Woods says the "s-word," apologizes for it

What is a four-letter word that starts with an S that should not be uttered during a live broadcast? While any normal person might think "shit" would be that word, it turns out that "spaz" is just as bad, if not worse, for Tiger Woods.

And apparently Woods is "stupid," which is how Paralympian Dame Tanni Grey Thompson puts it, twice. Not that "stupid" would be construed as being offensive or anything. According to Tanni, "handicapped" is also offensive.

According to a BBC "Top 10 Worst Words" poll, "Wheelchair-bound" comes in at number 10. "Spastic" is number two on the list, right behind "Retard" as the number one "Worst Word."

I will admit, some on the list are pretty offensive, but I simply do not get why "Handicapped" and "Wheelchair-bound" are on that list.

Differences in culture aside, this is just another sign that the world is getting a bit to Politically Correct for its own good. This is unhealthy, it really is. Not to bash the PC agenda of some people, but fight for something worth fighting for already!

I quote from the OS X Dictionary:

spaz |spaz| |spaz| |spæz| (also spazz) informal
noun ( pl. spazzes) offensive
short for spastic .

verb [ intrans. ] ( spaz out)
lose physical or emotional control : he offered a post-game assessment: “I spazzed out real bad.”

ORIGIN 1960s: abbreviation of spastic .

Now is that classic, or what? What a great example.

More can be found on Tiger Woods and his mistaken comment here and here.

Now I will admit, I am not handicapped. But I do have experience dealing with being handicapped -- in my adolescence I walked around for about two years in soft casts and with the help of a walker because of extensive knee surgeries. It isn't fun being called names, but this is going a bit too far.

Is there anyone who is handicapped out there that wants to weigh in on this? If you were offended right there by my use of the word handicapped, well, I just can't wait to read your comment.

Comments (4)


For me, it starts to become problematic when you use a natural attribute as an insult. For example, if you use "gay" as an insult, that's disrespectful. If you use "gay" to describe a homosexual, well, it's not disrespectful. Similarly, "spaz" is disrespectful, because you're using a condition which somebody has and can do nothing about as an insult.

I had a girlfriend who was (among other mental problems) agoraphobic, and I know that it hurt her when she saw people using words describing mental defects as insults.

On a broader scale, I try not to use words which are likely to hurt certain people or groups of people (unless I'm trying to insult them, of course :-). I don't say "nigger" or "retard", for example, and I don't use words describing handicaps as insults. It doesn't cost anything to avoid words which hurt people, really, and you avoid making feel somebody bad. There are enough words which don't hurt people to go around.

True enough. But when you hear "spaz" throughout your life in normal conversation, something like this story makes you take notice.

Is the use of "spaz" a norm by now? I would argue that it is.

He wasn't even using it ina way to offend anyone. He didn't look at a reporter and say "you're a spaz." He said he putted "like a spaz." Hell, before today I never knew it was offensive to anyone, and I find it absurd.

I'm crippled and fully admit it. Call me whatever the hell you want (like Brokeback, which one of my co-workers ingenously came up with), and grow up and take it. Gte over yourself. Don't get pissed off at Tiger Woods to get your name in the paper. The fact that he caved and apologized pisses me off even more.

let's be clear: someone (multiple someones actually) finds "wheelchair bound" offensive. It's a descriptor, kind of like those people who get mad when someone says "I saw a black guy at the park." Why did they say it? Because it's a descriptor. No different than saying white guy, yet people turn it and spin it into a race thing.

Spaz is not offensive and I don't give a shit who you are.

If anything, Woods was offending himself

But that is precisely the problem. He used a clinical condition as an insult. It doesn't matter whom he insulted, because by using it as an insult, he insulted everyone who is afflicted with the condition.

By using a condition as an insult, you're qualifying those who have that condition.

It's great that this doesn't bother you, and I agree that the whole thing has gone way overboard, but that doesn't change the simple fact that he insulted disabled people. Hopefully, I'm still allowed to say "disabled" :-)

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