Banning Cassell's

Jonathon Green slang at ABECEDARY.NET
Sun Jun 25 11:10:41 UTC 2006

Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
> I discuss the Wake County challenge (inter alia) in this Language Log post:

Good stuff. I started writing a diatribe regarding Mr Ross - I know
nothing of Mr Achenbach, which ignorance may or may not be bliss - a man
who is paid £18 million per annum by the BBC  to represent the 'lad'
culture, a phenomenon of which you are no doubt aware, and is epitomized
for US readers by my one-time 'underground press' colleague and now
multi-millionaire publisher friend Felix Dennis' magazine _Maxim_ (I
imagine you are aware of this too, albeit not a subscriber). In the end,
I couldn't be bothered. We live in a world where uttering the most
common English slang word for masturbation on television is still deemed
worthy of comment in a supposedly intelligent newspaper. Am I
irredeemably elitist (which of course I am) to see this as a waste of
space? The BBC are doubtless delighted - their token 'lad' is earning
his money - but do we care.

I find this pretence amongst the chattering classes that taboo words are
so important that they must be preserved as taboo and thus left
unuttered in the mass media to be utter nonsense. It is reminiscent of
that attitude to pornography whereby one would never be so
unsophisticated as to condemn it, but sedulously declares it 'boring'.
 From what I  can see, and I speak of course only for the UK, it would
seem that for young people (under 30, even 35, say) the traditional
'dirty words' no longer give them pause; on the other hand the terms of
racism, nationalism and homophobia seem to be less blithely used by this
group than they were 25 years ago. That said, I may be gazing through
rose-coloured spectacles. And of course while I can say 'nigger' on the
radio if I so choose, I cannot say 'fuck' and the rest - even though the
only time I might wish to do is when I have been specifically called
upon by the BBC to discuss that very word.

As for the (possible) censorship of CDS, it seems to have aroused only
amusement this side of the Ditch. We are not, fortunately, a religious
country, although the god-bothering Blair seems determined to change
that, and kow-tows to Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs (my lot - and
possibly yours? - the four-by-twos, seem admirably silent) to an
ever-increasing extent.

Anyway, that's more than enough. Thanks for your kind words in this and,
I see, other columns.

Back to work.


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