8 October 2005
It has been a week of rude words
Philip Beadle (2004 secondary teacher of the year), is seen this week using vernacular language in order to bond with a group of demanding pupils with behaviour problems. His frequent use of the word “Dickhead” on the Channel 4 TV documentary was deemed acceptable by Phil, given his task to give these misunderstood children an education.
Another teacher using a similar vocabulary to a normal class of children would perhaps be disciplined; and even milder use of vernacular language, for example the occasional use of the word “crap” for example, would be deemed unacceptable if expressed by a professional teacher.
Tony Blair has used that same word in a speech to the Party conference and no one was surprised.
At the Tory conference, this week one of the bland Tory Party Leader candidates used the phrase “to sod off”. The conference hall laughed along dutifully, at the embarrassingly unfunny use of rude words. How they laughed
Ordained Anglican minister and author, GP Taylor, was invited to speak to Penair School in Cornwall about his best seller, Shadowmancer. However he was interrupted by the head teacher after he had quoted extensively from his book using words such as “Bum” and “Ass” and “Bogey” The assembled 12 year old audience was dismissed and sent back to their normal lessons, before he might use the Ef Ef Ef Ef Word
Yes, there is clear tendency for those in authority to ingratiate themselves with their audiences in order to promote their various ambitions, either to become party leader or to sell more books, or to become a “teacher of the year, ” and how un-cool, and how very sad, is all that.
Language is of course nothing without the context in which it is used. If a naughty boy tells his teacher to “Fuck Off,” as they frequently do in Essex, then the appropriate objective is to get him to stop doing this because it is offensive, and not to arm him with more words with which to be offensive.. Call me old fashioned., Mr Dickhead.
Recently, Southend Council announced an initiative. They intend to publish a list of inappropriate words for use in all Southend Schools and Public Places. They have been consulting with appropriate authorities, and have also encouraged the public to participate at weekly meetings at Southend Central Library.
I attended this weeks meeting and I was able to see all of the impressive words that have been added to the list nominated by members of the public. It seems that the people that attend these meetings, do so on a regular basis. Someone explained to me that, this week, they had all agreed to nominate words inspired by the plumbing trade as a kind of jape to make things more interesting. I was already interested.
An official from the Southend Council was there to receive all of the offensive words to add to the register. The official addressed the meeting and said to the small but enthusiastic group of people who wished to nominate rude words, “Only nominate one word each, if you please.”
In turn they wrote down their words on a piece of paper, folded that piece of paper and handed it to the official.
Each person nominated an obscene plumbing-inspired word. Since they were secret nominations, I was compelled to speculate about what the others might have nominated as I considered my very own nomination. I felt that the words “stopcock” and “manhole” were already declared politically incorrect and rude, so I avoided these words, and found myself writing the following word on a piece of paper, and handed it to the official. “Sprinkler”
I awoke from my sleep giggling like a naughty school boy and my laughter raised Mrs Monk from her sleep beside me.
I am not sure why my subliminally nominated word should be declared rude, but Mrs Monk did make a Freudian analysis of my dream, which I will keep to myself.
I explained to Mrs Monk that if you add the words, “said the Actress to the Bishop” to any form of words, then that form of words is without fail, inutterably rude.
“Have you seen my sprinkler?” said the actress to the Bishop.
Mrs Monk does not understand . She is American.