Saturday, August 29, 2009


Belgium is the most offensive word in the whole Universe according to Douglas Adams who wrote "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". While there are national and regional variations in swearing on planet Earth, it is a part of 3% of normal working life and 13% outside. What does it prove? That work is less frustrating? Of course, it is. That is why some of us work a lot. Most swear words fall into just two categories: 1. Religion 2. Body functions. Mere insults are not swear words. Sorry. Men tend to swear more, but, according to some of the experts, women are not too far off. Social expectations of women decrease the frequency of swearing, just a bit, I think, but all of that can be changed in a taboo free culture. 72% of men swear in public and 52% of women. At the General Medical Council (GMC), London there is a different treatment of male doctors who swore from that of female doctors. Need I say more? Predictably, it is acceptable that male doctors get stressed and medical directors do not rush to the GMC to back stab the doctor who swore. In the case of women doctors, it becomes serious professional misconduct and the finding of the fact is called "the use of obscene language". Why not just say the use of swear words? Religious fanatics employed to sit on Fitness to Practice Panels, really do not help the healthy need to swear sometimes. Swearing is not in the Medical Act 1983. It is exempt from the protection of free speech in USA. However, we shall not see anyone checking law books (or any others) when swearing happens. William Shakespear swore a lot in his books. In his time, religious swear words were considered much more offensive than those relating to body functioning. The word "zounds" means God's wounds and it was considered very offensive in his time. He used it ten times in Henry IV! Similarly word "sblood" means God's blood. William Shakespear was very popular and swearing worked in his favour. Here is some swearing poetry from William Shakespear: Social norms change, but General Medical Council can be rather slow on the uptake. Or is just England? In France only 4% of the population attends church, but in England 50%. This does not mean anything more than the cultural constraints on the population brought up in a certain way. British people remain oppressed. If the General Medical Council invited me to discuss the issue of swearing at work and there was such a thing as poetry in their communications it could be like this: INVITATION TO FISH Dear Fish, For you we have a dish Of bugs and seeds And wicked weeds. Come to drink and dine After 8.0 p.m. but before 9. Wear vivid spots or stripes But we'll bear no grudge or gripes If your suit's dry and not too wet. (There is some choice of toilette). Please, please, please, Come to our den You'll look so nice In our frying pen. Editor's note: You'll look so nice With a lemon slice. Editor: Ms Philippa Kennard Bent From my book: The Reason for Treason

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