Written by Frank Miller
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Friday, 28 August 2009

image for Changing times: Swearing, Censorship, Ofcom and Keats Keats, he swore a lot!

This week, Ofcom will release new legislation for swearing on TV. Frank Miller investigates the past, present and future of what is termed 'Classical English'.

Times change
We're aware of the changing times where swear words from yesterday may not be deemed offensive by todays standards.

A History lesson
Did you know that English bylaws of the 1800's stated that public flogging was a regular and acceptable punishment for using the word 'Muff' to describe a Vagina? It's true. Nowadays the V word is deemed extremely offensive and has been replaced by the more acceptable multi-purpose adjactive 'Cunt'. Flogging for the V word has long since been abolished and replaced instead with bystanders, within earshot, screwing their faces up like they've just sucked on a stale lemon.

Why not try it on for size, Vagina. Yuk.

Offensiveness on TV and in print has been a heated talking point of the elderly and those who don't get enough sex, but now Ofcom has released news legislation on what is (or not) offensive which should make everyone happy.

Television
Cunt has had the most restrictions removed, to such a degree that the number of restrictions is actually a negative number.

The guidelines read, "...Cunt can be used in any context during any part of the day on any type of programming, including those aimed at children. Broadcasts before 12 noon must also include the word at least 15 times."

It goes on to state that broadcasters who repeat old programmes, like 1970's classics 'Crossroads' and 'Blakes 7', must have the word dubbed in 15 times before being transmitted or face a heavy fine.

Cock is permitted only for describing those chicken type birds that live on farms and wake you up in the morning. But as Richard Avenue-Road from Ofcom's shadow organisation SOFTcom points out, there are loop holes. "The word 'Cock' can still be used to describe an idiot (stupid person, general cock) as long as one of these mythical birds actually appears on screen when the word is said."

Shithead is acceptable but only in the context of someone with actual shit on their head, making it descriptively correct.

The F Bomb
Fuck, Fucking, Fucker and Fucked can now be used freely at any time of the day but Fucker cannot be used when preceeded by the word 'Mother', but Avenue-Road points out another loophole here, "Motherfucker is not permitted before 8pm although it can be used if there is a long pause between the two words like this, 'Mother. Fucker.' so the two words are not joined."

The word 'Very' is to be banned completely to be replaced by 'Fucking'. "It's punchy and modern", say Ofcom spokesman Arthur Arthurs, "We're getting to grips with what society actually wants, not those fucking moaners who piss their pants when an expletive is used, even when its in context! Fuck me, have you ever read Keats?"

The written word
Further guidelines by the Literary Acceptance League, have been adopted protect writers from a form of creative censorship known as 'Curse Word Substitution', where words such as 'Fucking' are substituted by editors with lesser words such as 'Bloody'.

Although Bloody was deemed to be very rude by the Victorians, 'Fucking' was more acceptable and widely used as a greeting at Christmas and Weddings, also in the 1800's Keats used the word many times in his poetry. You can look that up on Wikipedia if you like.

Online Media and CWS
Check the recent Spoof news article 'Exploding iPhones: French born Epidemic hits the UK' for an example of CWS in action. It's about annoying iPhone behaviour.

Look for the line '...their bloody iPones!' changed from '...their fucking iPhones!'.

'Bloody', as an expletive, is no longer used in the English language today.

The law!
The Ofcom rules come into effect next week with a further review on gratuitous sex on breakfast television to begin next month, lets face it, anything is an improvement to the fucking irritating human interest sickening shit we get at the moment.

By the way, the words 'shit' and 'fucking' in the previous paragraph were both used in context according to approved legislation.

Frank Miller
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