Stop using the “R” word

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snresq

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Dec 10, 2019
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Stephen:
Why do you have to use the words “maximo retardo” in this book? There is no reason to use such language which is demeaning and insulting to a large population of people who are stigmatized by the use of the “R” word. Visit “Spread the word to end the word.”
I stopped reading this book at page 202 after the second time such language was used. I won’t pick it up again. Please be more sensitive and responsible.
 
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Doc Creed

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Stephen:
Why do you have to use the words “maximo retardo” in this book? There is no reason to use such language which is demeaning and insulting to a large population of people who are stigmatized by the use of the “R” word. Visit “Spread the word to end the word.”
I stopped reading this book at page 202 after the second time such language was used. I won’t pick it up again. Please be more sensitive and responsible.
The Latin form of the word simply means "slow" or "to slow down" (ritardando), as is marked on sheet music. Context is everything. King obviously didn't mean it as a slur. Even if he chose to do so (which he wouldn't), his free speech is constitutionally protected. I think you mean well, but I cannot support the banning of any word. Where would it end? (Read 1984 by Orwell.)
Welcome, btw.
 

FlakeNoir

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Stephen:
Why do you have to use the words “maximo retardo” in this book? There is no reason to use such language which is demeaning and insulting to a large population of people who are stigmatized by the use of the “R” word. Visit “Spread the word to end the word.”
I stopped reading this book at page 202 after the second time such language was used. I won’t pick it up again. Please be more sensitive and responsible.
Unfortunately I haven't read The Institute as yet, so I'm not sure of the context used. But the phrase "maximo retardo" is Spanish and when translated, it literally means: "maximum delay".

I work with people who have special needs, so I understand the offense when certain words are used. I suspect the above phrase was never intended in the way you're suggesting, but I would have to read the book to know for sure.
 

Neesy

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May 24, 2012
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Unfortunately I haven't read The Institute as yet, so I'm not sure of the context used. But the phrase "maximo retardo" is Spanish and when translated, it literally means: "maximum delay".

I work with people who have special needs, so I understand the offense when certain words are used. I suspect the above phrase was never intended in the way you're suggesting, but I would have to read the book to know for sure.
Interesting explanation - I don't have this book yet but if I'm a good girl maybe Santa will bring me one for Christmas :m_stocking:
 

Moderator

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I think that is part of the problem. People who mean well use the word without thinking of the harm it may cause. Not a fan of banning words, that’s not the issue. Recognizing the hurt that some words can cause is the issue.
Only characters who either do not understand how it can be hurtful or who would not care if it did because of their own prejudices use that type of language in Stephen's books. By using it, the reader knows even more about what type of person that character is. I do get your point, though.
 

Notaro

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I can't recall who said it in the novel but I think if it was one of the guards then it was intended as cruelty, if it was one of the kids then it was probably a joke type statement, SK has to write what is true for the character, if that means including language that some may find offensive then so be it. There was a lot of similar stuff in The Body and IT if I remember correctly. In the end I guess it's all subjective .
 
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wolfphoenix

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Only characters who either do not understand how it can be hurtful or who would not care if it did because of their own prejudices use that type of language in Stephen's books. By using it, the reader knows even more about what type of person that character is. I do get your point, though.
........that says it all ms.m, thank you!
i think this is another 1 of those subjects that authors shouldnt have to sweat or dodge bullets over
 

Hill lover35

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Jan 8, 2017
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Only characters who either do not understand how it can be hurtful or who would not care if it did because of their own prejudices use that type of language in Stephen's books. By using it, the reader knows even more about what type of person that character is. I do get your point, though.

Thanks ms mod that is a good explanation.
 

Dana Jean

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I have read many books that could be deemed highly offensive. But I've always known exactly what type of person I'm dealing with in author's stories by what they say and how they act. They can't be walking the pages saying gosh darny, shucks and poopy. How silly would that be? I have outloud groaned when Stephen has used the "c" word. I hate it. But, I know exactly what this character's character is. I know immediately and I'm on guard. It ratchets up my anxiety and tension. And I want to see satisfaction that he or she gets their comeuppance. Sometimes I get that satisfaction, and sometimes I don't.

