There is a perennial debate about whether using expletives in written or spoken exchange is a sign of intelligence or stupidity. Before writing this I did a bit of digging and this topic has produced much debate through the millennia.
Unsurprisingly, the bible covers this off in typical “this is bad, don’t do it” style. After all, what would one expect from the manual documenting the rules by which religion attempts to control it’s followers. It has also been through so many iterations at the hands of so many special interest groups that it is no surprise that you can find a version that says what you need it to. For example: Ephesians 4:29 apparently tells us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Define unwholesome exactly? This is the nub of the swearing argument as there is no hard and fast list of “unwholesome words”. In some circumstances an appropriately used fuck may help those who listen. However, to paraphrase from the good book; one man’s meat….
Yesterday I used the word fuck in my post and a friend remarked on this possibly not reflecting well on me. In my circles an appropriately deployed fuck is both acceptable and necessary. In theirs it isn’t. That’s the way it is. Ranting and repetitive use of the word fuck, to me, is unnecessary overkill and spoils the effect. To others it fits just so and to them it adds the emphasis they feel is needed.
I can get on my intellectual high horse and look down on them for overuse of the word fuck. Others can do the same to me. If you invest the word fuck (or many others, fuck is a good example) with power to shock and offend then it will do just that. Additionally, you weaken yourself because anyone who wants to try and shock/offend/unbalance can then use this utterance to do so.
My mother, raising three boys as she did, had a great reaction to overhearing one of us say fuck. We were collectively marched to the bookshelf and the Oxford Dictionary of Slang was produced. We were made to look up the word fuck, recite the definition and use it in a variety of sentences. Took the fun right out of it. FYI it is first found in use in 1475 in an old English poem called Flen Flyys. However you slice it there is no denying that fuck has turned into a very interesting word. I wish my dear Mother also had this explanation from Monty Python:
From unwholesome swearing to reading and research in one easy step. Fucking cool eh?
I need to get in the car at 0930, so I do. It is cold (quite), dry and the sun is out, there are gaggles of cyclists everywhere. An idea starts to form… Daughter has a £400 Islabike – a shiny red Luath 24 – sitting a bit idle in the garage. Riding is good. Fresh air is good. Being outside is good.
Alternatively; “awwww, do I have to? It’s cold. I’m tired. I don’t want to”. All delivered in a whine that only a ten-year old girl can manage. “Yes darling, you do, we’ll have fun, you have the right gear and your Mother also thinks it is a good idea”. As only parents in their mid-forties can manage. Case closed. Much faffing and we finally get on the road.
Instantly there is a whine that has a recurring theme of ” I want to go back” that intersperses the “you’re mean” and variations thereof style. I try to distract, divert, engage but she is too damn clever. “You’re trying to distract me Daddy, I want to turn back” is what all attempts are met with. The odd “you’re the meanest Daddy ever blah blah” is thrown in for good measure.
Meanwhile, as I am enduring her slings and arrows the miles are slowly ticking away to the destination. It is also a v. gentle uphill most of the way so I know it’ll be great on the way back. At about 1/3 of the way I nearly crack under the whining and retort with a, “we’re halfway now, turn back if you want. We are closer to warmth etc if we carry on” which is met with sullen acquiescence. My lie is then exposed at 2/3 distance by a road sign. A few quick mental calculation tells H that I was lying. Oh gawd and woe betide me. That’s torn it.
Restart the whinge machine with a general theme of “you’re a liar Daddy”. I can’t disagree. I produce my last ace and offer to let her call her mother from the half way point to see if she’ll collect her. I know this is a fat chance as Mother has subscribed to the general Go Ride Your Bike philosophy.
Ring Ring – “Mummy, Daddy is a liar, mean etc and I’m tired. Please can you collect me from the Hilton’s house?”. “Of course dear, I’ll be passing there in 45 minutes and will bring you a change of clothes.”
Parental solidarity from the hard as nails Mother that cycled the 2009 Etape du Tour? Pah.
But it’s not, it’s an intentional typo to get the title to have a bit of zing. Lord Leverhulme is the fellow’s name and he is reputed to have said he knew half of his advertising was wasted, but didn’t know which half.
The bit of the digital revolution that seems to pass people by is just how this has been kicked into the long grass. All these cool services and all for “free”. Facebook, Google, Nectar Cards and so on and so forth. They are buying your personal data from you so, as they would put it, they can tailor their specific offerings to you.
