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July 15th, 2009

THE F-WORD

After I had written the following reflection on the most unprintable word in the English language, I didn’t really know what to do with it.  Wondering what the reaction of decent people would be, I sent it to the Catholic editors at MercatorNet because I have a great deal of respect for them and their publication.  It was Mr. Cook’s suggestion that I delete my imaginings about the onomatopeic origin of the word. (You are going to have to do your own imagining.)I wondered if I should just deep-six it.  He was kind enough to write:  “I don’t want to shun the topic, but I feel that we need something a bit different. Sorry to disappoint. Best regards and I am full of admiration for your amazing blog….I think that it would go quite well on the blog. The blog is more personal and represents you rather than an institution. Don’t deep-six it.”

And so:

WTF

Some years ago a doctor friend told me about a couple who sought his advice about a child with a speech problem.   It seems the little fellow loved to play with his trucks but was not yet speaking very clearly.  They were comfortable with most of his mispronunciations but the boy would consistently mispronounce “truck” so that it came out “fuck.”  Now, as I spell out that word, first an f, then a u, then c, and then k, I can foresee that some editor will start to tear out his hair trying to figure out what to do with the result.  It is not, after all, one of the forbidden words in proper society.  It is only a child’s mispronunciation of truck, not intended to be naughty, or offend, or breech any societal construct.  It is just an arrangement of letters.   Can it be that certain letters of the alphabet cannot be juxtaposed without offending?  As I type on my computer, is some bot going to come along and censor me?  Listen up, bot!  I’m not swearing!  I’m talking toddler talk!  Leave me alone!

Of course, as the doctor told me, the problem was not with the child but with the parents.  Why could they not allow him this growing stage?  Can there really be combinations of letters which are not allowable?  So, he said, “See my fuck”, and “My fuck drives here,” and “My fuck fell down.” So what? It was the parents’ fear that the child’s language might reflect badly on them that was the problem.  They found themselves unable to let their boy’s speech mature in due time–and if he spent his whole life saying fuck in stead of truck, what’s the big deal?   If there is any blame it is in the ear of the listener who brings to a child’s innocent speech his own hang-ups.

From whence comes this fascination with “fuck?  I don’t really know the origin of the word but my guess is that it is one of those onomatopeic words that  sound like what they portray.   Your guess is as good as mine.

It is generally agreed that comedians who rely on four letter words are getting cheap laughs.  The really good comedians  use humor, not profanity.  Some actors feel that slipping in a forbidden word, almost by accident, is a way of getting attention, and any attention is better than none.  I recently attended a play in which the actress, playing Katharine Hepburn, who reportedly used some strong language, slipped in a fuck along with a naughty look and got the expected titter from the audience who enjoyed being naughty along with her.

In certain venues you expect the language to be crass or vulgar, and you can go or stay away, according to your preference.  I suspect that when some celebrities slip and  utter a naughty word on a respectable daytime show they are not as much slipping as using it as an opportunity to create a buzz and get a little more attention than they could  with anything they might have to say.

Once when I was in jail (it is easy to get there if you refuse to move  or give your name) an inmate emerged from the shower and walked down the corridor announcing to her friends along the way “I fucking shaved my fucking legs.”  I had to laugh at the sheer idiocy of her statement!  It was nothing but an effort by an immature woman to appear cool and “with it” to her peers, most of whom couldn’t speak English if they tried.   Obviously, it made no sense whatsoever.

On the one hand, it is totally stupid that there should be any arrangement  of letters of the alphabet that one is not permitted to write or pronounce.  The F-bomb, as they like to refer to it, is said to be the least printable and most vulgar word in the English language.  On the other hand, it is equally idiotic that grown-up, supposedly mature people should think it is cute or cool to get off on using such a forbidden word several times in every sentence in a totally meaningless fashion.  You’d think they were two-year-olds playing in feces.   Or  a four-year-old saying pee-pee, poop, wee-wee, ca-ca — delighting in using bathroom words in the parlor. It is like George Carlin running through his seven dirty words, going from bad to worse, rubbing them in, like a naughty child.    It is juvenile.  It is dumb.

In an obvious play for attention Britney Spears attempted a come-back with her new album, Circus, containing the popular single If U Seek Amy.  It was #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 when I looked it up  and reputedly had been downloaded over 100,000 times.  Don’t be fooled by the inocuous sounding title.  She is spelling out  F-me which many find daring and titillating.  They are like children with a secret code that grown-ups will never be able to crack.  If truth were told, grown-ups can’t be bothered.

On the day before Mothers’ Day this year President Obama succeeded in being quite funny in his opening address at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. It was apparent that the joke that tickled him most was when they said it was a tough day for Rahm Emanuel because Rahm was not used to saying the word Day after Mother!  Even as president he delighted in displaying  just a hint of the bad little boy in him.

