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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Rants

Yesterday I saw a sign that some young people were carrying at a 'flash protest' (a delightful peaceful-protest phenomena that lasts long enough to register an opinion but disbands quickly enough to not be infiltrated by elements that wish to turn every protest into an ugly event).

"WHAT THE FUCK?", said the tiny sign in red. I can understand their sentiments. They're young. They're confused. They're puzzled by the irrationality of recent events. So they are using a phrase that, along with its acronym, WTF, is commonly encountered on their most common forms of communication: Text Messages and Internet Chats. And let's face it: Expletives used at the height of frustration offer a darn sight more relief and peace of mind than even a spiritual invocation.

No 'officials' around stopped the kids from displaying that sign ... but that could be as much a sign of their 'tolerance' as of their 'illiteracy'. However, photographers and reporters from the popular press did ask for the sign to be placed out of their camera's sights as they could not carry an image so vulgar on their hallowed pages. One reporter told me, when I suggested they let the youth express their sentiments, that it was not his policy, nor even that of his newspaper, but a government policy by the Censors, PEMRA, or whoever rules the various roosts involved.

All I can say to that is: "WHAT THE FUCK!"

You and I have seen umpteen images that are in plain and simple bad taste, displayed on ALL our newspapers - and I am not referring to just the manhoos faces of our politicians that ruin my morning coffee as I plod through the useless ragsheets (which I do merely because of the fact that I really can't take a morning dump without reading a paper). I am talking of all sorts of protest scenes where everyone, from Beardos to Weirdos, is very frequently seen with a placard proclaiming "Death to [insert flavour of the month here]" or demanding that the mob, or whoever will listen, kill someone, somewhere for having said something that has offended the said lout.

This reasoning has me confused! Why is the obnoxious act of incitement to one of the the most violent of acts - murder - or the 4-letter word k-i-l-l, considered ok for the front pages? Why, on the other hand, should a word that has no literal meaning at all within the protest cry of the youth --- a word that could, ostensibly (gotcha, Sab!), in quite another context, signify an act of love --- be so offensive to society? Why should it be acceptable for some maladjusted wart on earth to scream "Kill the President!", but not a jubilant and smiling 20-something to shout "Screw the President!"... ? Although the raisers of former slogan have insane followers who, in the past, have taken the call literally enough to attempt the ghastly deed, I am sure that most would consider the latter phrase a mere empty threat.


By the way, the F-word did manage to establish legitimacy during the dotcom boom/bust days through a website that reported on the companies that floundered.


Having spent 25 years at sea, and as you may have gathered from the above paragraphs, I am no prude, specially when it comes to the matter of using language. After all, there's very little that could make a sailor blush.

So, I guess, you'll just have to call me old-fashioned, when I say that I found offensive The Daily Telegraph's use of unbecoming language for Pakistan's President (yes, the same chap whom I criticize, because I feel I have a basic right to do so - but that's an internal matter, as the President would agree). I had heard the same remark a couple of years ago on Fox News - but I was not expecting to see it in a UK paper. I guess times change.

In contrast, despite the well-deserved contempt that Bush - genuinely a Son of a Bush - is held in by our vernacular press (as by every decent human being in the world), I have yet to see in print anyone calling him what he really is.


All this is not to say that I am going soft on Mush. How could I? Even those who manage to find some outlandish arguments in his favour must smack their foreheads each day as he comes up with yet another inexcusable law, ordinance, or pronouncement. Today, it was the news story about the amendment to the army act that sent a tremor through the nation. Where will all this end? Will times get worse for true patriots under this local version of the Patriot Act?

Years go, a great mind got it right:

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Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

I may or may not be right about this, but over the years I have come to see the use of profanities as a sign of weakness.

12 November, 2007 02:23

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the fact that I really can't take a morning dump without reading a paper" points to a disposition to constipation .. mentally and otherwise!

16 November, 2007 21:57

Anonymous rahmat masih said...

You are obviously at the other end of the colonic spectrum, sir - with verbal diarrhea.

16 November, 2007 22:58


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