by: Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)
FISH (fly-replete, in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat’ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
Each secret fishy hope or fear.
Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
But is there anything Beyond?
This life cannot be All, they swear,
For how unpleasant, if it were!
One may not doubt that, somehow, Good
Shall come of Water and of Mud;
And, sure, the reverent eye must see
A Purpose in Liquidity.
We darkly know, by Faith we cry,
The future is not Wholly Dry.
Mud unto mud! — Death eddies near —
Not here the appointed End, not here!
But somewhere, beyond Space and Time.
Is wetter water, slimier slime!
And there (they trust) there swimmeth One
Who swam ere rivers were begun,
Immense, of fishy form and mind,
Squamous, omnipotent, and kind;
And under that Almighty Fin,
The littlest fish may enter in.
Oh! never fly conceals a hook,
Fish say, in the Eternal Brook,
But more than mundane weeds are there,
And mud, celestially fair;
Fat caterpillars drift around,
And Paradisal grubs are found;
Unfading moths, immortal flies,
And the worm that never dies.
And in that Heaven of all their wish,
There shall be no more land, say fish
A friend posted this in a Facebook group, and I had to share. I have no idea of the source, so I am quite happy to remove/add a credit if anyone can fill me in.
I’m afraid I am still in the midst of writing a final conference paper, but once that is done I shall be back… and probably post the papers in blogified form is anyone is interested.
The month of September was a manic month. 180 emails had built up in my inbox… I have been attending conferences, applying for PhDs, and getting a number of secret projects under way…
Things are becoming a bit more routine now, and as such I am working through various articles that I have flagged up for blogging. Before I start, however, I discovered this image which made me chuckle. A lot.
Hopefully my posts will increase in profundity as October goes on…
The name of this post echoes my previous, much longer post entitled Today I have mostly been learning about… “Fuck”. However, it would be somewhat of a lie to say that I had been spending most of my day on this…
As you’ll see from the citation, this was from a book on Qualitative Methods. However, it amused and intrigued me… and thanks to my amazing OCR software and scanner, this took little effort. So without further ado, enjoy learning a bit about ‘bullshit’:
Bullshit in the outback
Of all the definitions of ‘bullshit’ read so far, I’ve yet to find one that discusses the source himself, the bull. I’m speaking from many years experience of working with, and observing, wild cattle in our far north. Like the males of other animal species, wild bulls often fight over harem rights. Typically they go through a display routine something akin to ‘come any closer, and I’ll punch your lights out!’.There’s a lot of bluffing, swaggering, mouthing off, and literally bullshitting. The process might go on for minutes or hours, but all the while the bulls are constantly dribbling shit from the back end and paddling it around with their tail. You can always tell when a bull is in fighting mode because his arse-end is smothered in green slime. They circle around each other with their noses down, pawing up as much dust as they can (think ‘bulldust’), bawling each other out and sniffing at each other’s shit. Does that sound like some academic discussions you’ve witnessed! The point is, the issue of who wins is most often settled in these preliminaries. The process might go on for a while, but one or the other has already conquered, without the potential danger of actually locking horns. One short rush and it’s all over. In conversations among the stockmen, use of the term ‘bullshit’ was almost invariably in this context. If someone was suspected of bluffing/boasting/overstating their ability to ride, root, drink or fight, then he was ‘full of bullshit’ or ‘bullshitting’ or simply dismissed with ‘Ahh bullshit!’. (Eric Whittle personal communication, 2006)
From Silverman, D., 2007. A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Qualitative Research, Los Angeles, Calif: SAGE, p. 122.
Proper blog posts are still a long way off… but here is a selection of interesting things I have spotted on the internet over the past week or so:
A worrying discussion about abortion in the state of Kansas.
Another atheist complains about an infringement on church-state separation in the US.
Apparently fish can use tools!!!! Does this cause any ‘vegetarians’ who eat fish to reconsider their position?
Understanding the current situation in the Middle East… with cows. My personal favourites are:
You had two cows that were lost decades ago. Lament them.
You have two bulls. Pretend they are helpless calves.
And finally, the periodic table of atheists… chuckle.
That’s all I gotta say about that..
The following provided much hilarity over Christmas lunch. Typically, it is one of those chain-type-emails where no-one knows the author… whoever it was, they made me chuckle!
Thanks to Josh for sending this along (and making some grammatical corrections).
From the author (“the wishor”) to you (hereinafter called “the wishee”),
Please accept without obligation, implied or implicit, the wishor’s best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter holiday; practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all; and a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2011, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects, and having regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or dietary preference of the wishee.
By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms that:
- This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal.
- This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged.
- This greeting implies no promise by the wishor to actually implement any of the wishes.
- This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishees in certain jurisdictions and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wishor.
- This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably as may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first.
- The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor.
- Any references in this greeting to “the Lord”, “Father Christmas”, “Our Saviour”, or any other festive figures, whether actual or fictitious, dead or alive, shall not imply any endorsement by or from them in respect of this greeting, and all proprietary rights in any referenced third party names and images are hereby acknowledged
I noticed this in a friend’s facebook feed, and I am unsure who to credit with this genius. If you do know, please come forward… however, I shall leave you with the appropriate message: “YULE SHALL NOT PASS!”
[PS – I just told my Dad about the “Gandalf-in-Santa-hat” picture and he said, “Just got to get one for Smirnoff then… Smirnoff? No, I mean Smeagol!”. Christmas has gotten off to a fine start!]