Think about it.   Think about someone you really respect.  Does s/he talk like that?  Perhaps those who sprinkle their conversation with F-words are trying to be cool or funny.  Does it work?  They seem to be somehow stunted, or, as the song says, “more to be pitied than censored.”  They are like naughty little boys who are trying to be cute or get a rise out of mommy.  It doesn’t work.  You just want to say:   Get a life.  Get a real sense of humor.  Get a vocabulary.  GROW UP!

~~~

On further reflection,it occurred to me that the only other word I have heard of that cannot be said was the holy name of God in ancient Hebrew.  Yahweh was written YHWH because in those days they did not write the vowels. When scripture was being read aloud and they came upon the word YHWH they would pronounce Adonai instead. This was a respectful, reverential thing.  God’s name was just too holy to be spoken.

On the other hand, it seems to me there is an unholy word used by those who do not love God.  It is to be spoken as often as possible, whether or not it makes sense, in a defiant, in-your-face way. It makes a mockery – it defiles, degrades, profanes – the most intimate, sacred, loving, life-giving union of which human beings are capable.  The very meaning of “to profane” is to debase something which is holy.

I do not recognize that word as anything special. The F-bomb is a dud — it has no real power. It is only a word, like shag, screw or hump. Don’t make a fool of yourself, thinking it has shock value. It is only crude. It is boring. It has very little place in intelligent discourse. GROW UP!

~~~

A really excellent blogpost on why the F-word is tantalizing.

~~~

What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’  –Matthew 15:11



June 19th, 2009

AN INTERVIEW

The five of us were walking back and forth Tuesday morning in front of the professional office building that houses TWO abortion facilities, minding our own business, which was praying for an end to legalized abortion in that building, this city, our state and our country.  Carrying our signs, we took turns leading the rosary. A graying gentleman approached, notebook in hand, and seemed to want to talk to us. I said to him, “What do you think?” at which point he identified himself as Robert Miller, a reporter from the local News-Times newspaper. He said he would like to ask us some questions. Since we are not ashamed of what we do, in fact, actually think our witness and prayers are important, we agreed – even though I realized that Mr. Miller was a long-time employee of a very liberal newspaper.

As a good and experienced reporter, he did a fine job of interviewing. Why were we there? Where were we from? How often did we come? Did the same people come on both Tuesdays and Saturdays (the killing days) or different people? What did we think of the murder of abortionist George Tiller? Stem cell research? We simply told him the truth. When he left I said “Be kind to us,” and he assured us that he was impartial.

When he was through, he informed us that the newspaper’s photographer would soon be along to take our pictures. Carol Kaliff arrived in due time and took many, many digital photos being sure to include the Defend Life posters on the telephone pole and the rosaries we are carrying. We were told they planned to publish our story in the Sunday paper.

Why am I leery? These people are very good at their jobs, had kind faces, and were professional. The trouble is that I know – from sad experience – how easy it is to spin a story and both Miller and Kaliff have worked for a long time (20 years?) for a very liberal paper. That could say something about their ideology.  I have to wonder whatever prompted them to decide to do a story on our little group when they ignored a TEA  party on the city Green last week attended by hundreds.   How will it all turn out? Time will tell.

Please add your prayers to mine.

It’s only a small newspaper but watch it produce!  See the News-Times presses roll!

~~~

My tables — meet it is I set it down

That one may smile and smile and be a villain. — Shakespeare, Hamlet

March 8th, 2009

CAN YOU IMAGINE?

It would seem that for the time being Rush Limbaugh is the de facto leader of the Republican party.  Or, as Rush puts it, “I’m the last man standing.”  And Obama is said to want to “crush Rush.”  That’s what the so-called Fairness Doctrine is designed to do.

According to the Daily News on March 5:

Limbaugh, clearly enjoying the attention, upped the ante Wednesday by challenging Obama to a debate on his radio show – while conceding that, yes, he is the GOP’s  “last man standing.” The White House declined to comment.

“If you can wipe me out in a debate … do you realize you will own the United States of America?” Limbaugh said on-air. “You will have no opposition.”

Stoking the flames, Limbaugh mockingly urged the President not to send in his place any “lightweights,” including “the ballerina, Emanuel.”

Despite all his charisma, Obama, unscripted, doesn’t have the chutzpah to tangle with Rush. Rush is better informed, better able to ad lib, and, of course, better seasoned. But I have fun imagining it!  It would be a media blockbuster!

If you can handle all the teeth, here is an enjoyable photo gallery of  “the Bamster” at leisure (from the Daily News).

And below is an e-mail that is making the rounds.    We  should all be so happy!

WE GOT YOUR MONEY

GONNA SPEND YOUR MONEY

GONNA PRINT SOME MORE MONEY

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But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.  —  Matthew 5:44

March 4th, 2009

SWAN LAKE

Oooooohhhhh!

This video is from tangle.com, a new Christian website which offers a safe and family friendly social network with content suitable for all.

