< link rel="DCTERMS.replaces" href="http://trappedcivilservant.blogspot.com" > Aginoth's Retirement Ramblings: A study in comparative censorship

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A study in comparative censorship

I had no idea what to blog today and then I read my comments form my last post...

In response to a comment by Katherine on my previous post.... (Thanks Katherine)

Katherine said...
Please explain to this under educated American how "arse" is used in Britain. I know it means "ass" but do you pronounce it just like it's spelled? Is it considered a "bad" word like ass is in America? Although the TV censors have been allowing it for a couple of years now...

An Ass = a Donkey in the UK

An Arse = Backside, Bum, or Fanny to you Americans. It can also me a particularly stupid person amongst other things.

Fanny in the UK is a polite version of C**t; a word which is probably the last taboo word left on British TV after 9pm at night.

Fuck is used on TV in the UK, usually only after 9pm, but not to excess or it will get bleeped. Shit, Tits, Wanker, plonker, prick, prat, dickhead, knob end, knob, bugger, bollocks, penis, vagina, breasts, dick, arsehole, bloody, bleeding hell, Jesus, God!, sod and feck, piss, and many many more are no longer considered all that bad at all and will be heard without much censorship at all in the early evening on TV and even during the day, the context in which it is used is more important than just the word itself.

There is very little censorship of language for censorships sake, or to protect the moral well being of the nation, or to appease the beliefs of the religious, or force their sensibilities on the rest of us, or politcally right wing in the UK at all. There is still quite strict rules on images and film however, and very well laid down rules as to what is allowed to be shown when on British Television; also a strict film classification system.

Basically we no longer have much censorship of language on television, film or in written material, apart from the C word, which most people (i think) including myself find distasteful.

I am glad that this is the case, we are after all adults, Childrens TV is very carefully regulated for swearing however. And images of smoking are becoming rarer in newly made programs and films.

I dislike the phrase "Bad Language" as I consider there to be no such thing, there is however lazy speech, and the over use of swearing tends to make a person sound stupid, the occasional expletive however is perfectly acceptable in the right company, and is unlikely to lead to any moral detriment

BTW learn to swear in many foreign languages here...YouSwear.com


Blogger Dave said...

Oh just think of the fun that search engines are going to have with you now???????????

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 6:40:00 pm  
Blogger Aginoth said...

I know I know...but what the hell ;o)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 6:53:00 pm  
Blogger CyberKitten said...

Damned good post Mr A.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 7:59:00 pm  
Blogger Sleepypete said...

[chuckle] One of the things I used to have to look out for when being the Guildmaster on World of Warcraft was swearing. Most anti-swearing is supposed to protect the kiddies. Who does most of the swearing though ? You guessed it ... the kiddies !

Ho hum.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 8:00:00 pm  
Blogger used*to*be*me* said...

Oh Ag! I love a good swearing post. And I love that website you gave. I'm learning so many new phrases!

Thank you Sir, you are my hero today!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 9:20:00 pm  
Blogger S.I.D. said...

Fanny indeed...go wash your mouth out you dirty,dirty, boy.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 9:48:00 pm  
Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Ohhh how I would love to trade you the FCC for the BBC.

Here in the "land of the free" the religous wacko nut-jobs have the place fairly well locked up. It is like the middle ages in some ways.

Words can and ARE bad. Sounds are bad. Subject matter is bad. Every Christmas, there is a fuss over who can put up the most plastic Baby Jesus's in the most places.

Really, it is all just silly. But right now if the FCC did stop all regulation, American TV would revert to the following programming schedule

8:00 PM - the fart noise show
8:30 PM - a guy in a bad toupee saying FUCK over and over
9:00 PM - What is in the bus station toilet bowl?

And the public here is sooooooo repressed by what they think can and can not be on TV, the sad part is that millions of Americans would watch the fart noise show just so they could talk about it the next day.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 10:40:00 pm  
Blogger Merkin said...

AGINOTH! I'm blushing. I just had dinner with a (married) couple of friends of mine, who, because of their ever-listening and curious toddler, for each other.

To make it more interesting, R (the husband) put a credit of £500 in the imaginary box so that every time C (the wife) swore, £1 would be deducted. Every time HE swore, £1 would go in. At the end of the year, she could spend the balance for herself at Christmas. The end result? She has just spent £233 in the New Years Sale! Which means that she swore 267 times more than he did. Which, over a year, is actually quite a good performance.

Thursday, January 05, 2006 12:25:00 am  
Blogger Merkin said...

Er... a sentence was missed out there. It's about a virtual swear box who tried to give up "cussing". Sorry...

Thursday, January 05, 2006 12:26:00 am  
Blogger Katherine said...

Aha! Thanks for the education, Mr. A. Note to self: NEVER use the word "fanny" when visiting Britain, yipes! Also interesting your TV censors allow "fuck" and so many other naughties. Americans will have to rethink their image of the stereotypical crusty, conservative, stiff upper-lipped Britain. Good going!

Thursday, January 05, 2006 12:31:00 am  
Blogger Aginoth said...

