Saturday, June 9, 2007

Redefining Our Terms

If you have not read the Archduke's previous post, Defining Our Terms, please do so before continuing.

I have to say at the outset that the more I thought about my reply to the Archduke's mean spirited diatribe, the less inclined I was to reply at all. Not because I agree with much of what he says, (to the contrary, I believe he is being willfully wrong-headed on this issue) but because we have been down this road so many times before.

It is true that in the past I have called the Archduke a bully in the school yard sense of the word. But what he so conveniently omitted from his post is that it has been years since I retracted that particular accusation. After many long, tedious discussions on the subject, the Archduke has convinced me that he was not your run of the mill, pick-on-the-little-guy-because-I-can type of bully. These days, when I refer to the Archduke as this sort of bully, it's not because I mean it, but because of the joy it brings me when he so willingly takes the bait. Can you say hyper-sensitive? Could it be a guilty conscience?

The problem the Archduke has when it comes to this issue, I must conclude, is his limited understanding of the English language. The word "bully", like most words in the English language, can have many usages. The definition given by the Archduke--"a quarrelsome, overbearing person who badgers and intimidates SMALLER or WEAKER people"--is the most common, but by no means the only accurate use of the word.

According to, "bully" can also be used to describe one who intimidates or domineers, or one who is loudly ARROGANT and overbearing. The point is, a bully isn't necessarily one who uses the threat of violence to intimidate smaller or weaker people. Nay, it is my contention that most bullying by adults is much more subtle than even the definition I have provided suggests.

I now have tired head, so it's time to wrap this up. In a nutshell, the Archduke employs bully tactics when it suits him by using the two most common methods available to his type, coercion and manipulation.


The Archduke of Arrogance said...

Keep in mind that no names were mentioned in this post. The fact that you confessed might suggest that you are weary of deluding yourself and are anxious for the healing to begin. I will pray for you.

Would a bully pray for someone who had personally attacked him? I don't think so.

King Selfish said...

The fact that you mentioned no names is irrelevant. Everyone who reads this blog, all both of them, knows exactly who you were referring to.

The Archduke of Arrogance said...

That was a fine post,well written in my opinion, although poorly thought out. If one is prepared to go to the 4th 5th or 6th definition, bully can also mean excellent, great, or even pickled beef. Perhaps it was one of these that you were thinking of when referring to me in high school. As far as my limited grasp of the english language, I will admit to some difficulty when you attempt to speak it. According to you my "type" has to resort to manipulation and coersion. If you say so. But then that begs the question; Why not describe me as manipulative or coersive instead of substituting a word that doesn't fit? Anyway, as much as I would like to work on my limited understanding, I simply don't have time what with all the cripples that need beating up and the old ladies that need a good terrorizing.

King Selfish said...

It must end here. These are my final words on this subject, unless someone comments after me.

I trust lexicographers include alternate definitions to most words because they are applicable. Whether a particular definition is listed 1st or 7th is unimportant as long as the word is used correctly and in the proper context.

You are correct when you suggest the words coercive and manipulative could be used instead of bully. But why use so many syllables when fewer will do?

In conclusion, the Archduke is not now, nor has he ever been a bully. (Also, I'm supposed to say that the previous sentence was not written under threat of violence.)

The Archduke of Arrogance said...

Good boy, now nobody has to get hurt.

King Selfish said...

Last word.