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Name Calling

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Name calling in action.

Name calling is an age-old and easy method of making a person feel bad about him or herself by turning an embarrassing trait into a vicious name and repeating it in a very loud, sarcastic voice. Many psychologists believe that name calling is a way to make the name caller (or perhaps bully) feel much better about themselves, but everyone else simply goes by the belief that being called names makes you feel pretty bad about yourself, regardless of the psychology behind it all, or whether the person who has just called you 'dogbreath' is feeling bad about themselves. Name calling can be divided into stages, explained further in the following.

Stage One

The first stage of name calling is simply picking a target, usually someone who is smaller or less popular than yourself1, and calling them a rude name. Name calling seems to be a rite of passage in many cultures, teenagers making it a point of practising the apparent fine art. It can, however, also be a sign of affection, from parents to their children,

Come on scrote2, let's go to the movies.
between siblings,
Hey Dipface!3
and in team sports,
Go for goal Greasemonkey!4
Of course, while name calling can be a horrible practice, it does have incredible comic value, as evident in literature, television and film such as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
Stop you..vandals! You half crazed Vizigoths...
or Blackadder:
So, where is this barnacle-bottomed, haddock-flavoured, bilge-rat Sir Rather-A-Wally Raleigh then?
and even Monty Python:
You stoopeed In-gleesh Knig-gits!

Name calling can often be a difficult subject to broach with children by their parents, and on occasion very uncomfortable. An example of this can be seen in the 2005 film The Weather Man starring Nicolas Cage. His character has to deal with his daughter not fully understanding the nickname 'camel-toe'5 she has been burdened with by classmates, leading to a difficult and cringe-worthy series of events. How to deal with name calling is something many psychologists attempt to address, but there probably are no key methods. Support and understanding can't really go wrong though, and these can continue as severe name calling can lead to intense emotional scars, or worse.

WHAT Did You Call Me?

There are so many variations on names to call someone else, it's impossible to list them all here. However, combining a swear word with a body part is commonplace;

Hey, pissface!
or the like.

Other varieties of name calling can be ethnic or cultural, such as referring to French people as 'Frogs', Germans as 'Huns', Americans as 'Septic Tanks' and so forth. Then there are divides in individual countries themselves, such as in England where those in the north are sometimes referred to as 'Northern Monkeys', and those in the south as 'Southern Fairies'. In Australia, Western Australians are called 'Sandgropers', and those from Queensland 'Banana-Benders'. Wherever you're from though, someone will think of some way of making it insulting.

Stage Two

The next stage is the name calling contest. It is not often undertaken by those being bullied, but can occur. It is more usual in younger children and those that are actually friends, and adults are also known to partake in the practice. The name calling contest involves trading insults, much like a verbal tennis match:

Namecaller 1 - Bumhead!
Namecaller 2 - Pizzaface!
Namecaller 1 - Crotchlicker!
ad infinitum, or until the name callers lose interest or run out of insults. Which can lead to the next stage in name calling.

Stage Three

The next stage is the eventual movement from calling another target names, to insulting something near and dear to their heart. This is, in most instances, their mother (or mother-in-law amongst older name callers). Examples of 'mother' insults include:

Your mother's so fat, she went to the movies and sat next to everyone!
Your mother's so ugly that your dad takes her to work with him so that he doesn't have to kiss her goodbye!
or the simple, and now perfectly acceptable American6 insult,
Yo' momma!
Who said kids don't have imagination anymore?

1You can call anyone a name, but if they're bigger than you, you're probably looking at getting your head kicked in.2From scrotum, in reference to the 'fruit on one's loins'.3A term used by Matilda's elder brother in the film of the same name.4'Greasemonkey' is a nickname many mechanics receive, so this player obviously likes playing about with cars.5If you don't know, best you do your own search of the Internet...6Which, due to the advent of the Internet and television seems to have seeped into much of westernised society, particularly in Australia and with some of the more culturally ambiguous British children.

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