OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: On Freedom of Speech

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  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Ask the Outrageous Fortune team, they just got a slap fom the BSA for using the c word last Tuesday. Cheryl was referring to Draska.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 841 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig: Despite what you think, sometimes, "cock" just isn't enough.

    The answer to bad cock is more cock not less. Hey, don't knock it until you've tried it.

    I usually try to stick to gender-neutral swearing. I love Deadwood, but shy away from using "cocksucker" in general discourse.

    I blame the malign influence of the PAS Women's XV who can swear to make a sailor blush, but still suggest you still think a little about gendered insults.

    Ask the Outrageous Fortune team, they just got a slap fom the BSA for using the c word last Tuesday. Cheryl was referring to Draska.

    Really? But even then, I can understand it in the context of the show, even though the c-bomb made me WTF? for a moment. The Wests are are a pretty sweary clan -- but, without wasting a weekend doing a cuss audit on the entire run, I don't remember anyone dropping that.

    I always find it strange in American film - I've never heard it used of a male*.

    As part of my ongoing mission to corrupt impressionable youth, I'd recommend you see Kick-Ass some time. There's one infamous scene where the c-bomb is most definitely dropped on a room full of men. And by a 13 year-old actress playing an eleven year old girl, to boot. (And what really shocked me is that, apparently, Chloe Moretz did all her own swearing and none of it was ADR'd by an adult in post.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    There's one infamous scene where the c-bomb is most definitely dropped on a room full of men. And by a 13 year-old actress playing an eleven year old girl, to boot.

    Kick-Ass is *trying* to be shocking, though. I think Ben's right that most Americans would be very hesitant to pull it out at all, and see it as a very gender-specific insult. Which would make it more shocking in Kick-Ass to American audiences.

    But then, Americans are just weird about swearing. I am having to practice some fairly hefty self-censorship.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    From the grotesque to the ridiculous, then back to the grotesque: I give you Deborah Hill Cone on Paul Henry and freedom of speech:

    Citizens in socialist Cuba lose their own judgment of right or wrong because they have grown up in a society where they have been taught to spout lies. A lot of them try to leave. Same here.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Don't know if this has been previously posted, but this is how you do it:

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Following the typesetting of this article, the New Zealand Herald officially changed its motto to "we'll publish anything, so long as it's within deadline".

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Because it's gender specific in America, I think if you use it on men it carries a different meaning. It's saying they're like nasty women. Which probably drops the overall power of it, emphasizing the "you're a girl/gay" part over "you're really nasty". It could be closer to "bitch".

    Here, if you say it of a man, it really emphasizes the "you're nasty" possibly even "you're abusing your power". That's definitely how it's being used re PH in this thread. Now I think about it, over here, I don't hear it pointed at women very often, and when I heard it on OF the other night, it sounded more like the American usage.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    I like "arsehole" because everybody has one but not everybody is one.

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I like "arsehole" because everybody has one . . .

    Only those "boring, ugly, serious people" who don't happen to be ostomates.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3558 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Wikipedia entry on "Russian mats" for a slightly different take on the history gendered swear words.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 862 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    And the C-bomb isn't a new phenomenon either (about 1:36 into the song)...

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    Keir: Just in case you were feeling I aimed my comment (re using "cunt" as an insult/description) at you - not so.

    It was niggling at me as I read the whole thread: we use sex words to badmouth others (and I include myself in this - may have started out good little pure Miss D, but time has worked some changes:)) so yes, apart from the unfortunates pointed out by Mr Wylie, arsehole owners are pretty universal, so my vote is that the man-of-the-moment-which-seems-to-have-gone-on-forever is definitely one of those!

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Deborah Hill Cone on Paul Henry and freedom of speech

    Poor Debs doesn't understand the difference between a conversation and a broadcast (to say nothing of most other matters). Mind you, that has been a long-standing problem with her 'columns'..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Ask the Outrageous Fortune team, they just got a slap fom the BSA for using the c word last Tuesday. Cheryl was referring to Draska.

    That feels like an entirely fair description of Draska, surely?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Poor Debs doesn't understand the difference between a conversation and a broadcast (to say nothing of most other matters). Mind you, that has been a long-standing problem with her 'columns'..

    I have no doubt she'd understand the difference perfectly well if instead it had been Hone Harawira who had been fired from a broadcasting gig for saying something about white motherfuckers.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 862 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Sorry Keith, I arrived late, and I brought no surprises.

