Vulgar Words

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Inviting an artist such as Cee Lo, whose signature song is “F You” and expecting G-rated, milk toast, lukewarm entertainment is a bit like expecting the same from a comedy concert with George “Seven Dirty Words” Carlin. 

Had Carlin been invited to this year’s Riverbend and actually appeared, I would definitely have wanted to see that.

It was in late grammar school or else junior high after hearing repeated lectures about “vulgarity” from various adults, sometimes directed specifically as me sometimes not, that I actually looked the word, or rather the word from which it is derived (vulgar), up.  The meaning of “vulgar” is “coming from the common folk.”   

Since I knew even then that there were Latin-based words with the exact same meaning (for example, the first four of Carlin’s seven words would be defecate, urinate, copulate, and vagina), I strongly suspected that the reason these words were shunned in “polite” society was their origin in the Anglo-Saxon tongue vis-à-vis the Norman French tongue imported across the Channel from the Continent.

I wasn’t able to confirm my suspicions beyond a reasonable doubt until I was at UTC and had access to the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language, which included “those” words.  Sure enough, they are all rooted in the Germanic languages of the fifth and sixth centuries invaders of the Isle of Britain as opposed to that of the later eleventh century Norman (and Breton and Flemish) invaders of the eleventh century speaking the Latin-based French language who became the ruling upper class. 

I have noticed that in the past couple of decades quite a number of British (Yiddish too, by the way) “swear words” on prime time T.V. here in the U.S.A. that across the water are considered equally impolite and profane as Carlin’s “seven dirty words.  But rather than being outraged most of those who would be shocked and awed at use of American-style vulgarity respond with “Oh, how cute!” since they’re “British.” 

So, the bias against these words had more to do with pretentious snobbery than the actual meaning of the words themselves.  In response to the protest against this conclusion that it is not the words themselves but how they are used, I ask why then the focus on these words when there are so much more hurtful ways of speaking to others that cause much more harm?  A bit hypocritical, wouldn’t you say?  

To some people, though, appearance, rather than reality, is what matters.  I seem to recall a rather noted historical figure who condemned such an attitude and find it ironic that most people throwing stones at Cee Lo probably believe they are acting in his name. 

Chuck Hamilton


About Time On Cuba Recognition

Today the U.S. State Department formally dropped Cuba from its state sponsor of terrorism re-establishing diplomatic ties after 54 years of isolationism. Finally common sense has prevailed.   Of course, many Republicans objected but again it's about time . Strange how these Republicans think. The United States has diplomatic ties with Germany, Japan, Italy, Viet Nam, ... (click for more)

The Difference Between Good And Great In Education

In today’s world, we have the policymakers on one team with the educators on the other. In reality, they should both be working together on the same team.   Many educators see only what goes on in their classroom and school. If they come from an urban district, they have very little contact with others in their own district. Politicians and policymakers are influenced ... (click for more)

Work To Start Later This Year On Major Reworking Of U.S. 27 Downtown; 31 Walls To Be Erected As Cameron Hill Faces More Cuts

Work is set to start later this year on the $80 million reworking of U.S. 27 in downtown Chattanooga. TDOT's Jennifer Flynn said all of the right of way has been acquired and construction bids are tentatively scheduled to be opened in August.  The 1.4-mile project includes U.S. 27 from I-24 to south of the Olgiati Bridge.  Work was completed earlier this year ... (click for more)

2 Hurt At Soddy Daisy In Train/Car Accident

Two people were hurt in a train and car accident in Soddy Daisy. More information will follow as it becomes available.   (click for more)

Mocs Picked 8th In Preseason FCS Poll

We have not even reached June yet, but the preseason prognostications are already starting for the upcoming college football season.  Sporting News has already released its 2015 College Football Preview and picked the Mocs No. 8 in its preseason FCS top-25 and No. 1 in the Southern Conference.  Chattanooga is coming off a 10-4 overall record that included a trip to ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: Giving With A Cheerful Heart

Recently a program was started called, "Dining Out For Life," benefitting people who are affected by HIV. Tonight  several local restaurants will be partnering with Chattanooga Cares to raise money to support the organization's nutrition assistance program. There is a big need for fresh fruit and vegetables and the funds raised this evening will go to support that need. ... (click for more)