Re: Dropping the F-Bomb

Not to mention 'Freedom Under Clark Kerr', used in the late 50's student protests at UC.

By Joel Achenbach > Sunday, June 25, 2006; > The most versatile word in our language can do almost anything, other > than be printed in a family newspaper. It can be a noun, a verb, a > gerund, an adjective or just an expletive. It can be literal or > figurative. Although it has an explicit sexual meaning, it's usually > used figuratively these days, as an all-purpose intensifier. > The F-word remains taboo. But just barely. We may be entering an era > in which this fabled vulgarity is on its way to becoming just another > word -- its transgressive energy steadily sapped by overuse. > From hip-hop artists to bloggers to the vice president of the United > States, everyone's dropping the F-bomb. Young people in particular > may not grasp how special this word has been in the past. They may > not realize how, like an old sourdough starter, the word has been > lovingly preserved over the centuries and passed from generation to > generation. For the good of human communication we must come > together, as a people, to protect this word, and ensure that, years > from now, it remains obscene. > Our leaders aren't helping. Before he was elected president, George > W. Bush used the word repeatedly during an interview with Tucker > Carlson. Dick Cheney on the Senate floor told a Democratic senator to > eff himself. Presidential candidate John F. Kerry said of Bush and the > war, "Did I expect George Bush to [mess] it up as badly as he did? I > don't think anybody did." No one is shocked that these people use such > language, but as statesmanship it's not exactly Lincolnesque. > More generally, the word is imperiled by the profusion of > communications technologies. Everyone's talking, e-mailing, blogging > and commenting on everyone else's comments. Combine that with partisan > rancor and a general desperation to get one's message across, and > naturally the word gets overtaxed. In Blogworld there are no idiots > anymore, only [blithering] idiots. The most opportunistic move in the > corporate realm may have been the decision by a retailer to call > itself French Connection United Kingdom, which allowed it to put the > company's initials on T-shirts everywhere. Jeepers, that's clever!

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Mark J
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