Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Monster Weekend

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  • Jackie Clark,

    I guess I’m the only one who would find a tee shirt with Old C**t on the front and Old Coot on the back fun.

    Probably not, but I'd leave it at home come the next PA System barbie. I can't imagine bing given a F2F ticking off by Deborah, Emma, Robin, Jackie, Fiona and Tze Ming would end anywhere except behind the couch, curled up in the fetal position and twitching. :)

    I'm with Emma, Craig. I like invective - particularly fuck and cunt - probably far more than a woman with my career should, probably. I don't use it in front of my charges, of course, but I do at all other times. To me, it's just good old Anglo Saxon, really. Very expressive and sometimes, just no other words will do. I find women calling themselves and other women "girls" far more offensive.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I have a pretty foul mouth too, at times. I did lay off it a little some years ago when I came into the family room and found my then two year old daughter hammering away on her wooden peg toy, and saying, "Damn. Bug. Bug. Damn."

    Fine coming out of my mouth, but somehow just wrong coming out of a two year old's mouth.

    All the same, I believe the phrase that I shouted at my brother when he really, really pissed me off (on Christmas Day, of course), was "Fcuk up, [brother's name]." In the hearing of my mother, my father, my husband, my daughters, my nephew and niece, my sister-in-law, and probably most of the rather nice neighbourhood my parents live in. Oh well.

    Context is what makes the difference. This is rather nice: Reclamation: thoughts from a fat hairy uppity angry gimp bitch.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Meh. I'm not big on being offended by profanity. Either they're not trying to be offensive, and don't deserve it, or they ARE trying to be offensive, and shouldn't get the satisfaction.

    Indeed - and you may have noticed I'm not exactly shy when it comes to the use of the vernacular. But if I'm going to be offensive, I prefer to be a little more focused about it. The likes of Brian Tamiki and those Family First numptys deserve to be offended at every opportunity, but why do it by mincing down the street in a 'Jesus is a C**t' t-shit? The overwhelming majority of people I pass in the street everyday have done precisely nothing to me or mine -- and walking down Queen Street is not quite the same thing as a comment on a blog or an episode of South Park, or a stack of copies of 'The God Delusion' in Borders.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Man I love a good tangent...

    This is a blog I wrote a bit back when I got into some trouble at Bardic Web with a US writer who was offended by my normal manner of expressing myself. It's basically exploring the idea that Kiwis swear more in the normal run of things (ie not trying to be offensive) than some other nationalities. And there's a link to a Canadian talking about how Kiwis talk, which I found really fascinating.

    I came into the family room and found my then two year old daughter hammering away on her wooden peg toy, and saying, "Damn. Bug. Bug. Damn."

    My daughter is hearing-impaired, and often used to pick things up not quite right. I did wander down the hall once to hear her singing the Inky Wanky Spider song.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I did wander down the hall once to hear her singing the Inky Wanky Spider song.

    Heh. Well, all those arms I guess...

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    "Clothes with pictures and writing on them are an unpleasant indication of the general state of things. I mean, be realistic. If people don't want to listen to you what makes you think they want to hear from your sweater?"
    Fran Lebowitz

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Men in New Zealand, I theorise, bond by swearing at each other. They're uncomfortable with real displays of affection, so they call each other things like wanker, dick, marnus, munter, etc. There's not the slightest overtone of insult, and this kind of interaction is reserved for your best mates. From about my generation on, this behaviour applies to women as well. And I only ever use that kind of light-hearted insult behaviour with good friends. So if I've ever told you to 'harden the fuck up', you can rest assured that I really like you. And if I've always been unfailingly polite, I probably don't feel entirely comfortable with you.

    Absolutely. And the Brits do it too. I remember very vividly when living in the UK having a discussion with a couple of Americans re British politeness. They maintained that Brits were very polite - I assured them that that politeness simply meant they didn't like you very much. Stiff upper lip = fuck off out of my face type of thing.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Fran Lebowitz

    What is she doing nowadays - Lebowitz seems to have turned into a more sociable Salinger, which is a shame. How can you not adore someone who once wrote an essay titled 'When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes... Shut Them', containing this observation:

    I understand, of course,, that many people find smoking objectionable. I would, I assure you, be the very last to criticize the annoyed. I myself find many -- even most -- things objectionable. Being offended is the natural consequence of leaving one's home. I do not like aftershave lotion, adults who roller-skate, children who speak French or anyone who is unduly tan. I do not, however, go around enacting legislation and putting up signs. In private I avoid such people; in public, they have the run of the place. I stay at home as much as possible, and so should they. When it is necessary, however, to go out of the house, they must be prepared, as am I, to deal with the unpleasant personal habits of others. That is what public means. If you can't stand the heat, get back in the kitchen.

