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Cops and urine soaked sweatshirts

dogparktom
Posts: 112
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11/21/2009 8:43:49 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
In one of my debates, my opponent used the word 'inappropriate' for some public behavior by a young woman that resulted in criminal charges. My opponent stated: " His interpretation is non-sequitir being as how any logical human could see where throwing a urine soaked sweatshirt on a cop is inappropriate and calls for punishment." http://www.debate.org... I winced when I read the word as applied to the Ms. Langrall's behavior.

Here is a very brief article by a philosopher on words like "inappropriate" and "unacceptable" that are currently used because of political correctness.
http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk...

From the article:

"Inappropriate and unacceptable began their modern careers in the 1980s as part of the jargon of political correctness. They have more or less replaced a number of older, more exact terms: coarse, tactless, vulgar, lewd. They encompass most of what would formerly have been called "improper" or "indecent." An affair between a teacher and a pupil that was once improper is now inappropriate; a once indecent joke is now unacceptable.

This linguistic shift is revealing. Improper and indecent express moral judgements, whereas inappropriate and unacceptable suggest breaches of some purely social or professional convention. Such "non-judgemental" forms of speech are tailored to a society wary of explicit moral language. As liberal pluralists, we seek only adherence to rules of the game, not agreement on fundamentals. What was once an offence against decency must be recast as something akin to a faux pas."

In your opinion, what word or words best describes Ms, Langrall's behavior toward the cop.
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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11/22/2009 7:54:08 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I'm not a living thesaurus, but I'd say that what that woman did was rude, unnecessary, disrespectful, classless, embarrassing, irreverent, brash, shameless, offensive, boorish, obscene, uncouth, revolting and incorrigible.
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RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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11/22/2009 12:01:13 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
"Inappropriate" means that it is unacceptable in the circumstances. Beach attire is appropriate for the beach, but inappropriate for school. Cannibalism is generally inappropriate, but perhaps appropriate for the the Donner party. Throwing a urine-soaked shirt at a policeman attempting to do his job is inappropriate. It would be an appropriate was to, say, foil a murder attempt.

Saying that something is both inappropriate and illegal does not necessarily mean it is illegal because it is inappropriate. I think saying the woman behaved inappropriately is a polite way of saying she is the scum of earth, but a lawyer cannot make the claim in those terms, even if it is clearly true. Using such rough language would, you see, be inappropriate. The legal question is separate, some inappropriate behavior is legal and some is illegal.