Spare me all this righteous indignation, the holier than thou pontification, the feigned shock/horror because some idiots have had their disgusting SMS messages to one another revealed to the public and the mainstream media ‘tub thumpers’. Who, in their usual style, have beaten it up by selective highlighting of various ‘rude, crude and lewd’ texts in their indignant essays, blathering on about sexism, foul language, unfitness to serve, etc, etc, boringly etc!. At this rate we’ll soon run out of tubs, high horses, and soapboxes!
Ribald, often disgustingly descriptive terminology has been used to describe genitalia ever since homo sapiens connected thought to language and merged it with their sex drive. I’d suggest that at least 100% of the Australian population (male and female) can think of at least one slang euphemism for genitalia (male or female) and for the sex act. A substantial number can think of several and a lot of that substantial number use these terms in their everyday language, and as a matter of course. It’s pretty bloody coarse, its often derogatory, and it ain’t very pretty but that’s Australian English as it’s spoke!
Even from my somewhat sheltered upbringing I can readily think of another slang euphemism (also of molluscan origin) closely resembling that expressed by Peter Slipper in his text message to James Ashby. Would I use it in everyday conversation, or in an SMS? No Way! Would I think it? Ahh, well yes, cos’ I just thought of it when writing this! As I have just thought of several others whilst thinking about what I should write. So am I a sexist, misogynistic pig, foul mouthed and with extremist tendencies? The last time I asked the wife she indicated that I wasn’t, but my gardening phobia could do with some work.
Can I use foul/coarse language in appropriate situations? Errr, well yes I can. As can most of us! We’ve all, at some time or another, heard abusive and nasty language spoke loudly by both the male, and the female of the species. Most of us have also been guilty of using such language at times. And c’mon even those who say they’ve never used foul language in their speech – I bet you’ve thought it? C’mon, c’mon, admit it!
So I suspect that a large number of the populace when enlightened as to what was SMS’d (is that a word now?) probably didn’t skyrocket off their seats, screaming ‘disgusting’, or ‘depraved’ or ‘this is disgustingly depraved’ or whatever. There were probably quite a few sniggers (possibly slightly embarrassed); a bit of disgust at the descriptive terminology; a lot of voyeuristic delight at Slipper being caught out; at looking at someone elses SMS’s; and an awful lot of “God, what kind of moron puts that kinda stuff in an SMS?” “Yeh, on reflection, probably lots of people! AND on Facebook and Twitter!”
Slang euphemisms and the art of swearing are picked up whilst growing up, and working, dealing with and socialising with a wide range of people from varying backgrounds. And surprise, surprise, you can also get such language in the literature (old and modern)! When you hear it you are sometimes, shocked, sometimes embarrassed, sometimes amused, sometimes bemused, and like most of these terms, they have a tendency to stick in the memory banks. Pity some of the more erudite stuff doesn’t stick quite so well! How/where you were raised, and educated, will pretty much determine to what extent you use these words in your everyday conversation as will the circles that you move in socially and in a work environment. We’ve all been in company where slang euphemisms and swearing are not de riguer and seldom (if ever) used, and in company where profanity is liberally interspersed into conversations – rude, crude and blue.
And yes, the term is sexist, as are a lot of other sexual euphemisms. Is describing someone as a ‘Richard Cranium’ also sexist? And I wonder how many people immediately thought ‘SEXIST’ when they saw Slipper’s comment? I suspect not too many, except of course those who saw it as an opportunity to become all indignant and holier than thou. All the indignant outrage in the world isn’t going to make much impact on changing how people use language. Education and enlightenment about appropriateness and treating everyone with respect are. Teaching people about the use of the English language (sans the foul stuff) to make your point, succinctly, cuttingly (if required), and with force would help. Enough of the yobs coming through the education system that can’t spell, can’t string a cogent sentence together, let alone construct a paragraph that means anything, and who can only talk in expletives interspersed with ‘yeh’, ‘man’, ‘bro’ and probably ‘ook, ook’, but I’ve stopped listening by the time they’ve degenerated into homo erectus speak!
In fact, Julia Gillard’s expose’ of Tony Abbott’s long history of sexist comments in her speech (devoid of expletives I note) against the motion to remove the Speaker in Parliament the other day, a 15 minute destruction of his arrogance and thuggish contempt of females, had more effect than all the huff and puff by the mainstream media over the preceding days. So to did her forcing him to retract his ‘piece of work’ comment in Parliament later in the week, showing that: a) Abbott had learnt nothing from Gillard’s speech, and b) it’s hard to change learned behaviour, especially in the arrogant and thuggish. The comments about ‘dying of shame’ really just showed Abbott for what he truly is – strategically inept, premeditated and deliberately nasty – totally unfit to be a representative of the people and utterly unsuitable as a Prime Minister of this country.
So suck it up! Enough of all the huffery and puffery! Most of the populace thought, ‘What are you clowns on about?’ Julia’s direct action on sexist comments did more to make people aware of the issue than all of your righteous indignation and huffery puffery. Mainstream media – you got it wrong, and it just showed up how out of touch and incompetent your folk really are!
And that’s my rant for today!