I'm glad you all found it so educational...LOL

Not just a load of potty mouthed filth :o)

Thursday, January 05, 2006 6:00:00 pm  
Blogger Random said...

Actually, censorship of language for censorship's sake is rife on British TV - just imagine trying to get a programme broadcast using words like "ni**er", "c**n", "p*ki", etc. (I'm sure everyone knows what the asterisks stand for) if you don't believe me. Granted, this doesn't presumably count as "religious" or "politically right wing" (and therefore evil?) censorship, but I can't believe it isn't meant to come under the "protecting the moral fibre of the nation" heading.

Censorship is just as common as ever, it's just that the targets of it have changed.

Thursday, January 05, 2006 8:42:00 pm  
Blogger Aginoth said...

Ah but that isn't exactly the same is it Random, the words you suggest can indeed by used, in teh right context, in a documentary or play about racism for example. However their general use would be considered illegal under the various anti racial-hatred laws we thankfully have in the UK.

Thursday, January 05, 2006 8:43:00 pm  
Blogger Vinny Quinn said...

I love a good swear, especially after a hard day restraining myself in front a class load of kids. I used to be a 60 a day f*ck user but now I've cut down - New Year's resolutions and all - to about 40 day.

Thursday, January 05, 2006 9:02:00 pm  
Blogger Sniffy said...

I wish i could stop swearing, but I just seem to get worse. I just don't care anymore; they're only words, for fuck's sake. My understanding is that fuck, piss and cunt are some of the finest saxon words going, they should be celebrated.

Oh, I did it again.

How's your dad, btw?

Thursday, January 05, 2006 9:18:00 pm  
Blogger Aginoth said...

My Dad is doing OK thanks Tina, he moved to a specialist Stroke Neuro-Physio Rehab Centre in a different hospital today.

Thursday, January 05, 2006 10:00:00 pm  
Blogger Sniffy said...

OK, well I hope he continues to do well and that you're all bearing up.

Friday, January 06, 2006 1:12:00 am  
Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I love this post. It's so very filled with interesting and wonderful information...I LOVE that the UK is so without censorship with "words"..I feel that The US is so fucked up where sex and 'bad' language, etc., is concerned... that we are sooooo backward where anything human is concerned, it scares the hell out of me! And the ReligeousRight has much more to say about all these things than one would want...I just keep going back tothe fact that WE are such a young country...we have so much growing up to do...OY! That Gay people can legally marry in the UK is an amazing thing to have happend....Amazing and wonderful! Again..we are NOWHERE where this is concerned....But back to words...Have you ever known anyone that liked the C word?

Friday, January 06, 2006 8:26:00 am  
Blogger Merkin said...

Regarding the c word - I used to have a boss who's favourite expression was "Bollocky c*nty bollocks", which he said several times an hour, normally to general indifference. According to the girls who heard this phrase (he was an indiscriminate swearer!), the adding of the "y" to the end of the C-Word, together with it always (and only) being used as part of the same word grouping, made it entirely inoffensive. Funny things, words.

Friday, January 06, 2006 1:02:00 pm  
Blogger Spinsterella said...

I have some Scottish friends who refer to one another as Cuntybollocks.

Term of affection, y'know.

(Always wondered why cunt is supposed to be so bad but not twat?)

Friday, January 06, 2006 4:05:00 pm  
Blogger CyberKitten said...

Spinsterella said: (Always wondered why cunt is supposed to be so bad but not twat?)

Probably because twat has a softer meaning of various forms of idiot. Cunt is deemed much more offensive - though several British newspapers do print such words from time to time usually when "quoting" someone...

There's often a campaign to clean up the language on TV. Never comes to much though.....

Friday, January 06, 2006 5:42:00 pm  
Blogger Juggling Mother said...

As with all words, it's not the word, or even the meaning that makes it offensive, it's the context.

C**t tends to be used in a very offensive way, so it is offensive. As previously stated a number of colloquallisms use cunt as mild ribbing, and it doesn't offend many people then. In mainstream English it is still considered abusive, and so when used as a one-off swear word, it is usually heard in that way.

Friday, January 06, 2006 9:55:00 pm  
Blogger Uisce said...

Here's a funny story about censorship (well I'll let you be the judge of just how funny it is)... on David Letterman's show a few years ago, Biff Henderson (stage manager) came out from backstage, as he often does, and he was supposed to call somebody a JACKASS, which is perfectly acceptable TV-language. Well he goofed it up and he accidentally said ASSHOLE which had to be bleeped-out. It was pretty funny to see Dave's reaction to what was just an innocent departure from the script, but a really funny one!

Saturday, January 07, 2006 12:19:00 pm  
Anonymous mar said...

Great first-hand information. It is so important to know all this and all I get over here is Ali G...! It is also so very true that the context and entonation make a whole difference. Glad to hear your father is doing better.

Saturday, January 07, 2006 4:14:00 pm  
Blogger dena said...

That was so informative. Very, very interesting.

Saturday, January 07, 2006 10:19:00 pm  

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