Analytical Reading and WritingOrder Descriptionwriting style: smhwords: 700Referencing As many neededInstructions for the WT3The primary text is the SMH Farrelly opinion pieceStudents are asked to respond to this text and to incorporate 2 other (supplied) texts (media and/or academic articles) in their answer.The main (textual) topics are:Feminism and sexist languageSwearingPolitical CorrectnessThe ?aesthetic alibi?: art or satire is excused from normal rulesHomophobic language penalty (recent case in Rugby)Gangsta Rap as it enacts racism, misogyny, etc.In addition, students should find 1 other (academic) article relating to the topic, and utilise this in their response.This means we are looking at a Reference List and utilisation of 4 texts in their 700 word response.Referencing will be marked more stringently for this task.The general topic is:?Do we have the right to offend, and to not be offended by language use??General instructions:Using the Farrelly (SMH) article, respond to the question supplied. In your answer, you should select 2 texts (from the WT3 folder on vUWS) which relate to specific areas of language use: e.g. Gangsta Rap, Swearing. In addition, you should conduct research and locate an academic article on this topic. This academic article should be clearly referred to in your answer. Your answer should look at multiple points of view. Word count: 700, not including the Reference List and Question.Essay Why Sexist Language MattersSherryl Kleinman1For eleven years I?ve been teaching a sociology course at the University of North Carolina on gender inequality. I cover such topics as the wage gap, the ?second shift? (the disproportionate amount of housework and child care that heterosexual women do at home), the equation of women?s worth with physical attractiveness, the sexualizing of women in the media, lack of reproductive rights for women (especially poor women), sexual harassment, and men?s violence against women. But the issue that both female and male students have the most trouble understanding?or, as I see it, share a strong unwillingness to understand?is sexist language.I?m not referring to such words as ?bitch,? ?whore,? and ?slut.? What I focus on instead are words that most people consider just fine: male (so-called) generics. Some of these words refer to persons occupying a position: postman, chairman, freshman, congressman, fireman. Other words refer to the entire universe of human beings: ?mankind? or ?he.? Then we?ve got manpower, man-made lakes, and ?Oh, man, where did I leave my keys?? There?s ?manning? the tables in a country where we learn that ?all men are created equal.?The most insidious, from my observations, is the popular expression ?you guys.? People like to tell me it?s a regional term. But I?ve heard it in Chapel Hill, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Montreal. I?ve seen it in print in national magazines, newsletters, and books. I?ve heard it on television and in films. And even if it were regional, that doesn?t make it right. I bet we can all think of a lot of practices in our home regions we?d like to get rid of.Try making up a female-based generic, such as ?freshwoman,? and using it with a group of male students, or calling your male boss ?chairwoman.? Then again, don?t. There could be serious consequences for referring to a man as a woman?a term that still means ?lesser? in our society. If not, why do men get so upset at the idea of being called women?1Correspondence should be directed to Sherryl Kleinman, Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3210; e-mail: [email protected] 299 ?C 2002 Human Sciences Press, Inc. P1: GVM Qualitative Sociology [quso] ph108-quas-369336 March 20, 2002 17:48 Style file version Nov. 19th, 1999300KleinmanWhat?s the big deal? Why does all this ?man-ning? and ?guys-ing? deserve a place on my list of items of gender inequality?The answer is because male-based generics are another indicator?and, more importantly, a reinforcer?of a system in which ?man? in the abstract and men in the flesh are privileged over women. Some say that language merely reflects reality and so we should ignore our words and work on changing the unequal gender arrangements that are reflected in our language. Well, yes, in part.It?s no accident that ?man? is the anchor in our language and ?woman? is not. And of course we should make social change all over the place. But the words we use can also reinforce current realities when they are sexist (or racist or heterosexist). Words are the tools of thought. We can use words to maintain the status quo or to think in new ways?which in turn creates the possibility of a