Pardon My French

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Dictionary, Shmictionary.”

I see  we have another repeat of daily prompt.  One I did in October,  so if you want to read it go here https://sandmanjazz.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/a-word-in-your-ear/

But on word related nonsense I bring up the subject of the Potty Mouth which appears to slowly infecting the general population,  here in Britain at least,  I cannot talk for the rest of the world.

I’m no prude,  I work in and frequent pubs,  environments not exactly known for the patrons polite turn of phrase, but even so the marked increase of the F and C words is somewhat grating at times. A long time ago,  before I was even a twinkle in my father’s eye,  the landlord or even the bar props would call out a reprimand of ‘language’ or ‘ladies present’ if vulgar language was used at an excessive volume. In certain olde world pubs such as the Cock Hotel, volumus use of stronger swearwords gets a reprimand at first or a polite request to leave the premises.   Rightly so if you ask me,  perhaps I’m a tad old fashioned in that sense.

But what fashioned the change?  Kenneth Tynon caused huge controversy in the 1960s when he used the f-word on live television as did one of the Sex Pistols  (was it Sid Vicious or Johnny Rotten? ) about ten years later. Obviously the relaxing of censorship laws on TV and film may play a contributing factor in this development, but there has got to be more to it then that. The not-very-often-repeated-now sitcom Till Death Us Do Part came in for a lot of flack not only for the attitude of Alf Garnett upon race but for his frequent use of the word bloody.  Now for my USA readers this may seem as from what I understand ‘bloody’ is not considered to be a swear word your side of the pond,  but for us here in blighty it is and was once considered rather rude. Times do change and attitudes towards things also change.

Now,  the famous cry is to blame music,  specifically Rap,  Metal and Rock. I once joked to a friend a way to put a 1000 sales on a record was to put a Parental Advisory sticker on it.  Amusingly there was a album called Jazz from Hell by Frank Zappa which stupidly got a Parental Advisory sticker, why stupidly?  The album is totally instrumental!

You could blame rap to a degree I guess,  but the decent rap (no it exists) is far more about critiquing not killing,  freaking and misogyny. Rock and Metal have always had the bad boy attitude which contributed to this,  but there is a hell of a lot of good rock which manages to stay reasonbly unpotty mouthed.

TV,  well it is interesting to see that alot of prewatershed programs are mostly free of even milder swearwords these days. But it is interesting if you watch,  say some of the early episodes of Last of the Summer Wine there is a surprising amount of swearing,  smoking and, surprisingly,  Norman Clegg saying things like “his idea of orgasm is looking through a copy of Burke’s peerage”. Is it we have developed to a situation of two extremes?

Personally I just think a lack of education in language is to blame,  the reason so many people hace to eff and jeff all the time is that they are severely lacking in vocabulary.  Why is it we are obsesed with SPaG but not with the diversity of language and dialect?  The way we are going the once richly diverse English   is going to become flat, dull and monotonous. Devoid of character and devoid of humanity.

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2 thoughts on “Pardon My French

  1. You would think my East End of London (Bethnal Green) upbringing would make these words part of my vocabulary. It seems to have become fashion to drop a few four letter words even on sites like Facebook. I remember once when I was going to the No. 8 bus stop early in the morning to school and saw my dad on his way home from night shift (at Fords in Dagenham) talking to a bloke he knew. passed by, Later that day my dad told me he had to tell him to control his language as that was his daughter approaching, and as far as I can remember the other bloke did. I had never heard my dad use those words in a sentence, although I don’t know how it was at his work place. I remember the memorable words of Kenneth Tynan – I think it was in the programme That was the Week that was with David Frost. How things have changed since. It is no longer worth a mention in the newspapers. Brought some memories back this blog. I was also still living in England when Alf Garnett made his mark on the TV.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I noticed these days people don’t even moderate their language when children are about. Not so long ago I was on the bus to recover my car from the Cock Hotel after a night with my buddies and there were a couple of youngish women, I refuse to use the term ladies here, and it was F this and F that, despite the presence of a number of preschool children on the bus. If I were the driver I would ask them to de-bus at the next stop.

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