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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

expletive deleted

A friend of mine expressed some concern yesterday that I have been secretly judging her and the other member of our Stitch and Bitch group for the past 30 years because their language has always been a little more nautically inclined than my own.

This morning I went back and updated my previous post to ensure that future generations don't make the same mistake.  So you don't have to go back and read the whole damn thing again, my definition of constant swearing is basically every other word. If you can find 3 or 4 good ones to fit in between the bad, I will withhold judgment (I'm not a complete dick).

If any of you are fellow fans of Deadwood, you would have realized that that is not a hard and fast rule. If you took all the profanity out of that show all you'd have left is some definite and indefinite articles and a few action verbs.

One of the stories I had considered including in yesterday's piece concerned a lady who had a cabin next to my S&B friend, 30-odd years ago.  This lady's husband had been a commander in the army or reserves (something military anyway). I don't recall how the topic came up, but I remember her complaining about how all the contemporary movies about the military were completely inaccurate because of all the blue language flying about.  We couldn't convince her that no military man would ever swear in front of the commander's wife upon fear of court martial or flogging or death or something.

She apparently had never read Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead which is famous for revealing the sordid truth that combat soldiers swear all the time and infamous for insisting that the only bad word they use is "fug." Publishing codes at the time would not allow the revelation of the naked truth.

The divine Tallulah Bankhead is said to have approached Mailer at a party and commented, "So you're the man who can't spell 'fuck'."

I can't say I blame the commander's wife for not reading that book though. Once you stop being amused by the fuggery, it's a tough read for anyone who thinks human beings have at least some redeeming characteristics.

A more cheery read is For Whom the Bell Tolls (and by cheery I mean not everyone is a complete asshole). In that book I learned that Spanish is full of delightful swear words that I will never know because Hemingway decided to replace all the obscene words with the word "obscenity." Until I take Spanish lessons (or Google it) I will be forced to wonder what the hell anyone meant by "I obscenity in the milk."

If you would care to do further research into what type of swearing I find acceptable, check out the following resources: Bull Durham (also contains some steamy sex if you are so inclined); Slap Shot (I don't know if it has aged well but I include it here for historical accuracy, full disclosure, and the Paul Newman reference); and the eminently quotable but not in front of your mom Pulp Fiction.

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