It's a fact of life out there. We have hateful people. And authors have to be true to the characters they are creating.

It's like he said about Annie Wilkes. Annie wouldn't cuss. To her, cockadoodie brat was horrifying enough. And that was true to her character. It worked for her.

We can't dumb down fiction or whitewash history and the nature of the beast. Stephen's job is to make us uncomfortable, challenge our thinking and knock us out of that safety box we want to construct around us. I don't want safe fiction. How boring!

This PC world is driving me nuts. Words have the power we give them. Don't give that word power over you and then you aren't hurt. Don't accept the label.
 

Notaro

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I have read many books that could be deemed highly offensive. But I've always known exactly what type of person I'm dealing with in author's stories by what they say and how they act. They can't be walking the pages saying gosh darny, shucks and poopy. How silly would that be? I have outloud groaned when Stephen has used the "c" word. I hate it. But, I know exactly what this character's character is. I know immediately and I'm on guard. It ratchets up my anxiety and tension. And I want to see satisfaction that he or she gets their comeuppance. Sometimes I get that satisfaction, and sometimes I don't.

It's a fact of life out there. We have hateful people. And authors have to be true to the characters they are creating.

It's like he said about Annie Wilkes. Annie wouldn't cuss. To her, cockadoodie brat was horrifying enough. And that was true to her character. It worked for her.

We can't dumb down fiction or whitewash history and the nature of the beast. Stephen's job is to make us uncomfortable, challenge our thinking and knock us out of that safety box we want to construct around us. I don't want safe fiction. How boring!

This PC world is driving me nuts. Words have the power we give them. Don't give that word power over you and then you aren't hurt. Don't accept the label.
Well said D.J.
 

Dana Jean

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Well said D.J.
Thanks.

Please authors, don't stop using the r word and the n word and the c word and f word and and and and and..... Don't just use them to shock me, that's a big fail. It's a cheap gimmick then.

Use them with purpose and intention to bind me emotionally to your story, your characters, your world.

Challenge me!
 
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kingricefan

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Jul 11, 2006
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I understand the OP's concern. I got into an arguement on another board where a poster said that using the 'N' word is not offensive if the person using it is black. I called them on it. I believe that the 'N' word, the 'F' word (rhymes with hag), the 'C' word and the 'R' word are all deplorable words and that no one should use them. They countered back with 'the word is only offensive if you give it that power as it's just a word'. I told them to go to Times Square and start calling the people walking by those words and see what happens. That ended the discussion. I love Joe Lansdale writings but I cringe when the 'N' word pops up. Most of his stories are set in East Texas or thereabouts and I know that the 'N' word is still flung around alot down there but it's still unsettling to read it. Does it make me like his tales less and not want to read them? No. Because I get that it's the characters that are saying them, not the author. There's a difference. But I don't like to see those words being used. I'm not a prude, but I realize that words do have power.
 

Wayoftheredpanda

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I don't think a person writing an offensive word in a fictitious book reflects their actual views

For example, let's say a writer is writing a character that's racist. Wouldn't a character that's racist say racist things? Doesn't make the writer racist.

I don't believe King meant any offense to anyone when writing that word, he isn't like that.
 

Wayoftheredpanda

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May 15, 2018
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I don't think a person writing an offensive word in a fictitious book reflects their actual views

For example, let's say a writer is writing a character that's racist. Wouldn't a character that's racist say racist things? Doesn't make the writer racist.

I don't believe King meant any offense to anyone when writing that word, he isn't like that.
I recall in 7th grade when we read "Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry" (For those who haven't read it, it's about a black family living in the Deep South United States during the mid-1930s from the perspective of the pre-teen daughter, wonderful book that I'd recommend) some kids tried to argue that the book shouldn't say "The N word" as "that's racist", which is an argument I could just not understand, especially when the damages institutionalized racism was one of the biggest points in the book. Of course white characters in a historical fiction book taking place at that time are gonna say words like that! It helps the book illustrate just how bad institutionalized racism was then. What did they expect them to say?

Sorry for ranting, but I just don't get why people want historical context to be censored like that, how are they going to learn from it?