Today’s Insults

I recently asked a table full of New York city residents what they most noticed was different about people who lived elsewhere in the US. One person immediately said others are “fatter.” No one else disagreed, or offered any other descriptor.

I don’t know how representative is this opinion, but in general I’m interested in the kinds of insults that people find to be more more socially acceptable. This person might have also thought that outsiders seemed dumber, less well dressed, lazier, or less politically informed, but might have been shy about saying so.

The “fat” descriptor seems a more acceptable insult. Perhaps because fat can be seen pretty objectively, and tends to be blamed more on a person’s intentions, rather than on inherited ability or disposition.

Is there any data on the most common insults people use today? I’d be more interested in data on socially visible insults, rather than anonymous insults, such as might be found in blog comments.

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