The craft of insult
I was listening to the radio today, and there were a group of "intellectuals" discussing why on a football match, some of the most common insults involve:
Doubting the other fans exclusive dedication to heterosexuality
Declaring that the other fans come from one of our fine neighbouring countries.
Well, they went around the subject, and brought forward stuff like ritual ahem of prisoners of war in ancient eras, and xenophobia, and homophobia, and racism, and insecurity about their own sexual inclinations, and how the anonimity of the mass changes behaviour, and many, many, many other things.
Well, of course, they are stupid morons who shouldn't be allowed to breath near a micropohone, unless they are reading stuff written by someone who is actually thinking.
Those insults are used because they work in their intended context.
What you call someone else, assuming you are willing to say anything doesn't depend on the insulter. It depends on the insulted.
If I think someone will think offense of being called a wooden wind instrument, or a bunch of twigs, and I relly intend to hurt him, well, that insult will work (no, I don't usually do this).
If I think the other guy is a racist and will be deadly offended by suggesting his ancestors sailed fom Norway, well, calling him a Norseman would be effective.
Since the members of a holigan band are pretty much like the members of the other, this means they don't actually believe the other guy is gay, or Icelandic, or whathaveyou, but just that they expect the other guy to get angry, so a nice fight with cycle chains can take place (no, I don't do those things).
In fact, it doesn't even mean that they would get very offended, it's just a bunch of codewords: "they called us tree-fornicators (no, that's not a real insult), let's go bash their faces". It's a ritual.
How can five people babbling for two hours not see those obvious points, I have no idea.
If you want to see if society evolves about race or sex, it's not a matter of noone calling the others by racist or sexist words, it's about those words not hurting.
And that, dear reader, is why political correctness doesn't work worth a damn.