Please Report Antisocial Behavior

I was watching a sporting event recently, and there was a large sign in one corner of the stadium asking that people call a particular number to "REPORT ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR".

"Antisocial behavior". Such a frightening little phrase. No one likes a drunken lout at a sporting event, that is certain. Such louts used to be called "rude". "Report Rude Behavior" is much less scary. Why?

Because "antisocial" is a vertical concept, while "rude" is a democratic and horizontal idea. Antisocial is hostile or harmful to organized society. Why should you care if someone at a stadium is doing something that organized society wouldn't approve of? Meanwhile, rude means simply that it is personally offensive or inconsiderate of real persons.

This is how far we've fallen. We now so naturally think of ourselves as primarily parts of "organized society" (aka the State) that antisocial over rude makes sense.

"Antisocial" is also a tool for marginalizing. Anyone can be rude. Sweet little ol' grandmas can be rude. But they can't really be antisocial. Do you know who's antisocial? Outsiders. People who won't toe the line. Males.

Yes, our society and its men are in crisis. Men are growing up either to be wusses or to be thugs. But that's another post. For now, it does not help the problem to slide the veil of "antisocial" over ills and evils that our language has names for. Instead, we act like people who don't fall in line with organized society are ill. Wrong standard, wrong answer.

If you're worried about rudeness, ask for that to be reported. If you're worried about violence or crime, ask for that to be reported. A couple of hooligans kicking someone's head might be antisocial, but more importantly, it's wicked and criminal.

By the way, I normally rely on the British to at least apply the brakes to English-speaking civilization's long slide into euphemistic language. But it is they who have led the way on this one.

[caption id="attachment_9936" align="aligncenter" width="380" caption="I don't even know what this means."][/caption]


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