    Which is true (or should be) as far as it goes. A counter is that there are numerous 'unpleasant personal habits' most of us at least try to restrain in the public sphere. I can't get excited about people who wander around their own homes naked -- especially on a crapulously muggy day like this -- but it would be nice if they at least put their underwear on if we're going to be sharing a bench on the bus.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    They maintained that Brits were very polite - I assured them that that politeness simply meant they didn't like you very much. Stiff upper lip = fuck off out of my face type of thing.

    I have a firned who works in Japan, and he said after a while it's was interesting to pick up on the subtleties of Japanese social codes and business etiquette and see just how much disdain you can show for someone without quite crossing the line into outright discourtesy. It's fascinating to hear about, but must be hell to live in.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    Craig, Fran Lebowitz is on Wikipedia (good interview links) and IMDB.

    Basically she's done a lot of mostly ephemeral TV work (including Law and Order), a swag of lecturing at US colleges, and has recently written a children's book, which seems a waste of her unique talents.

    Also has been talking for years about her forthcoming novel Exterior Signs of Wealth, which should appear about the same time as Keri Hulme's Bait if I am not mistaken. Vanity Fair recently published an extract from her previously unheard of forthcoming book Progress (excerpt online dealing with separation of church and state). She's been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair for 10 years.

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I have a pretty foul mouth too, at times. I did lay off it a little some years ago when I came into the family room and found my then two year old daughter hammering away on her wooden peg toy, and saying, "Damn. Bug. Bug. Damn."

    Fine coming out of my mouth, but somehow just wrong coming out of a two year old's mouth.

    Try having a fiery, but literal-minded, AS teenager, who has perfected the vowel-less "fuck". As far as he's concerned, he's saying "f-ck!", so he's in the clear.

    In the end it makes more sense to concentrate less on the words than on the tone and whether it's hurtful. Not easy, though ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    It's basically exploring the idea that Kiwis swear more in the normal run of things

    I used to know someone who once addressed some visiting US businessmen more or less thusly:

    "Welcome to New Zealand. We say what we think in meetings, we swear a lot, and you can't sue us. Understand that and we'll get along fine."

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    "Welcome to New Zealand. We say what we think in meetings, we swear a lot, and you can't sue us. Understand that and we'll get along fine."

    I've interviewed Brent Hansen, the New Zealander who ran MTV Networks Europe for years, and he said that when he behaved like a New Zealander on meeting the American executives -- ie, spoke frankly and disagreed with his seniors when he felt they were wrong -- people were gobsmacked.

    Before long, it was recognised as a virtue, and became the basis of a long and successful tenure with the company. He probably didn't swear so much, but the attitude that he was as good as his master did work out well for him.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Try having a fiery, but literal-minded, AS teenager, who has perfected the vowel-less "fuck"

    Must try that sometime... I used to be quite fond of the 'obscenity-saver', which Terry Teachout explains much better than I could:

    Kingsley Amis introduced the concept of the "obscenity-saver" in his extremely funny novel Girl, 20. Obscenity-savers (which also have a more pungent title that I can’t print here) are cant phrases you find so irritating that it’s almost as satisfying to snarl them out loud as it is to actually talk dirty. Some of the obscenity-savers used by Sir Roy Vandervane in Girl, 20 include "school of thought," "Christian gentleman" and "sporting spirit." So perhaps I’ll try throwing around an obscenity-saver or two the next time I get in a mood to emulate Mr. TMFTML. Oh…stream of consciousness! Tonal nostalgia!! DIFFERENTLY ABLED!!!

    It works rather well, untill you're snarling 'carbon neutral! national identity! Kiwi icon!' and realise the better half is in the bathroom counting your pills.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Random observations...

    Saw a woman once wearing a T-shirt that read 'Don't stare, grow your own.'

    And Control has John Cooper Clark as himself performing 'Evidently Chickentown' - very fast and it isn't 'bloody' that he says. Quite a tongue twister - makes 'She sells sea shells' look easy, even if it lacks the tricky variation.

    Sort of ambivalent about Cloverfield - it's a bit too generic 'monster-attacks-people-flee' and the monster was just a boring monster. Am I too demanding about monster movies? Why shouldn't I be? The Host had real wit, after all. Moreover, academics like me have built whole careers writing papers on the sexual semiotics of Alien - but was over a quarter of a century ago and since Cronenberg's started doing more mainstream thrillers, the pickings have got pretty lean.

    The first-person aspect is narratively interesting and may provoke some interesting new films without so much queasy-cam...

