Post by Graveyardbride on Nov 7, 2015 8:25:21 GMT -5
Swearing is Indicative of a Limited Vocabulary
The esteemed editor of The Sunday Post recently saw fit to allow me a holiday (how the paper managed to function in my absence is an abiding mystery). However, while off work and confronted with the strange mixture that is daytime TV, I had the misfortune to see a program called The Jeremy Kyle Show. The format of the show seemed to be to get the nation’s most unfortunate people on the stage, then allow them to talk over each other in a pointless bickering session until they felt moved to threaten violence to each other. Then someone was revealed (by the opening of an envelope containing DNA test results) to not be the father of a baby. More fisticuffs ensued. The last act was a wholly unpleasant verbal exchange (with much finger-pointing) between two women who had to be kept apart by security men. Watching this show all the way through is not a mistake I ever intend to make again.
However, among the many things that perplexed and offended me about the drama was the fact that so many words had to be "bleeped out." There was one obviously visceral stream of about 15 words in a row that had to be replaced by some poor sound technician performing Tchaikovsky’s "Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy" on the "bleep" button. I didn’t know there were so many swearwords available in English to make an entire sentence unlistenable for a 9.30 a.m. audience.
That people want to procreate with such abandon is their business. Who am I to comment on the life choices of others? That, further, they want to go on national TV to reveal their drunken infidelities, then argue about them, is again not something I am qualified to pass judgment upon. Lastly, I will henceforth be satisfied that the parentage of their unfortunate offspring remains a mystery to me.
But their lack of vocabulary definitely is something I’d like to comment on. I cannot find it in myself to feel sorry for anyone who can’t articulate what they feel and so fills the gaps with invective. Swearing is easy, but it doesn’t enrich or strengthen what anyone has to say. Swearwords, most of the time, have very little value. They tell us nothing. And I don’t have to tell you that such words do not appear in The Sunday Post.
You can call the new partner of your ex-partner all the effing, blinding bleep-bleep names you like, but it is just noise. Small boys between the ages of about eight and 12 might giggle at the "bad" words, but no one else will be impressed.
The tragedy is that there’s nothing really difficult about acquiring a decent vocabulary. It might take a little time, but it’s not exactly backbreaking work. The way to do it, of course, is to read. Read everything you can get your hands on. Newspapers, comics, books, pamphlets, signs, sub-titles . . . anything. The more you read and the wider the pool of reading material you dip into, the more words you learn the meaning of and therefore, the better you can convey your own meaning. You don’t have to pore over dictionaries or thesauruses, you don’t have to memorize an encyclopedia. Just read material that you enjoy, that amuses you, that you are interested in. Everyone is interested in something.
Then you could go on The Jeremy Kyle Show and tell that invidious malcontent former paramour that you are replete with euphoria at the news your offspring does not bear his deoxyribonucleic acid as he is a recreant poltroon!
Source: Steve Finan, The Sunday Post, March 27, 2014.