August 12, 2016

"Libtard" is a portmanteau word, but of what? Liberal + ???

This topic arose in the comments to my post last night that took The New Yorker to task for publishing the sentence: "In India, Hindu supremacists have adopted Rush Limbaugh’s favorite epithet 'libtard' to channel righteous fury against liberal and secular √©lites." In fact, Rush Limbaugh never says "libtard."

I added: "'Libtard' is an offensive word, unnecessarily dragging in disrespect for the mentally challenged." I have always heard the word as a combination of "liberal" and "retard." But in the comments, MadisonMan asked: "Does the 'tard' come from retard, or bastard?" I think it's obvious: 1. "Retard" is often shortened to just "'tard" and no one ever says "'tard" to mean "bastard," and 2. The contempt expressed in the use of the word seems to be about stupidity and not orneriness.

Urban Dictionary confirms my understanding, in the top-voted definition and in all the competing definitions.

But here's an op-ed in the NYT (from 2014), "Testing the Ideas of India." See? It's India again.
The [the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party's] dominance during this election campaign has had unexpected benefits, including reviving the belief that secularism is a value — even if it’s a value that needs reviving, and redefining. In rambunctious Twitter arguments, “sickular” is often used as a pejorative term, along with “libtard,” a composite for “liberal bastard.” This language, however extreme, is a sign that between the small but noisy groups of Hindu supremacists and the small but equally vociferous groups of committed left-liberals lies a vast middle ground.
I don't know if that columnist got it right, and who knows how the word "libtard" came into being in India? It didn't come from Rush Limbaugh, but did it come from other Americans? If so, was the "tard" misunderstood as connected to "bastard" or was the NYT op-ed writer — Nilanjana S. Roy — just innocent of the American word "tard" and making her own assumption? Roy is a novelist born, educated, and living in India. She's not a good source of the origin of the American epithet "libtard," which seems to have a life of its own in India.
I searched the Hindustan Times for the word "libtard" and came up with 3 examples, including one from last month titled "Have you been trolled? Challenging the defence of India’s 'bhakts'" — which challenges me to understand another word, bhakts:
Social media trolls with right wing Hindu leanings – characterised by their vehement attacks on anyone opposing the Narendra Modi-led government – have undoubtedly hogged the limelight this week. While their attacks on people, who do not agree with them, have grown unprecedentedly brazen, 'bhakts' also enjoy a new-found attention of newspaper columnists, online commentators and prominent intellectuals....
[Film director Vivek] Agnihotri wrote, "You call them Internet Hindus, they call you Adarsh Liberals. You call them Bhakts, they call you Libtards. You call them Sanghis, they call you AAPtards. This new, emerging, virtual India is not taking it lying down like their ancestors did."

What the director misses is that while calling opponents Adarsh Liberals or AAPtards (quite derogatory in itself, taking off from 'retard'), the trolls also heap slanderous abuses on them....
Aha!

Here's some more on the meaning of "bhakt.
A Bhakt is essentially a good mannered person, but sometimes he chooses to abuse when opponents attack PM Modi with derogatory remarks, sometimes even personal. For instance, AAPtard were at the receiving end of abuse when Kejriwal labeled PM Modi as psychopath and coward. Similarly Congress has many leaders whose whole time duty is to abuse Modi only. Therefore sickulars get similar treatment from Bhakts on social media. Just imagine that a remark on Prophet Muhammad generated wide spread violence in Malda and Purnia. So by the same logic, when Bhakts’ God is under attack, one should be ready for backlash. Don’t blame Bhakts for this...
Oh, no. That's enough about India for now... or is it? Modi is portrayed as a psychopath and coward? Time for another application of my mental illness meme tag. 

34 comments:

Yancey Ward said...

I think there are two possibilities- the author of the article really was unaware of the shortened version of retard, and maybe even of the definition of the word itself as a noun. The more likely possibility is that some liberal somewhere defined it for Roy and didn't want to acknowledge that it is a term used for dumb liberals. It is objectively better to be thought a bastard than to be thought of as retarded. And now I will duck.

Rt1 Rebel said...

Perhaps the pronunciation gives a clue.

coupe said...

Paris Hilton is said to have coined the term celebutard, which was from retard.

New York Post Article

Same with fucktard and spamtard. Both retarded.

YoungHegelian said...

"'Tard" can be used alone as a slang form of the noun retard.

To quote a mean joke that I once heard from some stand-up comic: "You can tell a lot about how just a culture is by how they treat their 'tards".

Jonathan Graehl said...

it's 'retard'

it's shameful for people who are not retarded to act retarded

i don't see how this is hurtful to retarded people. who are humans and if loved, return love. a retarded person would say: don't act like retarded if you're not. it's cultural appropriation. (well, a libtard would say that)

The Cracker Emcee said...

Hardly rocket science. Surely there's books you haven't read, walks not taken, ideas not explored.

