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A slap in the face : why insults hurt--and why they shouldn't /

by Irvine, William Braxton.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2013Description: vi, 253 p. ; 19 cm.ISBN: 9780199934454 (alk. paper) :; 0199934452 (alk. paper).Title notes: $21.95 11-2013 (db)Subject(s): Resilience (Personality trait) | Invective
Contents:
Insult arsenal -- Words like daggers -- Subtle digs -- Bludgeoned with praise -- Benign insults -- Insult psychology -- World of hurt -- Who gets hurt? -- Why we insult -- Dealing with insults -- Personal responses to insults -- Societal responses to insults -- Insults, the inner game -- Insights.
Summary: William Irvine undertakes a wide-ranging investigation of insults, their history, the role they play in social relationships, and the science behind them, examining not just memorable zingers, such as Elizabeth Bowen's description of Aldous Huxley as "The stupid person's idea of a clever person, " but subtle insults as well, such as when someone insults us by reporting the insulting things others have said about us: "I never read bad reviews about myself, " wrote entertainer Oscar Levant, "because my best friends invariably tell me about them." Irvine also considers the role insults play in our society: they can be used to cement relations, as when a woman playfully teases her husband, or to enforce a social hierarchy, as when a boss publicly berates an employee. He goes on to investigate the many ways society has tried to deal with insults--by adopting codes of politeness, for example, and outlawing hate speech--but concludes that the best way to deal with insults is to immunize ourselves against them: We need to transform ourselves in the manner recommended by Stoic philosophers. We should, more precisely, become insult pacifists, trying hard not to insult others and laughing off their attempts to insult us.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Insults are part of the fabric of daily life. Other people inflict them on us, sometimes blatantly but more often subtly. On some occasions, we are delighted to be on the receiving end of these insults: when the members of a group we have joined start playfully teasing us, for example, it canbe a sign of acceptance into the group. On other occasions, though, an insult can cause us pain so intense that even years later, we will find ourselves experiencing insult flashbacks.We are also the source of insults. Some of them are consciously inflicted, but many more are sufficiently subtle that we will not recognize them for what they are unless we replay conversations in our head and try to fathom our motives for having said the things we said. Do this, and we might beastonished by our tendency, in casual conversation, to put people into what we regard as their proper place - namely, somewhere below us on the social hierarchy.In A Slap in the Face, William B. Irvine undertakes a wide-ranging investigation of insults, their history, the role they play in social relationships, and the science behind them. He offers advice, based primarily on the writings of the Stoic philosophers, on how best to curb our own insultingtendencies and how best to respond to the insults that are directed our way.

$21.95 11-2013 (db)

Includes bibliographical references (p. [241]-246) and index.

Insult arsenal -- Words like daggers -- Subtle digs -- Bludgeoned with praise -- Benign insults -- Insult psychology -- World of hurt -- Who gets hurt? -- Why we insult -- Dealing with insults -- Personal responses to insults -- Societal responses to insults -- Insults, the inner game -- Insights.

William Irvine undertakes a wide-ranging investigation of insults, their history, the role they play in social relationships, and the science behind them, examining not just memorable zingers, such as Elizabeth Bowen's description of Aldous Huxley as "The stupid person's idea of a clever person, " but subtle insults as well, such as when someone insults us by reporting the insulting things others have said about us: "I never read bad reviews about myself, " wrote entertainer Oscar Levant, "because my best friends invariably tell me about them." Irvine also considers the role insults play in our society: they can be used to cement relations, as when a woman playfully teases her husband, or to enforce a social hierarchy, as when a boss publicly berates an employee. He goes on to investigate the many ways society has tried to deal with insults--by adopting codes of politeness, for example, and outlawing hate speech--but concludes that the best way to deal with insults is to immunize ourselves against them: We need to transform ourselves in the manner recommended by Stoic philosophers. We should, more precisely, become insult pacifists, trying hard not to insult others and laughing off their attempts to insult us.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • 1 Introduction
  • Part 1 The Insult Arsenal
  • 2 Words like Daggers
  • 3 Subtle Digs
  • 4 Bludgeoned with Praise
  • 5 Benign Insults
  • Part 2 Insult Psychology
  • 6 A World of Hurt
  • 7 Who Gets Hurt?
  • 8 Why We Insult
  • Part 3 Dealing With Insults
  • 9 Personal Responses to Insults
  • 10 Societal Responses to Insults
  • 11 Insults-The Inner Game
  • 12 Insights
  • Notes
  • Works Cited

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