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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:

thesmokinggun.com/archive/fword1.html

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:

www.fuck.addr.com/news/word/larry.html



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

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