Category: internetisms

How Do You "Disemvowel" Someone?

Technically, you don’t disemvowel people. To state that would be vacuous. You disemvowel words…from what I gather. I’d never heard of this term before last night. I was perusing the web and catching up on various blog posts where high drama seems to be out of control sometimes and came across “disemvowel” and couldn’t resist looking it up.

Wiki says this about “disemvoweling.”

Because disemvoweling makes text legible only through significant cognitive effort, it is used by moderators on internet forums, newsgroups and blogs as a way to limit the effectiveness of unwanted postings or comments, such as rudeness or criticism. Disemvoweling maintains some transparency, both of the act and the underlying word, which would not be the case if the entire offending post is deleted. The word disemvoweling is a pun on vowel and disembowel.[1]

Wiki says this about “disembowelment.”

Disembowelment may result from an accident, but has also been used as a method of torture and execution. In such practices, disembowelment may be accompanied by other forms of torture, and/or the removal of other vital organs.

While “disemvowel” is clearly a pun…or just another internet-ism like WTF-ery…that’s mainly used by snarkfest bloggers who always know how to get attention by creating shitstorms all over the Internet, you have to wonder about the symbolic association connected to disembowelment.

Even though I’m sure it’s not a conscious thought, I have to wonder whether or not a blogger who would post something like this has a few subconscious desires/issues that run deeper than we might think.

You also have to wonder why anyone would go through the trouble of disemvoweling a comment on a blog thread when all they have to do is delete it. That’s what most bloggers do. In fact, I’ve been reading personal blogs, interviewing personal bloggers, and reviewing personal blogs for almost ten years and I have never once seen this word until last night.

Evidently, I’ve been hanging out in the wrong places.

In any event, I think it’s an interesting word. It’s not something I would make a practice of doing often…if ever. I’m not big on internet-isms as a rule. They only work once, at best, and get tired fast. But more than that, I would probably remain wary of someone who did practice it. Some think it’s a form of censorship.

I didn’t know this either, from Urban Dictionary:

The process by which moderators of left-wing Internet blogs and message boards can censor the messages of those who disagree with their views without completely deleting them, thus allowing them to claim that they are NOT censoring messages.

Y cn’t hlp bt lv ths snrky ntrntsms, nd, th ppl wh prctc thm nd tk thm srsly 🙂