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The debut episode of “The Giant Word,” a new video series from Jay Smooth that analyzes the buzzwords that buzz around in the media, and figure out where they come from and what they really mean. This week we take a look at what politicans are really trying to say, when they tell us to be more “sensitive” to Tea Partiers, Islamophobes and other people who act like they’ve got no damn sense.


Gotnosensitive: What “Sensitivity” Really Means

Hello, Internet! I’m Jay Smooth, and this is The Giant Word. A series I’m doing with Giant Magazine where we take certain buzz words from the news media and try to figure out where they came from – and what they really mean. And our “giant word” for today is: gotnosensitive.

{enter theme music: Das Racist “Rainbow in the Dark”}

“Gotnosensitive” is a variation of the word “sensitive”, that’s commonly used in the world of politics. Being gotnosensitive means: pretending you agree with somebody, even though you know they’re acting like they’ve got no damn sense.

The word “gotnosensitive” was invented in 1950 by Senator Joseph McCarthy, when he noticed that many Americans had strong feelings about communism in America – strong, powerful, totally irrational feelings, that were not supported by the facts at all. And when McCarthy saw all these genuine, good-hearted Americans caught up in unnecessary fear, and all these other Americans being unfairly persecuted, he said to himself: ‘Wow. This is really hurtful,.and dangerous. And if I pretend I agree with it, I will be really popular.”

So Senator McCarthy stood before the American people and said: “I see that you’re afraid. And I want you to know I’m gotnosensitive to those fears. I think you should be afraid. I think you should be afraid for as long as possible. So I can keep capitalizing on it. Wait, scratch that last part…”

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And so the tradition began of politicians being gotnosensitive to all of our most misguided fears and emotions. And that tradition continues now more than ever, except that nowadays people usually don’t say the whole word, so it’s up to us to fill-in-the-blanks.

Nowadays, they just say we should be ‘sensitive’ to those who think President Obama is a shape-shifting lizard. They say we should be ‘sensitive’ to those who think global warming is caused by gay marriage. And it’s up to you to fill in the blanks and recognize they’re not being sensitive – they’re being gotnosensitive.

That when somebody always agrees with you no matter what you say, and always hands you the car keys no matter how drunk you are, and tells you that your feelings matter more than the facts, and more than our country’s founding principles, those people are not your friends.

Your real friends are the ones who respect you enough to tell you when you’re not thinking straight, and say:

“Here is why you don’t need to be afraid. Of these people who look a little differently from you. Or pray a little differently from you. And those politicians want you to give in to your fears and turn against each other and get distracted from all the real problems that they don’t know how to solve because they are not sensitive to your concerns. They just want to make you act like you’ve got no damn sense. ”

transcribed by Julia Clare Tillinghast-Akalin


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