I don't tend to sprinkle my blog with expletives. It's not that I don't know any, merely that in the majority of instances, writing F*** this and F*** that isn't what I want to say or how I want to say it. I let rip without inhibition as the occasion demands in the privacy of my own home, but in public - and a blog is, after all, designed for public consumption - I try to exercise a modicum of restraint.
So I was interested to read this article in today's papers. Apparently, in the course of a radio programme, someone made the (scripted) jocular remark "It's the Tories who have put the 'n' into cuts." I didn't listen to the programme in question, so I can't comment on whether it was in keeping with the general tone and theme of the programme, but as the newspaper article correctly points out, on a "Richter scale" of offensive four-letter words, the one which was alluded to still comes fairly near the top in most peoples' estimation.
But... she didn't actually say it. It's arguably just following on in the great tradition of programmes such as "Round the Horne", where the innuendo invariably ensured that any smuttiness was purely in the ear of the beholder. There's less justification in my mind for the argument that people don't pay their TV licence money to listen to obscenities. The "He who pays the piper calls the tune" line of reasoning carries weight up to a point, but if - say - an advertising sponsor is paying for it, does that make it any more palatable?
Language, and peoples' use of it, is constantly evolving. Over the weekend, I also spotted this news item suggesting that the word "chav" is becoming a no-no (you'll notice I didn't use asterisks to partially blank it). Whether, in years to come, it will warrant being blanked, asterisked or banned from exposure on TV, remains to be seen. I am not "demonising" anyone, I simply use it to describe "a young lower-class person typified by brash and loutish behaviour and the wearing of (real or imitation) designer clothes." (Oxford English Dictionary definition). Innit.