Two things have shocked me in the past couple of days. Not in a rattled-to-the-core-Kerry-Katona-did-what kind of way, but shocked nonetheless.
The first was at the park with the kids. A wee boy – probably about four – was exclaiming about how much fun he’d had on the zipslide. The lad said: “Oh my god, that was awesome.”
It made me shudder. More and more “oh my god” is seen as a reasonable expression of any kind of emotion from mild upwards. Volume and pause between words the only clue to depth of feeling.
It doesn’t matter what your faith convictions are, but for reference mine are apathetic agnostic with Quaker tendencies and a smidge of Buddhist. What matters is that people’s beliefs – their god – matters to them. A lot. Therefore allow those for whom god has deep meaning to take his (?her/their) name and use it as they will.
Apart from anything, our language has a rich resource of cursing to call upon. Words earthy and biological when used right tell a colourful story.
Cunt, for example. The last taboo? It’s a nice meaty word for the female anatomy, so what’s the problem?
In parts of Scotland it has become so commonplace it creates no frisson at all. In fact, in Glasgow it has replaced “chap”, “bloke” or, indeed, “person”. For example “some cunt has parked his car in the loading bay” and “the poor cunt will get a ticket” or “lucky cunt, he got away with it”.
So it wouldn’t be surprising if social realist Ken Loach’s latest film – set in Glasgow – The Angel’s Share wasn’t peppered with it.
It was originally, but now apparently there will be seven uses of the word “cunt” in the film. Loach is furious that the, so called, cunt quota has been applied to his 15 certificate movie. Apparently that’s how many times the word can be used – so, I suppose, Ken had to decide which of his cunts he’d keep.
Instead of being brutishly commonplace – as it is in real life – it now makes shocking special appearances. Not the point at all.
This was the second shocker that censorship could be so proscriptive and nonsensical. I know “cunt” upsets people, but surely they’ll be just as upset by hearing it seven times as hearing it 17 or 117. In which case, I suggest they don’t watch a Ken Loach film set in the west of Scotland.
Language and its use evolves. Isn’t it time censors used their powers to check offensive and careless blasphemy and stopped “oh my god”? Instead let quality swearing – an art form if done right – evolve naturally.