new reality. It makes a difference if I think of myself as a ?girl? or a ?woman?; it makes a difference if we talk about ?Negroes? or ?African Americans.? Do we want a truly inclusive language or one that just pretends?For a moment, imagine a world?as the philosopher Douglas R. Hofstadter did in his 1986 satire on sexist language?where people used generics based on race rather than gender. In that world, people would use ?freshwhite,? ?chairwhite,? and, yes, ?you whiteys.? People of color would hear ?all whites are created equal?? and be expected to feel included. In an addendum to his article, Hofstadter says that he wrote ?A Person Paper on Purity in Language? to shock readers: Only by substituting ?white? for ?man? does it become easy to see the pervasiveness of male-based generics and to recognize that using ?man? for all human beings is wrong. Yet, women are expected to feel flattered by ?freshman,? ?chairman,? and ?you guys.?And why do so many women cling to ?freshman,? ?chairman,? and ?you guys??I think it?s because women want to be included in the term that refers to the higher-status group: men. But while being labeled ?one of the guys? might make women feel included, it?s only a guise of inclusion, not the reality. If women were really included we wouldn?t have to disappear into the word ?guys.?At the same time that women in my classes throw around ?you guys?? even here in the southern United States, where ?y?all? is an alternative?they call themselves ?girls.? I?m not sure if this has gotten worse over the years or I?ve just noticed it more. When I was an undergraduate in the early to mid 1970s, we wanted to be women. Who would take us seriously at college or at work if we were ?girls?? To many of my students today, ?woman? is old enough to be ?over the hill.? A ?girl? is youthful and thus more attractive to men than a ?woman.? Since they like the term so much, I suggest that we rename Women?s Studies ?Girls? Studies.? And since the Women?s Center on campus provides services for them, why not call it ?The Girls? Center.? They laugh. ?Girls? sounds ridiculous, they say. The students begin to see that ?girl??as a label for twenty-one-year-olds?is infantilizing, not flattering.P1: GVM Qualitative Sociology [quso] ph108-quas-369336 March 20, 2002 17:48 Style file version Nov. 19th, 1999Why Sexist Language Matters 301?Girl? and ?you guys? aren?t the only linguistic problems on campus. A few years ago Bob, a student in my class, said that his fraternity is now open to women as well as men and that a controversy had erupted over whether to continue to use the term ?brother? to refer to all fraternity members, or to use ?sister? for female members. Almost all the women in his fraternity, he said, voted to be called brother rather than sister. As with ?you guys,? the women wanted to take on the word that has more value. Yet the practice of using ?brother? reinforces the idea that a real member of the group is a brother (i.e., a man). I asked what would happen if he had suggested that all fraternity members be called sisters rather than brothers, or that they rename the fraternity a sorority. Everyone laughed at the absurdity of this suggestion. Exactly. Yet it is not absurd, but acceptable, to call women by the term ?guys? or ?brothers.?Since the ?fraternity? Bob referred to is no longer exclusively male, and since gender is no longer a criterion for membership, I asked him how he thought others might react if he suggested they substitute ?association? or ?society? for ?fraternity.? Perhaps they could call both men and women ?members,? or, if students preferred a more informal term, ?friends???Yes, that makes sense,? Bob told us. ?But, I just don?t think they?ll go for it.? He paused. ?I?m not sure why.?We talked as a class about why this simple solution might meet with resistance. We concluded that many men would resist losing these linguistic signifiers of male superiority, and many women would resist losing the valued maleness implied by ?brother? and ?fraternity.? ?Member? would feel like a drop in status for both women and men!The students, like most people who use male ?generics,? don?t have bad intentions. But as sociologists, we know that it?s important to look at the consequences. All those ?man? words?said many times a day by millions of people every day? cumulatively reinforce the message that men are the standard and that women should be subsumed by the male category.I worry about what people with the best of intentions are teaching our children. A colleague?s five-year-old daughter recently left her classroom crying after a teacher said, ?What do you guys think?? She thought