Being Precise With Your Speech and Why Words Like ‘Racist’ are Losing Their Meaning

Happy Monday you relentless shill. I’ve just discovered the word shill. Shill. It’s great. I recently discovered the word ‘cuck’ as well. Which apparently isn’t a dictionary word yet, but it should be. What is a shill, you ask? And what is a cuck? Well, let me enlighten you, you cuck-shill cock panther, you! According to, a shill is: “a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty.” So basically anyone on the internet. Now for cuck! It’s cuck thirty! Get your cuck hats out, we’re going cucking! 

According to, a cuck is: “A man who is desperate for acceptance, approval, and affection from women. This desperation has led to the compromise of his beliefs and values, the desecration of his dignity and self-worth, and his inability to stand up for himself and what he deserves as a human being, eg. loyalty, fidelity, and honesty in a romantic relationship.” So basically your friend Dave. We all have a cuck friend. Probably named Dave. What a cuck… Apparently a cuck is also defined as someone who lets another man plow their wife, so that’s cool.

Words are fun. I love words. I like to use them with my mouth and my hands. Potato. Banana. Tickling fister. Sucky bum nutter. Cool ranch. Doobie dunghole. COCK. Silver screen. Glistening tit. Table. Sappy napalm butter. Fingernail. Jew. Food fungus. Tummy tapper. Skillful twisting. Robert Mondavi. Ice bucket. Tight TIGHT ass. Sponge. Stupid stupid idiot. Spleen juice. Tattoo genius. Sticking your dick in a hot pocket. Gloom. Dark dark thoughts. DeMarcus Cousins. Your Cousin Tamara who you thought about fucking that one time when you were really drunk. Elementary school. Dog whistle. Moist. Corner pocket. Litigation. Suburban housewife. Vehement sweating. Half-ass. Clapping napkins. SCORES OF SPIDERS IN YOUR EYE!

Okay that could have gone on a really long time if I didn’t stop soon. I was reaching the runner’s high point where if I continued any longer I wouldn’t have stopped. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I don’t know, I’m not sure how healthy of an exercise that would be for me. Or for the people reading. Things would get really weird. That you can be sure of. Ooh I was going to talk about words! Mmm words… Ah shit I forgot to cut my nails on my right hand. I cut them on my left hand but not my right hand. Classic.

Okay so words. They are like… so important. Like… oh my god. Did he like… even text you back? Oh… my… fucking… God. What a little cuck! Okay so on… Friday? Yeah I think Friday, I wrote this poem with these words that I put on Instagram. If you have an Instagram, check it out @jasonbrendel. I can’t post it here because I don’t want to and it was a paper-poem where I jacked around with the format and had letters flying all over and shit. How artistic of me, huh? Really just reaching out of comfort zone these days.

Anyways, the poem was about words; specifically about the way we use them, and how using them recklessly strips them of their meaning. You might not think this is big deal, but it is. IT’S A BIG FUCKING DEAL, OKAY!? Jesus, would you relax? We’re just trying to have a conversation here.

Okay, think about the word ‘racist’? What does it mean? The dictionary definition is: “a person who believes in racism: the doctrine that one’s own racial group is superior or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.” So, that’s what the word is supposed to mean. But, that’s not how we use the word anymore. If you’ve been conscious lately, you’ll have noticed the word ‘racist’ is used to describe almost anything involving race at all. It’s used to describe someone who says something stereotypical, insensitive, lazy, even factual. Instead of using these words, people recklessly throw the word ‘racist’ around. 

Why does that matter? Well, it matters because the word doesn’t carry any weight anymore. Which is insane, because it’s a weighty word. It needs to carry weight, because racism is terrible. It should be shocking. When you find out someone is racist, the reaction should be “oh shit! No!” The reaction shouldn’t be “Eh they say that about everyone now.”

The most recent example I can think of people murdering the word racist involves PGA swing coach Hank Haney. Haney was asked who he thought was going to win the U.S. Women’s open, and he responded: “I’m gonna predict a Korean… I couldn’t name you, like, six players on the LPGA Tour. Nah, maybe I could. Well, I’d go with Lee. If I didn’t have to name a first name, I’d get a bunch of them right.” After these comments, Haney was labeled by many as both racist and sexist. USA Today wrote that Haney “made several racist and sexist remarks about women’s golf.” Michelle Wie went to Twitter, writing: “As a Korean American female golfer, these comments that @HankHaney made disappoint and anger me on so many different levels. Racism and sexism are no laughing matter Hank … shame on you. I don’t ever do this, but this must be called out.”

Were Haney’s comments careless? Poorly worded, perhaps? Maybe insensitive? Sure! You could make a valid argument for any of those things. But to call them racist and sexist is at least as careless as Haney’s original remarks. Koreans dominate the LPGA tour, making up more than half the top 100 players in the world. Several of them have the last name Lee. Not knowing many players on the LPGA tour, as Haney admits himself, he puts on his game theory hat and makes the best prediction he can with the little information he has.

The tournament ended yesterday. A Korean woman with the last name Lee won. I don’t know if you would call that poetic justice or just ironic, but the fact that it actually ended up happening will make any sane person at least chuckle. It made me laugh. Does that mean I’m racist and sexist? OF COURSE!

