penn is mightier than the sword
I am a huge fan of Las Vegas magicians Penn & Teller. I have loved them for years and years and years but have never had the chance to see them live. For the uninitiated, Penn is the big tall one while Teller doesn't talk. At least not on stage. Teller is the magician, Penn is the distraction. To truly understand their awesomeness, I suggest you check them out on YouTube. This one is a personal favorite.
It should come as no surprise, then, that I follow both Penn and Teller on Twitter. I'm also someone who Tweets to celebrities, never ever expecting a response back. Like earlier this evening, when Penn posted this:
There was no way I was going to let that go, so I directed him to this video.
And thus began an hour long Twitter conversation with Penn on why he shouldn't use the word slut.
Word's matter, regardless of your own personal intent. Words have context and connotation and do not exist in a vacuum. So, while, yes, you or I or Penn can choose to use a controversial word like Slut and say No, no, it's okay because I don't mean it like that, some people do mean it like that. Continuing to use that word, in whatever context, gives someone else permission to use it, too. And their context might be the complete opposite of yours.