the teacher didn?t care about what she thought. When the teacher told her that of course she was included, her tears stopped. But what was the lesson? She learned that her opinion as a girl mattered only when she?s a guy. She learned that men are the norm.A friend?s six-year-old son refused to believe that the female firefighter who came to his school to talk to the class?dressed in uniform?actually fought fires. The firefighter repeatedly referred to herself as a ?fireman.? Despite the protests of the teacher and the firefighter, the boy would not be convinced. ?A fireman can?t be a woman,? he said. His mother, who is fastidious in her use of nonsexist language, had a tough time doing damage control.So, is it any surprise that the worst insult a boy can hurl at another boy is ?girl??P1: GVM Qualitative Sociology [quso] ph108-quas-369336 March 20, 2002 17:48 Style file version Nov. 19th, 1999302KleinmanWe know from history that making a group invisible makes it easier for the powerful to do what they want with members of that group. Perhaps that?s why linguists use the strong language of ?symbolic annihilation? to refer to the disappearance of women into male-based terms. And we know, from too many past and current studies, that far too many men are doing ?what they want? with women. Most of us can see a link between calling women ?sluts? and ?whores? and men?s sexual violence against women. We need to recognize that making women linguistically a subset of man/men through terms like ?mankind? and ?guys? also makes women into objects. If we, as women, aren?t worthy of such true generics as ?first-year,? ?chair,? or ?you all,? then how can we expect to be paid a ?man?s wage,? be respected as people rather than objects (sexual or otherwise) on the job and at home, be treated as equals rather than servers or caretakers of others, be considered responsible enough to make our own decisions about reproduction, and define who and what we want as sexual beings? If we aren?t even deserving of our place in humanity in language, why should we expect to be treated as decent human beings otherwise?Some people tell me that making English nonsexist is a slippery slope. As one colleague said to me, ?Soon we?ll have to say ?waitperson,? which sounds awful. We won?t be able to ?man? the table at Orientation. And we?ll become ?fellowpersons? at the Institute!? I told him that ?server? works well. We can ?staff? the table. And why not use ?scholars? instead of ?fellows?? We?ve got a big language to roam in. Let?s have fun figuring out how to speak and write without making ?man? the center. If sliding down that slope takes us to a place where we speak nonsexist English, I?m ready for the ride.And this doesn?t mean that every word with ?m-e-n? in it is a problem. Menstruation and mending are fine. Making amends is good, too. There?s only a problem when ?men,? as part of a word, is meant to refer to everyone (freshmen, chairmen, and so on).Now and then someone says that I should work on more important issues?like men?s violence against women?rather than on ?trivial? issues like language. Well, I work on lots of issues. But that?s not the point. Working against sexist language is working against men?s violence against women. It?s one step. If we cringe at ?freshwhite? and ?you whiteys? and would protest such terms with loud voices, then why don?t we work as hard at changing ?freshman? and ?you guys?? Don?t women deserve it? That women primarily exist in language as ?girls? (children), ?sluts? (sex objects) and ?guys? (a subset of men) makes it less of a surprise that we still have a long list of gendered inequalities to fix.We?ve got to work on every item on the list. Language is one we can work on right now, if we?re willing. It?s easier to start saying ?you all,? ?y?all? or ?you folks? instead of ?you guys? than to change the wage gap tomorrow.And what might help us make changes in our language? About a year ago I was complaining, as usual, about the ?you guys? problem. ?What we need is a Why Sexist Language Matters card that explains why we don?t want to be called guys!? Smita Varia, a veteran of my gender course, said. ?Let?s write one.?And so we did. Smita enlisted T. Christian Helms, another former student, to design a graphic for the card. You can access the layout of this business-sized card from our website: www.youall.freeservers.com Make lots of copies. Give the Kleinman cards to friends and ask them to think about sexist language. Leave one with a big tip after you?ve been ?you guysed? during a meal. The card explains the problem and offers alternatives.And institutional change is also possible. Some