June 25th, 2008

HOLOCAUSTS COMPARED

William Brennan, Ph. D., in his book, The Abortion Holocaust, very effectively presents compelling similarities between the Nazi holocaust and the present day slaughter of over 40 million unborn babies worldwide each year. The first thing, he says, is to redefine people as less than human, as “subhuman expendables,” and therefore devoid of value or respect. The German Supreme Court in 1936 refused to recognize Jews living in Germany as “persons” in the legal sense. In 1973 the United States Supreme Court declared that the word “person” in the Fourteenth amendment did not include the unborn.

Likewise, the defendants at the Nurenberg War Crimes trials invoked the law to deny personal responsibility. Killing Jews was legal. Abortionists use the same rationalization. “I only do what is legal,” they say.
“What is legal is moral” has been a pervasive slogan used to justify atrocities down through history. Read the rest of this entry »

June 25th, 2008

TV CENSORSHIP?

D.M. writes in my local newspaper (in part):

As a member of the generation who grew up with television in the early 1950’s, I’ve listened to about all I can stand from these various groups that want nothing but pure sugar and no spice on television. The PTA, among countless others, is now thinking about boycotting the sponsors of programs that they feel have too much sex and violence…..

I am the father of two children, ages 8 and 3, and I have a good idea why television has been attacked so often in the past few years. Parents these days are just too busy to babysit for their own children, and they allow the television to supply the amusement and attraction it always has, to keep the children quiet and out of the way.

The real shame, and the basic underlying truth of this whole censorship matter, is that “parental discretion and judgment” are not being practiced in many homes, and its a damn shame that the entire television industry, and those of us who really enjoy watching it, are being caused to suffer for lack of it.

I am really getting tired of those who protest any kind of regulation of television programming with cries of “Censorship!” “Where are the parents?” “Can’t they find the ‘off’ switch?” It either turns out that they have no children or they have children of such ages that they are in bed by 8 p.m., spend little time at the neighbors’ homes, are not old enough to stay home alone, and are never, never awake after their parents have fallen asleep. Read the rest of this entry »

June 24th, 2008

ONLINE CENSORSHIP?

The advertisement shows a little girl sitting before a computer. It says: “See Jane. See Jane click. Click, click, Jane. See, Jane, See.” The last frame shows a picture of Jane looking amazed, shocked. The words say: “Jane saw!”

Jane is perhaps ten. She has stumbled onto a porn site. Jane can never unsee what she has seen anymore than you can forget your own first introduction to raw sex.

The ad is for an internet filter which prevents such sewage from ever reaching your home computer. Not everyone is happy that Jane and her brother can view the grossest of sexual deviancy on line, either by chance or by choice, when they set about surfing the web.

It used to be that one had to seek out porn in adult bookshops, behind-the-counter magazines, or x-rated movie houses. Now it comes into homes, schools, and libraries unbidden. One only has to surf cable or satellite offerings and it’s right there in living, moving color. Read the rest of this entry »

June 2nd, 2008

GAY ACTIVISM

I really have to write about this because it has happened to me, an 85-year-old, mild-mannered, but opinionated blogger, and you all (all two or three of you) are supposed to share in my joys and trials.

Yesterday was a Sunday like any other Sunday except that my local paper was kind enough (or brave enough) to run a shortened version of my previous post on same-sex marriage which I had submitted as a Community Forum offering. As you might recall, I am not in favor of same-sex marriage. In fact the newspaper titled my article “Same-sex marriage should not be permitted.”

I thought I’d look at it online at the News-Times website. Lo, and behold, at the end of the piece there is a line saying “Post your comments,” and an inviting square to fill with one’s thoughts. Many people had things to say. When I first looked at the site there were 139 comments, just about all of them negative. As I look at the site today the number is up to 188. The last comment from “Horrified,” in the neighboring town of Ridgefield says:

The world has no place for hateful, bigots like you.
What if I were to espouse the same hateful remarks about Italians, Jews or Blacks. It would not be tolerated. You need to take a look at your own issues instead of spreading ignorance. The world is the horrible state it is because of people like you. Read the rest of this entry »

April 9th, 2008

A DISTURBING TURN-AROUND

1. This morning on my e-mail I read that Google, the world’s largest internet search engine, is being sued by a Christian lobbying and education organization, the Christian Institute, a UK registered charity. The Institute had wanted to advertise on Google’s AdWords with an ad reading: “UK abortion law: news and views on abortion from the Christian Institute. http://www.christian.org.uk.” The company told the Institute, “Google policy does not permit the advertisement of websites that contain ‘abortion and religion-related content.’”
Read the rest of this entry »

April 5th, 2008

EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED

On April 18 a new documentary hosted by Ben Stein, former lawyer and speechwriter for Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, titled Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (watch preview – 8 minutes) will be released by Motive Entertainment. These are the same people that marketed The Passion of the Christ and Chronicles of Narnia.

I look forward to seeing this because I have followed with interest the fate of scientists who dared to suggest that it might be appropriate to mention Intelligent Design when the theory of evolution is being discussed. I understand this will be covered in the documentary.
Read the rest of this entry »