    Freedom of speech is being free to say what you want without interference; not from the police, not from lynch mobs, not from your neighbours. They don't get to arrest you, strip you of any of your other legal rights, beat you or gag you.

    But they will fine you $6750.

    Surely you are aware of that axe hanging over your head as you write. Surely you can't fail to miss the glaring reality that numerous lexical combinations warrant dire consequences...in a democracy.

    this is precisely why democracies have freedom of speech

    A pejorative platitude to lull people who live in democracies into feeling better about the right to publicly criticize your own government and depart from the established propaganda models - In itself a massive stretch of the concept of freedom - in itself counterproductive to the task of preserving freedoms, and certainly detrimental to any attempts to increase the parameters of the ever superlative term 'freedom'.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    But then, Americans are just weird about swearing. I am having to practice some fairly hefty self-censorship.

    We told you! Didn't we tell you? When I said 'twat' in passing in that class discussion, lord, the horrified silence...

    (My FB status updates often include variants of 'goddammit' just to fuck with my American relatives. I am kind of an evil person.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I'd recommend you see Kick-Ass some time

    I recommend it, too. but that's because it's one of the best films I've seen in a long time, and it made me laugh like a drain.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    I give you Deborah Hill Cone...

    You can have her back.
    Another "free speech = freedom from being criticised if I say something stupid" argument. Plus a bunch of bizarre observations thrown in.

    Anyone interest in a real example of infringement of free expression should watch The Court Report episode 14 (don't think it’s available online just yet, but should be soon).
    It’s about Valerie Morse, who was convicted and fined $500 for offensive behaviour for setting alight a flag during the ANZAC day dawn service. The appeal is now at the Supreme Court. It isn’t anything like as extreme an example as the one Danyl used on his blog, but it is a legitimate case for concern over free expression.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Poor Debs doesn't understand

    I think you could probably have just stopped there.

    I do feel (very slightly) bad when I mock the Conester, because it feels like giving a hefty kicking to a yappy puppy*. Also, my mother taught me not to mock the afflicted.

    But she's more or less inviting it on herself with her latest column:

    Freedom of speech is not really freedom if it means you can only say things which are tasteful and respectful and don't offend anyone. I think New Zealand just became a much more oppressive country after the Henry incident.

    What Henry said might have been ill-considered, but it was a lesser evil than every citizen having to calibrate what they say to fit in with the prevailing ethos. Oh, I know we all do this to some extent - it is part of just rubbing along with other people.

    Or, to precis - please feel free to tell me what you think of me to my face, no matter how insulting it is. Because otherwise, the communists have won.

    *For the dog lovers out there, this isn't actually something I have any first-hand knowledge of, 'k?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    WRT the use of the F-bomb and the C-bomb, isn't what they are referring to secondary to how they feel to say/scream/yell.

    They're good, sharp, short, percussive words, with good hard consonants in them at the right place, like most good swearwords are. To a certain extent, what they refer to is incidental to their, um, 'mouth-feel', as it were.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    I recommend it, too. but that's because it's one of the best films I've seen in a long time, and it made me laugh like a drain.

    And for the ultimate in comedic F-bombs...

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    I recommend [Kick Ass], too. but that's because it's one of the best films I've seen in a long time, and it made me laugh like a drain.

    Seconded. (Well, thirded, I suppose.) Funny, great action scenes, and a good moral for the kids too (who couldn’t see it at the cinema, because it was R18).

    WRT the use of the F-bomb and the C-bomb, isn't what they are referring to secondary to how they feel to say/scream/yell.
    They're good, sharp, short, percussive words, with good hard consonants in them at the right place, like most good swearwords are. To a certain extent, what they refer to is incidental to their, um, 'mouth-feel', as it were.

    I agree, although the “not for polite company” nature of the words is also a big factor, otherwise, any utterance with “sharp, short, percussive words, with good hard consonants in them at the right place” would suffice. The gendered nature of the words may be the least important factor, except in as much as that informs how they came to be considered socially taboo.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    the mouthfeel - that is great.:)

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    In an online business sense Paul Henry should start his own website and take his facebook fans with him.He has enough to make some good money as their urban philisopher, good luck to him.

    He is a wasted talent, the camera loves him. But TV needs more socialists just so we can see what they look like.What do socialists look like?

    TVNZ needs to be completed as a broadcaster, it feels half finished.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

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