giovedì, febbraio 25, 2010

Breaking the naughty language barrier

Yesterday during a moment of mental pause, whilst on the rowing machine - I do some of my best thinking on rowing machines, a poor second to kayaking but what do you want, I live in a city where the only river is both biologically dead and underground - I asked myself to what degree my pottymouth may have held me back in life. I don't feel held back in life, I feel like I'm more or less where I want to be, lack of sexual congress with Tom Selleck as he was in 1981 notwithstanding, and I don't think having dropped the pottymouth would have helped me with that.

I think it came from my recent trip to Oxford. Rodelinda mentioned to me that she'd warned her friends I swear like a sailor, for example, and some of them nonetheless went glassy-eyed when I went off an a tear about something. And this in a country that has produced some of the most gifted, lyrical potty-mouths of all time. John Cleese dropped the F-bomb at Graham Chapman's funeral for heaven's sake.

But then I always find Rodelinda's British friends somewhat discombobulating. This odd, specific class of upwardly-mobile-middle-class Brits are bizarre. I don't understand what the hell they're still doing there, first of all; they can take all their pounds and go off and live like queens in Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. I mean I don't pretend Back Home is Shangri-La, but it's at least a place where you can live in a house without tying up all your capital and where the social services more or less work, ie the police still serve a purpose besides ticketing the hell out of everybody and steadfastly avoiding any situations they can't reliably club their way out of.

And then this odd class drinks their faces off, make showing up hungover to job interviews and suchlike some sort of virtue, and fuck each other like the world's about to end - I mean, really make utter tits of themselves over their drunken promiscuity, and I say that as a former roundheels who's only got a few regrets, none of which involve wishing I'd fucked less. But break out a spliff and they go all trembly. This in a country where everybody else, besides this odd, odd in-between class, has a very close relationship with drurrrrrrgs. What is it? Why is it? Is it watching too much BBC following the government line about weed suddenly being a super-dangerous drug now? You know - this is one of the funnier things I saw there, 1984-ish coverage of the Afghan violence aside - BBC newscasters don't call it marijuana, they call it "cannabis", in this low, very serious, very worried sort of voice, like it's going to break into your fucking house and rape your daughters.

Fuckin' please, bitch. Please. It's marijuana for fuck's sake, people have been smoking it since the English were still wiping their asses with thistles, and somehow the world continued to turn until Americans realized in the early part of the last century that they're allergic to Mexicans.

Anyways. So far The Pursuit of Love is providing some answers . . . albeit archaic ones. Cracking good read!

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