universities have adopted ?first-year student? (instead of ?freshman?) because some students and faculty got angry about the male-based generics embedded in university documents. The American Psychological Association has a policy of using only inclusive language in their publications. Wherever you work or play, get together with other progressive people and suggest that your organization use ?chair? instead of ?chairman,? ?Ms.? instead of ?Mrs.? or ?Miss,? ?humankind? instead of ?mankind,? and ?she or he? instead of ?he.? In my experience, members of some activist groups think sexist language is less important than other issues. But if we?re going to work on social change, shouldn?t we start by practicing nonsexist English among ourselves? Let?s begin creating now the kind of society we want to live in later.Nonsexist English is a resource we have at the tip of our tongues. Let?s start using it.REFERENCEHofstadter, D. R. (1986). A person paper on purity in language. In D. R. Hofstadter, Metamagical themas: A questing for the essence of mind and pattern (pp. 159?167). New York: Bantam.Australian Swearing??Warning: Contains coarse language?The Australian, June 07, 2008. Roy Eccleston.http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/warning-contains-coarse-language/storye6frg8h6-1111116556611?nk=a00ce3c15b2c780198bd3a12972c494dSwearing is now so common on TV, we?re inured to its effects. As a Senate inquiry brings down itsreport on the issue, Roy Eccleston asks: Whatever happened to taboo words?The first time Kate Burridge had to talk really dirty in public, she almost cancelled. ?I?d never, eversaid these words before in my life, never mind in a public arena,? recalls the Melbourne professor oflinguistics. A large vodka solved the problem. ?I sipped it through the entire lecture. I was probablyplastered by the end of it.?Burridge, from Monash University, is one of the world?s leading experts on swearing. Two years agoshe and colleague Keith Allan published Forbidden Words, an academic exploration of how wordsbecome taboo, and how that leads to our attempts ? guaranteed to fail, she says ? at censoringthem.The pair knows more oaths than a barrack-room of bovver-boys and can expound with greaterudition on the different reasons we swear, the unique way the brain handles these words, and thepossible origins of them. There is, for example, the mingled evolutionary path going back at least 800years of the Old Norse kunta, Middle Dutch conte, Old Frisian kunte, and Latin cunnus; or, if youprefer, the mongrel offspring of Old Icelandic fjuka, Old English firk, German ficken, and foutre fromthe French.Burridge can point to passages in Shakespeare and Chaucer where the language turns blue. Yet shestill finds it unutterably difficult to use publicly. ?They?re just words,? she muses. ?I know that ? anamalgamation of consonants and vowels. That?s what?s so interesting about them. They?re still very,very powerful. They?re more arousing, more memorable, more evocative than any other languageexpression.?Why? ?If you mean obscenities and taboo words like f..k and c..t ? we might as well say them ? it?spartly that they have a name for being bad words,? says Allan, also a linguistics professor at Monash,who has none of his colleague?s reticence. ?It?s one of the things they are used for.?Increasingly so, it seems. There?s plenty of evidence that we?re undergoing an evolution in swearing,in which the taboo over sexual and body-function words is seriously on the wane. Women andchildren are judged to be swearing more, with words that were once considered severe. Someexperts think the f-word and the c-word are going the way of the once-notorious bloody and bugger(a word for anal sex now considered so innocuous, the ABC says it?s OK for G-rated programs).Certainly f..k is there already for many people, says Allan. He adds the c-word isn?t. The courts,which for years have tended to reject allegations the f-word is offensive, appear to agree.So do the TV networks. It?s quite likely someone will be saying it on TV on any night, and not just inhigh-profile examples like British chef Gordon Ramsay?s kitchen programs. Several recent editions ofAustralian Story, shown at 8pm on the ABC, have featured the f-word. Even Millionaires? Mission,about entrepreneurs helping Ugandan villagers, can suddenly throw up a ?f..king hell? or a ?shit?.But it?s Ramsay, who is both casual and aggressive with his swearing, who has produced the harshestbreast-beating. Heavily salted with f..ks, it was two venomous c- ingredients thrown into oneepisode that stuck in some viewers? throats, especially given Nine?s decision to