4INTRODUCTION: AN IRONY Paul Krassner, editor of The Realist, has noted the irony of Lenny Bruce being arrested in 1962 for using certain words on stage in San Francisco,while a couple of decades later, Meryl Streep used the same words in the movie Sophie’s Choice and won an Academy award.
5PROVOCATIVE SUBJECTS RELATE TO TABOO AREAS TABOOS: BODY PARTS, BODY FUNCTIONS, DEATH, DEFORMITY, DIETY, ETHNICITY, MENTAL ILLNESS, POLITICS, RELIGION AND SEXUALITYTHESE ARE THE TABOO SUBJECTS OF JOKERS AND OF TALK-SHOW HOSTS, WHO WANT TO PROVOKE, TO STIMULATE, AND TO TEST LIMITS
6DEFINITIONS Oath: See “Swearing” Obscenity: Offending a person’s sensibilities. What is offensive to one person may not be offensive to anotherProfanity: Not sacred, as in the phrase “the sacred and the profane”Swearing: Calling upon Diety to help you in your causeVulgarity: Related to the masses, as in “Vulgar Latin”
7GEORGE CARLINGeorge Carlin had a stand-up routine in which he talked about the words that we’re not allowed on television.This stand-up routine was later aired on H.B.O.
9THE MEANINGS OF SWEARWORDS Swearwords mean everything. Therefore, they mean nothing. Something can be:as Hot as Hellas Cold as Hellas Noisy as Hellor as Quiet as HellOK, is Hell hot or cold, noisy or quiet?Who the Hell knows?
10DISGUISED SWEAR WORDS The d-word (d__n) The f-word (f__k) The p-word (p__s)The s-word (s__t)The bs-word (b s)All of these words
11LADY GAGA—A ROLE MODEL. http://www. youtube. com/watch
12Bloody, Bull Shippers, By Gosh, By Golly Darn, Dang ItFudge, Frickin, FrigginGosh, Golly, Gosh DarnHeck, Heck of a, HadesJeezo, Jeez, Gee Whiz, Jiminy Crickets (swearing double), Cheese and RicePOedShoot, SOB, Sun of a Gun, Lucky Sumanovitch(a TV wrestler)Zounds (God’s Wounds)
13CENSORSHIP 1As a humor scholar I was invited to join a talk-radio host to give a scholarly reaction to jokes being told by the listening audience.The radio station employed a very conservative screener to make sure that no obscenities were aired.However, the screener had not had enough experiences to catch the innuendos, and many obscene jokes were therefore aired.
14Carla Ulbrich: “If I had the copyright…. ” https://www. youtube
15A TRUE STORYA guy had a filthy mouth. Because of this, he lost three different jobs. So he decided never to swear again, and established “Swearaholics Anonymous” to help himself and others refrain from swearing.But the organization needed to be disbanded because of receiving so many obscene phone calls.
16UNTRUE STORYA coed at an American university was protesting the war by carrying a sign that read “Fuck the draft!”The college president told her she could carry the sign, but had to get rid of the obscenity.So she changed her sign to read “Fuck the d***t!”
18Copenhagen, DenmarkA Danish Newspaper was concerned with self-sensorship, and sent out a call for the strongest kinds of political cartoons possible.Some of the resulting cartoons depicted Mohammed supporting terrorism.To Muslims, these cartoons were not funny. Muslims point out that they don’t make fun of Jesus and other Western religious figures.But they do make fun of capitalism, and some of them burn the American flag and effigies of President Bush. Do the Danish cartoons then represent reciprocity, or not?
19CATCHER IN THE RYEIn J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield dreams of playing in a patch of rye near a cliff.He must protect the children by catching them before they fall over the cliff.Part of his protection is to go into rest rooms and change all of the f-words to b-words (BOOK).
20AN UNSUBSTANTIATED RUMOR A Russian rumor has it that there used to be a satirical section of the KGB that was designed to publish jokes that were very critical of the Soviet Union.These critical jokes were published in order to diffuse the tense situation, with the understanding that the jokes would allow people to let off steam and they would not have to resort to physical violence.
21AMERICAN WORDS WHICH HAVE CHANGED BitchButtFannyGayPissanttinker’s dam
22FOREIGN WORDS THAT CAN BE OBSCENE IN ENGLISH Derrierefag or faggotGrand Tetons Mountain RangeSolicitorto knock someone upNOTE: Refined foreign students discussing American slang often don’t realize the power of American obscenities
23TOILET HUMOR: A RIDDLEWhat does a man do standing up, a woman sitting down, and a dog on three legs?Shake hands.(Nilsen & Nilsen 261)
24WOMEN VS. MENSwear words (and other Labels of Primary Potency such as ethnic slurs) are powerful.In the past, such words have been used more by men than by women.Could it be that this is one of the reasons that men are perceived as stronger?Is this difference changing?
25Acronym Obscenities in Text Messages OMG:ROFLMAO:STFU:WTF:
28FAHRENHEIT 451John Olster is a junior high school teacher who uses Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.In April of 1997, he wrote a letter to English Journal saying that he was using this book in his 8th grade class.
29Oster was having students read passages in class, but whenever the students came to a passage with damn in it, the students didn’t say the word.Oster assumed that the students were uncomfortable with swearing and were just skipping this swear word.
30After the students had taken turns reading, the Mr After the students had taken turns reading, the Mr. Oster, the teacher, decided to take a turn and his passage contained damn, hell, and bastard.The students said, “Where are you getting those words? They aren’t in our text.”Oster finally assumed that the paperback publisher had probably deleted the swear words so as not to lose sales to a school whose selection committee might disapprove of the swear words.In a novel about censorship, this was the ultimate irony.(Nilsen & Nilsen 66-67)