I’m kidding. It doesn’t make me or Hank Haney either of those things. Highlighting Korean women being good at golf is very far from racist. It’s a positive thing. A bit stereotypical depending on the context, no doubt, but not racist. In this context, I don’t know if stereotypical is even the right word, considering they were already talking about golf. If he met a Korean woman on the street and was like “let me guess, you’re really good at golf,” that would be stereotypical for sure. Whatever, the point isn’t about the specifics of this situation.

The point is, this is a perfect example of how important it is to be precise with your word, because it plays out on both sides here. Haney was reckless with his phrasing and people were reckless with their categorization of the remarks. Haney could have phrased his point much more carefully. People could have phrased their responses more carefully. Now people on both sides end up looking like fools, because they weren’t precise with their speech.

That doesn’t mean we should send people on either side to the wood chipper either. If we’re going to be precise with our speech, we have to be free to mis-speak. It’s a process. One where we need to understand we aren’t always going to get it right, and that’s okay. People need to be allowed to explain themselves. If something is convoluted or poorly worded, we should ask “what did you mean by that, exactly?” rather than jumping to conclusions.

After the reaction to his remarks, Haney had a chance to explain himself. He said “Fuck Koreans. I hate Koreans because they’re from Korea, and Americans are way better.” I’m kidding. He didn’t say that. If he had said that, we could call him racist, and that would be fair. What he actually said was, “In an effort to make a point about the overwhelming success of Korean players on the tour, I offended people and I am sorry. I have the highest respect for the women who have worked so hard to reach the pinnacle of their sport, and I never meant to take away from their abilities and accomplishments.” Unbelievable. That’s even more racist than the example I made up. Truly sickening.

I’m being facetious obviously. The point is, for the love of God, ask people what they mean when they something. And try to describe things as precisely as possible. It can be a cruel world out there, no need to make it crueler. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

6 thoughts on “Being Precise With Your Speech and Why Words Like ‘Racist’ are Losing Their Meaning

  1. Hi Jason (I don’t know if that’s the name you go by?). I’m the zany Englishman that fell in line with your post about wandering aimlessly around the garage. So, here I am again to comment on your latest piece. You should know that earlier I created a fair sized comment for you to chew on until I could get in front of my iMac (which is now). Sadly, I’m a klutz and I managed to scrap it unintentionally (that is unless you have it already, which would put me the ‘Double Klutz’ bracket. My comment was about the word “Cuck”. I thought I’d share some additional information. This is not to correct you I promise. It’s maybe a clarification of the word that you haven’t found yet and, as I can see you’re an avid wordsmith (like me) I thought you may be interested. Anyhow, “Cuck” is actually a shortened version of an old English word, which is “Cuckold”. The word still exists in England but is probably only known by nerds like me. The definition is not exactly the same as yours. A “Cuckold” is a husband whose wife likes to, how can I put it?… “Fancy-free”. That’s a euphemism for, she puts it about and doesn’t care who knows. As a result, the poor old hubby is frequently humiliated by the men in the area (and further afield no doubt) who know his wife intimately, and if they don’t…they know a man who does. As a result, the “Cuckolded” husband may well exhibit some of the traits you suggest, but that’s the outcome and not the word definition. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this with you.

    One more thing about another part of the blog relating to racism, or more specifically the interpretation of the word. I’m one hundred percent with you on this matter. Our words are being diluted on a daily basis, at all levels. Misuse of words is an epidemic of rapidly growing proportions. What I’d like to mention though is inappropriate accusations of racism that are prevalent in the UK and Europe now. For example, using colour, race, hairstyles, as adjectives are no longer acceptable as the PC brigade, will go berserk with the chants of “Racist” or “Bigot”. Before this lunacy, it was perfectly OK to point out “Derek” in a crowd of other men by saying…”He’s the Jamaican guy over there (in amongst the clearly non-Jamaican guys standing around him). Racist? I don’t think so. No more than the other ism’s of identification that may be levelled at us….The Tall guy (Offensive to giants), The Small guy (dwarves,) the Chubby guy (Fatism), The skinny guy (Thinism?)… the list is endless. Don’t even get me started on Ginger guys (Hoping you’re not ginger). You’ll note I’ve not included adjectives towards women….clearly I’m guilty of sexism, whatever!

    1. Thanks for sharing! I saw that definition of cuck as well but wasn’t sure which one to go with so thanks for letting me in on some more cuck history. Maybe I’ll make a show one day called “The history of Cuck.”

      And thanks for sharing your experience across the pond, that’s absolutely absurd that it’s frowned upon to describe somebody as they are. I think it’s even less about anyone actually being offended and more about moral posturing. I’ve noticed there’s a pattern of behavior where people don’t actually have to do anything positive as long as they point out how terrible everyone else is. It’s like they want to sort the world into good people and bad people and the more people they can point out as representatives of “bad,” the more they convince themselves they’re on the side of “good.” The problem is that it’s a complete mis characterization of humanity and they’ll be next before they know what hit them.

  2. You’re straying, into Bill Hicks territory with this one Jason. What a captivating post: curling and bending all around the subject. Clarity, wit and style oozing all over the shop. Felt like I could have been listening to you on stage. It always made me grin bitterly when Obama fans accused Trump of racism, having watched their Potus support the indiscriminate slaying of olive-skinned innocents in Yemen, Libya and Syria. Seriously good piece of writing that would grace any journal or publication.

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