run the program witha Mature (M) rating, although after 9.30pm. Compounding the problem was a Ramsay interview onSixty Minutes, from 7.30pm, also generously sprinkled with f-words.The question is how far we should go. It?s an issue underscored by Underbelly ? Nine?s crime dramathat started at 8.30pm ? which was thick with coarse language and sex (including anal rape),sometimes together. In one episode, drug dealer Carl Williams enjoys a drug-fuelled orgy withprostitutes accompanied by the Spiderbait song F..ken Awesome. It knows it?s being naughty. Inanother show, one detective tells his boss he?s ?just trying to stop this f..king war?. ?Don?t use thatlanguage to me!? hits back the other cop.Some viewers clearly agree. As with some of the Ramsay shows, the timing of the top-ratedUnderbelly angered those who worry about the impact on children whose main viewing hours arefrom 6-9pm, according to research by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).Fifteen per cent of all kids aged up to 17 are still watching free TV in the half-hour before 9pm.Underbelly couldn?t have been shown at that time in the UK. Britain has a 9pm TV ?watershed?before which serious swearing and sex is not allowed, and the prohibition includes any program thatcarries into that timeslot. The program wouldn?t have been shown at that time on commercial TV inthe US, either. Perhaps Australia is just less bothered; the offending Ramsay?s Kitchen Nightmaresepisodes were among the most-watched shows in the country, with up to 1.5 million viewers.Advertisers remain keen. Does anyone care?CORY BERNARDI CLEARLY DOES. The Liberal senator from South Australia thinks the c-word issomething that should never be heard on TV, and he convinced his colleagues to open a formalSenate inquiry examining the broadcasting codes of practice ? the results of which were due to behanded down this week.Bernardi doesn?t come across as the sanctimonious censor trying to create a moral panic that civilliberties groups insist he is. A former Australian representative rower, publican and stockbroker, headmits he swears. He is, however, extremely careful not to let slip any profanity as we sit in hisAdelaide office.First, he confesses he likes Ramsay?s show and used to watch it. He knows how stressful a kitchencan be ? he?s cooked for 300 people when the chef didn?t turn up at his pub. As for his ownlanguage, Bernardi admits he?s used the c-word. ?I have been known to, yeah,? he says. ?I?m notholier than thou. What you won?t find me doing is using it in my public duties, in the Senate orreferring to members of my staff or family in that manner. There?s a time and place.?That doesn?t include the TV, ever. Ramsay should have been on later, with warnings, and the c-wordshouldn?t have been broadcast. Shouldn?t Liberals be pushing freedom of choice? ?I?m a greatbeliever in people making choices,? he says. ?But should we just give up on social and communitystandards because some people reckon they should be able to do whatever they like, when theylike? There?s a fabric, a courtesy, to how society functions. I don?t want to lose that. You getdesensitised.?It?s not a new concern. Aristotle, in his book Politics, circa 350BC, warned ?there is nothing that thelegislator should be more careful to drive away than indecency of speech; for the light utterance ofshameful words leads to shameful actions. The young especially should never be allowed to repeator hear anything of that sort.?And this is really the nub of it. The code of practice is drawn up by the networks in conjunction withACMA. It?s supposed to reflect community standards, and places a high priority on the protection ofkids from material that may be harmful. After all, Kevin Rudd has argued in the debate over artist BillHenson?s photos of naked children that we should ?just allow kids to enjoy ? the innocence ofchildhood?.So is there evidence of harmful consequences, given the broader concern about the sexualisation ofchildren? It?s one thing for parents to be surprised to hear the f-word on TV, and another for it to bedamaging. The Labor chair of the Senate environment, communications and arts committee, AnneMcEwen, has been running separate inquiries looking at sexualisation of kids in the media andswearing on TV. She says there?s been some research alleging harmful consequences, but not much.Brain expert and Harvard professor of psychology Steven Pinker, in his book The Stuff of Thought,considers that question while weighing swearing?s pros and cons. Judiciously used, it?s ?hilarious,poignant and uncannily descriptive?. On the other hand, ?sexual language has become far morecommon since