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


Getting The Message

Our school age youth have inspired me with their responses during “Q and A” sessions after my readings as a volunteer during African American History Celebrations and Read across America Celebration, too.  Before this school year, I read to classes at Orchard Knob Elementary School and at Rivermont Elementary School, here in Hamilton County.   Their answers to factual ... (click for more)

2.0 Proudly Supports The Tennessee Reconnect Act

Hamilton County has seen incredible economic growth over recent years, but not all in our community have shared in this success. That’s why the many Chattanooga 2.0 coalition members have been working together to help ensure we create clear and direct pathways for all of our students and residents to obtain the training, skills, confidence, and connections needed to fill the growing ... (click for more)

Boyd Says He Is Not On Witch Hunt Against CVB, But Intends To Seek Full Audit Of Agency; Graham Backs Visitors Bureau 100%

County Commission Finance Chairman Tim Boyd has told Chattanooga Visitors Bureau President Bob Doak that he is "not on a witch hunt" against the CVB, but he said he intends to seek a full audit of the agency. He said he was inspired to "take an even closer look" at the Visitors Bureau after he said Mr. Doak "unleashing a fire storm of emails condemning my accusations." ... (click for more)

Man, Child Killed In Crash On Highway 136 In Walker County; 2nd Child Who Was Seriously Injured Dies On Monday

A man and an unrestrained five-year-old child were killed when a vehicle went out of control on Highway 136 in Walker County on Saturday. A 10-year-old in the car was seriously injured, and later died on Monday. The driver was thrown from the van and was dead at the scene. The five-year-old was trapped in the vehicle and also died at the wreck site at Ponder Creek Road. ... (click for more)

MVP Howard Leads Bradley To Seventh Straight District 5-3A Tourney Title

(Story will be updated) East Hamilton was in trouble against Bradley Central at halftime. Then the top-ranked and unbeaten Bearettes landed a sledgehammer blow in the third period and routed the Lady Hurricanes 81-40 to capture their seventh straight District 5-3A tournament championship Monday night at Soddy-Daisy High School. Bradley Central (29-0) outscored East ... (click for more)

Moc Golfers 2-Under At Magnolia Grove Crossings

The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team started its spring slate with two solid rounds. They started with a 286 and closed the 36-hole day with a 288. That’s good for a 2-under 574 at Magnolia Grove Crossings Course.   The two par or better 18s are the sixth and seventh of the season. All six were recorded over the last seven rounds. That puts the Mocs in fifth two strokes ... (click for more)