The Nebula Conference is removing Mercedes Lackey, apparently for using
a dirty word while on a panel.
English, it seems, must always have taboo words. The older ones,
concerning religion and bodily functions have lost most of their force.
The ones which are currently dirty are derogatory terms about human
The current batch is so dirty that you can't even give the context and
replace letters with punctuation. Therefore, it's mandatory to condemn
those who use those words without giving any context.
The article gives some clues that Lackey wasn't actually insulting
anyone. The offense was the mere fact of using a dirty word.
The use of a racial slur violates the instruction to
“Respect all cultures and communities. Do not make
derogatory or offensive statements even as a joke.”
Taboos give "dirty" words their power. They increase the words' ability
to shock and hurt, to the detriment of the people they refer to and the
advantage of the people who intentionally use them for that purpose.
They make it impossible to judge the offense, since any explanation
would repeat the alleged offense. The person using the word _must_ be
condemned without a fair trial.
Gary McGath http://www.mcgath.com