de Vos: *&(^$#+%@)’ POLITICIANS!
The Friday Report
It takes some searching to thank Richard Nixon for anything, but we can certainly attribute the phrase “expletive deleted” to him. The Watergate Tapes, his secret selfie-recordings, were so filled with vulgar language and imaginative sexual improbabilities, that newspapers couldn’t print them then and mostly still don’t today.
Several of our most cherished swear words date back over a thousand years. Of course I can’t list them, but it’s a rare adult that couldn’t fill in all the blankety-blanks. Swearing is so prevalent that it’s a rare two-year-old that can’t spew a few good ones to Mommy’s dismay. And Daddy’s secret delight.
One swear word that can be printed is ‘bloody’, a single word that makes up about twenty percent of the Australian language. It wasn’t always accepted and printable. In the late 1800’s it was a curse that would cause maidens to gasp and crones to scowl. The word bloody was decried as the language of “London toughs of the lowest type” whose vocabulary skills were honed in the gutter.
But then the word was coopted by two-year-olds and nowadays nobody notices.
Speaking of two-year-olds, have you noticed how the political wannabee’s on both sides have been cursing lately? It’s a turnaround from the scathing criticism of Harry S. Truman for his use of ‘hell’ and ‘damn’, shocking at the time.
Political swearing has come a long way, just in the last four years since Mitt Romney stunned the evangelical world by dropping the famous “H-E-double-hockey-sticks” bomb.
A new study in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology suggests that smooth-talking politicians benefit by laying out some casual profanity. Swearing, they found, tended to delude folks into thinking, “Hey, this guy’s one of us”, projecting an image of the beer-drinking buddy that would help you get your car up on blocks and help shoot raccoons.
Studies show that most everyone swears, at least on occasion. But it used to be that politicians covered their mouth and kept the choicest language behind closed doors. But Lord knows, right now the world needs a Macho Man. And each of the candidates, down to Fiorina and Clinton are mouthing dirty to prove they’re The One.
Or at least The Only Other One besides Trump who’d dare spit in Putin’s eye while billing Russia for re-building the Berlin Wall. Trump has lowered the bar so much that all we see is the sorry backsides of the candidates as they bend over reaching for it.
Jeb Bush was recently politicking at a New Hampshire barbecue. He glanced down at his notes and back up to a hundred greasy faces, shouting “We’re Americans, damn it!” allaying everyone’s fear of inadvertently turning into North Koreans. He did it to make the point that he too, meekest of candidates, could speak Trump and f-bomb when the polling bombs.
Even Gentle Ben Carson unloaded during the Boulder debate, calling government regulations, “a bunch of crap”. But Trump’s still in the lead and I suppose if he snorted coke, the rest of the pack would shoot up.
Sit tight! We’re not even into the election year yet. Could this be the simple explanation for America’s heroin epidemic?
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