Good Reason

It's okay to be wrong. It's not okay to stay wrong.

Category: swearing (page 2 of 2)

Atheist YouTube party

For this week’s UWA Atheist and Agnostic Society meeting, it was Atheist YouTube Party! With me as programmer. I really enjoyed the chance to share some of my faves. Here they are, as a YouTube playlist. Prepare to be offended and/or enlightened; the choice is, as always, entirely up to you.

NOTE: I think there might be a bug in the YouTube embedded playlist feature. The embedded playlist below skips the first video, which in this case was Tim Minchin’s “The Pope Song”. If you want to see it first, you can either click here to go to my blog post of a few days ago, or click here to find a working playlist on a different page.

Since I didn’t have a rock-solid net connection in the lecture room, I decided to take the precaution of downloading the videos as mp4’s using KeepVid, and then making a playlist in VLC. It made things go much more smoothly.

The Pope Song: A linguistic analysis

Been enjoying this new video from Tim Minchin. It’s catchy, but it does have a wee bit of profanity. Entirely justified.

Here are some stats about the song.

  • some variant of ‘fuck’: 84 times
  • some variant of ‘mother’ + ‘fuck’ in the same word: 35 times
  • some variant of ‘cunt’: 0 times
  • That’s one ‘fuck’ every: 1.54 seconds
  • Ratio of ‘fuck’ words to other words: 1:3.85

Other songs, for comparison:

  • Fuck tha Police by N.W.A.: One ‘fuck’ every 9.32 seconds
  • Too Drunk to Fuck by Dead Kennedys: every 8.89 seconds
  • Fucking in Heaven by Fatboy Slim: every 2.29 seconds
  • Bodies by the Sex Pistols: every 1.0 seconds (but only that one part in the third verse)
  • Fireflies by Owl City: every 0.6 seconds (subliminal)
  • Number of other songs I know that rhyme ‘papist’ and ‘rapist’: 0.

A Labor PM who swears? Get out of town!

One of my areas of linguistic interest is swearing. That means that if the Prime Minister uses naughty words, I get phone calls. And not only did Kevin Rudd make a (suspiciously calculated) slip-up on TV, but a new book claims that he’s got quite the mouth in private.

So here’s a recent interview I did with Kate from HypeFM, talking to the kids about why Mr Rudd is admired if he swears in public, but they get punished.

SC state senator is afraid of words

Did anyone notice this fine piece of legislation? South Carolina Senator Robert Ford wants to make swearing a felony.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Article 3, Chapter 15, Title 16 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

“Section 16-15-370. (A) It is unlawful for a person in a public forum or place of public accommodation wilfully and knowingly to publish orally or in writing, exhibit, or otherwise make available material containing words, language, or actions of a profane, vulgar, lewd, lascivious, or indecent nature.

What’s the penalty? Get this:

(B) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

Takes me back to the good old days of Puritan America, where blasphemy could get you whipped, your forehead branded with a ‘B’, or your tongue bored through with a hot iron. For repeat offenses, you could be killed. And remember that blasphemy could be swearing, or simply being an atheist.

In 1699 a Virginia statute was designed to eliminate “horrid and Atheistic principles greatly tending to the dishonor of Almighty God . . . “Blasphemers might deny God or the holy Trinity, declare that there are more than one God, or worship another god or goddess.

Dark days.

Hey, is ‘piss’ vulgar? Because I have a book that Mr Ford might like to prosecute.

Chickens and roosts etc., but worded more coarsely.

I must say, I’m enjoying this part of the election cycle. The Republicans just can’t stop stepping in it lately, can they? And I think the reasons for this have their roots in three great vices of the Bush Administration: incompetence, mendacity, and faith.

Bush made a lot of, if you’ll excuse me, fuck-ups. What’s worse, by trying to (keep excusing me throughout this post) spin his fuck-ups as positives — and by believing it — he made it impossible to learn from his fuck-ups and correct them.

Now McCain, and along with him the entire Republican Party, is following along the Bush template:

1. Fuck shit up.
2. Claim your fuck-ups are not fuck-ups.
3. Have faith that everything is okay.
4. Don’t learn from your mistakes. Repeat.

Now it’s okay to fuck up once in a while, as long as you learn from your fuck-ups. If you’re a political party, you can still fuck up quite a bit, as long as you’re good at blaming the other party for your fuck-ups, and (importantly) your fuck-ups don’t actually impede the workings of your own party.

But the GOP is now past that point. The extent of the fucking up is now finally affecting them. For example, McCain could admit that Palin was a bad choice for Veep. But he can’t, because

a) he can’t admit he was wrong, and
b) other people think he’s right, especially
– evangelical Christians, who do their best to live in a fantasy world, and
– the wingnut echo chamber, who always gets everything wrong.

So now it seems, the Republican Party has been fucking up things for so long that they no longer remember how not to fuck up things. When they fuck up, they tell themselves that things are great. This decreases the chances that they’ll notice their fuck-ups, fix their fuck-ups, and quit fucking the fuck up.

What I think we’re seeing here with the Palin nomination is the GOP imploding into a big sloppy pile of fuck-up.

Reality. If you ignore it, sooner or later it bites you in the ass.

No swearing? They’d rather stay home.

What happens when a Christian couple tries to ban swearing in the pub they were running? You’d expect some resistance. After all, language behaviour is social behaviour, and social change doesn’t happen just like that.

The couple have since been fired because of the business fall-off. Now everyone can employ their dialect without fear of reprisal.

