• June 2, 2020
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After collecting the interview data, it was time to look at the responses that people had left. I can say with certainty that some of these have truly… caught my attention. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Wiener).

I have a brother, and if you know anything about siblings, brothers and sisters tend to fight. Sometimes they skip the fighting and just insult each other for fun. Recently, my brother insulted me so profanely that I’m pretty sure I would get kicked out of The Mycenaean just for producing the first word. The craziest thing is not what he said, but the fact that I wasn’t really bothered by it. Which left me wondering, “what insults are getting under our skin?”

In order to answer this question, I decided to go on a few interviews around Leesville Road High School. I asked some people about how often they got insulted and by who. As expected, they said they were insulted jokingly around their friends. The people asked were more likely to get “insulted” by friends, mainly because friends are close and nothing really bothers them about each other. Luke Hesla, a senior in LRHS, said that he gets insulted “Quite a bit, mostly by my friends in a joking way but sometimes by peers in class.” As a matter of fact, out of the 18 people interviewed, all of them answered that they joke around with their friends instead  of insulting strangers.

I followed this question up with where they usually insult/get insulted. They all responded with either at school or with friends, which, for many people, go together. You see and talk to your friends at school most of the time, and if not there, then out in the mall or some other place. They also said that these insults didn’t get under their skins, as it was just with friends that they hang out with almost daily.  

Before asking what truly gets to them, I asked what they defined as an insult. Many of them had their own personal definitions of an insult, and they were actually pretty good. Nickolas Shroeder, a sophomore at LRHS, said, “Words with the intent to hurt someone mentally.” I found this definition pretty accurate. The main intent of an insult is to injure someone psychologically as well as emotionally. Reece Richardson, a sophomore at LRHS, had a somewhat more formal definition. He claimed, “A comment or statement intending to offend the opposing party” which is a bit more dictionary based than other students’ definitions. 

When asked what really gets under their skin, everyone questioned had different answers. Most of the subjects interviewed said something physical about their bodies, and some others said something about their talent or sport. A student who wishes to remain anonymous said that they got really ticked off when they heard, “The ones about my weight and how annoying I am.” Many others seemed to agree with the student, as they also said that they get mad when they hear taunts about how they look. 

Rumors are possibly the nastiest forms of insults, mainly due to the fact that some of them are not even said to the persons face until it has spread too far to denounce it. Taylor Aldridge, a junior at LRHS, said that she hates insults that have, “Lots of curses and rumors said about and to me.” Rumors, unfortunately, are spread about someone and often don’t reach the victim until it’s too late. 

I asked the students if they had used any insults to get under people’s skins, but all of them answered that they never just use them to get someone mad. They say it’s all in good fun if they do use them at all, but in any other case, they tend to stray away from insults that would hurt others. A student who wishes to remain anonymous said that they, “Never say mean things to people in order to genuinely hurt their feelings.”

To try to lighten the mood, I asked what the best insult they had ever heard/said. A great one that a student who wishes to remain anonymous said was, “If you were anymore inbred, you’d be a sandwich.” Another good one comes from Richardson, who said, “I don’t talk to people with uppercase gums and lowercase teeth.” 

After doing some research, it appears that people don’t just use insults to get other people in a bad mood. The students I interviewed seem to say insults to have fun with their friends and in school. The main thing that gets people truly mad are insults about their physical appearances and their main talent/sport. With all of this in mind, definitely don’t try to insult people, and if you do, make sure it’s with a friend who you know is comfortable with it.

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