The Sacred and Profane..

22 Oct

Swearing an oath can be both sacred and profane. What fun there is to be had with the English language! My parents were pretty frugal on the profane front – a bloody or a ruddy escaped every now and then – but the excesses of barrack-room banter did not make their way into the Sorro household. The rise and rise of profanity in the last half century is an indulgence that I’m uneasy about although I can’t claim that I haven’t vented my spleen every now and then with the satisfying invective that is swearing.

I’m a straightforward swearer. The F-word escapes occasionally, the C-word rarely. What initiates usage might be a minor irritation, anger even; a mishap or shaft of pain; company that I keep, the tide of a conversation; the context. I know my audience. it’s either myself or those I judge not to take offence.

I am fond of a variety of mini swear words but my favourite is Bollocks. It’s such a rich and harsh and muscular and satisfying expletive. It’s so versatile. It’s middle English origin was testicles, of course but it also means nonsense as in ‘You’re talking utter bollocks’. It’s a much better misfortune expletive than ‘Oh Shit!’ when you lock yourself out of your house.

It can be both a savage criticism: That’s bollocks or glowing praise: That’s the dog’s bollocks. You can drop a bollock, freeze your bollocks off, go bollock naked and be kicked in the bollocks. Of course Bollocks lacks a certain inclusivity as on half the population have testicles so pressure groups will shortly spring up to lobby for the banning of such patriarchal, male-centred hijacking of the English language. Even now there is concern  that Michaelangelo’s David may be the target of #MeToo camapigners who have threatened to chop his bollocks off. Certainly I could well be ‘no-platformed’ for being a well-known advocate of bollocks. Bring it on!

As I marched to Parliament Square last Saturday with the other 700,000 despairing souls, I was handed a Bollocks to Brexit sticker. Now I wore the thing quite proudly but I reflected that this might represent a pretty low level of political discourse. Furthermore my somewhat puritanical upbringing kicked in. There were plenty of families ambling along, proudly plastered with Bollocks stickers. If it means that, at least, this wonderful expletive will last well beyond the Armageddon of the next few months and years, well then our youngsters will be grateful that they have a great word to use, daily, to describe misfortune in all its rainbow colours.

4 Responses to “The Sacred and Profane..”

  1. Theresa Dickens#FBPE (@bleanaskill) October 22, 2018 at 12:36 pm #

    I wanted a ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ badge but only managed a ‘Brexit is a Crime Scene’ one: more political accuracy but much less edge!

  2. ENSEMBLE DIANA-RIDDICK October 22, 2018 at 1:14 pm #

    Well said Paul! I have a lot to say about expletives too, but don’t feel I dare air thoughts in a public site. I certainly prefer sexual and scatological swearing to religious defamation. Sweet merciful heaven did, however, have a certain innocence about it. You don’t get much of that these days. Speak soon Diana

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Nick Rugg October 31, 2018 at 6:29 am #

    Thanks Sorro. Missed the march unfortunately but it seemed to have some of the most creative posters, with plenty of plays on words, as well as the more straightforward.

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