You scumbag, you maggot!

Time is rife for something that’s been rambling around my head for a very long time. I don’t really do topical posts – but I do like a good rant and this one happens to be topical. So here it is; I’ve had a problem with the word scumbag for quite a while. To me a scumbag is the lowest of the low, scum of the earth, like someone who’d stab someone in the head with a screwdriver! But in the last few years people all around me have been using scumbag (or Knacker) for anyone with a thick Dublin accent or who dresses in a certain way.

Ever since I stopped working in factories, got myself a (very late) third level education and a decent job I’ve felt like some kind of spy. I’m constantly shocked by people around me referring to people they know nothing about as scumbags or knackers. “Did they they really just say that in front of me!? they must think I’m one of them! I’m not! I’ve been in groups of people, smugly referring to some group of scumbags and I’m there thinking “I know lots of the people you’re talking about and they’re more honest, clever, and witty than you’ll ever be“.

Quite often people who I really wouldn’t expect it from really surprise me with the stuff they come out with. “I wouldn’t go near that shop/pub/park/beach. Full of scumbags!” You mean people who weren’t as privileged to get as good an education as you? You snobby fuck?! I once heard a friend of a friend of a friend telling some story in a pub which was interjected with “Who’s that knacker comedian again? Brendan O’Carroll! Yeah that’s him….” No one batted an eye lid. I winced.

And let’s be clear here. I do despise actual scum. I’ve absolutely no time for hard men, or people smoking on buses, or bullying, or vandalism, or violence, or racism or anything like that. But I’ve also little time for people who judge people they know nothing about other than their accent or clothes.

And another thing – I’ve often found when I’m in trouble and relying on the kindness of strangers, these are the folk that couldn’t be more helpful. Like the time I broke down at traffic lights. While several respectable members of society sat there beeping at me, it was a gang of lads in tracksuits that suggested pushing me across the road out of the way, and then did so.

There. Done. Said. Chest cleared. Ignore at will. Normal service resumed. I guess this post will be just as popular as that time I mentioned being thouroughly bored by the constant anti-englishness over here. But that was a public forum, so I suppose I was being a bit preachy. At least this is my own soapbox, which I’ll now get down from.

  • Reply Thriftcriminal

    March 1, 2008, 11:35 pm

    Well said. I have no hesitation refering to stabby Mcscrewdriver as a scumbag, because anyone who does that to another human being rightly deserves the title. I know people from all walks of life and as you say it is often those that the prada handbag wielding types readily look down on that are the quickest to lend a hand and see you right.

  • Reply TheRuleClan

    March 3, 2008, 4:26 pm

    Wow! I just popped into your blog, from a comment u left at K8 and this post will have me coming back for another visit. Congratulations too I see! I will be back…

  • Reply John Braine

    March 3, 2008, 10:21 pm

    Hi guys. This is one of those posts where I thought I might get a bit of negative feedback so thanks for the good stuff! 🙂

  • Reply Sharon

    March 7, 2008, 11:27 am

    Hi John. Well done on your win. I wanted to have a look at what you’ve been doing here, and I’m impressed at this post. Don’t mean to sound condescending, it’s hard to get the tone right in writing.

    I don’t think much about the word scumbag, but if it’s used to refer to ordinary people, who are judged because of how they look and sound, and not how they act, that is wrong. Words matter. It’s not asking for censorship to ask people to mind their language. The word that pisses me off, since I have a child with learning difficulties, is the catch all insult ‘retard’ and all its variations.

  • Reply John Braine

    March 7, 2008, 1:21 pm

    Hi Sharon. Thanks! I must do more writing. I mostly do mixed bag of videos and stuff. Haven’t actually written a hell of a lot recently!

    Yep I suppose the abuse of words is more to do with context and attitude then the words themselves. Trying to reclaim them is probably futile but its always good to let off steam.

    Thanks for dropping!

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