the early 1960s, but so has illegitimacy, sexually transmitted infections, rape, and thefallout of sexual competition, like anorexia in girls and swagger culture in boys?.While there?s no certainty of cause and effect, ?the changes are of a piece with the weakening of thefear and awe that used to surround thoughts about sex and that charged sexual language withtaboo?.There?s plenty of international evidence that swearing is increasing in the media. A British surveyfound the f-word used nearly 1500 times in movies on TV in the first half of 2003, while ?foul?language rose by 95 per cent between 1998 and 2002 in the 8pm-9pm slot in US commercial TV.Timothy Jay, an American psychologist and author of several books on swearing, says the evidencesuggests more women do it, and that young children swear more at school and are using moreoffensive words than before. But, he says, he has found no credible evidence that this damagesthem.?Children start swearing at age 1-2 years, as soon as they learn to speak,? he says. ?By the time theyget to school they know most of the words that adults use. The idea that we need to protect themfrom sexual language is a myth.?Children don?t learn to swear from the media, they learn it in the backyard or playground from theirpeers, siblings and parents. When parents punish their children for swearing, they reinforce howpowerful swear words are ? fuelling the problem they aimed to cure.?In Australia, there?s precious little information on swearing habits but the government-sponsoredwebsite RaisingChildren.net.au received more than 600 responses from parents to a recent survey.Eighty per cent said their kids aged eight and older were swearing, 10 per cent daily. According topsychologist Warren Cann, director of the Parenting Research Centre in Melbourne, who helps runthe site, only four per cent of parents blamed TV. Nearly all admitted they swore, and mostly theyblamed themselves and their children?s peers.It wasn?t seen as a trivial issue. Cann says almost all parents disciplined children for their language. Itperhaps was not the words that bothered them but the consequences. ?I think parents wereconcerned about their kids being disadvantaged or getting into trouble for using swear words,? hesays.That?s the problem with swearing. You are breaking a taboo, and so run the risk of being stigmatisedif society thinks people who use certain words are bad, or rude, or uncouth, or low-class. Allan andBurridge say offensive language breaks social conventions, which, as social beings, people can illafford. ?We therefore censor our behaviour so as to avoid giving offence, except when wedeliberately intend to offend.?The flip-side is that swearing makes a handy weapon. ?If you deliberately use these words and don?tcare about the shock value, then you are one up on everyone else,? says Sue Butler, the editor andpublisher of the Macquarie Dictionary. ?So the people who wield these words with apparentindifference and impunity are going to be the tough guys, and I think that?s why blokes want tomaster them rather than women.? Yet it?s not so daring these days. ?We seem to be less concernedwith swearing, but I think these things do come in waves. You can?t say that about the wholecommunity; there will be segments that take a very firm view on taboo language.?Butler says the key point about taboo language is that it has to be taught. ?Children don?t arrive inthis world knowing one word is proper and the other will provoke terrible reactions,? she says. ?Theyare taught by experience.? That means if society becomes more accepting of a word that was oncetaboo, its offensive nature is not picked up by children. In time, the word loses its taboo.?Bloody? is the obvious example. It was the swear word noticed most by newcomers to colonialAustralia. In 1847 Alexander Marjoribanks in NSW noted the bullock driver used bloody 27 times in15 minutes. It was the great Australian adjective, said The Bulletin in 1894. Then, in 1914, GeorgeBernard Shaw caused a sensation in England by putting bloody into the mouth of cockney flower girlEliza Doolittle in Pygmalion. There was some outrage, but the censor did nothing. Shaw told thepress: ?I do not know anything more ridiculous than the refusal of some newspapers ? to print theword ?bloody?, which is in common use as an adjective by four-fifths of the English nation, includingmany highly educated persons.?Why was ?bloody? taboo? Like much that is taboo (a word brought from Polynesia by Captain Cook),the underlying reason isn?t clear. Expert opinion is that it was to do with blood, as in ?bloody battle?.But Butler?s point is that the same thing is