I was reading the wonderful and intentionally provocatively titled article “Fuck” by Christopher M. Fairman (published in March 2006 in the Public Law and Legal Theory Working Paper Series No. 59/Centre for Interdisciplinary Law and Policy Studies Working Paper Series No. 39 and available for free online here) and thought I should share some of my favourite parts of it with you.
Some of this will be direct quotations, some will be my own paraphrases, some will be my own additions… and there is not going to be any coherent narrative, but I thought a lot of people out there might share my affection for the word “fuck” and its variants, and appreciate learning something new about it and hearing some amusing legal stories from this serious scholarly article. Many thanks to Edwina Smith for passing it in my direction.
Here we go…. 15 things you wanted to know about fuck:
1. Previous studies on the word “fuck” have included Leo Stone’s On the Principal Obscene Word of the English Language (1954) and Allen Walker Read’s An Obscenity Symbol (1934), “fifteen pages and eighty-two footnotes penned without once printing the word fuck anywhere in the article”.
2. In 2002, a man called Timothy Boomer was canoeing on the Rifle River in Michigan. He fell overboard and let out a few fucks. A nearby Sheriff gave him a ticket citing an 1897 statute – “Any person who shall use any indecent, immoral, obscene, vulgar or insulting language in the presence or hearing of any woman or child shall be guilty of a misdemeanor”. Boomer was then convicted and sentenced to a $75 fine and 4 days community service.
3. “Fuck is a taboo word. According to psycholinguists, its taboo status is likely due to our deep, subconscious feelings about sex. The taboo is so strong that it compels many to engage in self-censorship. However, refraining from the use of fuck only reinforces the taboo. In the process, silence empowers small segments of the population to manipulate our rights under the guise of reflecting the greater community. Taboo is then institutionalised through law, yet at the same time is in tension with other identifiable legal rights. Understanding this relationship between law and taboo ultimately yields fuck jurisprudence. However, all the attempts to curtail the use of fuck through law are doomed to fail. Fundamentally, fuck persists because it is taboo, not in spite of it.”
4. One potential first occurrence of fuck is in a Scottish poem by William Dunbar:
“Yit be his feiris he wald haif fukkit / Ye brek my hairt, my bony ane”
William Dunbar, Ane Brash of Wowing (1503)
5. “During the last Egyptian dynasties, legal documents were sealed with the phrase, “As for him who shall disregard it, may he be fucked by a donkey.” The hieroglyphic for the phrase – two large erect penises – makes the message clear.”
6. Fuck did not appear in any widely-read English dictionary from 1795 to 1965.
7. Jesse Sheidlower’s dictionary “The F-Word” is now in its second edition and spans 272 pages, devoted entirely to the word fuck and its variants. These range from absofuckinglutely – “an adverb meaning absolutely” – to zipless fuck – “a noun meaning an act of intercourse without an emotional connection”. My personal favourite uses of fuck would have to be clusterfuck and skullfuck… although I shan’t attempt definitions.
8. An interesting article entitled “Bush’s Obscene Tirades Rattle White House Aides” (August 25, 2005)
9. Someone was thrown off a flight for wearing this t-shirt:
Check out the full story in the NY times here.
10. “Thais speakers in an English environment do not use certain Thai words because they sound like taboo English words, such as the Thai words fâg (sheath), fág (to hatch) and phrig (chili pepper). Similarly , Thai speakers avoid using English words, such as yet, that sound similar to taboo Thai words, such as jéd, a taboo Thai word for sexual intercourse.”
11. “Word taboo is irrational. it is one thing to ban certain acts; as a society we are probably better off. But to proscribe naming those same acts makes no sense. Yet that is precisely what we do. In the case of fuck, the taboo is also unhealthy. Emerging from an unhealthy attitude about sex, fuck is an example of what Read calls a “word fetish”. The extreme emotional response to the word only serves to perpetuate negative attitudes toward sex.”
12. Dooling: a person “with four lifetimes and a burning desire to find out whether he may scream ‘Fuck!’ in a crowded theatre will come away in confusion if he looks for his answer in the opinions of the Supreme Court.”
13. “By far the most important victory for breaking the word taboo comes in Cohen v. California – the “Fuck the Draft” case – where the Court comes to terms with this four-letter word. In protest of the Vietnam War and the draft, Paul Cohen wore a jacket bearing the phrase “Fuck the Draft” while in the Los Angeles County Courthouse. Cohen didn’t threaten to or engage in violence or make any loud or unusual noises. All he did was walk through the corridor of a public building wearing a jacket. He was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to thirty days in jail for violating a California statute prohibiting malicious and willful disruption of the peace by offensive conduct.”
14. Statistically, men swear more than women… according to some research amongst Midwest college students men are 40% more likely to use fuck, and 60% more likely to use motherfucker.
15. “Even when fuck-based, gender specific insults are found, such as “fucking fat bitch,” if the alleged harasser also refers to men with fuck-based, gender-specific insults, such as the “fucking new guy”, the complained-of language does not establish a sex harassment claim. The use of foul language in front of both men and women is not discrimination based on sex. However, comments such as “fucking bitch”, “dumb fucking broads” and “fucking cunts” were-gender specific. Judge Fletcher of the Ninth Circuit wrote in Steiner v. Showboat Operating Company, “[i]t is one thing to call a woman ‘worthless’, and another to call her a ‘worthless broad’.””
And there you have it… who knew fuck could be such a fascinating word?