Friday, March 03, 2006


There was an interesting article in the A&E section of the Toronto Star on Sat., Feb. 25 about how the creative use of fictional phrases is flipping the finger at the censor boards. Gosh darn it! Does a "frak" or "frik" convey the same degree of consternation as a real swear word? Does it even reflect the real world?

The author, Vinay Menon, suggests that there are no boundaries left to cross in the use of swear words. On the other hand, many TV shows are going back to the use of euphemisms because we have been exposed to words that would have been unacceptable a generation ago. Professor Timothy Jay, author of Why We Curse and The Psychology of Language believes that the use of euphemisms during prime time is due to pressure groups paying more attention to the family hour. At the same time, Jay explains, "The other tension is the effort on the part of broadcasters to offer a more appealing, sexy or emotional product that will compete with cable, DVD and movie rental materials."

A crackdown by regulatory boards may be coming to television in the US.

"The unspoken truth is that there is no scientific evidence that a word harms a person," says Jay. "Words do not harm women and children, which is the underlying grossly false assumption motivating censorship. This is part of the conservative mood in North America where belief is valued over science."

Wikipedia has a page devoted to euphanisms.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. True?

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