happening to the f-word. ?It?s getting harder to getexcited about taboo words to do with sex,? she says. ?The younger generation is ever so much morecool and sensible and reasonable about sex than we were. So that whole hypersensitivity we grewup with is disappearing, and I think it?s an excellent thing.?It hasn?t gone entirely, though, as her experience on the Seven Sunrise program in 2003demonstrated. Butler was talking on-air about words that offend, and ventured it was a no-no to tellsomeone they were a boofhead in the same way it would be to call them a f..kwit. ?At that point,they snatched me off the program,? she recalls. ?I thought it was just the short attention span of TV,as we were just getting into the topic.?Later, she got a stroppy call, upset over her language. ?But they overreacted. The next day they toldme they didn?t have anything like the negative feedback they thought they?d get. In fact, mostpeople were ringing up saying, ?That was an interesting discussion, why did you break it off soquickly???Nobody pulls Gordon Ramsay off air for swearing, though. His ratings are sky-high and Australians, itseems, can?t get enough of the show, including the language. But is he really creating a problem, orjust reflecting social reality?It is the former, argues the Catholic Church?s Paul Russell, an official in the Adelaide archdiocese.?Consistent bad language tends to desensitise viewers into a state of more or less acceptance thatsuch behaviour is socially tolerable,? he says. The language can be extremely aggressive, as well:?You French pig. Close the f..king place,? Ramsay says in one episode, before viciously using the c-word. Russell says the young and impressionable end up thinking this is what you do ? especiallywhen it?s a ?hero figure? like ?Gordo?.Certainly, TV is judged to be the most powerful of all media in family life. ?Research suggeststelevision content influences children?s and adults? perceptions about what the world they live in isreally like,? ACMA?s 2007 research on media and the family found. Yet to an extent it?s a chickenand-eggargument. Theatre critic Kenneth Tynan?s use of the f-word on the BBC in 1965 ? reputedlythe first time on TV ? was just a repetition of the language common in the street. For a while, Tynanbecame a euphemism for the f-word, as in ?I don?t give a Tynan?.SO TV IS AN ACCELERATOR, but not the originator. The urge to swear is so strong, so linked toemotional parts of the brain, that there are thousands of euphemisms created over the centuries toallow people to satisfy the necessity to get out a ?bad? word, without crossing the social boundarythat causes them, or their audience, to lose face.Our preoccupation with these taboos produces a vast array of alternative words ? Allan and Burridgeestimate English has 1000 expressions for penis, 1200 for vagina, 800 for copulation and 2000 forwanton woman. ?When people say they don?t swear, of course they swear,? says Burridge. ?Theyuse remodelled swear words. Golly, gosh, heck. They?re remodelled from something stronger.?On the question of whether even the strong words are obscene, two prominent Melbourne QCsdisagree: Julian Burnside, president of Liberty Victoria, says swearing on TV is a comparatively trivialissue. Rather than the Government imposing some puritanical code, parents should take control andturn off programs that are inappropriate for kids. Criminal lawyer David Galbally takes the oppositeview, arguing parliament should ban the c-word from TV because it is obscene, indecent andinsulting. ?It?s fair to say we?ve moved to accept the use of the word f..k as almost common usage,?Galbally says. ?The question is, have we accepted and moved to accept the c-word? I don?t think wehave. If we take the view the use of the c-word is no longer indecent language, we now don?t haveany. Let?s repeal the section (of the law). Society has got to have some standards.?It does, but they change over time, and taboos move with them. Religion was once the prime sourceof swearing, and you could burn in hell for it. So, as Geoffrey Hughes details in his 1991 bookSwearing: A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English, a vast number ofexpressions were invented to disguise the oath, and Shakespeare used quite a few. Bizarre examplesinclude ?snails, (God?s nails), gadzooks (God?s hooks) and zounds (Gods? wounds) around the 1600s.Slidikins (God?s little eyelids) is especially odd. Gosh and golly, both euphemisms for God, date fromaround 1743.Disguising sexual words has also been practised for a long time. There?s effing (1929) and frigging(1785)
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