- About TFT
Friday Thing Archive
- Politics
- Media
- Culture and Society
- War On Terror
- People
- Places
- World
- Popped Clogs
- Music
- Books
- Film
- Etc
Help And Info
- Contact Details
- Advertising
- Jobs
- Privacy Policy
- XML Feed

Home > World

Wash your mouth out with soap!

The word 'fuck'
is a lesson in how language works.
No wonder
its the one word you can’t say as a teacher
in an English class --
the word your department head will warn you about
the word some student is sure to complain about
the word your most radical colleagues will say
breaks down the necessary situation of
respect and authority in the classroom.

I could teach a whole semester on the word fuck.

- from 'A Brief History of the Word Fuck' by Kenny Mostern (1998)

1 August 2003

"Please, sir. Can I offer you this nice juicy apple as a token of my respect and appreciation?" There was a time - back in Jim O’Neill’s day maybe - when these words were so commonly spoken in your average classroom, that pupils couldn't move for apples. But those days are long gone. Nowadays teachers are more likely to be told to go fuck themselves.

One such educator was the principal of a school in Colorado who recently rebuked a teenage pupil for smoking. During an interview in the principal’s office, the boy responded by calling the principal a 'fucker', a 'fag', and a 'fucking fag'.

There was also a time of course, when headmasters and principals knew how to handle abusive pupils. A quick lick of the birch or a swift letter home might have done the trick. Nowadays, in America at least, the pupil is sued. This particular pupil was charged with Disorderly Conduct. This charge was alter amended to Interference with Staff, Faculty or Students of Educational Institutions, which is apparently a Class Three Misdemeanour.

Thankfully, not everyone in America is such a flimsy fucking fag, and this potential ‘speech crime’ was nipped in the bud by some excellent work by public defender Eric Vanatta. As part of his defence of the foul-mouthed schoolboy, he prepared a motion to dismiss the case which contained a history of the word ‘fuck’, from its first recorded use in the fifteenth century English-Latin poem, ‘Flen Flyys’, right through to Eminem and Pulp Fiction. The document is well worth a read and can be found here:


Here's an excerpt:

"The question presented by the case is not whether Fuck is a desirable or attractive word, or whether a juvenile should be calling his principal a fucker or a fucking fag. Rather, the question is one of constitutionality and whether the State can criminalize the speech in question."

In the end, it seems not. The dirty-mouthed child has been put on a four-month ‘deferred prosecution’ probation period. What a load of wank. The principal should just have smacked him one. The fucking fag.

More Fuck:


Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

Subscribe to The Friday Thing for free

Bad words ahead The Friday Thing is a weekly email comment sheet. Casting a cynical eye over the week's events, it is rarely fair and never balanced.

A selection of articles from each week's issue appear online, but to enjoy the full Thing, delivered by email every Friday - as well as access to almost five years of back issues - you'll need to subscribe. It's absolutely free.

"Razor-sharp comment and gossip." - The Sunday Times

"Hilariously cynical..To describe it as 'irreverent' is to do the newsletter an injustice." - The Observer

"Sharp, intelligent, opinionated, uncompromising and very, very funny. Just like 'Private Eye' used to be." - Alec McKelland

"Wicked" - Channel 4

"Ace" - Time Out

"'We rise once again in advocacy of The Friday Thing. We realize that some of you may be unwilling to spend [your money] on plain-text comment, but you're only depriving yourself." - The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

"Subscribing to this at the beginning of the year was undoubtedly one of the better decisions I've made. Superlative, and utterly marvellous. I look forward to Fridays now, because I can't wait for the next issue. Fucking fucking brilliant." - Meish.org

"Featuring writers from The Observer, Smack The Pony and The 11 O'Clock Show... will continue to attract new subscribers sight unseen" - NeedToKnow

"The Friday Thing is so good it's stopping me from doing a bunk of a Friday afternoon." - Annie Blinkhorn (The Erotic Review)

"So now" - The Evening Standard

"Damn it, you rule. May you never, ever back down." - Paul Mayze

"Ace" - PopJustice

"Snarky" - Online Journalism Review

"Can you please stop making me laugh out loud... I'm supposed to be working, you know!" - Tamsin Tyrwhitt

"Your coverage of stuff as it spills is right on the money." - Mike Woods

"Popbitch with A-Levels." - Tim Footman

"In an inbox full of trite work-related nonsense, TFT shines from under its subject heading like the sun out of Angus Deayton's arse." - Nikki Hunt

"A first rate email. It's become an integral part of my week, and my life would be empty and meaningless without it (well, *more* empty and meaningless anyway)." - Mark Pugh

"Genius, absolute bit of class. And you can quote me on that." - Lee Neville

"If you're hipper than hell, this is what you read." - MarketingSherpa

"The most entertaining email I've had all week. Great tone." - Matthew Prior

"A massive and engrossing wit injection." - idiotica.co.uk

"I wouldn't know satire if it bit me on the arse. But I did like the Naomi Campbell joke." - Matt Kelly (The Mirror)

"Has had an understandably high profile among people who know about these things." - Guy Clapperton (Guardian Online)

"Satirical sideswipes at the burning issues of the day." - Radio 5 Live

"Puerile and worthless... Truly fabulous... Do read the whole thing." - Stephen Pollard

© The Friday Thing 2001-2008 - All Rights Reserved