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Creative Language

So, they are going to fine people for swearing in parts of Australia and in Barnsley town centre.

My anger and disbelief at this idea is extremely difficult to contain. It makes absolutely no sense for myriad of reasons, but I just have to point out the most obvious.

Language evolves and progresses over years and decades and centuries. What is considered foul language now was not considered foul language 100 years ago. You know, the kids these days are very creative. Did you know what a MILF was a decade ago? Believe it or not, Shakespeare did not pen the line “My companion, on yonder stool is thine finest mater, for she is a MILF and will make my heart take flight”. MILF is an acronym of the highest order, to be commended for its almost onomatopoeic quality. It also contains what is widely regarded as the second worst swear we have. Should it be banned? The offending word itself is not said,but surely it is strongly suggested.

My wife is American and, as such, because of her societal origin, did not believe the words “bastard” or “bollocks” or indeed “fart” to be inappropriate for use in the presence of my parents. My parents are traditional English folk and somewhat disagree.

“Shit” finds its origins in the Old English word scite, meaning dung. If we simply replace the the modern common usage by saying scite, do we still find ourselves £80 worse off? Scite cannot possibly be on the watch list for offensive words, so either a loophole has been found (start studying kids, we have a lot of derivatives research to do), or the town centre wardens will have to be judge and jury on the entirety of history of the English language.

Which brings us to another salient point. What about non-English swear words? My saying merde under my breath when yet again that I am going to hell for being a sinner purely because I am walking past a man with a placard on my way to GAP cannot possibly incur the penalty, can it?

Context is extremely important. List the following in order of offence:

1.I fingered a bird outside the club last night. She couldn't stop screaming.
2.Shit, that was a great goal. He is unbelievable.
3.I would love to stick my massive wang into her swollen vagina.

I know which of those I would consider least offensive for my family to hear on an afternoon out shopping.

And last, but most certainly not least, who has the right to tell us what we can say? It would take another ten pages to explain the list of things I don't want to hear that I find personally offensive, but I never, ever, ever tell people they cannot say them. I would never dream of it. If necessary, engage in a conversation and, yes, even an argument about whether it is appropriate. But it is not the place of government to police words leaving the mouths of autonomous individuals. I would have to publicly flog myself if I used the 'slippery slope' argument because it is bullmerde (pardon my French), but where the restrictions on word usage will end is certainly a consideration.

People of Australia and Barnsley, I stand by you. Mass swear protest outside town hall? Absolutely. I for one cannot wait to see the placards. Contrary to popular belief, people who swear well are some of the most imaginative people I know.


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