Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bleeping Ban

This post is a result of this news item and all the brouhaha it caused.

For the benefit of the lazy souls who cant be bothered reading the news item, let me summarise it for you: A political party leader enforced a ban on swearing on the party (in cabinet, committee meetings, offices etc.) in an attempt to improve the party image and to better place it for the next election.

The swearing ban became the big juicy topic for the media this week. They analysed, supported, critiqued, mocked the ban...basically blew the topic to smithereens.

I initially supported the ban, later questioned the practicality of it. I mean, common on. It's Australia. It is, as a caller to the local FM put it "the land of free bleeping speech. For bleep sakes, where the bloody hell are we?". I lol in approval, however, the laughter was just a transience into re-realising that swearing is ingrained in the fabric of our society. From prime-time TV, chat shows (e.g. a clip of Australia's PM slipping a few words), cook shows (Gordon Ramsey being the hero)...the ripe and fruitful "language" has rubbed off everywhere. I am not complaining btw. Just stating...

I swear too. I have a rich sweacabulary in Tamil and English. The usage is limited only when in company with good friends. At work, I wear the garb of a consulting engineer. My work involves dealing with people at both ends of the organisational ladder on a regular basis. Whether it is the posh office of Edward The Echecootive or the cluttered bench in a dingy little workshop of Doug i-climb-power-poles Faultman, the "language" is there at both ends. It's the style and frequency of the "language" that varies. It comes as no surprise. No one is a saint.

Coming back to the swearing ban enforced by political party leader, the issue has polarised people. The PC group has congratulated the leader for her hard-act while others feel it is bull excreta and it's a bleeping cheap shot at restricting the freedom of expression. In short, they say "bleep that".

Two different opinions. Many questions.

The PC (Politically Correct) group says:

These are politicians. They represent us. It is - though you may not agree - an honourable job. They have a prefix which reads "Honourable". The use of swear words maligns and denigrates their position and title. Weren't our predecessors able to persuade/make a point with their admirable imagination and correct selection of words? Or wade through tricky/tough situations with dexterous use of the language? If they can, why cant us?

Swearing has no place here. Swearing is the fungus of speech. We want to clean up the foul. So, please, cut the crap and get back to work.

No offence was intended!

The Bleepers say:

As representative of people, what's the big deal in using swear words? It is the language of the common man? We repeat, the language of the common man. Even if the language does offend a few jokers, who bleeping cares? Does it really matter? After all, aren't the bloody politicians, the part of the society? You freaks pass this ban in party offices...soon we'll have a group of redheads and greenies lobbying for the swear ban in Govt. offices, workplaces, theatres, bars...everywhere. A Department of Scowl on Foul (DoSF) will be formed, slapping an instant fine on every syllable of the guilty swear word. If we allow this, there'll come a stage where we wouldn't even be able to yawn or fart without offending somebody. Bleep this!

Yea, full offence intended!

So, what do I think about this?

Well, we are what we speak. Swear words portrays an awful impression of oneself. It is great when conveying quick emotion and can be powerful when we are trying to express oneself. Nothing can replace the power of a correct word, even if it happens to be a foul one. Most comedians use it support or source their humour. They use it tactfully so not offend anybody. Swear words have their own place in speech. They are the yuckiness of speech. As long it isn't overused, used in the appropriate context, and people reflect on the real intent of the before saying it, it should be OK. I swear.


Related post:
Nirmal's Dash Phenomenon


  1. Swear words are part of language. And tennis players are reported to swearing in foreign languages that the crowd isnt completely aware.

    Just for old time swearing's sake.

    And then, many have reported that it didnt have the 'desired' effect !

    I hope the Echeecootives take it kindly when Doug swears by it !


  2. :)
    Looks like Dash Phenomenon is spreading everywhere :))

    I think as you put it...leaders shouldnt use swear words on formal if Dhoni starts using swear words when he gets hit of helmet by bowler and i am pretty sure millions of kids/followers would be influenced..

    In sense what we speak and where we speak and more importanty to whom we speak ....

    I prefer not to use swear words infront of kids....because nalliku avanga nammala parthu kettu poita..kadavula..:)

    Thanks for linking

  3. this incident reminds me of the 'it hits the fan' South Park episode...

    Thnx for watching my blog...

  4. hahaha , sweacabulary, lol australians in general sound like a lively bunch of people!

  5. kavi, some echecootives are ok with it, some say #russell peters style# "you watch ur language". :)

    nirmal, you are welcome!

    axw11, havent seen it. will check it out.

    mukund, hmm. they sure are :)

  6. yeah....I loved this.....I read it with lot of emotions

  7. Haha, I never swear. I replace them with words like "arghh" or "darnit", "oh no", or "oh dear".

    haha, sometimes swear words make a bit more of an impact, especially if you're in pain, or angry.

    I agree with Nirmal though, not in front of the kiddies. Hopefully the swearing politicians realize that kids might be watching them :P

  8. anon, thanks!

    fd, ya. swearing in front of kids sets a bad example. kids speak the language spoken at home and they pick up the (good/bad)words quickly. they use it innocently in class or in a public place much to the embarrasment of their parents.

  9. ...And swearing and gender bias/issues requires another post in itself.

  10. Swearing is supposedly used to create an impact and project the image on what type of person you are - a gungho or softie.To an extent you swear to let out frustration eg when you stub your little toe at nights.But for some people it is like a noun,an adjective they can't talk without bleep words and that has to be curtailed and unfortunately it has to come from that individual.If you have noticed it is almost legal as ads in the telly use it for maximum attention and the TV stations don't bother to bleep some of the words as they have become so common. This is a sad state of affairs esp with kids growing up as they don't know anything different.It is good to see a politician take a stand on this issue and hope it sets the ball rolling .

  11. Swear words are ok, when in the company of friends ..
    In other cases i would go with the dash phenomenon .. ITs best left to the imagination of the victim ;)

  12. anjana, true.

    annu, yes. good on the politician. it'll be interesting to see whether enforce the ban in parliament.

    witsnnuts, yes :)

    kumanaaa, the b word is ok in oz. adhanaala mavaney nee thapichaa! lol.