    Anyways, re Trek. Urban as Bones - and Pegg as Scotty - how's that for stunt casting? Well, I'll look forward to it. I should just be emerging from my 5-disc Blade Runner-induced state of nerdvana.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    DIFFERENTLY ABLED!!!

    Dead White European Male: Metabolically-challenged high albedo geographically displaced person of inadvertently hegemonic gender identity.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover,

    I'm fascinated by the nature of offensiveness, and I've been studying it casually for years.

    My favourite/least favourite/t-shirt slogan ever: I eat more pussy than cervical cancer

    Actually felt ill when I saw it, which surprised me.

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Then there was another one of my daughters, who couldn't quite manage to pronounce "s" properly when it came in front of "u".

    "I'm just sucking my thumb," she would say, loudly, in public. (Say it out loud to yourself to get the full effect, 'tho not if you are at work.)

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Sort of ambivalent about Cloverfield - it's a bit too generic 'monster-attacks-people-flee' and the monster was just a boring monster.

    Yup, seeing it in daylight at the end was a bad, bad move. 'Gollum with 'roid rage' went through my mind, which I hope wasn't the intended effect. And the second time around, being the thorough buzz-kill that I am, I couldn't help but wonder if Rob's personal development really justified a body count.

    Guess it doesn't help to overthink things: Enormous numbers of people got slaughtered in inventively ghastly ways. (Though nothing gross enough to draw an R or NC-17 from the MPAA, which would have put quite a dent in that US$40+ million opening weekend.)

    At less than 80 minutes it (just) avoided outstaying its welcome. Really, another couple of minutes of grainy seizure-cam and I'd have started bleeding from the eyes too.

    Anyways, re Trek. Urban as Bones - and Pegg as Scotty - how's that for stunt casting?

    Pegg I wouldn't call stunt casting, but he's definitely one out of left-field that makes more sense as time goes by. (He wasn't half bad in MI3, and Hot Fuzz rocked. He's got a range beyond the amiable doofus he does so well.) Urban... meh. Not a bad actor, but I'm not seeing it yet. Still, will be nice to see our Karl in a film where impeccably Aryan cheekbones aren't a reliable indicator of character.

    I should just be emerging from my 5-disc Blade Runner-induced state of nerdvana.

    I bow before the geek-master general. The rather nice (and indecently cheap) two disc edition of the Final Cut is all I really need. (But isn't it spooky to see Joanna Cassidy has barely changed over twenty five years. Spooky.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    'Gollum with 'roid rage' went through my mind

    Maybe it could have been a giant marshmallow man - or has that been done?

    At less than 80 minutes it (just) avoided outstaying its welcome.

    True. It was about the right length and as a roller-coaster ride it was OK.

    Really, another couple of minutes of grainy seizure-cam and I'd have started bleeding from the eyes too.

    Pity about Marlene exploding - she was about the only interesting character.

    Pegg I wouldn't call stunt casting, but he's definitely one out of left-field that makes more sense as time goes by

    Yeah, I agree, that's more or less what I meant - a seemingly very odd choice that actually might work - like Jim Carey in Eternal Sunshine blah blah.

    But isn't it spooky to see Joanna Cassidy has barely changed over twenty five years. Spooky.

    Obviously there's no termination date on her model.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Try having a fiery, but literal-minded, AS teenager, who has perfected the vowel-less "fuck". As far as he's concerned, he's saying "f-ck!", so he's in the clear.

    Tell him he cnt say that. (That's a vowelless and punctuationless can't, not a vowelless cunt.)

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    One swearing substitute that has worked well for me is:
    Struthiolaria papulosa!
    which is the scientific name for the common NZ ostrich foot shell.
    (The papulosa bit means "covered in tiny bumps")

    This is not to say that my lectures are not liberally seasoned with Anglo-Saxon, unfortunately.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    My daughter is hearing-impaired, and often used to pick things up not quite right. I did wander down the hall once to hear her singing the Inky Wanky Spider song.

    I have a niece who, when aged three, was heard running around the house singing the Warehouse jingle 'The Warehouse! The Warehouse! Where everyone gets a bugger!"

    Cue mutual 'She didn't get that word from me" reaction from parents.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Chaucer spelt it quainte and kent amongst other versions.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Actually, rich, I know quite a few Labour folks who think the party establishment are waaay too right. But that's a whole other sack full of squirming kittens I don't want to touch 'cause there's more than enough ideologically purist crazy on my side of the fence

    Obviously true. But you wouldn't expect their rantings to get party funding.

    I wonder, if the Nats paid Cameron Slater to spend the next nine months on a holiday far from 'net access, would that be considered election spending?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

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