editors" chose to not publish my submission!

Who are these fucktards?

Apparently, anyone who wants to be. I could sign up to be an editor right now if I wanted to. And then I too could be one of the fucktards who get to vote on whether submissions ever get published, and thereby exercise prior control over the definition of our language.

I mean, I thought the whole point was to put competing usages up for a vote?

Since no explanation was offered, I can only speculate as to what the problem might have been. I choose to believe that I am the victim of a conspiracy; that a bunch of fucktard Christians have decided to exercise majority control over the Urban Dictionary, and make sure nobody talks about Jesus, or anything else, in a way that offends their sanctimonious sensibilities.

This is perhaps the smallest injustice in the history of the planet. But it still pisses me off. Save the Urban Dictionary from Christian fascism.

Go to this online form, choose "Suggestions" from the drop down menu, headline your post "Fuck the Fucktards," and refer them to this post for details. It's our language. Let's defend it.


Dr. Wes Browning said...

I thought the term Jesus Year was well established. When I was 13 I was afraid I'd die during or before my 33rd year because of a dormant martyr complex I was sure would kick in at that time, that would have been established by the careful brainwashing of me by the people who forced their megaloreligion on me. I figured I was their Manchurian Candidate for Jesus. I wondered what it was I was programmed to do just before the unbelievers caught me and hung me up. At the time I thought it would have somthing to do with my virginity, which I also saw stretching out before me until my sudden violent death at age 33, which felt like a blank brick wall in my destiny.

Dr. Wes Browning said...

OMG it's worse than I thought. They won't allow Jesus Year but there are 81 definitions of Jesus permitted? Running the gamut from "the dude who mows my lawn" to a full quote of the creed? What, did they just decide 81 is enough?

FCSuper said...

They will allow it. Many of the editors are haters who themselves couldn't get obviously made up stuff through. It's against the rules of UrbanDictionary for editors to discriminate based on person feeling or believes. I would resubmit. If it is rejected again, simply send Urbandictionary staff a message that shows its usage in pop culture. I had one word not go through originally, but appealed, and it showed up one day a couple weeks later.

What I've also found that some of the editors want to claim the word as their own, so they will reject yours, only to submit their own competing definition. It seems like this happened to you. I had it happen to me once (though mine incident was without the rejection, but still a snide competing definition that was meant to to derogatory to users of the word). It's kinda the wild west on there. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

I'm looking-up Saul Alinsky docs and this Bush cum Fucktard entry pops-up. Nice.

While I'm here, I suggest Urban Dic didn't load your Jesus Year definition because they thought you were proselytizing for JC. HAH.

Eh, 33 comes and it goes every 7 years or so . . .

Anonymous said...

What's even more cruel is...they have quoted you on their site, the "New Saturday" quote.


Makes one think.