Bollocks: if you’re spending money on advertising you can now get a very granular view of where the money is generating a return. I used to run very efficient Google AdWords. You give data for free, they package it and sell it to me, the business owner, as a product. It’s like being sold a .50 cal sniper rifle. It can do far more than you can ever imagine. My issue was having the time to use the power of the tool amongst all the shag and hassle of running a business. I could tell a huge amount about the users of the site, what pages worked, the route through the site to purchase etc. I could tailor my web offering – how we sold – so much more effectively. And that didn’t rely on me harvesting personal data as you’d already given it to Google. Thanks.
When you participate in a Loyalty Card style scheme you are just doing their job for them. Give it 50y and we’ll all have an implanted chip that we can (you hope) choose who gets to read. Very sci-fi and paranoid sounding I realise. Nonetheless, imagine if your chip can register your physiological reactions to certain stimuli as well as your easily observable habits and send them to a computer? How saleable is that?
I am not anti all this ever increasing intrusiveness because I believe that in my lifetime at least I’ll get to choose who I give the crown jewels of my personal info to. If I pimp out my data then I expect to know what I am getting. Compelling offers, unique content, personalised marketing, ad spend tracking are all ways the free market operates to sell more for less. Caveat emptor – don’t blame the companies. If you don’t like it then don’t play.
As one Mr Shadbolt Esq put it once: “If you’re not the customer, you’re the product”.
So it’s Friday. So don’t expect even a flailing stab at literary competence. A round-up of the week is what’s needed with some fun and illuminative trivia thrown in.
- I am possibly the most easily distracted and idle person I know. A friend saw a cartoon yesterday and fell about laughing. “That’s you” they choked out between gales of laughter. “That’s so you.” I gave a careful and considered response of, “piss off”, and then started laughing as well.
- You can’t tell but I was just distracted my Mrs S. Sadly she wasn’t offering ice-cream though.
- Now my whole thread of the wretched post is gone from my head.
- Check email again.
- Oh yes, Idle. When I work I really work and in between I am a master time-waster. There ought to be a Guild of Master Time Wasters. I wish I knew how to make myself into a tightly focused and driven individual.
- Just connected two people via LinkedIn. Think it is v. cool that technology has made so easy something that was previously nearly impossible.
- Speak to one of said people. Talk for 20 minutes.
- I prefer to think of it as multi-tasking with a slight random element.
- My new helicopter arrives today or tomorrow. Am sure that won’t divert me from planning.
- Planning – oh yeah, I am starting a business. That’ll have it’s own site and blog so ’nuff said here.
- Looking forward to collecting my free Calamari from Lou’s between Christmas and New Year. Thank you Facebook.
- Food, mmmmm.
- Very modern dilemma – am speaking to my domain name provider to merge all my various domains under one roof and register a few new ones.
- Dilemma – just been to Wikipedia to ascertain that I have indeed been spelling it incorrectly for many years. Two “m’s”, go figure.
- Bought some bike rollers this week as I hate turbo-trainers. They turned up yesterday. Slippery buggers. Will take some mastering. In the meantime my friends have not been helpful. See Blovember 13. Bastards.
- It was my dad’s birthday a few weeks ago – 75, time to get a Honda Jazz as I may have mentioned – and he is rubbish at asking for pressies. Finally we get an answer…floor mats for the Jazz please.
- I feel a bit dirty writing the search term “Jazz Mats” into Google.
Gotta run. I hear an ice-cream van.
Everyone has a book inside them. Apparently. I am plumbing the depths of my soul and am damned if I can find mine, let alone a post for today.
No more shockers from the old man but I really ought to call and discover the colour etc and feign interest. As my first ever girlfriend pointed out; I may inherit it. No, my brother can have it. In this very very funny video you could substitute Honda Jazz for BMW GS.
While I flail about for something entertaining to write about I do recall a chat yesterday with my brother who was kind enough to give me a full description of the possible consequences of of his strong antibiotics and the fact that he has a bad back. Indeed, he painted an overly graphic picture of a big sneeze triggering uncontrollable shitting whilst howling in pain. He is a burly man as this woman describes. Howzat for something you didn’t need to know?
Possibly a bit much for a family blog I hear you cry. I am just illustrating that little of interest happens on a daily basis so a daily post will sometimes be amusing, sometimes banal and occasionally gross.
I have work to do and today the dice landed on gross. Bad luck.
Yesterday my dad hit me with some shocking news. I guess I have never really thought of my parents as old people. They are very active, don’t have plaid slippers, don’t stoop, own computers that they know how to use and to the best of my knowledge don’t buy the superb value cavalry twill trousers (Two for One whilst our child tailors can still operate machinery) advertised in Saga Magazine.
