The f-word and the c-word
I haven't the foggiest clue about the John Terry case, but the BBC reporting of what he is supposed to have said on the field is side-splittingly awful. It runs "f-word, black, c-word".
Who the f-word does this protect? Or whose sensibilties is it meant to uphold?
Ok let's imagine that you are listening to some news bulletin with your 10 year old. S/he says what an f-word, mummy? Do you then lie and say "oh it means funny word" or do you tell the truth and say "fucK'?
And what is the down side of telling the truth? Either they know the score, or they don't...so where is the corruption? (It reminds me, as I think I've said before, of going to Greece with the kids 20 years ago, and finding that all the Greek toddlers were supping their Coke and crisps in front of films that no under-16 would get into in the UK..and no apparent harm was being done to the Greek children.)
There is a bigger problem though with this kind of censorship. Whatever Terry did or did not say, having it read out in a BBC voice, duly bastardised, only gives it authority. It reminds me of the Thatcher days, way back when -- when any statement of the IRA was not allowed to be read by the real Irish spokesperson, in his (usually his), real voice, but it had to be read out instead by some upstanding young Englishman. No voice was to be given to actual terrorists.
The result was a complete own goal (and just shows you how limited Thatcher's vision and understanding was). The voices sounded a bit silly. But they did contrive to rain down disdain on the UK government with all the authority that Received Pronunciation can offer. Ironically, Gerry Adams's word came out all posh and old-Etonian.
So maybe we could just be allowed to hear what John Terry is really supposed to have said. Who is it supposed to corrupt?
It is also the case that words change very quickly, and change their sensibilities. When I was a kid, I think it would have been "Fuck, b-word, c-word"....but "black" and "fuck" have swapped paces in the last few decades, so now we cant say "fuck" but we can say "black".
Good or bad, who the f-word knows?
(Does anyone else remember when "black "was unsayable -- not, as I am happy to acknowledge now, a badge of right and proper pride?)