The couple, who took over the pub in March this year, imposed a ban on swearing.

It was supposed to make for a nicer atmosphere but regulars disagreed and the pub emptied.

Regulars said that Mrs Fleming would walk round the pub with a Bible, and lecture people for bad language.

John Rudkn, 61, a regular for years, said: “Any swearing and you were barred. It was well over the top.”

John’s wife, who did not wish to give her name, said she had been told off by Mrs Fleming for bad language.

“You can’t run a pub and not swear,” she said. “If they are Christians they should run a church, not a bloody pub.”

George Whipps, 68, another regular, said people should expect foul language in a pub.

“She put a sign up outside saying no swearing,” he said. “This pub in the last eight days has perked up 100 per cent. All of the old regulars are back.

Hey, we’re English speakers. We impose language norms on other people.

Australians inexplicably irked about ‘beaver ad’

New limits on taboo terms? Not only can you not use bodily euphemisms, some folks get huffy if you even suggest them.

A tampon company may be forced to cancel TV ads that show an attractive, young woman going about her day with a beaver in tow.

Here’s the ad.

Just think: every woman is walking around with one of those things. Interesting. But it got some people feeling all hot and confused.

The Advertising Standards Bureau in Canberra received a “large number” of complaints as soon as the ad aired on Sunday – the day after International Women’s Day.

I wonder how large a number it was. Wouldn’t you think someone that uptight would be too clueless to even get the reference? On second thought, nah. Anti-sex people have minds like sewers, and it scares them.

What might those two guys on the beach be saying, by the way? My guess was too predictable.

Blasphemy laws dropped in UK

Time was, if you denied that gods existed loudly and publicly enough, you were considered a threat to the social fabric and arrested under blasphemy laws. This Wikipedia page mentions James Naylor, who in 1656 suffered flogging, branding and the piercing of his tongue by a red-hot poker.

No more. The little-used and anachronistic blasphemy laws have been revoked.

After an acrimonious debate in which the bogeyman of secularism was repeatedly invoked, the House of Lords on Wednesday March 5 2008 accepted the amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill that abolishes the common law of blasphemy and blasphemous libel.

I liked the comment from the Earl of Onslow:

On the question of blasphemy, it has always struck me that if Jesus Christ exists, and if Jesus Christ in his Godlike form was capable of creating the universe, then he could quite easily hack the bit of left-wing obscurantism and b-mindedness that writes things such as “Jerry Springer: The Opera”. If he does not exist, nothing will happen; if he does exist, it is up to him to get hold of the chap who wrote it and make sure that he does time in the diabolical house of correction. The offence is unnecessary.

It also seems that the provision applies only to the Church of England, not to the doctrines of the Roman church, as far as I can gather. You can be just as rude and insulting as you like about the doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, papal infallibility, or what the Church of Rome says about contraception; you can be blasphemous about those without any possibility of being prosecuted.

Blasphemy is a crime that is open to intense mockery. As the Minister said, something that is open to mockery and has been used only four times since 16-something-or-other has no place on the statute book.

Please let us now get rid of the crime of blasphemy. It is unnecessary and otiose.

Not everyone was happy.

Lord Armstrong of Ilminster: …The fact that one has not had a flood for a very long time does not mean that one should destroy the floodgates. My fear is that the removal of this provision will be seen as encouraging people to make outrageous statements that are needlessly offensive to a great many people. They will only do it to annoy, because they know it teases.

He then burst into tears, sucking his thumb while rocking and whimpering quietly to himself.

More for all you swearing fans

I’m rerunning The Swearing Class in August, and word has gotten around. There’s always a great deal of interest in it. In fact, ABC Radio gave me a call today asking me for an interview.

Unfortunately, they asked me to phone in at just the time I’d be picking Oldest Boy up from school. So if it’s sounds like I’m outside with a mobile, trying to stay out of the wind and sun, that’s why.

Still, the hosts were personable and friendly, and I managed to work in just about everything I planned to say. I hope I didn’t get too much wrong. Somehow they got the impression that I’d grown up in Utah, which I didn’t bother to correct. Just for the record, I am a Washingtonian. But I guess I did do a lot of growing up in Utah. They sure were interested in the ex-Mormon angle, but I didn’t belabour it, and I kept it fairly positive.

I’ll post a link to an mp3 file as soon as I get it. Then we can all have fun pointing out my on-air mistakes.

Is ‘crack’ a dirty word?

I can see why this video for the Chemical Brothers Salmon Dance would bleep ‘fuck’ and ‘bitches’. Also ‘nigger’ (but why only the once?).

But why is ‘crack’ garbled at 1:52? Are drug words swears now?

Kind of. Just as drug themes are considered dangerous in movies and rated accordingly, it seems that even the mention of drugs needs to be controlled.

I hate that kind of thinking. Hearing about crack in a song wasn’t enough to make me want to try it, but it might just drive those other poor weak-willed souls over the edge. There’s a kind of elitism in censorship.

My radio version of Everlast’s Ends went through an even more skittish committee; not only did they garble ‘crack’, they also munged the words in [brackets]:

  • Shoppin’ sprees get her on her [knees]
  • If you broke she’s spittin’ / If you’re rich she might [swallow]

Thank the stars that the ears of young listeners have been spared. The times I offended my mother by saying crack, knees, and swallow.

On Australian radio they just play it as is. We’re not as afraid of words.

Newer posts

© 2017 Good Reason

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