As I stood with the phone pressed to my head he just hit me with the news. No gentle pre-amble, no kind and softening preparatory words to ease me into it, just the verbal equivalent of pulling off a plaster very fast. Be a man, son.
“We take delivery of our new Honda Jazz tomorrow…” Well bugger me sideways. I wasn’t expecting that. He’s on his way to new knee number two, smoked very heavily in his 20’s and 30’s when it was manly and healthy, so osteoarthritis, cancer or even syphilis would have been less of a shock.
I howled with a dismay only to be met with a barrage of reliability, TCO and other salient stats. These that had obviously been pre-prepared and committed to a memory that is a long way from failure.
“But it’s an OAP’s car” I protested weakly, again. To which he replied, “Did you know that the average age of a Honda Jazz driver is 62?” Then the coup de grace, “I’m 75 so am just getting down with the youth.”
I have a very, very, nice bike from @SpinBling. However, I can’t afford to follow Rule #12 so that, coupled with the crappy salty roads, cold temperatures and the steady thrum of rain on the Velux in my office caused my mind to turn towards indoor training aids. Sod Rule #9. I hate turbo-trainers as they are just so so dull. On the other hand, rollers look far more interesting and involving.
When I shared this thought with my go to geeky cycling buds (Dave Newton and my darling brother Chris) it was met variously with a “Just don’t do it, ever.” from Newt and the more pithy and direct brotherly love response from Chris of, “can I have them when you are dead?”. Not even a “please”. Red rags and all that so now I am looking seriously into them. I fancy a set of cheap ones that can be eBay’d if it doesn’t work out so set about looking online.
My research soon turned to YouTube videos from newbies to people pulling stunts. All the videos shared a common theme though and that was that the banner ads were all an assortment of funeral planning offers.
Does Google know something?
Death & Taxes
If you are Starbucks, Google, Microsoft or Amazon – and many others I am sure – then apparently the latter barely applies in the UK. In a cunning wheeze you don’t actually trade in the UK so report and pay tax on very little apparent trading activity. I have a hard time blaming the companies as they are operating legally within the law. We all know the law is an ass so I hold HMG accountable for poor rules. With a properly structured tax system the dodges wouldn’t be possible and there wouldn’t be the discussions, which in true John Humphrys style, seem to imply deep guilt on the part of the practitioners. Where does the BBC get its left-leaning reputation from?
Apparently the British and German Chancellors are talking about a sales-tax to prevent companies hiding behind off-shore shell companies. Oh yay, again it is the consumer that pays for the failings of the government. Remind me; what exactly is VAT at 20% if not a sales tax?
Rather than the rules being changed to state that if you conduct business in the UK then you are required to report ALL of the business carried on within these borders we receive a fudge. Now I’ll get to pay sales-tax on products from firms that already pay tax in the UK. Double bubble for the government, again.
At least death will be a sweet release from all this taxation nonsense and we can all be certain of that. For those unfortunate enough to stay alive then R4 is covering Nadie Dorries on IACGMEOH.
14.11.12 – Just read this: http://www.futurebook.net/content/amazon-dock Very good
I am going to cop out and write about cooking, which is too easy for me as I love food. It’s the weekend and not only do I have things I *ought* to be doing but instead I am sitting here wrapped in a nice post-gluttony glow having made and then pigged out on an unfeasibly large rosti with two soft fried eggs and smothered in chipotle sauce. Burp.
Apart from the butter, olive oil, tons of ground pepper and a big pinch of sea salt and 6-8 grated medium sized spuds it was transformed into a dish of health with the addition of finely diced cooked Kale – it’s green, it’s a veg, it must be good for you – and a smashed clove of garlic.Coupled with 3/4 litre of fresh orange juice I reckon I must be well over half way to my 5-a-day.
There would have been more, much more, garlic but we were down to one poxy little clove. How’s that for poor forward planning? I’ll go and iron my hands straight away.
PS: Soft fried eggs. Not in any oil. I’ll explain how tomorrow.
Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t no politico. My general view on politicians is best expressed by the quote; “The desire to become a politician should automatically disqualify that person from ever being one” which is variously attributed to several people including even Billy Connolly. I wish there was a box on the ballot that says “None Of The Above”. As @Sophie_Gee wryly observed though, “what if that is the majority option?”. Hmm, let me think on that. I may be a while.
Nonetheless, the Tea Party which seems to be the deeply right-wing and religiously biased (flawed?) equivalent of the Monster Raving Loony Party has failed, through the failure of everybody’s favourite Mormon bishop to become El Presidente, to even get a sniff at proper power and the mere sight of “The Football“. Obama is indeed the Least Worst Option so we can all breathe a bit easier for the next 3.5 years.