Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Supremacy? Or Just a Failure at English?

Judgy Bitch lays bare the problem with creating a list that says “such and such is BEST” or “better” or whatever.  I’ve tried to explain to many different folks that by saying something is “best” or that something is “better,” that by the definition of those words, you are saying that something else is not – that the things you are referring to as “best” and “better” are superior to something else. 

Because of this, one must be careful not to inadvertently insult someone or something by using those terms, because both terms, by their definition, require there to be some other item to which the proposed superlative item is being compared.  Say something like “women are best” and you say something about men in the process.  Tell your group of friends that you think Billy’s truck is best, and you say something about everyone else’s truck. 

Usually, that’s okay.  But there are times when saying these things is fraught with peril, such as Judgy Bitch's apt example about talking about how white people are best. 

As an aside, this is why the Diet Dr. Pepper commercials drive me crazy – “DIET DR. PEPPER TASTES MORE LIKE REGULAR DR. PEPPER”

Than what?  The phrasing of that sentence requires a comparison, and without it, the sentence becomes meaningless. 

I’m sure it does taste more like regular Dr. Pepper than a whole host of things – it is probably closer in taste to Dr. Pepper than, say, a steaming pile of horseshit, or axle grease.  It likely tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper than corn on the cob, or a can of regular coke would.  “Best,” “Better,” “More like” etc are all comparison words and require a comparison, and it behooves any person using them to clarify to what they intend to compare their subject. 

“Reasons why Women Are Better?” 

Than what?  A swift kick in the vagina?  A fork in your left eye?  A flying, skittle-shitting, rainbow farting unicorn?  Freezing to death?

Or did you mean “better than men?”  Because you did not specify.  I’m hoping it’s one of the above, because the last option there sort of smacks of supremacy and that really isn’t cool.    

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