Thoughts on the Loser

The main idea behind isn't only to highlight the people who finished in second place, sequels, or second superlatives of things (second biggest, second smallest, etc...,) but also to present those who lost in a notable contest, battle, or conflict of whatever sort. The loser here is not the loser in the negative sense, but more in the straight up definition as the side that lost the event. The problem with using the actual term "loser" in this setting is that it is a pejorative term that conveys an idea of judgement, a sort of verbal twisting of the knife in the side of the person or group that lost. It is true that most times when we speak of the loser, in sports for example, we mean there to be a hint of judgement especially if we gain a degree of satisfaction from our chosen side winning. However, that satisfaction comes at a small but somewhat tangible cost in places such as SM, where the term makes it difficult to separate the event from the opinion of it, which makes any conversation about "the loser" take on a dismissive tone. I don't think anybody with half a brain would ever consider, for example, the team led by Robert Falcon Scott to be a bunch of losers because they got beaten to the South Pole by Road Amundsen and his Norwegian team. They were defeated in race toward the pole but they weren't losers. Some of the most experienced and courageous polar explorers in history comprised Falcon's team. Who's to say that they weren't simply unlucky? Does being unlucky make one a loser? Their efforts and their story were no less great and no less important in history.

Part of the reason behind this writing this post is the current United States President's liberal use of the term "loser" as a sort of verbal broom with which he can sweep away his opponents' credibility and label them as something more or less useless, unnecessary, and ridiculous. As curator of this site, I do not wish to see such feelings or assessments to enter into the discussions and articles here. The subjects written about on SilverMedals are chosen because they're either fun, interesting, important, or surprising. Not because I'm trying to make fun of anyone.

This is not a value judgement of President's words, nor is it an opinion of how he uses the terms he uses. It is more or less a reaction to the word's popular use. It is also based on an observation that the term "loser" is simply problematic in a publication such as this, which looks to tell the stories of the defeated and not as a place to pile on to the "losers".

At we view the "losers" as reflections of the victor and as active participants in a greater story whose contributions are often overlooked or dismissed. For this reason SM will refer the side or person who lost as "the defeated" as opposed to "the loser". This is not a whitewashing of the English language (frankly SM is not a big enough entity to even aspire to such a thing), but rather a specific desire to elevate the defeated instead of pushing them down.


Well I hate to have you read that without getting some bits of fun and information, so here are 5 little tidbits of SilverMedals info which you may or may not find interesting:

  1. The second most populated city in France is Marseille with just over 2,100,000 residents.
  2. Kenney Jones was the second drummer for the band The Who. He took over in 1978 after former drummer Keith Moon died of a drug overdose.
  3. The second Defenestration of Prague occurred on May 23, 1618, when imperial regents, William Slavata and Jaroslav Martinic, were tried and found guilty of violating the rights of Protestants. As a result, they were thrown with their secretary, Philip Fabricius, out of a third story window in the council room of Prague Castle (Hradčany). This was one of several events that led to the 30 Years War. (Editor's note: when you go there, the guides in the castle reluctantly admit that they're not exactly sure which window the three guys were thrown out of.)
  4. The second state to become a state in the United States under the Articles of Confederation was South Carolina when it ratified the Articles on February 5, 1778. The second state to ratify the Constitution, and thus get status today as THE second state, is Pennsylvania, which ratified the Constitution on December 12, 1787, five days after Delaware became the first state.
  5. During Cristoforo Colombo's (Christopher Columbus) second voyage to the Americas, he was disappointed to not find any of the riches he promised King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. So to avoid coming back empty-handed, the explorer brought back 500 Caribbean slaves for the Queen as a "gift". The Queen was not impressed and ended up refusing the gift. 
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