Hey Bubba! Welcome back. How was the yak butter? :D I got the book (Goffman) from Amazon on Thursday, but haven't started it yet. How is it?
TOTD: Sorry to reply so late, but I really had to think about this one. Labels are a type of verbal shorthand and are therefore useful in economically expressing thoughts and attitudes. However, like all shorthands, by compressing information, they lose information. And that loss can take on several different forms.
Take the political terms, "conservative," "moderate," and "liberal" for example. How do you label someone who is liberal on social issues, a fiscal moderate, and a national security hawk? One might label that person as "moderate," as it seems to best express his/her beliefs, but, by taking the "average," it loses the outliers.
An opposite situation may exist wherein a label is applied that accurately represents only one facet of a person, e.g., race, religion, dominant personality trait. A person may indeed be a "Jew," but to call him such often is a method of associating all of the (typically) negative stereotypes of Judaism with that person.
While labels are often intended to be disparaging, if taken with humor and with the sure knowledge that such labels more accurately depict those using them than those at which they're aimed, they can be amusing. One that I like was given to me by our former Texas Modifying Mod, now over at Clietus' Cesspool and who, most certainly, has engaged in the activity to which he's referring -- "Walking Sex Crime!"
And, btw DS, get it right. It's "Elitist Prick." :D