For instance, out of what Norman or Anglo-Saxon hidey-hole does the word "fart" spring from? And is there a word for words that sound like the sound of the thing or action they represent. Swoosh, where did that one come from? It sounds suspiciously like hillbilly slang but who knows?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Obviously it's "retard." Just look at how the second syllable is pronounced. No one pronounces "bastard" like "libtard."

Danno said...

Maybe we should adopt libturd as the word of choice.

Balfegor said...

I think it has to be "retard" -- is "bastard" even much of an epithet these days, given that about 40% of all infants born in the US are bastards?

Carol said...

I've listened to a lot of talk radio and never heard this word used. It's a given that people would take offense at the "tard" business. Gimme a break. I have seen it only online and there was no "bastard" about it.

Does Hannity use it? I never listen to him or watch Fox.

Achilles said...

When your political class acts amorally people hate them and ridicule the idiots that support them.

Laslo Spatula said...

I always thought that "-tard" mean like flame-reTARDant.

I don't think it's retarded to worry about fire.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laslo Spatula said...

Didn't Hillary say she was "in no ways TARD."?

The faux-Southern Accent always throws me.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

I once had a Southern Girl suck my cock and -- when I came -- she yelled "MOON PIE!"

So I Googled 'Moon Pie'.

I guess I sorta get it.

I am Laslo.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Republicans seem to identify very strongly with the mentally challenged, for some reason.

It's one thing to be cruel to retards and ugly people. It's another thing to make normal people realize how stupid or ugly they're being.

Nevertheless, "libtard" is a pathetic epithet, and reflects on the poor cognitive abilities of both the person who came up with it and the person who uses it.

If you're going to insult someone's intelligence, you have to make sure that they actually did or said or thought something stupid. Stupider than you, of course.

But calling someone stupid just because you're angry or frustrated with them is what 3-year olds do.

And Republicans.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

How would you write to correction? "The New Yorker regrets that a recent article identified libtard as Rush Limbaugh's favorite epithet. In fact, his favorite epithet is Democrat Party, or feminazi, or possibly Osama Obama."

Laslo Spatula said...

"But calling someone stupid just because you're angry or frustrated with them is what 3-year olds do."

What do you call someone frustrated with a three-year-old?

Someone who wishes they had an abortion thirty-seven months ago.

Insert Ed McMahon laugh.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

So Cake Decorators now have to decorate Gay Wedding Cakes.

Okay.

But if someone came in and said I want a Cake celebrating my Abortion do they have to do that, too?

I'm thinking "Seven Months and Thank God It's Gone". But can you make it swirly?

Errant thoughts about Cake.

I am Laslo.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

NYTimes vs New Yorker - fight fight fight!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Laslo Spatula said...But if someone came in and said I want a Cake celebrating my Abortion do they have to do that, too?

Twitter: Let's Taco 'bout Abortion - Taco & Beer Abortion Fundraiser

Biotrekker said...

It's obviously derived from retard. The point is that liberals are "slow on the uptake." Also, consider that bastard - in the good ol' US of A, is mostly pronounced "basterd" or "bastid", whereas libtard is pronounced phonetically as spelled, as is retard. Perhaps those liberates at the NYT and New Yorker employee People working from India who are not aware of subtle nuances of American slang.

mockturtle said...

Maybe it should be libturd.

wildswan said...

I told a friend about the New Yorker error on Rush and his use of "libtard" as demonstrated by a search of his site. She said: "Well, what restraint, not to use his favorite word."

narciso said...

there was a whole campaign of falsehoods, carried out by mediamatters, designed to force affiliates to drop rush, this is part of the backwash of that,

Comanche Voter said...

I don't bother libtard. Too many syllables. I just go with shmuck. Or if I want to save letters, "dork'> All can mean the same person of the liberal persuasion.

holdfast said...

Do Libtards have the advantage of that Crazy Retard Strength?

Asking for a friend.

tim maguire said...

I would have thought anyone who has been ten years old in the United States knows that "tard" is a clipped form of "retard." As noted above, pronounciation alone tells you it's not "bastard."

Whether Indians know this...even with the explanations, I couldn't follow the quoted passage.

tim maguire said...

I should note a special feature of libtard made possible by its nature as a portmanteau--it may be the only term in English that is both a single word and redundant.

Robt C said...

Cracker - - the swoosh word you're looking for is "onomatopoeia"

SGT Ted said...

'tard short for retard. Libtard, for those folks so liberal they are retarded.

tim in vermont said...

R&B is right people, as a conservative, I have never been called names by liberals! Only Republicans do that!

Drago said...

Rhythm and Balls: "Republicans seem to identify very strongly with the mentally challenged, for some reason."

One of several reasons being the left, when they are not busy defending terrorists, seem determined to kill off the mentally challenged in the womb or shortly thereafter. Of course, that's an effective way to gather up some much desired body parts.

But I guess it's okay to be more upset about some words being tossed about.

William Chadwick said...

How about "State fellator"? That's a lot more accurate than "libtard."