Interesting to muse on the role and effect of swearing in making an argument, in the light of the ongoing responses to Litza’s recent STFU article.
I have only edited out one comment because it didn’t say anything other than STFU plus a few other choice epithets. Having set a pretty low bar on language, I didn’t delete it on the grounds of decency, but rather that the author failed to indicate who should STFU – the affirmative or the negative side of the debate.
If we all were to STFU there would be no website. But maybe he just wanted us to STFU about that particular issue? Which is not an unreasonable position. But he offered no further editorial guidance, just a STFU and SIUYA while you’re about it.
I made a cautionary comment about swearing in response to Phil Dimitriadis’ piece on growing up at Victoria Park a couple of weeks ago. But that was a different type of swearing – more profanity or crudity – than invective and abuse as is the case with the current STFU and SIUYAWYAI.
I didn’t realise that swearing served so many different functions. My only concern about Phil’s engaging memoir was that some parents and women in particular might not like the “c’s” that accompanied his Derek and Clive memories. I didn’t, and my kids are in their 30’s.
I like the idea that the Almanac is a broad and inclusive community across ages, genders, beliefs and cultures. My comment at the time was a plea for reflection by authors to consider the scope of their audience, not a plea for censorship except in extremis. Liberty is not licence.
Litza’s STFU piece used strident invective language to emphasise the strength of his opinion. The sort of final emphatic voice that a publican or policeman uses to quieten the unruly mob. The volume and repetition grabs punter’s attention, while the strong language adds emphasis.
My habit is to reserve swearing for the golf course (extreme provocation, your honour) and being a footy spectator. Footy as reversion to childhood, where my mild-mannered grandparents turned into raving loonies once they stepped onto the mound at Thebarton or wherever we watched our West Torrens Eagles. The footy was a place where you had licence to express and release all the frustrations that were pent up during the week. Legalised insanity for 3 hours a week. It was enthralling as a 7 year old, and probably still the major reason I regularly go to footy of all types, over 50 years later.
This footy as spectacle and athleticism stuff is over-rated. I go for the adrenaline shot. The frisson of rebellion that says I’m not quite dead or conforming yet. Generally I direct only 10% at opponents (Purple Scum excepted); 10% at umpires (they’re almost human after all) and 80% at Sharrod, Shuey and other underperforming miscreants on my own team (my psychologist says it’s some form of reflected self-loathing thing).
Not everyone likes it. The Avenging Eagle has learned to tolerate it. Though there is the occasional gentle coat tug when she fears my florid features indicate an impending coronary risk. The nice lady in the row in front appears not to like it. She only ever claps her hands and says “come on boys” as we sink further behind. But her STFU glare reminds me of Mrs Johnson in Year 10 with her stern Scottish “Peeeter Baulderstone – you’re getting far too big for your booooots” after I stuck chewy in Ernie Abinett’s hair. I sit down and STFU.
When I was a senior manager in a large organisation I determinedly maintained a calm demeanour 99% of the time. On the rare occasions when I did let go with language, staff were left in no doubt that they had done the wrong thing. “But you never swear”.
The weapon is more powerful for being rarely used.
The trouble with escalating the volume is that it leaves the accused with nowhere to go. A recent poll indicated that 17 out of 18 Almanackers fervently agree with Litza. One of 18 do not. There are a few outliers like Rod Oaten and Steve Baker, but when was being Mensa qualified and Dalai Lama certified a requirement for footy club membership?
When backed into a corner by the baying mob what do most of us do? “Fair cop guv, you’ve got me banged to rights”, doesn’t come easy to most of us. “If I’m going down, I’ll take a few of you with me” has more immediate appeal.
The tribunal stepped in today to take the rare step of suspending a comment that I had allowed. My permissiveness reflected a sympathy for the miscreant cornered by the mob.
Perhaps suggesting that you don’t like a certain journalist’s voice over the radio was an overreaction on his part. But what’s a “my country right or wrong” patriot to do? You’ve cancelled the Sage subscription and sold your soul to the Hun. You’ve tried only watching Ch7, but BT, Basil and Darce have you in full retreat.
You’ve toyed with ABC radio but Gerard does an even more refined line in forensic, sanctimonious justification. So it’s back to 3AW, and the fishwife voice even grates with me when she turns up on Offsiders. I’d turn the tranny off too.
As ever in footy the bloke that provoked the incident gets away with it, and the recipient is ‘suspended by the tribunal’ for an ill-considered response when the red mist descended.
Playing to the home crowd will always get you cheers from the gallery, but if your goal is to convert the ingrained or unconvinced to your side, it’s better to stick to the game plan and leave out the speccies.
“No you STFU.”
“What’s that got to do with it. Anyway remember when you stole the bike from behind the footy sheds.”
“That’s not what we’re talking about now.”
“No you STFU.”
I told you I loved footy and the Almanac because of the opportunities for reverting to childhood.
Offended by the cheap shot response from the bloke backed into the corner? You reap what you sow.