Harkovast- the forum

En garde, you curs! (Harkovast insults)
harkovast at 6:46AM, July 7, 2009
(online)
posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
I just wanted to clarify the meaning of the word ‘cur’ in the context of Harkovast.
Cur in our world is used to mean a mongrel dog and is thus an insult.
In Harkovast (which has no dogs) the word is used to mean mongrel, mangy and generally poor condition examples of their own equivalent animals (Wek-Weks or Groblas.)

When people direct racial insults at Junlocks, a general theme is the implication that Junlocks are equivalent to animals, comparing them to Batak's (big and hairy) and other things on that theme.
For that reason, while you can call anybody a cur in Harkovast and they would be insulted, to say it to a Junlock would be considered an especially bad insult, due to the racist connotation.

The closest analogy I can think of is this one-
When people said President Bush looked like a monkey, it was insulting the guy.
When the NY Post newspaper implied President Obama was a monkey, it caused outrage!

The important thing to note is that in Harkovast people have no concept of what a dog or a wolf is, so the word cur is not offensive to Junlocks because it implies they are a dog. It is offensive because it implies they are animal like and equivalent to beasts.
An Ano-Chee, while they might not like being called a cur, would not consider it a racial insult (even though they are a dog like species) because people do not generally compare Ano-Chee to animals as an insult.

The word ‘bitch’ has a similar shift of meaning, implying a female Wek or Grobla, rather then a dog. It is used in Harkovast with the exact same connotations it would have on earth.

Another Harkovast insult (which is VERY bad if you say it to a woman, equivalent to calling her fat or old looking) is to call someone mangy. This is a common insult across Vellastrom to all of the fur covered species. Most Tsung-Dao don't give much thought to insulting other races (or to other races at all) so would often not understand its meaning or have never heard it, but the Brorg-Dao do use the insult a great deal to describe whoever they are attacking. Nymus tend not to use this insult, referring to non-Nymus by the cover all name/insult of ‘Scrabbers’ instead.
Now obviously Harkovast contains different parasites to Earth, so probably would not literally have the mange parasite, but this is a story not a science lesson, so we will assume for simplicity they have something equivalent. (If I typed out ‘appears as if they have a parasite which causes them to lose patches of fur due to excessive scratching’ it would not be nearly so catchy as someone just saying ‘mangy!’ )

Now I am sure throughout this description you will have started to wonder-

“Does this mean Sir Muir was being racist when he called the Junlock bandits curs?”

And the answer is possibly a little, but most likely not.

Sir Muir is a decent bloke who does not actively discriminate against any body, though he is also not always going to be very PC in what he says. Harkovast is an old fashioned place, where mild racism is not viewed as harshly as it is in our modern, western societies on Earth.
Take the example of the Priestess' on the page “impressing the ladies” who make rather unkind comments about Chen-Chen's appearance. They were previously genuinely friendly to Chen-Chen and did like her, but they just dont see anything wrong with openly discussing how weird or ugly they find other races amongst themselves.
However, a cur can be used as an insult against anyone in Harkovast, so most likely Sir Muir, being pretty oblivious at the best of times, just happened to use what he thought was a fairly standard insult without ever considering that it had additional connotations in this situation.
(Mind you, racial sensitivity is probably the last thing those Junlocks needed to worry about as he was stabbing one of them at the time!)
I imagine Sir Muir would be the sort of person who means well but might inadvertently make use of inappropriate of offensive terms. He is like the elderly relative who means no ill will to other races, but does not seem to grasp that referring to them with certain terms is not okay anymore. Sir Muir would warmly greet a Nymus while calling him a ‘beak’ or negotiate to buy something from a Zadakine, all the time referring to the merchant as a ‘Zado’.
Fortunately, he is bonkers enough that most people would catch on that he is very confused and at worst insensitive rather then meaning to be hostile. But if you let Sir Muir do the talking for you, you are basically asking for trouble!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
Ironscarf at 4:41PM, July 8, 2009
(online)
posts: 1,108
joined: 9-9-2008
In this respect Sir Muir reminds me of my father, who I would probably not propose as the best person to pick up the Chinese take away.
 
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 4:43AM, July 9, 2009
(online)
posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
Sometimes I sit back and scratch my head at how come there is so much racism in Harkovast.
Almost as much as we have on earth(ooooooh, feel the biting social commentary!)

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
Ironscarf at 2:53PM, July 9, 2009
(online)
posts: 1,108
joined: 9-9-2008
I think you are to be congratulated on that point: these issues are generally glossed over or completely ignored, unless it's in some often self righteous piece of ‘biting social commentary’ as you rightly sneer.

Usually we end up with not white characters inserted into situations where in reality, their appearance would cause comment at best and black characters who are either first to be killed off or, in order to justify their continuing survival, are written as saintly geniuses who can do everything short of fly unassisted cough*Martha Jones*cough.
 
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 4:41AM, July 10, 2009
(online)
posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
One of the advantages of people in Harkovast not being human is that people aren't going to feel I am being racist or dislike my depictions of their attitudes.
No one is going get angry that Ki is the token Nymus or that the Junlocks always die first or something.

It frees me from our collective social baggage so I can show these attitudes very openly. For example, we in the West consider racism against (for example) black people to be appalling (and rightly so!) But if I had characters like the priestess', who clearly dont want to upset Chen-Chen or be cruel to her and actually give her a lot of help for her mission but then express amongst themselves some rather racist views, did the same thing towards a black person it would make the audience a little too uncomfortable by striking so close to home.
The priestess' would get dismissed out of hand as bad characters that we should all dislike right away, rather then being more complex and flawed individuals, comming from a society that is more socially backward then our own.
It is odd, since this sort of thing does go on all the time (as avenue Q observed, everyone's a little bit racist). But in the media it is virtually unheard of.
People dont want to be depicted as showing racism to be okay (which is reasonable, since it is a bad thing) but this leads them to make everyone with any racism at all into pure evil and anyone who is good into a saintly person without a single prejudice in their head.
Oddly, replacing all the races with ones I made up, frees me to actually make a MORE realistic depiction of racism. I can show people with more subtle levels of racism and predjudice without being accused of justifying the mistreatment of a particular real world racial group.

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
Larry at 4:48PM, Aug. 16, 2010
(online)
posts: 69
joined: 6-14-2009
About Ki's “be sick in your mouth” expression…

Birds feed their young food by being sick in their mouthes (or at least as best as I can remember), so I'm guessing that the expression is about giving someone something that they should be able to figure out for themselves.

Am I anywhere near correct? Is this even a good place to ask that? Who knows?
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 6:06AM, Aug. 19, 2010
(online)
posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
I think people have pretty much cottoned on to Ki's meaning.
The equivilant might be “do I have to spoon feed you?”, implying the person he is talking to needs to be helped along as if they were a baby.

I was a little worried that the term “being sick” might not mean the same thing to Americans and thus confuse a lto of my audience. I was relieved to see everyone seems to have grasped what it refers to here. Though I wodner how many were left staring in stunned silence at their monitor like a Tsung-Dao!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM

Forgot Password
©2011 WOWIO, Inc. All Rights Reserved