Once upon a time, dear StrongLangers, we made a promise to keep you regularly updated with interesting sweary tidbits from the Wide World of Web. We kept that promise until we didn’t. It has been, we note with embarrassment, more than 30 months since we posted Sweary Links #25. Well, we’re going to atone for that lapse right now. Not with 30 months of links: are you fucking kidding? Baby steps. Here’s what caught our attention over the last month or so. To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter.
Fuck, shit, bollocks, twat, bloody, and cunt are not the seven words you can never say on television – they’re six words that Susie Dent has said on television. Susie Dent’s Guide to Swearing, a new mini-series from Channel 4, offers an informative and irreverent summary of the history and use of some of our favourite bad words. You can watch the full series below.
A word-history specialist and broadcaster, Dent has written several books on language, most recently Dent’s Modern Tribes. She is best known as the resident lexicographer in ‘dictionary corner’ on Countdown, a perennially popular British TV game show. We can’t not mention that Countdown inadvertently produces the odd rude word to great general amusement.
Though she went to a convent school and was not allowed to swear at home (aside from an occasional bloody that ‘managed to fly below the radar’), Dent tells me she didn’t rebel into foulmouthedness. She loves swear words but doesn’t swear often – except at moments of stress or pain, when it ‘most definitely helps’. There’s a word for that:
We’ve featured swearing montages from video games; now here’s one from TV.
Even if you’ve never seen Sharpe (I haven’t), that won’t stop you enjoying Sean Bean uttering oaths from it non-stop for 7½ minutes – mostly bastard, bloody, bugger and damn, with crap, arse, piss, prick and twat entering the fray near the end and culminating in this mighty outburst:
What an idiot. What a dirty little Dutch buffle-brained bastard. I’ll ram his poxed crown up his royal poxed arse. The blue-blooded twat.
I stumbled upon this 1884 title in my research for another post and figured I’d be remiss if I didn’t share it here. I don’t know much about the book’s author, Julian Sharman, other than that he’d also edited a collection of poetry by Mary Queen of Scots and a collection of John Heywood’s proverbs. And I’ll admit I’m not so much reviewing this thoroughly British book as I am admiring it as a curious artifact of its time.
Almost half a century into Queen Victoria’s reign, 1884 stands out as the year:
- the first fascicle of what would become the Oxford English Dictionary was published,
- the International Meridian Conference in Washington declared the Greenwich meridian the prime meridian, and
- a kooky rector mailed a stillborn baby to a member of Parliament as a “publicity stunt”
(none of which provide any relevant context for the book, unfortunately, but surely you didn’t expect me to learn about the so-called Home Office Baby and not pass the information along). Those Victorians sure knew how to party. Continue reading